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2008-06-22 | |
Vampires in the family: Chapter2 From a different world
Babe, this is so awesome!" Micah whispered. I glanced back at him and, through the burning glow of his cigarette, I could see how excited he was.
This kinda made me feel a little bad. Even though I'd never let him visit during our past three months of dating, I'd told him a lot about my house.
Not everything, of course. That would be bad. Really bad. Call-the-police-and-grab-the-crucifix bad. But I'd told him enough about it - Mother's sword collection, the ancient Roman artifacts, the Aztec statue that had genuine dried blood on it from ancient human sacrifices - that it'd seemed unfair not to invite him home and let him check it out for himself.
Plus, Micah'd been really excited to try out the whirlpool hot tub. I couldn't blame him for that. Since we'd hooked up, we'd been hanging out at his house after school. That was how I'd found out how poor his family was. He had way too many siblings. Whenever I was over there, it was like each room was jam-packed with screaming kids and broken furniture. There were rats in the walls and the roof leaked whenever it rained. Micah had never had anything nice like what I'd grown up with.
Not to mention how crappy his neighborhood was. I mean, I always leave for home before sunrise for the obvious reasons - Mother'd get pretty worried if I wasn't there when she woke up - but also because his neighbors aren't the nicest of people. Heck, further down the street there was an honest-to-god crackhouse. It stunk to high heaven. When I asked Micah about it, he laughed at me and asked me if I'd never smelled a meth lab before.
Heck, I don't even know what meth is! I still don't. I didn't want to ask Micah since I didn't want him to think that I was stupid or anything. He knew things that I had no clue about. Sometimes, when I hung around with him and his older brothers, I felt like the biggest idiot.
It's just that...Mother always kept me protected from stuff like that. It never bothered me before, because I knew she kept me from watching TV or going out to clubs with my friends because she loved me. She wanted to keep me safe.
And if anyone knew about how dangerous the world could be, it's Mother.
But with Micah, it was getting harder and harder to pretend like I came from the same world that he did. It sounds clichĂ©d, yeah, but that's really how I felt.
That's why I waited for the evening that I knew Mother was gonna be gone all night to invite Micah over to see the house.
"Come on," I whispered, creeping across my backyard. It was stupid to act this paranoid, but the feeling of breaking the rules was kinda fun. "And put out that cigarette. If Mother smells any smoke in the house, we're busted."
"Yes, Sylvia," Micah said, rolling his eyes. "Right away, mistress."
I giggled, but I didn't let Micah in until he ground the glowing ember out beneath his shoe. Sneaking to the back door, I turned the handle and gave a sigh of relief as it opened without getting stuck.
I flipped on the kitchen lights and straightened up. It was just a normal kitchen to me, but Micah slowly whistled as he looked around at the clear-door fridge, the double ovens stacked atop one another, the glass tiled walls and the marble countertops.
"Damn, girl! When you said you was rich, you weren't kidding!"
I grinned at him. "So what do you want to do first? Look at the sword collection, or check out the hot tub?"
"The hot tub, babe." He sidled closer to me, putting his arm around my shoulders like he was giving me a hug, only from behind. "That way I can see you hot, wet, and...."
"Hello, Sylvia. Who's your friend?"
Micah shrieked, a high-pitched, feminine squeal that I would have found hysterical in other circumstances. He immediately backed away as I felt my cheeks start to burn red. I knew that voice. I winced and looked towards the source of the sound.
Mother stepped out of the doorway, her black trench coat buttoned up to her chin, her chestnut-brown hair knotted into a tight bun.
"Um, hi," I muttered, looking down at the floor as my cheeks started to burn. "I thought you were out hunting."
"I was. I had an early success, so I figured I'd come home and see how you were doing. Imagine my surprise when you weren't here, despite it being after dark."
"I was only out for a few minutes," I said, but softly and not meeting her eyes. She was worried about me. I could hear it in her voice. I hated it whenever I made Mother upset. Guilt churned inside of me.
"And now, despite it being my hunting night, I see you've brought home a guest." She paused and I caught my breath. Mother was looking at Micah in a new light. Appraising. "Unless, of course, the reason you left in the middle of the night was to do a little hunting of your own?"
"No!" I burst out, and Mother smiled at me, letting me know she was playing. My shoulders slumped in relief, but my heart was still racing a thousand miles per hour. For a minute there....
"My name is Micah Sanchez, ma'am," Micah said, holding out his hand. "It's nice to meet you."
Mother smiled and shook his hand, although I noticed that she did it very carefully. Her nails were naturally really sharp, so if she was careless and accidentally cut his hand and Micah started to bleed.... It'd be a really bad thing.
She let go and stepped back, but she was still looking at him in that weird way.
"He's my boyfriend," I blurted out.
"Your boyfriend?" She raised her eyebrow, trying to look blasĂ©, but I saw a brief glimmer of hurt flash in her eyes. "Why didn't you tell me? How long have you been dating?"
I didn't answer, studying the tiled mosaic floor. The silence grew longer and more uncomfortable until Micah stepped in.
"Three months, ma'am. And, may I add, it's a pleasure to finally meet you."
"I see," Mother said.
Oh jeez! I'd never heard her use that tone of voice before.
"Hey, Micah? I think you'd better go," I piped up. I knew Mother wanted to talk to me, and I also didn't like the way Micah was staring at Mother, sort of slack-jawed and awe-struck. I'd seen men look at Mother like that, right before she led them into the basement. Right before their families would file Missing Persons reports. "I'll walk you out."
"Sure, babe," he said. We moved to the front door and I give him a quick goodbye kiss on the lips.
"Are...are you sure that's your mom?" Micah asked.
"What? What are you talking about?"
"Well, did she have you when she was like, thirteen or something?"
"No!" I glared at him. "Why?"
"It's just...she looks so young. So beautiful."
I gave him a push out the door, a bit harder than could be considered friendly. "Get out of here, Micah. I'll see you at school."
"Okay, babe." I watched him leave. He looked back, twice, still wearing the dazed expression most males wore whenever they met my mother. Normally, I didn't mind it. The effect that she had on guys was just something she did naturally, something to help her hunt.
But still, I felt this weird, disturbing new emotion rise up in me. Micah thought my mother was hot. He probably thought she was hotter than I was. God.
"Sylvia? Did your friend leave?" Mother called from the kitchen. Her tone was light, inquisitive, friendly. Fake.
"Yes, Mother," I said, closing the front door and locking it. I turned around to head towards the kitchen, but Mother was right there in front of me, hands clinched, arms locked tightly around her chest.
"Do you have any idea how close that was?" She shouted, her friendly pretense broken.
"I was being careful!" I protested.
"I had just gotten the manacles on, Sylvia, when I heard you and that little boy whispering in the yard. What if you had come in five minutes earlier, hmm? What if you'd given him a tour of the house and he'd seen this?"
She moved, faster than I could blink, and flung open the basement door beside the kitchen. I could see the man chained against the basement wall clearly from the top of the stairs. The overhead light from the hallway shown down perfectly, illuminating the bite marks on his neck, the slit wrist steadily dripping blood into the silver bowl beneath his manacle.
"Help me," croaked the man, his words half-incomprehensible from the wounds on his throat. "For the love of god...."
The scent of cool earth and wet blood rose from the basement, but instead of doing what it usually did - reminding me of home - I felt sick to my stomach. Micah could have seen that. Oh crap, Micah almost did see that! After checking out the hot tub and the rest of the house, he would have run around and poked through all the rooms. He was hyper like that, full of energy. Heck, that was part of the reason why I liked him so much, but if he'd seen that? He wouldn't understand.
Mother had a medical condition. The only thing that could make her better was a constant supply of fresh blood. I understood that, but Micah wouldn't. He couldn't.
We came from different worlds.
"I'm so sorry, Mother," I whispered, my eyes filling with tears. "I just wanted to show him the house!"
"Oh, Sylvia," Mother sighed, hugging me close to her shoulders. "Why in the world didn't you tell me you had a boyfriend?"
I shrugged, or tried to, at least, given that Mother was still hugging me. "I don't know. I guess," I started, "I guess I just liked having a secret. One of my own, you know."
"Sweetheart," Mother sighed, "I have enough secrets for the both of us."
I groaned, hating that answer because I knew it was true, and hugged her back, burying my face into her shoulder like I did when I was younger.
I loved my mother, I really did, but it was so hard. Sometimes, all I wanted was to do something normal. Something that all the other girls did, like hang out with their boyfriends, or sneak out after dark.
Even though the basement door had swung closed, I imagined that I could still hear the man as he dangled, weak and in pain, from the iron manacles. Wheezing and crying alone in the dark, the only sound he could hear would be the drip drip drip of his blood falling into the silver bowl.
"We'll have to do this better," Mother said. "A proper introduction for your new friend."
"Yeah," I said, pulling away from her to lean against the wall.
"We could have him over for dinner next week. Would you like that?"
"A normal dinner?" I stressed.
"With real food and real drink and absolutely nothing incriminating in the basement. I'll clean up everything, spic and span."
I slowly smiled, the idea growing on me. "Sure, I think I'd like that."
Mother grinned, her face lighting up in happiness. "It's been a while since I've orchestrated a dinner party."
"Thanks, Mother," I said.
"I love you, Sylvia."
"I love you, too."
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