My mind awakened and I could sense that I was laid out upon the ground, for its cold embrace held harshly upon my back. I took in a breath of air and it smelled heavy, damp from an evening's falling of dew. The sounds of night creatures could not be heard as stillness surrounded me. It was then that I opened my eyes. At first I didn't know what to expect, flexing my fingers and toes to ensure I could move freely. Shoes and gloves were worn and I could tell I was wearing a corseted dress by the lack of depth I could draw in when I breathed. I couldn't wait to rise and stand to get rid of the stiff ache my body possessed. Looking around me, I saw to my astonishment that I was now sitting in a cemetery. I couldn't make out the names, and very few dates due to the fact they were old, crumbling reminders of those who lived before. Fog lingered at the edge of several feet from where I lay, so I couldn't see how large this plot was. Thus, I placed a glove onto the wet grass and pushed myself up until I stood. I felt something deep within me, pulling me towards the further reaches of the cemetery. I couldn't tell if it was fear or cold that caused the goosebumps to traverse the full span of my spine, but my feet carried me forward. A sudden cry of animals rang out through the quiet and a whimper escaped from my mouth. I cut it short by biting my lower lip. Still, my body continued one foot in front of the other. I knew not where I was going, but I did understand there was a destination to reach. I could feel something calling me and it scared me to think I would find out what it was. It didn't take long to discover the answer for there he was, standing alone in the clearing. Fog dissipated as I drew near. I was captivated at first sight. He was tall and lean, his long ruby hair flowed forward and down to hide his face. He wore leather and silk and a sword at his hip. His hand was outstretched towards me and I heard the whisper against my ear even this far away. "Come to me...." My eyes could not look away from him and while my mind told me to run!, my body ached to be by his side. I'd never felt so alive, every muscle tingling with a sensation that I could only attribute to his presence. The whisper came again on a cold, gentle breeze. The wind blew the grass and flowers around the clearing but did not touch his clothes or hair. I now stood before him, a gloved hand hovering over his. It wasn't until I laid it within his grasp that his head tilted up and I beheld a beauty unlike any I'd ever encountered in a man. If that's what you could call him. His sharp, handsome features could not distract from the red swirling orbs that were his eyes. I couldn't look away as so many questions rose up within my mind. Who was he? What was he? "Give yourself to me..." his lips formed the words in a voice so lyrical, my body almost threw itself at him. I then heard my own voice sounding a resound, "Yes." His hand pulled me close until I fell against his chest. He held me at my waist and then used his other hand to tilt my head to the side to expose my neck. Was he a vampire? Demon? Fear echoed so muffled inside my brain, warning me to flee from this creature. However, my heart was nearly doomed and spoke more loudly. And so, I closed my eyes. I felt his breath brush against the softness of my neck and trembled. He held me steady as if we were in a lover's embrace. His lips nearly scorched me with a heat that traveled down to my core. Then, I felt the pressure of twin sharp teeth. My body went rigid and my breath hung within my lungs. Was he going to bite me? It was then that I woke up with a start! The familiar surroundings of my bedroom quickly filtering into my thoughts, showing me I was safe. That it was just a dream. The same dream I've been having for over a week. Sweat beads lingered along the troubled brow, threatening to spill down along the flushed face of the young woman. Karie couldn't believe this. Another damn dream! She couldn't say it was the same dream, though the events began exactly as they had in previous times. Each time she had it, the more occurred. The first one was waking up in the musty, dark cemetery. The next, she'd looked at her surroundings. So forth... The back of palm wiped the moisture from her forehead before she tossed the covers away from her body. The tiny tank top worn with the matching shorts for pajamas was also soaked, which drew a wince from her. Her body still trembled occasionally from the shock of how close this last dream had gotten. As bare feet swung over the edge of the double sized bed, Karie reached up to the place along her neck where his lips had brushed against. Puffing the held breath out, she rose and walked in the dark room towards the adjacent bathroom. It wasn't even dawn yet. That meant today was going to be one hell of a long day. Her eyes squinted as the light switch was flipped to illuminate a very bright, white bathroom. She hated the aged and cracking tiles but finances didn't allow for her to change them at the moment. The faucet was turned on in the shower and she took the time to look at herself in the mirror while waiting for the water to turn hot. There were dark circles beneath her haunted looking eyes. She pulled the hair tie from behind her head and shook her two toned hair loose. She took a long hard look at herself before giving a shake of her head. "How could you?" she accused herself referring to the dream. Tonight had been the first time she'd given him an answer. The man stalking her dreams had asked her for the past five nights and she's always woken up before time permitted a reply. She moved to brush her teeth as a bit of steam finally rose behind her coming from the shower. It reminded her of the cemetery fog. "I need to get a grip, seriously... it was just a stupid dream," she told herself out loud. If only she could believe it. Karie knew it sure as hell felt real. ----- Life wasn't going to pause just because she'd lost a bit of sleep. Karie couldn't shake the feeling of his hands upon her or the twin points he'd placed against her neck. A loud, insistent beeping interrupted the current pensive moment as a delivery truck backed up into the alley. Morning grocery delivery half an hour late, per usual. Long, dark nails waved at the tips of fingers as Karie waved the man back into place before turning her palm forward to get him to halt. He still needed room to lower the ramp. "Joe! What have I told you about being late? Dammit, man..." Karie yelled at the heap of a man who hopped his heavy weight onto the ground. "Yea, yea... whatever. No onions today, and don't even start on me. I don't pick what gets put on the truck and what don't. I'm just the delivery guy." "Fuck me man, Cookie is going to kill us both where we stand!" she shook her head and reached for the clip board he handed her way so she could double check the inventory on the list. The two went about receiving her order and placing the next. Once the man had come and gone, a young woman exited with a dolly to help cart the food items inside. Karie thanked the girl but paused as she looked past the alley way opening and across the street. She couldn't know why her eyes were drawn into the dark space between those two buildings but something inside pulled her gaze. Fingers rose to comb through the loose blonde and black lengths away from her face. A shiver ran down the length of her spine and goosebumps rose along her skin, directly before the breeze hit her. Everything inside her told her to drop everything and run. What was she really afraid of? The door opened behind her and the moment was quickly gone. Karie smiled to the other woman and began helping her before they opened for the day. The pub was her livelihood and the lunch hour brought in more locals than at dinner. She had best stop being so distracted and get her skinny ass to work.