Chapter Ten: The End

Her first nights did not go well, as she ventured out into the land of humans she found herself overwhelmed by the sensory input she was now receiving. Alrick hardly took her to the edge of the city before she couldn't handle it any more.

"I can't!" She said on the edge of tears, hands clasped tightly over her ears. She was shaking and looking all around for everything she was hearing. Alrick grabbed her arms and held her tightly he didn't speak but instead whispered through her mind.

'Annabelle, I know it's difficult, but you need to clam down. Sort out the things your hearing, ignore everything else for a moment and just hear.' He held her close while she tried to adjust, he could tell it was working as she relaxed a bit at a time. 'Good, now focus on what is only near, there will be a time when you will need to know what is far. For now only what is the closest.'

She lifted her head and looked around a great deal calmer. She could hear everything at a "normal" distance again, but she could hear everything. The people sleeping within the houses nearest them, the dog waiting to see if they were a threat, to her it felt as if she could hear the very Earth breath. This was going to be a very long process.

Adjusting to her new vision abilities was a little easier than her hearing was. She soon found with the right amount of concentration she could "zoom in" on things almost like she binoculars built into her eyes. Her vision was both far and near and no amount of light could inhibit it.

In time she found her favorite part was the speed, of all the wonderful new things she could do, she like being able to move at such a speed. After a bit of practice she was able to move amongst the humans in the city without them ever any-wiser that she was there. Once she got over the initial fear that came with moving so fast, (she thought she might hit something) she noted that most of her Earthly fears were gone. She was no longer afraid of heights, or the dark, and people. She moved through the world now powerful and unafraid, it was a liberating kind of feeling, to be free.

"The sunlight won't kill us," Alrick told her one night as they headed back from the city, the sky above them turning a shade lighter. "however, in it's light we no longer look human. Our skin is so white we look like stone, and though it doesn't kill us it is exhausting, and we tire quickly. So though it is not the deadly force Hollywood has made it seem, it is a nuisance." She thought back to her first night and remembered the heat of the fire in the library. "Fire, is a very different story." He said, it had taken her sometime to get used to this, she found that their thoughts were linked through the blood they shared. And if she thought to do it she could hear his thoughts as easily as he could hear hers. She looked at him as he explained the danger of fire to her. How it would catch their skin like dry wood and only the most powerful could survive the heat of a flame that had consumed them. She learned that though it wasn't common knowledge to the accusers, many of the "witches" burned durning the burning times had been vampires, called out for the differences they showed from they rest.

But she still had a hurdle left to cross, she had to feed. At first Alrick gave her blood he bought from, what she came to find out, the black market. "Only doctors can legally buy blood, but there are always ways. The black market becomes a tool which must sometimes be used. And as she soon found out, she would not be able to live like this forever. "It becomes far too expensive, and dangerous. I have friends in all places, high and low alike, but they can only do some much to help us. Most often we must fend for ourselves." This was the part she was most curious, and scared about. Feeling her reluctance Alrick was patient. "Trust me, the hardest part is going to be the end for you, but doing it. Your body already knows what it has to do. Just don't think too much." They went downtown and found a small sleazy bar where the most decadent of the city lurked. Annabelle waited in the darkness of the nearby alley while Alrick disappeared into the bar. He came back with a skinny woman, she looked half dead already, and had a tint to her skin that made Annabelle she might be very ill.

He looked up at her and she hear her instructions, she wasn't to let the girl see her. She was to strike quickly and quietly, but without killing the woman. If she messed up, it seemed she had a drug addiction and wouldn't likely live through the winter anyway, without their help that was. As they drew closer Annabelle pressed herself against the wall as deep in the shadow of the building as she could be. When the girl passed her she hesitated only a moment before she caught the scent. The alluring perfume of human blood. She was at the girls throat in a flash. A hand covering her mouth muffling the short scream she made. Then it was in her throat, consuming her senses, bewitching her every fiber. she was captivated by the sound her the woman's heart racing trying to compensate for the fear and losses as she drank. She licked at a stray drop on her victim's throat and then found that the wound sealed after her tongue touched it. As she let go of her victim she crumpled to the ground unable to support her own weight.

'Watch.' Alrick said to her as he knelt next to the woman. He pulled her into his arms and began to talk to her. As he did Annabelle could feel his energy thicken and move more pulling into the woman. She suddenly understood what was happening, he was making her forget, that was how they did it without being caught. Soon Alrick stood and Annabelle followed him through the back streets to a crummy apartment building that looked like it was no longer safe for human inhabitation. The "no trespassing" signs didn't help either. She watched as Alrick let himself into one of the apartments and lay the girl on an ancient sofa. He left a generous amount of money on the coffee table before smiling at Annabelle and leaving.

"What did you do?" She asked as they walked slowly back into the city.

"I gave her a dream which her mind would rather believe then what just happened. She will unconsciously choose not to remember what just happened to her. It'll take some time for you to get good at, it's not one of our more natural abilities, it's something which must be learned slowly."

"And the money?"

"Well she did provide a service, didn't she? It was only polite. But she'll find when she wakes up she'll no longer have a craving for cocaine. Instead she will want to go find a better job and aspire to leave that building."

"Wait, you can do that, change her decisions like that?"

"No I can only influence the thoughts she's already had. That woman has been addicted to cocaine for four years. She kept telling herself to stop, but the addiction is too hard on her. All I've done is take the edge off. I've helped her to ignore the withdrawals so she might put herself on a better path, if she choses not to it's not my problem." She stood for a moment stunned, she had never had any idea. All those months she lived in his house, that he did this every few nights. Hurting people who hurt themselves only to help them in the end of it all. It was such a beautiful paradox she thought she might cry.

She smiled as they made it home, thinking of how he had done the very same thing for her. He took her from a world of darkness and violence. He showed her something new and safe, something warm and bright. Then allowed her to change it, or try to. Now she could have that vibrance forever, she could be truly loved for the first time in so long, and it would never end.

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Alrick smiled to himself as he thought of her progress during the day, unable to sleep quite yet, he just lay there his arms wrapped tightly around her as she slept soundly cradled against his body. "What a strange life." he thought as he looked down at her. He remembered the night she had come into his world, the creature he had been. A vampire consumed by disdain for the world, wandering alone through his house, his city, his immortality. And then this girl fell into his life, and now he knew he would never be alone again. His world was once again a thrilling and vibrant place, all thanks to the woman curled against him sleeping soundly while the day above them rose. He smiled to himself and found with these thoughts he could now sleep.

The End

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That's it it's all over. I do hope you have enjoyed my little tale of violence and love. Until we meet again.