Categories > Original > Horror > Unfit1 Reviews
A vampire offers a welcome escape to an unhappy victim. One-shot.
Jared and Tiffany were too young to be depressed by the cheap, dingy hotel room. To them, it was only a hotel room, and therefore a novelty, holding the exciting possibility of adventure. They felt no sense of defeat at being here; they weren't choked by the oppressive, bland beigeness and the ugly flowered bedspreads.
And then that night it happened, just like in a movie. The kids were asleep, and I'd gone out onto the cracked concrete balcony so I wouldn't wake them up. I was way too stressed to sleep, but I was too tired to think straight, either, so I was just sitting there, watching it get dark. There was a rush of blessedly cold air, as if a small patch of the night had gotten free from the humidity, and something dark and indistinct swooped silently onto the balcony. I blinked, and saw it was a man. I knew, I mean I knew immediately, what he was. He was pale, and handsome, and so cold I could feel it from where I was sitting. I was too amazed to be scared. I tilted my head to the side, experimentally, and sure enough, I was right. He bit me--I could feel the pain, and then I felt drowsy but turned on, and then I must have fainted. I woke up in the morning, right there on the floor of the balcony, stiff and sore and half-frozen.
The half-frozen part should have worried me, because it was a damnably hot night, but it didn't, not then. I got through that day in a daze, waiting for the kids to get tired so I could put them to bed and go out on the balcony and wait for him. It never even crossed my mind not to. What, go inside and lock the door against the only really interesting thing that had ever happened to me?
The second morning when I woke up in that chilled-to-the-bone state, it dawned on me what that meant. I knew he was drinking my blood, of course, but for the first time I realized that this would, before long, kill me. I thought about that as I tried to rub some feeling back into my pins-and-needles arms and legs. I thought about it some more when I got short of breath just walking the kids to the nearest fast-food place for breakfast. It probably wouldn't take long. That, I decided, was a good thing.
Oh, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I'm a horrible person, to be so casual about leaving my children behind, and in one way you're right. But really, what good was I to them, alive? The state would step in if I were gone, and probably take better care of them than I could, skipping meals to try to keep them fed, and still having to say "no" to them at every turn, because my cheque was never big enough to give them any of the stuff kids in normal families took for granted. When I worked it was worse, not better, because we had even less money, and they were on their own all day.
If I died now, I'd be a memory, imbued with all the power of longing and sentiment. Tiffany and Jared would, ever after, miss me. I would become a more central figure dead than I ever could alive; I would wield all the influence of the beloved dead, missed and loved, my every half-remembered word of advice or admonition treasured and heeded. Perhaps, if I were lucky, and if time and distance were kind to me, they would even remember me as young and beautiful, and not as the prematurely weary, tired, depressed wraith I'd become.
The stranger offered, you see, not just an escape from my hated life, but a timely escape. My children were still too young to be fully aware of my myriad faults, so glaringly obvious to the rest of the world. The couldn't see my inadequacies, couldn't yet appreciate how low I'd dragged us, couldn't blame and despise me. Too, on my side, my despair registered itself most often in crying jags, and in my having too little energy to care anymore how I looked or what I ate. I had, mostly, kept myself from screaming at them; I had, mostly, strangled my anger since their father left, even though I felt that I might choke on it. Their memories of me would be tainted by my depression and loneliness, but not, I still had hope, by my rage. Better to go out as trapped, defeated mum than as angry, scary mum.
The shock of finding my alabaster corpse on the balcony would, really, be minor payment for the cherishable falsehood of a happy childhood-in-retrospect. My death was a bargain, too good to pass up.
I wondered, honestly, why he'd come to prey on me. What was left, even, for him to want? I'd long since stopped caring how I looked, what I wore, what shape my body was in. I could remember a time when I had cared, passionately, about my appearance. I'd tried not only to look my best, but better than that, because my best always fell sadly short of model hotness: my skin too imperfect, my body too fat, my clothes too cheap, never quite right. But I'd worked at it, firmly convinced that it was my job to look as cute as I could, and knowing that no man would ever be interested in me if I didn't do my best. My best, such as it had been, was long over. What did this stranger want?
The thing is, though, I was wrong--wrong about so much, but about him most of all. I'd thought the stranger would bring oblivion, and I was ready for that. Instead what he's given me is time, endless time. I can do what I want, now. In the end, no one had to find and remove my body. I strode out of that hotel as if I owned it, into the night, and set out on the rest of my unlife.