Monday, October 29, 2012

Chapter 19

Chapter 19

Regan walked through the front doors of O’Patrick’s Pub, Grill and Common House as she had nearly every night for the entire duration of her college career and the several years following.  There was a stool towards the back door, that had been her home four nights out of five where she had studied, written term papers, met with a friend to discuss class, or just sit and enjoy the atmosphere.  It was far enough from the front of the pub that she could have some peace, but the bartenders were never too far to hear her request for another mocha, or to change up her drink to something potent.  She made her way, as though tonight was any other night, to her stool and took a seat.

The fact that she was dressed in the long flowing satin of her wedding gown was the furthest thing from her mind.  The other patrons gawked as she passed, her train now filithy with dirt and grime, the result of leaving a fair portion of it outside the car door as she had sped away from the church.  Harrison was probably still there, or had gone to her townhouse expecting to find her, to talk some sense into her.  Emma would do the same.  Her current cubicle-mate, Drake, would probably be finding a barely-polite way to ask if there was still a reception even if the wedding was off, and if it still featured an open bar.  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chapter 18

Chapter 18

Once, when she was eight, Regan’s cousin had dared her to climb higher in the old oak tree in their grandparent’s backyard.  The affair was complicated by the fact that both of them were in black dresses from their grandfather’s funeral.  Things had been somber and with most of the family seeing to her grandmother, no one had really noticed the two slip out the back door, step out of their patent leather dress shoes and start up the limbs.  

Regan had been sure that a few branches up her cousin would declare they had gone high enough.  Truthfully, Regan would have been happy to have lost the wager, but at least wanted to give her cousin the satisfaction of a close race.  They had climbed past the first story windows without anyone noticing.  As they passed the second story windows, Regan had torn her tights, but she had climbed on keeping pace with her cousin.  They were even the roof of the house when they had stopped and the “one more branch” dares had begun.  

It was on the third such dare that the branch her now-bare feet used for support had given way.  The lower limbs of the tree had mostly broken her fall, but she had landed hard on the ground and convinced herself in those moments before the blackness overtook her that she had in fact died and that her final thoughts on this earth were looking up, thirty feet, at her cousin’s panicked expression.  It was the most excruciating physical pain she had known, and from that moment on had never climbed another tree, literally or figuratively.

Now, laying on the concrete floor of her unfinished basement, Regan’s mind flashed back to that moment and made an effort to compare her the sensation of a broken collar bone to what had been little more than a few really good bruises.  Indeed the comparison was easily a dozen orders of magnitude different.  It did, on the other hand, manage to distract her from the still burning pain along her leg where the sunlight had touched it, cooking the flesh almost instantly.  She was quite sure she would never walk again, provided she survived this ordeal.

Her phone was just out of reach, the display still on, and flashing bright white light upwards into the unfinished rafters.  She stretched, feeling the blasts of pain along her chest, her fingers crawling along the surface towards the device.  Apparently the case was a good investment.  She fought to move the inches before her fingers finally started to scrape along the edges of the case.  Finally her nail caught the edge of it and pulled it up on end and then over into her hand.  She pressed down the single button and coughed reflexively as blood continued to pool places it should not be.  The sensations were an unpleasant reminder that were she human she would be dead.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chapter 17

Chapter 17

“Absolutely not.”

Emma frowned in frustration.  “For all I know- for all you know- once someone is bit they can’t be bit by someone else.  Wouldn’t it make sense for you to be that person, the one person who can bite me?”

Regan shook her head.  “No.  Just no.  We don’t know how any of this works, really, and I’m not going to put you in danger by drinking your blood.”  She looked over at her life-long best friend while they drove.  “The answer is ‘no’.”

“And what if that blonde gets to me first?  What if she catches me out in the open?”  She turned to look out the window.  “I’m starting to put this together, Regan, and it’s starting to scare me.”  She sighed.  “Geez, I don’t even know what’s safe any more.”

Regan did not know either, but rather than say so, let an uncomfortable silence over take them.  She drove on, unsure how to assure her friend that this was for the best.  There were too many unknowns, too many variables.  Then there was the possibility she would not know when to stop.  Every time she took hold of Shannon, the young woman who came twice a week to drop off packages and share a ‘kiss’ with Regan, there was a moment of horror that this would be time she did not stop.  With each bite into the girl’s flesh, Regan feared she would not let go.  How could she put Emma in that position?  How could she take that responsibility?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chapter 16

Chapter 16

“So, Reg,” Emma asked as they rode along towards Stacy’s off-campus apartment.  “Did you break out the designer threads for me or for the Earl?”

Regan turned from watching the suburbs streaking past them to stare at her best friend for life.  “Designer threads?”

“I remember when you got that blouse,” Emma explained.  “I helped Harrison pick it out.  The thing cost in the ballpark of two hundred dollars.”  She reached out and rolled the sleeve between her fingers.  “It’s softer than a baby’s bottom and you swore you’d never wear anything that expensive, ever.  Which has me wondering why you felt the need to change it up.”  She pointed down into the darkened floor of the backseat they shared. “Plus those heels?  Choo.  Trust me, I know my over-five-hundred-dollar-shoes.”