Half-Hearted Halfling

Miracle in Nightmare form

She woke the next morning feeling cold...and much to her relief, those were her only symptoms.

She could hear the students downstairs going about their day, but she could also hear an argument going on down the hall.

Not wanting to attract attention from the Vamps, she headed for the window again and clambered out into the sunlight and back onto the roof

'Alright, I have forty-six minutes until I burn! Maybe I should come in through the front door...'

She waited until the few students in the courtyard were inside then jumped down off the roof.

'That landing was better'

She stood straight and dusted herself off, then proceeded inside.

She was admiring what would have been the main hall when a voice called from the stairwell behind her

"All students are supposed to be in class, why aren't you?"

Her whole body seemed to snap from fear as she turned in the direction of the voice, her senses still alert from last night's escapades.

The speaker appeared to be a brunette woman who was in her late twenties or early thirties and of a higher authority than one would think.

As soon as this woman realised that Everett wasn't a student her tone seemed to change.

"Oh. I'm sorry. You're not a student are you? What's your reason for being here? I wasn't expecting anyone."

It was at this point Everett realised how cold she was and, almost as a way to prove it, started to sneeze violently.

The woman quickly descended the staircase and seized Everett by the shoulder placing a warm hand against her forehead.
Everett shivered as the woman then put an arm around her and pulled her in a direction

"You're burning up. Come on. Come with me"

Everett seemed to drop in and out of consciousness, she wasn't entirely sure, making it worse for her already fragile mind.
She heard the woman calling to someone, or was it to her?

More warmth seemed to engulf her and she cracked her eyes open a little.
Her vision blurred over a little, but she could make out the woman and two others, one with darker hair.

She fell into slumber soon after that.

She woke some time later feeling cool, but better than she had been before.
She sat up and just managed to catch the cool pack as it fell from her face.

Her Vampiric instincts kicked in and she was about to speed off when the smell of food flared through her sensitive nose.
A kind older woman, with white streaked blonde hair, appeared in the doorway holding a plate of bread and a bowl of what smelled like Chicken Soup on a tray.

"Oh! You're awake"

She walked further in and set the tray on a small table next to the bed.

Everett could hear the pulsating throb of the woman's blood through her veins and it made her salivate.
She had to pull back. Remind herself that she was vegetarian.

'But I haven't eaten properly in three nights...I might like it, I've never tried'

It was at this point Everett was introduced to a new face.
One that was sitting in the chair next to her bed, a face she would soon grow to dislike.

He sat, watching her, like a bird of prey.
Blue eyes cold and calculating and splitting the already split ends of his long black hair in, what could have been, thought.

"I can watch over her now Mister Count if you have better things you would like to do"

He didn't seem to realise that someone was talking to him

'Or maybe he does and he doesn't care'

There was a slight uncomfortable pause as this...Mister Count...turned to, what was an educated guess, the Nurse, his tone suave and carrying hints of a dark tinted edge.

"That's quite alright. I have some questions I'd like to ask the girl anyway"

He waved her away disrespectfully, shooing her from the room. She gave him a disapproving look and made her exit.

Everett made eye contact with Count and stood her ground, metaphorically speaking. He eyed her equally, a sinister smile playing on his lips.
He hissed viciously at her, fangs bared. Her insides jumped but outwardly she didn't flinch.

Count laughed a little, but it was more out of disappointment.

"Usually when people meet a vampire, me in particular, screaming endures" he stated.

Everett cocked her head to one side trying to look as innocent as possible "What's so important about you? Why are you so great?"

He blinked, started and stared at her shocked, stuttering and gaping like a fish out of water.

'Drama Queen' she scoffed mentally.

He closed his eyes to calm himself and looked at her a moment later, disappointment and anger filling his gaze as he bent down to her height.

"I, am the famous, Count-"

"Master! Master!"

The Count started again as an ugly bald man dressed in an untidy butler uniform pelted into the room.

"What is it now Renfield?!"

But Renfield was too preoccupied with pointing and staring at Everett "YOU?! It's you!"

Everett fidgeted awkwardly under his scrutinising gaze and his Masters confused one.

She breathed in through her nose and replied as evenly as she could.

"Yes it's me. I'm just surprised I recognise you not covered in flour"

"Well actually it wasn't flour it was-"

"Not now you imbecile! How do you know her?!" The Count yelled

Renfield jumped slightly then put on a brave face.

"She's that "hallucination" I was telling you about"

When he said hallucination he attempted to exaggerate quotation marks, but they ended up a weird flail of sorts.

The Count leaned in close to Renfield's face

"Don't get snippy with me" his voice becoming an echoed growl.

Renfield gulped "Sorry Master"

The Count turned to Everett.

"Slayers were looking for you last night" he stated off handedly.

"So, what's your name girl?" his tone lighter to the moments prior.

Everett stared at him waryingly, before answering him "Ainsley, Everett Ainsley"

"Well Ainsley, Everett Ainsley. I am Count Dracula. And you, are a vampire"

Everett gave him a look

'Thank you Captain Obvious!'

"Um, no sorry. I'm not, but I have had dealings with Vampires before and I smell food. Can I eat?"

Without waiting for reply she reached for the bread biting into it happily.

The Count looked at her confused, then sat down on the bed next to her and she looked at him oddly

'He's a little too friendly to be The Price of Darkness'

"I could've sworn I smelled Vampire on you" he stated, his look inquisitive and calculating.

"That's no fault of yours, really, I get that a lot. I have other Vampire friends that I do things for, so it's kinda like a protection feature when dealing with new Vamps"
She had to tell these lies to protect herself.

The Count made a face, almost as if he agreed with her.

It was then the brunette woman from before trotted into the room.

The Count sprang up from the bed like it had burned him.

"Miss McCauley, I was just having a little chat with our guest" he purred pleasantly.

Renfield rolled his eyes as Everett raised a brow.
'He really is quite friendly isn't he'

"Very good Mister Count"

The McCauley woman pulled away from the Count and sat down on the bed in front of Everett feeling her forehead again.

The Count practically ran from the room, Renfield in tow.

"How are you feeling now?" asked McCauley

"Better now. My name's Everett by the way" she answered back

"Hello Everett, I'm Alex McCauley, Headmistress of Garside Grange. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?"

Everett shook her head and McCauley continued "Everett, you're clothes were saturated when I found you this morning. Were you out last night?"

Everett nodded.

"Why were you out in the middle of a thunder storm?"

Everett breathed out heavily, scratching the back of her neck "I was running away. From people who wanted to hurt me"

McCauley looked at her seriously "Why did they want to hurt you?"

Everett shrugged and looked away.

"Do you have any family you can contact? Anyone you can call to let them know you're alright?"

Everett felt a pang in her chest at the mention of family and she shook her head.

"I don't have any family. They're all dead, killed by the same people who were hunting me"

McCauley took her hand and held it firm "Have you let the authorities know?"

Everett looked her dead in the eye and felt the woman stiffen under her gaze.

"They're smart powerful people Miss McCauley; the authorities mean nothing to them"

McCauley took a moment to compose herself.

"Do you have anywhere to stay? Anywhere that you were staying before you found the school?"

"I was living in a cave not too far from here. It did me good, until they found me"

McCauley looked at her amused and disapprovingly "Well we can't have you living in a cave. That can be very lonely after a time"

She took a moment to think "Unfortunately you can't live with me-"

'Good, you're not dinner!'

"-My flat's too small, but maybe, if I ask nicely, Mister Count could take you in, he has a son and a daughter about your age too! I'll go ask him now"

And with that she left, leaving Everett to wonder what had just occurred, and whether or not it was a miracle in nightmare form.

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