Gathering my things together, I headed quickly towards one of the exits and practically jogged towards the station to catch the tube back to Hyde Park Corner. My head still felt fuzzy from the wine and I jostled through the late night shoppers to reach the entrance to Oxford Circus before cantering down the steps into the ticket hall. I walked the escalator, something I never do as always have this fear of tripping and falling to the bottom, and somehow managed to accomplish it without breaking my neck despite the booze-filled haze in which I was in. By the time I reached the platform, a train was already there and the sharp beeping noise told me it was about to leave and I pushed myself through the closing doors, throwing myself down onto the nearest seat with both a sigh of relief and a cry of help from my lungs.
Closing my eyes, I felt a woozy infusion creeping across my temples and into my shoulder blades and for a moment I confused the sensation with the effects of the wine. It was only when I realised my skin was prickling with alarm did my eyes open wide and I felt my heart beating with a fear I hadn’t felt in over three months. The carriage was quite busy in the way that the central London tubes were always busy and I swept my eyes along the rows of people. It wasn’t long before I saw her.
Sitting just on the other side of the main door on the opposite side of the carriage was a young vampire girl. She couldn’t have been more than about eighteen in human years although who knows how old she actually was. The girl had straggly, dark bobbed hair and wore skinny jeans, a black t-shirt that was clearly crumpled and her white lace-up pumps were smudged with dirt. She was thin, noticeably too thin and her pallor was pale and washed-out. Your average vampire could err on the slightly pale side, but they were never as deathly white as the stories would make us believe. They aren’t the undead. They live and breath just as you or I but their heart rate is slower and their body and skin temperature just peaks below our average. These slight differences were embellished by myth-makers and story tellers until we reached the twisted vampire depiction that we know today; the undead monster, the white-skinned night creature, the coffin-dweller. But actually, it is the fact these differences between human and vampire are so slight that they are able to mix and live amongst us with relative ease and without fear of detection. For the most part, it is only sensors like myself who can pick one out from the crowd.
And it was I that picked this vampire out from the crowded carriage and being the lucky soul that I am, she had already picked me out too. Her eyes look feverishly hungry and one hand gripped the rail near her until her knuckles seemed like they might burst through the thin skin that covered them. She was sitting bolt upright in her seat, perched almost on the edge as if she were getting ready to depart the train. Only I knew she didn’t have any intention of leaving now she had seen me.
Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2012