"Gavin wants to see you," Merrill sighed.
"I don’t want to see him," I muttered. "Ever."
"Don’t make me talk to him. Or to you. Or any other vampire on this God-forsaken planet."
"Very well. Go to your room," Merrill ordered. "I am keeping your cell phone and your computer for the time being." I almost laughed at his words. I wanted to tell him what he could do with my laptop and cell phone, but I didn’t. I just got up from my seat, walked out of his study and went straight to my room.
Gavin passed my bedroom several times before he stopped. I didn’t want to see him. Truly. I couldn’t think of a single soul I’d met since becoming vampire that I would have welcomed right then. They’d all sold me down the river in one way or another. I huddled on my sofa, watching television for a little while, listening to the news concerning the usual rapes, murders, stabbings, child abuse, domestic violence—the entire gamut of human mistreatment, one for the other. Too bad there wasn’t vampire television; I’m sure my beating would have been televised as a warning to others. Half an hour before dawn, I went to my bedside table and pulled Gavin’s ring from my finger, setting it down where he could find it. Then I turned to mist and made my way out the barest of cracks around the window, floating up to the roof. Dawn was too near for the stars to be visible except for one or two, far off. Carefully I undressed and folded my clothes. Even with the absence of ash as a telltale sign, my clothing would let them know they needn’t come looking for me. There wasn’t any concrete around the manor to stand on. Nothing else, either, that might prevent me from digging my way into the soil in case the pain became unbearable. The rooftop was the next best thing. I knew the moment the sun peeked over the horizon, although my eyes were closed. My skin burned, and then blackened and began to boil as dawn broke over tranquil, English fields.
* * *
"Lissa!" Merrill’s shout could be heard from one end of the manor to the other. He fled to the rooftop as fast as he could, the sun warm on his skin as he flew. "Lissa!" Merrill was crying her name as he found her, her skin completely blackened and flaking away. She toppled over as he rushed toward her. Wrapping Lissa’s body in his arms, Merrill pulled her from the rooftop and sped toward a window.