I stared out the tinted window. After the avalanche, the earth was still and the air was silent. Everything was white, the sky, the earth and the horizon. The moonlight shone through the thick clouds making the fresh snow sparkle and dazzle. There was no movement across the barren land, no sound, everything had been buried.
I moved away from the window bending down to pull my thick brown boots on over my bare feet, tucking the ends of my cotton trousers in. I tied the laces then straightened up, adjusting my black cotton blouse, rapidly doing up the buttons. I glanced out the window again then moved towards the two large cathedral doors ornamented with gold and jewels. I tossed my hair back, then pushed on one of the doors lightly with my finger. It swung open, slamming against the side of the cathedral. I heard voices of complaint farther back in the cathedral.
A heavy wind, thick with snowflakes crashed against me, slipping into the cathedral, whooshing past my ears. The cold didn’t bother me. I slipped into the night, closing the door behind me. The barren land before me was lashed with the wind, the trees were bent towards me tossing snow in my face.
“Hello Mother,” I whipped around cocking my head to one side. Aric was standing behind me, the wind ruffled over his bare chest skin, but didn’t raise any goosebumps. The strong wind had stopped me from hearing him coming.
He gave me a small smile.
“I’m an engineer,” he told me as he held out a paper diploma. “ Actually I’m a doctor,” his smile widened. I chuckled lightly examining the diploma.
“Again,” I handed the diploma back to my son. “ Well done.”
“Thanks,” he shoved it into his pocket then glanced around the tundra. He sniffed the air, then frowned at me. “A lot of wind, I can’t smell any sort of prey,” he told me pushing his hair out of his eyes.
“I know,” I glanced around with him, sniffing the air, only snow. “ I’m going to have to go pretty far to find something that hasn’t been buried."
“I can come with you if you like. I haven’t fed in a week,” he cocked his head to one side. I chuckled shaking my head.
“No, you go show your father your diploma and your grandmother. I’m sure she’ll be proud. You know she has no idea what an engineer does this century. I’ll be back soon with lunch,” I answered, Aric hesitated then nodded obediently.
“Okay. Good hunting,” he turned on his heels and disappeared into the blizzard. I could only just hear the slamming of the heavy cathedral doors behind him.
Alone again I slipped away, heading south, through the small valley, sniffing the air for prey. Every so often I came across a frozen rabbit or a moose cub, but they were frozen through, their blood was too full of water to be any sort of nourishment.
I ended up smelling a highway, the cold tar, and the petrol hovered on the wind. As I approached, I noticed the highway was covered in snow, a thinner layer, the end of the avalanche. I stepped out onto the road shuffling my feet through the snow. I looked around, the high bluffs on each side of the high way were coated in thick snow, the trees had crashed down on to the road, the wind was softer. I peered into the distance, a kilometre away maybe, was a large truck, on its side, in the middle of the road. A tragedy for humans, possibly warm blood for me.
I was at the truck in seconds ripping the yellow door off. I could smell warm blood, not quite frozen through. As I started digging through the snow filling the front seat I heard a small thumping, a fluttering and fresh, young blood. My throat burned, filling my body with heat, I felt my muscles tighten. I let the pounding heart fill my mind. My movements cleared the front seat in seconds.
Two corpses, a couple, young, frozen, the closest to me was a man. His brown eyes were wide, unseeing and his expression showed worry, more than fear. The thudding wasn’t coming from him, but I could smell the blood in his body. His head was split open, the blood had dried and frozen on his forehead. I picked up his wrist, there was no pulse, his blood was cold. I moved my lips over his vein and slowly opened my mouth pressing my fangs against his skin. It popped open, I pushed my tongue into the wound, warming the blood and sucking it up into my body. It tasted bitter and watery. I gazed up after a while and slipped onto his lap facing the woman whose forehead was also cracked open with the impact.
Her face was cold, sheet white, her eyes squeezed shut. She was hunched over, wrapping her arms around a small shape. Curiously, I pulled her arms away. They cracked in my hands. Scowling I tossed them behind me and picked up the bundle.
My throat burned, aching throughout my body. I stared at the baby in my arms. Its heart was thudding rapidly in its chest, its blood still churning in its body. It was still alive. Despite the horrible car crash, it looked unharmed, it wasn’t bleeding, only very cold, its breath was wheezy. Its blankets were thick with snow soaking the baby to the core. It shivered in my arms, the blankets around it shaking.
I held it up to my mouth, staring at it intensely, letting its heartbeat fill my mind and body. Its blood smelt sweet and refreshing. I felt my body craving for the youth in the blood. I closed my eyes letting my hunter’s instincts take over completely. It was such easy prey, I opened my mouth hovering my fangs over its neck where I could hear its blood rushing through its vein.
I pressed my lips against the thudding vein on her neck. I was caught off guard by a very small giggle. I opened my eyes and stared at the baby in my arms. It stared back at me and felt a small spark in my chest, a spark of warmth I hadn’t felt since Aric was cut out of me and I first saw his face.
I kept my eyes on the baby letting my pain in my throat dull down and the small warmth the baby had put in my heart, spread.
The baby blinked at me, then slowly its face scrunched up and warm tears rushed down its cheeks. Its cry filled my head. It seemed to echo across the mountain range. I hugged the baby to my bosom and smoothly slipped out of the car. I stood in the middle of the road staring at the child in my arms, letting the freezing wind play around with my feelings. The crying baby fidgeted and shivered, its eyes scrunched up, its face going red. I smelled the shock of blood under its crimson skin.
“Why do you cry?” I asked the baby softly, “How can you be so soft?” I stoked my finger down her cheek lightly, breathing in her rich bloody scent. I leaned down and pressed my lips to its forehead, when I drew back, it stopped crying. Suddenly. The tears froze on its face, and its wide eyes stared up at me. Such a peculiar and unusual shade, forest green, flecked with blue and lined with black. I didn’t see fear in them or sadness; I saw warmth. The heat radiating from the baby seemed to glow, like a bright flame, bright as the sun, but much softer and less lethal.
“If you had been any older,” I gave it a small hint of a smile. “You wouldn’t still be alive.” The baby blinked at me again and shivered. I licked my lips finally deciding that I’d have to wait yet for lunch.
I hugged the bundle of baby against my chest, shielding it from the fierce wind. Rapidly I moved back from the highway, keeping my eyes on the baby, listening to its steady, rapid heartbeat.
With the wind behind me, I moved faster, I rushed across the white valley, scanning the horizon for any movement of prey. I stopped for a frozen rabbit. It tasted wet, so I chucked it back and moved on.
I was back at the cathedral soon after. I slowed my pace and stared down at the baby in my arms, who was looking around, with her wide, beautiful eyes. I pushed the thick wooden doors open and entered the main hall.
It was a long room lined with thick red marble columns, stain-glass windows that showed flowers, Jesus and his cross and spirals. The ceiling, arched above us, painted gold with carved in gold flowers. Four large gold chandeliers embedded with gems dangled on ten-meter length chains. The thick beige stone walls were decorated with ancient tapestries and statues. The floor was made of antique red marble, scratched and dented. The hall was illuminated brightly with the chandeliers and candles lined up on every table. On the second floor was a gigantic golden organ, blanketing the whole wall.
I walked across the room, my high heels clicking against the floor. To my right was a gigantic fireplace, big enough to fit four adults in standing up. A large log was placed in the middle, and from it burned a long, thick flame, that flickered and warmed the room. I could feel the snow melting off my clothes and hair. The bundle of blankets and baby in my arms were soon soaked. Facing the fire was a long, thick table surrounded by richly decorated chairs.
I paused by the fire, staring at the shadows as they danced across the baby’s face. A warm light glowed from its eyes and I smiled.
“Soon you’ll be warm. And cosy,” I told it moving towards the end of the hall, directly under the organ where the floor sloped down into a large winding staircase illuminated by red candles. I slipped down, following the staircase to the bottom. It led into a wide chamber, richly illuminated with candles and a large fireplace. From the room were six winding tunnels, that disappeared underground. I took the one furthest to my left, the tunnel wasn’t very long, it led into a larger chamber than before. There was a rich fire blazing in the hearth of the fireplace, three long, comfortable sofas, a thick fuzzy rug and a glass coffee table. One each side of the chamber were three large wooden doors. I sat down in one of the sofas and set the baby on my lap. Inside the chamber was warm and the baby had stopped shivering. I unravelled the blankets and tossed the soaking heap to the ground.
“A girl,” I smiled brushing my finger against her cold stomach. “A light in all this darkness.” I continued then held her up and pressed my lips against her cold cheeks. “Let’s get you warm.” I smiled at her gaily and stood up again.
The second I opened my bedroom door, my husband, Demetrius, pounced on me. He had been at the walk-in wardrobe choosing something to wear, I just saw him turn his face to me, then suddenly he was by my side, his arms around me. He pressed his lips against mine, running his fingers through my hair and pulling me against him, his hands grabbing my bottom. In the heat of the moment, I almost forgot the baby girl in my arms.
Demetrius pushed away from me suddenly his eyes blazing a brilliant crimson. He stared at the girl in my arms. His mouth hovered open and I could see his fangs protruding.
“Is this breakfast in bed?” He asked me with a sly grin spreading over his perfect face.