My Life In Darkness
Over the next couple of days I was left to my own devices and returned to what was my usual daily routine. I went home from work, made dinner, read or watched TV, went to bed, woke up, went to work, and so on. Every day I took the iron pills that Astrid gave me and I slowly felt my strength return. The bruises also began getting more fainter and the bite on the back of my neck stopped hurting so much. Despite everything, I wondered what Astrid was up to, and found myself missing her. The world was no longer the same place now I knew vampires existed. It seemed darker, scarier, and surprisingly more intriguing. On Tuesday night I ended up texting her, but there was no reply. I hoped everything was alright.
It was Thursday afternoon when an unfamiliar woman appeared at work. She walked into the centre of the store and then just stood there as if she was taking it all in. She was wearing a long white dress and she had pale skin and long red hair which formed tight ringlets. I knew immediately what she was.
“I don’t really like books.” She said out loud directed at no one in particular. Her voice was thin and high-pitched. I thought about asking her why she was in a bookstore, but decided to try a different tack:
“The magazines are on the far wall.” I said pointing to them.
She turned to face me and laughed. Then she smiled at me. It was a cold smile devoid of any mirth or happiness.
“Not what I meant.” She said as she approached the counter. “I just came to have a look at you.”
“At me?” I asked surprised.
“You look so delicious.” She said as though she was looking at a plate of food. Before I could respond she turned around and silently left the store.
What was that about? I wondered, feeling unsettled.
After work had finished I was leaving the store when I heard a familiar car horn honking. I turned around to see Astrid’s black Porsche behind me. I walked up to it and opened the door.
“You’re back!” I said to Astrid.
“Yes I am, now please get in. I’m taking you to my place for dinner.” Astrid replied.
Knowing I had little choice I got in to her car and Astrid drove us away in the direction of her home. As we drove her hand rested on my leg.
“So where have you been?” I asked.
“I had an errand to do.” Astrid replied. I guessed that was all I was going to get from her.
I wondered about mentioning the strange visitor in the bookstore, but I also wondered if she was something to do with Astrid’s absence. I was planning to talk about it once we got to her place. So it wasn’t really surprising that the strange woman from the store was sitting in Astrid’s lounge when we arrived. After Astrid and I hugged and then kissed, we walked into the lounge together.
“Oh great! You brought back some food!” The woman said as she appraised me again with her eyes.
“Melissa, this is Cassandra, or Cass as she is generally known.” Astrid said. I shook hands with her and unsurprisingly they were cold.
“Nice to meet you. I’m sure you taste exquisite.” Cass said as she looked at me like I was her next meal.
“Cass you already know Melissa belongs to me. So stop playing games.” Astrid told her. Cass laughed.
“Excuse me? I belong to you? Like I’m some personal possession of yours?” I asked Astrid angrily. Astrid looked at me coldly.
“Come with me Melissa.” She said as she began forcing me through the dining room doors and then into the kitchen.
“What now?” I asked once we were in the kitchen. I could see dinner was simmering on the stove.
“Never talk back to me in front of other vampires. It makes me look weak.” Astrid coldly said to me. “You will obey me. Do you understand?”
“And what if I don’t?” I asked her belligerently.
“If you continue to behave like this, you will force me to punish you.” She stated. “And it won’t be pleasant.”
“Punishment never is.” I answered, surprising myself by how much I was standing up to her. Astrid stood in front of me and folded her arms as though she was waiting for me to apologise. “So I’m just your property now? I have to accept that do I?”
“Pretty much.” She answered. “Go back to the lounge. We’ll talk about this later.”
“Yes Ma’am!” I said as I walked back through the door, but not before giving her a salute.
I joined Cass back in the lounge. She looked at me and smiled.
“Aren’t you a feisty one!” She declared.
“I guess.” I replied as I sat down on a chair that was the furthest away I could get from her.
“So you’re Astrid’s latest? Did you know that her and me were once lovers?” She asked me.
“No I didn’t. I replied. Why was she here? I wondered.
“Has she told you much about her past?”
“She told me about how her lover Ingirid was murdered and how she got turned and then hunted those murderers down.” I answered. So far that was all I knew about her past.
“Has she told you the full story about that?” Cass asked looking at me playfully.
“The full story?”
“My darling it wasn’t just the murderers she hunted down and killed. What do you think happened to her family, and her lover’s family, and the other locals that didn’t help her? What do you think happened to them, my sweet one?” She asked in her thin lilting voice. I looked at her confused and felt my stomach drop to the floor. Astrid hadn’t even hinted at that.
“I didn’t know” I answered feeling shocked. “She never told me.”
“Well obviously.” She stated. “Did she tell you about how she was an Inquisitor for the Council which involved the killing of many people, both human and vampire?”
“No.” I answered. Cass shook her head in a pretence of sadness.
“Such a shame. She left out all the juiciest bits.”
I felt bewildered. I knew Astrid was a monster. I couldn’t deny that. I had felt sorry for her over the death of Ingirid, but killing everyone as the response? That was unforgivable. Why hadn’t she told me? As I was thinking this, Astrid walked back into the lounge.
“You’re a murderer! Why didn’t you tell me the truth?” I screamed at her. Astrid looked surprised, while Cass chuckled.
I ran to the front door. I tried to force it open, but it was locked. I then ran up the stairs as I heard Astrid calling out my name behind me. I ran into the bedroom slamming the door behind me and then locking it. I backed away from it. Only moments later there was a loud knocking at the door and attempts to open it.
“Let me in Melissa. We need to talk!” Astrid said in an aggravated tone.
“No!” I replied. I walked around in circles. I knew I was trapped. The windows were locked and it was only matter of time before she forced herself into the room.
“I’m not talking to you through a door. Please unlock it.” She demanded.
“Make me!” I shot back at her. There was a brief silence.
“Very well. Melissa unlock the door now!” She commanded.
To my complete surprise and horror I found myself walking towards the door and unlocking it…
Next episode: Dinner With Vampires