Copyright © 2013 by Michael Litzky
Why was Lavinia pressed so hard against the rear doors that she looked flattened, distorted? Why could she suddenly move and why was she trying to get out now?
The skin around the edges of her arms, face — started to split, leaking whitish fluid. Sally understood in a flash, knowing that Lavinia would have gotten it much quicker. “Babe, you’re still welcome in my home!” she cried, tripping over her tongue to get the words out fast enough.
Lavinia collapsed into a quivering messy heap on the cramped floor.
Sally threw herself to the floor next to her, heart pounding. “Are you okay, baby?!”
Lavinia’s eyes were flicking left and right. Her nose was mashed into lumpy pulp. She didn’t recognize Sally and a hard lump swirled through Sally’s body. “Lavinia!” she begged. “Come back to me, baby. You came back from further away already. Don’t give up now. You’re still you, come on, it’s me, here.” Slowly, Lavinia subsided into that bleak, lonely place where Sally had found her this morning.
“Are you back, love? Are you still you?” She was bleeding a bloodless pus. (Wasn’t it still blood, though? Pus was white blood cells and white blood cells were still blood. Did this ridiculous set of vampire “rules” only count red blood cells as blood? Jesus Fuck, as Lavinia would say.)
Lavinia’s eyes opened slowly. “I see why,” she started in a hollow, beaten voice, had to stop for several seconds while Sally regarded her poor battered form, and finally finished, “why they just give up.”
Sally’s arms naturally went out to embrace Lavinia but she hesitated. Would that only hurt her? Cautiously, she explored the wounds. The whitish stuff seemed to be clotting like regular blood, leaving a healing line like a child’s outline of a human being all around her body.
It was clear that, when she woke up, Sally’s invitation or whatever unlikely magic the emblem had done had worn off or been canceled. Lavinia had been dragged from the bed and slammed against the rear door. The pounding she had heard was Lavinia bouncing off the door. And that relentless force had pressed her until her nose broke and her skin split. Another second and bones would probably have broken, internal organs been squished.
Would she wake up a mindless animal every time she slept? “I see why they just give up,” she had said. Sally began to understand. If you had to fight your way back to humanity through this much misery every time you went to sleep, you might easily give up and stay an animal.
“Baby?” she said helplessly. The thought came to her that both their lives might be easier if she just staked Lavinia now. (And what was it about wood, anyway? Why did wood kill but not metal or plastic? And was it only specific kinds of wood? She wanted to talk about these things with Lavinia.)
She’d told herself she could deal with anything if she could just stay with Lavinia. But how long would it be before she, Sally, just gave up? She’d never felt so bleak, so helpless. I’ve been given a second chance that I never thought I’d get, she thought. I can’t fuck it up.
She suddenly remembered how much pleasure the sunlight had given Lavinia. “Would some sun help, baby?” she asked. A quiver passed through Lavinia’s body. Her face brightened. “It might could,” she said in a tiny voice. Sally saw a flicker of excitement and a tremor of fear, like a child about to ride a rollercoaster.
She was pretty sure the alley they were parked in was now in gloom but she peeled back a curtain on a side window to check.
A cop was standing out there! No, it was just a trick of shadows. The alley still looked deserted. But it was time for them to get out of there.
“Babe, I’m going to have to drive to where there’s sunlight, unless you can — no, forget it.” Of course Lavinia couldn’t walk outside, not paralyzed as she was, not split open like she was.
“Jus’ … gimme an umbrella, I’ll dance like … fuckin’ Gene Kelly.”
“Singin’ in the Sun, what a glorious feeling,” Sally said, before Lavinia could decide she had to explain the reference. It was a relief to feel annoyed about something so normal for a minute.
“Don’t go all old fart on me now,” she continued. “I’ve dealt with vampires but I’m about to do something really dangerous.” She looked with dread at the front of the camper where a cranky clutch and a steering wheel on the wrong side waited for her.
She forced herself to eat before tackling it. She hadn’t eaten since the night before and she was so hungry her head hurt but she still felt guilty as she satisfied her hunger while Lavinia was ravenous with no end in sight.
Mercifully, driving was easier than she expected. The clutch took muscle to operate but she was strong. The steering wheel on the right took just a little getting used to. The real problem was where to go. They’d been lucky not to attract attention, even in that secluded alley. Parking on any kind of busy street was out of the question. Head into a residential neighborhood and find a quiet street? What if Lavinia started screaming again? Heading to a popular outdoor tourist spot like Twin Peaks or the Ocean Beach was out for the same reason.
Lavinia was stuffed miserably under the little table again so she wouldn’t roll and flop around. As Sally drove from street to street, aware of the day grinding relentlessly toward sunset at 7:20, she felt rather than heard Lavinia whimper softly over the noise of the engine.
At last in desperation, she headed south out of town onto Highway One, the coastal road. Any beach campground should be deserted; few enjoyed camping with vampires swarming like mosquitoes around their little island of safety.
She found herself stuck behind a slow-moving truck and here at last the British right-hand drive defeated her. She couldn’t edge out enough to see if she could pass without putting three fourths of the vehicle in the path of oncoming traffic. She fumed and sweated and swore and finally pulled off at a small state beach which had a big parking lot but no campground.
It was after 5:00 now. Two other vehicles were parked in the lot, a nice new red convertible whose owners must be about to finish their beach walk and hightail it for home, and some kind of SUV with tinted glass windows, impossible to see inside. Those two vehicles had claimed the center of the lot. Sally parked at the extreme left end, turned off the loud, knocking engine, and looked into the face of the sun, thinking.
A lot of unknowns here: people on the beach, an SUV which might be deserted or might be filled with paralyzed vampires driven around by some maniacal soccer mom. But she couldn’t make Lavinia wait any longer.
As she crawled through the curtain it came off its sprocket again. She sighed and shoved it out of the way. Then she got down on the floor and pulled the heartbreaking mess that was her lover out of the small space, hearing her groan, feeling her cool dead weight.
Trying to be ready for anything, she hefted her onto the bed. The sun was still high enough that only a single gold bar shone onto the bed. Into that sweet light she shifted Lavinia’s haggard face.
It worked just like before. Lavinia screamed her orgasm scream, her body undulated almost imperceptibly and her face shone with a joy which made Sally cry with happiness.
She held Lavinia’s hand, which seemed to warm a little, sat cross legged beside her, and for a long time simply watched her feel good.