After a while, I felt somebody tugging at the sleeve of my left arm. I looked around. Mr. Crepsley was standing over me, looking miserable.
"Darren,"he said, "it will not seem like the right time, but there is something you must do. For Sam's sake. And your own."
"What are you talking about?"I wiped some of the tears from my face and stared up at him. "Can we save him? Tell me if we can. I'll do anything."
"There is nothing we can do to save his body ,"Mr. Crepsley told me. "He is dying and nothing can change that. But there is something we can do for his spirit.
"Darren,"he said, "you must drink Sam's blood."
I went on staring at him, but now it was a stare of disbelief, not hope.
"How could you?"I whispered with disgust. "One of my best friends is dying, and all you can think about... You're sick! You're a sick, twisted monster. You should be dying, not Sam. I hate you. Get out of here."
"You do not understand,"he said.
"Yes I do!"I screamed. "Sam's dying, but all you're worried about is blooding me. Do you know what you are? You're a no-good -"
"Do you remember our discussion about vampires being able to absorb part of a person's spirit?"he asked.
I was just about to call him something awful, but his question confused me.
"What's that got to do with this?"I asked.
"Darren, this is important. Do you remember?"
"Yes,"I said softly. "What about it?"
"Sam is dying,"Mr. Crepsley said. "A few more minutes and he will be gone. Forever. But you can keep part of him alive within you if you drink from him now and take this life before the wounds of the wolf-man can."
I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
"You want me to kill Sam?"I screamed.
"No,"he sighed. "Sam has already been killed. But if you finish him off before he dies from the bites of the wolf-man, you will save some of his memories and feelings. In you he can live on."
I shook my head. "I can't drink his blood,"I whispered. "Not Sam's."I glanced down at the small, savaged body. "I can't."
Mr. Crepsley sighed. "I will not force you to,"he said. "But think carefully about it. What happened tonight is a tragedy that will haunt you for a very long time, but if you drink from Sam and absorb part of his essence, dealing with his death will be easier. Losing a loved one is hard. This way, you need not lose all of him."
"I can't drink from him,"I sobbed. "He was my friend."
"It is because he was your friend that you must,"Mr. Crepsley said, then turned away and left me to decide.
I stared down at Sam. He looked so lifeless, like he'd already lost everything that made him human, alive, unique. I thought of his jokes and long words and hopes and dreams, and how awful it would be if all of that just disappeared with his death.
Kneeling, I placed the fingers of my left hand on Sam's red neck. "I'm sorry, Sam,"I moaned, then dug my sharp nails into his soft flesh, leaned forward, and stuck my mouth over the holes they'd made.
Blood gushed in and made me gag. I nearly fell away, but with an effort I held my place and gulped it down. His blood was hot and salty and ran down my throat like thick, creamy butter.
Sam's pulse slowed as I drank, then stopped. But I went on drinking, swallowing every last drop, absorbing.
When I'd finally sucked him dry, I turned away and howled at the sky like the wolf-man had. For a long time that's all I could do, howl and scream and cry like the wild animal of the night that I'd become.