Chapter 3

With ragged breaths I ride out the final waves with my eyes closed. As my senses slowly return I begin to wonder why my head hurts. There's something wrong with my hands and arms, they aren't moving. A pinching, burning pain is encircling my wrists, worsening whenever I try to move. And, why won't my legs work?

My eyes fly open, trying desperately to adjust to the light and comprehend the scene in front of me. My heart races, Adrenalin coursing through my veins. I stare in stunned incredulity at the man standing a few feet away from me, bending forward slightly to look into my face. His eyes are searching mine with curiosity and something else… Is it awe?

I manage to shake my head slightly, tearing my eyes away from the man long enough to blink. My eyes are sore, gritty. When I look back the man is still observing me. His face is somewhat familiar. Not someone I know but someone I have seen or met recently. I search my memory, forcing my brain to work through the haze of Adrenalin and disorientation.

"Well, now, aren't you a curious one?" His Irish accent is clearly audible but not as thick as it should be – like someone who has been away from his country for a long time. He doesn't seem old enough for that kind of absence, mid to late twenties I would guess, unless he left when quite young. I then realise I've heard that voice before, too.

I tug at my wrists again trying to make my arms work. The biting sensation intensifies along with my panic at the realisation that my hands are tied. I'm restrained. There's no easy escape. The colour drains from my face as cold terror sits heavy in my stomach. The blackness threatens to swallow me again. The man, seeing my impending swoon, moves quickly forward – quicker than any man should – to take my face in his hands, patting my cheek gently. His hands are cool against my skin. Not a wholly unpleasant sensation, I muse. I shake my head inwardly at my turn of thoughts. How can I be thinking such things at a time like this. I am probably going to die at this man's hands. But, then again, I have always been drawn to the macabre.

I look up at him again. Now that he's closer, much closer, I am able to see him more clearly. He was the broodingly handsome man walking with the dark haired woman who pursued my Henr…not Henry, William. How can the man I love, would love if I have the chance, be the same as the man from my dreams. Yes, it was a dream, a beautiful, glorious dream, but a dream none the less. Again I wonder at my capacity to ponder these things while facing impending death. I look up into the eyes of my captor - into the intensity of those dark eyes - his expression has not changed.

"What is going on inside that pretty head of yours?" He asks, his voice full of wonder. "I have never seen anyone react in quite that fashion before, especially when rendered unconscious by an unseen attacker. What were you dreaming of? I can guess by your… reactions, of course…" He leaves the sentence hanging, full of innuendo. I blush profusely. To think this stranger saw me in the throes of passion, imagined, or otherwise, is inconceivable. My cheeks burn with the intensity of my embarrassment. His chuckle just fuels their fire.

I close my eyes taking a deep breath and blurt, "Where is William?"

Dark-and-Broody's answer is succinct and emotionless , "William is gone."

Before I can fathom what that single statement even means, he asks, "Was he your beau?"

The question is simple. There is no sarcasm or teasing, just a need to know the truth. I flush again. The answer is not so simple. "Yes…No…" I stutter, "It is complicated." Am I pouting? I sigh inwardly at my own ridiculousness.

My captor's curiosity and levity at my confusion is piqued further. He leans towards me, his thumb stroking my cheek, following the contour towards my ear, before closing his fist firmly, but only barely painfully, around a handful of my hair just above the nape of my neck. The action jerks my head back slightly. I can't help but close my eyes, my mouth open slightly in unexpected excitement at the sensation. Immediately, my eyes fly open again, cheeks heated and flushed in my embarrassment. What is wrong with me? I must be losing my mind. I should be quaking in fear at his action.

"You are an enigma, Miss….." He leaves the sentence hanging as he releases my hair and stands straight once again. Does he want something from me? And how am I an enigma? I stare at him blankly. His returned look patient but expectant. How can this man be so calm when he obviously means to kill me? And, if that is what is going to happen, why hasn't it?

I think of how he had formed the unfinished sentence. What is he waiting for? My name? Oh! My name!

"E...Estelle…but most people call me Essie," I gush, wondering why he wants to know. If he's going to kill me why does he want to know my name? Does he keep a record of his kills? A shudder courses through my body at the thought, a frown creasing my forehead. I jump at the sensation of the creases being gently smoothed with cold fingers. My eyes dart upwards to find his face very close to mine. Cold fingers close around my jaw as he turns my face to the side, gently exposing my neck. My breaths are coming in rasping gulps of air as his cold lips descend to the exposed flesh. With his hand resting on my cheek with his thumb following the line of my jaw, he continues to tilt my head back further. His free hand slides gently between the chair I'm tied to and the dip of my back causing me to arch towards him slightly.

There must be something seriously wrong with me, I chastise inwardly. I am becoming aroused in spite of my own immanent death at this man's hands, or, is it because of it?

With my Adrenalin-heightened senses a realisation suddenly occurs to me bringing me out of my musing. I should be able to feel his breath on my skin. I can't. Why is that?

"I want to taste you," he murmurs against my throat. His words mirroring my own from my dream sending Adrenalin jolting through my system once more. My body is a confusion of fear and arousal. I feel his lips move against my skin and then his teeth pressing into my throat. A chuckle rumbles deep in his throat. My heart begins to race as I squirm in the seat, the heat inside me igniting uninvited. My back arches involuntarily, pressing my extended throat into his bite. I must be going insane! Or this is a fevered hallucination conjured by my mind in its last moments in the vain attempt to stop me from realising I am already dead. "So you want me to ride you, Essie?" as he thrust his hand and the materials of my skirts between my thighs forcing my knees apart. Inhaling sharply, I pull back my head, staring at this man; this monster, with indignation knowing full well I haven't been able to completely conceal my underlying excitement from him. Cold mirth shines from his dark eyes as they stare back at me.

From behind his leaning form I hear a swish of fabric. Is it one of the women he was with? Is it the dark-haired woman? Is William with her? I start to struggle, trying to bring my head down to see over Dark-and-Broody's shoulder.

"Angelus, stop playing with your food!" She sounds slightly bored but there is a motherly undertone to her statement that is tainted by another emotion. Annoyance, I think. Or, possibly impatience.

Food?! Have I heard her correctly?

Suddenly my head is free. His hand gone. He is gone. With a swish of fabric both he and the woman are suddenly nowhere to be seen. How can they move so quickly? The dull thump in my head resurfaces while I'm left to my own thoughts. I strain to hear what is being said behind the nearby wall. I guess this is where they have gone. There are low sounds that could possibly be speech but I am unable to distinguish any words.

There's a warm sticky substance on the side of my neck where his teeth had been. I crane my neck down and around, straining to see what the substance is. A steadily growing stain of red is spreading across my dress collar. Food! I am the main course. And he plans to take me, take my virtue, as the appetiser. I stare in horror at the empty doorway. Is this what became of William? If I am to die I will not go without a fight, I resolve. I begin to tug sharply at my restraints, mindless of the pain flaring in my wrists as the cord cuts into my skin.

My resolve begins to metamorphose into anger. What of my virtue? How has it served me thus far? I had saved myself for one man and now my life is over and possibly his also. William would never know me.

Looking up defiantly when they both reappear ,I recognise the blonde woman who was with my captor, Angelus, on the street. Where is the other woman, the dark haired one? Where is my William? I frown at my disappointment.

"What am I doing here?" I speak in the pair's general direction not caring who answers me just that I get an answer. It's the woman who speaks first.

"You were somewhere you shouldn't have been. You were going to die once we established why you were following Dru." She speaks slowly, deliberately, as if speaking to a child. Her voice slightly bored and somewhat annoyed.

Dru? Who the hell is Dru? Is she the bitch who stole my William before I even had a chance to make him mine?

The blonde woman gives Angelus a quick sideways glance, "It seems things may have changed." She turns to Angelus, "Why is she still alive?" Angelus scowls at her to which she thrusts her chin in the air and walks away.

I don't understand what this means but it sounds like my life may not be over yet. My heart beat quickens as excitement and relief at the thought course through my veins. Questions flood my mind. Who are these people? What had I seen or heard with William and the other woman, Dru, that would have meant I had to die? I had not had the chance to see anything. Where is William? Is he even alive? No one has answered me on this yet!

After she has swept from the room again, skirts rustling, Angelus approaches me. Just before he reaches me I ask tentatively, "Who was that?"

Angelus stops mid stride, appearing to be thinking for a very brief moment. His expression changes to one of resolve as if he has come to a decision. "Her name is Darla," he answers quietly.

He steps forward, closing the distance between us, and kneels in front of me. "There is something different about you, Essie. I would not have had any hesitation in killing someone like you." He sees my confusion. "Human," he states in answer to my unasked question. "Oh, and the fun I would have had torturing you until you begged me to let you die…." The gleam of sadistic pleasure in his eyes was unmistakable, sending cold fingers of fear down my spine. He appears not to notice; lost in the moment.

"Human?" I swallow hard, not sure I really want to know the answer to my next question but knowing it really won't matter shortly. "Are you not human, too?"

"No."

His answer is so straightforward, so short. I struggle to fathom the implications of what he has said. The bible tells of creatures of both good and evil, but, almost no proof can be offered to their actual existence. Which one is he? What is he? He looks human.

"I tell you this only because I want to make you one of us. I think you would be magnificent, Essie."

My eyes narrow. Magnificent at what?

Angelus continues, "I was human, once, many years ago. I am now a Vampire." He scrutinises me, waiting for the inevitable reaction.

My heart is trying to leap out of my chest through my throat at this statement. The thought of these creatures of myth actually existing is inconceivable. But, then the blood flowing from where Angelus's teeth were on my neck should be an obvious sign he is far from normal. Angelus looks like a human, so he is either crazy or there really are monsters in the night. I swallow loudly, "You…" my voice is nothing more than a squeak. I clear my throat in the vain hope it will help. "You look human."

Angelus smiles viciously. "Sometimes. But this is the true face of the demon within me." As he says this something happens with his face. His brow becomes accentuated and wrinkled, his eye teeth elongating and becoming pointed. "And I am evil."

For more than thirty seconds I stay absolutely still, holding my breath, fearful that if I move I may lose my grip on reality altogether and go completely insane. Hasn't that already happened?

Angelis sits in front of me still with his distorted face on. He's watching my reaction closely. I realise if I scream I will be dead before it even leaves my throat.

A memory comes to the surface unbidden. Years ago, before my parents died. A friend and I had visited the local fair. There had been a fortune teller's tent at the fair and my friend dared me to have my fortune read. Not one to back away from such a challenge I strode into the tent.

The fortune teller had told me three things of importance, although, at the time I could not see their merit.

She had stated that I should cherish my parents and their offered friendship, support and wisdom. That I must make the most of this time with them between that moment and the same time the following year. Why that short amount of time would be so important, I could not guess. Later I understood. It had been a warning, one which I had not understood and therefore not headed. They had both left this world by the time the fair had rolled around the following year.

The fortune teller stated that I would stare death in the face and overcome him. Yes, she had definitely said him. I wonder now, could Angelus be of whom she spoke?

The third thing she had spoken of was proving a little more difficult to decipher. The fortune teller had stated that my destiny was tied intrinsically to another for eternity. I didn't understand then. At first I thought she meant that my destiny would be decided by another person's destiny. Now, I wonder… Could it be that these dreams I have been having are the key? In my dreams it is always me and always William. He is never called William and I am not Estelle but I know in my heart we are the same people. Our clothing is from long ago and the surroundings very different to the ones I am familiar with now. The dreams had led me to William but could the connection be deeper than that? Are we, in essence, the same people reborn again and again, to live our lives out together? Are my dreams actually memories? My mind is reeling at the possibility.

A new dilemma suddenly presents itself. If we are destined to be together in this life and the next, and William is dead, then I must die so we can be together again in our next life. If William is not….if he's something else, a vampire, what does this mean – for us?

I bring my focus back once again to Angelus's brooding face. He has watched intently at the emotions playing across my face and now seems unsure of what I might be thinking. "How long do vampires live?" I ask.

Angelus is struck dumb at the question. He cannot seem to fathom where this question has come from, especially after he has just revealed his demon-face to me. He seems to consider the question for a moment. "I do not rightly know, for sure." As my brows knit together in a scowl he adds, "I have already been a vampire for over 100 years. Darla is older. The vampire that sired her; made her vampire, is believed to be the oldest of our kind, possibly thousands of years old.

"Do not be mistaken we are not invincible. We can be killed. And when we die we turn to dust." Angelus closes his eyes momentarily.

I contemplate his words for a moment. "Can you feel love?" Again, Angelus appears completely thrown by the question.

"The capacity to love remains," he says after several moments of contemplation, "but the way we love is different. It is not civilised but raw and primal. Do not be mistaken, we are evil. Demons. And demons do not have souls.

"The rules of society no longer apply. We live for the blood, and with the blood comes death." As he says this he absentmindedly reaches towards my neck, runs a finger through the slow trickle of blood, places it in his mouth and sucks it clean. "Some of us have made an art form of it." He seems almost proud of his accomplishments. There is no remorse, no regret at his actions no matter how haenous.

"We are free," he continues. "It is freedom, from guilt, and remorse, and self-loathing.

"It is….liberating! Seeing, but more-so, creating suffering in others allows one to appreciate the frailty of the human condition. I have moved beyond that. I am stronger.

"Now, I get to see how far the human spirit can be pushed in its suffering, how much an individual can withstand before their resolve breaks and they beg to be released from their miserable lives. It can be quite surprising sometimes, what breaks one person can make another stronger. It really is fascinating."

Angelus seems to be watching me intently again. Was he referring to me? I'm hardly fascinating. Stupid, maybe, for getting myself into this situation. And, manipulated by forces well outside my understanding, quite probably. "But," I state slowly, trying to piece together this new information without it taking my sanity, "you do not have to do those things. The demon within you does not compel you to be so cruel? You choose to be so?"

Angelus studies me for a moment, "I do it because I can; because I want to." Again he watches my reaction. I wonder at the scrutiny then realise I should be horrified at what he is telling me but the excitement of the possibilities for William, if he has become one of them, a vampire, and also for me override the horror. He continues after a moment when the horrified reaction he anticipated is not forthcoming. "I need blood to survive. Blood comes at a price. The price I extract is dependent on many things but in the end it is death. It is always death."

I look down at my crumpled skirts distractedly following the maze of creases and dirt upon the fabric as I contemplate the information that Angelus has shared with me. In reality, I can see that it says more about Angelus than Vampires as a whole – I hope. As much as his blatant admission of wanton cruelty has chilled me to the bone there is a glimmer of hope in his confessions. Angelus wants to make me like him. What was the term? Sire? He wants to sire me. Will I have a choice to be cruel in my bloodlust or can I seek blood only for sustenance? Will I want to curb my appetite once I'm turned?

The fact that I am considering this at all should be more horrifying to me than Angelus's confessions. Do I have a choice in this? The only alternative is death.

Would death be such a poor alternative? I think back to the dreams I've been having, and wonder if what I've seen is correct; that this is not the first time I've lived. Will I live again – after this life? Why am I remembering these lives? Why am I different to most other people? Don't the majority of the population just go about their lives oblivious to any previous incarnations? Many don't even believe in reincarnation.

Another thought hits me. I could have already lived my allotted lives. If I die this time I may not come back. Maybe my only option, the only way to be sure is to agree to Angelus's proposal.

At the back of my mind the question sits unanswered. Why am I living again and again?

What is bringing me back, is it unfinished business? And what would that business be? An image of William appears in my mind. My heart starts to race as my thoughts do the same. But if William is now a vampire what does this mean for us?

I sigh. The frustration at my current situation and the unknown making me tug at my restraints. I look up suddenly. Angelus has been standing there quietly watching my inner turmoil. "Welcome back," he states with a crooked smile.

Looking into Angelus's questioning eyes, I make a decision to tell him…everything.

"You may think I have lost my mind," I begin.

Angelus chuckles, "You haven't met Drusilla yet. You'll know madness then."

I frown slightly at the hint of what sounds like pride in his words. Why would her madness be a source of pride? Has he made her so? A shudder courses through me before I can halt it.

I rush on before I can think about it anymore, "I think my dreams are of a past life. This is not the first time I have been alive." Angelus appears puzzled.

"Do you believe in re-incarnation?" I ask him.

"I have never thought upon it. But, before I met Darla, I was also unaware of the existence of vampires. So, how can I refute what you say?" He gives me a crooked smile by way of encouragement to continue.

"I have dreamed of a life I have lived before; certain parts of that life in particular." The colour rising in my cheeks betrays me as my thoughts drift to the memories I was experiencing before I awoke under Angelus's scrutiny.

I find myself again under that same scrutiny. "There's something you are not saying," he states.

I pause briefly before rushing on, "I think the person who is with me in my dream may have also lived this other life, with me."

"Who was it, in your dreams?"

I choose to ignore his question, and Angelus doesn't look pleased. "I was not more than fifteen years old the first time I experienced one of my dreams. At the time, my family did not yet live in London. It wasn't until several years later that I would meet the man I had been dreaming of so intimately.

"My family moved to England and I made several female friends around my age, one of whom took me to a party. It was there that I saw him for the first time. However, he didn't see me. His eyes and heart belonged to another. Someone who did not return his affections and certainly didn't deserve them."

My eyes turn cold at the thought of Cecily.

A look of realisation passes over Angelus's face, "You believe it was William; Dru's William, in this other life," he states.

I nod, "Yes, but he doesn't seem to know me the way I know him.

"This must sound crazy to you. I sound insane to me." I shake my head at myself.

Angelus shakes his head slightly as he moves closer to me. I close my eyes and look away.

"William is lost to you, Essie." Angelus croons softly, close to my ear. " He belongs to Drusilla now. She has made him one of us. It seems he accepted her offer quite eagerly, to escape a broken heart. If your dreams are the truth of your heart, he is not the man you seek."

A tear slides defiantly down my cheek as I will myself to be strong. How could I have been so wrong?

A shift in the air around me brings me back to my senses, the hairs on my arms stand up in response. I feel a presence in front of me, around me. My eyes leap open in momentary terror. Angelus now straddles my legs and the chair to which I am still restrained. Somehow, my bonds have been removed from around my ankles. Angelus must have done this as he moved to straddle me when my eyes were closed. His arms encircle my shoulders, hands resting upon the back of the chair for support. He does not bear any weight upon me but seems to hover above and around me. His proximity is unnerving as my mind reels from the information he has just given me.

Can I trust him? Why would he lie to me? It wouldn't matter to him whether William was alive or dead and he could just as easily have told me he was dead. Or, is this part of his mind games to which he made mention previously; to see how far I can be pushed before I break?

I stare up into Angelus's eyes searching their depths for some answers. It is like looking into chasms filled with dark, bottomless pools of water, their surface reflecting nothing but their surroundings. From deep within me a slight tugging sensation reaches outwards. A slight change in Angelus's expression, like a ripple starting below the surface of water, passes so quickly I almost don't notice it. What had caused it at the very moment it felt like my soul had reached out? But reached out to whom? Angelus? The man who claims to be vampire and by rights, as such, should have no soul? Had he felt something too? Is this why he was compelled to keep me alive when he should have just killed me after discovering me at the stable?

I struggle to think clearly, going back over the information I had gleaned from books I had read on the subject. I had spent hours at the local library trying to understand the dreams and the connection I felt to William. The best I could fathom from all the different points of view on the subject is that some believe that each person's soul makes connections with other souls throughout their lives. Some connections are to learn from, others are their forever mate. I thought William had been my forever connection. I was so wrong it seems.

Everything I read I had to keep secret from my parents and my friends. They would not have understood. The books and information contained within would be considered blasphemous and heresy. I found the information in the occult section of the library and stayed in the darkest corner I could find, away from the public viewing area, so as not to be discovered during my research.

I look again at Angelus. "You felt that too, didn't you?"

He looks stunned for a moment. "Yes," is all he says in response.

"That somehow we are connected?" My heartrate increases at my words. I can sense the subtle change in Angelus's posture. My gaze moves from his face, involuntarily following the curve of his broad shoulders down to the subtle mounds of pectoral muscles under his white linen shirt. I catch myself before my eyes travel any lower. I know instantly that I yearn to see what other mounds his clothing may be shrouding. I chastise myself for such wanton thoughts. I may have never experienced the touch of a man in real life but I feel like I know what I have been missing, intimately. The dreams have been so intense and seem so real it is sometimes hard to remember what is the truth of my life. The truth is, however, that I had not even been kissed by a man before Angelus. I had held out in the vain hope that William was the man for me. Others had shown interest and some had even asked my parents' permission to court me. I had not been agreeable, and they soon moved on.

Now this darkly handsome man, who is not even a man, has sparked a fire deep within me. I laugh inwardly at myself, reiterating how I have always been drawn to the darker side of life.

"You are meant to be one of us, Essie, and we will be magnificent!" His voice rumbles deep in his chest telling me what I need to hear.

Instantly, the decision is made. I lean forward quickly until my lips contact Angelus's. He responds in kind, deepening the kiss. His hands trail coolness down my arms and suddenly my restraints are gone. The burn in my wrists from the rope's bite lingers but I don't care. I throw my arms around his neck pulling him against me. His hands move to my waist and suddenly he stands bending forward, my arms still around his neck, and I am weightless, being picked up as if a small child. Angelus sits, once again straddling the chair to which I was restrained but this time he places me upon his legs, pinning me between his body and the back of the chair. I am trapped but I don't care. My skirts are bunched up around the top of my thighs with one leg on either side of his waist. I try to remember how this has come to pass but my brain will not move past the wonderful sensation of Angelus's tongue wrapped around my own as we discover one another.

He kisses me again and again until I am breathless. His hands slide slowly up my legs until they linger on my outer thighs just under the bunched fabrics of my skirts. I take advantage of this pause to take his unnaturally cool face in my now overly warm hands so I can look him in the eyes as I say, "Yes." Angelus stares at me blankly as if our building passion has clouded his mind.

"Yes, I want you to…sire me." My heart is racing at my statement and at the lust I feel for Angelus. I plan to wipe the confusion I feel for William from my memory. Angelus is making it much easier to achieve than I ever thought possible.

A wickedly mischievous smile curls the edges of his mouth, making him even more handsome. "Then let us consummate this arrangement!"

I giggle dementedly in response to his attempt at humour as the fires within me blaze anew at his words. I feel as if the flames will consume me. His hands continue their journey up my thighs. There is a strong pulling sensation and sting as fabric bites into my skin around my waist. There is a loud tearing sound and my undergarments are gone, torn from my body as it they were paper. I sit straddling this demon, my nakedness exposed beneath my skirts. My breath is rasping within my throat. Is he going to enter me as he turns me? A shudder courses through my body and I wonder if it is from pleasure or fear, although deep down I am aware it is undoubtedly both.

With slow deliberate movements Angelus moves my head back to gain access to my neck. Starting just below my ear, he plants firm kisses in a line down my throat. I feel his tongue against my skin and then his teeth as he teases me, not biting with any pressure.

One of his hands disappears from where they had come to rest entwined in my hair beside my face. That momentary distraction is replaced by another as I hear and feel the materials of my skirt rustling and moving as his hand slides underneath. My breath hitches in my throat as I wait for the touch that does not eventuate. However, I hear laces and buttons being undone from his own clothing. Oh, my!

Suddenly words tumble from my mouth, "You feel pleasure, then?"

A low chuckle, "Oh, aye. We feel all kinds of pleasure." He grabs my hips and pulls me hard against him. I feel his erection pressing against me. A gasp escapes me as my eyes widen at this familiar dream sensation which is suddenly made real. "I….I…have never…."

Angelus sits back slightly to look at me his eyes also wide. I don't give him a chance to say anything before I rush on, "You say you are this cruel creature who tortures and kills for the thrill of it. You have had every opportunity to do the same to me. The cruellest thing you could have done would be to take my innocence, rape me until I beg for release from this life, and then turn me, but you haven't."

"His eyes narrow slightly, "I still can, if you wish it."

When my body stiffens slightly at his words he adds, "If this is what I wished to do to you it would have already come to pass. No, Love. I do not wish you mad with the injustices I could visit upon you. I have other hopes for you. There is something different about you, compelling. I think you would be magnificent as one of us. Oh, the swathe we shall cut through this town, the world, no less! It will be glorious!"

He looks down at me, his eyes suddenly smouldering, "I want to be your first in everything, human and vampire." His kiss flattens my lips against my teeth, his vampire strength disregarded in his urgency to possess me.

My own urgency to know him is immediately rekindled at his kiss. How can I be so aroused by someone who has just asked me to massacre whole towns of people with him? I shrug inwardly again, I was always drawn to the dark side.

Angelus's hands are once again around my waist lifting me, preparing to take my virtue. His face, again, that of the demon within. I kiss him hungrily, whispering into his mouth, "Yes!"

A guttural scream filled with agony and rage pierces the air around us. I jump at the sound, torn from the passionate embrace. A growl emanates from low in Angelus's throat and he is gone. I am thrown back onto the chair quite unceremoniously, my skirts flashing my nakedness to the world. I quickly adjust them and wonder at my sudden bout of modesty.

As Darla is dragged callously from the building by Angelus, I hear her say, "How much longer do you intend to punish me?" I do not hear the response as she and Angelus have moved too far away from me now.

Time moves slowly as I wait for Angelus to return. So we can finish what he started, I hope. My cheeks flush again at the moment that had been cut short by Darla's reappearance. Their relationship seems troubled. Maybe he wouldn't mind if I accidentally killed her once he has sired me? I have to laugh at myself – already thinking like a vampire with little regard for life, human or otherwise.

I hear a noise at the doorway to the building I have been kept captive in. It suddenly occurs to me that I could have possibly escaped during Angelus's present absence. But then, it could also be a test. In which case, I pass with flying colours! I realise that I do not want to go. I want this – want him - Angelus, and this other life he is offering me. I look up expecting to see his dark and brooding eyes.

A woman stands at the doorway, her hair long and black, big eyes shining with madness. Drusilla.

"So, Daddy has a new play thing? Oh, bad Daddy!"

She walks slowly towards me as if waltzing to some inaudible music. As she gets closer she stops and looks at me quizzically. "My, your light does shine bright! I can see why Daddy is transfixed. Grand-mummy really isn't very pleased. You shouldn't make Grand-mummy cross, you know," waggling her index finger at me as if I am a recalcitrant child.

Drusilla takes another few steps closer, but again she stops a couple of steps short of where I sit. This time she sniffs the air. A giggle tinged with insanity burbles from her delicate throat. "Oh, naughty, naughty daddy, what did he do to you?" She looks at me conspiratorially, bending towards me with her hands upon her knees, "did you like it?"

I flush bright red at the inappropriate question, and also at the unspoken answer. Drusilla squeals in delight at my reaction, clapping her hands like a small child.

She suddenly seems distracted by something. Before I can look around to find what it is that she sees, Drusilla starts to babble about the pretty lights and all the strings that attach them to one another. I know she is seeing something that isn't there or, at least, it's something I'm just not meant to see. I decide to play along anyway. "Do the lights belong to people?" I ask.

Drusilla nods enthusiastically. Encouraged I continue, "Can you tell who the lights belong to?" She appears to study them for a moment, her head tilted slightly to the side in concentration.

"Some. They swim like little fishes in a barrel. It's hard to keep track." Her bottom lip pushes out in a pout. I realise that I could lose her here at any moment, so try my luck in a slightly more direct line of questions.

"Do you see Angelus?"

"Angel Daddy, I see him." She seems slightly puzzled. "He does give off light tonight. The string from your light to his makes him stronger, brighter. I can see him." Drusilla is standing directly in front of me now. She leans forward, placing her hands upon my knees. "You smell like apple tea-cakes and roses. Daddy wouldn't mind if I had a little taste?"

"Yes he would!" I state bluntly. Drusilla starts to make a keening noise and her bottom lip begins to quiver with imagined tears. Angelus will be back soon, let him be back soon.

To distract her, I hope, I ask, "Who else do you see? Do you recognise William?"

Drusilla blinks as if she has been slapped across the face." William? My William? I birthed him, you know. I was his other mother what gave birth to him… when he was reborn." Her eyes suddenly narrow as she studies the light, as if seeing something for the first time. His light went out when I birthed him. Why can I see him with your light? You have Daddy! Why do you want my William too? He's my plaything!"

Drusilla's eyes widen until they threaten to pop from her skull. "The suns! The twin suns! They burn so bright! You have Daddy. You can't have him and eat William too! Daddy won't allow it! You will burn Angel Daddy!" Her voice has reached screaming pitch.

She launches like a wild cat going for the kill. Her teeth bared, face distorted in the visage of the demon. As her razor-sharp teeth sink into my throat tearing through the soft flesh I know real terror for the first time in my life. Angelus save me.

I hear the slurping, swallowing noise from Drusilla's throat as the light starts to fade around me. With my last ragged breaths I whisper to Dru, knowing she'll be able to hear me perfectly, "I will live again, you know I will. And when I do, I will find you. I will have Angelus, I make William mine and I will hunt you down and kill you slowly. What Angelus did to you was child's play."

The guttural scream issuing from Drusilla is primal as she tears my throat out. The scream is heard blocks away. My world once again turns black.