As she got closer she saw that there was someone standing on the far side of the car,and she almost cried with relief before a flash of anger hit her like a thunderbolt.“You bastard,” she shouted, clenching her fists and striding forward. “What the hellwere you playing at...you frightened the hell out of me back there. You….”Her voice tailed away as she realized that the figure was too small, too fat to be the biology teacher. And it was several seconds after that before she recognized the crumpledfigure of Tom Duncan.Relief washed through her in a wave and she felt the tension of the last ten minutesebb away...only slightly, but enough to let her think clearly for the first time.“God I’m glad to see you,” she said. “You’ve got to help me...Brian’s up at the houseand…” She realized that she didn’t know what she would say next. She couldn’t tell Tomthat a black shadow had got his friend and disappeared with him. She opened her mouth, but nothing came out.Tom Duncan moved round from the far side of the car and a shaft of moonlightsuddenly lit him up.“Christ Tom, what’s happened to you.” The man’s eyes were red, as if he had beencrying for a long time, and his face held such a deep despair that her heart lurched insympathy.She moved forward, whether to help him or comfort him she was not sure.“Jessie?” he said, “Is that you?”He came forward, arms outstretched, and Margaret let him come into her embrace. Ashe got closer she could smell the unmistakable taint of whisky. Whether it was from his breath or from his clothes she couldn’t tell, but either way she knew that the older teacher had fallen off the wagon again.“Oh Tom,” she said, holding him tighter and bringing him closer into her arms. Thedry hairs of his moustache tickled at her neck and she almost giggled. He began to squirmin her grasp and she felt his erection pushing at her through his trousers.“Shit,” she said and pushed him away.His head came up and he gave her a dead smile. Yellow, rotting fangs slid bloodilyover his lower lip.“Jessie,” he said.Faster than a snake, he struck.His head came down toward Margaret’s neck, almost before her reflexes could kick in.She only had time to bring up her left hand. She cried in shock as Tom’s new fangsripped into the flesh just above her wrist, twin grooves that flared with a deep heat.He didn’t seem to notice that he had only pierced her hand. His jaws workedfrantically and the wounds opened further.Margaret’s eyes were only inches from his, but she saw no recognition, no spark of humanity...merely an animal lust for food...or rather, in Tom’s case, drink.She screamed in his face, spittle flying around them, but he didn’t flinch. Shesquirmed, but his grip was tightening, tighter and tighter behind her back. She brought upher right hand and managed to wedge it under Tom’s chin, pushing hard, and at the sametime bringing up her knee hard into his groin.He grunted and his grip loosened...not by much, but enough for her to shift her balance and give herself more leverage against his chin. She put her weight into it,forcing his head backwards and to the side, hearing his neck muscles creak and thegrating of bone against bone as his neck vertebrae twisted.She kicked him in the groin again, and again, and as his head came forward she butted him, just above the bridge of the nose. A wide gash appeared...a one-inch split inhis skin that gaped whitely. There was no blood.