Safe

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The bathroom ceiling was leaking. Corinna watched a drop of water falling and landing in the white bathtub. Studying the brown cork tiles, she wondered when they’d give up and tumble down. The yellow stains upon them and the pale green wall paper, told her the leak had been going on for some time now.

Looking down, she turned the taps of the bathtub on and watched clear water gush out of them. The plumbing groaned in the background and the newly fixed boiler added its voice as well. Corinna dipped her hand under the hot water tap and felt the warmish water against her skin. Smiling, she waited till the water had fully heated then put the plug in.

She stripped off all of her clothes, discarding the worn leather jacket, thin jumpers, t-shirt and vest top first. Her boots, jeans and leggings came next. Standing in her underwear, she got out her wash kit from her hiking bag and placed it in the sink, next to two towels she had found.

With the bath filling up, she got out the things she needed then took her underwear off. Putting one foot into the tub, she checked the temperature before getting in. Sitting then sliding down, she rested her head back and shut her eyes for a few moments. Water continued to pour around her feet causing her to feel both hot and cold at the same time. Corinna turned the taps off and settled back again. She listened to the gale force wind howling into the cracked window and driving the rain outside.

Glad she had escaped yet another stormy night, she fell to wondering for the countless time why the house had electricity and water still. Perhaps, and the thought chilled her for a moment, the house wasn’t abandoned? She listened, trying to decide if that was footsteps and voices she heard, or just the wind and the pipes again?

She sank further into the tub, not wanting to listen any more. Instead she asked herself when the last time she’d been in a bathtub was? A year and half ago or there about, she finally calculated, around the same time everything had gone belly up. No! I don’t want to think about it! Corinna thought and slapped the water with her hand.

She breathed deeply and pulling herself up to wash. Trying to ignore her thinning body, she moved on to wash her hair then lay in the soapy water. Shutting her eyes, she listened to the rain rattling against the window and the dripping from the ceiling. The boiler hummed in the distance and the wind knocked tree branches together outside.

A creaking noise, made Corinna’s eyes flashed open. She sat up causing the water to slosh around her and out of the tub. She listened, but heard nothing further. Wait what was that? The same sound came again. Corinna shook it off, deciding it was only the wind blowing something, a door or a window? Open and shut.

Trying to laugh it off, Corinna settled back down and put her flannel over her face. Breathing in the hot, soapy water, she emptied her head of everything. A minute went by, then she took the flannel off and soaked it in the water. She washed again, delaying getting out further. Wishing she’d brought one of the books she had spotted in the bedroom, Corinna looked around the bathroom. It seemed empty and mouldy. Pulling a face, she draped the flannel on her face again and listened to the wind howling.

A soft tapping, followed by more creaking, brought her out of a light doze. Corinna struggled upwards, the flannel dropping from her face. She thought about calling out, but decided against it. Maybe whoever it was wouldn’t come in here and she could sneak out. Almost laughing out loud at herself, Corinna sat up and climbed out of the tub. Grabbing a towel, she covered herself. Drying off, she found some cleaner clothes in her hiking bag, dressing she gathered up her stuff and crept out of the room.

She paused at the top of the staircase and debated leaving or not. Hearing no other sounds, she decided to risk it and walked into the room she had been staying in. Closing the door and setting down the bag, she grabbed the chair and slotted it against the door. Feeling safer, she got into the bed and lay down. Wrapping herself in the blankets and snuggling into the pillows, she tried to sleep. The sound of the rain and wind helped calm her and she felt herself dozing soon enough.

The creaking of the stairs, stirred Corinna. She froze and listened. There were footsteps coming up and heavy breathing. She bit her lip and tried to keep quiet. She heard the footsteps go along the hall and into the master bedroom. The door shut and she listened to the sound of someone preparing to get into bed. Holding her breath, she waited till she heard bed springs squeaking then got up.

Corinna quickly put some more clothes on and her boots. She slipped her hiking bag on and moved the chair from the door. Slowly, she opened it and peered out. There was a light on in the hallway and under the master bedroom door, she knew she hadn’t turned them on. She crept down the stairs and to the front door. How had she so badly mistake this house as being abandoned? It probably belonged to some old person who’d been away for a while.

Corinna unlocked the front door and stepped out into the storm. Blinking away rain, she walked into the night.              

Snow

It was the first snowfall of the year. Luke pressed his nose against the condensated window and which a flurry of flakes. Across the road, he could see the park and the shadows of trees. Tomorrow, he thought, I’ll go out and build a snowman.

Bundling himself in his duvet, he huddled in the window box and looked up at the cloudy dark sky. The snow was falling faster and thicker now, silently hitting the window. He thought about making a wish then reminded that was for shooting stars. What did it matter though? A snowflake was just as magical as a star.

I wish my parents would return, he wished.

Opening his eyes again, he continued to watch the snow falling.

Hallucinating

He lay on the bed in crippling pain. He wet his lips and dropping his gaze from the ceiling, to the closed door diagonally across.

‘Nurse?’ he crocked, ‘nurse!’

He put his chin to the top of his chest and squeezed his eyes shut. His ears zoomed in on the machines beeping around him and his heavy breathing. He tried to relax, but his whole body was tense with the pain. He bent his fingers, curling them against his palm then uncurling them. He breathed deeply, imagining each exhale taking some of the pain away with it.

The door opened and shuffling footsteps made his eyes crack open. A short nurse had appeared at the foot of his bed. She was wearing a small white hat with a red cross on it, under which her hair was neatly curled. Her dress was a blood red colour and there was a white pinafore over it with a red cross dripping on the front. She picked up his notes and studied them.

‘Are you new?’ he whispered.

‘No, dear,’ she muttered.

As she placed the notes back and came over to him, he noticed her too red blushed cheeks and long black eyelashes. Her skin was pale and tried, though she looked to be in mid-twenties. She checked his drip and he noticed a wedding ring on her finger.

‘Can’t you give me something for the pain?’ he asked, motioning with his left hand his broken legs and right arm.

‘Of course,’ she said and with a smile left the room.

He rested back on the pillow and shut his eyes again. The pain in shot around his legs and he gritted his teeth. He heard the door open again and the same shuffling footsteps. He lay still and just listened to the nurse rattling around. In a few minutes he knew he’d be feeling fine again, perhaps even high.

‘Done. I’ll be back soon.’

He nodded and heard her leave the room. He drifted, dozing but not falling asleep. His right foot itched and he wiggled his toes in the cast. The blackness before his eyes changed to grey then to a bloom of colour. He sighed and fell into the pools of rainbow.

‘Hi, how you feeling?’ a voice called out.

He opened his heavy eyes and a nurse he recognized was before him.

‘I’m fine. That other nurse helped me.’

‘Other nurse?’

‘The one in the red dress and white pinafore.’

‘There’s no nurse like that.’

He opened his eyes wider and stared at her.

‘And no one was due to check on you until now,’ she added.

‘But, she was here! She had a hat and an…accent, old English,’ he stated then frowned at his own words.

‘Are you feeling okay?’

The nurse stepped over and began checking him out.

‘I saw her,’ he muttered, ‘I know I did.’

‘It’s okay. It was probably the pain relief. Maybe you should get some sleep now?’

‘Alright,’ he responded.

The nurse smiled and left.

He shut his eyes and began dozing.

‘There you’re feeling better now, aren’t you?’

He snapped open his eyes and looked up into the face of the old nurse.

Seeking Comfort

All she wanted to do was fall into the soft surrendering arms of sleep and let go of the day.

Opal Tide (Part 2)

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Lori closed the door against the raging wind and paused to get her breath back. She turned on the hallway light and dropped her keys into the plastic bowl. Behind her Jink shook himself then began padding away.

‘Wait. Stop!’ Lori shouted as she spun around, ‘heel.’

Jink whinged, but turned around and came to stand in front of her.

‘Good dog,’ she spoke, giving him a pat then snagging his towel from the coat hook.

She rubbed him dry, clipped off his lead and waved him away. Jink wandered down the hallway and into the kitchen as Lori began sorting herself out. She unzipped and took off her coat first. Hanging it up, she dug the gloves out and laid them to dry. She took off her boots next then decided she was too wet and cold to remain in her clothes.

Going up the narrow staircase, she went to the first room at the top and changed into fleece PJ’s and slippers. Coming down again, she heard Jink scratching around his basket which was under the stairs. She went to check on him then remembered the object she had found on the beach.

Lori pulled the ring out of her pocket and took it into the kitchen. Hitting the lights, she walked to the counter and clicked on the kettle. She went to the sink and running the tap, washed the ring. The sand fell off, collecting in the metal sink before the water flushed it away. She removed the ring and looked at it. The sliver band was topped with a patterned setting which held a large opal. The crystal was speckled light blue and green though it was reflecting red and orange from the kitchen. Lori inspected it closely but couldn’t see anything else.

She dried the ring on some paper towel as the kettle boiled. Placing the set opal on the kitchen window sill, she made a cup of tea. A rumbled of thunder made her jump and Lori laughed at herself. Holding her mug, she listened to the wind and rain rattling against the back door and window. Lightening forked across the sky and before it could fade another bolt struck.

‘Wow, that’s a really big storm. Looks close too,’ Lori said.

Blowing on her tea, she picked up the ring and walked into the living room. She checked on Jink as she walked past. The black lab had curled into his basket and was staring to snooze. Shaking her head and wondering how he could switch from sheer panic to relax so quickly, she switched on the living room light and sat down on the sofa. The curtains were open and she could see the rain beating against the glass.

‘Glad we got back when we did,’ she uttered, ‘I’d so not like to be outside right now. Hope there’s no one out there on a boat.’

She placed her mug and the ring down on the coffee table then grabbed the TV control. Pressing the on button, her eyes dropped to the ring and she picked it up. The news came up on the screen, but her attention was diverted. Lori rocked the ring slowly and watched the opal changing colour as it reflected the different light in the room.

She hummed and slipped it onto the second finger of her left hand. The ring fit her perfectly. Pulling a face, she held it up and looked at it as the opal glowed on her finger. She went to take it off and found with a small twist and a tug, it easily slipped off. She placed it back on to the coffee table and picked up her mug of tea.

Her eyes flickered up to the TV screen and of a few seconds she watched a summary of the daily news. Feeling drawn to the ring, she looked down at it again. She took a sip of her tea then deciding why not, put her mug down and slide the ring on again. It felt strangely comfortable and as if she had always worn it.

Shrugging, she settled back on the sofa and drank her tea. Her thoughts drifted and soon she wasn’t paying attention to anything. She thought about her walk along the beach. The sand was soft under her bare feet and the sea gently rolling close by. Sometimes, the white tip of the wave would reach her and she would feel the coldness of the sea. A warm breeze played with the long white skirt of the dress she wore and her fingers would occasionally bunch up the cotton fabric to keep it from blowing up.

Lori made her way across the beach, enjoying the heat from the golden sun in a too blue sky. She glanced up, but due to the combination it hurt to look directly upwards. Sighing and breathing in a deep breath of fresh sea salt air, she shut her eyes for a moment. Opening them again, the scene around had changed.

A wooden ship was rocking under her. Three large white bellowing sails rose on huge masts above her and there was a flag top of them. She tried to make it out, but the wind was whipping it around too much. Turning about, she saw a small deck with a large wheel behind her. Pulling a face, Lori went to walk up the small staircase, but a splash of cold water stopped her.

Lori snapped open her eyes and her living room came into focus with Jink before her. The dog’s tongue was hanging out and he licked it across her face. Crying out, Lori shoved him away and sat up. She wiped her face and made loud disgusted noises. Jink barked and with a sigh she rubbed his ears.

‘That dream was weird,’ she started, ‘I was on the beach then a ship.’

Jink barked, interrupting her.

‘You want food, huh?’

He barked again and Lori got up off the sofa.

 

To Be Continued…

Opal Tide (Part 1)

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Lori stopped and looked down at the dark yellow sand where Jink’s tennis ball had rolled to. She picked it up and the black Labrador began barking excitedly. He pawed at the sand as if he was digging a hole then stopped and stared at her. Lori threw the ball, watched it fly against the darkening sky and land with a thud a few feet away. Jink pelted after it, leaving rushed paw prints in the sand.

Staring out across the grey ocean in the distance, Lori looked for the lighthouse. The white tower and red bricked light keeper’s house next door where behind her, balanced on the only cliff top to be found on this stretch of the coast. Her hands went to her stomach and she thought about all the work waiting for her back there. Breathing deeply, she decided to walk further along the empty beach.

The sea rolled about to her right, white topped waves thundering powerfully. The second sign of stormy weather to come, she thought. With her boots sinking into the soft sand, she followed Jink’s paw prints and whistled for him to come back. He paused, looked at her with the sand coated ball in his mouth then turned away and began shaking his head about. The ball dropped from his mouth and the dog scrambled after it.

‘Jink! Come on!’ Lori called.

She walked over, pulling back a loose strand of her dark brown hair with a gloved hand. She tucked it back under her woollen hat as the wind suddenly picked up. She shut her eyes as sand whipped around her and pressed her hands down her long wool skirt. Lori heard Jink barking and looked around for him. The black lab was bouncing back to her, ball nowhere to be seen.

The wind and sand died down enough for her to clear her throat and question him, ‘where’s you ball? Go find it!’

Jink barked, jumped up at her and covered everything in damp sand. Tutting, Lori caught his front paws and swung them away from her. His lolling, sand covered tongue tried to lick her hands, but she avoided it and carried on walking.

‘Where’s your ball?’ she repeated and pointed across the beach, ‘go get it, Jink! Go on!’

He shot off and tumbled into the sand a couple of feet ahead of her. She saw him snatch something up then race away. Lori went over and paused. There was something in the sand at her feet. She bent, thinking it nothing more than a shell or a piece of rubbish. As her gloved fingers closed over it, she felt a fat drop of rain on the back of her neck. Straightening quickly, she called the dog back to her and looked down at her palm. Amongst the sand was a sliver ring.

She put it in her pocket and turned about, calling Jink again. The lab bounded passed her, did a sharp twist and came trotting over. He dropped the ball at her feet then sat down, his tail sweeping about in the sand.

‘No more now. Home time,’ she told him firmly.

Lori kicked the ball. Jink picked it up and walked just ahead of her. She hugged into her long coat, feeling the cold wind seeping in. The rain began falling heavily causing her to pulled up her hood and hold the edges tightly with her fingers. The sea roared loudly in her ears and she stole some quick glances over to it. The huge waves were coming in fast and crashing into the beach.

She picked up her pace into a jog and aimed diagonally along the sand. Far in the distance, a white beam of light shone out. Lori looked up and saw the lighthouse light had come on. The light was circling the sea, beach and coastline. A ship’s bell rang somewhere and she all most paused to look for it but a clap of thunder moved her on.

Jink barked and rushed back towards her. Lori nearly tripped over him and her own feet.

‘It’s okay, Jink,’ she shouted above the wind.

He barked again and kept it up as he ran alongside of her. Lori fixed her eyes on the lighthouse and headed straight for it. A streak of lightening lit up the growing black sky and the sea seemed to boom in response. Aware of the ever approaching waves, Lori went towards the safety of some small dunes. The wind was thrashing the marram grass making the spikey blades more deadly.

Jink ploughed into them, before she could stop him then shot again, yelping in pain.

‘It’s okay. You’re all right,’ she shouted and reached down to pat him.

The wind blew sand up into her face and crying out Lori stumbled backwards. She fell heavily on the edge of a dune, her right arm colliding with some marram grass. She went to rub her eyes, but remembered she was wearing gloves as she felt the material brush her cheek. Tugging a glove off, she rubbed both her eyes and felt grains of sand against her skin.

A rumble of thunder echoed overhead and Jink threw himself at her. He slammed in her stomach and chest, sending Lori sprawled across the sand. He hoovered over her, licking her face with a rough, sandy tongue. Lori tried to push him away as she struggled to breath with pain shooting around her lungs.

The black lab whimpered loudly and didn’t get the hint to give her some room. A flash of lightening lit up the fear in his eyes and his tail curling between his legs. He nuzzled Lori, who grabbed his red collar and used it to pull herself up with.

Letting go, Lori tugged off her other glove then wiped her face on the hood of her coat. She pulled herself upwards, pocking her gloves and pulling out Jink’s lead. Clipping it on, they walked steadily across the rest of the beach. Lori found the stone steps out of familiarity and began climbing them. Jink scampered up alongside her then at the top, took the lead and followed the path to the lighthouse.

They passed the white electric and gas outbuilding then turned upwards towards the main house. Lori let go of Jink’s led and feeling freedom, the dog rushed up to the door and began barking. She ran after him and on reaching the door, put her hands into her pocket for her keys. Panic prickled her as she didn’t feel them. Did I lose then on the beach? Lori thought, No, there they are. Pulling them out, she fumbled with the lock then swung the door open.

To Be Continued…

Holding Back

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That day in the forest changed him. He knew what he wanted to become and how to achieve it, but he didn’t know then the paths it would lead to or what he’d face. Years later, he would reflect on that single moment when he finally decided to let go.

Trust (Part 30)

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Fern held Brook’s hand and watched towns, cities and landscapes sliding passed the taxi’s window. The clocked ticked over on the dashboard and the Satnav as they drove on. The radio news came on and they heard the same reports. Fern shut her eyes a few times, lulled by the swaying car and white noise of the engine. Her thoughts patterned into questions about Brook, Dacian, vampires in general and the future. Yet, she didn’t voice any of them.

Brook was quiet too. He dozed and looked out of the window as well, his thoughts all to himself. Sometimes, his expression would change to a frown or a sad look or a small grin. Finally, he put his head back and shut his eyes, allowing the silence to grow further.

Fern watched the taxi driver for a while. The man had been mute and totally focused on the road. His taxi radio sometimes crackled and called him in, but he didn’t pick it up. Fern wondered what he’d say when he returned, maybe that his radio had broken? And where had he been? She imaged his boss and wife asking.

‘I got a big job,’ Fern thought he’d reply, ‘this couple wanted me to clean out this flat with ‘em then drive them to their new place.’ Fern wondered if they’d asked how much he’d gotten paid. God how much is this going to cost me? Fern suddenly thought. I only thought about getting my stuff and going back to Brook’s. Not that he’d then decided to go straight to his actually house. He has an actually house?

Fern shook her head and realised that once again, she hardly knew anything about Brook. She cast her mind back, thinking of the first time she’d seen him swimming across the lake in the Lake District. She hadn’t thought much about the time in-between that and waking in the crypt. She wasn’t even sure how many days had passed either. Giving it some more thought, she let her mind return to the snatches of memory.

She had gone back to the lake the next night and waited for him to reappear again. A part of her had tried to convince her that it had been a dream or Brook was a human and not a vampire as she really wanted to believe. She had sat by the night time water and looked out, listening to owls and traffic going by. She had been on the edge of giving up, she recalled, when he appeared from far to her right.

What had they talked about?

Fern sighed in the back of the taxi, hating herself for not remembering. It couldn’t have been much of a talk though. She looked at Brook, he seemed to be sleeping. She knew he wasn’t though, but wasn’t sure she could disturb him about this yet now. She shut her eyes and put her head onto his shoulder.

What you thinking about? Brook’s voice glided into her clouded thoughts.

You, Fern replied back.

Oh?

When we first meet. I was trying to remember the days in-between. What we talked about and did. I can hardly remember leaving the Lake District, but I know I did come home and we met the next night in the park. Do you remember?

‘Yes,’ Brook breathed, his lips brushing her hair.

‘Why can’t I remember?’ Fern asked, slightly moving her head to look at him.

‘The transformation affects things like that. It’s defensive, I think, a way to separate your human life from the new vampire one.’

Fern frowned, ‘but I remember things before we met….’

‘Maybe, you were just going through a lot? What did you want to know anyway?’ Brook questioned.

‘To know more about you,’ Fern answered and eased herself up, ‘your human life, how you become a vampire…Jay?’

Brook took a sharp intake of breath and turned his head away.

‘You were together once, weren’t you?’ Fern asked gently, ‘what happened?’

‘I don’t want to talk about it,’ Brook muttered.

Fern dropped her shoulders and clutched his arm, ‘you never do,’ she sighed.

‘And his name was Jamie by the way,’ Brook growled, ‘he hated being called Jay.’

‘You were at school together?’ Fern uttered trying to make it seem like a suggestion rather than the question it actually was.

‘No. I was a vampire when we met. He was at high school. Final year.’

A small smile flickered on to Fern’s face, but she hid it in Brook’s shoulder. Her heart and head thudded and she tried to remain calm. Brook could easy go silent on her again and she was eager to get as much out of this as possible.

‘Where did you met?’ she mused, ‘the beach? in town? At the apartment?’

‘The arcade…not the one we went to. A different one, further along the beach.’

Fern slotted her fingers together and paused over her next question.

‘He’s dead by the way,’ Brook said suddenly, ‘so don’t worry about meeting him.’

Fern shot off his shoulder and looked hard at him. Her lips formed around words that she couldn’t voice. Brook didn’t look at her, but dug in his pockets for his cigs and lighter. He pulled out a new box and unwrapped it. Ripping open the top, he pulled out a cigarette and lit it. Fern glanced at the taxi driver and met his eyes in the rear view mirror. There were clear signs on the windows saying not to smoke. The driver dropped his eyes back to the road then switched across the lanes to come off. The car began to slow as it approached a roundabout. The driver doubly checked both sides, pulled out and joined a slipway to a dual carriageway.

‘What happened?’ Fern asked at last.

‘I tried to turn him and something went wrong. Maybe he wasn’t strong enough, maybe I didn’t give him enough blood. Whatever. He didn’t make it and I buried him,’ Brook explained as he waved the cig around.

Fern wiped ash off her jeans and moved further away from him. He took a drag, held the smoke in then let it out in a long exhale. Brook licked his lips, glanced out of the window then back to her. His express was a mask. Fern could barely see through it, but there was a hint of sadness and regret in his violet eyes.

‘He was your first?’ she said gently.

‘Second,’ he corrected, ‘the first was a homeless man that I did for practise.’

‘Practise?’

‘Yeah, well no one taught me how to do it and I wasn’t sure…So I fed off this ancient guy living under a bridge and then give him my blood,’ Brook shrugged and put the cig to his lips, ‘I killed him. Didn’t know you weren’t actually meant to be dead.’

Fern settled back into the seat and swept her hair back, ‘what would you have done if it’d worked?’

‘Probably killed him….What? I had no use for him. And I’m a dick, remember?’ Brook chuckled.

Fern rolled her eyes and fingered her seatbelt.

‘Jamie forced my hand,’ Brook picked up a few seconds late after he’d blown out some more smoke, ‘he was so desperate and I couldn’t say no. His parents found out we were in a relationship and having sex. They weren’t happy and banned us from seeing each other. He wanted to run away. Start over and stay in love forever…’

‘And what did you want, Brook?’

‘I don’t know,’ he breathed, ‘a best friend, a lover. Someone to explore the world with. It felt right at the time.’

‘Do you still miss him?’ Fern asked softly.

Brook took a deep breath, but didn’t answer. He finished off the cig and opened the window to flick the butt out.

Fern took his silence to mean yes.

 

Trust will return in December.

Trust (Part 29)

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Fern had almost fallen asleep when the taxi glided to a gently stop. The engine turned off, cutting a song on the radio midway. Fern looked out of the window and recognized the car park of her apartment block. She nudged her shoulder to wake up Brook and as he sat up, Fern glanced at the taxi driver. He was staring out the window, hands resting of the wheel.

Brook stretched his arms and popped open the door. He got out and opened the driver’s door and give the man instructs in a low voice.

Fern caught some of those words as she got out of the car and hurried to the main door of her tower. Around her, four other apartment blocks reached up to a black, starless sky and there were other car parks, garages and patches of grass. Fern dug her keys out and put the right one in the lock. She opened the door and stepped inside. A stale acidic smell hit her and she wrinkled her nose.

‘Problem solved,’ Brook called out from behind her as he caught the door.

Fern hummed and went to the elevator. She pressed the dinted and sticky button in. The panel lit up red and the whirl of gears churned. She felt Brook put a hand to her lower back and kiss her on the cheek. She gave a slight shake of her head. Don’t distract me.

Brook stroked her back gently till the elevator came and they stepped inside. Fern hit a very cracked number fifteen button and the doors slide shut. She fidgeted with her bag and its’ strap, wondering if she had ever thought about coming back here before she’d become a vampire. The thought hadn’t seemed to have crossed her mind and the idea that maybe she had subconsciously decided that as a vampire she wouldn’t need human things.

The doors opened and a dull ping broke the fifteenth floor silence. Fern got out and walked down the corridor to her front door. On the way, she got the key ready and slotted it into the lock as soon as possible. She opened the door and stepped inside, hand going for the light switch, not sure what she would find.

The lights flickered on and showed her place as she had left it. She stepped into her bedroom-living room-kitchen and invited Brook in over her shoulder. She heard him walking in and closing the door. Fern looked at him and read the disappointment on his face.

‘Well, I couldn’t afford anything else,’ Fern explained, ‘help me get those suitcases down.’

She pointed to the wardrobe and moved over to it.

Brook got them down for her and put them on the bed. Fern opened the wardrobe and began taking clothes out. She heard the slinking sound of zippers being undone then Brook was taking t-shirts and jeans out her hands.

‘It won’t take us long,’ Fern reassured him, ‘I don’t have that many things and none of the furniture belongs to me.’

She glanced around as she said that, taking in the single bed, bedside table, wardrobe, desk, chair and armchair. In the left far corner, was a little kitchen with a tiny fridge-freezer, portable gas stove cooker and some cupboards. Over to the right was the door to the bathroom. Fern handed some more clothes to Brook then leaving him to it, went to the bathroom. Opening door, a waft of mould tickled her nose. Turning on the light, she grabbed towels and wash things.

‘Where’s the rest of your stuff?’ Brook spoke, ‘I thought there would be lots more.’

Fern came back to him and dumped the bathroom stuff into the other suitcase, ‘when I found out I was ill and they give me the timeline, I decided to go traveling and do things I always wanted too. As I ran out of money, I sold stuff. You can’t take it with you, right?’

Brook nodded his arms full of clothes, ‘I’ve done that before.’

‘When I moved here, thanks to council and the support unit, I sold off almost everything else valuable and…started my wait,’ Fern added.

‘I bet that was tough,’ Brook said slowly.

Fern trace the edges of lacy black dress and fought back a storm of memories.

‘You got any more suitcases?’

‘Under the bed, there’s like three. The zipper is broke on one though. I got some duck tape  we could use,’ Fern replied and hurried off to find it.

Quickly, they packed up the rest of her clothes, books, DVDs, CDs, photos and sentimentally things she had kept. Finally, Fern stripped her bedding and put into black bin bags. With everything lined up by the door, Fern took a last glance at the place she had come to die in.

‘I’ll take the first lot of things down,’ Brook muttered.

Fern give him a hand with two suitcases and an weekend bag. Once the elevator doors had closed, Fern walked back into the bedsit and double checked she’d got everything. She opened the fridge and freeze, saw they contained nothing and moved on to emptying the cupboards. She took her favourite mugs and glasses out, but left anything else.

Even if I can’t use these, they’ll still look nice on something, she thought.

Opening the third suitcase full of clothes, she wrapped the mugs and glasses carefully in t-shirts, skirts and jumpers. Zipping the suitcase shut and reminding herself to warn Brook, she checked the bedside table drawers. Inside, she found some old jewellery of her mother’s amongst some other pieces she had kept, as well as, a notebook, a diary, a fancy ink pen and some photos. She took everything out and put them inside the smaller suitcase.

Brook came back and once again, Fern helped him put some more stuff into the elevator.

‘As I was coming back up, the only door downstairs opened,’ Brook started, ‘your landlord?’

‘Probably….I hope not though. What would we say?’ Fern questioned, ‘I can’t just say I got better and decided to move out…he knows it was terminal.’

‘Maybe we shouldn’t have done this…’ Brook trailed.

Fern shook her head, ‘I needed to do this. Can’t you mesmerize him?’

‘Maybe. Really wiping the mind would be better. That’s a lot harder to do though. I’ll think of something. Come on.’

Fern dragged her bin bag of bedding and another one containing shoes into the elevator. Brook took them off her then hit the button. The doors shut in her face and Fern turned back again. Hesitantly, she walked into the bedsit and grabbed the rest of her things. She stacked them next to the elevator then going back in for the final time, placed her keys on the bed and closed the door behind her.

Waiting for Brook’s return, she listened to the dim sounds of life going on behind the walls. A number of TVs were on and there was a jumble of programs, of which she caught snatches off but didn’t dwell on. Two radios or maybe CD players were tinkling out music, one of which sounded like country and western. There was a low mumbling of voices and coughing and other human noises. A cat was also meowing somewhere and was that a baby or child crying?

Fern looked at the tiled floor and turned her thoughts away from everything. Soon I’ll be away from here and carrying on with my new life, she reminded herself.

She pressed the elevator button, deciding no longer to wait for Brook. Downstairs, she could make out the grinding of gears and chains as the elevator started into action. Hoping, he’d got all of her stuff out, Fern waited. She traced the tile edges with her toe and tried to guess which soap drama the TV in the bedsit next door was showing.

The elevator doors slide opening, showing her an empty chamber. Fern quickly shoved the rest of her things in and squeezed amongst them. Going down, she thought about Brook’s words and hoped there was no one else besides from him and the taxi waiting for her. Thankfully, someone must have been listening because as the door opened on the ground floor, Brook was standing there, grinning.

‘I was worried it’d be someone else,’ he said and smiled.

Fern smiled back, ‘Yeah, looks like we were unseen and unheard.’

Nodding, Brook helped her get the last of her things out to the taxi. The driver was trying to fit everything in as if he was playing a game of Tetris. They give him a hand and somehow got everything in, leaving room for themselves.

‘So where to now?’ Fern asked.

‘My house,’ Brook replied, ‘though it’s a longer drive. It’s in the countryside. An old farm house,’ he added.

‘And it’s actually yours?’

‘Yep. Belonged to my parents and been in my mum’s family for five generations. I inherited it when they died. I probably should’ve sold it, but the money I got from renting it out kept me a float for years,’ Book detailed.

The taxi driver slammed the boot and got into the car. He started the engine and the radio came back on, blasting out a very old rock song. Brook opened the passenger door and let Fern get in. He closed the door behind her, ran around the car and got in the other side. Settling into the seat, he gave the driver the address via eye contact in the rear view mirror.

The drive tapped up the Satnav and put the information in.

Fern caught the travel time flashing up; three hours and twenty minutes then a map took over the screen with a flashing arrow pointing the way. They drove off and Fern stole a last look out of the window and up at her bedsit. Marveling at her escape from death.

To Be Continued…

Trust (part 28)

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Fern waited for him to come back then they left. Brook had changed into clean jeans and a old rock band t-shirt. Fern stared at the long blocky name as they got the elevator down. She couldn’t recall ever hearing of them and decided they must be foreign or else hadn’t been around for very long. She lent against the cold metal walls and played with the strap of her handbag. Inside she could feel her phone weighing heavily with the questioning texts and calls. No one would mind if she replied, would they?

‘It’s better to stay dead now,’ Brook spoke, breaking her thoughts.

‘Huh?’ she asked looking up.

‘You were thinking about your phone. Don’t reply. In fact get rid of it. Leave it at your bedsit. You really don’t need one,’ Brook stated.

Fern nodded, but wasn’t sure she could go through with it.

The elevated jumped to a stop and pinged as the doors opened. They got out, Brook leading the way to the doors. He opened one and let Fern walk through before closing it. The rain was still holding off and the smell of freshly cut grass mingled with an ocean breeze.

‘Which direction?’ Brook asked.

Fern thought, then replied, ‘do you remember where you picked me up from the night you turned me?’

‘Just about…’

‘Let’s a get a taxi actually,’ she cut in suddenly, ‘I’ve got my purse and there’s more money at my flat. Do you know the nearest place to get one from?’ The village?’

‘No. They don’t have one there, but I think the next one does,’ Brook responded.

‘Well, let’s get walking.’

She took Brook’s hand they walked through the woodland, the village then into the next one. They stayed silent throughout and listened to the sounds of the late evening. To anyone who saw them, they looked like a young couple out for a walk. The second village was larger and unlike the first one, which Fern had gotten so use to, there were actually people driving or walking about. Brook took them straight to the taxi rank, shoving down Fern’s idea of finding some to fed off first.

Not here, he hissed inside her mind.

He opened the door to a little shack which advertised itself as a taxi station and went up to the desk. He ordered a taxi and received instructs from the operator to grab a seat. He sat down on a hard bench, which was really just a ledge and Fern joined him. They looked out of the window and watched the first drops of rain arriving.

A white car pulled up outside five minutes later and a horn beeped. They got up, walked out and into the back of the taxi. A very fat, middle-aged, going bald man turned to them and asked where they wanted to go.

Brook shot Fern a look and as she clicked on her seat belt, she gave him the address of her bedsit.

The taxi driver scratched his head, ‘that’s an hour and half way,’ he muttered.

‘I’ll pay you want ever it is and give you a nice tip,’ Fern said sweetly.

The driver tutted and began flipping through a small notebook.

‘We could just…get out,’ Brook growled.

Fern pulled a face and ignoring him, leaned over to the driver, ‘we’ll need you to bring us back too…’

‘Look, love, I don’t think I can.’

Fern cleaned her throat and stared deep into the taxi driver’s brown eyes as he turned around to face them.

‘You so can,’ she said softly, ‘you love long drives and don’t worry we won’t talk. You can listen to whatever music you want-’

Fern, Brook breathed into her mind, don’t break eye contact. Keep your mind clear and focus into his. Send your voice into his mind at the same time. Listen to what he wants to hear, answer the questions. Stay determined.

Fern squeezed his hand to show she understood then got back to it.

‘You really want to do this. You’ll earn lots of money…enough too…’ Fern trailed as she saw an image pop into her head, ‘buy your son that Christmas present he wants,’ she finished on shaky note.

‘I don’t know…’ the taxi driver uttered.

Fern breathed out heavily and slummed back against the seat. She pressed her hand to her growing headache. Images swirled before her of the taxi driver and his family.

‘Listen to me,’ Brook jumped in, ‘you really want to do this. You aren’t going to get anyone else in this car tonight. How can you go home empty handed again? What’s your wife going to say? How many times has she threated divorce now?’

The man’s mouth dropped open but he didn’t stay anything. His eyes were locked on Brook’s now and Brook continued down that route with more harsh words.

Fern felt her head exploding and rubbed her cheek and side of her forehead against the head rest of the car. Lights were popping before her eyes and Brook’s voice sounded so faint. She clutched his hand and tried to force the sick feeling in her stomach away.

The car started up moments later and Fern felt Brook turn her head towards him. She struggled to find the words to ask what had happened. Brook pressed his wrist to her lips and Fern felt a surge of hunger. She could hear blood pulsing, she licked her lips and tasted the salt of Brook’s skin.

Her fangs unsheathed and she sank them into his wrist. Blood touched her tongue and she fastened herself on to him and began sucking. Her headache cleared and she felt the car moving under her. Brook put his head to her’s and began murmuring soothing words into her hair.

What happened? Fern questioned in her now clear mind.

I’m not sure, you tried too hard? Sometimes, it can rebound on you, Brook answered, are you feeling better?

Yes, Fern answered and swallowed.

Brook eased his arm away and licked at the bite mark.

Fern sat up and looked at the taxi driver. His hands were relaxed on the leather wheel and his eyes were fixed on the road. Quiet music was coming from the radio, Fern could hear the beats of a ballad. She looked at the window but didn’t recognise the house lined street they were currently driving down.

‘Come here,’ Brook whispered.

Fern smiled and turned back to him. Brook slipped a finger under her chin and pulled her face close to his. He kissed her softly on the lips. His hand went to the back of her head, bring her further into him. Fern shifted across the seat and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. She kissed him back, partly opening her mouth. Brook’s other hand pressed against her cheek and he ran the tip of his tongue over her bottom lip.

They kissed again and this time, Fern opened her mouth fully and let Brook slide his tongue in. She nestled against him and fell into the soft, yet swift movements of his tongue exploring her’s. She felt Brook moving his hands down her back and trying to bring her into his lap. There wasn’t enough room in the back of the taxi for that, so Fern got as close as possible.

Without giving it much thought, she swept her left hand down his chest and to the top of his jeans. Easily, she pressed her fingers against the zipper and felt a budge. Smiling against, Brook’s lips, she let out a moan and moved as best she could, to be on top of him. Brook complied with this move and slide down the inside of the car door.

Fern moaned again and began rubbing his manhood. Brook’s hips rose and he spread his legs. Ending the kiss, Fern knelt and undid his jeans. A soft moan escaped Brook’s lips which grew louder as Fern slipped her hand inside. With her breathing quickening, she massaged him and teased him. Brook put an arm over his eyes, blocking out the harsh streetlamps flashing by above them.

Fern slide her hand out and tugged down his jeans. Brook gave her a hand and repositioned himself. Fern give the taxi driver a quick glance. The man was still totally focused on the road, though he had turned the radio up at some point and now another power ballad singer was coming louder through the speakers. Turning back, Fern put her hands and head down between Brook’s legs. She heard him moan and felt him shiver. He put a hand to her head, mussing her hair then pressing down. Fern moved fluidly, trying to only concentrate on what she was doing.

She felt Brook moving under her as if he was trying to get more comfortable. There was no extra room for him to do that though. Fern put one of her hands to his hips to still him. He quietened down at her touch. She carried on for a few moments then Fern swept that hand upwards and under his t-shirt. She rubbed his chest and felt his rapid breathing. She stole a glance at him, but couldn’t see his thrown back head from her position.

Brook pulled her hand out and began kissing her fingers. He popped one into his mouth and began sucking on it. Fern’s concentration broke and she came up, gasping for air and moaning. Brook shifted up, came to her and kissed her deeply.

Fern then felt his hand fondling her boobs. She breathed into him and he broke the kiss. She licked her lips, feeling them wet and sticky. Brook tried to nuzzle into her neck, but couldn’t reach. Fern moved and they got back into the same positon before.

The car engine roared under them and Fern looked up and out the window. They were on a dual carriageway or motorway, she couldn’t really be sure as there were no streetlamps. Brook pulled her head down and kissed her, making her forget all about it. She felt his hand heading down to her jeans and she moved her hips up to help him.

Brook tried and failed to undo her jeans’ button and zip one handed. Giggling, Fern planted her knees either side of him and sat back. With both hands, Brook undid her jeans and they both pulled them down. Fern settled on top of him again and rubbed her hips against his. She moaned in his ear and Brook began kissing her neck.

‘I really want to…’ Fern gasped into his ear.

‘How badly?’ Brook growled back.

‘So, badly,’ she panted.

Brook squeezed her bottom and tugged down her panties.

‘Do you think he’ll notice?’ Fern whispered.

‘No and even if he does, I’m going to wipe his mind later.’

Fern nodded and helped Brook take her panties and jeans off. She then helped him remove his and climbed back on top. They kissed a few more times before Brook slide inside of her and Fern cried loudly in a mix of pleasure and pain. He shoved his tongue down her throat, silencing her whilst he dug his fingers into the back of her head. Fern broke away, desperately breathing. She rocked her hips against his, reminding herself not to suddenly sit up as the car roof was only inches above her.

Brook grabbed her hips and thrust upwards. Fern moaned loudly and shut her eyes tightly.

‘I can’t, I can’t,’ she breathed.

‘You can,’ Brook uttered back, putting more pressure inside of her.

Fern shook her head and made a loud oh noise. She felt a small spasm building between her legs the urge growing stronger. Brook began a fast pounding rhythm as streetlights appeared against the windows and shone inside the car in bright flashes. Fern blinked, dazed for a few moments. Brook slid his hands upwards and grabbed her boobs. Fern felt him pinching her and other spasm building.

She cried out wildly as the pleasure peaked. She squeezed down top of Brook, jamming his thighs with her knees. Fern went to throw her head back but Brook’s hand snagged into her hair and yanked her down into his chest. She cried in pain then became still on top of him as Brook shook underneath her.

Fern listened to his jagged breathing quietening and becoming as steady has her own. Brook’s fingers tangled loose of her hair before playing with the strands. Fern snuggled into his chest and felt herself dozing. Brook’s lips brushed her forehead and he tried to ease upwards. He wiggled underneath her and with a loud sigh, Fern sit up and shuffled back to the other seat.

Book swung his legs down and began searching for his clothes. He give Fern her’s then began putting on his things. Fern swept her hair back and cracked open the window. Cool night time air whistled in. She got dressed with a struggle before pressing her head to the cold glass. She felt Brook seeking out her hand and give it to him.

The outlines of trees and fields swept passed, they details blotted out by the motorway lamps. Fern watched them go by anyway, her mind empty of thoughts as pleasure still soared between her legs. Brook rested his cheek on her shoulder and curled their hands together.

She put her head on top of his and shut her eyes as the taxi indicted to change lanes and zoom further up the motorway.

To Be Continued…