Copyright © 2014 by Michael Litzky
Jeremy waited for five minutes after his parents pulled one by one out of the driveway. The room seemed to swim around KerriAnne as she lay paralyzed on his bed. She was so hungry that she felt every blood vessel down to the tiniest capillaries squeeze together, walls touching. She steadied herself by watching his face: a skinny face, lean and hungry but handsome, like a young hawk.
He’d held her as the daytime paralysis came, leaving her totally at his mercy. Helpless in the power of a man: this was a familiar, even a comfortable place for her. Until a few days ago she’d known exactly what to do here, how to look down and speak humbly, what words to say, how to let the pain become a dull pleasure, like an old rash. But now whenever she began any of her old well-practiced moves, she felt lost and the world spun.
She remembered her months as prisoner of Bunt. First had come the night-dark and fever-red urge toward him and his casually-tossed-out money and lines of coke. Then came the horror tinged with excitement as he took more and more control of her life. He’d put that collar with the remotely triggered knives on her neck and told her she was all his and bled her for his runs and still a part of her found pleasure even in that. She’d been so cold, so pale; she’d shivered all the time – had the bleeding month after month been part of what made her go vampire instead of just dying when she took the pills? She’d wanted to die, oh she’d wanted to crumple up into a little wad and implode, pulling Sally with her and then they’d be together and Sally would keep her safe and would tie her up and hold her in that way that hurt just right…
It was so confused and she didn’t want to die anymore and she hated Sally now with a passion which burned like witch fire, but she wanted to live and she was terrified of what would happen in just a few minutes. Life in the sun would not be allowed to her, she was sure of it.
“’Kay.” Jeremy turned cheerfully from the window. He seemed completely wrapped in his fantasy; she meant nothing to him at all. “C’mon,” he said, “this is going to be fine.”
But as he was figuring out how to best pick her up, he saw her face. “Hey,” he said, stroking her cheek. “It’s gonna be fine. I’ll be right there. Hey, if you don’t wanna do this, like, y’know, we can just stay here.”
That was all she needed, just to hear him say that they didn’t have to do it. Suddenly she was sure everything would be fine. She shook her head. In the weak voice which was all she had ever managed during the day, she said, “You’ll be there.”
“I will, I’ll be right there with you.”
He hoisted her onto his shoulder, staggering under her adult weight. His foot turned on the blanket on the floor but he recovered without dropping her. She treasured the feeling of his arms, of being carried. He had to let her feet dangle on the floor as he levered the door open. Then she was being carried through the dining room with its round cherry wood table, through the kitchen where she’d met his parents sipping their first of many cocktails the evening before (she’d seen them size her up as a tramp), and into the wide room at the back of the house. The hardwood floors glowed with rectangles of sunlight from the east-facing windows. A modern fireplace with glassed-in sides took up one corner of the room, along with two chairs of artistically bent wood which looked as uncomfortable as they were.
Jeremy lowered her just beside a patch of sun, cradling her head until he laid it gently on the wood floor. He sat cross-legged with the light of the sun on his lap, looking more golden and handsome than she had ever seen him.
He looked into her eyes, asked permission and got it.
He lifted her hand and laid it in his lap.
KerriAnne had experienced sex which had left her dripping and nearly blind with lust. But she had never felt anything like this, not even in the lovemaking with Jeremy, which had been sweet with new love but not hot (though she hadn’t told him that).
It was like heaven had been placed in her hand. It was whiter than the hottest orgasm she’d ever known. It hurt but the hurt was sweet, and nothing like the pleasure she’d squeezed from the pain of abuse all her life. This was like her heart was going to burst!
She reached for more, and rolled full into the sun.
Sally could have told her what would happen, Sally who had seen a vampire with his throat torn out brought briefly back to life by the sun only to die from his terrible wound.
The great hole in KerriAnne’s heart spat a gout of black blood and, screaming for something she had never known she wanted, KerriAnne died in Jeremy’s arms, even as he flung her out of the sun, slammed cold hands down over her slippery chest, roared out denial.
His frenzied horror was the last thing she saw. She wanted to tell him she felt joy, that the endless grief and the fear she had run from every day of her life had been burned away. But she couldn’t move a muscle and could only look at him, eyes filled with tears because she would miss him. His face blurred into the growing light. She reached eagerly for what came next.
And she was gone.
“C’mon, c’mon,” Jeremy cried, seeing the dark blood well between his fingers, feeling the heat which had burst through her body fade into a memory. She never moved again.
Sally and Lavinia and that devil vampire had lied to everyone, the blackest of lies and KerriAnne was dead because he had convinced her to do this.
I don’t want her to be dead, he sobbed, I don’t want her to be dead. She’d deserved another chance, she had let him believe in love again, that couldn’t be taken from him, she couldn’t end so suddenly. There was so much he wanted to tell her.
They (and it was this thought which cut into his heart) … they’d been going to spend the whole day together….
For one more moment, Sally felt her little sister’s presence. She understood that KerriAnne was saying goodbye and that whatever she had thought the night before, she simply loved Sally now. Sally’s eyes filled with tears and she whispered, “I love you, Darling. I always have.” Lavinia, straining to use the sun’s lofting power to fly them to a goal, didn’t hear.
Sally remembered stronger than ever little Carrie Yan sobbing her heart out at the rhyme “Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home, your house is on fire, your children are gone.” “Her house is on fire,” she’d cried, with all the grief in the world, tears pouring down her chubby cheeks. “Her children are gone.”
Right at that moment, Lavinia got it. With a surge which made Sally’s stomach wrench, they flew. But they flew east, not west (Sally would later figure out it was 4.8 degrees north of east). And, heart-stoppingly, they flew slanting down the sky at what Sally would later figure out was a 41.5 degree angle of depression. Lavinia was flying on a straight line for Germany and the only problem was that the earth was in the way.
Faster and faster they went, the force of the wind pushing Sally’s lips open and whipping Lavinia’s long black hair against her unprotected eyes. Blinded, she knew the hard city streets and buildings were racing toward them. She had faced her death many times but, terrified of heights, she couldn’t face this. Any lingering presence of KerriAnne was lost, lost, lost.
She screamed, buried her face against Lavinia’s shoulder and shut her eyes tight.
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