I was sinking into darkness. The inky blackness wrapped itself around me like a suffocating blanket. Then there was a light. A dismal light. And I found myself standing in a beautiful foyer.
The floor was dark oak and the banisters leading upstairs were pure gold. The stairs were carpeted with a beautiful burgundy rug. And even more fascinating was the man that stood waiting at the top.
His eyes shone, a beautiful sea glass green. His teeth flashed, perfectly white and straight. He gave me a dashing debonair smile, lighting up the darkness of the mansion I was in.
I could see his dapper suit, with a solid deep red tie. He begin walking down one of the flights of stairs, his long and manly fingers wrapped around the banister as he descended. His eyes were fixed on me.
For some reason I felt exposed. I looked down at myself, as if I expected to be such. But instead I saw a long midnight blue gown, lace long sleeves, elegant and beyond any lovely dress I ever beheld. A long train flowed from the sleeves, ending with a glittery sparkle of what appeared to be like glistening stars.
I looked up and there he was! Right in front of me! He was the handsomest and most mysterious man I ever laid eyes on. And I felt like I could just wrap my arms around his neck, lean in and kiss him.
He took my hand in his, spun me around, caught me in the end of the graceful twirl. He tilted me over in his arms, flashed that gorgeous smile, and leaned in to kiss me. My heart leapt in my throat, which had long gone dry.
As his lips found mine, I felt a fluttering in my stomach. I felt the heat of the kiss, it was soft and gentle, but somehow full of passion. He then begin to move his lips from mine to my neck, lightly kissing me. I let out a gasp, my heart pounding in my chest and I pulled him close to me.
I moved my lips to his neck. I could hear the pulse of blood. I could smell something sweet yet strange, something familiar yet new. And as my lips pressed against his neck, my fangs slid out.
They tore through the skin and found there way into his artery, as I sucked in the delicious taste of the liquid that sustained my life. I could hear him panting, either from passion or from shock or from fear. It didn't matter to me. This is what I live for.
Then I felt a sting and a pain spreading throughout my body. The perfect man. The perfect meal. He disappeared from my arms. And I looked down and saw the blessed stake, ringed with angelic blood and laced with purified venom, that had once been from the corruption of my own kind.
Standing in front of me was him. Not the perfect man. No. It was my brother. His eyes flashed with anger and wrath, there was no love or tenderness in them as he had always protected me since our world came crashing down long ago.
"Please..." I choked, as the corrupted and corroded blood in me begin to spill from my mouth. I collapsed to the ground. Gasping and struggling to breathe throw the oozing mess that flowed from my mouth.
"Away with you, cursed creature." Then Adrian. My brother. My friend. My only family began to chant the spell. The very spell that would be my undoing.
"Wait! Stop, please!" I collapsed and grasped for his feet, begging and pleading for my life. My wretched life.
His eyes flashed again and he grabbed the stake, forcing me up and driving it deeper in me. "Dare you desecrate me with your murderous and unholy claws!"
"Brother, please." I sobbed. "I love you. We are family." The pain made my eyes cloud over. My vision blurred and I felt my death drawing near.
"No, you are not my sister. Beast!" And before I could figure out what came next, he jerked the stake out of my heart.
I shrieked, the sound of a dying demon. The sound of me dying. Through my cat slitted eyes, I could see as my brother, my own flesh and blood, drove the stake through me once more. I was drifting. Hazy light. Surrendering darkness.
Piercing light. Pain. Fear. And the sound of my name. The call was familiar. Comforting. Yet I could not go to it. I saw all that had been flashing before me. Heard the sounds. Smelled the smells. Felt the pain. The devastation. The dead soul being ripped from me.
Then I was lost...
"Vivienne!" The call was desperate, yet quiet.
"Vivienne!"It was louder and more determined.
"Vivienne!" I was being pulled. No, shaken. I could feel the powerful grip of hands on my shoulders.
But how was this possible? Wasn't I dead? Or more dead than I already was?
Still. There was no denying it. Someone was shaking me. Not roughly but urgently. As if they could pull me from this darkness I had been thrown into.
Again the call. Again the shaking. It was getting more persistent. Making me feel more agitated.
Why couldn't I just answer it. Wake up and smack whoever was trying to disturb me from wherever I had been sent to.
Where had I been sent to? Panic rose through me. I felt scared and now wanted that someone to shake me awake.
I heard two voices calling me and felt the shaking increase. I bolted upright, panting and gasping for air as if I had been deprived of oxygen or been stuck at the bottom of the ocean.
I saw two faces. My brother's and another's I could barely make out. He was unfamiliar to me and there weren't enough details that I would be able to describe him if asked at the moment what he looked like.
"You sacred me, Viv!" My brother grabbed me and pulled me into a tight hug, I could hear the shakiness of his voice and feel the wetness of what must be his tears.
"You had us worried there for a minute, Vivienne Connelly." The man said. His voice deep and warm and gentle.
Something about the voice - dare I say it - was alluring. And for some reason I wanted to see the physical characteristics of him. He must be so handsome. Only a handsome man could have such a sexy voice.
"I'm sorry Adrian. Also to you..." I said, as I glanced towards the direction of the stranger.
"No need to apologize to me. I'm not the one who is family." The man's voice floated through the room to me, I could just make a silhouette.
"You are lucky he came just in time! No one has ever been bitten by a vampire and lived to tell the tale." My brother said as he grasped my hand in his.
"I don't understand..." I trailed.
"Awhile back, my brother was turned into a vampire. I had to learn about these feral creatures in hopes to save him." The stranger's voice sounded sad and the lightness to it darkened.
"Unfortunately it was too late. He bit me. And to save my life I had to knock him out, eject some of his venom and hastily make an anti-venom. Then I locked him away, binding him in holy chains."
"Why didn't you...ummm...you know..." I felt kind of bad asking the question.
But at the same time all vampires were damned and needed to be put down. That was how it always had been and should always be.
"Kill him?" The stranger asked, no shock in his voice. Maybe he was used to people asking such as seemingly heartless and thoughtless question. "How can I ever bring myself to slay my own brother. My own flesh and blood."
The words "flesh and blood" brought back the memories. The perfect man. The kiss. My dress. The fangs. The blood. The stake. My brother. My death.
"Flesh and blood..." I murmured. Lost in thought.
"What?" Both my brother and the stranger asked in unison.
"Oh, nothing!" I said, startled back to reality.
I hastily responded, as I felt myself blush in the dark. I had no intended to say it aloud. I did not want my brother to find out what had happened to me, while I had been out.
Suddenly I came to my senses. I saw a mass of something on the floor. Too dark to make out. Then the stench, a putrid smell making me want to gag and hurl, hit me.
I realized what the smell was when I saw thick and dark filth pooling from the mass. The filth was corroded and cursed blood. The mass was Veronica. The demoness lay dead.
"How? How is she...dead?" I asked.
It was such a shocking sight to see, the second longest living vampire had been struck dead. By my brother nonetheless, even professional vampire hunters who have killed for decades could never ever take her down.
I was able to kill her. I staked her. It wasn't strong enough to kill her, but it weakened her." My brother said gravely. "Then I performed the ritual. Purified water mixed with cursed blood. The light from the eternal star. Then the spell."
"That explains why she looks so...not herself." The stranger said as he stepped over the heap on the floor and walked over to the door.
"I feel like I have been in this den too long, don't know about you, I need fresh air and a change of scenery." Then I could make out his figure walking out into the cool of the coming dawn.
As I begin to walk over to the doorway, I glanced behind me and could make out the shadowy figure of my brother following closely behind. I looked once more at the revolting heap on the floor and shook my head in disgust as I walked out the door.
We all walked side by side. Our hands grasping each of our weapons. On high alert.
Now that Veronica, an Ancient was gone, we knew things could get intense. The others never loved or respected an Ancient, but they feared them. With that fear gone, what was already feral could easily become out of control. And as always, a heartless and murderous tyrant could always replace the fallen one.
"So why don't you tell me more about yourself?" I glanced at the stranger, still unable to make out his appearance.
"Not much needs to be told. I am the younger of two. My parents died at a good old age. And I never believed in vampires or the supernatural. Until my brother, that is." The stranger replied, as I could barely make out that he was running his hands through his hair.
"Yeah, but what about describing how you survived a vampire bite. I never heard of a single person that has, until now!" Adrian said. My brother always tended to be more curious about other things other then getting to know someone on a personal level.
"Well before I became who I am now, I was a doctor." The stranger made a grand gesture, to indicate that he now believed his past life goal was just downright silly. "I had dedicated my whole life to saving lives and even used venoms from multiple creatures to test cures for diseases."
"That is impressive. But kinda sad irony. I mean what with you having this knowledge and having to use it to save yourself from your brother." I said, and I instantly regretted it as I saw his shoulders slope as if he was now carrying the weight of worlds.
"Truly it is. But I like to look at the positive side of things, Vivienne." Hearing him sent chills down my spine, the good kind of chills, and a sense of longing. I couldn't understand why his voice had such an effect on me like this.
"So, where are you heading to?" Adrian asked the man as we neared the end of the sprawling lawn of the mansion. My white, shark gilled Range Rover and my brother's black Lambo were waiting outside the derelict gateway.
"Well. I was thinking we should stick together. You know strength in numbers and all that." The stranger shrugged his shoulder, the weight appeared to have left his shoulders.
"Good idea." My brother said enthusiastically, then he turned to me for approval. "Right, Viv?"
"Yes indeed, Adrian." I smiled at my brother then turned in the direction of the stranger. "But do you have your own ride?"
"I don't live too far from here. In fact I can give you my address." Was the stranger's reply, which didn't really answer my question. Maybe he didn't hear me.
He paused for a second, and then continued on, without giving us much of a chance to respond. "7654 West Oakwood Drive. And yes, it's a mansion too."
Then the stranger waved goodbye and walked along the sidewalk towards where he came from.
"Yeah. We don't want to roast out here in the sun." My brother joked and then hopped into his Lambo, revved the engine, and sped off.
I got into my Range Rover, started the car, glanced back at the mansion through the review mirror and drove off.
I was in awe of the mansion. A sprawling estate with a large lawn. My brother and I drove up the long, curving, stone white pathway. Parked our cars in the front.
I stared transfixed at the picturesque and breathtaking scene. There were multiple walkways, all stepping stones leading to various areas of the property.
I could see in the distance what looked like stables. Then in another area what looked like a gazebo. A hedge maze some ways off in another place. And a large fountain in the center.
Oh the fountain! It was a large, ornate fountain that stemmed up to what appeared to be a delicate flower. The water spouted from the center and flowed freely from the petals.
The outer sides of the fountain were engraved with carvings of lions, phoenixes, multiple cetaceans, and various creatures I could not recognize at first glance.
"Enjoying the scenery?" Both Adrian and I glanced towards the voice and I was shocked. In the piercing brightness of the morning sunlight I could finally see the stranger.
He had dark blond hair, styled in a messy yet purposeful way. His eyes shone in the sunlight, a sea glass green. He flashed us a dashing debonair smile, his white and straight teeth shining in the light. He wore a dapper suit, with a dark red tie.
It was him. The man from my vision!