I wish I could go beyond the gate to venture forth in search of delights now denied me. I stand here, hands gripping wrought iron, my head full of memories that once were, or perhaps never had at all. But the cemetery, final as it is, won’t let me leave.
Vampire Boys Of Summer
85: Home Is Where The Haru Is
We rounded the corner in the neighborhood, and there was my house, right next door to the one Haru and his “uncles” had moved into, and Ryo’s across the street, Mrs Winston’s actually. It was a nice little arrangement. I could see that now, with my house protected in several directions from any enemy vampires that might try to take my life. Everything was peaceful now, but if what they said was true, this wasn’t over. Another attempt to build an army of vampires and take over Chelsea Valley was inevitable, but hopefully we’d have a respite. It still wasn’t clear why Haru’s dad, if he was in fact the master responsible for all this, wanted to make this little town headquarters for a vampire takeover, but all thoughts of that disappeared with the person sitting on my front porch.
I saw her right away, and though things had been pretty strained between us since I became a teenager, it was so wonderful to see Mom again. I was out of the car before it even stopped. My legs carried me swiftly across the yard, limping and all. Mother herself was jumping from the porch to run towards me. In the movies, you see this big reunion scene, where all is well, everything forgiven, and all parties involved are laughing, crying, and clutching each other like there’s no tomorrow. Well…that’s exactly the way it was. Mother wrapped her arms around me and I allowed myself not to be annoyed with it, but instead reveled in the fact that I was loved and missed by the one who had brought me into this world.
“I have so much to tell you,” she whispered in my ear. For a moment, I wondered if she was going to say there were vampires in Chelsea Valley or that dad had been right all along. But she didn’t. Instead she spoke softly against my cheek. “I love you so much.”
I smiled. This was not something I often heard from her. But I took it gladly into my heart. “I love you too, mom.”
We hugged a little longer, and then out of the blue, mom asked, “What’s wrong with Angela?”
I turned around to see Ryo standing in the yard holding Angela in his arms. She was still sleeping, her head lolled against his chest. “Um, she had a long night,” I said. “She’s just…you know, tired…”
She laughed. “Yeah, I’d say. And who’s the gorgeous boy?”
“Yeah, that’s Ryo. He lives across the street now.”
“With Mrs. Winston?”
“Nephew,” I replied.
To my relief, Haru had gotten out of the car and was now walking towards us. He smiled at Mother. “Mrs. Williams,” he said. “I’m so sorry to hear of your loss.” He held out his hand.
She took it and nodded graciously. “Thank you. And please thank your uncles for me again, for their hospitality and generous spirit.”
Haru raised an eyebrow. I guess this didn’t sound like the uncles he knew.
“For offering to pay for Jefferson’s funeral expenses,” she explained.
“Oh yes, Of course,” Haru replied.
I myself was in shock. Not over the offer of help, but in the fact it was the first time in years I’d heard mom call dad by his given name. I realized that I too, for some strange reason, had delegated him to just dad over the years. This made me sad because he had been much more than that. He had been my friend. But Chelsea Valley was not only missing a man the town barely knew. There were others forever gone. We’d lost a teacher or two, a guidance counselor, Students I’d gone to school with. And all for what?
Haru grabbed my hand and squeezed it. “I need to head over to the house,” he said. “Check on Tomoko and Kaito. You want to come?”
“Sure, you go ahead. Now that I know you’re home, I’m going to go get me a shower. I can rest easy now.”
I hugged her. “We’ll get through all this, Mom. We have each other. We’re together. That’s what matters.”
Mother smiled. “Sometimes Nora, You’re more adult than I am.”
Haru looked over at Ryo, who had joined us while I was hugging mom. “You taking her home?” He asked him.
Ryo looked down at Angela in his arms. “Not yet.”
“I’ll call her mom and tell her she’s with me,” I offered.
He nodded to us both and headed across the yard. As he stepped into the street, Angela woke up. From where we stood I could still hear her voice. “Ryo?”
“Am I dreaming?”
He grinned. It was that teasing bad boy smirk of old. “No, Doll. I am.”
He kissed her forehead and she peered up at him with half opened eyes. “It was a dream,” she reasoned. “I…dreamt you saved me.”
“Wrong again, sweetheart. You saved me.”
And then he kissed her for real. Softly on the lips. She closed her eyes again. This time not to sleep, but in pleasure of his kiss.
“Come on, peeping tom,” Haru said and gently tugged me from the scene.
We walked over to the car. Luhan and Chi were still seated inside. Haru leaned down at the passenger window where Luhan now sat. “You guys alright?” Haru asked. Chi nodded wearily. I could tell she was exhausted.
“Yes, we are fine,” Luhan agreed.”But we will need to talk soon.” He sighed and looked past Haru to me. “Nora Williams, You are every bit worth the fight.” Then he winked and it was back to old Luhan again. “If Haru ever breaks your heart…”
“I won’t,” my boyfriend replied quickly.
“But if he should…” Luhan blew me a kiss.
“Luhan…” Chi said impatiently.
“Okay, okay…got to go,” he laughed. “See you kiddies around.”
We watched them drive away. I turned to Haru and looked at him with adoring eyes. Since his arrival things had changed so much. He had come sweeping into my life like a whirlwind. I’d lost so much in the past few days, but had gained the type of boy I’d always dreamed about. And while Luhan may be king of the flirts, and Ryo Mr. Competitive bad boy, I knew that come what may, I could handle anything, face down any evil, as long as I had the vampire boys of summer at my side.
“Remember the thought I sent you earlier,” I asked Haru.
I looked at him with a teasing grin. “Race you for it!”
I took off across the yard towards his house. I looked back just in time to hear Haru yell out, “Hey, no fair!” And playfully chase after me.
Yes, we were going to be just fine…
The End Of Season One
“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.
Vampire Boys Of Summer
84: While I Was Out
I dropped the letter opener and reached for my neck. I was hoping with the death of Colin that the place where he’d bitten me would be miraculously gone. But it wasn’t. It was still there. His mark. Did this mean after all I’d been through I was queen anyway? Was I going to become a vampire now? Or had he been a beta like Haru, and my wound would end up killing me the way Haru had accidentally killed his first love hundreds of years ago?
I looked at Haru with pain and horror in my eyes. My legs gave out and he caught me. I began to cry. Wouldn’t it be the cruelty of fate to defeat the one who had caused us so much pain, and then be defeated myself because of a bloody hickey?
He smiled. As always, my thoughts must have slipped into his because he said, “Hickey. That’s funny.” He kissed me softly on the lips, preventing me from asking what was so funny about it. In the end it didn’t matter. Before I passed out, I remembered thinking at least I’m here. At least I have this moment. I have my Haru.
When I came to, there was motion. At first I thought I was reliving the memory of Ryo carrying me down the street, then I thought I was in a boat bobbing serenely on the lake’s surface. The reality was I was in Haru’s car, bouncing down the dirt road with Chi behind the wheel. Well, Chi and Luhan actually, because when I managed to sit up from where my head lay in Haru’s lap in the backseat, I saw Luhan sitting on Chi’s lap behind the wheel. He was steering the car and she was working the petals. I realized he wasn’t tall enough to drive it by himself, but it made me wonder about the nature of their relationship. In the caverns when he had come to her rescue, she had called him ‘Master.’ Yet he had called her ‘sister.’ Did this mean he saw her as an equal, or had they been siblings in the ages before they became vampires? I looked over at Haru for answers. He just smiled and shrugged.
I returned my gaze to Chi. The wound in her throat was still there, but it now looked cauterized, as if someone had taken a hot flame to the skin and burned it shut. As beautiful as she was, I knew the imperfection would be a glaring reminder of her sacrifice for me. Someone was always paying the price because of Nora Williams, and this saddened me.
Haru reached over and grasped my hand, giving it a little squeeze, as if to tell me everything was going to be alright. I’m not sure I believed him. I looked next to us. Ryo and Angela also occupied the backseat. My bestie was sleeping or passed out, I couldn’t quite tell. Her head lay over on Ryo’s shoulder, and he had an arm around her protectively. His eyes were also closed, but from the rise and fall of his chest I could tell he was okay. I smiled, wondering what this would mean for them. I feared Angela wouldn’t be the same girl after her ordeal, and that we would never have our playfully snappy, yet Intelligent conversations again.
Ryo opened his eyes. Perhaps my thoughts had been too loud. He kissed Angela’s forehead and ran his fingers through her silver shorn hair. I couldn’t help but smile. But my happiness faded when I turned towards Haru. He also bore lasting scars of having to help me all the time. There was an angry red ring around his neck from where it had been in a noose for so long as he hung from the cavern’s ceiling at Colin’s sick whim. Colin. It pained me that I had to kill him. He had been okay and innocent once. A nerdy kid who didn’t do anything but aggravate the snot out of you, following you around like a lost puppy. But he had changed. Became something sadistic and evil. I had no choice. He had been responsible for my dad’s death. Or at least partly responsible. He may have been under orders, but he was still complicit in the deed. He had tortured Angela to the point of death, tried to kill all of us at one point or another. Hell, he’d even bit me in an effort to turn me into…
I reached up to my neck. I could feel the teeth marks he’d left in my skin. The gaping congealed wound. Mine hadn’t been cauterized like Chi’s. Perhaps they would get Ryo to heal mine, as he did once before when I was injured at the hands of the Trumps. So why not heal Chi’s too?
“Shhh, “ whispered Haru beside me. “You are thinking too much.” Then he smiled and took my face in both his hands. His kiss was warm and enticing and I couldn’t help thinking how I wanted to be with him now this very instant. “I know, “ he confessed. “Me too.”
I smiled and lay my head back down on his lap as we continued down the road. Chi reached over and turned on the radio. It was tuned to a rock station that began to play “If you want blood, you got it,” by AC-DC. “Nope, I don’t think so,” she said, and changed the station.
As we arrived back in town it was already mid day. I assumed we’d been in the cavern and labyrinth all night. I had been unconscious when Haru had put me in one of the boats and sailed us out through the hidden channel the vampire army had used to bring their captives in. When I began to wonder about the humans down there, Luhan informed me that because of my actions twenty-seven had made it out. I was pleased with this, but I wished there had been more. Twenty-seven meant there were still some down in the caverns with the remains of the vampire army. When I started to protest this, Ryo cut me off.
“We need to regroup and be more prepared next time,” he said.
“My father will not take this so easily,” Haru answered. “…the damage we inflicted on his army. Unless all this has been a distraction for bigger things.”
“He will want retribution for the death of his lieutenant,” Ryo added.
“So it’s not over?” I asked, tears welling up in my eyes.
Haru hung his head. “No. We barely escaped.”
“We did accomplish what we set out to do,” Ryo chimed. It was odd that he’d be the one trying to bring in a ray of hope. “We rescued Angela.” He looked down at her as she slept peacefully against him.
“And your father’s death is avenged,” Chi threw out there. “We put a real hurting on the army that was being built. He’s going to need more recruits before he tries anything again.”
“What about the people we saved? Where are they now?”
“If I did my job right,” Luhan said, “they are confused as hell.”
“You wiped their memory?”
“Not all the way. But enough to keep them wondering if they just had a vivid dream. Of course, those still down in the caverns, I couldn’t do anything about them. I hate to say it, but they are either dead or vampires by now.”
I shook my head. Chelsea Valley would never be the same again. Despite this, the streets didn’t look any different. Shops were open. Kids were outside playing. Life went on oblivious to what happened the night before. There were an unusual number of people missing, yes, but no one seemed overly concerned. It was as if someone, Luhan maybe, had brought a fog over the whole town and it’s citizens. That made me wonder about mom. Had she been okay through this ordeal? How was she coping with the loss of dad? I knew she had been left in Tomoko’s care, and I trusted him with her life. He was a good man. I still hadn’t forgotten how he and the jigsaw man had saved my life when we….
“His name is Kaito,” Haru said.
“Haru! You need to stay out of my head.”
He gave me a teasing look. “Why? Is there something you don’t want me to know?”
I purposely sent a thought his way.
I smiled. “Really.”
“Well then…good thing we are almost home.”
We both laughed at our secret little thoughts. Of course, when you are riding in a car with vampires, nothing is secret anyway. Ryo grinned. Chi smirked. Luhan giggled. And Angela slept on….
Continue toEp. 85 (last chapter!)
“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 PaulD Aronson. All Rights Reserved.
Vampire Boys Of Summer
43: Saving Haru
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 an easy thing to 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 of his shirt, 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 shirt 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.
“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.
Episode 6: Loveless
I ventured downstairs around eight o’clock. Mom had left some meatloaf and potatoes in the microwave for me before heading off to work. How she managed to drink all day and then sober herself up enough to work the night shift at Walmart was beyond me. I heated up the food, but looking at the ketchup on top of the meatloaf turned my stomach. It made me think of the Asian man with the sneer and pointed fangs.
I returned to my room and decided to take a shower before heading next door. I needed something to steady my nerves. Part of me wanted to call Angela and tell her what had happened, but instead I just laid my cell phone on the bed and headed across the hall to the bathroom. I was so freaked out even the running water in the shower seemed menacing and intrusive. After a while, I scared myself into thinking I was being watched. I crossed my arms over my breasts and tried to turn away from the shower door, but I found myself looking over my shoulder, fearing that at any minute the vampire would come lunging through the glass just to get to me. And then I would be like that girl in the puzzle, helpless and hypnotized, a willing victim to the powerful creature of darkness.
I turned off the water, slid open the shower door and grabbed a towel off the rack. If anyone was in the room they were only going to catch a quick glance at me. I have never been self-conscious about my body, but I’m no exhibitionist either. I had worn tight or revealing outfits at times, maybe to go to a show or something, but I had never felt so exposed in all my life. I wrapped the towel around me and dashed into my bedroom. I closed and locked the door. Turning towards the bed, I noticed my cellphone was gone.
I froze to the spot. I knew I had put it on the bed. But now it wasn’t there. My eyes scanned the room. Perhaps my bathroom freakout was warranted after all. Someone had been here watching. And now they had taken my cellphone. I walked over to the window and looked through the blinds at the house next door. There were some lights on and I could see some movement in one of the rooms, but no one was outside. I heard the echoing sound of a tinkling bell from behind me, and I spun to the sound, dropping the towel in the process. Naked, I grabbed up the stake from the vampire kit still on the bed and scanned the room. There was no one there. Again, the bell sounded, soft and distant. It was my cellphone. Sitting on top of my dresser, plugged into the charger.
I breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe I had plugged it in before I headed to the shower and had just forgot about it. I went to the dresser and opened the top drawer. I grabbed some fresh underwear and slipped into them as quick as I could. Next drawer down, dark pants and a black tank top advertising an X-Japan concert my dad had taken me to in New York a couple years back. I turned away to grab my shoes and the bell sounded again. It was a cellphone notification of some kind. I woke up the phone and didn’t see anything to alert me to email or a message or anything. I hit the home button and pulled up the last used applications. The one at the top was the camera. I clicked it and the app opened to my photo gallery which was normal if you had just taken a picture. The top photo in the gallery brought me to a breathless stop. It was the picture of a tattooed moon, encircled by bloody vines, or perhaps veins. Under it were the words “Loveless”.
The first thing I thought was that was the name of my favorite song by Luna Sea, but then came the realization that this tattoo was on a boy’s hairless chest. And I knew for a fact I hadn’t taken it. I pulled up the tag info on the picture. It had been taken only a few short minutes ago, which meant there had been a boy in my room with a loveless tattoo and the balls to let me know he’d been there. But if he had thought to scare me with this, he was mistaken. Now I was pissed. I stuck the stake down the back of my pants and covered it with my shirt. I put the holy water in my front pocket and removed the crucifix from my dad’s vampire kit. looped it around my neck, letting it drop on its chain just out of sight down my shirt. I snatched the cell from the dresser and took one last look at the photo before sliding the phone in pocket. It was time to stake that pervert right through his tattoo.
“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D Aronson.
5: Puzzle Freak
The first thing I noticed as I stepped from my yard into theirs was the absence of noise. It was like I had stepped into a vacuum, where even sound was afraid of being this close to vampires. I couldn’t hear the light breeze through the trees, though I could see them swaying. No birds, no creature made a sound on this property, and I have to admit it made me a little nervous.
Still, I went up the front porch steps and raised my hand to knock. I hesitated, wondering what I thought I was doing. I had just gotten home from school. What little make up I started the day off with was now gone, my hair was a mess, and I was in jeans and t-shirt; not exactly following the ‘how to meet hot guys’ guidelines. I shrugged and knocked anyway. For a moment it didn’t make a sound, and I thought maybe I should just give this up, but then I heard the noise of my knuckles rapping the door. No matter that it came about thirty seconds after I actually knocked. I listened close, hoping to hear footsteps or a voice telling me, “wait a minute, I’m coming.” Anything to tell me there were no vampires here; that I had been wrong. But no one came. I debated whether to knock louder, and in the end I decided to try the door handle myself.
I put my hand on the door and it was ice cold. Perhaps the AC was running overtime in there, but I didn’t think so. There were no window units and I didn’t see central air units outside anywhere. I tried the knob but it was locked. I decided to go around back, maybe knock there.
The backyard was spacious with a concrete patio and in-ground pool. A row of hedges lined a back fence that separated our properties, but the shrubs were barren, and sure enough I could see mom lying out in her bikini in our back yard. I could tell by the rise and fall of her breasts that she had fallen asleep as usual. Part of me wanted to scream her name just to see how drunk she was, but before I could I saw I wasn’t alone on this side of the hedge. A man was sitting at a glass topped table on the patio working a jigsaw puzzle. A large umbrella was mounted in the center of the table, shielding him from the bulk of the sun’s rays. He didn’t seem to notice me at first, but when he did, his head came up so slow it made me think of those old automaton gypsy fortune telling machines they had at the fair when I was like nine. He stared at me with a curious look, his eyes dark and intense, half hidden by stringy black hair that hung down in his face. He tilted his head one way and then the other, before beckoning me to him. My head was screaming not to do it, but something bolder inside made me approach his table. He held up a puzzle piece and handed it towards me as if he wanted me to place it for him. His smooth pale skin made him seem almost unnatural, and I hesitated. With an impatient jerk of his hand he shoved the piece at me. I took it from him and looked down at the puzzle he was working on.
It was bizarre, like something out of a nightmare. The unfinished image clearly suggested a view of hell, with writhing, tormented bodies, some entwined in reckless abandon, others twisting in the talons of demonic figures. At the center, a tall dark presence drank the blood of several people at once, all of them held fast in his gaze and grip. Where the puzzle piece was missing there was a young girl about the same age as myself . Her body was turned towards the terrifying figure, and she must have been looking up at him rapturously, but she didn’t have a head. It was the missing piece.
I looked in my hand and turned it over. Sure enough, the piece I held was the girl’s head, and looking at it I saw in her eyes a look of adoration and helplessness. I looked at the man behind the card table. His Asian eyes held no malice, but something within told me this guy did not wish good things to befall me. A slight sneer crossed his thin lips. His mouth began to open. He made a sound in his throat but it wasn’t speech. It was a guttural kind of moan and his lips seemed to curl back to show me the only teeth he had were two pairs of fangs. His sneer turned into the scariest smile I had ever seen. I dropped the puzzle piece and bolted.
I ran across the yard and to my front door as if the devil were on my heels. I didn’t even bother with my book bag. I slammed the door behind me and threw the deadlock in place. I kept waiting to hear the man’s body slam into the solid oak of the doorframe, but he never did. I wasn’t even sure if he got up from the table. I didn’t care to look back. I’d been too freaked out.
I went through the dining room towards the back of the house. Looking out onto our patio, I saw mom was still sleeping one off. The guy next door was nowhere to be seen, but his macabre puzzle was still on the table. Thinking he was on his way over, I ran upstairs and locked myself in my room; my dad’s vampire kit laid out and open on the bed. If anyone came through that door they were going to get hit with a one two punch of holy water and wooden stake. But no one came. I sat on the bed as the night began to fall. I heard mom come in and rumble around in the kitchen. I wasn’t sure if she was fixing dinner or a new drink, but I wasn’t about to come out my room to find out. I was waiting for pitch dark so I could go stake that puzzle working, blood sucking freak.
“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D. Aronson. All Rights Reserved.
I almost kissed her once. I was alive then, though not living. Not really anyway. I had a beating heart, a fairly intelligent brain, and yet I was the class cushion all the bullies wished to stick their pins in just to watch me squirm and bleed.
She never laughed like the other ones did. Perhaps that’s one of the things that attracts me to her now. Even though she was a year older and out of my league as far as looks and grades go, I couldn’t help but entertain fantasies of a different world where only she and I existed. But the truth is no such world exists. Girls like her don’t go for guys like me. Even when we’re alive. Being dead just complicates things even more.
But anyway, I was talking about how I almost kissed her once. I don’t think she was ever aware of it, to be honest. She was lost in her own little world, getting books out of her locker. She looked so beautiful that day in her school uniform. Though everyone was dressed like everyone else at school, she seemed to be luminous. There was a soft glow about her, and it was even more evident when someone tapped her on the shoulder and she turned around, flashing them a bright smile that could have lit up the whole room if the power had gone out. Of course, I’m using metaphors here, but my thoughts at the time were anything but, for in that moment I was compelled to leave my lonely spot in the hallway, walk right over there and plant one right on her cheek. On her lips if I somehow missed.
I didn’t do it though. I stayed right there at my own locker. Frozen. Unable to move, or even smile in her direction. Call me chicken shit, call me a loser. They both fit. For when I really thought about it, the only image that came to me, the only response I could imagine was the look of horror on her face as she saw who kissed her. The rearing back of her hand, or possibly the fist of another boy who’d come to her rescue because shed been assaulted by the creepiest boy in the school.
Its funny because that’s how everyone thought of me when I was alive and visible to everyone who wished to humiliate or pick on me. But I guess the joke’s on them after all. Being dead and still strolling the halls definitely makes me the creepiest.
But what can I do with that?