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It was dark. Late November rain pattered against the fragile glass window all the way at the end of the room. Madeleine clutched the thin blanket to her chest. She hated the dark. She hated not being able to sleep at such a late hour. She was afraid to move. Scared something in the dark of her room could see her, and she couldn’t see it. She wanted to get out of bed and go to Daniel, but she was afraid she wouldn’t even make it to the door. Goosebumps washed over her entire being, inside and out, as she pushed the covers off of her as quickly as possible, and stumbled to the door, yanking it open, and storming down the hall to Daniel’s study.
She stood at the doorway, peeking through the slight crack from which it was opened. She studied him for a few seconds, awaiting when and how to just walk in in the middle of the night. She felt something breathing over her, watching him intently as well over her shoulder. She slowly turned her head behind her, and felt a slight breeze as if something or someone was quickly running away. Whatever it was, it scurried behind the wall of the staircase. Madeleine was only 9, so of course she would be scared and imagine such things. She pushed the door slowly, not to alarm Daniel, but her plan failed. The door let out a loud creak from the small nudge she gave it, and Daniel turned around in his swivel chair, eyes locking with Madeleine’s. Daniel gave out a sigh, and took off his reading glasses. Madeleine pushed the door fully open, starting to sniffle. Daniel beckoned her over, and she slowly trudged toward him.
Madeleine sat in his lap as he soothingly cradled her in his arms. He dug a hand in her dirty blonde hair behind her neck, and rested his cheek against her head. Daniel wasn’t her father, or her sibling. They weren’t related at all. Daniel was her guardian. He’d actually found her on his porch one night. She was almost unconscious, barely breathing. He had no idea how long he had been gone, for he had lost track of time. He had no idea how long she was on his porch. He had had a night with a hooker and refused against his mind to stay with her that night. They meant nothing to him. It was useless pleasure given to him. He was grieving for his wife, Cassandra whom he had lost in a house fire the year before... and their unborn baby. He used to visit her grave everyday... That was before Madeleine came into his life. He barely has enough time to visit so much as the graves with such a big responsibility granted on him. She was probably freezing, for being left in that cold December air, she only had a silk woven cloth wrapped around her small body. Her lips had been a deep blue. He held her in the inside of his jacket for warmth while rushing for the nearest hospital.
Madeleine rested her head against Daniel’s chest, peering up into his nostalgic eyes, listening to his heartbeat slow down from frantically pumping at such a fast pace. She must have given him quite a fright. Daniel had long straight black hair just up to his shoulders, and emerald green eyes. He was sort of mystifying in Madeleine’s eyes. He was proper, and polite, and always playful when it came to making Madeleine happy or feel more comfort. He let out a content, trembling sigh.
“I’m sorry we couldn’t find Teddy tonight, mon chere,” he apologized in his ancient, slightly-tweaked French accent.
Madeleine stared wide eyed at a picture of him and Madeleine atop a file cabinet. That wasn’t the reason at all why she couldn’t sleep. She wanted to tell him the sense of what she felt in her room, but she found it difficult to ever become serious with him.
“That’s not why I’m here...”
Daniel halted his breathing for a few seconds. He brought Madeleine to his eye level, where she was standing up, and he was sitting in his chair, hands resting on her shoulders, staring at her intently. His eyes switched from one eye to the other searching for any emotion or a flick of something swimming in her grey-blue irises. Madeleine remained blank.
“Madeleine,” was all he could say.
Tears began to flood her eyes. She couldn’t lie to him, or make up some silly story. That was the torment of it. Her bottom lip quivered with sadness. Daniel’s face transformed into concern and pity as he pulled her in close for an embrace. Madeleine fell against him and gripped his black plaid shirt in her tiny fist. Her other hand twirled her little fingers around his long hair, scrunching her face in fear and sadness. She was frightened. Frightened of the thing she had seen in her dream before waking up.
“Madeleine, what happened? What did you see? Are you hurt anywhere?”
She shook her head.
“I saw something...”
“What did you see? Where?” He tried not to pressure her with so many questions so abruptly, but so many were running through his head. Was someone in the house? He tensed, and already had the thought of reaching for the .35 magnum in the drawer just to his left.
“I’m not sure what it was... It had glowing green eyes, like two gems. It growled at me with such strained effort... It seemed angry. It was in the corner of my room by the window...” Madeleine was taught well. She was such a bright girl for her age.
Daniel’s blood ran cold as it stilled in his veins. Madeleine’s red teary eyes pleaded for help. She looked lost, trapped. Something evil was in her room. Without hesitation, Daniel let go of Madeleine and retrieved his gun. He marched to her room, gun cocked to his side. He shoved the door open, and flicked on the light which was only hooked up to a dim lamp on her night table next to her bed. He scanned the room until his eyes reached the far northwest corner. A furry being was taking heavy breaths. Daniel stood in utter shock, trying not to make a sound or move. A cloud of breath escaped through its nose whenever it breathed out. After a few breaths, its breathing halted. It grew dead silent in the room, a facedown between Daniel and the thing in the corner. Daniel felt the distance began to diminish as it just sat there in utter silence. Testing its prey. Then, its eyes flicked open. The same green gem ones that Madeleine spoke of. Madeleine gasped from behind him, half-in, half-out of the doorway, slightly hiding behind it. Daniel immediately poised his gun directly at whatever he could see of the thing in the room. He aligned the scope on top of the gun to as much as he could make out of its head. It began breathing heavily again, just watching Daniel intently. Daniel narrowed his eyes, setting himself to pull the trigger if he even dared make a move. The small, quaking Madeleine behind him clutched her nightgown to her chest to calm her rapid heartbeat.
Then, the thing moved too fast for Daniel. It lunged at him. So fast, Daniel barely got so much as a swift blurred glance of it. He fired blindly, and only missed it by a long shot. The shot penetrated the far wall, adjacent to where it had been sitting. The gun had flown from his hands from the impact. Madeleine nearly screamed, and covered her ears. The beast pinned Daniel down to the ground, snarling and snapping its teeth in his face. Daniel restraint the beast from its shoulders, holding him back. Blood and drool dripped from the beast’s canines. It looked like a giant wolf. Daniel held the wolf back, and looked back to Madeleine who was crying waterfalls of tears while watching the man who had cared for her; her mother, her father have only seconds left before the beast would rip him apart.
“RUN! LOCK YOURSELF IN A ROOM!” he yelled to her with strained effort. Madeleine was hesitant, trying to refuse, wanting to help Daniel, but he gave her a warning look in his eyes. He tried to reassure her that he would be okay. She nodded, and blew him a quick kiss. She ran down the hall and Daniel listened to a door close and a lock click. He returned his attention back to the hungry beast atop him. Its teeth were inches from his face. With all his might, Daniel threw him off, and its ribcage crunched as it collided with one of the legs of Madeleine’s bed. The hound let out a yelp and struggled on its back. Daniel took this opportunity to scramble for his gun. He flipped on his hands and knees and reached for the gun. When he turned around to aim the gun at his predator, it was in his face again. It pinned him to the ground and swiped its paw at him. Daniel cried out in pain and resisted from holding his cheek in pain from where the mutt had scratched him. It almost chomped his nose off if he hadn’t been conscious of its presence. The fight for dominance was a fierce struggle once again, but Daniel still had the gun in his hand this time.
He prayed he would live to continue living with Madeleine. To continue being by her side. He closed his eyes and fired. The beast’s snarling ceased. All noise silenced.
Madeleine froze. She didn’t hear Daniel or the thing in the room with him. Panic rose up in her throat. She wanted to charge out of the room, but she refused against her will. She had to stay put. Daniel would come back for her.
Daniel had shot it in the leg. It scrambled out the open window to its right from which it had came. Daniel lay on the floor heaving heavy breaths with effort. He peered down to his chest to find three diagonal gashes across his chest. Blood already began to stain through his shirt. He dismissed the feeling and rose to return to Madeleine.
That was when he was in full-view of the outside from that same window. The beast crash-landed on the grass, and changed its direction around and scurried under the house. Daniel gasped. There had always been a little opening on the west side of the house facing the woods. Where did it lead? Daniel exited Madeleine’s room and set on looking for her. He was about to check his study first, until he heard slight whimpering in the broom closet to his right. He knocked on the door softly.
“Madeleine? You can come out now,” he soothingly assured her. He leaned in his head just inches from the shallow wood until the door slightly opened. Slowly it was being pushed by the feeble hands of a trembling young girl when she emerged from the darkness. She met eyes with her Daniel. He crouched down to eye level with her, and she fell against him. He gladly pulled her closer as she sobbed in his arms. He soothingly stroked her hair. Shushing her cries and reassuring her with words of comfort. When she cried all her tears dry, she parted from him. Her eyes were puffy and red, and her eyelashes were matted against her top eyelids.
“I thought you died,” she whispered, her voice breaking, trying to hold back more sobs threatening to rip through her system. Her face scrutinized into another pained, sad expression as Daniel pulled her close again.
“No, ma petite fille, I would never leave you.”
Madeleine giggled in his shoulder. She loved it when he said little phrases in French.
“I’m going to go check outside for something. Why don’t you go back to bed and try to go back to sleep, okay?” he suggested. She gripped the sleeve of his forearm.
“No! Please don’t leave me alone in the house, Daniel!” she pleaded, each word laced with fear.
“Oh princess,” he stroked the tangled length of her hair. “I’ll be right outside your window,” he said.
“Alright... But don’t you leave me! Vous promettant!” she reminded him. Daniel chuckled. “Vous aves promis,” he corrected her. She was still learning. She giggled and hurried back to her room. He sighed, still balancing himself on one knee, and retrieved the gun from his back pocket. He heavily walked to the front door and made his way around the house.
When he approached the side from which the beast had fled under, he slowed his pacing. He slowly approached the small gap dividing the ground and the house, and peered inside. It was utter darkness. He rose up to look through Madeleine’s window and saw her lying in bed facing the door, but with her lamp still on. He sighed in relief and continued his investigation. He squatted down, and dared to get closer. He was slowly leaning forward trying to adjust his eyes to the darkness and trying to block the light of the moon overhead.
The beast leaped out with a loud shriek sending Daniel back about almost about 10 feet on his back. He groaned at the blow as it knocked the wind out of his lungs and doubled over on his side. The beast landed her feet on either side on Daniel, straddling him. He looked up in shock to find it wasn’t a beast anymore, but a young blonde woman with small patches of black fur on whatever exposed skin the eye could see. She was wearing a red high-low dress, and obnoxious red lipstick and long nails. She bared her teeth mischievously down at Daniel. They were perfect pearly whites... Only they were fangs. Daniel couldn’t find his voice. All he was thinking of was Madeleine in her room, unconscious of what was currently happening.
“YOU TOOK MY DAUGHTER AWAY FROM ME!” the woman bellowed. Realization hit Daniel like a punch in the stomach. This was Madeleine’s mother. Back as a werewolf. Daniel looked back at the hole through her legs to find two stone coffins next to each other. One named, “Luna” and the other was named, “Max” carved on the sides and lids. Both coffin lids were opened. Luna’s was empty, which Daniel assumed was the angry woman standing over him, and the Max’s had been opened as well, but the body was still in there. He must have still been in werewolf form for his dog body was ripped clean in half. Luna must have killed him.
Daniel gaped in horror and looked back up at his attacker and she snarled in an evil insane grin. Her brown eyes blinked into the luminescent green, and she began to transform back into the werewolf as the fur cascaded all over her body. Daniel quickly reflexed and pointed the gun at her and fired, but she swatted it out of his hand out of reach, about 15 feet away. He watched as it flew and felt a sense of defeat sink on his soul. He looked back up to his attacker who bared her teeth, completely transformed. She stretched her mouth toward him. His vision went black.
Madeleine lay wide awake, her eyes refusing to close until Daniel came back to tuck her in. She heard the clacking of heels hit the floor from the front door into the house. Madeleine gasped. Fear flooded her. She hid under the covers listening silently to the intruder direct its way around the house. It grew louder and louder until she heard the door creak open. All noise silenced and Madeleine shut her eyes tight. The cover was yanked off her and she met eyes with a woman who looked in her late 20s, looking down lovingly at her. Madeleine panicked.
“Where’s Daniel?” she asked, her breaths quickening. A look of sympathy crossed the young woman’s marble face.
“Oh, Daniel won’t be around anymore. He was just at dinner....” A deep throaty laugh escaped her throat. Madeleine gasped and inched backward from her on the bed as much as she could. Luna crouched down slowly and looked into Madeleine’s eyes, Luna’s flicking back to green.
“Would you like to know what’s for dessert?” she said in her sweetest tone.
Madeleine softened and didn’t back away as much anymore, and looked down at her fingers, playing with them. She didn’t notice Luna’s teeth start to drool blood, dripping along her chin down her neck or falling onto the bed, staining the sheets. Luna grabbed her arm and pulled her towards her and sunk her fangs into her neck, sucking blood, and spitting venom into her bloodstream. Madeleine screamed, and blood began to leak from her eyes, nose, and mouth.