Ailis stood there for quite a long time trying to catch her breath. She was confused. What had she done wrong to make him leave so abruptly? She was surprised at how hurt she felt, and quickly decided that his leaving was probably for the best. How could she have let that happen? He was a vampire for Christ’s sake.
A small voice in the back of her mind quietly reminded her that she was not exactly human either. She chose to ignore that small voice and went to the attic where her study was. She sat at her desk looking out the only window facing the east. It was a wonderful place to sit and view the sunrise. She found herself feeling bad that Kenneth would never enjoy this sight with her. She sat back and glanced around the room, there was one window and no other light source in this room. A small private smile came to her as she thought of the most wonderful idea.
Before she could think better of it and change her mind, Ailis made a few calls and managed to get six good hours of sleep before she had to get up and get to work. It was a long boring night made worse by thoughts of the kiss she shared with Kenneth. Just the thought of it brought butterflies to her stomach. She was so confused. How could she be feeling anything for a murderer, let alone the strong feelings she was having now? When they kissed, her whole body and soul came to life in such a way, it had her wondering if she’d in fact been dead inside all of these years. She could feel her soul screaming out for him this very minute. She slammed back in her chair on a frustrated huff, looking heavenward as she spoke.
“I wish you were here grandmother. Then I would know what to do.” She said out loud and was very shocked, as she could have sworn she heard her grandmother chuckle and say. “You never listened to me before my child. Why should you start now?”
Ailis sat frozen at her desk and couldn’t speak. Was she going crazy? She knew she’d felt her grandmother’s presence a few times since she’d been here but in each case, she’d been very afraid and figured she’d felt her grandmother because she’d wanted to, because ,she needed to. Ailis reasoned with herself that maybe, just maybe along with witches and vampires, other supernatural beings existed as well. Maybe ghosts were real and some bonds just can’t be broken. She told herself and answered. “I am so confused. I don’t even know this man but I feel like I’ve known him forever. What do I do?”
“Listen to what’s inside you child. What you seek lies behind your reflection.”
“What?” She said. But there was nothing but silence.
That woman Ailis said exasperated. Even in death all she does is talk in riddles.
Just as she was ready to leave for the night her radio went off advising that there was another body found and she was the closest. She was immediately alert and on her way. She was worried the whole way there. She knew that Kenneth was agitated when he left this morning but she didn’t think he was that angry. She pulled up to the boardwalk and all but ran down to the pier. She approached at full speed but stopped dead in her tracks when she got close enough to see the body. It was horrible. The body was torn to shreds and was unrecognizable. Her heart began to beat ferociously and she felt like she was going to be sick. As she came closer, Collin saw that there was something wrong.
“Ailis” He said as he ran to her side and placed an arm over her shoulder to steady her. “You shouldn’t be here, they shouldn’t have called you. This is too bad for you to see.”
At his statement Ailis straightened up. No way was he treating her like a fragile little girl. “I’m okay.” She said to Collin as she shrugged out of his reach. “It just surprised me, that’s all.”
“Alright.” Collin said looking a little hurt but quickly recovering. “Well this is the worst of all the others but we’re pretty sure it’s the same guy.” Ailis swallowed hard. That’s what she was afraid of.
Kenneth felt it as soon as it happened. He knew something was terribly wrong. He just couldn’t put his finger on what it was. Not until he felt Ailis. She was definitely upset about something. He couldn’t tell what. He knew she wasn’t in danger but her emotions where in turmoil. If he didn’t know better he’d swear that she was out there crying her eyes out somewhere.
He tried to reach her through the communication line that had been established but he couldn’t get through. She was completely closing herself off. He couldn’t blame her after the way he behaved earlier. He listened for anything that he thought might upset her and he finally caught a conversation at the police station. “Worst I’ve ever seen.” One cop said to the other. “Yeah.” The other replied. “I heard that the head was nearly torn off, and it was right on the pier where anybody could have seen.” Kenneth knew why she was so upset now. Somebody killed someone and she thinks he did it.
He moved with supernatural speed. Once he got there he could see it in her face. She was stretched to the limit. She needed rest and now. It looked like she hadn’t slept in days. She was examining the body. The look on her face gave off the fact that she was confused about something.
“What is it?” Collin asked as he was bending down to get closer to her. Kenneth glared at the man. He hated him already. He talked to Ailis as if he had a right to her. It also didn’t help that Kenneth was starting to feel like maybe Collin was important to Ailis’ life in some way, important to both of their lives. Where the hell he was getting that from, he didn’t know and it only made him hate the man more.
Ailis heaved a sigh and stood back up to address Collin. “Well I don’t see how this is the same person. One, this is a woman and our guy has never hunted women. Two, the body is still full of blood. This just looks like a senseless killing rather that a carefully calculated murder.”
That word killed Kenneth inside. She thought of him as a murderer. He didn’t know why that hurt him so much. Who cares what she thinks. But he cared and that scared the hell out of him.
Collin looked skeptical but then conceded. “Well.” He said. “That’s why you’re the best. But we’ll wait and see.”
Ailis excused herself and headed for her grandmother’s car. Kenneth noticed she always took the car to work instead of her bike. He liked the bike better, he’d decided. Kenneth felt like this was not the best time to approach her. He decided he would wait a few days and let her get some rest. He had a feeling that he had a lot to do with her current state of unrest. He was going crazy he thought. When she wasn’t there he was always wondering what she was doing. Maybe he needed a break from her as well. He needed to get his head on straight. After the failed feeding, he knew he was in big trouble. He’d found an acceptable woman. One that was very pretty and very eager to please him. He’d tried to feel passion for her but kept picturing Ailis. In the end, he’d fed, wiped her memory and went home, just as frustrated as he’d been when he’d left Ailis.
He followed her to her house. There was no harm in making sure she got home all right. She pulled up to the house and headed to the front door. Kenneth kept seeing the dead woman at the pier. He knew it had upset Ailis but he was also unnerved. The way that she was killed, it reminded him all to well of the scene that he came upon back in Madrid all those years ago. The bodies where shredded and unrecognizable. He’d felt a presence lately and could not tell what it was. Kenneth had a feeling, he knew who was doing this and it made him very uneasy. He’d planned on facing his maker for the last one hundred years but Kenneth had planned to do it on his terms, when he was prepared. Kenneth had a very bad feeling about his maker being here in Miami. What was he doing here? Kenneth asked himself again. One more mystery to solve.
Ailis was unlocking the door and Kenneth was turning to leave when she suddenly started to fall to the floor. Faster that than one could blink; he was on the porch and she was landing in his arms. He was half kneeling with her on his lap. She looked up at him and he saw apprehension in her eyes before she passed out. That hurt more than he would care to admit. He picked her up and carried her into the house and up to her bedroom. After she was tucked in he made sure that the house was locked up and he was gone.
Ailis awoke with someone banging on her door. She didn’t even remember getting into bed. She ran down stairs and opened the door to a very agitated Collin.
“Where have you been?” He nearly shouted.
“What do you mean?” Ailis answered. “I came home and went to bed.” She replied sleepily.
He stared at her like she was a stranger. “Ailis,” Collin stated. “That was two days ago.”
She stood staring. “What are you talking about?”
Collin heaved a sigh. “Ailis, what day was it that we found the last body?”
“That’s a stupid question.” She responded. “That was Monday.”
Collin turned around and picked up the paper from the porch and showed it to her. “Today is Wednesday.” He stated.
Ailis stared at the paper numbly for a few minutes and then started laughing.
Collin thought she had lost it. “Are you all right Ailis? I don’t see what is so funny.”
“I’m sorry.” Ailis said. “I just remembered that when I got home I was thinking I was so tired I could sleep for two days. Well, I guess I really was that tired.” She finished with a chuckle.
Collin chuckled a little and then pulled Ailis into his embrace. She hugged him back stiffly at first but then relaxed. Collin had always been there for her and in his own way she supposed that he loved her. She just wasn’t sure how she felt about him. From the first moment she’d met Collin, She’d liked him. She felt as if he were somehow important to her. Like she was supposed to help him or protect him. It was a weird feeling. Ailis felt as if she was somehow vitally important to him as well. She’d accepted when he’d asked and they’d gone out on a date. Ailis had felt nothing for him but fondness and had never attempted a date since. Neither had he.
“I’m sorry that you were worried Collin.” Ailis said against his chest.
“Worried?” He said. “You scared the hell out of me. You didn’t even answer your phone.” Collin held her face between his hands and tilted her face to his. He stared into her eyes. “I don’t know what I’d do if anything were to happen to you.” He stated. Then his lips were on hers.
Ailis didn’t know what to do. In the next moment, she felt a swell of rage that she knew could only come from one place. Ailis backed up breaking the contact.
Collin looked confused. “Ailis.” He started sounding hurt. But she stopped him.
“Look, Collin this is not the best time. You have just succeeded in completely confusing me and I just need some time right now.” Collin looked hurt for minute and then he backed out the door and turned to leave. He stopped midway and turned back to her.
“You know I love you Ailis. I would be good to you. You know that don’t you?” He asked.
Ailis could only nod her head.
“Good.” He said with a smile. “Take your time.” And then he left. Ailis could not even think. What had just happened? She knew Collin had feelings for her but she’d never led him on. She didn’t want to hurt him but she just didn’t think of him like that. And Kenneth, She was so furious with him that she could barely contain herself. “Where are you? You had no right to interfere with my life.” She mentally yelled at him. Kenneth did not answer. “Fine then, ignore me. Don’t ever come near me again.” She raved.
It was getting dark and this was her day off so she stomped back up stairs and went to bed. It wasn’t long before she fell asleep. She was having strange dreams about fainting and Kenneth carrying her to bed.
She slept for a while and then he was there again. She barely woke and he asked her how she was. She remembered telling him that she was very tired. He chuckled telling her that if she didn’t spend all of her time shutting him out of her head she wouldn’t wear herself out. He was there smiling at her as he reached over to brush a strand of hair from her face. She was staring at his beautiful face when it changed. It became a horrible fanged monster with red eyes. The hand touching her face distorted, his nails grew long and sharp. When she looked at his face again the sensual smile had changed to a cruel one that promised a slow painful death. She felt him enter into her mind and she began to fight, Punching and kicking until she heard his firm command to wake up.
When she woke to look into his face again, the one she liked, the dream was still with her and she began to kick and scream. He was holding her trying to calm her down when she pulled all of her force into herself and let go.
There was a rush of energy and Kenneth flew backward and hit the wall with a grunt. It took several seconds for Ailis to realize what she’d done. She realized that in the lingering fear from the dream she had hurt him. Ailis thought of nothing else but Kenneth being hurt. Not the fact that he was technically a murderer. Not that fact that he was a self serving jerk. She only thought of the fact that once again, she’d hurt someone without even knowing she’d done it. This time however, she’d felt no satisfaction in doing it.
Ailis rushed over to Kenneth and was aghast when she saw blood pooling under him. “What did I do?” She exclaimed out loud as she struggled to turn him over. She gasped in horror when she realized that she had thrown him into the coat rack and it had broken in half. The bottom piece was protruding from his chest.
When she looked closer she was relieved to see that it had missed his heart. It was close enough to bring him down though. She had to think fast but had no idea what to do.
“Oh Abuela.” She pleaded out loud to her dead grandmother. (For some reason she was in the habit of talking to her when she was stressed or in trouble and it always seemed to help.) “What do I do?” She heard nothing. “I am begging you.” She pleaded out loud again, on the verge of hysteria. She couldn’t believe this was happening again. She’d not tried to use her powers. She was scared and half asleep for Christ’s sake. She hadn’t even thought about using her powers. She was so scared at that moment; she might as well have been literally powerless. Like they forgot they existed. How the hell could her powers use themselves? Finally she heard her voice.
“Pull it out my child.” Her grandmother said.
Ailis looked down at Kenneth. She couldn’t do that.
“He will die if you don’t.” The voice of her dead grandmother said.
Her grandmother’s voice rang out. “Do it NOW!!”
Ailis grabbed the end of the stick, closed her eyes and pulled with all of her might. She heard him grunt and automatically lunged down to cover the wound. It didn’t help. Too much blood was running out and onto the floor of her room.
She ran to the bathroom and got some towels to press on the wound. After applying pressure for a few minutes she changed to a new towel. She stopped to examine the wound and to her amazement it was healing. But when she looked at him his color was almost transparent. She didn’t understand if the wound was healing rapidly why had he not awakened? Oh God, she thought. “I killed him. What do I do?” She’d killed another vampire without meaning to. She had no idea what was going on. She was beginning to think her mother might have been right about not using their powers. She’d been tortured by one psycho and nearly attacked by another, both stating they knew what she was. Really? It’d be nice if someone let her in on this epic secret, she thought angrily to herself. She was getting sick and tired of everyone else knowing more about her than she did. She’d like to know what she was. Then maybe she could figure out what the hell was wrong with her. She seemed to just kill vampires without even meaning to and now look, she’d killed Kenneth. She knew he was a murderer but she knew his soul. She knew it as if it were her own. She couldn’t explain how or why but she knew he was a good man who’d been through a lot and thought he was doing the right thing. She’d wanted to stop him not kill him damn it! She was frantic and then it hit her. He needs blood.
She didn’t have time to think about it, she ran to the kitchen, got a knife and ran back. She was trying to think of the safest way for her to do this when he started to convulse. She had no time; she looked around, where was that damn knife? “Oh the hell with it.” Just as she thought about what she had to do her canines lengthened. She raised her wrist to her mouth, closed her eyes and bit down swiftly opening two holes in her wrist. “Damn that hurts.” She thought fleetingly as she lowered her wrist to his mouth. One… two… three… drops landed on his whitish-gray lips. Suddenly his eyes jerked open and he grasped her wrist to him with almost inhuman strength.
She started to feel faint as his eyes closed and she felt him sucking her life’s blood from her veins. The feeling was like nothing she’d ever felt, it was pulling her into him, it was erotic and she wanted the feeling to go on and on. At that moment she wanted to be a part of him forever. At first she was scared but then it was as if she had been asleep, dormant, waiting for him to bring her true self to the surface. It was like an electrical current racing and vibrating through her body, trying to join with him. There was a fluttering sensation down in her core. Her canines lengthened even more as if they were preparing for their turn. What an odd and erotic thought for her to have at a time like this, she thought absently before it passed.
She was no longer scared and confused, until she started getting dizzy. He was taking too much. She began to panic and try to pull free, but he would not let go. Suddenly his eyes popped open; they were blood red just like in her dream except now the red seemed to be exploding outward from his pupils like a sunburst. She was snared by the intensity of his eyes; the sun burst seemed to ebb and flow with her heartbeat. She couldn’t break his gaze if she’d wanted to and was trapped by this vampire, body and soul. She couldn’t understand where these feelings were coming from or why the fact that he was a murderer, suddenly didn’t affect her. She suddenly didn’t care about the fact that she didn’t know this vampire from Adam. All she cared about was that she’d been feeling this man for months. She’d been led here by this man. Intentionally or not on his part, she’d seen inside him and was dizzy with the realization that his soul had been created for hers and hers for his, even before their births. Ailis had no idea how she knew these things and she didn’t care. At that moment it all became too much for Ailis and she fainted
Kenneth awoke with the most wonderful taste in his mouth. He didn’t understand what was going on. He’d gone back to Ailis’ to see how she was doing. When he got there, it was just after dusk and she’d been asleep. She woke up a little and didn’t seem fazed when she saw him. In her half sleep state, she didn’t seem bothered by his presence and that made Kenneth feel quite good. She’d said she was very sleepy when he’d asked her how she was feeling. Kenneth remembered chuckling as he told her that if she didn’t keep blocking him out, she wouldn’t be so tired. She’d chuckled back and told him to stay out and she wouldn’t have to block him. Good luck. He’d thought to himself. Kenneth had resigned himself to the fact that she had somehow wiggled her way into his soul. He couldn’t say he was that happy about it, though he couldn’t stop it and he had no idea what was causing it. She damn sure wasn’t getting rid of him until he figured it out. Kenneth had gone to feed and then returned to check on Ailis again before he went back home. The last thing he remembered was finding Ailis in the grips of one hell of a nightmare. When she awoke she was still screaming and fighting. Was the dream about him? He was wondering to himself when he felt someone struggling. He popped his eyes open and saw Ailis. She looked scared and pale. He realized that the taste in his mouth was her blood! He was taking her blood! He let go of her arm and she immediately fainted.
Oh Shit! He thought as he jumped up. He had taken too much. Had he attacked her? He couldn’t remember. He had to think fast. She needed more blood but it was risky. Oh, the hell with it! He thought. She’s already half vampire. What could it harm?
He had to save her! He’d worry about her wrath later. If Kenneth had learned anything about Ailis since he’d met her; He knew, her wrath was definitely something to worry about. Here goes. He thought as he placed his wrist over her mouth at the same time he took her abused wrist in his hands and slid his tongue over the wound to close it. He watched as her fangs lengthened, she bit into his wrist and began to drink timidly.
She was still unconscious and acting out of pure instinct. He smiled to himself.
“My little vampire” He said out loud and then quickly reprimanded himself. What am I thinking? She’ll never be my anything! I just attacked her and nearly killed her for God’s. Kenneth thought hanging his head. A single lone tear sliding down his cheek for the first time in over One Hundred years. She’d never forgive him for this and he mourned the loss of what until that very moment, Kenneth never even knew he wanted; His chance with her. She’ll end up marrying that pompous asshole Collin, having him lots of babies and living happily ever after.
He stopped her from drinking and sealed his own wound. He lifted her in his arms ignoring how right she felt there and placed her gently in her bed. It did no good to acknowledge how great a feeling it was to hold her in his arms, when this would probably be the first and last time he would ever have the pleasure. He gazed down at her, loving what he saw and wishing it was him that she would think about spending the rest of her life with. It was best that he just leave and return home to Madrid, never to bother her again.
Just then her eyes fluttered open. “Why are you always so sad?” She asked softly.
“You have only known me a couple of weeks how do you know I am always sad?” He asked.
She looked serious. “I met you a couple of weeks ago but I have felt you for months. That is why I came.” She said with a tired sigh.
“What are you talking about?” Kenneth asked.
“I felt your pain and followed it. My grandmother died but I came only after I started feeling your presence and it led me here.” She said as she smiled at him and reached up to stroke the side of his face. “I would make you feel better if I could.” She said quietly as she turned her head and fell back to sleep.
He couldn’t resist, so he stretched out next to her just to be able feel her next to him. This was likely another thing he would never again be able to do. She snuggled up to him as he stroked her hair. He wondered if she knew who he was. With my luck she thinks I’m that bastard; Collin. He thought grumpily to himself. He laid there for a few moments, listening to the sound of Ailis’ even breathing and for the first time in over one hundred years; he slept after dark.