We stood outside the imposing looking gates, looking up at the equally imposing building that stood beyond them. I eyed the sign suspiciously.
Aubern Mews Residential Care Home.
‘Michael, are you quite sure this is the correct address’ I asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
‘Yes’ he replied ‘233 Paignton Avenue. This is it’
‘But this is a home for the elderly. They might be pretty old, but I’m betting that none of the residents are that old. We are not going to find one of the Elders here’
‘Well this is the address that Marcus gave me’
‘But why would there be a vampire living in a residential care home?’
‘There’s only one way to find out I suppose’
And with that he grabbed me by the waist and hoisted us up over the wall and into the grounds of the care home.
Aubern Mews was set in about two acres of land and bordered on the sides by sparse woodland.
Michael had set us down just on the other side of the wall and had this area been more brightly lit, we would have been in full view of anyone looking from the house. Luckily we were protected by shadow but I couldn’t help but look round furtively, expecting a spotlight to sweep round the grounds and hit us at any minute.
We skirted the grounds, heading directly for the trees on our left hand side where the freezing fog clung to the ground like an icy shroud. I could barely see my feet moving through the mist and I felt the moisture in the grass drenching the bottoms of my jeans.
We passed by the courtyard in front of the building where staff cars were parked, like sentinels in the dark ready to announce our presence to the security team inside.
I heard a scuffling noise behind me and I turned sharply expecting to have someone shine a torch into my eyes but all I saw were shadows shifting in the darkness and the fog weaving tendrils around my feet.
I felt cold breath on the back of my neck and Michael laid a hand on my shoulder sending a buzz through my spine that made me shiver involuntarily.
‘Come on’ he whispered, grabbing my hand.
I must admit, I certainly felt slightly less jittery clutching onto his hand although the closeness between us still felt a little weird.
We snaked a trail alongside the building, still sticking to the cover of the trees for protection. Small windows with curtains tightly drawn told us that most of the occupants were sound asleep and I briefly wondered what it must be like to sleep through the night-time hours; so long it had been since I had followed any normal sleeping pattern.
At the back of the house I could see a large garden illuminated by moonlight; wooden benches dotted here and there providing places for the home’s occupants to come and sit during the warmer months and take in the view.
As we drew closer suddenly a flash of light sent us scuttling back further into the trees as a sensor light blinked on and alerted the house to our presence by beaming screaming white light out into the garden. Crouched low in the damp cold grass, I could feel my heart beating hard and Michael squeezed my hand in response.
We waited but no one came. Not one curtain twitched. I ran my eyes over the house, looking for signs that someone had seen the light flicker on and was now making their way out into the garden to see who might be out here but everything seemed just as it was before.
Michael pulled me to my feet but we remained cloaked by the cover of the trees.
‘I can move quicker on my own. Why don’t you wait here and I will find a way in?’
Before he could go, we heard the click of a door opening and a small, slow-moving shadow stepped out into the garden. No sooner had the person appeared from the house, than I felt the most excruciating pain hit my chest and I staggered back, unable to keep myself upright, so great was the agony. Clutching at my chest, I stumbled to the floor, feeling my heart hammering as if it were ready to burst out of my ribcage with some tremendous force.
‘Sarah!’ Michael hissed and grabbed hold of my, pulling me half onto his lap ‘what is it? What’s wrong?’
I could only shake my head, unable to get any words out as the pain crept out from my chest, down my arms, forcing my hands to twist violently into claws and then down into my legs until I felt I had no control over my own body. I began to writhe in an agony that even rivalled the pain I had felt when Dominique had attacked me. It was as if a thousand volts of electricity were coursing through my veins and I had images of my blood burning and boiling inside me.
I felt my eyesight moving in and out of focus as the pain reached my head and by that point I couldn’t help but cry out but through the pain, I saw the shadow turn its head in our direction and I knew at once I had alerted them to our trespass and we had been spotted.
The shadow moved, still slowly, shuffling almost painfully towards us but my vision suddenly blackened and my body twisted into uncontrollable spasms and I could hear Michael, anxiously saying my name and clutching onto me in hopeless desperation.
Then the shadow spoke, low but audible, with a crisp, clear English accent.
‘Bring her inside, boy and do it without hesitation, we must act quickly’
Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2011