Chapter Six

Nicole snuggled deeper under her blankets, determinedly ignoring Annette's words. She turned her face to the window. Full dark had nearly passed. It was only an hour till dawn, and she knew the vampires had to seek the shelter of the earth or their sanctuaries soon. Aden would go to sleep too. For some unexplained reason that thought bothered her. He wouldn't be there to come to her aid should something happen. What if this insane girl with the raven hair attacked her for no reason? With her tremendous will she was able to push her disturbing thoughts out of her mind. She observed the humans putting up tents for the coming day. They would block out the sun's fierceness, and the humans could sleep and rejuvenate for the coming night's battle with the creatures of the undead.

"Are you hearing a single word I am saying whelp?" The snide cutting voice of Annette finally broke through her paralysis. She shrugged.

"Yes I heard your cutting words Annette, but I'm afraid I don't understand why you insist on us becoming enemies. I have no qualms with you and neither do you with me, so can't we just put bad first impressions aside and get along? After all, we are on the same side in this war are we not? I mean, we're both captives of this fortress." Annette's face grew red with anger. Her frown deepened to a deep scowl which marred her stony features.

"You dare try to have friendly conversation with me slut! I don't want to hear anything more from your lying mouth. You have him rapped around your little finger don't you!" The other three girls in the room turned away. Nicole could see that little Lillian was crying.

"Annette you go too far. Can't you see reason?" Annette's furious look turned to the little girl, and swift as a snake, she slithered over to the helpless child, and struck her a fierce blow to the left cheek, leaving a red hand print on the child's pale skin. Lillian's head rocked back and she made a sound of protest. Nicole was shocked, and she leaped over to Annette, grabbing one of her arms.

"You dare to strike a helpless defenseless child who spoke for me. This is between you and I Annette. You will not involve anyone else in this room again. I don't know what you mean by saying that I have wrapped someone around my finger, but I know that you are the evil one not I."

"Aden, you scum! It is Aden you have charmed to your side. He rejected me, and now you have woven a spell around him. Oh how I hate you!" Annette wrenched her arm from Nicole's grasp, and shoved her away. She walked over to her bed, and lay back on it, her fists pounding the pillow beneath her head. Nicole stared at her for a moment, and then bent to hug Lillian.

"I wove no spell. Maybe to charm people you need to show some compassion and be nice to them Annette." Annette growled with anger, but Nicole simply ignored her. "I'm sorry Lillian. I won't let her hurt you ever again." Lillian hugged her.

"I don't care. I was trying to help you." Nicole kissed the top of the child's head.

"You're helping me by being friends with me." After she was sure the child would be okay, Nicole returned to her bed and lay down.

"So you're new here I take it Nicole?" It was Becca who had spoken. Nicole nodded.

"I find this fortress to be very interesting. It's beautiful." Becca nodded. "It's got engaging reading material. If my parents could see what sorts of forbidden things I read here, they would fall in a dead faint." Nicole laughed. She could tell that she and Becca would become fast friends.

"What kind of reading material?" Becca flipped some pages.

"Different things. Some books are romances which leave nothing out. Some tell of vampires and devils, and all sorts of evil sinful things." Nicole nodded.

"I would imagine it's all very shocking to read?"

Becca nodded, and flipped back to the place she had left off at in her book.

"At first it was enough to drive one over the edge of insanity, but one gets used to it after reading a book or two." Nicole turned her attention to the silent olive skinned girl lying flat on her bed.

"And how long have you been here Dianna?" The girl blinked, and focused her glazed gaze on Nicole. Her face held no interest. It was flat and emotionless, like a blank slate.

"I've been here longer than any of the others." Her tone was flat, listless. It was that of a mechanical device which had been given the power to talk.

"She doesn't talk much." Becca cut in.

"Dianna, how long ago were you captured?" Nicole had to know.

"Three months I think. I'm not sure of anything anymore. Time is a line with no end. It passes in the same fashion. Life is dull and does not concern me any longer. I have my memories and thoughts to live in now." Becca smiled at Nicole attempting to keep the atmosphere pleasant.

"Depressing don't you think? I tried several times to bring her spirits up, but nothing seems to work."

"Maybe if we both talk to her and tell her of our homes she'll find it a bit less dull?" Nicole wanted this girl on her side too.

"We could give it a try."

"Will the lot of you just shut up! I hate hearing your voices!" Annette was furious. Her body was shaking with suppressed anger, and she buried her face in the pillows.

Nicole and Becca went over to sit by Dianna, and tried to engage her in conversation. She responded seldom, but they talked of their homelands, and how the rich the land had been that year with the promise of fertile crops. After a while, there came a knock at the door. A man entered with rations of food, and handed them all some gruel which they took. Dianna was reluctant to touch the food, still lying passive on her bed. Becca and Nicole urged her to eat it, and finally she gave in. Annette didn't even glance at her food. She placed it beside her bed, and glared daggers at Becca and Nicole from across the room. Nicole and Becca talked until nightfall.

A second knock came at the door after night had fallen, and the red haired vampire Lucas entered the chamber. He looked menacing, and Nicole looked away, feeling uneasy.

"Good evening ladies." His voice was mild, filled with secret compulsion. He walked over to Annette's bed, and picked up her still untouched bowl of gruel. "I see you have not touched your food my dear." She shook her head. "You must be hungry as I am." She made no reply. "You shall come with me and both of our problems shall be resolved." He sounded so gentle and persuasive that Nicole wanted to scream. She knew he was using compulsion on Annette. Annette's eyes followed his precisely.

"Yes if you wish me to go with you I will." He put an arm around her shoulders, and pulled her from the chamber. Nicole hugged Lillian who was shaking with fear. Lucas hadn't noticed them when he departed, and Nicole was relieved.

"Do they take all of you one at a time?" Nicole had to know what was in store for her.

"Not often. When they do though and Aden finds out, it's not pretty." Nicole smiled.

"Good. He's really got good intentions."

Becca nodded.

"I can tell that he wants to stick to the rules of warfare." Lillian smiled.

"I like him. He's always nice to me." Dianna gave no sign that she was paying any attention to the conversation.

"Well maybe he'll stop by later and see us." Nicole was hoping he would. Becca nodded.

"I think you're right on that Nicole." Nicole didn't want to examine her feelings too closely. Instead, she resumed her previous conversation with Becca, and now, Lillian was included as well, giving them input about her home as well.