I pushed on the door lightly and it creaked open, causing me to flinch at the noise permeating the uneasy silence in the corridor.
A figure lay on the floor towards the back of the small chamber. It did not move as the door groaned on its hinges.
‘Michael?’ I whispered into the gloom.
The figure emitted a small moan.
Taking a quick look towards the end of the passage, I stepped into the cell and edged closer to the person laying there.
‘Michael?’ I repeated.
He moaned again and I distinctly heard him whisper my name, although it sounded thick and slurred.
To hell with caution.
Moving quickly now, I went to where he lay and crouched next to him. I felt the static of my fingers on his skin, as I moved him onto his back and brushed the hair away that had fallen across his eyes.
Dirt plastered the side of his face that had pressed against the floor of the cell and dried blood encrusted around his mouth and chin, which was clearly the result of being hit in the mouth as a dark bruise was clearly visible even through the short beard that now adorned his face.
He was paler than I had ever seen him, which only served to make it more obvious that he was not human.
‘Michael? Can you hear me?’
When he didn’t respond, I touched my fingers against his cheek and lightly patted it.
‘Michael, wake up, please wake up’
A pained groan escaped his lips and he mumbled something indiscernible.
I placed my hands on his shoulders and shook him gently.
‘Michael, please, I need you to wake up’
His eyes partially opened and he smiled wearily.
‘I’m dreaming’ he said, sounding like he had sunk a few bottles of wine.
‘No, you’re not’ I replied ‘It’s real. But I need you to wake up, okay?’
He blinked although whether he was adjusting to the light or consciousness I didn’t know.
‘Have you come to rescue me?’ he murmured.
‘Well I was sort of hoping you would do your Blade impression and save me instead?’ I said raising an eyebrow.
‘No can do’ he replied ‘I left all my weapons at home’
‘And I don’t have any pitchforks handy either’
‘Then we’re screwed’ he replied, smiling sadly.
‘I was hoping for a more positive outlook you know’ I said, smiling back at him.
‘Are you sure this isn’t a dream?’ he mumbled.
‘Pretty sure. Why?’
‘Because you’re smiling at me. You never smile at me’
‘Yeah, I can’t work it out either. But it’s definitely not a dream. A nightmare maybe, but not a dream’
I moved his head so that it was in my lap and was reminded of that time in my cottage when I awoke after fainting to find him looking down at me. The role reversal was not lost on me.
‘What happened to you Michael? Why are you here?’ I asked softly.
He hesitated and looked at me sadly through half-closed eyes. I could still see how blue they were.
‘I am here because I betrayed them. I betrayed my own kind for a human. Told you I would pay for it one day’ he said, his words still sounding slurred.
I was confused as usual.
‘Hold on, you mean you’re here because you killed that vampire guy – what did you say his name was? Bourne, wasn’t it? You’re here because of that?’
‘I’m here for lots of reasons. But I guess cooking dinner for a sensor is on their list of commandments. Thou shalt not feed the animals, or something to that effect’
‘I don’t understand. How did they know? Were they watching us even then?’
He didn’t say anything but tried to raise himself up and I helped him into a sitting position. I touched a hand tentatively to the side of his mouth and he winced slightly.
‘What did they do to you, Michael?’
‘Nothing I couldn’t deal with’ he said, but his eyes betrayed him.
‘You look so pale’ I whispered.
‘I’m a vampire, I’m meant to be pale. What’s your excuse?’ he smiled.
‘I’m a red head. I was born this way’
Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2010