Fiction Friday: The End of the Night (Moontime World)

Writing 150I’ve been itching to write about werewolves recently, because I feel such a strong attraction to them but never seem them quite displayed the way I’d like to see them. I also have a thing about vampires — most of the time, I’m going to hate your vampire character because all of the “baggage” that comes with being a blood-sucker is stuff that is decidedly not for me. So I thought I would write about a supernatural couple — she’s a vampire, and he’s a werewolf — and the challenges they face making their relationship and separate lives work together. This is my very first crack at it, so chances are the characters will change significantly over time. 1151 words.

Dr. Gibson droned on in Luneisha’s ear, describing the patient’s arteries in a manner so disengaged it was almost admirable. She typed the words into the transcription software just as distractedly; she had been at this long enough to know that she could off-load that part of the job to a mysterious automatic process she still hadn’t quite understood. What she focused on, instead, was the sound between the syllables.

She imagined him in his office, hunched over a stack of papers in front of his computer, his rolling office chair never content to stay where it was supposed to, his weary head resting on the hand across his forehead. His voice was deep with authority; if he weren’t so tired, he would have had a presence about him. As it was, he was a man who had shrunken into his job, let it beat him down until he no longer registered the power and responsibility he had over so many lives and deaths.

When he was uncertain, he tapped his pen on his desk. When he disliked a patient, he leaned away from his desk and back in his chair. When he was thinking about something else, he tumbled over four or five words at a time and filled in the paused with ums and ahs. He struck her as a serious man, in the way powerless people tend to forget that there are things to smile about.

The thought struck her; she glanced up from her typing and realized she hadn’t transcribed anything for nearly a minute. Luneisha cursed under her breath and scrolled the recording back. She wanted to get this last one finished before the sun came up.

In five minutes, Dr. Gibson’s report was typed and proof-read. She sent off the night’s work and stretched, ignoring the pop in her joints. It felt good to stretch, though she didn’t know why. The physical processes that governed all of that had stopped a long time ago — long enough for her to start forgetting what it really felt like. It had been twenty years since she last saw the sun; in all that time, she still wasn’t sure how she worked.

Luneisha checked the clock. 5:45 in the morning. She leaned back in her chair and sighed. It would be morning soon, and Sam still hadn’t shown up. She was hoping that she would at least get to see him before she had to go to ground, but it was looking more and more likely that she would be going into the basement alone.

She looked around her bedroom. It was small and cheap-looking; a thread-bare carpet covering a concrete floor, particle-board walls that curved in too many places; a bed, computer desk and chair that were obviously rescued from a dumpster. The computer and the monitor were new though — a sleek tower hummed sweetly next to her leg, baking her clammy skin with the heat from its processor. The monitor stretched for over half the width of the desk itself, the light near bright enough to illuminate her room, its colors crisp, the picture sharp.
Luneisha knew what to splurge on — this monitor was one of her only links to the outside world. Sometimes, waiting for Sam, she would watch old episodes of Degrassi. It made her feel good to see young people walking in the sun, talking about stuff that didn’t matter like it did.

Abruptly she stood and cursed under her breath again. She started to pace the room. She had spent too much time alone this week; she always got like this when she was left to her own thoughts. It wasn’t the strength or the speed or the senses that made her feel inhuman; it was the isolation. If she could just go out once in a while…

She turned away from that thought, too. She couldn’t trust herself around people, and she knew that. Not after last time.

Luneisha closed her eyes and took several deep breaths. She felt lungs that had stopped working decades ago inflate and collapse. She felt her slim shoulders rise and fall under her shirt. She stepped away from her past, her dark thoughts, her confusion, and stepped back into herself. Things would get better, because she would make sure they would.

When she opened her eyes, she looked right into the panting, grinning face of Sam.

Luneisha hissed and jumped back; Sam laughed. She had no idea how a man that size could move that quietly. It almost didn’t seem fair. She glared at him as she waited for him to recover himself.

“Hey girl,” he grinned at last. “What you doing here in the dark, all by yourself?”

“Waiting for you, fool.” She stepped back into the center of the room as he turned on a light; his clothes were covered in dirt and leaves, and he was barefoot. He still had that wild look in his eye, the one he got when he went a little too far. “I didn’t want to go to bed without you.”

“Awwwww, ain’t you sweet.” His smile was too wide and all teeth. “Sorry I made you wait so long, darling. It was hard to get away from the boys.”

Luneisha turned her relief into stony-faced disappointment. “Mm-hmm.”

“Come on, Lu, don’t be that way.” Sam slunk towards her, his small backpack dripping from one long arm to the floor. “I was only late because I got you a present.”

She raised an eyebrow as he stepped closer, blocking the light. “Yeah? It’d better be good.”

“You know it is.” He nodded towards the backpack. “It’s in there. All yours. But you probably shouldn’t open it until we’re in the basement.”

Luneisha cracked a smile as she stood, breezing by him to scoop up the bag. “Oh, so you make me wait until the sun is almost up, and now I can’t open my damn present until I’m already in bed?”

Sam spread his arms wide. His fingertips nearly brushed the walls on either side. “Hey, I’m only looking out for you. We don’t have a lot of time.”

“No we don’t.” Luneisha opened the backpack and looked inside. A feeling came over her, and she knew if it could her mouth would be watering. “But this almost makes up for it.”

Sam laughed. “Almost?? Good Lord, woman, what else I got to do to be on your good side?”

Luneisha reached for Sam’s hand and squeezed it. He was burning hot; maybe she was just cold. It had been so long since she had eaten something. “Come on downstairs, and I’ll show you.”

Sam followed obediently without another word. Luneisha lead him with one hand and clutched the backpack full of blood bags tight with the other. It was funny how quickly her mood could turn around. All it took was a little bit of company.

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