The large vampire saw Elsie running at him. Panic hazed his brain, freezing him into indecision.
The girl took advantage of his distraction. She pried his hand off her neck and scurried to the top of the mausoleum.
He looked up at her. “Hey! I’m not done with you ye—”
Elsie slammed into him, knocking him back a couple of steps. “Oh! So, you want to fight, huh?”
She didn’t bother with any sort of answer.
She let her fight do all the talking.
And her fight said plenty to his face, his neck, his chest, his gut, and, in one sharp move, into his heart.
As the vampire collapsed, Elsie climbed on top of the mausoleum.
The little girl was still up there. “Are you going to stake me too?”
“Are you a vampire?”
She nodded her head.
She shrugged her small shoulders. “Don’t know. Feels like it’s been a while, but it feels like it was just a second ago.”
The wind picked up, blowing the long strands of her angel blond hair up and about her head. “I remember it hurt a lot. I couldn’t stop screaming. Even after I came back to life.”
“I’m assuming you’ve had your first meal.”
“Yes. That was many meals ago.”
Elsie looked down at the stake in her hand. “How many meals?”
“I don’t know.”
Silence fell between the woman and the girl. The wind died down.
“How old are you?”
Elsie frowned. “Who did this to you?”
“A woman. She was pretty, but not in a real way. More like a porcelain doll sort of petty. I kept expecting her joints to creak when she walked towards me. She was looking for someone else. Another vampire. A guy. She found me instead. She was hungry. So, she bit me. Now, I’m hungry too.”
Her sky blue eyes were full of woe. “Can I bite you, Elsie Vansing? I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten tonight. I’m so hungry.”
Elsie walked up to her.
“Just one bite. Please.”
Elsie came down to her level.
“It won’t hurt. I promise. Please. One bite.”
“Vampire bites always hurt.” Elsie staked her.
The girl let loose a keening wail as her light faded.
Elsie caught her and gently laid her down. She sat beside the dead vampire girl and thought many things.
Hildreth sat beside Elsie on the hospital bed and looked at the face of their newborn.
Elsie smiled. “She has your eyes.”
“But definitely your hair.”
He touched her delicate, brand new fingers. “She’s perfect.”
“Do you want to hold her?”
“Sure. Careful.” She laid the baby in his arms.
She was just a weighted little bundle of new life. “And she’s ours.” He marveled at her perfection.
Elsie leaned her face against his arm. “Our little girl.”
Someone entered the room and cleared his throat. “You mean, My little girl.” Mark Caten strode over to them and plucked the baby out of Hildreth’s arms.
“What the heck are you doing?”
“You failed to kill Ambrose Smith for me. I declare forfeit.”
“I never made any promise that you could do this.”
Mark looked surprised. “Why would you have to? It was an understood thing.” He threw down a smoke bomb and disappeared, taking their little girl with him.
“Give her back—”
“—to me!” Hildreth opened his eyes and lay in his hospital bed with a pounding heart.
He was alone.
The room was dark.
He wouldn’t do that. He wouldn’t. Mark Caten may be many horrible things, but a kidnapper?
If only to prove a point.
What am I supposed to do? I promised her. I promised Elsie that I’d stay away from him. I will not break that promise.
I will keep my promise.
He took a breath and slowly exhaled it.
I bet Elsie will be the cutest pregnant woman in existence.
I wonder if she’ll crave pickles and ice cream.
Ha! Maybe she’ll crave onion rings and hamburgers.
His smile grew.
Wouldn’t that be something?