A/N: I don't normally write this sort of stuff, but it was something I did for my friend's assignment.

Yes, my friend's; they were busy with a group assignment; problem was, their entire group's gone overseas.

The first and last lines of this were given, as part of the assignment.

So, read, enjoy, and if you so desire, review...! (please)


The shadows revealed more than she was aware as a distant howl came from behind her. A knife fell to the floor, and the girl swore. It was a small cut, hardly noticeable but the trickle of blood it created annoyed her. Risella sighed, crouched and picked up the half peeled apple from the ground with one hand, and the knife in the other. The branches swayed, leaves whispering as they brushed against each other; and the shrieking cry of the forest birds shocked Risella, as they fled from their natural refuge.

From the corner of her eye, she saw something flicker.

Risella spun around, anxiously searching the smothering darkness around her; but to no avail – on a moonless sky like this, with the few stars blocked from her view by the looming trees, she could see nothing.

"Who's there? Show yourself!" she shouted into the dark, holding the knife out in front of her in a firm grip, her voice defiantly fearless and arrogant.

At least, that was her intent – but her voice broke on the last couple of syllables, and as the last remnants of her courage left her, she bolted like a terrified rabbit.

The bony branches and rough leaves hit Risella's face and body as she ran, but she ignored them, the fear driving all thoughts from her mind except for those of escape. The air whistled past her, wind whipping the delicate skin of her face cruelly. She could barely see where she was going, because of the tears obscuring her vision, and so she ran blindly, with no idea of where she was going.

She just knew that she had to escape. That was the thought that drove her on, further and further into the depths of the wilderness.

But, no matter how fast she ran Risella could hear the footsteps behind, getting slowly, but inexorably, closer.

Why was he following her? What did he want?

The questions echoed through her head, the only real thoughts that managed to pierce through the thick fog of panic shrouding her mind.

Risella had heard tales of him – of the Count. She had never believed them, and as a stranger to this part of the country, the fear that had been instilled for generations into the minds of its people had been alien to her.

She had thought that the stories were mere fairytales – nightmares to frighten young children into obedience.

Now, reality had become a nightmare.

Finally, Risella was forced to stop – gasping for air, she bent over, her chest heaving.

She had never wished more that she had more stamina than this moment.

The leaves rustled.

She sprang up and whirled in one movement. Her eyes wild, dirt and twigs tangled in her long, dark mess of hair, she turned, trying to fix her eyes on whatever was out there.

Run! she tried to tell her body – but, paralysed by fear, it would not react.

She sunk to her knees as mindless terror gripped her.

"Leave me alone," she whispered. "Just leave me alone!" Tears rolled down her face, as she curled into a defensive ball and rocked back and forth slowly, her arms around her knees.

"Risella?!"

Startled by the familiar voice, she looked up in astonishment.

"Michael! Is that you?" she exclaimed. She heard laughter, and he stepped from the shadows.

It was almost amusing, how her fear could be driven away in an instant.

"Of course – who else would it be?" he laughed. "But what in God's name are you doing in this light-forsaken place?"

She bit her lip.

"I suppose…"

"You suppose…?" he prompted, as he offered her a hand to help her up.

"I…I thought something was following me!" she burst out. She giggled at her own idiocy. "That must have been you then. I can't believe I was so stupid!"

Her mirth disappeared, however, when he frowned, his face suddenly serious.

"That wasn't me, Risella. I just happened to walk past. Are you sure you didn't imagine it…?"

Had she?

Had she simply been possessed with mindless fear inspired by the ominous atmosphere and looming trees?

"Come one," he said, grabbing her wrist and tugging her gently. "Let's go back."

She smiled slightly, pushing her worry to the back of her mind.

"Alright."

They walked silently, driven by a sense of strange urgency that Michael, at least, could not explain.

The forest was thinning out, and the town was in sight when he attacked.

"Michael, can you hear that?!"

He turned, and pulled out his gun, standing in front of her protectively as the unseen person neared them.

When he stepped into view, Risella gasped, and Michael's expression turned grim.

"Run for the village," he said coldly, not turning around to look at her while he released the safety catch on the weapon.

He heard her run, and relief edged the cold fear that had started in the pits of his stomach.

Eyes never leaving the creature before him, Michael bowed slightly.

"Count," he acknowledged.

The beast's sharp fangs were bared as his grin pulled back his bloodless lips.

And then, he sprang.

Stunned by the speed of the attack, Michael had no time to react before he was pinned on his back.

The Count's thin, bony fingers at his throat, Michael gasped and choked, trying desperately to get air into his lungs.

And then, the eyes bulged, and a cry of agony emitted from the monster's mouth. Michael pushed away the hand and pushed himself to his feet – to see Risella standing behind the Count, a dagger coated in purple blood in her trembling hand.

"Come on!" she half-choked in a strangled whisper, and they ran, leaving the dying creature behind them.

They reached a small inn, and after some deliberation, decided to bed there for the night.

Neither of them wanted to take the risk that the Count was alive.

By the time Michael decided to go to sleep, it was late, and he was almost too tired to brush his teeth.

He staggered to the small basin, and washed his mouth, looking at his reflection in the mirror – or attempting to, though the mirror was so cracked and scratched that it was almost impossible.

A sudden cold breeze hit him, and he turned quickly. Curtains billowed as wind blew through the open window.

Sighing, he made to move to close it, but decided to wait till he had finished brushing.

Turning back to the mirror, his eyes widened.

"Did you know, Lord Michael, that killing a vampire requires something more than a rusty dagger in the back?"

He didn't move.

There was no point.

"You should be thankful, my Lord; your fate will be only death. The girl who dared harm me, however…"

Dracula's reflection appeared to him for only a moment in the cracked mirror as the purple blood sealed his fate.


So...how was it? Like it? Hate it? Mildly indifferent?

Please review!

Cheers

Arcèlia