Nightmares of Adventure

The trees crowded the road as Ari walked along the darkening street. She fiddled with the flashlight she carried, her thoughts drifting on the chilly wind blowing. She had been walking for hours since she had been hitchhiking across the country and hadn’t had a ride in a while. As she came to a curve in the road, she saw the silhouette of a large house on a hill. The moon shone full and heavy in the sky above the house, giving it an almost menacing feeling. The air was icy against her fingers as she walked. 

Glancing back over her shoulder, Ari walked up to the house and see if they could give her information about where the last driver had dropped her off. As she walked up to the gate, she noticed her hands were shaking. This was the first time she was in such a strange, unknown area. Usually she stuck to high traffic roads and big cities, so being dropped off in the middle of nowhere was more than disturbing. 

Ari reached out and pressed the button on the metal box next to the gate. She could hear a low bell ring in the distance. What felt like ten minutes in the cold later, the speaker crackled. “Yes, can I help you?” A gruff male voice said.

“I was hoping someone could answer a few questions for me. I’m lost and trying to figure out what direction the city is in,” she said, pushing the button again as she spoke.

“Please come in, it’s cold out there and we can get you sorted out,” the voice said. A moment later, there was a clack of metal and the gate swung open a few inches. She stepped forward, pushing it open far enough to slip through. Her heart raced as she walked through and shut it behind her. In the back of her mind, she had the thought she might walk to her death, or worse. Shaking it off, she kept walking up the drive toward the house. 

As she reached the bottom of the front steps, Ari looked up. There was a man standing in the doorway. He was smiling brightly as she climbed the steps. “Hello, young lady. I am Michael. I work for Mr. Jonas who owns this estate,” he said.

“Thank you for allowing me in,” she said.

He stepped back to allow her inside the house. “Please, go to the library, second door on the left. Mr. Jonas is waiting to speak to you,” he said, walking away in the other direction. Ari stood there for a second before shaking her head and moving forward toward the library. 

Her footsteps echoed as she walked the short distance to the door of the library. She paused in the room’s doorway. “Hello?” She asked.

“Hello, young lady. Please come in and sit down,” he said.

She stepped through the door and moved to the chair opposite the massive mahogany desk. “Thank you for letting me in,” she said.

Mr. Jonas smiled. “No problem. We don’t get many people around here. It’s good to see new people,” he said.

The muscles of Ari’s back relaxed. “Well, it’s a beautiful place. I’m sorry you don’t get many visitors.”

He leaned back in the big leather chair he was occupying. “Tell me about yourself and how you found yourself all the way out here in the dark of the forest?”

“I’ve been traveling the country with nothing more than a backpack. My principal modes of travel have been walking or hitchhiking. It’s been an interesting journey,” she said.

“I would think so. What is the reason for your journey?” He asked. 

She was looking at him carefully, taking in his out-of-date outfit and the simple cut of his hair as he spoke. He looked to be in his late thirties or early forties and rather good looking. “I wanted adventure,” she said simply.

The smile on his lips lit his eyes. “What kind of adventure are you looking for?” He asked, leaning forward once again and folding his hands on the top of his desk.

Ari swallowed. “Anything. I was miserable at home, and wanted something new,” she said.

“If you want adventure, I can help with that. If you are willing,” he said, letting his lips shift and a pair of pointed fangs appear. “Are you interested?”

Ari’s lips followed suit, and she smiled. “Of course. I’ve been looking for someone like myself.” She let her own fangs touch her lips. This was just what she had been wanting. 

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