“Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Oh, yes! Oh, yes, Dmitri! Ohmygod! Yes!”
Charlotte turned up the volume for the music blaring in her ears in the hopes of drowning out the onslaught of overly-exaggerated screams emanating from the other side of the door.
She envisioned the window above Dmitri’s bed exploding out, showering the two of them with shards of glass. From the high decibel his partner was emitting, such a thing surely couldn’t have been an impossibility.
Scrubbing vigorously at the already immaculate shower tile, Charlotte pictured her boss’ vacant, unchanging, face. Imagined wiping that stoic look out of his eyes.
Her boss was a difficult, useless, sorry excuse for a human being.
For three weeks now she’d been working for a man who seemingly had no job, no life, and no interpersonal skills. He was rude and antisocial. Completely apathetic to everyone and everything. Uncaring. Unfeeling.
Charlotte pictured Dmitri as he’d been the day they’d met. She’d mistakenly found him attractive. With his face cleanly shaven and his straight black hair slicked back and parted slightly to the side, he’d had the look of Christian Bale in American Psycho. A hard, chiseled jaw. Dimpled chin. Piercing brown eyes, so dark they looked black. Tall. Perfect physic.
She’d nearly melted just from being in his presence.
That was, until he’d opened his big, fat, arrogant mouth.
Charlotte threw her sponge in the bucket, disgustedly.
Such a bad attitude he had. Such a pompous, egotistical, jerk.
He treated the world as his own personal plaything and people like they were his servants.
Rinsing the shower one last time, Charlotte stood and wiped her wet hands on her pants. Gathering her cleaning supplies, she pulled open the door to Dmitri’s bedroom. There was no point in trying to tiptoe out; it was because of this douche that she was in this situation. Had he not demanded that the shower be cleanedimmediately after he’d finished bathing, she wouldn’t have to suffer through seeing her boss naked in the arms of another woman, lost in the throes of passion. She wasn’t going to be shy about it if he wasn’t.
At least the screaming had stopped.
Charlotte stepped into the room, yanking the buds from her ears, and stopped in her tracks, baffled by what she was seeing. Her boss was neither naked, nor lost in the throes of anything, but fully clothed eyes wide open and staring at her.
Blood painted his lips crimson.
And there she stood, mouth agape, at the sight of her boss holding the woman who’d been screaming his name moments ago that now lay in his arms completely silent and motionless. Blood seeping from a wound at the base of her neck and over her collarbone, down between the cleft of her grapefruit-sized breasts.
Dmitri lowered the female slowly at first, by her arm. Her knees buckled and he dropped her the rest of the way. Her head hit the wood floor with a soft thud that made Charlotte flinch, her platinum blonde hair fanning out around her.
Charlotte was unable to take her eyes away from the female’s naked form. Her long, slender neck was red and bruised as though he’d held her by her throat.
Droplets of blood trickled to the floor.
“The sheets will need to be washed, of course.” Dmitri’s toneless voice broke through the haze of Charlotte’s mind.
Operating on sheer instinct, she hurled the bucket full of cleaning supplies at Dmitri’s head and bolted for the door.
Her footsteps thudded on the wood floor in time to the pounding of her heart.
Run! Her mind screamed as though it hadn’t yet realized she already was. Run! She repeated to herself over and over again.
She had to escape!
Finally reaching the front door, Charlotte paused to free the chain, but with her body shaking from the adrenaline, she could hardly grasp it. A panicked cry escaped her lips as she frantically pulled at it uselessly. After what seemed like a lifetime, the chain came free.
Charlotte disengaged the locks, nearly crying with relief, and turned the handle.
A long arm snaked in front of her and palmed the door barring it shut even as she frantically pulled at it with all of her strength.
It wouldn’t budge.
“I can’t let you do that.” Those words spoken in his monotone voice didn’t leave her any room for argument.
From somewhere far away from herself, Charlotte noticed that he hadn’t yet wiped the blood from his face; the crimson painted on his lips akin to the remnants of a kiss.
The sickening realization that it would soon be her blood daubed on his mouth made her entire body shake in fear. Her limbs turned to jelly. Charlotte felt herself slid to the floor, her back against the wall, tremors wracking her body.
When had she started crying?
Tears ran freely down her cheeks.
“Please,” the words came whispering. “Please.”
Charlotte looked into the stoic expression of the man before her, crouching down beside her, the hollow look in his eyes. He was going to kill her. She was sure.
How had she not noticed it before? The vacantness of his expression. His sheer lack of emotion. He was a psychopath.
No. A sociopath.
“Please don’t kill me,” she begged, not recognizing the smallness of her voice.
When had she become so weak?
Fight! Her mind screamed, but her body was paralyzed with fear.Fight back!
Hadn’t she been telling herself to run away just moments ago?
Dmitri crouched down beside her.
Terror choked her.
“Please.” Her brain seemed incapable of anything beyond that one word.
Charlotte stared into the cold, expressionless eyes of the man who was about to kill her. His inscrutable face would be the last thing she ever saw.
Reaching out, Dmitri slid his thumb down her cheek. Unconsciously, Charlotte struck at his hand, pushing him away from her. She gasped in surprise, horrified by what she’d just done.
Because, of course, the smart thing for the rabbit to do before being devoured by the fox was anger it. She didn’t want to anger this fox. Or, perhaps, lion would be more accurate. Or crazy, rabid bear.
Maybe Hannibal Lecter.
Regardless of who, or what he was, she was going to die. Here and now. Now she was just going to be another thing to clean out of the sheets.
“What the hell are you doing?”
The haughty voice above them snapped at Charlotte’s already fried nerves. She screamed aloud. Something she should have perhaps done at the start of all of this. Maybe then someone would come to her rescue.
Charlotte continued screaming, even as she felt her face heat, the veins in her neck bulge. Even when Dmitri clapped his hand over her mouth and wrapped her in a tight embrace, keeping her arms down at her sides. Even as the female who’d been dead only a few moments ago hissed at her to shut up. She continued screaming, the muffled sound of her voice doing nothing for her beyond making her lightheaded.
“Stop you stupid fool.” The woman grabbed tightly at her hair, pulling her head back. “Enough of this.”
She brought her face down towards Charlotte, her mouth falling open to reveal a ridiculously pristine smile and two canines that looked as sharp and menacing as a snake’s fangs.
Charlotte knew what was coming. Even though the word Vampire had yet to once enter her mind, she already knew. Was already bracing herself.
It didn’t happen the way she’d expected. There was no hissing or snarling. No theatrical flourishes. In all of the vampire movies she’d ever seen there’d been the pullback where the vampire bared its fangs for the camera before taking that big bite, followed by the sound of teeth piercing flesh like crunching into an apple, but none of that.
The woman lowered her head gently, her white blonde hair falling down the side of her face, tickling Charlotte’s shoulder. She felt the her breath fan over her skin a moment before the warmth of her mouth, then a pinch as those fangs pierced her flesh.
When had she stopped screaming? She couldn’t remember it now. Could hardly remember a thing. Could hardly breathe.
A thick fog filled her mind, replacing the terror she’d been feeling only seconds ago.
Why had she been so afraid?
Looking at Dmitri, the epitome of calm stoicism, she couldn’t remember what had been so frightening that she’d run from him screaming.
Had she been running?
There was a sucking, gulping sound in Charlotte’s ear, a tickle on her shoulder, warmth on her neck.
Was Dmitri holding her in his arms?
Dmitri, she tried to say, but no words escaped her lips.
Her body felt so light, so weightless, but so heavy she might fall through the floor.
“That’s enough.” Dmitri’s eyes never left her.
What was enough, she wanted to ask him, but again, she hadn’t the strength.
“I said that’s enough,” he said again, more firmly this time. Such a change from his usual monotone.
Had she ever heard him speak this way? Her ears were playing tricks on her. She heard the sound of rushing water and the loud thump of a drum.
Something changed in his eyes.
Had she ever seen that look?
“Dmitri.” Charlotte was finally able to speak, though her voice was barely audible. “Wha…?”
She’d wanted to ask what was wrong, but she couldn’t. She didn’t feel weightless anymore. Now she feared she really would fall through the floor.
Her lips tingled. Her feet and her hands. Her chest was turning to stone. The air barely shuddered through her lungs.
Something akin to panic flashed in Dmitri’s eyes and then he was reaching for her, clawing at her neck. The warmth was replaced with a tearing, searing pain, as whatever was attached to her was ripped away from her flesh.
Charlotte wanted to cry out, but there was nothing left in her.
There was nothing left. Not the tingling. Not the heaviness.
“Charlotte,” she heard Dmitri call to her, but he sounded so far away. The roaring in her ears was nearly deafening.
When had she closed her eyes? Everything had gone black.
Who was calling to her?
Why was she under water?
Why couldn’t she breathe?
Why was she so cold?