I looked at the numbers, glowing red in the complete darkness. I let my entire mind focus on them, dwell on the shape of the line, memorize their form. I knew that soon, my solitude would be broken as the numbers turned, the hour turned, the day turned, but for now I could rest and watch the glowing numbers. 11:59. It seemed that those numbers were the only things real in there right then, everything else was unimportant. They were the only things protecting me from my monsters.
Many of you don't belief in monsters, I don't blame you. They aren't grotesque half creatures with the need for human flesh, or even vague shadowy forms. They are just there. Coming. Slowly creeping in midnight's wake. They don't stop. They only come. Dawn's first rays vanish them once again to their realms. But the night is their time.
My monster doesn't come out of the closet or creep from beneath my bed. I look up, and there he is, standing over me with that grin on his face. His hair is dark, his skin is pale, his eyes seem to be more pools of ink than eyes. That wide grin stretches across his face and the glint shines in his eyes.
He sits down on the bed, as if we are friends. I want to scream, to run, but I know it is useless. No one else can see him.
"Hello, dear," he says in a sweet-as-honey voice. The grin is still there. He wraps one arm around my shoulders. "I've missed you so much."
I am silent. Five hours and then the sun will rise. I hope.
"You look tired, haven't been sleeping well?"
I want to scream at him. Of course not. I can't ever sleep. Not knowing he will come.
He pulls me up. I am standing in the middle of my room now. He pulls me toward the mirror and I groan inwardly. Not again. We stand in front of the mirror. He is taller than me and his reflection barely fits. I look at myself. My brunette hair is in a disheveled array from tossing and turning; my hazel eyes are heavy with loss of sleep. He clenches his hand around mine and walks forward. I learned long ago not to try to stay. He brushes away the mirror as if it was a curtain and we are standing in front of a street. I could have been a normal street corner, but I know better. The people all feel wrong.
We step through. Loud music blares from down the road, but he walks passed. A few raise a hand in greeting. Most pass by without a glance.
"Where now, dear Cassie, where tonight?"
Silence. I doesn't matter what I say. I want to go home, to lay down and forget about our twin universe. But that is not an option.
"Well, dear, you decide, I'll be back." He walked away towards the theater where he seems to be consulting the movie listings. He knows I can't leave until dawn or he leads me back through the veil. I stand there, waiting. When he comes back, I know what will happen.
He comes. "Well, love, nothing good on. How about the storehouse."
"No!" I spoke for the first time that night, maybe for the first time in a year.
"Nice to hear you still can speak, let's go." He dragged me along and eventually I follow. The storehouse is a run down building. The glass is dusty, windows broken, door barely holding on at the hinges.
We walked in. I hated this place. Boxes stacked to the ceiling, filled almost to the busting, but that wasn't what we were here for. We walked through the old building, dust falling at our footfalls and noise growing louder by the second. In the very back, there was a party. Crimson strobe lights were flashing in time to the loud music and bodies crammed the small dance floor. I had never been to a party here before. What types of creatures were here? I had heard tales of vampires that lurked in this world, but had never met one. But as I looked around, I could see three or four feeding in the corners. I shuddered. He wove his way through the crowd. There were many greetings and waves as he passed. He seemed like a pretty popular guy around here.
He came and sat back down, carrying two drinks. "Here, love." I took the glass, but let it sit there.
"A new person will join us tonight. You know her," he whispered.
I nearly spilt the drink in my alarm. "Who?"
"He looked, the maniacal grin shifting to a smirk. "She's very close to you."
My alarm grew. "Who is it?"
"He stood, my question unanswered. There was a clock in one corner. 3:13. I groaned. I couldn't take another two hours of it. It wasn't ten minutes before he was back.
"Don't you want to dance, sweet?"
I turned away and seemed to be studying the clock. Slowly, the seconds ticked by. Seeming to drag an eternity out of that single motion.
Someone began talking. "Hey Derrick, that the new girl?" I turned to see a tall, brown headed man pointing towards me. It couldn't be. I looked at Derrick and could read the truth in his eyes.
Standing, my feet seemed to move of their own accord, sending me out the door at a run. Thoughts raced through my head at a blur. He had tricked me. The streets rushed by. Where I went, I don't know. The only thing I was sure of was the sounds of my pulse beating in my ears and my feet slapping the crumbling pavement. Time sped past. My legs grew heavy and the lack of sleep caught up with me, dragging me down. I sunk to the worn pavement, breaths coming in ragged gasps. I could feel the cool ground rising to meet me. Then I hit. I couldn't move. I could hear their steps coming, but I couldn't find it within me to care.
He lifted me from the ground. "Dear, that wasn't very good."
I struggled with words. "Never," was all I could gasp out. The sun came up on the horizon, turning it a light pink. He smiled.
"Too late, love."