When Ambrose regained his senses, he looked down at his victim and realized that he had made a mistake.
Her body twitched. Her breathing pattern was both too fast and too slow. And her skin was quickly becoming cold.
Ambrose lay her on the ground and brushed her hair out of her eyes. “I was like you once. I can’t remember when. I only know that it’s been a long time. Or maybe it only seems that way.”
Her skin color bleached out, leaving her skin too white. She moaned.
“The pain will stop. Your color will return to normal. You’ll feel strong and wonderful and full of life again. But then the hunger will start. You will be willing to bite anyone or anything.” An old memory surfaced. He pushed it away. “You won’t care. All that will matter is the chase and the dance and the life pouring down your throat and keeping the hunger away.”
She threw her head back and her moan became a shrill cry.
Laetissa came out of nowhere and stopped beside him.
“Your life will be turned upside down and backwards. Days will be your night and night will be your day. Sunlight will bring you nothing but physical and mental exhaustion. You’ll learn to hate it, to fear it, to avoid it as much as you can.”
“You changed her.”
“It was an accident.”
Laetissa knelt beside Ambrose. Her long hair shielded her expression. She touched the girl’s face and hair and neck. Each touch made the girl cringe and writhe.
She touched the girl’s earlobes and traced the thinned lines of her eyebrows. She trailed her index finger from cheekbone all the way down to the collarbone to right above the girl’s heart.
Only then did Ambrose notice that her hand was not empty.
Laetissa staked her before Ambrose could make a move. The girl’s body rose into a stiff arch and then deflated into stillness. “No one should undergo a change like that against their will.”
Ambrose rose to his feet and took a couple of steps back. He was ready to fight for his life if she tried anything.
“But vampires…” She pulled the stake out. “We never ask, do we? No, we never do. We always take and take. Kill and kill and kill. Just a whole lot of mindless, heartless, soulless killers.” She fell silent. “Do you remember your first victim?”
“It isn’t a victim. It’s a meal. It’s a necessity. Without their blood, we have no energy. We won’t die without it, but we can’t live without it.”
She tilted her head. “Do you remember?”
He flinched as that old memory returned with its loaded baggages of shame, shock, and regret.”No. Do you?”
She fell into silence.
Ambrose looked up at the night sky. “It’s going to be daylight soon.”
Laetissa touched the dead girl’s neck wounds. She said softly, “Look. It’s white on white.”
He fidgeted. “I won’t say that sitting around, sorrowing over our horribleness isn’t fun, but I don’t want to be out here when daylight comes. You want to stay here and contemplate suicide or whatever you’re thinking about? Fine. Have fun doing it. I’m going home.”
Ambrose turned and walked further into the woods.
Laetissa did not follow him.