The Curse of Created (The Donor #2)

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Chapter 13: Watcher from Within

Deciding on the urgent and most noble quest of spying on my liar of a previous lover was more of a tough nut to crack than I thought. To be acting hostile as I had when Ly captured me while maintaining a calm, Zen nature within wasn’t easy. That box of discarded emotions for later use was constantly clattering in the back of my mind. Demanding attention as if it were reminding me to not rely on it to stay obediently put forever. Adding a chain was just a precaution, and now it didn’t just bang about but rattle the chain, which was most distracting while trying my best to focus on my self-appointed mission.

So, deciding on to act on the wise words of Arthur Conan Doyle (for less read people the author of the great Sherlock Holmes) I did as his main character advised; “never to trust general impressions, my boy, but concentrate yourself upon details.” The details, which I had flatly discarded before, were now my closest allies. However, I had to wait for the hangover to pass before I started to collect them. And thusly I had lost three days since I was in desperate need to rejuvenate, to replenish my health to the condition before I had decided to poison myself with numerous alcoholic beverages.

Spare me the judgments my inner conscious; I’m only human.

Yet after those three trial days of unwanted free membership to Hangover Channel, I already had my first clue. Ly didn’t forcefully banish me from my room. Or shall we say the room I had previously inhabited, although had currently been revoked of that ownership because of my shenanigans. In fact ( now that I thought about it more thoroughly) Ly hadn’t even mentioned my current accommodation as if, the Spartan, cloister like room I was confined to for the past weeks, was just an awful dream.

There were two options for him turning a blind eye. One; that he actually hoped no one would notice the subtile newly upgraded quarters I had received. Which could be my first clue as to the truth of his pretence in cruelty. Or two; Ly just didn’t want to listen to his subordinates nagging him about my new indiscretions while they were drenched in my waste, because I emptied Potty the chamber pot in the medieval manner of tossing the overflowing puke out the window. Again. If that were to happen, I would name my new-found strategy to annoy; out of sight, out the window, out of mind.

However, because he hadn’t forcefully removed me out of here, I had the privilege of puking into the toilet, and that kindness shall be remembered for later use.

Perhaps I won’t knee him out in public in his vampiric crown jewels after all.

Another vital clue that I had observed was Lys’ overly cruel, hot and explosive yet cold and calculating characteristics that I had seen before. It was displayed thoroughly in the Camaraderie when Ly tried to convince everyone of his overly hotheaded temperament. He got away with it for fifty years but initially failed to convince me of his act.

When he was around other Created other than G, Ly was irritable, waspish and most rough towards me and his vampiric subjects. Although, once we were out of speculative sight and overly sensitive ears, he was calculating, silent and almost on the point of being tolerable. But I wasn’t fooled. His guard was, as always, up like Ly erected a great wall of China fortified with electric wire, which could barbecue a stake from a mile away. Yet whenever he caught me watching I could feel his want to tease me in the way the pail brow cocked upwards. In Lys’ mind, he must have still thought I was convinced we slept together, and he didn’t bother denying it at all. And I was acting to be overly vexed by it, with the constant glaring and lifting of my upper lip in a snide way.

“You wish to say something?” Asking in a low murmur, Ly spoke to me suddenly in the evening for the first time in five days.

Jeremy, who was sitting in the corner studying a map of the cosmos, continually ran back and forth out onto the balcony to check if the stars and other heavenly objects were visible through the telescope. In contrast to his constant movement, Ly and I sat on opposite of each other, ignoring the obvious elephant in the room.

“Nope,” I replied coldly while keeping an eye on my little brother. Being aware of even microscopic gestures Ly made, I always needed to remind myself not to stare and break character. That would be very counterproductive for my little investigation.

“Really?” Looking mockingly surprised, Ly lifted his brows and theatrically widened the eyes. “Colour me shocked with a shade of surprise.” After a second of silence and my unwillingness to respond, he tried to rial me up again. Ly leaned on his elbows and from underneath his lashes the eyes sparkled. “Usually, you could hardly finish one question when another one is already blurted out of your mouth.”

Do not bite the bait, Dess. Ly is probably bored out of his mind and is testing the waters with his big toe to see if he can swim in my river of patience without consequences.

Silence was the only response I allowed myself to give him, otherwise I would fell back into the bickering and all those feelings would emerge. When Ly saw that I was not game, he focused his attention on Jeremy.

However, silence was not an occurring theme just between Ly and I, it was also happening between Ali and Ly. But their silence was louder than their words could ever be. They spoke without using their tongues; it was their eyes that did most of the talking. The how they understood each other was very frustrating, although prolonged gazes and slight shifting of the heads indicated they were up to something. Something they didn’t want others to notice and pick apart.

The clues I had gathered were starting to form a good picture; however, they were missing a vital piece to connect them together into a logical explanation.

But the mystery didn’t end there. Ali was continually disappearing for a few days at a time, as if on a mission and since we were not on speaking terms, I had no idea where she was going.

Is she tracking someone? And why her? Wouldn’t a vampire do the job much more efficiently?

Then there was another part of Ly that had me chasing my own tail like an overly excited Labrador. The way he acted towards Jeremy was so kind and so patient that had me at a loss. Never snapping at the boy neither slipping in his performance of being an actual decent person, Ly had me baffled.

Was he just that good of an actor and liar or was Ly being affectionate toward Jeremy without strings and ulterior motives attached?

I concluded from the gathered evidence that Ly was being rude to the point of cruelty to me only when other Created were around. It begged the question why? Was there something deeper afoot just as Ali suggested? The deduction was so sound that Sherlock Holmes would be whipping tears of joy with his lacy hanky from sheer pride he must feel for his pupil.

Being a watcher while acting as usual became beneficial for more than just one thing, I could quickly know when I was pushing Created toward the limit from which would be a point of no return. Especially Richard, which was not a hard thing to do at all. Even as some Created treated me with more warmth, Richard remained absolutely convinced of my guilt.

“She is guilty Sire!” I heard him scream one afternoon through the cracked door. This was his fourth attempt to persuade Ly in two weeks.

With a yawn, Ly quietly but almost sternly dismissed this subject. “Richard not this again. We have been through this.”

“I insist on further investigation.”

“Has it occurred to you that I ’m not the one leading it or doing it? Why isn’t it enough for you the proof that Camaraderie is reopening soon? If my donor was a spy no vampiric line would be so careless to agree to let their offspring back.” Before Richard could interrupt Ly quickly added. “And since the internal investigation each line had conducted is finished and all was deemed cleared of any implication, you must conclude that it may be the same with my Donor.”

Richard huffed but still respectfully rebuked. “Are you suggesting that the attack was just a big Whoopsie-Daisy? It was planned and helped by someone.”

“On that we agree, yet the culprit you constantly point finger towards is not the hot potato you want to find.” With a scrape of a chair Ly with Richard in toe left the room.

With their departure, Ly gave me another clue. He himself wasn’t convinced that I was an actual traitor, even though not long ago he in front of everyone accused me as such. Ly also defended me, trying to explain away the negative assumptions as if he was slowly defusing a bomb without anyone knowing it.

For the first time in a very long time I felt hope. If Stainless were returning to the Camaraderie with their Donors’ that meant that the circumstances were getting better. Perhaps my own would be too. With my imagination I conjured a pipe and a magnifying lens while thinking what my next great discovery of information would bring about.

The D day of the Donors and their Stainless return was finally upon us, even after Richards’ constant nagging that I still needed to watch my back because he was going to be breathing down my neck so hard my panties would be blown off, couldn’t make me feel less excited. Well, those weren’t his exact words; however, they might as well be. Grumbling every time Ricky Dicky saw me was even more intensified when he learned of Lys’ utter ignorance toward his imminent request to move me to my previous poor livingestablishment. When Richard asked for the explanation Ly just simply replied: “She will be better behaved if I am near. Knowing that to defy me and being, well, naughty would result in uncomfortable punishment.”

It was not left unnoticed to me the choice of Lys’ words. He knew the doors were left ajar. The insinuation his play of words spelled made me involuntarily blush crimson. I was only human, and still, I saw his nice backside when I closed my eyes.

Richard, however, remained oblivious and was ranting on and on for at least an hour after that.

The excitement of the possibility of me finally being able to see not just Will but Rosa, Matteo and Gus-Gus was making me mentally hum and skip along down the corridor. It was as if the storm was finally dying down, and soon the sun rays would penetrate the dull, grey sky making everything come alive. I was somewhat close to being on the verge of a slight blip of happiness, and the last time I felt something similar to it was months ago.

As I neared the room where Jeremy was currently being educated, I heard the loud clanking of metal against metal. Because of concern, I opened the door as silently as I could, hoping not to disturb a burglary. The noise only intensified as I peeked inside the room.

I saw Jeremy and Angelica jumping around with stainless steel pots on their heads, wooden swords in their hands and ornate, decorative pillows being used as shields.

“To admit defeat was an utter dishonour to the Templar knights!” Angelica exclaimed as she lunged forward and poked Jeremy’s pillow shield with her wooden stick that represented a sword. “Shall you bring shame with resigning?”

“To surrender! I shall not!” Yelled Jeremy, or yodelled more likely, his battle cry as he brandished the wooden instrument. Advancing while jumping on the couch, he with the hilt of his majestic sword forcefully hit on the pot that was representing Angelica’s helmet. “Never!” Jeremy erupted with giggles as Angelica pretended to be hearing bells of Notre Dame ringing in the ears because of the pure brute strength my brother displayed.

“Sir Jeremy, how do you intend to invade Jerusalem with such tactics?” Angelica replied and gently tapped on the pot decorating her pupils head. The metal clanged merrily as the pot helmet swayed on the brownish blond head as did the couch fort when Jeremy advanced with his “sword” lifted high.

When the initial shock of what I was seeing passed, I just closed the door, letting them continue their unusual history lesson. Shaking my head with dejection of having enough problems already, I stepped away from the playful giggles Angelica made as Jeremy stood over her declaring himself a ruler of Jerusalem. The king of demons himself must be shaking his head in disbelief that a child was able to disrupt his favourite messenger of evil.

I will deal with this later.

I closed the door with care to not disturb the play when an unfamiliar hand grabbed the crook of my elbow. Like a ragdoll, I had been turned on my heels only to be met face to face with, an almost foaming at the mouth, Richard. I don’t know who was more miserable and loathsome to see another; me or him. We both made a similar grimace of utter disgust.

“Already sniffing about?” Even though the physical structure of the plump man looked anything but healthy, Richard applied a bone-crushing strength into his grip.

“Is checking on my sibling a crime?” Questioning stubbornly made me hope that it concealed my inner dislike of him. The feeling of Richards’ aura around mine made me sick.

“When it concerns you? Absolutely.” The growl that escaped him was so feral that my stress levels for the flight were rising on their own. “Just because no one found any evidence of your implication in the attack doesn’t mean I will let you go off so easily.” With a determination that was on the verge of lunacy, Richards’ eyes shone darkly into mine. “I know you were skulking around for the past few days, unusually timid to gather information for your later reports. Before long, I will pin all of this on you, mark my words.”

And here I thought I’m stealthy and sly as a fox. I guess Rick the Dick is more vigilant than I gave him credit for.

If I wanted to protest, it was made to be impossible. The sheer force of his grip on my arm made me clench my teeth in pain. Richard was going to leave some nasty bruising on my skin, no question about it.

Dragging me down the corridor toward presumably my bedroom, Richard repeatedly muttered under his breath about the beliefs that some of my actions in the past were an apparent behaviour that proved guilt by association. “Constant shifting of utilities to eat with the left hand? Must be a sign for other people watching,”

He is absolutely deluded! Since when has eating with your left hand a direct confession of being guilty?

In no time at all, I was thrown into the room, and the doors were locked behind me even though most of the guards didn’t bother locking anymore. I massaged the pins, and needles Richards tight grip caused. His forceful boa constrictor clutching of my flesh cut all the circulation in my arm; my hand was an unnatural pale shade. It took a long minute of rubbing to elevate the uncomfortable pain and worry that my limb would turn black and fall off.

“He’s more dangerous than I thought.” Murmuring to myself, I recognised that the peril was not in Richards physic or being a Created vampire. It was in his tenacious, driven mind to do everything not just within his power but far beyond it to find evidence to convict me. It didn’t matter to him that I had nothing to do with it. To disregard Richard and make light of his threats would be very stupid of me, perhaps even final. My thoughts were turning around for what seemed to be only a minute; although, as I finally surfaced, I noticed that the light was fading with the setting of the sun.

The thud of Lys’ double bedroom door made me jump, and voices wafted through the crack that was still present in the adjoining door. Neither Ly nor I had bothered to close it yet.

“It is so unlike you to leave his side. I can tell that you did not fly an eighteen-hour flight to bask in my humble company.” Lys’ voice was full of mirth that was seemingly real to people who hadn’t known him. However, the humour was faked, and the the wording itself demanded much more than a funny response.

“Am I now forbidden to see my favourite pupil?” A cheery male voice that I had never heard before replied to the obvious sarcastic Ly.

“I haven’t known that locking someone in a small room with no windows and only a book and a pen fo company was a show of favouritism.” With a painfully obvious scoff, Ly responded in a light tone.

I knew I shouldn’t do it. I was raised to give people their very much deserved privacy and to be very righteous even in the face of obvious temptation. However, the curiosity got the better of me and, as silently as being capable, I tiptoed toward the cracked door. Leaning on the wall by the door, I positioned myself in such a way that my ears caught most of the conversation.

There is no reason to feel guilty Dess; you can just say that you happened to hear, since the wind blew this way. No one told you that the door is open, and it wasn’t my fault that the voices carried toward my ears. Oh boy, that’s a very unbelievable excuse.

The unknown person responded to Lys’ taunt. “Ah what is the saying? The Varshawsky grudge runs deeper than hell itself.

“How could I not? You and other teachers drilled everything so hard in my brain that even amnesia wouldn’t erase it from my mind now.”

“Oh come now, it wasn’t that bad.” The male voice said condescendingly. “I am still proud of that; in the end, you manage to learn the whole text by heart in less than three days.”

I heard the weight hit one of the two armchairs by the fireplace, and soon another sound indicated that Ly also made himself comfortable by sitting.

“Because you locked me there for a week. With threats to never let me out or give me a chance to eat, if I didn’t do exactly that.” Even though he was trying hard not to let resentment slip pass the humour, Ly couldn’t manage to hide it completely.

There was a slight pause as both vampire men silently assessed each other.

“Why are you here, James?” Lys’ voice was full of disinterest and boredom; there was still a flavour of irking underneath it all.

“Come, come you cannot trust your own teacher when he says he just wanted to visit you?”

“A teacher who complied and threw me down the well when I made a minor mathematical mistake to be overcome with emotion and come to inquire about my health? I apologise for not believing it.”

“As intuitive as ever Lysander.” A chuckle escaped from this James person as he complimented his previous pupil. “You have been taught well in the deduction skills, if I may say so myself.” Boasting on, James continued. “It did a marvel for strengthening your character. I still remember a young boy sobbing when a little bird died from falling off its nest.” After another somewhat stifling silent minute, he continued with a more sombre tone. “You cannot blame your father for a little bit of harsh display of discipline and the firm hand that he applied in your upbringing.”

Remaining silent, Ly abstained from commenting. It came as no surprise to me that he prefered not to respond. The memory of how that little bit of firm hand affected him, in the long run, was still fresh in my mind. The expression of utter anxiety and panic in Ly’s eyes when the elevator stopped was the result of the PTSD and claustrophobia he had developed from being thrown again and again into the deep, dark and watery abyss by people who should be there to protect him instead. Yet he had enough control over himself to not give in to the panic and just contain it as long as he could. Bitterness toward Andrey deepened each time I had thought about his cruelty and treatment of his child. The lasting damage he inflicted was irreversible in Lys’ psyche.

“Why are you here? If you have a message for me, just tell me. The walk down the memory lane is finished.” Even though I couldn’t see Ly, I was sure he was in the process of crossing his arms and lifting his left brow in a no-nonsense impression. He was done evading, dancing around the topic the moment James dared to rub salt in a wound that Ly considered as weakness. Done with bullshitting, Ly decided to politely yet firmly give James a warning.

I involuntarily smiled. Ly thought he was unreadable; however, I got him mostly figured out in the month of our acquaintance.

With a slight and almost unheard sigh, James decided to stop with false pretences. “I heard there had been some questionable decisions of your loyalty. Some would describe it perhaps even treacherous.”

What? Has Ly also been a part of constant observation and not just me?

There wasn’t even a millisecond of pause on Lys’ side. “And since when are you in position to meddle in how I treat my donor?” Speaking sharply and on the point of authority, his voice remained calm and composed even though the wording was anything but that.

“Careful now or I might consider your head brewing with the ideology of anarchy.” The amusement returned in James’ voice, and there wasn’t a shadow of a doubt that this was his way of making threats. If you are less intelligent and were not able to read between the already blurred lines, you were as good as dead. “Where are all the Created?”

“They are helping other lines with security as the Stainless, and their Donors move in Camaraderie,” Ly answered in the same voice of lethargy. “Cut to the case and cease interrogation James. Get to the point. I’m not a very patient vampire as you might have heard.”

“I have been informed that in some aspects your treatment of a certain Donor has been found… Unsatisfactory.” I heard the sly, almost snake-like smile in the visitor’s tone, and my imagination was going wild with what this James could look like.

“Are you suggesting something, James?” The tone with which Ly spoke was lower and growing quieter by each word that was uttered.

Not a good sign at all.

I heard a rough sound as if someone was rubbing their five o’clock shadow with a palm. “Am I? I define it as observing through the eyes of others.”

Ly didn’t need a second to think whose eyes were in question. “Richard has always been a bit biased regarding the subject.”

“Biased?” Sharpening his tone to the point of being a needle, James spoke harshly. “He lost his sister in that attack; I believe he has a reason to be partial.” The groaning of the armchair made me realise that James leaned back on the headrest once again. “Or are you saying that in all the years of un-participating in the Camaraderie has made you an excellent judge of character and a grief specialist?”

Sighing with dejection, Ly answered cooly. “There is no time to act emotionally. She is mine; therefore, I have all the right to be as cruel or as pleasant as I choose as long as I don’t jeopardise my line.” Shrugging in his seat, he continued with a slight smile. “Besides, it’s hard to change toward someone who has the perfect blood which is compatible with mine.”

“Blood or character?” James asked mischievously and when no answer came from his other party, he chuckled under his breath.

The slow vibrating like sensation hit my chest, and its’ origins were coming from the other room. At first, there was nothing but that vibrating feeling in the depths of my body and skin then my ears picked up a noise. A Deep, menacing growling was coming and could only be attributed to one person. Ly wasn’t happy with James’ question and was showing his displeasure with snarling. “I will ask you just one more time. James states your business and truthfully this time.” He didn't need to add or else, it was implied with the tone.

James did not give a reply, yet I heard movement and clunk of something rather on the heavy side being laid out on the glass surface of the coffee table.

The curiosity was killing me. Sue me, but I was a curious cat and the want to open the door just a little bit more to see what it was, was very tempting. However, I have watched too many movies, and the door would only then decide to give a big wheeze or a squeak that would make a deaf person turn to search for a sound.

I guess I will just have to wait and listen carefully to learn what the mysterious object is.

Behind the door, the room was deadly quiet; wrapped in that kind of silence only vampires could cause. It was as if they became statues instead of people. There was no nervous twitching or repositioning on the chair that people constantly and unconsciously made. Just silence with the tension so thick, I could cut it with a blunt butter knife.

Despite me trying to remain in my composure and control like state, my heartbeat rose uncontrollably, and I felt it behind my temples, with each thump.

Calm down Dess, they will hear you.

I knew that whatever was on that table was the reason for the prolonged silence. It was quite unlike Ly to get caught up in the small talk, which he encouraged to let it be carried on for a while. Being a talk-right-now-no-avoiding kind of man, Ly avoiding a topic with exchanging pleasantries meant that he did not want to talk about the proposed subject. That was chill-down-to-the-bone scary. It was like Ly was postponing a particular conversation with James, but on the other hand, he wanted to rip the band-aid off swiftly without prolonged torture.

Lys’ slightly shaky and angry voice brought me back from my thoughts. “What is this?”

“I think you know Lysander. And you also know why this is necessary,” James wanting to continue was interrupted the moment he drew breath.

“Necessary? I don’t know why. I have dealt with the situation; there is no need for that and the dramatics surrounding it.” A distaste was evident from the way Ly snidely spoke the last words.

“Really?” Continued James, amused by his previous pupils’ reaction. “Like you have the first time? Come now it took you three months to deal with it and to locate the unpleasant source of our problem.” As the Stainless didn’t respond to James monologued on. “Your father had to work hard to hush it all up,”

“If by hard work you mean all he had to do was throw money around while leaving the rest to me then I suggest you revise what the definition of hard work is.” Sniggering at James, Ly drummed his fingers on the arm of the chair, which raised a big red flag in me. He was very nervous, feeling trapped by the situation; even though trying hard not to seem distressed or interested.

If James knew about Lys’ nervous tick, he hadn’t shown it. “If the elders found out about your little problem, she will be laying six feet under the ground and soon.”

My body started to vibrate on its’ own. The only time I had heard the word Elder was when Ly explained the complex pyramid of vampiric society. And at the very top were them, the mysterious elders. If the top bosses got involved, that would be only a bad thing for me. As James subtly suggested, I would be dead.

Why? Was the question plaguing my already confused mind.

The drumming stopped abruptly, and a lethal voice inquired “Is that a threat, James?” Lys’ tone was at that moment from the stuff nightmares were made off.

“Just a matter of fact that might even be a premonition. After all, hushing it up took quite some time and even more resources to ensure safety measures.” James said with a pleasant voice, which made me want to run away beyond the seven hills and seven lakes. “You even pleaded with the Sire to do it, that is if I remembered it right. Imagine if that information circulated to the elders.”

“Father only hushed it up so that our precious family name wouldn’t be even more tarnished. He didn’t do it for me but for himself, as always. Stop pretending to deliver me his good wishes we both know they are fake as is his concern for my donor. I’m keeping to the agreement we made, that’s all that is happening here.” Ly continued his voice growing coarser and wilder. “And that was not part of the deal I made,” Something was thrown across the room, and with a pang, it hit the wall. “If he wants to make alterations to our agreement, father should come himself.”

I heard James sigh and imagined him shaking his head. “Be reasonable if this incident comes out not only will the Elders be breathing down our necks, the whole Created line, as well as Rouge population, will rebel. If we cannot handle a simple Donor, they will see us as weak and get even more reasons to oppose us. If one more mistake is made, the blood will be on your hands.”

The room again grew silent for a few moments. The conversation was getting very hard to hear since my heart was beating so loud.

“Do you expect me to put that around her neck and give her even more reason to rebel? you are mistaken.” Whispering low, Ly added. “Not to mention, I’m not an animal.”

James smirked, absolutely delighted that Ly has found himself in a dilemma. “I thought you had it all handled.”

The whack on the table made me jump, and I heard the glass break then shatter to the floor. “This collar is unnecessary and causes more troubles than it solves.” When Ly spoke, it was in a slightly shaky voice, as if trying to containing the anger as hard as he could before it caused explosion.

I never saw Lysander lose control over himself in front of someone other than me. Being calm and almost devoid of emotion at times made people want to rile him up, and when Ly didn’t react according to their wishes, they felt nervous or angry to have failed.

James must know Ly very well to get this kind of a rise out of him, and by the tone of his voice, he knew it. “It is either this or I will be forced to tell your father, and you know what he will do. Don’t make me regret my trip Lysander.”

“Fine.” Ly seemingly gave in with a grumble; however, he hastily continued with a much more resent in his tone. “Tell that fucker that next time he can come himself, not send a lackey to do his job.”

With a snapping sound of wood, I presumed another piece of furniture was broken. By the logical deduction, the victims were the wooden arms on the comfortable armchair. “Careful now, boy,” James growled menacingly without raising his voice. “You may be my sires’ son, but I am older, stronger and meaner than you. Do not insult me or your father or I will go to that door and take that little ears dropper behind them with me.”

My heart stopped beating, and for a second, I was sure that either I had died of fright or that my heart dropped down to my stomach and I pooped it out. Shivers ran down my spine as if they were super ants. Did James know the whole time that I was there? How the hell did he know?

Well, Dess that is a rather stupid question. He probably has a hearing of a bat on steroids.

Logically if he was older than Ly, he must have a hearing so good that the angel choir was his go-to tune in radio station. James must have known the minute they entered the room that their conversation was anything but private. I gulped hoping that Ly won’t drag me in there.

Before I had time to jump away in pretence from the door and prepare my not so plausible reasons, it swung open.

I could finally put a face to the name and the cheerful voice. In front of me stood a tall man who would be perfect for the role of a dark Sultan straight out of Arabian Nights. The dark bronzed skin and midnight hair with matching black eyes begged my imagination to see James lying on the thick Persian carpet surrounded by women fawning over in the harem. They would be seeking ways to be in favour of their keeper; one dancing with only a veil covering her curvy torso, another whispering delights in his ear, while one would be calmly caressing the silky hair that was attached to his head on her lap. Women of lower ranks would play, sing, dance, and feverishly trying to take the spotlight for themselves. There would be massive, intoxicating scent circulating in the air, making the atmosphere charged with sensual currents, promising the Sultan pleasures of the flesh that were ripe for his plucking. Only one thing was not fitting into this imaginary vision I conjured of the vampire staring down at me . His name made no sense. How could his name be James? Much suitable would be Ahmed, Mohamed or something equally exotic.

I couldn’t find the words of haste explanation since the invasion of imagination disrupted my brain to help form the words. I was rendered mute.

Greeting me politely, James gazed down at me with coldest, flat eyes I had ever seen.“Hello, eavesdropper.”

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