short stories ~ literary fiction ~ social commentary
copyright © 1999 - 2013
Somehow, she ended up on her back, on the sofa, the TV droning in the background. She really did wish to see the movie, Rand humping away at leg like an overly friendly puppy. Life, rather the dating aspect of life had become much too predictable.
I’m not a prude, really.
“Rand,” she worked around his mouth’s aggression.
“Oh Petri, oh Petri,” his moan answered.
“Rand, I have to get up.”
He quit his sloppy kiss, his dry hump in perpetual motion. “What?”
Squirreling her arms, hands on his chest, she pushed. “I have to go.”
“But, you said –”
I said we could hang out until 11, talk for a while.
“It’s 10. I have stuff I gotta do for work tomorrow, and I have to be in early.”
His face hung like a scolded puppy, working to his feet, looking down on her. “We’ve been seeing each other a long time –” he began a pre-ramble, cut off by the look.
“Rand. I like you. Given we fell from the trees some 4.5 million years ago, four weeks, five dates is not a long time at all.”
His head drooped, disappointment deflating him like a punctured parade balloon.
Man, if you think acting like a hurt child is going to get you laid –
“You should stay the night,” he said to the floor, then looked up. “You heard the news.”
“I told you: not until I’m ready.”
“I’m serious. If you’re going, I’ll walk you home.”
“You’re serious.” She rolled to sitting, retrieving the newspaper from the end table. She read the headline: “POSSIBLE VAMPIRE ATTACK. Really?”
“You need to read the article.”
“I did. Nonsense. Hyperbolic speculation likely to sell papers and movie tickets.”
He removed the 3” cross from around his neck. “At least wear this, for protection.”
She stood, allowing the chain placed around her neck.
“You can give it back to me the next time I see you.”
Slick, making sure you’ll see me again. “When I was a kid, Mom and Dad made up stories about scary things that come out at night, just so we’d be sure to be in before the sun went down.”
“All stories have some basis in truth.”
“The truth being my parents wanted me in before the sun went down.”
Petri considered a cab, dismissing the idea, the weather being as perfect as weather could be, just a bit cool, ideal for a sweater and a walk. Eighteen city blocks was not a long walk.
The game: No matter what I said, Rand should have walked me home.
Rand’s decision to send her out the door spoke volumes. If he really wanted to spend time with me and not just hump my leg, this was his chance.
Cars busy on the night’s city street sang in the distance, Lexington, a minor street, quite, cut with sharp lights and deep shadows. Though disappointment of Rand’s not accompanying her sat in her chest, Petri pondering how to return his cross without seeing him, she was happy to walk quickly, Rand would have likely slowed her pace.
A slow pace is okay, if filled with good conversation.
A hand clamped her upper right arm, spinning her like at a country dance, swallowed by a narrow walkway between two buildings, her back punished against the unforgiving brick, on her toes, held off the cobblestones by hands on her upper arms.
His red eyes glowed, burning into hers, his flesh white, peaked, sickly, his mouth too large for his face, his nose too small. Showing his elongated teeth, he growled, his face moving toward her neck.
“Wait just one minute, Bucko,” she demanded.
The attacker paused. “Huh?”
“Are you really a vampire?”
“Yes! Did you miss the growl?” He growl again, like a lion protecting his territory. “Did you happen to catch the teeth that time?”
“Growl, check. Teeth, check. Yeah, got all that. I caught the red eyes and pasty complexion. And, really, the smell. Don’t vampires ever bathe?”
“What? Well, we are dead, you know. So what’s your problem?”
Her eyebrow waved like a scarf on a clothesline as she glanced down to his chest where she managed to hold the cross against his heart.
He looked. “Oh, that. I’m an atheist. That won’t hurt me.”
“An atheist? Really?” Her feet went flat to the cobblestones, the grip relaxing.
“Sure, why not? The whole idea of God never made sense to me.”
With all due arrogance, she answered: “The whole idea of someone not believing in God never made sense to me. I mean, really, just look out over creation.”
“Just because you find everything so wonderful and beautiful, doesn’t mean it had to be created by some silly, supernatural sky fairy.”
She shook loose of his grip. “That’s not what I said. Everything in God’s creation is not wonderful and beautiful. There’s you, for example. I’m saying, you know, the water cycle, the moon balancing earth’s orbit. Did you know if we didn’t have the moon: oops, no life on the earth?”
“I didn’t know that. Still, a sky fairy?”
She shrugged. “You find it more difficult to believe God designed all this than to believe it all some happy accident? I find both fantastic, yet my belief in God less fantastic.”
“Look.” He held his arms in front of his face, crossing his index fingers. “When someone does this, my kind cowers in pain. What? I ask. It’s just fingers. No, they say. It’s the cross! I say: so what? They say: you know! They say you know because they think they can’t even say God. God. God. God. God.” He held up his palms, looking to the sky. “See? Nothing.”
She returned the cross to his chest. “What would happen if I did this to them?”
“They’d catch on fire.”
“Because there’s a God. It’s powered by God.”
He narrowed his eyes painfully. “No, because they believe in God.”
“Their belief makes God real?”
“No.” He wrapped his hand around the cross. “God is real to them, not in objective reality.”
“Not at all. Their belief doesn’t make God real. There is no God. They suffer and get burned because they believe they will.”
She smiled sadly, painfully. “Man, I wish you weren’t undead. I hunger for conversations like this like you hunger for my blood.” She released a long sigh. “But, instead of humping my leg, all you really want to do is bite my neck.”
With a nod, he agreed. “Speaking of which, let’s get down to business.” He retook her shoulders.
“Just why can’t I?”
She smiled. “Like God is to you, you are to me. You don’t exist.”
With that, he was gone.