The first thing I did was try to get home. I felt terrible for the way I had last spoken to Jake, who must be out of his mind by now. I had been gone for a while and I had never stayed away so long before.

I rounded the corner and stopped dead.

"Hello love." Lee purred. "Now, that wasn't very nice, running off when I have done you such a favor."

He narrowed his eyes slightly. Though I despised Lee there was something inside me that felt drawn to him like a siren's call would draw sailors to their death. Inwardly I shuddered. Lee's outline blurred slightly and I flung up my hand, catching his fist in my palm. It would have crashed into the side of my head. A knock-out blow.

"I don't like being beaten around." I muttered, his face inches from mine. I stepped back, releasing Lee's hand. He looked at me for a while.

"You must be thirsty." he said flatly.

I shook my head automatically, but his words awakened the sensations that I had been trying to ignore. The burning in my throat was stronger and had seemingly extended into my veins, which felt parched. My..fangs were out, pressing slightly against my lips.

"You need blood my dear." Lee whispered, an evil smile on his face, obviously aware of what was happening.

Blood. The word, though whispered, rang in my mind as though he had yelled it. Suddenly there seemed to be a raging coppery torrent in front of my vision, laid over the image of Lee standing in front of me. My veins began to burn like my throat. It was hard to think coherently. All I could think was that one word over and over. Blood.

"No." I muttered. "I. Am.. not. A. Monster."

"You are so much more than that Asha." Lee whispered passionatly in my ear. I tried to flinch away, but he had pinned me in a corner without my noticing. I was shaking my head slowly, as though to rid myself of a fly, my head pounding, my veins burning more and more. Blood.

"Asha, you are a vampire. Proud, a predator on weak humans. We do the world a favor, ridding it of scum who cause pain and suffering. Criminals, sinners and miscreants. We remove them, leaving the world a safer place. We do good. And you are now one of us. But if you do not feed, you will die within 24 hours my love. And there will be no way to save you."

He finished on a sad note, looking almost pained. I shook my head again, unable to see properly. Blood. I tried to walk, but found my way blocked by Lee. Blood. I felt my anger rise and my vision seemed to narrow, turning tunnel-like. Blood. I could smell the alley now, sharp and fetid, then a warm, delicious smell. Human. Blood. My head was pounding. There was something I had to remember. Blood. A name flickered in my mind J-..then was gone. Blood. There was a reason I was fighting this. Blood. Lee was standing there. My sire. Blood. Somehow, he had found a man, who was looking at me wide-eyed. Blood.

"P-p-please.... Mister! I didn't do it! I swear! It weren't me! I've done nuffink! I'm just a humble pickpocket!" the human was stuttering, shouting. Lee shook him hard and he fell silent. Blood.

"W-w-what's wiv 'her eyes?" the human said again, looking at me. "That ain't natural.. That red ain't normal.. what are you?"

Blood. I could hear his rapid pulse. Blood. I closed my eyes, shaking my head. Blood. That infernal word pulsed in my head like a heartbeat. Blood. My veins felt cracked, dry. Blood. I need.. Blood.

My mind collapsed into the crimson-copper torrent that had belied my senses since I had woken up. Somewhere, a man screamed briefly. All I was aware was of the gentle warmth flooding my body. Contentment. I could feel a new kind of strength winding its way into my being. My head cleared, my vision returning to something approaching normal. Though colours were brighter, details sharper. I could see more than I even noticed. My mouth was filled with a sharp, copper taste that I recognised as blood, but somehow, I was not repulsed by it. It felt natural. The smells of the alley came back, the stink now laced with the smell of blood. My skin had become more sensitive. I could feel the hard ground under my knees, the stones and broken glass pressing deep into the flesh. There was only a slight sting, where before I would have cried out, now I barely noticed. My lips were pressed against a man's neck. His skin felt slightly rough, unfamiliar, mildly unpleasant to touch. I dropped his head, letting it fall to the ground. I was numb, overwhelmed by the sudden change.

"Beautiful." A voice murmured. I looked up. My sire. The one to protect me. Lee. The one who had made me like this.

I shot up with inhuman speed. Next I knew, Lee was crying out in pain. I had taken him by the throat and slammed him against the wall, lifting him with one hand.

"You're strong. And exceptionally fast love. Even for a vampire. I'm so proud." He choked slightly as my grip tightened.

"Do not call me that. I don't love you." I said, my teeth clenched. "You are merely useful." I dropped him to the floor, Lee stumbled slightly, then straightened to face me, a bruise already appearing at his throat. "I hate you. But you are the only vampire I know, and as much as I hate to admit it, I need you. I don't know anything about vampires other than the obvious."

He grinned. "For starters, there's no going back now. Second my love, you belong to me whether you like it or not and thirdly, lay another hand on me and I will injure you." He moved close "And we wouldn't want that would we?"

"No, we wouldn't." An unfamiliar voice chimed. We both wheeled around and were confonted by the sight of a powerful-looking man, dressed in clothes that subltly hinted at a lot of money. He fixed Lee with a glare. Lee looked away.

"Zelthar." he hissed. "News travels fast."

"You kept her for three days, when she came around, you didn't control her. You let her run free. The Council sent me when we found out about your siring. Now, I believe we have a use for her." he looked at me, smiling, though his smile was cold.

"We shall teach you, train you, and care for you, if you help us. Become an Elite. A warrior. A bounty hunter for the vampires."

"Look, I don't know who you are. I don't know a freaking thing. But I am not warrior material. Or bounty hunter material for that matter. I refuse to get tied down like that. Sorry."

This vampire, Zelthar, grinned. "Fair enough. But should you have a change of heart Asha then we shall welcome a talent such as yours."

I nodded, "I'll keep that in mind. But I'm not getting tied down. To anyone." I looked hard at Lee. "See ya."

With that, I ran as fast as I could, away from the pair of vampires who began shouting at each other. Away from the man, who was lying dead at their feet. The man who had allowed me to get embroilled in this mess. I ran home. I reached the end of my road, and froze. A black car was parked outside my door, a herse.

"Jake?, not already.." I moaned softly.

"Are you alright m'dear?" an old woman peered at me, squinting through thick glasses.

"W-what's happened?" I stuttered.

"Aah. The poor lad just lost his fiance. Asha I think he said. She went missin' a couple of weeks back. Poor lass never turned up again. Just vanished. Not a trace. Her family don't know nothin' neither. They figure she got attacked like all them other poor lasses. That lad is a right state now.. Its her funeral today y'see..Are you a friend dear?" she looked at me again, longer this time. I ducked my head a little.

"Erm, yeah. We lost touch a while ago.. I-I probably shouldn't intrude.. I'll come back..later."

The old woman nodded. "That would pr'bly be the kindest thing m'dear. Its funny, you're the spitting image of that poor lass. Seein' you.. he'd have a heart attack."

I nodded mutely. "Thank you. I-I'll come back..."

She nodded. "See you around m'dear."

I walked away, in shock. Part of me wanted to run, show Jake I was okay. Show him that I was still living, after a fashion. But if I told him of vampires, Councils and drinking blood, he would have me locked away. He would be even more heartbroken.

"He's better off without me." I whispered. "I'm so sorry Jake." Tears came to my eyes and I slumped against a wall down a side-street. "I'm so sorry... I'll never forget you. Jake, I love you."

The End

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