Warning: Contains foul language and mature subject matter.
Also, this was a weird one, lol. I couldn't decide for sure what I wanted to happen to Bobby at the end, so I left it ambiguous. You decide.
The attic room was dark. Black ceiling, black walls, black thick carpet, black smooth sheets. One window black on the sill, air blowing through it heavy with the blackness of long summer night. The room, a coffin. So he could screw a corpse. So…I could live my life. Such as it is. When the time is gone, there really isn’t much difference between screwing and living. Everybody wants to do it, some are terrible at it, most of it is sweaty, a bit nasty even, depending on how you like it, and though it can all be fun, you’re really just there for the great big finale, and after that you probably want to go to sleep or something.
I rolled in the bed sheets until my arm slapped the top of the black nightstand.
The man — I understand why some like women, and why others like wolves, but a man is such a beautiful creature—came back into my room. Boudoir, I would have called it once.
“Here.” He tossed me the pack, wearing nothing but a pair of slacks. Black. His arms sliced through the darkness. My pale limbs are long, fatigued from overuse, and thought sill shapely, very thin. Tired. They get tangled in everything. But his? Lithe, fit, agile at catching moonlight I didn’t even know was in the room. I have a habit of not seeing light unless he's near.
“Shut the door,” I told him. So he did. I untangled myself, hung off the bed, smoked my smoke. He sat down beside me. What was his name? Closed my eyes for a moment. Bobby. That was it. The man, his name was Bobby. The smoke swirled in my mouth, I could feel it in my lungs, almost in space between the marrow of my bones, if there was still marrow after all this time. Bobby smiled at me, his teeth a line of white in the blackness around me. He leaned.
“No. Get off me.” I pushed at him, but did it gently.
“Alright, alright,” he told me, swinging his hands in front of me as he leaned back. “I can take a hint.”
I laughed at that.
“So. Where would you like to go this evening, my girl?”
I held my breath so the smoke could come out my eyes, a particular trick of mine.
“I’m not your anything. Bobby.”
Bobby. Sometimes I hate to hear the blood in my voice, when I say things mean like that. But that’s me. No changing now. “And I’m no girl.”
The man stood from the bed, went to the window. Out the window with the black sill was a balcony; I’ve no idea why it was built that way, so that you must first crawl and then stand. An afterthought. He pushed at the grimed pane of glass, swung it outward. Climbed through. Now the moonlight could shine into my room, except for it separated around him, because he soaked it up with his legs, which were all I could see through the window. The legs shuffled back and forth. I could hear the ocean falling upon the shore in the distance beyond his pants legs. I could hear the groan of a fishing boat’s rigging in the waves deep out in the distance beyond the shoreline. I could hear to the other side of it. I could hear it all, all out there, outside my window.
“Come out here.”
The wind was cool, it blew at my black sheet I pulled to me as I left the bed, crept through the window. He — Bobby — wrapped an arm around me. We looked out to the ocean and the night above it and us.
“In this,” I gestured at the black sheet.
“You’ve got on some killer earrings,” he shrugged easily, smiling at me. Which I did; I remembered now he'd bought them for me--long, dark and shining. A present. For me. I loosened the sheet about my legs so I wouldn’t get tangled, captured his hand in me, and we jumped.
Who knows how far down the beach we walked, but we did find people. Luscious, slack, self-gratifying things, gathered around a large fire built of driftwood in the sand, almost primeval except for the makeup and the music and the booze, and the cool stares at one another, so busy trying not to care, and the whole time caring more deeply than they could ever imagine. Their pulses beat in their necks.
“Ha, what are you wearing?” And a snicker. This from a younger one, a boy-man, man-boy with a wave in his hair and that typical well-fed, complacently All-American look, sitting away from the fire, in the shadows as we danced around the flames with the others, strangers all of them, teens or runaways or too cool for school types.
It’s a myth, you know, that vampires are lightning fast, or can turn into bats, or most of the other things you’ve no doubt watched in one of your awful movies. After hundreds and hundreds of years in one aching body, moving fast is not exactly on the list of ideal things to do. Oh, of course we master the art of the body, of strength and movement the living seem to ignore — this is no doubt where the crackpot Hollywood version of us originated — but not because of magical prowess, but because if we don’t, we can shatter our bodies. They are just shells. We are just shells.
No, the best asset for a vampire is the mind, what is left of it. With it, we surprise, we seduce, we revile. We exist. I stalked up to the man-boy.
“What are you wearing,” I asked him, leaning long and low over his body as he sat there, stupid and on the sand without a blanket. I came one at a time to my knees before him, using my toes toe flick just a tiny bit of sand behind me into the fire, knowing it would spin flames into the night as I did it. He was a little drunk. A little stoned, maybe. The man-boy blinked at me.
“Nightingale,” Bobby said to me from the darkness, a warning in his voice.
“Just a little taste,” I said to Bobby, though I think the man-boy thought it was to him. The man-boy licked his lips and grinned. So luscious, so stupid, these children of the late world. He reclined a bit back so that I could stretch longer into him.
“Yeah,” he said. “Hell, yeah.”
“But what are you … wearing?” The blood sneaked into my voice, I knew he could hear it. The fool would take it for a come-on. I tripped my nails up his cutoff shorts, up the silly printed t-shirt so many graceless young ones seem to wear these days.
“I … uhh …” he faltered as I dragged myself right below his face, “Hollister. Why,” and there shined that All American good boy trust, “you like what I’m wearing?” Someone kicked over the cd player and the music stopped, so that the sounds of humans and the ocean filled my ears.
“It’s cute…but it doesn’t go with bite marks,” I told him, and as he began to form whatever inelegant reply his brain could regurgitate, I draped the sheet over the both of us, pushing up his shirt as I did, and laid my dead flesh upon his living to soak in as much of him as I could, and tasted his blood, the blood of his staggeringly pointless life. It was sweet and the flavor of crimson, and I was so very hungry. I drank, and I drank, and he twitched until he was dry, dry bone dry.
Finally I stood. The world tilted around me as I stumbled to my feet. Right after drinking everything is edged with this crimson light, shaky, disoriented, compacted, impacted stretched out into the world of the living and the night and the dead beneath the feet upon the earth and—
I swallowed, pulled my thin pale arm across my mouth to wipe away the man boy’s sweet blood.
Bobby. That was his name—no, the other one. The man. Not the man-boy. Where was the man, where was Bobby, my shining specimen of humanity who didn’t mind nailing a serial killing, cannibalistic corpse?
Where was Bobby?
On the sand, sunwise around the fire’s edge. No one danced any longer. I walked toward him, they walked backward from me as I moved. The fools held up their cellphones and red and blue plastic cups at arm’s length, like shields or some other laughable contraption, as if they could protect themselves from me. If I wanted them dead, they would be, but I suppose they have no way of knowing that.
There he was. Blood…oh, blood. It poured freely from his skull. A shape emerged behind him, a tall young woman, dark like I was fair, and fair when I could only be dark. She held a shovel diagonally, gracefully almost, across her body, right hand near the sandy, bloodied blade, left lower, near the end of the handle. She stared at me from across his body, the tall fire dancing in awkward angles across her face. The blood…oh, the blood. It moved from him into the thankless sand. He — Bobby — groaned, tried to roll.
“Don’t move,” I told him.
“Nightingale,” he mumbled. There was blood in his voice too now.
“Don’t you fucking move either, you monster,” she said. Blood, blood on the shovel. She was fantastic, this creature of fire and blood. “I may not know how to kill you, but I sure as hell know how to kill him,” she added, kicking sand towards his head. He coughed, sputtered.
“You’re the fucking monster. You think that thing,” I tossed my arm towards the man boy’s body “had any care for being alive? I did him a favor. I could do you all a favor, if I wanted.”
“You try that and I’ll kill your little lover boy here. Just try it. You want someone’s blood?” She let the blade swing free from her right arm, it thunked into the sand. “You can have his. You leave the rest of us the fuck alone.” What a holy terror this woman was. I could have been in love with her, some other time and some other way; she exploded with life. “Come on, everyone. Party’s over.” People scattered as if she’d slapped them hard in the faces, with the back part of the hand that meets the wrist, but she hadn’t moved since she let the shovel loose with the one hand. “We clear?”
“He did nothing to you.”
“I’ll wait till you’ve had time,” she said as she turned, “but then I’m calling the cops. Anonymously.” She grabbed the shovel as she finished the turn—as an afterthought—and stalked away, down the beach. I went to my knees beside the man. Bobby.
First man I’ve bothered to learn the name of in oh, hundreds of years. Names just get in the way when you’re dead. A lot of things get in the way when you're dead...emotions, memories. You may gain new habits, but you lose the ones that might get you even more dead than you already are. He rolled towards me slowly, the lithe, agile dexterity gone from him, his back to the fire. The light looked as if to swallow him into its confines, away from me, to where I would not go even should I try.
“Nightingale,” he said, yet again. Such a beautiful man. Rich with humanity.
“Shhh,” I told him. He smiled at me, in a way. I think it was a smile. “You’re dying.” Yes, a smile.
“Such … pretty earrings.” I couldn’t hear anything over his words but his blood, pounding loud and slowing down.
“You … you love me?”
“Shh, Bobby, be still.”
“You … shhh. Do you … love me? More than this?” one of his eyes wasn’t swollen from the hit, he rolled it towards the blood drying on his forehead.
“As much as you love screwing a corpse.” Shitty time to try and make light of things.
“Can…cannot,” he was wheezing now, “cannot resist. Just can’t.” Trying to laugh.
“You must listen,” I said, words falling from my lips, the taste of the man-boy fresh on my tongue still, “you have a choice here, if you want it. You can survive this, if you want, I will try, I will bite you and turn you” his unswollen eye seemed to be sticking, glazing dry and open, “if you want I can save you only it won’t be saving you but you’ll survive this, you’ll survive almost anything you’ll be damned but you’ll survive anything, I love you I can save you if you let me damn you, please, Bobby.”
Bobby. Such a beautiful man.
“My Nightingale. Loves. Me.” That was all the response I could get, could hope for.
I bent over his blood.