The pair went around the castle, Missi excitedly showing Michael every room they came across, she was like a child, she wanted to show him everything and her excitement was clearly escaping through her body with every movement she made.
She wanted to show him everything, she didn’t want him to lose any single room.
And Michael loved it.
He loved how in her happiness she was so eager to show him the mansion, he loved seeing her with such joy from doing such a basic thing as showing a house to a stranger, but… being alone all this time in that old, big place would surely make anyone happy to see whoever enter there.
They went around the castle for literal hours, she showing him even the most useless rooms, but despite the incessant exploration he wasn’t as tired as he thought he was going to be.
“Maybe her energy is contagious” He thought to himself.
After some more minutes of looking around, their expedition through the castle came to an end when both of them arrived to a beautifully decorated living room, shaped as a half circle, there was a chimney in the middle of the wall with two large windows by it’s side covered by two big and heavy red curtains with a golden yellow termination at the bottom of it. There were two bookshelves besides both windows and two other covered windows to the side of said bookshelves, opposing one another, and many candles lighting the room.
In front of the fireplace there were two armchairs facing each other with red cushions and with fine and perfectly craft decorations covering them and a little table made of wood between the two.
Missi walked toward one of the chairs and sat down, waving at Michael to come and sit as well.
Michael obeyed and walked towards the other armchair, but before he could sit he noticed something.
There was a cat sitting down in the middle of it, looking to be profoundly asleep.
“Emmm…” said Michael while pointing his finger at the cat.
“Oh sorry for that.” Said Missi
“Minouse! Come here sleepy kitty!”
Missi hadn’t call him out too loud, but that seemed to be enough for the cat to wake up.
Minouse looked at Missi for a moment before turning it’s head to the boy standing next to him.
Despite Minouse only having one functional eye, the look that it gave to Michael it sure as hell left him feeling uneasy. In fact, the fact that it only had one eye made it even worse.
The cat stayed focused on him for some more time, looking into his eyes, Michael was starting to feel nervous, and who would have thought that a cat could make anyone feel nervous!
“Minouse!” Missi shouted. “Leave our guest alone, you are scaring him!”.
With those words said, Minouse jumped off the cushion it was sleeping in and went straight into Missi’s arms, where he curled into a ball, but continue staring at him.
“Again, I’m sorry about that, is just that… Minouse is a very protective animal, you know? He cares a lot for me and he just wants to keep me safe.”
“I… I get it, yeah? Don’t worry.”
Michael finally sat down.
The cushions of the chair were incredibly soft, they were so comfortable, it felt so good to relax a bit after all the walking they had just done.
In there they sat in silence, looking into each other but being more focused in their own thoughts.
Many things were going through their minds, but one that both had in common was the appreciation for the moment of calmness they were just having, not a noise could be heard apart from the chirping of the candles illuminating the room, and it sound only added to the calm feeling of the room.
Michael looked to his side to see the fireplace off, he looked at Missi and before he could say anything, she took her cane and with a gentle move of it a powerful and imposing fire appeared on it.
Michael was surprised but what he had just seen, and looked at Missi in absolute disbelief to which she answered with a giggle.
“That’s magic, darling” Missi said with a bit of a cocky tone escaping her voice. “Are you impressed?”
“I think that you know the answer”
Missi laughed at his response, finding it really cute and funny.
“Oh darling, the more you stay here, the more weird things you are gonna see” Said Missi playfully “but don’t you worry yet, I’m sure that you will get used to it.”
“Weird things like what?” Asked Michael.
“Oh, you will see darling, you will see.”
A little silence took place after Missi answered his question, but it was broken by another question.
“Would you like something to drink?” Said Missi politely.
“Great! Tell me, would you like a little glass of blood?”
“Hahahahaha, just kidding, don’t worry, you are not going to drink blood… unless you want to.” Finished Missi with a mischievous smile.
Michael looked really nervous until Missi tried to relieve him with a more gentle voice.
“Hey, don’t worry, I’m not going to give you blood, don’t worry. Sorry if I made you believe that. I myself am not going to drink blood. I haven’t had a victim in a while and, despite you being human, I’m not going to take your blood out, I promise.”
Michael still wasn’t convinced and she noticed that.
“Look, I am a vampire and I do drink blood, but I AM NOT going to kill you Michael.”
“Why you are not going to kill me then?” Michael asked in a serious albeit scared voice.
“Michael, listen” Said Missi seriously. “If I wanted to swallow your blood, I would have done it when we were in the receiving hall or at any other time, but I didn’t.”
She brought up a good point. Michael needed to admit that, but… what if she was toying with him only for her own pleasure.
“You know why I didn’t kill you Michael?” Said Missi putting him out of his train of thoughts.
“Why?” Asked him with a trembling voice.
“Because you reminded me of who I was Michael.”
That phrase right there got him.
“Michael” Now it was Missi’s voice the one that was trembling. “You… you made me remember who I used to be. You… made me remember so many things that I have forgotten about myself…”
Missi looked down. All this was to hard for her.
Michael was feeling sorry for Missi, but when he was about to said something, she looked back at him, with a serious expression and with a reddish sclera and said:
She didn’t mutter any other words, she just laid back on her chair, but never broke line of sight with him, always fixated on his eyes.
Michael was weirded out about what had just happened. He was sure she was going to cry but her eyes had no tears coming down of them, she was thankful for what he had done but her expression was one of a statue.
Suddenly, Minouse got out of her lap and stood besides her chair.
Before Michael could do anything, a powerful force almost pushed him out of the chair making his heart almost stop.
But when he calmed down and notice what had happened, he replaced those feelings of fear with some melancholy.
That brute force that almost throw him out of his place was nothing more than Missi… hugging him.
She was tightly hugging him and pulling him as close as she could to her.
Her face was almost glued to his chest.
“If you were a vampire I wouldn’t be able to feel your heart. And I must say, it feels… good.”
“It feels so warm and… good, it just feels so good.”
Michael remained silent but nonetheless answered, in the only way he felt it was appropriate.
He hugged her back.
Both of them remained still for some moments, just letting the hug speak for both of them.
After it, both, slowly, let go.
But before Missi returned to her chair, she looked at Michael directly in the eyes.
He responded to the gesture with another smile.
She then parted away from him and went back to her chair, where Minouse, once upon she seated jumped again over her lap.
Missi looked at the little table that had been lifted to the side of the room because of her sudden jump towards Michael. She grabbed her cane and with a swift move the table was put back into place.
“Now, let’s start over again. Would you like something to drink?”
Her sobbing continued for quite some time. It was the only noise that resonated against the walls of the castle.
The boy stood there, listening to her cry, without saying a word.
Until it was enough.
“Missi…” The boy said in a soft voice.
Missi didn’t stop crying, despite having heard his voice, she just couldn’t contain herself.
“Missi” The boy repeated in a more serious and strong voice.
This time, she answered.
“What?” She replied in a voice broken by sadness.
“Missi, I’m really sorry about whatever happened to you, but please… Don’t cry”
“Why not?!” She took her face off her arms and looked at him in the eyes. Her expression completely consumed in a sea of anger and sadness.
“Why can’t I cry, eh?!” She got up and started to slowly walk towards him.
“I forgot about everyone I knew! I’m no longer who I used to be! Look at me! I am a monster!!!”
She finished her sentence right in front of his face. Both of them less than an inch from touching. Her face burning in anger at the request he had made. A river of tears going down her face that had even watered part of her clothes.
“Why can’t I cry?!”
“Missi… you can, is just that…”
“Is just that what?!”
“Is just that I cannot stand here watching you like this! I want to help you!” he said with determination in his voice.
“But how can you help me, heh?! You don’t know me, you know nothing about me! You are just a stranger that found me in a castle!”
Despite the anger in her voice, he didn’t back away, he had already spoken up and she wasn’t going to make him shut up; he was going to stand his ground.
“Yes, is true that for you I’m nothing more than a stranger. But for me, you are not a stranger. We have been looking for so much time; we have all been praying for so long, we have poured all our efforts to try to find you and put so much of ourselves in this searching that you are no longer a stranger to anyone!”
He remained silent a little moment before continuing.
“Your disappearance made everyone worried about you, the whole town was doing what they could to help your parents. Everyone wanted to find you. People didn’t sleep in the hopes of seeing you again. For many people you became more than just another person that got lost. Most of us took it personally; like we had lost someone we knew our whole life, like we had lost a close friend of ours, like we… had lost a part of our family”
“And, at least I, never want anyone I care about to be sad or in pain… I don’t want to see you like this Missi because… I care about you Missi… Everyone does”
Missi didn't say a word. She simply stood there. She wasn't angry at him anymore. She understood his message. She understood his feelings. He wanted to make her feel safe, to let her know that there were people out there that cared for her, that she wasn't alone.
That thought had hitted her the most.
Not being alone.
He was right in that regard. She wasn't alone, not anymore.
Without saying a word. Missi hugged the boy. It was a very tight hug. A hug to thank him for his words and to assure herself that it was true. That she wasn't alone anymore.
The sudden embrace took the boy by surprise. He hadn't expected it but he didn't reject it in the slightest, in fact, as the shock of the suddenness of the hug fade away, he liked it. A lot. And the only way to return such a beautiful action was to give it back to her. And so he did with a hug that was as tight as Missi’s hug was.
Missi realized something during this embrace. It was the first time since she became a vampire that she had gotten any contact with another human, she got what she was missing so dearly… And it was so much better than she thought it was going to be. Even if she hadn't thought of someone hugging her as her plan of human interaction. It felt so nice and warm that she didn't want it to end.
Missi was still crying but her tears changed their meaning. They were no longer because she saw herself as a disgusting being but because she was… happy, relief that she wasn't alone anymore. That, even if he didn't know this boy, he was there and that was all that matter. She made a little smile.
Both of them remained like this for a long time, completely still, just hugging in the middle of the enormous hallway.
Slowly, both parted away from the embrace and looked each other in the eyes.
Missi’s eyes were red because of the amount of tears she had cried and the trails of them going down her face were still visible, but she held a smile, a soft sweet smile.
The boy moved his hand toward his pocket and got a tissue from it.
“Here, use this” The boy offered kindly.
“Thank you” Said Missi in a weak but sweet voice.
After Missi had cleared the remains of her tears, both of them stood there, silent, just looking at each other.
“So… what’s your name?” The young vampire asked.
“Oh, sorry, I forgot to introduce myself.”
“Well, my name is Michael, Michael Lockhart.”
“Oh… that’s a nice name, I really like it.” Said Missi with some happiness escaping through her voice.
“Thank you, I’m glad you like it.” Said Michael while blushing a little bit at the complement.
After that, a silence formed again between the two, this time, awkwardness could be felt in the air.
“So… Em… Michael…” She said, breaking the silence. “Would you like to…” Missi couldn’t finish her sentence and looked away from him, embarrassment clearly visible on her face
“If I would like what Missi?” Asked Michael curious.
“Nothing, nothing, leave it.”
“Hey, don’t worry, you can tell me anything you want.”
“No really, it’s okay.”
“Em… okay, there’s no problem if you don’t want to tell me.”
Again, another awkward silence formed between the two, this one even more awkward then the first one.
“So, well…” Michael said. “Missi, I think that we should take you to the police, tell them we found you.”
“No we can’t!” Said Missi all of a sudden, a sudden sense of frighten appearing inside of her.
“Why not Missi? We…”
“Sorry, but you cannot tell the police that you found me.” Missi abruptly interrupted Michael. “You cannot tell anyone in fact, not your friends, nor your family and neither my family.”
“Why not?! I don’t get it! I finally found you after so much time we spent searching!”
“Because I am no longer human. I am something different. I am a monster… I am a vampire.”
“And what with that? It won’t matter to your family or anyone of us.”
“You think? I’m a blood sucking demon Michael, I’m a creature that comes at night and preys on them, I’m the boogeyman of many horror stories, I’m their fears, I’m… I’m this. I’m a freak. I’m an amusement. People won’t treat me the same as you. No one will. Not even my family will.” Missi said with each passing sentence becoming more and more melancholic then the other.
“And on top of that, I cannot go out during day time. I would be turn into ashes in mere seconds.”
Before Michael could respond to her statements, Missi added one more thing.
“Listen, Michael, I would love to go with you outside and see my family again, but I can’t, I simply can’t… yes? Please, understand why I cannot do it.”
Michael was frustrated, he had finally found the missing girl but he couldn't tell anyone. He couldn't bring her back to her family. It was something hard to accept but… He understood.
“I… I understand” said Michael. A big sense of frustration clearly present in his voice.
Missi raised her hand and slowly touched and caressed Michael right cheek.
“Michael, I know how hard and frustrating is to accept this, but please, listen to me about this. I’m just as frustrated as you are, I understand you anger, I feel it as well, but I don’t know if something can be done about my condition.”
“Could there be a way?”
“I… I sadly think that not.”
“I… I…. I guess I get it.”
Missi didn’t want to break his hopes of she becoming a human again, but she needed to be honest about the situation. She didn’t know if there was a way back.
She slowly moved her hand away from his cheek while another silence fell down between the two, but this time it wasn’t awkward, but… melancholic.
“I want to ask you something.”
“What is it?”
“I couldn’t ask you this before because I couldn’t find the courage to ask you, but…”
Missi remained silent a moment trying to muster up the courage to say those words that were burning inside of her.
And she finally let them out.
“Would you like to stay here a little bit?”
After saying that sentence, Missi covered her mouth and a deep blush could be seen covering her face.
“You… want me to stay here with you for a little bit?”
Missi couldn’t keep looking forward, she looked to her side and nodded her head as a response to his question.
She was never good at socializing when she was a human, and as a vampire… thinks didn’t get better.
Her head was rushing with thoughts as to what he was going to answer, her anxiety getting the best of her, would he laugh at the proposal? Would he said it was stupid? Would he get mad? Would he…
“Of course I can stay with you.”
That answer left her breathless.
She looked at him in shock and he was in there, standing with a smile.
“If you cannot come back to town, might as well visit your new house.”
Her train of thoughts was so big that she couldn’t utter any word, but she sure as hell understood what she was feeling.
She jumped at him with brutal strength, throwing him to the ground and tightly hugging him.
“Thank you so so so much!”
Michael was trapped underneath her, being squished by her brutal strength, but she loved that all this show of affection was positive, was from happiness. He thought he hadn’t made a big gesture, but was happy nonetheless that she was happy from what he said.
He returned the hug and tried to hold it for as long as possible, but Missi strength was starting to hurt her.
“Missi… I… It hurts.”
“Oh, sorry!” She let go off him and helped him stand up. “I… tend to be carried out by emotions.”
“It’s okay, don’t worry! Is just that… GOD, girl, you do have some force in those arms of you.”
“Ha ha, thanks.”
“So, well.” Michael said. “As you cannot go back to town, I can stay here with you, for as long as you like, so… can you show me around the castle?”
“Oh, of course, come with me.”
Missi grabbed his hand and both of them started to walk forward one of the doors of the mansion.
Despite Michael still having many questions about what had happened to her while she was missing and how she became… this. He could wait for some time, after all, she was happy and as far as he could see, safe and sound, so... his worries could wait for another time.