Chapter 4 - Taken Away

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I'm in the dream again. I know I'm dreaming but I'm letting it take me to show its story. It's playing out exactly the same way it did last time. I'm standing at the forest entrance, I walk through, I see the jewel, and I reach out. I'm about to take it when I hear my name being called, but this time, instead of sneaking up behind me, Arling is now standing behind the statue, half-hidden in the shadows.

He smiles as he says, 'you should have joined us, Anne. Now you're weak like the rest of them.'

I can hear his voice as if he's standing by my side. Within seconds, he's now directly in front of me, and without hesitation he attacks.

I begin to wake up. As I start to gain consciousness, I feel a weight on my head that is covering my eyes. I lift my hand to feel it's a damp, warm flannel. I take it off so I'm able to slowly open my eyes to a bright room. As my vision returns, I recognise the castle's hospital wing. I notice that my right hand also has pressure on it. I clutch tightly and look to see a pair of hands wrapped around my own. I follow them to see that they belong to Victor; he's sitting next to my bed staring at me, concerned.

With a sore, dry throat, I manage to croak out, 'Victor.'

He puts his hand on my cheek and strokes with his thumb. I love it when he does that. I hold his hand before I kiss his knuckles. I close my eyes as I rest my face into his palm. I feel his thumb now stroking against my head. I'm so happy to be with him again, to feel his touch.

After a few more moments he slowly pulls his hand away to place it back on mine. 'How are you feeling?'

'My throat is killing me, but apart from that, I'm fine. Where's Charlotte and Liam? Where's Sunny? How long have I been here?'

'Two days.'

'Two days?!'

'Charlotte and Liam wanted to stay but they had to get back to their lessons.'

'I have to apologise; I said some horrible things to them. Actually, I said some horrible things, humiliating things to you too. I'm so sorry for that by the way. I didn't mean it, well not completely, I mean the being tied up thing not the sex, not that I don't want to, I mean the erm, I'm not desperate or anything.'

Why am I not shutting up?

I stop talking and exhale.

Victor starts laughing.

'Why did you let me go on like that? You could have stopped me at any time, you know.'

'I didn't realise how cute you are when you mumble.'

Humiliating myself again, I manage to grin. Although with the embarrassment, I'm finding it hard to look at him.

I'm glad Victor changes the subject. 'And don't worry too much about apologising, we know it wasn't really you.'

'It was strange. I knew I wasn't myself and I could feel myself changing... and I wanted to. The anger was incredibly strong; and taking it out on all of you, it took it away. But it wasn't just that, it was as if I was sharing my body with someone else. It's hard to describe. I hope I don't go through that again.'

'I hope so too. I was worried for a minute there. Promise me you won't do that again.'

'What? Turn into a vampire? I didn't want to do that in the first place.'

'Yes, well, Gilwich is sorting that out. Arling broke the Treaty, he'll have consequences to pay for what he did.'

'He spoke of a treaty the first time we met. What's involved in this treaty?'

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