To Fear the Dawn: Chapter 11
Charity decided not to watch the sunrise.
As soon as the vampire left the room, it was as though a cloud had been lifted from Charity's mind. Yes, she was intrigued by her "host," but his hold was not that great on her yet. She missed the Curious family desperately... especially the children. She couldn’t bear the thought of what those sweet little ones were feeling now to wake and find her gone! What if they believed she had abandoned them! It was a horrible, heart-wrenching thought.
She listened for any signs of life in the house, but all was silent. The house eerily seemed to be listening to her, instead of the other way around. Charity shivered, gooseflesh rising all over her body.
It’s just a house, she told herself firmly, sliding open one of the dresser drawers and rummaging for her clothing, but she didn’t find anything she recognized as hers.
Obviously the vampire wanted her to be dressed to suit him, but it didn’t really matter. She was going to find a way out of this place.
It seemed easy enough.
Just go to the front door and walk out, like any other house, she thought. Yet when she pulled open the door, a drift of water lapped up over the threshold and Charity stepped back in shock,slamming the door.
But this is the desert! Surely I am seeing things...
She opened the door again, more slowly this time, and cautiously looked outside. A vast moat at least twenty yards wide surrounded the entire estate, coming right up to the walls of the house in front and the verandas in back, the waterline nearly level with the threshold of the door! Charity gasped. She had never seen anything like it! She lifted her eyes to the distance, seeing a massive brick structure, at least ten feet above the waterline, providing the outer retaining wall of the moat. In times past, the wall around the building no doubt was used to keep others out. Yet now, it served to keep Charity in.
That, and the water.
Here, in the desert!
Charity leaned forward as far as she dared and craned her neck. It was the same all around the house, as far as she could see.
She stared in dismay, listening to the soft music of frogs and hearing the occasional plop of a small fish jumping out of the water. She felt so isolated. The only way to get in and out of the house, from what she could tell, would be via flight. There was no point in trying to swim the moat or use watercraft, because the outer retaining structure could not be breached from either side. Once someone was in the moat, his only choices would be to come into the vampire’s house or drown. It was that simple.
“My God...” Charity said aloud, tears streaming down her face. She had no idea how so much water had come to be here like this. Yes, she'd known others who'd enjoyed the occasional small fish-pond on their properties, or even were brave enough to have landscaped and watered lawns. Never, though, had she imagined such vast quantities in one place. Surely it had not come from the skies, which meant it had to have been drawn up from the ground. Such a precious resource, wasted!
However, again Charity fought that mad desire to laugh as she realized it would hardly be waste for a creature that had no need for its sustenance.
Now she understood what Reginald had meant when he said the house was well fortified! There was no way she was going to be able to escape, and no way anyone could get to her, even if they did find out where she was. She thought briefly of the Curious brothers, and her heart broke.
I doubt they’re looking for me anyway, Charity thought hopelessly as she walked slowly back into the coolness of the house. Suddenly, despair overcame her and she sank to her knees on the cold stone floor, sobbing as though her heart would break.
Terrible thoughts ran through her mind, Vidcund and Pascal probably think I left because I was angry with them and that I’m not coming back. I bet they’re not even worried about me. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve filed a police report on me for the theft of their car and hired a new nanny by now...”
Deep inside, she knew that wasn’t true, but in her current state of mind, clouded by the vampire's presence in this house and her feelings of isolation, she couldn’t think clearly. All she knew was that she felt very alone, and very, very vunerable.
She went back into the bedroom and lay down on the bed. She was forlorn and exhausted, and soon, she fell into a troubled sleep.
To Be Continued...