Murder and Curses

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Chapter 7

Once the sun rose into the sky, everyone ended up having a bad day for one reason or another.

Travis, being a vampire, merely slept through the day after returning to his hiding place where he could slumber in pitch blackness until the sun set again. He had always kept a place secret for his own protection and privacy. Therefore, he slept a long, deep, dreamless sleep.

Melissa had a terrible day. She could not get past the fact that Travis would betray her so, and it still burned her that she had no idea where the other werewolf was, or even the witch behind the spell. One thing was for certain though; she would do her best to find one or the other, even if it killed her. Even if I have to pump information out of that blind girl or her namby-pamby Aunt myself, she thought.

She did horribly on her schoolwork and in her studies that day, and she ended up taking out many of her frustrations on poor John Scum. John had pretty much recovered from his incident with the werewolf at his dorm room, having dismissed it as nothing more than a vivid nightmare with the aid of the school psychiatrist, yet now he had to spend some time in the nurse’s office. Melissa had brushed past him when he had gotten in her way, sending him sliding across the freshly waxed cafeteria floor and he crash into one of the tables, proving how accident-prone the poor boy could be.

Rachel was not fairing much better. She had handled herself fairly well when confronted with the news during the wee hours of the morning in her living room, yet she succumbed to the shock once she had returned to her bedroom. It just did not seem possible that a vampire had killed her parents, and that her Uncle was a werewolf. Not only was that, but the person she would begun to befriend also a vampire.

You knew right away that there was something weird about him, she thought bitterly. She sighed softly as she burrowed beneath her covers and basked in the warmth and security they offered. His ice-cold hands should have given you a dang clue.

Then again… maybe that was what he had meant when he told her to get on with her life, because if nothing else she was still alive. Was that what he had been trying to tell her? That at least she could still go outside and feel the sunlight on her face, and that she could eat normal food instead of thirsting for blood?

He did leave in an awful hurry last night, she thought. Apparently, it was very important for vampires to stay out of the sunlight.

When Rachel finally crawled out of bed (somewhere around noon, judging from the soft chimes that the fancy living room clock made as she entered) she had to practically search the house for her Aunt, bumping into furniture and walls. She occasionally stumbled over a rug or some random object that had been left in the middle of the floor as well. In many ways, she was learning her way around the house with the use of her touch, but she had a poor sense of direction and a difficult time judging the distance between rooms and pieces of furniture.

In a way, I am a creature of darkness as well, she thought with wry humor. She caught herself just in time before she plowed into a small table. Travis cannot be out in the daytime, and… I can’t see in the daytime. For me, it is like being in an eternal night. That was definitely a different way to look at it.

She smiled slightly. Yes, that was why she liked Travis so much; he gave her a unique perspective on life.

Eventually she encountered Mae when the older woman was coming back indoors, apparently from the back porch. It soon became evident that that Mae had not gotten any sleep at all. Not only was she worried sick for the safety of her family, but also stressed to the maximum about the situation in general.

Aunt Mae considered both Melissa and Travis threats to be wary of. Rachel was not sure what to think, especially since Travis seemed like a kind person overall, even if he was a vampire.

Besides, didn’t he say that he killed the vampire that killed my parents? Rachel thought. Somehow, she believed Travis. At least, she did not see any reason not to believe him. If that was the case then she felt she owed him one, and she owed him another one for helping her to stop wallowing in self-pity so much.

Yet despite everything he had done, her Aunt now seemed to be a total wreck. She would not talk much and she always seemed to be distracted or looking out the windows. At least, that was what Rachel guessed she was doing, considering Mae always seemed to be near where she knew the windows to be.

At one point, Rachel even overheard a phone conversation Mae was having with her husband. Apparently, the older woman had managed to get in touch with Uncle Richard after a while. Rachel only heard snippets of the conversation, but from what she gathered it seemed that Mae was recounting what happened in a frantic, hysterical fashion.

Mae hung up the phone before Rachel could really figure out what was going on, but Rachel got the impression that Uncle Richard was coming back soon, possibly even that very night.

I hope Travis stays away, just in case, Rachel thought. She had no idea what was going to happen, but she had no doubt in her mind that Mae had probably convinced Uncle Richard that both Melissa and Travis were grave threats to the family. Rachel was not sure what to make of Melissa yet; all she knew was that Travis was not sure what the werewolf girl would do. However, Rachel was confident about one thing; Travis was not a threat, and he would not do anything without a good reason.

She simply hoped that her Uncle could see reason, and hope that he was not prejudiced against all vampires.

It was very late when Travis came by the Green household, as usual. By that point Mrs. Green had passed out on the couch once again, although this time the air held the mild stench of alcohol. Evidently, she had resorted to drinking as a form of stress release.

That is simply another form of dangerous drinking, Travis thought wryly as he entered the house, having been let in by Rachel. Only my version is more deadly; it literally drains the life out of people.

It seemed to bother Rachel quite a bit. She made it clear she had only been downstairs to wait for any sign of Travis or her Uncle, especially since Aunt Mae had literally nailed her window shut. It seemed that Mae was adamant about not letting any vampires into the house.

Yet she turned her own husband into a werewolf and still sees him from time to time, Travis thought as he went up the stairs, toward Rachel’s bedroom. Somehow it felt like he was guiding her while at the same time she was leading him. Unless it was just his imagination.

“Wait,” he said as they neared her bedroom door.

She stopped, puzzled. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

“I don’t think we should go into your bedroom anymore.”

“Why not?”

“Well for one reason, people might start getting the wrong idea if they caught us together in there.”

“You got any better ideas?”

Travis considered. “Let’s go outside, on the front porch,” he finally said.

“Fine by me.”

It was very easy to exit the house undetected, especially since Mae Green was still zoned out on the couch. They stepped out onto the front porch and Travis guided Rachel forward so that they could sit down on the top step.

“I can’t believe she’s doing this,” Rachel muttered after she had sat.

“Doing what?” Travis felt he had a pretty good idea, but he wanted to make sure.

“She’s been drinking. I don’t know if this is the first time, but I kind of doubt that. Doesn’t she know that drinking can kill people? It was because of a stupid drunk driver that…” Rachel trailed off.

Travis nodded, more to himself than to her, although this time he remembered that she couldn’t see the gesture. Of course Rachel would still be sensitive about the entire subject, even though she was making more of an effort to move on with her life.

“You seem to be doing quite well,” Travis observed. “I was far worse when I became afflicted with my… vampirism. I spent almost a week doing absolutely nothing, refusing to accept what I’d become.”

“I guess… that would be hard to accept,” Rachel said slowly, thoughtfully. “Did you think they only existed in stories, too?”

“Yes, what else would I think? It wasn’t all that long ago when I was the same as you. I read about vampires when I was a kid, and I’ve seen my fair share of horror movies. But I never imagined they were real. The only thing that finally convinced me that there was no turning back was when the thirst for blood finally drove me out of my dark hiding place. I… killed someone that night.” Travis closed his eyes, feeling the exact same shame and remorse wash over him as it had on the night he’d actually done the deed.

“I’m sorry,” Rachel said softly. Her shoulders trembled visibly as she seemed to envision the scene in her head. There was still one way that she could “see”, and that was through her own imagination. After a moment passed she whispered, “I can see now what you meant when you said those things to me, when you first came into my bedroom.”

“I can safely say I’d rather lose my vision if I could have my humanity back,” Travis said. “Anyone who would give that up is foolish. That includes your Uncle, no offense.”

Rachel wrapped her arms around her midsection and leaned forward a little, hugging herself. “None taken,” she murmured. “I don’t see why anybody would want to do that, either.” She paused. “Makes me wonder what kind of a man my Uncle really is. He’s been a werewolf all this time, chasing after a vampire. Turns out I don’t really know my Aunt all that well either.”

“Is she still a witch?” Travis asked. Somehow, Mae Green didn’t strike him as the type of woman who would actively dabble in magic.

“I don’t know…” Rachel sighed. “She won’t really tell me anything. She just sounds nervous all the time and she made it clear that she doesn’t want me to see you.”

“She may have dabbled in a few spells and stumbled across the werewolf curse,” Travis mused. “However, she doesn’t seem like a full-fledged witch to me.”

“I really don’t know,” Rachel said. “I’m not sure about anything anymore. Things have gotten really weird in my life. Nothing’s been sane anymore since I lost my eyesight… or since a vampire came through my window and then I find out about witches and werewolves.”

“Well, those things would have existed even if you hadn’t lost your eyesight,” Travis pointed out reasonably. Then in a gentler tone he added, “But I know that this is still a lot to deal with all at once. I’m sorry.”

“I’m just not sure what to do now,” Rachel said. Then as if realizing something, she stiffened. “I don’t even know if you’re safe here,” she said. “What if my Uncle shows up and sees you?”

“I don’t know,” Travis mused. The thought had crossed his mind, though he’d been more concerned with other things. Mostly how Rachel and her Aunt was doing, and whether or not Melissa might show her face. He wasn’t sure where the werewolf girl was or what she was thinking of doing; the only thing he knew was that she’d overheard a portion of the conversation between him, Mae and Rachel. The mere fact that he hadn’t seen nor heard from Melissa since then was not a good sign; he had no idea what she intended to do.

“What are you planning to do?” Rachel asked, breaking into his train of thought.

“Do?” Travis inquired.

“I mean… are you gonna do what you said Melissa wants you to do, and kill my Uncle?”

“I honestly don’t know what I should do yet. But I do know what I would want to do.”

“And what is that?”

“I’d like all of us to be able to sit down in the living room and have a nice, calm discussion about everything,” Travis replied. “You, me, your Aunt and Uncle, and Melissa. But considering the way your Aunt has been acting and that we don’t know where your Uncle is, and I don’t even know where to find Melissa… I doubt that will be possible anytime soon.”

“Do you know where Melissa lives?”

“Yes, I’ve seen the dorms… but I know she’s not there. She stays away from other people during the night because that’s when she turns into a wolf.”

“Oh. Well… what about the daytime? Isn’t she there then?”

“Probably, but I can’t go outside during the daylight hours,” Travis reminded her.

“Oh. Sorry, I forgot that.”

“That’s alright.” There have been moments where I’ve forgotten that you are blind, the vampire thought.

“Well, if you tell me where she lives, maybe I could get there somehow.”

“How?” Travis asked bluntly. He figured Mae wouldn’t exactly drive her around to talk to a werewolf, especially if it involved a favor for a vampire.

“I’ll figure out something,” Rachel answered.

Melissa was indeed present near the Green house; she had simply taken steps to unsure that Travis did not see her approach. She had learned to blend in with the shadows in a stealthy fashion. As a result, Travis seemed to be oblivious to her presence when he walked up to the front of the house and knocked on the door.

Only after he’d gone inside had Melissa dared to get closer. A few minutes later, Travis came back outside and sat down on the porch with the blind girl. Melissa stayed out of sight, taking up a position around the corner of the house and staying low to the ground. She could not hear everything being said, especially since she spoke in soft tones, and she did not dare get closer lest the spot her.

However, she did use this as an opportunity to think. She more or less had them both right where she could get at them easily. Her mind raced with possibilities. What could she do in order to get what she wanted, to become human again?

Well, there is one possibility, she thought. Apparently the vampire really liked that blind girl, a lot. Perhaps if Rachel was turned into a werewolf herself… that might put more pressure on Travis to try and find that witch, if he didn’t already know where she was.

She smiled at the idea. That could very well work.

Very slowly she began to slink around the corner of the house, keeping low to the ground like a hunter getting ready to strike.

“I think we should just wait another day and see what happens,” Travis said thoughtfully, folding his hands on his lap. “Maybe your Uncle will show up tomorrow, if he doesn’t tonight.”

“If he does, I really want to talk to him.” Rachel’s tone was firm.

“Understandable. And I-” Travis suddenly cut off as a vicious growl filled the air. “Rachel!” he bellowed, grabbing the girl in an attempt to knock her out of the way or use his own body as a shield as a monstrous form came straight toward them.

The giant wolf snarled and matter-of-factly swatted Travis aside as it sank its fangs into Rachel’s flesh. The enormous mouth engulfed the area where the shoulder and the neck connected, allowing it to sink its fangs into her throat and her shoulder. Rachel screamed and thrashed about, although thankfully the beast let go of her quickly.

The wolf was then gone, almost as quickly as it had appeared.

Blood was everywhere; it pooled onto the porch steps and all over Rachel’s shirt. The fangs of the wolf had sunk deeply into her flesh, puncturing the skin and caused a bit of tearing in her neck and shoulder. She panted, her eyes more unfocused than ever as her face contorted into an expression of agony and terror.

Travis began to feel pain as well. Not because he had been injured in any way, but because the hot, red substance that poured out of her injury called to him. The scent smelled sweet and delicious. He stepped forward, his instincts causing him to reach for her, wanting to taste that succulent blood and drain her dry.

Somehow, though, when he saw her face, he managed to regain some of his self-control. That was Rachel, the girl he would become rather fond of over the past couple days. She was in pain, she was terrified, and she needed help.

Travis gritted his teeth together and attempted to pull away, clenching his hands into fists and digging his nails into his palms in an attempt to pull himself together. He had to fight against all of his instincts, especially since he had not drank any blood for two nights now. He had not realized how thirsty he was until now, and it was agony to pull away from perfectly good blood as it spilled out of the wounds.

With a snarl of effort, he finally managed to pull away, feeling as though he was trying to escape from gravity itself. He began to run, putting some distance between him and Rachel. If he wanted to help her now, he could not be anywhere near her.

He ran as far as he could, down the road and ran down the next street, and then he ran to the end of yet another street. That was when he pick pocketed a cell phone from a bystander who was waiting for the late night bus, calling the local paramedics and telling them which house to go to in order to help Rachel. Once he was finished, he slipped the phone back into its owner’s pocket. Somehow, the individual was none the wiser of the theft.

Travis then took off, feeling unnerved over what he had almost done. He could only hope that Rachel would be all right and that Melissa would not come back for her. He only knew that he could not go to her now, not if he wanted to protect her from himself.

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