Trust (Part 32)

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Fern swallowed and nearly purred in delight. The blood was so good, it was making all her thoughts and emotions disappear. Her mind had never felt so clear before. Dimly, she became aware of Brook trying to pull her away and shouting at her. She couldn’t make out what he was saying, but decided to ignore him.

He’s the reason why you’ve never been able to feed probably, the vampire voice hissed within her.

Fern nodded slightly in response and sucked harder at the taxi driver’s neck. She could feel his life ending. A white mist seemed to be flowing around them and she felt herself drifting away. Her eyes and body felt so heavy and full of rich blood. A sharp scream shook her out of a doze.

Is that me? she questioned before releasing it was the vampire inside of her.

Hot pain was cutting into her lower back and sinking down into her skin. Red flashes blinded her and as the pain grew deeper, she pulled her fangs and mouth away from the man and twisted around.

Brook was knelt next to her, holding a bright silver object in gloved hands. Steam and a thin trail of red were coming off the cross. Fern hissed, raised an arm over her eyes and tried to back away from Brook. He waved it in her face, till her vision went blurry and she had to turn her head.

‘You’ve only got yourself to blame,’ Brook snapped, ‘Now, get up!’

Still hissing at him and avoiding the cross, Fern got to her feet. Slowly, Brook made her shuffle out of the room and into the hallway. From there, they walked right down to the kitchen and through a side door into a utility room. Fern kept as much distance as possible from Brook and the cross, her eyes shooting all over the place. Her mind was a spinning wheel of thoughts, mostly about trying to escape and get back to finishing the man off. She could still hear his heartbeat.

Brook opened a side door and backed Fern into the double garage.

‘Now you stay in here and come back to your senses,’ Brook said.

Fern growled and fisted her hands.

‘I already made sure you couldn’t get out,’ Brook added.

With quick speed, he darted out of the door and locked it behind him. Pressing his back to the cool wood he listened to Fern howling and thumping around the garage. The sliver crosses hung on the doors and walls keeping her at bay. He listened to her for a few moments then went back into the parlour.

The taxi driver’s heartbeat was so faint, Brook could hardly here it. Sinking down beside him, Brook frowned and debated what to do, whilst in the background Fern continued to howl.

‘I could turn you,’ Brook muttered, ‘but I’ve got far too much to handle right now.’

As if to confirm this, a monstrous scream erupted from the garage, causing Brook to look through the half-open door and into the hallway.

A soft sighing drew him back as the ripped quietness settled back and Brook watched the taxi driver die. His final breath vanished into the air and his strand of fate was cut. Brook pressed his still gloved hands into face and breathed deeply. He rubbed his head and dropping his hands into his lap, listened to the sudden emptiness.

‘Brook?’ a soft, but untoned menacing voice called.

He shook his head and got to his feet.

‘Brook? Please let me out,’ Fern spoke in that same voice then a burst of wicked laughter.

Ignoring her, Brook started going through the taxi driver’s pockets, keeping the gloves on.

‘I’m so scared and alone. Please?’ her voice teased.

Brook pulled out an old worn wallet and found some folded notes, two debit cards, a number of shop loyalty cards and a half torn photo of two young girls. Putting that on the coffee table, he went back and dug out the keys to the taxi. Then in the jacket he found; two folded letters shouting for urgent payments on house bills, an almost empty packet of mints and a full carton of cigarettes, though not a brand he liked.

Adding those to the wallet, Brook took the keys and headed to the front door. Opening it, he listened to Fern calling him like a siren to a sailor. It sounded so much like her voice and yet an evilness lay under every word. Brook stepped outside, the cold air nice against his warm skin, he hurried to the taxi and unlocked it. Rummaging inside the front car, he came out with two cloth money bags, a mobile phone, some CDs, a metal locked box which he found in the glove compartment, a road atlas, the satnav and cables.

Brook took all that inside and put it on the coffee table with the other items. Heading outside again, he paused in the doorway to listen to a light scratching sound. Had Fern figured out a way to escape? The sound faded, almost as if the person or animal knew he’d heard them. Growling, Brook went back to the connecting garage door and knocked on it.

‘Fern? What are you doing in there?’

‘Nothing, lover,’ Fern uttered back and Brook imaged her lips pressed against the bottom of the door and her forcing the words through the gap.

‘Lover?’ he questioned, ‘I know it’s not really you…’

The vampire laughed loudly and footsteps sounded a spinning dance away from the door.

‘I have to go and clean up your mess. Behave till I get back.’

‘I can’t promise, lover. But hurry back anyway. I’m naked and desperate for your touch. Brook, I want you so badly…’ soft moans and lip smacks followed.

Brook got a sharp image of Fern touching herself and quickly shook it away. He turned and went back to the front door. Outside again, his head started to clear and he searched the rest of the taxi. There was nothing in the backseats, but in the boot he found a box of condoms, a pair of furry handcuffs, a rain coat, two large umbrellas, a map of Europe, a first aid box and a handbag.

Grabbing everything, he went back inside and added to the growing collection on the parlour table. Putting the keys into his pocket, he picked up the taxi driver by the ankles and dragged the body out of the house.

‘What you going to do with him?’ Fern’s voice called out, ‘make him one of us?’

‘No!’ Brook yelled back, ‘it’s too late. You saw to that!’

Fern laughed, a rolling belly sound which didn’t stop even though it should have done.

Brook yanked the shoulders and head out of the doorway then slammed the door shut, cutting off the never ending laugh. He hauled the body to the taxi and shoved it into the back seat. He got into the driver’s seat and started the engine.

To Be Continued…

Trust (Part 31)

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The taxi lights tried to shine through the thick, tall hedges that lined the countryside lane, but failed to penetrate them. The car trundled along cobblestones, bouncing all the passengers inside. Fern looked out at the sky, but couldn’t see anything but darkness. The dashboard clock said it was almost two in the morning. Glancing at the taxi driver, she watched his white knuckles flexing on the wheel. The man was really concentrating as if he thought he was in horror movie and something was about to jump out and kill him.

That idea caused her to turn to Brook, who had his head pressed against the cold and still slightly open window. His eyes were shut and he seemed lost in thought again.

‘We’re not going to kill him are we?’ Fern whispered.

‘No. But we’ll take some of his blood,’ Brook answered without opening his eyes, ‘then I’ll send him on his way.’

Fern frowned, but didn’t say anything as a large gated turn off appeared on her side.

The Satnav flashed an arrow towards the gate and the driver turned in.

‘I’ll open it,’ Brook said and got out of the taxi.

Fern sat back, watching him unlocking and opening the gate. The drive slowly drove through then waited for Brook to get back in.

‘There’s another one further up,’ Brook pointed at.

The driver nodded and drove for another few minutes through dark bumpy land.

‘Your family own all of this?’ Fern asked, having pressed her face to the window to look out.

‘Yeah,’ Brook responded, ‘I rent some of the back fields to another farmer and some of the side ones go to people who own horses or want to store stuff. Extra money and its’ not as if I’ve got any use for the land.’

‘Your parents had a farm?’ Fern questioned.

‘No…’

She turned from him as the car slowly arrived at another gate. Brook got out, opened it and waved the taxi driver through. He got back in again and quietened Fern’s next questions with a kiss. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her in close. He kept their lips together for the next few moments, as the taxi drove up to a large converted farmhouse and out buildings.

When he let her go, Brook slide from the car and opened the driver’s door, ‘get the stuff out and into the hallway.’

The driver nodded and got out.

Fern undid her seatbelt, opened the door and stepped out into the cool countryside air. She sniffed and smelt damp soil, plants, animals and smoke; gone was the salty breeze and sound of the sea. I’m going to miss it, she thought. She stretched, rubbed her face and walked to the front of the taxi.

The house loomed over her, abandoned and unwelcoming. She counted three floors then a fourth which looked like a converted attic. Large, curtained windows looked out of all floors like a blind man’s eyes questioning her. Fern noticed the massive white stones making up the house’s front wall and the fact there was no front porch or steps leading to the door and it was just flushed with the ground and the top foundations. Two large plant pots holding fruit bushes stood to either side of the door and there was a wire rack for boots next to the one on the right.

Brook had gone to the front door, opened it and stepped inside. A light came on and shone out of the door and Fern saw Brook disappearing into a room his left. She shuffled her feet, half-temped to go around the side of the house and find out how big the place was. However, the taxi driver walked past carrying her bags and she changed her mind.

Fern went to the car’s boot and pulled out some of the lighter thing. She took them inside the hallway and had to pause to admire everything. The walls were brick, just like the outside, but a lot smoother. There was a large hallway table to her right which was covered by a cream table cloth and held a phone, some framed photos, a bowl with keys in it and a bible. A rug covered the wooden floorboards and ran down towards a large dark wooden staircase and a closed door. Fern counted four doors to her right and three to her left.

The taxi driver came out of the first room to her left and she stepped to the side to let him pass. She couldn’t help but notice how his face looked frozen, almost zombie like. She watched him go back to the car and grab some other bags. She turned away and stepped inside the room.

Brook was piling up her stuff on a deep, dark red coloured sofa which sat in the middle of the room facing its twin across a cherry coffee table. Fern put her stuff down and walked around the room. A large fire place took up most of the back wall, the mantel above draped with a fake Christmas style green wreath which added a blast of colour to the dark room. Also on the mantel were a few photos of a couple’s –Brook’s parents? – wedding, a baby girl, a boy child-Brook ?- and a very old photo of what the farmhouse originally looked like.

‘Does the rest of the house look like this?’ Fern asked as she swept her fingers over the top of the other sofa.

‘No,’ Brook replied, ‘it’s the parlour and hardly used.’

Fern frowned and moved around the sofa as the taxi driver walked in and put some more bags down. He then hurried around again as Brook began adding those things to the pile.

‘It’s meant to be used by guests when they first arrive and as an overflow for parties. My parents never used it, but couldn’t come up with anything else to do with it,’ Brook explained.

Fern looked up at the ceiling and saw a sliver chandelier with dangling white crystal drops. The walls were covered in white wallpaper which had a red velvet fler design on. The carpet was a dark red plush, deep pile and hardly worn. Fern sat on the edge of the sofa and watched the taxi driver bringing in the last of her things.

The man stood awkwardly and out of place beside the sofa and Fern wondered if she looked the same. Feeling tried from all the traveling, she rested back on the sofa, sprawling out and sinking down. She watched Brook pushing her suitcases against the other sofa then turning to the man.

‘One last thing, before we pay you,’ Brook said.

The man just shrugged and held out his wrist.

Brook moved forward, wrapping his fingers around the man’s lower arm. He lowered his head and Fern watched Brook open his mouth, releasing his fangs. She smelt the blood before her eyes had sent the image of Brook biting down into a vein. She stopped up, unable to resist the lure of it and went over to them.

She thought about pushing Brook out of the way and taking the man all for herself. She paused at that thought, caught up between vampire mind and human. It was Brook loudly gulping and breathing, that drew her back. Fern saw him offering her the still bleeding wrist and eagerly she switched places with him.

Fern pressed her lips over the bite marks and sucked hard. Blood danced on her tongue, rich and salty. She swallowed and felt the hungry raising faster in her stomach. Two heartbeats echoed in her ears and for a few seconds all she could think about blood.

‘Don’t take too much,’ Brook hissed from behind her.

She ignored him and carried on. A voice in the back of her head whispered, this man is nothing but food, your survival.

Fern swallowed and almost hummed in delight. The warm blood was soaking though and tingling on the way down. She wanted, no, she needed more. She sank her teeth in harder and drew more blood. The man moaned and swayed, but stayed compliant.

‘That’s enough,’ Brook stated and grabbed her shoulder.

Fern tried to give a little shake of her head to show him it wasn’t, but Brook was already pulling her off. Instead of easing, Fern planted her feet more firmly into the carpet and lend harder into the taxi driver. She felt Brook’s hand tightening and pulling harder.

I’m much more stronger now, the vampire voice spoke.

I won’t let you kill him!  Brook shouted inside Fern’s head.

Why does it matter? We’ve killed before, that same voice stated.

We shouldn’t. It makes surviving more difficult, Book explained, then aloud, ‘Fern stop!’

She opened her eyes and glanced at him, understanding but not able to obey. Blood filled her mouth, feeding a hunger that had felt unknown for so long.

Brook took his hand off her shoulder and wrapped both his arms around her stomach. He yanked her away, lifting and spinning her like a dancing partner as he did so. Fern cried out and wildly waved her arms. Brook shoved her down onto the carpet, but then had to sit on her to stop her from scrambling up and feasting again.

There was a loud thud and they both looked over to see the taxi driver slumped on the floor. He was face down and breathing shallowly, blood flowing from his wrist.

‘Look what you’ve done! He’s going to have to stay here now!’ Brook yelled.

Fern didn’t reply, but threw herself around under him, making loud animal like cries and growls.

‘And you gave into your vampire side,’ Brook added, ‘this is what you become when you lose control, an animal! We can’t live like that anymore.’

Fern growled menacingly and scratched at the carpet. Brook lent over and grabbed her hands, bring his face close to her’s as he did so. Fern strained upwards and tried to bite him. Brook pulled his head up just in time, his eyes glancing at the ceiling before going back down to her.

‘You have to fight the vampire,’ Brook said firmly, ‘you mustn’t give in. You can’t let the power consume you, Fern. Do you hear?’

She stopped struggling and looked at him with a determined expression on her face. Her body relaxed under him and Brook eased off some of the pressure. He caught a flash of a smile on Fern’s lips then she flipped him over and flew to the taxi driver. Brook hit the sofa and suitcases, pain ebbing through his back and legs. Quickly, he scrambled over to them, but Fern had her fangs buried in the man’s neck, draining him.

 

To Be Continued…

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…

Trust (Part 27)

Fern awoke in an empty cold bed. She rubbed her eyes and face, rolled over and for a few moments drifted back into sleep. The sound of a lawn mower roaring jerked her awake and she sat up quickly. Flinging the duvet away, she went to the window, but couldn’t see anything outside, other than a darkening grey sky. She went to the bedroom door and out into the living room, her thoughts still cloudy with sleep, but wondering where the sound was coming from.

She crossed the living room and opened the doors to the balcony. Looking out over the railing, she could see a large motored lawn mower driven by Brook who was cutting the grass in straight lines. She lent on the damp railing and watched him for a few minutes. The sky and air both seemed to threat more rain, but at least the wind had died down. She took in a few deep breath, smelling and tasting sea salt, car pollution and dead fish.

Fern went back inside, showered and got dressed. She searched through her bag for her phone and finding it, saw that she’d a few text messages and missed calls. She sat on the bed and scrolled through, but didn’t reply to any of them. Most were from her landlord, which worried her because they asked where had she gone and if she was coming back and did she know her rent was due now? The others were from the hospital, reminding her about appointments and a meeting with a nurse she had missed. Lastly, there were two texts and a miss call from the only friend she had stayed in contact with.

Fern sniffed, feeling a roller coaster of emotions breaking loose. She rested the phone in her lap and opened the text messages. The first was dated the night Brook give her the blood and the second was dated two days ago as was the phone call. Fern’s fingers pressed against the touch screen and the keyboard come up, tempting her further to reply back. She bit her lip and wondered what she’d even say.

From behind her came the sounds of the lawn mower. She got up and went back to the window. Brook was now cutting the large lawn that had once been marked for a swimming pool and tennis count. Dropping the curtains back, she put her phone on the bedside table and walked into the living room.

She picked up the photo of Brook and Jay from the bookshelf and looked at it. Brook hadn’t changed. His fiery red hair was shoulder length, his eyes violet, his plum lips frozen in a smile that raised his pointy cheek bones and chin. Jay had light brown hair to his cheeks, dark hazel eyes and a cheeky boy grinning face. He looked younger, but only by a couple of years. How long had Brook been a vampire when this photo was taken? If any? So, how old in human years then? And where is Jay now? She questioned.

Setting the photo back down, she went through the apartment quickly and quietly looking for clues. At first, she really didn’t know what she was searching for and just blamed it on the fact that she wanted something to do to take her mind off her phone. In the bottom draw of Brook’s bedside table, she found some photos and a red plastic wrist band. Though the writing was faded, she made out Brook’s and Jay’s names with love hearts either side.

The photos were of them and mostly taken outside the apartment or at the beach. She skimmed through but stopped at the last set. They were kissing. Faces close together and lips meeting. She went to the next and both boys had taken their tops off and were kissing deeper with their arms wrapped around each other. The third was a wide shot of them on the bed together, just in their underwear, holding and kissing each other.

Fern glanced at the bed and tried to decide if it was that same one. She couldn’t be sure but it was most likely. She looked at the photo again and another thought came into her head, who had taken these photos? The camera could be on a stand and timed, sure, but… She looked at the next one, with that thought tailing off. The photo showed Brook completely naked leaning against the wall in black and white. Fern looked closely; there was no mistaking his muscle body and distant looking face.

‘Somebody must have taken this one,’ she muttered.

The next one showed Jay posing in the same way then the six after showed the boys in different love making stages. Fern licked her lips and tried not to nibble them as the innocent photos of teenage boys turned into soft porn. When she reached the last one, she collected them all together and put them back in the draw again. Getting up, the images sticking with her, she looked at the window and saw Brook still on the lawn mower. The noise of the engine blocked all other sounds out as he drove under the window.

Thinking she had only a few minutes left, she went through the rest of the bedroom, but came up with nothing else. Going out, she studied the other two doors along the wall, either of which she had not opened nor seen Brook open. She went to the first door, turned the handle and pushed. The door swung open on silent hinges and she let her eyes adjust to the darkness. It was a bedroom very similar to their own, but less lived in.

The double bed was made, but hadn’t been used in ages, Fern could tell. She stepped in and after a quick look around, began opening the wardrobe and drawers. Everywhere was empty, but it all the surfaces had been cleaned recently. She could smell the faint whiff of disinfected and lemons. Checking everything was back in its place, she left and tried the next one room.

Putting a hand on the door knob and turning it, she felt a slight residence. She pushed against the door and wondered if there was something stuck behind it. She made a gap big enough to fit through then stepped sides into the room. Pausing, she listened to the sound of the lawn mow fading and stopping.

A spike of panic speared her and she hurriedly looked around the room. It was a mess and she could hardly see the carpet. There were piles of clothes and shoes just abandoned and dump everywhere. The double bed was a mass of pillows, sheets and blankets as if someone had slept there recently. The wardrobe was wide open with more things tumbling out of it’s doors. The chest of drawers and bedside tables were open too, there contents pulled out or shoved back in. There was a bookcase and CD rack next to the window and they had been ransacked too. Looking at the floor she saw, books, CDs, DVDs two electric guitars, a boxed keyboard, rolled up posters, notebooks, photo albums and loose photos.

Typical teenage boy’s room? She thought, or is this Brook’s room and he’s just super messy?

In the background she heard the elevator clinking down. Stealing another few seconds, she grabbed the closest notebook and flipped through it. It was a soft, blue cover high school notebook and inside was a scrawling black handwriting.

‘Shakespeare’s The Tempest,’ she whispered, ‘possible exam questions; describe the relationship between individuals or a set of characters. How is magic used throughout the play? Why is the play known as a comedy-romance?’

Fern turned the pages and looked at some of the notes towards the back. In the corner of one of the pages she noticed a date;

‘Tuesday the sixth of May two thousand and three,’ she breathed, ‘Literature of WW1 GSCE Revision Notes,’ she read the title then closed the book.

Putting it back down, she hurried out of the room and closed the door behind her. Rushing to the TV she turned it on and sat down on the sofa. Just before the sound came on the TV, she heard the elevated doors slide up and footsteps in the corridor. Grabbing the control, she put the news on then tried to make it look like she’d been there all along.

The door open and Brook came in bring a wonderful scent of freshly cut grass, damp earth and the beach mixed together. He closed the door and Fern looked at him, keeping her face blank.

‘I had jobs to do before we leave,’ Brook said, ‘you okay?’

‘Sure. I heard and saw you outside, so I thought I’d watch some TV and wait for you.’

Brook nodded, ‘I’ll change then we can go. Do you still want to go to your place?’

‘Yes. I checked my phone and my landlord has sent me a few texts. So, I need to go.’

Brook ran his fingers through his hair and give a small shrug, ‘fine,’ he added then walked into the bedroom.

To Be Continued…

Trust (Part 26)

 

Brook got off the wall and called the elevator. The doors opened and he stepped in. Fern stealing a last glance at the shadowy shape of Dacian, turned and joined Brook inside the lift. Brook pushed the button and the doors shut. Fern hugged herself, feeling upset and no closer to the answers she had been seeking. Brook stayed silent, watching the numbers on the display flashing upwards.

They got out on the sixth floor and went to the apartment door. Brook let them in just using his hand and mind.

‘You need to teach me that,’ Fern remembered.

‘Sure,’ Brook answered, ‘there’s a bit more to it then the shadow cover though.’

‘It’s fine. I need to learn,’ Fern stated and walked inside.

The apartment was dark, but Fern quickly found her way to the bathroom and shut the door behind her. She heard Brook mutter her name, then saw a flash of light coming on from under the door as he turned on the main lights. Fern clicked on the bathroom one, then shrugging off the backpack, stripped from all her wet clothes.

She turned on the shower as she heard the TV coming on. She paused and tried to figure what the action movie was that Brook had stopped to watch. Shaking her head and feeling wet hair clinging to the back of her neck, she got in the shower. The hot water felt great and she sighed deeply before plunging her head underneath the full flow of water. She washed and double washed her hair, lingering in the shower as long as possible.

When she stepped out into clouds of steam, she grabbed a towel and dried herself off. Leaving her things behind her she walked out and over to Brook. He was sprawled across the sofa, just in his boxers. She was about to throw her arms around him and give him a hug, when she noticed the small, thick black outlined tattoo on the back of his neck. It was an opened mouth skull with a vampire bat escaping from the teeth. Puzzling over it, she hugged him and rested her shin on top of his head whilst her arms locked around his throat.

‘I emptied all the clothes on to the bed,’ Brook spoke.

‘Thanks. I’ll sort through them. What’s with the tattoo? I never noticed it before,’ Fern asked.

‘Not much. I got it before I was turned. I designed it myself.’

‘You never told me about that…how you become a vampire, the one who made you…how old you are?’

Brook gave a little snort, ‘it’s not interesting.’

‘So, tell me.’

‘I’m going to shower first. Maybe, before we go to bed.’

Brook moved and Fern had to let him go. She dug her hands into the back of sofa and thought about pressing him. He had gotten up though and was crossing the room. She went to get dressed instead and found that he really had just emptied the bag on the bed. Turning on the light, she had a quick sort through and found that none of the clothes were nightwear. There were two plain black t-shirts she could use, but there were no shorts or pants.

Fern picked out a nightie and bottoms from the wash basket and put them on. Really, I need to get back to my place and pack up all my stuff….Do I really want to move in here though? She thought. Sorting out the other clothes; she found two pairs of jeans, three jog pants, a packet of underwear, a handful of different t-shirts and a very worn blue woollen jumper. Okay, I so need my own stuff… Sighing, Fern folded the clothes and put them on top for the wash basket. She then got into bed and listened to Brook turn off the shower.

Settling back, she ran through a number of ways to bring up the suggestion of going to her flat. Thinking of that led to more thoughts about her other possessions and money. She had her purse and phone, but hadn’t touched them since Brook had taken her into the tomb. Her thoughts jumped on to that and a wave of blurry images came to her. She could see the damp stone walls and smell the mould. What I had I been doing before that? She thought, how did I spend my last day as a human? God, it was less than a week ago and I can’t remember!

‘You asleep?’ Brook’s voice cut into her thoughts.

Fern’s eyes snapped open and she jumped slightly, ‘I’m awake.’

‘You’re not tried?’

‘Not really,’ Fern said thoughtfully.

Book lay down next to her and they stared at each other.

‘You’re going to let me see Dacian again, right?’ she asked after a few seconds.

Brook gave a half shrugged and looked up at the ceiling.

‘He said he didn’t know when his blood would leave me…do you know?’

‘No. Do you feel drawn to him?’

Fern tried to hard the small smile on her face, ‘I guess…’

Brook went silent then after a few moments said, ‘any of the clothes good?’

Fern cast a look at the pile on the basket, ‘not really…Don’t you think it’s wrong?’

‘What?’

‘That we just took that stuff….I mean we didn’t really needed it.’

‘You learn to take and give,’ Brook said sleepy.

‘Give what?’ Fern tutted.

‘Donations. Money, food and stuff.’

‘And when have you ever done that?’

Brook sighed, his eyes fixed the ceiling, ‘not to them,’ he said very softly, ‘there was another shelter that helped me when I was first given the blood.’

Fern pressed her lips together quickly and wait for him to carry on. However, Brook seemed lost in thought. Fern moved closer on the bed to him and put her head onto the edge of his shoulder. Her hair brushed his neck and cheek; bring him back from a turmoil of memories.

He put his cheek to her hair and breathed deeply. Fern smelt smoke and blood on his breath.

‘Want to talk about it?’ Fern whispered.

‘Not right now. I guess one day…none of it really matters. It’s the past. I can’t go back…’ Brook uttered, ‘would you go back to yours? The cancer?’

‘No, of course not. I’d be dead all ready if it wasn’t for you and this…’ Fern stated and moved her head so she could see him better.

Brook glanced at her and kissed her nose awkwardly.

‘Though it’s not been easy or what I hoped…You know tomorrow we should go to my place,’ she added.

‘Why?’ Brook asked.

‘For my stuff. My life isn’t just in my handbag you know. I’ve got clothes and things…things I want. And rent…’ Fern trailed off into a hum as she tried to calculate when her rent was next due.

‘Guess your place isn’t as good as this one?’ Brook questioned.

‘It’s a one bed flat, almost a bedsit, but I’ve my own bathroom and a tiny kitchen. We should go though. I want my things and if we don’t go tomorrow the landlord might just throw it all out.’

‘Okay. I’m thinking of moving anyway. Been thinking about it over the last few days, really…’

‘Because of Dacian?’ Fern shot back, a hint of irritation in her voice.

‘He’s a part of it, more so then before now, thanks to you. But no, this place is shutting down for winter and there’s going to be less people now. It makes sense to go to my actual house. And now I know you’re going to live and we seem to be getting along okay, I thought we’d go there,’ Brook explained.

Fern rose off his shoulder and sat up in the bed. Her thoughts a hot, fast rush of words she couldn’t put together correctly to voice. She grabbed the duvet and clutched it tightly as a wave of anger rolled within her.

Brook followed her up and pressed a hand to her back. He began making large circles across her skin, sensing the mix of emotions coming off her. He didn’t speak and he was unable to get into her mind as her thoughts were too uncontrollable. He waited and listened to the sounds of birds singing the coming dawn song and car engine in the distance.

‘You lied to me. Again,’ Fern finally spoke.

‘No. I didn’t tell you the full truth. There’s a difference,’ Brook answered back.

‘I asked you,’ Fern said as she turned to look at him with a hand pressed to her forehead, ‘if you had a house and I thought this was it. You made me believe this was it.’

Brook pulled a face, ‘I’m the caretaker. That’s how I make most of my money. I get to live here or in the other apartments to do that job.’

‘Why didn’t you tell me?’

‘You didn’t need to know…like everything else. Why should I lay my life out for you?’ Brook demanded, anger sparking in his voice, ‘did I make you tell me everything before I shared my blood with you?’

Fern shook her head then as she thought about it, asked, ‘I don’t really remember…did you?’

‘No. It wasn’t important and it’s still not. And it’s the same for me. There’s stuff, Fern, that you really don’t want to know about me…A lot of shit stuff and yeah, it no longer matters now, but it made me and you don’t need to hear it,’ Brook stated.

He dropped his hand and flung back onto the bed. He spread his arms out, then rolled over and pulled the duvet over his head. He breathed heavily then arranged the pillows and settled for sleep in the nest he had made.

Fern watched this then lay down next to him, quietly. She watched the hump that was Brook raising up and down for a few moments. Her mind was reeling off questions and conjuring up images. The desperation to ask him refused to build and sighing deeply, she rolled over and kept everything to herself.

 

To Be Continued….

Trust (Part 25)

 

Fern’s heart raced and her breath caught in her throat. For a second, her human mind tried to trick her into believing it was just the shadow of the tree, but her vampire sight and smell knew better. She glanced at Brook, who had frozen by the open front door, allowing the wind to drive the rain into the entrance way.

Without looking back, Fern turned and walked over to him. Together they stepped inside and Brook closed the door behind them. Looking out, they saw the shadow figure casting off the darkness and taking a visible form.

‘Daican,’ Fern whispered, making the name sound forbidden.

‘I wonder what he wants,’ Brook sneered.

‘I don’t know…maybe to talk to you? I think he said something about that…’

Brook scoffed and his hand tightened on the door handle.

‘What are you going to do?’ Fern asked.

‘Nothing.’

Brook turned and went to the elevator. Rain dripping off his clothes as he went and creating a trail on the too clean floor. He hit the button and waited, his head slightly turned to watch Fern. The elevator whirled into life, a tiny noise against the now raging wind and rain outside.

Fern’s fingers twitch, she desperately wanted to open the door and let Dacian in. She could see him still leaning against the tree, watching them. She couldn’t make out the expression on his face through, the torrent of rain was making it blurred. Why is he here? She thought, did he want to check I was okay? Did he sense something?

‘The lift’s here,’ Brook called as the doors opened silently.

Fern nodded and walked over. As she came closer she saw a flash of anger on Brook’s face then heard a loud tapping behind her. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw Dacian knocking his knuckles on the glass door. Pursing her lips, Fern turned and without waiting for Brook, rushed back and yanked open the door.

Brook was beside her in seconds, hands pushing the door closed. The door locked back into place and Brook, grabbed Fern and pulled her away.

‘At least ask him what he wants!’ she shouted.

‘No. He’s uninvited and I don’t want to talk,’ Brook yelled back.

‘Please! It could be important.’

Brook paused, ‘I doubt it,’ he said softer and let her go.

Fern went to the door again and opened it, ‘Daican,’ she said and gave him a quick hug.

Brook glanced at the elevator then back again. He flicked out his fringe and went for his box of cigs. Briefly his eyes met Dacian’s, then he was pulling things out of his pocket and lighting up.

‘What is it?’ Fern asked Dacian.

‘I wanted to check on you…something was telling me too…are you okay?’ Dacian asked in a soft breathy voice.

‘I’m fine, now,’ Fern replied, she glanced at Brook and saw him take a long first drag on the cigarette.

‘Can I come in?’ Dacian called over to Brook.

‘You want an invite this time, huh? Sure you just don’t want to break in again,’ Brook responded, icily as he blew out the smoke.

‘I didn’t break in. Fern invited me…she said she lived here too and she needed me,’ Dacian pointed out, ‘I only stayed because of her. I didn’t want her wandering around alone.’

‘So, you came to lecture then?’ Brook jumped on, ‘tell me how to raise my fledging?’

Dacian opened his mouth then closed it again. He gave a shake of his head then stepped away from the door.

‘Don’t leave,’ Fern rushed out, a small tremble in her voice.

‘Its fine,’ Daican said, he half raised his arm in the gesture of a wave then began walking off.

Fern shot a look at Brook before darting after Daican. She caught Daican’s hand and yanked him to a stop. The wind drove the rain hard around them, but they both ignored the cold water whipping against their clothes and skin.

‘Why did you come really?’ Fern asked in a quiet voice, hoping Brook wouldn’t hear them whilst at the same time knowing he would do.

‘I know he tried to kill you,’ Dacian stated.

Fern’s eyes widen and her mouth dropped open in a large ‘O’.

‘I sensed it because we switched blood…’

‘And how long is that going to last for?’ Fern questioned.

‘I don’t know. I never give my blood to anyone but the one I made,’ Dacian explained, ‘I guess it’s weaker though, so maybe it will wear off soon enough.’

Fern pulled a face, looked at the floor in thought then back to the apartment block and Brook. He was still smoking where they had left him. The elevator doors were slowly closing in the background.

‘I want you to come in,’ Fern shouted above the wind.

‘Not without his permission,’ Dacian said back.

Fern grabbed his hand and took him back to the door. She knocked on the glass and waved Brook over to them. For few seconds, Brook turned his head, eyeing the elevator, then he walked over to them. His fingers touched the door handle slowly and he had a grim expression set on his face. As he opened the door, Fern also pushed it and squeezed through the gap, just so Brook wouldn’t change his mind.

‘I want us all to be friends,’ Fern spoke as she led Daican behind her.

The two males eyed each other carefully.

‘So, let’s set our differences aside and start over,’ she continued.

‘What you’re asking is dangerous,’ Brook stated, flicking ash away.

Fern frowned and looked at both of them in turn. Dacian was fully fixed on Brook, who was leaning casually against the wall with his left foot up against it. They both looked to be wrestling with themselves as they edged closer to starting a fight.

‘Why?’ Fern demanded when either of them replied.

Dacian turned to her and explained, ‘vampires fall into two categories; Loners and Brooders. A brood is a family of vampires who try to live together. Often there’ll be one leader, sometimes they’ll have a mate though, and they keep their fledglings and the ones the fledglings make together. Sometimes another vampire might join them and they become a big family. I knew of one in Liverpool for a while, but with the way the human world is now it’s hard to live in a brood.’

‘I wasn’t asking you to move in,’ Fern pointed out.

‘We don’t have friends. We have lovers and enemies,’ Brook cut in.

He finished his cig and dropping it to the floor, crushed it under his foot.

‘Friends are very uncommon,’ Dacian muttered, ‘and two lone male vampires becoming friends with no other intentions is extremely rare.’

‘I don’t understand,’ Fern growled.

Brook rolled his eyes, ‘and this is why I didn’t want to talk. This isn’t something that can be explained easily, Fern. It’s experience and instinct.’

‘Think of it like tigers,’ Dacian put in, ‘they live almost solitary lives, only coming together to mate. Then the females brings up the cubs for a couple of years before forcing them away. All tigers are territorial and will fight to defend their home.’

‘So, we are like tigers?’ Fern clarified.

Daican nodded, ‘and now I should go.’

‘I’ll see you again though…won’t I?’

‘Maybe,’ Dacian responded softly, glancing at Brook, ‘bye.’

‘Bye,’ Fern muttered back as she nibbled on her bottom lip.

Dacian turned and walk out of the door, leaving them and a cold windy blast alone.

 

To Be Continued…

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.