Ambrose’s thoughts raced with every step.

What if? What if? What if what if what if what if?

His throat burned. His legs ached. His head pounded as hard as his heart. His mind kept miracle growing more and more What Ifs.

And, underneath it all, Isadora’s compulsion pushed him onward. As if he even needed it at this point.

What if it’s another vampire? What if it’s Mark Caten?

The second question tightened his throat. 

Oh, God! Please don’t let it be Caten.


Barbara dodged the vampire’s open mouth and rushed to the front door. The key was still in the lock. She turned the key. 

If I could get inside…If I could just get inside…

He grabbed her elbows and pulled her away from the door.

She squirmed. “No!”

He dug his claws into her skin, causing her to cry out. “Just one bite…”

She shook her head hard and fast. Her hairstyle came undone and tumbled around her neck.

“Darn you!” He released her elbows to presumably grab either her hair or her head.

Barbara didn’t give him a chance to do either. She spun around and slammed her fist under his jaw. His teeth clonked together in a way that sounded painful.

He moaned and stumbled back.

She rushed back to the door, opened it, and hurried inside.


She slammed the door shut.

The vampire banged his fists on the door. “LET ME IN! I’M HUNGRY!”

She shivered and backed away.

He can’t get in unless I invite him in and THAT is not going to happen.

The door vibrated as he continued banging on it. 

He can’t come in. I’m safe in here. He can’t come in.

He stopped.

I’m safe in here.

There was a moment of silence that seemed to stretch indefinitely.

“Maybe he’s gone.” She took a nervous step towards the door.


The shrill sound sent Barbara stumbling backwards. It took her a moment to realize what it was.

The vampire was trying to tear down the metal storm door with his claws.


Ambrose rounded the long curve road leading to Barbara’s house. He didn’t think. He couldn’t think. His head hurt too much to think. He kept his mind focused on where he needed to go. Barbara’s house was just a few minutes away. As soon as he finished rounding that curve, her house would be just a few minutes away.

Just a few more steps. So many steps just all mashed together — ostntefeiwfgeivhhsteonioivnnrxeuteeerne — no spaces no breath no letters in order. Just a big, nonsensical letter mash and heart pounding in his chest in his throat. Not knowing what he’d find.

Feet hitting the ground over and over.




Barbara’s house.

Someone scratching on her front door.

Ambrose snarled and charged at him.


The vampire startled and turned around.

Ambrose rushed up the porch stairs, grabbed him by the front of his shirt, and shoved him against the door. He bared his fangs. “If she’s hurt…I swear to God if she is hurt…IF YOU’VE HURT HER…”

The vampire paled. “I…I…”

Ambrose’s voice dropped to a menacing tone, “I’ll tear you apart.”

“I didn’t! I…I didn’t get a chance to. She…I…please. Please. I’m hungry. You know what the hunger is like. The hunger is everything. She smells so good.” He nervously licked his lips. “Please. I just want a little. Enough to wet my mouth, enough to get me through tonight.”

Ambrose mentally raced through all of the ways he could hurt this vampire. He decided to go with the least violent option: He punched him in the face and threw him off the porch.

The vampire landed in a rough tumble.

Ambrose walked over to the porch’s top step and stood there as an imposing one man barricade. He extended his claws as the other man struggled up to his feet.

The vampire panted. “I’m so hungry…”

“Find someone else. This one is mine.”

He glared at Ambrose. “Pig. Hogging her all to yourself.” Before Ambrose could offer any objections to that statement, the vampire walked to the sidewalk and headed off to points unknown.

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