Dead & Dealing

Slave to Sarah Von Waltz

"I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you mean something else entirely." I said from under underwear clad older sister.

"I do not mean sex." Sarah said flatly. "Ignoring that you are my brother, you do not suit my tastes."

"It's not me, it's you." I chuckled. "If I had a nickel for every time . . ."

"I wish to know you better and you me." Sarah explained.

"And that calls for holding me down while you're in your underwear?"

"I forgot. You are still so young." Sarah got off of me and I sat up. "You are unaware of the Sibling's Embrace."

"I'm going to guess it's not your common everyday get-a-weird-tingling-down- there kind of embrace you hear that happens all the time in the South?"

"No." Sarah said flatly clearly not in the mood for jokes. "It is a way for siblings to share their lives more intimately than simply retelling their lives to one another."

"Now when you say intimately?"

"Sex is not required, but I heard it can help." She looked unsure. "I've also heard the opposite. However they agree on the rest."

"Which is?"

"We are to drain each other of blood simultaneously." She motioned between us. "I would bite you and drink your blood while you do the same to me. It is called the Sibling's Embrace simply because it appears as if we are embracing each other."

"Not to mention it's also a play on words in way." I added. "We are embracing and welcoming each other's lives into ourselves. Poetic of sorts."

"To be honest, I am not certain as to how it works. It is magic after all."

"Well, theoretically speaking, we are brain dead." I thought how to word my theory. "Yet we can remember our human lives, make new memories, and otherwise function as we had a living brain. Perhaps, while we lay dead after we're turned, our memories are transferred into our blood. Unfortunately, I can't of any way to prove it either way."

"Best not to question magic." Sarah warned.

"Whether it's science or sorcery." I laid down on the bed. "Rules are rules. The trick is figuring them out."

"If you say so." Sarah then asked. "Do wish to continue?"

"Honestly? I'm hesitant." I pushed myself up to look at her. "Why do want to?"

"It has been nearly two centuries since I was turned." Sarah sat next to me, but leaned on her knees refusing to look at me. "For most of that time, I believed the only woman I have ever loved and loved me more than I had ever experienced with any human had perished long ago in a fire. Naturally I blamed myself and believed it true for centuries." She looked up at me, her eyes betraying her emotionless face. "Now I find that not only she survived, but did not seek me out and sired another child. Another child who happens to be a man."

"A man?" That last part puzzled me. "I don't understand how that surprises you."

"When we were together for about ten years, she refused to bed any man." Sarah shook her head. "She gave no explanation as to why and I thought nothing of it. I just took it to mean she preferred women. After all, most men in those times were more animal than anything. Especially to women of color."

"I didn't know that." I said as I remembered. "Now you mention it, she always did feed and bedded women. I thought she did it for my benefit since I do not enjoy men. Feed from them, yes, but that's it."

"Now do you understand I wish to do this?"

"I do." I said as I began to undress. "Anything I need to know before we begin?"

"No. I have shared everything I know with you. We simply drain each other until we both lose consciousness. From there we should experience each other's memories according to what I've heard."

"How long does that take? Or is it while we sleep for the day?"

"I don't know." She looked towards the closet. "Is your coffin in there below the floorboards?"

"Yes." I said, now clad in my boxers. "But I light proofed the room so I can sleep in the bed. I haven't slept in a coffin for years now."

"And your nestmates?"

"Kim will be smart enough to figure out where the empty space is for her and Tasha. They'll be fine." I pulled back the sheets and climbed in. "Hop in."

Sarah climbed in and I covered us. I wasn't sure how to proceed, but Sarah did not share my hesitation. She huddled close like SHE often did when we made love. She opened her arms and pulled me close, entangling our legs in the process, so her face rested in the crook my shoulder and mine hers. Then she nuzzled my neck and I felt her relax, just slightly as if my scent erased any doubt she had about my maker, before she quickly bit my neck. I growled in excitement at the sensation, you'd be hard pressed to find a vampire that wouldn't be, before I bit down on her neck.

It quickly became apparent, siblings or not, the closeness of our bodies and the thrill of feeding was too much to ignore. It was worse for me since I had kept myself busy for the past several months both feeding properly and sex. I imagine it was the same for a relapsing alcoholic or smoker. My hands drifted across the small of her back and I felt three distinct ridges in her otherwise flawless skin. My hands continued learning the shape of her solid muscular body. Part of me thought she had significantly active before she was turned and had almost no body fat.

I was not the only one excited. With a growl, Sarah rolled me onto my back. She dragged her nails up and down my sides as she began grinding into me. She only paused when she stopped feeding from my neck. She pulled away and sat up. Before I was aware of it, she seized the sides of head roughly and brought me to her mouth. I'd be lying if I said I fought her. At this point, we both were on the verge of switching off our brains and let our bodies have what they want. At least I was. We continued kissing, if you call it that. Sarah was far rougher than I was used to. So much in fact, my fangs dug into her almost as much as hers into me. Apparently this was just an average thing for her. Sarah pulled me away before shoving me back down and bit my neck again. I bit back down on her neck just as she resumed grinding against me. After a minute or so, she sped up and deepened her thrusts and I massaged her breast having ripped her bra away in the chaos. It wasn't long before I came, but Sarah just kept going though she did slow as time went on.

I was beginning to feel weak when I felt Sarah shudder and collapsed on top of me. It was becoming a challenge to focus and move as the blood loss took its toll on me. Sarah was also feeling it as she rolled off to my side. My vision blurred for a moment before Sarah pulled herself up and positioned herself so we both could continue feeding. It us a whole minute to bite down and summon the strength to suck what remained of each other's blood.

I don't if it was the next second or the next hour, but the entire world went black.

Suddenly, the darkness around me began to glow and swirl. Piece by piece the world began to form. First the ground. A dirt road stretched until it was out of view on both sides. It was very dry, dusty, and unpaved. It was the kind of road that formed from years of people walking along it so no grass grew. It would probably more of hassle than it was worth when rain came and turned the road into a muddy ditch.

Next, the sky faded into place.

I wasn't aware how much I had missed it until that moment. It was as pristine as I remembered. The same shade of light blue I saw on my last day as human. A brief moment of panic came over me as I realized it was day, but I was not harmed. No smoking or immense pain of being burned alive. On the contrary, all I felt was the pleasant warmth the sunlight brought to my skin. Not even my eyes ached after so much time in the dark. It was as if I had never been turned.

The rest came much more quickly. Old wooden buildings snapped into place as did horses and people. If I hadn't known better, I would have thought I had just stepped into a western. Women wore large wide frilly dresses with huge amounts of lace with matching hats as they carried frilly white umbrella. Parasols I think they were called. Those were few and far between. Most women had simple and plain looking dresses with bonnet framing their faces. I surmised they were the "middle class" that couldn't afford such extravagant clothes. Either way, their dress were nothing like the ones I was accustomed to seeing on women. They were so long and didn't allow to show the slightest bit of skin other than the hands and faces.

Men were more or less what I expected. Some were dirty with long unkempt beards and sported clothes that probably could stand on their own. Others were clean shaven, or had well trimmed bushy mustaches, with pressed suits and top hots or bowlers and polished shoes. Like the the "high class" women, actually cowboys were few. At least what I expected cowboys to be — clinking spurs on pointed leather boots, armed with large knives and revolvers on their hips, and the classic high-crowned, wide-brimmed Stetsonhats.

It took me a moment, but I realized most of the townspeople were gathering at the edge of town. Just as the thought crossed my mind, I was suddenly standing in the middle of the crowd as if I had been there. The only evidence to the contrary, no one reacted to a scrawny pale white boy appearing out of thin air.

I looked up at some sort of stage. Technically, it was a scaffold. A man in a white suit and hat with thick mustache walked and began speaking. It was as if I had gone deaf. His mouth moved and people laughed, but I didn't hear a word. He clapped his hands and called for someone just off to the side to join him. The crowd was too thick to see, but it didn't matter. I wouldn't have wanted to see anyway. As soon as the first person came into sight, although no one there would have even thought to use the word person, I came to horrid realization of what I was seeing. I was seeing probably one of the darkest and most shameful parts of my country's history.

The townspeople were gathering at a slave auction.

There were five on stage behind the auctioneer. Other than some rags, probably the remains of a potato sack, sewn to resemble shorts and the ever present iron chains, the slaves were naked. Two were lean and were just an inch or two shorter than the auctioneer while the other three were much larger and thicker. Regardless of their builds, their bodies were hard with rippling muscles. The larger of them could have had promise careers as professional body builder or wrestlers if they had been fortunate enough to be before a century and half later.

I watched in silence as all five were sold within the hour. Each time one was sold and they stepped down from the stage another slave would have to take their place. This continued for what felt like days, but it couldn't have been more than two hours, until the stage was empty. I thought perhaps it was finally over then the auctioneer waved on more slave to take the stage. The only difference was the slaves were women instead of men. Unlike the men, they were fully clothed. Granted they were the same potato sack rags as the men, but better than being naked which were some of the men practically were. Their ages varied from teenagers to middle aged. They were just as fit as the men and the few that were not I took to mean they were slaves that worked tending to the home rather than the fields.

Only one was not alone. One of the women had a daughter chained to her ankle. The child couldn't have been more than eight years old and was terrified out of her mind. She huddled behind her mother who did her best to keep her calm and from crying. I had way of knowing, but I was certain.

That little girl was Sarah

Sometimes my gift was anything but. Like now for example. I knew from years of school that is was all too common for families to become separated from each other, never to see each other for the rest of their miserable lives, all because white slave owner wanted a few more dollars and sold each member separately. However knowing that did help me in the slightest as I was forced to watch as Sarah's mother beg and cry to not be taken from her daughter. At least the man, a paunchy short man with a salt and pepper handle bar mustache, looked hesitant. I watched as he spoke with the auctioneer who responded by holding two fingers and mouthed twenty. I would learn later that was the equivalent of roughly three hundred dollars in modern currency.

Clearly, the man did not have that kind of money after purchasing Sarah's mother. If it wasn't for the fact I was just reliving a memory and I was hardly more than a ghost, I probably would have turned the entire town in a slaughterhouse rather than stand and watch as Sarah's mother was dragged off the screaming for her child. What sickened me almost as much was the lack of surprise on the townspeople as if this happened everyday. Not even a hint of pity when Sarah, now crying, was carried off the stage and handed to a blonde man a few minutes later.

Then the world shifted and swirled around me.

Just as the blond man was counting out very large bills, I found myself standing in front of a large white house. It was the actual White House, but it was quite big. I looked around and saw I was on a cotton plantation and it was being worked by dozens upon dozens of slaves with an overseer on horse posted every few hundred yards.

Then suddenly I heard the crack of a whip followed by a scream. I turned and really wished I hadn't. An older Sarah was tied to a tree with the back of her clothes ripped open. Three bloody gashes ran along her left shoulder across the small of her back to just above her right buttock. It was then I realized what the those ridges I had felt when I ran my hands along her back.

I'm proud to say I forgot where I was and pounced like Bengal tiger on a water buffalo. Perhaps, like many animals, vampire have a natural protection instinct when it came to siblings. I had, after all, only known Sarah for a few hours at most and here I was trying to kill a worthless excuse for a human being that had died centuries ago. It could simply be that persecution was one of my buttons. I'd like to think it was a bit of both.

I landed hard on the ground, but I felt no pain. It was no different than being lowered gently on the ground except at far greater speed. I turned to see the man was standing right in the middle of each of my shins. I pulled my legs up and they passed right through. He didn't even blink or gave any indication I was even there as he raised the whip again to continue.

"Vater!" cried a voice in German. "Warum tust du das ?!"

The paused to look and stood to see as well.

He was medium height young man with not day over twenty on him or so. He was handsome with blondish gold hair neatly comb to the side and sky blue eyes. He also an incredibly smooth and tanned complexion. He was thinnish, but not overly so and had enough muscle that he could not be considered sickly. He was wearing a shirt, stained with dirt and sweat, tucked into a pair of pants with suspenders. On his feet were worn and mud caked boots. He was being accompanied by a small black boy who was carrying a brown leather doctor's bag.

What surprised me more was the fact the boy had clearly spoken German, a language I had never learned. Yet, I understood every word. Then I remembered I was reliving Sarah's memory. I might not speak German, but she certainly did. I might be hearing everything as she had, but whatever magic that was allowing me to be here was also translating in way. Like the TARDIS telepathically converting everything into English on Doctor Who in real time. They might be speaking German, but I mentally understood in English.

"Nevermind me, Christoph!" barked the man whom I assumed was Christoph's father. "Get back to your chores!"

"Why are you whipping her?!" Christoph demanded.

"To punish her!" he sneered. "Why else?!"

"What did she do?"

"Magda caught her stealing whiskey from the kitchen."

"Nein!" cried Sarah. "Overseer Joshua —"

"Quiet you!" Christoph's father raise the whip again, but his son caught his arm.

"She said Joshua." Christoph stared daggers at his father. "You've seen how he is never without a bottle in hand." He called out to the boy in English. "Samuel, go find Joshua. Tell him my father want to speak with him now!"

The boy nodded and took off running toward the cotton fields.

Christoph released his father's arm and flashed him a look of pure hatred. His father flinched as Christoph snatched the Bowie knife from his belt. For the smallest moment, so small I barely noticed myself, Christoph was toying with the idea of burying the knife in his father's neck. Instead he simply walked to Sarah was crying in agony. I watched as he hurriedly cut the ropes that bound her to the tree. The second he did, Sarah fell to her knees and then over. It seems that only the tightness of the rope were all that were keeping her on her feet.

To my surprise, Christoph quickly rushed to her and gathered her in his arms. He took out a pocket watch from his pants and examined it for fifteen seconds. He appeared to be taking her pulse as he looked worried. He pocketed the watch and stood with Sarah in his arms. He turned toward a small building east of the main house.

"Where do you think you're taking her?!" the father barked in German.

"To the infirmary to treat her." Christoph shot back without stopping. "That's why you had it built and sent me to that medical school, remember? So you wouldn't have to call on the doctor all the way in town."

"It's for us."

"It's for whomever I say it is for."

I blinked and I was standing in a small room with a bed and cabinets. There also was a bookshelf filled with my medical books and small iron stove to keep the room warm in the winter and boil water. Sarah was laying on the bed on her stomach as Christoph cleaned the wounds on her back. He sat in a chair dabbing away at the dirt and dried blood with a wet rag he'd squeeze and rinse into a bowl of water. I noticed how carefully and gently he went about treating Sarah. It was almost as if he actually cared for her.

He made some sort of paste with dried herbs and warm water in a mortar and carefully spread it on long scraps of cloth and applied them to to her back. He then retrieved a long piece of cloth from a nearby cabinet and cut it to fit to Sarah's shape. Once he had that, he reached into a doctor's bag on the floor and took out a small stopped clay jar and paint brush. He dipped the brush into the jar and began applying a generous amount of honey along the edge. He worked quickly and draped it on Sarah's back. He pressed on the edges to seal the cloth against her skin.

"I'm sorry I was not there to protect you." Christoph said quietly in German. "I was tending to Lionel in the kitchen. Fool boy doesn't seem to realize boiling water is hot."

"It is not your fault." Sarah moved to face Christoph, but winced.

"Try not to move." Christoph knelt to face Sarah. "That poultice should help with pain and help fight any infection, but your back will take time to heal. Tonight, when I change your bandages, I will see if I can stitch them together so your skin knits together properly."

"What would I do without you?" Sarah smiled sweetly and caressed Christoph's face. "My sweet little schatz."

"And I you." Christoph took her hand in his and kissed it. "My Liebling."

"Do you think he knows about us?" Sarah whispered.

"No." Christoph sighed. "But he probably suspects something after today."

They continued speaking and I was convinced. I knew many southern slave owner used black women as literal sex slaves, often having children with them, but Christoph was not the case. He clearly cared for and loved Sarah. Naturally, circumstances forced them to hide their relationship. Christoph's father would probably kill Sarah or, at the very least, sell her and arrange a wife for Christoph to separate them. God forbid Sarah had his children.

Like before the world swirled.

I was still standing in the infirmary, but clearly some time had passed. At least a year judging by Sarah's appearance. Sarah had recovered in that time as she bent and reached for various items and quickly stuffed them in a doctor's bag. I looked around saw that, while the furniture was still in same places as before, most of the room was bare. I followed as Sarah closed the bag and ran out to the main house.

A small group was gathered in front. A few house slaves, some of the overseers, and couple that was Christoph's mother and father. Christoph himself was mounted on a horse with bulging saddlebags. His mother handed him a familiar looking hat. It was black with a ring of claws around the brim. I realized it was the same hat Sarah had been wearing tonight. He was also wearing an eerily familiar tanned duster. Christoph's father handed him a rolled up paper wrapped in leather just as Sarah arrived with the bag. She handed the bag Christoph and carefully retreated.

"Where do you think you're going?" Christoph asked Sarah.

"Sir?" Sarah looked up.

"Get on." Christoph held up the leather wrapped piece of paper. "According to this, I am your new master. A gift from my father. You will accompany me to Fort Wesson and tend to me as you do here." He held out a hand. "Now get on."

Sarah mounted and they took off at a light pace.

The world shifted and swirled once more and I found I was standing under a large oak tree at night. Christoph and Sarah were sitting next to each other as they roasted a rabbit over a small cook fire. They must have made camp for night.

"You have refused to talk about it all day." Sarah told him. "Why did you not tell me that you were leaving for Fort Wesson to teach medicine until last week?"

"Because I am not." Christoph said with a wry smile.

"But your father said the army sent a letter asking for you after treating that doctor in town."

"Yes, I did treat an army doctor, but that was the extent of it. It was then it gave me an idea" Christoph explained. "I had Samuel hand deliver a letter to Bonnie at the General Store and have her mail it to me in a month. I sent her some money to not tell anyone."

"I do not understand."

"Fort Messon is two weeks away to the far west almost on the coast of California. We will be heading east in the opposite direction away from New Mexico." Christoph smiled again. "If everything goes as planned, my father won't know anything is amiss for at least a month and we'll be gone by that time in the opposite direction."

"But what will you do?"

"For now, I'm focused on reaching Oklahoma by the end of the month and then head northeast until we reach New York City. From what I hear, it is always in need of doctors."

"What of me?" Sarah asked. "Am to assist you?"

"No." Christoph shook his head. "You will have your hands full with the children."

"Children?" Sarah looked and froze when she saw what Christoph was holding. "What child -"

He held up a two simple golden rings. "They belonged to my grandparents before they died in Dusseldorf."

"I -I-I. " It was all Sarah could say.

"My mother gave me this so I could propose to a woman properly." He held on out. "So, Sarah, will you marry me and become Sarah Von Waltz?"

Rather than answer, Sarah kissed him deeply on the mouth before pushing him down on the ground. From there, things proceeded how one would expect them to.

Truth be told, it was sweet. Christoph had essentially chosen Sarah, a black woman slave, over his family. I only hoped they had lived a happy life together before Sarah was turned. I doubted it. It was rare that anything good came out of being turned. At least not right away.

I blinked and I was suddenly standing in front a building across a dirt road from a saloon. It was very early with the sun just beginning to rise. Sarah was securing everything on saddlebag of a horse. Her clothes had changed. Instead of the rags that she had been wearing when Christoph proposed, she traveled worn pants and boots. She didn't have a holster or weapons of any kind, naturally due to her status as property, except for the hilt of knife sticking out of a boot. Her hair was clean and had been braided into a tail.

Suddenly a chair flew out of a window on the second floor of the saloon. Sarah turned to see a chubby man squeeze through the window. To my surpsie Sarah smiled and pulled the cord on a rolled up pack. In the blink of an eye, three rifles revealed themselves snug in leather harnesses sewned into the roll. Sarah took the top one, a Henry repeating rifle I would alter learn, and checked the chamber.

By that time, the man has climbed down the side of the saloon and had just mounted a horse. He quickly took off south and blurred past Sarah. Like she had done it several times already, Sarah closed one eye as she took aim and fired. The bullet didn't miss outright, grazing the man's left arm, but it didn't stop him. She quickly worked the lever and took aim again before firing twice more. The second shot grazed the horse, but the third found it's mark and the man fell right off as the horse continued galloping into the distance.

Just the man hit the ground Christoph came out from the saloon, a revolver in hand. Without missing a beat, he ran to Sarah who tossed him the rifle.

"I counted three shots." Christoph teased in German. "You're slipping."

"I'm tired." Sarah countered. "I didn't sleep well last night."

"And whose fault is that?"

"And shirk my wifely duties?" Sarah kissed her husband. "Not in a million years."

"What in the of the virgin mary is goin' on here?"

They both turned to face an older man, with graying beard and mustache with a sheriff's badge pinned to his chest. He had a revolver in his holster and shotgun in his hands. Behind him were two young looking men that wore similar badges, his deputies.

"Sorry for the abrupt wake up, Sheriff." Christoph took out sheet of paper from his back pocket and unfolded it before handing it to the sheriff. "But no rest for the wicked."

"John Williamson." The sheriff read. "Wanted for robbery and murder. Reward's for two hundred dollars." He looked over to his deputies and showed the paper. "This man check his iron before you let him into town."

"Well, sure he did." The younger one said. "Came in about three days ago, I think. Said he was on his way to visit family or somethin' like that. Didn't put no fuss about it like most folk did."

"And did you check to see if he matched any of them new wanted posters we got last week?" His superior demanded. "Like Jim here told ya to?"

"No one told me nothing." He shrugged.

"I don't mean to interrupt." Christoph pointed to where John's body laid. "But seeing as he's dead either way, may I have the money promised?"

"Alright." The sheriff motioned for them to follow. "I got the money for you bounty hunters in a safe in the jail. Dale and Jim here will go get ol'John over there and bring him back. If he checks out, you'll have your money with no fuss."

"Should I bring the horse?" Sarah asked.

"Who's she?"

"She is with me." Christoph answered automatically. "Takes care of the horse and buys supplies when we come into town while I'm busy."

"Oh." The sheriff nodded. "You can hitch your nag on the post out front."

I blinked and found myself following Sarah and Christoph as they traveled on horseback. Judging the by the sun, they appeared to be traveling north. They could have been heading south, but I doubted it.

"I thought you said you wanted to be a doctor." Sarah said in German.

"I still do." Christoph protested. "That's why we're heading to New York City."

"That was a year ago." Sarah remarked.

"And?"

"We've only now reached halfway through Kentucky. I know we need money, but this bounty hunting is delaying us too much."

"I recall you practically jumping with joy when I brought it up. You said, kill white people and get paid for it? What's not to like?"

"Evil white people." She corrected. "I stand by what I said, and I still do, but what about raising family? We won't be young forever."

"We have plenty of time." Christoph sighed. "But I understand. We should avoid chasing bounties for so long. That John man alone took two weeks of running in circles."

"I'm not saying we stop altogether." Sarah hugged Christoph and planted a kiss on his neck. "If one just happens to fall in our lap . . . we could always use a few dollars."

"What do you say if we pick up the pace and reach Lexington tonight instead of tomorrow morning?" Christoph asked wryly.

"We'll have to let Fritz rest when we reach it." Sarah said innocently

"Oh, I think we can find something to do while she does."

The world swirled again.

It was like being dropped at the climax of a movie. Gunshots erupted from half a dozen rifles as Sarah raced through a swamp on horseback. It was night with the full moon providing the only light on the muddy path. Sarah did not even flinch as bullets passed only inches away from her face only to bury themselves in the trunks of tress, erupting in an explosions of splinters. Even in the pale moon light, I could see Sarah was exhausted. She was struggling to keep her eyes open and constantly shook her head as she continued to push her horse to the limit. Who knew how long she was being chased. As to why, I surmised the had bitten off more than they could chew with their bounty hunting.

It wasn't until that her horse leapt over fallen log that I finally saw Christoph. He was draped across the horse in front of Sarah and had been tied down to prevent him from fallen. I also saw at least four bullet wounds on his back. Even if somehow all four had missed something vital, it was rare even with modern medical techniques that could survive that. It was a shame. In another life, Sarah and Christoph probably could have had a happy life together.

As soon as they cleared the log, Sarah pulled on the reins. The horse slid to stop and Sarah looked back at a small cluster of lanterns closing in. She looked ahead to the empty path and seemed to be formulating a plan. She took the revolver from Christoph's holster and stuck it in her waistband and slowly dismounted. Her left leg buckled and she almost fell to her knees. She looked down and saw blood staining her pant leg. With a snarl, she snatched a shotgun and checked it was loaded. It was. She slapped the horse's hindquarters and it took off as she limped off the path behind a tree.

Sarah hardly had to wait a minute as the sound of galloping horses mixed with yelling of men began to grow louder. A moment later, six men on horseback galloped past. With a deep breath, Sarah emerged and took aim.

The first shot took the man in back of group forward off his horse. Before he was halfway to the ground, Sarah fired the second barrel and it took half of another man's face. He hit the ground a full second after the first with a muddy splash. By that time, the rest of the group realized that Sarah had managed to disappear and reappear behind them and began to turn, but even horses could not turn on dime at full speed.

Even though she had taken out two men, Sarah still had four armed men to deal with and she had already given away her position. However, she had a slight advantage. She had planned ahead while they could only react.

Rather than reloading the shotgun, Sarah dropped it as she drew Christoph's revolver. She took quickly thumbed back the hammer and fired. The bullet missed and hit a lantern. Even with the moonlight and the lanterns, it was difficult to see in the darkness. At least for human eyes, I could see perfectly fine. However, it did cause the lantern to explode and the sudden burst of light was enough to make the nearest man to shield his eyes. It also gave enough light for Sarah to fire off another round it caught the man in the neck. It didn't kill him outright like the first two, but raging river of blood running down his neck as he choked and gurgled was see to that he did soon enough. He quickly lost his balance and toppled off his horse. That made three down and three more to go.

If I was watching a movie, I'd complain on how it failed to create tension when I knew perfectly well that Sarah was in no real danger seeing as how she survived long enough to be that as the case, I was on the edge of my seat so to speak.

To my surprise, one of the men took off running, screaming ,"Fuck this! I ain't lettin' some coon kill me!"

The other two however did not share his fear and fired at Sarah. She managed to move, despite her injured leg, but a round in hip. it split a canteen, drenching the ground by Sarah with water, on her belt, but it appeared that was the only thing that had been hit. It also had enough force to knock Sarah off balance and combined with her injured leg, it was enough for her to totter to the ground. What happened next was nothing short that a work of God. It was million to one shot, but it happened. Not even aiming, Sarah reflexively clenched her hand and the trigger with it. I watched as the round shot of the barrel, across the space between Sarah and her attackers, and split the skull of a horse.

The horse collapsed like puppet that just had its strings cut with its rider along for the ride. That ride would be his last. Falling six feet from a horse is dangerous enough, but it is even worse when all one thousand pounds of dead weight follow you. Had he simply fallen off, all the tree trunk would have done was give him a survivable concussion. Instead, the weight of his dead horse fell with him and his neck was unable to bear its weight and snapped it like a toothpick.

However, Sarah's feat was short lived as the second and final rider's round plowed into her left shoulder. Sarah cried in agony as she landed hard in the mud. Sarah gritted her teeth while she held her wounded shoulder. Blood poured from the injury soaking what was left her shirt and staining her palm crimson. I looked over to the man on the horse. He pulled the trigger and thumbed back the hammer on his revolver half a dozen times before he was sure it was empty. He reached for more ammunition on his belt, but came up empty. That was when he reached into a saddlebag just behind him on his right. I though he was reaching for a rifle or another pistol, but I was wrong.

Whomever the man was, he was either a veteran of the U.S - Mexican war and kept a souvenir or had known one. He held a 1840 Cavalry Saber. I had no way of know for certain, but the name of the weapon popped into my head easily as if I was giving my name. There was not a moment of hesitation. I also knew it had a a ridge around its quillon, a leather grip wrapped in wire, and a flat, slotted throat. It was forty-four inches in length with a thirty-five inch blade.

The man dug in his spurs and charged Sarah with battle yell of the desperately angered.

That yell was probably the worst mistake he could have made. It was just enough to snap Sarah back to the present. Naturally, she had been occupied in dealing with the pain that came with even the slightest movement. She looked up to see a lone man charging at her with a sword, half leaning out and low to compensate for her low position. She tried to stand, but her shoulder and leg proved too much to allow it. It did allow her to realize that she had dropped her revolver only a few inches from her knee. She quickly snatched it up and pulled the trigger only to hear a click. She thumbed back the hammer and pulled the trigger. Again, click. By this time, the rider was almost on her with the intent of taking her head. With nothing to lose and no time for another shot, Sarah thumbed back the hammer and pulled the trigger.

A cone of light and sparks erupted from the end of the barrel. The rider reacted as if something had struck him in the chest just a red and wet splotch appeared right over his sternum. He lost his grip on both the reins and the sword as he toppled off the horse and rolled, stopping at Sarah's feet. The horse, no doubt not wishing to join his master and brethren, continued running past Sarah and disappeared behind a cluster of trees.

With the last of the threats dealt with, Sarah did the only thing she could do and fell back down on her back. She was at her limit. Her leg had been severely injured and it probably had been days since she last slept or eaten. She had used the last of her strength to deal with her pursuers. While she had survived, she was not out of danger yet. There still was that one rider that took off. He couldn't have gotten far and the lull in gunfire would probably be enough to arouse his curiosity enough to investigate. I doubted, and probably Sarah, he would flee for a second time.

Call it divine intervention, fate, or just the biggest coincidence in the world a figure approached from around the bend in the trail. I thought it was the fleeing rider, but I was wrong. It was a horse, Sarah's horse. Christoph's limp body still hung on either side as it picked it's way toward Sarah. It nudged the dead horse's body and rolled body over. It appeared as if it was searching for something. Or someone. It was when it came to investigate the body closest to her that it finally noticed Sarah.

It nudged her gently in the side, but got no reaction. It tried again, a bit harder this time and Sarah groaned. The horse nickered and shook its head before it licked Sarah's face. She moaned as she opened her eyes.

"Fritz?" She said weary beyond words. "You came back."

Without a word from Sarah, Fritz picked up the shotgun from the mud and dropped it by Sarah. Then, as if he knew what needed to be done, he knelt low and looked to Sarah. Using the shotgun for support, Sarah forced herself up and got in the saddle. With sluggish hands, she grabbed the reins and urged Fritz forward.

I blinked and found myself standing by a large tree in small clearing. I wasn't sure how much time had passed, but it couldn't be more than a few hours. Perhaps even a day. It was still night and Christoph was still tied to Fritz who was laying down around a dying campfire and tied himself to smaller tree that had fallen some time ago. Sarah was dead asleep leaning against the tree to keep her upright. She was not sleeping well. Her breathing was strained and her body was shivering despite being wrapped in a heavy blanket. Every now and then she would wake and cough before falling back asleep.

Suddenly, Fritz's ears twitched and he suddenly whipped his head to the darkness. He nickered as stood stock still like a statue, except for his ear that moved like antennae. He seemed to calm down for a moment until a gentle breeze blew toward them. Fritz's eyes went wide and he neighed loudly and struggled to quickly stand so he could run. It wasn't until that he took two steps that he realized he was tied to a much larger and heavier tree. That still didn't stop him from yanking and neighing in a panicked frenzy.

Naturally, all this noise was enough to wake Sarah, tired and sick as she was. It took her a moment, but she managed to pull out the shotgun from under the blanket. Stifling a fit of coughing, Sarah thumbed back the hammer slowly as she stared into the darkness for the faintest hint of movement.

That was all he would ever see.

Suddenly, a shot rang out and an explosion of blood and bone erupted between his eyes. Like a sack of rocks, Fritz collapsed and moved no more. Sarah fired both rounds in the direction of the flash. She waited a moment before a man emerged from the darkness, just on the edge of fire light. He was had a revolver pointed at her.

Sarah broke open the shotgun, but the man fired into the air and she froze. He motioned to the side and thumbed back the hammer. With no choice, she tossed the shotgun to the side which wasn't far due to her injured shoulder. He began to walker closer speaking, but his words were garbled and impossible to make out. Sarah was suffering from significant blood loss, lack of sleep, and I wagered an infection from her leg. If I was reliving her memories, it made sense I would experience as she did. If she couldn't make out the man's words, then I couldn't either.

He was smiling now and standing across from Sarah on the opposite side of the campfire. He was beyond ugly. Cracking yellow tombstone for teeth, beady brown eyes, a face that hadn't shaved or washed in days, and fat body. He was still talking, but it was incoherent like the rest. He took one step around the fire towards Sarah and that was as close as he got.

The moment his foot just touched the ground, a blur came out from the darkness . At first, all that Sarah saw was a reddish blur. It wasn't until the blur pounced on her attacker's neck that she saw it was a woman. The woman was pale as moonlight with eyes green as emeralds. Her long red hair hung loose and stopped just above her waist. It was that, Sarah realized, had been what she saw.

It was HER.

Rather than a dress, which was Sarah was accustomed to seeing on white women regardless of their standing, SHE wore a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows. Even if the shirt had been cleaned and brand new, which it wasn't, it was not the pristine shade of her skin. Over the shirt was a worn black denim vest. Or rather it was a black denim jacket that SHE had torn the sleeves a couple of inches from the shoulder. At first glance, SHE also wore dark denim pants, but second look proved they were simply dark pinstriped bootcut pants. Instead of slippers, boots, or footwear of any kind her feet were bare and stained with dust and mud.

Now that SHE was before her, Sarah saw she was beautiful. There were only one thing that offset her beauty.

It was the fact she was drinking the man's blood. Naturally, he tried to struggle, but SHE placed a hand on his neck and squeezed. Despite it being a single hand, he quickly turned purple and gasped for air. His movement began to slow until they finally stopped. The entire time, the SHE did not lift her mouth from her neck.

SHE did eventually stop. She pushed herself up and licked her lips. It was then she seemed to notice Sarah. Frightened, Sarah tried to reach for the shotgun. Faster than she thought possible, SHE moved and snatched the weapon all in the blink of an eye. She examined it for a moment before tossing it behind the man's body, out of Sarah's reach. Sarah made a movement under the blanket, but it was futile. Sarah had barely twitched before SHE tore the blanket away. She then bent and snatched the revolver from it's holster on Sarah's left hip and the knife on her right. SHE casually tossed the revolver and knife by Fritz's body. Sarah tried throw a punch, but SHE caught it.

"Such spirit." SHE said releasing Sarah's hand and sitting casually across from her with her back to the fire. "Even now."

"What . . . are . . . you?" coughed Sarah.

"It would take time to explain." SHE looked at her without pity. "Time you do not have."

"What do you mean?"

"Your leg is badly infected." SHE told her. "I can smell it from here."

"I've survived worse."

"I do not doubt it." SHE licked her lips. "But you won't if you do not see to your wounds. That leg is already taking its toll on your body."

"What do you want?" Sarah coughed again.

"The question is, what do you want?" SHE looked over to Christoph. "Now that you've lost your husband."

"How . . ."

"You both wearing matching wedding bands." SHE explained. "It is rare for your people to wear such things. It is not a thing for one to miss so easily. Am I incorrect?"

"No." Sarah sighed and spared Christoph a glance. "I was his wife for the past three years."

"I see." SHE motioned to Sarah. "What will you do now?"

"I do not know." Sarah coughed. "You killed the last of his killers."

"Ah, I thought it was you." SHE seemed to be considering something. "Those men on the road a short way south. I suppose I owe you my thanks."

"How so?"

"I was hunting." SHE said simply. "I caught the scent of blood and found enough of it satisy me."

"You drink blood?"

"Yes." SHE spared a glanced at the man's body still laying a few feet away and sneered. "Although, I could have without him. It was like biting into a rotten fruit after a fine meal. Off putting." Then SHE looked back to Sarah. "Then again, I did rob you of your proper vengeance. For that, you have my apologies."

"He would have killed me."

"But what if he hadn't?" SHE asked. "One can never know how events will occur until after they occur."

"I wouldn't predicted you coming to my aid." Sarah relented. "Do you have a name?"

"Wilhelmina." SHE answered. "Wilhelmina Wallace.

"I am Sarah Von Waltz." She coughed and struggled to catch her breath. "Why did you help me?"

"I wanted to speak with you." SHE said simply. "Your death would have prevented that."

"Why?"

"Not many could be pursued and outnumbered six to one for so long and survive." SHE smiled slightly. "Yet, not only did you, but you managed to turn the tables. It is altogether more impressive that you accomplished such feat after incurring such an injury that would have left any lesser human to weak to stand."

"My shoulder and that man prove your wrong." Sarah winced to readjust herself against the tree.

"Five out of six is nothing to scoff at. How did you escape if he survived?"

"He ran away and I wasn't able to track him down."

"He fled and waited until you were unable to fight." SHE simplified. "A coward's ploy. No wonder he tasted terrible."

"Now that you know, what will you do?" Sarah asked. "Drink what is left of my blood?"

"I had planned on it." SHE looked Sarah up and down and licked her lips at the thought. "But now I am thinking of something else as well."

"I do not understand."

"You have seen a small fraction of what I can do." SHE stood up and straddled Sarah, her legs on either side. "How would you like to look down on others for a change? Instead having other decide your fate without care or regard, you would decide your fate and theirs." SHE cupped Sarah's face gently almost like a lover. "You could do what you would with your body and revel in pleasures you never thought possible. No longer would you be bound by the law of small minded men."

"For what price?" Sarah coughed. "I was clothed, fed, and given board in a plantation in New Mexico, but I rather die than go back."

"Your life." SHE said releasing her face. "You will die."

"Oh, is that all?"

"You are already dying." SHE said callously. "What difference will it make if it now or slowly over the next few hours? For all intents and purposes, you will simply be in a very deep sleep for three nights. I am merely giving you a chance to wake from that sleep."

"Can you explain?"

"Just know that there is a chance you will die and remain so."

"And Christoph?"

"Your husband? He is already dead. You are merely dying. There is nothing I can do for him."

"Do I have a choice?"

"Do you believe in God?" SHE asked. "If so and you think you will join your Christoph in paradise, then refuse my gift. I will not be insulted. I will just leave you here and let nature take its course." SHE then brushed a lock of hair behind Sarah's ear lovingly. "Mind you, that is the same God whose book others have used to justify their cruel treatment of you and your people. Who truly knows what will happen? All that can be agreed on is that it is permanent."

Sarah paused and seemed to think it over. It struck me as strange. SHE was actually offering Sarah a choice. Granted, that choice was essentially die or live with major restrictions, but it was a choice. It was choice that SHE hadn't bothered to offer me. She had planned on draining me and had changed her mind three quarters of the way through. It occurred to me that perhaps SHE had a bone to pick with men. According to Sarah, SHE had preferred women and SHE never did anything without a reason. Had something happened when SHE human that lead to her hating men and she took it out on me because I somehow reminded her of it? Had her maker been cruel and ruthless and it was only until he grew bored of her that she escaped? So many questions left answered.

"If I should die," Sarah said after a while. "Can you give us a proper burial?"

"Yes." SHE asked. "Would you like share the grave?"

"Yes."

"Is that all?"

"If I become like you, I will write a letter to his family. I owe him that." Sarah said. "If not, then let the mystery keep them up at night until they die."

"Until they die?" SHE smiled. "I like that."

SHE, to Sarah's surprise, gave her a quick peck on the lips before picking up the knife she had taken from Sarah. SHE then quickly nicked the right side of her neck. Blood flowed from the wound and ran down her neck, staining her shirt. Sarah clearly was not sure how to proceed so SHE pushed her mouth to her neck.

"You must drink." SHE said gently

Sarah hesitated, but she quickly steeled herself and began to suck and drink her blood. SHE let Sarah drink for a bit, no doubt wanting her wounds to start healing before she brought her over. It gave her the bonus to enjoy herself a bit. While they had talked, HER fangs had begun to retract until they were hidden. Now they were fully down as Sarah suckled at her neck which made her moan and groan. Then, after taking all she could take, SHE sank her fangs into Sarah's neck. Sarah, naturally, jumped at the pain, but she kept drinking. However, Sarah began to slow until she stopped altogether. It took her a moment, but SHE sensed something had changed and stopped. SHE quickly removed herself and gently laid Sarah down. I watched as SHE, liked she often did we spoke in bed, prop herself up on an elbow.

"I . . . feel . . . ." Sarah manged to slur as she fought to stay awake. "Can't . . . "

"Shhhhh." SHE placed a finger on her lips. "It will pass. Just close your eyes, my child." SHE then bent down and kissed Sarah full on the mouth. "When you wake, I will show you a brand new world."

Then, eerily similar to when I had been turned, Sarah's world and the world around faded to black.

A/N - Sorry about the cliff hanger, but Sarah's backstory got away from me. The next chapter should wrap it up and continue the rest of the story. I apologize in advance for infrequent update in the future since I'll be starting college in less than a week. I'll keep writing and try to update, but if I'm forced to chose between school and this, well I think you can guess which will come first. Thanks for understanding.

P.S - Thanks to those who voted and got me third place in the WIP awards. Please share, rate, and review. Who knows? We might make my next story a winner.

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