"Good evening miss."
Claire turned around to face the voice. She had been so caught up in the festivities around her that she hadn't noticed anyone behind her. After all, there was so much to see! The entire ballroom was packed full of lavish party guests. Buffet tables lined the walls and men danced with their ladies in the middle of the room with elegance and grace. The overhead glass roof exposed the glowing full moon to the party guests and the stars twinkled madly like morning dew in the early morning. The English countryside stood before them in all its splendor just outside of the castle walls. Claire had been entranced with the sights since she had walked in…but now the sights had begun to grow boring and the brilliant lights and colors dimmed slightly. The surprise of the voice behind her had brightened her spirits a little.
The one who had spoken took her by surprise. He was a tall young man with black hair and deep brown eyes. He had on a finely tailored suit. A black jacket lay over a white button down shirt with a red tie and red vest. His eyes looked at her with a depth that lacked warmth…but were rather…hungry. Claire smiled politely.
"Good evening to you as well." Claire responded. The man glanced up towards the moon above and grinned.
"Such a beautiful night, wouldn't you say?" the man asked. "The sort of night that makes one desire a little adventure?"
"Yes, it is…sir…?" Claire said kindly. The man suddenly slapped his forehead with a laugh.
"Begging your pardon miss…I have forgotten my manners…" He bowed low and extended his hand out to her. "My name is Sir Michael Sabre. I am the one who organized this little party." Claire suddenly gasped. This was the one who had brought all of this together? But he seemed so young to be the owner of an entire castle! The owner of THIS castle, anyway. "May I ask your name, my dear?"
"Claire…Claire Thorne." She held out her green gloved hand and Sir Sabre took it in his, kissing the top of her hand lightly, making her blush.
"Miss, Thorne…did you come by yourself tonight?" He asked. Claire nodded silently. The truth was that she had originally planned to come with a date, but he had abandoned her and she was staying at the party alone until someone elected to take her home. The man beamed at her answer. "This is excellent news…for now I can have you all to myself tonight." Suddenly, Claire pulled her hand away and stepped back quickly, giving a very reproachful look at Sir Sabre.
"With all due respect, my lord…I do not belong to anyone…and certainly not someone who I have only just met." Michael looked taken aback and his eyes suddenly flashed…
"Forgive me, my lady…I did not mean to offend." He sighed and stepped a little closer. "It is just that…all night I have searched for a partner to dance with…and I have yet to meet one as lovely as yourself." Claire suddenly found herself blushing with embarrassment.
"You flatter me, my lord." The man shook his head.
"I am quite serious, Miss Thorne." He said quickly. "You glow with a light that rivals the moon itself." Claire looked away so that she wouldn't show her furious blush.
"Y-you are too kind." Claire responded. "I do not deserve such compliments." Suddenly she turned to see that Michael Sabre was no standing only a few feet from her. He was bowing low and holding out his hand once more.
"If it pleases you, my lady…I would be honored if you would dance with me."
Claire stared at the hand before her and pondered her next action carefully. She flushed a moment and thought about slapping the man across the face for his impertinence…but then remembered the kind words he had said…and those deep and mystifying eyes. She allowed herself to reach out and place her silk glove in his hand.
"Yes, my lord." Michael rose to his feet and escorted her into the middle of the ball floor. As they approached, the music stopped and the swarm of guests and dancers all stepped away, leaving a giant circular space in the middle of the large ballroom. Claire looked nervously at Michael. "My lord…why has the music stopped?"
"Because, I ordered them to. We shall dance alone…in front of everyone." Claire suddenly stopped, her heeled slippers clicking on the hard floor.
"My lord…I am not a good dancer…and I am not comfortable dancing in front of so many." Sir Sabre turned and looked at Claire kindly…and again she saw his eyes flash.
"But, my lady…the crowds would have stopped none the less…for your beauty would have caused them to stop and stare." Claire felt a desire to slap him…but decided against it and simply looked down at her long silk ball gown instead.
"Again…you flatter me." She muttered. Suddenly she was pulled into him. Claire felt her chest brush up against Sir Sabre's chest. Her head was about at his neck level, and she could feel his eyes boring into hers with their unparalleled depth and…entrancement. She felt his left hand take hers and his right hand place itself gently at her waist. She looked up into his eyes and he was grinning. The world seemed to fade around them as the music began to play. It was a waltz…and Claire was no good at the waltz!!!
"My lord…I can't do this!" Claire whimpered.
"Shh…follow my lead." Suddenly Michael Sabre began to move, and Claire felt her feet and body move with him. Her dark green dress furled around her and her feet tried to stay in step with him. It wasn't slow…but it wasn't so fast as to cause her to trip over herself. Their feet moved in a complicated and steady pattern. The music seemed to take over her body as she moved…it wasn't her own mind that was in control anymore…but the music had left her body lifeless, and it was the eyes of this young lord who had brought it back. She couldn't take her eyes off of him as they spun and wove around the room.
"You are doing very well, my lady." Sabre whispered. Claire didn't answer, but only continued to dance with him…her body and mind were both in shock. She could feel the eyes of the people around her…but the only ones that seemed to matter were the eyes of this one man who she barely knew. Why were they so strong? Why was she so lost in him? What was he?
It felt like hours before the music finally ended and the two stopped dancing. The crowd applauded their dance and Claire felt relief fill her body and legs. She was tired…and she wanted to go and sit down. She curtsied to Michael, as the man gave her a bow.
"My lady, you seem tired." Michael said, taking notice of Claire's exhaustion.
"I apologize, my lord," Claire sighed, "I am not used to dancing like that…and it was most invigorating." Michael's eyes suddenly flashed again and his face brightened.
"Then, in that case…" He held out his hand to her. "Let us retire from this place and go someplace a little more…relaxing." Claire felt a sense of dread wash over her as he said the last word. There was something very suspicious about him…and something deep in the back of her mind warned her not to trust him…but she couldn't help herself. He was such a kind man and his dance had left her so tired…perhaps a place to "relax" would do her some good.
The two made their way down at least three hallways, until they finally reached a door that was located far off…away from the party and away from everything else in the castle. "This is my room." Michael said kindly, opening the door for her to enter. Claire stepped inside…the deafening silence making her even more uneasy. The room was so dark and empty. The only articles in the room that she could see were a large bed, one closet, and a chest of drawers. She walked into the room and looked around her nervously.
"It's…lovely." Claire said. There was a chuckle from behind her…and she heard the door close.
"There is no need to lie to me, my lady." Michael said snidely. "This room has held many bad memories for me…and it is not in its best condition." She watched as Michael walked past her, glancing at the room and smiling to himself. "But I suppose a lad doesn't choose the home that he is raised in, does he?" Claire felt her heart pounding a little faster. "You are uneasy my lady?" He asked.
"I apologize, my lord."
"It is quite alright…I can hear your heart beating from here…it's quite alluring." Claire felt fear wash over her.
"If it's all the same to you, my lord…I am feeling much better now and would like to return to the party." She turned to walk to the door and grabbed the handle in her gloved hand and she pulled…and pulled…and yanked one more time, but the door wouldn't budge.
"I am afraid that I cannot allow you to leave, my dear." Michael said.
"Of course you can…merely open the door." Claire whimpered. She heard Michael laugh…but it didn't sound the same. It wasn't as kind…or as friendly. It sounded….hungry. It sounded cold and spine chilling.
"Such a cute sense of humor you have…my lady." Claire turned to face him…and gasped. His eyes were no longer their deep brown, but were now a dark crimson red. They were glaring at her with a deep and a very familiar hunger. Suddenly….
"Aaah!" Claire felt two hands grab her. One gloved hand grabbed her wrist and held her while the other ran up and down her rear…feeling her over. Claire squealed and tried to pull away. She felt a chin move against her neck. She flushed and tried to resist…but she was no match for the grasp of Michaels vice like hands.
"Please…don't do this."
"Sorry, my lady…" Michael muttered with a sinister smile, "but I've been very hungry for a very long time…and you're going to help me fix that tonight, my dear."
"Please….my lord…" Claire cried.
"No more talking…"
Suddenly Claire felt a pair of sharp fangs pierce her neck just above her shoulder blade. She tried to scream and tried to cry out, but she could only open her mouth in horror and ecstasy. She felt the vampire begin to drink and feed from her. She felt herself growing weaker…and her body going numb.
"P…p…please." Claire's eyes fluttered…and then her world began to fade into nothing. She slipped into unconsciousness, as a pair of crimson red eyes stared down at her…and two fangs glinted red with blood.
"Don't worry my dear…you won't feel a thing." The vampire, descended upon her.