Last week, Chuck didn't put up a challenge - so I dug around my old emails and found an old challenge from a few years back from 2014 - would you believe it??? Yep. Two tables of words.. we pick one from each and used the title to write a story. Mine went from bad to worse... as usual.
There’s a point in your life when your whole perspective on everything changes – it turns on a pin – and you’re never the same. Mine changed from the moment I was handed the box by the delivery guy. He didn’t bother waiting for a signature, he just ran back to his van and took off, wheels screeching from the curb.
Turning, I walked inside my house and placed the box on the table, grabbed the crowbar nearby and levered open the top.
It was a hug box for such a small item.
This was – after all a diary – not anything huge.
Pulling back the packing paper and beans, I looked down at the large book within and stepped back, my gut turning cold as I caught a quick view of what had been delivered to me, “No way.” Checking the calendar, then my books, I realised I had overlooked this date entirely – and had no idea how I could overlook it. Picking up the phone, I pressed four on my speed-dial, not taking my eyes off the box as I stood by my front door, “Tommy, I think your delivery arrived.”
He found me still standing at my front door waiting; and I didn’t know how long I had been there for, “It’s on the table.”
“When did it arrive?” he walked over to the box and looked inside it at the book, then turned back at me, “Helen!”
“I, um, don’t remember, um... it was just on sunset. The dude was a courier and didn’t bother to wait for a signature.” I muttered looking at my hands, “Want a drink?”
“Yeah... um, no. I’ll be okay, I’ve eaten.” He took the box onto another table near the window where I potted up my plants for the garden, and carefully pulled the book out, turned the box onto its side and rested the book on it, “You eat something.”
I turned to my fridge, opened it and looked at all the food I had prepared the night before, and didn’t feel a twinge of hunger, but I was thirsty. Grabbing a beer, I popped the top off, tossed the lid into the sink and guzzled down half of it as the door slammed shut. Then I realised that I haven’t touched beer in over a decade; knowing it turned me into a not-so-nice person, “Oh crap.”
Tommy sniffed the air, “Why are you drinking booze?” he turned frowning, “And it’s not even 8pm and you’ve down... oh man, you’re scared.”
Putting the beer on the counter, I walked over to him, “Look you’ve been searching for that diary for a long time; and now it’s in my home, it’s making me feel weird.”
“I’ll take it home.” He turned, picked it up and left me alone to my weird feelings and soon-to-be hangover. I don’t remember buying beer; or having beer in the house that day... or how that beer got there.
Days passed by and I didn’t hear from Tommy. He’d vanished with the diary and I tossed out the beer from my fridge. I copped a hangover like nobody’s business and was in a crappy mood all day because I drank; so I stayed away from the public for a few days until it was out of my system.
But I did hear about some murders around the place – like always – seeing we lived in the city, it wasn’t out of the ordinary to hear of bad things happening around the place.
I was curious though: why did Tommy take such an interest in what he was? He’d been a vampire for over a decade; actually I was there when he was turned and staked the bastard who turned him.
In truth, Tommy and I were to be married – he had just proposed and that damned vampire had screwed up everything in our lives. So, I still loved him and everything; but we couldn’t be together because of what Tommy had been turned into.
Tommy wanted to see if he could control himself around me enough to be in love with me – as a Human – and still have what might pass as a normal life. This was why he had been hunting around for that diary... the oldest vampire diary of all; the one Vlad kept way back when. It was something he had to try.
And yes, Tommy had tried everything – my dear sweet Thomas – but nothing had worked out, he was still a blood-sucker who I was dearly in love with and who loved me. We didn’t want to lose our friends and we didn’t to change our lives completely because of what he was turned into.
But ... well... if this diary didn’t work out? I had two choices, I had to stake him or join him.
Man, that sounds like a line right out of a blood-sucking Mills & Boone Romance novel doesn’t it? But I don’t want to do either... I want him to be in my life, but I don’t want to kill him either.
The sun was almost down when I knocked on his door. The curtains being drawn wasn’t anything new; and something I understood would be something he did all day if he was going to study the book – that is if he did as he promised he would.
The locks sounded and the door moved opened, “Come in, Helen.” He voice was across the room and at his desk again before I closed the door.
“Everything okay?” I asked putting the esky down in a kitchen chair, “I’ve brought some 0 Neg and 0 Pos for you... you know to mix it up.”
Gazing up from the pages of the large book, he smiled, almost looking like his old self again: “Thank you. I appreciate that.” Sitting back from the book, he pushed it away from him, “Did you know that Vlad added some of his own blood into the ink in this diary?”
“You can smell it?”
Tommy nodded, “Yep. No matter how old blood is, I can smell the stuff.” He closed the large volume, “But there’s nothing he’s told us here that we don’t already know.”
He stood and walked to the esky, “Has anyone called you lately – you know our friends?”
I fiddled with my fingernails nervously, “No. They began to pull away from us when you were turned; and I wouldn’t leave you.”
He nodded as he placed the blood bags into the fridge carefully in date order, then stood back and closed the door, “You take care of me really well... as though we’re already married.”
Tears came easily, “I can’t help it. I love you, Thomas. And if I was to go off with somebody else, you’d become jealous.”
He looked to his feet for a moment, “Yeah, I would. I love you still as well.” His hand was in mine as I sat down at the counter, “Oh honey. I wish things were different.”
I wiped my tears away with my free hand, “Me too. But the only way we can stay together is ...”
“No!” he stood and walked to the other side of the room, “I’m not doing that.”
“Do you have any idea how long it’s been since Jean and Stuart have been by the house? Or your parents? They think you’re dead.” I snapped, “Tommy, it’s this way or no way... you and I can be together.”
He turned from the thick drapes, “I don’t want you to live a life of this!” he waved his arm at the closed off world he was missing out on, “You don’t need to hide from it all... I do!”
“If you loved me, you’d turn me.”
“Don’t say that! Don’t you say that to me!” he shouted.
“Then let me go.” I removed the engagement ring from my finger, “Let me live... please.”
His eyes watched me remove the ring and he shook his head, “I can’t. I love you.”
“I know... and if you love me so much, you’d let me go.” I grabbed my esky and walked out towards the door, opened it and started out into the cool night.
A cold hand grabbed my arm, yanked me back inside, “Where are you going?”
“Home!” I threw the esky at him and he deflected it against the wall and it bounced near the stairs, “Let me out!”
A freezing cold hand grabbed my neck, shoved me against the wall.
I tried to fight – really I did.
I punched. I kicked.
His hold was like a vice.
He bit into my carotid artery and I felt fear take a hold of my soul.
“No... please...you’re hurting me...Tommy...”
He pulled away, “Oh my god! What?...” he watched as I dropped to the floor, knowing it was far too late to say sorry, to save me through normal Human means, “Oh shit, Helen. I’m sorry... no.”
I woke up on his bed upstairs.
Tommy was across the room sitting in his large chair reading a book in the dark.
Sitting up, I felt my neck, but it was healed. Did I dream that nightmare which just happened? Was I dreaming now?
I looked over at him, “Did you bite me?”
He hadn’t been really reading... he had been just staring at the same page for the last hour, “Yes. I got pissed off you were going to leave me.”
“Over that diary – or over what I told you that was the truth.”
He dropped the book on the floor, “Both.” He rose from the seat, “I tried to burn the book, but it won’t burn. It can’t be destroyed.”
“Well, exactly what did you do to me?”
Rising from his chair, he walked over and sat on the bed, “I drank too much of you and didn’t have a choice... you asked me to and I should have handled it better – but I didn’t.”
“Tommy, we have other, bigger problems if that Amaranthine Diary can’t be destroyed.”