I felt his presence before I saw him.
It was so strong that I turned around sharply, expecting to discover he had outwitted me and entered the house via the back door and was now standing behind me. Prickles of electric flashed across my shoulders and up my neck and I felt like every hair was standing on end, sparked by static.
A shadow stood at the edge of the woodland, exactly where the intruder had come from the night before. I stood up from my armchair abruptly, feeling my mouth go immediately dry and my heart accelerate. The shadow did not move. I took a few steps towards the window and peeked around the edge of the curtain. The moonlight reflected off the glittering white blanket of snow, lighting up the night sky, but with the distance between us, I could not clearly see him.
He was tall, that I could see but strangely he did not look as massive as Mr Giant-From-Hell had looked before. Maybe he hadn’t been eating well, possibly some kind of vampire diet. Rats instead of humans. But still he did not move.
‘Ah so it’s the waiting game you want to play, is it?’ I whispered.
Then suddenly, as if he had heard me, he was on the move. In fact, he moved so quickly I barely saw him touch the ground as he approached the house in a flash. I watched, transfixed as foot prints suddenly appeared one after the other in the snow that covered the lane. The gate was flung open, snow spraying off the top as it was pushed, and before I knew it, foot prints decorated my path and disappeared out of view. I heard scuffling noises coming from the back door.
He was coming round the back!
I ran into the kitchen, brandishing my weapons and feeling my breath rasp from my throat in fear. So much for the new improved warrior Sarah! I was no longer sure I could do this.
He had moved so quickly; quicker than I had seen any vampire move! Before this point, I had thought that vampires possessed no supernatural qualities recorded in fantasy stories and because of that I had decided, in my infinite wisdom of all things vampire, that it was possible to defeat him. I’m no superhuman, as you know, but I could move just as fast as any fanged creature of the night and therefore the odds were not as dire as you might have thought. But now, doubt seeped into my mind and began to poison the bravado I had been fighting to develop all day.
Moving stealthily towards the kitchen window, I peered out into the garden but saw nothing. I tried to crane my neck to see either side of the window but could not see him anywhere. Suddenly, from upstairs I heard a crash of glass and footsteps in the spare bedroom.
How did he get up there?
I ran to the base of the stairs and looked up, fork held out in front of me and arms trembling. I waited, not wanting to go up there but knowing I probably had no choice. I was starting to feel like I had made the right decision about my dinner. You could choose worse for your final meal.
Taking one agonising step after another, I crept upstairs with my back against the wall so I could see onto the landing as I reached the top. He did not wait for me there. The bathroom door remained open and as usual, no one lurked within. The doors to both bedrooms stood opposite each other. My bedroom door was open. The door to the spare room was just slightly ajar and not the way I had left it. When I had finished my security checks earlier I had left all the doors open as I would usually do.
I stopped on the landing staring at the door and not wanting to go in there. The urge to run was surging through every particle of my being.
Why do you need to be a hero, Sarah?
A thin, reedy voice whispered in my head.
You’re fighting for nobody but yourself.
I took a small step backwards.
There is nobody to save but you. Save yourself, Sarah!
I couldn’t breathe. I bit my lip and took a very deep breath. Holding the fork out in front of me, I poked gently at the door with the prongs and it opened, swinging open silently. I had oiled the hinges. The last thing I had needed living out here on my own was Scooby-Doo sound effects of creaking doors. The icy night air sneaked in through the great gaping hole in the window where the glass had once been and that now lay scattered across the floor under the windowsill. I shivered automatically but it was more because of how this one had managed to scale my house and with such speed, rather than because of the cold.
The floorboard behind me creaked. Fortunately for me, although I could oil away the Scooby-Doo creaky door hinges, I could never rid myself of the Scooby-Doo creaky floorboards.
I spun round with a gasp and blindly jabbed out with my garden fork at the vampire whose momentary expression of dismay at the squeaky wood beneath his feet, turned quickly into a grimace of pain as the sharp prongs pierced his stomach. It did not pierce deep, but deep enough to cause him noticeable pain and blood quickly seeped out from between the prongs and saturated his shirt.
As my eyes adjusted from the blind panic that had caused me to stab at him with such absolute abandon, I gasped out loudly again, not in horror at what I had done, but in recognition at the vampire on the end of my fork.
‘I know you!’ I whispered.
Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2010