I pulled the car into Mrs. Winston’s driveway and honked the horn several times. Haru groaned in my lap. I lifted the blanket off his head so I could see his face.
“We’re here, Haru. Can you walk?”
“Yes,” he answered in a weak voice.
“Look at me,” I demanded. He tilted his head until he was peering up into my face. “You had a taste of my blood the other night when you bit my lip. You can take a little more from me, I don’t mind. “ I offered him my wrist.
There was a peck on the window. The car door was yanked open. Startled , I pulled my wrist away from Haru’s face and confronted the intruder. It was Ryo.
“Get out of the car, “ he commanded. I did , but I wasn’t sure if it was by my own thinking or his vampiric suggestion. He reached in the vehicle and hauled Haru out with one hand. He turned his face towards him to shield it from the sun and wrapped the blanket around the body. “Fool,” he snarled.
He carried him in his arms up the porch steps to the front door and then turned to me. “Well, come on, if you’re coming.” I closed the door and followed them.
Inside the house, I got a surprise. Ryo was an Asian vampire, but it looked like he was redecorating Mrs Winston’s house using the Dracula’s Castle handbook. Gothic wall sconces held red candles, dripping wax onto the carpet. Old faded paintings of half naked men and women in throes of ecstasy hung on the walls going up the stairs, as if they were directing you to the room where sins of the flesh were celebrated. When he went up the first step, I thought the floorboards would creak. The whole atmosphere of the place was dark, goth, and mysterious. I followed him up, thinking it was expected of me, and as I climbed each step, I looked back, wondering if the way home was closing shut behind me.
We came onto the upper landing, and I felt that up here even the air felt different. It had a somewhat dizzying effect, and I put my hand on the banister to keep from swaying. “It will pass,“ Ryo said, as he pushed a door open with his foot.
I took a deep breath and tried to dispel the nervousness that was pervading me. Haru moaned in Ryo’s arms and it sounded like a weak protest. They stepped over the threshold and into the room. Ryo turned back to look at me. “Enter, all ye who dare,” he said with a smirk.
I felt my body hesitate and wondered if I should let them go on alone. It would be such an easy thing to just go back down the stairs and wait for Haru to get his rest, healing, or whatever. But, I didn’t. Ryo had issued a challenge. I didn’t want him to think he had some kind of hold over me, so I stepped into the room.
“Close the door,” he whispered. I pushed it shut with the flat of my hand and all light was extinguished from the room. I froze in place. I couldn’t see a thing. Ryo’s face could be right in front of me, his lips two inches from mine, his body encircling me without my knowledge. Then, there was light. The flicker of a candle, and I saw Ryo was nowhere near me. He had lay Haru on an ornate divan and was removing him from the blanket. “Get those other candles,” he said, without looking at me.
There were tabletop candelabras everywhere it seemed. They were spaced about the room atop various objects; a nightstand here, a dresser there, a coffee table, a cedar chest. There was a book of matches by each one and I went around the room lighting the candles. With each one, I was able to take in my surroundings more.
The room was styled in a Victorian lover’s dream. It was like I fell out of real life and into Wuthering Heights, or perhaps Pride & Prejudice. Heavy curtains covered the windows, blocking all the outside light from invading this sanctuary. The furniture was old, but in collectible condition. An antiques dealer would have fainted at all the centuries old furnishings. Lighting the last of the candelabra, I turned to Ryo, who had propped Haru up on the divan. He sat down next to his ailing vampire cousin.
“You can sit too, Nora,” he said. A part of me wanted to. This room, Ryo’s commanding presence; it was easy to see how one could lose their inhibitions in this place without even thinking about it. It was almost hypnotic in its effect, making me feel lightheaded. When I fought it and didn’t sit down, Ryo grinned and held up a hand.
For a moment, I thought the room had a hallucinatory effect as well, because Ryo’s fingernails were growing, extending in length by several inches right in front of my eyes. I gasped, and he laughed at my surprise, before taking his altered hand and raking it across his chest. His extended nails slashed through the cotton fabric, tearing it in neat shreds. Most of his chest was visible beneath the torn cloth, and with his normal hand he ripped the rest of it from his body, flinging the now useless fabric to the floor.
Something overcame him, a look that was both invitational and wary. He glanced down at his chest. Sweat dotted the Loveless tattoo, and I could almost see the very pores of his skin rippling in the candlelight. With his protruding fingernails, he raked them across his bare chest, cutting into the flesh. The blood came forth, dark and crimson, flowing from the wounds. “Drink,” he said.
At first I thought he was talking to me, but then Haru lifted his head, and buried his face against Ryo’s chest. His mouth covered the wounds and I could hear the sucking sounds, as he drank from the lifeblood that Ryo supplied.
I felt something twitch within me, an awakening I’m not sure I really wanted at the moment. Watching Haru’s lips pressed against Ryo’s bare skin was downright sexy, and to add to it, his hand slid up his frame to rest on his breast, just beside the boy’s dark nipple. I think I was starting to sweat, and maybe lick my own lips as well, because Ryo looked at me and grinned, as if to say, ‘Don’t you wish this was you?’
I didn’t know if he meant I was wishing I was sitting there sucking on his chest, or that Haru was latched on to mine, but I took a step back, faltering in my stance. My breath was coming heavier, as I watched the scene playing out before me. Ryo put his hand on Haru’s head, and whispered, “Deeper,” before pressing the hungry vampire boy’s face closer to him. He laughed and threw his head back. His eyes rolled up in his head. “Yes,“ I heard him moan, and for a moment, Haru raised his head, before diving back down to Ryo’s bloody chest. I had caught a glimpse of the blood on Haru’s beautiful lips, and my head was full of a vision of him drinking my own, his hand on my breast, and me with rolled back eyes, instead of Ryo.
It was too much. I guess I didn’t realize how erotic and maddening the act of drinking blood was, but I was flushed and overcome with my own set of desires. They were alien to me. I had fantasies about boys before, but this was different. It had overwhelmed me to the point where I wanted to fling myself at their feet and beg for their attentions on me. Instead, I fled the room, with Ryo’s quiet laughter behind me, and the vision of Haru lapping up the blood from his sweat soaked frame
I took the steps several at a time and bounded downstairs. Flinging open the front door, I gasped in the fresh air, and ran out onto the front porch to escape the heady experience. Once out in the open, lust and desire seemed to flee from me and return to the house, as if they were things that had attached themselves to me like leeches. Perhaps it were these forbidden, dangerous feelings that were the real vampires here, taking control of me and draining me dry. I doubled over and would have fallen over, if someone hadn’t caught me in their strong arms.
Chinatsu had a look of alarm on her face. “Nora, what’s going on?” She looked behind me at the open doorway. “What are you doing over here?”
I was having a hard time regaining my breath. “Ryo,“ I managed to get out.
Her look of concern became a frown. “Did he…?”
“Ryo and Haru,” I stammered. “Haru got sick. I didn’t know what to do.”
“What do you mean, he got sick?”
“He hasn’t fed in a while.”
Chi looked at me. Her gaze was concerned and worried. “You saw the feeding?”
I didn’t know what to say to her. The images and feelings were still fresh, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to revisit them here and now. “I…yes..I..I guess that’s what it was…”
“It’s okay,“ she reassured me. “The feeling will pass. Come here.” She reached out and hugged me. It was a sisterly gesture, and it helped dissipate the other things that were going on inside me.
“Is Haru going to be okay?”
“If Ryo is feeding him, he’ll be fine.”
A flush crossed my face. “But it’s so…so…” I wanted to tell her about the sexual feelings and urgings it had brought up in me, but I didn’t want to admit the sight of the two boys had turned me on so. She seemed to know what I was trying not to say.
“Come on, let’s take a walk. Get away from here.”
“Okay.” I followed Chi off the porch and down the front walk, but I found myself looking back at the house. A certain upstairs window, darkened from the day, still beckoned me to come see what was going on in the room I had fled from.
“Sit with me,” Chi suggested, as we stepped up on the back porch. We sat down in some lawn chairs, just a few feet away from where Haru had carried me down the stairs to fall on top of me in the yard. The memory was still fresh and I imagine it always would be. But I didn’t tell her about that. Instead, I told her what I had witnessed in the Winston house.
“Seeing a feeding for the first time can be a breathtaking thing,” she said. “Especially when you have someone like Ryo who manipulates your emotions.”
I looked at her, unbelieving. “You mean…”
She smiled. “I’m not saying you didn’t feel things; nice, pleasant things. Still, Ryo is a vampire on many levels. Not only does he thrive on blood, like the rest of us, but he also thrives on emotional states. And he enjoys it the most when it’s young girls. The emotional things you go through growing up, the highs and lows of discovering your sexuality..”
“Whoa, Chi. Wait a minute. This isn’t some birds and the bees lecture, is it?”
She let out a chuckle. “No, this is more like the vamps and the humans. See, we are more in tune with your inner feelings and emotional being than you think. For instance, I know you like Haru. I know you like him a lot. I’ll just leave it at that to save you the embarrassment.”
I blushed. “Does Haru know, too? How much I like him and want him?”
She shook her head. “Haru is an anomaly among us. In some ways, he’s just as blind to things as humans. No offense meant towards you.”
“Let me put it this way. For Ryo, emotions are something to manipulate and play with. It’s not real to him. He may have had real emotions once…love, fear, sorrow, desire…but, it died with…”
“I know. Haru told me about her.”
“Yes, well, after that, Ryo’s emotions were lost to him. And Haru was cursed with them. Haru fights them because he knows the damage they can do. Ryo laps them up like a dog because he wants to remember what it was like to feel. He feeds off others in this way.”
“He seemed to enjoy Haru drinking his blood a lot.”
“I’m sure he did. But his enjoyment derives from power. Having power over Haru, and having power over you. Always remember, Ryo is a vampire pretending to be a human.”
“Then, what is Haru?”
She smiled. “He’s a human pretending to be a vampire.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Haru has the same emotions you do. But he has had them for hundreds of years. You think your teenage angst is unbearable? Imagine his, lived over and over and over again. He is a vampire in the physical sense, yes, but in emotional terms, he is just as raging in his hormones.”
“What about you, Chi?”
“I’m raging like crazy, girl, so I understand you completely. Lucky for me though, I went dancing last night and worked it out.” She gave me a wink and leaned back in her chair. She looked up in the sky. It was coming up on evening. “Don’t tell your friend, Angela.”
“Anything,” she laughed. “She was at the club last night. She was so excited about Ryo. Apparently, she saw him in a towel yesterday. And then saw him out of it. “
I smirked. “Yeah, Ryo was trying to…hell, I don’t know what he’s trying to do anymore.”
“Don’t tell her about us, Nora. I do not believe she would keep it a secret. She would celebrate it, so if she’s to find out anything, let it be on her own.”
“The secret won’t be secret for long.”
“Haru and I went to see my dad today. Long story, but he says someone is building a vampire army to take over Chelsea Valley for some odd reason.”
She looked at me with narrowed eyes. “Are you sure? An army?”
“That’s what he says. No one believes him. No humans, that is.”
“Who’s behind it?”
“He doesn’t know. Haru asked him the same question. I don’t think he knows either.”
“I think I might,” she replied. “And if I’m right, heaven help us all.” She stood up from her chair and looked up into the big expanse of darkening sky. “Except me. I don’t need the help, thank you very much.”
I wondered if she was talking to me or to heaven itself, when she directed a teary, haunted gaze towards me. “You should go home now, Nora. Wait for Haru. When he’s better, he’ll come to you, I’m sure. “
She didn’t wait for a response, but turned and stepped off the porch. She walked out into the yard, and then broke into a sprint, like a beautiful angelic vision fleeing from demons I couldn’t see. I watched her disappear across the yard and into the street, wondering where she was going. Before I could dwell on it long, she faded from view, and I was alone.
I didn’t want to go home. This big part of me wanted to go back over to Winston house and check on Haru. But I thought better of it, and instead did as Chinatsu told me. I went home to wait .
“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.