With a sudden rush that could not be foreseen—with a strange howling cry that was enough to awaken terror in every breast, the figure seized the long tresses of her hair, and twining them round his bony hands he held her to the bed. Then she screamed—Heaven granted her then power to scream. Shriek followed shriek in rapid succession. The bed-clothes fell in a heap by the side of the bed—she was dragged by her long silken hair completely on to it again. Her beautifully rounded limbs quivered with the agony of her soul. The glassy, horrible eyes of the figure ran over that angelic form with a hideous satisfaction—horrible profanation. He drags her head to the bed’s edge. He forces it back by the long hair still entwined in his grasp. With a plunge he seizes her neck in his fang-like teeth—a gush of blood, and a hideous sucking noise follows. The girl has swooned, and the vampyre is at his hideous repast!
The alarm.—The pistol shot.—The pursuit and its consequences.
Lights flashed about the building, and various room doors opened; voices called one to the other. There was an universal stir and commotion among the inhabitants.
“Did you hear a scream, Harry?” asked a young man, half-dressed, as he walked into the chamber of another about his own age.
“I did—where was it?”
“God knows. I dressed myself directly.”
“All is still now.”
“Yes; but unless I was dreaming there was a scream.”
“We could not both dream there was. Where did you think it came from?”
“It burst so suddenly upon my ears that I cannot say.”
There was a tap now at the door of the room where these young men were, and a female voice said,—
“For God’s sake, get up!”
“We are up,” said both the young men, appearing.
“Did you hear anything?”
“Yes, a scream.”
“Oh, search the house—search the house; where did it come from—can you tell?”
“Indeed we cannot, mother.”
Another person now joined the party. He was a man of middle age, and, as he came up to them, he said,—
“Good God! what is the matter?”
Scarcely had the words passed his lips, than such a rapid succession of shrieks came upon their ears, that they felt absolutely stunned by them. The elderly lady, whom one of the young men had called mother, fainted, and would have fallen to the floor of the corridor in which they all stood, had she not been promptly supported by the last comer, who himself staggered, as those piercing cries came upon the night air. He, however, was the first to recover, for the young men seemed paralysed.
“Henry,” he cried, “for God’s sake support your mother. Can you doubt that these cries come from Flora’s room?”