By:  Sabine Naus

“Are you alright, Miss?”  The words were spoken kindly and softly as Christabella’s eyes fluttered open.  
Startled by the unfamiliar figure bending over her, she cringed away, pulling herself up onto her elbows.
“Take it easy.” Said the stranger’s voice soothingly.  “No need to rush.  No one is going to hurt you.”  In
the background, she could see a couple of curious onlookers making her realize she had collapsed under
a glowing street lamp on a public sidewalk.
The man helped ease her into a sitting position.  He looked no more than 30 with matching brown hair
and eyes.  His face was ordinary yet trusting.  Despite the fact she did not know him, her fear suddenly
“Would you like some water?”  Noticing the way she licked her lips, he withdrew a bottle of pure spring
water from his knapsack.  It was not what she wanted to drink but accepted it gratefully and swallowed
nearly half.  
“Thank you.” She murmured struggling to stand up.  
Christabella was tall but the stiletto boots and the black cape made her appear even taller.    The man’s
eyes were even with hers and he smiled, shaking his head as she tried to give him back the bottle.
“Keep it.  You might want to finish it.”  She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and nodded.  
Looking around in the dull evening light, she glanced at the shop fronts and the small foreign bistros.  
She didn’t recognize anything.  Obviously, she was beginning to lose it.  She had to feed again.  Only
blood would give her the strength she needed to be herself again.  How long had it been?
“Are you lost?”  Asked the man seeing the frown flash over her face.  She was attractive in an odd sort
of way.  Her hair was loose and flowing like a mass of silver in the moonlight.  She’d outlined her grey
cat-like eyes with charcoal colouring and her lips were blood red.  A very evocative scent lingered around
her.  Newton was definitely attracted.  
“What is this street?”  It was the first sentence she had spoken and he detected a slightly strange
accent?  Russian perhaps?
“This is Queen Street.  You’re in the heart of downtown.”  
“Yes, yes, I know now.”  The general hospital blood bank had been her destination before the dizzy spell
had overtaken her.  
“Were you heading any particular place?”  Newton didn’t want her to go.  He liked the way the crisp
autumn wind billowed her cape and how it lifted the hair from her temples.  Underneath she was wearing
black jeans, a black silk blouse and a silver collar about her neck.  
“No.  I am just walking.  Thank you.”  Christabella wanted to leave, needed to leave.  “You have been
most kind.  I will pay for the water.”
Newton held up his hand.  “No, no.  I won’t hear of it.  I only did what anyone else would have done and
that was to help a stranger who needed it.”  He shrugged the knapsack into a more comfortable position
on his back and folded his arms in front of him.  
“However if you really want to repay me, then how about joining me for a coffee?”  Newton had a very
engaging smile but she sensed an aura of sadness around him.  
“I do not drink coffee.” She answered slowly with an answering smile.  
“I’m sorry.”  Suddenly Newton felt completely stupid and foolish.  He had assumed she was single
because there were no rings on her fingers.  
”No, I’m the one who’s sorry.”  He stared down at his feet for a split second before continuing.  “I
should have known there was someone in the picture.”  Shuffling nervously, he apologized again.
His distress was apparent and it made her want to make him feel better.
“No need to say sorry.  It is only that I do not drink coffee.” She repeated, trying to make her meaning
Instantly, the expression on his face changed like night into day.  It was beaming, absolutely radiant.
“Perhaps tea?” Newton asked hopefully.  
Christabella did not want anything but blood.  She needed blood.  She needed it now.
“I am not thirsty but maybe you will walk with me?”  The invitation she issued was a genuine one.  For
some reason, she wanted his company.  She did not want to walk alone in the night.  He wasn’t afraid of
her.  Most people she encountered instinctively had a negative reaction towards her.  An innate fear?  
This man had been nothing but nice to her and his interest in getting to know her was real.
As a gesture of camaraderie, she linked her arm through his and watched as the smile on Newton’s face
grew even broader.  If she smiled back at him like that, he’d see her fangs and then…
“Do you live in the city?”  Newton attempted to make casual conversation as they walked along the
sidewalk.  He was acutely aware of passersby giving them a second glance:  a tall elegant woman with an
average Joe wearing worn khakis and a bleached denim jacket.  
For the first time in a month, someone had been able to take his mind off the fact that he was dying.  
Diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, he’d been given about 6 months to live.  Having no family
other than an estranged sister, Newton had immediately quit his job and begun traveling the world.  
Now he’d come home to live out the rest of his few short weeks in close proximity of the hospital.  
“I am new to the city.” Confessed Christabella.  “I live here just few months.”
They passed a popular nightclub and heard the music coming through the open door.   As they walked,
she told him a fairy story of her background, something that sounded plausible and suitable to her.  He
was very open and not shy in talking about himself even revealing how close he had come to marriage
several years ago.
“I don’t know why I chickened out.” His voice was raw as he relived the memory.  He’d hurt Melody badly
but the idea of such a commitment as marriage horrified him.  His parents had split and remarried a
couple of times through 25 years of his life.  He’d offered to live with Melody and she had agreed.  
However in the end, she wanted what all her girlfriends were getting – a big fat white wedding.
If he had married Melody, he could actually be a father now.  A child.  His heart dipped and as though
she too had felt it, Christabella’s hold on his arm tightened.  Tears brightened his eyes and he looked
away.  Regrets were useless.  So what if he had a child?  The kid would be fatherless in a matter of
weeks anyway.
He cleared his throat and realized she had slowed down.  The hospital was just ahead.
“You are sad.”  She stated with sympathy.
“I’m dying.”  The words were so blunt they even astonished Newton.  With utmost tenderness,
Christabella cupped his face in her hands.  Now she knew what this aura of sadness was that she had so
clearly felt.  
“You are a brave man.” She whispered, her fingers caressing his face.  Newton was spellbound as he
gazed into her eyes.  There were tears.  This stranger cared.  He swallowed the lump in his throat.   No
way was he going to be a wimp! But what had possessed him to tell her his deepest secret?
“Come.”  She took his hand and her cloak swirled against his legs as she led him to a bench near a
deserted bus stop.     
“I too have experienced death.”  She leaned into him and breathed the sentence into his ear.  Sitting
down, she embraced him and with a mutual need they kissed, slowly, sensuously.  
“I don’t understand what you mean.” Confusion clouded his dark eyes.  “Do you mean that there was a
miracle?  Are you telling me that I should believe?”  
Her lips trailed his cheek and then his neck.  He shivered but it was a delicious feeling.   She wanted him.  
She needed him.  Most of all, she knew she cared for him.  To have him as a constant companion would
make her existence so much better.  But would he agree?  
Deliberately, she gently raked her fangs across his neck and then met his face with a broad grin.  
Newton was not frightened when he saw the glistening fangs.  
”You’re a –“.  She cut him off by pressing her fingers to his lips.  
“You were heading to the hospital.”  It became clear to him now why she had fainted.  
“Why didn’t you just take me?  I’m nobody.  There’s no one to miss me.”  He was rambling.
“It is not always like that.  We too are individuals.”  She knew that what he said was true.  Others fed on
anyone at anytime.  She exercised a degree of selection.  
“Would you like to be with me?” She spread back her cape and he saw her womanly curves.   “I can help
“You are stunning.” He claimed her mouth and let his hands wander over her tempting body.  
“We can be together forever.  There is no need for you to die and be alone.”  
“Yes, yes, I want to be only with you.”  
Suddenly there was darkness all around him and he felt as though he was flying.  The cape was covering
both of them.  Their clothes were gone.  He was light as air and he knew without a single shred of doubt
his tumour was gone.  It had disappeared!  
Her arms were holding him and rocking him.  He cried out when she bent her head to his throat.  The
feeling was warm and wonderful.  His hands roamed across her searing flesh and he kissed her neck
“We will now be together.” Said Christabella, offering him her bared throat.  “We will always be
Newton was free.