Fern opened her eyes and looked up at glass ceiling above her. Through the rain drops crowding the glass, she could see the dark cloud covered sky. Moving slowly, she sat up on the red plush sofa and looked around. She was in a conservatory, on one of four two seater sofas which were gathered around a long black table. Large green tropic plants were in the four corners.
Fern got up and went to what looked like a folding door. She peered outside and saw a lawn stretching before her and some potted plants. She tried the door handle and found it locked. Turning, she looked at the opposite door and walked over. The room beyond was dark and the door also locked. She pressed her ear against the glass and thought she heard laughter.
Going back to the sofa, she studied the room, but couldn’t see anything else or of use. She sat down and watched the rain falling outside. She thought about Brook and Dacian. What were they doing right now? Did they even know she was in trouble? Fern sighed and curled up on the sofa. She turned her thoughts and tried to plan how to escape.
The turning of a key and the door opening, had Fern snapping open her eyes. She sat up and saw Raphael walking in. He was wearing the same clothes from before and had a grin on his face.
‘What do you want?’ Fern demanded as she stood up.
‘Is that any way to talk to your rescuer?’ Raphael responded, walking towards her.
‘You didn’t rescue me!’
‘Come now, we both knew it’s the truth.’
Raphael smiled and sat down on the sofa opposite her’s. He folded his long arms and legs over and glanced at the rain.
‘It’s not,’ Fern hissed, ‘he locked me up for my own safety.’
Raphael shook his head and tutted, ‘let’s not talk any more about it.’
‘I want to leave. You can’t keep me here or…you’ll be just like my maker,’ Fern declared.
‘Fine,’ Raphael muttered, ‘you can’t leave. You owe me for saving you,’ he said loudly.
‘But you didn’t save me!’ Fern shouted.
She threw her arms up and began walking around the room. Even though she was no longer looking at Raphael she could still see him. The image of him sat so smugly burned before her. Fern stopped at the sofa furthest away from him and lent over the back of it.
‘It’s really not so bad here,’ Raphael broke the silence, ‘you must have felt lonely sometimes or like there was no one else to speak to but him. You don’t have to worry about that here, there are lots of others to talk to.’
‘How many?’ Fern put in.
‘There’s ten of us, you make eleven.’
‘Are you the leader?’
‘No. She’s not here at the moment,’ Raphael explained, ‘but you’ll meet her soon enough. I already asked for her permission to rescue and bring you here. You are to become my fledging.’
‘What? No, I belong to Brook,’ Fern snapped, ‘just go and find someone and turn them.’
Fern paused at the sadness in his tone and noted his downcast face.
‘We have strict rules here and you’ll learn them, quickly,’ Raphael continued, ‘one of the rules states we can’t turn humans unless the Princess says so and then she must decide who we pass our blood too.’
‘So, you steal other vampires’ fledglings to make up for it?’ Fern growled.
Raphael didn’t reply, but pulled a small face and began plucking at the arm of the sofa.
‘That’s really wrong,’ she added.
‘We give them a better life,’ Raphael came back, ‘we teach them how to use their abilities, how to hunt correctly, we look after them. Their makers don’t care.’
‘Well, mine does and I’d like to go back to him, so…’
Fern went to the door and turned the handle. It was locked. She turned to Raphael, who had his eyes fixed on the table. Her hands balled into fists and she felt a little shaky.
‘Did you hear me?’
‘Yes, but I can’t let you go. She won’t like it,’ Raphael pointed out.
‘I don’t care! Give me the key!’ Fern shouted.
Raphael snapped his head up and stared hard at her. Fern felt her legs began to shake harder and tiredness sinking into her limbs. She tried to fight it off, but the effort was too much.
‘You will stay here. Sit,’ Raphael commanded.
Fern obeyed. She sat down opposite him, hands on her knees and looking him straight in the eyes.
‘Now, repeat after me. You have no maker. I am your now guardian now.’
‘I have no maker,’ Fern said quietly, ‘you are my guardian now.’
‘Very good. Now, we must get you prepared to meet the Princess, come with me.’
Raphael stood and Fern followed him as he went to the door.
Trust will be back in the New Year, thanks for reading.