It was one in the morning on a Friday night, and the crowd at the pub where Susan worked was slowly thinning. It had been a good night; the part-time waitress who was a junior at the University of Pennsylvania had made some pretty nice tips. And the pub, which had bands on Saturday nights during the school term, had done very well for a Friday. The spring term was winding down. Students would be taking finals soon and going home. Friday night at this pub was a release. A meal, usually pizza or a sub and fries, washed down with some beer, and some camaraderie and chat where what the kids needed at this point.
Susan had started working at the pub on Spruce St. at the beginning of her junior year. She had moved off-campus into an apartment on 40th St. with two other girls. The apartment was tiny, but no one was ever home. Susan was a junior, one girl was a senior, and one was a grad student. The girls slept, showered, and ate there. With apartment living came a need for cash. Susan found the waitressing job, which required about twelve to fourteen hours a week, mostly on weekends, and set about making some money. The money was usually spent as soon as it was earned.
Tonight was good for money but bad for something else. Around the second week of February, three guys had started appearing at the pub and eating. They flirted with Susan, and, like any good waitress, she flirted back. They guys began making the pub a regular spot. Susan was pretty sure the one guy was going to ask her for a date. She had dated a guy throughout her sophomore year and part of fall term of her junior year, but it didn't work out. She just wanted some room to breathe for now. She would politely refuse the gent when he asked, but it seemed as if he was taking an awful long time to ask.
One-thirty arrived, and the pub emptied. Susan did some clean up and balanced her books. She and the other girls cleared their tips and headed out the door. Susan had a short walk across campus to her apartment. One of the other waitresses asked her if she wanted a ride; Susan declined. It was a lovely spring night and Sue wanted to take in the fresh air. She put on her lightweight jacket and headed for home.
She turned a corner, and the three guys from the pub came out of nowhere. The grabbed her, one guy putting a hand over her mouth and twisting her left arm viciously. She was drug into an alley and stood up against a wall. On of the guys waved a knife in front of her face.
"Okay, bitch," said the guy Sue thought was interested in dating her, "it's payback time. We come into your restaurant, spend a lot of money, and give you good tips. Now it's time for you to tip us. Got it?"
The one holding the knife had slipped behind Susan, keeping her left arm tightly held and gently rubbing the flat of the blade over her cheek. The guy she thought was going to ask her for a date stood directly in front of her, leering. The third guy had gone to the entrance of the alley, probably to keep a lookout.
The guy in front of Sue slapped her face viciously five times, cracking her lip and drawing some blood. He grabbed the top of her blouse, ripped it open, and leered. Then he punched her in the stomach. The blow wasn't really hard, but it was hard enough to knock the wind out of Susan. She folded. The two guys forced her to the ground, spreading her legs and making her lie on her back. The guy in front of her, obviously the leader, forced her skirt over her hips and began rubbing her thighs. Sue thought to herself, "Here it comes. Why did I ever were a skirt tonight? I will not struggle. That will make it worse. I should have taken that ride!"
Susan was blaming herself for something that was not her fault. Perhaps she was a bit careless in choosing to walk home, but this path through the campus to her apartment had always been safe. This was not her fault. But the young woman was understandably terrified. Then, she heard a scream. At first, she thought the scream was hers. Her brain took over and told her it was a man's voice. The scream was a mixture of shock and fear. And finally she saw a movement. It was a blur, really. It appeared as though a man's body was flying through the air as if it had been tossed. It landed in the nearby dumpster with a sickening thud.
They guy behind Susan, the one with the knife, stood up. His face was disfigured with rage. And he was trembling. Susan could almost smell his fear.
"You want some, whore?" screamed the guy with the knife, as he stood up and waved it in the air. "Come and get it! We'll fix your hot little ass too!"
Susan sat partway so she could see what was happening. Her molester had, for the moment, lost interest in her and was watching the event taking shape.
The man had lunged, with his knife, at a woman standing in the alleyway. He missed. The woman moved to quickly. Or, to Susan, she appeared to move. It was more as if one second she was there, and another she was not. The guy kept dancing, stabbing and thrusting with his knife. He always missed. The woman seemed to be toying with him, as a cat toys with a mouse.
Finally, the guy lunged a last time. Susan saw the woman grab his arm, heard the man scream in pain, and heard the knife hit the street. She blinked, and what she saw frightened her even more. The man's right arm was bent at a very odd angle roughly halfway between the elbow and the wrist. Susan was even sure she could see some bone sticking into the air. The man gripped his elbow with his left hand, and slowly began backing away. When he reached the alley, he turned, stumbled, regained his balance, and ran for his life.
The guy who had been exploring Susan's thighs a few moments ago stood up and began to try and work his way to the alley entrance. The fear in him was palpable.
"Hey, we don't mean nothing by it," he said, his voice shaking. "We play like this all the time. Tell her Sue. Tell her. It's just a game."
The woman was smiling. This terrified Susan. Once again, she moved. Susan heard some sharp cracks, as if sticks were breaking. Her would-be rapist had doubled over and was clutching his ribs. He slowly crumbled to the street. Susan watched in shock as the woman kicked him in the head, the contact making a dull thud, like a cantaloupe or honeydew hitting concrete. The woman then picked the guy up as if he were a child's doll and tossed him into the dumpster.
Susan shivered as the woman approached, knelt beside her, and smiled. Her eyes grew wide when she saw the women open an artery in her right arm with her left thumbnail. The woman jammed the artery into Susan's mouth and allowed her two gulps.
The remainder of the night was a blur. The woman helped Susan home, got her cleaned up, and tucked her into bed. Susan remembered a woman of great beauty, with a voluptuous shape, and very deep and blue eyes. Susan was also struck by the whiteness of the woman's teeth and the raven color of her long, thick hair.
Susan healed quickly from her wounds. She never reported the assault. There were, however, articles in the newspapers of the three men, very badly injured, being found. It seemed as though they were suspects in a series of rapes and sexual assaults. Susan knew that the police would never believe her account of the attack.
One month later, on a Tuesday night, Susan was doing some research in the library. It was late; the library was to close in about fifteen minutes. Susan was sitting on the floor grasping a book. She needed some information the book contained. When she stood up, the woman was standing next to her. Susan was startled and jumped. Then she quickly regained her composure.
"I want to thank you....." Susan started.
"Will you serve me?" asked the woman, interrupting Susan and smiling.
The woman smiled some more and opened an artery. She allowed Susan two gulps.
"Will you serve me?"
Susan responded with a quiet "Yes."
Susan would finish out her education at Penn, graduating with honors. She would take a job at a brokerage house in Exton, PA, which paid very well. For the next two years, she would serve Cassandra faithfully and learn the ways and habits of the vampire. And she would know cold, hard terror for the first time in her life.
Cassandra had found her ghoul. Now it was time to set her plan in motion.