Two red, swollen bite marks on my neck stared back at me from the bathroom mirror. They looked deep, and they hurt like hell when I did what anyone would instinctively do – press them with my finger. I swore out loud, not caring if my voice carried through the thin walls to the ears of my ever complaining next door neighbour. She was an old lady who seemed to be disturbed by any and every noise she happened to hear in our building. And she grumbled a lot, as the old building’s soundproofing wasn’t up to modern standards.
I swore again when the bite marks began to bleed at my touch. I knew I shouldn’t have left the balcony door open at night, but what else could I have done? We were in the middle of a heat wave and my little flat had no air conditioning. It was stifling in there. It was cosy enough in winter, but during a hot summer I had to sleep without a blanket even with the door open, if I wasn’t going to spend all night in a pool of sweat.
I took some cotton wool, moistened it so it wouldn’t get stuck on the half-dried blood, and wiped the blood off.
"These are huge! I just can’t believe the size of mosquitos these days…” I announced to the mirror while wiping my neck. Then something strange about my reflection made me stop.
I stared at my hand in the mirror, bending even closer to see better. Then, suddenly fully awake, I realized I didn’t need the mirror to have a closer look.
“What the hell?”
A ring. Being left-handed, that’s the hand I had used to clean the blood away. That upraised hand now had a ring on the ring finger. A ring I had never seen before, and one that had definitely not been there the previous night when I went to bed. It was a golden ring with old-fashioned filigree swirls surrounding a dark red stone in the middle, a stone that had to be a ruby. A giant ruby.
“What the actual hell?” I repeated, even louder.
- Leena Maria / Creature Wars 1 / The Death of a Vampire / Chapter 3: Bitten