Photo By Aleigh Guerndt

He watched her intently as she moved about gracefully, as only a woman of her propriety could have.

Taya pressed down at the already perfect frills of her brilliantly colored, floral-print dress.  She smiled with delight as she let the sun’s warming hand caress her. She found the last burst of sunlight, before the sky ripped open with pinks and purples, enchanting. She felt at peace, like nothing in the world could impair her happiness.


She lived in a relatively small town just outside the city. She graduated from high school four years prior and intended on doing only as she pleased, being free spirited, and not obliged to do anything. She let her long dark hair fall like waves down her back as she rose from the bench she occupied and strode down the sidewalk. The recognition of the time of day compelled her towards her place of residence.


Taya had spent many days walking alone in the park, never seeming to notice the man who observed her. Today, however she gazed in his direction, startling him at first, but then he realized she had not seen him. His chosen attire had paid off .The man’s sinister clothing blended with the dark landscape. He nodded at his well made decision as he became more animate.  His deep green eyes flickered with an inhuman power as his body became more robust. His muscles rippled and his awareness of the environment intensified. He smiled deviously following her at a distance.


As night drew near the earth, Taya approached her home. She walked up her wide, trodden path and up her worn wooden steps. The man grew anxious as he neared her, inhaling her floral perfume before catching the invigorating scent of her sweet blood.  He felt two small pangs in his lower lip as the hunger inside of him grew stronger. He had plotted this affair for months.


He watched her intently as she moved about gracefully, as only a woman of her propriety could have. She acquired her rusting key from beneath a pot. The flowers inside were beginning to wilt with the chill of the season. Now was his chance. Before she had the time to turn her key in the lock, he grasped her from behind, one hand holding down her arms about her waist. Taya squirmed desperately beneath him, trying to free herself from his grip. She failed, for his strength greatly surpassed hers. His other hand tilted her head sideways exposing the pristine creaminess of her neck.


As pleasing as the sight was, his body ached for fulfillment, and the hunger devoured him. He bit her, consuming the life she possessed. She cried out in pain as he moved himself in front of her, clutching her back, pulling her closer to him. She tasted better than she smelled. He smiled with delight in a manner only an animal could contain. She gathered the strength she had left and fought against this almost human being that she thought only inhabited her most bloodcurdling dreams.  Her body was fable against the virility of this man; she felt herself becoming weak and unable to resist him any longer. She developed susceptibility to his proceedings as the overwhelming awareness of vulnerability became a part of her.


With all the strength she could draw together, she lifted her head to meet the gaze of her slayer. If she was going to die, she wanted to look upon the face of he who slain her, for each of their faces to be impressed on the other’s mind for all eternity. As he pulled away, she felt his hot breath heavy on her face. She grimaced, braced herself, and then carefully opened her eyes. A small gasp escaped from her lips. She presumed him to be of the most hideous of individuals, but the only grotesque thing about him was the action of sucking the life out of her. He was exceptionally beautiful with high cheek bones, shadowy black hair, pallid skin, a killer jaw line, eyes like glistening jewels, and a set of razor sharp teeth along with a mouth covered in her blood. She instinctively reached out with her neck and licked right below his mouth.

The action took him by surprise. He stood there watching her, mouth gaping slightly. The metallic taste her blood left in her mouth was like a poison. It went through her entire body, intoxicating her as her being tingled. Her vision blurred, and just before she fell into unconsciousness, she felt a warm, satisfying liquid pouring into her mouth and down her throat.

Though she seemed to be sleeping, she never felt more alive. For what seemed like years and merely moments at the same time, her body wracked with pain. Never had she been more aware of how intensely one could hurt. She felt that she was being eaten alive from the inside out. She slowly became aware about the transformation that was taking place; her nightmares were becoming her reality. This overwhelming knowledge of what she was becoming left not only her body in pain, but her mind as well. She stayed in this state for a while, unprepared to accept what she had become.


When she gathered enough courage to open her eyes, he was hovering over her, resting his hands on her raised arms. Soon she realized that she was lying on her bed frame, which was located in the middle of her room, but it felt like cold stone. Initially she attempted to get off the frame and thrashed her limbs about rebelliously, but they didn’t move. As she gazed into his jewel-like eyes, baffled, she was suddenly aware that he wasn’t holding her down with his hands but with another force that came from within. His eyes told her body how to behave and told her mind what he willed. He wanted her to stop trying to move and listen to what he had to say. With no other choice, she gave in to his power and released herself from her rebellion. She was amazed at how quickly she gave in, but ignored the thought telling her she wanted to obey him.


He parted his lips but seemed to forget what he was going to say. Taya felt the warmth from his breath on her face, and the mechanical smell of him burned her nostrils. She looked up at this creature with honest eyes and asked, “What is your name?”


When he realized he no longer needed to hold her down, he leapt to his feet in one fluid motion. He responded coldly, “Darius. My name is Darius.”


He threw a pair of clothes at her and stood in the next room as he waited her to dress herself. She stood and pulled off her dress that now felt so old above her shoulders, and pulled her dark jeans up around her hips and buttoned them. Her hair was matted and tangled from her struggle, but she didn’t care. She pulled a top over her head and thought for a moment that it was much too fancy to be hers.  As if he knew she was finished, he entered. She clung onto her dress as he placed his hand on her other arm and lead her in the direction he wanted her to go.


He took her to the back yard and showed her some of her clothes and personal belongings burning in a small pit of fire that he had made. She wanted to mourn over her things, but she realized that this was no longer who she was. She looked down at her dress in her hands and threw it into the flame as if it never had any value to her at all. She bent down and took a stick from the fire and lit her house, in which she had so many fond memories. A few of these flashed before her, but she did not acknowledge them.


She opened the gate that lead out her back yard and exited. Darius took her arm and they walked along the sidewalk as though they had known each other for years. He took her to his place of residence, a small wooden house much like her own. She found comfort in this but realized something awfully daunting. She was hungry. It was a small mental acknowledgement at first, but it quickly enveloped her.  He sensed the change in her facial expression and understood her needs. The hunger was painful, and she collapsed onto his couch. He moved like water, seeming to be everywhere at once. Before she was aware that he had returned, he brought an intensely sweet-smelling animal to her lips. She was weak in her state and couldn’t find the strength to open her eyes. Although she was curious as to what she was eating, she no longer cared. Her hunger was becoming more intense than her transformation. As soon as she felt her fangs slice through her gums, she bit and drank till she was full.


When she was done eating, she became tired. She didn’t bother opening her eyes. Without a moment to spare, she fell asleep, there, on his couch. He lifted her in his extraordinarily strong arms, and slipped her into his bed. He tentatively slipped out the door. Taking care in being quiet; he did not want to wake her. Sleep at this time in her transformation was essential.


As he walked along the sidewalk lit up by the light of the moon, he wondered what exactly she was to him and why she made him feel so unsure of himself. His breath came out in little smoke rings and lingered above his head, and leaves crunched beneath his feet to the rhythm of his firmly placed footsteps. She was only supposed to be a perfect meal. He remembered how she struggled against him and then became so obedient. The prime question he asked himself was “Why in hell did he change her and so spontaneously?” Changing a human was no big deal, worth no big consequence, but he couldn’t fathom a purpose. After a long while of wracking his brain, trying to conjure up some sort of legitimate reason, he had a horrid recollection.


She was weak. If she would have stayed a human, he would have killed her. He wanted to protect her unlike he had ever wanted to protect anyone. He was abandoned as a child. He learned not to trust anyone, let alone care for them. Somehow she was different. The wind wrestled his clothes away from his body, and he pulled them closer as his footsteps became more delicate. She wasn’t disgusted by his animalistic appearance and being, or if she was, she was exceedingly superior at masking it with her lovely, simplistic features and obedience. Whatever she was, pretending or not, she was worth protecting. He wandered back to his house, awaiting her to wake up, although he was uncertain of what he would say.


He walked down the hall to where his bedroom was, and then tiptoed through the threshold onto the sand-colored carpet that brought warmth to his cold home. That is what he wanted to be for her; strong, warm and comforting. He pulled the comforter up to her placid chin as he positioned himself onto his bed, and then looked at the stranger that inhabited the place where he slept. He thought, “Why, she isn’t a stranger at all.” That was just it. The idea of her being his companion came so easy to him, natural even. He ran his thumb down the side of her face and cupped her cheek in his rough hands. He felt a certain warmth coarse through his body and linger in his lips. As if he had done it a thousand times before, he kissed her, hard.


In the morning, the moment her eyelashes fluttered, Darious was by her side. Without a word they rose and took to the streets. Somehow they understood each other. When they looked into each other’s eyes, a force unrecognizable by man pulled them together.  Taya watched him, in the corner of her intense golden eyes. She could see him steal glances at her. Although she liked the attention, the gesture confused her. She thought the reason for him changing her was so she could do things for him. As though he could read her thoughts, he stopped. She turned and looked into his glistening eyes as they became dull and lifeless. Somehow she understood. It all made sense to her. He wanted to protect her, and although she was used to doing everything for herself, she was willing to let him.


While walking through the park where he had first laid his hungry eyes on her, he turned and looked deep into her with defenselessness. Her lower lip went slack, and he caught it with his.


Their life together was long and hard, filled with obstacles and hardships, along with a thousand other things which tried to tear them apart, but no matter what happened, they found a way to catch each other. They lived their life with an unwritten comprehension and need for each other’s company. He delighted in her casual gestures such as slipping her arm in his and letting him have the first drink at meals. She was everything he had ever wanted, yet so different from what he had first seen in his mind’s eye. It was this difference that attracted him to her. Knowing that they belonged together, that’s how they went, with skin a deathly hue and eyes that sparkled, hand in hand.