"A little help would be nice!" I yelled at the men.

They were staring at Viveka with wide eyes. Finally, the one named Abel scrambled over and held her feet down. She was screaming at the top of her lungs and crying. I had her around the middle, her arms pinned to the side so she couldn't slap me again.

"Viveka!" I yelled. "Wake up! You're having a nightmare! Wake up!"

Suddenly, her body froze. I waited, panting slightly. Abel slowly let go of her legs and she curled them up to her chest, shaking like a leaf. We stared at her with bated breath.

Then her eyes shot open and she screamed, jumping to her feet to run and nearly ran into the fire.

"Viveka!" I shouted and grabbed her arm. I pulled and she bumped into me. "Calm down, damn it!"

She was pushing on my arms. "Please don't kill me!" she cried. Her eyes were glazed over and I frowned. "I won't go by the lake again! Please don't kill me!"

"What lake?" I asked. She kept pushing on my arms and I sighed. "Sorry about this."

I slapped her hard and she stopped, her head snapping to the side. I knew she would probably slap me back once she woke up but I didn't care. She was scaring the shit out of me. She put her hand on her cheek then looked at me. Her eyes were clear again but then she burst into tears, hiding her face in my chest.

I looked down in horror, my arms hanging limp at my side. I looked to the men in desperation.

"Hold her," Abel mouthed.

I shook my head, my eyes wide. No way. He shook his head, too, though wearily as if I were hopeless and went back to stoking the fire. I glared at him and looked around. The blanket! I picked it up and put it on her awkwardly.

"It was awful," she sobbed.

"What was?" I asked.

"The creature," she breathed. "It-It was grey and so skinny I could see its bones! It tried to kill me. Then another one grabbed me from behind."

"That was me trying to wake you up," I told her. "You were screaming and thrashing around for five minutes before we managed to get you to stop."

Suddenly, she sat up, her head colliding with my chin. We both winced in pain. She scurried away from me, her face aflame.

"Right," she breathed, wiping her tears away. "Er.... Thanks for waking me up. I'm just going to go... go for a walk. Yeah."

She scrambled to her feet and wrapped the blanket tighter around her body.

"Don't go far!" Abel called after her.

"I won't," she muttered.

I frowned at the men.

"What was that about?"

The shrugged, all except for Abel who was smirking at me. I lay out on my back. A grey creature that was so skinny she could see its bones.... Could it be she saw the same creature that woman from the village did?

I closed my eyes. As soon as we woke up, we would be back on the road. I wanted to get to that village and get some answers.


"Lord Cian, wake up," someone said, nudging me. I blinked and rubbed my eyes. "She's missing."

"Huh?" I yawned.

"Viveka," he said. "We can't find her."

Damn human! I sighed and stood.

"I can find her," I said. "Pack up to leave."

The guard nodded, looking nervous. I closed my eyes and reached out with my mind.

Where are you, Viveka?

The forest blurred around me then stopped at a tree by the stream. My eyes looked up. She was nestled in the branches, fast asleep.

I shook my head and jumped through the trees until I reached hers. I stood on the branch across from her, frowning. What the hell was she doing in a tree?

"Please don't kill me! I won't go by the lake again!"

I looked down at the stream 20 feet away. Could it be she wanted to be as far from water as she could get? I sighed and nudged her with my foot until she woke up.

"Comfy?" I asked with an arched brow.

"What time is it?" she muttered.

"The sun is about to rise," I answered. "We're moving. Come on."

"Oh. Right." She stretched. I jumped down and she sighed. Seriously? She expected me to help her down!? I turned but she wasn't looking at me. "I walked in my sleep again," she was saying to herself as she climbed down. "Haven't done that in a while."

She walked by me without looking at me, obviously deep in thought. She jumped over the stream via the rocks and I frowned. There was more to this human than her attitude and that damn wall.

She didn't make me help her onto Ashling this time and kept the blanket wrapped around her as if she thought it could protect her. It had stopped raining but it was bitterly cold and I was thankful we weren't affected by it like she was.

"Where was she?" the black guard asked.

"In a tree," I answered with a frown. "Says she walked in her sleep but I've never known a human that can climb a tree in her sleep. Hey!" I shouted.

She had already gone forward once she saw we were all on our horses. I sped to catch up with her.

"What's your deal this morning?" I demanded.

She glared at me. "Why do you care?"

"You're acting totally out of character," I snapped. "It's unnerving."

She continued to glare but answered me. "The last time I walked in my sleep is when my father died. I saw the doctor and he said it was my nightmares." She frowned ahead of us. "I don't remember what my nightmare was about, but it must have been really bad."

"Do you want me to tell you?"

"Absolutely not," she snapped. "I don't like sleep walking!"

"I was just trying to be helpful," I snapped back and she sighed.

"I know. I'm sorry," she muttered.

I frowned, not sure what to say to that. Then she cleared her throat and I looked at her. She was looking at me with that expectant gaze she adopted when teaching me something.

"Um.... It's okay?"

"Very good," she nodded and her body visibly relaxed as did mine. "So, two more 12 hour rides?"

"Yes," I answered. "I wish we didn't have to rest."

"You need to sleep?" she asked.

"Of course we do," I said. "We may not feel cold or heat the way you do, but we still get tired and hungry."

"Why do you eat human food?"

"We don't drink blood for every meal," I explained. "We only drink it for one. Our stomachs still demand food, though, so we eat human food."

"You sound like you don't like it."

I shrugged. "I don't, honestly. I would be just as fine with drinking blood every meal but it makes me sick."

"Like eating too much sugar?" she asked and I nodded, impressed at her easy comparison.

"Just like that." I frowned at her. "You're... different."

"What do you mean?"

"I've only met a few other humans that know what I am. They're terrified. They're nowhere near as curious about us as you are."

She only shrugged but her cheeks were pink. Had I embarrassed her? Then I wondered if Myles had been as curious when my father told him we were vampires....

I cleared my throat and she looked at me.

"Why aren't you married? You're 20, right?"

She stared at the reins in her hands. "I've already answered one personal question today," she whispered.

I watched her for a few minutes but she just leaned forward and ran her fingers through Ashling's mane.

"All right," I muttered.

"Thank you."

The End

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