Valentine's For Lovers
(a bit juvenile, I know, but I thought I should take a stab at a vampire story. First re-write=rough, but oh well)
The simple entreaty: to begin life anew when everything seems like it’s been a series of unended beginnings. I have so many things to be pleased with in life yet I feel such an air of discontent. How like one of the characters in one of my stories I’ve become. Or perhaps... Either way it is perfectly obvious that my art describes (and indeed perhaps even defines) my life. For this very reason I begin these three files. Each one is different. This one as a journal, the second as a repository for poetry and the third as a holding cell for the group of short stories I would like to turn into an anthology. Depending on how faithful I am at committing myself to these pieces of myself I will open a fourth file as the temporary home of my novels. That’s really all for now but I’ll be back.
January 16, 1999
On it goes. I feel great about our new place, it seems as if it were a spot of new beginnings, very positive in nature. My own room is the type of place I’ve always wanted.
February 5, 1999
A new day has begun and I feel wonderful, so much possibility and so many opportunities for new lessons and happiness in my heart and around every corner.
February 10, 1999
February 19, 199999999999999999999999
Everything had changed. John woke up after the most complete night of sleep he had ever had in his life. The world looked different, somewhat brighter. He first noticed it when he opened his eyes to look towards the alarm clock blaring so loudly on the corner of the nightstand. The red LCD display stung his eyes. When he looked away the imprint upon his vision created streamers of scarlet in every direction.
He couldn’t remember much from the night before, only that he had gone out for a night on the town. This morning the swirling lights and dancing bodies seemed like visions from another’s life. As he went through the motions of greeting the new day, stumbling to the bathroom to splash cold water over his face and behind his ears, his eyes had trouble focusing on anything. The newfound clarity with which he perceived everything around him seemed to overload his mind’s ability to process it. As he headed for the kitchen to pour coffee from his automated coffee maker, he pulled quickly away from the corner at the end of the hall; its edge stuck out dangerously and looked to be as sharp as a knife. He closed his eyes and balled his fists to rub at his eyes. In doing so he became so fascinated with the way his fingernails felt against his palms that he almost fell over. What the hell was going on with him this morning? He stood for a moment, searching his mind for any specific recollections of the night before. Had he been drinking? Had he gone to yet another strange woman’s house and blindly returned home after a night of aerobic animal sex? He couldn’t remember. It was only when he made it to the kitchen and was blasted by the frost of the freezer as he pulled out the bag of coffee beans that he recalled violet eyes. They seemed to swim from the base of his consciousness to the forefront of his mind. He faltered, the bag of coffee slipping from his fingers, the sound of the beans striking the floor, a rattle of drumsticks on a snare. Violet eyes seemed to fill his mind and he couldn’t think or reason until the sharp bitter aroma of espresso beans assailed his senses. He opened his eyes. He was lying on the floor surrounded by small black beans. He’d lost control of his muscles; his entire body felt as if it had fallen asleep, needles and pins traveled across his skin in waves. He gradually regained control of his eyes as a series of thundering booms crescendoed from the living bedroom. His eyes filled with the sight of a slender pair of legs tapering down into a pair of dark brown felt boots.
“Oh good, you’re up. I was beginning to wonder if I’d have to go out for breakfast.” Everything ran red.
The world swam into shape for Gerald Whimsey as he stared at the red lines of the LCD clock on his coffee maker. The rich aroma announced good morning to him better than the rising sun or any early morning talk show ever could. Gerald breathed in the heady aroma and stretched his arms over his head, forming a graceful arch of his slender frame. Now that he was sure that the morning’s festivities were getting off to a proper start he wandered over to the stereo to hit play on the cassette player. The sweetly saccharine sound of Nico crisscrossed with Lou Reed’s rasp as the Velvet Underground oozed out. Gerald opened the blinds to the pre dawn and fell onto the couch to wait out the gurgles and hisses of the coffee maker. He focused his gray blue eyes on a point on the horizon and allowed his mind to swell around the point.
The coffee’s deceleration from stream to drops signaled it was time to commence the day’s plans. One of the perks of having his own business, no matter how strange that business might be, was being master of his own schedule. Most people were not too surprised upon meeting Gerald to discover what type of business he ran. He wore his darkly blonde hair long, sometimes pulled back in a ponytail, sometimes around his face as a shroud. His clothes accentuated his angular long muscled frame, always coordinated in a balance of conflicting colors. He never like to stay in one shade; it too often represented a lackadaisical approach to the spirit, he would tell his friends when he entered one of his rare spells of pontification. The few friends he was able to keep. Seeing him in the morning, like this, one would never guess that his confrontational nature kept most people at arm’s length. Those that intruded beyond that point tended to run for the hills within the space of one conversation.
As he poured his first cup of coffee, Gerald decided to go into the office late today. He spent a good five minutes trying to locate his cordless (finally finding it on the bathroom floor between the toilet and the tub - he‘d developed a nasty habit of talking to people he detested while on the toilet defecating). After straining to remember the new ten digit calling system he punched in his secretary’s home number. She was an early riser. “Grisellda, tell the world of darkness and spirits that Jerry Lavender is going to be late this morning.”
G’s whine of a voice cranked to maximum volume through the telephone. “Crap Jerry, you got two poltergeists and one possession you’re supposed to defraud before noon today.”
Gerald sighed. “We’ll let the believers hang onto their faith for another day, G. I’m not gonna be in til two at the earliest.”
Grisellda’s voice caught itself before she landed into trouble with her tongue again. Resigned, she asked, “P.M. or A.M.?”
Gerald took a full minute to put his cup down and think about her question. “Probably P.M., but I’m making no promises.” Just as he finished putting the phone on the toilet’s tank (he had some calls to make this morning, bill collectors), a thud shook the entire apartment sending the phone right into the toilet bowl. “Aww, crap.” Gerald winced as he reached into the water. He really should’ve heeded his mother’s warnings about the dangers of leaving the seat up. Shaking the excess moisture from the phone, Gerald’s eyes were tugged to the ceiling above him as a long masculine moan vibrated through the plastered cork board. It was going to be one of those mornings. Gerald retrieved a hand towel from the hall closet to lay the phone on when the moan rose in pitch into a scream. “Dammit“, he moaned and yanked a shirt over his head (bright yellow) and pulled a pair of corduroys (dark brown) over his legs. He was out the door and up the stairs before he realized he’d forgotten his shoes, again. Gerald was so busy noticing that he’d forgotten his socks as well that he almost missed the fact that no one else was coming into the hall. He paused to look up and down the stairwell. Nothing. His eyes came around to the open door two stoops down from where he stood. Snarls erupted in fits and starts from the apartment on the other side. Gerald calmed his racing heart (two moments), moved silently across the empty space and through the threshold (two more moments).
The rich coppery stench of blood filled the air. The only light, from the kitchen, drew Gerald onward. As he stepped through the thick tan shag rug separating the living area from the kitchen, he could hear a voice calling faintly. “Help me, please someone, help me. I think he’s dead. Is someone there?” The brightness of fluorescent light spilled over a body on the floor. It was motionless except for the girl shaking its shoulder. As soon as the girl lifted her eyes to Gerald’s he realized the sham before him. Scarlet rimmed azure eyes peered at him suspiciously. This was not a woman, this creature he shared a stranger’s kitchen with. The slightest wrong move, misplaced breath, or an errant skip of his heart beat and he would join the man on the floor. From descriptions he’d been given, he knew what he looked like to this thing: a well tanned blond haired blue eyed bag of blood.
“Are you alright,” Gerald breathed his anxiety out in a feign of breathless concern. His mother had been a hypochondriac and he’d learned at a young age the merits of releasing pent up stress as sympathy. The creature pierced him with its eyes for a split second, obviously trying to ascertain what type of man this was. She must’ve been satiated by the man on the floor or Gerald would already be in her not so tender embrace. Chancing a quick peek over her shoulder at the pre dawn light as it winked through closed blinds, she turned back to him. Her voice, when she spoke, was deliberately high pitched (again, from description, Gerald knew her true voice to be guttural as a wolf’s growl). “I don’t know what happened. We just met and he invited me up for a drink. I, I, must’ve passed out and when I woke up…”it burst into tears. The creature must be at least centuries old to be able to express emotion with such accuracy. Generally, from what he’d heard, these creature were entirely consumed with two thing: hunger and power. Anything else they exuded was illusion, emotion a cage for their prey.
Gerald rapidly considered his options as his mouth worked on its own. “It’s okay, what’s your name?”
The girl drew her arms to her chest and looked again at the blinds. Only fifteen minutes til dawn. “Barbara, Barbara Gentry,” she squeaked in her falsetto. “I don’t know what happened. I don’t usually…with a man…”she sobbed.
Gerald began to snigger at the act of innocence, and covered it up with a hard sneeze. “Sorry, allergies.” To bull, he thought to himself distantly. “Have you called the police?” he asked. It shook its head. “Oh, by the way, my name’s Jerry Lavender.”
Gerald instantly knew he had made a mistake. The creature leaped to the ceiling with him in its grasp before he had a chance to do anything. It slammed him hard enough to shower plaster onto the kitchen floor eight feet below. Gerald absently watched the flakes trace paths through the air before he began to struggle. The creature had forsaken the falsetto for the rasp of its true voice. “You saved me some time, man.” With its free hand it drew a line of blue flame in the air and hurled Gerald through.
In what manner do we truly dream? Is it simply the sloughing off of a well thought of day, or is it something deeper; a vortex of light, color and darkness formed in our mind, pulling us in each and every night to offer glimpses of the world as our soul perceives it. Worlds within worlds. When we think we understand, we barely begin to scratch the surface.
Officer McKinnehey looked from the journal entries in his hand, written in a tight cramped cursive, to the scorch marks on the ceiling and the floor of the kitchen. The words, ‘she left’ struck out at him with unknown conjectures. Dated last week. Forensics had already been in to cut away a section of the kitchen floor’s linoleum after having photographed the body and the melted oil and canvas that was left surrounding it. McKinnehey didn’t have high hopes for the lab results, even if they managed to file their reports before the case was closed. Ten bodies in three days, all with the same scorch marks surrounding them, every body exsanguinated without any apparent wounds. He shook his head as the rest of the team skirted the murder scene. Memories of last night’s dreams kept threatening to surface from the back of his mind (pursuit of a heavy shadow through a twilit world, alleys of purple darkness, buildings of night, panting, realizing he was the shadow, the pursued, hunted by a vague form of golden light interwoven with a chaos of wings). A hand at his shoulder shook him from his reverie. The Chief Medical Examiner, Tim Gryvern, was staring at him with curiosity in his eyes.
“You alright, Henry?”
McKinnehey rubbed at his face, “Yeah, I’m alright, just a little early for this.”
Tim looked at him a moment longer and shrugged. He squatted down next to the body to point at its crotch. “Looks like the same M.O. as the others. No apparent wound, no weapon, and whatever happened here definitely took place shortly after sex.”
Henry looked down impassively. “He’s a little soft for that, don’t ya think?”
Tim shook his head, “No, there’s other ways to tell. If it’s the same as the others, which it looks to be. We could be looking at a sex crime, Henry.”
- Valentine's For Lovers Too
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