I didn't wake until late. The sun had long set and Bronwyn had lit a fire. I crawled out and walked over to her. For once she didn't send her shadows to see if it was me. I sat next to her on a log she'd found. I sat down and neither of us spoke for a while.
"Was I... loud last night?" I asked slowly.
"No louder than usual. I have something for you. But it's probably best you go hunting first," she said.
I nodded. She was right; I hadn't drunk in a couple of days. I was ravenous. I stood and, without another word, walked off into the trees.
I kept low, crouching slightly as I searched for ‘food’. For an hour or so, my search was fruitless – then I came across a sleeping doe and her fawn.
I stopped. I cast my eyes at the ground between me and them, looking for things that could give away my presence and working out a way to kill them both before they got away.
After a few minutes, I had my route which was clear of obstacles. I started making my way carefully towards the two deer, still sleeping soundly. It was time to put my plan into action. I picked up a twig and snapped it right next to the fawn’s ear.
It jumped up and I swiped at its legs as fast as I could. All four of its legs broke. It made an odd noise, waking its mother. I tackled the doe and snapped her neck. She fell to the ground and I practically jumped on her.
I tore at her limp neck with my teeth. Blood flowed freely from the rip in her skin. I clamped my mouth over her fur and sucked. Her blood was warm but as I drank her dry the warmth dropped considerably.
When she was empty, I turned to the fawn. It was trying to stand.
“Pathetic thing,” I said with a sardonic, mocking smile on my face.
The stupid creature looked up at me with hope in its eyes. I knelt down in front of the small deer.
I picked up the fawn by its head. I traced its main artery gently. Then I buried my teeth in its neck and I felt its life force flowing through me.
Dead blood is still blood but live blood sends electricity through you. It’s not just the warmth or the life of it; it’s the excitement as they struggle in your grasp. I dropped the animal’s carcass next to its mothers. I looked at the dead family and walked back to Bronwyn, not caring at all about what I’d just done.
I retraced my path, following my own scent, my own trail. I emerged from the bushes directly opposite Bronwyn. She glanced up and saw me.
“You have blood all around your mouth,” she told me.
I wiped my mouth on the back of my hand and licked my lips. I sat next to her again. She took a handkerchief out of her pocket – the one she’d wrapped my hair in. This time it had shape. She handed it to me and told me to unwrap it. I did as she said.
Sat in the palm of my hand, lying on a handkerchief, was a black ring with a red jewel in the centre. In the jewel was a mist that started swirling the moment I looked into it.