I pull my leather coat closed and zip it up as the cold night air begins to blow. One thing that I adapted well to is living in the night. I have to be awake when vampires are, and that means sleeping when the sun comes up.

My boots are heavy on the pavement as I tuck my hands into my jacket pockets. My jeans are dark as well so it’s easier for me to blend in. The jacket also helps hide the long blade I have strapped to my back. There’s another at my ankle and one at my waist. I don’t like guns and I prefer to be as silent as possible when killing vampires.

The plan tonight is to scout the area and some of the houses. One of the bodies was found last month near the woods at the park, so I’ll go there first. I want to look with my own eyes at the place and not just at crime scene photos. I hacked into the city’s system and pulled as much information as I could from there, but the cops have nothing so far, so it wasn’t exactly helpful.

There are crowds of people walking around and downtown is alive with excitement. I see a family crossing the street and each of the parents carry sleeping kids as they grip tight onto their buckets of candy. Something in seeing them makes me turn my eyes away quickly. It’s almost as if my brain doesn’t want to see what I can’t have so I don’t allow myself to linger on it. The thought of loving a woman and having a child with her is something I don’t dwell on, and there’s no time for it tonight.

The edge of the park is dense with trees and the place where the body was discovered is no different. There’s a small path off to the side that leads away from the park and away from town, but I don’t follow it. Instead I remain at the edge of the trees and watch the park, looking for anything suspicious. In the distance I see a dark-haired woman sitting on a bench. She’s facing away from me, but her wavy hair is over one shoulder and her pale neck is shining in the moonlight. She’s watching the children near her as they run and play in their Halloween costumes. I should be doing the same, but my eyes stay on her. Before I realize it, I’ve taken a step in her direction. I’m still at the edge of the woods and I’m surprised I moved without conscious thought.

I watch her without blinking and with complete focus as she sits there quietly. After a moment she reaches up and it looks like she’s wiping away a tear. Suddenly I’m taking another step towards her and I’m wondering what’s wrong. I want to call out to her and ask her if she’s okay. I want to go over and sit down beside her and give her comfort. I’ve never had this ridiculous pull to someone before and I don’t understand where this urge is coming from.

Abruptly she stands from the bench and I expect her to walk away from me and into the city. But she surprises me by coming towards where I’m standing and into the woods. She’s trim, with strong arms and legs and she moves like a tiger. Doesn’t she know about the murder that was committed in almost this exact spot? It’s too dangerous for a woman like her to be coming into the woods.

I’m just about to take a step out from the trees and in front of her when the moonlight shines on her face, and for the first time I truly see her. I have to hold back the hiss in my throat when I realize that she’s a vampire. Nothing on earth so beautiful could be human. Her skin is like silk and her eyes are so blue they shine in the light. Her lips are blood red, and even from here I can see that she is absolute perfection.

I’ve killed more vampires than most slayers see in a lifetime, but this one is special. This vampire is unlike any I’ve seen before her and I know that I’ll never see another like her again. She walks as if she’s gliding through the air, her dark hair flowing behind her. She is elegant in every movement and I can’t look away. I’m mesmerized as she moves and comes closer to where I am.

I hold my breath when she stops just beyond the edge of the trees and looks around. Can she somehow sense me? My heart is racing and I feel the blood in my body heat as it sears through my veins. Am I having a heart attack?

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