Monsieur Allen sat for a long minute just looking at her. The bold inspection disturbed her in a way that Alice wasn’t quite sure she should feel. Or maybe it was the impossible reality of his being alive that was affecting her. "Did you really believe you could escape me?" he finally said. "I didn’t believe it," Alice gasped. Her mouth twisted in an expression of fear and repugnance. "But, how can you really be YOU?" "Ah, my little bitty pretty one, how can you even ask me that when the evidence is standing here and staring you in the face," Monsieur Allen said, spreading his arms wide to dramatize the point. "And voila, here I am, in the flesh, so to speak. " Alice looked at him questioningly as he took a step towards her and stopped. "I want you to …," "B-but that storm," Alice said, backing up. "… and the woods at Ironwood Castle. The whole thing about the missing maidservants. And the …" "… come back with me. Nobody must know," Monsieur Allen said, ignoring her while taking one more step closer. "Wait! I want to ask a question first," she said, stalling for time to think. When he didn’t answer, she went on. The words formed in her mind from out of the past, opinions she had never before had the courage to speak. "Are you … are you really alive?" The chair legs scraped the floor as Monsieur stood to pull her in his arms. She offered no resistance but she didn’t come to him as eagerly as she had in the past either. But Monsieur Allen took no notice of that. The long sway of her china-blue nightgown rustled softly as she struggled against him. The numbness caused by his touch didn’t last long under the demand of his kiss. His mouth moved hotly over her cheeks, a vague roughness, like his hands, searching her, possessing her. With an effort, she turned away from him, her heart thudding heavily within her chest. "I don’t want you to ever touch me like that again. Now, the others are in the parlor waiting for us. They can show you out," Alice decided as she edged him toward the doors. Monsieur Allen pulled in his anger and dragged his gaze away from Alice’s figure and the tantalizing sway of her thin nightgown. "You’re coming back with me to Snowdale," he reminded her sternly. He seemed amused by the flush in her cheeks. "Because you’re still one of us, after all, now aren’t you?" When he took another step toward her, she instinctively turned on her heels to run. She had to get away, but somehow she couldn’t move, feeling the fire from his yellowed eyes burning right through her, calling her. Even though she was confused and filled with terror, she knew something else was wrong too. As she turned back to once again face the monster, her senses finally told her what it was. It was his odor – one that she had never smelled before. A secret, moist smell. It was not pleasant, nor foul, not a living smell, not a strong smell either … not anything she could ever hope to describe. "S-stay away from me." Alice’s finally managed to croak. Could it all be happening again, more than a year later? She remember the terrible secret she had vowed to never reveal, the castle, the children, the loneliness and suffering, and finally his death. But that was Snowdale. A year ago. Far away. Things like that can happen in Snowdale. Yet here he was. But not again, she thought. Not again. Not now. "Come closer to me," was all he said, reaching for her hand to draw her in. "Here. Stand here and let me look at you." Alice was conscious of the heavy roughness of his voice as it closed around her consciousness, holding her firmly in place. His yellowed eyes continued to focus on her, burning her in their intensity, as he reached out and stroked her hair. Don’t touch me," Alice said defiantly, all the while trying to pull away but failing. He towered above her, looking down at her slender body. It had been too long since he’d seen her, and his body was hungry for the feel of her softness. "A long wait," Alice heard him whisper, and then he pushed her before him, his large body and coal black hair a silhouette lit dimly from behind, a shadow with hard, cold hands. Finally, she was able to move away from him, but he shook his head saying nothing. His flick of the eyes to her nightgown was enough to make the point. Taking both her small hands in one of his, he stretched her taut above the floor pinning them to the heavy wooden door above her head. But she began to panic in earnest at the sight of his other hand, and her panic quickly turned into terror that released a flood of uncontrollable tears and tortured wails as Monsieur Allen slowly raked five long sharp fingernails down her nightgown, effortlessly shredding the delicate fabric as they journeyed over the curves of her trembling body. He removed her glasses, then lowered his head and kissed her tear-filled eyelids and followed with his tongue the outline of her face. Slowly, slowly, his lips moved along her chin, ever closer to the slender throat pulsing with life, drinking in her fragrance, brushing the warm skin with light kisses, her chest heaving beneath his mouth "N-no …" Alice mewed. She tried twisting and pushing him away from her, but Monsieur Allen still pinned her hands. She closed her eyes, shame and fear mixed, as he took her earlobe into his mouth, taking small bites in the warm flesh. She tried to stand as rigid as her thoughts, to separate herself from the shameful tortures of his relentless intentions, but her will-power failed, her neck arched, and then she cried out in pain as the sharp canines started to press against her throat. He was smiling at her when she finally opened her eyes. Her face was a mask of terror as she looked up at him. "P-please, I ---" she began, when suddenly a knock came at the door.
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