Around two dozen people were waiting in the front hall, which was around three quarters of the residents of Nyx Mansion. The noise levels dropped to murmurs when Daniel wandered down the wide staircase, fastening his smart blue shirt. He got midway down them when Zach and Rachael came in through the double, wooden front doors, two blood spattered men between them.

"Caught red-handed." Daniel's voice carried loudly and clearly across the cavernous hallway. "Or should I say red-faced?" He continued walking down the stairs, then crossed the hall to stand infront of Nye and Tone.

"We finished them Daniel, drained them completely." Nye said quickly. "They won't come back or anything like that."

"They're dead, all of them." Tone backed up his friend. "We checked."

"Three teenage girls, a courting couple aged twenty two and ... who were tonights obliging customers?" Daniel asked calmly, only the dangerous glint in his eyes betrayed his fury.

"It was no one, honestly, Daniel." Tone grovelled. "Just street hobos, tramps."

"Plural?" Daniel asked.

"Yes! Yes they did look sick, all four of them." Nye said eagerly and Tone cringed.

"So you've killed nine innocent people in total." Daniel stated. "And you still had the fucking nerve to come back here?" He growled quietly.

"Shit man, we have to eat!" Nye protested.

"Your table manners are atrocious." Daniel's hands shot forward and he snapped Nye's neck clean in two. Tone began sobbing pathetically.

"I just did the tramps Daniel, I swear." He babbled. "Homeless tramps, no one will even miss them! I've learned my lesson. I ..." A loud click rang out as Tone's neck snapped too.

"This isn't a bloody schoolhouse." Daniel snarled. "If there's anyone else thinking about feeding off the innocents then you should consider the consequences of those actions. That." He pointed at the dead bodies of Tone and Nye. "Or that." He pointed to the door. "You all chose to feed selectively when you stayed here at Nyx Mansion. Your own choice. Sure you can change your minds and I can't help that, but I can help who stays here." Daniel glowered round the hall and most of the others lowered their eyes, some nodding in agreement. "If you don't like the house rules, there's the door. Haz! Go with Zach please and get rid of those shits." Daniel kicked Tone's lifeless body and strode back upstairs.

Daniel flung himself into his armchair and glared into the fire.

"Daniel?" He looked up to see Rachael's pretty blonde head peeping round the door and he groaned to himself. This couldn't be a good sign if he was groaning at the prospect of pretty, female company. "Need a chat?"

"No. No, I'm fine thanks Rachael." Daniel returned his glare towards the fire and was irritated when Rachael didn't take the hint and sat down on the floor infront of the flames. "Won't Zach be looking for you? It won't take him long to decapitate those two shitballs."

"Oh Zach's ok." Rachael answered vaguely. "He's hardly going to say anything is he?" She laughed and Daniel felt his irritation growing. While it was true that he didn't need much persuasion when it came to the fairer sex, it was because he was in a position to be persuaded. That position being on his own, in that respect, and not just because he was the top dog on the patch.

"Has it ever occurred to you that Zach actually does think alot of you Rachael?" Daniel glanced at the girl.

"Oh I like Zach well enough." Rachael nodded. "He knows I'd never cheat on him."

"So why are you here with your shirt undone?" Daniel asked in disbelief.

"Cheat with anyone else." Rachael clarified, rolling her eyes. "You don't count, for shit's sake!"

"Oh?" Daniel looked at Rachael.

"No of course not." Rachael smiled. "There's not a girl in the mansion that wouldn't break her back to get up here, and not a man who'd stop her." She began to get undressed while Daniel watched her. "Bedroom?"

"Here." Daniel nodded towards the floor.

There was a huge difference between love making and sex, in Daniel's book, and even sex came in categories. This category was rather small, probably for the best. He was quite satisfied to see discomfort on Rachael's face and took great pleasure in ignoring it. Quick, to the point, and not a shred of enjoyment involved. The whole 'chat' was over in fifteen minutes. Daniel put his jeans back on and watched the feint bruises appearing on Rachael's shoulders and buttocks as she dressed. It would be a while before she broke her back to get up here again.

"'Night Rachael." Rachael nodded and rubbed her upper arms as she winced and left Daniel's rooms.

Daniel looked out of his window into the clear night sky. He could feel the dull pain of hunger weighing on his stomach and couldn't actually remember the last time he'd fed. Six days? Seven? It was common for the people of Nyx Mansion to travel many miles in order to feed selectively. Afterall, there were only so many scumbags on the streets in a given area. The recent local butcherings of ordinary, innocent people, and Daniel's suspicions that it was someone from his own clan had kept him close to home and hungry. Woods the drug dealer was right at the top of the menu.

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