At 12:30 in the afternoon Elle woke. Vlad was playing his cello in the next room, Vera slept on the couch and I sat at the bar occasionally laughing at Vlad's absurdly over exaggerated head movements. Vlad had been born in the 1500's when the cello was a new fashionable instrument to play. He was one of the oldest vampires I knew. When Henry Tudor was on the throne he had been a courtier, when Queen Elizabeth the 1st reined he sailed with the Spanish Armada. He had countless tales of amazing adventures, but seldom did he speak them aloud.
Elle's breathing had been floating steadily from the room next door for several hours. But as soon as she woke it sped, becoming erratic and fearful. Vlad stopped playing and glanced toward me. Nodding at each other we strode casually into the room where Elle sat bolt upright, pale as a ghost. When she saw us enter she stifled a scream and attempted to bury herself under her blanket. Vlad sat down next to her and leant back stretching his legs so they rested on the coffee table and bending his arms above him to cup his head. He smiled calmly.
“Calm down Elle, we just want a short chat and then we will leave you alone,” Elle peeked at Vlad from behind the blanket. Despite herself she blushed and stammered.
“Y Y Y - You'll let me go?” She asked meekly letting the covers fall back around her. Vlad laughed, a big booming laugh. Elle flinched.
“Let you go ? No, no, no. Your far to useful right where you are my darling,” Vlad said. His voice was smooth and silky. Sliding one finger down her cheek, he chuckled, as the blood flowed once more to her face.
“You can't keep me here! Michael will be here soon,” She said crawling further towards the end of the sofa away from Vlad. He raised one eyebrow wryly
“That, little girl,” He stood up and looked down at her “Is what we are counting on,” He smiled carefully at me and said “Please Peter make our guest comfortable,” Then he turned once again to Elle “Madam,” He bowed and swept from the room.
For a few minutes I stood in silence. Pacing quietly while Elle sat staring at the doorway through which Vlad had left, shivering slightly.
“Sorry about that,” I said perching on the arm next to her “Vlad can be a bit of a showman sometimes, as he said it will only be a few days at the most, as soon as Michael arrives we can get you out of here,” She turned to face me
“What will happen to him?” She asked quietly.
“The courts will deal with him,” I said simply, making it clear there were to be no further enquiries on the topic.
Abruptly she stood and began to pace the room. Clearly thinking something through. Then she came to a decision and walked so she stood directly in front of me.
“Where are my clothes?”
“They were wrecked, we disposed of them,”
“Who dressed me?”
“I did,” She raised an eyebrow
“The food, the blanket?”
“Vlad's idea,” Then she paused and turning her arm to the light she pointed at the four small, barely healed scars.
“These?” Her face was so serious, I had to laugh. My mouth twisted and I looked at the floor
“A guys gotta eat,” I chuckled. Her voice was shaking now.
“Four marks, two sets. Whose are the others?” She jerked her head toward the doorway and said contemptuously “His?”
I began to laugh then “Vlad's?” I raised one eyebrow “God no, a bit arrogant there aren't we?” I doubled over with laughter “Do you really think a vampyre lord is going to feed off Michael Caplin's cast offs?” She looked a little taken aback but then became serious again
“So whose are they?”
“A girls gotta eat?” I said ruefully. Vlad's thunderous laughter emanated from the next room, he had obviously been listening in on our conversation. Elle didn't look impressed “It was just some changeling she was pretty wrecked, you, um, saved her,” I said trying my best to hide my amused smiles.
“Fuck off,” She sat back on the sofa and tucked herself up in a defensive position, glaring at me. I kept on laughing and sat down next to her.
“You didn't seem so moody when Vlad was talking to you,” She blushed rosy red and glowered at me “Am I not pretty enough?” I said smirking and looking at her out of the corner of my eye. She looked away, grumpy like a child. I started to laugh again. After a few minutes I stood and walked into the other room. Vlad and Vera were falling over each other, rendered speechless by endless giggling. I frowned at them and a smile curved my mouth. Then I joined them on the couch. After a minute they sat up straight and composed themselves. Vlad spoke his voice creaking in occasional bouts of laughter
“How is she?” Vera turned toward me, she seemed a lot more comfortable now. Vlad had worked his magic.
“She is fine, a bit scared obviously and anxious about Michael's impending, um, demise,” Vera frowned and looked down, then tentatively lifted her head and asked
“What will happen to him?”
“They'll kill him,” Vlad replied, his voice cold, almost gloating. “Thats what happens when you break the rules,” He rose from the sofa and turned to face the doorway. Looking into the darkness he said “Thats what happens isn't it Michael?” I spun around and bolted from the sofa, pressing Vera down as she made to stand up
“No Vera,” I whispered “You can't get involved,” She collapsed backwards and I went to stand next to Vlad, staring into the shadows.
I saw him. He was hunched in a corner. How long had he been there?
“Oh hi Michael,” Vlad said picking up his gun from the chest of draws “Didn't see you there, come to see your pet,” Michael growled in reply
“Where is she? What have you done to her?”
“She's safe,” I said “Your a lucky boy Michael, she's ever so obliging,” I licked my lips and grinned
“You Bastard!” He shouted, furious, he staggered into the light “I'll kill you!” As he stepped from the shadows I heard Vera gasp in horror. Michael's flesh was moulding and peeling, grey yellow patches of skin covered his bony arms. His back was hunched and contorted. The knee cap of his right leg was torn apart, the muscle falling from the bone. He walked with a limp.
“Really Micky?” Vlad whispered baring his fangs “You haven't eaten in days, your weak, injured and alone. Don't make me tear whats left your limbs apart, I don't want to get blood on my carpet.” Michael glowered at him, eyes narrowed “Now,” Vlad simpered a sarcastic smile playing on his lips “Lets play nicely,”
Michael Leapt. He fell on Vlad and began to thrash at him. Vlad roared and pushed him backwards onto the floor. One lip raised in a snarl, he placed his foot in the middle of Michael's stomach and screamed “I SAID, BOY, PLAY NICELY!” Vlad pounded the but of the gun into Michael's head, and he went limp, unconscious.
Vlad dragged Michael into the next room, throwing him into the mattress in the corner. Elle whimpered
“Micheal,” Her breath grew heavy and she screamed “What have you done to him?” She stood and began to kick and hit at me with every fibre of her body “What have you done?” I spun her around, yanking her arms around her back. I gripped her wrists so tightly they turned white.
I hissed angrily into her ear “Look, girl, me and Vlad aren't to happy right now, don't try our patience, or we will be finding out exactly how much blood you have in you, ok ? I pulled her arms back further. She nodded, defeated, tears streaming down her cheeks.
“Vera, get in here,” I shouted as I pushed Elle back onto the sofa. Vera walked in carefully, shivering slightly. I breathed outwards “ Will you take Elle here to the rest room, so she can tidy herself up?” Vera nodded silently as Elle stood shakily, still staring at Michael. Vera took her by the hand and they vanished down the hallway.
Vlad dropped Michael's limp arm onto the mattress and spat on the floor. Blood from the wound on Michaels head covered his hands. Leaning down he wiped them on the unconscious man's shirt. He lifted one corner of his mouth and growled, running his hands through his thick dark hair dark hair. Suddenly the lights began to flicker, casting strange shadows around the room. After a few minutes it went black. For most this wouldn't be a problem. At 12:30 in the afternoon, the sun would provide sufficient light. Here however there were no windows. Base was essentially a basement. An underground hideaway for those best left alone.
Vlad cursed and swore vigorously, kicking at the wall, tearing another huge scar in the plaster. Muttering under his breath he said
“I'll go and get the candles shall I?” He stalked out of the room. In the silent gloom my senses blossomed. I could see as clearly as if the place was lit with a hundred chandeliers. Michael groaned and rolled over. I heard hurried footsteps and saw Elle and Vera enter the room
“The whole place is pitch black, what happened?” Vera asked standing in the doorway whilst Elle stood behind her, head moving from side to side, trying to decipher her where abouts.
“Power cut,” I replied.Vera tutted and sighed “Don't worry it shouldn't take too long. Vlad has gone to get matches and a couple of torches,” Vera nodded and carefully guided Elle back to the sofa where they both sat down. Striding into the room Vlad placed an old 18th century candle stick holder on the coffee table and began to light it, chucking a torch to me as he did so. I flicked it on and gave it to Elle, who took it, gingerly. Once Vlad had finished with the candles he connected a electric lantern to the hanging light and turned it on. Grumbling he smacked his hands together and leant against the wall. I joined him and we all sat and stood in silence for a minute until Elle whispered
“What happens now?”