He was an innocent man, William Haleton. That was before he was transformed into a vampire. There are rules: the life line of 100 evil souls must be severed. Taking too long to complete this task will result in being transported through time. Haleton meets and falls in love with Amber. But his vampire cousin, Crompton, wants her dead. An antidote exists but will it be discovered before time runs out? Someone else loves Amber too: Craig. Can he be trusted?
England: Early Spring, 1749AD.
THE TALL athletic built man longed for the next female to walk his way. He loved this particular time of night when the moon had risen to the highest point in the sky and a gentle breeze started wafting in from the sea.
The man didn't blink, staring down the cobblestone sidewalk. His presence made whoever walked past the deep doorway he stood in, die of fright when they found him lurking in the shadows. He adjusted his tanned top hat and tails and tugged at his long sleeved frilly shirt to prepare himself for the arrival of the ladies. The man stepped further back into the doorway of the three-storey building which housed the city clock, watching the rats and mice scurrying about the rubbish in an attempt to discover food.
The man looked relaxed standing in the cold waiting to hear the scraping echo of ladies shoes. The giggling females always heightened the thrill.
William Haleton was told countless times by many a young lady when they danced he always acted as the perfect gentleman. His handsome features always attracted long luring looks. He lost count of how many times young single ladies commented on his strong shoulders, taut muscles, and dark hair. The only thing wrong, love had failed to mushroom in his life.
For several heartbeats he studied the ground he stood on. His facial expression looked drawn. He took to pondering what might be the reason for his loneliness. Finally, his thoughts fell on Alex Crompton. His murderous cousin must be stopped. He was the only one who could do it. Maybe after the death of the man, love will flow unhindered towards him. How he yearned for the warm embrace of a woman. He didn't want any girl; he wanted to be married to a beautiful woman. One he could love, cherish and adore. He wanted to smell the perfume on her neck, the sweet smelling oils in her hair. He wanted to buy the love of his life, gifts of expensive perfume and long flowing dresses. Soon he'd start his medical studies. He wanted to be the finest surgeon in the country. He wanted to see a room full of patients. To top his dream goal he prayed each night the young lady he'd marry embraced the medical side. Female surgeons were indeed a rarity. He needed to unearth the woman, even if fate took him to another country.
The familiar noise of flat heeled shoes scraping the cobblestone sidewalk quickly brought Haleton back from his daydream. He knew tonight will be the evening of Crompton's next victim.
To stop his cousin's murderous ways Haleton needed to be ready.
Crompton, wearing a black felt top hat and tails loosened his shirt collar. He hugged the wall of the only brick dwelling in the village. His cold murderous black eyes surveyed the area. Seeing no one he quickly marched across the dirt road, blending into the shadow of a large old oak tree.
Catching a whiff of enticing perfume from a young female, a satisfied expression wrinkled Crompton's brow. He looked to be almost lost in the aroma of the sweet perfumed scent.
Haleton spied Alex Crompton, placed his tanned coloured felt hat on the ground and slipped across the road, hiding in the deep doorway of the general store.
Two young females walking home from a nearby party, closed in. Every muscle in Haleton's body compressed to the point of cramping. He must win the fight. Crompton must be stopped no matter the cost. The lives of the young women approaching, not to mention his love life, depended on his victory.
The two females came soon enough. They were staggering from the effects of the wine they secretly drank. They were giggling at their noisy footsteps and slurred speech. One of the girls stopped walking. She swayed slightly leaning on the other's shoulder.
"Stand still for a moment I've broken the strap on both of my shoes. They keep slipping off my feet." The tall slender young woman leaned forward to pick her shoes up off the sidewalk. Her long blonde hair fell in front of her face, sweeping the ground. For a short time, the girl swayed trying desperately not to fall over. "Hey sister, thanks for catching me, I nearly fell," she stammered, straightening. "Okay, let's go home."
Both young ladies were dressed to impress every man at the local dance. They wore the same style of eveningwear. Their long-sleeved white pleated dresses kissed the ground while they danced around the floor. Tight corsets decreased the size of their already narrow waists and behind each ear the lingering smell of expensive perfume.
"We cannot walk about the streets with you wearing no shoes. What if we are seen?"
"Sister, I'm too drunk to bloody care."
"You should not use those sorts of words. What if someone hears?"
"Take a look around, I can't see anyone. Can you?" The young lady palmed an open hand around the deserted area. "Tomorrow I'm going down to the local peddler's shop to give him an extra round of strong verbal diarrhea. The small rat featured, irritating little man, kept my shoes for a whole week. Now they're broken."
"You should blame the well-rounded man at the dance. He stepped on your feet too many times to count."
"No, it's the peddler's fault for not making the shoe straps strong enough in the first place."
"Shhh, not so loud, this is the area where the last murder took place."
"Sister, lightning doesn't strike in the same place twice," hinted the taller of the two. She staggered over a cobblestone. Her sister caught her again, propping her up.
"I have a strange feeling we are being watched."
"Who'd bother with two drunks? Especially me, I've no shoes on my feet." The girl giggled. Again she leaned against her sister. "It sure is a nice night for a walk. Shame you're not a man."
Crompton slowly pulled his long knife from inside a pocket of his knee high left boot. He lifted it to eye level and slowly twisted it back and forth in his hand. The blade glistened in the light of the full moon. He stared at the blade, admiring its razor sharp edge. How he missed the feeling the custom-made wooden handle gave when he held it in his hand. The explanation he gave to the craftsman for wanting the knife perfectly balanced was for killing and dissecting rabbits.
The wind started to strengthen, blowing the dark clouds off to the South. Crompton slipped the knife behind his back. He glued his gaze on the two young ladies staggering past. He scraped his tongue across the surface of his lips. As the girls moved away Crompton made final preparations to pounce.
Haleton knew Crompton didn't care about his female victims or whether they were a mother. In life, the only way he could satisfy the constant hunger burning deep inside him was to kill a woman. The moment he found the perfect victim their time walking on the earth quickly came to an end.
Haleton studied the killer's face. Crompton looked disappointed. 'Could he be growing soft?' Haleton frowned at his thoughts. 'Not possible.'
Crompton marched up behind the girls, striking up a casual conversation. If the two young women knew of his intentions they'd have bellowed a blood-curdling scream.
Haleton estimated one girl to be around sixteen, the other nineteen.
"You're too drunk for my liking. Have a nice life," Crompton taunted.
The moment the nineteen-year-old blew him a kiss her younger sister grabbed her by the arm and marched her down the road.
The killer turned his collar up to keep warm from the cold. He changed direction, deciding to walk slowly towards the ocean. The moment he drew level to a doorway he stopped to stare at the tall figure watching him.
"Show yourself or suffer the consequences."
"You don't know the meaning of the word."
"I don't have to."
Haleton emerged, glaring at Crompton. "Haven't you scared every female in the fishing village enough?"
"William Haleton, I should have known you'd be lurking about."
"Answer my question."
"I want to be certain I haven't left any females off my list. Be told, my gang and I are going to continue. The twelve of us are unstoppable."
"Are you sure?"
Crompton laughed dryly. "Positive. When I feel the urge, another female will end up face down in the sea."
"I'm here to stop you," growled Haleton.
"Don't tell me you decided against joining my gang? It will be the biggest mistake you have ever made."
"You're wrong. Waiting too long in standing up to you has been my biggest mistake."
"Don't give me your high priced talk again," spat Crompton.
"You need it."
"You've always been weak Haleton. Mark my words, you always will be. All women were born to be used in whatever way men like me, want."
"You're crazy. A young lady should be gently romanced."
"You talk nonsense. Ever since we were old enough to walk we've never seen eye to eye on anything. For that I hate you," jeered Crompton. "I'll give you one last chance to join my gang."
"What if I refuse?"
"Your sour lonely life will draw to an end. If you think your way is the best, how come you're not married? Where's the good-looking woman who has skin like honey hanging from your arm?"
Haleton remained silent.