28th February 2003: My only “horror story” which I had great fun writing as a big fan of old Hammer Horror films and Stephen King books.

Upper Chapel

In the warmth of Kaz’s parents’ living room it had seemed like it might be a good idea. A pretty cool thing to do before heading back to Southampton.

We’d grown irritable being around the same people for so long. Christmas had started out being fun but by New Year the small house we were all caged up in felt airless and claustrophobic.

I think the idea had been mine: I had this plan that we could drive for a few hours and stay for a couple of nights at wherever we ended up. Kaz had liked it. We’d leave her parents’ house on the Friday morning, head North until we grew bored and then lie back in some cheap hotel enjoying our last weekend together before university life absorbed us again.

But things didn’t quite work out like that.

First of all, the night before we went, I came down with a cold. Nothing serious; just an irritating cough and the odd sneeze here and there. Not even ill enough to call it a flu and definitely not ill enough to call off the weekend we’d both been looking forward to.

But the cold remedy I was taking – a deep red, tonsil-burning liquid that Kaz’s mother had produced from the bathroom cupboard – was having a bad effect on me. At the time, I didn’t know that: I thought it was the virus messing with my senses. I thought it must be getting into my middle ear or something; affecting my balance. I was feeling dizzy, drowsy and waves of nausea kept passing over me. The more sick I became, the more of the red liquid Kaz insisted I should take. It had worked for her when she’d been a little girl; it would also work for me.

So we set off and drove North into the Pennines.

It had started out as a nice day. The sun was shining and the sky was a cold light blue. It felt good to have so much space around us – to be out in the open again – and the clear air of the foothills made me feel a lot better. We left the motorway and headed up into the mountains, along small minor roads towards the snow-capped peaks.

Things had started looking less appealing at about three o’clock in the afternoon. By then, we were high on the Pennines winding our way along hillsides so steep and precipitous that not even sheep could survive on them. The road we were on was single track and the mist was coming down rapidly. While neither of us had acknowledged it, we both knew we were lost. I suspected, though I was trying to keep my attention more on the road than on the map on Kaz’s knee, that we’d been lost for about half an hour.

The road was gradually climbing higher and higher into the mountains. Kaz kept saying things like, “We’ll rejoin the main road on the other side of this hill…” and “We’re literally two miles from Penrith.” But when the road just kept going upwards without any signs of farms, houses or any hints of civilisation, her reassurances petered out.

I was silent. I knew I should tell her that it didn’t matter if we were lost – that we could sleep in the car if it came to it – but I was beginning to feel waves of light-headedness wash over me and the road ahead seemed to be swirling and dancing through the thick, cloying mist. I was getting a bit worried about myself. To be lost while I was feeling like this wasn’t really the sort of situation I’d been planning on.

At about three thirty, the light started to fail us. The mist became darker, blacker; the light slowly ebbing from it. I switched on the car’s headlights but they made things worse. The mist in front of us became an opaque screen of white light: it was impossible to see through it. I dipped the lights to half-beams and continued on slowly upwards, straining to catch odd glimpses of the white line at the side of the narrow road.

As the twilight deepened and the mist thickened, I began to feel like I wasn’t really sitting in the driving seat of the car. My hands on the steering wheel felt real enough, but my body felt like it was floating behind me. It was as if I was gliding through the mist, being towed along by the steering wheel.

I struggled to get a grip on my senses and realised that the low stone wall at the roadside was coming towards us through the mist. I pressed my foot down on the brake and yanked the steering wheel to one side. My reactions felt slow and sluggish. The car swerved away from the wall and Kaz gasped.

Then, after we’d gone on a few yards, she said, half-laughing, “I wonder how far down the drop is…”

I stayed silent. I was fighting to keep my mind fixed to the road. Every thought in my brain was welded to keeping a grip on reality despite the fact I was feeling so disorientated.

I started to develop the sensation that we were driving through dense, black treacle. The mist seemed too fluid, too viscous and the car seemed to be struggling to get through it. Kaz kept trying to make conversation, to lighten the mood, but I was unable to respond. The mental effort of watching the road and the physical effort of pressing down on the pedals and of turning the steering wheel were getting too much for me. I knew how absurd it was, but I felt as if the mist was just too thick for us to be able to get through it.

After a mile or so, she threw the map onto the floor and shouted, “Okay! We’re lost! And it’s my fault! Happy now?”

I pulled over, switched off the engine and turned to her. In the cold green light from the dashboard, she looked angry: maybe with herself for getting us lost; maybe with me for being what she interpreted as moody.

I said, “I feel really weird. One minute, it’s like the car is hovering above the road. The next, it’s like we’re under water or something. It’s a bit scary.” My voice sounded weaker than I’d expected.

At first she looked confused and then, realising what I meant, her expression changed to concern.

I went on, “I wasn’t ignoring you. I just really need to concentrate on the road.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t be driving.”

I reminded her, “You can’t drive.”

“I’ve had lessons. My test isn’t too far away…”

I sighed. “It’s probably a very long drop if we crash into that wall. And apart from anything else, we wouldn’t be insured…”

She smiled weakly at my attempt at humour and then said, resolutely, “I’ll phone my dad…” She pulled out her mobile phone and fiddled with it.

I asked, “Where are you going to say we are?”

She kept on trying to get it to work, pressing a couple of the buttons and then moving it around inside the car.

She said, “I can’t get a signal. Seems like we really are in the middle of nowhere.”

She looked at me, her expression worried.

I turned away from her and rubbed my eyes with my palms. “I’m not like on death’s door or anything. I can keep driving. It’s just this dizziness that keeps coming over me.”

“You said you thought we were hovering…”

“No. I said it feels like that. I know how ridiculous it sounds. It’s this virus… it’s got into my inner ear or something…”

“Maybe you should take more medicine?”

I nodded and she fished it out from her handbag. Now that I’d turned off the engine the inside of the car started to grow chilly. If it could cool down so much in two minutes, the idea of us surviving the night in it with no sleeping bags or equipment was clearly ridiculous.

I didn’t communicate my thoughts to Kaz: I just took another spoonful of the thick red syrup and then started the car up again. My senses seemed slightly more coherent for having stopped briefly.

We continued driving into the mist and Kaz said, “Maybe we should turn around. Go back down the hill.”

“I don’t fancy doing a three-point turn on this road.”

I saw her nod out of the corner of my eye. Then she said, “Maybe if there’s a junction or something… somewhere wide enough to turn the car around…”

I was reluctant to double back. We’d driven for a couple of hours up this road; if we turned around it would have been time wasted. I said, “This hill can’t go on forever. This road has to lead somewhere.”

After a few miles, the lights from the car picked up the reflected white glow of a road-sign through the mist.

It was on Kaz’s side of the road and she was able to read what it said before I could.

She said, “‘Lower Chapel’.”

I pulled over onto the roadside and switched on the overhead light. I asked her, “Is it on the map?”

She picked up the map and searched the names of towns and villages in the area she thought we were. After this produced no matches, she started looking further afield.

Eventually she shook her head. “None of the towns or villages anywhere in the Pennines have that name.”

I took the map from her and looked in the index for the name. Lower Burnham… Lower Camden… Lower Compton… Lower Deanside…

Again, the place didn’t seem to exist.

She said, “Maybe it’s literally just a chapel. Not a village or town.”

I started the engine. As I did so, I was overwhelmed by dizziness and nausea. I gripped the steering wheel and felt myself and the car spinning around and around as if I was on a fairground ride.

Kaz asked, “Are you okay?”

“Yeah… yeah…” I felt my balance returning. “Just a bit dizzy…”

“Are you going to be okay to drive?”

“I’m going to have to be…”

We set off again, the dipped headlights of the car shining forwards into the swirling darkness. There were no houses here; no signs of life of any sort. Just the low wall on our left, with the sheer drop beyond it hidden in the mist, and an almost vertical hillside on our right, yawning upwards above us.

Then, a hundred yards or so down the road, the terrain to the right of us levelled out. The car headlights picked out a gate.

I stopped the car again and said, “There might be a phone.”

Kaz reached into the glove compartment for the torch and we got out of the car. The air was sodden with the mist; so saturated with dampness that it was almost difficult to breathe. It drew itself deep into the lungs, chilling and smothering.

We walked through the squeaking iron gate into a small cemetery. Stone crosses and tombstones seemed almost randomly strewn in the rough ground, tilting this way and that at odd angles. At the end of the path was a small dark building. At first I thought it was an abandoned church, but, from the dour inscription above the door, it looked like it was a mausoleum. The door hung loose in its hinges, the wood broken and splintered.

I said, “Someone broke in.”

Kaz muttered, “Or out.”

Neither of us laughed.

We went back down the path and small white sparks flickered in the beam of the torchlight. It was starting to snow.

I started the car again and another wave of dizziness hit me. I tried not to show Kaz how ill I was feeling: I didn’t want to worry her.

Then we set off again and continued to follow the road upwards. The snowfall became heavier and the flakes came rushing towards the headlights as we drove into it. It looked like we were travelling through space; the snow coming towards us looked like stars and galaxies we were soaring past. Its effect was soothing and hypnotic and I started to feel like we really were space travellers. I had the impression I was flying serenely through the universe at an impossible speed. The snow even started to take on shapes like it was made up of tiny spiralling galaxies and nebulae.

Kaz said something and I came round.

“What?”

“I said, ‘You’re sweating’. It’s pouring down your face.”

“Oh.”

I realised that my face was wet. Sweat was streaming from my forehead. I also realised that I was starting to hallucinate.

I said, trying to sound calm, “I don’t know how much further I’m going to be able to drive.”

Kaz said, “Just keep going until we get to a town. Or a house. Anything.”

I was keeping going. I was as aware as she was how dangerous this was becoming.

I said, “I’m going to end up driving us off the edge of this mountain.”

“No you’re not! Seb, you’ve got to get us somewhere. This is my fault, I know. But you’ve got to keep going until we get somewhere…”

She sounded like she was panicking. If I hadn’t have been feeling so sedate after my trip through the universe, I think I’d have been panicking too.

She switched on the radio as I continued driving into the snow-flecked darkness. It fizzed and crackled and she tried to find a station.

She said, “This’ll keep you alert…”

But there weren’t any stations up here.

Then, out of the mist, a man ran into the road. I swerved and braked, skidding into the grassy embankment on our right.

Kaz looked up from the radio. The car was still.

I said, “Did you see him?”

“Who?”

“A guy. He ran into the road.”

Kaz stared through the window out into the mist and the snow.

She asked, “Where did he go?”

I thought about that. He’d ran from one side of the road to the other. From the sheer drop of the hillside on our right, across the road, over the wall to the sheer drop of the hillside on our left. It was plainly impossible.

I spoke slowly. “I dunno. I think… I think I’m starting to see things…”

Kaz didn’t want to hear that. She shook her head. “No. It was probably a hiker or something. Or a climber…”

I said, “He was dressed in a suit. A black suit in this weather, for Christ’s sake.”

She ignored that. She said, “We’ve got to keep going.”

“I’m not safe, Kaz. I’m going to start thinking we’re being chased by giant badgers or something. We’re going to end up falling over the side of the mountain.”

“Stop saying that!”

“Sorry. But I can’t drive on.”

She looked over at me. A feeling of intense nausea overtook me and I had to push my way out of the car to vomit. It passed as quickly as it had struck me and I just stood out in the cold, the snow starting to build up on my shoulders, supporting myself against the bonnet. I was taking great gulps of the cold air, feeling hot but at the same time shivering.

Kaz got out of the car and joined me.

“Are you okay?”

I managed to say, “It’ll pass.”

She didn’t say anything else for a moment. She just stood looking at me and then looked around us. Then she said, “There’s a pathway over there.”

I looked to where she was pointing and, in the edges of the beams from the headlights, I could make out a pathway leading up the mountain.

She walked over to it. A small sign pointed upwards into the darkness.

She called out, “It says ‘Upper Chapel’.”

She walked back over to me and pulled out our coats from the backseat.

I said, “So?”

She opened the boot and started getting some of our stuff out. She elaborated, “So… if you can’t drive on, we’ll have to go up there. See if there’s a house or something…”

“It’s probably just another abandoned graveyard…”

“Well if it is, the walk might do you good.” She walked around to hand me my coat. “I don’t see what other options we’ve got…”

I nodded and pulled it on.

We picked up the torch and locked the car. Then we walked up the narrow path to see where it led.

It was a short walk but, for me, it was quite unpleasant. Shapes were moving in the darkness; shadows from the torch behaved in unexpected ways. I knew that the virus was affecting my senses and was responsible for my disorientation, but I couldn’t dispel the growing suspicion that maybe – however ridiculous it seemed – there was more to it than that. That maybe something was following alongside us, keeping pace with us just beyond the beam of our torch.

Kaz broke the silence with, “How do you feel?”

“Totally screwed up.”

“Back to your old self, then.” She laughed but I was too tense to reciprocate. I was watching the edge of the torch beam. Waiting for something to emerge from it.

When it did, it was a gate. We’d reached a gully of flat land halfway up the mountain side. The snow-covered pathway led through the gate and the mist gradually revealed a house in front of us.

A light was on.

At that moment I felt intensely hot and the doorstep rushed up towards me. The stars flooded in.

***

When I came round I was in bed. It was a big double bed in a warm room.

I felt confused and tried to get up, but that made me so dizzy that I had to lie back down.

I saw Kaz sitting at a dressing table opposite me, her face reflected in the mirror as she rubbed cream around her eyes.

I said, “Where are we?”

She looked over at me through the mirror and smiled. Then she came over to me and sat on the edge of the bed, stroking her fingers through my hair.

“We’re in the house we found,” she said gently. “Do you remember finding the house?”

I nodded. “Vaguely.”

“An old couple live here. The guy – he’s called Peter – had to carry you in.”

“What happened to me?”

“I dunno. I think you must have fainted.”

“I’m not the fainting type.”

Kaz smiled. “You being such a big strong man, Sebastian?”

I smiled back. “Well partly that, yes. But I just don’t usually faint.”

“Well thank God you didn’t faint in the car when you were driving…”

I thought about that and then quickly stopped thinking about it.

Kaz went to fetch the medicine from her handbag and I took another spoonful. Then I told her that her running her fingers through my hair was also helping me to recover. She smiled and replaced them, gently caressing my scalp through my hair.

She said, “I phoned my dad.”

“What did he say?”

“That if the old couple don’t ask for any money, don’t offer any.”

I laughed. “Miserly old bastard.”

She laughed too but gently hit my arm in reproach.

She went on, “They’re really nice people. I don’t know how we’d have managed without them.” She paused and kept massaging my scalp. I felt myself growing drowsy. Then she said, “The bloke said something a bit weird, though…”

I closed my eyes and managed to ask, “What?”

“He said we weren’t to let anyone in. No matter who they said they were and no matter how much they begged us.”

I felt myself slipping away, amused by the idea of Kaz or I responding to the doorbell and opening the front door to a set of strangers. I muttered, “Like we would.”

Kaz continued talking but I was soon fast asleep.

***

When I woke up again the room was pitch black. It was so dark that I felt a surge of panic, not knowing what was happening. I groped around the bed, beneath the duvet, and found Kaz’s sleeping body next to mine. That made me feel a little better.

I felt like I might need to vomit again. I lay there waiting for it to pass but it didn’t. I tried to fight it, telling myself that if I could go back to sleep again I’d be okay. But I couldn’t and the sensation of nausea grew inside me, becoming impossible to disregard.

Eventually I reached out to see if there was a lamp on the bedside table next to me. There was and I felt along the power cord to find the switch. I clicked it on.

Kaz groaned and turned over, away from the light.

I stood up and then had to sit back down as the feeling of disorientation was too strong. The room was spinning with me inside it just as the car had a few hours earlier.

I felt like I needed to puke urgently. I thought, “I’m gonna have to find the bathroom. No matter how I get there…”

I got down onto the floor, on my hands and knees, and crawled to the door. I still felt dizzy but while I was connected to the floor with four parts of my body rather than two, the sensation was manageable.

I opened the bedroom door and crawled out into the hallway. I realised how ridiculous I looked, crawling around the house on all fours in my underwear, but it was the only way.

The bathroom was at the end of a corridor. It was probably a later addition to the house, being set apart from the bedrooms in its own annexe. I was relieved: my unseen hosts would hopefully be unaware of the unsociable sounds I was about to make.

I crawled into the bathroom and clawed my way up the wall to pull the light cord. Then I locked the door. I crawled over to the toilet, positioned my head over the bowl and waited for the inevitable to happen. But it didn’t.

I realised that the sensation of nausea had all but left me. I felt as dizzy as hell but no longer sick. I needed a glass of water.

I pulled myself up using the sink. Then I stood in front of the mirror, the walls of the room twisting and contorting around me, and stared at my reflection. My eyes were tired and red. My skin was pale. There was a deep blue bruise on my forehead that I hadn’t even been aware of; presumably it had happened when I’d lost consciousness and fell onto the doorstep of the house.

I gulped down half a glass of water and then continued staring at myself. The urge to throw it straight back up welled inside me but I tried to ignore it.

Then I heard a knocking sound.

At first I thought it was Kaz or one of the old couple knocking on the door. I staggered over to it and muttered that I wouldn’t be long. But then I realised it was coming from the window.

I struggled to focus on the frosted glass at the far end of the room. There seemed to be something outside; a shape moving around in the darkness, dimly visible through the speckled glass.

But this was impossible. Who could be outside of the window in the middle of the night? Who would be knocking on the glass?

I tried to walk over to the window but fell onto the floor. I lay there with the tiles moving around beneath me, reminded of the time I’d been on a ferry in stormy seas. It was the same sensation as being heavily drunk but without any of the pleasant effects of being in that state.

The knocking continued, growing more impatient.

I thought, “Jesus Christ! Someone’s outside, freezing to death in the snow. And all you can do is roll around on the fucking floor! Get a grip, Wallace!”

I managed to get up again and righted myself onto all fours. Then I crawled towards the window. When I’d reached the wall, I clawed my way up it like I had when I’d reached for the light switch. This time wasn’t so easy because I seemed to be becoming more inebriated, but I propped myself up on the windowsill and managed to open the window an inch or so.

Someone was outside. Even though I’d heard them knocking, the fact someone was there still surprised me.

An exhausted voice said, “Can I come in? I’m so cold…” It was a male voice.

My mind was spinning again. This couldn’t be real and yet it seemed to be happening.

I struggled to keep some degree of control despite the sensation of nausea that was once again starting to build.

I said, “Who are you?”

He made a sound that could have been either a shiver or a laugh. “I got lost out here… I saw the light… won’t you let me in?”

I realised that he hadn’t answered my question but, on reflection, I considered it to be rather a stupid one. Why did it matter who he was? He was outside in the snow and I was inside in the warmth; what else was there to say?

I tried to open the window further but it wouldn’t budge.

He said, his voice more assertive than before, “There’s a metal catch. You have to release it…”

I wondered how he knew that but before I could ask he started pleading, his voice weak and his tone beseeching again, “Please… hurry… I’m so cold…”

I struggled to release the window catch and eventually managed to open the window wide enough to admit him. All the time he was pleading with me, begging me to let him in.

But when it was open, he seemed reluctant to enter. He just looked at me, his face white and his eyes dark, with the snow whirling in eddies around him.

I said, “Come in… come in…” And then he did.

I stood back to give him the space to climb in and, almost instantly, he was standing in front of me. There was no sense of his entry, no impression of his squeezing through the window frame: he just stepped into the room as if entering through a door.

He said, “Thank you.”

His voice was deep and calm. He had the appearance of being in his early twenties and was slightly taller than me. His hair was dark and his eyes a light wolvine grey. His complexion was ashen; its paleness emphasised by the pristine black suit he was wearing.

His eyes were fixed on mine, steady and impenetrable.

I looked down, unsure of what to do. I’d expected him to be hypothermic and in need of help. I hadn’t been sure I could give it, but I’d expected him to need it nonetheless. Now that he was here in front of me, confident and composed, I was uncertain of how to react.

I said, for want of anything better to say, “I’m sorry… I’m not very well…”

He smiled. “I know.” His teeth were smooth and white.

I looked into his eyes again but, before I could ask him how, another wave of dizziness swamped me and I felt my legs give way beneath me. He caught me and held me in front of him. His hands felt cold through my teeshirt; his touch was icy.

He said, authoritatively, “Stand up, Sebastian.”

I was too dizzy, too bewildered, to ask him how he knew my name. I struggled to get to my feet but the urge to vomit overwhelmed me and I fell away from him, reeling towards the sink.

I grabbed onto the sides of it, my face looking down into the bowl of it. The plug hole was rusty with clumps of hair matted around the grill inside it.

He walked up behind me and stroked my hair. He whispered, gently, “You’re not going to be sick, Sebastian. You just feel as if you are. There’s nothing inside you. You haven’t eaten all day.”

Even in my state of confusion, I knew what he said to be true.

I looked up at the mirror again. I was sweating like I had earlier: it was covering my face like a dew and sticking clumps of my hair to my forehead. My breathing was rapid; the urge to vomit still strong. I looked down at my hands, holding onto the white porcelain. The skin was pink and mottled, speckled with goosebumps.

I asked, gasping for breath, “How do you know me?”

He chuckled and ran his fingers down my back. His touch was so cold it made me shiver. He said, “You’re not difficult to read. You think you are, but you’re as transparent as the rest of them.”

I looked up at the mirror, trying to see his reflection to see if I somehow – however bizarrely – recognised him from somewhere. But the angle was wrong: whichever way I looked, however I moved my head, I couldn’t seem to get him in view. I looked down at the plug again, too confused and disorientated to persevere.

He held my waist with both his hands and leaned over my back. He whispered, “It was the girl I was after… but I can feel your willingness to oblige me…”

I didn’t like what he’d said and tried to throw him off but he held me firm. He was stronger than he looked; or perhaps I was weaker than I felt.

He put his arms right around my waist, pulling my bottom into his crotch. Then he started sniffing my neck, his breath cold and unnatural against it.

I said, “What the fuck are you doing?”

He chuckled again and whispered, “Like you don’t want it…”

I tried to sound firm, resolute. “Whatever you’re doing, I don’t want it.”

He laughed and started kissing my neck. His lips felt so cold against it; I wondered why they hadn’t looked purple or blue when he’d was standing in front of me.

He said, “And yet every puny instinct of which you’re capable tells me you do… that you’ve wanted it – and had it – on many occasions before…”

I thought, “What the hell’s happening here… this can’t be real…?”

He laughed again and whispered in my ear, “Don’t kid yourself, Wallace. This is very real…”

I fell to the side, my elbow smacking painfully against the porcelain of the sink, and hit the floor. I turned around to find him bearing down on me and tried to kick him away.

He sniggered at my weak attempts and grabbed my ankles effortlessly.

I spat out, “I’m imagining this… this isn’t happening…”

He grinned at me. His teeth sparkled with his saliva; his canines seemed more prominent.

He pushed himself down on top of me, letting go of my ankles but holding my wrists firm to the floor. I struggled to break free but he was far too strong for me. He pressed his face up against mine and I thought he was going to try and kiss me. Instead, though, he started smelling me like a dog would; he sniffed around my mouth and down my chin, and worked his nose down to sniff around my neck as he had earlier.

He said, “You smell of your sex, doctor. Your blood reeks of your hormones…”

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

He sniggered. “I’ve never tasted another male… you smell so different, so raw…”

I tried to remain calm. He felt very real. His icy fingers digging into my wrists hurt as much as real ones would. But this couldn’t be happening. Every ounce of reason I possessed told me that.

He smiled more broadly at my thoughts, his teeth flashing at me malevolently.

I said, trying to sound reasonable. “Look. What do you want? If I’ve got it, I’ll give you it . I can’t fight you. I’m ill.”

“And you could if you weren’t?” He sneered at me. “Isn’t it obvious what I want?” He pressed his body down into mine. His crotch ground into the front of my briefs. Even through the material of his trousers, his intentions were very apparent.

The room was spinning behind his grinning face. His expression was carnal; his pleasure breaking free of its social constraints. His ability to overpower me was clearly exciting him on a sexual, as well as physical, level.

I asked, expecting my directness to sober him up a little, “You want to fuck me? Is that it?”

He grinned more broadly. “I probably will. I usually do at times like these. But arseholes aren’t really to my taste, to be honest. So don’t be offended if I don’t…”

I was surprised by his reaction. “So what do you want?”

He pressed his face down onto my neck again. Sniffing my neck and licking at it with short, cold jabs, he whispered, “This.” His grip loosened on my wrists and his fingers moved up to my neck to feel each side of my Adam’s Apple, searching for my pulse.

I was dulled by the shock of what was happening and still clung onto the hope that it was all part of some freakish hallucination. But then I felt his tongue on my neck, cold and slimy like a snake, working its way across the skin, feeling for the heat of my blood inside my veins. And I knew the sensation was far too real.

His crotch was pushing rhythmically against mine, making gentle masturbatory movements, and his tongue swept across my neck. Then, when he’d found what he wanted, he licked the spot over and over with his tongue. He seemed to be relishing the moment; savouring the anticipation. I looked at his face and saw that his eyes were closed in pleasure, his expression one of ecstasy.

I took the opportunity to push him from me with as much violence as I could muster. He was caught unawares – too preoccupied by his pleasure to react immediately – and fell back against the opposite wall.

I darted out from under him and, though the floor swayed like a seesaw beneath me, I managed to get halfway across the room on all fours. I was heading for the door; trying to get out from the bathroom. I heard a brief sound like a growl – a low, gravelly sound that a dog might make as a warning – and then, with a roar, he leapt onto my back.

My face hit the floor and he pinned me down. He was panting rapidly and snarling in anger. The talking was over; he was past being able to do anything so rational.

His face was on my neck again, his hands gripping my wrists. His chest heaved against my back and his crotch ground into my arse. He worked his mouth around to the front of my neck, pushing my head to the side.

I said, “No… please,” hoping to arouse some sense of pity.

But he ignored my appeals and started probing my neck again with his cold wet tongue.

This time there was no delay; the moment was not to be savoured. When he’d found his target, his teeth bit straight through my skin; his four pointed canines puncturing the artery. I cried out for him to stop but could already feel my blood, hot and thick, was pumping into his mouth. He drank it down, the low growling sound still coming from his throat, and his tongue lapped at the wounds he’d made as if to prevent the blood from clotting around them.

I felt overwhelmed by dizziness and my vision became cloudy and confused. My brain was being starved of the blood it needed and I was powerless to prevent it.

I dimly thought, “If I lie here calmly, he’ll drink to his fill and then he’ll stop… he won’t dare kill me… people will come looking for him…”

But as he drank from me, he became more agitated; more excited. He started biting at my neck more roughly; the sounds from his throat becoming stronger and louder. He wrapped his arms around my chest – aware that I was too weak to resist him by now – and pulled me close to him as he ground his obvious erection into my arse as he fed.

It was like he was eating my neck, tearing at the flesh between his jaws and sucking the blood out of me. He was in ecstasy, unable to control himself. My blood was electrifying him; driving out the human altogether; bringing forward something more primitive.

Perhaps it was because mine was the first male blood he’d tasted: perhaps he was like this during every bloodmeal.

I felt my consciousness failing me; my head was reeling, my senses dulled almost to extinction. He continued drinking unabated, grinding his hips into my backside and pulling my chest closer to him. Then, with a few rough sudden moves, he yanked down my briefs and ripped open his trousers. His cock, cold and thick, pressed into my arse cleft, and he moved it around trying to find the place through which he could enter me. He’d said that arseholes weren’t his thing: clearly, while in this state of bestial excitement, anything was his thing.

Still eating at my throat and still panting and snarling, he moved his hands onto my hips and pulled my arse up towards him. I was too weak to resist. His cock found what it had been searching for and, with a grunt, he pushed it into me. It felt almost metallic, so cold and so hard, as it slid a few inches into my rectum. He immediately started fucking me; driving it in and out of me as he gulped the blood from my neck.

I think I must have passed out.

When I came round – it was probably just a minute or so later – he had withdrawn from my neck and was upright behind me, pulling my hips towards him and fucking me roughly. I felt my blood still seeping out from the wounds he’d made, trickling down past my Adam’s Apple and dripping rapidly onto the tiled floor. He didn’t seem concerned by that. He was snarling and whining as he gripped my hips and rammed his thick cock in and out of me.

He seemed to become aware that I was conscious again and he pulled my body upright with his, still slamming himself in and out of my arse. My blood started running down my chest, soaking the material of my teeshirt. I fell back into him – too weak to support myself – and felt relaxed and lightheaded as I reclined against him. He paused momentarily to move my shins so that they were on either side of knees, opening my legs wider to give himself better access to my hole. Then he started fucking me again, driving his cock in and out of my insides with long fast strokes.

As he did so, he pulled my teeshirt up and started feeling my pecs and my nipples, massaging them with his fingers using my blood as lubrication. Then he started lapping at the blood oozing from my neck, catching with his tongue it as it poured out like a cat would drink spilt milk.

I started to feel warm and sleepy; a sensation of pleasure and contentment flooded over me. It seemed – at that moment – good to be like this with him; feeding him and pleasuring him with my body. I felt fortunate to be here like this with him, our bodies joined together; for my blood to be inside him and for his seed to be about to pass into me.

He seemed to sense my growing pleasure and reacted to it by increasing his thrusts almost to a frenzy. He began grunting at the same rhythm as he was fucking me, gasping for breath with every rapid stab into me.

He reached down my body, rubbing my blood into my stomach and then moved down to smear it into my pubic hair. He used it to moisten my cock which I only then realised was as hard and upright as his was inside me. At first he just played with me, rubbing his fingers along the thick swollen shaft of my cock and moving down to caress my hanging balls. Then he gripped my cock firmly in his sticky fist and started masturbating me quickly.

My pleasure was immediate and intense. I suddenly wanted more of him to be inside me, and began pushing my arse backwards onto his cock with every plunge it made. I started gasping from the feel of it; wanting it to penetrate me deeper; wanting to feel his semen squirting from its head.

I began grunting as loudly as he was: both of us overwhelmed by our animal instincts. We were consumed by our lust: his for my blood and for my body; mine for the sheer thrill of pleasuring him so completely.

His orgasm started as a growl at the back of his throat. It was short but powerful. His semen flooded into me in a long, relentless stream. He pumped it into my bowels with short rapid thrusts of his cock, filling my innards with the cold, burning liquid. He was again biting at my bleeding neck, smearing the blood across his lips, his cheeks and his chin.

His hand continued rubbing at my cock and my own climax erupted within seconds of his. I remember looking down at my cum, watching as copious white strings of it burst out of the purple head of my cock, and then the room went black.

***

I thought he was talking to Kaz. He seemed to be telling her what my blood was like. My red cell count and that I was AB negative. I was thinking how clever he was to be able to work all that out from the taste of it.

Then I came round and realised I was in hospital.

The voice I’d heard belonged to a doctor.

He looked down at me and said, “You’re a very lucky chap. You’ve your girlfriend to thank for being alive right now…”

I said, “The guy in the bathroom…”

He grinned and nodded knowingly. “You just get some rest, Mr Wallace…”

When he’d gone I talked to Kaz.

“What happened?”

Her eyes were red. She’d been crying before I’d awoken.

“I heard a noise and you weren’t in bed,” she said. “I woke up the old couple. Peter broke into the bathroom and you were there, on the floor.”

I began to feel tired but wanted to know the whole story.

“What had happened to me?”

“You’d passed out. The doctor says you were chronically anaemic. Your blood cell count was almost off the chart. They had to give you a blood transfusion.”

“What had happened to me?”

“They don’t know.”

I tried to sit up in bed but Kaz pushed me back down. She told me that I should go back to sleep for while.

I was tired but far too agitated. “What about the guy in the bathroom?”

She looked blank. “The guy?”

“He got in through the window…”

She smiled; a slightly patronising smile. “Come on, Seb. The bathroom was on the upper floor of the house. There was no guy.”

“The window was open, though…?”

“Sebastian. The doctor said the medicine you were taking was probably the cause of your disorientation. One of the ingredients is known to cause hallucinations…”

I wasn’t convinced. “But the window was open…?”

She didn’t seem to remember. I felt around my neck. There were no marks; no scabs.

She went on, “There was so much blood. It was all over you, soaking your teeshirt, covering the floor… I thought you’d slit your wrists or something…”

I was going to make a joke like, “You’re unbearable but not that unbearable,” but the situation was too serious.

I said, “Where had it come from? Where’s the wound?”

She shook her head. “They don’t know. They even stuck a tube up your – you know – your bum…” Kaz always got embarrassed talking about arses. “They were looking for a source of the bleeding. But they didn’t find anything…”

***

I never worked out what had happened that night in the bathroom. Whether I’d been visited by a pale-skinned young man in a black suit, or whether I’d passed out and dreamt the whole thing while the doctor was talking in his deep composed voice and they were sticking tubes up my backside.

Sometimes I convince myself that he was real and that he’s still out there somewhere. Wandering through the mist; hunting on the mountain slopes. When I’m in that frame of mind, I tend to wonder if he still thinks of me – his first male bloodmeal – and whether he can still read my thoughts from so far away. Whether one day he’ll come to find me.

But then I think, “Jesus, Wallace, it was all the fucking cough remedy’s fault.” And I laugh at myself for being so ridiculous.

 

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