Chapter Three: Welcome to your New Home
I turned to the baths with a sigh and turned on one tap. After weeks of washing only when needed and usually with cold water the hot water shocked my skin. I washed quickly, aware as I did of how muddy the water was growing. Someone walked in, the steam mostly hid her features but I figured it was Helen. I could tell she was human straight away and felt my anxiety ease.
“Oh my,” she said when she saw the colour of the water. She shooed me out and emptied the tub, filling a second. I shivered where I stood as she ran about getting this bottle and that bottle and I wondered why. I caught myself in the mirror as I followed her movement and blinked. I knew I was on the thin side, but the stick before me took me by surprise. My brown hair hung in knotted tangles and bags decorated my eyes.
“Come on,” Helen said, motioning to the bath. It was a lot hotter than one I'd just taken but I didn't complain as she scrubbed at my skin. She gave off a matronly air and I had a feeling she'd scold me if I tried to fight her efforts. She pulled the first bottle and soaked a sponge with it and scrubbed my skin a second time. The scent of lavender reached my nose instantly and I recalled the dream. How quickly things had change since then I thought sourly. Next she attacked my hair and I made a point of keeping my eyes shut. I couldn't recall when I'd last used shampoo or conditioner, both were luxuries afforded only to humans on their side. All I'd ever had was a bar of soap, but it was all everyone had. Back at the colony people understood how fleeting our lives could be. My few love affairs had been short and nothing more than physical touch for this very reason. Finally she pulled away, giving a statisfied smile.
“So what's your name?,” Helen asked, helping me out of the bath and handing me a thick towel. It was big enough to wrap around me twice.
“Nicole,” I answered, drying myself quickly. Helen motioned to a pile of fresh cloths and I started to dress.
“Good to know. Cain is useless, never mentioning enough facts,” she laughed. It took me a split second to realise she must've meant the vampire. The affectionate way with which she spoke of him shocked me. She saw this on my face and laughed again.
“I understand why you did what you did. There are bad ones out there. But there are good too. Don't worry, Cain's a good one. He'll be nothing like his father,” she said. I didn't understand the reference then understanding dawned.
“Cain Val'terrice?” I asked with a whisper.
“Who else would live in the castle and be bale to release you so easily?” Helen asked with a smile. Cain, the only son of Sergio Val'terrice, the leader of the vampires. If I managed to get close enough to him to kill...the implications would be huge.
“Don't be so scared now. He won't hurt you, not after all the trouble to get you out of that damn cell,” Helen said, misreading my expression. I gave a small nod and followed her through two more corridors. She handed me a small brass key and I opened the door before me. Inside was a simple wardrobe, bedside table and single bed.
“Sleep well now, and welcome to your new home” Helen said cheerily before closing the door behind me. I stared around the plain walls and floor and out my window. Two floors up and again, barred. Was I ever going to breath fresh air again? The thought made me sad, I tore back the covers and climbed into the bed, turning off the lamp. I knew I had a restless night of fitful sleep to look forward to. When my eyes closed I knew one thing, I'd never think of this of place as home.