• “There are no monsters under your bed, there are none in your closet. Close your eyes and before you know it, it will be morning,” These are the words parents all over the world repeat each night. Words that are supposed to chase away the fear of the dark, but in reality do nothing.

    She remembered her mother saying those exact same words. She remembered her mother’s lyrical voice, singing her precious daughter to sleep. She remembered her kissing her forehead and uttering those words.

    “Ma chère, the monsters are only here, “ she tapped her head, “They’re not real. There is no boogeyman. Now go to sleep and dream pleasant dreams,” she left her room after that, leaving the door open just a crack. She couldn’t sleep any other way. She had to have the white light from the hall filling at least part of her dark room; it made her feel safe. That night however, she was anything but safe.

    Her mother wasn’t a naïve woman. She was smart and respected by all her friends. But the sad truth was that she’d misjudged the truth in those old fables. That night, there was a monster lurking outside their tiny, secluded, by-the-bay home. The bogeyman was very much alive, and every bit as evil as she thought.

    She’d been sleeping for only an hour, when a loud bang, like a gunshot and glass shattering woke her from horrid nightmares.

    “Mama,” she’d cried, “Mama!” her mother didn’t respond. Looking out her window, she could see that the trees around their cozy little home were bent at impossible angles, impossible even to a three-year-old.

    “Monsieur Rose,” she mumbled taking hold of the down soft teddy bear she’d had since birth. She pushed back the pink blankets covering her and crawled clumsily out of bed. All the while maintaining her vice-like grip on Monsieur Rose. Shivering as the now cold air engulfed her in an invisible embrace, she tiptoed to the door and slipped between it and the frame. The hallway seemed so long in the dark, so big that it made her think that the boogeyman was going to appear at any moment.

    “Papa!” she yelled holding the bear close to her chest. The closer she got to where she knew the end of the hall was, the heavier the air became with fear. The texture of the floor had changed, from hard and smooth, to hard and sticky. It was like someone had spilled juice or chocolate.

    Upon entering the living room, a shadowed form dragged its self towards her. She screamed and hid behind the coach, tripping over pieces of wood as she did so. Her little heart was going as fast as any car down a barren stretch of highway. She had only been three at the time, and much of the scene didn’t make sense to her except for the dark. The boogeyman was always associated with the dark. However, when she heard her name, Nikola, being called, a certain amount of tension in her petite frame eased. She recognized that voice. No matter how garbled it was. That voice always sang her fears away.

    “Mama?” she ventured out from her hiding place, dragging the bear on the sticky floor.

    “Nikola, quickly!” she gasped, one hand held to her throat.
    “Mama… Hurt?” she struggled to form proper sentences with her limited vocabulary.

    “Ma chère-…” She coughed, a viscous red liquid spilling from her mouth. She slowly, painfully, pulled herself to her knees. She regarded her daughter with the loving gaze only a mother could give.

    “You must leave, run, before he hurts you.” She cocked her head like a dog would do upon hearing a high-pitched sound.

    “Qui? Le monstre?” she looked up at her mother. With what little light there was in the living room, she could tell that small drops of red fell from her eyes.

    “No ma chère, something far worse,” she replied, leaning down, wincing as she did so, and kissing the top of her daughter’s head. She looked up abruptly, every muscle in her body tightening.

    “No, you will not hurt her!” she cried, pulling Nikola behind her.

    “Run, now Nikola,” she looked back at her daughter one last time, “Run!”

    Nikola knew not to dawdle when her mother told her to do something. Forgetting about Monsieur Rose on the floor, Nikola scrambled, slipping and sliding on the floor right to the open door. She turned around to look at her mother one last time, sensing that she may never see her again. What she saw instead were a set of eyes as dark as the blackest night. She saw the eyes of a creature and not a man, as he so appeared to be. They would be the eyes that she never wanted to see again.

    Standing there at the base of what had been her happy home twenty-one years ago brought back the terrible memory of that night. It brought a renewed sense of strength. The kind of strength that it took to get up and out of bed each morning, knowing she couldn’t call and talk to her parents. The kind of strength it took to keep from holding that silver blade to the soft flesh of her wrists and drawing it across, when at times it looked like a beautiful thing. It also brought hundreds of tears, leaving frozen tracks down her cheeks.

    “I miss you so very much Mama, Papa,” she whispered, laying a bouquet of wild roses upon the rotting stairs. A cold January wind blew, just like it had on this day years ago.

    Since that night, no one had lived in that home by the Gulf de Gascoigne. No one wanted the stigma of being known as the family who lived in a home of the couple that had been brutally murder, save for their daughter. It was but a memory now, the pines and oaks that had once surrounded the cottage like house, were now nothing but stumps.

    The years hadn’t been too kind to it. Salt from the bay stained all four sides of the house, and the wood underneath was black with age and rot. The door had long since fallen off its hinges, and the windows, save for those in the living room, had been broken by stones thrown by misguided teens. The roof as well, sagged with the weight of the freshly fallen snow.

    Nikola gave one last look of longing at the dilapidated home, than turned and headed back to her grey Nissan. She started it up and was half way down the highway before she chose to look back again.

    “Forever…” She whispered. It was the last word her mother would sing to her when she wasn’t sleeping. Returning her gaze to the road in front of her, she sped up, wanting to put as much distance between that home and herself as possible.

    Nikola could take many things, but standing at the site where her parents died, wasn’t one of them. She could only be there for a few minutes before she just had to get away. Many would call her a coward, but if they’d saw what she had seen, they’d change their minds.

    When she came to a stop, she was back in the inner sanctum of Bordeaux, where she spent her life. The streets were cobble stoned save for the main highway, and the architecture screamed of old France, even with their more modern brothers. Here maple trees stood intermittently beside the sidewalks. Although they were leafless, they still bent and formed beautiful arches over many parts of the streets.

    She stepped out of her car just as it began to snow once more. Craning her neck she looked up at the top of the beautiful, gargantuan building before her. It was her sanctuary. It was her refuge from the reality of the world around her and its many evils. La Cathèdrale de Saint André.

    The cathedral stood like an old version of the French skyscraper; of course it was nothing like the Effle Tower in Paris. It did however look as beautiful as any other church in the country. Though it was built years ago, its still looked as it had in her early years. The designs of the doors and windows were your typical arches, common through out the world in many other countries. Its garden, now dead except for the pines, would smell absolutely delightful once spring came. She often liked to think that it was because of the garden, that Santiago de Compostela came here on his pilgrimage.

    She smiled as she entered the church’s warm and comforting interior, a sense of peace and the feeling of protection settling over her. The hallowed ground and blessed walls offered her what she missed most for twenty-one years of her life; protecting from the necessary evils of the world that her parents usually gave. This was her second home, where she could come and pray when she found herself on the edge of a precipice, looking death in the face. It was a very secluded place most days, and that’s when she would come here to do her research on the supernatural. To find some amount of information that would explain to her “what” had killed her parents. Perhaps someday it would lead her to this monster and she could deal it a just and proper punishment.

    She shook her head angrily, kneeling in a pew at the right near the front. She shouldn’t be thinking of doing such things in a blessed place watched by God. She folded her hands, bent her head and closed her eyes. She began to pray.

    “Dear Lord, please continue to make our bond that much stronger. I can feel each day that evil is slowly trying to sever it. I asked this in Jesus’ name, amen.”

    She didn’t always pray for the same thing. Most times it was for the courage and strength to trust those she held dear, but not dearly enough to trust completely. To her anyone could be the monster that took away her happiness. Most times she suspected it to be any man she passed.

    “Nikola?” she turned abruptly as a hand was placed on her shoulder.

    “I thought that was you, I’ve been trying to reach you all day,” the woman said. She looked tired and frightened. Nikola knew something was wrong.

    “Marisol, what is it?” she asked, slowly rising to her feet. Marisol was a third year medical student just like her, and she was one of the very few people she could trust, her closet friend whom she trusted completely.

    “Arabella, the girl that you take care of was brought into thePolyclinique. She’s taken a turn for the worse and she keeps asking for you.” It seemed that she wanted to say this all in one breathe, and she did, making Nikola think that she was about to turn blue.

    “How much of a turn?” she asked, her heart sinking just a bit.

    “I don’t know. The doctors said it was all very strange.” She replied, trying to remember what the doctors had said.

    “Never mind,” Nikola said. She has the unshakable feeling that this was somehow her fault. It always was, whether she was around at the time or not. She ran from the cathedral before Marisol could even say two more words to her.

    Walking down those blank, white hospital hallways made her wonder why exactly she wanted to be a doctor. It seemed to her that the only warmth and comfort in the place came from the waiting room and nurses. Then she remembered; it was her interest in helping humanity before humanity killed them selves.

    She hadn’t spent much time in hospitals, as it was the tradition, and the rule in medical school that you wait until your third year. This is so they’re sure that you’ve learned a sufficient amount to be of use, while still learn some more. Too bad they couldn’t be sure if you could keep a level head.

    “Excuse me,” she said upon entering the paediatric wing, “I’m looking for Arabella Devoe’s room.” The receptionist looked up from her heap of papers.

    “Are you Nikola Tessier?” she asked. She nodded.

    “Right down the hall, room three-twenty-four, “ she pointed with her pen, a grim look upon her work weary face, then went back to what she’d been doing before.

    Nikola walked slowly towards the room, even thought every nerve in her body
    resisted the action. There were times when even she couldn’t stand to see Arabella, who’d made so much progress, in so much pain. She had cancer, and the cancer treatments had seriously weakened her, making her tired and more vulnerable. She was getting sick almost every other week with everything imaginable. The latest virus to attack her poor weakened body was pneumonia.

    She gently knocked on the opened door and walked in when the doctor motioned her forward. Tears almost broke their dams when she saw more than the usual amount of wires attached to the little girl. The beeping of the heart monitor, sure to drive others crazy, had lost its effect on her.

    “She’s sleeping?” Nikola asked, wiping stray locks of blond away from her small, pale face. She always looked more peaceful when she slept.

    “No, she just slipped into a coma fifteen minutes ago,” the doctor answered. Shear confusion furrowed his grey brows.

    “That’s impossible, she was asking for me, “ she stammered.

    “Was, she can’t anymore, but you’re welcomed to stay as long as you like. Hearing familiar voices and sounds often helps coma patients find their way back to us.” He adjusted the flow of medicine flowing into her arm and left, mumbling words she couldn’t hear.

    “I know,” she whispered too late. She pulled a chair over and sat in it, pulling off her jacket and placing it on the back of the chair. She dug out of her jean pocket, a knitted mitten. It was blue and green and very warm. She placed it in Arabella’s hand, and closed it around the material. She had made them for her and she was hoping the feel of it along with her voice, would help bring her back.

    “Arabella, mon dieux, you must wake up,” she said quietly. She sat there silent for a few moments, thinking of what she could do. Then it came to her.

    “Frère à Jacques, Frère à Jacques, “ she began to sing, “ Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?” She sniffed and smiled it was her favourite song.

    “Listen Arabella, you have to wake up, you have to. Your dear mother needs her precious daughter more than anything else in this entire world.” She continued to sing the song until it was finished. Then she sang it again. Twice more she sang it before sleep began to tug at her eyelids. Eventually sleep pulled them shut and carried her off to dreamland, or the world of nightmares as she liked to call it.

    The next thing she knew, she was being shaken awake by one of the nurses.
    “Yes? What is it? Has something happened?” she asked, wiping the sleep form her eyes.

    “No madame, we just need to move her to a different bed, we need this one," the woman replied.

    “Perhaps you should go get some coffee, you look like le diable himself had his way with you.”

    “I’m sure I do, “ she agreed. She had no clue how she looked. The nurse smiled warmly as Nikola took her jacket and walked out of the room.
    It took her longer than she expected to find a coffee machine. She was so distracted by her thinking and by Arabella’s deteriorating health, that she hadn’t even noticed that she’d passed the same one four times.

    “Good lord,” she stopped in front of it, “my mind is running away with me again.” She took a cup, inserted some money and pressed a button to fill it up. Hospital coffee never tasted good, but it did wake you up and warmed you. Those were the only two good things about it.

    She remembered what the nurse had said about her appearance and in a moment of pure vanity, scurried like a frightened rabbit, into the bathroom. The bathroom smelled of disinfectant, just like the rest of the hospital. So clean you can operate in here, she thought, setting her coffee down on the counter top and examining herself in the mirror. The mirror proved to be her least favourite contraption for the vain. It reflected back at her a raccoon eyed, fair skinned, slightly freckled faced young woman. Her auburn locks were a mess, proving also, that sleeping truly made her look like the devil had had his way with her.

    She smiled and turned on the cold water. Feeling that the coffee just wasn’t enough, she splashed some water on her face to wake her up. It was refreshing, she gave it that, but she still felt like a thousand pounds of lead. She dried her face and dug out some powdered make-up form her coat pocket. She looked back up at her reflection and realized than, that she was completely alone. Why she’d never noticed when she first came in before was a mystery to her, but she noticed now.

    She gave a nervous smile to the glass. Her eyes darting to the reflections of black squares that were the windows. Had she really slept that long? She supposed pulling two all-nighters could do that to a person. She looked down at her watch, her heart had sped up just a bit as fear threatened to over come her.

    “Eleven, “ she mumbled taking a deep breath. She was a walking contradiction; she loved to be around people, but hated large groups. She liked when she had time to herself, but hated being alone. When she was alone for too long, she became overly aware of her surroundings. Aware of the emptiness of the room and of all the unused space that could be home to at least one person. A state of hyperawareness she guessed. She reminded herself that she was in a hospital with hundreds of people. Nothing worked.
    She looked up from her silver watch, into the blue eyes of her reflection and beyond to the mass of black clothe behind her. At that moment her heart stopper, her eyes widened and her face paled. She felt that familiar cold that accompanied evil making its presence known to humans. She also felt the restraints holding back her panic break.

    “Le Diable, “ she croaked, her mouth had become dry. Her heart still felt like it’d been “turned off”. The world around her and this looming black figure seemed to stop and grow darker. She didn’t want to turn and look directly into its eyes. She feared that maybe she’d die on the spot or become immobile, like the stories of basilisks described.

    In that moment she forgot all her ideas of revenge and plans to kill it in cold blood, completely ignoring her morals. All she could think about was that this thing looked so supernatural at that moment, but could blend with the rest of them the next. It also took her a few moments to realize that a deep, demonic rumbling was coming from him. He or it was laughing. It chilled her to the marrow of her bones.

    “You did not think I would return?” he asked in a cold, smooth voice that maddened her. It made her wish she were dead. No reply came from her except a whimper as she coward forward to avoid an outstretched hand. Please some one walk in right now, she thought.

    “Your parents didn’t think so either,” she could hear the smile that this thing wore, “ and look what happened.” It was a cold reminder of what he’s taken away from so long ago the happiness, and the memories. The insult sparked in her a little courage, but not enough to turn around and face this thing.

    “Perhaps,” he leaned forward until she was bent over the sink completely. When next he spoke, his voice was right beside her ear.

    “Perhaps it would be easier if nothing held you here, don’ you think?” again she wanted to scream. She didn’t like what his chilling words implicated. She felt the tension in her body ease; the panic was all that remained. It took her a full ten minutes too look up form the stainless steal bowl. He’d gone. Thank the lord.

    She let go of the breath she’d been holding, and sucked air in greedily. She then began to cry, and unashamed to do so. She reached for her coffee, her hand shaking violently and managed, without spilling any on her white sweater to take a sip. Swallowing in disgust she poured the rest of it down the drain. Her visit from the man or thing, had made it as cold as ice and taste much more disgusting.

    Abandoning the thought of making herself look presentable to the public, she pocketed the make-up. She grabbed her jacket and ran her hands through her hair. She looked around the room, in the stalls and out the windows. Had she imagined the whole thing? It certainly seemed like something she’d do. She left the bathroom quickly, with every intention of going back to check in on Arabella then home to get some rest. She had little hope in that idea, as the words he had muttered to her would most likely keep her up all night.

    True to form, Nikola didn’t sleep at all that night. Upon return home she went directly to her “quiet room” and spent nearly all night there.
    It was actually more of a shrine. A shrine to the supernatural elements; she was a woman obsessed. The walls were dotted with newspaper clippings over the course of many years. They ranged in unexplained break-ins and unexplained fires, to unexplained deaths. Covering the floor were boxes filled with even more newspaper articles and the paranormal research she’d done herself. There were small mountains of books piled haphazardly in every corner of the room. White curtains were drawn across the windows, and matched the white of the wall. The only piece of furniture in the room was the oversized chair that she sat in.

    She spent much of the night in that chair digging through boxes and rereading books she’d read a thousand times, focusing on the vampire aspect. Each time she hoped to find something new, something she’d missed the first dozen times. It was a ritual to her. Each night that sleep would elude her, and studying was done for the day, she would turn to her research and dig, then read, then contemplate what she already knew. Pointless thought it was, it kept her occupied.

    “Perhaps it would be easier if nothing held you here,” the words repeated themselves in the deafening silence of her mind. The only things, she thought, that have grounded me to this plain, are the few friends I’ve made and sweet Arabella.

    “If he hurts them,” she mumbled holding the book in her lap so tightly that her knuckles looked like little white pebbles beneath her unmarred skin. She couldn’t finish the sentence, nor could she think about what he would do to them.

    “I swear I’d lose it,” she grumbled, standing up and tossing the book aside. Her two dogs were scratching at the closed door, a clear indication that they needed to go out. She didn’t hate the dogs; oh no she absolutely loved them. She might have had to buy a small house as opposed to an apartment, but she felt safer with them, when she had no human company. They were German shepherds, one white and one the common black and brown. They’d both been trained by professionals to protect their master. That’s what she liked about them.

    “Sandy, Kodi, stay in the yard!” she called after them as she let them out the back door. She reached over for her jacket, and pulled it on over the thin material of her nightshirt. She then pulled on a pair of boots and stepped into the frigid night air.

    There weren’t many homes on Rue D’alsace et Lorraine, most of it was dominated by small shops and housing complexes. However, the cathedral was only a fifteen-minute walk from her house, so it made up for the other shortcomings.

    She scanned the semi darkness beyond her porch light as she stood in the ankle high snow. She was only able to make out the dogs shadows. Kodi was sitting still like he’d been frightened, or could see someone that didn’t belong there. She felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She knew that it couldn’t be a cat; he was to quiet and calm for it to be.

    “Sandy!” she called in surprise as her dog jumped gracefully over the fence and into the next yard.

    “Sandy get back here!” Nikola experience a moment’s hesitation as she debated within her mind whether she should go fetch her crazy animal. She lifted one foot to go get her when the shrill ringing of the telephone by the open door startled her.

    “Jesus,” she swore stepping inside ans pulling it form the hook, wondering who’d be calling at this hour.

    “Hello?” she said irritated. She leaned ou the door, trying to spot the white Sandy.

    “Nikola?” the voice sounded oddly familiar. It was female; an older one was her guess. Who it was and why they were calling, she intended to find out.

    “Who is this?” she asked, standing on the tips of her toes and craning her neck. No matter what she did she couldn’t see Sandy. Then again, if the dog wanted to be virtually invisible, all she had to do was lay down.

    “Josephine, but you called me Nana,” the woman replied. Nikola however,
    could hear the nervous note in her voice and knew why it was there, because of her.

    “Why are you calling me Nana?” she asked, confused. No one in her family had dared talk to her or to even take her in after her mother and father were killed. She lived in several orphanages until she’d turned eighteen.

    “I wanted…” she trialed off.

    “You wanted to what, Nana?” she asked, perhaps with a little more bite than she had intended.

    “I wanted to see if you were alright, “ she finished. This “confession”, the first bit of affection shown to her by another family member in twenty-one years, prompted a laugh from Nikola. She couldn’t believe her own family. The again, she barely knew them.

    “Nana, I’ve never been okay, not since I was three. The fact that you have to call from-…” she stopped, not knowing where she lived.

    “Paris,” she offered.

    “Paris, thank you. The fact that you have to call from Paris to ask me that is a problem for me. You see you’re part of the reason why I’m not okay, you and the rest of the strangers that call themselves family.”

    “Nikola, I just wanted to see if you were alright, “ she repeated. Nikola, on the other hand, was just getting started.

    “Just wanted to see if I was alright? Why didn’t you come ‘see’ when I was sick? When I was in and out of orphanages? Or how about when I was having trouble in school? Where was you concern for my well being then? Why weren’t you there!” she yelled, anger swallowing her docile nature.

    He watched from the shadows, a cold, all-knowing smile twisting the mysteriously magnificent features of his oval face. He could hear both sides of the argument, even from where he stood. It was a perk he’d gained when he’d joined the ranks of what he was now known as. He was a hunter in the night, a thief of lives, and an immortal vampire. Immortal, that is if he didn’t lose his head or had the yearning to see the sun rise or set again.

    He licked his lips, glistening red, like a ruby in the sunshine. The blissfully sweet taste of blood made him shiver in anticipation. It made him yearn to bite her lovely neck, to tear away the supple flesh on that one spot and drink until his unmoving hearts content. He gave a silent chuckle, looking down at the limp form he held in his arms.

    “I do hope she likes her gift,” he smiled so that his fangs were bared.

    Nikola slammed the phone back on the hook, chest heaving after ranting at her grandmother for five long minutes. She could now safely say, that the entire family blamed her for what happened to her parents. Their only reason for it is because she survived and they didn’t. Apparently the life of a child isn’t worth much in her family. If she weren’t so angry at that moment, she’d be in tears.

    She stomped off, around her house and in to her neighbours yard. It took her a few moments but she located Sandy and pulled her back to the back door. It was closed, but she’d left it opened, and the lights were off when she’d left them on. Kodi Whimpered in the corner of the porch, tail between his legs. Sandy on the other hand was pulling like there was no tomorrow on her collar, urging her to let her in. She obliged, grumbling further.

    When she switched on the lights, however, her mood changed just like that. Her eyes grew wide, her mouth dropped and she feel back against the wall, next to the phone. Before her was a human skull sitting upon her kitchen counter, and a smeared blood trail leading into the hall and right to the “quiet room” door.

    “Good lord in Heaven,” she said, praying for forgiveness for what ever she might have done wrong. Fear gripped her heart and she was blinking wildly, hoping that the scene would disappear each time she did. Every fibre in her being told her she should run or to scream so the next house could hear her, But she did neither. A smaller and more dominant part told her to investigate, and that is what she planned to do.

    She reached for the phone, and dialled Marisol’s cell phone. Under normal circumstances she’d be calling the police, but she would rather have someone she trust just a bit come here to see this, than many whom she didn’t trust at all. She waited a few moments, allowing it to ring once… twice, on the third ring she looked up at the quiet room door. There was a ringing coming form inside the chamber. Her heart sank even lower, if it were at all possible. She was filled with more fear and more dread as she did the math. Marisol never left her cell phone, except when she went to bed. So if there was a ringing in there, then… She stopped herself before she could go any further with the thought.

    She looked from the door, to the skull, to Kodi, then to the blood. Why wasn’t she running? She hung up the phone, and slowly, consciously making an effort to avoid the bloody trail, walked to the closed door. Sandy was scratching at it madly, like she was possessed. She gave a few growls, letting Nikola know she wanted in, and she wanted in right now. Nikola numbly, though every muscle in her body fought it, reached for the cold brass of the doorknob and threw open the door.

    Nothing seemed out of place, all the piles of books and boxes were as she left them, the curtains still closed, but the chair, the chair looked different. It looked like someone was sitting in it.

    “Marisol?” she said timidly, feeling the oppressiveness of the dark weighing in on her. She swallowed hard.

    “Turn on the light Nikola,” whispered that same cold voice in her mind. No! She thought, too afraid to see what was waiting for her.

    “Are you afraid Nikola? Are you going to be a coward like your father?” the voice taunted. Nikola straightened up at that last comment. How dare her! How dare her besmirch her fathers memory by calling him a coward. She frowned. To prove to this creature that she was no coward and neither was her father, she tuned on the light. She regretted it instantly.

    Sitting there in her chair, where’d she been moments before, was her dear Marisol and at her feet, poor Arabella. Both their throats had been torn savagely, as if wolves or something bigger had attacked them. She became dizzy and fell back into the wall. She the med student couldn’t stand the site of so much blood. She fought to keep the bile that had risen down as tears forced their way out and down her cheeks.

    “No, not you two. Why?” she asked, her voice cracking in despair. Why was she being tormented so?

    “Nikola, your mother wishes to know why you’re crying like a baby. She wishes for you to come join her,” he purred, as if he were right beside her. She stumbled to the doorway and looked at the skull on her counter. She vomited right there. When she’d finished, she wiped her mouth on the sleeve of her jacket and ran to her room to retrieve her keys. She didn’t care how she was dressed, she was leaving this house, and she was leaving right now. She didn’t know where she was going to go, but it was going to far from here.

    In less time then it took for her to pull out of the driveway, she was in front of the cathedral. Her safe haven, and the only place she could go to get away from the demon plaguing her. She ran down the isle of pews and right up to the altar, tears blinding her completely as she looked up at the giant cross hanging form the wall.

    “Why!” She yelled. The church was empty, the fathers and sisters had long since left to go to their own warm beds and safe homes.

    “God can’t hear you, Nikola” came that cruel voice from behind her. She turned sharply, just in time to see a man, who looked like any other making his way towards her. He had dark hair and dark eyes; the same eyes she’d gazed into on that horrible night, and the palest skin she’d ever seen. He carried himself like a man with a purpose, and that purpose was to kill her.

    In a split second he disappeared, and then was right in front of her, nose to nose. She didn’t know how he did it, nor did she want to know. She just wanted to get way from him.

    “You can’t be here!” she screamed, running to the baptismal basin near the other end of the altar.

    “This is hallowed ground!” He laughed, long and hard at this woman’s stupidity.

    “Not everything in the stories are true,” he was gone again, but she knew moments later that he was behind her as an arm wrapped its self around her neck.

    “But the part about us draining you dry, that’s true.”

    She screamed and grabbed an open bottle of holy water and threw its contents behind her. He cried out in agony as the blessed water burned his flesh. She stumbled away and turned to admire her handiwork. To her horror, the red boils that had appeared, were disappearing just as quickly. Before she knew it, it was like his skin had never been marred.

    He held her gaze for a long moment, and in that moment she realized that she couldn’t move. The gaze filled her with such fear that her body just didn’t want to move. She was rooted to the spot with nowhere’s to go. He swiftly walked behind her, and grabbed her arm with bruising force, to ensure that she wasn’t going anywhere.

    “I was going to torture you,” he whispered, brushing away the hair on her neck, “but I think I found a better way to make you suffer,” he bit down hard causing her to cry out in pain, but nothing but a whispered scream left her lips. She became dizzy as her blood was drained away. Next came the weakness in her knees and the incapability to stand up, then darkness. She was only vaguely aware of her fading heartbeat, then nothing.

    A chilled wind blew her auburn locks about her pale face, blue eyes surveying her next target. She’d learned the tricks of the trade from Michel, the one who made her. Her father. Now she was on her own, looking for her next sumptuous piece of the human pie. He left the bar when she thought he would, and made it all the more easier for her to take him. Life never tasted so sweet.