"Dusk and not a moment later." Woody Woods smiled at Stephanie. She'd been tied with tape at the wrists and gagged with one of Daniel's handkerchiefs and a belt. She was now sitting in her own tiny flat, on her own battered couch, in the company of a dead drug dealer, who looked remarkable healthy apart from a red scar on his neck, and a prize bitch. "I know he can tolerate more heat than most, Stephie, I've done my homework." Woods grabbed the belt, along with a handful of hair, and tore it away from Stephanie's mouth. "Say wha'?" He put his hand to his ear and laughed. "Seriously, I don't know why he's so hostile! I want to thank the man for giving me such an awesome fucking gift! I'm invincible Stephie! Do you know what that feels like? Oh no of course you don't, you little pissant." Rachael sat down on a chair and laughed too.

"Zach will be dead by now Rachael." Stephanie turned and looked straight at the bitch.

"He'd have ended up dead sooner or later anyway." Rachael shrugged. "Never had the balls to do anything monumental."

"How can you say that? You complete bastard Rachael! He was crazy about you!" Stephanie shouted.

"Oh ladies, ladies!" Woods yawned and sprawled out on a chair opposite Rachael. "Look Stephie, the girl didn't want the limp-dick, ok? The only other one with an ounce of spunk is Daniel, and he fobbed her off."

"He did not!" Rachael said hotly. "Why the hell would I want Daniel? He's a sadistic arsehole."

"Oh shut your face, you tart!" Stephanie snarled. "I get it now. Daniel tells you to go and jump and you did, straight to this nut-job here." She nodded towards Woods, who was smiling in amusement. "Do you honestly think he'll risk his clan of two hundred years for someone he's only known for a few days? A human at that? I don't know what rent-a-slag here has told you but whatever it was, it was only to get one over on Daniel. Daniel who booted her skanky arse out of bed."

"You do have a point Stephie." Woods mused. "So you're pretty useless to me. Yes? How about a little love bite and I'll find a hundred uses for you."

"Sounds about right for you Woods. They had to be pretty brainless to screw you even when you were alive." Stephanie sniped and earned herself a fist to the cheek from Woods. "Oh look Rachael! Another sadistic arsehole!" She sobbed, spitting out a mouthful of blood. "It must have been the psychotic streak that decided it for you eh? You warped fucking bitch!" Rachael sprang to her feet and stuffed the handkerchief back into Stephanie's mouth.

"You know he'll come for you, slag." Rachael growled, fastening the belt far too tightly round Stephanie's head. "So do we. That's why you're still here with your throat intact." Rachael leaned forward and kissed Stephanie's neck. "I've reserved you, bitch." Stephanie glared holes through Rachael. Woods guffawed a laugh and got to his feet.

"Tie her feet together and come to bed." He kissed Rachael's shoulder. "I can stand heat too, thanks to Danny boy, but not this much." Woods squinted at the drawn curtains. "If we're still sitting here at this time tomorrow, I rip out your throat and leave you infront of this window. The sunlight will do the rest." He smiled at Stephanie, then lead Rachael to Stephanie's bedroom.

Stephanie screwed her eyes shut and tried to organise her head. All she had to do was get free, into the bedroom, past Rachael and Woods and get to the window. She realised that neither of them would simply poof into ashes and that she'd end up rather dead. Out of the flat? To where? She couldn't get back to Nyx Mansion on her own. She couldn't do anything while she was tied up like a parcel! Stephanie heard the door to her flat being unlocked and her heart started racing even faster. She let out a muffled sob when she saw Mike, the thug, Sally's cousin, walking into the room. She began bouncing on the sofa and turned round to let Mike at her hands. He removed the gag first.

"Mike! Oh god Mike I love you." Stephanie sobbed. "The shit who killed Sally is asleep in there with his tart. All you have to do is go and open the curtains! Mike? Well untie me then you spazzock!"

"I'm sorry Steph, I can't." Mike sat down.

"Eh? Mike! Woody Woods is in there and he shot Sally through the head! What's wrong with you?!" Stephanie hissed.

"Absolutely nothing." Mike shrugged. "All I have to do is sit here with you while the sun's up. After that I'll have all of eternity to do exactly as I please."

"Mike no!" Stephanie sobbed. "You can't join him! Please Mike listen to me. He's an arsehole. He was an arsehole when he was alive and he's a bigger one now. He can't look out for you Mike, he isn't capable. You'll turn into a brainless monster who kills people just to survive."

"Like your boyfriend? Give it up Steph, I know all about it." Mike said, lighting a cigarette.

"No! He's nothing like Daniel. Daniel had a clan, and guidance. He was looked after and protected while he was developing. You won't be! Don't you understand?" Stephanie said desperately. "Mike you could end up attacking and mutilating your own family because you'd be incapable of recognising them. All they'll be is food."

"Woody said you'd try and mouth your way out of it." Mike blew smoke all over the place.

"I never took you for a brown nosing hypocrite Mike." Stephanie cried. "You never were on the right side of the law, but drugs? Have you forgot about those kids he killed? That's the man who you're trusting your life with. A fucking drug dealer."

"You have no idea what it's like Steph ..."

"I don't want to know. Just shut up, you loser." Stephanie snivelled. "Maybe you're a shitbag, but I'm not. It's only fair to warn you that the reason I'm here is as bait for Daniel." Mike just shrugged. "No, you don't understand, Mike. He's over two hundred years old and he's a shitload more controlled and stronger than that pile of rotting crap in there. He'll kill him, and he'll kill you."


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