Edna was sitting on the edge of her bed sobbing into her hands when Laurissa opened the door.
“Laurissa! I’m glad to see you!” Edna jumped and embraced Laurissa. Her arms held on as if she were dying.
“What is it, Edna?” Laurissa asked, alarmed. She suspected she knew what happened.
“I was running and exploring my abilities just like you said to do. I thought being a vampire was the best thing in the world. Everything is so alive around you, and I have these incredible powers, but…” Edna trailed off, and new tears began to fill her eyes.
“You found a human and killed it.” Laurissa finished for her.
“I couldn’t help it. She was outside washing clothing, and her two small children played nearby. The smell was like nothing I have ever experienced. I felt I would die if I didn’t at least taste them. My body seemed to take over. It was like watching a nightmare. I was aware of what I was doing, but I couldn’t stop myself. The children screamed and ran away as I drank from their mother. When she stopped breathing, I realized what I had done and ran.”
“You did not kill the children? It was not their blood that called you?”
“I don’t know.” Edna groaned and sat on the bed with her head in her hands. “Everything smelled so good. I could smell the trees. Even though it is fall, the trees smelled like fresh-cut wood or what they smell like when the wood burns. The leaves still smelled fresh. It was like walking through the woods in the middle of summer. I could sense animals and hear hundreds of heartbeats. I saw the mother and ignored everything else.”
“Remember this night Edna. Let it be a lesson. You must control your senses. You can focus on one thing and block out everything else. The blood of the virgin is very strong, and it is hard to resist. You were overwhelmed by everything around you. It was not the mother you sought. It was her children. Their blood is intoxicating. It will take time for you to resist them. That is why you must stay away from humans unsupervised.
“There are many things that are beautiful about the vampire. However, there are very dark things about us as well. Do not forget we feed off human blood. There are times when the monster in us causes us to murder a human. Come, it is time to feed.”
Edna looked up in surprise “Feed? Haven’t I done enough?”
Laurissa did not answer. She did not want to tell her Lord Dunkan commanded it. She did not want Edna to rely on Lord Dunkan to instruct her. Laurissa wished to make sure Edna sought her counsel only. She will not allow Dunkan to taint Edna.
“Where are we going?”
“To a place I told you to never return to.”
“Then why are we going?”
“You must not ask questions, Edna. Only remember this. Do not allow anyone other than me to counsel you. Do you remember I said you must be aware of other vampires?”
“This manor is filled with such vampires. The only one you are to trust is me.” Laurissa could sense the fear in her. Laurissa wanted to strike fear in her. Fear will make one cautious, and she needed to be cautious of Lord Dunkan. Laurissa will not allow him to touch her. She will fight for Edna’s life, but she will kill Edna to save her from the slavery of Lord Dunkan or his influences.
“Worry not. They will not harm you as long as I am near. You are under my protection.” Edna nodded. “Let us go. The Lord of this manor is waiting.”
Edna talked excitedly about her adventures, forgetting her concerns, while they walked to Madwell. She discovered she could run very fast. She could jump impossible heights and she could pick up heavy objects. Laurissa could not help smiling. “Do you want to experience something else?”
“Stop for a moment and listen and feel the vibrations of the earth.”
Edna followed Laurissa directions and giggled. “I can feel all the little bugs underground. I can actually hear their legs moving and scraping dirt. I think I’m going to enjoy being a vampire.”
Laurissa gave a small smile then continued to Madwell.
“Laurissa, I don’t think I can do this.” Edna began to panic. The scent of the humans made her hunger grow. She could feel the pull of her mind. She did not want to repeat the horror of what she did earlier.
“You do not have a choice. I will guide you. Trust me.”
Edna gripped Laurissa’s hand tightly and remained silent as Laurissa continued walking along the road. She could already see the dark figure waiting for them.
Laurissa became very nervous about Lord Dunkan’s plans for Edna. Still, if she did not like what was done, she will end Edna’s life swiftly. Taking care of humans and living among them is not a bad thing. It would show Edna how to respect humans even though they are a food source.
Once they met with Lord Dunkan, Laurissa introduced them.
“Edna, this is Lord Dunkan. It is his home we rest in. Lord Dunkan, this is Edna, our newest vampire.”
“I am pleased to meet you, my dear. Laurissa is going to teach you how to feed. After tonight you will feed on your own.”
Edna looked at her for guidance. This pleased Laurissa. “Come, I will teach you how to feed. You will not return to this village after tonight. There are other settlements around. You may feed on them as you please, then return to the manor.”
Lord Dunkan went on his way to feed, leaving Laurissa alone with Edna. Forcing Laurissa to bring Edna to Madwell showed her he is still master. She will do as he commands regardless what she desires for Edna. Lord Dunkan can control Edna’s actions without even looking at her. Laurissa will do it all for him. He quieted his mind while he hunted and paid attention to Laurissa’s training tactics.
“Humans must not know of us. If they do, you can imagine they will run in fear or become violent. This makes it much harder to feed. If they remain unaware and docile, feeding takes little time. You must feed in secret and find a human foolish enough to walk by themselves.”
Edna watched as Laurissa stood still and listened to the village. She looked like a statue. She barely moved and barely breathed. Laurissa found one house that had one male walking around. She led Edna to the building.
“Listen to the building. What do you hear?”
“I hear one heartbeat and footsteps. Wait. I hear several small rapid heartbeats.”
“Those are rats. Pay them no mind. I will go in and command the human to not move then you may feed.”
“Can I command him?”
“I will show you in the morning how to use your power. Tonight you must focus on controlling your hunger. You are doing well, Edna.”
Edna’s eyes are still the natural brown color. Her grip on Laurissa’s hand has become painful. Laurissa ignored it, knowing Edna needed the contact.
Laurissa opened the door and commanded the human to not move or make a sound, then forced her hand out of Edna’s. Laurissa leaned on the door and watched Edna circle the human sniffing the air.
“Stop what you are doing and sit down.” Laurissa ordered
Edna’s wide eyes snapped to Laurissa and quickly went to the chair in the room.
“Close your eyes and focus on the heartbeat of this human. Block out all of the other chatter in the village. This human’s heartbeat is the only sound you will hear.” Laurissa lowered her voice as Edna’s body relaxed “The human’s heart has a soothing rhythm. It is constant and moves the trickle of blood like a soft stream.”
Edna’s shoulders relaxed, and her breathing became natural. A small smile crept over Edna.
“Now focus on my scent. At the moment, your mind is filled with my scent, The scent of the rats, the human, and everything else in this room. Find my scent and block the rest out.
Edna’s eyes opened, and gazed at Laurissa. They sparkled with joy as Edna grinned.
“Are you hungry?”
“Look at the human stand near him. Touch him. But focus on me.”
Edna approached the human once again. Her body tensed up, and worry shined in her eyes. She tentatively touched the human then began caressing his arm up to his neck.”
“Focus, Edna. I will not allow you to feed until you can control it.”
Edna yanked her hand back then began to walk away. The room filled with the stench of fear. Her fear.
Laurissa pulsed power and took Edna’s neck. She shoved Edna’s nose into the human’s neck.
“Smell him. Resist your hunger. Control the urge to drink from him.
Tears began streaming down her face.
“Please let me go.”
“No. You have fed once today. There should be no desire to feed on this human.”
Edna’s mouth opened, and her fangs touched the skin. More tears flowed down her face as she began to sob.
“Focus on me, Edna. This human is not food. His skin is ice cold, and his blood is toxic. This man has friends and a family that you will sentence to a life of grief. Do you want that, Edna? Do you want to inflict pain on the humans?”
“No!” she sobbed.
“Resist!” Laurissa growled.
Edna closed her mouth and breathed in the human’s scent. She found him to be attractive. There is a musk about him that invited her to taste his blood. The woman she fed on was sweet to the taste. This man would be no different. She felt so alive after she killed the woman. The rush was like nothing she has ever experienced. This human would give her that joy. At what cost? Laurissa is right. This man has a life here in Madwell. He would be missed, and hearts would break. She did not want be the cause of that.
Edna relaxed in Laurissa’s hand and closed her eyes.
“I will not feed on him.”
Laurissa released Edna and backed up a step. Edna stood straighter and took a deep breath, then grinned.
“Well done, Edna. Now, there are three places where you can feed. The vein in the neck, wrist, and inner thigh. You can feed anywhere, but these are the preferred places. Drink until you feel warm, then stop. The warmth will travel from your toes to your mind. Once it reaches your mind, you must stop. We must never kill them.”
“This is the monster in us.”
“Yes Edna. However, it is controllable.”
Laurissa stepped aside and watched Edna feed. Her eyes glowed brightly as fresh blood flowed into her. She could see the struggle Edna had to release the human. She wanted more.
“Do you see how easy it is to continue until the human’s blood is completely gone?”
“The blood is what gives us energy and heals wounds that we receive. The greater the wound, the more blood it takes to heal fully. I understand humans have died because the vampire is mortally wounded. That is the monster, Edna. We are hunters, and they are our prey. We must never abuse the relationship we have with them. Remember where you came from. You can form relationships with humans and live among them. They are not simply our food.”
“I understand, Laurissa.”
Laurissa led Edna out of the room then released the human from her power.
Edna took a deep breath and seemed to have a weight lifted off her shoulders. “This feels amazing! I feel so alive! The world looks like it is moving and full of life.”
“You may go explore. I must return to the manor.”
“Aren’t you going to feed?”
“Yes. Now go. I will see you in the morning.”
“Okay. Goodnight!” Edna pulsed power and raced out of the village. Laurissa looked back at the house and heard the rats. Why must we feed off humans? Why not anything with blood? She opened the door and looked at the corner of the room where a rat sniffed the floor. She would be fast enough to catch it. The human skin book said nothing about drinking blood other than human’s. She must research this possibility before she subjects herself to drinking animal blood. Virgin blood is like alcohol. Perhaps blood from an animal is poisonous.
Laurissa turned to return to the manor. She walked deep in thought, trying to answer her question. She looked to be in a daze when she entered Lord Dunkan’s chamber and sat on the bed.
“Why even wonder, my dear?” Dunkan said.
Laurissa looked at him with deep blue eyes. They showed the calculating thought and were troubled. Lord Dunkan knows what troubles her. Her need to ultimately protect her charge is consuming her. Taking Edna’s life would grieve her, possibly even kill her. He remembered the last time she truly grieved. Her soul attacked itself to the point of death.
This will be beneficial when he destroys the masters. He is stronger than them; however, Laurissa would be quicker, and rumors of her would spread from house to house. He will gain more loyalty from the other houses while Laurissa is with him. He has found the means to use her untapped power. Now he must wait for the right time to strike.
“Why not? You hate humans. You do not like the way they smell or taste. Have you tried a different beast?”
Lord Dunkan shook himself from her gaze. “No. There are worst things than humans.”
“Why must we drink blood?”
“This has been explained to you.”
“It does not make sense.”
“Human blood gives us their strength. The blood eventually dies, and our bodies consume the energy.”
“So it is not the blood that sustains us. It is their energy.”
“I am uncertain, my dear. No vampire thinks to feed off anything but the human. The human smells good to you. Do the beasts?”
“No, I suppose not. Their blood does not call to me like the human’s blood.”
“We must not fight instinct, my dear. It is time to feed.”
Laurissa embraced Lord Dunkan then fed off his neck. He embraced her back, and his ecstasy washed over Laurissa. His hands roamed her body as she fed, and soft moans escaped him. “Pleasure me tonight, my mate. It has been a while.”
“Not long enough.”
Lord Dunkan’s chuckle sent chills through her spine as he met her lips. He began undressing her and demanded her kisses. Laurissa obediently kissed him back and undressed him, following his lead. His hand traveled and caressed her privates, and his fangs nibbled her neck. “Oh my dear, you are divine.” He could feel her body respond to him. He wanted the pull of her body and her fragrance to fill his mind. To be lost in his passion only Laurissa could give him.
Laying her on the bed and holding her flesh against his made his heart race. Her deep blue eyes still had a faraway gaze as she looked at him. She went through the motions, but she is not truly in the room with him. It does not matter. He knows her body intimately. He will accomplish his goal regardless what Laurissa desires.
He slowly and purposefully began his thrusts, teasing her and asking for her desire. Laurissa allowed her body the feel of pleasure and sent it to Lord Dunkan through the tendril. More moans came from him as he released his desire. Laurissa quietly rolled over to sleep, and Dunkan curled up to her. He buried his nose in her hair and breathed deeply, then relaxed.
“You do not need to hold me. I am not going anywhere.” Laurissa growled.
“Oh, but I do, my dear. I most certainly do.” His smooth voice echoed her doom in her mind as his body wriggled closer to her.