Aura

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9/Vampires

If this was Hell, call me a believer. Half a week in the same car as Nash was just the start. It’s been four days without a shower and I’m still in the same scrap of a dress I left the club in. We were racing to meet Michael before he left for Canada. We had a twenty hour drive in front of us and only necessities could make Nash stop.

Grand theft auto is the new way we pay for gas. Since Nash has no money and I wasn’t allowed to go back to the dorms, we were broke criminals. In the beginning of our journey he pawned a jack and toolbox from the trunk of our first car and bought us food and a burner phone.

We’ve gone through five vehicles total, some without heaters, and others were just plain nasty. Trying to get out of the cold I rushed to sit inside a red Toyota and slammed the door, only realizing too late I sat on a used condom. Who leaves a USED condom on their passenger seat, gross. I was ecstatic when we ditched it for a nice semi-clean van. Even with the flow of cash from consistently pawning off what we had in the vehicles, we never kept a car for more than a state.

The first cop we passed sent my body into shock. I was a good girl, I didn’t break the law. What was I doing? We argued until neither of us could stand to look at each other. I wanted to go to the police, surely two states away Seth had no reach. He vaguely explained that even if Seth didn’t control the cops here, he’d be looking for our arrest.

The further north we went the more limited the radio was. Iowa was nothing but fields, cows, and roadkill; oh and country music. God the country music. Eventually we gave up on FM verses AM and I started my questions. The problem was he only answered with one or two worded answers.

“Where did werewolves come from?”

Nash shrugged one shoulder and made a strange noise. I translated his nonchalant reaction to an ‘I don’t know’. However, if I asked something about vampires would I receive the same cold shoulder?

“Can vampires go out in the sun? I’m assuming they don’t sparkle.”

“Direct sunlight makes them tired and will give them a nasty burn. Morning to late noon most are asleep anyway.”

Needless to say I asked more vampire questions. Some vampires believe Kane was the first vampire, cursed to live off blood since he was the first to shed it in murder. Others believed Vlad the Impaler made a deal with a demon and was the first. No one seems to know for sure since both Kane and Vlad are dead. A vampire can be killed by decapitation with a silver blade, or a wooden stake through the heart. Nash clarified that the stake needed to be from a tree grown on holy ground. Apparently holy ground was off limits to many creatures of the dark and so was private property. Vampires needed to be invited in to enter. Too much garlic was disgusting, for everyone, and crosses and holy water just pissed them off.

“So holy ground is effective but not holy water?” I asked disbelieving.

“I’m sure true holy water would work but it has to be blessed by an untainted holy man.”

“Hu. So can vampires read minds or hypnotize humans?” My sentence was lined with a yawn, it was almost time for my second nap of the day. I usually drove nights unless the unlucky car he broke into was a stick shift.

“Older ones can persuade weaker minded beings and do other neat tricks, but there aren’t many of those around so don’t worry about running into any of them.” He looked over at me with a fond smile. “Go to sleep. A few more hours and we’ll be in Nebraska.” Nash’s voice was gentle and lulling.

“What else can older vampires do?” I closed my eyes and reclined the seat.

“Turn into bats or other animals.”

“Like you?” I thought my question was innocent enough but I felt the mood change and Nash stiffen.

Reluctantly he answered. “Vampires can change into many different animals for a brief period of time. Werewolves can only change into wolves.”

I slid one sly eye open. Was Nash giving me an ‘in’ to talk about the club incident? “Why did Jack really want you to turn into a wolf? He said it wasn’t about whether I screamed or not.”

Again his answer came with a long pause. “We stick with our pack.”

I was sitting back up and adjusting my chair appropriately. “Why won’t you talk about werewolves? Is it because I’m an outsider?”

His silence only confirmed my theory. “Partially.”

“And the other part?” I prompted.

He sighed long and hard. “It’s difficult to talk about.”

“Like in the literal sense? You can’t talk about your own kind?” I guessed.

He nodded firmly. “We are bound by rules. All of us. We don’t involve humans.”

“Jack seemed to know enough about werewolves but he’s human.” I pointed out quickly.

“Jack was a special case.”

We let the statement hang in the air. “So what can you tell me? I mean isn’t this a special case too?” My hand gestured in front of my face flippantly.

A grim smile turned the corner of his mouth up revealing one dimple. “I saw you Jessica, back at the club.” At my puzzled expression he sighed and continued. “You were horrified. Of me.”

A long pause blanketed between us while I struggled to find the right words to say. “It took me by surprise for sure.” His bitter scoff made my face heat and blood boil. “Well what’d you expect?! I didn’t know werewolves or anything supernatural existed a week ago. I was just trying to take my finals and be a nurse like my mom. I had goals and now that’s all blown up in my face all because of a stupid dream!” My breath came in hard pants while he slowed to a stop on the side of the road. I looked at him confused for a moment wondering if he needed to pee or check the car.

“That’s been bothering me for a while Jessica. How did you know where I was? How did you know I needed you?” Nash’s brows were furrowed in a v.

My shrug wasn’t enough for him. My eyes tried to say pay back’s a bitch. He must’ve gotten the message because a daring smile matched my own.

“Fine I’ll tell you why Jack wanted me to change back at the club if you tell me how you knew I was in the forest.” We shook on it.

I was glad I could finally get this off my chest. It had been giving me a migraine just thinking about it. “I had a reoccurring dream for about a week. It was someone calling my name but I couldn’t see their face and it was storming so bad I couldn’t hear anything else. But every time the storm stopped the man spoke my name and I would wake up.” I paused for breath. Sneaking a glance at Nash I caught the tail end of his wide alarmed eyes staring at me. He schooled his features quickly. “It’s why I freaked out in the cave after we saw the light. I just knew when the storm stopped that my dream came true. You were the man saying my name.”

Nash turned his face away and drummed his thumbs on the steering wheel. “I knew someone who could do that once. He had glimpses of the future but not the whole picture.”

“Wait you believe me?” I was astonished.

He nodded in affirmation. “So you saw the forest and just went on a midnight walk?”

“No.” I couldn’t keep the mirth from my tone. “I walked there in my sleep. I had no idea where I was but then I saw you on the ground and just knew I had to help you.” Nash brushed my hair from my face in a caress. I leaned into it. Moments like these just felt right. He murmured his thanks and signaled to turn back on the road.

“So? Aren’t you going to tell me why Jack was so interested in you?”

“I will. Remember those rules I need to follow? Don’t worry this is a special case. Soon you’ll know more than you’d ever want to.”

The seat reclined again and I closed my eyes with a yawn. “You told me about vampires, isn’t that breaking the rules?”

“Nope. We just can’t spill our own kind’s secrets.” Nash sounded pleased with himself.

The rhythmic bumps from the road lulled me to sleep. Like all the other times after my reoccurring nightmare, it was dreamless and dark.

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