Hildreth climbed on top of the mausoleum.
Elsie was there, sprawled out on the middle of the roof. Her face turned away from him.
He ran to her side. “Elsie!” His heart pounded hard pain. “Elsie.” He knelt beside her. “I’m here. Elsie? I’m here.”
She opened her eyes.
She turned her head. “Hildreth.”
He gathered her up in his arms and hugged her. He sobbed softly into her hair. “I thought you were hurt. I thought you were changed. I thought…I thought…”
“I’m fine.” She hugged him. “Don’t cry. I’m fine. She didn’t hurt me.”
They held each other until he finally calmed down.
He released her. “What happened?”
“I was just going through here one more time and I thought I heard your voice. I came up here, which was just stupid of me. I should have known better. She was up here. I tried to stake her. She bit my wrist and I, unfortunately, passed out.”
“So, she did bite you.”
“Yes.” She looked down at the permanent white marks on her skin. “Same exact place.” She shivered.
“Are you all right?”
“I’m tired. Let’s go back to the hotel.”
He checked her neck. No white marks. He breathed a sigh of relief.
“Don’t worry. I’m just normal human tired.”
“Elsie.” He looked down at her white puncture wounds. “If she had changed you,” He took her hands and held them. “what would be the merciful thing to do? Let you go on as a vampire? Or stake you?”
“I don’t want to be a vampire, Hildreth.”
“What would you expect me to do?”
Several moments of silence passed between them.
“I think you know my answer.”
He looked up at her.
“But I’ll tell you. I’d want to be staked.”
He considered her answer for a few minutes. “So would I.”