I have to admit, I was surprised when I opened my eyes again. As much as I believed that sleeping in that freezer was my only hope of being somewhat safe...I had almost expected someone to find me there during the day. Maybe...a part of me even prayed for it. It would have been more comforting to know that I would have burned to a crisp while locked away in a dream, gone from this world and everyhing in it as my body withered away to nothing. No more fears, no more heartache, no more vengence. But I didn't fade away. I didn't get the easy way out of this predicament. And that means that I still have work to do. There is only one more person on my list. And it's time to find out how I can arrange a little one on one reunion between me and him.

My once pummeled face finally felt like it was mine again. The bruises had gone down a LOT, even though I'm sure that I was still sporting the remnants of a shiner over one eye, and my lip felt like it was still a little split. My arms had healed completely with the exception of a painful ache that ran from my shoulder all the way down to my fingertips. A huge improvement from having bones shooting out from the elbow, but a discomfort nonetheless. The patch of hair that Barry had ripped out had grown back considerably, but it wasn't quite the length it was before. So my hair was a bit uneven, but by tomorrow night I'm sure it'll be at its regular length again. There was a gentle shiver inside of me that warned of something I wasn't quite prepared for. I had lost a lot of blood last night, and even more the night before that. Could it be that I've deleted that much of my supply already? I didn't want to hunt again. Not ever again. But if I don't, I won't be at full potency when I face Vincent once and for all. No...no I'm not going to feed again. I don't want to take another human life. Not one more. I've got to be strong. I've got to stand up and bear it. I used my feet to kick up the door of the freezer, and I crawled out of it to reconnect my feet to the alley again. I took the garbage bags off of me, and tried to ignore the smell. God, I need a shower.

I made sure that my legs were working right again, and then started the long walk home. One more. That's all I have left, just one more kill. It was a strange feeling of peaceful anticipation that swept over me at that minute. The idea that the long road I had traveled to get to this point was almost reaching its end. It's ultimate reward. The feeling that...after all I've been through, and all I've suffered...there was but one obstacle left. And destroying it would be easy. The others were. Finally...I was being given the opportunity to rest my weary mind. Soon it will be all over. And my resurrection in darkness will have had a purpose. The purpose that my life was never allowed to fulfill. A purpose snatched away prematurely by an uncaring group of renegade vampires looking for a snack. It's going to feel good to feel that sensation of worth again. Of destiny. Of justice.

By the time I had finished taking the long walk home to the Talbot house, my mind had exhausted itself of the images of Patrick's smile, his kiss, his embrace. Things I knew that I might never experience again. Did it hurt? Of course it did. But this went beyond what I was feeling at the moment. I'll be gone soon, and my pain won't matter anymore. It's a far better thing that I do for his sake, than to stand alone and satisfy my own desire to hold onto him for longer than necessary. I was moving on. I needed to pave the road for him to do the same. Even if it was in the opposite direction.

I opened the front door with my key, and walked into the house. I was a bit weary from the walk, not to mention the fatigue lingering on from the night before. I shut the door behind me, half expecting to hear Patrick's music playing in the upstairs bedroom. I didn't. I thought I might run into Mr. Talbot in his study, sitting by the fireplace and drinking his nightly elixir before going out to work again. I didn't. The house was quiet. Well lit, but quiet.

I still reeked of trash and blood and sweat. I just wanted to get into the shower and wash some of this grime off of me. So I opened up the basement door, and walked downstairs into my little hovel of a habitat there. I took my coat off and kicked off my shoes, happy to finally get myself out of those blood soaked clothes. There was no need to wash them. They were beyond 'cleaning'. And besides, they had practically been ripped to shreds.

I dropped clothes all over the floor on the way to the shower, and climbed in. The warm water felt so good on the back of my neck. It soothed me instantly, washing off what felt like years worth of mud and dirt and outright 'stink'. As I ran my soapy hands over my body, I noticed that all of my bite marks were gone. My arms, my legs, all of them...except one. I could still feel the deep grooves in my neck. It was a jagged texture of chewed up flesh where I had been originally bitten. Right there where my life essence was drained the most. But that one is never going to heal, is it? Not that one. Because...the boy who gave me that particular bite...just so happens to be my father in darkness. It was his bite, his venom, that brought me into darkness. Vincent was my sire, and his mark was going to be a part of me for as long as I allowed myself to live. Hopefully...that won't be much longer.

As I cleaned myself up and washed off the soap, I felt the bite marks in my neck begin to burn and itch violently. I guess that just touching it made it flare up. It hurt. I had to wince from the pain and held my hand against it while I finished my shower. I wish I had the power to rid myself of his disgusting scar, but I didn't. Not at all. I was stuck with it, and that was that. Too bad. I would have loved to die just as I came into this world...flawless.

I got out of the shower and dressed in something light. I had hours left before the dawn, and I was going to need it to scan every page of Spaz's notebook and find out where Vincent would be hiding himself these days. He could be anywhere. It was just a matter of finding a certain 'pattern' in his behavior. It's going to take some studying and all, but I'm definitely gonna look into it more tonight. He's GOTTA be in there somewhere! He's just GOTTA be!

As I walked back into the room, gathering my stained clothes up in a heap, I felt the burn in the side of my neck again. Shit! Why the hell is this mark acting up like this all of the sudden. Maybe because it's the last one left. Maybe because my body is still going haywire from the beating I took last night. Or....or maybe....

The concept hadn't even crossed my mind fully yet..when all of the sudden, all of the lights in the house went dead. The lamps, the tvs, the digital clocks, everything. In the blink of an eye, I was standing in pitch black darkness. I looked around the room, my night vision adjusting to the lack of light, and became extremely aware of the fact that this house was a lot more silent than it was supposed to be.

I walked up to the top of the stairs and opened the basement door to let me back into the main part of the house. "Patrick?" I called out. There was no answer. The whole house was dark. "Mr. Talbot?" I called out again. No answer. I thought it might have been a power outtage, but when I looked out of the front window...I saw that the neighbors across the street still had their Christmas lights on just fine. "Patrick?? Mr. Talbot??" I walked through the darkness, and noticed that the fireplace was still lit. Mr. Talbot would have never left that house with a roaring fire going in the fireplace. Not even for a second. He was much too cautious for that. This was wrong. Very wrong.

The itch in my neck got stronger, burned with a renewed fever, and just as my mind was preparing itself to realize what it already knew was true...I heard a voice coming from the top of the stairs. "You're late. I expected you hours ago."

It was calm. It was steady. But I couldn't forget that voice. Not ever. Vincent...was here.

I looked above me, and there he was, leaning against the railing. Not a day older than he was the night he stole my life from me. And still sporting the same smirk. "Surprised?" He asked. "I guess that makes two of us. You know, if we went through all of that trouble to drain you of blood, the very LEAST you could do is die with some dignity. If I thought for one second that you would have become such a problem child...I would have crossed you over on 'purpose' and invited you to join the rest of us." He grinned. "You've been leaving quite a mess around town the past few days, my friend. Spaz, Trixie, Duffy...and Carolyn...genius. I didn't think you had it in you, boy."

"They had it coming." I said, physically trying to hold myself still. What was he doing here? How did he find me? Shit...the vibrations inside were flaring up worse than ever. The emotional turbulence in my stomach felt like it was ripping me apart, fighting to be free.

Vincent walked down the stairs a little bit, looking at the partially healed bruises on my face. "Hehehe, let me guess. Barry, right? I take it you didn't have as much luck with him as you did the others. He can be quite the brawler."

"Not any more." I sneered.

His eyes widened a bit, and he gave me some applause. "Wow....bravo! You know, you're tougher than I gave you credit for. That's really something." He said, walking further down those steps, getting closer to me. "You might really have me shaking in my sneakers if I gave a damn about a single one of them."

"Funny. I thought they were your friends?"

"We hunted together whenever we got hungry, and occassionally shared a few laughs afterwards. Nothing more. As far as I'm concerned, they were more my 'co-workers' than my friends." He told me as he hit the bottom step and leaned closer to me. Being this close to him again, smelling his scent, hearing his voice...there was a locked door inside of my mind that suddenly burst wide open all over again. And the horror of that night came pouring out of it in abundance. An overwhelming sensation of desperation washed over me, and it was hard to try to contain it as I tried my best to appear strong in the presence of such evil. "You know, I always hated this fucking thing." Vincent said, tossing Spaz's notebook on the floor in front of me. He must have gotten it from my room. "I told Spaz not to write down our whereabouts and our activities on anything concrete, but that flaky spice head just wouldn't listen. Serves him right. He deserved to get caught." Vincent looked me in the eye. "You see...I don't make the mistake of getting too attached to the people around me. I don't make friends, I don't have hang ups, I don't skip off into the night singing about love and happiness. I live, I feed, and I party. And when I wake up the next night, I start all over again. No guilt. No regrets. No attachments." He then whispered, "I'm willing to bet....at a time like this...you wish you could be able to say the same."

What??? What does that mean??? The energy inside struggled even harder, the hatred spreading out to every part of my body. I clenched my fists, trying to hold it in. Not now! PLEASE, not now! I shouted out, "PATRICK!!! MR. TALBOT!!! WHERE ARE YOU???"

"Keep shouting, go ahead. Here, I'll help you." He grinned. "Oh Patrick? Are you hear Patrick? Are you ok, love muffin?"

"What did you DO to them?!?!" I said, my fury pushing past the fear and burning hotter with ever breath.

"Oh they're here, in this house. Somewhere. After tying them up, I kinda came down here and swiped some of the old man's Whiskey. Just to pass the time while waiting for you to come home, little butterfly."

"How did you find me here?"

"Oh please! Are you kidding me? To think that I didn't scan every piece of your worthless human mind before the first bite is downright insulting." He said. "Yes, I knew everything about you, Lucas. Everything. Why do you think I chose you? Why do you think I led you into that alley that night? You were weak. Weak, and alone, and innocent. Frankly, those traits are practically orgasmic when it comes to hunting for food. All I had to do was narrow down your usual spots down to places where you would feel safe. This was the logical conclusion. And to think...you were living with an actual slag hunter? That is SO illegal. Hehehe...you are one lucky son of a bitch to have lasted this long."

"You have no idea....how much I've been waiting to repay you for what you've done." I said, my voice trembling with disgust.

"What did I do? Huh? Tell me." He said. "You didn't appreciate your life. You weren't thanking God almighty for the blessings in your life everyday. You were coasting through your world on a cloud with a thick silver lining that never went away. What did the world actually 'lose' by not having you in it?" Vincent walked over and leaned against the wall in front of me. "Yeah, I looked into your mind that night when you were coming home from that party. And you know what? People like you make me sick. THAT'S why I wanted you. You don't know what pain is. You have no fucking clue what it's like to be desperate, or alone, on unloved. You don't know what it's like to be beaten down by life and society, or to try to exist with some level of pride when every opportunity has been snatched away from you. LOOK at you! A pretty little suburban white boy with long blond hair...good grades, nice house, namebrand clothes...you're a fucking Barbie doll with a dick! You couldn't experience failure if you tried. The whole WORLD is open to you. People are willing to bend over backwards to make things happen for you, and you take it for granted. You skate on the surface of life, with your nose in the air, gliding right by everybody else, pretending that you have 'real' problems while others are struggling to survive. Have you any idea what it's like...to place bets on whether or not you're going to get the opportunity to 'eat' today? Do you?" He snarled. "I have bled more people than you can possibly imagine in my 21 years in darkness...and while I remember exactly what it was like to go to bed starving...I can assure that I haven't spent a single night hungry since."

"You took everything from me..."

"You weren't strong enough to hold ON to it. Therefore, you didn't deserve it."

"You didn't have the RIGHT!"

"I didn't NEED the right, kid! I had the POWER! And when you're walking around the dark alleys of the big city, power is all that matters." He told me.

The hatred reached a boiling point inside. He murdered me for nothing. For NOTHING! "I'm going to enjoy sending you to hell where you belong, Vincent."

"Spare me the melodramatic death threats, will ya? You're about as intimidating as a warm glass of milk. You're not even mildly entertaining at this point." He snickered. "I know you think that you've transformed into some sort of unstoppable badass in the last two years, and I'm sure that your recent successes with my so-called companions has pushed your ego into orbit over it. But what the others failed to understand is that you're no different, no stronger or better, than that sobbing little brat we drained in that alley. Your little temper tantrum doesn't fool me. And you wanna know why? Because you allow yourself to remain weak through your attachments. You thought that you could just hunt me down, and I'd beg for mercy while you drive a stake through my heart...but you haven't thought about the details. You haven't planned this out. You didn't consider the fact that I could walk into this house one night while you were gone, and rip your little bitch boyfriend's throat out. You didn't think about the fact that I could find out Russell Talbot's slag hunter route in the streets and have a little 'private party' waiting for him and his partner at he end of some dark city street." Then, he chilled me when he whispered, "And you never once thouht to protect your mom...and your baby sister. You never thought about me paying them a little visit...and covering your old bedroom walls with their blood. You've put everyone you've ever loved in jeopardy, and I was the only one who took time to notice that." He stepped back with a smirk. "Despite all your efforts, boy, I've got you locked in a checkmate. As long as you care about someone other than yourself, there will always be an opportunity to really hit you where it hurts. I can make life so unbearable for you that you'd be better off directing that long saber of yours at your own heart to rid yourself of the pain. When I'm done...no amount of vengence will ever be enough to make you whole again."

"I won't let you hurt them..." I said, feeling a tear drip from my eye.

"You can't stop me."

"Fuck you! If you lay one hand on any of them, I'll..."

"You'll what? Cry like a baby? Sit in the dark and pout? What exactly are you going to do to me...if I decide, on a whim, to murder the ones you care about most?" He asked, daring me to provide an answer. "You see? Weakness. That's not bravery you feel pumping through your veins right now. It's anger. It's FEAR. It's a chemical reaction based on the coflicting emotions in your own heart. And...while that may be great for helping you win a little league game of baseball or something...it isn't a very effective weapon against someone like me. You're more likely to hurt yourself than ruffle my feathers, kid."

I gritted my teeth, and balled my fists up. The panic was there. The fear. The fury. All the things that Vincent told me I was feeling...they were right there at the gates, waiting to burst forward and go to war. But this time, they had a leader. A general capable of focusing my emotions in the right direction. It was love. Where I had pushed thoughts of Patrick and his father aside before...this time I embraced them, and it made me stronger than ever before. "I'm only going to ask you this one time, Vincent...and one time only. Where are they?" I said, my remaining fang sliding down from my gums, my eyes adopting their crimson glow.

"Hehehe, you're really going to go through with this aren't you?" He said with a grin. "You're even dumber than I thought." He glanced upstairs, "They're up there. In the upstairs guestroom. Don't worry, they're tied up pretty tight. Gagged too. Although...I'm sure sweet little Patrick knows all about 'gagging', doesn't he? I'm sure he's used to it."

I didn't say anything. I merely turned away from Vincent and began walking up the steps. But by the time I had reached the top, he was already there waiting for me. "Get out of my way!"

"I don't think so. You see, the best thing about revenge is....it works both ways." And he suddenly disappeared from my sight in a flash, and I saw the guestroom door fly open.

"PATRICK!!!!" I rushed into the room to see Vincent holding Patrick's head up, a knife positioned at his throat. Both him and Mr. talbot were tied to chairs from the kitchen, with rags stuffed in their mouth, and packing tape holding it in place. "You son of a BITCH!!!"

"Ah ah...temper temper. You've really got to learn to control those unhealthy urges of yours. They make you SO violent." He said, pressing the blade closely against Patrick's neck as a tear ran out of his eye. Mr. Talbot was struggling and bouncing around in his chair, trying his best to get loose, but it was a useless effort. He was tied down too tight. "I'll tell you what, I'll make you a deal." He said. "You've lost an awful lot of blood in the last few days, you've GOTTA be getting hungry again by now. So how about this? Kill the old man. Bite into his throat, and eat until your belly's full. Do that...and I'll let the pretty boy go. What do you say?"

"This isn't a game!" I shouted.

"Oh, but it IS a game, my friend. A game of 'pick and choose'. I created you, and I don't want my baby to go hungry. So 'spill' this old geezer and get your nutrients, and you have my word that your boyfriend gets to live." He told me. "Or...I can slit the boy's throat, and kill the old man myself. You dare me? It might be fun."

"Please...." I whimpered, my emotions giving me away, my rage leaving me to stand alone when I needed it's strength the most. "....Just...leave them out of it. They have nothing to do with this. Please."

"They have everything to do with this, Lucas. These are your weakest links. Your achilles heel. You MADE them a part of this madness by simply keeping them close to your heart." Vincent's smile began to fade, and a frown took it's place. "When you dare to take something from me, I always come to collect. Always. You? I can only kill you once. But your friends? Your family? Oh dear boy...I can kill them again, and again, and again...until you simply run out. Hehehe, isn't that great? It's like I'm holding an endless supply of pain and regret, right here in the palm of my hand." I watched as he knicked Patrick on purpose...and as a trickle of blood ran down his neck, he leaned forward to lick it off. "Mmmmm...tastes like strawberry syrup!"

Something changed inside of me. Something went sour, and began to rot away the second I saw my boyfriend's blood shed. I began to shake gently, an icy cold sensation sliding slowly up and down my spine. As though giving me a signal. As though it was telling me....it's time. "Vincent...there's no reason for you to take your anger out on them, ok? I did this to you. I murdered your friends. You want me instead."

"Oh, don't worry...I certainly plan to make sure that you get your turn. It's just a matter of how much I want you to suffer beforehand." He grinned as my hands began to shake, the fists balled so tightly that I nearly drew blood from my palms. What's going on? What am I doing? "Look at you, you're trembling already. This is fun, isn't it?"

"I tried to appeal to your sense of understanding, Vincent. Now...I'm warning you...take that knife away from my boyfriend's throat, before I 'take' it from you." Was it me talking? Or was it some darker part of me that had been sitting in silence from the very beginning. Some murderous vampire instinct that I have been supressing deep down inside...only releasing it a little bit at the time as needed. Using it in moderation as I attempted to keep my sanity and rational thoughts in tact. But somehow...all of that restraint was being pushed aside for something much more evil. Much more resistant to fear than I could ever hope to be. Mr. Talbot and my feelings for my boyfriend were my only anchor, my only salvation from the terror inside. But there was no stopping it this time. No opportunity to breathe easy or slow things down. The nightfall energy was taking control of my body and soul, rushing up to the surface, polluting my thoughts, consuming my very nature. It became so powerful that my body actually began to glow black in the dimly lit room. The darkness spread, and a maddening grin suddenly began to spread out on my face.

"You think your little tricks are going to be of any use here?" Vincent said, "You're pathetic, kid. Less than nothing. You're entire existence in this world is a fucking MISTAKE. You're not HALF the vampire I am." But his words fell on deaf ears. All I could see...was the knife still pressed firmly against the neck of the boy I loved more than life itself. The boy I was willing to die for without hesitation. All I could do was stare into Patrick's eyes as even he became confused about what he suddenly saw in me. I think Mr. Talbot could see it too. The energ building up. The unrestricted rage that was now flooding my system...as the nightfall took control. My humanity had proven itself incapable of handling the current situation. The anger in my heart was relieving it of its command.

"Are you not listening to me?" Vincent asked. Well, let me see if I can get your boyfriend here to scream out my point." He said, and he moved his hand with the intention of cutting his throat open. But to me and my senses, it was as if he was moving in slow motion.

The nightfall locked onto him immediately, and without taking so much as a simple step forward...the darkness leapt out of my fingertips, and tightly wrapped itself around Vincent's face, yanking him back so fast that he dropped the knife at Patrick's feet and was slammed against the wall behind him. My mind and the nightfall fused themselves together. It was like being locked in a nightmare of intense fury. I felt as though I had the power to punch a hole in the world at that moment, and my lust for that power made me giggle outloud to myself. Vincent looked at me with his eyes wide, not so sure that he knew what was happening as he saw the full power of my extra manifesting itself right before his eyes. I had never taken it this far before. The screams, the gasping for air, the panic attacks...all side effects caused by me trying desperately to keep the malevolent wrath under control. Struggling with the choice to hold the hatred at bay for fear that I wouldn't be able to find my way back if I wandered too far into the darkness. But it was too late for that now. Pandora's box had been opened, and there was no way to quiet the energies flowing within me now. If never find my way back to my sanity...then so be it.

For the first time since I had first experienced the nightfall...my mind was completely free of conflict. Free of fear. There were no rumbles in my stomach, no guilty screams in my conscience. Just a method to do what had to be done.

I slowly turned towards Vincent, facing him at last, and before his speed allowed him to get back on his feet, another long powerful tentacle of pure darkness lashed out to hold him still. It crawled up his legs and began to cover his chest. He tried to fight it off, but it was stuck on him. So tightly that he could barely breathe. I bent down to pick up the knife at Patrick's feet, holding it firmly as I prepared to sink it deep into Vincent's chest as many times as it would allow before he collapsed into a bloody mess. But...for one moment...one swift moment...I saw the aqua green color of my boyfriend's eyes, shining brightly through his tears...and I paused. There was almost a part of my humanity that wanted to reach out and touch those golden curls of his just one more time. To taste his kiss. To feel his embrace. But no...I couldn't do that. Not now. I have a job to do.

Vincent took the opportunity to swiftly get up and rapidly run through the bedroom door. He was fast, but the darkness was faster. Without even looking, I simply willed it to retrieve him...and the nightfall did my bidding without question. It raced him down the steps, the shadows reaching out to grab his arms and legs, restricting his movement, and holding him still for me as I removed Patrick's gag from his mouth. "I love you...." I said, but the voice wasn't my own. It was some supernatural hum that I didn't even recognize when I heard it. I kissed him lightly on the forehead, and then turned to Mr. Talbot to remove his gag as well. Down at the bottom of the steps, I could feel Vincent struggling. Clawing and spinning and tearing at the darkness as though he had any chance of escaping its grasp. The nightfall had been building up over time, waiting for years just to experience this moment. There was no way that it would let him go now.

Mr. Talbot looked into my eyes, and reacted as though he hardly saw even a faint trace of Lucas left in my appearance. In fact, he almost seemed afraid of me. I didn't untie them. I'd alert someone to what happened later, and maybe they could do that for me. But I was leaving once this was overwith. They both knew it. And they both knew I wouldn't allow them to stop me. So...with a nod, I silently told Mr. Talbot goodbye. Surprisingly, with some emotional hesitation, he nodded back. I don't think they saw a single trace of Lucas left in the dark image in front of them. And even though it felt as though my emotions had gone numb, there was still a beam of light that penetrated the void inside. A light that reminded me of Patrick's love, and how Mr. Talbot took me in and took care of me. It reminded me to be grateful. Thankful. And I was. So much so...that I refused to bring this horror to their doorstep ever again. It wasn't worth it.

I left the room, and slowly made my way down the steps....like a hungry spider towards the meal caught in its web. "You haven't won anything! You hear me! Fuck you! I MADE you! You hear me! You're here only because of MY bite, and I DEMAND that you release me!" He shouted, not getting a single flinch out of me as I crept closer. "I watched you die! I laughed at you while you begged for your worthless fucking yuppie life! And I know you're still terrified of me! You feel it! I know you do! When I get out of this, I'm going to tear your limbs off of you and drain you dry! JUST like before! And then I'm going to rip your family apart! One by one! And I'm gonna make you watch it all!" As I passed Vincent and continued to walk forward...the darkness tightened around his arms and legs, and dragged him helplessly behind me. It swirled like a black aura, a fog of sorts, but it tangled him up beyond his ability to resist, and he had no choice but to follow me out into the backyard. He clawed at the floor, held onto the back steps, and then dug up large mounds of dirt as I walked effortlessly forward until he was far enough away from the house. It was there that I turned to face him...and prepared to finish this once and for all.

"If you wanted to scream...now would be the time." I said softly, and with that, the nightfall began to pour out of me uncontrollably. The hungry liquid shadow began to envelope him from all sides while he struggled to get free. It seeped into his every pour, flooding him with the pain and suffering that I had been living with for so long. I didn't hold it back, not a drop. The nightfall was unleashed, and he could barely stand it. He sprung forward and flew at me top speed, the darkness stopping him just inches from my face. His fangs were down, his eyes red, his claws fully extended. The view was as monsterous as you can imagine. He hissed and snarled and lashed out at me with all of his strength, with teeth and claws trying their hardest to rip me open. But the darkness held him still...suspended before me, helpless, while I just looked at him without batting an eye. There was nothing left to fear from this man. He didn't have much longer to live.

The black cloud brutally tossed him back to the ground where it held him on his back, and continued to invade his body from every angle. He started to scream out in pain as the energy angrily ate away at his senses, but the second he opened his mouth, the nightfall filled him up even faster, forcing him to swallow it down in giant gulps. He fought it. He fought it every inch of the way. And nothing could satisfy me more, because I knew it hurt. When he began to go into convulsions, his body overcome with nearly back breaking spasms, a smile crossed my lips. The panic was gone. It was his now. He can have it. I wouldn't be needing it anymore. Vincent shivered and whimpered, trembling, his eyes now looking at me as though he were pleading with me to stop. I only wish he had the courage to open his lips and say the words. It would have been the sweetest chime my ears have ever heard.

More and more he was being erased in front of my very eyes, and at last...when his eyes went black...the last thing Vincent saw was me grinning down at him. Celebrating his demise the way he once celebrated mine. When he gets to hell...I'm glad that my face will be the last thing he remembers. Especially since I'm sure to join him there not long after. And when my soul gets claimed by satan himself...I'll go right back to hunting them again in the afterlife. My rage runs that deep.

Vincent's body became so bloated, so full of the nightfall, that I actually heard bones snapping from the pressure. Muscles pushed and stretched until they tore themselves apart, the eyes almost bursting inside of his skull. And finally...his heart was crushed under the weight of it all. Squeezed shut until it could beat no more. And it wasn't until that moment, that the nightfall retracted, and released him from its icy grip.

It is done. At long last...it is finally done.

It was gradual, my return to a tamed mindstate. The nightfall pulled itself back, and retreated to a darker place inside my heart. A place...I was always afraid existed, but never wanted to explore. I was lucky that it didn't claim complete control of everything I am, and take my soul for its own. I hardly had any idea of what it was truly capable of. And I've got the feeling that what it did to Vincent was just a 'taste' of the horror it could bring to the table.

I looked down at Vincent's swollen and broken corpse, still shaking as what was left of his mind struggled to find its way out of that cold, dark, prison. I'll take the body with me. Out where I'll sit it up by the lake. And we can both await our final sunrise together. Sire and son. No more death. No more hunting. No more pain. Not for me...and not for Patrick.

I took a moment to look up one last time at his bedroom window. I just....stared at it for the longest time. Remembering the echoes of that boy's laughter. The way he use to sigh whenever his lips touched mine. The way he whimpered so sensually whenever we made love. That boy was my life. He was all the humanity that I had left in this world. And the only way to protect it...was to leave it behind....


I felt tears slide down my cheeks as I pulled my gaze away from that window. Seeing just a hint of the heart he had drawn on it with his finger. I couldn't bear to look any more. I didn't want to remember. I just wanted to make it until dawn. And have it be over.

I took Vincent's body and wrapped it in bags, to take with me. I made the call from a public phone down the street, so that Patrick and his father could be set free. I knew they would look for me. But they won't find me. Not in time.

A 'sun quest' they call it. A vampire suicide of sorts. A sacrifice for a better existence. Or at least...to end the one we already have. A 'sun quest'....I like that. Perhaps...it won't be so bad. To just...sleep. Just....sleep.

Goodbye Patrick. I'll love you always.

Please forgive me.

Five Years Later...

It had been a very long wait. Out in that frosted night air, my breath appearing in the winter breeze like small clouds of smoke. But the patience I maintained that evening was definitely worth it. More than worth it. As I had finally found the very thing that I was looking for.

I stooped down on that ledge like a hawk, ready to strike. Even with the gentle crackle of ice breaking beneath my feet on the rooftop's edge, I didn't slip. I remained stationary as the skies fluttered with a few last minute snowflakes for the evening. Even with frozen lips and a nose that had turned numb with the chill in the air, I could feel a wicked grin spread out across my face as I saw him walk out of an office building in downtown New York. I had lost track of him for a while, but had somehow picked up some useful leads in the last few months. I should have known that I wouldn't be able to let him go. Not even if I tried.

Patrick was a man now. He had even grown a small shade of stubble where his face was once so smooth. Just look at him. His jaw had become so square, his cheekbones so pronounced. His blond curls were cut slightly shorter than I remember, but they never lost their shine. And neither did the beauty of his blue green eyes. I know he was an older man of 23 now...just out of college and working as a journalist...and I was happy for him. But to me? He'll always be that lovely sixteen year old boy, who once took a chance on loving an idiot like me....and changed my life forever.

For a moment, I thought he had sensed me near, as he suddenly looked up to the rooftop, squinting his eyes slightly to peer into the dark. I hid behind a small chimney, hoping that he didn't see the falling snow that my foot had accidently kicked over the edge. I stayed perfectly still in those shadows, and waited for him to shake off the sensation and get into his car. As he slowly drove off to continue his life without me...I felt a certain bittersweet sense of accomplishment inside me. A victory and a loss combined. Just to lay my eyes on him again was an emotional experience that I almost couldn't bear. But as the nightfall wrapped itself around me, almost lovingly...as if it had the ability to create anything but destruction...I felt at home again. My humanity was alive and well...and it exists in the eyes of the man I love. I need nothing more than that.

I looked down at the rest of the city, and it wasn't all that different from Chicago. Vampires walk these streets in abundance. Searching for donors to feed their sickening hunger, night after night. They are waiting to pounce on someone, and steal their lives from them as well. The same way Vincent and his crew had done to me all those years ago. Vincent burned for his mistake...but I moved. I suppose that my life was meant to continue for a bit longer. The nightfall tells me what to do now, with little input of my own. It only took that one release to give it control...but it was worth it. It was worth it because it allowed me to realize that no matter how much the darkness seeps into my heart...love is always there to guide me home. That light is still there. Still shining brightly. It is the one place that the nightfall can never touch, and can never take away. It is there that my love for Patrick is the strongest. And I will hold onto it for the rest of eternity.

Let all vampires in this city beware. Because there is a very dark angel watching....and there is one donor who is never to be touched. Never to be taken. Never to be turned. I will protect him with sword and fury for the rest of his days on this Earth. Heaven help the creature brave enough to hunt for him, or attempt to corner him in some dark alley. I won't allow it. I will bring pain, death, and all of hell's fury down upon those who would do him any harm.

I am always watching. Always. So to all of you children of the night, lurking in those dark shadows, waiting for an unsuspecting victim to prolong your disgusting existence...the nightfall energy will not be forgiving in its judgement.

You'd do well to remember that.

I certainly hope that you guys enjoyed this little mini-series! I certainly enjoyed writing it! If you liked it, be sure to check out the "Gone From Daylight" series as well! It's MUCH longer, believe me! Hehehe! And it created this particular 'breed' of vampire mythology, so I hope you like it! Please let me know what you think at Comicality@webtv.net when you get the chance! I'd love to hear from you! Visit me at http://comicality.gayauthors.org and say hello! :)

Also, if any of you have any ideas of your own for a vampire story (Or if you want to use the characters from this one), or if you've written one before and just wanna display it with a growing population of other vampire tales, feel free to send it to us! Just submit it to the "Blood Bank"! All submissions are more than welcome! (Fiction, poetry, pics, drawings, video clips, etc, also welcome!) So stop by and check us out! Cool? Thanks for reading! And I'll seezya soon!