I was hungry again.
A warm tingling sensation had started off in the base of my throat and was now flaring agonisingly up to my jaw until it felt like my whole body was on fire. I wasn't in the mood to hunt though and continued to sit on the damp grass, staring into the dark night.
It was Monday morning tomorrow, was Conner going to turn up to school? I didn't know why I cared so much but deep down I knew something was going on. The way his mother stared at me with those chillingly empty eyes, a dead stare. It reminded me of a zombie.
'What are you doing out here?' Chester came and sat down beside me.
'Thinking.' I sighed, deliberating whether or not I should tell him what had happened the previous night. I wondered how he'd take it. He'd probably want to go straight to Conner's house and kill his mother, somehow convinced that she was involved, just because he liked the blood lust.
'What's on your mind?' Chester knew something was up. He was perceptive that way, he could instantly tell if something was wrong and then he'd do all that was in his power to unravel the truth.
I pursed my lips and turned to face him. Just as I opened my mouth to tell him, something crashed from inside the house. Our heads jerked to the back door at the same time and Chester stood up slowly.
'Eli?' I called out cautiously. Chester threw me a glare, motioning for me to stay quiet. He took tentative footsteps, up the concrete path, across the patio and stood outside the door. The light from the kitchen was turned off, but I could clearly see a dark shadowy figure lurking about inside. Chester could see it too. His eyes had become wide, focussed. They looked black in the night and contrasting with his pale skin and bared teeth, he actually frightened me a little. I couldn't imagine how he looked to a human.
He extended one hand to the handle and was preparing to push it open. He turned around and mouthed Get ready, before throwing the door open.
Whoever had been in the kitchen disappeared in a shot, leaving a trail of disarray behind.
Chester, however, was faster.
Seconds later, I found him pinning someone up by the collar against the wall, his face inches away from the strangers, eyes blazing furiously, growls ripping out from his chest.
The stranger tried to struggle, but Chester was much too strong but them and after a couple of futile attempts, they gave up and left their arms dangling by their sides. My hand fumbled along the wall and flicked the light switch on. Although I had immaculate vision, thus allowing me to see in the dark, I was praying my eyes were betraying me.
However, as the light flooded the room, I saw that it was not a stranger that had intruded our house. It was in fact Conner.
Conner did not look healthy. His face had drained completely of colour and was no longer a healthy olive tone, it was a sickening chalky white complexion. His hair was messy and stuck in clumps and tufts, falling flatly against his forehead. However, his eyes gave away what was truly wrong and as my hand flew to my mouth, I gasped sharply.
They were the most vivid, intense shade of red I had ever seen.
'What are you doing here?' Chester snarled, completely oblivious.
'Chester!' I whispered, still in shock. 'Don't you see what's happened?'
'Let go of him,' I pulled on Chester's arm and dragged him beside me. 'Look at him.'
It took Chester only seconds to realise what I was seeing.
'Oh my god.' I had never in my whole life heard Chester as shocked as he was right now. His voice was a mere murmur and his expression mirrored mine.
'Rose,' Conner called my name again and his voice came out harsh and scratchy, like sandpaper. 'You've got to help me. I have no idea what's happening to me. I feel like...I'm on fire... My jaw hurts so much!' He collapsed to the floor and hid his face in his hands. His shoulders began trembling and he let out choking gasps, as if he were crying. But he couldn't cry. Neither of us could.
I didn't do anything, I just stood rooted to the spot watching him break down. There was nothing I could do.
'What should we do with him?' Chester started making his way over to Conner, but I grabbed his arm, shaking my head.
'He's unstable,' I whispered. 'He might snap at any point and we don't know how strong he is.'
'You're right. Shit. We can't just stand here. Where the hell is Eli?'
'He's still away. Just, remain calm okay?' I heaved a sigh and squaring my shoulders, I turned to face Conner.
'Conner?' My voice was soft but firm and his head rose slowly in response. 'What you're feeling is perfectly normal, okay? I promise we're gonna fix it soon, but we just need to wait for Eli to return, is that okay?' I wasn't used to being patient and my words came out awkward and confused.
Nevertheless, he began nodding ever so slightly.
His mouth formed the word Yes and I smiled in satisfaction.
'Now all we have to do, is wait.' I sat down where I was was, tucking my knees up under my chin and leant against the wall. Chester joined me after a few seconds and that's how we stayed. Me and Chester on one side of the room, silent and observing, Conner on the other, quietly breaking down.