Vampire Wake (Page 14)

Tying the towel around me, I turned around and raced towards the windows on the far side of my room.

Throwing them open, I went out onto the balcony.

"What's the big idea?" I shouted, expecting to see Marshal standing there, but the balcony was empty.

There was no one there. Suspecting that he might have seen me coming and climbed off the balcony, I peered over the edge, but couldn't see him. How had he disappeared so quickly? It only took me moments to get from the bathroom to here. My mind then started to tel me that perhaps he hadn't been there at al. Maybe I hadn't seen him spying on me through the windows. But I knew he'd been there watching me. But for how long had he been standing on my balcony, and why?

There was a squeaking noise from below and I wondered if it were Marshal trying to make good his escape. Peering down into the darkness, I could hear the squeaking noise but couldn't see anything. Running back into my room, I blew out the candles. Returning to my balcony, I crouched down and peered through the concrete railings, hiding myself in the darkness, hoping that whoever was below might reveal themselves if they thought that I had gone back to my room, and gone to bed.

The squeaking came again and I couldn't work out where it was coming from or what was making the sound. Then, peering to my right, I saw James come from around the side of the manor house in his wheelchair. With every turn of the wheels, they let out a high-pitched squeaking sound. Staying hidden in the darkness, I watched him make his way down the gravel path towards the gatehouse. I sat there until the squeaking faded into the distance and he disappeared from view. I stayed hidden in the darkness and wondered why he would be out at such a late hour and heading for the gate house. Was he going to see Marshal? Deciding that there wasn't anything that odd about this, and suspecting I was just being jittery because I thought I saw Marshal watching me, I decided to go back inside and lock the windows behind me.

But just as I was about to crawl out from the shadows I saw a light blinking on and off out across the moors. The light flashed once, then again but this time longer. Then again, and again. Staying hidden, I peered along the side of the building and could just make out Kayla's balcony in the distance. Lying as flat as I could, I watched her balcony windows swing slowly open.

Within seconds, I watched as Kayla came crawling out on her hands and knees. Just like I knew she had been, she took the torch that she had been hiding, switched it on then quickly off again. The torchlight on the moors flashed again in recognition of her signal. Kayla switched her torch on and off in rapid succession and whoever she was signaling to on the moors signaled back with a quick flash of torchlight.

Scrambling back into my bedroom, I rummaged around for a pen and a scrap of paper in my bag.

Searching in the darkness with the tips of my fingers, I puled out a pen and an old mini-bank statement.

Hurrying back onto the balcony, I waited for the flashes of torchlight to come from the darkness of the moors.

At first there was nothing and I hoped that I hadn't missed the last of it. Then, out of the night came two long flashes folowed by two short bursts of light, folowed by one long flash, and then a pause which was quickly folowed by a further two long flashes and one short burst. I franticaly made a note of this on the scrap of paper and waited. Nothing more folowed and I looked to my right and watched Kayla disappear back into her room, quietly closing the windows behind her.

Hurrying back into my room, not knowing if I had any time to lose, I struck a match from the box on the dressing table and lit a candle. In the dim light I tried to make sense of what I'd written. This is what I'd scrawled on the back of the bank statement: -- --/-/-/-- -- --/- How I wished I'd learnt the Morse code, as I sat looking at the lines and dashes I'd drawn. Trying to work as fast as I could, I knew that the top line made a four letter word and the second line consisted of a two- letter word. But what were they? I tried to think of as many two letter words that I could, but there were too many. Then I remembered reading once that the most commonly used letter in the English alphabet was the letter 'E'. So I hoped that maybe either word started with the letter 'E' or at least had the letter somewhere within them.

Then I noticed that the first word had two short dashes in the middle. So under them I wrote: -- --/-/-/-- e/e The two-letter word also had one of these short bursts as its second letter, so I wrote: -- --/-/-/-- e/e --/- /e I couldn't think of too many two-letter words that ended with 'E' and the first that came to mind was the word 'ME'. I looked at my scribbles and could see that the first letter of the first word was identical to that of the first word in the second word, so I wrote: -- --/-/-/-- M/e/e/-- -- --/- M/e Looking down at the piece of scrap paper there was only one four letter word that I could think of which started with the letters M.E.E and that was the word meet. So placing the letter 'T' at the end of the cipher, I read the message that the person on the moors had sent Kayla. It read: Meet me! Fearing that Kayla was going to go and meet this stranger, I puled on my clothes, and blowing out the candle I'd lit, I crept to my bedroom door. Opening it just an inch, I peered out and could just make out Kayla heading away from me down the corridor.

Sneaking out, I suddenly stopped. Kayla could hear things? If she could hear my heartbeat just sitting next to her, wouldn't she be able to hear me folowing her?

Closing the door behind me as quietly as I could, I knew it was a risk I'd have to take if I were to ever find out who it was she had been meeting. After al, that's what Lady Hunt was supposedly paying me to find out.

I waited until the top of Kayla's head had disappeared over the brow of the stairs, then as quickly and as quietly as I could, I set off down the passageway after her. At the top of the stairs, I looked around the banister to see her cross the hal beneath the giant chandelier. Hunkering down and peering through the gaps in the banisters, I watched as she reached the front door. Sliding back the bolts, she stole one quick glance back over her shoulder then disappeared out into the night.

Running down the stairs on tiptoe, I raced across the great hal and slowly opened the front door just a fraction. Pressing my eye against the gap that I'd created, I watched Kayla run across the open grassy area in front of the manor, heading towards the shelter and utter darkness beneath the trees. Not wanting to lose sight of her, I puled the front door closed behind me, and headed across the lawns. Ahead of me, Kayla disappeared into the darkness and I lost her from view.

With my heart racing in my chest, I prayed that she couldn't hear it and I headed towards the tree line.

Shielding myself behind the trunk of an ancient oak tree, I spied into the darkness that filed the gaps between the tree trunks like black ink. Then to my left and a short distance away, I saw a light weaving back and forward across the ground. Believing that she was a safe distance from the manor and hidden by the trees, she must have turned her torch on. Folowing the torch light, I crept after her. Gradualy my eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, and everything around me looked grey and dul as if the colour had been sucked out of it. In the distance I could see the torchlight bobbing up and down. Then I heard a sound in the silence which made me quicken my step and close the gap between Kayla and me. It was the hissing sound of my iPod that I could hear, and if she was listening to that, then maybe she wouldn't be able to hear me folowing her.

Weaving between the tree trunks, I continued after her, until someway ahead, the torchlight went out.

Stopping where I was, I listened, but there was only silence now, even the hissy sound of my iPod had stopped. Placing one foot carefuly in front of the other, I made my way towards the area where I'd seen the torchlight go out. As I drew near, the trees thinned out into an open circular area. In its centre was a smal summerhouse. It was white in colour and the roof was pointed, giving it the appearance of a medieval chapel.

At the front of it there was a smal covered porch and a swinging couch. The porch was raised off the ground, and to get to it there were several wooden steps.

Surrounding the summerhouse was a white picket fence. From my hiding place and lit by the light of the moon, the tiny little house looked like something from a fairytale.

Kayla stood to one side of the summerhouse. I watched her wind the earphones around my iPod then place it on the ground next to her jacket which she had taken off. She was dressed in jeans and a black gym top, which was tight-fitting, stopped an inch above her navel, and was low-cut at the back. Arching her shoulders and hanging her arms loosely by her side, Kayla's smal looking wings unfolded from her back.

The tips of them peeked just above her shoulders and I could see the three bony fingers at each end of the wing wiggling open and closed in the moonlight.

Then I heard the sweetest sound that I think I'd ever heard. Kayla started giggling to herself and it sounded like the happiest sound in the world. As she giggled, she fluttered her wings and ever so slowly her feet began to lift off the ground. Watching from the darkness beneath the trees, I felt kind of weird as if I were intruding on a very private moment. But, however much I guessed that I should walk way, I couldn't; I was mesmerised by her beauty. She looked like an angel.

Kayla's feet rose about a foot off the ground, before she dropped again. Raising herself on the tips of her toes, she held her arms out on either side of her slender frame and with a gentle flap of her wings, she rose off the ground again. At first I wasn't sure what she was trying to achieve by doing this, but then she hovered a few feet off the ground, twisted her body to the right and fluttered in that direction. Seeing this, I knew that she was getting used to having wings - she was practising flying. I could tel that her wings were too underdeveloped to reach the heights and speeds that I'd seen Luke, Potter, and Murphy achieve, but one day - one day she would and what a sight she would make, soaring, racing, and diving through the sky with her flame-coloured hair bilowing out behind her. As I thought of this, there was a very smal part of me that was envious of her.

My thoughts were broken by the sound of gentle applause. Looking towards the sound I could see that someone had appeared on the porch of the summerhouse. I'd been so caught-up in the spectacle of Kayla that I hadn't noticed him arrive and neither had Kayla. Hearing the sound, she fluttered the few feet back to the ground and went racing towards him, her wings glinting in the moonlight behind her. Racing up the steps, she threw her arms around this man and they held each other. Even though it wasn't a lover's embrace, I could tel that Kayla felt deeply for him. From my hiding place, I watched the man plant a soft kiss on her forehead and she ran her hand gently down the length of one side of his face. The overhang of the porch cast such deep shadows that it was impossible for me to see the identity of this man. Letting go of each other, the male led Kayla by the hand into the summerhouse and closed the door behind them.

I waited several minutes, and when I was sure that they weren't coming out again, I tiptoed from beneath the shelter of the trees and made my way across the open area towards the summerhouse. Passing the porch, I crept around the side of the tiny structure. Set in the side of it, there was a window. Drooping low so I was almost crawling, I positioned myself below the window. Holding my breath and trying to calm my racing heart - I didn't want Kayla to hear it - I slowly puled myself up and peered through the window.