She stared at me curiously. I could tell she had at least a hundred questions. I waited patiently for the barrage that was sure to come...
“How old are you? Where are you from? Who changed you? What are you doing in Alaska? And where is the rest of your coven?”
I tackled her questions one at a time.
"I was changed in 1922. I think I'm from Biloxi, Mississippi -- at least, that's where I was when I woke up. I don't have any memories of my human life before this time, but I think I must have been around 18 or 19 years of age when I was changed. I don't know who made me -- I woke up in a coffin underground. I often come to Alaska to hunt and meditate. I have no coven, it's just me."
Naturally, my answers only led to a flurry of more questions from Tanya. I did my best to answer them. I told her about the life I’d made for myself in Chicago, the dress shop where I’d worked with Mrs. Elderberry. When I got to the part where I met Alistair, Tanya's eyes widened.
"I've never met a male vampire, not in all my years wandering the earth. What was he like?"
I described his impressive build, his pallid skin, and his blood-red eyes and she listened carefully, seeming to drink in my every word.
"What did he want with you?" she asked.
"I don't know," I answered truthfully, and she frowned.
"He had blood-red eyes... he must feed on humans."
"Yes. He seemed surprised to learn that I don't. I never have, and never will."
"What made you decide not to feed on humans?"
"Just a personal choice," I said with a shrug. I suddenly remembered the watchman who'd run in terror from little old me, and I had to bite back a smile.
I hesitated before continuing my next line of discussion, trying to gauge her reaction ahead of time.
"Now that I've answered your questions, will you answer mine?"
In reply, Tanya walked over to a large stone and sat down. The snow that had accumulated upon her clothes and hair during our long talk scattered in every direction as she seated herself. She waited a beat before looking at me with her liquid amber eyes.
"I have this feeling that I have met you before, even though I know this is not true. Somehow, I trust you, little Alice. Despite myself."
I tried not to bristle at being called "little." But I suppose I was little to her -- she was at least five-foot-eleven, standing a clear foot above me. So I decided to keep my mouth shut -- for now.
She continued in a measured tone, "So I will tell you anything you wish to know, so long as you answer one last question: how do you know so much about me if we've never met before?"