Disclaimer: Don't own VD.

AU

Damon and Elena


A Sinner Before the Gates of Heaven

Chapter One: Evil in the Air

She's late.

She's so very late and every fibre of her being is berating her as she steps out onto the road in front of the Mystic Falls library and hears the squeal of tires as the librarian who had shoved her out of the building seconds ago, takes off in the opposite direction of where she's heading.

Clutching at the strap of her leather bag and rolling her shoulders against the heat that assaulted her the minute she stepped from the cool library, Elena Gilbert knows, without a doubt, that she may have been gone from Mystic Falls for only a two short years but nothing about the town has changed since she was eighteen and had escaped its clutches.

She knows, too, that the instincts that had been honed in her eighteen years of living within the confines of this town haven't changed as well as she feels sweat start to form on the palms of her hands as she hurriedly walks in the direction of her house, wishing that her brother hadn't taken her car that morning and that she hadn't chosen to ignore the announcement of the approaching curfew only twenty minutes ago.

Glancing up, the ebony eyed brunette sees the last door slamming shut and the deadbolt sliding into place as the sun's vivid red starts to fade dramatically into inky black and tries to fight the churning in her stomach as she realizes just how late she actually is.

There is one rule in Mystic Falls that all humans obey and that's to be inside their houses by curfew with the deadbolt in place and no intention of going back outside until the first crack of dawn.

She knows that in these last few moments of daylight, there will be only one police cruiser patrolling the area, making sure that everyone is inside and safe and she knows that it started twenty minutes ago when curfew was announced.

She's also pretty sure that she's not going to run into it on her hurried walk back to her house.

It takes that realization for her to know that not only is she late, she's also screwed because once that cruiser is sitting comfortably in the driveway of the sheriffs house and the sheriff is locked up in their house, there's going to be no-one to really help her because the second cardinal rule in Mystic Falls is to never invite anyone in at night.

The thought makes her bite her lip hard and Elena rushes across the road as she tries not to let herself be frightened by the fact that in the space of twenty minutes, Mystic Falls has become something of a ghost town.

The streets are deserted and the houses still, heavy curtains blocking any glimpse into the night lives of the town's residents. The only sound that she can pick up as she crosses another road into the town square is rustling of leaves as a cool summer breeze drifts through the picturesque town square. The shops are all shut tightly with no lights highlighting their displays or the shadow of the manager balancing the till at the end of the day.

There's only one street light alight and, in the fading sun, it casts long shadows over the town square and it makes Elena shiver.

There is something eerie and creepy about Mystic Falls after curfew.

There's an almost deadly silence to the town square as she nears the end, the sound of her sandals on pavement echoing in her ears as she once again wishes she'd bothered to leave when the announcement had been made.

Except she hadn't and now – with a hundred and forty-five years of vivid storytelling whispering in her mind – she's going to pay for her mistake.

In Mystic Falls, if you are out after curfew, the chances are you will never have to obey curfew again because the night residents don't appreciate humans on the streets when night has truly fallen.

The stories she can hear whispering in her mind remind her that hikers have been torn to shreds, popular townspeople who had known better had been drained of blood and some had come back to haunt their families with the gleam of blood in their eyes.

The whispers grow steadily louder as a hundred and forty-five years of brutal history of the night stack up in her mind and she curses herself for forgetting exactly what she had returned home too.

Two years in New York and she had forgotten that while the big city and bright lights could be dangerous, none of it compared to her hometown after dark and only a fool forgot that.

Apparently, she thinks with a deep breath, she is a fool.

Stopping momentarily to look at the sinking sun, her skin begins to crawl with awareness as she watches the last glimmer of sunlight begin to fade steadily. As she watches that last red streak disappear, she glances around, searching for a place that she could wait out the night.

Standing on the curb of the street, her white summer dress dancing in the slight breeze and her grip on her bag strap turning her knuckles white, Elena fails to notice the fog that's beginning to slowly curl through the town square towards her.

Raising a hand to the straight waterfall of ebony that falls down her back, she runs her hand through it, worrying her bottom lip with her teeth as she tries to think of where the hell she can go before she becomes the next victim in the long history of Mystic Falls nightlife.

It's a prickle along the back of her neck that has her glancing up sharply to the tree to the right of her.

Perched comfortable on a branch, its head tilted to one side, a beady eye trained on her, is a black raven. The relief at seeing another sign of life is over momentarily as the bird continues to watch her and a stunning rush of fear washes over her.

Turning away from the bird, her mind trained on finding a place to hide and with a prayer that the bird is not what she thought it was, Elena heads left, down a side street hoping that the other half of the Mystic Falls population won't come out until much later at night.

Even though she can hope, she has a feeling that the other half don't waste the night the way some humans waste the day. For them, she thinks, there's no point in wasting something when they could be doing something productive.

Like stalking their version of prey in the woods, she thinks viciously, turning out of the side street and trying to ignore the way the prickling at the back of her neck has become more insistent and the way the temperature seems to be dropping as she cuts across a street and tries not to run and attract attention to herself.

Rushing down another deserted street, with only the sliver of light from cracks in the heavy curtains highlighting her path, she thinks she hears the flapping of wings but convinces herself otherwise as she rubs the hand that's not clutching her bag strap along the material of her dress, trying to dry it.

Pausing at the end of the street, Elena tries to calm both her racing mind and her churning stomach and doesn't know if she feels lucky or even more terrified at the sight of a full moon beginning its ascent.

In any other town, it might seem beautiful and the glow of it stunning on the streets alive with life but on the deserted streets of Mystic Falls, the gentle shine of silver on the streets make them seem otherworldly.

The moonlight turns what had been a creepy ghost town minutes ago into a playground for those who ran the town after dark.

It also makes the fog she'd only just noticed glow as it starts curling around her feet.

It's a tell-tale sign. One that they are taught when they are young and warned they are not to be swallowed by.

For only a second, Elena's frozen to the footpath, her eyes trained on the fog that's slowly beginning to engulf her and the sound of blood the only thing she can hear as she tries frantically to think of a way to move.

It's the caw of the raven that makes her burst into action.

The prickling at the back of her neck has now become goose bumps, the churning in her stomach a sick combination of fear and adrenaline and the whispers of what's going to happen to her silenced as she sprints away from the fog and the raven.

She can feel the evil in the air that those who had survived after dark spoke about with fear in their eyes. It all but chokes her as she turns a corner and a cry catches in her throat as she finds herself back near the town square.

Forcing air into her lungs, she starts running across the square, swallowing convulsively as she realizes the fog has thickened suddenly and is enveloping her faster.

She wants to scream but knows it's useless as she heads for again for that side street that is a short cut. Her sandals slap the pavement loudly and her stomach becomes more violent as she tries to fight the terror that's starting to flood through her.

She hits the ground at the entrance to the side street and feels her skin break and blood begin to ooze as she scrambles up again, ignoring the stinging in her leg as she forces herself to start running down the length of pavement in front of her.

She doesn't scream when she looks up from the ground to see the silhouette of a man standing at the end of the street because she knows that he's not there to help her and if she opens her mouth, terror will make her vomit.

The sight of the silhouette makes her skid to a stop and she feels her ankle roll as she twists back to sprint towards where she came from.

The throbbing in her ankle makes her want to run harder and the fog obscuring the entrance to the street causes blood to roar louder in her ears as she stumbles forward.

It takes her only a few seconds to work up the amount of speed she'd had before, the pain in her legs forgotten, as she tries to get out of the side street.

It takes less than a few seconds for a scream to rip from her throat as the monsters the curfew is meant to protect her from bursts out of the fog, eyes savage with bloodlust and veins crawling across his face as his hand snaps out for her throat and he slams her back into the brick wall.

She's not aware of tears sliding down her cheeks as she claws at the hand that's pinning her to wall or that the hand is slowly squeezing the oxygen from her lungs as she struggles against it.

All she can see is the monsters face and the way his jaw opens and the fangs that are the nightmares of so many people are shown to their full extent, descending towards her throat.

Closing her eyes and renewing her struggles, Elena can only pray that something's going to stop this man from draining her and forcing her to become just another story told to the children of Mystic Falls to scare them into being home well before curfew.

"Please. Don't."

She's not all too aware of the words falling from her lips as her struggles lessen and she becomes dizzy from lack of air but what she doesn't expect is for a voice to cut through the fog and halt the monsters movements.

"You heard her, Steffie. Don't."

Elena catches a glimpse of midnight hair and a malicious sneer spread across a half shadowed face before the dizziness is replaced by a black abyss and she crumples to the ground as the monsters hand lets go of her throat.


A/N: Okay, so second attempt at a chapter story. It won't be a long one though, possibly ten chapters or less. It's kind of inspired by the epic Meat Loaf song, 'Bat Out of Hell'. I highly recommend it if you like the classics of rock, it's one awesome song. Because the story is inspired by the song, the title of this story is and the chapter names taken from the lyrics of the song. Also, Stefan's going to be somewhat out of character, as you probably picked up on in the last part of the chapter, and I have an idea of mixing book Damon with television Damon because there are elements of both I'd love to combine. And this whole new Mystic Falls world will be explained next chapter when Elena wakes up. I hope its okay because its very different from what I've done before and I've started this entire story in medias res. I hope you liked this start because I actually had a bit of fun writing it. On another note, I've taken From Yesterday down and I'm going to rework it. I love the idea but I want to do it differently. So, sorry about that! Again, I hope you liked it!