Rosalie scented the vampire before the blood.
There was a strange, sharp scent about the air. It caused her to wrinkle her nose and wish she could still sneeze. Vampire venom. The scent made her wary – she didn't know this area and she didn't want to encroach on any territories. She felt a little off-kilter, suddenly, that she wouldn't know how to speak to a nomad if she met one now.
The only others they met were through Carine and Carine wasn't here.
Maybe that's what he wants. To keep you stuck with him. Rosalie doesn't like the thought and she knows it relatively isn't true. It's that little hateful ball inside of her, all those horrible feelings that had become frozen in the transformation, along with the rest of her.
She scents the air again. The vampire was close by. But there were marks on the ground – long, dragging. They don't go far. Rosalie studies them a moment longer before it clicks – human fingers. Someone had clawed the ground and dragged themselves across the dirt.
They led to a figure, crouched. Big, in brown clothes, a lumpy hat and thick boots on. They were covered in dirt and blood. The blood was strange – it was too like the vampire's own scent. It was their own blood.
Sharp eyes watch her – bright, vivid red. Eyes Rosalie had seen in the mirror, when she had first woken up.
She feels a spike of pity, and no small amount of nerves. Carine had told her 'it is always a gamble – some do not survive the process. It always begins with only hope.' But Rosalie looks at this wretch, alone, and thinks perhaps the doctor had spoken only for himself.
"Hello," Rosalie says clearly. She remembers the most disconcerting thing about the first few days – not only the thirst, but the new instincts.
She had first hissed at Edyth – who had startled her by reading the questions out of her head and answering them. She had made her room her territory and knocking was no longer solely a courtesy.
The eyes watched her, and Rosalie noticed when they scented the air, smelling her. Their chest and arms were pronounced – quite muscular. They must have been strong as a human, athletic. She did not feel the urge to hiss at them.
"Are you an angel?" The voice was higher than Rosalie expected, and she realized their chest swelled with more than just muscle. A woman.
The pity turns in her belly – the next moment, Rosalie crouches in front of her, protective and gentle.
"Only if you are too."
There is no other scent or trace of whoever turned her. There was no trace of any other living thing nearly at all. Avian, reptilian and mammalian had a habit of sensing them and fleeing. There was a line of ants marching in an oblivious line.
The woman's face was square. A strong chin and a broad, flat nose. Her red eyes flutter, and Rosalie surmises that she's handsome, very handsome.
The woman looks nervous, and concerned. "I'm dead, you see." The woman explained, and Rosalie nodded, because she was right. "I set traps for my pa … there was a monster," the woman looks behind her, as though said monster lay just out of sight.
Rosalie shakes her head. Whoever it was is long gone now. "Not anymore. But I'm here," Rosalie says, and offers her a shy smile. "Unless you think I'm the monster?"
The woman smiles back, "Not at all!" she chirps and Rosalie reaches out slowly, to move the bucket-shaped hat from her brow. Rosalie had a strong urge to see this woman's face better.
Short, curly hair is flattened to her head, dry with sweat she would never feel again. Rosalie reached up, pulling a few of the locks between her fingers. She was almost taken aback by how soft it was. Like velvet – as soft as a baby.
Rosalie knows a bird takes off in flight, something brown and mundane, quite a distance away from them. The woman is on her feet – faster than she seems to have anticipated, as Rosalie refuses to laugh at the startled look that flashes across her face.
"Don't you worry, angel – it won't git ya if I can help it," the woman growls, her teeth bared. Rosalie smells the sharp tang of the woman's venom and stands to put a comforting hand on her arm.
"It's alright – it's just a bird," she points out and pulls a little, prompting the woman to turn back to her. Rosalie found herself much more pleased when the woman was looking at her. She was also very surprised that the woman was even taller than she – Rosalie had always been a very tall girl herself.
"Angel," the woman purrs, "we goin' to heaven, baby?"
Rosalie chuckles ruefully, her lips more of a sneer than a smile. If only that was the happily ever after they got. "Not at all," Rosalie was sorry to tell her.
Her big smile flickers and for a moment the woman looks incredibly sober. "So they put the best faces on their devils. I'm goin' downwards," the woman says grimly, but, after a moment, she squares her shoulders. "I ain't sorry for it – any of the women. But don't have 'em follow me, they don't deserve it," she says, and the all of a sudden desperate earnestness fills Rosalie with jealousy. What other women?
Rosalie purses her lips. "Just focus on your angel for now," she says tersely. Abashed, the woman nods and when Rosalie offers her hand she takes it. Her fingers were thick and blunt – they told of long, hard work.
"You're not going down either – we need to go North," Rosalie explains.
The woman nods, and Rosalie tugs her gently. They ran fast – Rosalie feels the newborn strength in her fingers gripping hers tighter almost than she can bear. But the ache almost comforts her – knowing the woman didn't want to let go.
As they run, the woman says "Ariel" into the air.
"Who is that?" Rosalie asks her, half-thinking perhaps they were introducing themselves.
"Gabrielle?" the woman says, now openly musing.
"I don't …" Rose glances back at the woman, frowning in confusion.
But she was grinning as she declares, "Muriel! I'm tryin' to guess yer name, angel." she explains. The trees whizz by them, with neither needing to so much as glance down at their feet to see what debris they leap over. "They your sisters, in the scripture."
That makes them both laugh. "My name is Rosalie."
"Rosie," the woman replies in a sing-song voice. It was the first time Rosalie enjoyed the baby-ish nickname that until now she had never liked so much.