21 September 1864.

It is mid-morning as I write this entry, yet the day has nearly worn me out already. Jonathan is in his study, his loud grumbles travel through the thin walls. He is prattling off about one of "his" inventions again. This one looks as if it were a pocket watch, and my dear brother wears it like one. Who knows, perhaps the silly thing tells the time of the day as well; however, he claims Miss Emily has spelled the watch to identify the vampires in our town. I do not have the heart to tell him I believe Miss Emily was merely playing a small joke on him. Vampires. As if such a thing should exist. Jonathan and the town's silly council all seem to believe: that much I have overheard on the rare evenings he has held their meetings in our home, my brother believing me to be sound asleep in my room. They talk of these creatures with horrific faces, masked by a supernaturally beautiful complexion, lurking among us, hiding in plain sight, and feeding off our neighbors. They all believe these beasts live among us.

But I, a young woman of books and learning, I cannot fathom a world where these creatures of our nightmares roam among us, poise as our neighbors and friends—least of all places in Mystic Falls, Virginia. That is not to say I do not believe in the supernatural as a whole, no. I have seen what Miss Emily can do with just a few utterances of Latin. How she has healed soldiers' wounds with nothing but words. Witchcraft—witchcraft is not the devil's work in such kind hands like hers. But vampires…the undead. Vampires do not exist, cannot exist.

I do not believe.

Even so, if such a thing did exist Miss Emily surely would have informed me. To leave me in the dark on a subject like this would not be the friendly thing to do, and friends—friends Miss Emily and I are.

I cannot blame my brother and the Council for putting their attentions and hard time attempting to uncover "vampires", however. It appears to be a rather lovely distraction from the problems at hand in our country. The war appears to drag on even longer than I feared. Maybe I will leave soon—or maybe not. How long now have I been saying I would leave Mystic Falls and freight hop my way to Chicago? I cannot remember, but it feels that it must have been for years now. I can still imagine it—joining the Union and becoming a nurse, using what little I have learned from Miss Emily to heal the wounded soldiers with medicine as well as magic.

I could do it. I should do it. I would be saving lives and helping unite this country in what little ways I can, yet I know I will not. Damon still stands in my way, despite his affections and longing eyes directed solely in the direction of Miss Katherine. If any person in Mystic Falls is a vampire—cold-hearted, manipulative, supernaturally beautiful—it would be Miss Katherine.

Maybe I am just jealous. Or maybe I am just tired of listening to Jonathan ramble about his inventions through thin walls.

Or maybe there is something else bothering me entirely.

All in all, I am just ready for this war to end.

With love, Eliza Gilbert