When faced with the two inhuman creatures in front of him, Glade did not immediately panic. Though his heart trembled worse than before, his expression remained calm... for now.
Each faction regarded the other for a while, simply stares and nothing more until the female approached. Glade softened slightly as she came closer because, although her fangs served as a warning, her sweet smile masked some of the malice. For now.
But within a breath things had changed. The smile was gone, replaced by an angry scowl that distorted her features as she leapt forward. Glade barely had time to react before her teeth were close to his skin, and snapping.
The vampire threw him around like a rag doll, running on some sort of ferocious strength that only the damned possess.
Certainly Glade was not prepared for this. He had heard tales of their kind before and had considered that he may come across some in the badlands, but when faced with the reality of the situation it was somewhat hard to comprehend. No amount of mental rehearsal could prepare him for someone looking to feast on his flesh.
Still, Glade was no weakling. Growing up under Avalon's rule he had learnt to defend himself, so once he got over the shock of the vampire's attack he fought back. The beast barely grazed his skin with her teeth before Glade pushed her away with all the strength he had. And although he was fighting for his life, Glade's only concern was Maia.
The child sat on the ground, gawking at the scene in front of her; complete in her innocence and her vulnerability. Glade could only hope that, somehow, they would be able to get out of this alive.
At first it seemed like they would indeed survive. The vampire was strong but Glade's determination made him nigh invincible, and as the conflict went on he could feel his foe weakening; her razor-sharp teeth snapping in bitter frustration as they were denied the sweet contact they desired. But then the other vampire began to move... He grinned as he regarded the fight, then turned his attention to the little girl sitting on the grass.
When Glade saw the vamp creep towards Maia he turned his back on the female, which was to be an error he would soon lament.
With her enemy distracted, the woman let her eyes linger on the source of her infatuation. The neck.
Twisting from Glade's agitated grasp, the vampire launched herself at the flesh, inhaled the scent of mortality, and sunk her teeth in deep.
The pain burned through Glade as he felt the blood rise up and scald his skin. It was shock more than anything else that hit him first, and in truth he barely had time to acknowledge the wound after that initial agony. This was a good thing though, as the distance from the real feeling enabled him to shake the vampire off, prying her fangs from his flesh and throwing her away. There was no more time left for scrapping- Glade needed out of the situation now. And so he hit the male vamp, hard, picked up Maia, and ran for his life.
He heard the vampires enraged howls reach after him as he sped into the night.
Back at home, Glade put Maia to bed and made sure she was safe. A lot. He could barely begin to leave her side, as every time he did he couldn't help but succumb to hysteria.
A lot of time passed until Glade felt he was able to depart, and even then it was only to the bathroom. Contemplating his reflection in the mirror he regarded the blood, the ache, the fear. He knew he was lucky to be alive.
For a long time after that Glade and Maia stayed at home. It was something like a beautiful hell- Glade felt like he had everything he needed, and yet he was trapped.
Gradually he began to change himself. It was unlikely that the vampires attacked him because they knew who he was, but Glade reasoned that one day he would be noticed by someone who mattered. So he worked at looking human, and it was something he wanted but knew he could never attain.
Most days Glade would pace in front of the windows, always scouring the street outside for unwelcome predators of any kind. He could barely sleep, he was so tormented by what had happened. The fear and the uncertainty hurt worse than the physical pain, and every day he would find himself replaying the incident in his mind. It would always be different though- Glade would imagine he had been stronger; quicker.
Truely he was more human than he realised. After all, obsession is what we do best.
Maia watched her brother grapple with his anguish and felt it all herself. She was only young but seeing him like this was agonizing, such was her empathy for those around her. But she didn't know that Glade had more than vampires on his mind.
Ever since that night at Simhenge, Glade had been unable to forget about the woman he had met there- the one who had held his hand. He didn't even know her name, and yet her visage was etched in his memory like a lucid dream. What pained him most was that he had no way to contact her- no way to see her again.
As the days passed, Glade thought about her more and more, and over time he hit upon a realisation. To see her again he would have to leave the safety of the house. Was he willing to risk it all for her?
To make this sort of decision, Glade needed to do some research. He needed to find out just what was lurking out there in the dark- he needed to know what slithered through the neighbourhood when no one was watching. He needed to talk to the only person he had really met since arriving in Riverview.
Kale couldn't help but be suprised when he encountered Glade and Maia standing on his doorstep, but he was pleased to see them. He confessed that he didn't often have visitors, as neighbourly kindness and community spirit weren't exactly rife around here.
After embracing them warmly, Kale invited Glade and Maia into his house.
Once inside, Kale took them through to the living room where they were greeted by a woman. Her name was Heather, and she was Kale's wife.
As Glade was introduced to Heather he tried not to stare at her, he really did, but it was difficult. Firstly, she was pregnant which was a definate shocker considering the world's views on ghost/human relationships. And secondly, so many scars framed a pain on her face, now faded with time. Glade couldn't help but wonder what this couple had been through, and if they had a past as haunted as his own.
Although both sides were altogether friendly, the atmosphere verged on awkward. Luckily though Heather was unfazed by the situation, and with a bright smile she told Glade that she understood his interest and, if he wanted, she would tell him how they had come to live in Riverview. He didn't reply but Heather knew what he was thinking. She took Glade's hand and squeezed it, told him to take a seat on the sofa, then she eased down opposite him. Looking into the eyes of her husband she took a deep breath before she began her story- a story about ghosts. A story about love. A story about Kale and Heather...