To my disgust, I was clothed in a quick sweater and slacks. It was ridiculous, really, the lengths that I had to go to under my human facade. To my pleasure, Rudy was covered up as well. He looked even more ridiculous, with a feathery toupee that threw his face into shadow. Naturally, he had to be more careful; he was the one actually interacting with the girl.
He was too caught up in the girl's curious answers to notice me. How could he stand it? He was all alone, or at least he thought he was, yet he resisted her scent? His will power, however unnecessary, was impressive.

With the agility of a trapeze artist, I pulled myself up into a branch of a willow tree. I could hear their conversation clearly, as if they were right next to me. They were, in fact, fifty yards away sitting by the lake's shore. They looked like a grandfather and a granddaughter, simply enjoying the pleasant weather.

But they were so much more- and less- than that. He was a monster cloaked in beauty; she was a child, a silly human girl. She was crazy, he lusted for blood. A match not meant to be.

I had developed an unhealthy obsession with this human. Tracking her every movement, trying desperately to get her alone. But that meddling Blairdorf wouldn't give me a chance. He knew what I was, knew much too well what I had planned to do.

Daringly, I crept closer to the spot where they sat. I could hear every word they said, and I wasn't liking it at all.

"I have seen many horrible things at this asylum, and I am positive that you will see worse," whispered Rudy.

"Well, it can't be much worse than what I've seen at home," Alice laughed grimly.

Rudy didn't laugh. "I'm serious. There are dangerous people lurking anywhere, everywhere...patients and doctors alike."

"Well, they're as scared as me as I am of them, right?"

"No, those are bumblebees. These are people who..." He seemed to struggle for words. "These people thirst for blood. They will go by any means necessary to get it." Alice's smile faltered a bit, yet she still radiated happiness.

"People are a lot like bumblebees," she persisted, completely missing Rudy's ominous warning. It wasn't that she was simple-minded; the thought of blood-thirsty killers just didn't have an effect on her. I stifled a smirk at the thought of this. Some humans were so... perplexing. Or maybe it was just her.

"Yes, people are, Alice," Rudy agreed tentatively. "But the- creatures that I'm talking about... They're not people. Far from it, actually." What was this mental man doing? It would be different if a man warned Alice of what I was, but this was another one of my kind. It was a crime against the immortal to expose oneself like this, yet he was confiding in the innocent mind of a human girl. It was unjust.

"Well what are you talking about?" Alice demanded. She did not like to be in the dark.

"I'm talking about your safe-" Rudy began, playing with words.

"I don't give a damn," Alice interrupted. "You're toying around with me, I know it. I've had it with being lost." She stood up rather abruptly, shaking out her long raven hair.

"Alice, wait-"

"Just leave me alone! I don't want to hear about your fairytale creatures lurking in my bedroom! I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid!"

She started walking, quickly picking up the pace until she was running. Through her wall of anger, she somehow managed to get back to her room.

26A. The one number that marks the rest of her life.

She sat on her bed and stared at herself blankly in the mirror. Eons passed. She only came back to the present when she noticed two scarlet eyes gazing into the mirror, positioned directly behind her throat.