Copyright © 2004 By Michael G. Giles All rights reserved. None of the information in Vampiress may be reproduced in any way shape or form, or by any means, without express consent, in writing, by the author Michael G. Giles

As I enter this little ghost of a town, I recall everything as it was when most buildings were standing. Now all is in decay and ruin. I turn towards the area that I used to call home. As I stop before a once proud and busy inn, I breath in the night air as I close my eyes. As I do, my childhood plays out before me, flowing through the years like the melody of a bard's song. I remember playing dolls and loving my first puppy. I grew up doing chores as did most girls my age. My family had build a prosperous inn, and one of the rooms was arranged for me.

Every year on this night, I return to this very spot to pay respect to my past, like people do as they pay their respects to a grave. I smile as I am taken back in time to a particular night long ago. I recall a chilled breeze entering my room that night, waking me from my sleep. I looked towards the windows, and found they had blown open by a gust of icy wind. I quickly arose from my bed and ran over to them. I pulled the windows shut and locked them, teeth suddenly chattering.

The snowfall was very heavy that night. In fact, I do not recall a more persistent winter since then.

I remember turning about to find the comfort of my bed, only to be met by a man standing before me, yet on the far side of the room. He bowed gracefully.

For some reason, I did not scream . . .

. . . It was his eyes that let me in, so inviting, even though he kindly looked upon me. I sat down across the room from him, not knowing what else to do. I smiled at him.

"Why do you smile my lady?" I became self conscious and lowered my eyes shyly.

"Sir, I believe I must have left my door unlocked. You must have the wrong room." He smiled at me, eyes sparkling in the dim light of the room. I turned and looked out through the window at the snow falling thickly to the ground below. I heard the music of his soft flowing laughter then, and it released any fear I had of there being a stranger in my room. I relaxed and continued admiring the snowfall in its intensity.

I heard him pull up a chair beside me as I watched some thickening snow fall from the eve of a roof across the street. Looking over at him, I noticed he was leaning against the back of the chair, arms crossed upon its back, chin resting upon his arms.

He seemed to understand me.

Suddenly he intrigued me; drew my attention more than any other I'd ever met. With eyes yet focused on the window he spoke almost in a whisper.

"I do love the snow. I love the rain and the . . . sun that used to shine upon my days when life was warm and soothing. I loved the sunsets, and the glorious radiant sunrises as well." There was such a passion in his words, mingled with sorrow. To hear them nearly caused me to weep.

I asked if he was hungry, and he nodded with a flickering smile that gave me hope that he would stay but a while. And so I ran down in to the dudgeon and retrieved some cheese and bread and aged apple drink. I brought it back up to him, finding him in the same place before the window, arms yet folded across the back of the chair, chin resting upon his arms.

"I have brought you some things from downstairs sir." He turned, stood and smiled ever so slightly down upon me as I neared him. I could feel my face flush, and I lowered my head in pretense of retrieving the food for him.

"You did not have to go to all this trouble, but thank you my lady." He was so cordial, and I relished it. I wanted him to continue talking, just so I could listen to his voice.

"It is my pleasure", I told him, not knowing what else to say. I handed him the bread and cheese and poured him a cup of drink. He ate all I brought him, and then shared the drink with me. Seeming I had come of age, I gladly accepted his offer, and soon I was more relaxed, talking away the night. At one point in our conversation he paused and looked at me for the longest while. As he did this, I gazed back into his eyes and said nothing. I did not know what else to do. I was nervous, yes, but he was kind and gentle, and his eyes invited mine to stay with his. But, at length, I lowered my eyes as did I always.

"Why do you look away?" I kept my eyes down.

"I am merely the daughter of a simple inn sir."

"Simple." He whispered, almost as if he had said it to himself.

"Yes sir." He reached under my chin and raised my head.

"Sit up straight and never look away from another. Never let pride take you in its pitfall of vanity, yet keep enough to aid you in your walk of life. Look up, look up", he stated passionately.

"Life is all about you; do not let it slip away and grow old." I focused on his words. He was so sure, and had such conviction; all I could do was nod. He smiled in return.

"Tell me this my lady: If I could show you a new life that would make yours, now, look ever so small and insignificant, would you take a step into that life?" I was confused. But his voice drew me so, and I merely nodded as I thought of how I had been here in this little town for the past 17 years; how I had never experienced the outside world.

"I would love to see the world sir." He nodded and pulled his chair over to mine and reached a gentle hand in through my hair, sliding his thumb gently along my cheek until his hand was at the back of my neck. I had never been kissed before, and this moment terrified me though I did not resist. As he gently led me close, I swallowed, catching a quivering breath. Just as his lips touched mine, he whispered, "Are you okay?" I nodded and smiled, reaching my trembling hands up around his neck until I had fully embraced him in my first kiss.

Oh, I remember it well enough. I remember. I wanted more. Parting his lips from mine, he whispered things to me that made my senses reel and spin as he worked his way across my cheek ever so slowly, as if savoring every touch of my skin. He made me feel so special, needed, wanted. As his mouth gently slid to my neck, chills cascaded down my spine. Tilting my head, I began to pull him into me, holding him more fervently to my body as we arose from our chairs. With all my passion, I pulled him into me as I felt his other arm reach around my back and pull me tightly to him.

It was at that moment, I felt his teeth pierce deeply into my neck.

The pain was minimal compared to the passion I was indulging myself in. I knew something was wrong even as I began to lose my strength.

I looked up and saw the ceiling begin to spin.

I tried to say something, but could not but breath in short gasps, so deep was his bite. I felt a gaping wound in my neck, and tried to push him away. But such a passion had overcome me that instead of rejecting him, I was receiving him, as if I wanted more.

Again, I heard him whisper to me as he laid me down gently in my bed and covered me up, as would any tender parent.

"A new life I give you, and take not yours from you. You are innocent, pure, clean within a world of filth. You are a rarity among rarities. Thus, I spare you eternal darkness and death. Thank you for sharing your life with me. In return, I share unlife with you." He smoothed back my hair now drenched with sweat and looked upon me kindly. I smiled up at him and raised my hand to touch his face. He took my hand and kissed it gently.

"Be not troubled, nor dismayed, for all answers will come to you in time. And in time you will master this gift I have bestowed upon you."

I recall a piercing sadness overtaking me, and I wept, gripping his cloak weakly.

"Don't go." He looked up at the ceiling for a while and closed his eyes. Then, shaking his head slowly, he looked back down upon me and caressed my forehead with a gentle hand.

"My lady, should I stay longer than this night, you would break my heart. For soon enough I'm sure I would fall for one such as you. Never before have I met the likes of you. But know this: You would break my heart; you would despise and hate me. And so I must bid you farewell."

. . . that is all I remember of him, so long ago. And even as I stand here recalling this single memory of my past, I deem it monumental. He had kept his promise. I was given unlife, and world to explore -- without having to leave this land to experience it.

As I look upon my once home, now decayed and heavily touched by the relentless hand of time, I recall the other memories of besieging this town and land. They answered for my pain and suffering as I grew used to the changes in my body and soul. The survivors fled out of the path of my destruction. Even the common animals seem to feel my presence. They have retreated, all of them, into distant parts of the land where I have not been.

It has been one-hundred twenty and five years to the day since I stepped into this new life. I come here every year, always alone, hoping that he will be here waiting for me. My anger has long since turned away, and all I wish is to look into his eyes so piercing, so clear, once again. I wish to walk and talk and hunt with him forever. But he has never shown himself; not once. I am afraid he never will . . . and I miss him.