A/N: If you've clicked straight to the update, read chapter two first instead - it was updated and added to (yay!).


Chapter Three


Samuel

It is winter, late November - December is just about to show its face. In some of the trading rooms – shops, I must remember to call them now – bright decorations glittering crazily are already up, ready for the mid-winter festival humans call Christ-mass.

I'm not supposed to leave my cave. Mother told me so, even though I have been what a vampire would deem an adult for the past forty years. She just doesn't understand. Won't understand. She is too old and too acquainted with life Above to realise my wonder at the bright, enticing human life in the light upstairs of my own darkness.

I have been venturing out of my caverns, unbeknownst to her, for a couple of months now. After seventy years below ground in the darkness, with nothing but docile slaves to feed of off and to entertain me, let me tell you, the experience still sends me delirious with heady delight. The excitement of the hunt – the taste of fear on the air, a refreshing mix of urine, sweat and blood – still sends me out of control. I have killed five people already.

I make sure I tidy up after myself, of course. I am not so stupid as to forget that.

Today I am tracking a young female. I have turned it into a game; I will not let her see me until we reach her apartment, which I know – due to prior investigation – she inhabits alone. To make the game harder I am not letting myself use any of my Gifts. It enhances the fun, and ratchets up the level of danger I appear to be in, although I know that even without my Gifts my speed will be no match for her.

She walks down the streets to the flat briskly, her hips swaying with purpose as she walks. She does not use a car or taxi and because of this I know that her blood will likely taste good: a healthy lifestyle means tasty blood. She is also relatively slim, with swelling hips, slender, coltish legs and a petite, tucked-in waist. Most likely, there's only a little fat in her arteries. Just enough for flavour.

I can already taste her blood, thick and rich and warm in my mouth… Mmm. I shiver with anticipation.

She arrives at her flat, taking the stairs despite the elevator nearby, and I follow her, slipping through her door behind her before she locks it with her keys and throws them in a small bowl. Distracted by the dazzling light created by a switch she flips on, she slips off into a bathroom before I think to make my move. She doesn't even notice me.

I am uncertain as to what to do once inside. I am still new to this whole thing and though I am sure I am meant to go ahead and attack her I do not want to interrupt her in the bathroom. That would not be polite! I crinkle up my nose at the thought of catching her whilst she was on the toilet. Human practices are so filthy!

As I wait, disgruntled, feeling that maybe this is not the proper thing for a vampire to do, I glance around her home. I have never been in a human's cave before, and my curiosity grows as I take in her multitude of things. Her apartment is nothing fancy, but the things she owns somehow serve to make the place … homely.

A yellow blanket brightens up the beaten couch, while photos of her and fellow humans adorn the walls. Squashy beaded cushions nestle into the couch and a book and discarded coffee cup lie on the low table. Curiously I take a sniff of the bitter substance, my nose wrinkling in disgust at the strong smell. Yuck! Blegh.

It all seems somehow … personal. Special. A home, and not just a cave.

Although I didn't exactly grow up in luxury, since my Mother gained Second Mate Status to the Head Vampire of New York I have been swimming in everything I could ever want since my teens. But thinking of my cold, sterile cave back home, with its furnishings of steel and angles and modern black and white furniture I suddenly know which cave I would pick out of mine and the human's.

Maybe once I have disposed of her I can take her cave… her home… as my own. But no – it would be too dangerous; Mother would be sure to find out and I know I wouldn't be able to protect myself from the other various Spawn that would come looking for me once they heard I had dared to show my face in the Light. I know what they would do to my body if I wasn't protected by my walls of steel. That at least is one benefit of my cave.

And besides, yellow just isn't my colour.

Curiously, I take a closer look at the photos on the walls and tables around the room, recognizing the owner of the flat – my next food source, I remind myself – amongst them. She is laughing and is amongst friends, and in many of them she has her arm around a man with curly black hair close to her own age. They look happy.

The thought that I am jealous of what she has: friends, and someone to love and be loved by, surprises me. Vampires are not meant to be jealous of humans. Humans are merely meant to be a vampires means for a good meal.

She is still in the bathroom! What is she doing in there! I'm hungry already! If I don't eat soon, the thrill of the hunt will wear off, and all of this excitement will have been for nothing. I huff, silently.

Eyeing up the pictures, I judge that my meal must be around my age - at least, in human years. Mentally and physically, if not literally, I mean. She has dark brown bangs that hang in front of her face and she looks to be in her mid-twenties: maybe she is a year or so older than me?

I look towards the toilet door contemplatively, but am distracted again by few colourful cards on the table. I am feeling suddenly intensely curious. Are these from 'friends'? The cards seem to be celebrating something. A birthday?

My walking blood bank is still not out of the bathroom…

Gingerly I pick a card up and look inside. Curious, I read the scratchy writing.

Happy 24th birthday my beautiful girlfriend Kara!

I'm looking forward to giving you that birthday sex I promised you later!

Lots of love,

Your infatuated boyfriend,

John

X X X

I blink in astonishment. The inane scribble of a smiley face under the name John stares up at me blandly as I stare at the words. Sex? Of course, I knew of the practice, but never before had I encountered it so directly, isolated as I was in my lonely cave. Was sex an appropriate present to give somebody on their birthday?

I imagine offering sex to the only other person I know - my mother - on her birthday, but the image doesn't seem right. Maybe this is only a human birthday custom?

As I look at the card consternation creases my brow. Worry flickers across my heart. Would it be bad manners to eat my target on her birthday?

As much as I had been looking forward to drinking her – Kara's - blood, shouldn't I at least let her see this John person first? In the vampire world birthdays were never much cause for celebration: we had too many for them to be of any significance. Why, my mother had had over two hundred of them already! But I knew humans ascribed strange significance to these days, and shouldn't I respect that custom?

While I was still thinking a knock sounded at the door. In shock, I froze and looked up, the human phrase 'a rabbit caught in headlights' coming to mind.

There was the sound of a key twisting in the lock, and confused and set off kilter by the issue of 'Kara's' birthday I jumped in surprise. Really, I should have heard the person arriving at the door before I had the chance to be surprised.

Before I can think of what to do there is a 'click' as the key finds its way home, and a human male voice calls out "Kara?"

Oh. What am I going to do now?

TBC


A/N: Here, have an update. Long time no see, I know, but I found this hanging around, and decided to finally post something - so I added three pages to chapter two and extended this. I hope you like the update (all will become clear in time). Please drop me a review to say how you felt about it!

The Witch's Lover xx