His eyes were jet-black and it was like they were boring right into me.
Then, just after Christmas, Marty got drunk and slept with someone else. He cried when he told me, and said that he had wanted to get his own back on me – he had wanted to hurt me like those letters had hurt him. I had left that night, taking Archie with me. I had gone back to my parents. And in some way, even though I didn’t know this Potter, there was a small part of me that blamed him for mine and Marty’s break–up. Why had he sent me those letters? I had never been in love with him.
With my head sinking beneath the bath water, I wondered why those letters had still kept coming – the same letters saying the same thing.
They were old and tatty-looking, as if they had been written hundreds of years ago. Suddenly, a hand gripped my shoulders and pulled me from beneath the water.
“Where did this come from?” Marty shouted at me, holding the vial of blood that I had given him the night before.
Even though we had once been lovers, I folded my arms across my breasts and shook the water from my hair. “Hand me a towel,” I said.
Marty threw one at me. Holding the glass tube of blood just inches from my face, he hissed, “Where did this blood come from?”
“What do you mean?” I asked him, stepping out of the bath and wrapping the towel around me.
“Don’t act dumb, Sophie,” Marty snapped, and there was a look about him that I had never seen before. Marty looked scared.
“From a corpse that was brought into....”
“Was it human?” he shouted, coming towards me, the tube still gripped in his fist.
“Of course the blood came from a human,” I told him, thinking of how it had regrown its face and fingers, then sat up and walked out of the mortuary. I didn’t tell him that though; maybe when he calmed down a bit.
“Don’t lie to me, Sophie!” he yelled, his eyes growing dark. “This isn’t human blood – not any human that I’ve ever examined.”
“What are you talking about?” I said, brushing past him and heading back to his bedroom where I had taken the clean clothes from the wardrobe.
“This blood isn’t like any other species that I’ve come across,” he shouted, following me into the bedroom. “I ran some tests on it and the closest species of animal I could find is the Desmodus Rotundus.”
“Speak English, please,” I said back, tugging on my jeans and pulling the sweater over my head.
Then, almost seeming to shove the tube of blood into my face, he said, “This blood has come from something very similar in species to a bat – a vampire bat, to be precise.”
Dragging my hair into a ponytail, I looked at him, then at the blood and said, “You must be mistaken, it came from a young woman...”
“What woman?” he breathed.
“She was murdered...”
“I want to examine the body,” he said, gripping my arm.
“Ouch!” I gasped, snapping my arm away. “You’re hurting me, Marty!”
“I want to see the body that this blood came from...” he started.
“You can’t,” I said, rubbing my arm.
“Why not?” he barked at me.
“Because she sat bolt upright on the slab then did a disappearing act out the door with some guy holding a crossbow and a young girl with red hair.”
“Stop taking the piss, Sophie and just tell me...”
“Who’s taking the piss?” I snapped back.
“It’s you who’s standing there telling me that the blood I gave you has come from a vampire bat.”
“Something close to a vampire bat,” he corrected me. “It’s like whoever this girl was, she was half-human and half...”
Then, before he’d had the chance to finish what he had started to say, there was a thumping sound on the front door below.
“Who’s that?” I gasped, the sudden sound shocking me.
“Take the blood,” he said, shoving it into my hands. “Whatever you do, keep it hidden – keep it safe! ”
“Marty!” I called after him, as he headed down the stairs.
The thumping sound came again.
“Who is it?” I heard Marty call out.
“Open up!” I heard someone shout from the other side of the door.
“What do you want?” I heard Marty yell, his voice wavering as if full of fear.
Then the air filled with a crashing sound as the front door was torn from its hinges.
“Get out of here!” Marty screeched.
“Where’s the girl?” A deep-throated voice boomed.
Not knowing what to do with the tube of blood, I placed it into the box with the letters and replaced the lid. On tiptoe, I crept onto the landing and peered over the edge of the banister. All I could see was a long, drawn-out shadow cast against the hall wall. It towered over Marty, who stood looking up, as if whoever the shadow belonged to was a giant.
“Sophie Harrison,” the voice roared.
“Where is Sophie Harrison?”
Hearing my name being spoken, my heart began to race and the hairs at the base of my neck started to prickle.
“I don’t know anyone called Sophie...”
“You lie,” the voice cut over him.
Crouching, I peered through the banisters, desperate to see who or what was searching for me. The shadow, which stretched up the hall wall, bent forward, as if leaning over Marty. Then, the hallway seemed to burn yellow with a warm glow.
Skin-walker? I wondered. I knew that they could control you with their eyes. I’d heard that their eyes could glow with such intensity that they could set alight the eyes of another, just by staring at them.
There was silence from downstairs. It was so quiet that I could hear my own heartbeat.
Then, I heard Marty speak and I froze.
“Sophie’s here,” he said, his voice so flat and emotionless, he sounded as if he were dreaming. “Sophie is upstairs,” he added. Then he began to scream.
The shadow I had seen spill across the hallway moved and headed towards the foot of the stairs. I crawled backwards and into the bedroom.
As quietly as I could, I pushed the door closed and stood up.
Where was I going to hide? I screamed inside as I scanned the room for any possible hiding place. I could always hide under the bed.
The Wardrobe? But whoever was climbing the stairs in search of me knew I was up here and it would only be a matter of time before they found me. No, I had to get away from the house. I raced around the edge of the bed, my legs feeling as if I were running in quicksand. With my hands shaking, I fumbled at the window lock. From behind me, I heard the bedroom door swing open.
Glancing over my shoulder at the figure in the doorway, I screamed at the sight of Marty.
His eyes burnt yellow in their sockets as if they had been set on fire. But he didn’t seem to be in any pain as he smiled at me. I stared at him as he slowly closed the bedroom door and turned to face me.
“Marty?” I murmured, now so scared that I could hardly speak. “What’s happened to you?
Smiling, he came towards me, his eyes fixed on mine. “My eyes are fine,” he said. “Don’t worry about me.”
“Who was at the door?” I asked him, sensing that everything wasn’t fine and there was something very wrong.
“Oh, don’t worry about him, he’s gone now,” Marty said, loosening his shirt as if he were planning on getting undressed.
“What are you doing?” I asked him, edging away.
“Don’t look so scared,” he said, slowly closing the gap between us. “You have nothing to fear. We used to be lovers once.”
“Piss off!” I shouted, pressing myself against the wall, I had nowhere else to go. “That was a long time ago.”
“Oh, Sophie,” he smiled and ran his tongue over his lips. “Don’t be like that. I’m not going to hurt you.”
“Keep away from me,” I whispered as he came within an inch of me. Although I knew that I was making a big mistake, I couldn’t help but look up into his eyes. Why had they changed colour?
Why were they yellow?
“Who was the girl that woke up in the morgue?” he asked me, his voice soft – almost caring.
“I didn’t know her name,” I tried to lie, but as I looked into his eyes, I felt my fear ebbing away. And although deep inside of me I knew that I was in danger, I couldn’t help but want to trust him somehow. He was Marty after all.
He ran a finger down the length of my face and then slowly dragged it over my bottom lip, the nail slipping into my mouth and brushing over the tip of my tongue. Part of me wanted to bite down on that finger and tear it off, but another part of me wanted to take his hand and cover it in soft, sensual kisses.
“See, I’m not going to hurt you,” he whispered in my ear, and I could feel him slip one hand into my hair and pull me close, his eyes never breaking free of mine. Then, in his bright yellow eyes, I saw us – like we had been before – before the letters, the distrust, and his affair. We were making love on the bed and I was crying out. His naked muscular body was pressed over mine as I pulled him into me. Those memories reminded me of how good we had been together; how sweet the sex had been. I watched us make love in his eyes; I wanted to feel like that again. I wanted to feel that ecstasy once more.
As I stared into his eyes, I could feel Marty leading me across the room towards the bed. “Who was the girl that came awake in the morgue?” he whispered again, his breath hot against my neck.
I wanted to say her name and even though I now wanted Marty more than I‘d ever had, there was a voice screaming inside of me: Don’t tell him her name! Don’t tell him her name!
Then, as Marty lowered me onto the bed and began to kiss my mouth, I sighed and closed my eyes. In the darkness I saw someone else and it wasn’t Marty. Part of me was scared of him, but another part of me loved him. He was handsome – like a god. But it was too dark to see him clearly and in the fleeting glimpses, I was sure that he had wings. They weren’t white like that of an angel, but black like some prehistoric bird of prey. His hands were strong as they cupped my breasts and his teeth felt sharp as they brushed up against my neck. His chest and stomach were as hard as stone as he lowered himself on top of me.