He'd seen the strange woman with pale hair and icy eyes watching him for the last week on the fence from sundown to sunup, suddenly appearing on the wooden boundary in her gossamer dress. He had noticed the crows gathering ominously on the roof of their small home just before she came, and heard them call during the night. The moment the sun dipped below the horizon, the broom leaning on the wall fell across the doorway, warning him of a visitor. His mother's superstitions were never wrong. Drawing signs of protection over his chest out of sheer nervousness, he checked his sleeping sister yet again.
An eerie chill seeped into his dark room, and he gave his sister a light kiss on the forehead before standing up to face the approaching presence. Mist slid across the floor, dark and murky, rising up inches away, solidifying, and leaving him to stare into the cold gaze of the intruder.
"What are you?"
"Does it matter?" she asked as a smile revealed sharp canines.
The pale woman stepped back with a possessive gleam in her eye, "You will be mine, a beautiful addition my collection."
There was no escape, he knew that much, but he couldn't leave his sister. Blood oaths cannot be broken. He pulled out a knife, voice hard as adrenaline chased away all fear, "Bring my sister or," he placed the blade against the pulsing vein in his neck, "you do not get me."
The woman hissed with narrowed eyes. After days of watching him, she would not be denied this conquest.
"I do not turn females," she growled.
No emotion or sign of pain showed on his face as he pulled the knife across his skin. Blood welled up, slowly trailing down his throat, glistening in the moonlight.
"As you can see I am quite adamant."
He pulled the knife again.
He barely blinked before she descended upon the girl. He wanted to look away, to not see her eyes snap open in pain or the grimace as the woman forced vampire blood down his sister's throat. Most of all he did not want to watch as she died.
His heart beat once.
Guilt barely registered in his mind before the woman turned to him. Her eyes flashed through a veil of blonde hair, pale even against her white skin. His stomach knotted with fear at the hungry look, but he displayed no outward sign. Grabbing the knife from his hand she broke it between two slender fingers and tossed it aside effortlessly. He could feel her lips brush his neck, her tongue flicking out to taste the blood staining his skin.
"You will regret this."
The door flew open as Elizabeth stormed in with eyes flashing and skirts swirling around her ankles. She stomped over to me, face daring me to go back to my book.
"We are having a party and they are not fucking invited!" she growled, voice strained with anger.
Sometimes I wondered if being seventeen forever had warped her emotions into being perpetually hormonal. I had to calm her down before she worked herself into a full fury.
"Oh? Just the other day you told me that you didn't want to celebrate any more than usual. Now, what's making you so determined to have a party all of a sudden?"
My cool, collected voice visibly soothed her but it still took a few moments for her to become reasonable. Well, as reasonable as Elizabeth ever was.
"I was getting bottles from the kitchen when Colette and her entourage saw me at the stairs. She pushed me off hard enough that I broke my arm at the bottom, and they laughed. I am sick of it."
Reaching over, I inspected Elizabeth's injured arm, but the bones were already mending. Still her face clouded over, eyes glazed with the despairing gaze and deep loneliness that came upon her more and more often. How many times has she begged for a friend that wouldn't die? Described the dream girl that would be like a sister to her? Very few things had changed, the imaginary girl solid in her mind for over two hundred years. I moved to braid my sister's chestnut hair and she relaxed into my hands. An idea weaved itself into my mind, grasping firmer as the braid grew longer.
"Well then, let us party. We could go to a club that caters to the more…. extreme tastes. Perhaps you could get yourself a warm body and small bite to eat." She turned to me, mild distaste expressed in tightened lips. "It will make them horribly jealous," I added.
Her ever-confusing tide of emotions switched course and she beamed full of a joy that chased away all signs of sadness. Jumping up from the floor she twirled with arms flung out and head tilted back. Elizabeth shifted into movements that hadn't been seen in ages and rapidly danced her way through the decades before settling on the swaying and grinding motions of today. She giggled, though I had no idea how, after all this time, she could still make that noise.
"This is how they dance nowadays right? How obscene! But I haven't left this wretched place and let loose in decades." She froze. "She won't let me leave will she?"
I answered lightly, " Actually Colette is going on a trip to Russia saying that she has yet to collect a fair haired Russian boy. She will probably be gone for a few months, you know how easily distracted she is."
Elizabeth's face lit up even brighter than before. "Brilliant! It is like a birthday gift in itself. William, my dear brother, how ever did you find out?" Catching my tight expression she rapidly continued, "Never mind, it doesn't matter. Ah, I can't wait!"
With another giggle she pranced out of my room. A sigh escaped my lips when the door slammed shut from Elizabeth's enthusiasm. My idea was perfect, but I couldn't shake the sense of self-doubt. I'd certainly seen Colette do it many times, but will I have enough power? Then again, there is a first time for everything.
"William my love you're growing soft," a voice drifted through the darkness.
Slowly the stone walls came into focus, bringing with it the agony unconsciousness had held at bay. My body was raw, burning, but even now I could feel it slowly heal leaving only streams of blood. The metal cane in Colette's hand scraped the floor as she approached. I struggled against the iron around my wrists, skin healing the moment it was torn. The movement only brought the ache in my strained shoulders crashing down. At least the shifting in my chest assured that my ribs were knitting back together. Colette's cold lips pressed the taste of my own blood into my mouth.
"Why do you still resist me? Tear that human apart and this can all end," she purred with cold blue eyes holding mine.
Dignity didn't exist in this room so I screamed, begged and cried under her attention where sex and torture blurred into one, but when she finally released the bindings and let me fall to the floor my lips curled into a smile. Another night passed where nobody died.
Last night's embarrassing encounter with a sarcastic cashier proved how rusty my skills had become. Not returning to human society in the last half a century was taking its toll even with something as simple as buying flowers for Elizabeth. Sure I knew how to blend in, but as soon as I had to actually interact, the time away was glaringly obvious. I'd hoped that the club scene would prove to be different. In another time and another place I would have dominated any party I deemed worthy to attend. Now I found myself lounging in a dark corner, barely matching the casual banter of the drunken girl across from me.
"So, wanna go somewhere more private?" she slurred.
I assessed her disheveled hair and unfocused eyes. She was obviously drunk and not thinking clearly. I fancied myself a gentleman and firmly turned down her offer. With a haughty pout, she stormed away shakily on her stilettos. I must admit to a certain amount of relief that flooded my system. I could only take her personality type for so long, regardless of the decade, and was not about to take advantage of an intoxicated woman, no matter how much she wanted me to.
My sister however had no qualms dancing suggestively with an obviously drunk man. I saw her whisper something in his ear and pull him towards the back rooms. There was something truly revolting about knowing your younger sister was about to have sex and feed from a random man. However, as she passed under one of the lights, I noticed just how weak she looked. I knew that she hid behind false energy, but under that unforgiving light, all of the weariness was plain on her face. Colette only let her truly feed once a month, but only she knew how much it could drain a person. For once I was glad that the man was too drunk to remember this night.
She would not be playing nice.
Suddenly, I caught the eye of a mildly attractive brunette sitting at the other wall, surrounded by a group of laughing women. She was the only one sober enough to do more than giggle hysterically which was fortunate since a drunken woman had never been in my high regards. I decided that now was a good time to bring back my former self. I threw her a seductive smile, pushing as much raw male power into it as possible. She laughed from across the way, but I took it as encouragement and beckoned her over with a twitch of my fingers. Her eyebrows shot up, this time mockingly, but she stood and approached my table anyway. Perhaps I hadn't lost all of my skills.
"Did you ditch the bouquet? After all my hard work too!" she pouted with deep red lips.
Then it clicked. This was the irritating girl from the shop who played witness to my social failure. She looked completely different in her black dress, boots, and loose hair. Oh bugger.
"Do you, erm, come here often?" I asked as smoothly as possible, determined to not be derailed.
"Rarely but this is a birthday party. My friend has the most amusing interests," she explained with a glance at the group of women. The woman I assumed to be the party's owner picked up a paddle and began spanking the dancer on the table.
"I told her not to use that here!" she exclaimed and rushed back to the table.
I watched as she calmed down the woman with surprising aplomb, and quickly scanned the room, elated by my minor success. I knew that she would come back after the women were settled. They always came back. Picking out another girl, a redhead this time, I tried my charms again. She walked over, only slightly unsteady. After a few moments of chattering, I glanced back up at the party table. They were gone.
Not to be discouraged, the flower girl was probably daft anyway, I focused my gaze on the girl beside me. She stood up and grabbed my hand, leading me to the back rooms. I figured she was sober enough, and matched her pace. Hidden in a dark corner, her breathing heavy, I could feel the desire surging up inside of me.
"I hope you like it rough."
"That's why I'm here, baby," she purred.
I hated being called baby; it made no sense considering my age. Pushing my annoyance aside, I slid my hand up her dress and lowered my mouth to her neck. Luckily she didn't pull away when my teeth slid into her skin, causing a steady flow of rich blood. I drank it up greedily, the taste and energy almost overwhelming. I barely remembered to continue caressing the woman's body to keep her from noticing the excessive pain. I sucked harder, grinding her against the wall as she let out soft moans, but the blood held tight to my attention. It was only when she gave a muffled shout of climax that I pulled away. As her breathing slowed, I licked at her neck and cleaned my mouth, careful to keep her from seeing the blood. Sometimes it unnerved the humans. Her hands fumbled at my pants, but I had gotten what I wanted, and pulled away to leave her gasping in the dark.
Elizabeth stumbled out from one of the alcoves just as I turned the corner. Her eyes were brighter and face rosier than I had seen in years. With large smiles, a little blood still at the corner of her mouth, we silently agreed to return home. She skipped her way down the street and a deep contentment washed over me.
Sometimes I loved my sister. Last week was one of those times, watching her truly vibrant and smiling with her entire face. Then there were times when I hated her, times like these. At first I thought that Elizabeth's dream girl would be easy to find since she was very detailed in her description. How hard could it be to find a girl with brown eyes, dark brown hair, fair skin, shorter than Elizabeth, and attending college? It seemed simple until I had to find said girl.
Now here I was, sitting in a coffee shop at the nearby college, scanning the area for a suitable birthday gift. For the last week I had been walking the streets and visiting every club and coffee house around. This was my last college gathering place, but so far, I hadn't found her. Then a girl walked in as part of the rush, joining the alarmingly long line. Her hair was a bit too light, but her eyes were a rich brown, face average at best, and would be an inch or so shorter than Elizabeth. This was the closest I'd come to a match since that one girl at the sandwich shop. She had been perfect until it came to handling Colette's idea of pleasant conversation. I honestly hadn't meant for her to cry.
Trying to keep hope to a minimum, I walked up to the girl with a friendly, unassuming smile. "Hey, aren't you in my English class?" I asked after glancing at the literature book under her arm.
She peered at me and I saw how up close her eyes were warm and hair rich with natural highlights. "Maybe," she said with a soft voice.
She may be a bit too soft. I was beyond tired of searching so I went straight to the final test, the one that, with her soft voice, would probably be the hardest. "So what dorm are you in?"
"South," she easily replied.
So far she was fatally trusting. I pressed further, "You answered quickly, what if I were a stalker? I could easily find you now."
Her eyes widened and darted about. "Um, uh, I gotta go."
She ran off, which was for the best since she would never be able to handle our life. With a sigh, I returned to my seat in the corner, pretending to read a magazine. I sat for another hour, searching for the girl my sister described. Looking back on the past week I was probably too blunt. Perhaps the fault wasn't in the girls, but in my approach. I wonder if nowadays people think it takes more than three minutes to know a person. I remembered a time where knowing a woman's name and expressing interest was all one needed. Again I seriously regretted my social life in the last few decades, despite its safety. On the other hand, if one of these women were to become a part of our lives, they would have to deal with others whose conversational skills were out of date.
The line finally died down to reveal a dim corner, more secluded than the other sides of the shop. There, almost directly across from me, was another brunette. I almost didn't walk up to her, and tried to find something wrong, just so that I wouldn't have to talk to another girl. Her hair was dark brown, nothing particularly special about it, dull in comparison to Elizabeth's, and while she was sitting, I could tell that she would be shorter. She was dressed in plain jeans and a sweatshirt, hair tossed over one shoulder and reading glasses perched at the tip of her nose. I had lost a lot of hope, and was tired from hunger, but pulled myself up from the table anyway, taking my magazine. If she doesn't match, then I will just return home. Maybe this elusive friend could be found in another city.
She didn't look up, even when I stood right in front of her small table. The book lying on the wood had her complete attention and I was about to cough to alert her to my presence when she pushed up her glasses and lifted it. There, staring at me was the very same book that I was previously reading.
"Do you like the book?" I asked, careful not to startle her.
Her eyes shot up and I found myself staring into the deep brown behind her glasses. A slow smile spread across her face, although I couldn't see anything amusing about my question. She said with a strong voice tinted by humor, "Bram Stoker's Dracula? Who can resist a good blood sucker?"
Hope fluttered in my chest. I sat down, already more committed to her than the other humans. She was obviously intelligent enough from the textbooks, but I felt I could pose the next test bluntly without raising suspicion. "So you like vampires?"
"Of course. I can't help but love what has to be the most bastardized creature in folklore."
Her slightly unfocused gaze drifted to the wall behind me. "Well, the original vampires were little more than vengeful, animated corpses, but now they are beautiful, highly sexualized creatures. So, the very conflicting nature of the vampire over time makes it horribly fascinating."
"Do you believe in vampires then?" I asked carefully.
She shrugged. "Why the hell not?"
Her eyes crawled back to the book and she probably got a few pages read before I composed myself enough for the next question.
"Where do you live?"
"Where do you live?" she grinned.
That didn't go quite right. "I asked first, so you should answer first," I replied with a lofty tone.
"Why did you ask in the first place?"
"So I can stalk you," I quickly answered.
She blinked before grinning wider, eyes glinting with pleasure. "Oh? And here I was afraid it would be for some creepy reason. A stalker…. How exciting! I've never had my own stalker before. A friend of mine had one and I was quite jealous, but hers was an ugly old man. You, Mister Stalker, are most definitely not an ugly old man."
Somehow I think this conversation went in the wrong direction. I tried a cocky smile and taunting voice, "Was that a compliment I heard?"
"Indeed it was. Back to the point of my living quarters though, a true stalker finds that out through more cunning methods, not by simply asking. And here I thought you were doing a fine job."
"Erm, what?", I asked honestly confused by this point.
"You still don't recognize me? Well, its nice to know how well remembered one is," she said, ending with a sniff. Ripping off her glasses, she fixed me with a challenging stare.
"Oh, give a guess."
After all of the women I had met in the last week, how was I supposed to recognize one of them? It was absurd for her to even think that I would see any of the girls in a personal context. A few moments pass, her face expectant, but losing interest. With a small shrug she turned back to her book. The shrugging, blinking, biting tone…. Oh shit.
"The club and the flower shop."
She looked startled, almost surprised that I was still here, but it was soon replaced by the now familiar amused expression. "Yeah, took you a while."
"You look much different." I let my eyes slide over her body, taking in the details of her ripped jeans, well used sweatshirt, long loose dark hair, her pale neck, following the vein before settling on her eyes. However, my gaze failed to unnerve her and she only smiled wider. Her smile was nothing like Elizabeth's, it held a bitter, twisted joy as opposed to my sister's simplicity. That was a small point against her.
"So now that you have met me, dear Mister Stalker, whatever shall you do with me? Am I to be raped?"
"Of course. I would make a horrible stalker if I didn't."
"How tragic," she sighed.
"Would you enjoy it?" I asked, sliding in the last aspect of the interview.
"You met me at the club, what do you think?"
Her smirk was nothing short of wicked. Sure she might be a bit too intense for my sister, but I knew she had a lighter side since she was quite helpful as a saleswoman. Physically she was good enough and would probably handle the change better than any of the other girls I had met. Besides, I was more than happy to declare myself done searching. She may not have been a week's worth of work, but at this point I'd take anything to be finished.
The woman in question seemed to have returned to her book without any sign of noticing my sitting next to her. I realized the length of inattention and again cursed myself for my long seclusion.
Trying to remedy the situation, I thrust my hand in front of her face and said "By the way, I'm William. What is your name?"
She blinked at the hand for a few moments. Looking back at me, her expression was slightly strained, as if I of all people had overstayed my welcome. If she had known me years ago she would have been thrilled with the opportunity to touch me. A small smile appeared, and my pride swelled. That was the reaction I wanted.
"Lilith, but my friends call me Lily," she shook my hand surprisingly softly.
I stood up and turned to leave, but she called out, "Weren't you going to rape me?"
I ignored the strange looks from the other customers and replied, "Another time Lily, another time."
"Oh that's Lilith to you."
If I was less tired, or my sister was less picky, I would have ripped her throat out at that very moment.
A/N: I'm back with a bit darker of a piece, but still with the goal of crushing those annoying clichés that run rampant in the vampire genre. Read, review and stick around for the next chapter as Lilith/William kicks some Twilight ass.