Eyes Cold Like Winter

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An Impending Encounter

In an unknown part of the woods, Elise lay unconscious. She was hidden away in plain sight among the woodland plants surrounding the area. She could vaguely hear the sound of the rustling trees and the birds chirping, but she had no idea where she had ended up.

Elise clearly remembered that she had been hiking up the steps behind Lucius but had lost her footing when she slipped and fell backwards. She had tumbled down the hill and had ended up where she was now. My whole body hurts a lot. And I can barely move. Elise quietly thought to herself.

Light was gradually coming into her vision. It looked though she was following the light down a tunnel leading to the afterlife. She could not be dead, could she? Little by little, the light was getting brighter and brighter, as she slowly opened her eyes. The sound of nature also got louder, but her vision remained hazy due to being passed out for what it seems to have been a long time.

As her eyesight was adjusting to normal, Elise spotted a figure towering over her. However, she still could not see clearly to know who it was. Lucius? She quietly thought. Had he come to find her?

“I’ve finally found you…” said an unfamiliar voice.

This sent shivers down Elise’s spine. That’s not Lucius! She thought. Who is it?! However, she could tell by the tonality of the voice that it was a man. Fortunately, there were no indications that she had broken any bones in her body. Just bruises scattered all over her body. She made an effort to move.

“Don’t move!” said the voice again, “Just be a good girl and stay right where you are… You look beautiful when you’re black and blue all over. I really love a doll who just got battered up.”

Elise was paralysed with fear when she felt unknown fingers slither around her wrists, before gripping them in an iron grip. As much as she wanted to resist, she was fully aware that could not. Even with the slightest movement, pain shot throughout her body.

“You’re giving off a wonderful aroma which I remember so well,” spoke the voice. “You are definitely her, but there’s only one way to make sure…”

The figure leaned towards Elise’s neck and gave it a small lick. Elise flinched with discomfort, causing her body to ache again. No! She thought when she felt the figure opening his mouth with a hiss. Please, don’t!

“Elise!” shouted a familiar voice.

“Curses!” muttered the figure as he pulled away from Elise’s neck, “I didn’t expect him to find her so quick! I should’ve bitten her the moment I found her!”

He then released Elise’s wrists and stood up. “Until next time,” he told her. The figure then disappeared in a hurry, just as Lucius showed up.

“Elise!” shouted Lucius as he fell to his knees beside her. “There you are! Thank goodness I found you!”

“Lucius…” murmured Elise. “Is that you?”

“Of course it’s me!” said Lucius, “You’re safe now that I’m here.”

“Thank goodness…” sighed Elise. “Thank goodness you showed up on time…”

“What do you mea-” asked Lucius, but stopped when he spotted finger marks around Elise’s wrists.

Don’t tell me!? He fearfully thought. Who was with Elise while he was searching for her? Glancing at her body, he could tell that nothing else had been done to her. A wave of terror washed over him when he caught a familiar certain scent that was not Elise’s being emitted from her body.

“So he really is here…” he whispered quietly.

“Who?” asked Elise.

“It’s nothing!” shouted Lucius, “It’s better that you don’t know. That aside, can you move?”

Elise weakly shook her head. This prompted Lucius to carefully gather her up in his arms into a princess carry. She managed to muster some strength that had returned to her arms, just enough to wrap them around Lucius’ neck.

“Hold on tight,” he whispered into Elise’s ear.

“What are you going to do?” she quietly asked back.

“I’m going to fly,” replied Lucius. “It’s quicker that way.”

Before Elise could even protest, Lucius immediately took off into the sky.

Entering the manor, they were greeted by Mr. Courbet who had just returned from his business trip in London.

“Good heavens!” Mr. Courbet exclaimed when he saw Elise in Lucius’ arms. “What in blazes happened to you?”

“We were hiking in Goathland,” explained Lucius. “Elise slipped and tumbled down the steps while we were following the trail to Beck Hole. I will take responsibility for my carelessness today by tending to her.”

“Very good Lucius,” said Mr. Courbet as he patted his son on the back. “And I am glad that you are alright, Elise,” he added.

Lucius then headed up the grand staircase with Elise in his arms. He brought her back to her room where he laid her down onto her bed.

“I’m sorry for being a burden to you,” said Elise who was feeling slightly guilty. “I said that I’d be careful, but I failed to watch where I was going and ended up getting myself hurt.”

“NO!” shouted Lucius as he gritted his teeth, “I’m the one who should be sorry!”

Elise yelped in surprise when Lucius suddenly latched onto her body, burying his face into her chest. His skin felt cool against her skin, and it was not long until she felt a warm tear coming from Lucius.

“I was supposed to ensure your safety,” he quietly whispered. “But I failed to notice that you were gone too late. If.. if… I hadn’t found you on time, who knows what could’ve been done to you.”

“What do you mean?” asked Elise in confusion.

“It’s complicated to explain,” said Lucius as he pulled his face away from her chest to look up at her. “Don’t ask or try to think about it. Right now, you need to get plenty of rest.”

Lucius then released Elise and stood up.

“My father most likely has already sent Esmé up to your room with your dinner,” said Lucius. “Perhaps when you’ve recovered some of your body strength, have a warm bath later tonight.”

He then walked towards the door, opened it, and left the room. Once Lucius was gone, Elise clutched her chest where Lucius had buried his face into. This was the first time I’ve seen him looking so vulnerable. She thought to herself.

The mental picture of the figure she had encountered today suddenly came into her mind. Who was that person? Elise wondered. She debated whether to tell Lucius about it, since that person appeared to be a vampire like him. However, he was different from Lucius. Whenever Lucius drank her blood, his touch was now gentle compared to the first time he bit her. That figure sounded impulsive and was extremely rough when he gripped both her wrists.

Using some strength that had returned to her body, she reached for the TV remote. Turning on the TV, she switched to the BBC news channel.

A body of a young woman was found at Incline Cottage in Goathland earlier this afternoon. The autopsies reveal that cause of death was similar to the first three victims that were found in the Whitby area two weeks ago. The recent victim also had two puncture marks on her neck as though she had been bitten by a vampire. Police are still investigating the incidents regarding this vampire-like serial killer...”

Elise froze when she heard this. Could it be…? She quietly thought when the mysterious figure came into her mind again. He had almost attacked her back there. Could she have been one of his intended victims?

“I’d better be careful now…” she told herself, “What if he could be after me?”

Meanwhile, Lucius was in his room sprawled on top of his bed. It really is him. He quietly thought to himself. Draven Archambeau. There was no doubt that the scent he caught from Elise when he found her was Draven’s. The thought of this fuelled his anger. How dare he lay a finger on Elise! If he had not found her on time, who knows what Draven could have done to her.

“Master Lucius?” came the butler, Jervis’ voice from outside.

“What is it?” sighed Lucius as he turned over on his bed.

“Your father wishes to speak to you,” Jervis replied. “He is waiting in the living room.”

Lucius gave an agitated as he got up from his bed. What does he want now? He wondered as he made his way to the living room. Mr. Courbet was sat comfortably by the fireplace with his late afternoon tea when Lucius arrived.

“Please have a seat,” Mr. Courbet told Lucius as he gestured to the sofa opposite him. “There is something I must discuss with you with utmost importance.”

“I’m assuming it’s because of Elise,” scoffed Lucius as he helped himself to some tea. “Are you going to reprimand me for turning her into a blood bank?”

“Most certainly not!” said Mr. Courbet, “It was Elise’s choice to become your blood bank. I appreciate her selfless act to help you control your blood cravings, or otherwise you would have become like that rumoured vampire-like serial killer.”

“Vampire-like serial killer?” asked Lucius who was slightly confused.

“Do you even watch the news?” sighed Mr. Courbet as he handed Lucius an old newspaper from two weeks ago. “Just this afternoon, a body of a young woman was found in Goathland. According to the autopsy report mentioned on the news channel, the cause of death is very similar to the first three victims.”

Lucius took the newspaper from his father and read the article about the three murders in the Whitby area, and how the police concluded this to be the work of a serial killer. Don’t tell me! He quietly thought to himself. Elise and I were there today!

“Is something the matter?” Mr. Courbet asked Lucius, “You look as though you have something that I need to hear.”

“Father…” said Lucius slowly. “What if I were to tell you that not all the members of the Archambeau family have perished?”

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