A Bloody Mess
I crept along the bushes, trying to stay out of sight. As Tom had warned me, I ran the real risk of changing time and history. At least my great granddad wasn’t likely to fall in love with me instead of my great grandma. He hadn’t immigrated over to the states yet. I shivered at the thought. I had never met the man, but he had died in the Vietnam War. Something to do with Chiropterans, whatever that was.
“What are you doing?”
My back went stiff as I turned to look at a young man behind me. He was about my age. He stood behind me with a grin on his face an old newsboy cap on his head. Even though he looked familiar to me, I couldn’t place my finger on it. He brought an apple up to his mouth, taking a bite before chewing and giving me another grin.
“I’m sneaking…” I said, turning away.
“Well, you’re doing a horrible job,” he laughed crouching down next to me.
He had a jovial swagger that shot up alarms in my brain. The boy reminded me of someone. I turned away again and began sneaking to the next bush. I figured if I ignored him long enough, he would just go away. The boy stood up again and followed me, chewing his apple noisily as he did it. I turned back to him with exasperation.
“Do you mind?”
The boy smiled again, “Not a bit.”
I ground my teeth, ready to smack that stupid grin off his face. Finally, I turned back to him. I wish I had brought my taser. A large degree of my problems seemed to be solvable with a taser.
“You are dressed funny,” He said before I snapped at him.
I stopped and looked down. Tom was walking around with a silver suit on, clearly, he didn’t think about fashion matching the proper time. At least I was dressed well, although I didn’t want to think about how I looked after tripping and falling through the forest.
“So are you, it’s the 50s, not the 20s, what’s with the hat, paperboy?”
The boy looked up at his hat and laughed, “It’s my da’s. I do work at the newspaper, though. I don’t deliver, though, I edit for them. See? I’m a mature eighteen-year-old.”
“Well, paperboy, I’m sixteen, so I’m too young for you.”
“Are you kidding? Girls always fall in love and get married at sixteen.”
“That is… an old-fashioned way of thinking about things.”
“Well, I’m a very old-fashioned kind of guy. Besides, I have a job, far more stable then all those boys just hoping to pass high school. Plus I have dreams; I’m saving up to go to college. Then I can be a professional journalist. ”
“Why are you bothering me?”
“Because life is short, and you are beautiful.”
That caused me to blush, but I wasn’t going to let this boy get to me, “Well, I’m sorry, I am not old-fashioned, and I won’t marry for a long while.”
The boy shrugged, seeming unperturbed, “My name’s Christopher, by the way.”
I sighed to myself, “Jane. Is there anything I can do to get you to leave me alone?”
“How about a date?”
“Alright, how about a race?”
“I’m sorry?” I blinked in confusion.
“I see you’re wearing running shoes. Now, I’m not so slow myself. How about I give you a head start of ten seconds because you’re a girl? If I catch you before you reach that street over there, you’ll go on a date with me.”
He pointed at a ten block stretch of buildings. I glanced down at my shoes. They were just a pair of regular sneakers. Then I realized that in the 1950s, sneakers weren’t common. I glanced at Christopher’s shoes. They were beaten hard leather, something that looked like dress shoes by today’s standards.
I wasn’t fast, but the street had a lot of alleys. If I could duck behind one, I’d leave him in my dust and be on my way. He wouldn’t see me again. I wasn’t worried about him. He’d be fine. I gave him a little nod and he broke out into a smile, tossing the apple into a bush and wiping off his mouth. He pulled off the cap, giving me another flash of familiarity, but I ignored it. I was ready to ditch this person.
“Ready,” he counted with a strong voice, “Go!”
I bolted at full speed, determined to be in an alley and out of his sight before the ten seconds were up. Incidentally, I was not built for speed, though. I was only a block away when I heard the shout ‘TEN’.
Before he started running, I turned and ducked behind a building. I kept running as I heard a large shout of protest. He would catch up to me if I kept running like this; I wasn’t fast enough. Instead, I did the only thing I could do. I leaped into another bush. My arms got scrapped as I fell into it, but I was determined to be out of sight before he got there. The thumping of feet started getting closer.
Please don’t let him find me… please… please… His feet stopped right next to my bush. He caught me. I wasn’t going to go anywhere, much like the character development of Bella Swan.
“There you are, Jane. You caught me by surprise when you took off. How did you change your clothing so quickly?”
My eyes widened, looking up through an opening in the bush. Christopher wasn’t looking at me; he was looking at someone standing nearby out of my sight.
“Excuse me, I assure you, sir, you must be mistaken,” A young woman’s voice sounded.
Christopher chuckled, “Oh I see how it is, knew you couldn’t beat me so you thought you would pretend to be someone else? Am I that bad?”
I moved my head without rustling the bush to get a better view of the other person and barely stopped myself from gasping. I saw a girl standing there who looked exactly like me. She had on a solid light green summer dress and carried a basket. She had a look of confusion on her face but otherwise seemed kind.
“I’m sorry; I think you have me confused with someone else.”
“Alright, I’ll play along. It’ll be a fresh start, act like we’ve never met before. Hello, my lady. My name is Christopher, and I’ve been admiring you from afar,” Christopher bowed formally, “I would love the honor to take you out on a date.”
The girl turned beat red with a blush, I hope I didn’t look like that when I blushed, “Oh my, but my father would never approve.”
“Fortunately,” the boy gave his rich smile, “I am not asking your father.”
The girl giggled, becoming shy as she ground a toe into the ground and blushed. Christopher held a hand out to her. After a moment’s hesitation, she reached out and grabbed it. The pair ran off together, giggling like school children as they crested the corner. I moved out of my hiding spot, completely dumbfounded.
I now remembered where I had seen the boy before now. His image had appeared briefly to me as he shot out of Alex in the haunted mansion. He was Mr. Xavier, or rather the ghost boy who inhabited Mr. Xavier. I inadvertently hooked him up with my great grandmother Jane. It would be an event that I knew would end with his death. It put all of the actions of my creepy English teacher into perspective for me. He was just a man who fell in love and wanted a second chance. He was still a pushy creep, though.
I turned away from the awkward distraction that was Mr. Xavier or Christopher, I guess. It wasn’t something I wanted to think about right now. I had a mission I needed to complete and I was letting myself get distracted. I ran off following the directions Tom had carefully given me. He wouldn’t come with me, of course. He was too shy. He said he’d wait in the clearing for me to return. If he was from the future, then I would need to find his past self and spend some time toughening him up.
It was a dank, dark, and dreary building that looked little better than a haunted house itself. It wasn’t that the building was derelict. It was actually well-kempt. However, everything was plain. There were no flowers, no bright colors. Every window had a curtain pulled shut. Every door had a ‘do not disturb’ sign on it. So this was the lair of a vampire?
I moved up to the door, knocking three times using the doorknocker. There was no doorbell in sight. I knocked again. Then after a moment, I knocked louder. Maybe I was at the wrong place. I rechecked the address one more time. The address read 666 West Lane. Really? What an ironically stupid street number. I knocked even louder, almost hurting my hand on the big, thick wood doors.
“Go away,” A muffled voice came from the inside, “I don’t take visitors.”
“I’m a poor defenseless virgin girl whose car broke down. It’s so hot and I’m all sweaty, “I said, trying to coerce him any way I knew how.
“Well take your perspiration and go someplace else.”
“I cut my finger and I’m bleeding.”
“That’s fantastic, bleed on someone else’s carpet.”
“Um… I’m on my menstrual period?”
“What? Why would you even tell me that?”
“I thought vampires might be into that kind of thing,” I answered before I stopped myself.
There was a long pause before the man behind the door spoke up, “So you know what I am, and you’ve come to kill me.”
The door opened up a crack, I saw a man standing on the other side, completely shrouded in darkness. He took a few steps back, and I took it as an offer. I squeezed myself through the door and closed it on my way into the house. When I saw the man in front of me, I stopped short. He was tall and lanky with pale skin much like Stephan, but it had a bluer tinge to it. In truth, he was younger than I expected, only a few years older than me in appearance. He had a sunken in face and greasy messy hair. He might have been good looking, except that he was a complete mess. He wore dark clothing, a black button up shirt and black slacks. Wrapped around his body was a red blanket, which looked like a poor man’s vampire cape. Although, he came off looking more like a person suffering from a cold.
“If you’ve come to kill me, don’t waste your time. I’ve already tried, and I’ve found it impossible.”
“What? You want to die?”
The vampire Tom had called Victor shrugged. “Being an immortal is lonely. I have nothing but darkness and despair in my heart. The world is but a staging ground for my misery.”
“That is… very emo,” I responded, watching him as he turned around and entered his living room.
I followed after him as he walked over to a rope, beginning to tie it up in an elaborate knot.
“I am a monster, my dear girl, a shadow of destruction and chaos. Within my soul burns the blood of a thousand corpses. Within these hands, the murder of a thousand lives. I do not deserve your pity. I do not deserve this immortality.”
The vampire tossed the rope up, looping it over a light fixture on his ceiling, “You know, when I see a pretty girl like you, it reminds me of a time in my life where I had happiness. However, darkness overshadows everything. The world is a place of hatred and insanity. A cesspool of our decrepit world.”
The vampire stood up onto one of the end tables and wrapped the rope around his neck, “Goodbye, cruel world.”
My brain didn’t process what he was doing until he pushed off the table. The rope snapped tight around his throat. I shouted, moving over to grab him. His feet kicked several times as I tried to bear hug him, holding his body up to take pressure off his neck. There was a resounding crack as the light fixture gave way, tearing off the ceiling. Victor ended up landing on top of me as plaster rained down on top of us.
When the shower of dust and debris ended, I opened my eyes. Victor moved his arm around me protectively. It seemed like such an odd thing to do. However, he still was on top of me. He smelled of roses.
“I am sorry, my dear,” Victor sighed, getting off of me, “I don’t mean to bring another down into my despair.”
“Why don’t you go out into the sunlight?” I asked, trying to help him for reasons I didn’t comprehend.
“Do you see how pale my skin is? I will burn like a hot potato.”
“But doesn’t sunlight kill Vampires?”
Victor waved it away, “A bunch of superstition. However, we don’t tan. We burn. That’s why we don’t go out into the sun.”
“You don’t sparkle… do you?”
“What? You mean like your pants? No… I can’t say I’ve ever sparkled. Just heat stroke.”
“How about sunscreen?”
“Sunscreen? What is this? I’ve never heard of it.”
I scratched my temple, it was the 1950s. Sunscreen would still be a pretty new concept. Skin cancer was still unheard of.
“How about a stake in the heart?”
“Have you ever tried to stake your own heart?” Victor sighed, “Besides, a vampire’s heart doesn’t beat. All a stake would do is paralyze us. I want to die, not spend the rest of my existence as a vegetable in a living death.”
“How about garlic?”
“Burn myself alive? That sounds really painful.”
“Because I always wanted to be a talking head for the rest of my existence. My dear, I appreciate your concern for my well-being, but there is no real saving me. The world sees me as a monster. A vile, disgusting creature to be shunned into the corners of existence. My existential crisis comes in the form of what I am. The world will never accept me.”
“I have to say, you’re not what I was expecting from a vampire.”
“And what were you expecting?”
“Pale, sure, but also muscular and sexy. An otherworldly beauty with deep sexy eyes, perfect hair, and a rock-hard, sculpted body.”
“What? Why would you think we’d look like that?” Victor’s eyes opened in shock, then narrowed, “Who are you? Why are you here anyway?”
I took a deep breath and began to relay Victor my story. I told him about the time travel. I mentioned the werewolf, the ghosts, and the dead. He seemed to take that in stride. When I mentioned the demons, the angels, and the aliens he was more surprised. I found myself relaying the story in a more complete fashion than I ever had before.
Something about the vampire caused the floodgates to open. Perhaps it was his laid back personality, his dreariness, or his personality Maybe it was the simple fact he wasn’t a super hot pretty boy. Once I started telling him about my life, I couldn’t stop. I even told him about the almost kiss Stephan and I shared, the touching moment Andrew and I had, and recent pass with my great grandmother. I kept talking and talking until I had explained everything. When I finished, I took a deep breath. Victor’s eyes were wide, but they didn’t hold disbelief. He had waited patiently and listened to everything I had to say.
“If you had told this story to anyone but an immortal vampire, I imagine they might think you were crazy. However, I know what you say is the truth. I would be willing to help you out if possible. However, first I’d like to ask you about this Anne Noodle you speak of.”
“It’s Anne Rice.”
“So you’re saying, in your time, women want to have sex with vampires?”
“She turned them into sex icons. Although they do have a homosexual vibe; it’s totally sex central.”
“That is fascinating. In this time, all we have are movies like Nosferatu and Dracula, where vampires are depicted as monstrous deviants.”
“Well, in our time, they’re sexy. More recently we ended up with Stephanie Meyer. She turned them into boy toys that even the less macabre girls want.”
“And she makes them sparkle?
“They’re basically Superman with virginity stealing metaphors. Even when they’re creepy, they’re hot.”
“Incredible. So you’re saying if I just wait another fifty years, I can get any girl I want?”
“Well, mostly just teenagers and lonely housewives.”
“Lonely housewives, you say? I could live with that…” Victor smirked, his dreary demeanor being overshadowed with a little happiness for once.
It seemed like being happy looked good on him. I began to realize if he cleaned up a bit, he’d actually be a pretty good-looking guy. Then I dropped those thoughts, the last thing I needed was another good-looking guy in my life. I was already struggling to deal with all of the guys already.
“So can you help me? Tom said you can’t help directly, but he mentioned there might be something you could give me.”
Victor nodded and turned towards a cabinet. He started rifling through several drawers until he found what he was looking for. He turned back to me and presented me with a small vial.
“What is this?” I asked as I took the vial.
“It is a vial of my venom diluted down. It isn’t enough to turn you into a vampire like me, but it does have other side effects.”
“I don’t really know. It will increase your strength, make you faster, and might be enough to allow you to keep up with your supernatural companions. It won’t last long, though. There should be enough for three doses there. Only use them immediately before you need them.”
“Thank you so much.”
Victor straightened up, “It’s the least I could do. You’ve given me something to look forward to, a future where a vampire can live. It is I who should be thanking you.”
I turned to leave out the front door. Victor stood behind, his mood seeming considerably improved.
“Before you go,” he stopped me as I opened the door a crack, “In fifty years’ time, would you mind if I stopped by and said hello?”
I smiled back at him, “Make sure to wait until after I get back from this, I don’t want to accidently open up a hole in space-time.”
I closed the door behind me. It wasn’t until I was past the front yard when I realized the implications of what I said. Shit, I just added another boy to my list of problems.