I stared at the still figure hanging limp and lifeless in my hands.
The soft grey fur was tainted with a vivid red and the gaping wound leered straight back at me, as if to say Why did you do this to me?
'I'm sorry,' I whispered, laying the fox on the ground.
Somewhere, in the forest, a cub was searching for its mother. I felt a pang of guilt shoot through me, cold and uncaring, trying to make me pay for what I'd done.
I never got used to the killing. It was something that you couldn't get used to, no matter how many years you lived. However, a tiny part of me was satisfied that this wasn't a human body lying on the ground, drained of blood. I focussed on this as I stood up and proceeded to bury the fox.
It took me only a matter of minutes before the ground was even again and the animal was no longer in sight.
I was just cleaning myself up when I heard footsteps behind me. I whirled round, only to find no one there. Frowning, I took cautious steps to where the sound had come from, eyes peeled and senses fully alert.
Within the space of about two seconds, I had crouched down low and then shot up, grabbing onto one of the trees and perching agilely on a thick, sturdy branch that could easily support my weight.
I watched the scene below me.
A guy with black hair was being corned by two other figures. Vampires. The guy looked capable of handling himself, but the other vampires looked pretty strong. Maybe I should go help...
'Like to get involved with werewolves do we?' One of them laughed.
The guy squared himself up, possibly calculating if he could take the both of them.
I sighed and fell from the branch, already regretting what I was about to do.
I had caught all of them by surprise as I landed with a light thud next to the dark haired vampire.
'Who are you?' he asked, forgetting the other vampires.
'The girl who's gonna be saving your life.'
There was a moments confusion as they all stared at me with unrelenting eyes. Then other two vampires threw their heads back and laughed exuberantly, obviously finding the whole thing hilarious.
'So you're gonna stop us?'
'There's two of us and there's two of you. Already that makes it an even fight and then add the years of experience I have, the amount of fights I have been in, the life I've lived that taught me how to handle myself... Well, I'd say you're pretty much screwed.' I grinned confidently at them.
I saw a waver of doubt flicker in their eyes.
The guy beside me relaxed ever so slightly, believing everything that I'd said.
'We're gonna call your bluff,' one of them decided and then he charged straight at me. I tricked him into thinking that he had the upper hand as I let him pin me to one of the trees, his hand wrapped around my throat. He growled enthusiastically, straight away thinking he'd caught me.
I grabbed his hand and pried it off me. He resisted, of course, but his strength was no match for mine. In one swift move, I had him on the ground, my foot at his neck. Reaching behind me, I easily snapped off one of the thicker twigs and held it directly above the vampire's heart.
'Say goodnight,' I smiled. And then I plunged it straight through his chest. His face contorted in agony and he scrambled desperately for the wooden stake, trying to pry it out. I held it firmly in place though and it began to take effect. His face started shrinking in on itself, his skin becoming grey and sagged. His chest rose and fell once more before he was still.
The other vampire watched his friend die before hissing at us.
'It's not over.' And then he'd disappeared.
'Shouldn't we go after him?'
'Nah, let him come back. We'll be ready.'
The dark haired guy turned to face me.
'Thanks for that.'
'No problem. The name's Ember.' I held my hand out and he took it.
'Nice name. So then Raven, what were you doing out here by yourself? Don't you know this place is crawling with vampires at this time?'