Chapter 1: Blood loss and flying

AN: okay, this is the re-vamped (no pun intended) version of the first chapter. I still am not crazy about it, but it's better than it was. To old readers: welcome back. To new readers: glad you decided to give my story a try. Read and review!

I woke near midnight, my pupils dilated in the darkness of my small room of the castle where I worked as a servant of the ruling lord of my village, deep in Romania. I slid out of bed and padded softly down the corridor towards the main hall.

Shafts of pale moonlight filtered through the large windows and cast dark shadows into the corners of the rooms. I glanced nervously over my shoulder. There was no one there, but something was subtly different in the castle tonight. I stopped and stood quite still, straining my ears for any hint of sound. All I could feel was a small breeze around my legs, so faint I could barely tell it was there.

But we never opened any of the windows.

My eyes snapped open and I whirled around in the direction of the breeze's source, my long hair whipping around my face (I made a mental note to cut it). I smacked into someone's chest. Backing up, I looked at the person I'd run into. He was tall and pale, nearly blending into the shadows with his black clothes and hair. He had the most…hypnotic gaze I'd ever seen in a man.

"Who are you?" I whispered.

"A better question, my dear," he said almost cheerfully, "would be what am I?" His voice carried a heavy Transylvanian accent

"What are you then?"

He smiled, revealing pointed teeth. "I, am a vampire. Count Vladislaus Dracula."

The speed of my pulse nearly doubled. I'd heard tales of such bloodsuckers from relatives west of us, but those monsters had never ventured this far to the east.

Until now that is.

Dracula took a step forward and I threw myself backwards, that motion impeded by the presence of a stone wall. So I stood there, watching my death come closer. Dracula spoke again.

"Your heart is beating so fast my dear." He smiled and began to clap his hands softly, slowly at first, but quickly speeding until it kept time with my racing heart. I wondered idly if this man was insane. However, I didn't want to be vampire fodder just yet.

"Why are you here?" I blurted out. "Why me? Surely there are easier targets." If I could just keep him talking, maybe I could escape. I began edging slowly to the side.

"Yes, I suppose there are," he said. "But you are…different somehow."

"Ooohhh no I'm not," I assured him. "I'm just a little normal servant in a normal castle by a normal village. See? Nothing remarkable there."

My remark had the opposite effect I intended it to. He laughed.

"I beg to differ. There is a song in your blood –"

"Isn't there one in everybody's?"

"No. And you're not being boring. You're not crying, pleading for your life, or trying to run." As he said that, I dashed to the side. However, I didn't get more that three feet when I crashed headlong into something. Someone, as it turned out. Dracula grabbed my upper arm to steady me.

"Or perhaps you are. Either way, I can't just drain you dry." I gulped at the mention of being food.

"Why?" I asked against my better judgement. Suddenly, those pointed teeth were at my throat, right above my jugular vein.

"Because," he whispered, "Then you would be dead. You won't be any good to me dead."

The fangs pierced my skin and I tried to keep from fainting while locked in the arms of a monster who was draining my life away. I couldn't see anything through the haze of pain, couldn't think, but I could feel my blood leaving my body. After an eternity, he stopped.

I was dimly aware of the laboring, sluggish beating of my heart and of a liquid on my lips, seeping into my mouth, trickling down my throat. It was both warm and cold at the same time, like the life force of one who is already dead.

It was blood, vampire blood.

I feebly pushed myself away from Dracula and fell heavily to the floor.

"What…have you done?" I choked, clutching at my chest, which was burning.

"You will see soon enough my dear," he replied smoothly. Suddenly, a spasm of pain ripped through my body and I doubled over, coughing violently. The count looked slightly perturbed. I could tell something was wrong. Blood dripped from my mouth onto the floor, smoking where it hit the stone, as my body was wracked with convulsions.

Something was very wrong.

There was a ripping noise and I arched in response to the new pain lancing through my back, before lying still on the stone floor.

Dracula bent down and picked me up in his arms, brushing a strand of hair away from my face. I looked at him with round, wary eyes, not quite sure what to expect.

"Are you going to kill me now?" I whispered weakly. Dracula looked surprised at the question. Then his face softened some as he felt the steady, rhythmic beating of my heart.

"No. You are not destined for death. You are to have eternal life, by my side and that of my brides." He shifted into full vampiric form and I was hard pressed to conceal my nausea while looking upon that frightening visage. Satisfied that I was secure in his large talons, he flew out of a castle window towards his own home.