Chapter Four--One Year Later

Duke Henri’s whip lashed across my back again, forcing me to run faster. I heard several laughs past the pounding of blood in my head and the heavy in and out rush of my breath. I had been running for a long time, and I wanted to stop, at least long enough to catch my breath, but Duke Henri wouldn’t let me. The four other members of the nest ran along with me, as did Duke Henri, but they didn’t have to worry about cramping muscles or exhausted lungs.

I could feel how much they were enjoying this little run they were forcing me to do. Each laugh was accompanied by each vampire’s amusement, along with stabbing pain in my head. A year should have been long enough to get used to the almost constant headaches and sharp washes of emotion. I had sure gotten used to them laughing at me, tormenting me, hurting me.

My aching muscles started refusing to move any farther, and I stumbled, nearly dropping to my knees. Duke Henri whipped me again, and I flinched. I didn’t cry out though. I hadn’t made a single sound since the night my parents had died, and that wasn’t going to change now.

I had been running for almost two hours now, judging by where the sun was, and I knew that this game of theirs wouldn’t last much longer. The last time they’d forced me to run they’d allowed me to stop after two hours, so I just had a littler further to go. I pumped my legs again, forcing my muscles to move past the cramps, and wished I had something to drink.

It was hot out, hotter than normal in April in Wisconsin, and I hadn’t had any water all day. The vampires didn’t let me drink very often, rarely more than once every couple of days, and I’d had a large drink yesterday. I didn’t think they’d give me any today, so I would just have to suffer without it.

They finally let me slow down to a stop, and I tripped over my own feet and landed front first in a patch of grass. I hadn’t expected there to be any grass. The vampires lived in a large house in the middle of no where, and the lane that they used for running was dirt surrounded by more dirt. It was ugly, just like the house, and just like the land, and just like the vampires themselves.

When I’d first arrived, the large Victorian style house they lived in had been beautiful to me. It was well kept, and looked a bit like my grandmother’s house. The land around it was beautiful too, all green grass and trees. But I quickly learned to hate that house and that land, because it was theirs.

“I’m hungry, Henri,” Carlotta, the dark haired, curvy woman said. She was a favorite of Duke Henri’s, which was the reason he allowed her to call him Henri, instead of by his title. I knew, of course, that if Duke Henri allowed it, I would be the one to satisfy Carlotta’s hunger. They never drank too much that I couldn’t survive, but someone sucking the blood from your veins was the most painful thing they could inflict on me, and I was already exhausted and in pain.

My back was covered in fresh cuts from the whip. They would quickly turn to scars and join the rest of them crisscrossing my back. I was glad they hadn’t noticed that I was resting yet. I was able to catch my breath and allow my back to start healing at least a little before they started tormenting me again.

“Go ahead,” Duke Henri answered Carlotta in a bored sounding voice. Duke Henri quickly got bored of me because I never showed the reactions that he wanted. He hadn’t killed me yet, though, and that was a bad thing. I was tired of being in pain, tired of being treated like their own personal torture doll. There was nothing I could do about it, though. They watched me constantly, and never went too far with their pain inflicting games.

Carlotta grabbed my arm and dragged me towards where she was sitting cross-legged. She quickly brushed aside my matted hair. Duke Henri allowed someone to drink my blood so rarely that my neck was always given a chance to heal back up again, so I barely had any scarring. I tensed, anticipating the first bite, and forced myself to not think about it.

Her fangs pierced my skin and artery, and within milliseconds she was slurping blood out of me. I shivered, every cell in my body screaming in pain as my life blood was forcibly pulled from my body, but I didn’t make a sound. I bit my lip, and clenched my hands so tightly my ragged fingernails cut into my palm.

The End

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