The shadow opened up a cupboard and pulled out a small wooden box, no larger than a lunch-box. Removing a piece of string from around its neck and fumbling with the box, I heard a tiny click and the box opened up like an alchemist’s chest. The shadow ran a gnarled looking finger across the tops of numerous tiny bottles and finally withdrew two unlabeled glass containers and a small paper packet. In a glass, he added half of the clear liquid from one bottle, a couple of drops of a brown liquid from the other bottle and finally a teaspoon of white powder from the packet and then mixed them together thoroughly. The sound of the spoon hitting the side of the glass cracked through my skull and I watched transfixed and horrified as the shadow advanced holding the glass out in front of him.
‘Here’ the shadow said ‘she must drink this’
‘What is it?’ Michael frowned.
‘We don’t have time for hesitation, boy, she must drink it!’ snapped the shadow.
Michael took the small glass and the cloudy brown substance made me think of the drugged water that Alex had made James and I drink when we were in the Exodus cell. I tried to shake my head and shift backwards on the bed but my body would not respond.
With one hand, Michael lifted my head, bringing the glass to meet my lips and I tried with all my might to move my mouth away as the fumes from the foul-smelling liquid hit my nose.
‘Sarah, please’ Michael urged ‘please, you have to do this’
I felt the first shot of liquid hit my tongue and had I been in control of my body I think I would have gagged for it tasted far worse than it smelt. It was also surprisingly cold or maybe that’s just because I felt as if I were burning from the inside-out so anything I drank was bound to feel freezing as it poured into my fiery throat. I felt it distinctly as it cooled my burning oesophagus and then reached my stomach, where I imagined it extinguishing the fires that seemed to rage there.
Suddenly I saw a glint of steel in the air and the shadow grabbed at Michael’s wrist with surprising speed and strength. With a gasp, Michael dropped the glass onto the bed and I saw a flash of red as the shadow sliced at his flesh with a surgical-looking knife and Michael’s blood seeped copiously from the cut and dripped onto the crisp white pillowcase.
‘Quickly now! She must drink!’ the shadow hissed.
‘What?!’ cried Michael ‘No she can’t…I can’t make her!’
‘Goodness, boy, stop doubting me and do as I say or the sensor will die!’
Michael turned to me, his face pained and blue eyes pleading.
‘I’m sorry’ he whispered and pulling my head towards him, he pressed the dripping wound to my lips.
I felt the wetness first and my first thought was how warm it felt; almost hot and I pressed my lips together instinctively as I couldn’t bear the thought of his blood falling into my mouth. The whole idea of it seemed so alien; so disgusting that it made my stomach lurch.
‘Open her mouth!’ barked the shadow.
Letting my head drop back onto the bed, Michael used his other hand to force open my mouth, by grabbing my chin and using his fingers to lever my lips apart. I couldn’t even lift my hands to stop him; they remained twisted into useless claws so I could do nothing except stare at him wild-eyed; knowing that I was about to get my first taste of vampire blood and the notion of that seemed to scare me far more than the pain did.
I’d never understood those humans who were ever fascinated with the idea of drinking blood. You know the ones I mean? The vamp hags. The un-dead wannabe’s whose biggest fantasy is to be bitten by a vampire or even better, be turned into one. I would be willing to place good money on the probability that in the actual event of meeting a vampire, about ninety-eight percent of all vamp enthusiasts would rue the day they ever wished to come face to face with one. It’s rarely what you wished for and it’s certainly not the stuff that Hollywood is made from.
And more than that; it’s not remotely sexy. Particularly the blood drinking part. I’ve seen enough blood spilled to last me an eternity and not once has it enthralled me enough to want to drink it. Give me a diet coke or a hot chocolate any day.
Of course, I’m sure the whole experience might have been just slightly less unpleasant if it had been served to me in a frosted glass decorated with a cute little cocktail umbrella, instead of having my mouth wrenched open and the blood forcibly dripped into my throat.
Feeling the first drops hit my tongue and slide down towards my throat, I immediately started to gag. My stomach kicked back at the very thought of it and I couldn’t help but start to choke, sending a cough of blood outwards. Michael flinched as his own blood sprayed across his face and I watched in horror as it dripped off of his chin and for a moment I saw a snapshot of what he must have looked like when he fed; only I knew his eyes would be black when he drank, not the beautiful shade of blue that they were now.
Despite having his own blood spat back into his face, his resolve was unwavering as he held his wrist firmly over my mouth and I glared at him as I felt his blood oozing down into my throat, knowing that I was powerless to stop him from force-feeding me. He held my gaze and only when a single tear slid down my face did he look away.
Finally, the shadow reached over and touched a hand to Michael’s shoulder.
‘That’s enough, boy’ he said and patted him almost gently.
Michael withdrew his wrist and I could feel a trickle of blood running from the corner of my mouth. He reached out and wiped it away and as he turned his face back to me I saw the wetness under his eyes. If I hadn’t just been forced to drink vampire blood I probably would have reached out and wiped his tears away; hell, I would probably even have dared to kiss them away but I couldn’t feel anything warm towards him right then. I felt betrayed. I felt disgusted with him and with myself for drinking it. It was as if I could feel it creeping through my body; like some parasitic insect, crawling through my insides, laying it’s hideous eggs everywhere it went and soon, those eggs would burst, spilling out into my veins and turning me into something else; something awful.
Very slowly, I felt the pain subsiding; starting from my chest, where my heart stopped feeling like it was trying to escape through my ribcage and the feeling worked its way through my stomach and across my shoulders, down my legs and then down my arms. My fists un-clenched and my whole body seemed to relax into the mattress. No sooner did the pain dissolve, than I felt overwhelmingly exhausted and I could do nothing to keep my heavy eye lids open a minute longer.
As I slipped down into the darkness, I could hear soft murmuring noises and I let the sounds swish back and forth over me, like waves lapping very gently at the shore, until finally I could hear no more.