She looked at each of the pictures, her heart racing as she came to a conclusion: This man was immortal.
The more she dug up about him, the more it became apparent that he was no mere man. The oldest recorded mention of him that she found was an old portrait from the early fifteenth century. He couldn’t be a vampire…could he? she thought as she shuffled the papers and and rearranged them by time. He’s not a vampire...he can't be. Vampires don't exist...right? She leaned back in her chair and took her glasses off, rubbing her temples, a headache teasing at the edges of her mind. She blinked at the dark library and wondered how she got to this point, how she ended up researching a dear friend.
What is he?
She thought back to what she knew of him. They had gone to the same university for their bachelors and then they were both admitted to the same graduate program in Oxbridge. She had never looked at him and thought that his youthfulness was inhuman, she always assumed he just had amazing genes. He was incredibly intelligent, probably the most intelligent person she knew. And he was ridiculously charming, like the kind of charming that could disarm a drunk frat boy. She pushed her glasses on back and grabbed one of the papers from a pile she had yet to read. According to this, if it was all true, his parents had disappeared when he was just a boy. Since then, he had been known to live alone on his family's estate in Romania. She reached the end of the page and turned it over for more, but found nothing but a blank page.
“What are you?” she mumbled to herself as she continued to rustle through and read a few papers. She had found that he was twenty-seven years old, a young single bachelor when he supposedly died. It said that no body was found and that there had been rumors surrounding his parent’s disappearance. She glanced at one of the pictures she had found, in it he was twenty six, a year before he “died”. She thought about the Brandon she knew. He had just celebrated his 28th birthday, had a string of serious girlfriends in the eight or so years that she knew him, he loved eating sushi and burgers, and he was very good at keeping his personal life separate from his professional scholar life. But she also remembered that he was an orphan and had been brought up by a close family friend. She still needed more evidence.
Her phone buzzed on the table next to her laptop. She looked at the photo on her screen, it was Brandon. In the picture she took, he looked like he could be an aristocrat from some old time. She compared it to one of the old pictures she found and compared the two. They looked exactly the same. That's when she noticed him. She couldn’t see him as well as Brandon, but she could see that he was beautiful, inhumanly so. The more she stared at him and tried to bring him into proper focus, she felt more and more unsettled, as if he could jump out at her. And then her eyes caught sight of one of the other pictures.
Oh my god.
This man was in every picture and portrait of Brandon. He was always off to the side, slightly out of focus, dressed in the time’s style. Who was he? What does he have to do with Brandon? she asked herself as she began to collect her papers and books. She had to go home and sleep. A picture fell out of the stack in her arms. She bent to pick it up and she held it close to her eyes. If Brandon really was a vampire, immortal, whatever, this man had something to do with it. She focused on him and felt a shiver travel up her spine. She put the picture back in the stack and stuffed it in her pack. She would confront Brandon, not alone, but she would do it.
As she got up from the desk, she heard the silent room door close. She froze as the realization of how late it was dawned on her.
“Hello?” she called out and turned around to face the door, “Is anyone there?”
No one answered and she heard nothing. She felt around in her pack for the silver knife she had and felt relief when her fingers touched the cold metal. She pulled it out and had it ready in her hand as she pulled her pack on. She felt her neck for the silver chain necklace that she had started wearing since her obsession with Brandon began. She felt it then, the sense that someone was standing right behind her, breathing on her neck. She smelled it too. The smell of dying flowers and soil. It both calmed and alarmed her. She turned around quick only to face her startled reflection in the window. Her heart raced as she quickly turned around once more, the smell seemed to get stronger as she made her way closer to the exit door.
"This isn't funny," she called out and tried to make her voice sound as threatening as she could.
“I see you’ve gotten quite close to our little secret,” she didn’t have time to scream before the man had his fingers wrapped around her throat. She looked at him as she struggled for breath. It was the man from the photos except where he was creepy in the photos, he was deadly and threatening in person. He had dark hair that was slicked back to reveal a pointed angular face. His eyes were cat-like, a thin red line circled bright blue irises. She tried to sear his image onto her memory when she began to feel a buzzing around her throat, "Oh? It seems that you've been doing quite a bit of research."
He loosened his grip on her and she slid to the floor. She gasped for air and looked up at him as he inspected his hand.
"Silver hm?" she ignored his question and tightened her grip on her knife, "I suppose things would be much much easier if you were asleep."
"Wha--?" she sputtered out before black consumed her vision.
Author's Note: Not sure if this will be a piece of something bigger. It's just something I played around with before on an old writing blog and it was under a different title. I just added more to it here.