"You're a vampire now." The pale man smirked at the obvious distress of the young girl before him, seeming amused as though she were an angry kitten and he the kitten's owner. "Don't look so unhappy. I could easily have killed you, but I gave you a gift instead; I have given you the gift of power and immortality."

Elsie shook her head, her gaze darting wildly around the dark, cave-like room that she had woken up in a few minutes before. "No no no no no…" seemed to be the only thing she could say as the man spoke to her. He knew what she was feeling.

She was experiencing the disorienting overload of sensory data as she took in the surroundings with her newly heightened senses. There was the discomfiting feeling as each change in the currents and temperature of the air registered in a mind unused to such sensitivity, the harsh glare of the lights that seemed too blinding to eyes suddenly able to see through the darkest shadows, the way that each and every sound registered in her ears perfectly, and overall, the irrefutable feeling of wrongness that was only explained by the sudden, lurching realization that the heartbeat that had accompanied her throughout her life no longer existed; all of these feelings were experienced by new vampires, but they all adjusted soon enough.

It was too much for her. Her mind refused to grasp the inevitable conclusion, the undeniable truth to the man's first words. With the suddenness of a startled deer, she leapt up from the ground where she had woken and bolted into the night outside the cave.

It was raining in the dark night outside. She fled as far as she could before fear froze her limbs and she collapsed upon the grass of a field near an empty lane. She did not even know where she was, where her family was or if they even knew she was gone. She outright refused to consider the thought that perhaps they were dead like she should be.

As the cold rain collided with the overly sensitive skin of her face, she turned her face upwards to the sky and screamed her rage and fear at the world. Fire bloomed red and horrible in her mind, crisping the world to blackened shreds, but the dreary night around her failed to emulate her imagination.

After a while, the water falling from the sky washed away her rage like an icy river carrying her spirit far away where she could not reach it. All that remained inside her was emptiness, black and cruel. With a vaguely grinning detachment she mused that on the irony that the sky seemed to cry for her tonight, now that she no longer had any tears in her undead body.

In place of the roiling emotions that had washed away in the slick rivulets of rain water, a new desire made itself knows, creeping up within her like a cat stalking a mouse. This ugly new feeling was inspired by a smell the wind had carried into her overly sensitive nose. The rushing, aching, yearning need the scent invoked bloomed within her until it overpowered everything else within her.

The air reeked with the scent of blood.

In a moment of madness, she imagined that the whole world had been soaked in the sticky, awful life giving fluid, for surely nothing else could make the smell so overwhelmingly powerful? The smell of it twisted its way into the very essence of her being, until every fleeting thought and desire was intimately wrapped up in her need to get her hands on the sweet crimson liquid. The smell of it saturated the air around her so completely she could practically feel it.

"You're panting."

His amused voice scattered her thoughts and momentarily broke the near spell-like hold the smell had over her mind. With a start, she realized he was correct. She had crouched low to the ground, her mouth open in a silent snarl and her hands extended like claws, and she was panting heavily as though she had just run several miles.

Far away, she heard a rustling not-quite-sound that was different than the rustling very-much-sounds of nature. "It's their heartbeats," he said, seeming to guess the direction of her thoughts.

There are humans, or at least one human, up the lane, she realized, and it was their blood whose smell so permeated the air.

When she looked at him, he was grinning and holding out a pale hand for her to take.

"Shall we hunt?"

And just like that, they were off into the cold, dark night, headed for the source of the blood scent like hounds to a fox. Weaving through the tall grass and short trees at the edge of the lane, she realized the full extent of her altered senses. Every blade of grass and drop of rain stood out in sharp contrast to the black night air, as though each object was a luminescent bead in a land of otherwise black velvet emptiness. The patter of the rain was the drumbeat they ran to, pounding loud in her ears as the two hunters approached the shuffling, oh so human noises that distinguished themselves in her hearing the way the flashes of color in the world distinguished themselves from the blackness of night in her new eyesight. And always, always the overpowering smell of that delicious red life-giving liquid that pounded through the human's veins and called to the hunters as inexorably as a siren song to a sailor.

She allowed herself to cast off the horrible fear and wrongness and instead revel in the feeling of the liquid grace in her limbs and the incomparable wonder of this new sensory world, so different from the one to which she was used to having. If color could be this beautiful in the darkness, she thought, it would almost be okay to give up the sun forever.

Much too soon, they reached the human whose scent had given its presence away. Upon seeing the object of her lust, she flinched away suddenly, brought up short by the reality of her desire.

Huddled under a bit of thick, scrubby bushes at the edge of some farmer's wheat field was a small figure clad in rags. With her newly improved eyesight, Elsie could make out the features of a woman who could be no more than twenty, though the marks of a hard life had aged the peasant girl's skin. When he spoke, his voice was cold and disinterested.

"Whores. Homeless peasants. Filth the cities kick out to live or die in the empty streets just outside of nowhere. I figured you might appreciate some easy prey your first time."

Desire warred with revulsion in her mind, but after a moment Elsie stepped back. "No," she breathed. "I can't." The girl shifted in her troubled sleep, and Elsie was faced with a perfect view of the girl's young face, lined with pain and fear, likely from nightmares and the discomfort of sleeping on hard ground in the rain. Elsie was amazed the girl had even managed this troubled sleep while lying under wet bushes by the side of a stranger's field. "I can't," she repeated, forcing down the hideous desire that bubbled within her to strike at the harmless, pathetic creature on the ground, to rip at flesh and lap up the blood that would surely flow, the blood that made the girl's neck pulse in such a sweet, tantalizing way.

If she could have, Elsie would have vomited as she turned her face away, as though by doing so she could block out the thoughts, the needs that characterized the creature she had been turned into.

"Well, if you don't wish to drink, then I'll take her." His voice was impatient, as though he was annoyed with her for not killing without a second thought. Without waiting for a response, he flew across the road in a flash, his teeth ripping into the skin of the peasant's neck. The girl barely had time to gasp as her nightmares and uncomfortable rest were cut short by the real life monster that tore out her throat as easily as walking. Red gushed from the girl's mutilated neck like deep crimson roses blooming from her flesh. Grinning, he put his mouth to the wound and sucked up the red ribbons, lapping at them with his tongue like a dog licking scraps from a floor.

After an eternity of fixated horror, Elsie saw him glance up at her, letting the empty peasant girl drop to the muddy road without a thought. Trickles of red slid down the corner of his mouth. His dark red tongue flicked out to capture the escaping droplets, and his fangs flashed white, almost glowing of their own accord beneath the blood and bits of mangled flesh still sticking to them. He ran his tongue over them as well, leaving the fangs gleaming moon-bright in the dark. It was a stark contrast to the blackness of his eyes that almost didn't seem to even exist; it was as though he had empty holes to nowhere rather than eyes.

It was horrific, awful, bone-chillingly terrifying to watch. And yet, all she could think about when he dropped the girl were the tiny droplets of blood still beaded at the edges of the wound on what remained of the peasant girl's neck.

The desperate desire for blood rose like bile in her throat. It was overpowering, with the dead girl so close. Still, the shreds of her old life still hung before her, a curtain of steel lace interposed between her new desires and the unnamed corpse laying cold and unlovely, yet so, so tempting, on the ground. As she stood, transfixed, the ceaseless rain slowly washed away the remaining flecks of blood, and the corpse became less and less interesting as the last bits of red swirled away into the mud beneath it.

"It was foolish of you not to drink any," he said in his ever grinning, detached manner. "You'll no doubt be starving by tomorrow night."

She blankly followed him silently as he led the way back to the cave after his statement. They left the peasant girl lying on the road in the mud as she had fallen when he let her drop.

It dimly registered on Elsie's heightened senses that the air was growing just a little bit lighter. The lightness prickled at her skin uncomfortably. All the beauty of the glowing night was slipping away with the encroaching dawn, and when the two reached the cave, Elsie followed him inside without a word. As she curled up on the blankets he pointed her towards and her dry eyes failed to cry, she briefly wondered if perhaps she would be lucky enough to die in her sleep tonight.