The horses whinnied with delight as they saw their master approaching. He was holding the unconscious Isabel in his arms, while concealing her with his cape for warmth and protection. Garret looked down with a worried expression to see her face, which was bruised from her father’s beatings, but despite the gruesomeness of it all, she still looked incredibly beautiful. With his sharp senses, he constantly paid full attention to her breathing and the faint sounds of her beating heart. She was okay.
Carefully he laid her down into his coffin inside the carriage, which soft cushioning would protect her from the roughness of the oncoming roads. No harm would come to her ever again. He knew that they needed to get away fast, and so he was quick to order the horses into motion. Soon, they were galloping with thunderous speed down the road towards the great blackness of the forest, which surely would deter pursuers from following them. He wanted no further delay in tending to Isabel’s needs.
Garret’s mouth curled into a wide snarl when he heard the faint beatings of hoofs from behind. A small troop of guards was approaching with dangerous speed. The carriage would not make it to the forest in time.
With a huge leap, Garret jumped behind the carriage. With his cape billowing in the wind, it was almost as if he was flying. The horses immediately noticed their master’s absence, and came to an abrupt halt. Garret lift his cape over himself, standing there protectively between the carriage and the approaching guards.
The closer the guards came to vampire, the more panicky they got - their horses even more so. They snorted loudly with displeasure, and shook their heads about in an attempt to turn around, for they wanted to go no further. In the blackness of the night, the only thing they could see was the deep crimson glow of the vampire’s menacing eyes. When they came within 10 metres of him, they simply had to stop. The horses and the men were quivering with fear. The leader of the troop swallowed loudly.
“G-give us the girl!” he only managed to yelp.
The vampire remained still, but looked at the leader so intensively; he felt the tiny hairs at the back of his neck rise and an icy shiver run down his spine.
"Leave us in peace, and no harm shall come to you,” There was an ominous and dark tone to the vampire’s voice. His eyes were still locked on the leader.
The horse with the leader on its back couldn’t stand it any longer. Before he had time to react, it suddenly swung around with such force that he was almost thrown off the saddle. He tried desperately to regain control of the horse, but no matter how hard he pulled on the reins, the horse wouldn’t budge. It started off in a gallop in the opposite direction of the vampire, and soon, the rest of the troop had to follow.
Garret lowered his cape and within little less than a second, he was back on the carriage, the horses gathering up their speed as they resumed their wild gallop into the shadowy forest. With his keen eyes, Garret could easily navigate the horses on the trail, even though the moon nor the stars could not penetrate the great density of the foliage of the trees. It was complete and utter darkness – the vampire’s perfect element.
Although they were now deep within the shelter of the forest, Garret knew that they could not afford to stop. The night was still young, but by daytime, he could not travel for he would grow weak in the smouldering rays of the sun. He wanted to get as far away as possible in order to ensure Isabel’s safety. Confined to his coffin during the day, there was not much he could do to protect her.
The carriage shook lightly as it came upon a pothole. Within, Isabel slowly began to regain her consciousness. The first thing she felt was a pulsating pain in her head. She opened her eyes, but she couldn’t see anything. There was only darkness. Panicking, she quickly tried to raise her arms outwards but her hands only found a soft cushioning. She tried pushing it upwards, but her arms were too weak. There was no way out. Then it dawned on her. She was lying in a coffin. She couldn’t remember what had happened. Was she buried alive? It felt as if her heart was going to jump out of her chest. How much oxygen did she have left? With tears suddenly streaming down her face, she gave out a loud sob of desperation and despair.
As if by reflex, Garret flew inside the carriage, as soon as he heard the faint sound of Isabel’s cry. Barely had she taken another breath, when Garret gathered her in his arms and murmured to her soothingly.
“You are safe. Do not be frightened,” He gently wiped her tears from her face and looked into her eyes, “I am here”.
Isabel let out a calm sigh of relief, as her eyes met his. She felt so safe in his arms, that her struggle was long forgotten. Smiling at him bravely, she put her hand on his cheek.
“Thank you” she breathed.
Garret returned her smile, as he felt the delicate warmth of her touch flow through him. Her hand was so soft it felt like velvet. How any man could ever think of hurting this innocent creature that lay there in his arms, was utterly inconceivable. To think that her own father had laid his hands on her was absurd. Though he was indeed a bloodthirsty vampire, the thought of drinking her precious lifeblood never even crossed his mind.
Isabel winced. The pulsating pain in her head interrupted her fleeting moment of peace. She knew that she was safe now that Garret was here, but she had no idea what had happened before she found herself in his coffin. She could remember that they had agreed to run away together, but everything after that was like an impenetrable fog.
“Garret,” She bit her lip and looked up at him with slight averseness “What happened?”
She wasn’t quite sure if she wanted to know. She felt a slight tinge in her chest when she tried to think about it. It couldn’t be good.
Garret read the expression on her face with much scrutiny, but it was without doubt clear to him how she felt. He gently took her hand in his and squeezed it with reassurance.
“Do not worry yourself over it, my love. I will tell you when you are ready, but first you must recover from your injury.”