|By Invitation Only
Author: Spookshow Whiplash PM
Jaycee had never met a vampire before. She wished she'd been better prepared for a conversation like this. "So do you sleep in a coffin, and all that?" "No," he answered. "That's a stereotype. A bit offensive, actually."Rated: Fiction T - English - Horror/Supernatural - Words: 2,112 - Favs: 3 - Published: 10-08-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3064230
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Jaycee had never met a vampire before.
At first she thought she was looking at a ghost. Possibly a zombie, if she'd been a little more into sci-fi. His eyes were a glossy shade of pitch black, and his empty veins robbed all tones of life from his skin.
He was tall, with dark hair and dark eyes; handsome, if eerily dead-looking. It took her a couple minutes to piece together exactly what he was—but then she saw the teeth. The single pair of long, pearly canines.
There he stood—right in the middle of her front lawn, in the dead of night, staring up at her second floor bedroom window with an oddly curious expression. Jaycee had been on her way to bed when she passed by the window and did an immediate double-take. She'd half expected him to disappear when she looked again: some imagined monster only existent in her peripheral vision. But lo and behold—there he was. A tried-and-true vampire. In her front yard, of all places. Cautiously, watching him with narrow eyes, she slid her window open and leaned her head out. "…can I help you?"
His voice was oddly flat—cold, with only the vaguest hint of some long-dead accent. He stared straight at her, and with the tiniest indication of a smile, said, "Hello."
Jaycee only stared. "…um. Hi."
"I hope you don't mind," he continued politely. "But I was wondering if perhaps you'd like to talk to me?"
Jaycee was almost ninety-percent sure she was supposed to call someone. Possibly the police, although she wasn't exactly sure how to go about reporting something like this. She frowned. "You're a vampire, aren't you?"
His smile crumpled, crestfallen, and with a guilty voice he admitted, "Well…yes, technically. But I promise I don't bite. Figuratively speaking." After a moment's hesitation he added the hasty amendment, "Well, also literally, I suppose, but…wait!"
Jaycee had swiftly secured both hands on the window, two seconds away from slamming it shut.
"Wait," he pleaded. "Don't go yet. Can't you just…talk to me for a bit? Only for a little while. Then I promise I'll leave."
Jaycee raised an eyebrow, curious. "…what am I supposed to talk about?"
"Whatever you like."
She turned that thought over in her head for a moment, curiosity only growing. "You sure you're in the right place?"
He gave a slow glance to his left, then his right, before returning his gaze to her. "Seems fine to me."
Huh. Jaycee drummed her fingers atop her windowsill, thinking. "Shouldn't you be off in a city somewhere?"
"Not a fan," he replied. "Noisy places, cities are."
"I guess." She wished she'd been better prepared for a conversation like this. Honestly, she had no clue what vampires liked to talk about. She only had movies to go off, and she wasn't too confident in their validity. "So do you sleep in a coffin, and all that?"
"No," he answered. "That's a stereotype. A bit offensive, actually."
"Oh. Well. Sorry, then."
"Not your fault," he granted. "Happens to the best of us."
"But you are dead, yeah?"
"Undead," he politely corrected.
"Undead, right. Sorry—still getting the hang of this. I've never met a vampire before." She folded her arms, and tried to think of a better question. "Why are you down there, anyway?"
The vampire looked puzzled. "Where else would I be?"
"No, I mean why do you choose to stand smack in the middle of my front lawn? It's not a very conventional place to hold a conversation."
"Well I can't very well come inside," he answered.
"And why, pray tell, is that?"
"I'd need an invitation," he stated cordially. "Of course."
"Of course," she repeated, nodding sagely. "And you just want me to…talk?"
"Please," he beseeched. "I'll be forever in debt to your gratitude."
Jaycee studied the vampire suspiciously. "You're oddly polite, for a movie monster."
"Chivalry never dies."
"Uh huh." Resting her head atop her folded arms, she called down, "So why are you so interested in conversation, anyway?"
"I get…lonely, sometimes," he admitted. "It's nice to just talk to someone. Even if it's not for very long."
"Don't you have fun vampire things you can be doing? Exclusive parties to go to, exciting places to see…you know. Sort of like those Anne Rice movies. That sort of stuff."
At that the vampire only frowned. "Not exactly. I'm afraid being a vampire isn't very much fun at all, to be truthful. It's terribly lonely."
She wasn't particularly sure what it was that snagged her empathy. Maybe it was the subtle note of tragedy in his tone; a deeply-buried hint of some past stain that made her instinctively frown in pity. She straightened up, leaning her weight on one arm. "I'll talk to you, if you want," she offered. "I don't know how interesting I'll be, but I can give it a shot."
The vampire noticeably brightened. "Thank you very much," he said, dropping his head in a small bow.
"So, what do you want to talk about?"
His head snapped ever so slightly to the side, and he gazed up at her with civil interest to promptly ask, "How was your day?"
"…fine, I guess," she muttered. "Um…how was yours?"
"Average, I suppose. Nothing to rave about, but things could most definitely be worse."
"Right." She raised an eyebrow curiously. "…so how long did you want to talk for, exactly?"
"As long as you'll be gracious enough to allow me to," he answered. "Is there a chance you might perhaps invite me inside?"
Jaycee only laughed. "Yeah, I don't think so."
He nodded politely. "Understandable. Are you still willing to humor me with a conversation?"
"Sure," she relented. "Why not?"
It didn't take long until every night became the same routine.
Every night she'd stay up, elbows resting on the windowsill, and patiently await his return. And every night, at exactly 12:00, he'd arrive. She never saw how he did it; if he walked or flew or merely manifested from the air like an apparition. One moment the night would be empty, and the next his pale form would appear before her, always in the same spot, always motionless, and always without a sound.
And every night, she'd smile and say, "What took you so long?"
Some nights they talked for hours; some only for a few minutes. Sometimes their conversations stretched on through the early morning hours and only ended when the threat of sunrise forced them apart. Jaycee liked those nights the most.
Their conversation topics covered a spectacular range—one night they'd talk about music and movies and the next they'd talk about dreams and regrets and lessons they'd learned. There were two elements, though, that never changed. At the start of every night he would look up to her window and politely ask, "How was your day?" And at the end of their visit—just before they parted ways—he would ask, "Are you going to invite me in tonight?"
Jaycee's answer to the first question varied every night. Her second, however, was always the same. With a coy smile, she'd shake her head and answer, "You'll just have to come back and try again tomorrow."
Eventually he'd listened to enough of her nightly stories to know each of her friends by name. She'd amble on about Tess from volleyball and Jessica's newest boyfriend and Candace's annoying new-found smoking habit, and he'd listen in perfect rapt silence, nodding at the appropriate pauses. It took a little longer, but eventually she managed to spur him into talking about himself. Stiffly, unwilling at first, he began to tell her snippets from his previous life, until after a few days he finally told her about his family. The way he talked about his family was sweet and a little disjointed, as if it'd been years since he'd spoken of them and his ability to voice sentimental memories was rusty.
He was always eager to talk to her, but never pushed her once she said goodnight. Some nights she had to cut their conversing shorter than others due to phone calls or homework or other urgent matters, but lately…lately nothing really struck her as quite urgent enough. She found herself skipping hours of sleep just to keep him talking a little longer. He was undeniably dead, but beating heart or not, he was nothing if not a gentleman—and Jaycee…well, she could appreciate that.
"I like you," he announced one night.
Jaycee only gave a wry smile and pressed a hand to her chest in a faux display of dismay. "Well thanks. I think I like you, too."
"Oh, no." He shook his head, striking a perfect countenance of seriousness. "I can assure you, Miss, I am sincerely a most sordid character. You, however, are very nice." He smiled. "I appreciate nice."
She gave a sly shrug. "What can I say, my mother raised me right."
"…thank you," he said slowly, carefully, as if the words were foreign in his mouth. "Really, though. You didn't have to talk to me. Most people don't."
"Yeah, well." She did her best to shrug in what was meant to be a careless manner. "I'm not most people."
"I know. It's very lovely." His sanguine smile began to fade, though, when his gaze flickered up to the lightening sky. "Damn. The sun will be up soon. I suppose this is goodnight then, love." He gave a courteous bow; the same gesture he accompanied each night's goodbye with. "Oh—almost forgot." He cocked his head with that same hopeful expression she'd become so accustomed to. "Are you going to invite me in tonight?"
But this time Jaycee's reply was different. Her smile widened to an impish grin as she straightened up and answered, "You know? I think I will." Fighting back a smile, she spread her arms in welcome and announced, "I formally invite you into my house."
She didn't see how he did it. One moment he was standing placidly on her front lawn and the next he was perched on her open windowsill, closing a twelve foot gap in the blink of an eye. He cocked his head, smiling politely. "Thank you very much."
Then he ripped into her.
Jaycee was knocked back by the collision, jaw snapping open in a mix of confusion and horror, as he sunk his fangs into her jugular and ripped. There was no time to gasp; to scream; to even take in a single breath—suddenly his cold fingers were digging into the skin of her arms, holding her in place as he threw his head back with a predatory hiss. His teeth came down again—this time piercing the carotid and slashing downward.
She choked on a swelling surge of blood, hands jerking upward. She tried to press her hands to her throat, but discovered that her throat wasn't there anymore. Suffocating on an inhale that couldn't reach her lungs, she stumbled and fell, her body beginning to convulse as the world tilted and dimmed.
The vampire strolled unhurriedly toward her. While she struggled to raise herself on shaking arms, he merely swung a leg over her and dropped down to straddle her body. He flashed a smile—cold and practiced and masking a single pair of long, pearly canines—then bent gracefully down to finish her.
The vampire neatly wiped his face with the corner of the dead teen's bedspread. With a satiated sigh, he pushed himself fluidly up to his feet. Goodness, what a night. He stretched his arms above his head until a satisfactory pop sounded, and with a contented smile strolled back toward the window. He'd cut it a little close tonight; there was only another hour or so before sunrise. But he considered his venture to be an overall success.
"Thanks again, love." He snapped off a solemn salute at the bloodless body sprawled on the bedroom floor. Before he returned to the night, though, he stopped and turned back with a wide-eyed expression of surprise. "Oh, almost forgot." He smiled, and with a sweeping, debonair bow, said, "I formally accept your invitation."