I awoke to a white beard of hoar frost on my face. I could see my breath as I lay on the bed. All of the upper end of my bed was covered in frost. At least this time I could remember what had happened. My fiancée had killed me. I was in that bright light, then she resuscitated me. All, so I could divorce her mother.
“Min mor.” I heard the words in my ear as a sort of soft whisper. Instinctively I knew it was Annika’s voice and that the words meant “my mother.”
“Annika? Is that you?” I asked even though I knew the answer. I guess I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t crazy but then again, of course if the voice did answer, wouldn’t that prove that I was nuts?
“Who else?” she asked in a whisper again.
“Uh huh, is there anyone else? Are we the center of a vampire Borg cube or something?”
“Don’t call me that in public, damn. I don’t want anyone to know our pet names.” It was a whiny thing to say and I should have thought the better of it if I’d had a chance to think about it before she’d already heard it. At least she also had a chance to know that I was also thinking about how it was a whiny thing to say and that I wished I had never ever thought of saying it in the first place.
“There’s nobody here but us chickens Jonjon.” I watched my breath some more. “I’ll teach you how to edit yourself before you direct a thought to me as soon as I can.” Then she added, “sorry about the whole death thing, it was the only way to divorce you from Anita.”
“Because a vampire marriage is until death do us part?” I asked.
“But we don’t die?”
“Yes, and well, by tonight you’ll be able to say we.”
“Where are you?”
“What happened to calling me Babe or Savage Little Beast?” she asked.
“Cut it out, this is embarrassing. Until I know no one is listening, I’m not leaving anything out in the yard for just anybody to pick up.” I gave it some thought. Savage Little Beast was my nickname for her because I used to tease her that traditional girls who waited also tore up the room on the wedding night. Not that I knew it to be true, but some of the guys had said so. Ya, but most of them were geekier than me so . . .
“I’m in the cafeteria,” she said.
Just then it struck me just how hungry I was. I felt as though I hadn’t eaten in a couple of weeks. “I could eat a horse.” I said out loud.
“Or a cow? Maybe a sheep? Someone on the hospital staff?” It was Anita’s voice. Pulling the curtain open as I shook the ice from my face my heart raced. There in the middle of the room was Anita kneeling where the floor had been broken. She had picked up the broken tiles put them in a box and had swept up the dust. Next to her was a small can of tile mastic and a couple of replacement tiles. “We clean up our messes and I stomped my foot down right here.” The door had already been replaced.
“Are you here to finish the job on me?” I asked.
“What?” And she looked at the floor doing her best to ignore me. I waited for an answer. “You mean am I here to kill you, resuscitate you and try to bond with you again?”
“Well, something like that?”
“No, it’s too late now. You’re too much a vampire now.”
Annika told me in my mind, It’s okay, she’s there to help you.
“How is it no one heard what was going on in here?” I asked not knowing whether I was asking Annika or Anita. My eyes hurt and I was rubbing them.
“It’s a private floor. We kind of own the building and this floor is just for us, for research or whatever and so it’s also sound proofed. If we wanted to start a rock band no one would know unless we went on tour.” Anita smiled as she spoke.
“So how are you here to help me?” I asked anticipating that nothing good would come from this question.
“You know how a baby cow staggers to its mom to suckle, and baby kangaroos and baby us, baby humans too.” I was right I didn’t like where this was going. “Baby vampires need that first drink of milk to be the bomb, to be that life giving colostrum that every kind of baby needs.”
“Um, listen you’re wow, I mean super cute and all,” and why did I say super of all the words to choose when my girlfriend was listening, “but you are my mother in law after all and, well I just think that we shouldn’t be going there.”
“Oh sweet little boy, I don’t bite.”
“You’re not, um . . . well of course you’re my type, whose type aren’t you? I mean, I think you must be every guy’s type,” and I didn’t realize I could speak that fast and then I remembered again that Annika must be listening. “But look, you’re a bit old for me agewise and from the look of your face, you’re also way too too young at the same time so let’s just call it a day and if you’re still in the mood, why don’t you apply for a job at a local middle school? Or better yet, you could matriculate? Or something?”
Anita looked into my eyes with her cat’s eyes and stared hard as though she were looking passed me, or through me. “Annika, tell him I don’t bite, and then please tell him to cooperate.”
“Why are you here anyway? Why doesn’t Annika do this for me instead? Um, whatever it is.” It seemed a legitimate question to me.
Anita ignored it. Looking at me again, Anita continued, “I realize that this all comes as a surprise to you, but you have to eat me, I’m what’s on the menu.” I was revolted, Annika said nothing. Wouldn’t somebody please tell me what was going on?
“You know what that means in English, right?” I was unconsciously scooting backwards on the bed with my behind.
“No, I mean it quite literally you silly little boy.”
“But why you, and why not Annika?”
Anita let out a sigh, “Annika is too weak. Simple as that.”
“What happens if I don’t?” I asked. To say I was recoiling at the merest thought of it was an understatement that even a Brit would have been proud of. Anita had been slowly walking towards me. I was still seated on the side of the bed. She put her hands behind my neck and snapped my head into position.
“Feel how weak you are?” I nodded slightly. “You would be the only vampire as weak as a mortal with the long life of a vampire.” Holding my head in position with her left hand, she said, “you’d get sick like regular people, you’d get old. Maybe Alzheimer’s someday.” Then she kissed me for a couple of seconds. After pulling away she looked into my eyes again and said, “You’d better have a boy for me.” I began to feel nauseous.
Leaning her head to her left she pulled something out of her pocket, at first I thought it was a stethoscope. But no, it was a syringe with the end cut off and long rubber surgical tube attached. She popped the end of the tube in my mouth and jabbed the needle in her neck. Holding my head tight, she reached up with her other hand and grabbed my jaw and gripped the tube in my lips. I watched the red liquid rush up the tube to my face. I had that sensation you get on a roller coaster as you’re shooting down the best slalom.
Okay who hasn’t cut their finger and licked it. But that’s not the taste you get when you mainline it from someone’s neck. Sweet nectar of the gods it ain’t. It’s just nasty. It reminded me off what a raw steak must taste like if you run it through a juicer . . . only much worse.
I thought I was going to barf, and wretched and gagged for at least a couple full minutes, but Anita held my face tight shut. I was coughing her blood out of my nose and she was saying, “there there, it’s almost over, it’s almost over, a little bit more, just a little more, good boy.” Like she was talking to a puppy, and then she repeated the whole thing three or four times. Finally, I could feel her fingers loosening their hold on me.
A little woozy, she leaned herself and me backwards as she pulled the needle from her neck. A tiny jet of red shot from the hole. Putting her finger on it, it stopped bleeding and when she pulled her hand away there was no sign of any puncture at all. She collapsed on top of me and lay there panting for a few seconds.
Eventually Anita said “I have a wedding present for you,” while putting her hands on both sides of my face. She smiled.
Kissing me again, Anita ran her fingers through my hair. My head tingled all over and I could hear Annika saying “tell her to find her own boyfriend,” but as she did, the sound of her voice faded away.
“What did you do?”
“If you want to hear her now, you have to listen for it. Rather than if you don’t want to hear her and have to turn it off.” I was shaking my head in disbelief and lack of understanding. “Let’s just say that I switched the default to off.” I lay my head back on the pillow silently saying Annika, Annika are you there?
Just then the door burst open and Annika raced in pushing Anita out of the way. She put her hands on my heart and my forehead and kissed my face several times. Finally she stopped and stared hard at Anita, “Mother, I can run my own life just fine without your meddling. Thank you. Now get out.”
“I do you a favor and this is the thanks I get. You ungrateful little bitch.” Anita practically flew out of the room.
“I hope the next family reunion’s not for a little while.” I said with a sigh.