When I woke up, everything was different.
The lighting was far too bright, the chatter outside my room was far too loud and the sore throat I had developed now flared agonizingly. However, as I began to look around my room, from where I was on the poxy mattress on the floor, I noticed that nothing had physically changed except perhaps my own perspective and view of it. It was as though everything had been heightened a thousand times more. A spectrum of colours I didn't even know existed swam in front of my vision. I could see the dust motes swirling in the air.
My eyes lingered on the wardrobe where clothes were spilling out in a vibrant waterfall. I could see the individual linings in the wood, the shades of browns and beiges merging together, the point at which one colour stopped and another began.
I sat up groggily, catching the scent of something tainting the air. Something rich and delicious that only allowed the pain in my throat to expand deeper and become more insistent.
Without warning, a sudden flurry of voices swam into my mind.
'...don't think she'll mind. I mean it's not exactly my fault is it?'
'Ellie get in there and clean your room, it's looking like a tip!'
'Come on, he's not gonna find out...'
I blinked, confused. Staring out the window, I realized that that was where the voices had come from.
'One of the perks of being a vampire,' a voice murmured. Asher was stood in the doorway, looking relaxed and languid. His dark hair was tousled slightly and he was leaning against the door frame with his arms crossed.
'Vampire?' I repeated, dumbfounded.
He replied with a simple nod.
'Since when did that happen?' Giving the circumstances I was acting strangely calm about the whole thing.
'That's what usually happens when a human exchanges blood with a vampire.'
And then it all came flooding back to me. My stepfather slapping me, Asher appearing out of nowhere, the sharp stinging pain as he bit into me, the way the warm metallic taste of blood had filled my mouth as I clutched onto his wrist.
'Yes,' I whispered. 'I remember now. You - attacked me. In the building. You killed my boss.'
'Believe me Mia, I saved you that day.'
He turned round and headed back down the stairs, but I wasn't finished with him. I got up angrily, ignoring the way my knees were shaking or the way sudden movement seemed to antagonize the pain in my throat.
'I'm not done here Asher, you have some explaining - '
I stopped dead in my tracks at the sight before me.
There looking absolutely terrified, tied to a chair, was my stepdad.
I turned to Asher, who surveyed the scene before him with something like calm anticipation with the slightest hint of hunger. I understood it immediately.
He wanted me to feed from him.
As though he'd read my thoughts, Asher spoke: 'You're already beginning to feel it aren't you? Of course you should be by now. You know all the myths about vampires? The sunlight burning us to ashes? No reflection in mirrors?' He took a casual step to my stepfather as I stood rooted to the spot. 'You wanna know the one thing that isn't a myth? The eternal, never ending hunger that makes you feel as though your throat is on fire and that you could snap. At any point.'
In one fluid motion, Asher had torn the tape away from his victim's mouth, causing him to cry out in pain.
'Mia! What the fuck do you think you're playing at, bringing psycho's like this into the home?! Ring the police, he's crazy.'
I only stared at my stepfather, numb. His pleas didn't mean anything to me, not after everything he'd done. I didn't have one ounce of care left in me for him.
'He's not a psycho. He's telling the truth,' I responded flatly.
I watched his eyes widen, his mouth turn up in disgust. 'You're all crazy. Wait until I get my hands on you...'
'Only, you're not going to are you?' I pointed out. 'You're tied up in the chair, and I'm stood here.' There was something sickeningly pleasing about taunting him like this, it felt as though all the years he'd done it to me were coming back to bite him. I remembered all the days that he'd treated me like a piece of shit, pushed me around, told me how worthless I was. That no one would ever love me. That my mother didn't love me. That one had been the worst, about my mother. Because she was rarely around I found it easy to believe.
'Mia you've gone crazy,' he shook his head in disbelief and I scoffed in pure disgust at him.
'I haven't gone crazy you idiot! This isn't crazy! This is real. This is me being completely sane. You're only worried because this time you can't get out of it, you're stuck there, unable to do anything.'
I turned to Asher.
'I don't want to feed from him. I don't want to have to sustain off this loathsome pig's blood. I don't want it anywhere near me.'
'Very well,' he merely shrugged.
Before I could stop him, he'd got a hold of my stepfather's head, and twisted it sharply in the most unnatural way. A nauseating crack ensued, making me jump, and he slumped forward, his neck flopping in an abnormal way.
'You killed him,' I stated stupidly.
'He was a bastard to you,' he declared, as if it were the most simple thing in the world.
Surprisingly, I felt absolutely nothing at seeing Asher kill him. Hadn't I had more morals than that? Even if he was horrible and abusive towards me, shouldn't I feel something?
'Now, we still have the problem of your hunger,' he sighed. 'But don't worry, we can soon fix that.'
With a smile, he held out his hand for me to take and led me outside. I stumbled after him, still numb at the fact that someone had just died in front of me, but I wasn't able to feel anything for his death. Asher was acting extremely cavalier about it, as though he did it all the time, and as much as I hated to admit it, so was I.