Tom listened to the comfortable naturalness of the waves rolling onto the shore only metres away from him, the night before a hazy recollection of pain and thrill that didn't make a lot of sense. He drifted in the dawn in a daze, but slowly the fact that he was lying on wet sand and seaweed began to impinge on his sense of comfort and, eventually, Tom sat up. He squinted around at the brightening beach, objects in the distance already only blobs of dark and light as the sun cut at his eyes, and, so, self-preservation his driving factor, Tom got to his feet and began a shaky journey back to Coombedown.
Finding the pub by aiming at the big, glowing white thing nearest the shore, Tom staggered to the back door and found it open, for which he was thankful, since his co-ordination didn't reach to getting keys out of wallets and unlocking doors. Working very much at an immediate, basic level, Tom's next thought revolved around a very dry mouth, so he felt his way down the wall to the kitchen to get a drink of water. What he did not expect was to find three people-shaped blobs between him and the sink and Tom came to a halt in the doorway, surprised that his senses were so shut down that he had not even realised he had company.
The scrapping of wood on lino cut through Tom's head as all three bodies stood up rapidly from their seats round the table and alarm made it through Tom's shields, waking him up a little more.
"Tom, where have you been; we've been worried sick?" Dafydd demanded, but did not approach him.
Still tired and wobbly, Tom leant against the door frame and, rubbing his face, replied, "On the beach."
"All night?" Dr Bayden revealed himself as one of the other shapes.
Tom went back over his memories, but he was still having trouble focusing them and so he shrugged and revealed, "Passed out there, woke up there."
"Are you feeling alright, Tom?" Dr Bayden sounded oddly wary, but whatever blocks Tom's unconscious had managed, he couldn't bring them down to check.
"Strange," he reached for the first word that summed up his woolly mind and body.
"You have blood down your T-shirt and on your face, Tom. Do you know how it got there?" Dafydd also spoke carefully, his manner bringing up Tom's hackles.
"Um," Tom wanted to answer, but when he remembered the taste of blood in his mouth, he didn't know how to admit it.
"Tom, Dom Lucas disappeared from his sick bed last night," Fran finally made herself known and Tom didn't need his barriers down to understand the implications of her statement.
"No!" he denied immediately, standing straight and regretting it as his world went around with his sudden movement. "It wasn't me."
"You were in an awful state last night," Fran pointed out as he reached for the door post again.
"I went to the beach, away from people. I wouldn't..." Tom objected, but the chill of the blank night dented his conviction.
"We know about the attack on Phillipa, Tom, she told us it was you," Dr Bayden challenged further, bringing back the guilt Tom had hoped he had already dealt with.
He had no answer for that, even he had concluded he was a monster when he had run away from his friend's window.
"Where did the blood come from, Tom?" Dafydd asked again and this time Tom stepped back into the hall as Dafydd moved towards him.
"I don't know," he lied.
The memory of drinking blood sent a shot of pleasure out through him and it mixed with doubt to make him feel sick.
"Don't run away," Dafydd urged, holding out a hand, but it was not in support.
Tom's co-ordination was not good enough to run, but he backed up against the banisters, afraid of the stress in the other man's voice. In the dark of the hallway, he saw Dafydd's face for the first time, and he knew that kind of look, he remembered it from Vincent Maring after he had shut down Phil's memories. When Dafydd's hand closed on his shoulder, Tom felt the publican's fear as well. Not out and out terror, but a dread of what might have happened and it made Tom's knees go weak.
"Tom, I'm going to call Oscar," Dafydd told him, voice unsteady and cut with emotion. "I need you to wait in the cellar. Will you do that for me, Tom?"
Tom sank under the implications behind the words. He could feel Dafydd's distrust and the betrayal Tom had inflicted on his friend by lying about Phillipa. All his support was gone and his self-doubt buried Tom's resistance. Slowly, he nodded and a flex of Dafydd's arm guided him towards the cellar door.
He couldn't meet his gaoler's tense gaze and ducked into the doorway when urged to do so. When the door closed behind him, he sunk down on the steps where he stood, winded and horrified by what his captors now thought of him. Worse still, he had no idea where the blood of his crime had come from and, desperately he tried to make sense of his memories.
by Sophie Duncan
Tom Franklin has never really understood his midnight cravings for red meat, he has merely accepted them. His Harley Street doctor had always diagnosed his symptoms as a protein deficiency, aggravated by stress, particularly the dark dreams that haunt his subconscious. Yet, when his dreams and consequently his symptoms escalate, Tom's parents are forced to reveal the truth: he isn't human. Tom discovers that the nightmarish images of dark places and even darker instincts are in fact repressed memories of his early childhood, and he must face the wild heritage from his birth-father, a ruthless vampire known only as Raxos.
Realising his memories are his only hope of controlling his awakening instincts, Tom returns to, Coombedown, the sleepy, Cornish village in which he was born, unknowing that the night-breed in his veins will lead him into danger.