Summery: After spending years in an asylum, Mina believes that she may have finally found peace. She is free from the persecution of her bloodlust, and comforted in the knowledge that she is not truly mad, but a Vampire. When a brewing war between vampires divides her loyalties, she must chose between the power and bloodlust that is her birthright or the peace she has come to cherish.

Looking at the front of the delicatessen, one could not discern anything remarkable about it. Everything from the pale yellow wallpaper to the smooth marble counter to the uncomfortable wooden chairs was as nondescript as any other deli in the neighborhood. The meat was not the freshest the bread was never warm, and there was no famous dish or specialty sandwich to give the place any renown. There was nothing unique about the shabby deli, except for the fact that He had walked in. And because He stood at the counter ordering a tuna sandwich on rye, the vampire stood at the window; her violet eyes boring a hole in the glass.

It was him, she was sure of it. A thousand years could pass and she would recognize is face, his voice, his footsteps, and his heartbeat. One simply did not endure the kind of suffering Mina had endured and forget the man at whose hands it was done. She had hoped never to see Dr. Jack Seward again, had almost believed that she never would. But there he was, in broad moonlight, ordering his sandwich as if he were an ordinary man.

He is only a man, Mina told her self. No more than a mortal. Telling herself and believing two separate things. Mina had known Seward long enough to understand that he was more than just a man. In her mind he would always be Mind Twister, the name coined for him by a tortured madman. That was what he did, toyed with the minds of the insane, to get answers, to get cures. Mina new the truth; this man looked for no cures.

She watched as he paid for his sandwich, as he said something to the woman at the counter, who laughed. Mina winced. She had not heard what had been said, but her mind screamed for the woman to stop laughing. It was the reaction he had wanted. He always got the reaction he wanted. The vampire felt a sharp pain in he palms and looked down. Her fists were clenched and her nails had broken the skin. She unclenched them, and absentmindedly placed her hands against the cool glass of the window.

Seward had taken his bag with his sandwich and was headed for the door. The vampire turned quickly, covering her face with her hair. If he recognized her…but no, he walked by, not seeing her there. Mina realized that she had been holding her breath and released it as he turned the corner. When he was out of sight, she turned and fled, headless of the bloody handprints she had left upon the window.

The City was not big enough for there to be any concern of danger in a park at night. A mortal could walk the circumference of the lake with little fear. The area was familiar to Mina. The spot she had arrived at was one familiar to her. She sat there now on the roots of an overhanging willow whose wispy vines grazed the water. It made a wonderful place for introspection, or for ambushing prey. Fortunately for any wayward humans, Mina was there for the former. Vampire though she be, ambush was not on her agenda. She was quite satiated in fact, not from a kill, but from the bottled blood that her guardian supplied her with. Rays from a nearby streetlight slipped through the vale of the willow, providing some light to the shelter and reflecting off of the water that lapped within. Mina found herself staring into her reflection as her thoughts wandered and her heart calmed. Raven hair, pale skin, and deep violet eyes stared back. Those features, she had known as far back as she could remember, but the face that held them was one far different than the one that had several months ago. That face had been sallow, the raven hair upon it thinning and streaked with gray in some places, and the eyes filled with madness and hunger.

The face had filled out nicely, she noted. No longer did her cheekbones stand out like those of a skeleton nor did her eyes seem as sunken. The face had become that of a living being, instead of one long dead and buried. The gray streaks had even faded from her hair. She no longer looked like one aged from illness or drug abuse, but like a normal, healthy, albeit pale girl in her mid teens. Time had been good to Mina in the months following her escape from the asylum.

The vampire shivered at the memory. It had never left her. There were times when she still looked up, expecting to see crisp white walls; times when she shot up from sleep, expecting to be chained to the bed. Sometimes, when she was alone, she even found herself tearing at her clothing without having realized it, because her mind had wandered back to the confines of a straitjacket.

She had not been mad, not at least, in the way everyone thought she had been. But who would have believed that someone attacked and savaged people as she had out of anything but madness? What other reason other than insanity would someone have for such a desperate bloodlust but insanity? Mina had not known herself. She had, after all, believed like everyone else that she was insane. Had she not escaped, she would still believe it.

Thanks to Marilena, she knew the truth. She was a vampire. Her bloodlust had been contained to a natural hunger, one easily satisfied with the bottles of blood supplied by her guardian. Marilena had assured her that if there was any madness in her, it had been caused by her treatment in the asylum and the tinkering of Dr. Jack Seward.

Marilena!, Mina remembered. Through the gaps in the branches of the tree, she could see the faintest sliver of pale blue on the horizon. It was late or early rather, and if she was not home, Marilena would worry. Mina stood and parted the vines of the willow, stepping out onto the sidewalk. It was a short walk to the tenement that she and her guardian shared, but she had no wish to be caught out in the open in broad daylight. The promise of the sun's searing pain driving her; Mina picked up her heals and ran.