Three

He leapt from the windowsill, into the cool night air, carrying me with him. I was terrified, and angry beyond anger, full of hatred and pain. But as much as I hated it, I had to admit that he was gentle with me, holding me in his arms almost tenderly.

I had never flown before, and it was a strange experience, soaring over the city. I could feel the wind rushing past my ears, and it was almost invigorating, despite the circumstances. I was in the strangest state of mind, all the pain and sorrow combining with a strange feeling of peace, and a distance from all that was happening.

I could feel every sensation so strongly, the wind in my hair, the Count's arms around me, the blood on my lips beginning to dry. I don't know how he flew that way, for he just seemed to glide through the air, without any effort on his part. He did not speak to me, and neither did I, for what was I to say?

He had committed atrocities to me, and was now abducting me. What was I to say? I had never in my life said a word to him, and he had not spoken to me till this night. But by his own terrible action his blood now flowed in my veins, and mine in his. I knew that he understood my mind, though I wished to keep it from him.

But in truth there was nothing that I could keep from him. For what secrets did I have? But still I felt ashamed under his gaze. I thought that I had nothing to hide, but truly it seemed that there was something that he could see, something that I wanted to hide. I did not know quite what it was yet, though.

The feel of the blood on my lips and chin disgusted me, I felt polluted, stained, unclean. I imagined embracing Jon with these bloodied hands, the hands of a monster, and cried out. "No, no, I must not touch or kiss him again, not to stain his goodness, his purity." The Count then looked down, and there was a strange sorrow in those red eyes.

He spoke, whispered, almost, "Silence, you need not worry." He ran an ice-cold finger over my lips, and I shivered. "There is no reason to be afraid." He smiled and any pity I might have had was lost. "What could I do to you that would be more terrible then that which you have already suffered?"

Then I began to weep, out of sorrow and hatred. "Monster! Let me go, leave me alone!" He whispered again, but this time it was a cold, calculating whisper. "No, I cannot do that, can I?" He played with a thread of my hair as he spoke. "I have done too much, and worked too hard, to let you go now. And besides, you are mine now, flesh of my flesh and kin of my kin. You shall not forsake me."

I hated him, and wanted to take my nails and scratch his eyes out. His arms still held me as we flew, and I wanted to break free from them. I would rather die then live that half-life, that life of stain and pollution that he would make for me. I found a strength I had not known that I had, and broke his grip.

I was falling, through space and time, my garments whipping about me as I fell to my death. I felt free, the wind about, knowing that I would go to freedom, to repentance, to a death that would wash clear the stain that remained in life.

But he caught me before I could die. There was no annoyance on his face, only a terrible amusement. Then he said, startling me, "We have reached my home." I looked down below, and indeed, I did see a castle dark even against the black sky. I shivered involuntarily, and he smiled. "Yes, it is wonderful, isn't it? I have given up relocating to England, it is far more comfortable here. It is my home. And it will be yours too."

I spoke with a vehemence, for though this matter was not one that I cared about particularly, I hated him, and wanted to disagree with everything he said. "Never! I would die first!" He smiled again, terribly. "Oh, but indeed you will, die to rise again as a vampire. And then it will be the only home you can have."

I could say nothing to that. I found myself looking into those red eyes, those terrible red eyes.

And we were there.