The sound of feet shuffling wakes me up. Humming is coming from the kitchen. The vampire guy.
I sit up and stretch, my body stiff with sleep. It’s amazing that I did sleep, considering the circumstances I’m under at the moment. Sadly, I had no dreams, something I’d missed over the years.
I place my feet on the wooden floor, and a light comes on. I stare at it as I walk closer. It seems to glitter and sparkle with light. Slowly opening the bedroom door, I look away from the curious thing, and the gut-wrenching guilt twists my stomach as I see the boy glance up at me from the stove.
“Fairy magic,” he says, and I stare at the floor.
I can sense him watching me as I walk to the counter and lean against it. I can feel him try to decipher the feelings inside of me, and why my heart race is uneven. I know he is because that’s what vampires do. That’s how we—they know when to strike.
But I don’t think he’s doing this because he sees me as prey.
“I hope you’re hungry,” he says, setting something on the stick table. “I didn’t know what to make you. I haven’t been a human in... I don’t remember...” he says, trailing off. He shakes his head and I see him look at me out of the corner of my eye. “But I hope you like it. I had to order everything and try and follow the instructions the cook had... I hope it tastes all right. I can’t eat it, so I couldn’t taste it, so… sorry if it tastes bad.”
I look up in time to see him force a smile on his face, his eyes troubled and the irises a darker red.
He’s right. He can’t eat the food, or even taste it. It would make him sick, terribly sick. But he is getting thirsty. It’s not hard to tell. As vampires get thirstier, their irises get darker. It’s something even Dracula didn’t understand the reasoning for.
“Thanks,” I whisper, and move my eyes away from him.
He nods and backs away. I can feel his eyes follow me as I sit on the unstable chair. In front of me is a chicken—a whole chicken—and a small bowl of stuffing. Next to that, there’s a glass of water and a serving of squash in a bowl. A plate sits before me, and my stomach growls. Hunger. Another human trait taken from me.
I pull one of the chickens’ legs off, and the smell makes my mouth water. Suddenly, I’m starving. The meat on the leg is gone in almost an instant, and I start to put things on the plate in front of me. Oh, it’s so good! How did I ever give up food? How did I trade it for blood? Am I insane?
I finish it all off, and the boy had moved to sit across from me. His smile makes me feel sick, and I put down what I was about to shove in my mouth.
He’s staring at me, no doubt trying to figure out where he knows me from. I try to get his mind off of it. I don’t need a Ring Leader and a vampire after me, especially since I’m as weak as a human now.
Because I am human.
“You never told me your name,” I say, dropping my eyes to the abandoned food on my plate.
“And you never told me yours,” he smiles and nods, poking at the last of the chicken with a fork.
“They call me Rochelle,” I say, watching him poke the chicken.
I nod. “The carnies. Uh, the people at the carnival.”
He nods and puts the fork down, crossing his arms on the table and leaning forward onto them.
“What do you call yourself then?” he asks, a half smile playing on his perfect lips.
Vampires deceive to kill, I remind myself as I tear my eyes away from his flawless face.
“Vanessa,” I say, tracing the pattern of the wood with my eyes.
I look up to see him smile and nod, his fangs glistening in the light of the fairy magic.
“Vanessa,” he repeats, the smile genuine now. “I like that name.”
You won’t when you realize who I am...
If you even remember.
“I think I want to go for a walk,” I say suddenly, standing up and walking to the door as I push the conflicting thoughts from my mind. I half want to tell him what I did to see if he remembers, but…
“Hold on, I’ll come with you—”
“No,” I interrupt and look into his eyes, only to shy away. “No, I need to think about some things.”
He sits back down and nods, a confused smile plastering on his beautiful face.
“Okay,” he says slowly. “Be careful though. There are a lot of things out there that like to eat humans.”
I nod and step out into the world outside the door.
The ground above me (doesn’t that sound weird?) has strands of fairy magic swirling along its surface, illuminating bright light all along the length of the city. There are no roads; only wide sidewalks made of stone interwoven into each other. Shops and houses line either side of the large strip, and creatures from every fairy tale roam around, going in and out of doors, talking to one another in the middle of the walkway, and even the little versions of the monsters run around playing games.
I walk on and on, trying to ease my mind, my stomach. I’d eaten a lot, and being in the same room as the boy really made it ache.
I still don’t know his name.
I groan as I walk on, kicking at loose pebbles in my path.
I feel a poke on my side.
“What are you?” the little creature asks, scrunching his cat-like nose.
He’s as tall as my hip, and his face is like an orange cat. He has the body of a child, but his hands and feet are paws covered in striped orange fur. A tail whips behind him, sprouting from his little overalls.
“What do you think I am?” I ask, welcoming the distraction.
“I think you’re a werewolf,” he says accusingly. “We don’t like werewolves. They’re mean to us.”
“I’m not a werewolf,” I squat down beside him. “I’m a human.”
I smile at the word, and the little werecat’s eyes go big.
“Don’t kill me!” he cowers. “I’m sorry.”
He hides behind his paws and I reach up to pull them a part. He cringes.
“I’m not going to kill you,” I chuckle. “Do you want to know a secret?”
One of his eyes opens, curiosity getting the better of him, just like a cat.
“A secret?” he asks, slowly standing upright.
I nod. “I was once a vampire.”
The kitten’s eyes go wide and a smile shows his sharp teeth. “Really? How did you turn human again?!”
“I made a wish,” I smile.
I watch as he skips off excitedly to his friends. They all shift nervously as he tells them, and their eyes skirt to and from my face. I smile as they suddenly look at me in awe, and I turn to walk away.
Soon, I reach the end of the path and I reach out to touch the dirt wall. It crumbles beneath my fingers.
“Hello, human,” I hear the cackling of monkeys behind me.
My blood runs cold as I turn around.
“That squirrel didn’t fill me up,” he smiles. “I’m still hungry.”
He moves in quickly and takes a lock of my hair in his hand, breathing in its sent deeply. I’m afraid. It’s hard to be brave when you know you don’t stand a chance.
“So, you used to be a vampire?” His ugly face crinkles as he laughs again. “How’d you get rid of the curse? I don’t believe you just made a wish.”
“That’s all I did,” I sputter.
Bellis laughs, the high pitch making me cringe.
“Oh look, she’s scared,” he smiles, his razor-sharp teeth stained with blood. “Don’t worry, human. It’ll all be over soon.”
He opens his mouth and I close my eyes, awaiting the decent of his face, waiting to die.
Something throws me to the ground. My head hits the stone, and the world around me spins. Pain reverberates through my body as the stones cut into my skin. Sounds echo behind me. I turn around. Things are kind of blurry, but I can make out the figure in dark clothes and dark hair deck Bellis in the face, and then lift him up by his neck.
“I told you that I brought her here to be safe. Not to be your snack.”
He throws the monkey-boy up against the wall and it collapses around him as he falls to the ground. He rubs his throat and brushes off the dirt that had fallen. Behind him is a Bellis-sized crater in the dirt wall.
“Good luck looking after your little pet,” he hisses, all humor disappeared from his voice and face. “But you know where that thirst will get you, Adam.”
“Leave,” the vampire spits, and the monkey and his posse scamper behind a house.
Adam walks over to me and holds out a hand to help me up. I take it and stand, my head swimming. I stumble a little, and his arms catch mine, not letting me fall.
I look up at him, the guilt striking tears into my eyes. He looks at me in confusion and worry.
“Thank you,” I say and wrap my arms around his cool body.
He hesitantly wraps his arms around mine, returning the embrace. I pull back and wipe my eyes, my head still light and throbbing. I look up at him once more before letting the regret and guilt sink back in and I stare at the ground.
He tells me to rest as he takes me back to his house. I lie down on the couch in the small living room, and he sits across from me in a recliner, reading a book. I can’t remember what it’s called, though I remember asking. I drift off to sleep every now and then, and he wakes me up to eat. Turns out he’s not that bad of a cook.
All the while, I wonder if he’s remembered yet.
Which, of course he hasn’t. It probably didn’t happen. If it had and he did, he wouldn’t be taking care of me like this. Unless...
He’s not like that...
My eyes are closed when I hear his voice, low and smooth.
“So now you know my name,” he says, and I open my eyes.
Immediately, I dodge his stare and look at my hand in front of my face.
“Adam,” I speak, and my heart flutters. I can’t tell if it’s a good flutter or not though.
“Why don’t you look at me?” he asks, and I see him lean forward in his chair. “What’s wrong with me?”
I glance up at him, rising slightly.
“Nothing! I mean...” I shake my head and sit up, glad it’s not throbbing as much anymore. “Nothing’s wrong with you. I just... I’ve had my share of vampires, is all.”
“Well I won’t try and suck your blood,” he says defensively.
“It’s not that,” I say, shaking my head. “I—”
“You were a vampire.”
I stare at him with an open mouth and a weird sound comes from the back of my throat as I search for an excuse, a way out. But there aren’t any.
“I heard it all,” he says, and this time, he looks down at his hands. “You made a wish. A wish…” he repositions himself and looks up at the wall, talking more to himself now. “Now, doesn’t that sound familiar...?”
“Did you make a wish?” I ask, my throat closing as I spoke.
His brow furrows.
“Yes. But I don’t remember what it was.”