A/N: A fantasy from long ago revived for others' enjoyment.
Disclaimer: Not now, not ever.
The Only One
The small college town on the outskirts of London bustled with activity as the students were released from the confines of the classroom to roam about the quaint and small campus. They quickly spilled out into the surrounding residential neighborhoods, most traveling in packs of three or four.
They discussed studies and professors, girls, boys and the usual imaginary hardships of college life. Most of the students were from the upper classes of society, so the drudge of any work, much less homework, was a foreign concept to a majority of the academics.
A few misfits, however, dotted the landscape of the wave of students. Their clothes were not as fashionable, and their arms were more loaded with books. Some had found friends amidst their elite classmates, others had found kindred spirits of like backgrounds, and still others walked in solitary silence.
Those who were alone looked nervously over their shoulders.
A single strawberry blond, short hair and with a short stature, was one of those poor outcasts resigned to a fate without many acquaintances, much less friends. Her arms were filled with books on police etiquette and military course work, but her sides were empty of anyone walking beside.
She kept her head down as she slowly walked into the neighborhoods, most filled with large, heavy oaks. A few of the pairs followed suit and she found herself walking behind two boys who spoke loudly to one another as they jested about sports, girls, and unpleasant professors.
She was disinterested in their conversation until they turned to the subject which had been haunting the campus for some years.
The disappearance of poor students.
Everyone knew the stories of the missing students. The rumors had started some fifteen years ago, long before any of the current students but short enough for some faculty members to remember the beginnings.
The first had started ordinarily enough. Like any usual disappearance the police had tracks down her last known whereabouts, and unfortunately they'd been unable to find any trace of the student.
Then a second one had occurred a mere month after the first, and with identical circumstances the police had been as baffled as before. No trace of the missing person, not even a lost shoe or dropped book. It was as if they had been picked out of thin air and taken out of existence.
Then mysteriously the multiple crime had stopped, and soon the memories of the missing students had disappeared from the town. It wasn't as if they'd had any friends to begin with, and they had been orphans who had received scholarships from the school, so no family came to argue against closing the cases.
After a few years' absence another student had disappeared, this time a young man. The previous two had been girls, so the pattern of the assailants had changed. The move from female to male, however, proved to be no more fruitful in the locals' investigation, so then they had called in national officials to handle the cases.
After a year of research, the state police had been as unsuccessful as the local department in solving the case. The books had again been closed as the investigation wound down, and again no public outcry had occurred because of the student's low status on the campus.
The disappearances had ceased for a full five years before another surfaced. Again a female student, poor and alone, had gone missing. This time the local force didn't bother beginning their own report, but contacted Scotland Yard for immediate help. The Yard had grudgingly responded to the local work and had done their best by placing their most able officers on the case.
This time the investigation had been different.
The principle investigator, a man named Harry Sanders, had been following the case since he had joined the force. With the new disappearance he had buried himself in old records and new accounts, and there had been hushed whispers about him having found something secret hidden in the old files.
And then he had simple vanished.
The strange disappearance of the lead investigator had sparked national outcry and the force had stepped up their search for both the missing students and their own officer. They had attempted to look over Mr. Sanders' files for some clues, but the apartment he had been staying at had mysteriously burnt the day following his disappearance. With the files all but lost and no leads to follow, the casebook had been closed once more.
Until the previous month.
"Do you think the girl just ran away?" the shorter, stockier boy asked his taller friend. "Or that maybe the guy might come after us?" he added in a frightened tone as he looked about the trees suspiciously.
"They had obviously been picked out for their poor status and lack of family" the other boy noted with some disdain at the words. "So I doubt we would qualify to be such rabble."
Seras held her tongue at the slight, and continued to listen to their conversation.
"Do you have any ideas who it might be, Mike?" his friend asked in a fawning manner.
"Perhaps, John" Mike replied with an air of importance. "But the police certainly won't listen to reason when it comes to their old cases."
"Reason, Mike?" John repeated in question.
"Of course" his superior replied as he sighed in fake grief. "It has to be a psychopath who obviously has a strange infatuation with the poor."
Seras was unimpressed by his powers of deduction, though she did manage to remain silent in word and step as she followed them. She was thus grateful as they turned down a street and took their conversation with them, but she soon missed the company as she realized the sidewalk ahead was empty.
She had been forced to procure cheap lodgings far from the campus, almost the entire distance across the small village. The walk usually took only a half hour or so, which often got her home before the sun set, but today she had been released late because of an appointment with a professor.
Seras had tried to beg out of the meeting, but the teacher had been adamant as it had concerned her final grades for the class. Therefore she'd had no choice but to agree to their demands, and by the time the discussion had finished the sun had began dropping below the low hills.
Now here she walked, alone and with night having fallen upon the streets. The large oaks loomed over her as she strode by the brightly lit houses, the sole solace in the growing gloom. Every now and again laughter wafted down to the lonely sidewalk, and Seras took heart in the pleasing sound.
However, she had an unsettling feeling of being watched.
Nervously she looked over her shoulder, but she could see nothing but the empty street and row of houses along both sides. The leaves sifted uneasily in a light breeze and her heart thumped faster as she told her feet to move. Her steps echoed along the cement as she hugged her books to herself in fear.
Then the silence was broken by the soft crunch of car tires upon the road.
With some surprise, for she could not see any headlights, Seras turned around and was suddenly grabbed.
She thrashed in her captor's arms as her books fell to the ground and a hand clapped over her mouth. She could see another assailant pick up the dropped items and she felt the first person begin to drag her to a black sedan waiting at the curb.
The back passenger door was opened and Seras was roughly shoved into the seat into the waiting arms of another stranger. Then a cloth with an unusual aroma was pressed against her face and she felt herself grow weaker as she inhaled the smell.
And that's the last she remembered, until she woke up in the strange room.
Seras slowly opened her eyes and felt a sense of dizziness overwhelm her head as she groaned in pain. She cautiously rose to a sitting position and, holding her dazed head, she looked around.
The room she found herself in was completely covered in white, block walls. Bright lights were attached to the ceiling some twenty feet above, and their glare nearly blinded her as she quickly turned away. The floor was made of white vinyl, as was the ceiling, and only a single door broke the monotony of the structure.
The only other object in the room appeared to be a strange black box at the far end of the door.
Cautiously Seras stood to her feet and looked from afar at the box. She had an unknown dread of the thing, and distance was what she wanted as she noticed many strange markings and unidentifiable words upon the surface.
That's when she noticed the lights were slowly dimming.
With a frantic cry she looked wildly around and saw the door as her only hope for escape. She ran toward the exit, but she could find no handle, though a small window appeared to be at the top.
"Help!" she yelled as she pounded against the door. "Someone help me!"
No one replied as the lights finally went out and the room was enveloped in darkness.
Then there was a slight creak, and something heavy dropped on the ground.
Seras swung around and pressed her back against the door. Her breathing came out in gasps of terror as she felt her heart race in her chest. She looked helplessly into the dark but her eyes could make out nothing as an indescribable dread nearly overwhelmed her.
"W-who's t-there?" she asked in a whisper as she reached out to grasp the wall to her right. "A-anyone?"
Seras shrieked as her outstretched arm was suddenly grabbed and she was pulled against a body. Their skin was cold to the touch as a hand wrapped itself tightly around her wrist and their height was greater than her own.
"Another so soon?" a smooth voice, that of a male's, asked as another cool hand cupped her chin. The person lifted her head up and she shook at she saw a pair of dark red eyes blazing in the shadows. "They spoil me."
Seras could find no words to reply and she felt herself shaking in fear as the eyes moved closer.
"Perhaps I should give them a gift" he cooed as his eyes seemed to smile in wicked mischief. "And you..." he began, but his voice seemed to drift off he seemed to tilt his head and cool breath tingled her neck.
Seras' eyes shot wide open as she felt a pair of sharp teeth brush against her skin and she jerked backwards in ta fit of survival. Her captor merely laughed as she thrashed and twisted wildly in his hard and unbreakable grasp.
"A good response. Not typical nor so strong" he mused as his free hand took hold of her waist and stopped her struggles as he pressed her against his body. "But futile for your plan" he spoke as she again felt his teeth on her neck.
Seras cried out as two punctured her skin and she felt her blood pour from the tiny wounds. Her body froze and she could don nothing as his lips sealed themselves over the punctures and he began suckling her life.
She grew drowsy with the loss of blood and her slowly settled upon the person's shoulder. He chuckled against her throat, sending a strangely comforting vibration through her body, as he pulled away from her neck.
"Quite bold" he softly whispered, so lightly that she wasn't sure she heard anything. He paused for a moment, and then she felt his lips again press against her neck. "For the memory" he softly whispered as he slowly lowered her onto the cold floor and released her from his grasp.
Seras briefly opened her eyes as she noticed the lights above were turning on and for a moment she glimpsed the silhouette of a tall gentleman standing over her. Then her strength failed and her eyes closed as sight, along with consciousness, vanished.
Seras felt as if she had been asleep for but a brief moment, as the floor was still cold and hard. She couldn't move, much less speak, but she could feel the vibrations of feet as people approached where she lay.
"Must they all be so pretty?" a haughty voice asked above her as the footsteps stopped.
"He vill eat nothing less" another person, one with an accent, commented. She sensed someone kneel beside her and touch the marks upon her neck. Then the hand stiffened and jerked back. "She is still alife!"
"What?!" the first replied as she felt another hand grab her wrist. "I-impossible!" he stammered as he dropped her wrist. "He's never left one alive!"
"It appears he truly has left us a present" the foreign man spoke as a hint of amusement tinged his surprised tone. "We must make the most of it while there is still time."
"Time before what, doctor?" the other asked.
"Before she turns into a ghoul."