He strides into the dungeon, his coattails swaying behind him. A smirk plays on his lips underneath his dark glasses in the dim lighting.
“You must be wondering why you’re here,” he chuckles.
My breathing gives away my panic as he walks closer to me.
The Ring Leader squats in front of me. A sweet smell drifts from him, and I can’t help but to notice the flawlessness of his skin.
He’s a vampire.
No wonder why I felt like something about him was familiar. He’s a vampire. Am I stupid?
“So you know my little secret now,” he chuckles, and I feel a wave of fear wash over me.
But it’s not my brain telling me I’m scared. It’s something outside of it that’s creating the fear.
He takes off his glasses.
The fear comes right back almost as soon as I try and suppress it.
It’s him, isn’t it? He’s placing the fear inside of me.
He can alter people’s emotions.
Why didn’t I have a gift when I was a vampire?
“You’ve been getting in my way, Rochelle. Ever since I took you in as a baby on the side of the road. You wanted to do things on your own, and you wanted to take over the carnival.”
“No, you don’t understand—”
“Oh, I understand completely, Rochelle,” he cuts me off. “You were always so beautiful...” He runs his hand along my cheek, and I can’t help myself. I bite him.
Old habits die hard.
With his finger in between my teeth, he laughs at me. I bite harder and his diamond-hard skin starts to hurt them, but I refuse to fall to the pain.
“I tried to turn you again,” the Ring Leader goes on, his finger still in my mouth and his eyes darting to my neck. I cringe at thinking about him being that close to me, about thinking about his face being on my shoulder…
Actually, I want to hurl.
I spit out his finger.
“But this little pest decided to save you.”
Adam glances up at him with deep, dark bags beneath his eyes, and his irises are getting darker with each passing moment. “So now, he’ll be your demise. He’s getting thirsty. Once he is to the point of almost dying, his vampire instincts will take over, and you will no longer be a problem to me,” the Ring Leader chuckles, his own eyes reflecting Adam’s. “And if he doesn’t, I’ll finish you off myself. And I don’t think you want that.”
He smiles and stands up.
“May the odds be in your favor, love-bats,” the Ring Leader laughs as he turns around to close the door behind him.
I look over at Adam, whose pained face is leaned up against the wall. The muscles in his neck are tense and his hands are balled into fists. He’s fighting it. He’s trying to fight it for me.
I don’t deserve this…
He’s not chained up, either. He sits just a few feet from me, his body shaking from the lack and from the want, the need, of blood.
How long have we been in here?
“Adam?” I ask quietly.
He jumps a little bit, but he opens his eyes. They move to me slowly, and he can’t seem to keep them still. I guess it’s because he doesn’t want his brain to recognize me as a target; as a walking sack of blood.
“Adam, you can break these chains and we can escape,” I say soothingly.
I know what it’s like to have the thirst, especially when you’re at your lowest point. It’s like you black out almost, and the next thing you know sunrise is coming. The details return sometimes, other times they don’t. Your body goes into survival mode.
But right now, I need to figure out how to make his body not do that at the moment. Not with me in here, no matter how much I deserve it for killing his little brother.
That thought sends a pang through my body, but I can’t be weak now. Weakness is what a hungry vampire searches for.
“I can’t...” he groans as his body ripples with a shiver. “I can’t get any closer...”
“Yes you can, Adam. You can do it. You can save me, and we can go and find you blood.”
“No...” He shakes his head vigorously, his forehead against the cool stone. “No, I can’t... I’ll... I’ll—no...”
His body twitches and he falls on his back onto the ground. He lies there, shivering and groaning, trying to fight the thirst.
“Adam, if you don’t do it now, you’ll black out. You won’t have any control over what you do. You’ll kill me,” I press, trying to keep my voice still and soft, but it quivers a little as the words slip out.
I don’t want to die…
His body is shaking a lot now, and he groans, trying to fight the frenzy. He sits up slowly and looks at me, his eyes almost completely black and reflecting the pain he’s fighting in his throat.
I don’t have much longer.
“Adam, please. I know you’re hurting and your throat is burning, but please. As soon as you get me free, we can get to the door and we can go out and you can relieve all of this pain.”
He places his hands on the ground and leans on them. They’re shaking so much that they look like vibrating guitar strings.
“You can do it,” I whisper.
He puts one foot under him, and follows it with the other one. Slowly, he stands, one of his hands against the wall. He’s still as he looks at me, his face turning hard, and his body still.
He’s stopped shaking.
His eyes are black.
It’s all over.
He stands there, looking me over. His top lip quivers as he pulls it back revealing his fangs. His nails grow and sharpen, a defense mechanism vampires have. Our—their nails lengthen when they’re threatened. They figured out a way to grow them on command to capture prey.
And now I’m the prey.
I push myself as far away as I can from him, the iron digging into my wrists and wrenching my shoulders forward. I wiggle my hands, but they’re too big to slip through the hold of the locks.
Adam takes a step toward me.
“Adam—no, Adam, you can’t do this. You’re good. You can’t do this.”
“I can,” he hisses, drawing out the words. “I remember you now.”
My blood goes cold and he smiles at the new sensation of feelings I give off. So it did happen.
“You killed my little brother. How could I be so stupid?” He takes another step, and I cringe, scared. “Now look at you. Crying at my feet. You’re only a pathetic human.”
“One that you took care of,” I shout at him. “You took care of me!”
“Did you take care of my little brother? He was the only thing my mom had left. She needed him.”
“Well, what about you?” I ask, trying to wriggle from the iron grip.
He takes another step.
“I wasn’t her natural born. I was adopted. She was dying of cancer. She needed him.”
“Look, I’m sorry, okay?!” I shout, tears starting to run down my face.
He kneels beside me and looks deeply into my eyes with his black dilated pupils. I feel like I’m looking into the eyes of a shark before it sinks its teeth into my flesh and rips me apart.
One of his claws takes ahold of my forearm and pulls me forward, wrenching my arm from its socket. I scream and he smiles. It’s not the same Adam smile that I’d gotten used to seeing, but it’s a masochistic, malevolent smirk, fangs and all.
“I swore I would find you. I saw you that day, the day you made that wish. You disappeared in a blue light, and it’s like you disappeared from space and time itself.
“But I still remembered you somehow. I knew who you were, for the time being, and I wanted to make sure I found you and made you pay for what you did. The blue fairy you had made the wish to, he also granted my wish. I wished to find you.
“And so I found you.”
His mouth opens, and he clamps down on the scabbed over bite on my neck. I cry out as my veins scream. My vision blurs and spots as the blood disappears from me. I get lightheaded.
This is the end. It’s all over. I’m dying.
I’ll be dead soon, and no one will care. Dracula... he doesn’t even know I exist... he took care of me for so long, so long... He taught me how to be a vampire, and all I ever did was disappoint him and let him down.
And now I die as a human. How unique... I’ve come full circle in the process of my life, and I’m back to where I started. Abandoned. Alone. Human.
I embrace it. I welcome it. Hello, death. Hello, darkness. Goodbye, world. Goodbye, Rochelle.
All of a sudden, I feel my strength returning to me. My shoulder snaps back into place, and my body feels powerful again.
With Adam still attached to me, I rip my hands from their captivity, and shove him off of me, his fangs ripping my skin wide open above my collarbone. I hear it patch itself up, and I feel my body rearranging itself, and my bones thickening, my muscles doubling, tripling.
I breathe in the air calmly and smile at Adam, whose eyes are turning back to red.
What a conflicting moment...
I’m a vampire again.