Undead Domestic Life
See first chapter for disclaimers...
“Come on, keep up, slow poke,” I called back over my shoulder as I jogged down the sidewalk. It was just after dark, and the New York City streets were just starting to cool off from the intense heat of a summer day. It was as good a time as any to go for a jog with Mathilda. She was jogging a few yards behind me, starting to show signs of fatigue. But I guess it was only fair considering we had already covered three miles, and were still headed uphill.
“I’m coming, I’m coming. It isn’t my fault I have to breathe!” she called back, panting slightly. I stopped my forward movement and jogged in place for a moment, letting her catch up.
“And what, you are saying that I don’t need to breathe?”
“You said it, not me. You just can run and run and not be out of breath and I don’t understand it,” Mathilda explained to me. I smiled at her and shook my head.
“I have been running since before you were born,” I started off the lecture and she screamed, a frustrated scream in the dark of the street.
“No, God, no, not that damned line again,” she begged me. Despite her tone of desperation her eyes twinkled with amusement.
I was about to respond when a rapid shiver went through my body. I couldn’t control it as I shuddered. The whole thing was enough reason for me to stop running and reach out to grab hold of Mathilda. There was a Slayer nearby, and the chances were that she had already sensed me. Fuck, I hadn’t been careful enough. Goofing off with Mathilda and not paying attention to my surroundings.
“What, what is wrong?” Mathilda asked me, immediately looking around, and slipping into a defensive position.
“Someone is close by,” I whispered to her and she looked over at me in confusion.
“Someone? Darla, there are people all over the place. What are you talking about? And yeah, normal people don’t shudder when they feel other people around them,” she called me on my physical reaction.
“Please, I just need you to trust me. No questions. No talking. Just be quiet, and let me think,” I urged her. She must have sensed that there was something clearly not right in my tone, because she stopped talking, and let me have her silence. I tried to reach out and feel for the Slayer, but I couldn’t get a good enough grasp on where she was. The fact that I couldn’t get a feel on her general direction meant that she was close, super close.
“Ok, Mathilda, we are going to turn around and head back to your school. Exercising is over for the evening as soon as we get you back safe and sound,” I decided and started back in the direction we had just come from. But it was clearly the wrong direction because the Slayer stepped out of an alley and into the middle of the sidewalk. She had a crossbow slung over her torso, and a stake in her hand. She was a little taller than I, heavier built, with a darker complexion. Staring at the two of us, she was the dark and I was the light. Ironic because my angelic appearance was all a farce.
“I don’t think that you are going to be taking that girl anywhere,” the girl spoke. Mathilda looked at the girl and then looked at me. She couldn’t figure out what was going on.
“Do you know her, Darla?” Mathilda quickly asked, trying her damnest to assess the situation.
“Not exactly,” I vaguely replied. I knew that wouldn’t be enough for her, but I needed to get her away from here. I took a step forward, a tiny one, toward the Slayer standing before me, but it put me in-between the Slayer and Mathilda.
“You’ll let her pass, right? Unharmed?” I called out.
“Yes. And if she doesn’t get any stupid ideas about joining in this then she is more than welcome to pass, unharmed,” the Slayer called back and I nodded. Never trust the enemy, but at this point my main priority was getting Mathilda safely away.
“No stupid ideas. Just let her pass. She knows nothing,” I assured the Slayer.
“Then tell her move her ass,” she told me. “Other side of the street. And tell her not to come back.”
“Mathilda,” I started.
“No. No. No. Leon told me to go and that he would be right behind me. He told me he loved me. That I had given him roots and that he had the desire to live. He died for me Darla. Died because my stupidity ran wild. I’m not going to leave you and have you die too!!”
“Mathilda, listen to me. I’m not going to tell you I love you. I’m not going to tell you that you gave me a reason to live because quite frankly I’m already dead. But I will tell you I will be at your dorm room right after sunset tomorrow. We will go running, we will work out, and we will train together. But I need you to go now. When my kind meet up with hers bad things happen and I don’t want you to be involved.”
“Promise me you’ll come for me tomorrow.”
“I promise, my child, now please go,” I urged her. She nodded, gave a dark look towards the Slayer, and took off across the street and back towards her school. She would be safe there. The Slayer would never find her. But Mathilda would remember the girl forever.
“Touching, but aren’t vamps supposed to kill people not coddle them?”
“You got me alone so now let’s do something about it.”
“Fair enough,” she commented and I headed after her into a side alley.
The fight was not pretty. She was good at her calling. Maybe too good. I managed to drag the fight on even though I wasn’t winning. She and I both successfully landed some fairly good hits. But it was clear we were both waiting for the other to slip, so we could finish the kill. She managed to get me down and stab me in my chest – breaking two ribs and puncturing a lung – with a metal pole. I saw her pull out her stake as I struggled to remove the pole from myself while moving away from her. She lashed out, kicking me in the face. I went sprawling onto my back. Pain radiated from every fiber of my body. The pole forgotten as she advanced upon me. No cheesy lines or puns came from her mouth, only the stake on its downward motion straight toward my heart. A single gunshot ruined the moment.
I killed a girl tonight. I shot her in cold blood. I broke Leon’s rules. Two simple rules and I fucked them up. I can’t get the look of shock and horror on her face out of my mind. The look dissolved into something I can’t explain. If I had to guess I’d say it was happiness or at least peace. But I did that. God, what am I going to do?
Darla said she’d take care of her. Darla said it was all going to be all right. Darla had a metal pole sticking out of her chest and she is the one telling me it is all going to be okay. Darla’s probably dead by now. And I left her too. She took my gun, told me to leave before the sirens got any closer, and that she would see me tomorrow. God, she’s probably dead. I let her die.
How did things get so fucked up?
Leon, my love, if you are watching over me please forgive me. I didn’t mean to break the rules but she was about to kill Darla. And I couldn’t bear the thought of losing her too. Be well, my love, I hope you are at peace.
“I’m here to see Mathilda,” I told the girl that answered the door.
“She’s in her room. Do you want to come in or me to get her?”
“I’ll come in,” I told the girl.
“Ok sure,” she said and then backed up to let me in. “Do you know the way?”
“Yes.” I hoped the affirmation was enough to dismiss the girl. She nodded and then disappeared down a hall. I turned to the left and headed through the short maze that would lead me to Mathilda’s single. I knocked on her door and awaited an answer. Behind the door I heard the bed creak and movement headed my way. A moment later Mathilda appeared in the doorway.
“Darla!” she yelled and launched herself at me. Arms wrapped around my neck, legs wrapped around my waist, and she was all around me. I held onto her and balanced my weight so I wouldn’t fall over.
“I’m here, my child, I’m here,” I whispered in her ear. I gently ran my hands up and down her back. I whispered words of nonsense in her ear. Surprisingly they worked on both of us.
Minutes passed before she finally let her body slide down mine until she reached the floor.
“I told you I’d come,” I whispered. “I told you.”
“I know. I never had a doubt,” she got out through the tears.