Ah yes, I am back again for another Halloween!
I know I have been depressingly silent for the past few months, and for that I apologize. I have been re-vamping the Poisoner series, and all of that. I will let all of you guys know when any further developments happen--just check my profile page!
Alright, when we left of, Peter was going to drive Kristopher home. Wow, new POV and everything.
My roommate didn't bother to look up when I stumbled in around noon. Peter had offered to help me up the three flights of stairs, but I'd turned him down. I'd already been enough of a bother--barging into his house in the middle of a thunderstorm, bleeding all over his shower, and getting him in trouble with his parents. Not to mention nearly raping him on the living room floor. Even after all that, he still drove me home. God, he offered to buy me lunch.
And I'd thought gentleman only existed in fiction.
I was still sore all over, body aching like it had been pummeled. I staggered a little against the closet door, making the sort of sound that you wouldn't expect to come out of the mouth of a guy my age. Josh looked up from his textbook and raised an eyebrow.
I gave a very short laugh. "You have no idea."
He stretched, shirt riding up, basketball-sculpted biceps straining. His skin was nearly the same color as the dark wood of the desk.
I could never be sure if it was a deliberate tease, but it happened with a lot of good-looking straight guys, provided they weren't homophobic. They loved it when you admitted you were attracted to them. It gave them another boost to their ego--not only did girls want them, guys wanted them too. They must be hot.
"You're lucky Halloween was on a Friday this year, man," Josh said, eyes going back to his book. "Or you're be fucked. What'd you do last night, anyway?"
Josh did that all the time. He fiercely maintained that he didn't want to know anything about my alternative lifestyle, and that the the thought of two guys getting naked and rubbing sausages (his words, not mine) made him nauseous. Still, he insisted on asking me leading questions about my exploits. I wasn't sure it it was some deeply buried latent homosexuality talking, or just morbid fascination.
"Oh, you know." I sank gingerly into my desk chair. I was still pretty sore. "Getting bit by vampires. Raping guys on their living room floors."
"Funny," Josh commented, turning the page of his book. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. You'll be pleased to know that I, for one, got laid last night."
"Mh." I attempted to convey how much I didn't care with a single sound through my lips. My throat was a little sore as well.
Josh seemed to get laid all the time, in increasingly unlikely places and impossible positions, with an ever-growing list of girls, none of which I had ever met. I just couldn't will myself to believe that there were that many air-headed Freshman running around. It wasn't a very big school.
"I think I'm going to take a nap," I said a few minutes later. I stood up again and pulled my shirt off.
"Okay, but I can't turn the light off." Josh dinged his pencil against his desk lap, sending an eerie chime through the room. "I have to read this."
What wasn't so fine was the fact that I had to climb a flimsy wooden ladder to get to my bed--all the beds in the dorm were lofted; there wouldn't be any room to walk if they hadn't been. That's how small the rooms were.
Let my give you some handy advice--if you're going to go temporarily insane and have violent sex, don't put yourself in a position where you have to climb a ladder immediately afterward. The two things don't mix. I literally collapsed into bed.
My dreams were muddled and dark--I think there were things with wings and claws, following me, finding me no matter where I ran. Peter was there, too. Always standing just out of reach. I think, toward the end, one of the clawed things got him.
When I woke up it was nearly dark, the tops of the trees outside my window ghostly against the sky. It looked like Josh had turned his lamp off after all. The shapes of the two desks were eerie in the darkness.
The cuts on my neck felt hot and oddly sensitive. They weren't swollen at all, which struck me as strange. I tried not to touch them--whenever I did I got a weird, fluttery, clenching feeling in my lower stomach, like the beginning of a hard on.
I had a rough time getting down the ladder of the bed. Everything was a little swimmy--I think it had a lot to do with losing blood and then not eating for almost a day.
I tired nibbling on some crackers, but they mostly just made me feel sicker. I stumbled into the shower (I was all sweaty and I smelled like sex), holding onto the shower head to stay upright. I shampooed my hair, washed behind my ears, and thought about Peter. I hadn't really had anyone to lust after since I'd come to college--no one I'd met had really interested me. The people in the campus LGBT Alliance group weren't really the sort I could see myself getting into. A little too fabulous.
Peter wasn't exactly my type either. All my boyfriends (the whopping two that I'd had) had been bigger than me--muscly and tall. A lacrosse player from across town who didn't want to risk dating a boy in his own school, and an older guy, a mechanic. And yes, thank you, I have heard the lube-job joke before.
Peter seemed more like the sort of guy who'd dyed his hair black in high school, and had had a bunch of clever pins on his book bag. Maybe got in trouble for reading during class. Got called a fag because of his tight jeans. Still, he'd been sexy as hell, and probably as hard up as I was.
It was sort of cool--as well as being unbelievable and totally mortifying, and more than a little painful. It eliminated all that wondering and hesitation, the 'are we friends, are we more than friends, are you gay, do you like cock?' sort of akwardness that you inevitably went through.
I wondered if he'd want to see me again. Probably not, since I'd all but charged him to the ground and had my way with him, as well as ruining his carpet. Man, I hadn't even bought him a drink or something, just gone right ahead and nearly forced him to--
The shower stall spun around me, and this time it had nothing to do with loss of blood. What if he'd had some sort of disease? Herpes, or something like that? God, what if he'd had HIV?
I put my head in my hands, leaning back against the slippery tile wall and groaning. This just hadn't been my day.
I finished up my shower and pulled on some jeans that I was almost certain weren't clean and towled my hair dry. I didn't turn on the light--they wre harsh and bright and tended to hurt my eyes. Besides, it wasn't that dark yet.
Five thirty. I had half an hour to get to the Health Center before it closed. I at least wanted to get a nurse to look at my neck, just to make sure it wasn't infected or anything nastly like that.
It was windy and wet outside--not raining yet, but the atmosphere felt heavy with water. My head was fuzzy and strange as I climbed the steps outside the dorm, like I was coming out of a fever. The wind slippecd and slid over my skin. I hadn't thought to bring a coat, but I wasn't cold. In fact, the wind felt good against my clammy face.
It would have been quicker to walk through the Student Union, but I didn't want to run into anyone I knew, or anyone at all. I took the long way round, up another flight of steps and across a tiny parking lot that only Seniors were allowed to use.
At the far end of the lot was a line of maple trees, their branches an explosion of red and orange for the season. A man stepped out from under them. I hadn't seen him at first, since his sweater was a deep burgdandy, making him into a perfect part of the scene.
"Professor Cole," I said, faintly rattled. I hadn't been expecting to see anyone out, especially not on a wet and wild Saturday just after Halloween.
"You know I prefer students to call me Robert. 'Professor' just makes me feel so old." He smiled to himself, as if sharing in some private joke.
Professor Robert Cole taught Modern Philosophy and was advisor to the Philosophy Club. He was in his late thirties, with glasses and dark hair that fell into his eyes. He was taller than I was, and very lean, with a penchant for wearing oversized sweaters and jeans a size too big. I wasn't sure if it was to enhance the rumpled academic look, or to hide his great ass, which I'd noticed when he'd dressed up as a Court Philosopher last week. A lot of the professors dressed up for halloween, as dorky as it sounded.
"Robert," I amended. I didn't bother to try to return his smile. I felt too funny, sort of like the color was bleeding out of the world. All I could see was the deep, bleeding red of his sweater and the slight flush of exertion in his face.
He frowned. "Are you alright, Kristopher? You look awful."
I snorted. "Thanks."
"You know that's not what I...are you ill?" His concern washed over me in an odd wave. He stepped closer and I stepped back. His frown deepened. "Are you drunk?"
I shook my head, but then stopped when it made everything spin. "No, I'm j-just sick. Going to the Health Center."
"Would you like me to walk you there?"
"No. I'm okay." I didn't know why I was refusing--it would have been much easier to walk there with someone to lean on. The color of his sweater and the trees were getting brighter and brighter, along with the smell of wet earth, the low hissing of tires on asphalt. I felt like I might pass out.
His hand gripped my shoulder tightly. A jolt of energy went through me, everything coming back into focus. It was as if the human contact had saved me from drowning in my senses.
"I-I'm alright," I assured him. "I'll be fine."
He squeezed my shoulder, leaving his hand there a moment longer than I thought was necessary. Something else to wonder about.
"Well, if you need anything..."
"Thanks. I'll let you know."
It grew increasingly windy as I walked across the Quad. On sunny weekends, students would bring blankets out onto the grass and study, or at least attempt to study. A lot of them seemed to end up napping or making out, both much more interesting than history or American lit. Today it was empty--a ghost town. As I watched, a single girl with a long colorful skirt crossed to the library, hair streaming behind her, a dark banner against the grey brick of the buildings.
The Health Center was predictably overcrowded. It was flu season, and the day after Halloween, and the remnants of various binge-behaviors were floating in for some medical attention. I stepped up to the little window in the lobby. An elderly woman dressed in scrubs with dancing cats on them was clicking rhythmically on an ancient desktop computer.
"I can't fit you in today, honey," she said without looking up. She had the sort of voice that could only be achieved through a life full of irritation and several decades of inhaling smoke. I had an aunt who sounded like that. "Not unless it's an emergency."
"I'm not really sure if it's an emergency." I twitched aside the collar of my shirt. The secretary's eyes widened.
"Sweetie, what happened to you? That looks awful. Is...is it real?" She suddenly looked highly suspicious. "You playing a joke?"
"It's real," I said faintly, annoyed. "I don't know how it happened." I hadn't staggered all the way down here just to be called various pet names. "I just want somebody to take a look at it."
"Well, I'm going to recommend that you get yourself to an emergency room. Get someone to drive you, or call an ambulance." She suddenly sounded much more professional, sort of like she was quoting. "Open wounds are a very serious matter."
I wondered if she was trying to make a joke.
"And if this was the product of hazing--."
"It wasn't." I stumbled back from the window. "Thanks anyway."
I should have known better than to go to the school nurse with a vampire bite on the side of my neck. They would either not take me seriously, or completely freak out. People were useless. I pushed my way out of the building, nearly plowing into a girl who was standing on the sidewalk.
She extracted herself from her cellphone conversation just long enough to yell, "Excuse you!" as I stumbled away.
"Sorry." It was so quiet I barely heard the word myself.
The storm was almost upon me, wind ripping at the trees, yellow leaves falling in a steady cascade from the line of oaks that surrounded the quad.
The world was beginning to take over again, sounds and colors bleeding together, the smell of damp earth and approaching rain becoming too much all at once. I stumbled back across the open sea of grass, hands going to my neck. The cuts were burning hot, the barest touch sending shivers flying through me. I wasn't sure how it happened, but one moment I was swaying on my feet, and the next I was on my knees, mud soaking through my jeans. I passed out before I could get a good look, but I think there was someone standing over me, watching me fall.
I didn't dream while I was asleep, but I was still strangely conscious of someone moving around me. I could feel tingling in the tips of the my fingers and toes, and I think at one point I may have sat up and looked around without really seeing anything, before exhaustion dragged me back under.
When I finally did wake up I was in semi-darkness, lying on something soft. A bed, a big one, with the soft, silky sort of sheets that felt like heaven after months of living in a dorm. There were bookshelves lining the walls, stuffed to capacity, overflowing onto the carpet and the bedside table.
The only light came from a few candles, burned down to stubs, as if they'd been left there for hours. The window was wide open, white, gauzy curtains moving like ghosts--just a little late for Halloween.
It was raining outside, lighting criss-crossing its way actoss the sky. I lay still and counted the seconds between flashes. One, two, three, four, five. I wasn't sure if this was the same storm I'd seen approaching over the quad, or a totally new one. I had no idea how long I had been asleep.
I wasn't alone--there was someone in bed with me. We were both naked. For just a moment, I thought back to Peter, of waking up beside him in the early hours of the morning, sticky and shaken to the bone. I was making a habit of this.
The person beside me now wasn't Peter. His skin was much darker, hair braided tightly. His arms were powerful, muscled from the repetitive motion of basketball. I knew that, since he'd spent so many nights giving me blow by blow accounts of his games, even though I had absolutely no interest in them at all. There was a thin, jagged scar on his hip, which he'd told me he'd got in a knife fight, but looked more like an altercation with a green house or a sliding glass door.
"Josh." I sat up, a little groggily, taking him by the shoulders. "Josh." I gave him a shake. "Come on, man." He didn't move, but he was alive. I didn't know how I knew that.
I let my eyes wander over the rest of him, rationalizing that I was checking for any further damage, though in all honesty I just wanted to check him out. I'd never seen him naked before. Now, at least I knew he hadn't been exaggerating about one thing--he did have a big dick. Even soft.
I was reaching for him before I knew what I was doing. I cupped him in my palm, stroking slow and easy. That made him move, just a little. His legs twitched, thighs parting just the tiniest bit, but it was enough for me to see the two sets of marks on his inner thighs, perfect matches to the ones on my neck. I let got of his cock and scrambled away, up against the headboard, nearly braining myself against the dark wood.
"Josh!" I yelled it this time, voice echoing through the little room. He didn't move. He was comatose. I hesitated for a moment, before reaching in and pulling the sheet up over his splayed legs. The sight of the bites left me feeling shaky and hot, in a not-altogether unpleasant way.
I rolled off the bed, ending up sprawled on the carpet when my legs refused to hold me. I took several deep breaths, which didn't really help. Eventually the world righted itself and I was able to stand up.
I tripped over some books on my way to the door, wondering what it said about me that in the past two days I had woken up in bed with two different man. Best not to dwell on it. My clothes were nowhere to be seen, but I didn't really care--they wouldn't protect me from anything that could be waiting.
I was half-afraid I'd find the door locked, but it swung open when I turned the knob.
The door opened to a short hallway. There were black and white photographs on the walls, and one hanging on the back of another closed door, but it was too dim for me to see what they were of, if anything at all. I left the door ajar behind me, wobbling into the living room.
There were more shelves out here, but they were much more orderly, the only books that weren't put away stacked neatly on the coffee table. The sofa was old and soft looking, and there was a slight dent on the right side, as if whoever used it always sat in the same place, and never had any visitors. Everything smelled of cinnammon, and it took me a moment to realize that it was from more candles, scattered over the coffee table and the shelves. The windows were open, as well as a pair of french doors that led out to a small private balcony.
Everything felt decidedly staged--like the candles, the billowing curtains, the stacked books, even the sound of the rain had been arranged just so. Someone wanted to make an impression.
Well, the impression had been made. I was standing naked in the middle of a stranger's living room. I'd had jsut about enough.
"Hello?" I called, more irritated than scared. "Hello? Is anybody home?"
Nobody answered. I walked into the kitchen. It was small, but the appliances were new and looked like they hadn't really been used. The granite counters were spotless and the refrigerator was empty except for a six pack of some sort of foreign beer. The label was all in German, or something equally mystifying. There were no phones anywhere in the apartment, or clocks. Well, I wouldn't suppose whoever it was would want to make it easy for me.
I called, "Hello!" one more time, before going back into the living room and sitting down on the couch. I had no desire to go back into the room with Josh, even if he was sleeping. Through the open French doors I could see a small, empty parking lot several stories down, and beyond that was woods.
Thinking back on that night now, I wonder why it never occurred to me to try to get out. Just pick Josh up and leave, or perhaps, just leave him there and save myself. Sometimes, cowardice was justifiable. But I wasn't scared, and I knew I had to wait. What for, I had no idea.
I'd scarcely been sitting for more than ten minutes, when there was a sound outside the door. Footsteps, and then the jingling of keys, followed by the scraping of a deadbolt. I stood up and waited, naked and even more irritated than before. What happened next left me utterly and completely dumbfounded.
The door opened and Professor Robert Cole walked in.
He smiled, and it was a very different smile than the one he used in class. That one was always friendly, like nothing could have pleased him more than to see everyone there, bright and early and ready to learn. This was a predator's smile, the sort of look guys in the bars gave you--the ones that say you're nothing but a piece of ass. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about.
"Kristopher, call me Robert. I've asked you so many times."
"What the fuck is going on?" I demanded, curling my fists and resisting the very strong urge to stomp my feet and yell. "And what's wrong with Josh?"
"Josh?" Robert frowned. "Ah, yes. The black-a-moor."
"That's what they were called during the reign of Queen Victoria," Robert answered, still smiling.
"They? What do you mean, Queen Victoria? What is wrong with you?"
This was really throwing me. I'd always liked Professor Cole, Robert, whatever. He was smart and one of the best professors I have ever had. Plus, he was attractive, and it was always nice to have something to look at during study section.
It was disconcerting, to find out he was some sort of psycho pervert.
"You fainted out on the quad," he said, dropping his keys on the coffee table. It was the only thing standing between us at the moment. "I picked you up there. You woke up much sooner than you should have. If I'd known, I would have been home earlier. I wanted to wake up beside you."
Those words should have creeped me out. They really should have. Instead I felt heat flash through me. When I spoke, my voice was shaky.
"What's with the serial killer ambiance?"
"Oh, the candles?" Robert laughed, a soft, deeply electric sound that made me shiver. "Do you not see the storm outside?" He glanced across the room to the French doors, where the rain had soaked into the carpet. "The people on the radio say it's the worst one yet this year. The power's out for the whole county. That, and the smell is quite stirring, don't you think?"
I nodded. The air smelled of ozone and damp, decaying earth, the storm saturating into everything. It occurred to me that he could have been talking about the candles. Well, those smelled nice too.
For the first time, I noticed the slightest trace of an accent in his voice, folded in. Rich, slightly rolled r's and deep, purring vowels. I was very thankful that I wasn't getting hard. Completely naked as I was, there would be no way to hide it. It was sort of odd, since I was definitely turned on.
We stared at each other for a few moments, the candlelight flickering over his face, turning his skin golden. His eyes were dark and intense. He was dressed in a dark jacket and a pair of loose jeans. He looked just like my professor, and the same time, not at all. There was something distinctly abnormal about him, besides the fact that he was obviously nuts.
"What are you?" I asked it before I'd even realized I'd opened my mouth.
Robert took another step toward me, pacing around the coffee table. I didn't move--it was if his eyes were headlights and I was a dear, frozen in the face of my own destruction.
"What do you think, Kristopher? Every good teacher knows you can't just tell a child something. They have to figure it out for themselves."
"I'm not a child," I protested, and immediately felt very stupid.
"No," Robert agreed. "You most definitely are not." There was fire in his eyes as he looked me up and down. "That's why I chose you and not any of them. Most of them are stupid and arrogant. They don't deserve this incredible gift."
"Gift? I don't know what--."
Robert raised a hand, stopping me mid-sentence. He closed the last few feet between us, and I wanted to move away. Honestly, I did. I tried, but it was like there was a roadblock between my brain and my limbs. Instead I just swallowed, leaning into him as he traced his fingers along my jaw, tipping my head back. His thumb teased over the cuts on my neck, making me shiver. The were immediately scratchy and hot again, like they'd been right before I'd jumped Peter back in his house.
"You did this," I said, finally getting my tongue to cooperate. "You attacked me in the woods."
The muscles in Robert's face twitched, as if he were aching to do something and wouldn't let himself. "Yes." He was still staring at my neck.
"And you did that to Josh. Bit him too."
"Yes." He was leaning closer.
His eyes jumped to mine. "Yes."
I smacked his hand away. "You're insane. This is a joke, this has to be a fucking joke." I glanced over my shoulder, searching for something, some sign that this was just a stupid prank, something silly to do to the Freshman on his first Halloween on campus.
Robert's hand caught me round the shoulder, forced me to look back at him.
"Kristopher." The way he said my name, rolling the r's all the way now, accent thickening...it was like pure sex. "It is not a joke. You know it is not a joke. Don't lie to yourself."
I bared my teeth. "I'm not lying to myself! Just get off me!" I jerked away, stumbling over my feet and falling to the carpet, pinned between the sofa and the coffee table.
Robert leaned down, suddenly all I could see, filling every inch of my vision.
"What was your illness the past day? Was that a joke as well? And your sudden, overwhelming need for that boy, what was that?"
I went cold inside. "How do you know about that? Did you do something to Peter? Were you watching us?"
Robert shook his head, hair falling into his eyes. "Why would I do that, when I can feel you from anywhere? The first few days, everywhere you go we are connected. I knew the moment that boy touched, the moment he was inside you."
"You're...you're crazy," I repeated, sounding more and more desperate.
"Am I?" Robert smiled. "Then why don't you leave?"
In that moment, I hated him so much. I couldn't leave, and we both knew it. There was something keeping me rooted to the spot, unable to move. "I-I can't find my clothes," I answered lamely.
He laughed. "Surely that can be put aside, when you're attempting to escape from a madman."
Touche. "I...I don't know," I said at last. "I don't know why."
"I value you as one of my best students," Robert went on, drawing even closer than before, "Because you are willing to listen, to change your mind. To be led in another direction. Don't close your mind now."
"Is that why I can't leave?" I asked softly. "Is it some sort of crazy vampire thing?"
"You are still weak," Robert said by way of answer. "It will be very hard for you to go against my wishes, or the wishes of any other vampires around you."
"Are there any other vampires here?" I glanced over my shoulder again, half-expecting the room to be filled to the brim, maybe a couple of them poking their heads out of the kitchen cabinets.
Robert smiled, teeth gleaming. I had no idea how I hadn't noticed them before. Maybe they came and went, or unsheathed, like they did in the movies. That was a distrubing thought.
"No, there are no other vampires here. In this building, even on this campus. This is my territory."
"You have territory? What are you, a jungle cat?"
He chuckled softly, appreciatively, as if he couldn't think of anything more endearing than me asking stupid questions. "Perhaps. Now, you need to eat something." He slid smoothly to his feet. It was strange--he'd never seemed particularly graceful before. "Follow me."
I let him take my hand and pull me away from the couch. Honestly, I was so numb that he could have lead me anywhere and I wouldn't have protested. I headed automatically in the direction of the kitchen, but he pulled me to the other side of the apartment. When we reached the door to the bedroom, I held back.
Eat something, he'd said.
"You can't mean..." Josh was still lying on the big, rumpled bed, in the exact same position as before. His chest rose and fell slowly as he slept. "I'm not going to eat my friend."
"Your friend?" Robert frowned. "I thought you didn't care for him."
"What? I never said that, I just..." But yes, there had been that one day, in philosophy, when I'd complained aloud, jokingly, about living with the a straight guy and having to listen to his girl-fucking exploits. Professor Cole hadn't even been in the room for that.
"I do like Josh," I protested. "And even if I didn't, I wouldn't want him dead."
"This will not kill him. Not if I am with you."
"Really?" That seemed odd. "Won't I just...drink him dry?"
Robert grinned. "You've watched too many movies. In life, things are much, much different."
"I'm still not convinced this isn't a movie," I said, following him grudgingly into the book lined room. "Or a cheesy horror novel."
The storm raged on outside, wind thrashing the curtains, raindrops drumming down on the side of the building. As we stood there staring at the naked boy on the bed, thunder crashed, lightening bringing the room into stark, murder-soaked relief. I suddenly felt very sick.