Excerpt Chapter 2
The crescent moon hung high in the dark sky as Lilah roamed the deserted streets of her neighborhood. Logic told her she shouldn’t be out alone at this hour, but she didn’t care. She’d always loved the mystery of the night. Even as a child, she slipped outside and gazed at the stars when she felt sad. They gave her hope that life offered more than what she knew. Besides, she needed to clear her head, and the fresh air on this warm summer night calmed her.
With worries about an uncertain future preoccupying her mind, she didn’t pay attention to her surroundings until a shiver ran through her body. She didn’t recognize the street she walked on, and her instincts told her she wasn’t alone. Someone—or something—was lurking in the shadows, watching her every move.
It’s not human. It was a silly thought or maybe wishful thinking. Most of the books, movies, and TV shows she devoured featured vampires and other things that go bump in the night. Meeting someone, or rather something, right out of her favorite works of fiction excited her.
Or maybe the prospect of something supernatural lying in wait comforted her more than the idea of a serial killer or rapist stalking her. Either way, she stopped to look around in hopes of finding a way out of a potentially dangerous situation.
Old-looking town houses lined the narrow, cobbled street. They were dark. Their inhabitants were asleep or not at home. The only light came from a single streetlamp behind her, about two meters from where she stood. Only her breathing interrupted the silence.
She took a few more steps before pausing again. Apart from her feet echoing on the cobblestones, there was no sound. Nothing hinted at anyone walking nearby, following her, or breathing in her vicinity. And yet, the goose bumps on her skin convinced her otherwise.
She preferred finding out about her pursuer sooner rather than later. As she couldn’t achieve anything by staying quiet, she summoned up her courage to speak. “Stop hiding yourself. I know you’re there…I can’t see or hear you…But I can feel you watching me.” With a whisper, she added the word “vampire.”
A chuckle coming from behind her broke the silence. She squealed, and when she turned around, a tall, young man with shoulder-length, chocolate-brown hair, pale skin, and a long, dark leather coat was standing below the streetlight. He hadn’t been there when she’d checked her surroundings earlier, and there had been no footsteps indicating anyone had walked up to her.
“Interesting,” he said. “I didn’t expect you to notice me. How did you recognize me for what I am without even seeing me?” He spoke softly, as if not to frighten her.
How indeed? She did not have a rational explanation.
“Call it a gut feeling or a verbalization of my deepest hopes.” Her heartbeat thrummed in her ears. Was she actually talking to a vampire?
“Your deepest hopes? Why do I, a vampire, instill hope instead of fear in you?”
“I’ve prayed for something more than a mundane life. Meeting a vampire is not an everyday experience, so I’m thrilled.” And possibly screwed, depending on what he wanted from her.
The vampire smiled, revealing his fangs. “Even if meeting me is the last experience you’ll ever have? Aren’t you afraid to die?”
She’d never contemplated her death. The possibility of her life ending in an instant stole her breath. But wasn’t a short, exciting life worth much more than a long and boring existence? Didn’t meeting with a vampire top everything she could hope for, in a world which often felt meaningless?
“I’m more afraid of living without ever feeling alive.” Despite her words, her voice trembled.
“So you’ll give me your blood and your life?”
“I don’t mind donating some blood, but my life is a different matter. If it’s up to me, I’d prefer to keep it.” She gulped. Did she have a choice? “Death by vampire doesn’t sound too bad, though. There are worse or more boring ways to die. And when you talk about taking my life, does it mean I’ll die for good, or will your bite turn me into a vampire as well?”
He answered with a dry laugh. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, girl, but a simple bite won’t turn you. We’d be out of food in no time if every human we bit became a vampire. No, we can choose to turn a human, but it’s not a choice taken lightly. I won’t condemn anyone to this miserable life.”
“You’ve got a sad view of your life.”
“You’re one to talk. Your life doesn’t seem to fascinate you either.”
“It didn’t until today,” she admitted. “You’ve shown me something fascinating. The existence of vampires and a world beyond the one I know as a human is giving me hope for a more interesting tomorrow.”
The vampire vanished from where he stood, only to appear right behind her. “What a pity there won’t be another tomorrow for you.”