This Mortal Coil – Chapter 2

Collage by Circe I using a manipulation by Philiater

Feedback: XSandPiper78[at]

Rating: NC-17

Disclaimers, etc. in Chapter One

Chapter Two

The House of the Convenire
October 27, 1997

It felt like every ounce of breath had been sucked
out of my lungs.

Foggy consciousness was creeping up on me,
and with it came the pain. It felt as if I’d been
sucker-punched in the gut, only it was drawn out.
Sustained. As the throbbing and dizziness
subsided, I slowly opened my eyes and took in
my surroundings.

I was in a luxurious room, lying on a large,
canopy bed. The lavender down comforter was
thick, so plush I was half-submerged in it. At the
far end of the bed, off to the right, there was a
huge fireplace with a blaze burning brightly. All
around me where massive pieces of Gothic
Revival furniture.

I slid off the high bed and lifted my shirt to
examine my injury. A big red spot on my
abdomen was coloring itself darker, promising to
be a bruise by morning. Whoever – or –
whatever it was that brought me here was none
too careful while handling me. I mumbled a
curse and walked over to the door. A few tugs on
the scrolled iron handle confirmed my suspicion
– it was locked. Crossing the room, I checked the
windows – locked tight. I could break the
window, but I was four stories up. The drop
would kill me.

Blowing out a breath in irritation, I stepped into
the middle of the room to survey my options. I
knew I had to get out of there, but how? Ten to
one the door was not only locked, but also being
guarded. All around me the oversized furniture
loomed, as if looking down at me, laughing at
my predicament. The mounting frustration was

I wanted to scream.

I had no idea how I got there, who brought me or
what they wanted from me. Was it Julian? Why
didn’t he just kill me? I couldn’t understand the
motivation behind this, but one question ran
through my head, over and over, spreading fear
over me like an icy blanket.

What did they do to Mulder?

Sitting on the edge of the bed, I tried to think.
We’d been connected before, through dreams.
Mulder would call them visions. I smiled
ruefully at the thought.

Still, something was niggling at the edges of my
consciousness, trying to tell me something. I laid
back on the coverlet and closed my mind while
opening my mind to possibilities I normally
would’ve rejected – I had to try to will myself to
have another vision, to try and contact Mulder
again through the shared consciousness we
experienced before. I focused on my breathing as
I embraced the possibility.



Focus, Dana.

I felt myself slipping into sleep and allowed it.
Mulder was just out of my reach, but I was
getting closer and closer…

This time, I saw it all through his eyes. This
time, I was Mulder.


What the hell am I doing? This is pure insanity.
Some weirdo who thinks he’s a vampire leaves
me a note and I do exactly what I promised
Scully I’d never do again – I run off without
telling her.

My track record’s for shit. The most important
thing in the world to us, the one true thing I not
only value, but also expect from her is honesty.
What was it she said not even a month ago, after
I’d done this very thing to her? Respect, she’d
said. Honor. She told me with eyes flashing and
voice rising that she wanted to be in the loop at
all times. That a man of honor wouldn’t lie to his
partner and disappear in the middle of the night,
only to show up in a top-secret military
installment the next day. A man who respected
his partner would trust her to follow him into the
fray, to watch his back whether on duty or off.
Ultimately, it always involved her anyway.

I couldn’t understand why she’d want to. But I
looked at her, hoping she could read the apology
in my eyes and saw the hurt written in hers. I
made a promise then and there to never do that to
her again.

I expect these marks of good character from her,
respect and trustworthiness, and yet I can’t even
keep a simple promise in return for her
unwavering loyalty. I saw an opportunity to
leave and I took off.

The note told me little. Just enough to pique my
curiosity about him and the group of vampires he
called The Convenire. He left out details about
his clan, but was careful to throw in enough to
lure me out here. I found it taped to my
bathroom mirror when I woke up five days ago,
complete with directions to his lair. It puzzled
me that someone had not only been able to get
into my locked apartment, but was also able to
do so without waking me.

I was intrigued. For the rest of the week, I picked
the letter apart, analyzing each minute detail to
create a profile of this man who signed his name
“Julian” at the bottom. I devoured every piece of
information I could glean from books on
vampirism and related cults, myths and folklore.
If Scully noticed my preoccupation or my
secrecy, she didn’t let it show. After all,
obsessive tendencies are my specialty, right?

So what do I do? I leave as soon as her back is
turned. Friday nights are a good time to go
somewhere unnoticed. I have the entire weekend
to check this out and be back in time for work
Monday morning.

Now I’m scared shitless, standing in front of this
monstrosity of a house, waiting to meet a bunch
of damn bloodsuckers. All because of their
leader’s unexplained interest in me. I never let
him know I was coming, but he knows I’m here
at his open request. I can’t explain it, but
somehow I just know he’s aware of me.

Okay, invitation accepted. Now what?

I knock on the heavy oak door and wait for an
answer, hoping I timed everything right. They
should have fed already, if I’m to believe that
they truly are vampires, so I shouldn’t be in any
immediate danger. I look back down at my watch
for what has to be the hundredth time since I’ve
arrived here. 12:24 am. There are no sounds
coming from inside, only the chorus of nature all
around me from the woods that skirt the
manicured lawn.

I look at the door doubtfully. Maybe this is a big
mistake. I’m out in the middle of nowhere,
knocking on the door of a vampire cult in the
dead of night, going into God knows what. I
don’t exactly have a good feeling about this. One
more knock and I’m out of here.

I raise my hand to do just that when the door
suddenly opens with a flourish. A beautiful
woman with red hair like Scully’s stands beside
it, looking me up and down with an amused
smirk on her face. Her face is pale against the
blood-red shirt she wears. Its neck is really low,
giving me a generous view of her cleavage.
There’s a cross dangling between her breasts on
a thin, silver chain and a black velvet choker
around her throat. Her eye makeup is dark and
smudged around vibrant blue eyes and her
lipstick is the color of her shirt. I can’t help but
gawk at her very short, very provocative black
leather skirt and the high patent leather boots that
come just above her knee.

She’s remarkably beautiful and she reminds me
of Scully. This is what Scully would look like of
she felt like being really naughty. The thought
causes my heart to quicken and the woman at the
door, who hasn’t said a word yet, laughs loudly.

“I’m no angel,” she says in a faint Irish accent,
“But it seems that little cupcake of yours is. I
doubt she’d fit in here.”

“Excuse me?” I ask. How the hell does she know
who I’m thinking about? I try to remember if
there was any mention of mind reading in my
research and recall that some cultures believed
that a vampire could see into your soul, reach
into your mind and control your actions through
seduction or suggestion. Slamming a wall up as
fast as possible, I try to shield my thoughts from
this woman.

She laughs again, more amused than before. “Try
all you like, love, but it’s no use. Come in.
Julian’s been expecting you.”

She opens the door wider and I step inside. The
foyer is bigger than my apartment and Scully’s
put together and each clumsy tread of my
footsteps echoes against the incredibly high
ceilings. I notice that the woman’s don’t, which
is interesting. There’s a huge grand staircase in
front of me, lined with a deep red runner. A wide
archway is cut out on either side of the staircase
and a collection of tall grandfather clocks line
the crescent wall that surrounds it. They are
eerily silent, pendulums still.

“You need an escalator to climb that high,” I

She says nothing, but walks through the left
archway. I follow her, wondering what’s going
to happen and what Julian will be like as I watch
her ass sway beneath the sexy skirt she wears.
Each boot, I can now see, is topped with a patent
leather bow on the back. It’s a little too easy to
imagine that the redheaded woman in front of me
is my partner, hips rocking with each light step,
hair swept up into a spiky twist.

She turns to give me a knowing smirk, then faces
front until we reach a door.

“End of the line. He’s been pacing the floor like
a panther waiting for you,” she breathes out. For
an instant, her blue eyes flash unnaturally bright.
It’s almost like they glowed. Before I can blink,
they’re back to normal. “Go in,” she gives me a
small nudge forward. I place a shaky hand on the
cool doorknob and turn to see if she’s coming in
with me, but she’s already gone. The hall
stretches far on either side of me and every door
that lines it appears to be closed. Where the hell
did she go?

Fear and nervous energy surges through me as I
slowly turn the knob. I tamp it down and walk
into the room. It appears to be a library, lit by
hundreds of tallow candles in clusters and
candelabras and the largest fireplace I’ve ever

I’m alone in the room, which strikes me as odd.
Didn’t she say that Julian was in here? I’m eager
to meet him –as eager as he seemed in the letter
to meet me. Strolling over to the first ceiling-
high bookcase, I absently run a finger along the
leather-bound spines. Out of the corner of my
eye, the polished marble floor catches my
attention, the reflection of the tiny flames
flickering across it.

A figure steps out of the shadows across the
room into the light. It startles me enough that I
jump in reflex.

“Jesus! You scared the hell out of me!”

The man before me spreads his hands out in
apology. He can’t be any older than twenty-five.
Practically a baby.

He smiles. “Twenty-six, actually. Before I was
turned, of course.”

I can’t place his accent. His enunciation is clear,
precise, but I don’t know it. It’s odd to me – and
I’ve always been good at pinning dialect down.
Phoebe used to tease me about it, calling me
Professor Higgins. Shockingly, My Fair Lady
was her favorite movie, but the way she said that
to me was like a bitter insult every time. I push
the unwanted thought of her out of my mind and
take a step toward the man before me.

“I am of everywhere and everything,” he says
cryptically. “The place where I was born into
humanity is no more.”

I squint, sizing him up. “That’s twice you’ve
answered questions I haven’t asked. Mind telling
me how you do that?”

He takes several purposeful steps forward, never
removing his intense gaze from me. When he is
only a few feet away, he finally speaks.

“We’ve started off all wrong. I am Julian.
Welcome to our home.” His hands spread out
wide in a sweeping gesture.

Something about him is wrong. Maybe it’s his
feline movements or the measured way he
regards me. Maybe it’s this house, with the
stereotypical furnishings like props out of a
horror movie. Have I stumbled into a hoax – a
bunch of Gen-Xers with nothing better to do than
dress in Goth clothes and form a coven of
wannabe vampires? The whole setup here comes
across as staged, but for what? And to what end?

“This is no hoax, I assure you. This is our life, as
it were.”

“Tell me how you do that,” I demanded.

He smiles secretively. “You must be tired.
Come! Let me show you to your rooms.” His
hand curls around my upper arm. We weren’t
close enough to touch a minute ago – he crossed
a distance of five feet without me seeing it? I
was looking right at him!

What the hell is going on here?

“My dearest Fox,” he says as he leads me out of
the library and down the hall, “what will it take
to convince you? I know you’re no skeptic, so
why do you fight what you know is true?”

For once, I don’t want to accept it. Instead of
answering his question, I stick out my chin like a
petulant child and cover my thoughts as well as I
can. “If you’re really a vampire, prove it.”

He laughs. “You want me to drink your blood?”
he asks, amused.

Hoping my face doesn’t show the horror his
question causes, I shake my head. “No.”

“Ah,” he quickly returns, “You want me to
dazzle you with a parlor trick.” We stop before
the giant staircase and he sweeps the back of his
cold hand across my cheek. I shudder
involuntarily. “Is that what you want?” he

Before I know what’s happening, a dizzying
force sweeps through my body and we’re in front
of another large door. He levers the handle
downward and we step into a massive room.
Like what I’ve seen in the rest of the house,
Gothic Revival furniture and fixtures dominate
the atmosphere. All around me are mahogany
and sharp angles.

I notice his long fingernails for the first time as
he points to an arched entrance on the right side
of the room “That is your wash room.” He
sweeps his arm to the left and smiles. “And that
is your bedroom. Sleep well, dear Fox.”

Before I can argue that I never agreed to stay
here, he’s gone, leaving me with nothing but the
snick of a lock engaging. Panicked, I run to the
door and try the handle, but it’s no use. I throw
myself against the door several times, but it’s
useless. This door is an antique – solid as they

What the hell have I gotten myself into?

A careful investigation of the suite provides
little, except that I’m up far too high to jump out
the window and there are no footholds along the
walls of the house. Only one exit, and I’ve
already established that it’s not going to budge.
My shoulders ache with the proof of that. I’m

Accepting the fact that I’m not getting out of
here tonight, I walk moodily into the bedroom.
In my haste to find a way out, I hadn’t noticed
the tall armoire with the flat screen TV inside or
the state-of-the-art electronics smorgasbord
above it on shelves. Curious, I pull out the
drawers beneath the set and feel my eyes widen
in pleasure as I take in the selection of movies
inside. Every title I could ever want is right in
front of me like the collection was chosen for my
tastes. From The Shining to some pretty choice
skin flicks, it’s all here.

I shut the drawer and move to the mini-bar
across the room. A small refrigerator hums like a
homing device my stomach is eager to follow.
Inside are about a half-dozen Nesteas and small
carafes of orange and cranberry juices.

I close the door and check out the rest of the
bedroom. On the counter, a bowl of oranges rests
next to a large crystal jar containing sunflower
seeds. Every type of top shelf alcohol is present,
but I don’t feel near safe enough to indulge.
Instead, I put a movie into the VCR and walk
over to the bed, plopping down on it with the
remote in my left hand, a bottle of tea in my right
and the heavy jar of sunflower seeds spilling
onto the black sheets.

I’m asleep before the middle of the movie.

When I wake the next afternoon, I’m greeted by
the wonderful smell of food. My eyes are barely
open, but my stomach is demanding satisfaction.
I roll over the mess of seeds and the empty bottle
of tea to lay blurry eyes on a tray full of various
breakfast foods on a stand next to the bed.
Bolting upright, I slide off the bed and cross the
two rooms to try the door again. Locked tight.

Left with no other option and a complaining gut,
I pick up the heavy tray and carry it to the
counter of the mini-bar at the edge of the
bedroom, where I sit down on one of the empty
barstools. I eye the offering warily. Could be the
result of being drugged one too many times, but
I’ve come to be leery of consumables from
strangers. Why should food from a centuries-old
vampire be any different?

I laugh at that thought. Only in my life would a
group of blood-sucking vamps be a serious
threat. But I decide that there would be little
point in Julian drugging me when I’m harmlessly
locked in this room.

The food is lukewarm, but good. It’s been a long
time since I’ve eaten anything even remotely
resembling a home-cooked meal. Not that I can’t
cook. It’s just that I’m too damn lazy to get out
of bed in the morning and whip up a bunch of
food for no one but myself. Same reason my
toilet only gets scrubbed once a month.

I think about this offhandedly as I chew and my
eyes fall on a plate I hadn’t noticed before on the
tray in my eagerness to dig into breakfast. It’s
piled high with meatloaf, mashed potatoes with
gravy, green beans and cornbread muffins and
covered with plastic wrap. A small microwave
that wasn’t here before now sits on the end of the
bar, ready for use.

It becomes clear to me that my quiet visitor
won’t be coming back to let me out. What the
hell is wrong with me? This is the second time in
a week I’ve slept through a potentially dangerous

I finish eating and take a hot shower. I soon
remember that my suitcase is still in the car –
which I can’t even see from this side of the
house. Several black outfits hang in the closet,
all looking like they belong to a brooding Goth
poet. I put on the clothes I came in and pass the
remainder of the day cozied up on a pillowed
window seat in the bedroom, entertaining myself
with another new addition to my room – a small
stack of obscure books on vampirism that are
likely as old as the house itself, if not older.
Fascinating to read, but saturated with
superstitions that are so outrageous, even I have
to chuckle.

Before I know it, the sun is sinking behind the
darkened trees of the forest surrounding the
estate, backlighting the black leaves and
branches against a rosy sky before the world is
plunged into blackness.

“Beautiful, wasn’t it?” a voice inquires behind
me. I jump off the seat to face my jailer.

“I want to leave, Julian. I’m a government agent
– you can’t just hold me here against my will.”

“My dear Fox,” he smiles indulgently, “Do you
truly think the laws that bind you mortals apply
to me? Those things do not touch me. There is
nothing but you and I, this night and all the
majesty it holds.”

He walks away from the bedroom archway and
steps to the window. I can see the sitting room
door, wide open and inviting. I should make a
run for it but, God help me, I’m rooted to the

“You can’t imagine the power, my friend. The
freedom,” he continues with his back turned to
me, facing the blackness outside. “You are free
to go, of course.”

He turns to look at me, slowly spanning the
distance between us to stand in front of me.
Something in his eyes shifts, turns the irises a
deeper shade of purple in the dim, candlelit
room. “But maybe you don’t want to leave.
Maybe you never did.”

I’m drawn to his presence, hypnotized by the
odd lilt and cadence to his words. I’m torn
between heading for the hills and unraveling the
great mystery of immortality. Is it worth my life?

“All great knowledge is not without a price,” he
says, “But it is not your life that I’m interested

I feel my eyes narrowing. “Just what is it that
you do want from me?”

He smiles and a cold knot forms in the pit of my
stomach. “Nothing, my dear Fox, if not

He takes me by the arm and silently leads me
downstairs. My footsteps seem awkward and
clumsy next to his, which fall soundlessly in the
large hallway. He leads me into another room lit
by candles. I wonder why he keeps the rest of the
mansion in candlelight. Ambience, maybe?
Another element to add to the mysterious air
around me? All thoughts that this is some rich
kid’s morbid idea of getting his rocks off have
long since been abandoned. I’ve seen enough
weird shit to convince me of that already. I’ve
got the real deal here – so why all the dramatic

Julian laughs beside me and leans over to
whisper in my ear. “All your questions will be
answered, Fox. All in due time.”

He gestures for me to take a seat. This must have
once been the front parlor. I can almost see the
ghosts of women long dead, sewing intricate
patterns onto handkerchiefs and gossiping over
tea in their big-skirted dresses. The high, pointed
arches that shape the windows throughout each
room I’ve seen of the house allow the moonlight
to pour into the room, lending an otherworldly
air to it.

Julian stands behind my chair, his hands
lingering on my shoulders. “What is it you
would know?” I feel him bend down to speak
into my ear, low and breathy. “The secrets of the
Convenire? The truth about vampires?”

His voice sends shivers down my spine –
whether out of fear or excitement, I don’t know.
“All of it,” I answer shakily. Turning to face
him, I go on. “I want to know it all.”

He smiles widely and rounds my chair to look
down at me with a tenderness in his eyes that
makes me uneasy. “Then you shall know it all.”


He nods and takes a seat in the chair in front of
mine. “Anything at all.” The intimate smile came
back to his face. “There’s nothing in this world I
would deny you, Fox. You have only to ask.”

I can’t hide how uncomfortable he’s making me
right now any more than I can hide my thoughts.
Thankfully, rather than addressing this, Julian
gestures for me to start the questioning.

I shift uneasily under his gaze. There’s so much I
want to know. Where do I begin?

“Why all the candles?” I nod toward a group of
them to my left. He looks disappointed.

“Come now. Surely that can’t be the burning
question that lingers in that remarkable brain of

“It’s a start,” I shrug. He already knows the
questions I want to ask before I even open my
mouth, so why does he insist on this charade?

“Because, dear Fox, I enjoy seeing the thought
formulate in your head, the process of
articulating it into words that are acceptable to
you. I wonder if you are even aware of this –
your talent for choosing the appropriate words to
correspond to the feelings and ideas you wish to
express.” He sits back in his chair and looks me
up and down. “It’s quite remarkable.”

“You’re avoiding the question.”

“But it’s such a drab and pointless question.
Don’t you agree? Wouldn’t you much rather ask
about feeding or the origin of our kind?”

I shrug again. “I don’t think any question is
pointless, Julian. All answers come together to
create the whole. I’m only asking for all the

He smiles at that and I get the feeling that I’ve
somehow passed a test.

“Indeed,” he answers. “We are nocturnal
creatures and as such, we prefer the cloak of
night. The candlelight is much more pleasing to
our eyes, so we use the electric lights sparingly.”

“Do crucifixes repel you?”

He smiles indulgently. “That is all nonsense.
Crosses, Holy Water, garlic – all of it. None of
them affect us in the least. Mortals have the
ability to be so creative, and yet they invent these
trite inaccuracies about our kind and stick by them
for centuries.”

“But what about mirrors?” I ask.

“I assure you, I have no problem looking into a

I bet.

He throws his head back and laughs. “Do you
think me vain, Fox?”

I ignore the question. “Coffins? Do you require

“No. Only complete darkness, and that can be
accomplished almost anywhere. Can you
imagine traveling with a coffin? Explain that to a
desk clerk on the graveyard shift.” He smiles
at his own joke before going on. “I prefer
to sleep on the finest silk sheets in the comfort of
a down bed. I will allow no less in my home. For

“So you sleep in a bedroom?” I ask.

“Yes. In fact, yours is adjacent to mine. I trust
you slept well? Do you find your
accommodations acceptable?”

Anger and irritation from being held captive the
night before bubbles up in me again. “You won’t
be doing that to me again, Julian. I’m leaving

“Ah, but maybe I won’t have to do it again, my
Fox. Maybe you’ll want to stay of your own

I snort. “Highly doubtful. What about dirt from
your resting grounds? Do you need any of that?”

He looks at me as if I’ve asked him to eat the
dirt. “Of course not! What would I need with
dirt? Another invention of mortals to explain the
unexplainable. It’s always been the least favorite
of all the myths to me.”

“Can anything kill you?”

“Ah,” he says, “now we’re getting to the meat of
things. Stakes through the heart are quite painful,
I assure you. But, once it is removed and enough
blood is consumed, the wound will start to heal
itself. If anything, it’s an annoyance to be staked.
Such a cliché.”

“Folklore denotes driving a stake through the
heart, cutting off the head and stuffing the mouth
with garlic as the only way besides sunlight to
kill a vampire. You’re saying this is all a myth?”

Julian’s eyes darken. “Unfortunately, cutting off
the head is fatal to any creature, immortal or no.
Sunlight is also devastating to the oldest
vampires, deadly to fledglings. The rest is just

“Can you eat and drink regular foods?”

“We can, but the idea of it is as repulsive as
drinking pint after pint of blood is to you. Every
vampire has to do it once in a while – ” he smiles
widely, “for appearances. But come! Enough
questions for now. I want to take you into town
and show you where the fine dining is.”

Within ten minutes, I change into the clothes
hanging in my closet at his request – black
leather pants and a white, pointy-collared shirt
under a black Edwardian coat that falls just
above the backs of my knees. I feel fucking
ridiculous, but say nothing as I let the vampire
usher me to his chauffeured Model T.

“Where are we going?” I ask as soon as the
lights from the estate are out of sight, obliterated
by distance and the thick cloak of night.

“Just a little place I like to haunt,” he answers
softly. The driver hasn’t turned his head to look
back at us or even at his surroundings. For some
reason, visions of a reanimated corpse brought
back to serve the devil and his minions come to
mind. It’s a powerful image. I shake it off and
stare at the back of the man’s unmoving head.

It seems we’ve been driving for hours when the
car finally halts at the end of a strip of XXX
theatres and seedy bars. The block is lined with
prostitutes, some in groups of ten or so, calling
loudly to the passing cars like a cliché out of a
cop movie.

“What are we doing here?” I ask.

Julian just smiles and climbs out of the car,
straightening his coat and pulling out an ebony
walking stick with a silver lion’s head at the top.
I resist the urge to roll my eyes at the ludicrous
getup and follow him onto the sidewalk. Hookers
are sidling up to us one after the other, cooing as
they surround us. Julian looks straight ahead, not
acknowledging any of them as he parts the way
for me to follow. All around is the stench of
unwashed male bodies from the patrons of the
XXX dives, the smell of sex – old sex, co-
mingling with the perfume-doused scents from
the prostitutes.

We come to a small clearing. Suddenly, Julian

What happens next is unreal to me, even as it
unfolds before my eyes.

Julian’s entire body seems to be on alert.
Quietly, he turns to his right and stares into an
alley, standing so still that he looks like a statue.
He motions for me to follow as he soundlessly
slips over the paved and dirty passageway. I
wonder what he’s doing.

We’re about halfway to the dead end, passing
three dumpsters along the way, he suddenly
leaps at least seven or eight feet to pounce
behind a fourth dumpster. A strangled cry is cut
off, to be replaced with muffled sobs. I rush over
to see what’s going on and feel my eyes go wide
in horror.

In his left hand, Julian holds a hooker by the
throat, with her skirt still bunched up around her
full hips. She’s pinned against the wall, eyes
bulging in fear. In his right, he holds a large man
with his pants down around his ankles. The
man’s bare legs quiver, tears silently rolling
down his cheeks as Julian is latched on, drinking
from his meaty neck.

It all happens so fast, I don’t have time to think.
The man drops to the ground in a lump as Julian
takes the hooker into his arms and swings her
around. The girl’s back is facing me and the
monster actually smiles, irises glowing violet,
lids hooded with desire before he clamps down
on the pale flesh of her neck.

I want to turn away from the gruesome scene,
but can’t. I’m mesmerized by the eyes that still
hold my own, entranced by the awful tearing
sound of the skin initially being broken by his
fangs. By the dark blood that pools just around
his lips before he widens his mouth to take it all
back in.

It’s a goddamn train wreck. I just can’t stop
watching. I hate myself in that instant; hate my
insatiable curiosity and the part of me that must
know how things work. The part of me who got
me into trouble in my childhood innocence when
I took my Father’s radio apart and examined all
the funny little parts that made it up. I just had to
know what was inside. Once I had it in pieces all
over the kitchen table, I had no idea how to put it
back together and ended up being grounded for a
week. This is the same part of me that refuses to
turn away from the awful scene in front of me.

After all, wasn’t this what I wanted? The
knowledge? A curiosity quenched?

Julian’s gaze is rapturous and too intimate for
comfort. He’s doing more than showing me the
mechanics of vampirism. It’s almost like he’s
sharing a lover with me.

Every fiber of my being wants to run, run back
home. Back to Scully. Nausea wells in my
stomach and I taste the meatloaf and potatoes in
the back of my throat as I struggle to keep it all

Finally, it’s over. The girl is dropped
unceremoniously to the cold ground and Julian
takes his time stepping over the body to grasp
my elbow with a tenderness belying the savage
force he just displayed.

In the flashy bustle of the street and sidewalks,
no one notices the vampire and his pale human
companion emerge stealthily from the dark alley
and climb into the black car that awaits them at
the end of the strip.

I am locked in the same damned suite of rooms
as last night, pacing the floor like a caged tiger
that’s ready to pounce.

The drive back to the estate was silent, though
I’m sure Julian was able to clearly hear the
cacophony of thoughts running rampant in my
head. He said nothing. Before I knew what was
happening, he whisked me into the room and had
the door locked. Daylight is now at least two
hours away so why the hell did he want me
locked away? Damn that lying bastard to hell for
holding me against my will again.

It doesn’t take long before the traumatic events
of the night and my fevered pacing sap all my
strength and I’m lying on the bed, facedown.

When I wake, it’s afternoon. Again.

I’m definitely having a sense of deja vu here.
There’s a tray of food set up near the bed and the
smell of fresh coffee in the air. The distinct
sound of a lock being thrown snicks softly in the
silence of the room.

I jump from the bed and run to the door in hopes
of catching the person who’s been bringing all
this food to me. The person who’s helping
Julian hold me prisoner here.

“Hey!” I shout through the door, pounding on
the solid wood. “Hey! Let me out of here. Hello?
Look, I know you can hear me. Let me the hell
out of here!”

Nothing but heavy breathing on the other side
and a shadow coming from beneath the door.

“I’m an FBI agent. If you don’t let me out, you’ll
be an accessory.”

My head swims with images of last night,
watching Julian kill those two people with no
regret – actually taking pleasure in it. That could
be me next. The only hope I have left is standing
indecisively on the other side of this door.

“Please,” I plead softly. Please.

My heart sinks as I hear the sound of retreating
footsteps echo down the hall.

Fear settles in the pit of my stomach, spreading
its icy fingers throughout my entire body like an

I’m trapped. He’ll never let me go.

I’ve been incredibly foolish, Scully. How could I
be so stupid? I’m in the middle of nowhere, in a
house that’s supposedly full of vampires. How
long will it be before Julian gets tired of trying to
win my affections? Or will he just become bored
with me first?

I’m going to die. It’s almost funny – we’ve
survived so much, and it’s gonna be a goddamn
vampire that finally does me in. You never
would have let me come out here. For once, I
wish I’d listened to your reasoning voice in my

I lumber over to my bed and curl up into a ball
on top of the luxurious black silk bedspread. The
smell of the food is sickening and I close my
eyes against the faint waves of nausea.
Somehow, I fall asleep and feel perfectly numb.

A light caress on my face startles me.

Julian looms above me, his eyes full of
tenderness. “Come,” he offers his hand to me.
Despite the fact that every cell in my body is
screaming in protest, I sit up and take it. He
smiles and leads me out the door without taking
his eyes off me. I look straight ahead, nervous as
hell. What does he want from me now? I don’t
think I can stand watching another one of his
feedings. I’ve been with the Bureau for over a
decade, but I have yet to actually witness
anything as horrifying as what I saw last night.

We stop at the end of the hallway. “They do not
always feel pain,” he tells me in a quiet voice.
“On the contrary, it can be the most erotic
experience of their lives.”

Anger flares in me and I jerk out of his cold
grasp. “Is it worth the price they have to pay?” I
fire back.

He smiles indulgently. “There is nothing like it
in the world. They are so frightened, so confused
at first. Then, all they know is pleasure, infinite
and absolute. It’s more than they’re designed to
handle.” He smiles widely at me. “Trust me, my
young friend. Death means very little to them at
that point.”

“You’re disgusting,” I spit out.

“That very well may be,” his irritating grin splits
his face, “but very soon, you’ll learn to
appreciate me.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Does
he mean that he’ll be holding me here
indefinitely? I’m not sure if his comment is
meant to be a threat or just another example of
his flare for melodrama. He doesn’t answer, but
leads me down the stairs and through the
corridor to our right.

We pause in front of the heavy oak door of the
library. “I think it’s time you meet the
Convenire,” he says and opens the door with
dramatic flourish.

Inside, the mournful strains of a string quartet
play on a phonograph as about five men and
women lounge around the room. All the men are
dressed in the romantic, Edwardian style Julian
seems to prefer. I’ve been forced to dress the
same, ever since I’d discovered that all my
clothes had been taken away.

I recognize the redhead who’d let me in the door.
What was it – only two nights ago? Jesus, it feels
like a lifetime has passed since then. She’s
wearing a long, black dress with several
revealing slits. The top half is even more
provocative – her breasts practically spill over the
black lace of her bra that peeks just above the top
of the dress. The slits of the skirt separate to
show her pale legs and knee-high, black boots.

A tall, brown-skinned teenager stands in front of
her, looking down with adoration as she throws
her head back and laughs heartily at whatever it
is he just said. He grins at her reaction, never
taking his eyes off her.

Across the room, a man leans against one of the
ceiling-high bookshelves, reading a tattered old
book by the light of the floor candelabra nearby.
I squint and see the gold-leafed word “poetry”
written on the front cover. He’s about my height,
as far as I can tell. He never looks up from his

A beefy blond man bristles at our presence. His
mannerism makes me half expect to see his tail
and ears prick up as he tenses and leans forward
in his chair, but makes no move to get up.
Standing next to him is a very tall, very bald man
with “club bouncer” written all over his face. He
looks me up and down, sizing me up.

A young woman breezes through the door,
cheeks flushed. Her curly hair is so dark, it’s
almost black and her eyes are flashing lilac.
She’s incredibly beautiful, but something about
her feels — dangerous.

“Liliana.” Julian clucks disapprovingly.

She smoothes the front of her short leather skirt
and coolly regards the man. “I’m here, aren’t I?”

The two stare at each other for several long
moments and I have the feeling that some silent
battle is being waged between them. Finally, she
looks away.

“It seems my willful sister has already fed,”
Julian says angrily. Looking closer, I can now
see the similar coloring, the same delicate
cheekbones. There’s no doubt these two are

Liliana smiles sweetly. “And I will feed again,

Julian makes a “humph” sound and turns to me.
“We’ll be going out tonight and I want you to
join us. There’s a – party being held in our
honor.” His mouth stretches into a wide grin and
the others join in on what must be a private joke.
It looks like a room full of hyenas. “It would be
rude to make our generous host wait for us, so
let’s be on our way, shall we?”

He walks up to me and stands so close our noses
nearly touch. “Relax, Fox.” Wrapping his arms
around me, he pulls his large coat to surround
both of us. I push away, but it’s as futile as
pounding my fists against a brick wall. Then,
ice-cold, cutting wind whips around us. It’s
violent and I can’t see a damn thing because he’s
got this coat covering my head. Still, I can feel
the sting of it through the material.

Worse than that is the unsettling sensation of free
falling. My stomach feels like it’s taking up
permanent residence in my throat. Please, stop
the ride. I’m gonna be sick.

For no reason at all, it does.

The dark cloak is removed and I take a dizzy
look around. We’re standing in front of what
appears to be an abandoned warehouse. There
are several similar buildings lining the quiet
street. Somewhere, the steady beat of dance
music thumps away. The blond man with the
attitude problem strides up to the large loading
dock doors and rings a small bell bolted to the
rotting wood.

I look at Julian curiously as the door swings
open to admit his brood. We follow them inside.
The place is completely dark except for a neon
green trail of glow-in-the-dark stars creating a
path to follow on the floor. I feel my eyes widen
as they attempt to take in more light. The
rhythmic beat grows stronger as we walk.
Julian’s hand clamps around my upper arm for
support. Unsure of what’s in store for me, I resist
the urge to shake it away. He chuckles lightly
beside me.

Finally, we arrive at another door. A black-light
strip illuminates it, making the fluorescent
painted surface glow. The surly bouncer who
guards it moves aside and opens the door for us.

It’s a nightclub. The walls are streaked with a
rusty red paint. The dim light glints off chains
that hang from above, lowering the ceiling.
Purple velvet-upholstered booths are situated all
around, their high backs and semi-circle design
offering some privacy. Some of the patrons take
advantage of this and more than a few of the
booths hold writhing couples.

Everyone is dressed in black vinyl and fetish-
wear, trench coats and leather. Hair is spiked;
faces glittered, blackened with eyeliner or
heavily made up. Spiky jewelry and tattooed
bodies, pierced and looking for a common

Julian motions for me to join him and three of
the others in a booth in the far corner. It’s
suspiciously dark in this corner. The young boy
and the woman with the red hair slip in first,
followed by Liliana and Julian. The former pair
engage in conversation, but I can’t make out the
words over the booming music. Liliana looks at
Julian for a few moments and pouts. His jaw
tightens and his eyes gleam with that strange
light I’ve already seen several times.

Finally, Liliana slips out of the booth to saunter
off into the throngs of dancers and I realize that
I’ve just been standing here, staring. I take a seat
as far away from Julian as the booth as possible
and wait. What’s the point of bringing me here?

Julian motions to a cocktail waitress I couldn’t
even see at first in the sparse light. She returns
with five drinks, one of which I gulp down.
Something inside me wants nothing more than to
drown all this out, pretend I never came here to
begin with. I could be at home right now, falling
asleep with the TV on and having impure dreams
featuring a certain redheaded FBI agent – about
things that would get me censured and burned at
the stake in real life.

Now it just looks like I’m going to die.

Lovely thought, huh? Well, Fox Mulder’s
turning over a new leaf, starting riiight now. I’m
going to be a responsible agent, first and
foremost, from here on out. No more chasing
lights in the dark, thank you very much.

Shit. How many drinks have I had?

“You see those two?” Julian points to the pair on
the other side of the curved seat. A kid in his
mid-twenties now sits between the teenager and
the redhead, kissing them alternately. They laugh
and exchange smoldering glances, oblivious to

“Yeah,” I reply. My head is swimming, but I can
only remember drinking one drink.

“The woman’s name is Maeve,” he beams
proudly. “She’s an Ancient, like Liliana and I.
She is – a most valuable member of the

“And the boy?”

“Someone she found in Egypt. He was homeless,
scrounging the streets and pick pocketing. Caleb
barely speaks a word of English, but he
understands what we say, for the most part. He is
her son. The son she could never have in mortal

I stare at them as he talks, noting the loving way
they fawn over each other over the writhing man
between them. Suddenly, Maeve bites down on
the man’s neck. His eyes closed are closed tight,
mouth open in ecstasy, and his moans are loud
enough that I can hear them over the noise in the

My God. They’re going to kill him right in front
of at least eighty witnesses. I move to pull them
off of him, or at least warn the poor kid, but my
limbs are like lead. I can do nothing but watch in
horrified silence as Caleb cranes to bite into the
opposite side.

“Ah,” Julian goes on. “Liliana’s found a sweet
little morsel, has she not?”

I can’t answer. I can’t even turn my head to see
what he’s talking about.

“Not to worry, my young Fox,” he whispers in
my ear. “They will not kill him. After all, this is
what he came for.” He straightens and speaks
loudly, sweeping a hand around the room. “That
is what they all came for!”

I begin to understand. Vampirism. Many people
find the act of sharing blood erotic. This place is
for people who want to experience that.

Maeve and Caleb pull away from the man,
wiping their mouths. Their ‘victim’ has passed
out, missing the unnatural glow of their eyes. I
am finally able to move my head and I notice
Liliana across the room, grinding against a girl
on the dance floor. She has choppy blonde hair
and wears a conservative long black gown. She
almost looks out of place here. Something in her
face is so innocent, untainted. Seeing Liliana’s
hands all over her makes my stomach turn.

To the left of us, I notice the man who was
reading the book of poetry earlier. He’s staring at
Liliana and the girl, scowling with obvious

“Demetrius.” Julian supplies. “He’s like many of
the misguided souls in this room – angry and
dissatisfied with life as it is. They always want
something more, something deeper than what
life has to offer. Sadly, there is little more than
what lies in front of them.” He smiles at me.
“There is a lesson in that, you know.”

“Really?” I snort. “And what is that?”

His gaze intensifies. “I want you to join me, Fox.
There is a world out there you’ve never dreamed.
You’re worthy of so much more than what
you’ve limited yourself to.”

I blink, unsure of how to respond. Another wave
of dizziness crashes over me and my gaze falls
on my empty glass.

“Did- did you drug me?” I demand.
Unfortunately, my voice comes out less than
intimidating. He doesn’t answer, only looks at
me in disappointment.

Liliana drops into the booth with her new friend,
both of them laughing. She strokes the young
girl’s hair and smiles down at the top of her
head. “Isn’t my new pet lovely?” she asks.

I stare at them, appalled as the girl snuggles
against Liliana like a kitten looking for love. She
nibbles on the girl’s neck and earlobes and the
girl sighs, relaxing her head against the back of
the booth as she surrenders to Liliana.

The vampire bites into her neck and she shivers
in pleasure, holding Liliana’s head to pull her
closer as she drinks. Her breathing hitches.

Liliana pulls back, smiling widely as she licks
the blood from her teeth. “I want to take you
home with me. I want you to be my pet,” she
says as she caresses the girl’s taut nipples
through the dress’s fabric. “Would you like

“Yes,” the girl says weakly, lids still heavy with
desire. The answer earns her a large grinning leer
from Liliana.

“Come!” Julian claps his hands together. “I am
anxious to get home.”

I feel incredibly out of synch and still can’t
move. Julian slips out after the others and looks
down at me. “Come,” he repeats. I stand as if
there was never a problem. God, I wish I knew
what the hell was going on here. I’m sure I was
drugged, but is this some sort of mind-control?

Julian takes my arm and helps me out the door of
the club and across the glow-in-the-dark path.
Once outside, I notice the grace and ease with
which these creatures move. They almost float
above the ground, gliding. The bald man and the
blond come from an alley to join us, each wiping
their mouths, eyes gleaming hungrily.

Julian leans into me, dropping his voice while
we lag behind. “The one on the left is Adrian,”
he says, indicating the burly one. “He’s my right
hand man, for lack of a better term.” He motions
to the blond one and sighs. “The one beside him
is Stephan. He was my favorite, once upon a
time. I made him. But, he’s become ruthless and

We draw nearer to the others and hear Liliana
talking to the girl.

“What do you mean, you’ve changed your
mind?” Her eyes blaze and the girl takes a step
back. Liliana advances on her. “Answer me!”

“I- I…” The girl sputters. I move to stand
between them, but once again, I am completely
helpless. I might be a little fuzzy, but now I’m
certain of what’s going on. I glare at Julian, who
watches the scene with little interest.

“Let me go, you son of a bitch!” I growl.

He glances at me, then turns his attention back to
the two women. “This isn’t your fight, dear

Suddenly, Liliana pounces on the girl, knocking
her off balance and cutting off her scream as she
ruthlessly tears into her flesh, ripping away
chunks of it. Sour bile rises in the back of my
throat and I try to turn away, Jesus, I try. But I

In her fury, Liliana mutilates the girl’s face and
chest as well before she’s finally satisfied.

This time, the whipping of the wind all around
me is cut off short as merciful blackness claims

I dream that Julian tenderly tucks me into bed,
smoothing my hair like a mother does her child
as he excitedly promises something big for me
the next night. The last thing I remember is the
color blue, the exact shade of the eyes of the
woman I left behind.

I’m going to die.

I woke this afternoon in my oversized anteroom
to hell, certain of it. Not like last night, when I
was undoubtedly drugged, and therefore,
susceptible to Julian’s suggestion. No, I’m
thinking clearly now.

My only regret is in leaving you, Scully. Leaving
you to wonder, as I’ve wondered all these years
with Samantha. Leaving you to explain my
erratic actions and subsequent disappearance to
our superiors. Leaving you without ever telling
you how much you mean to me, without ever
tasting your lips or holding you in my arms until
dawn. Without ever letting you know that you’ve
always been my sanity, my safe harbor in this
fucked up life. I never would’ve made it this far
without you.

I’m locked in here with no food, except for the
sunflower seeds. If I never see another
goddamned sunflower seed in my life, it’ll be a
day too soon. But maybe that won’t be a

The door bursts open and Adrian and Stefan
grab me by my upper arms, hauling me off the
bed and down the stairs to a room I’ve never
seen before.

The rest of the Convenire are gathered around in
a semi-circle, surrounded by the flickering light
of dozens upon dozens of candles. All are
dressed in long black robes. All wear different
expressions on their pale faces.

Maeve looks at me happily, appearing almost
matronly as she stands in her plain attire. Caleb
stands next to her. He seems nervous. Well, that
makes two of us, pal. Adrian takes his place and
stands dead still, arms crossed and regarding me
coolly as Stefan looks around the room with
obvious impatience. Demetrius appears less than
interested. Liliana scowls from her position.

Just what the hell is going on here? The phrase
‘ritual sacrifice’ comes to mind. I push the
thought away. It’ll do no good to panic now. I
want to rewind, go back to Friday. The funny
thing is, I’m not sure if I knew all this was going
to happen, I would have stayed in DC. I’d like to
think so.

Julian walks into the room and stands in front of
me, taking hold of my arm.

“Fox,” he whispers and strokes my face before I
can dodge his hand. “I have waited three
centuries to find the perfect companion, someone
I can share all this with. I have chosen you, my

I jerk away from his grasp. “You can’t have me,
Julian! I want to leave. Now!”

His smile makes my insides churn. It’s maniacal,
twisted. Without another word, he swoops down
and bites my neck. There is a moment of pure
pain and terror as the flesh tears and fear of death
dominates all my senses. In an instant, I see a
menagerie of images flash behind my closed
eyes – squatting next to Scully over a piece of
evidence at a crime scene, ushering her through a
doorway for the first time and remembering how
it felt so natural. Then, looking down at Diana as
she tells me with tear-filled eyes that she’s
leaving. Graduation party at Oxford. Playing
catch with Samantha before dinner.

Then, there is nothing but absolute pleasure. It
courses through my veins, rushing through my
limbs. My soul feels – lighter. I’ve never felt
anything this erotic.

When he pulls away, I want to cry. Please don’t
leave me, Julian.

I feel myself being lowered to the floor. With
hazy eyes, I see him cut his wrist with a small
dagger and hold the gaping wound over my

“Drink, my love. Drink, or you will die.”

The survival instinct in me is stronger than my
will to resist him and I latch onto his wrist,
drinking deeply from it. It’s coppery, but
surprisingly, it isn’t that appalling. Quite the
opposite, actually. I feel – feral. Free. It’s

Suddenly, my body begins to jerk. The pain is
nearly unbearable – like every molecule of my
being is scorching at once. Stars burst behind my
closed eyelids.

And then — darkness.


My eyes snapped open.

My God. What he went through – it’s more than
I could bear to think about. Still, Mulder was
lucky. It could’ve been so much worse. The
room that had once been so warm with the fire
blazing now felt cold and unforgiving. I wrapped
the blanket tighter around me.

The sound of the bedroom door opening caused
me to jump off the bed, blanket and all. My body
stiffened at the sight of Liliana, looking just as
she did in the vision.

“My dear,” she said in a sickly-sweet voice,
leering as she closed in the space between us.
“I’ve heard so much about you.”

Chapter 3