I do not own any of the characters (besides Emma, as she's an original character) and some of the ideas, such as the Stone of Attamon turning the vampires back into humans, that come from the film "The Little Vampire" of Alliance Atlantis. I will also admit to drawing inspiration from Bram Stoker's Dracula, so if you see any similarities, you know where they're from. Enjoy!

OOOOOoooooOOOOO

The problem was that I'd always wanted to fly; when I was a kid I used to jump off the fence with a broomstick, or with a beach umbrella. I never did fly, though. It just wasn't possible for a human to fly without some sort of kite or plane.

We had moved to Scotland after school ended, and it was already going to be the first full week since we'd been here. My little brother Tony, my parents, and I lived in an old castle, which was extremely cool. Our rooms were on the second floor, but I spent the majority of my time daydreaming in the tower. When it was windy, I would pretend that I was flying; it was easy to do so far above the ground. My parents tried to break me of this antisocial habit, but my brother thought I was being stupid. I thought Tony was stupid, so we were even.

I blamed Tony for this mess.

Tony had been dreaming about vampires. He used to play Nintendo all day long, droning on and on about Yoshi, Pokemon, and Mario; now he spent all his time obsessing about the living dead. My parents were worried and tired because Tony would wake them up every night screaming about the same dream over and over again. All I knew was that there was an amulet, a beam of light, and a gathering of vampires and vampire hunters. It sounded stupid and extremely unrealistic. He would tell us to close our windows at night, to bring crucifixes with us wherever it was dark, and to never go out alone. We didn't listen to him, obviously.

I should have listened to him. Little brothers know what's in the best interest for their sisters.

One night I couldn't sleep due to homesickness. I missed my friends, my old room, and the warm, humid air of San Diego. Trying to lighten up, I tied my heavy plaid housecoat around myself, slipped into my warm slippers, and climbed the stairs up to my tower. I considered it mine because no one else really went up there. Tony thought it was where the bats hid during the day and my parents were convinced that it was unstable (if they worried about that, why did they buy the place?). I shook my head and opened the heavy door, smirking when I heard my brother turn restlessly in his room at the creaking sound the old hinges made. He would probably run into my parents' bedroom to sleep again.

The stairs were made of stone and spiralled up sharply. I was winded by the time I opened the door that led into the tower room, but I felt happier already.

I shouldn't have gone up there during the night, when everyone was asleep.

I walked slowly toward the window and sighed when I took in the familiar view. Scotland looked so different under the moonlight. The blue glow swept over the land, creating many shadows. It looked magical. I sighed and pulled an aged chaise closer to the window so I could sit down on the comfortable cushions. My elbow met the window's frame and I set my chin in the palm of my hand, staring into the night. I imagined that one day I would dive off the tower, picking up speed as the ground approached, but before my body would crumple to the ground I would change angles and fly above the lawn, sweeping my hands through the grass.

Something flew by my head, knocking me out of the chair and out of my fantasy. I hit the ground heavily, but immediately stood and dusted myself off, searching the tower for whatever it was that had just hit me. I couldn't see anything, but I felt unnerved, preyed upon. With one last glance out the window, I pulled away, turning toward the door.

If I hadn't hesitated, would I have gotten away?

A shadowy figure fell from the ceiling, hitting the stone. I froze, staring in fright as the shadow straightened itself, lifting its head to stare at me with blood-coloured eyes. I screamed, taking a step back. Within less than a second the creature's hand covered my mouth and nose, looking at me with such hunger that I felt the shriek die in my throat. My face was released and I breathed in greedily. Screaming again would be stupid – it might use violence to shut me up.

Should I have fought harder? Would it have mattered?

"You're a—" I swallowed, trying to spit the word out.

The creature grinned sinisterly, its fangs glistening in the moonlight. "A vampire," it finished for me.

My eyes were wide and I felt my heart jump into my throat. My gaze darted quickly between the door and the predator. Would I make it? I doubted it, but I tried anyway. I dashed around the vampire, scrambling for the door faster than I'd ever moved in my life. It wasn't fast enough though, because the vampire's hands grabbed onto the back of my arms and he tugged me toward the room, letting me fall onto the ground like a ragdoll. I winced in pain as my elbows connected with the stone floor. I could feel the bruises forming already. I barely had the chance to move before I found myself pressed against the wall, the vampire's hand squeezing my throat.

Should I have given up then?

"Please," I whispered, trying to pry the icy hand off my throat. The vampire smirked and dropped me. I gripped my neck and coughed, feeling the tender skin under my fingers tighten. "What do you want?" I asked.

He stared at me with half-lidded eyes, a look that said he was wondering if I was really that stupid or just playing dumb. "I'm hungry," he told me.

"Maybe," I coughed, "we could work out a deal?"

Would it have made a difference?

He hummed, looking a mixture of intrigued and bored before inquiring aloud, "Is this the part where you plead for your pathetic mortal life?"

I bit the inside of my cheek and looked at the wall, knowing that yes, this was the part where I begged. "If," I said slowly, "you keep me alive, I could provide blood for you on numerous occasions. If you don't take too much, I could recover and provide more. You could probably feed from me every two weeks."

The vampire laughed before baring its fangs and demanding, "There are hundreds of mortals I could suck dry – why should I allow you to live when the others have died by my hand?"

My mouth opened and shut, no words falling from my tongue. The vampire snorted and began to advance one more, but I held up my hands and shouted, "Because this way you won't leave a trail!"

The vampire paused, seeming truly to consider this. "And how do I know that you won't plant a hunter here to wait for my return?" he asked.

I had thought of that, briefly, of finding a hunter, hanging crucifixes all over the house, spilling holy water on all the window- and doorframes, and carrying stakes around with me wherever I would go.

I blurted the first thing that came to mind, "If you take me flying, there's no way I'd tell."

He raised an eyebrow at me in question, "Why not?"

I stared out the window, biting my lip and thinking seriously about this. "I've always wanted to fly," I admitted. "If you were to take me, and if I could trust you to keep your word and not harm me, then there would be no reason for me to tell. We'd both get what we want."

"And why shouldn't I turn you?"

"Because if you do I can tell my family. If you kill me, someone will find me and they'll recognize the bite marks," I explained, trying to sound rational while my heart slammed painfully into my ribs.

"Fine," he agreed, "but I'm going to feed from you tonight, and I won't take you flying. If you prove yourself to be a trustworthy mortal, I'll return in exactly two weeks from today to feed again."

"And you'll take me flying before that?" I asked, hating that I sounded so hopeful.

He smirked but nodded in agreement. "Now take that wretched thing off your neck," he ordered, motioning to my plaid robe.

"No!" I declined. "You aren't going to bite my neck!" Before he could protest angrily, which he seemed ready to do, I continued, "It's way too visible, everyone will see it and they'll know what happened. Not to mention the neck is a bleed out point. You could sink your teeth into the wrong place and it'll be over for me in a second!"

"Fine," he snarled impatiently, "then where do you propose I feed from?"

I looked at my hands in contemplation before offering my left wrist and clarified my reasoning, "Unless you bite me like a savage animal and tear my arteries, I don't think I'll bleed to death from my wrist. Plus I have these arm-warmers that my friends gave me. I used to wear them all the time, and I can just tell my parents that I want something to remind me of my friends."

I'm not sure why I told him that. He was so frightening, but I found myself telling him more than he needed to know. Was it a subconscious desire to live? Did I believe that if he knew more about me he would not kill me?

"Quiet, mortal," he barked, lifting my wrist to his mouth and inhaling deeply. He stared into my eyes and I felt my head become fuzzy. After that, darkness.

OOOOOoooooOOOOO

I woke up as the sun began to rise over the horizon, feeling cold and achy. I wondered hazily why I was still in the tower. Did I fall asleep there? Why wasn't I in my chair? I shook my head and tugged the chaise away from the window before turning around and exiting the tower room. I entered the house and shivered, feeling the difference in air temperature. It was hot in the house compared to the tower. I shut and locked the heavy door, wondering why my heart was pounding in my chest but too tired to really remember. I collapsed on my bed, pulling the blankets around me and groaning in pain, succumbing to sleep once more.

"Emma! Get up, we're going to the market!" my mom called, knocking loudly on my door.

I groaned, opening my eyes and closing them just as quickly. It was too bright, I had a headache, I was groggy, and I felt weak. "Okay," I said hoarsely.

"Emma? Did you hear me?" she asked.

"Yes!" I called, wincing. "Let me just shower."

"Be down in a half hour at most," my mom warned.

I slumped down on my bed, letting out a heavy sigh and wondering why I felt so exhausted. I had to get up though, so I dragged myself out of bed and yawned. I picked my clothes for the day, rubbing my fuzzy-sighted eyes, and locked myself into the bathroom. A sister never knows when her brother will try to sneak into her private space, after all. How many times had I gone into the shower back in California only to find my clothes gone when I got out? The door was unlocked when that happened, and my brother cackled madly all the while, the little bastard.

I climbed out of the shower, dressed, dried my hair and walked slowly back into my room. I picked up my brush and headed to the mirror, but when I saw my reflection the brush fell from my limp hand. I was a mess. My eyes looked sunken, there were dark circles surrounding them, my skin was deathly pale, and my arm was mangled. All of a sudden I remembered what had happened last night: the vampire in the tower, my offer, his acceptance, those eyes, and then nothing. I stumbled away from the mirror and walked over to the open window, thrusting my arm into the sunlight. It didn't burn, so I sighed in relief: I was alive.

If I had known what would happen...

"Emma? Are you almost ready?" my dad called from downstairs.

"Just about!" I shouted back, quietly panicking. I had to hide my wrist. Those two puncture wounds were so obvious. I dug one of my black arm-warmers out of a box in my closet and quickly covered my wrist. No one could know – if they found out, it would be all over. I would never fly. I had to keep my silence.

...would I still have gone through with it?

I dug through a box that I had thought I would never open again. My make-up was a couple of years old because I only wore it when I'd been thirteen and had wanted to seem more adult. I knew now that I would probably always be a child at heart, but I kept the box despite never wearing make-up. I figured that I'd use it on Halloween at least, but it turned out that I would put it to use much sooner. I quickly applied foundation to my face, covering up the dark circles, the paleness of my face and neck, and the bruises on my elbows. No one would suspect. I applied eyeliner and shadow before sliding my wallet into my back pocket and descending the stairs. My parents looked at me in surprise, noticing immediately that I was wearing make-up. "Are you expecting to meet someone special?" my mom asked slyly.

My dad looked a little angry at that, and my brother a little grossed out, but I quickly cut in, "I just felt like it."

When we were finished eating breakfast we climbed into the car and headed toward the market. As usual, it was bustling. Vendors were chatting with their customers, kids were running around, and families walked around with bags full of goods. Everyone was with someone, and wearing bright summer colours, so the lone man dressed all in black stood out against the crowd. He wore heavy combat boots, a rough leather jacket, and carried around a dark bag. He was terribly suspicious. "It's a vampire!" my brother shouted none too quietly.

My parents shushed him, but it was too late. The man had heard him and was walking toward us, a strange glint entering his eyes as he spotted me. He looked at my covered arm and narrowed his stare. "Can we help you?" my dad asked.

"You wouldn't happen to have a bat problem in your neighbourhood, would you?" he asked my parents, though he stared at me to catch my reaction.

He knew. How did he know? "You mean like vampires?" my idiot brother asked.

The man's eyes narrowed even further. "Tony!" my mom scolded. "That's enough!"

"You'll have to forgive my son, he's been having nightmares recently," my dad told the suspicious man.

"I'm something of an exterminator," the man said, "and I've noticed an abnormal amount of bats hanging around. Your son's probably heard them flying at night."

My parents noted the way the man's eyes continued to turn to me and decided that they'd had enough. "We haven't got any problem," my dad said. "If you'll excuse us, we've got some shopping to do."

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened had I confessed to him. He had been too intimidating though, and I'd figured that I would be worse off in his hands than in the creature's.

"See!" Tony exclaimed. "He knows about the vampires too!"

"He was talking about bats," my mom said.

"Yeah, but vampires can turn into bats, duh," Tony argued.

"That's enough," my dad told him. "And you shouldn't wear make-up anymore, Em."

I rolled my eyes, telling him, "The guy was crazy – you can't base a statement like that on one incident."

"You haven't worn it since you were, what, twelve?" he asked. "I'm sure it won't kill you to stop wearing it now. It's only been a day."

"Say that to my acne," I snapped.

"Oh, honey," my mom sighed in sympathy, "do you want us to get you something? I'm sure the Scots have some neat natural remedies you could try."

"She doesn't need it," my dad said. "She looks fine."

"Bob," my mom began, "you can't say that to a girl."

My dad groaned but finally agreed to searching for a new acne-fighting product. Tony laughed, making fun of me; he didn't know what acne was, but he suspected that it had something to do with cooties. We didn't bother correcting him, my parents because they thought he was too young to understand puberty, and I because Tony had just taken their attention off of me. Acne was the perfect cover – at least it would work for now. I didn't know if I could pull it off again two weeks from now, when the vampire returned.

OOOOOoooooOOOOO

That week I went to bed early and woke up late, feeling overwhelmingly tired. I told my parents that I stayed up late into the night to try and explain why I woke up past noon when I used to be a morning person. It worked, and my dad unknowingly legitimized my story by saying that the internal clock seemed to invert itself for teenagers. Tony was convinced I was consorting with vampires, and he was more adamant than ever to get me to wear a crucifix, lock my doors, and stay close to the family at all times. He would sneak into my room at night whenever he awoke to try and catch me in the act.

Brothers know best – even when they're being downright annoying, they make an awful lot of sense.

By the time the second week rolled around I felt like myself again. I lounged around the house, played games – I even went exploring with my little brother during the day, enjoying the feel of the sunlight on my skin. It was so warm, so bright, so alive. I had to wear sunglasses most of the time because the bright light hurt my eyes, but nobody thought it was strange, not even Tony. I had twenty pairs of sunglasses from when we lived in San Diego. They were something of a trend for me; I'd wear simple jeans and shirts, making whichever elaborate pair of sunglasses I wore that day the focus of my outfit.

My high energy wasn't to remain, however, as the sun set on Saturday night. The vampire was to return, and if I wanted to fly I'd have to keep my promise. After everyone had fallen asleep, I slid a warm thigh-grazing coat on, tied my warmest pair of shoes onto my feet, and quietly exited my room. I slunk down the hall and slowly pulled the door that led to the tower open. It creaked slightly and I held my breath, waiting to see if anyone would wake up. When I was satisfied that no one had heard anything, I shut the door softly behind me and climbed the stairs.

"I'm surprised you kept your promise, mortal," the vampire said from within the shadows of the tower.

"Of course I did," I gulped nervously, "I want to fly, you want blood; it's the perfect trade-off. Why would I ruin that?"

The vampire remained silent and I had a feeling that he knew plenty of reasons. Rather than reply, he roughly grabbed my hand and pulled me to the window. "How long is enough?" he asked.

"You're asking me?" I wondered in surprise.

"You made the contract," the vampire said. "I just accepted the terms. Now how long? I do not want to be gone long."

"Well," I worried my lip, "I'd like to be out as long as possible. I suppose an hour or two would do."

"An hour it is," he declared, pulling me toward the window.

We stood on the ledge and I looked down, realizing how very far the ground was from up here. But I was excited; I could feel the blood rushing through my veins, hear my heart pounding in my ears.

We jumped. I held in the scream that wanted to escape me, silently begging the vampire to keep his promise. I didn't want him to let me fall to my death as some sort of sick joke. He kept his promise though, and, just like in my daydream, we pulled up from the dive right before we would have hit the earth. I ran my hand along the grass, a grin stretching from ear to ear. I was flying! We swept along the grass for a short while before lifting higher into the air, flying above my house's gates and out into the open sky. "This is awesome!" I exclaimed.

The vampire looked at me strangely, his brows furrowing in thought. "You've always wanted to fly?" he asked.

I nodded, not bothering to look at him as I answered, "Since I was a kid. Flying is just... I can't even describe it!"

"Then why not become a vampire?"

I did look at him then, worried for my own sake. "Because," I explained, "I love the day, the sun. I think I'd become depressed if I didn't get to see the sun every day. I get that way when it rains, even."

"The moon is our sun," he stated rather blandly.

"Yeah, but it doesn't exactly provide Vitamin D."

The vampire didn't reply to that, he just kept directing us through the air. I was glad that I had decided to wear a coat, because it was freezing. Our high altitude and speed made me forget that it was even summer, but I didn't care. We breezed through the clouds and I laughed joyfully, running my hands inside the mist that surrounded us. I almost wanted to sing about 'A Whole New World', but I refrained. The vampire didn't seem particularly happy having to bring me flying, and since he was obviously stronger that I, it'd be rather stupid to try to aggravate him by singing a Disney song.

It was too soon when we landed on the window's ledge, and I sighed in disappointment. I really wanted to be back in the sky, with the clouds and the stars. There was really nothing like it. "Am I to use the same wrist?" the vampire asked immediately.

I should have realized how very cold and uncaring he was when he demanded his payment straight away.

I frowned, feeling my euphoria die as I realized that I would feel awful for the next five days at least. "Of course," I replied. "It's easier to hide if it's all bunched together. I only ever wear the one arm-warmer anyway – it's something of a fad."

The creature didn't care about fashion – if it did, I thought, it wouldn't be wearing leather trousers, a horizontally-striped yellow and black shirt, an ancient-looking (and I mean ancient) Elizabethan trench coat, and pirate boots. I mean, pick a century and stick to it!

Our gazes met once more and the last thing I saw before darkness engulfed me were those bloody, hungry eyes.

OOOOOoooooOOOOO

"Em? Are you coming?" my mom called.

I groaned, wondering how I'd gotten back to bed when I couldn't remember anything after the vampire had last looked at me. "I'll be there in a bit!" I told her.

I climbed out of bed, but when I tried to stand I had to sit straight back down as my head began to spin. I stood successfully on my third attempt, yet I still had to lean onto the walls while I picked out my clothes for the day. While in the shower I inspected my arm and frowned. The first bite mark was nothing but a white scar, and the second, the bite from last night, was already beginning to scab over. I frowned but didn't place any importance on the fact, wondering instead if vampires could heal faster than humans, and if their saliva carried any of those properties. They probably did.

When I looked in the mirror I saw that I seemed pale compared to the day before, but since I'd gained some colour the previous week, I looked as I had before the whole vampire shenanigan started. I didn't put any make-up on, but made sure to grab my sunglasses and slide them onto my nose before I went down for breakfast. My eyes, normally hazel, seemed to have flecks of red in them. I found it disconcerting but shrugged it off. I'd heard that some people's eye-colour change from extreme emotion, and I figured that this was the first time in my life that I'd felt so fatigued.

OOOOOoooooOOOOO

The market was the same as it was every Sunday; I wound up purchasing a new pair of black-tinted sunglasses and a pretty navy long-sleeved shirt. It wasn't fancy, but the sleeves reached the end of my fingertips. It'd be perfect to hide the bite marks. "We'll be right back, Emma, you just stay on the bench and rest," my mom instructed.

"I guess we shouldn't have gone on that long hike yesterday, it probably tired you out," my dad rationalized.

I smiled tightly at them, wondering why they (and everyone else, for that matter) were speaking so loudly, but I remained silent and seated, placing all our shopping bags on the bench beside me so that no one could sit next to me. I didn't need someone screaming in my ear. I made sure no one was looking before switching my old pair of sunglasses with the ones I'd just bought. "No bat problems, eh?" someone asked from beside me.

I jumped about a foot in the air and turned toward the voice, recognizing at once the man we'd seen two weeks ago. He looked to be dressed the same except for the normal coloured jeans; I thought the change made him look less likely to commit a crime. "I don't know what you're talking about," I said airily.

"You listen to me, girl," he growled. "If you don't stop seeing whichever hell-beast you're seeing, you're going to wind up deader than you already are."

"I'm just as alive as you are," I pointed out forcibly.

"Your heart may still be beating, but I can guarantee it won't remain that way," he warned. "Tell me where you're meeting the vampire and I'll solve this problem for you, then you can go back to primping in front of the mirror like a good girl."

"I don't know what you're talking about," I repeated stubbornly. "I'm not seeing anyone – I'm still a child, for God's sake!"

He sighed in frustration, running his hand down his face before digging his hand in his pocket and handing me a small card. "If you ever decide to get your airhead out of the clouds, give me a call. You're meddling in things that are darker and more dangerous than you realize," he cautioned me.

I snorted contemptuously, "I think I can handle my own affairs, thank you."

Why did I have to be so damned stubborn? How could I not have realized that he was right?

He laughed, shaking his head and wandering off, somehow blending in with the crowd. "Who was that?" my mom asked.

I shoved the little card into my pocket and shook my head. "It was that vampire guy!" Tony shouted.

"What did he want?" my dad worried. "You weren't even wearing make-up today - and you have sunglasses on!"

"He's just crazy or something. He was blathering on about bat infestations again, that's all," I assured them, shrugging.

My parents nodded even though they didn't look reassured at all. My dad was even suggesting buying a nun's dress for me. I let them talk and remained quiet on the ride back home. The moment we arrived, I helped bring in the bags and then told my parents that I was going to go take a nap. They let me go, my dad still feeling sorry for having taken me on that long hike, and my mom worried. Tony thought I was just being lazy. I rolled my eyes and closed the door in my brother's face when he tried to follow me into my room. He didn't need to see me like this.

Behind the closed door I sagged in relief, kicking off my shoes and taking off my sunglasses. I fell onto my bed and remembered the card the crazy man had given me. The curtains were mostly closed, but they let in enough light by which to see. I read the word 'VampKill' printed in large letters. Underneath, it said 'Rookery' and gave contact information. I threw the useless card into the trash. There was no reason for me to keep it; I could handle one vampire, and besides, we had a deal. It seemed rather sound to me.

OOOOOoooooOOOOO

Just like the previous time, it took me a week to recuperate. I noticed, within that week, that my ears had become sensitive. I couldn't listen to music at the same volume, and I could barely listen to my family talk without getting a headache. The fatigue went away though, just as before. I regained the colour I had lost in my face, but my eyes were still flecked with red even though I was no longer exhausted.

The sixth Saturday rolled around quickly and I spent the day outside with my family. We played catch for a while, my dad taught us (for the thousandth time) how to putt, and my mom baked cookies. It was a good day, and I knew that it would be an even better night. I would fly again.

It felt like an eternity, waiting for the sun to creep beyond the horizon. It took a ridiculous amount of time, even though it was actually setting a little earlier every day. I waited up and listened from behind my closed bedroom door as the rest of my family prepared for sleep. They settled in and the house filled with the sounds of their gentle breathing. I crept once more into the tower room, being extremely cautious with the heavy door because I could no longer judge how loud was too loud. I climbed the stairs in record time, spotting the vampire the moment I exited the stairwell. "Shall we?" I asked with a grin, offering my hand.

The vampire glared but slipped his cold hand into mine regardless. We jumped as one out of the window and I breathed deeply while we repeated the same swooping motion as before. I loved running my hand through the grass as we flew by. I loved playing in the clouds even more, though it left me rather damp. I smiled and whooped for joy, unable to remember a time when I'd felt so free. There was no way I'd give this up! Feeling weak for a week was nothing as far as payment went. I got to experience the thrill of a lifetime for a simple pint of blood. It was great!

But was it worth the sacrifice?

We landed inside the tower, and I couldn't help but grin at the vampire. He returned it, and though it had a more sinister air than mine, I could care less. He lifted my wrist to his lips and smirked before doing that trick with his eyes. I surrendered to the darkness with open arms. It was only fair.

OOOOOoooooOOOOO

Sunday dawned much too early for my tastes, even though it was nearly noon by the time I crawled out of bed. I wondered why my parents hadn't thought to wake me, but quickly realized that it was the end of the month, which meant that they were at church with my little brother. I had forgone the worshipping of God quite some time ago, but my brother couldn't do the same (no matter how much he wished to skip mass) until it was time for his Confirmation, when he'd be old enough to rationally decide whether or not he wanted to reaffirm his beliefs.

I rose slowly from my bed and very nearly crawled to my closet to fetch my clothes. I was thankful that no one was home – if they had been, they would have heard me collapse in the shower half a dozen times. It took me an hour to shower and another to brush my teeth and hair, dry myself off, and put my clothes on. By the time I'd made it downstairs and collapsed onto the couch my mom came in shouting about leftovers. They usually went out for brunch after mass, and they always brought me leftovers so that I wouldn't feel left out. Normally I was excited – breakfast was definitely the best meal of the day, food-wise – but today I just groaned and shook my head.

"Are you feeling okay?" my mom asked softly, pressing a hand to my forehead. "You're freezing!" she gasped before yanking a blanket off the couch and tucking it around me. "What happened?"

I shrugged and lied, "I took a cold shower."

"But why?" she asked.

"I woke up feeling hot," I tried.

"Emma we've told you before that trying to regulate your temperature in the shower is not a good idea," my dad scolded. "First scalding showers in the winter and now ice showers?"

I shrugged again. Tony looked at me with suspicion before asking if I wanted to go play with him outside. "I'll go outside with you, it's probably a lot warmer out there, but I'm too tired to play."

"You're always tired," he complained. "What do you do at night anyway?"

"I read," I said defensively.

"You don't have any new books," he murmured suspiciously.

"What, you can restart your Nintendo games, but I can't reread my favourite books?" I demanded.

He raised his arms in defeat and dragged me out into the yard. I slid my darkest tinted glasses onto my nose and stepped into the light. It burned, so I spent the remainder of my time outside hiding in the shade our house provided. Luckily it was surrounded by a brick wall; I only had to shift a few times during the day as the sun slowly fell. Tony wasn't suspicious at all.

OOOOOoooooOOOOO

I wasn't all better by the time two weeks had gone by. I lost my breath easily, my skin paled even further, and my parents constantly worried about me. They suggested more than once that I should visit a doctor, but I refused. "I'll be fine after I've had a decent night's sleep," I told them every time they brought the subject up. "Tony keeps yelling and it wakes me up."

Tony felt awful, of course, and I felt terrible for making him seem like the guilty one, but I couldn't allow anyone to find out my secret. They would kill the vampire, and I would never fly again. I could never let that happen, damn the consequences!

My family fell asleep once more and I climbed the spiral staircase. It took me nearly three times as long as it normally did due to the large amount of pauses I had to take. I was gasping and sweating from the exertion by the time I made it into the tower. The vampire didn't seem too concerned, only staring at me with knowing eyes.

He knew, there was no way that he couldn't have known.

It seemed to me that we were flying faster than usual, but I knew that that was not the case. My head spun from our normal speed, and the icy winds above the clouds chilled me to the bone. Yet I enjoyed our flight. I shouted gleefully, laughed uproariously, and in the end I felt more alive than I had during the past two weeks. "Thank you for doing this," I said to the vampire as we landed softly on the tower floor.

The vampire looked at me as if to say I was the biggest moron he'd ever had the displeasure to meet, but I didn't let it bother me. I gladly offered him my wrist, smiling all the while. I would probably sleep well tonight because whatever technique the creature used on me always made my slumber deep and peaceful though I never woke up feeling rested.

"What are you doing?" I demanded when I felt his fangs graze my wrist. "Aren't you going to put me to sleep?"

"Oh, you'll sleep, you needn't worry about that," he promised before sinking his canines into my pale skin.

I gasped in pain. His teeth tore easily through my thin skin, and I watched in fear as blood dribbled down my arm. The vampire licked every last drop and turned back to the puncture wounds, parting his lips. He latched on and slurped loudly. It sounded disgusting, but I didn't have the energy to get sick. My knees gave way and I crumpled to the ground, my head light and my eyesight fading. The vampire licked up the last drops of blood and laid a bloody kiss on my lips. "Until the night," he bade.

"Wait!" I called. "What's your name?"

He paused, turning his head enough for me to see his profile. "Gregory," he told me, "Gregory Sackville-Bagg."

Then he jumped out the window, leaving me alone in the tower. I licked the blood from my lips and crawled toward the chair, using it to support me as I stood on unsteady legs. Going down the stairs, I had to sit and drag myself down step by step. Standing back up to open the door took me longer than I would have liked and my heart fluttered in my chest as I heard my parents shifting in their bed. I closed my bedroom door just as my mom mumbled to my dad, "It's your turn to check on Tony."

I wobbled over to my bed and silently dropped my coat on the floor before crawling under the covers. My dad opened my brother's door and asked if everything was okay. Tony, who had yelped in fright, began telling my dad about a bat that had just passed by his window. Tony forced my dad to open my door to check on me, and when they found me curled up in bed, my dad whispered, "See? She's sleeping peacefully."

I should have asked for help then, before the world began to fade.

The two crept into my parents' room where they proceeded to fall asleep. I turned onto my back and stared at the ceiling. It looked as though the ceiling was moving, and the different shades were blending in together. I closed my eyes, feeling my surroundings slip away.

I lost too much blood, I realized, but when I tried to open my mouth and scream for help, I couldn't. My body wouldn't move. Blinking took too much effort. My bed was so warm, so comfortable. It felt like I was drifting on clouds. Blackness crept up slowly, taking my peripheral vision first. I could see naught but the shifting ceiling, and eventually that too began to fade. No one would know that I'd been murdered – the wounds on my wrist had already healed, and the scars had vanished. There was no trace.

I died that night, alone.