Just Be

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Looking down at the tarot card in her hand, Moon thought it was too much of a sign. The Queen of Swords was sat upside down in a Gothic style throne and frowning as if she was very disappointed in Moon. The Queen’s long sword pointed upwards in a threatening manner as if it was questioning Moon too.

Setting the card aside on the purple velvet covered circle table, Moon shut her eyes and tried to block everything out. Still though, she could hear the arcade staff setting up for the day, their voices mixing with eager cries of children waiting outside and the sea waves splashing against the wall. She breathed in deeply, focusing on relaxing and opening herself to what the universe was saying.

Letting out a deep sigh, Moon opened her eyes again and looked down. The Queen of Swords was still there. That frown looking deeper then before and the eyes more piercing. Of course, she knew what the card meant. There wasn’t one in the whole deck she did not know. It was just that…She was having an hard time taking in the message.

The sound of the arcade’s doors opening drew her attention. She stood from the small high back chair and took a few steps to the side. Trying to make her skirt and bangles not jangle so much, Moon peeped out from the heavy purple curtains that surrounded her little box and watched people entering. There was only a handful; a few local kids with no where else to go during the summer holidays, grandparents with their grandchild, a tried mother with her trio and two very elderly women.

Moon let the curtain fall back. She was not due to open yet, even though she was desperate for the money but she knew none of those people would come to her. Stepping back and sitting down again, she looked at the Queen of Swords then picked the card up.

‘I shall try to be more myself,’ she whispered, ‘though being less like any female in my family is hard. It’s difficult to find your own path when someone’s already cut it out for you. Looking at all the different angles might help though.’

Moon placed the card back with the others, shuffled the deck and placed them into the small wooden box again. Placing that in her bag and picking it up, she left the tent. The curtains that had been muffling the sounds and smells of the outside world settled behind her and Moon walked away.

Going out of the arcades bright red painted doors, she turned and walked alongside the sea wall. Breathing in the fresh, salty air, she took a few minutes to think deeply about things. The Queen of Swords was firmly fixed in her mind’s eye and Moon could almost hear the Queen’s voice telling her to listen to her inner self.

‘What do I want?’ Moon said aloud without meaning too.

A nearby seagull squawked at her and Moon turned to give the creature a dirty look. The bird took flight, flapping large white and grey wings across the sea’s choppy surface. Moon rested her arms on the wall and looked out. The morning sky seemed full of promises and it was beckoning anyone willing enough to travel towards the horizon a chance to take one of those promises.

How difficult can it be to reach out and take what I want?  Moon thought.

She looked back at the arcade and beyond it the wooden pier. She could just make a few people all ready walking down towards the funfair and the theater at the end. Turning back, Moon watched the waves knocking against the wall. The water seemed to be asking her to let it in and in her mind, Moon let it in.

 

Trust (Part 10)

Just outside the seaside town, Brook came to a stop. He let Fern catch her breath then they walked back home in silence. Fern’s mind bubbled with questions, but she found she had neither voice nor the wanting to break the space that had grown between them. The wanting to keep recent events at a distance added to this. By the time they reached the mausoleum, Fern was far too tried to talk anyway.

She took all her clothes off and curled up in the sleeping bag. Vaguely, she was aware of Brook nuzzling into the back of her neck and asking for blood. Sleep claimed her and she dreamt colourful dreams, which involved a lot of running away. A few times she felt on the edge of awaking only to plummet back down into a new dream.

When she actually woke up it was sudden. Flinging the top of the unzipped sleeping bag away, she sat up and looked through the darkness of the room. Her new night vison adjusted and was able to pick things out of the darkness as if a light was on overhead.  She saw Brook curled up on the camping bed. Getting up and draping the sleeping bag around her, she walked over to him.

The stone slabs were cold under her feet, but the blood of Kyle still warmed her.

She touched Brook’s sticking out fringe. Her fingers dropped to his forehead, his cheek. Brook still with his eyes shut, turned his head slightly and brushed her wrist with his lips. He kissed her skin then nipped at it. Fern shut her eyes and rocked on her feet as Brook pierced her skin. She felt a tingle of pain which was quickly covered by Brook’s warm mouth.

Empty thoughts swirled in Fern’s mind. All she could think about was the blood flowing between them. Brook stopped drinking too soon and let go of her. She looked down, wanting to sit beside him then snuggle against him, but the camp bed was too small.

Brook got up and hugged her. Fern felt his naked body rubbing against her’s. He took her back to the air bed as if he had read her mind and they lay down together and snuggled. Fern rubbed her head to his chest, listening to the sound of his breathing and heartbeat.

‘What happened at the arcade?’ she asked gently.

‘Which part?’ Brook asked, ‘you almost killing that boy or-’

‘I killed him?’ Fern cut in, pushing herself upwards.

‘Almost, but I stopped you. Just about…’

Fern rested her head back, ‘I couldn’t stop,’ she spoke into his chest, ‘it was like his blood was the sweetest and most intoxicant drink.’

‘An innocent’s blood will do that. We should’ve been more careful. We shouldn’t have-’

‘What do you mean?’ she questioned as her fingertips made circles across his stomach.

‘Most children’s blood is pure. It’s untainted from alcohol, drugs and stuff. It gets into us faster and we get high of it. That’s what happened to you,’ Brook explained, ‘I need a smoke.’

He eased out from her and walked back to the camp bed. Fern rolled over and watched him searching the floor for his clothes. He came back a few moments later with lighter, cig box and a large black candle. He sat down and the air bed bounced. He lit up whilst Fern played with the end of a pillow where the stitching was coming undone. She wrinkled her nose at the acid ting of smoke and lay back down. She heard the lighter flicking again then Brook lay down next her and she curled up into his side.

‘He really was all right, wasn’t he?’ Fern pressed.

‘He was breathing steadily when we left,’ Brook stated and balancing the cig between his lips smoothed her hair.

‘Why did you let me…do it?’

Brook took the cig out of his mouth and breathed a cloud of smoke to the ceiling. He thought for a few moments before saying, ‘we have to take every chance that is given to us. No matter who it is or where they are. If you see even a second’s chance to take some blood you do it.’

Fern pulled a face and rubbed the top of her head under his chin, ‘Why?’

Brook growled softly, ‘because that’s how a vampire survives in the twenty-first century. You can’t just go and ravage anyone! We can be seen on cameras and everyone has one now. The internet has been trying to prove our existence for years, but we’ve got to stay hidden.’

Fern open her mouth to question that but the warm smell of liquorice underlined with anise and cloves hit her. She glanced at the candle that Brook had brought with him and saw it alight and close to the air bed. The yellow-orange flame flickered, pooling the black wax around it.

‘What’s with the candle?’ she asked instead.

‘I like it,’ he replied.

Fern sniffed, ‘liquorice?’

Brook turned his head towards the candle as he answered with a ‘yeah.’

Silence dropped in. Fern rubbed his chest and half raised to show she was interested in him explaining further. Brook had shut his eyes, the cig burning to ash against his lips. Fern gently removed it and put it out on the floor. She kissed his lips and waited.

‘We got to be careful,’ Brook whispered.

‘Huh?’ Fern chipped in at his unexpected statement.

‘Did you see that guy following us?’ Brook asked.

Fern thought back and saw electric blue eyes, ‘maybe,’ she mumbled, ‘was he really following us though? I don’t remember.’

‘Actually, I don’t think he did. He came out of the arcade and just stood there.’

‘I think he ran the place or something,’ Fern gushed in, ‘I saw him at the ticket desk when I went to the bathroom.’

Brook looked up at her then sit up. He put his hands to her shoulders and held her in place.

‘Did he say anything to you?’

Fern shook her head.

‘You’re sure?’

‘Why? Do you know him?’

‘I think maybe….no. It doesn’t matter. Look, let’s forget it. Okay? We’ll stay here and I’ll teach you some stuff.’

Fern nodded her head, still not trusting herself to say anything and looked around for her clothes.

Trust (Part 9)

Brook was waiting for her with a boy who couldn’t have been more then twelve. Fern slowed her steps and came to Brook’s side. She looked down at the boy to avoid the annoyed look on Brook’s face. The boy had sandy coloured longish hair, large eyes and a toddler’s face. He was wearing denim shorts that looked too big for him and a dirty white t-shirt with a scenic sunrise on it. Fern couldn’t make out the faded words arching over the setting sun.

‘See, Kyle,’ Brook began, ‘she did want to meet you. Em, this is Kyle.’

Fern frowned and shot a look between them. Brook was expressionless, but the boy was looking at her in wonderment.

‘Erm….Hi,’ Fern spoke, breaking the awkward silence.

‘Hi,’ Kyle mumbled.

Brook lent down to the boy, ‘Remember what I said? Ask her real nicely.’

Fern felt a slight shiver across her arms. Images flashed through her mind about their next possible actions and badly she wanted to turn to Brook suggesting they leave. However, she couldn’t bring herself to do it. The hungry and urge for blood licked inside of her like a hot flush. She even thought she could smell the boy’s blood.

‘I want too….Can I please…touch your boobies?’ Kyle muttered to the floor.

Fern took a step back, startled and feeling on the verge of running away. She felt Brook’s hand grabbing her lower back and being her forward again.

‘We should go outside,’ Brook hissed then normally, ‘what do you say, Em? You’ll do it for a kiss won’t you? Isn’t he so cute?’

Fern shook her head slightly, but all ready Brook was steering her and Kyle outside. Desperately, she shot a look over her shoulder, hoping that someone was witnessing this and willing to stop it. Her eyes met the electric blue ones of Dacian. He was leaning against a 2p coin slot machine and rubbing a copper 2p between his fingers. His express showed a slight interested in what was happening, but he made no move to step in.

‘I can’t leave the arcade…’ Kyle’s baby voice called her back.

‘Here then,’ Brook said and knocked them both against the arcade’s outside wall.

Kyle looked at her and Fern saw a swirl of feelings in his eyes and face. He was eager, but also sacred at the same time. Fern went to bit her lip then thinking better of it, lent down to get level with him.

‘Hurry up,’ Brook urged.

Kyle brought up his hand, but Fern didn’t even wait to feel the touch of his fingers. Swiftly, she bent her head, aimed for his throat and sink her fangs into soft untouched skin. She heard Kyle gasping and his hands struggling against her. Fern wrapped her arms around him and held him still. She was aware of Brook hovering in the background then nothing more.

The blood tasted sweeter than the water she had drunk before. Warmth filled her and calmed her. She felt the last hour being swept away and the echo of a heartbeat mingling with the rolling ocean waves. Her body seemed to vibrate and strength flowed into her muscles. A small voice in the back of head tried to get her to come back to what she was actually doing, but she pushed it away.

A hand bit into her shoulder and voice spoke into her ear. She ignored it and carried on, the blood was too nice. She felt another body trying to wedge between her and the boy. She fought back by keeping her arms locked around him.

‘Fern, you’re going to kill him,’ Brook snapped.

No, no, I can’t let go!

Brook’s fingers tore at her own and worked their way under her’s. She felt her grip loosen. Brook pressed himself between them and shoved them a part. Fern felt the air rushing around her before the pavement slapped her bottom. She looked up dazed with a trickle of blood on her chin.

Brook had the unconscious boy in one arm, making it look like an end dance pose. Brook check him over, licked Fern’s bite mark then slipped back into the arcade with him. Gently, Brook lent him against the fortune telling machine.

Fern got up, feeling a stinging in her bum and hands. She licked her lips then rubbed her face before licking blood off her palm. Her eyes locked on to the boy. He was alive and she could hear his blood singing to her. It wanted her to come back, wanted to be in her mouth again. A moan escaped her. She stepped forward, but Brook’s hand grabbed her and tugged her away.

She tried to explain to him that the boy wanted to give her his blood and that it was okay. The words couldn’t form, instead she felt woozy and tried as if she had drunk too much wine. She felt Brook towing her behind him as they walked away. He was begging her to move faster, but she just couldn’t. Her vision was swimming, there was the sound of a raging waterfall in her ears and head. She felt on the edge of sleep and willing to give into it.

They stopped and Brook sorted them out into a better position. He wrapped his arm around her, holding her close and giving her support. Fern pressed her head into his shoulder and let him almost drag her away. Her feet scrapped and stumbled across the pavement and she wanted to tell Brook she was drunk. Instead, she burst into laughter which caused Brook to drop her.

‘Pull yourself together,’ Brook shouted.

Fern sprawled out across the pavement and laughed at the sky.

‘This isn’t good. This isn’t- shit, shit. Fern? Come on. We got to go!’

A laugh which sounded nothing like her own ripped through her. She couldn’t stop even though her stomach and sides were now hurting. She wanted to roll over to ease the pain and try to get up, but she just couldn’t.

‘FERN,’ Brook yelled and slapped her.

Pain flooded her face, the laugh chocked short and Fern gasped for breath.

‘Get up. We need to run,’ Brook commanded.

He pulled her up and forced her into a run. Fern still struggling to deal with what had just happened, clutched Brook’s hand tightly and followed behind him. She stole a glance backwards and saw Dacian leaning against a lamppost.

Trust (Part 8)

Fern felt Brook making slow circles with his hand over her upper back. Acid burned her throat and mouth, making it hard to breathe and swallow. She was also blinded by tears and knocked back by the smell of undigested food.

‘It’s all right, but come on now,’ Brook was urging her.

She felt him tug on the sleeve of her t-shirt. She couldn’t move.

‘Fern? Come on,’ he spoke louder.

Something banged down in the café and Fern jumped. She looked through the door and saw a huge shadow developing out of the darkness and coming towards her. Panic filtered down to her legs and feet. She moved back into Brook, who grabbed her and turned her. A screaming voice rose up behind them and Fern caught a stream of foul words.

Brook scooped her up, grabbing her behind the legs and at the waist. Fern felt a rush of air on her face which grew as Brook ran down the street with her in his arms. Fern put her arms around his neck and peered over his shoulder. Behind them the café door exploded open and a mountain in a dress stormed out into the night.

‘She’s coming!’ Fern shouted.

Brook hefted her up more and broke into a full run. Fern pressed her forehead to his shoulder, feeling sick in her stomach again. She took in deep breaths and smelt Brook’s cigarette and earthy scent that clung to his t-shirt. Oddly the scent comforted her. The wind whipped around them then died as Brook tumbled to a stop and they both fell to the floor.

Gasping for breath, Fern wiggled her fingers and toes before struggling upwards. Everything seemed to spin before her, there were dancing flashing lights in her vision and old pop music in her ears. She felt her palms scrapping across the road. Rubbing her eyes, she gathered herself before looking for Brook.

He was climbing off the floor after landing face down. His shocking red hair was messed up badly and swept it back as he stood up. He dusted himself off and came over to her. Whispering voice followed him, though they seemed to be questioning each other rather than them. Brook offered Fern his hand and she took it.

‘You’re heavy,’ he said pulling her to her feet.

‘Thanks!’ she snapped and shoved him away.

Dusting herself off, she glanced to her right and saw they were outside of the arcade. Four teenage boys were staring at them from behind a claw machine. They were quietly questioning what had happened amongst themselves. Fern shot them a disgruntled look and stomped over to them. The boys scattered as she got close and dived into the dimness of the arcade.

‘Stop making trouble!’ Brook yelled from behind her.

Fern turned around and slammed into his chest.

‘You started all of this!’ she bawled at him.

Brook grabbed her hands as she went to slap him and swept her off to the side. Fern’s back hit an ancient and broken Fortune Telling machine. The red tatty curtains shook and the Madam Zasha dummy trembled. Fern felt the cold glass and wood press against her back. She stopped struggling against Brook’s grip.

‘Look,’ he hissed, ‘we mustn’t draw attention to ourselves. You have to get use to wearing the mask. Wait here and I’ll get someone.’

He gave her a further shove backwards, let go of her hands and walked off. Fern watched him go, rubbing her sore wrists. She dug in her pockets of a tissue, but found nothing. She wiped her face on her arm then looked to see if she could see a toilet. A blue neon sign directed her to one in the back corner opposite her.

Fern stalked over, ignoring Brook’s command. The red plush carpet was soft under her feet and the air smelt like lemon cleaning spray, sweat and sea salt. Game machines called to her with their theme music and demos. She passed some coin slot machines, a ski simulator, Tomb Raider and House of the Dead III. A roped off area come up on her left, declaring the gambling machines for over twenty-one’s only.

She paused. There was a young man sitting at one of the machines. He had on an old blue t-shirt that advertised the promenade’s crazy golf course. His long black hair was tied back in a neat ponytail and he tutted loudly as he got two bells and a cherry on the machine’s display. He began to turn and Fern hurriedly walked away, but not before he saw her retreating back.

She passed the prize counter and manager’s office, which was plastered with warning posters about stealing, CCTV, the gambling law and no refunds of any kinds. Now in front of the toilet door, she walked in with a quick glance over her shoulder.

There was just one toilet and one sink in the large space that would have fitted about three of each in. Fern locked the door and took in a deep breath of stale urine, rusty pipes and mould. She went to the sink and splashed water on her face and arms. Cupping her hands under the tap, she drank some water and liked the sweet coldness in her throat. She felt better and turned to the hand drier, which didn’t work. Pulling a face, she grabbed some toilet paper and patted herself dry with that inside. She dropped the paper in an over flowing bin and stepped out again.

Fern peered into the manager’s office window and saw an old wizarded man asleep in a vintage red leather desk chair. He had his slippered feet up on the desk, which was scattered with different kinds of papers. She imaged that he had a smoking jacket and a pipe off to the side. Giggling, Fern pressed a hand to her mouth and turned.

‘You want something? Money changed?’

Fern dropped her hand and stared up at the man she had passed on the gambling machine moments ago. The front of his blue t-shirt was just the same as the back and he had on torn stone washed faded jeans with scruffy grey trainers. He was thin, but the right weight for his very tall frame and broad shoulders.

His face drew strangers in straight away and Fern felt a wobble in her stomach at she looked into his large electric blue eyes. Black stubble covered his soft angled lower face and the gap between his straight nose and lush pearl pink lips. His flat cheeks had a slight tint of colour and his black eyebrows were perked up. Fern’s eyes dropped to fix on the floor.

‘No. I’m waiting for a…friend,’ she muttered.

‘Lucky friend,’ he whispered.

Fern shot him a look and found him smiling down at her.

‘I’m Dacian. I sort of work here and the golf course,’ he said plucking at the bottom edge of his top.

Fern nodded, ‘I’m visiting…I should go.’

‘Shame.’

Fern bit her lip, ‘maybe, I’ll see you around?’

‘Sure,’ Dacian stated with a small shrug.

Trying not to look at him again, Fern slipped passed him and hurried over to the broken fortune machine.