I watched carefully from a tree as they rocked her to sleep. “Rose…..” I murmured. It turned out to be a fitting name as I watched her grow from a little baby, to a young toddler. Rose’s hair because wavy and red like Lila’s and she had James’ sparkling emerald eyes.
I watched her take her first steps, and eat her first food. I laughed as she got it all over her face and shirt. Then Rose grinned, so proud of herself as the empty bowl fell to the floor. Lila sighed with a smile and picked it up. Then she tried to clean her up. James laughed from the table. “Um, she’s got it in her hair, Lila.” Lila looked and sighed heavily. She picked Rose up from her highchair and took her to the bathroom.
I could hear Rose giggling and splashing as I silently walked around the house, checking for anything that needed fixing. James stayed in the kitchen, reading the paper before work. I ducked under the window. Nothing to fix yet.
I returned to the forest as James got up to leave for work. He kissed Lila and Rose goodbye, then headed out the door. He stopped in the driveway, and looked back at the house, frowning. Then he shook his head and got in his car, muttering to himself: “How in the world does Lila keep things so neat and tidy out here?” He shook his head again as he drove up the road.
Soon, Rose grew from a young toddler to a little lady. At five years old, Rose was running around the house, giggling as she helped her mother with the laundry or in the garden. But James, Lila and I were still worried. Rose still hadn't said her first word… They took her to doctors, but they could find anything wrong. Her vocal cords were fine. And so were her lungs. The doctors said it would happen in time. And so, I waited and worried with them.
Today James was at work, and Lila had Rose outside, showing her how to repot a plant. And trying to get her to say something. I leaned against a tree, watching them from a shadowy part of the woods. Rose was smiling and playing in the dirt. Lila was sighing and shaking her head. Suddenly the phone rang and Lila ran to get it. “Stay right there, Rose!” she called.
I smiled and closed my eyes for a minute. The sun was very bright today in the summer. It was hot too, but that felt good on my cold skin. I opened my eyes again and looked back to the garden. Rose was gone… I looked around. Where was she? And where was Lila? She should be watching her…. A twig broke beside me.
I whipped around to look, moving too fast for a normal human. Rose stared at me, her eyes wide. Opps…. She smiled then, and reached out her hand. I backed away slowly, bumping into the tree. She giggled and touched my shirt. Rose stared at me with her bright gaze. “Rose… please go back home. Before your mother worries.” Rose continued to stare, like she was asking him something. “My.. name? It’s …… Alexander.” For a moment, I had to remember what my name was; I hadn't said it in over 36 years….
Rose continued to smile. She touched my hand. Her eyes widened at the cold, but she still wrapped her fingers around my wrist. “Rose…” I stepped forward and gently turned her back to the house. “Go home, Rose.” I could hear Lila walking down the hallway, heading back outside. “Rose… Where are you? Rose?!”
The little girl whipped back around and hugged me tight. I stiffened in shock, then lightly hugged her back.She smiled. I turned her around again, and gave her a small push. "Go, Rose. Your mother's worried." She nodded and ran back to the yard. Lila rushed out the back door and pulled her close."Rose! Where have you been?! I told you to stay here! Don't scare me like that." She held her and sobbed for about five minutes. Rose in turn hugged her mother the whole time, not wiggling an inch. I watched in amazement. That little girl had seen me..... had touched me and was not afraid.....
Lila picked Rose up in her arms and carried her to the house. Rose wriggled in her mother's grip, looking over Lila's shoulder. "What's wrong, Rose?" Rose smiled in my direction.. "Ale...xander..." She giggled. Lila froze. My breath caught in my throat.
Lila turned Rose to face her, tears shining in her eyes. "Who's Alexander? Is he a friend of yours?" Rose giggled and smiled again. She didn't answer. Lila picked her daughter up and hugged her, then rushed back into the house. I could hear her as she set Rose down with her toys and grabbed the phone. She must have been calling John, but I didn't hear their what they said. I sneak to a window and peeked inside, watching Rose as she played. She didn't like the noise toys, she'd play with one of her dolls and brush it's hair. I continued to watch her. Her hair catching the light as she moved, shining a coppery red. I couldn't see her eyes, but I guessed that they were focused on the doll. I shook my head and chuckled quietly.
Rose stopped a minute and looked up. With a start, I duck out of sight as she turned to the window. Did she HEAR me? I was sure I was quiet enough... After several minutes, I chanced a look. Rose had turned back to the doll, but she just stared at it. I noticed she was whispering my name again and again. Did she like the sound of it? Wasn't it too hard for her to say? All this question rattled in my head as I ran back to the forest, but one thing was clear....Her first word...... my name was Rose's first word....
I continued to watch them as the days turned to months and the months into years. Lila was beautiful and carefree. And John was funny and smart. They loved each other with a passion.
Every morning, John and Lila would eat the breakfast that Lila cooked, then John would kiss her and leave for work. That was when Lila began the housework. Secretly, I helped her the best I could. If she left laundry in the hamper, I would run it to the laundry room, before she could look. I learned that if I moved fast, she wouldn’t hear or see me. Sometimes, if she left flowers to be planted, she would come back to find them in the ground.
“John,” She’d said once. “I think there is a ghost here….a friendly ghost…it helps me around the house.” John then smiled and kissed her head. “Then that’s a good thing. Now, go to sleep.” She’d giggle and kiss him back. I’d watch and laugh.
And soon, their smell didn’t bother me. I could watch them day and night, and only hunt deep in the forest when needed. I grew to love them, like a family. Then…one day, Lila came to John with happy tears in her eyes. I got closer, curious. “John….I think…I think I’m pregnant.” John let out a happy cry and hugged her. I smiled, and then hear something amazing. Two heartbeats in Lila. One was hers…. but the other must have been the baby’s. Their joy was my joy. And so, I waited, as excited as they were about the child.
John and Lila turned one of the rooms upstairs into a nursery. I was surprised to see that it was the room that had once been mine. I smiled to myself as I watched them paint the walls a creamy color, then Lila began to paint pictures on the walls. Pictures of beautiful fairies, of colorful flowers and sparkling streams. Lila was a wonderful painter, and she seemed to it. She would hum and paint for hours at a time, until John came to call her to bed.
I was amazied at the changes in Lila. Her stomach swelled, grow with the child. And I could hear the baby’s heartbeat grow stronger every day. Lila was always smiling and laughing, she seemed to glow. And I loved listening to that heartbeat. It was like music to me. It didn’t make want to run and bite Lila…. I found it calming…. Soothing. I couldn’t wait to see the child, and soon, my wait was over.
Lila woke John one night, seeming to be in pain. He nodded and grabbed her bags, then they got into the car and drove away. I watched over the house for them. I even snuck into the house and straightened the nursery. I looked around at the colorful pictures on the walls, smiling. I’d had many wonderful memories in this room, and now, I hoped the child would have many here too.
As the sun rose on the third morning after they left, I snuck back outside just in time. John and Lila pulled up the driveway as I ran to the back to the forest. I hid behind a tree, watching them. John jumped out of the car and ran to the other side, helping Lila out. She looked very tried, but she was still smiling.
Then John opened the door to the back seat, and gentally pulled out a car seat. Lila smiled brighter and took the car seat from him. I could hear the little heatbeat from it. The child…. John hurried to the front door, keys in hand. He opened it, and held it open for Lila and the child. Soon they entered the nursery and Lila lifted the child from the car seat. I smiled. The child was small and dressed in a little pink dress. A girl. I stared, watching as Lila laid her down in the cradle, and gently rocked it. John watched over her shoulder. Lila hummed, then as the child began to fall asleep, she whispered: “I love you, Rose.”
I dedicate this chapter to cori0603! Thank you for commenting!!!
I lived in that forest for 10 years, before I dared to go near any civilization. I hunted and drank the blood of animals, then buried them as a sign of my respect. It was bad enough that I was killing them, they didn’t need to lay there and rot too.
No human came near the forest now. I guess the boy told his family. That was good; I was free to walk in the forest as I pleased. But I still felt despair. I missed my home, my family, and I knew that I couldn’t return to them now.
In a nearby pond, I watched everyday as my eyes turned back from bloody red to the calm blue I had always known. But it wasn’t enough. My skin was too white, too smooth. All of the imperfections that had made me how I was were gone. The nose I had broken three times in my childhood was perfectly straight. The scars from a dog attack on my chest were gone. My body was perfect…and I hated it.
It was in a cold day in December when I left the forest and headed into a nearby town. I had stolen some clothes from a clothesline in the summer, preparing for this. I needed to know where I was, and how to get home. I knew that my family couldn’t see me, but I saw no problem with watched them from afar.
I could stand the smell of human now, but walking among them…I knew I had to control myself. Many people stared, and several young women swooned. I sighed. I was starting to see why my body had changed. It was to attract prey.
Turns out I was in England. I charmed a map off the sales woman who had told me where I was and ran back the forest before I could loose control and bite someone. Gently I spread the map out on a dry rock and planned out my way home. If I found my way to the ocean, I could swim across the North Atlantic Ocean to Canada. From there, I’d make my way across the country to the United States. The Washington. To my home.
The journey took me around five months, but no one saw me, and I only hunted at night, and only when I was very thirsty. When I passed by a town, I held my breath. I’d learned long ago that this new body of mine could take a lot of hardships and never break. I learned to control my strength, too. Soon, to my delight, I arrived back at the house I had called my home. It was a little house tucked into the woods about a mile from the road.
The house’s siding was painted a pale blue, with white windowsills and a door. I stood by the tall oak tree in the front yard and smiled. Home at last. Then I frowned. Something was wrong. Where was my mother’s clothesline, hanging the laundry out do dry? And my father, at this time of day, he would be in his shed, building something. There was nothing but silence.
Carefully, I walk to one of the windows and looked in. The furniture was gone….the house was dusty. Had my parents left? But why? And where were they now?
Before I could figure it out, I heard a car pull onto the driveway. I ran back to the woods and watched as a strange red car stopped in the driveway. A young man hopped out and ran to the other side, opening the door and helping a red-haired woman out. She was blindfolded, and laughing. “John! Where are we? Can I take the blindfold off now?”
The man, John, laughed too. “Hold on.” He took her hand and lead her to the front of the house. “Ok, here.” He removed the blindfold, and she squealed. “John! No! You’re kidding!” He laughed and kissed her temple. “No Lila, I’m not. This is our house. I bought it a week ago.”
“Oh my goodness! It’s beautiful! Oh, John!” Lila threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. “We need to clean it up, but I think it’s a good house to start our new life together.”
I watched them, sad. My parents were gone…. I sighed. I continued to watch them all that month, as them moved in furniture and laughed. They cleaned the house from top to bottom. I knew that I should leave, and try to find my parents, but this couple, this happy couple….I couldn’t bring myself to leave. Has they moved into my home….I made a vow. I was going to use this new body, this new life….to protect their happiness.
I don’t remember much after that, just bits and pieces. I awoke back in the dark room from before. But things were different. I could see the whole room clearly, like someone had turned on a light. My hands and feet were bound again. And my throat burned in thirst. I shook my head, to clear the ringing in my ears. It didn’t help. I laid my head down on the stones, trying to think. I felt so strange. It was then that I realized I hadn’t taken a breath. I felt like I didn’t need to.
Panicking, I sat up and tried to jerk my hands free. Surprisingly, the rope that bound me snapped like a thread. My hands flew to my chest and my neck, searching for a pulse, a heartbeat, anything! No pulse, no heartbeat. My skin was cold and hard, just like the monsters that had taken me.
The burning in my throat was intensifying. I inhaled, trying to sooth my throat. So many smells hit me, I choked again. Mold, mildew, stone, decay, wet earth, and a sweet, mouth-watering smell. With a start, I realized that the smell…was the smell of blood. And it was driving me mad.
I squeezed my eyes shut and clamped my hand over my mouth and nose. I wanted to run to it, drink it in. But that would be wrong. A human doesn’t drink blood…but a monster does. What had they done to me?!
Suddenly I heard footsteps’ coming down the hallway, the smell told me it was them. I grabbed the rope binding my legs and pulled. It snapped easily. Then I staggered to my feet, throwing my hand up to steady myself. Bad idea. The wall gave in around my hand like I’d leaned on a sponge. I pulled away, and stared at the wall. Then I began to form a plan.
If I was strong enough to do that…I glanced at the door. They were almost on the other side. I ran to the door and studied it. I was in luck. It was a steel door, and it swung open on THEIR side. I stepped back two feet and crouched, waiting. I had to do this. I COULD do this!
One of them stepped in front of the door, and as I heard the jingle of keys, I slammed myself into the door as hard as I could. It groaned in protest, but I wasn’t giving in. Suddenly the door flew from its hinges with a loud pop, right into the monster standing in front of it. I flew out the doorway as the others hissed. One tried to grab me, and I slammed my elbow into its ribs. I heard crunching, and the monster went flying.
The others just stood there and chuckled as I ran away from them. And soon I understood why. I was heading toward the altar room, toward the scent of blood. It would be so easy. So easy to stop and drink in the blood…I shook my head as I ran. No! If I did that, I would be no better then them. They may have turned me into a monster, but I wasn’t going to act like one!
I ran pass the altar room, following a new scent now. This scent was cleaner and just as intoxicating, the smell of fresh air. I had to escape. I could hear the monsters growl behind me when they saw that I wasn’t going for the blood, and I was glad to disappoint them.
This place was like a maze. If I didn’t have these new senses, I would have been lost in no time. And every time I ran into another monster, I just pushed them out of the way. I didn’t know my own strength anymore. I didn’t know what I was capable of.
Finally I found the stairs leading up. The smell of fresh air was stronger now. I was almost there. The stairs seemed to go on forever, but soon I saw two doors, light filtering in from their cracks. I didn’t even stop. I slammed into the doors, and into my freedom. I hit the ground running, taking only a second to glance around before I made a dash for a nearby forest.
I don’t know how long I ran, before the burning in my throat stopped me. I was so thirsty, and I knew that water wouldn’t help. I needed blood, to my horror. So I stood still and smelled the air for anything…. alive.
About a mile from where I was, a mountain lion snarled, and it’s prey whimpered. I ran for the lion, and pounced, knocking it down. It clawed and thrashed, but I held it as I bit and drank. Soon the lion stilled. As I sucked it dry, I heard a whimper behind me. And it’s smell…I turned to see a little boy, maybe about five, shaking in his boots. He stared at me in terror and I could understand that. I was a monster now. His heart pounded, and I wanted to bite him too. But I didn’t. “Go home.” I told him, and his eyes grew even bigger. Then he turned away and ran. I didn’t know if he understood me, or if he ran in fear. I shook myself. Of course he ran in fear. He had been seconds away from being eaten by a mountain lion, only to see that lion be taken down by something even more horrible. And my voice didn’t help either. I’d growled at him. I hoped he would return home, though. By the look of him, he was loved greatly, and would be sorely missed.
That made me remember my own family and the home that I had been taken from. Again, I glanced around me, at the trees and rocks. I sank to my knees with a cry of despair. I didn’t know where I was, or how to get home. But now I knew what I was…. a monster…. a vampire.
When I was 19 years old, they took me. They stole me from my bed and dragged me into the night. I didn’t even know who “They” were. They were so strong and fast, I didn’t have a chance. To me, they were monsters.
They blindfolded me and bounded my hands and feet. They threw me into a dark room, and told me to be quiet. I didn’t listen. I screamed and yelled, pounded my feet on the wall. But no one came to save me. I was alone, and I was trapped.
Sometimes one of them came in, poured some slimy water down my throat and stuffed a few bits of food into my mouth. Several times I choked and they would slap me on the back. The pain loosened the food and I was able to breathe. I was always afraid that my spine would break from the abuse and I would be even more helpless then before. I remember always being afraid.
Then one day, or night, I’ll never know, they came into the room, three of them. “You’re stronger then the others.” One of them said. “You’ve been here a long time, and you’re still alive.” Hissed another. “Maybe you will survive the change, we shall see.”
Before I knew what was happening, I was grabbed by two of them and dragged into a hallway. Everything was dark, and made from stone. I got the feeling that we were underground.
They dragged me to a room lit with torches. I remember this room well. The walls and floor were stone, but all around me was red. Red fabric piled neatly in corners. Red pictures hung from the walls. And along the floor, trails of red liquid. I shuttered at the smell. Blood, fresh blood, and the smell of decay. Then they dragged me to the middle of the room. To an altar. One of them grabbed me and began to place me on the altar, but I struggled. They chuckled darkly, but continued to force me down. I tried to fight, but I was too weak, and these monsters were too strong.
After they got me onto the altar, they constrained my hands and feet with chains. Then one of them leaned down, and bit me on the neck. I gasped at the sudden pain. They began to snicker. “Now…. let us see if he will survive.” At first I didn’t know what they were talking about, until the burning began.
It started at my neck, but continued to spread through my body. I felt like I was on fire. My skin, my bones, even my soul felt like they were in flames. I screamed until no sound would come. My body bucked and lurched, to the point that the chains were the only things holding me to the altar. I felt like I was going to die. Then, in what felt like years, the pain faded and I fell into darkness.