Trust (Part 33)

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Fern’s laugh was still ringing in his ears, so he found a rock station on the radio and turned it up loud. He sped down to the locked gates, the tires crunched to a stop and he swung open the door and got out. Going to open the lock, he looked back at the dark house and questioned what he was going to do about Fern.

With the lock and gates open he drove the taxi through then stopped and got out to re-lock them. Getting back in, he rushed down to the first set, the car bumping along. Stopping again, he got out and this time couldn’t make out much of the house. He opened the lock and gates, drove through, got out, relocked them and drove on.

‘It really wasn’t meant to be like this,’ Brook said through clenched teeth.

He turned on the headlights and pushed the car up to the speed limit on the empty, dark countryside road. He drove from an hour, just following the road and not really thinking where he could dump the body. A for sale sign flashed up and Brook hit the brakes hard. The car slammed to a halt, flinging Brook over the steering wheel and the body against his seat.

Groaning, Brook sat up and looked at the sign in the rear view mirror.

He reversed back and read the notice fully; farm for sale. Four bed roomed house and fifty acres of land. View by appointment only. Brook tapped his fingers on the steering wheel and gave it some deep thought. Glancing in the mirror at the slumped body, Brook shook his head and drove off.

‘It’s too close,’ he muttered, ‘what else is around here? The old cemetery? The abandon plastics factory? The river?’

Book hummed and as a crossroads came up, marking the farm for sale to his left and a village to his right, he drove straight on towards a campsite. Passed that, he kept his eyes out for the direction signs to the forest. The radio fuzzed out and after a few seconds of trying to find another station, he give up and hit the CD button. The Eagles came on. Brook shrugged and slowed to take a blind bend.

The sign for a humped bridge flashed up and he slowed even more. As soon as he crossed over it, a soft rain began falling. He glanced around the wheel, put the indicator on and off then put the windscreen wipes on. They squeaked loudly, till he had turned them down. Easing back into the seat he drove on and half an hour later spotted the first sign for the forest. A small smile crept onto his lips. At the mini roundabout he took the first exist and carried on following the signs.

Forty minutes later, Brook parked the taxi in an empty car park and turned off the engine. Shadows of tree branches swept about above him and the rain came down heavier. He rested back and shut his eyes for a few minutes. He listened to the rain on the roof and thought about his next steps.

Getting out, he closed the door quietly and opened the passenger door. He grabbed an arm and pulled the body out with a severe tug. It only half shifted. Putting more weight into it and getting his other arm in, Brook pulled the body completely out and down onto the ground. He closed the door gently then locking the taxi, locked his arms around the chest of the dead man and dragged him into the forest.

Wet leafy branches brushed against Brook’s back and he struggled to get through. His mind tumbled with an incomplete map of the forest and river as he tried to figure out the best place to head for. Finally, he decided on the largest of the waterfalls and headed in that direction. He didn’t stop once, but carried on walking backwards for almost an hour dragging the body undergrowth. Around him owls and other night birds were still calling, their daytime relatives still asleep. A fox called for a few moments before being answered by another in the distance. The rain patted on the leaves and ground, adding to the rush of water somewhere in front of them.

Brook sank down at the river’s edge, dropping the dead weight. He wiped rain from his face and shook it from his hair. He looked at the sky and guessed that daylight was a few hours away, which meant he was becoming pressed for time. He turned to the body, now mud covered and with a collection of fallen leaves and branches. The idea of burying him re-entered Brook’s mind, but he had nothing other than his hands and nature’s tools to carry out that task. Instead, he was going to have to risk the water level being high enough to carry the body away.

Taking an arm and a leg, Brook put the taxi man into the river and watched the current swept him away. He saw a flash of colour going over the waterfall and walked as close to the edge as possible. Looking down he could see nothing but the foamy churned up water. Slipping his hands into his pockets, he turned and started walking back the way he had come.

He got into the car and closing the door, listened to the rain and wind once more. He checked the taxi over again and finding nothing else, debated what to do. He thought he could almost hear Fern calling his name. She probably was. A few seconds went by, he put the keys in the ignition and got out, closing the door. He shoved his hands in his pockets and walked away.

The rain grew heavier, soaking through his clothes as he left the carpark. Brook glanced back at the taxi then shook his head. You’d only have to get rid of if later, he thought. He picked up his pace and breaking into a run sped through the night. He followed the roads he had driven and halfway home felt the first sense of dawn. He didn’t pause, but race onwards, making a note to try harder at materialisation soon.

Brook slipped through the first gate and the second one, having no need to unlock and open them now he was alone. He ran to the door, vanished and reappeared on the other side. Fern’s voice rapidly hit him from the garage and shouted in his ears.

‘Brook? Let me out!’

Ignoring her, he climbed the stairs and went to his room. Fern’s voice trailed after him, pleading with him and yet whispering things that sound forbidden underneath. He shook his head and closed the bedroom door. It only quietened the words a little. He pulled off his boots and jacket, dumping them as he went over to a large desk. He switched on the CD player letting the first song on whatever album was still in there blast out.

He undressed, throwing the clothes alongside the boots and jacket. Flinging himself on the double bed, he looked up at the all too familiar ceiling. The dappled pale blue coating of paint still bore the slight marks of sticky tape and blue tack. Beck tried to recall what had once stared down at him on his childhood and teenage ceiling, but he couldn’t recall.

He shut his eyes, listening to the rock music rumbling around him and the taxi driver’s blood humming through him. Below, he could just hear Fern’s cries for release and her fists bounding the wooden door. He sensed the dawn breaking and recalled how the sun lit up the sky. He pulled a sheet over his naked body and wondered how long it would take for Fern to settle down.

To Be Continued…

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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 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 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.

Trust (Part 22)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘A blood bank?’ Fern giggled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Rubbish, most likely.’

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

‘Take my hand,’ Brook stated.

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

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

‘Okay,’ she breathed and took his hand.

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

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

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

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

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

‘I’ll try,’ Fern responded thoughtfully.

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

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

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

‘Dacian,’ Fern whispered then instantly regretted it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Not much,’ Brook answered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘But!’

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

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

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

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

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

‘A shelter,’ Brook stated.

‘We’re going to fed off them?’

‘Yes and get you some new clothes too.’

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

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

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

Trust (Part 21)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Why now?’ the brown haired boy spoke.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Hey,’ she called sleepily.

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

Fern walked out and joined him on the sofa.

‘Feeling better?’

‘Yeah. I had this weird dream though…’

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Sometimes…’ Brook started then paused.

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

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

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

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

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

‘What?’ Brook broke into her thoughts.

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

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

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

‘Let’s go,’ Brook said and got up.

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

Trust (Part 20)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘No,’ she muttered.

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

She nodded, suddenly realising how tried she actually was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Why did you do it?’ Fern forced out.

‘Kill you?’ Brook asked.

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

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

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

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

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

Brook shrugged, ‘so have many others.’

‘Then why?’

‘Reasons.’

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

‘Probably,’ Brook whispered and tapped her nose.

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

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

‘Yes,’ she replied.

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

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

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

‘Just go to sleep,’ he said at last.

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