Instinctively the girl took a step away from the advancing figure.
“I...” she stammered, her voice lost to the stress of the moment.
“Come now,” the figure said, his tone low, inviting. “you surely know your own name? Perhaps you recognise me. Perhaps you wish me to fail. Is that why you lie to me, Rachel Walsh?” The girl took another step backwards, her legs hitting a low wall. The coldness of it seemed to suck at her like a vampire. Vampire bricks came the desperate thought. Now there was an image: grey blocks of stone with two fangs protruding. The girl began to giggle, a high pitched manic sound. The shadowy figure stopped, confused at first. The mist again shifted, thinning, as though propelled by the girls hysterical laughter.
“Vampire bricks!” she spluttered out.
“What?” the shadow demanded. “Do you mock me child!” But the girl laughed all the harder. Suddenly the mist crowded back in, and the shadow shot forward, stopping again a short distance. “Do you mock me?” he asked again, this time the voice back to that dry sibilant hiss. The girl's laughter cut off short and she sat down hard on the wall, the terror back again. The figure stalked forward and leant in close, taking a long sniff of her. She could almost see his eyes light up, as he smiled a sickeningly satisfied smile.
“You have lied to me,” he said whispering. “I can smell you, Walsh. It runs in your blood, oh yes, and I can smell it.” The shadow-man licked his teeth and the girl was shocked to see they were pointed, like a shark. She managed to stifle a sob.
“No... No, you have the wrong person. I promise. I'm Elizabeth Searles. I promise, I'm not lying.” another sob made it's way up her throat, and she felt her eyes begin to brim again. “Please,” she whispered. Her heart felt chill, as the figure stared at her. Almost as ridiculous as the vampire bricks, Elizabeth felt her nose begin to twitch. She took a short, sharp, juddery suck of air. The man stood up.
“No...” he hissed, backing away
“Ah,” the girl exhaled swiftly. Twice more she sucked in a breath, expelled it almost as soon as it entered her lungs.
“No, I will not!” the shadow hissed.
“No!” he screeched, just as the sneeze climaxed and Elizabeth expelled it with a violent burst. She looked up again, rubbing her nose. The man had vanished, the only trace he had ever been a the tail end of what could just have easily been a gull's call.