Chapter 1

She looked, and listened, barely taking anything in. It was hard to believe that she had been celebrating her seventeenth birthday just a few hours ago as the host droned on and on about the special guests. It was the most boring place she had ever been to and she wondered:

Isn't this supposed to be a concert?

It was already ten at night. The performance had started at dusk and it was scheduled to continue for at least another few hours. Since it was winter, the sky had darkened considerably earlier so that by seven, the only light outside was the dozen street lights positioned along the road outside. The concert hall, as usual, was dimly lit. A single spotlight shone on the stage, shifting occasionally as yet another guest was introduced. It was then when the girl noticed something unnatural about her surroundings. This was an important performance which had been the centre of attention since the start of the year. Everyone knew that the tickets had sold out in a few minutes. She was only there because her uncle had been unable to attend due to some business in Sydney and had given the ticket to her for her birthday. So why were there so many empty seats?

She looked around. The people there seemed to be so still it was creepy and was it her or did they all form a ring around her? Feeling an increasing sense of foreboding, she shifted nervously in her seat.

The next forty-five minutes dragged on and the uncomfortable feeling was becoming unbearable. She abruptly stood up and regretted it right away as it caused her headache to worsen.

She felt her way along the seats, emerging in the corridor outside. She experienced the queasy sensation that a person felt before they threw up and helplessly stumbled toward the bathroom door. It seemed so far away.

She felt the surge of vomit preparing to surface. She bit her lip a little too hard and blood trickled onto her tongue. The air around her seemed to shift.

Shakily using the wall as a support, she stumbled toward the bathroom door. It was closed and she had no strength left to push it open. She wanted to call for help but there was no one around and she could barely move her lips, let alone yell. All she managed was a faint croak before her vision dimmed and she fell into unconsciousness.

It was uncomfortable. It was cold too. Very cold, and she couldn't move. She opened her eyes slowly, and for a moment, wondered if she was blind. It was completely dark both when her eyes were closed and when her eyes were open.

She moved her head around, tilting it this way and that and was relieved to see the flickering of a candle somewhere above her. The distance between it and her was impossible to tell as everything else was black, but from the lack of heat and its size, she knew it wasn't reachable.

She felt very groggy as if she had been given a drug and closing her eyes didn't help, so she decided to occupy her mind with something but the only thing she could remember was a sweet taste in her mouth which was the last thing she felt before she lost consciousness. She couldn't even remember her own name.

Some of the feeling was returning to her limbs but when she tried to move them, she found that they were shackled. Somehow she wasn't very surprised. Carefully, she felt her way along the chains and her hands met a solid wall. Then she went to the left and right until the shackles restrained her. There was no door within touching distance no matter how she strained. It would probably have been locked even if she could find it.

The small movements had already left no energy in her body and she slumped against the cold wall. She didn't think there was any point trying to do anything anyway. There was no way she could break the chains. She closed her eyes and resigned to her fate.

It was some time before she felt someone's presence and a few seconds later, she heard the sound of a key turning in a lock.

A velvety voice reached her ears. It was beautiful but had a hint of poison in it, like a rose trying to conceal its thorns.

'I know you're awake. Open your eyes.' The mysterious voice said.

She knew she didn't have much of a choice but to obey. She opened her eyes, only to immediately close them again. Whoever had talked to her was holding a candle. She blinked rapidly to reduce the pain caused by the light.

It took her eyes a few more seconds to adjust.

The small flame wasn't all that bright but the complete darkness in her prison had made it seem brighter and she had trouble trying to look through it to see the man's face.

She squinted and unconsciously turned her head away to shield her face..

The man, as if to convenience her, lowered the candle a little and she finally had a chance to study him.

The man's pale skin was illuminated by the candlelight and shadows flickered across his face. Both his eyes and hair was black, giving him a mysterious feel. His bloodless lips were quirking up into a smile. He was wearing all black with a red-silver cross hanging around his neck on a thin metal chain.

It was the most beautiful creature she had ever seen and she sat mesmerised for a moment, admiring the elegant curves of his neck and his slender fingers, until something at the back of her mind tugged her back to reality. She realised that she had almost fallen under the man's spell and glared at him angrily.

'Who are you?' She demanded through gritted teeth.

The being smiled.

'Shouldn't you be asking yourself that?'

'Who are you?' She asked again.

He sighed but kept the irritating smile on his face.

'My name is Victor. I am what humans would call a vampire.'

The girl blinked and hesitated for a second.

'You're a vampire.' she repeated, trying to decide whether it was a joke or not.

The vampire spoke even though it wasn't a question.

'Yes, I am a vampire.' He paused, and with a more severe tone, said, 'And you are one of us, Alyss.'

Alyss? The name sounded familiar.

'I'm also a vampire?' She laughed shakily, 'You expect me to believe that? Do vampires even exist?'

'You don't have to believe me but you will soon realise it. It's already been your seventeenth birthday hasn't it.'

She didn't want to know how he knew that and the vampire didn't wait for a response.

'Well, good night, sleep tight.' He chuckled as if he had just cracked a joke and swept the prison door closed behind him.