Shannon Winters was tired. She was so tired her eyes were almost crossing after working a double shift at the restaurant.
She sneaked as quietly as possible into the house. She was hoping that since no lights were on it meant her dad was already in bed. She really wanted to avoid him if possible.
All she wanted to do is to go in and crash in her bed.
Luck wasn’t on her side tonight though, because the hall light suddenly flipped on and he yelled, “Shannon, is that you, you, worthless girl?”
“Y-yes father it’s me,” she said, as she began to shake in fear of him. One would think that at twenty-three, she would have learned to speak up for herself.
The truth is, he had been a good dad until her mom died.
Mom had battled cancer for two years before she graduated high school. Until then, she’s had big plans to go to college, but when mom was diagnosed those plans fell through. This was mostly because it took all their savings to pay the doctor bills.
So, after graduation, Shannon had gone to work full time at the motel/restaurant she had been working at since she was sixteen.
Dad had a good-paying job, but the bills had piled in faster than he could pay them. Her working had helped a lot.
Then mom died, and her dad had sunk into a depression.
Next, Dad lost his job, and Shannon had to pay all the bills.
Last, Dad began drinking, and he'd begun to slap her around.
She knew she should just leave, but she knew he loved her. She hoped that things would get better as time went on. Sadly, that hadn’t happened, instead, they got progressively worse.
“Why are you late?” He snarled at her. “I needed your check to buy groceries, but I had no money because you didn’t come home. So, now I’m hungry.”
She knew groceries weren’t what he wanted money for. She was too tired to argue with him though. So, instead, she said, “I-I’m so sorry dad. They asked me if I could use the hours and I said yes.”
“More money,” Dad said with a smile. Then he held out his left hand.
Her hand shook as she took the money out of her purse that was strapped cross-ways over her chest. She stepped closer to hand the money to him. As she placed it in his left hand, his right hand whipped out from behind his back and hit her with the bat he was holding.
She screamed with the impact of it hitting her and hit the floor. She felt the blood run down her forehead and all she could see was black spots.
He hit her again, this time in the side, causing her to scream again. This time it felt as if he broke some ribs, as well as her arm.
As she lay there bleeding, and sobbing, he laughed maniacally over her.
After giving her a hard kick in the stomach, he said, “I don’t like being hungry.”
Next, he opened the door and dragged her out onto the porch by her hair.
Then, he locked the door behind him, before he stepped off the porch whistling.
Shannon lay there shivering and bleeding. She heard the car start and then peel out of the driveway. She knew he was headed to the local bar for a drink and knew now was her chance to get out of here.
He had locked her out of the house.
She whimpered, the cold could kill her with her being injured and bleeding.
Although she had her purse, she had dropped her keys when he turned on the light. So, she had no way to get back in.
The question was, even if she had a way in, did she want to? She knew when he got back he would be even meaner then he was now. She also knew she was tired of living this way.
So, she staggered to her feet, holding her broken arm, and staggered toward the woods.
Yes, the woods.
Dad had moved them out into the middle of nowhere after the neighbors had heard her screams and called the cops a few months back.
She’d had bruises and blood all over her when they arrived. Her dad though was quick on his feet and told them an ex-boyfriend had done it. He told them the guy had run out the back door when he’d heard the sirens.
When asked why he hadn’t done anything, Dad told them her ex-boyfriend had hit him in the head, and he was just coming too. He had a bump on his head, which she knew was self-inflicted, but they didn’t.
So, they believed his story.
An ambulance was called, and she’d been taken to the hospital. Her leg was broken, and she’d had a concussion along with multiple scrapes and bruises.
This had given them yet another bill to pay which made dad extremely mad.
So, he went and found a little rundown house on the edge of town. He bought it for peanuts practically because it had been standing empty for years. After buying it, he sold their house. He then used a little of the money to fix the roof and the porch, which had been falling off, literally.
Then, who knows what happened with the money that was left.
She sighed sadly.
Yeah, she’d be better off taking her chances in the woods with the wild animals then staying here.
André Lafoy was aggravated. His friend Rick had been annoying him all night. So, he had left his own house in search of some peace and quiet. Unfortunately, Rick hadn’t taken that hint to leave him alone and began calling him every five minutes.
As the phone rang once more he gave an annoyed sigh and answered, “Hello Rick, what do you need now?”
“André my man, where did you run off too? The others will be here soon, and we were gonna hit the club for some fun,” Rick announced.
“I’m just not in the mood tonight Rick. Just go without me, I’ll be back by morning,” André answered.
“Where are you anyway?” Rick asked then.
André almost growled, the man couldn’t take the hint and knew André was too polite to hang-up on him. So, looking around, he tried to figure out exactly where he was. He knew as fast as he’d run, he was literally miles from home. Nowhere he looked was familiar, at all.
“I have no clue, some one-horse town I suppose since I don’t see much nightlife going on,” André told Rick.
“Eh, sounds boring! Talk to ya later!” Rick said, finally hanging up.
“Yeah later,” André muttered as he hung up his phone.
Walking onward, he saw a small seedy looking bar and a gas station that closes at midnight. Yep, one-horse town alright.
André gave another sigh. His run had made the vampire part of him thirsty, but not so thirsty that a drunk person sounded good. He had tried that once, and the alcohol in their blood made him feel weird, and he had not enjoyed the feeling at all. Even before he became a vampire he had stayed away from alcohol after living through the effect it had on his father.
So, instead, he watched people come and go from the convenience store. Two young men came out and after a moment or two of talking, they went their separate ways. One headed for his car, the other the alley.
André followed the second one. Quickly coming up behind him, André spoke softly as he grabbed the man. “Don’t fight me monsieur, this won’t hurt.”
The man went completely still.
When André finished, he made the man forget and sent him on his way. His thirst now quenched, André set off down the road that was bordered by the forest, enjoying the night sounds.
He was finally finding a bit of peace that seemed to be missing from his life of late. He didn’t know what was wrong with him, but he just couldn’t seem to find any happiness in life. Maybe he had just been living too long. Who knows, but he knew he didn’t enjoy being miserable.
He had always had a...? Well, his mother had called it sunny disposition. Lately, though, he felt as if a rain cloud followed him.
André had reached the outskirts of town when he heard a faint heartbeat and smelled blood. Even though he had already fed, it called to him. Unable to resist the pull of it, he followed the scent. What he found was a human. They were curled into a ball, facing a fallen tree shivering and moaning.
“It is dangerous to be out in the woods at night. You never know what kind of animals you might run into,” André told them. He saw the human stiffen.
“I’d rather take my chances with the wild animals here in these woods then the animal at home.”
André raised an eyebrow at the reply, even as he realized from the voice that the human was a fille (girl). Moving silently across the ground, he knelt next to her and took a deep breath.
Her blood smells so enticing, and I desperately want a taste of it!
He was drawn from his thoughts as she began to whimper and moan again. This had him thinking that whatever was wrong had to be more than just the cold. So, forgetting that in his hunger his fangs had dropped, he rolled her over.
She didn’t even open her eyes at the movement. Her face was covered in the blood that had trickled from her forehead, running down the side of it and into her hair. She was also cradling her left arm against her body. The head wound explained why her blood smelled so strong, and he guessed her arm was broken also by the way she held it.
“If you plan to kill me, all I ask is that you do it quickly,” she said in a pain-filled whisper as her eyes fluttered open. Then, she frowned as she looked at him. Yet, no fear crossed her face, only curiosity as she asked, “What are you?”
He figured she must be delirious with pain to have no reaction to his fangs at all, but he still smirked as he said, “Don’t you watch movies, mademoiselle? I would have thought my fangs give away what I am.”
“Yeah, I suppose that’s true. But since I’ve never actually seen a vampire to know that they really do exist, I felt the need to ask. So, better drink your fill quick vampire, or there won’t be any blood left for you to take the way I’m bleeding,” the fille said before she closed her eyes.
“You don’t seem to care that I am a monster that can kill you,” André said, puzzled by her reaction to him.
She let out a harsh laugh before she said, “Monster? Mister, there are all kinds of monsters in this world, including the one at home who did this to me, and I call him dad!”
André felt his eyes widen as her eyes fluttered back open to stare up at him.
“Your father did this to you?” André asked softly, now seeing her as a kindred spirit.
Her nod caused his mind to flashback to the days when his own father thought beating him would make up for the fact that André’s brother was gone.
André’s brother had lived a double life.
At home, he was the perfect son and heir, with a fiancé and a good handle on the textile business. The only thing was, no amount of money was enough for him. So, he took to robbing travelers on the road, and it got him killed one night.
Father blamed André for some reason only he knew, and after taking to the bottle he began to beat André in his anger. It would seem as if the human fille, and him, both knew what it felt like to be betrayed by the one who is supposed to care for you the most.
“So, you came here to the forest because... why?” André asked.
“Because I didn’t want to be there when he came home to possibly do worse things to me. He already took my money and beat me before throwing me out on the porch. For all I know, he could have plans to kill me when he gets home. Or maybe he’s hoping I’ll freeze to death, so he can bury me in the backyard. I don’t know, but whatever he has planned, I won’t give him that satisfaction of seeing it through!”
“Hmm...?” André was now in a quandary as to what he should do with her. Part of him just wanted to bite her, see if her blood tasted as good as it smelled. Yet a part of him wanted to take her home and keep her.
“Well, are you going to kill me or not? My pain isn’t getting any better!” She informed him even as her eyes closed again, and she fainted.
“I don’t think I will kill you. Instead, I think I will take you home. If you amuse me, I might keep you for a while, because sometimes even a monster gets lonely,” André murmured in French.
Then, picking her up in his arms he quickly ran home.