A/N: Thank you dear reader for taking a chance on a story that isn't about the main characters of Twilight. I've written this in first person, but with two points of view, which switch back and forth each chapter. I've just finished correcting this story, and I've fallen in love with it all over again. Please let me know what you think.
I've also decided to change the rating from T to M. I've gone back to write out some intimate moments I glossed over to maintain the T rating. It feels more realistic, and many of the themes in here are not for kids anyway.
I've tweaked chapter one again for Twiharder2, who doesn't accept Private messages and review responses. The first seven chapters began life a whole different way, but some readers thought it was hard to follow. So, I had to rework it for clarity, and some of the dark juicy elements were lost. It's a risk with posting serial style as I write, but if I didn't do it this way, I'd never finish anything.
Even though it's finished, I really like hearing what you think. Whether con/crit. or Kudos, it's the only reason I post here.
It's cold. I feel as if I've been locked into a refrigerator. "He's saving you for later," my overactive imagination whispers. "He's going to eat you, and throw you away like yesterday's garbage. Slurp, slurp, slurp... the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on your snout." I shudder with more than the cold. It was always easy to laugh at such nonsense when Dad was alive. It's not funny now.
I'm going to die here. I look around at the disused basement. There are windows somewhere, but I can't see them from my cell. I'm going to die here, and no one will be the wiser. Everyone who cares about me is gone. Except for a handful of girlfriends back home, there's no one to even notice I'm missing. I've lost so much in my twenty-three years. So many loved ones are gone.
My grandmother's diaries are all I have left in the world to tie me to my family and my history. It all came in a box from my mother's estate after she died. Funny, estate sounds like such a fancy word for the little farmhouse where she lived for the fifteen years she wasn't living with me and my dad.
If I had known she lived so close for all those years I might have been tempted to visit her. I imagine showing up some afternoon and demanding to know why she left us. I'd want to know how it was that she could be my loving mother for the first nine years of my life and then abandon me without a backward glance. But a single car crash off a bridge and into a river has taken even that opportunity away from me forever.
Of course she couldn't have known what her abandonment would mean to me. She didn't know that Dad would get sick and I would spend my teens taking care of him. She couldn't have known that I'd have to bury him before I finished college. But most of all she couldn't have known the deep aching pit her absence would leave in my life. If she had, I like to think she would have stayed with me no matter what.
Instead I have the journals, and a few small keepsakes that weren't worth selling at auction. The farm and it's land afforded me the money for this trip. With a degree in nursing it would be quite a while before I'd have the kind of resources to travel to Europe any other way. Of course the trip wasn't about seeing the world, but about trying to find some kind of a connection to my history
Almost as soon as I came to town I found the place I'd been looking for. It was so obviously the mansion grandma wrote about in her diary's. The baroque architecture reminded me of Italy and I wondered how it had survived through two world wars as well as the rise and fall of different governments. I recognized the oval window where she would watch her daddy come home from his job every evening. I saw the masonry cherubs that appeared to hold up the dormer over the door, and I saw the stone wall around the side garden where she used to balance along the capstones.
Of course I had to look through a tall wrought Iron fence and a gate that was chained and padlocked. It bothered me that I'd come so far only to be turned away so close to finding what I sought.
That's where Lucian came in. He was my volunteer tour guide, ever since I'd gotten turned around in my hotel and wound up in the bar where he pestered me until I caved in and allowed him to show me around the town. He seemed harmless enough and somewhat good looking in an oily sort of way. I knew the type and thought I understood him. He would spend the day showing me the sights around town and in exchange I would have lunch or dinner with him while he tried to convince me that my life would not be complete unless I slept with him.
Nothing new there, men were dogs no matter what part of the world I found them in. Predictably I paid for these lunches and dinners as he always seemed to have to make an important call just as the bill came. I wasn't interested in his companionship, but his knowledge of the small Romanian city was priceless.
As if to reward my patience with him, he came up with the plan to get inside the perimeter fence and foil the watch dog. Even though I didn't feel right about it I went along with the plan since all of my legitimate efforts had fallen short.
Still where he was concerned I knew not to trust him further than I could see him as he had already proved to be an opportunist, snatching the tip I left for our lunch waitress while he thought I wasn't looking. I also had a camera that had disappeared out of my bag, and I was certain if I could have patted him down I would have found it in his pocket. If I'm honest with myself I'm sure his crimes were more numerous than the ones I'd witnessed. But it's too late now, for cameras, and for Lucian.
I'd heard a lot of rumors about the occupants of the manor house, and I wondered how many were true. Everyone I met who knew the place told me it was a bad place to go and that evil creatures lived there. Some were even bold enough to say the word. Vampire. Of course I laughed and passed it off as silly superstition. But when I came up against the walls of red tape as I tried to find out about the owner and the history of the place I started to wonder if there was some validity to the claims. Not that I believed the place was inhabited by vampires, but maybe there was something illegitimate going on in the house.
I haven't seen Lucian since we arrived. I know he's dead but I still want to believe that I'm wrong. I feel horribly responsible for what happened to him, even though I know I won't be making it out of this alive myself. The last time I saw him was the last time I might have had a chance to save myself. I'll never know if I would have been able to run away if I had tried.
I still don't understand why I didn't try to run away. I mean, I'm the girl who used to watch those old monster movies with my dad, and yell at the screen: "Take off your high heels and run!" I hate weak women who faint in the face of danger. I always thought I'd be the girl to scream, scratch, bite, gouge eyes, knee groins, and leave scars. But none of that happened, and I still don't understand what came over me. I messed up, and my mistakes will cost me my life.
There are so many 'what if's' and wishes I could fill a book. Well, maybe not that many, but there are so many things I did wrong, or without thinking them through. First on the list is coming to Romania to begin with. Somehow it just doesn't seem so important now to trace my family's history. History...I'll be history myself soon – or at least a footnote in history. Why didn't I bother to bring my cell with me? Even if it's not charged I could still have called for help – I think. I know back home in California you can always call 911 but I'm not sure about here. And then there's the pepper spray I forgot to put back in my purse after I had to pack it to get on the plane. Yeah, fat lot of good that would do me when faced with a vampire.
Yeah, that's right. Vampire. Vampire, vampire, vampire! I could say it a thousand times and it still wouldn't make any more sense to me. But I've seen a full out demonstration of his nature, and unless I'm on some kind of hallucinogenic trip, there's no doubt in my mind I'm in the company of an honest to goodness, undead, blood-sucking, vampire.
Blood-sucking... poor Lucian... no one deserves what happened to him. I'm sure I've already had the dubious honor of witnessing Lucien's last moments on Earth. Of course the part of him that was Lucien was destroyed even before his life was officially ended. It likely happened within minutes of entering the house. It was mere seconds after he pocketed an antique coin, after flipping it dexterously into the air and catching the gleaming gold piece with a smile.
I still can't believe the speed in which everything happen. The coin was in his pocket, and even as I was yelling for him to put it back there was a hand on the back of his head. At first I thought his head was slammed into the counter, but my memory has since righted itself to what really happened.
The white hand with the delicate fingers punctured his skull like a hammer to an eggshell, no... more like a precision vice to an egg, as there was no blood. There was no obvious damage, only five perfect indents into his skull, and Lucian was no more. He dropped like a rag doll, hitting his slack face on the counter top on the way to the floor. But he didn't hit the floor, he was caught instead by inhumanly fast and strong arms to be whisked out of my sight.
I try to tell myself that I didn't run away because I thought I could save him. I have to laugh at that. Like I could have somehow fought the creature and saved Lucien. And somehow I'd hoist his dead weight over my shoulder and flee from the vampire pursuing us. That's just silly. But so is my other delusion: That I could somehow distract the creature, and allow Lucien to awaken from his brain damaged state, and run for his life.
I want to believe my behavior had something to do with being kind or benevolent, and not just foolish and suicidal. I want to believe I was just overwhelmed and I didn't understand what I was dealing with. But neither choice rings true as I sit here in the cold, with a bare bulb giving me the only light I'll see for the rest of my life.
In this tomb-like place, I can't hide the truth – not from myself at least. As I face my own extinction, I have to admit that a part of me sought this out. A part of me knew from the moment he made his appearance, that he would likely kill me. Not only did that tiny part know it, but it accepted it. It was like there was a part of my mind that wrote my epitaph, and it wasn't the potential of the death I'd feared for years. It wasn't the disease which stole my father, but a new ending it saw. It was so deceptively alluring, I'd allowed myself to be seduced by it. Why die a death of painful degeneration, when I could surrender to the owner of the mansion – the vampire?
"Alluring and seductive?" Funny how my mind plays with the very words which describe him. Shouldn't vampires be ugly and scary? They're dead. They're walking corpses, with no heartbeat and no body heat. At least that's what all the books and movies maintain. They're not supposed to look good. But he did. He looked like a statue of an angel come to life. That's it. He was an angel in nineteenth century clothes, with burning red eyes in the most beautiful face I've ever seen. The angel had held me in his stone arms, and put his cold lips against my throat.
I'd known I was moments from my own death. He would tear out my throat, and drink my blood. This wouldn't be some sweet lover's kiss, this would be a painful attack. I knew it – felt it in the very air. He would bite me – sink his teeth into me, and hold me to him as he took his fill of me. Everything I am and everything I could ever be, would wash over those perfect teeth and be swallowed into his perfect, hard body. That tiny little part of me stopped fearing the death that took my father, and began to look forward to the death that would join me with the angel forever.
I know I thought it, and I wish I could deny it. There was a moment, as his lips touched my neck, when I thought dying in his arms would be the best way. Never mind the pain and the ceasing to exist. There was a part of me that wanted what he wanted. Furthermore, there was a part of me that desired him in a much more personal way. This crazy desire reached out to touch him – dared to put my hands on him. It dreamed for the moments before my death, to be held and loved by him. It offered my body up, to be used in any way he wanted.
But I'm not suicidal. I don't want to die, though there is a bit of resignation considering where my life could lead me. I've grown used to the idea of my death. I watched Dad grow weaker and weaker each year, fading from the vibrant man I always knew, to one who could barely walk or hold a tool. I saw the toll it took on him as he saw himself becoming a burden to me.
He had Huntington's Chorea, but the official cause of his death was heart failure. I know I have a fifty percent chance of having the genetic disorder myself. I could get tested, but I haven't got any symptoms and I don't want to know. I always wanted to live, and take chances and throw caution to the wind, whether I had the disease or not. Now I'm afraid I'll never get the chance.
It's funny, but I always thought that when I faced my death, it would come like a master thief. It would steal everything from me, and leave me helpless in my bed; confused even about my own identity. I never thought it could come with the face of an angel and a hunger.
Most people don't have to face their own mortality until they're much older. But I've seen so much death in my life. Even though she left us, I still grieved over the death of my mother. Both parents and all my grandparents are gone. I'm always amazed at how some people have family by the dozen and yet I have no one. I guess that's what makes the thought of dying a little easier to bear – there is no one who will have to grieve for me. I won't be leaving someone behind who depends on me.
I'm an only child and my dad had grown up in foster care so he didn't even know if he had family somewhere. As far as he knew he was the only one. Still we had friends. Lots of friends since he was the sweetest person you'd ever want to meet. There was always someone hanging out at our loft apartment. I mean Southern California is the ideal place to live if your needs are simple. Our place was a short walk to the beach and the apartment was open and inviting.
We lived in a community of artists, in the midst of street vendors and nightclubs. Dad was an artist, a metal sculptor and a welder whose creations brought in huge amounts of money which would last until he finished his next masterpiece. At least that's how it was until he got sick. I still miss him terribly. It still hurts that I'll never again see his bright smile or hear his peculiar laughter over something that struck him funny. And now I'm here, facing the very real possibility of my own death. It kills me that the memories of my father will die with me.
I wonder what my dad would have thought of this situation. He'd probably make friends with the creature, knowing Dad. He'd look at the plexi-glass wall and tell me it's weak points, and tell me how his oxy-fuel cutting torch would have us out of here in no time. He may have even argued that the man couldn't be a vampire, because he didn't have fangs.
No fangs, no coffin, no bursting into flames in sunlight, no turning into a bat or summoning wolves, he's just a killer. A strong, deadly, efficient, beautiful, killer. And I've given myself to him.