Angels of the Night by Christine Coulter

"I love the night," she said, standing in front of the window and pulling back the curtains to pier out into the night. "The stars are so beautiful, and the moon-the moon is haunting."
"I quite agree, Ms. Lunis," said James Aldermann, a middle aged man who was sitting in an ancient-looking armchair. Though he was only in his mid-forties, he was nearly entirely bald, with only a few wisps of gray hair at the back of his head. His eyes were steely gray, his lips so tightly together it looked as if he had never smiled once in his life. He was looking intently at Miss Lunis as she continued to look outside. "Please, Miss Lunis, tell me why you have asked me here, especially at this time of night," he said, looking at his watch, which said it was almost midnight.
"Yes, of course. Please, call me Anna," Anna said. Anna, unlike Aldermann, who looked much older than what he was, still appeared fairly young, not possibly older than 20. Her red hair was long and wavy and went perfectly with her pale green eyes. She wore a flowing black dress with see- through sleeves. "I asked you here because I heard you are one who is interested in the paranormal. Well, I believe I have quite a story for you."
"Really? And what might this story be about?"
"A vampire. A vampire I encountered some time ago."
"A vampire? Well, please tell me then, Miss-I mean, Anna, when did you meet this vampire?"
"Well, it happened, as I've said, some time ago. I was only eighteen when I met him, and had been going through quite a lot. My parents were verbally abusive to me and I had often thought of taking my own life to escape from it all. I had but only one friend, and she was dying of a terrible disease. I was hopeless, at the end of my rope, as some might say.

"I was on my way home from visiting my ill friend when I felt this unseen presence. I could feel eyes burning into me, and my heart began to pound so loud I could hear it. I tried to remain calm, for I believed that if I panicked, whoever was following me would attack. I was so close to my home, so close to safety I thought perhaps they, for I could sense more than one, would leave me alone. But the closer I got to home, the closer they got to me. Finally, when I could make out the outline of my house in the distance, I started to run.
"I was almost to my porch when I decided to slow down. I thought I was safe. I was wrong. For as I placed the key in the door to unlock it, someone reached behind me and covered my mouth. I could see that there were three of them, though because of the darkness I couldn't make out their faces.
" They forced me around to the back of the house, the one holding me with a knife to my throat. I felt cold sweat develop on my face. I could barely breathe. As we stepped into the moonlight, I was that one of the men was horribly disfigured. His face looked as though it had been slashed with a razor over and over. I grimaced as I looked at him. I looked at the other one not holding me. He was tall and very thin. He smiled a toothless smile at me, sending chills up my spine. I couldn't see the one holding me, for he held my head so tight I couldn't move it. I could feel his hot, acrid breath on my neck and nearly fainted.
"'Hello, Precious,' the one holding me said. 'Scream, and you die.'
"Everything I had gone through in my life flashed before my eyes-all the times my parents had called me worthless, said how ugly I was, the feeling of hate I got whenever they looked at me. And the terrible sadness of it all was that when I saw all this, I realized I didn't care if these three men killed me. In fact, I wanted to die. And I told them so."
"You told them you wanted to die?" James Aldermann said, sounding shocked. "What did they do?"
"They were going to kill me. I could feel the blade of the knife move closer to my neck. I had no doubt in my mind they would have killed me with no remorse at all. They had probably done it several times before, and I was no different than any of their other victims, except that I wanted to die, while the others had probably fought until their last breath.
"They all had wide evil grins on their faces, and I was preparing myself for the horrible pain that came from having your throat cut, but just as I thought I would finally be free of my internal pain, I felt another presence, one of great power, seconds before the man holding me was pulled away so quickly it was if no one had been holding me at all. Unfortunately, as the man was pulled away, his knife cut across my neck, not enough to kill me instantly, but enough to make me bleed uncontrollably. The pain was far more immense than what I had expected, and my hand shot up to apply as much pressure to my neck as possible.
"Through tear-filled eyes, I saw the man who had been holding me fall to the ground, only his head was not there. That was ten feet away from the body, with a frozen blank expression, as if it had not felt itself separating from its body. The other two men didn't even have time to scream before something tore out their throats.
"I couldn't see who or what had saved my life, but I still felt it. 'Who's there?' I managed to sputter, for it was getting hard for me to talk. That's when he stepped out of the shadows."
"Who stepped out?" Mr. Aldermann asked.
"The vampire, though I didn't know that's what he was at first. You see, vampires look very much human. You've probably passed them yourself on the street without realizing it. The only thing that made me know he was different was his eyes. His eyes were astonishing. They were the most beautiful color of blue I had ever seen. They had a quality to them that made them appear to be liquid, as if an entire ocean stretched on forever in them. They were bluer than the morning sky. I was frozen by these eyes. I couldn't breathe. And as he looked at me, I no longer noticed the blood that was flowing from my neck, no longer noticed the weakness that was quickly consuming me. I thought of nothing but the beauty of those eyes."
"What did this vampire look like?"
"Though I was weakening, I couldn't help but notice how handsome he was. He was tall, with ear length light brown hair, and these beautiful full lips. He was perfect, not one single flaw that I could see, honestly the most breathtaking man I had ever seen. And in his beautiful eyes, I saw more compassion than I had ever felt.
"'You're dying,' he said, kneeling down to look more closely at me. 'You're bleeding to death. Let me help you.' I shock my head.
"'No, I want to die,' I gasped.
"'I know. I know what you feel inside.'
"'How? How could you know?'
"'I've been watching you for a long time, since the first time I saw you a few months ago. I saw the pain in your eyes, and I had to find out what could cause someone to feel that much pain inside. I saw how your parents treated you, and it made me so angry that your own parents, the two people who should care about you more than anyone were the ones that made you feel so empty.'
"'But how can you save me? No one can save me. Even if I could get away from my parents, like you said, I'm dying on the outside now. It's too late.' My eyes were getting blurry.
"'I'm not like other people. I'm a vampire.'
"I would have laughed at what he said, but I now felt sharp pains as I breathed. He knew I didn't believe him, because he did something to prove it to me."
"What did he do?"
"He made his nail extend, like a claw, and slit his wrist. I gasped as I saw the bleeding wound heal up instantly, leaving no mark at all.
"'Let me heal you, please. I can save you from all of this, if you let me.'
" With the little strength I had left, I nodded. He made a new wound on his wrist, this one which didn't heal up right away, and placed it to my mouth.
"'Drink only a little. It will give you strength.'
"Even though I would normally have been repulsed at the thought of drinking blood, I could not keep myself from putting my mouth to his bleeding wrist and taking in his warm blood. With only one mouthful of blood, I felt this fire in my veins. I pulled away from his wrist, and felt the flesh of my cut neck closing. My weakness was quickly disappearing, my sight clearing. Within seconds I was completely healed.
"'How did you do that?' I asked, unbelieving of what had just happened.
"'I told you, I'm a vampire. My blood can heal any wound instantly, cure any disease.'
"'Am I a vampire, now?'
"'No. If you would have drunk enough of my blood, you would have turned, but you only took enough to heal yourself. I am going to offer to change you, however.'
"'Will my blood do that, if I do?'
"'Yes. You will no longer have to fear wounds, other than having something driven through your heart, or being beheaded, nor any diseases. You will also gain other abilities, which I will teach you to use.'
"'Will I have to drink blood?'
"Yes, but you wont have to kill anyone to feed, unless you want to. I want to save you, but I will not make you do this. It is your choice-a continued life of hell here,' he said, pointing toward my home, 'or you can come with me and leave this all behind. Let me show you my world.' I looked at the house in which slept my parents, the very people who had made me want to die, and then back at this vampire. And I chose."
"You chose to be a vampire?"
"Yes. 'But first, what is your name?' I asked him. He took my hand and pulled me close.
"'My name is Daniel.'
"Daniel got behind me. 'I promise you won't feel any pain,' he said, brushing the hair away from my neck. And ever so suddenly, I felt his fangs sink into my flesh. Instead of the intense pain that I thought I would feel, I felt a strong tingling sensation go through my body, one of great pleasure, as he took in my blood. My eyes closed, and I felt as though I was melting into him."
"And so you had been turned into a vampire?" Mr. Aldermann said, listening intently to Anna's story.
"Yes. And it was the most extraordinary experience of my life. Unlike all the stories, I was not effected by garlic, crosses, or even sunlight. We did only hunt at night, for we seem to be stronger in our abilities during this time. The first time I hunted was right after Daniel changed me. The great pleasurable feeling I had had while being transformed was quickly replaced by a great hunger, a hunger I had never known before. A hunger for blood. And I practiced my first hunt on the two people that had brought this transformation on."
"Your parents?"
"Exactly. For if it wasn't for them making me feel so helpless inside, Daniel would have never come to save me. I will never forget the looks of terror on their faces as I swept into their room that night. Daniel didn't have to teach me anything about this. He just stood in the shadows and watched as I ripped my own parents' throats out with my brand- new fangs. I drank their blood with much relish, knowing I had sent them to the very hell they had forced me to live in my entire life."
"And how do you feel about killing? Do you ever feel guilty?"
"Guilty? Hell no! I love every minute of the kill. I have no reason to feel guilty, for Daniel and I never take the lives of innocents. We only kill those who are heartless, those who make this world the horrible place it is. Those who kill others, who make other people's lives miserable. Anyone who has ever hurt a child, by force or words. We are doing a service to society, ridding the world of all its filth."
"Well, that is quite a story, Anna. But I'm only interested in the truth, not fiction," Mr. Aldermann said, standing up.
"Fiction?" Anna said, turning away from the window for the first time since Mr. Aldermann's arrival, and as she did so, she smiled, revealing two sharp fangs for upper canines. "I assure you, it is the truth." She began walking toward Mr. Aldermann, who was staring, wide-eyed at her, his mouth open in shock. He was backing toward the door as Anna got closer. Her eyes had turned from the pale green to a blood red.
Mr. Aldermann turned and ran toward the door, but before he had touched the handle, it burst open, sending shards of wood throughout the room. Standing in the doorway was a man with light brown hair and pale blue eyes, though they quickly turned the same blood red as Anna's.
"Hello, Daniel," Anna said, smiling even more broadly at her love.
James Aldermann had no place to go, so he backed into the wall and began fumbling with the top buttons of his shirt.
"Are you going to kill me?" he stammered as he tried to undo the buttons.
"Yes," said Daniel.
"But why? I h-haven't done anything."
"Really?" said Anna, the smile vanishing from her lips. She now had a look of utmost loathing on her face. "What about your daughter, the one who's in the hospital with a concussion, which she got when you threw her down the stairs for not getting straight A's on her report card? What about her?"
"H-how did you know about that?"
"We know all about you, Mr. Aldermann," Daniel said, only inches away from him. "We know about all those times you hit your daughter because she left a toy out, for forgetting to take out the trash. She's eight years old, for God's sake!"
Just as Anna and Daniel were about to attack, Mr. Aldermann pulled a cross necklace from under his shirt.
"Stay back!" he yelled, waving it in their faces. Daniel and Anna began to laugh.
"I thought I told you vampires aren't effected by crosses? That's just a story made up to make people like you feel safe. Besides, you're the one who is evil, not us."
And with one final look of terror on Mr. Aldermann's face, they sank their teeth into his throat and drained him of his evil blood. When his body slumped to the floor, Anna stood over it, holding the cross he had tried to use against them.
"Let's give this to his daughter," she said, "and tell her she has finally been saved from her hell."