Prey

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The Talk

Aric couldn’t help but feel bad when he saw the extent of the damage she’d done to her hand trying to help him.

Sitting on his coffee table he clasped his hands together, leaning his elbows on his knees.

Unable to think of anything to say, Aric simply sighed and stared at her.

He studied her face, noting the soft play of freckles across her nose and cheeks, her full, if dry lips, and the flecks of gold in the iris’ of her terror-filled, red rimmed eyes.

“Well,” he said, sighing again, “I guess we should start with the basics. My name is Aric, with an ‘A’. What’s yours?”

“Liberty, Liberty Hope,” she said softly, her voice barely audible even to his vampiric hearing, “but my mom calls me Bertie.”

“Liberty Hope?” Aric asked with a smirk, finding humor in the choice. “Why?

“Are your parents dissidents or just suicidal?” he asked, curious as to why they’d risk being found out by giving their daughter such an audacious name.

“Neither,” she replied, her body and voice defensive. “They just hoped for a better life for me than they had.

“But,” she added, wiping her eyes with the back of her uninjured hand, her body folding in on itself, “I guess that’s not going to happen now.”

Aric couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. It had been his fault that she’d gasped since he was the one who threw the branch to distract Moric only to have it backfire.

If he hadn’t interfered there was a good chance that she would have lasted long enough to earn her way to the free zone. Instead, he’d captured her himself, but only to save her from the hell that Moric would have put her through.

“You can still have a good life here,” Aric offered, trying to pull her out of the downward spiral her mind was heading towards. “I mean, I’m not a bad guy.”

“Really?” Bertie asked holding out her hand.

“Okay,” Aric acknowledged, unable to deny the fact that he had fed from her this morning, “I did bite you, but there was blood everywhere and I am a vampire.

“I’m usually not hungry when I wake up,” he explained looking at her earnestly, “but I forgot to eat last night because I was getting us both cleaned up so we could sleep.”

“Speaking of which,” he sighed, reaching for a handset nearby.

“Breakfast, B positive,” Aric said before pausing and covering the mouth piece with his hand.

“What would you like?” he asked, look bad to his pet.

Surprised that he even bothered to ask what she wanted, Liberty could only shrug.

“And something for my new pet,” he said, putting phone back to his ear, “with cocoa and vitamin supplements.”

Setting the phone back in its place, he clasped his hands between his knees.

“Last night was the Feast of St. Januarias," he said, looking at her. "It is the night vampires celebrate being who and what we are, and give thanks to the first of us.

"It also happens to be the night that all vampires are forced into a comatose state so we can commune with out inner selves, the creature within.

"It only happens one night a year, so from now on you have no need to worry. My rest will be like yours, just sleep," he said trying to sound reassuring.

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