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.