It was a long time before Jay and I faced each other again. I spent my time in a self imposed imprisonnment, consumed by the memories that were as much a part of this apartment as the walls.
After a couple of weeks, my veins were burning and I was tasting copper. I could feel the symptoms of bloodlust and had been feeling them for several days. Now, the memories came to me through a veil of red. When I opened my eyes, the white walls of my bedroom glowed brightly, the exact shade of human blood. My senses became painfully sensitive, the footsteps of the people in the apartment below echoing like bass drums. I flinched from the sound, retreating to my wardrobe. Even the darkness that swallowed me when the door closed was tinged red. I felt a growing pressure in my head. The need for blood pulsed through all of my senses, consuming the last of my rationality, undeniable. I knew I had very little time left before I would not be able to control myself but I still could not find the will to move from the relative safety of the wardrobe. I curled into a foetal position, shaking as the bloodlust attacked me, sending burning agony through every nerve ending. My jaw was locked in a silent scream, my lower lips cut from where my fangs had cut them as they locked out involuntarily. No blood dripped from the wounds. There was too little left in my veins for that. And explosive pain wracked my chest, deeper than the bloodlust could ever penetrate.
" I love you, Asha." Jake's voice left no doubt that this was the truth.
The scene changed to the one that haunted me the most.
Holding Jake's body high, he tore Jake's head from his shoulders. I stood numbly as Jake's blood rained over Lee's head like some kind of sick baptism. I felt again the searing pain and unspeakable horror that my mind instantly rejected. Then the memory collapsed in on itself to be replaced by a familiar, pulsing red. The copper tang was choking and acidic. I knew that I had left it too long. I had become a mindless creature searching for blood. My eyes would be glowing red, the only time that they would. I would be a vampire in the purest, most lethal form. The agonising heat was familiar, the burning need was familiar. The bloodlust was familiar. But something was different. Before, I had lost all conciousness. Now I was aware, just unable to control anything.
A strange calm came over me. The burning seemed to dull and lessen. I heard Jake again, telling me he loved me, that I was not the monster the Shadow had become. Telling me about the beauty he saw in me.
"I will always be there to protect you."
My eyes flickered open. By body still burned and throbbed, screaming out for blood, but I had remained in the wardrobe, my sanity still intact.
"Jake." I whispered, with a pang. Even when he was dead, he still protected me. Eventually, I went hunting.