“The mail has come Milady,” Amiah declared softly. She knew I didn’t like loud noises.
“Thank you Amiah,” I replied, not coming out of the shadow of the curtain. Amiah wouldn’t be put off by my behavior though, she was used to me. “Just leave it on the desk,” I told her.
I listened as she left the room and went slowly up the stairs. She turned into her room and sank down on the floor in front of the fire place. Soon she was in her nightly ritual of unbraiding her hair and humming softly to herself. Most nights I liked to just sit down in the library and listen to Amiah’s nightly humming. It was always a haunting melody, sadness mixed with a longing. I closed my eyes now and let the music calm my frayed nerves.
When I opened them again they fell immediately on the unopened letter sitting invitingly in the middle of the large wooden desk. I pursed my lips and swallowed loudly in the growing darkness. The time had finally come to know my fate. Whatever lay ahead for me was already decided, and it was written in that letter. My feet refused to move, refused to carry me to the desk.
I exhaled sharply and scolded myself for being idiotic. Never mind that this was my first attempt to contact another human in several centuries, never mind that I didn’t even know these people, never mind the danger I might be for them, never mind…. I let my thoughts stop then. I was in control now, I was sure of it. And it wasn’t exactly true that I hadn’t been around humans, Amiah was here. Dear sweet Amiah, with warm rich blood rushing through her veins. I would never hurt her.
I listened again to the melody coming from upstairs, in the east corridor. It was starting to wind down now, and I realized how long I had been standing there staring at the letter.
I closed my eyes again and when I opened them I was determined. I took deliberate steps and picked up the letter. It was thin, only one sheet of paper lay hidden inside. I slid my finger expertly along the inside of the envelope and broke the seal.
“My dearest niece Eliza,” the letter began. I smiled smugly and continued reading. It was short, only a few paragraphs, but it was enough. “I am sorry to hear about your parents accident. It is a true shame that we have gone so long without knowing each other. Your aunt and I would be delighted if you would agree to come live with us in London.” The letter went on to detail how I would get there and it was concluded that a carriage would be sent for me in a months time.
I licked my lips nervously and glanced up at the date scrawled in the corner. Three weeks ago. That meant I had a week before the carriage would arrive. I calmly processed the information. I decided to wait for morning to tell Amiah, the woman needed her sleep. I raised my shoulders and jutted out my chin.
It would be nice to not live in the shadows anymore. I would enjoy being with people. I slid my tongue over my teeth and grimaced at the feel. I was thirsty, I realized with slight surprise. I had just fed last night. All these years I had trained my body to wait at least a week between feedings. I felt the sharp points again against my tongue. Thirsty. It was just beginning but the sensation was there, I wouldn’t be able to deny it long.
I fingered the page of my uncle’s writing again. I stared out the window with unseeing eyes. I wondered again what they would be like, the people. Would they accept me, or would they fear me?
I flinched back from the pain of remembering the last time I was with a lot of people. That’s not who I am though, I thought defiantly. My tongue flickered over my teeth again, as if to contradict me.
I went to the window and flung it wide. The cool night air rushed over my skin. I barely felt the sensation though, my mind was already on the hunt.