--Thrall--

"Will you walk with me tonight?"

The words hung on his lips like the shadow of a promise: transparent, ephemeral, and achingly deceptive. In a heartbeat, she was lost.

His voice seemed to shimmer in the air, growing and fading, oscillating and vibrating in a harmonious cascade. A gossamer web of majestic fantasy and intangible dreams - but oh, how heartbreakingly close they seemed now. She leaned forward, enthralled.

He painted palaces before her as he talked, secret gardens and hidden grottos. Dancing shapes, eddies in the mist. The sensible became insensible, the dissonant faded to obscurity. All that mattered was before her, the eternity of the future replaced by the mesmerizing promise of the present.

Whispers of moonlight clung to the beeches of the small glade; wolves launched their cries of passionate despair into the night. A lone cricket chirped once and fell silent. Still she sat, spellbound, as the stars grew brilliant and dim against the velvety expanse of black above.

At last, his voice faded to nothing. She cried out in anguish, clinging to the last shards of the illusion.

"Why did you stop?"

"This tale is at end. It is almost morning."

A light breeze wafted through the clearing; it seemed to croon with bitter desolation.

"But I can tell you another story if you wish."

"Please!"

Desperately, she glanced upward. Her eyes met his; he smiled and began.

"There was once a girl..."

Soft and soothing, his voice filled the clearing. Once more, she was lulled by its measured regularity. Her eyes drifted shut; and so, she did not notice as his arms moved to encircle her, drawing her closer.

"... A very foolish girl, who confused dreams with reality..."

Her eyes fluttered open, caught by the faint wisps of a memory. Shadows and twilight, chiropteran wings, a mother's voice telling her to come in – a father's warning – monsters emerged after dark, evil creatures will snatch you up and eat you – eat you –

He stroked her face lightly; the image dissolved. She was once more entangled, immobilized by the sweetness of his words, engulfed in his web of beguiling evanescence.

"...She lost herself; she wandered a little too far in the darkness; and so, she lost herself to the promises of the dead. Mind and body, spirit and bone... all lost, utterly lost. For she forgot, you see, she failed to remember that with these promises comes a price, always a price. Fantasy exists only with the tangible; honey with blood, life... with death.

"Look at me."

Her eyes flew open.

The spider struck.


A/N: I honestly couldn't say where this came from. I think I've been watching too many vampire films for my English class. Reviews and constructive crit welcome!