The soft pattering of the rain was filling the cold air as it drenched the city of Halifax, little puddles having formed over the last few hours of continuous downpour. The warm orange glow of the streetlights reflected off the puddles in the mostly deserted streets at this late hour. The nightly sky, naturally dark, seemed less comforting and more on the angry side tonight than usual – perhaps, Anne thought bitterly, God was silently imposing punishment on her for being out hunting by utterly soaking her through. If there was a God, she couldn’t really blame them.
She clutched her coat to herself tighter, glad it was keeping her dry as she perched on top of the roof and her eyes followed the woman walking down the pavement underneath. Anne silently hoped that she would reach her home soon and would turn out a worthwhile target – her patience was starting to run thin, her stomach was growling and she was starting to become a little agitated with her growing hunger. From experience she knew she had a little longer until reaching a state she’d rather avoid.
Unseen in her black coat under the cover of darkness, Anne followed the woman atop the roofs of Halifax, sighing a breath of relief as she stopped in front of a small apartment building and entered. Anne watched from the building next to it, needing to find out which flat the blonde lived in.
She smiled pleased with herself when the lights turned on in one place shortly after. It even had a spacious balcony, how convenient. No time to waste. Anne closed her eyes, taking a deep breath and focusing as her body shifted into bat shape fluidly so she could fly the short distance over, sitting on the railing and observing the area briefly.
No open windows that she could squeeze through as a bat, so she likely had to break in the old-fashioned way. Not the first time, wouldn’t be the last. Anne was about to fly off the railing and change back when the balcony door opened. She sat frozen in place, expecting the woman to come out but a few seconds in nothing happened. Well, that open door certainly was an invitation.
Anne landed on the balcony and focused, her body turning back into its usual shape until she stood in place, straightening out her coat before stepping close to the window next to the balcony door and peeking inside. She saw no one at first glance.
There were no obvious signs the woman didn’t live alone, so Anne hoped her assumption was correct and no one would show up to interrupt her. She removed her hood to enter.
Ann rolled her shoulders, taking a long look at herself in the mirror. The dark rings under her eyes made her look exactly as tired as she felt, which was no surprise after today’s twelve-hour shift at the hospital. She removed the last bits of make-up, yawning before turning to leave her bathroom. Ann loved her job as a doctor and helping people, but God, some days she felt like she could easily sleep a year or so. Especially nights like tonight when she’d only be home at these late hours. She was already looking forward to her day off tomorrow.
The refreshing cold breeze coming from the living room enveloped her as she walked down the hallway towards her kitchen, and the soft pattering of the rain could be heard from outside as Ann was on her way to get herself a little snack before it was time for a well-deserved rest. It soothed her, taking the stress of the day off her shoulders, so she stopped by her living room and entered through the open door.
Ann stopped dead in her tracks the moment she saw the tall woman standing in the middle of her living room, her long dark hair moving gently with the breeze as she looked at her with as much surprise as Ann was feeling. Ann took a step back instinctively but gathered her courage despite the nervousness she was feeling with this intimidating stranger clad in all black staring back at her. Her hands were cold with sweat as she looked straight into her eyes.
“What are you doing here?”
Anne inwardly cursed her terrible timing. She’d wanted to catch her off guard, that usually made things easier – for one, she could almost guarantee to keep them quiet and do this quickly and smoothly if they weren’t aware before she attacked. That chance was now gone, and if this woman decided to start screaming, which wouldn’t be the first time that happened to Anne, well, it wouldn’t be ideal to say the least.
That said, giving the woman a quick look up and down, Anne didn’t think she would scream. In fact, she found herself caught off guard by how tired eyes looked back at her and held her gaze with a strength she hadn’t expected. She still looked somewhat nervous with how her left hand clutched her white dress shirt, and it occurred to Anne that this woman had no idea what she was and what she planned to do yet. Perhaps she would scream after all.
Anne was fast – one of the perks of the wretched existence that she refused to refer to as living – faster than a regular human could react to. She used this to her advantage as she closed the distance between them in a heartbeat, pressing the blonde against the wall and covering her mouth with her hand just in case she would try to alert her neighbours.
Blue eyes widened in panic as Anne hovered close to her face, bringing her finger up to her lips to signal her to say quiet. Ann slowly nodded, but Anne kept her hand over her mouth just in case, keeping her pinned to the wall with her bodyweight as she tried to squirm against her. There was no use really, as a vampire, Anne’s strength exceeded even that of the strongest men.
She kept eye contact, shaking her head at her. “Don’t. If you keep still, this will be easiest for both of us.”
Anne didn’t fail to notice how blue eyes widened once again as they flicked down to her mouth. She knew her fangs gave away her identity when speaking, and the woman seemed to understand that – but not what Anne had just told her, apparently – as she started wiggling against her again with more desperation, trying to kick at her until Anne pinned her into the wall more insistently, frowning briefly in frustration. Had she not listened to what she’d just said?
But then she saw her forehead creasing with fear and her hand became wet as a set of tears escaped the woman’s eyes as she stilled. Anne swallowed. There were reactions from her victims that she was used to: most encounters entailed several attempts to scream, to fight her with her all their power and all four limbs, tries to escape and the like. Some also insulted her if they got the chance. Not the smartest thing to do, but Anne had stopped caring a long time ago – she knew what she was, and she wasn’t proud of it.
But Anne couldn’t recall the last time someone had cried and resigned themselves to their fate – to death, she realised. She knew what society thought about her kind, and they were mostly right. Anne felt her chest tighten for a brief moment before she pushed the unwanted feelings aside.
“I won’t kill you,” she said quietly, unsure why she felt the need to tell her this instead of just going for the bite already. “I promise. I will only take a little. You’ll be fine.”
The woman slowly nodded, seemingly bracing herself for impact as she closed her eyes.
Anne moved close, pulling the collar of her shirt away from her neck to expose the creamy skin. Her mouth watered at the sight, and she licked her lips as she leaned close.
Anne loathed to admit it, but there were few things that compared to the feeling of sinking her fangs into someone’s skin, of the first sweet taste of their blood wetting her tongue. Anne groaned as her senses were overwhelmed, everything around her distorting as she sucked the blood out of her, barely registering the pained moan coming from her victim.
This one’s blood tasted especially sweet. Anne was disciplined, but still it needed all of her willpower to pull away in time so the woman would not be in any serious danger. She loosened her hold on her and removed her hand from her mouth to give her room to breathe properly.
From the moment Ann had moaned as she felt the sharp stinging sensation of the vampire’s fangs tearing through her skin, everything had been a blur around her, a dull throb mingling with the general pain that was coursing through her neck, underlined by the sound of her blood rushing in her ears with how rapidly her heart was beating.
She took a shaky breath the moment the pain subsided and only the throbbing remained, and when the vampire let go of her, she opened her eyes, nearly shuddering as she saw the blood – her blood – on the vampire’s lips and around her mouth before she wiped it away with the back of her hand. Their gazes met, and Ann swallowed as she saw how much the stranger’s eyes had darkened. She looked wild, much more like the vampire she was than when Ann had first spotted her in this room.
Ann had heard the stories, had seen the dead bodies on the news that were sometimes mutilated even – she knew like every sensible person that meeting a vampire most definitely meant certain death. There were only few exceptions, but apparently she was one. Ann reached up to her neck, feeling the two fang wounds under her fingertips but other than that the wound was mostly dry and she wasn’t losing blood. She took a deep breath as the realisation that she had indeed cheated death hit her.
Her instincts told Ann this was a good moment to leave the room, to run and lock herself in her bedroom and call the police. She had been afraid to lose her life, had accepted her fate the moment Anne had revealed herself as a vampire – but looking at her now, Ann only felt a sense of curiosity overcome her. Maybe it was the shock and adrenaline numbing her and making her braver than she should be, maybe it was all the dreadful things Ann had seen already working in a hospital, but she didn’t feel fear in that moment.
Anne raised her eyebrows in surprise as she looked at her, her laboured breathing calming as her senses returned to her and the animalistic part retreated again. She still had a little trouble focusing properly, but she knew regardless that it wasn’t every day that someone she just bit stuck around to ask questions.
“Why did you keep me alive?”
Anne took a step back, crossing her arms in front of her chest as she kept her distance. Why did this woman want to know? Why was she not running off like every other sane person? Looking at her, Anne only saw exhaustion and – strangely – interest written on her face.
She guessed after taking her blood, she deserved an honest answer to her question.
“It’s what I do. I avoid killing wherever I can. It’s-“ Anne gestured emptily in the air as she tried to look for words. She was about to continue making her point when she saw the blonde’s eyes losing focus before falling shut. Anne was right next to her just in time to catch her and stop her from falling over, cradling her in her arms.
Fuck. Had she taken too much blood after all? Anne pushed up her sleeve to feel for her pulse, letting out a sigh of relief – it was there, a little weak but she was alive.
Anne looked around for a place she could rest, deciding against the sofa in a quick decision and picking her up to leave the room, carrying the woman in her arms to find her bedroom.
She carefully lowered her on the bed, covering her with the blanket when she noticed her shiver. The blonde was generally rather pale, but Anne was sure she’d not been this pale when she’d entered her home, and her skin felt a little cool to the touch when Anne checked.
Anne looked over to the window. She’d done her part, hadn’t she? Maybe she fucked up, and worst case this woman would die despite her trying not to take too much. Accidents happened, though. Anne took a step back. She should get out of here as long as she could.
Looking back down to the small person wrapped in her blanket, her chest gently heaving with her breaths as she rested, Anne felt a pang of guilt. This wasn’t the first time she fucked up, although there’d been worse cases that she did not want to think about right now.
But there was something else. For some bizarre reason, this woman had shown no disgust at what she was – she’d been in fear, naturally, but Anne had seen no signs of revulsion like she usually would from humans. Instead, the young woman had looked at her with interest in her eyes. And she’d attempted to talk to her. How odd was that?
Part of Anne felt a little warmer at the thought, and it was that gentle lingering feeling that made her take off her coat before heading out of the room to find the woman’s kitchen. She knew very little about what to do when someone had lost a lot of blood – other than a transfusion, which she could not offer of course – but she had heard before that some sugary snacks were good for when they woke to stimulate their circulation.
She quickly found what she was looking for, taking a chocolate bar as well as a bottle of water back to the room and placing them on the nightstand. Anne looked down to the woman in her bed, finding herself staring at the way her blonde hair framed her face, the softness of her features standing out more now that she was unconscious and relaxed. Anne couldn’t take her eyes off her – she was beautiful, there was no doubt about it.
She briefly found herself wondering what her name was and if she had a boyfriend but shook off those thoughts quickly. Anne had bitten her and that was the beginning and the end of it. She reached for her coat.
Once she’d put it on, Anne turned to leave but looking over her shoulder, she couldn’t shake off the nagging feeling imploring her to check on her once again. Anne shook her head at herself – usually, she’d be long gone by now – but moved back to her side.
She carefully turned the woman’s head to check the wound. No fresh blood leaking, and all looked like it would heal well. The colour was also returning to her face, a good sign. Anne felt a little more relieved when she rose and quietly left the room.
The rain was greeting her when she left through the balcony door, closing it behind her before taking a deep breath and shapeshifting. The wind was carrying her as she flew through Halifax aimlessly to clear her head.