He was beautiful, and she could not turn her eyes away from him. She longed to stroke her shaking fingers over his skin, but whenever she stretched her pale hand, she only felt the rough surface of the canvas. The picture bore no signature; No one could tell her who the painter was. In the village it was rumored that it was a self-portrait, which the builder of the house had made of himself. He was a landmarker suspected of being a bloodthirsty, a night-born, a vampire. When she looked at the picture, thinking of the horror stories, she passed a pleasant shudder.
In fact, she could never have afforded such a splendid villa, but the price had been unexpectedly low, and the strange, nervous administrator seemed to have finally found a prospect. It was clear at the first inspection that no one wanted to buy the property. Lonely on a hill, it looked like an eerie crypt of the nearby Dorffriedhof. She was already determined to turn the offer as her gaze fell upon the man's portrait over the fireplace in the great hall. At that moment all their resolve crumbled.
She slept restlessly the first night after her arrival. Again and again she saw the mysterious man who looked down at her from the painting. There was a mute call in his eyes. When she could barely stand the urge to glance, she awoke. The window was wide open, the thin curtain fluttering in the wind. She had been lying in the icy winter cold. No wonder her neck ached. Tomorrow she would call the administrator because of the window. When she was about to close the fogged glass wings, she saw a group of strange birds rise in the pale moonlight. Then she caught sight of a slender, human figure walking between the nearby cemetery stones, with a strange familiarity.
As she hastily descended the broad steps of the stairs, she immediately saw that something was wrong in the big hall. The room did not lie in the dark, but was dipped into uneasy light. The fire in the fireplace burned again! She was sure she had cleared it. The image! It was - gone? No, frame and screen were still in place, but the young man with the penetrating gaze was gone. She felt a deep pain about the loss. Suddenly the lonely figure in the cemetery came to her mind, and against all reason she ran outside. She hurried through the snow, she had lost all sense of coldness.
He just stood there and looked at her. His appearance seemed old-fashioned, but there was a freshness in him that attracted her. Then he began to speak. His voice sounded gentle as the wind swept through a glass bead. She scarcely noticed what he was saying, only the sound of his voice. His words lulled them. He smiled at her, bare his teeth. White, long and pointed. She involuntarily took a step back. Her foot slipped out on the wet snow, she found no support, the ground seemed to break under her. Everything spun, lost in contours, but she could not turn her eyes away from him even in the fall. He held out his hand and held it.