13: The Watcher
I could have slapped him. All this nervousness and sweaty palms for this? If he was right that someone was watching us, they just might see me lay him out cold.
“In the window. The house across the street behind me.”
Now I was really getting pissed. “Dumb ass, that’s a manikin. Old Mrs. Winston put that up to keep kids off her lawn.” I put some distance between us for real by stepping up two more steps on the porch.
“No, behind the manikin. There’s someone there, and it’s not an old lady.”
I looked past him, squinting my eyes in the afternoon sun to try and see what he was talking about. After a moment I saw it, a shadowy figure behind the manikin. At first I thought it was just another one, but then I could see it move. My anger at Haru started to subside, replaced by alarm. Who was in Mrs. Winston’s house?
When he was sure I saw it, Haru turned and looked also, fixing it with a cold stare. The figure disappeared back into the shadows of the room. “I’ll take care of this,” said my new neighbor.
I was confused. “What are you?…”
“Stay here,“ he commanded, but he must not have had very good hypnotic vampire powers because I followed after him across the yard.
“Haru, You can’t just…Look , I know her…She’s not going to be happy if you go in her house.”
He crossed the street. “She’s asleep,“ he replied.
“In the middle of the afternoon? How could you..”
“She’s dreaming of a man at the foot of her bed.”
I reached out and grabbed his arm. “What the hell are you talking about?”
He stopped and turned to me. His hand reached out and took mine gently off his arm. His touch was not cold at all. In fact, he was pretty warm. And his skin was soft. For the first time I noticed he was wearing nail polish the color of his hair. He quickly let go of my hand as if I had scorched him. “Nora, go home. I will take care of this.” Then he gave me a sharp look. “Do not follow me.”
He started across Mrs. Winston’s lawn. I couldn’t believe he was just going to walk up there and enter her house. And for what or whom? And how did he expect to even cross the threshold? Without even thinking, I yelled at him, “Vampires can’t go in uninvited, you idiot!”
He came to a complete stop so fast you’d thought he hit a brick wall. He turned towards me and started walking back to where I stood. The look on his face made me afraid. I took a couple steps back.
“What did you say?”
“I..I’m sorry…I didn’t mean it…I don’t know…”
I nodded and started to bolt.
“Stop,” he said. His voice was quiet and lilting, and I was helpless. I had to obey his command. It was like something within me shut down and he could have demanded anything of me. He stepped right up to me and I didn’t flinch. Leaning in, his eyes were nearly touching mine and I felt like he could consume me whole and I wouldn’t care. Then just as quick as the helplessness came, it went away. I must have been holding my breath because it came out of my mouth heavy. Now my head screamed run before he could do anything else.
“Don’t tell anyone,“ he said. “Please, don’t.”
As if in answer to another command, I looked in his eyes. Tears had formed in those dark orbs and were starting down his face. I had never seen a boy cry before. In my world they were tough and invincible. Nothing could hurt their emotionless shell. But not this boy. He was weak, vulnerable, crumbling to pieces before my eyes. I almost cried seeing it.
“Please, not even your friends,” he said.
He wiped his arm across his face and cast a look back at Mrs. Winston’s. Then he returned his eyes to mine. “If you dream tonight, and it’s not me, don’t invite them in. Okay?”
I nodded. “Okay.”
He then walked away from me, moving briskly across the yard to his own. He never said goodbye. He didn’t even look back. I stood there watching, wondering what just happened. I knew everything had changed between us in an instant. We were not strangers any longer. I was not a killer. He was not a vampire. We were two souls now connected by something beyond us. And looking past my yard at Mrs. Winston’s house, I saw the thing that could destroy us both as it shifted in the window.
Vampire Boys Of Summer 2018 Paul D. Aronson. All Rights Reserved.