Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Cold--TCE prompt

I literally just finished typing this and frankly, I am done for, so this is getting posted as-is. I shall make my edits and second draft tomorrow, and fix this haphazard entry. Until then, toodles everybody. Goodnight!

Still Untitled
The night air was cold with ice when he opened the door. Soon it would snow again, and he’d be stuck, again, in this god forsaken sod house on the edge of a northern praire, miles from neighbors and even further from civilization.  The sky to the south and the west was clear, stars—innumerably stars—stretching all the way to the horizon and seemingly below; their shine made the winter wheat and further, the shorn rows of the corn fields, sparkle with a glaring, cold silver. The sky above and behind him though was low, a softer black, puffy, crowding the hill into which the house was cut. Snow, or snow and ice. Grant looked at the woman on the other side of his sunken doorsill.
“Aren’t you going to invite me in,” she said. She did the thing where she held her tongue against her teeth and jutted out her chin like she was trying to look snotty and sophisticated. It made him hate the sight of her, and want to tell her “No.” But she must have worked very hard to find him, house sitting out here in the middle of nowhere. Still, he couldn’t just say “Oh yes, please do come in,” as if she weren’t the biggest bitch he’d ever met, as if part of the reason he was here wasn’t to get away from her, as if she…
Grant cleared his throat.  Sassa swept into the house, thick wool trench taking up most of the floor space before the hearth. He shut the door behind her. The cold flowed from Sassa in waves.
“What do you want?”
“I tried your cell.  I tried Mike’s.  I even called your mother. At least she knew what state you were in. First time in her whole life she’s held any information of value.
“What do you want, Sassa?”
Sassa turned, took the rocking chair by the hearth, and sat. The way her coat billowed out beneath her made her look decidedly awkward as she folded her hands on her lap.
“Why’d you move so far…so far…here?” Sassa’s top hand flashed through the air. Alright. Apparently she wasn’t going to be forthcoming. Grant sat on the loveseat opposite her. Flames from the fireplace cast more shadows into the cavernous home than he was used to seeing.
“It’s a long story—and not the reason you’re here. Come on, Sassa. What’s going on?” Even this close to the fire, Sassa filled the dark room with cold. Very cold. Odd cold. “Sassa,” he said again—usually Sassa had more than enough to say, she lways had in the past, and now, quiet? “ Sassa, what’s going on?”
“Oh, Grant,” she said, lifting her gloved hands space into the air and then dropping them into her lap again, a gesture just shy of a shrug. “After all this time, you really don’t know, do you?” Why, she had tear stains on her face; Sassa, the one woman in the world no man or woman living could make cry, had sobbed sometime before appearing at his doorstep.
“I don’t think I do,” he said seriously, trying not to lean into her, to comfort her. It could all be one of her tricks;  after all this time that was one thing he certainly did know. “Why don’t you tell me?”
She took a breath. Grant could remember the last time he’d seen her so pale.
“Alright, I’ll try…though if you haven’t gotten it yet, I don’t know what good it will do you…” That was certainly more like the Sassa he’d known.
“Get on with it.”
“Don’t interrupt,” she commanded, and then busied herself with removing her trench, her scarf, her gloves as she continued. “When we…separated, up in Boston, you know how I said you had to get out of town and never come back;  that I wanted nothing to do with you, that you were to not only leave but go so far from me as to never have any contact with me in any way whatsoever, be it business or friends or family?”
If she were a woman, he’d have called her a prick. But she wasn’t, and they shared a past, and he’d be damned if he was going to let her waltz into his new, freakishly remote home and make an asshole out of him just because she could. So he clenched his jaw, nodded.
Sassa nodded back.
“Interesting place you’ve got yourself here, Grant.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”   Insufferable woman, was she baiting him or something? Why come all this way for that?
“It means it’s… not what I would have expected you to pick. The location, the climate, the…home…any of it.”
“Why’s it matter to you? You told me to leave and I did. Thought it was a damn good idea, as a matter of fact.”
“Yes, but…why here?’ She was down to her street clothes now, still rolling cold off her body as she sat across from him. “Why not back to San Francisco…or hell, I dunno, Columbus even?”
“Ohio? You honestly think I’d live in Ohio?”
She laughed.
“God Grant, you still don’t get it do you? You live in a hole in the ground. Not exactly chic, is it? And why do you live here?
“Because I told you to. I told you to get away from me, to get so far from me that we might as well not exist to each other. And you damn near did it, too, didn’t you?”
“So what’s the problem?”
“The problem is…you’re bound to me.”
That made Grant laugh. But even as he did, he felt the humor fall from him. Sassa looked too guilty, just too guilty.
“Did you hear me?”
“Yeah, I heard you.”
“Well, you are. You’re bound to me. You’re mine.”
“Oh, I’m yours now, am I?”
“Did you wonder why I waited for you to invite me in?”
“I didn’t invite you in. You came in anyway. Just like you.”
“Actually, the assent was there. I couldn’t have entered your home without invitation, even though you’re mine.”
“Sassa, I think the cold has gotten to you; you’re talking nonsense.”
“Not nonsense, just a bit of folklore that happens to be true.”
“Folklore, like what? Witches and wizards and vampires, oh my?”
“And vampires, yes.”
“Come on, Sassa, what are you getting at? You’re not a vampire.”
“But I am.” And she stood, pulling all the firelight from the room so the interior was as dark and as bitterly cold as the night air outside the sod home, and yet she still radiated cold. Darkness and coldness. How had he never noticed she was always so very cold? But no, not a vampire. Just weird.
“You aren’t,” he said as he sat glued to the loveseat as she towered above him. His voice was weak even to his own ears. “I’d have known.”
“You wouldn’t,” she said, letting herself settle once more to the seat across from him, the firelight returning to the hearth, the yellows and browns of the sod walls returning to light from the darkness. “You wouldn’t because I …ahem… I bit you. Has a habit of making memory go…fuzzy.”
He’d jumped up, hands to his neck.
“No, not there. Just a few times, while we…Well,  anyway, I didn’t really know what I was doing; I’m still very young and new to...being the undead. And now you’re…you’re…”
“Going to become a vampire too?”
“No! No, not that…you’re’re still you, but you’re my permanent food now.”
“Permanent food? You’ve got to be out of your goddamned mind.”
“I wish I was. Now I’m hungry, and you need to pack. You’re moving back to Boston.” And in a flash of darkness, she’d sank her teeth into his neck. They were cold.

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