"This Next One I'll Keep

Rose Ellicott 6/3/2008

"This Next One I'll Keep."

Candace slowly wandered the halls of her new home. The light trickled in through the cracks in the blinds, highlighting the dust in the air as it settled, the whole atmosphere seemingly somber. Her eyes skimmed over the hall table on the left. Cocking her head curiously, she paused. Candace walked towards it and gently lifted her arm, the sleeve of her shirt riding up to show the edges of a painful looking bruise on her delicate wrist. She lightly pressed the pad of her finger onto the dust-layered surface, sliding it across before lifting it up to her line of vision. When she noticed the thick layer of grime that now coated her fingertip, a look of revulsion slid onto her face as she quickly rubbed it off, and onto her blue jeans. Candace's head quickly jerked around, sending long black hair cascading down her back as she heard a rustle of something behind her.

"Hello? Dad?" She called out, waiting for a reply, but not expecting one. Her father was never known to give warning. After her mother left them one year ago, he had started to drink to an extreme, often taking his rage out on her. Hearing no response, she quickly decided her wild imagination from reading fairy tales in her young age was finally catching up to her. The table now out of her thoughts, she continued down the hall, eyes focused on the door which was to be her new bedroom.

She had heard before she moved here that this house was haunted, which she thought was rediculous, and by a vampire no less. Also that it was supposed to be in this room. Her room. Father, just to be cruel, had made her take it. She thought he had sounded uncharacteristicly hopeful when telling her.

She sighed, shaking off the thoughts as she reached the door, simply resting her hand on the knob before gaining enough courage to turn it. The door opened smoothly and quietly. The only sound was Candace's heavy breathing, the silence unnerving. The room looked pitch black, the angle of the door not allowing light from the hallway to enter. Candace, taking a deep breath, entered the room. Reaching an arm towards the wall, she felt for a light switch.

"Ouch!" she squeaked, pulling her hand back to cradle it against her chest. "Damn, static electricity," she mumbled to herself, reaching out her other arm for the switch. The arm she was cradling to her chest dropped to her side as a look of complete horror came upon her face. Something had grabbed her hand. Candace began to tremble, her breath coming in gasps.

"Candace!" She heard her name being screamed from somewhere else in the house. The hand that had grabbed hers quickly retreated. She shook off the feeling of darkness and bolted from the room, heading towards where she guessed her father was. As she entered the still unfamiliar living room, she could smell the pungent alcohol her father always seemed to be coated in.

"Yes, Dad?" She asked him, moving around to the front of the couch where he was currently sprawled out, his whole persona reeking squalidly. She inertly bowed her head, waiting for a response.

"Where in the hell have you been!? The boxes in the kitchen still aren't unpacked! Have you been slacking off already?" He stood up off the couch, swaying back and forth precariously. He moved towards her drunkenly, a menacing look upon his face, "You are utterly worthless. How your mother could stand to look at you with love, I have no clue. You are useless! You can't do anything right!" He continued screaming, looking at her in disgust.

Her jaw tightened visibly as he continued to rant and rave, tears slowly starting to build up in her eyes as she discreetly tried to blink them away. A hand flew out of nowhere and backhanded her across the face, making her head snap to the side with its force. Candace, prayed for him to collapse into a drunken sleep, squeezing her eyes tightly together as the pain lanced through her face. Unfortunately, as she was distracting herself from the pain, she missed something her father said, which never turned out well. Pain once again shot through her as this time he instead slammed his fist into her cheek. Candace cried out in pain, the blow knocking her to the ground. She landed on her back and quickly turned over, curling up into a ball. She winced at each drunken kick he aimed, trying to block out his words.

"You were the reason she left! Your mother never loved you, never cared enough about you to stay! You go around and hang with your friends, leaving me on my own! You don't care about me! She only ever cared about you! You don't care that your mother left us! You're glad she left! You wanted me to be unhappy!" At the end of each sentence, he aimed another sharp kick at her stomach. If she hadn't been in such pain, she would have laughed at how monotonous and contradicting his words were, but all she could focus on was the stabbing pain each time she tried to inhale. Finally the darkness that had been hovering on the edge of her mind consumed and she faded out, falling unconscious.

When she awoke the first thing she noticed was that she was in pain and that the beating had obviously stopped. She slowly unfolded her body from its distorted state. As she shakily stood upon her feet, she noticed her father asleep on the couch, snoring loudly. She sighed gratefully before hobbling off to her room, barely remembering to breathe as lightly as she could, in fear of puncturing a lung with what she thought she knew were cracked ribs. As she continued on her way to her room, she once again got that eerie feeling of someone watching her. The room seemed to emanate a dark aura at the end of the hall . Candace reached the door and berated herself before pushing it open, her hand automatically going to the light switch she knew was there. The light never turned on.

"Damn it!" she yelled and let out a frustrated growl, gasping as it made her chest flare in pain. She limped farther in the room, her eyes searching in the pitch dark for a bed or something, wanting to sleep the pain away. She put her hands out in front of her, protecting her from running into anything. Just as before, something grabbed one of her hands in a vice like grip.

The soft, silky hand that was currently holding hers caressed the back, as if apologizing for the fright. A shiver traveled down her spine as she heard the sound of a door shutting, followed quickly by the click of a lock. Candace widened her green eyes, hoping that they would soon adapt, allowing her to partially see in the dark. A slight breeze of air brushed by her arm as her supposed 'attacker' moved around the room.

'I should scream, and then Father might just care enough to come, or at least to bitch at me for screaming. C'mon… scream, just do it!' she thought to herself, feeling desperate. Just as she was about to open her mouth, a deathly cold finger was placed across her lips.

"Shhh… Don't scream, I promise not to hurt you… Much" a melodic voice whispered. Then, suddenly, a glint of white appeared in front of her eyes, as if a light was reflecting off of it.

'But… that's impossible, isn't it? I mean… the door's shut.' Candace thought, momentarily distracted. Suddenly, in the corner of the room, a lamp turned on. The light allowing her to better see her assailant, and he turned out to be quite… ravishing. Candace stared at his archaically refined features, automatically assuming he must have been 3 thousand years old, at least. Little did she know, she wasn't that far off. He smirked at her fascination for him, his fangs glinting even brighter in the light. He stalked towards her, closer than she would have normally let anyone. He admired the beautiful decoration of dried blood on her face, leaning forward to inhale her scent.

"I'm Keith, and I'm obviously a vampire…" he said, drifting off with a purr, his hand reaching out to touch her cheek. Candace flinched back automatically, but he once again grasped her wrist tightly, causing her to cry out in pain as he put pressure on her bruises. He frowned lightly and lifter her wrist to his face. She tried to pull away but he pinned her in place with a piercing look. His other hand pulled the sleeve back to her elbow, revealing a pale wrist and forearm, the only defects being the deep purple bruise that covered most of her arm.

He lowered his head to her wrist and inhaled deeply through his nose, his eyes fluttering as he once again took in her delectable smell. His tongue flicked lightly across her inner wrist and he smirked when he heard her gasp. The smirk widening to let his elongated canines brush against the skin, creating tiny lacerations on her skin. His eyes flickered up to hers to see them hazed over with lust. He kept his on hers to watch for the pupils to contract when he sank his teeth into the vein of her wrist.

The toxin from his canines caused her body to collapse in paralysis. He caught her easily before she reached the ground, holding her body against his as he continued to fiercly suck the blood from her body. Battling thoughts ran rampant through his mind, one half telling him to finish her, the other half telling him to keep her, possibly taking her as a pet. He had previously promised himself to save the next one, as he tired of the mindless killing. Though to lure of blood was too strong to keep him from often stopping, causing the promise to be repeated.

'She doesn't deserve to die,'He contemplated, deep in thought when he realized that her blood was not coming as easily.

'You can kill me, it's okay, no one will care.' he heard her mind whisper to his.

'Well, doesn't that just make for a happy meal.' his whispered back, pulling away, but he was too late.

'Damn, this one's gone… I'll keep the next one.' he thought, sitting back down on the bed to wait.