Immortal Desires

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Day Two

The neighbors living next-door to house number 308 were certain they heard growls, whines, ragged breathing, scratching noises, yells, and thumping throughout last night. They were, however, uncertain these sounds were coming from that house. They soon reasoned that the newcomers must have a particularly unruly dog for a pet, yet they could see no evidence of a cage, chain, doggie toys, or droppings in the backyard.

As soon as Hunter and Agatha, the neighborhood leaders of Prospect Avenue, were informed by these next-door neighbors, they were convinced that wildlife pests must have been prowling around.

“… and I’m telling you, Betty, raccoons can’t make that much ruckus to wake you and your family up. They’re dead silent, see, so it must be wild dogs instead,” Hunter spoke into the phone, having a slightly exasperated expression on his face as he listened to the indistinct sounds coming out of the earpiece. He rolled his eyes to Agatha sitting next to him in their living room.

“Right, this is the first time we’ve had something like that… uh-huh… wait a minute; you want us to go meet those folks ASAP about this? Come on, Betty, they’ll come out and talk to us when they’re finished unpacking their stuff,” now his expression was slightly apprehensive.

“Fine, we will do that around eleven if it pleases you. Bye-bye, Betty, tell your children we say ‘hi’. Okay, bye,” Hunter put down the receiver with a sigh and looked to Agatha, raising both eyebrows.

“Both of them next-door to 308, the Carells and the Haytons, want us to go meet those new folks as soon as possible.”

“What time?” Agatha frowned, placing her teacup onto the saucer upon her lap, glancing across to house number 308 from their living room window. She could see the windows there were still curtained.

“Ugh, around eleven, I told Betty,” Hunter joined her in looking at the house across from theirs, his pale blue eyes scouring the brown-paneled three-story as if looking for more information about their new occupants.

At eleven sharp, the Huntingtons trudged across the street to step onto the sidewalk, noting the next-door neighbors watching their every move as they opened the picket-fence gate.

“Pretty sure they’re sleeping in, damn city folk…” Hunter muttered as they paused at the edge of the walk to 308, waiting for any sign of movement from within the house.

“Hush your mouth; we don’t want any trouble from them if they hear you saying that!” Agatha whispered as they now made their way along the walk up to the steps.

“Bah, we’ll find out what sort they are anyhow,” he replied dismissively as they stopped before the front door, Hunter rapping smartly upon the ornate stained glass-screened door. They strained to see anything through the blurry darkness as if hoping for a hint about these new neighbors before they showed up. Hunter pressed the doorbell.

“The mortals are coming!” Travis’ wife spoke in a hushed tone after shaking him awake, who grumbled at being roused so. He was so exhausted from last night.

“Dammit, hold on, how many?” his mind was sharpening as fast as he willed it from its fuzzy sleepiness, trying to get a hold on what she said.

“Two of them,” came her reply, resuming her dreamy tone which he was so familiar with. “They are an old couple—how sweet—and nothing more, we can relax now.”

“Thank God… but what the hell are they coming here for?” Travis furrowed his brows in annoyance and confusion as he slipped into a pair of plaid-green lounge pants. Then the doorbell rang faintly below.

“Christ, already here? All right, coming with me?” he looked to her and then smirked at her silent reply, reaching out to stroke along her cheek, muzzle, and behind her ear before getting up, “you know what to do, then.”

“They must not be home, dear,” Agatha peered through the stained glass, looking a bit relieved.

“Who goes out on a Saturday at this time?” Hunter looked around as if looking for their car, then realized they had not seen what else they drove in. Did they move in without a car?

“Ring the doorbell again, and then we can leave.”

“All right—“

“I’m coming, I’m coming!” a voice sounded from within the house, and Hunter thought he saw his wife tense up at the sound before they saw a pale shape blossom into view in the stained glass.

The door opened and they saw the man from yesterday, sans the trench coat. It was such a change they forgot to say “hi” as they took in his new appearance. He was wearing a pair of plaid-green lounge pants, a silver bracelet on his right wrist and a pair of thick glasses. His scalp remained close-shaven though the most distinguishing feature that attracted their attention almost immediately were deep scratch marks along his shoulders, along his arms, chest, ribs, stomach, and even teeth marks on his shoulders and neck.

“Hey… how’s it going?” he spoke to them curiously, apparently unaware of his own wounds. This broke the Huntingtons’ reverie.

“Oh! Er, we’re the Huntingtons! I’m Hunter and this is Agatha, my darling wife. We live across the street from you, and we decided to say hello and give you a Prospect Avenue welcome!” he managed to come off as chipper with the introduction and welcome as he could, though his gaze kept coming back to those wounds.

“Cool, thanks! Name’s Trav, pleased to meet you!” Travis took Hunter’s hand and shook it and then looked to Agatha, raising an eyebrow at her apparent fearful look upon him.

“Uh, something wrong, Agatha?”

“How did you get those dreadful wounds on you?” she spoke, backing away a bit. Travis blinked and looked down, finding the claw marks on him.

“Holy…” he caught himself, reminding himself he was dealing with an elderly couple and then chuckled, rubbing the back of his neck and head, finding some more claw marks there. “Well, guess me and my wife got carried away there, know what I mean?” he chuckled sheepishly at the Huntingtons who stared at him for a moment. Then they looked up past him to see a robed figure making its way down the stairs.

“Ah! And there’s my lovely wife!” Travis reached over to her, pulling her to his side as he wrapped an arm around her. She was dressed in a burqa and a hijab very much like a Muslim woman would, covered from head to toe in dark blue cloth, leaving her eyes visible. Though she looked downward, never meeting the Huntingtons’ eyes or Travis’ own.

“Hello Hunter and Agatha, pleased to make your acquaintance,” she spoke dreamily yet clearly. Hunter and Agatha looked at this covered woman with some surprise, silence filling the entrance hall for a few moments.

“So uh, want something to drink?” Travis looked to the couple.

“Tea will be good,” Agatha chimed in.

“Scotch if you got some—“

“Hunter!” Agatha swatted him on the shoulder.

“Bah, tea it is,” Hunter replied with a smirk.

“Heh, you got it. I’ll make you some tea while… my wife shows you to the parlor room,” Travis momentarily paused on saying her name, and then covered it up with a meaningful look to her before finishing the sentence. He nodded to them before walking off to the kitchen.

His wife gestured towards the parlor room with a careful graceful sweeping gesture with her arm and led the way, seemingly conscious in her walking as to not show one exposed bit of her feet. The Huntingtons glanced at each other at this, noting that she seemed to wear high heels underneath the way she stepped.

The parlor room held a fireplace which served as the central focus of the room, having a couch with thick cushions and a pair of easy chairs facing the fireplace at an angle, accompanied by several small tables with long curved legs, some having buckets of champagne bottles with wine glasses.

“Well, how about that?” Hunter gestured to the champagne as they made for the couch, but paused at the sight of the cushions being clawed. They went for the easy chairs instead, settling into them as comfortably as they could in light of their most recent discovery.

Travis’ wife sat down upon the couch as carefully as she could, taking care to not let her feet or her hands show. When she had succeeded in this, she shifted her weight and relaxed slightly while putting her hands in her lap, looking quite demure and subservient at the same time with her head bowed down.

For a few awkward seconds, they looked at each other until Agatha broke the silence by clearing her throat.

“So um, Travis didn’t introduce you properly to us, did he?” she asked, and this got his wife to look up just very slightly, allowing her golden eyes to be seen with a hint of white between them for just a moment until silence encroached upon the room again.

“Please understand and don’t be offended that I cannot tell you my name, Hunter and Agatha,” she replied just when Agatha was about to apologize, stating her words carefully in spite of her dreamy tone.

“I… I think I understand. We understand,” Agatha said quickly, glancing to Hunter who seemed to be staring at Travis’ wife. “May I ask where you’re from?” she added tentatively.

The same length of silence enveloped the room again before Travis’ wife replied in the same careful yet dreamy tone.

“As much as I would take delight in telling you where I am from, I cannot, however. Please understand,” Hunter thought he could detect amusement in that voice this time, even thinking he felt it coming from her. He was quite keen on making eye contact with her again at this point, as if trying to find out more about her through that way.

In rapid succession, a whistling sound abruptly pierced the reforming silence startling the Huntingtons. As Hunter and Agatha glanced to the direction of the kitchen, Hunter momentarily made eye contact with Travis’ wife, her goldens gazing into his pale blues with a deep intensity in that very brief moment that left him doing a double-take, but her eyes were downward again, the moment passed. The whistling of the tea pot died down.

Agatha looked to Hunter, who seemed to be in a reverie of sorts, frowning slightly and then back to Travis’ wife.

“What brings you two here to our little town?” she smiled a trifle uneasily as she found herself in Hunter’s usual role of questioning instead of her own being the quiet demure wife. In fact, Travis’ own was doing that just perfectly, which was a bit disconcerting for her.

“Tea’s served!” Travis came into the parlor room holding a pair of saucers supporting their own teacups with teabag tags on their sides. “Its Lipton brand, sweetened. I apologize for that, being on such short notice for proper tea, you know,” he said as he handed them their tea.

“Oh, it’s quite all right! Thank you,” Agatha replied as she took her own. Hunter merely nodded upon taking his. Travis settled next to his wife on the couch, placing a hand upon her thigh, close to her lap. She placed her hand upon his there, stroking it slightly. He smiled at her and then to the couple.

“So what brings us here to New Hamlet?” he asked the question as if he was sitting with them the whole time, smiling easily, “well, a change of life. You know city life, always so hectic and stressful. Bleh. What about you two? You look like you’ve lived here all your life, right?” he grinned momentarily.

“Well,” Hunter started, clearing up his throat. Agatha noted he was blinking as if coming out of a daydream, “you’re right, we’ve lived here all our lives, just like with everybody else here. We all know each other quite well, looking out for each other and supporting each other…” he trailed off, resuming his staring at Travis’ wife for a moment before asking, “where did you two come from?”

“From the city, like I said. Well, from another state, actually,” Travis said after a brief moment of silence, chuckling softly afterwards before continuing, “from Iowa, if you’re curious.”

“Oh my, that’s a long way. Well, no wonder you didn’t come out and greet us all!” Agatha spoke with amused surprise mixed with understanding, taking a sip from her hot tea. Travis smiled widely and then nodded apologetically, almost sheepishly.

“Well yeah, we were pretty tired more or less from all the driving and the moving in,” he cleared his throat after replying. Agatha glanced to Hunter who seemed to barely register all the conversation going on, not taking a single sip from his tea. There was a pause before she looked back to the pair.

“I feel so bad for imposing ourselves on you two… well,” she stated in a firm matter-of-factly tone as she went on, “we won’t be staying past our welcome in your new house, then. Hunter, shall we go?”

“Er, yes, yes, of course. Thanks for the tea, Travis and…” he started upon replying and fell silent as he looked pointedly to Travis’ wife, setting down his tea upon one of the tables.

“Oh no, it was our pleasure! Thanks for coming over and welcoming us to Prospect Avenue, Hunter and Agatha!” Travis rose up quickly, reaching over to shake Hunter’s hand while his wife followed suit in her own careful way, merely standing there. Agatha put down her own tea and rose up, smiling as she hugged Travis and then made to hug his wife, who merely shrank back, taking her hands in her own instead, clasping them together.

“Come see us again if you can,” Travis’ wife spoke, making brief eye contact with Agatha and Hunter, prolonging the contact just a second longer with him. It would’ve been nothing had she not made her eye contact with Hunter subtly something. Agatha noted this smoothly as they made their way towards the front door.

As soon as Travis made sure the Huntingtons were past the picket fence, he turned to face his wife, smiling in amusement. Even if she was veiled in that getup, he could pick up on her own amusement.

“That was interesting. What did you do with Hunter, Guardian?” he asked her, speaking her name. “It looks like he’s quite taken with you, and his wife is going to bitch him out on that.”

“We will see. Even though they’re happy together, Hunter’s found a part of himself he thought he left behind upon marrying her.”

“So you wish to deal with him?” Travis asked in a knowing tone, expression curious yet cautious.

“Yes. It might turn out to be interesting for us all,” Guardian answered, reaching up to her face, her head now level, no longer looking downward as she proceeded to undress herself from her burqa and hijab.

“Then we must be careful, love. I don’t want us to go through a repeat of last time.”

“I know,” she said simply as she allowed the garment to fall off her onto the floor in a heap, a furry hand with black claw-like nails reaching up to caress along Travis’ cheek.

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