Halloween

Halloween rolled in on a bank of endless fog. Beth watched it from her bedroom window as she listened to the church bells tolling the midnight hour. Sleepily, she saw the fog reaching out and cloaking cars, lampposts and the whole street in a thick white blanket. Beth rubbed her eyes and wondered if the weather forecast had said anything about fog. She couldn’t remember.

Settling back on the duck feather pillow, she sighed and thought about reading some more of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, but it wasn’t gripping her enough. How about the TV? Maybe there’d be a horror movie or some ghost haunting show on. She couldn’t be bothered moving and remind fixed on watching the fog clouds rolling by. Slowly, her eyes closed and she thought about all the things she had to do tomorrow.

Celebrating Halloween alone again, she thought and sighed deeply, if I’d know my wild uni nights were going to turn into boring adult times I’d have found a way to stay longer.

In a flash, she saw the party from third year and smiled into her pillow. Her memory replayed disjointed scenes; the childish Halloween style games, all the food, the carved pumpkins on the staircase and that kiss from Blake. A wobble of pain and sadness shook her stomach and she banished that thought away.

She pulled the curtains and rolled over. Settling into a light doze and imaging herself in an empty white room. Sleep whispered to her then carried her off as the fog pressed heavier against the window. A wisp snuck through the not quite closed window and reached down towards her. Beth sighed in her sleep and didn’t feel the fog wisp brushing against her cheek.

The fog was still thick when Beth’s alarm clock drilled her awake. Switching it off, she rolled over and opened her curtains. A fog cloud waved at her then drifted away. Frowning, Beth looked harder outside, she could just make out her small car and that of her neighbours’ across the way. She got up, went through her morning routine before going downstairs in her slippers. She put on a jacket at the front door then went outside.

The fog hugged her and she felt an icy chill on her skin. Peering out, she couldn’t see much further then she had been able to upstairs. Going in again, she went to her computer and looked up the weather forecast. There was still nothing about fog. Deciding to just go with it, she had breakfast and looked over her to do list. Normally her handwritten list was short on Saturdays, but today she had added a couple of things.

Starting at the top, she worked her way through things and soon found herself sorting out the Halloween sweets for tonight. Over the last few weeks, she had been gathering packets to make up goodie bags and now her coffee table was full of stuff. Digging out the party bags, she began filling them with gummy eyeball sweets, lollypops, chews, other gummies and chocolate. Humming along with some Halloween themed music, the task was overall too soon.

Putting the bags into a large green bowl and on to the window sill near the door, Beth went back and crossed it off her list. Next she got on with the pumpkin and when that was down placed it outside and sorted the inners into a two bowls – on for pumpkin pie and the other for pumpkin soup. She checked her list again and got the last few things done quickly, so she could watch a program about Halloween on TV.

The first knock on the front door of the evening made her jump. Beth had been dozing on the sofa in the darkening living room, feeling overcome by her burst of business. Shaking herself, she got up and answered it, preparing herself to see children dressed up in costumes. Instead there was an old woman in large coat.

‘Hello?’ Beth said slowly.

‘Hi, sorry, but I couldn’t help myself. I hope you don’t mind, but I noticed you hadn’t lit your pumpkin,’ the old lady pointed out, ‘I did it for you. I had a spare candle. It’s fine.’

Beth peered out and looked at the pumpkin she had balanced on top of a large empty tree plant pot next to her front door. A soft light was flicking from inside the orange ball and bring the scary face Beth had carefully carved to life.

‘Thanks. I’d forgotten about it,’ Beth explained.

‘Yes, dear and I’m sure you’d want to keep the spirits away tonight,’ the old woman said.

Beth frowned at the hint of mystery in her voice then put it to one side, ‘yes of course. Thanks again.’

The old lady smiled and left with a little wave.

Beth closed the door, shaking her head as she went back to the TV. Flopping onto the sofa, she looked through the channels and found a scary movie to watch. Just as the first lot of adverts came on, the door was knocked on again. Beth got up and answered it to a single trick or treater dressed as a headless horseman.

Smiling, Beth offered the newly turned teenage boy one of the party bags and watched him run back to his father. Closing the door, Beth knew that was the official start and for the rest of the night, she felt herself yo-yoing to and from the door. Finally as the church bells chimed in ten o’clock she said goodnight to the last group of trick or treaters.

Picking through the remaining goodie bags, she selected a new movie to watch and stayed up to see the witching hour come in. Finally at half past midnight as the movie credits rolled, she turned the TV off and stepped outside to blow the pumpkin’s candle out. Noticing it had already gone out, Beth locked the front door and went to bed.

Settling in for a better night’s sleep, she thought that this Halloween had gone well, but next year she was so finding a party to go to.

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Trust (Part 24)

The blood was all consuming. Fern felt it tinging through her body, warming her and calming the growling hunger. Swallowing mouthful after a mouthful, she wondered how she’d been able to resist the blood’s lure before. Perhaps, I didn’t know how hungry I was? So much has happened over the last forty-eight hours. The thought faded from her mind, replaced with the dancing red swirls in a lava lamp like imagery.

She felt a hand pressing into her shoulder and a distance voice telling her to stop. She pressed her teeth and mouth over the bite mark more, determined to ignore the voice. Fern’s arms had wrapped themselves around the woman seconds after the first taste and now she couldn’t really feel them. Thinking about that, she couldn’t really feel anything other than the warm blood filling her.

‘Fern. Stop,’ Brook hissed into her ear.

I don’t want to, she answered back in her head.

Tough luck, Brook’s voice sounded within her thoughts.

Surprised, she slightly broke her grip on the woman. Brook noticing it, peeled her away quickly and pushed her towards the wall. Fern took the shuffle backwards caused by Brook’s shove before standing perfectly still in the middle of the room. She watched Brook lick her bite marks then set the woman down on the floor amongst the cardboard boxes.

‘How did you do that?’ Fern whispered.

Brook rubbed his hands on jeans then collected the backpack.

‘You said we couldn’t talk in our heads,’ she pressed.

‘We can now. We’ve shared the same human blood at the same time,’ Brook responded.

Fern looked at the woman and saw a fast healing bite mark on her left arm. Brook hadn’t bothered to arrange her as he had put her down, instead going for a just collapsed look. Fern tiled her head and really studied the woman.

‘I can sense things about her…’ Fern muttered aloud.

Brook, bag now swung over his shoulder was having a quick look through the boxes he hadn’t been able to before. He shot Fern a look over his shoulder, but didn’t answer. The sounds of him rummaging echoed loudly in Fern’s ears and she found it odd that she could detect each sound down to the movement that made it, even though she wasn’t looking. There were Brook’s sleeves and hands against the cardboard, the rustle of paper, plastic, the tiny tears of packing tape, the movement of items.

‘Her name is Nola,’ Fern spoke again.

‘Good to know. There’s nothing else here. Take this,’ Brook said and handed her the backpack then grabbed an empty one from the box. This bag was completely light blue and larger.

Fern didn’t move to take her bag, but continued, ‘she’s twenty-eight. An orphan and the only thing she ever wanted was for God to give her a family. He never did, so she made him her only family and became a nun.’

‘Fern. Here,’ Brook urged crossing the room and pressing the straps of the school bag into her hands.

She took the bag, not feeling the weight of it, ‘I didn’t know there were still nuns.’

‘Sure there is and monks, Pagans, Satanists…’

‘Satan?’

‘Yeah, you know, devil worshippers. We still need clothes…’

‘She is going to be okay?’ Fern asked in a small voice.

‘Yes. She’ll sleep it off and be fine. We need to go.’

‘Maybe I should stay here and make sure…’

‘No. The blood will lure you back and you’ll kill her. I can’t risk it and nor can you…I’ll explain more later. You’ll understand when the blood isn’t so fresh in your head,’ Brook clarified.

He opened the door and looked out. The soft voices and gently snoring of people reached out to them. Fern became painfully aware of how many sources of blood were around her. She licked her lips and thought about taking them all like the grim reaper. Their sleeping bodies would never know…it’d be so easy, she thought in a voice that wasn’t her own.

We’ll find someone else before we leave, Brook’s voice poked into her head, right now, the mission needs completing.

With a deep sigh of regret, Fern followed Brook out of the room and to the next door. She watched him open it, look inside and close it again. He crossed over and opened the two doors opposite them. Fern lent against the wall, her senses of hearing, sight, smell soaring and seemingly rushing everywhere to bring information back to her.

‘I feel…’ she looked down at her hands and dropped the backpack to the floor as she raised her hands to look at the crazy lines on her palms, ‘invincible.’

Brook bent before her, the bag’s handle tight within his three fingers, looked up at her.

‘It’s…strange…I feel able to do so much and there’s the wanting to do it. Nothing else matters…how can it?’

‘Here, put it on,’ Brook said rudely and shoved the bag into her arms again.

‘I want to fly, Brook. Let’s go outside! I want to fly to the moon!’

Fern tried to throw the bag away, but he held on to it. With a roll of his eyes, Brook pulled Fern off the wall and put the backpack onto her shoulders and back. Fern smiled, for the first time actually witnessing the fast movements of a vampire.

I bet I could do that too now, she thought.

Brook took her hand and led her back a door. He opened it and inside where racks and plastic boxes of clothes. They slipped inside and Brook closed the door as footsteps sounded in the corridor. There was a loud coughing and Fern saw the old man from before in her mind’s eye. Suddenly her vison was out in the corridor with him and she watched as he looked around. He moved off and out of the door, heading for the bathrooms, his clutched hand tight against his chest and thoughts wondering where the kids had gotten too.

‘You should watch out for the busy bodies,’ Brook whispered as they both heard the bathroom door close.

Fern nodded.

‘Clothes. Okay. We need….’

Brook moved off and began looking for underwear in the boxes.

Fern, trying not to giggle, looked through the racks of clothes. There wasn’t a great deal of choice and nearly everything was second or third hand. Quickly though, they gathered a selection of autumn and winter things and packed most of them in the backpacks.

‘Sorted,’ Brook stated and helped Fern slip into a long black faux suede coat.

Fern fixed the large hood and let Brook help her put on the now heavier bag. Fixing the straps, she watched Brook putting on the other bag.

‘Now what?’ Fern asked.

‘Now, I teach you how to be shadow and we nip someone on the way out,’ Brook answered.

Fern nodded, ‘a shadow. Do I just image being my own?’

‘If you want. Firstly, call the darkness in this room to you,’ Brook instructed.

Fern glanced around and realised they were in the dark for the first time, with just a crack of light coming in under the door. Wiggling her fingers against her side, she emptied her mind and focused at the wall.

‘What do I say?’ she breathed.

‘Nothing,’ Brook chuckled. ‘Think of nothing but the shadow in front of you and draw it into you. It’s a blanket and you are cloaking yourself with it.’

Fern bite her lip and did has he suggested. Something cool brushed against her skin and began creeping around her. A slight wave of panic then nothing but calm filled her. She had become the shadow. She looked down and saw her hands covered in a misty blackness, it seemed to be everywhere. Shooting a look over at Brook, she saw he was wearing the darkness too.

‘You made that look easy,’ Brook said, his voice high in awe.

‘Shouldn’t it have been?’ Fern asked.

‘Well…learning all these tricks can be difficult…’

Fern shrugged, ‘beginner’s luck? Oh, that man came back again…’

They stopped and listened to the man opening the first door then the one leading into the overflow room. He went into the corner again and folded himself up on the floor. Fern listened to his thoughts and grew worried by them.

Let’s move. We can’t be seen like this by humans, Brook’s command came.

Brook opened the door, Fern sticking behind him and they walked out of the room. Fern drew some more darkness to her as the corridor lights flickered above them. Brook was striding to the door and she hurried to catch up with him, thinking only of staying in her shadow cloak. Brook opened and slipped through the door. Fern did the same and as she surveyed the shelter’s main room this time, she didn’t react to the human suffering. Instead, she was filled with the urge to feed. She could hear so much blood pumping beneath skin and hearts making that motion possible.

Isn’t there a child or young innocent woman I could take? No one would notice, the vampire’s voice questioned in her mind.

There’ll be a night watch person we can take in the front hall, Brook’s mind whispered.

She nodded, feeling a slight flicker of disappointment at that, but falling into step behind him anyway. Brook led them to the double doors, opening one halfway and they easily went through. Fern guided the door back into place and tried to ignore the finger like tugs of the blood drawing her back. Instead as the door slotted into place, she looked up the hallway and saw a man sitting in a chair.

Brook went up to him and Fern followed. The man was dozing, his arms crossed against his chest and a torch slowly slipping from the fingers of his right hand. He was wearing a dark blue night guard’s suit and had the matching cap pulled down over his eyes. Brook stepped over his out stretched crossed legs and signalled to Fern to stay where she was on the man’s other side.

You try and take him, Brook spoke loudly into her head.

But I…What if he wakes? She called back.

I’ll take care of it. But you are strong enough now…go on.

I…don’t think I can…can’t we find a child or someone younger? Wouldn’t that be easier?

No. just do it. I need to see you can take them, Brook stated, do it now. We need to go.

Fern pressed her lips together and slightly bend down to try and see the man’s neck. She felt the shadow cloak slipping from her and hurriedly tugged it back up. The man’s neck wasn’t visible.

Where shall I bite? She asked.

Her eyes flicked to the man’s wrists and hands, which were the only bare skin she could see, other than the lower half of his face.

Brook?

She glanced at him, but Brook was just standing there watching her. He had crossed his arms and ankles as he lent on the wall.

Has the telepathy ended already? Wow, it picked a crap time. Okay…the wrist…it’ll do.

Fern lowered herself slowly to the man’s wrists then gently touch his hand. Feeling like she was playing that tense game Operation and removing the most difficult bone, Fern eased the guard’s arm away. Quickly she unleased her fangs and sank them into the soft skin. Blood welled up and she gulped it down. Her eyes tried to flicker up to Brook to read him, but they fell shut beforehand.

The blood slipped through her and Fern tasted the difference from the nun’s straight away. The man’s was thicker, older, more salty and laced with something else….tobacco and whisky, she decided. She swallowed and went back for a second mouthful. A notion of movement above made her eyes snap open.

Had he awaken? No, it’s just Brook feeding too….

She shut her eyes again and took another few mouthfuls before stopping. Letting the man go, she pulled back and took in a deep breath of air. She wiped her mouth and got up off her bended knees. She spotted Brook back against the wall and stepped over to him.

‘You stopped yourself too…’ Brook whispered.

He reached for her and she moved into his arms, pressing her cheek against his chest. Brook wrapped his arms around her and put his chin on top of her hair.

‘You did good,’ he added.

‘I need some air…’ Fern mumbled.

Brook gave her a squeeze then led her to the door. He pressed a hand to it and Fern heard the turning of locks and drawing of bolts. Making a mental note to ask him about that later, she stepped outside. The rain and wind hit her, but she felt far above them now. She took a few deep breaths and cleared herself of the smell and noise of the shelter.

Brook closed the door behind them and took her hand. They walked down the steps, went a few meters away then turned into a narrow empty passageway down the side of the building. Brook took her right to the high wall end.

‘Now, we are going to fly home,’ he said quietly.

Fern’s eyes lit up and she almost began jumping up and down.

Brook put his hands on her shoulders, his face breaking into a smile.

‘Can we really?’ Fern gushed.

‘Yes. Just think about it. Think about going up and home,’ Brook described, ‘think about leaving the ground here and landing on the grass outside home. Concentrate.’

He took both her hands and shut his eyes. Fern did the same and tried to control the gigged feeling brimming inside of her. She thought about flying and home, about leaving the ground far behind and touching the clouds, the moon.

She felt Brook dropping her hands and hugging her again. His breathing was soft, warm and blood scented in her ear. She wiggled her toes and really thought about lifting off. How silly does this seem? The thought rocked through and she lost it. Fighting down a cry, she scrambled to try again.

However, she felt a rush of cold air and jumping motion as if Brook had thrown her upwards. The wind and rain hammered around them and she pressed herself tighter into Brook. Her mind declared they were flying, but she didn’t believe it. Maybe the weather had got worse? The wind howled in her ears and she felt the rain pouring into her hair. Why can I feel this icy coldness when I couldn’t before?

Her feet hit a soft but solid surface and she eased off Brook. She looked around, fully expecting them to be still in the passageway next to the shelter, but they weren’t. The sight of the woodland filled her vision and head. She smiled and let go of Brook. She stepped away and looked at the wind torn trees and bushes.

‘We did it!’ she yelled.

‘Just about,’ Brook spoke from behind her as he unlocked the door.

Fern laughed, unable to stop smiling, ‘we really flew…I can’t believe it!’

‘Come in out of the storm,’ Brook shouted.

Fern laughed loudly and was about to turn to him with something caught the corner of her eye. She stopped and looked harder into the patch of woodland. The shadow of a figure was stepping out from behind a tree.   

Trust will continue next month.

************

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Trust (Part 23)

Taking Brook’s hand tightly, Fern kept her eyes on the floor as they walked to the back of the queue. The whispering voices of the greeters, one male and one female, followed them, making Fern think of a funereal party.  In the growing late evening and the heavy rain, the town’s cast outs were just bodies bundled into filthy, ragged clothes. Fern saw a mixed of old boots, shoes, slippers and bare feet shuffling along the pavement.

Brook gently swung her around the last person and they came to a stop. Fern raised her eyes and looked at the hunched over red jumper wearing man before them. He was coughing loudly and rubbing his chest with a stuck clenched hand. Fern prayed he didn’t turn around and rested her head on Brook’s shoulder to make whispering to him easier.

Brook kissed her head then said into her hair, ‘remember what I said?’

She brushed her cheek against his shoulder in a nod.

‘Your name is May. I’m Seth. We are brother and sister, running from our abusive stepfather. Yesterday, we got arrested by police and we lost all our things in our escape. Got it?’ Brook asked, ‘but you only say that if we get separated. Actually, let’s…say you’re mute.’

‘Mute?’ Fern hissed.

‘Yeah. It works. Or deaf? But that’s more difficult to pull off.’

‘Deaf makes more sense than mute,’ Fern countered.

Brook hushed her as the man in front of them turned slowly.

‘Sorry. Couldn’t spare a smoke, could ya?’ his raspy voice muttered the words.

Brook patted his pockets with a single hand then drew his packet of cigs and lighter. He slipped his hand out of Fern’s and offered the man one.

‘Ah, thanks,’ the man spoke, ‘finished mine this afternoon and what with the weather, couldn’t scrape the pennies.’

Brook lit the selected cig and the flicking orange glow illumined the homeless man’s dirty, yellowed fingers. Brook closed the lighter then decided to have one himself. Counting he had four left and reminding himself to not offer anyone else one, he pulled out the fifth slender white cig and lit up.

Fern had been carefully avoiding the man’s eyes and had been fixated on Brook. Though this whole time, she could feel the man’s eyes on her. Don’t talk, don’t answer. You can’t hear him, she chanted in her head.

‘On the run?’ the homeless man asked.

‘Yeah. Stepdad and police,’ Brook stated back.

‘Never been to a shelter before?’

Brook didn’t answer. He took a drag of the cig and flicked away the ash.

‘You should keep an eye on her…’ the homeless man said in a softer voice.

Fern stole a glance at him and noticed he was staring longingly at her breasts.

‘She’s deaf. Kid sister, fucking dead weight. She’s like a puppy I can’t get rid of,’ Brook sneered, ‘but I’ll keep an eye on her. I always do. Wanna smoke?’

Brook offered Fern the cig. She paused, shook her head then twisting her neck, pressed the side of her face into Brook’s shoulder. Now looking behind them, she watched the thin trails of smoke drifting into the night and wished she could leave with them.

‘Thanks again,’ the man said and turned back around. Though Fern was sure his eyes keep wondering to the sides to try and look at her again.

Brook slipped his arm around her and guided her forward. The queue seemed to have picked up pace and as they neared the doors, Fern heard someone from just inside the doorway mutter to someone else that they were nearly full. She shot Brook a look, but he was hurriedly finishing his cig. They reached the bottom step and Fern tapped her toes against the cold wet stone.

Throwing the butt away, Brook led her up the steps and ignoring the welcoming from the greeters, followed the homeless man into a hallway. Fern glanced around, noticing that the bare floor and walls were a hospital dark cream colour. They came to a stop a few steps in and peering around the line of people, spotted another set of doors ahead of them and two women with clipboards.

Fern looked over her shoulder and saw that the two greeters had come in and were now shutting and locking the door. A sudden wave of panic and fear tickled her stomach. She swallowed hard and gripped Brook’s arm tightly with both her hands. She focused on something else and saw that the greeters were wearing matching dark green t-shirts with white letters stamped in the right corner. She read; St Louis’ Shelter.

‘We are out of beds now!’ a loud female voice shouted.

Remembering at the last second not to turn towards the voice, Fern stayed still. She felt Brook giving her a small squeeze and musing into her hair with his chin. A flutter of voices blew into her ears then the woman continued talking, directing them all to a smaller side room where they could sleep on the floor. The queue shuffled forward, whispering grumpy voices filling the tall ceiling above them.

The two greeters had taken guard places on either side of the front doors. Fern turned back and as she approached the second set, gave into the dreaded thought of; we’re trapped in here now. She looked at Brook, but he was keeping his eyes fixed on the smallest of the three women. She, like the other woman she was with, was handing leaflets to everyone. They approached her and watched her look them up and down before handing a paper out.

Brook took it from her and she hand gestured for them to go in.

Shivering, Fern dug her nails into Brook’s arm and scanned the large room they had entered. It was hard to tell what, if anything this building had once been. There were high set windows in the wall before them, but like the walls in the corridor the four here were bare. The floor was lined with metal cot beds at one end and at the other long bench tables and chairs. Double white doors in the far corner led into an area signed as the kitchen.

Most of the beds were occupied with people laying down or sitting up. The few that were empty had the leaflets placed on the blankets. The room hummed with voices, snores and soft rustlings of things. Fern couldn’t pick out many faces from those that were sleeping, but she was shocked to see a teenage looking girl curled on a nearby bed with two very young children.

Whilst many of the homeless seemed to be males of all ages, there were a few women and children dotted around. Fern focused harder and picked out an old woman pawing through a bin bag, an exhausted blonde haired woman who looked to be in her mid-forties and a young adult black woman sitting on the edge of a bed, which had the sleeping form of a boy about ten years old curled under the blanket.

Brook looked in the other direction and Fern followed him. There were two doors ahead of them now. One was marked bathrooms and the other, where the tail end of homeless people were heading, wasn’t signed anything. Brook stepped over and Fern refusing to let go of him, went along too. Through the doors was another room with more doors leading off it. This room was smaller and had darker yellow coloured walls. Scattered about were a few old canvas camping beds and air beds. All of them seemed to have been claimed already. Fern counted twenty-three people, including her and Brook, before she watched the red jumper man settling to the floor in the corner to their right.

Brook glanced behind at the doors then finally removing Fern’s fingers from his arm, pushed the door and half stepped back out. Fern almost moved after him, but stopped herself as she heard him striking a conversation up with someone.

‘My sister needs some help.’

‘With what?’ a really soft female voice asked back.

Fern wondered if it was the woman who’d given them the leaflets.

‘She’s….well that woman’s monthly thing. We have nothing. Is there anything you could spare for her? Please?’

Fern heard the woman make a pouting shape with her mouth and breathe through it.

‘She’s deaf and dumb,’ Brook hissed back, ‘please? I don’t know what to do.’

‘Alright. Where is she?’

Staying still, Fern let Brook slip his fingers into her hand and close around her palm. She felt him tugging and turned to follow him out. The woman behind the door was the same one as above. She was short and young looking, with black hair framing her face. She was wearing a dark green t-shirt and a floor touching black cotton skirt.

‘This way,’ she said after a few seconds.

They followed her down a few doors and into a store room. Brook got Fern to stand against the wall then helped the woman search through the pile of opened cardboard boxes. Fern watched them pulling out things like packets of tampons, wet wipes, tissues, underwear, basic washing kits, soap and some more things. From a deep box, the woman pulled out a second hand school backpack that was red and black in colour. She began stuffing all the things inside.

‘What about clothes?’ Brook asked in a low voice.

Fern saw the woman start to turn her head and quickly looked down at her shoes. She tried to fix a blank expression her face, but felt too overwhelmed by sadness and guilt to achieve it. She also pressed her hands to the wall and made a little rocking motion as if she was trying to comfort herself without anyone noticing.

The woman turned back and gave Brook the backpack.

‘Sister, Please. I don’t want anything for myself. But for her. She’s just a child still and she’s been through so much,’ Brook’s pleading filled the hushed room.

The woman sighed and giving Fern another look, shook her head and muttered back, ‘you must wait for the handouts tomorrow. I need to go, the food is almost ready.’

‘No, please! She’s probably already bleed through those jeans. Just give her a few things. We won’t take the handouts. I’m desperate! Sister, don’t turn a child of God away. She needs your help.’

Fern looked shyly up, recognising the smooth tone of voice that Brook had fallen into. He’s hands were resting lightly on the woman’s shoulders and he was staring hard into her eyes. The woman was still and watching him, her face slowly going sleepy looking. The backpack was at their feet.

‘You want to help her, don’t you?’ Brook purred, ‘God wants you to do this, Sister. Can’t you hear him? He needs you to help this poor girl. Please?’

The woman nodded.

Brook slowly raised his hand and with a finger summoned Fern over. Sensing what was happening, Fern’s vampire instinct kicked in and on silent feet she went over. Brook pushed the woman’s head to the side and moved her hair away. Fern touched her arm and lend in as the smell of blood pulsing just under flesh began calling to her.

‘Do it,’ Brook whispered into Fern’s ear.

She give a single nodded and opened her mouth. Her fangs pressed against her tongue and lip then the sweet soft skin of the nun.

Trust (Part 22)

Fern followed Brook out of the apartment and felt cold rain on her skin. She looked up and saw the post twilight sky above. There was still a hint of colour at the edges, but the dark grey clouds were fast rolling in. Casting a glance at her clothes, she felt undressed though not cold, the changing weather didn’t seem to be effecting her as it would have done before. Though, she could already feel the rain soaking her woollen jumper and getting into her trainers.

‘I could use some new clothes,’ she announced.

Brook, who had been slowly walking away, turned on the spot. He was wearing a long black duffle coat and hiking boots. He looked more dressed for the coming autumn weather then she did. Brook frowned a little, but didn’t say anything.

‘It would be useful. I’d stand out less come winter,’ Fern concluded.

‘The place we’re going might be able to help with that,’ Brook stated then turned.

‘Why? Where are we going?’ Fern asked, hurrying to catch up with him.

She had expected to be dragged across the farm fields again, like last night, but this time Brook was heading in the opposite direction, towards the village.

‘One of the easiest sources of blood,’ Brook answered.

‘A blood bank?’ Fern giggled.

Brook give a swift shake of his head then stepped onto the edge of the woodland boarder. Fern paused before following him. The ground was soft and wet under foot. The stronger winds had also shaken loose small branches and Fern failed to avoid stepping on them. Brook negotiated the tree trunks and low branches with the skills of a squirrel. Fern was left in his wake, struggling to pick her way around.

‘You need to teach me to get through this,’ Fern moaned, ‘why is it so hard?’

‘It’s dense,’ Brook’s voice called from somewhere ahead of her, ‘and I shall teach you how to move like a deer.’

‘A deer? What? Ouch! Oh!’ Fern cried as she tripped over something solid.

Getting her balance back, she swept her hair away and looked down at the ground. Something was half buried in the soil next to a holly bush.

‘Fern?’ Brook said as he came back to her.

‘What is that?’ she asked and pointed at the ground.

‘Rubbish, most likely.’

Fern tapped the thing with her toe. She couldn’t make out what it was at all and felt half tempted to dig it out.

‘Take my hand,’ Brook stated.

She glanced at him then the object again, ‘but I want to know…’

‘Later…we’ll be late and I can’t be doing with that. Come on.’

‘Okay,’ she breathed and took his hand.

He tightened his fingers around her palm then led her out of the woodland. The outskirts of the village sprang up from the trees and they walked through the too quiet streets. Lamps pinged into life above them and cast unnatural and harsh orange light upon the damp pavements and roads. The top of a car parked up glistened like glitter and Fern’s mind whirled with the science behind rain drops and reflections.

‘What’s up with this village? It’s so dead…’ Fern spoke softly a minute later as they past yet other house that had no lights on.

‘It’s mostly holiday homes and old people who go to bed early,’ Brook explained, ‘this whole area is out of season now. It’s the first of September today.’

‘Wow, really? I’ve lost track of everything.’

‘It’ll be like that for a while then time will make sense again. Don’t worry about it.’

‘I’ll try,’ Fern responded thoughtfully.

Out of the village into the scrubland, Brook let go of Fern’s hand for a moment and sniffed the air. Fern looked around, listening and smelling too, but she couldn’t pick up on anything. Brook took her hand again and they entered a farm. In the first field, Fern looked back and could just see the dual carriageway bridge off to their left.

‘So, weren’t not going to seaside town?’ she asked, having worked out the direction of things.

‘No. Not for the moment with that…other vampire lurking there,’ Brook growled softly.

‘Dacian,’ Fern whispered then instantly regretted it.

She stopped, bit her tongue and tasted a pinprick of blood.

Brook shot her a look, his face and eyes flashing anger before returning to the calm form he had taken on tonight. He took a deep breath and sighed it out. He squeezed her hand and tugged her on.

‘We are going to have to talk about it,’ Fern pointed out, ‘I don’t think we should just forget it happened…I really don’t want that to be honest.’

‘You women,’ Brook said in a low voice, ‘always wanting to go back over things and get into long useless debates.’

Fern opened her mouth to snap back at him, but the loud barking of a dog stopped her.

Brook froze and she bumped into the side of him. She couldn’t see the dog, it was further up by the farm house, thankfully fenced in, but it had caught their scent.

‘This way,’ Brook muttered as an outside light came on and shone on a back garden.

Making their way out of the farm, they found themselves on a cobbled single road. Brook went to the left, taking them inland and further from the sea. Tall bushes and trees blocked their views of the fields and other surroundings. The rain became heavy and Fern’s mood dropped.

‘I’m wet through. How much further?’ she asked.

‘Not much,’ Brook answered.

‘How come we have to walk anyway? Can’t we fly or get a car or something?’

‘We can fly and run fast in short bursts,’ Brook answered carefully, ‘I had a car once, but up keep and money…’

‘Money? Oh my god, what are we doing about that?’ Fern yelled.

Brook spun and grabbed her shoulders, ‘calm down,’ he snapped, ‘it’s alright. One thing at a time, okay? You must being coming back to your human senses,’ he mumbled.

Fern’s stomach growled and she pressed her hands over it, ‘I need to…’

‘We’re almost there. You can see the town’s lights now.’

Fern looked where he had indicated and she could see glowing lights coming from buildings and the streetlamps. She let Brook take her hand again and after a few more minutes they had entered the town. Unlike the village, noise drift to them and Fern had to take a few moments to pick out things and connect them. She could hear cars and car horns on the road, peoples’ voices and footsteps coming from the buildings and the streets. Music and TV sounds leaked through windows, mingling with the rumble of cars and voices. A family of cats were meowing in an abandoned factory and an old dog was sheltering in a closed down shop doorway.

As they walked past the sad, skinny looking animal, Fern felt a tug on her heart. She stopped and felt the urge to do something for the dog. He or she was soaking wet and shivering. Fern couldn’t tell what breed it was, though the dog was big and dark brown, maybe in colour. It was hard to tell in the night rain. Brook called her and she waved him back to point out the poor creature.

‘We can’t do anything,’ was Brook’s response.

‘Why not? We could take him home or find someone…’

‘It’s not our place,’ Brook cut her off.

‘But!’

‘No!’ he snarled and grabbing her wrist pulled her away.

‘Brook!’ Fern shouted and tried to twist out of his grip.

Ignoring her, Brook dragged her around the corner and towards a large building. A cluster of people were queuing to get in and two people were inviting them through the double doors.

Fern caught her breath and looked at the scene before her. The heavy rain was making the queue of people look worse off, though she retracted that thought as she realised they were all homeless people.

‘Where are we?’ Fern whispered behind raised hands.

‘A shelter,’ Brook stated.

‘We’re going to fed off them?’

‘Yes and get you some new clothes too.’

‘But…we’re not homeless or poor…Wait are we?’

Brook shrugged, ‘what does it matter? Right now, we are putting on masks and becoming one of them. Don’t start. Just follow me and stay silent. You wanted to learn how to be a vampire, didn’t you?’

Fern nodded and looked at the floor. There has to be other ways though, she thought sadly.

Trust (Part 21)

Someone was calling her name, but she didn’t want to wake. Fern rolled over, pulling the duvet tighter around her to try and block out the voice. Even though she hadn’t been having the best of dreams, something about hedgehogs taking over the world, it was better than waking up. She mumbled something to the voice, which she hoped sounded like ‘leave me alone,’ then fell back to sleep.

She was a child again. Wondering through a huge garden and looking at exotic plants. A family holiday, maybe? She was strapped into a baby buggy, unable to get up and walk about even though that was the only thing she wanted to do. Chubby fingers appeared before her face, pointing at large butterflies dangling from lush green leaves. A toddler mash of barely intelligible words bubbled from her mouth.

‘What is it, Fern? What is that?’ her mother’s voice came from high above her.

Fern tilted her head up and continued to point, whilst babbling.

‘Is it a butterfly? Yes, it is. Don’t they look so pretty?’

They went on, passing tall palm trees and lots of under scrub bushes. The pram wheels crunched on a gravel and sand pathway. Birds sang and darted around, though most seemed to stay hidden. Fern heard her mother taking to someone, her father? Older brother? She wasn’t sure. She rubbed her head feeling too hot and looked up at the glass dome above them. The designers and gardeners had tried hard to cover up the metal beams and windows, but it could still be seen in some places.

Fern opened her mouth to complain, but the sight of a teenage boy stopped her. She didn’t know him and felt a wave of fear. He had long light brown hair, sharp dark brown eyes and a calm looking face. Fern pointed, her voice torn between shouting and crying. Dimly, she heard her mother asked her what was wrong then the scene changed.

She was standing on a wind-swept beach. The sea was raging in with white topped waves crashing against a desert storm. Oddly, Fern was aware that she was her present self. She looked around, but couldn’t see anything, other than a cliff face in the distance. Hurrying over there, she found a small cave and went inside. The walls were wet and seaweed was strewn across the sand floor. She heard voices, despite all the storm noise and paused.

Ahead was a dim yellow light, fire? A torch? Something else? And standing either side were two teenage boys. She got closer and saw that one was the boy from before and the other was taller, with red hair and violet eyes. They were sharing a cigarette and standing almost in a nook of the cave.

‘Why now?’ the brown haired boy spoke.

The red head one shrugged and took a long drag. Smoke curled out from his mouth and rushed up into the darkness of the cave ceiling.

‘I though you wanted to be with me. It’s what we planned all along. So, why?’

‘Because, I…’ the red head trailed off then passed the cigarette over, but the other boy refused to take it and instead began begging.

‘I won’t die like the others. I’m stronger than them. Please? I’m ready.’

‘No. Not yet, not yet,’ came the reply.

Fern peered around a large rock, completely absorbed. I know these boys, she thought, from school? From some movie? She tried to listen harder, but the wind had really picked up and the boys’ voices were fading. She felt the edges of a stray wave touch the back of her naked ankles. She glanced down, but couldn’t see much. The wave started to retreat or at least she thought that as she turned back. A bigger wave roared in and slammed against Fern. She screamed then icy salt water was filling her mouth and lungs. She spun like clothes in a washing machine and fought to find the surface. Chocking and unable to breath, her vision went black and serious panic cut through her.

Struggling awake, Fern dug herself out of the nest of pillows and blankets. The bedroom was dark, but after a few blinks, her eyes adjusted and she could see clearly. Glancing to the other side of the bed, she wondered where Brook was. Rubbing her face and eyes, she got out of the bed and went to the door. Cracking it open, she peered out and saw Brook sat on the sofa. The TV was on, casting ever changing colourings around the dark living room –kitchen combo. A large jar candle was lit on the coffee table and as Fern took a deep breath, she couldn’t help the small smile that came to her face.

‘Hey,’ she called sleepily.

‘Hi,’ Brook answered with a flick of his head.

Fern walked out and joined him on the sofa.

‘Feeling better?’

‘Yeah. I had this weird dream though…’

‘Oh?’ Brook uttered as he switched between channels.

Fern drew a cushion into her lap, having noticed she was just wearing underwear and a t-shirt. She looked at the TV and saw that Brook had stopped on a black and white movie.

‘I think you were in it,’ she picked up.

Brook changed the channel back to what he’d been watching – cartoons- and fully turned to her. When she didn’t go on, he asked her to and put the TV control down on the coffee table next to the black candle.

Fern took a deep breath of scented liquorice air and told him about her dream, ‘I was on this beach during a storm and I went into this cave. There were two boys there and they were talking about the plans they had made to be together…’

Brook’s eyes shot over to the bookcase and unable to stop herself, Fern looked too. The photograph of two young teenaged boys looked back at them. Fern sighed and pressed her head into the sofa, ‘it doesn’t matter,’ she mumbled.

‘Sometimes…’ Brook started then paused.

Fern toyed with the cushion in her lap and debated leaving to get dressed.

‘Sometimes, the blood shows us stuff. Memories, thoughts, feelings. Or else it seems to, but these things are not always right….’

Fern nodded, ‘it was just a dream,’ she concluded, ‘it doesn’t matter.’

Brook pulled a small face then turned back to her, ‘maybe, you should get dressed? Then we can go out and get you some fresh blood.’

Fern bit her bottom lip and tugged at the edge of the cushion. The memories of last night came flooding back and for a few moments she was nervous about going out again. Dacian’s face popped into her head and before she could chase it away, the sweet taste of his blood came back into her mouth.

‘What?’ Brook broke into her thoughts.

‘Perhaps, you should just go and bring some back for me,’ Fern said softly.

Brook shifted on the sofa and put his hands on her shoulders, ‘I won’t leave you again. I learnt from my mistake and now you need to do the same.’

Fern frowned and studied his face, but couldn’t pick anything out under his serious expression. It’s like your Jekyll and Hyde, I swear, she thought.

‘Let’s go,’ Brook said and got up.

Fern, with a deep sigh, pushed the cushion back into place and got up. She walked back to the bedroom, whilst Brook sorted out the living room.

Trust (Part 20)

A dry moan escaped Fern’s lips and she was faintly aware of something wet on her face. Darkness bubbled around her and she couldn’t decide if she was floating or flying. For a few moments she balanced on the edge of consciousness and unconsciousness. A part of her was half tempted to stay dead, yet the other part fought to live.

Slowly, her mind came to and she began thinking again. There was nothing coherent at first, but then she began questioning dying; did it really happen? Is that what I dreamed, only it wasn’t a dream? Maybe this is a part of it? Can vampires come back as ghosts? Aren’t ghosts people who have unfinished business or seek revenge? Can I haunt Brook? What is that wet stuff on my face? Tears?

Fern pressed her tongue against her teeth then her lips. She drew some of the wetness into her mouth and tasted blood. Swallowing, she greedily seeked more and found it willingly being given to her. Opening her mouth, her tongue lapped against cool skin and drew more blood in. Instinct took over and she felt the vampire part of her demanding more. It wanted to live.

After swallowing three mouths of warm, salty blood, Fern’s eyes flashed open. She knew it was Brook sitting next to her, feeding her. Further questions, circled her thoughts and pushed away the ones about dying. She took another mouthful of blood then pushed his arm away. The hungry gone and the beast inside her stomach temporally tamed.

Staying still on the floor, she watched Brook raise his arm and lick the rest of the blood away. She wondered what to say, before deciding her mind was too muddled to speak clearly. Without a word, Brook put his arms around her shoulders and chest then pulled her up. Fern moaned and felt pain shooting into her head and back. The fresh blood chased after it and the sensations vanished just as quickly as they appeared. Taking in a few deep breaths, Fern got her bearings then aware Brook had stood up, glanced after him. He was holding a hand out to help her off the floor.

She took it and he pulled her to her feet in one swift movement. Fern stumbled into his arms and he quickly caught her and held her up. Drawing her into a hug, she felt his fingers stroking her hair. Fern rested her head on his shoulder and shut her eyes. She could feel the blood racing through her and though she felt almost back to normally, the chill off Brook kept her on edge.

‘Do you want some more? You didn’t take a lot,’ Brook’s voice brushed passed her ear.

‘No,’ she muttered.

‘It’s too late to go out now. Let’s go to bed. Maybe you’ll feel better after sleeping.’

She nodded, suddenly realising how tried she actually was.

Brook eased off the hug then supported her to the bedroom.

‘I feel dizzy and sick and so…’ Fern mumbled.

She stopped and bent over. Her hands flying to her stomach as she felt her insides churning up. The floor swim before her and she couldn’t clear her blurry vision. Sweat broke across her palms and face. She panted and let out a long painfully moan.

‘It’s okay,’ Brook said gently, ‘returning back from death never gets easier.’

Fern felt hot tears prick her eyes and desperately, she wanted to slip to the cold floor and just lay there. Instead, she felt Brook’s hand circling her lower back, whilst he’s other hand was mildly pushing her onwards.

‘Bathroom,’ Fern gasped, ‘I’m so going to…’

‘You’re not going to throw up,’ Brook stated, ‘you can’t reject my blood. It’s just a side effect. Lying down will help. Come on.’

Unable to stop him, Fern allowed the move to the bedroom and collapsed on top of the unmade bed. She lay face down, feet off the edge, breathing deeply. She felt Brook drag her upwards before flipping her over. Her head sink into a pillow and she looked up at the ceiling. Brook wrestled her jeans and trainers off then pulled the duvet over. Fern rolled and curled up into the foetal position. She watched Brook opening the window then closing the curtains against the coming dawn.

He joined her in the bed and propped his head up on his elbow to stare down at her.

‘Why did you do it?’ Fern forced out.

‘Kill you?’ Brook asked.

Fern give a little shake of her head, ‘bring me back.’

Brook’s eyes flicked upwards, ‘I guess, I just really like you…’

Fern opened her mouth then closed it again, fearing to give voice to her thought of; Bastard, you really don’t mean that, do you?

‘What? Don’t believe me?’ Brook questioned as he stroked her cheek with one finger.

‘It’s hard too,’ Fern breathed, ‘I betrayed you.’

Brook shrugged, ‘so have many others.’

‘Then why?’

‘Reasons.’

‘That you aren’t going to tell me?’ Fern mumbled.

‘Probably,’ Brook whispered and tapped her nose.

Fern sighed into the pillow and shut her eyes. Darkness was tugging at her again and though she feared giving into it, she knew there was no choice. She could sense dawn touching the night sky and time moving forward. Sleep was summoning her and there was nothing she could do to resist the comforting embrace of unconsciousness.

‘Are you feeling better? Less sick?’ Brook muttered.

‘Yes,’ she replied.

‘Then try to sleep. We’ll go out first thing. You’ll feel a lot better after you’ve fed.’

Fern forced open her eyes and looked at him, ‘and then?’

Brook looked away from her, over her shoulder at the wall, but not before she caught the flash of anger on his face. His fangs pressed down into his moist bottom lip as if he was determined not to answer.

‘Just go to sleep,’ he said at last.

Fern shut her eyes and with a shuddering breath allowed the darkness to claim her once more.

Trust (Part 19)

The wind swept through the trees, dragging salt and sand from the sea with it. Fern watched the tree tops whipping around. She could hear heavy breathing and two hearts racing, though it took her a few moments to realise that it was her breaths echoing in her ears. She put her hands to the railing and curled her fingers around the cold metal. Desperately, she wanted to look at Brook, but she couldn’t bring herself to face him.

Without a word, she felt him turn and go inside. She looked over her shoulder and watched him pacing the living room. He ran his hands through his hair and around his face a few times. His hands balled into fists then released again and slapped his sides. His breathing was ragged, loud and almost coming out in gasps. He spun at the hallway wall and walked back towards her.

Fern noticed there was mud on his boots and jeans, whilst there were traces of blood on his hoodie. As he got closer, she carefully sniffed and smelt blood, soil and some unknown sweet scent lingering around him. It reminded her of spice apple pie.

And me, what do I smell of? She thought. She put her nose to her shoulder and took a deep breath. The woods, the sea, the fisherman, Dacian…. She turned and looked back out across the woodland and the distance tops of the village houses. What have I done?

‘Brook…’ she spun around.

‘No!’ he roared, ‘don’t you dare! I can’t even think straight now!’

Fern ran inside, nearly trapping over the door frame and threw herself at him. Brook didn’t catch her and she dropped to the floor at his feet.

‘I’m sorry! I’m sorry!’

Brook shoved her away with both hands and stepped backwards.

Fern, kneeling, pressed her head to the carpet and broke down. Huge sobs racked through her and she started struggling to breath. Pain soared in her chest and she had to pull up to gulp down big takes of air.  She wiped her wet face and tried to gain control. Through her tear coated eyes, she looked up at Brook.

He was pressed against the wall, head thrown back and left hand to his forehead. His eyes were shut and he too seemed to be battling to stay in control of his emotions. His fingers grabbed the fringe of his red hair and tugged at it. A growl escaped him. He pulled harder at his hair then opened his eyes, fixing them on Fern.

‘I got lost,’ she breathed and swallowed.

Brook looked at her, unimpressed and waited.

‘Dacian found me,’ Fern continued, ‘he brought me home. I didn’t know what else to do…’

Another growl escaped from Brook’s tightly pressed together lips.

‘Where did you go? I waited for you….but I got so hungry and scared. I thought you had left me and I… Just didn’t know what to do!’

‘You should have stayed put,’ Brook hissed.

Fern shook her head, ‘I couldn’t. I fed. He helped me…’

‘Oh? And he just happened to be hanging around…This Daican?’ Brook sneered.

Fern balled her hands into her lap and settled back on her heels. She took another deep breath and felt herself calming enough to go on, ‘he’s from the arcade. He spoke to me when I went to the bathroom. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I’m sorry.’

Brook shook his head, ‘I knew it…Fuck! If it wasn’t for worrying about you!’

‘I’m sorry,’ she mumbled.

Brook took a few steps towards her, hands tightening into fists as he did so. Fern’s eyes dropped to watch then rose to his face again. She felt a fresh wave of tears pricking her eyes, but tried to hold them back.

‘Do you like him?’ Brook snarled.

Fern pressed her lips together and moved her head quickly, ‘no. Of course not.’

‘You swapped blood.’

‘I was injured…’

‘Liar!’

‘Tried, I meant. Sorry, I was weak and I could resist him!’ Fern shouted and slapped her hands on her knees.

‘I don’t believe you,’ Brook argued back.

‘What else do you want me to say?’ she cried as the tears dripped on to her cheeks.

‘You can’t,’ Brook spoke in a low voice, ‘your actions have been too loud.’

Fern bite her lip and made to get to her feet. Brook fast moved over to her and pressed his hand to her shoulder. Fern cried out at the sudden heavy weight and nearly toppled over. She saved herself by putting her hands onto the carpet. With quickened breathing, she looked up at Brook.

‘I regret making you. You are completely unworthy,’ he said coldly.

Fern chocked, ‘no! Take it back. It’s not true. I made the mistake!’

‘No. It’s all my fault.’

Fern felt Brook move his hand up to her neck. She brought her arms up in defence, but it was too late, his fingers were already pressing against her throat. She felt him squeeze down and pressure building in her windpipe. She wrapped her hands around his lower arm and tried to pull him away.

‘Brook! Please, let go! I’m sorry!’ she screamed then kept on repeating those words.

Brook turned his head away, fixing his eyes across the kitchen and onto the fridge. His fingers pressed down tighter.

Fern gasped then couldn’t take another breath. Darkness and bright pins of light danced before her. She tried to think, but nothing other than her sudden inability to breath came to her. I’m so going to die!  

Everything seemed to slow down almost to a stop. Fern heard her heartbeat dropping down, her mind went completely black. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. The word stretched out as if a singer was saying it and holding the note of an impossible length of time. Dead. Dead. Dead…..dying, dying, dying. Breathe? Dying, dying, dying. Breathe, breathe.

Fern felt herself floating, swimming on a black river. She wanted to open her eyes and see if she was still alive, but she could not feel or sense any part of her. Death? She wondered before losing everything as she drowned in the black waters.

Playtime

She couldn’t look under the bed again, nor stop shaking.

It was there still, just waiting for the right moment, her wrong move.

A game of chess, rolling dice, life and death, time to play.

Closed

 :

After the murders no one wanted to visit the lake any more.

Was there something there?

You arrive home from a hard, troubled night at the hospital ward. Tried, fingers numb, you misjudge getting your key into the front door. You wrestle with it, trying to slot the small key into the Yale lock. You get it on the third try and unlock the door.

Going in, the house is silent. You live alone, but that’s how you like it now. Once you had a family – a lazy husband or wife and five demanding children. You were happy and have so many memories to look back upon. The children are grown, have their own lives and families. Your husband or wife is dead and you have long accepted that.

Had you really had that life?

You can’t remember. You are too tried.

Closing and locking the door, you put your rucksack on the floor. Kick off your shoes and tug off your jacket. You drop that on top of your bag and reach for the light switch. As your fingers reach up, you feel a blast of cold air. Your fingers touch the switch panel and something else.

You stop and look in the direction of the switch. It’s too dark to see anything and not enough light from the street can filter through the frosted glass door windows. Shrugging it off, you slide your fingers up to the switch.

There!

The touch of something!

What is it?

You frown, pull a confused face and try for a few seconds to figure out what that is.

It is cold like a drift from the fridge. It felt soft, but strangely not fully solid. That fact further puzzles you and leads to your fingers feeling more.

A hand!

Oh my God!

You go to recoil, think better and hit the switch. Light blinds you and the hallway. You feel your breath and heart racing. You look at the wall. There’s nothing there. You inspect the wallpaper, feeling it carefully. Touching the switch again, you sense nothing.

Just your mind playing with you because of the tiredness.

Grabbing your stuff, you go up to bed. Laying there you try to laugh it off and blame it on your bad day. A nurse or a doctor’s life is tough.

Dawn starts to break and you began to doze.

Maybe it was a ghost?

What? Haha. Why would you think that?

No. It was nothing. Just shadows and imagination. Maybe there’d been an insect on the wall? Perhaps you had something stuck to your hand and didn’t know about it? It could have been anything, but what if…?

You listen, suddenly more awake then before. You can’t hear anything inside. Outside comes the quiet calling of birds and car engines just getting through the double glazed windows.

It was nothing, you say then repeat it a loud and get back to resting. Clearing you mind of the whole thing. Whatever it was or is can’t get you now.

You feel whatever it is right before you fall asleep. The dancing black patterns before your closed eyelids. That notion of floating or falling. Everything becoming lighter then heavier. The loss of everything.

Your last thought as in distance you hear a familiar click noise; perhaps, it is…