JT crushed her to his chest, his strong arms wrapping around her as a chorus of shrieks fractured the eerie silence. He leaned back and studied her face in the near darkness. "You're all right?"
She managed a nod, her heart hammering wildly at her ribs as she struggled to catch her breath.
More screams echoed through the cavernous old mansion. Footsteps raced across the marble floor below. Chasing...
She closed her eyes briefly, wishing she were still at home, in her robe, with a comforting container of Haagen Dazs in her lap.
Something furry brushed against her ankle. A rat?
Please, Lord--not a rat.
The creature returned. Wound sinuously around her shaking legs, and she breathed a sigh of relief. Just a cat, its sides vibrating as it purred.
Now, from somewhere in the depths of the house, came the faint sound of a woman crying.
"Stay here," Jt ordered, grasping her upper arms. "Understand? Don't even move a muscle. These stairs aren't ...safe."
Not safe? "B-but we just walked up a moment ago, and--"
"Just do as I say," he whispered. "Please."
A deafening crack of lightning shook the steps beneath her feet and filled the air with the pungent scent of ozone, a flash of blinding light illuminating the swirl of JT's cape as he spun away and swiftly disappeared into the darkness below.
Odd, that his footsteps made no sound.
More so, that he moved so very easily in the dark.
Tales of vampires and other creatures of the night crept into her thoughts, sending a cold chill down her spine.
Nothing more than silly tales.
The stuff of movies, she reminded herself, even as she shrank against inner wall of the staircase, feeling exposed and vulnerable, and began edging slowly downward to where she might find cover.
Then another, wobbling precariously in the beautiful red heels she'd borrowed.
A stiletto heel caught in a ragged edge of carpet and she plunged forward, clawing wildly for the bannister--
And now her screams joined the others, as she began cartwheeling into the dark abyss below.