Just outside the seaside town, Brook came to a stop. He let Fern catch her breath then they walked back home in silence. Fern’s mind bubbled with questions, but she found she had neither voice nor the wanting to break the space that had grown between them. The wanting to keep recent events at a distance added to this. By the time they reached the mausoleum, Fern was far too tried to talk anyway.
She took all her clothes off and curled up in the sleeping bag. Vaguely, she was aware of Brook nuzzling into the back of her neck and asking for blood. Sleep claimed her and she dreamt colourful dreams, which involved a lot of running away. A few times she felt on the edge of awaking only to plummet back down into a new dream.
When she actually woke up it was sudden. Flinging the top of the unzipped sleeping bag away, she sat up and looked through the darkness of the room. Her new night vison adjusted and was able to pick things out of the darkness as if a light was on overhead. She saw Brook curled up on the camping bed. Getting up and draping the sleeping bag around her, she walked over to him.
The stone slabs were cold under her feet, but the blood of Kyle still warmed her.
She touched Brook’s sticking out fringe. Her fingers dropped to his forehead, his cheek. Brook still with his eyes shut, turned his head slightly and brushed her wrist with his lips. He kissed her skin then nipped at it. Fern shut her eyes and rocked on her feet as Brook pierced her skin. She felt a tingle of pain which was quickly covered by Brook’s warm mouth.
Empty thoughts swirled in Fern’s mind. All she could think about was the blood flowing between them. Brook stopped drinking too soon and let go of her. She looked down, wanting to sit beside him then snuggle against him, but the camp bed was too small.
Brook got up and hugged her. Fern felt his naked body rubbing against her’s. He took her back to the air bed as if he had read her mind and they lay down together and snuggled. Fern rubbed her head to his chest, listening to the sound of his breathing and heartbeat.
‘What happened at the arcade?’ she asked gently.
‘Which part?’ Brook asked, ‘you almost killing that boy or-’
‘I killed him?’ Fern cut in, pushing herself upwards.
‘Almost, but I stopped you. Just about…’
Fern rested her head back, ‘I couldn’t stop,’ she spoke into his chest, ‘it was like his blood was the sweetest and most intoxicant drink.’
‘An innocent’s blood will do that. We should’ve been more careful. We shouldn’t have-’
‘What do you mean?’ she questioned as her fingertips made circles across his stomach.
‘Most children’s blood is pure. It’s untainted from alcohol, drugs and stuff. It gets into us faster and we get high of it. That’s what happened to you,’ Brook explained, ‘I need a smoke.’
He eased out from her and walked back to the camp bed. Fern rolled over and watched him searching the floor for his clothes. He came back a few moments later with lighter, cig box and a large black candle. He sat down and the air bed bounced. He lit up whilst Fern played with the end of a pillow where the stitching was coming undone. She wrinkled her nose at the acid ting of smoke and lay back down. She heard the lighter flicking again then Brook lay down next her and she curled up into his side.
‘He really was all right, wasn’t he?’ Fern pressed.
‘He was breathing steadily when we left,’ Brook stated and balancing the cig between his lips smoothed her hair.
‘Why did you let me…do it?’
Brook took the cig out of his mouth and breathed a cloud of smoke to the ceiling. He thought for a few moments before saying, ‘we have to take every chance that is given to us. No matter who it is or where they are. If you see even a second’s chance to take some blood you do it.’
Fern pulled a face and rubbed the top of her head under his chin, ‘Why?’
Brook growled softly, ‘because that’s how a vampire survives in the twenty-first century. You can’t just go and ravage anyone! We can be seen on cameras and everyone has one now. The internet has been trying to prove our existence for years, but we’ve got to stay hidden.’
Fern open her mouth to question that but the warm smell of liquorice underlined with anise and cloves hit her. She glanced at the candle that Brook had brought with him and saw it alight and close to the air bed. The yellow-orange flame flickered, pooling the black wax around it.
‘What’s with the candle?’ she asked instead.
‘I like it,’ he replied.
Fern sniffed, ‘liquorice?’
Brook turned his head towards the candle as he answered with a ‘yeah.’
Silence dropped in. Fern rubbed his chest and half raised to show she was interested in him explaining further. Brook had shut his eyes, the cig burning to ash against his lips. Fern gently removed it and put it out on the floor. She kissed his lips and waited.
‘We got to be careful,’ Brook whispered.
‘Huh?’ Fern chipped in at his unexpected statement.
‘Did you see that guy following us?’ Brook asked.
Fern thought back and saw electric blue eyes, ‘maybe,’ she mumbled, ‘was he really following us though? I don’t remember.’
‘Actually, I don’t think he did. He came out of the arcade and just stood there.’
‘I think he ran the place or something,’ Fern gushed in, ‘I saw him at the ticket desk when I went to the bathroom.’
Brook looked up at her then sit up. He put his hands to her shoulders and held her in place.
‘Did he say anything to you?’
Fern shook her head.
‘Why? Do you know him?’
‘I think maybe….no. It doesn’t matter. Look, let’s forget it. Okay? We’ll stay here and I’ll teach you some stuff.’
Fern nodded her head, still not trusting herself to say anything and looked around for her clothes.