Greetings, fellow Let Me In fans. Here is the first chapter of my next major Owen/Abby fic. I've been alluding to events in this one for a while now. I do hope that it measures up to everyone's expectations.
As you know from my other fics, I'm a total review addict. Please feed my addiction. :-D
And awayyyyyy we go! :-D
There were images that emerged from the darkness.
There were roughly-hewn wooden walls, covered with animal skins.
There were candles burning dimly on a table.
She felt a familiar, but dark presence approach her through this mists of slumber.
A ring-laden hand, icy-cold reached out and grasped her by her right shoulder. Her eyes shot open in surprise and saw the cruel-looking face, with the prominent nose looking down at her. And the mouth…her uncle was grinning sinisterly, but the malicious look wasn't what terrified her. It was those long, sharp looking teeth that the grin revealed as he leaned down over her.
Abigail Marshall screamed…..
Cold Creek, Montana; May 1984
Abby screamed and shot up in her bed, lashing out with fingers that had unconsciously adjusted themselves into sharp talons. They whisked through empty air, rather than the face of her uncle.
Abby's breath caught in her throat as she looked around, her predator's eyes taking in the darkness of her bedroom as clearly as Owen could do to his bedroom in the daylight. It was empty.
With a shaking hand, she reached over her bedside table and turned on the light. In truth, she had no idea why she felt she should do that. She was –along with others of her kind- the most efficient night predator that walked the planet. Her senses were attuned for stalking prey. She certainly did not need to turn on her reading lamp…yet she did.
She'd lived here for fourteen months now. For fourteen months, she'd found herself acting –and feeling- more or less like a regular, human girl. She had gotten into the habit of doing things that her vampire nature meant was not necessary…but her reawakened human side did anyways.
Now, with the light on, Abby found herself sitting up in her bed, hugging her legs to her chest. She reached over to the bedside table and picked up the simple Timex watch she'd received as birthday present from her –surrogate- grandfather a few months prior.
The time was coming up on three in the afternoon. She knew it was still full daylight outside. Abby brought a hand up and rubbed her eyes as her mind raced. Despite her more than two centuries of experiences, much of her own condition was still a mystery to her. One thing she DID know was that the vampire's instinct for sleep was a powerful one. To remain awake during the daylight hours was a tremendous effort.
Of course, she knew she could come awake instantly if threatened. In her old apartment in Los Alamos, New Mexico (the place that changed her life for the better in ways she couldn't even begin to count), a painful glance of sunlight over her arm as she lay sleeping in a bathtub had been enough to rouse her from sleep and she was instantly alert enough to launch herself at the intruder who'd unluckily –for both of them- stumbled upon her daytime lair.
However, that was her defenses kicking in. Grandpa Oscar had recounted his tales of World War II to her and Owen, where he'd gone from a dead sleep to awake and M-1 rifle at the ready all due to the sound of a snapping twig. Abby guessed that survival instincts worked more or less the same for humans and vampires alike.
But this…This wasn't a threat. It was…a bad dream? She didn't think she was capable of having them. In over two hundred and twenty years, she had never had any bad dreams before –at least none she could recall. And, she'd definitely had experiences that could cause bad dreams. Until the previous March, pretty much every night for her was an experience that would cause a mortal human to have nightmares for a year. This, Abby was fairly certain that if she was capable of having bad dreams, they'd have started around the time the Seven Years War was concluding.
And what she'd just experienced. It was her last moments as a human being. It was the same image she'd shown Owen once. Why, though, would it invade her sleeping subconscious now?
Abby looked about the room. There nothing at all out of place. The dresser, with the Rubik's Cube Owen had given her in place on top of it, was against one wall of the root cellar. The book case, that held both Abby's reading collection and puzzles, stood firm against the other wall. Next to one side of her bed was a chair, with her discarded jeans neatly folded on top of it. Another pair of jeans –an older pair that she wore when she and Owen worked on their near nightly chores around the ranch- hung from a hook on the wall.
The various decorations on the walls were undisturbed too. Her posters of John Schneider and David Hasselhoff were in their usual spots, as were the murals Owen had done for her. Owen –over the previous year- had taken a large number of photographs of the surrounding countryside, in daylight. He and Grandpa Oscar had them blown up and together had posted them on the walls of Abby's room. His reasoning was that although Abby couldn't see what the surrounding area looked like in the daytime, she could at least have the pictures to see. Those also were undisturbed.
Clearly, nothing had taken place to cause the dream. So, how could…? Abby's contemplation was broken by the sound of the outer door to her shelter opening and then reclosing. She could sense Owen's presence. There was just something about him that was so wonderfully familiar and she'd gotten so she could tell when he was near. And, even if she couldn't do that, the scene of his Hai Karate cologne was a dead giveaway.
She heard the sound of him unlocking the actual door into her room.
"Owen?" She called out to him.
"Abby? You're up?" Owen replied as he opened the door and stepped into the room, shutting the door behind him. He saw Abby, sitting up in bed. The reading light was on. She was seated with her knees pulled up to her chest, her arms wrapped around them, pulling the bedclothes up around her nude body. Her face showed obvious signs of worry. Simply her being awake at this time of day was strange. Whenever Owen had come down to the root cellar-turned-bedroom at this time of day before he'd always found Abby peacefully sleeping, and utterly still. The times she'd slept the day away in her steamer trunk -in the first weeks here, prior to Owen and his grandfather converting the root cellar into her bedroom, and the occasional time when Abby lingered too long before dawn, to come downstairs safely, in his bed after they made love- that was now kept in his own bedroom
"How come?" Owen asked as he stepped over to the dresser, carrying an armful of her folded clothing –she recalled that today was laundry day- and placed them on the dresser, next to the Rubik's Cube. He smiled to himself as he saw the Cube and recalled the night in Los Alamos where he'd lent it to the strange new girl who'd just moved into the apartment next door to his. It was an act of kindness that had changed both his and Abby's lives forever.
"It's kind of weird but…I had a bad dream." Abby said quietly.
"I didn't know you could have those."
"I…I don't…Usually." Abby murmured. She looked at Owen with worried eyes, her arms still hugging her legs up to herself, wrapping the bedclothes around her bare frame. She looked terribly vulnerable and scared to Owen.
Owen stepped over to the bed and sat down next to Abby. He put his arms around her and pulled his lover into a comforting hug. Abby smiled and allowed herself to relax into his touch. She inhaled. Aside from his cologne –his use of which, she found a tad excessive- she could smell many things on him. She could smell the sheep that the Alfredson Ranch raised. She could smell the creosote of the fence posts that he'd been spending the afternoon working on. She could even smell a trace of the pine woods that surrounded the ranch. Now, she savoured these smells as well as his loving touch. To her, these were now scents that comforted her. They were scents of the place she called her home.
Owen, on his part, was also savouring the feel of Abby's cool, smooth skin under his hands. He wanted badly to be strong for her and to be a comfort to her. It worried him to see her so shaken. He'd gotten used to Abby always being so strong and so confidant. (He figured that when one had the unbelieveable superhuman strength she had, one generally wasn't scared of things. The only thing that she showed concern about –beyond feeding- was making sure of shelter as dawn approached.
"It's alright, Abby."
"I'm here for you."
"That's why I know it's alright." Abby replied with a faint smile. Owen always made things feel alright with her.
"You've never had a bad dream like that before?"
"I don't remember EVER having a bad dream before. At least not since before I was…turned. This was…terrible. When I woke up, I was slashing out with my claws before I realized I was alone."
"Wow." Owen replied. He'd seen what Abby's hands looked like when her fingernails took on the form of clawed talons. He was fairly sure she could rip someone open. Thinking back to what the remains of his former tormentors in Los Alamos had looked like, on the pool deck when Abby was done with them, he had an idea of what the aftereffect looked like too. "Whenever I've seen you sleep, you always seem so…still." In truth, the times he'd come downstairs and snuggled into bed with Abby towards the end of her daytime sleep, she seemed totally lifeless. She didn't snore. She didn't make noise. He couldn't even recall her moving, beyond in response to the mattress jostling when he himself moved around.
"I know. Like I said, I can't remember having that happen. I'm just glad you weren't close by when I woke up. I might've hurt you by accident."
"Well, I'm here now. You're there when I have those dreams." Owen said. Ever since leaving Los Alamos, Owen had occasional nightmares about the bullying he'd endured. Sometimes it was of him being held under the water at the pool the night Abby ended the bullying once and for all, prior to them embarking for their new life here. Other times, it was just of the other horrible encounters he'd had in either the hallways, the locker rooms, the washrooms, and the numerous other places Kenny, Donny and Mark had made his life a living hell.
"It's alright. I can understand you having bad dreams after what you went through with them." Abby said in a hushed tone. She felt great remorse for the countless people she'd attacked and fed on over the past two centuries. However, for some reason, she had a much harder time feeling sorry for the four monsters who were trying to drown Owen. All the things she had done were by caused her need to feed; her need to survive. Those four had preyed on Owen and hurt him for no other reason than they were able to –being bigger at the time and outnumbering him- and that they wanted to. She also saw how badly Owen's psyche had been affected by the cumulative effect of it. As horrible as some of her actions had been, she'd never taken pleasure in someone else's pain or suffering. Far more than once, Abby had been present when Owen had come awake with a cry after experiencing a nightmare of his encounters with the bullies. She vividly recalled being startled at his cry, as he shot up in his bed, eyes wide. He'd sat there, gasping for air, sweat gleaming on his bare torso as he looked desperately around the room. Soon enough, he'd see that he wasn't in Los Alamos any longer. He was at his grandfather's. The bullies weren't there. Abby, however, was there. As soon as he saw her, staring at him with a concerned face, he settled back down again. Abby would snuggle against him and hold him close. She would rest her head on his chest and get him to talk about the bad dream. Owen would tell her about the dream...and about the real incidents that had caused it. It was hearing about the horrors that were done to him -for months and months on end- that helped Abby to see that perhaps the true monsters of the world weren't necessarily vampires; but humans who chose to hurt others simply because they wanted to.
"What…What was the dream about?" Owen asked gently, as he held her.
"Do you remember, Owen, that night in Los Alamos where I asked you to be me…and what I showed you?"
"Yeah" Owen said in a choked voice as he recalled the sheer onslaught of emotion he'd felt then.
"That's what I saw."
"Wow…You've never had that happen before?" Owen thought that if he'd lived through the scene Abby showed him, it would play over in his head for centuries, on a daily basis. It was perhaps the most horrifying thing he'd ever felt. He could never forget the image of that horrible face leering down upon Abby as she slept. And then seeing that...thing...attack her. Despite Abby being perhaps ten thousand time stronger than he was, Owen still felt an instinctive desire that he had to protect her. It was foolish, he knew; but it was still what he felt. He couldn't reach back into time and protect her then, of course. But, he could still comfort her now though. And that's just what he was going to do.
"Never" Abby thought she might have gone mad if she'd been forced to witness that event over and over again everytime she had gone to ground at daybreak. As it was, she simply gave silent thanks that she had Owen now.
"Well, it doesn't matter. You're safe. It was just a dream." Owen said, as he rocked her gently until the sleep instinct asserted itself and Abby drifted off to sleep once more.
Los Alamos, New Mexico
She'd been here, Jebediah Marshall thought to himself. She'd been in this very room. He looked around the dingy basement room and opened up his senses. It was savoury treat for him. He sensed the two things he lusted for the most in this world: blood and his niece Abigail.
The blood he could sense from several places. From the floor and from an alcove in the wall, were the two strongest sources though. He wondered if his pretty little niece had fed here. Her psychic trace lingered throughout this apartment complex. It was overpowering to him. He could sense her being here. He could sense many strong emotions from her in this place.
This basement room, he'd happened upon just as dawn was coming. This dingy apartment complex was definitely an abomination for someone who held the Marshall name. Just why his niece had opted to live here, he could not fathom –nor care to. All he knew was that the apartment she'd once inhabited abounded with her psychic presence. He'd definitely enjoyed his visit there. The couple who'd moved in there though…had not. He'd listened at the door and was able to discern that they'd sent their daughter to spend the night at a sleepover (whatever that was) and were enjoying a romantic evening alone, waiting for their takeout food to arrive. It was so simple. He knocked on the door, announced he was the deliveryman and asked to come in. They'd said yes. And dinner was then served…for him, at least.
Now, the psychic trail of Abigail was stronger than ever. It had been perhaps a year, or so, since she'd been here. For him –Abigail's maker- that was more than fresh enough.
He sensed it led north. As soon as the sun set that evening, he would go north and continue his pursuit.
The excitement he felt at the idea of seeing her again was immense. He thought back to that time when he last saw her. What he wanted from her was in his grasp…but he was clumsy and gave her a chance to fight him, resulting in him biting her. His self-disgust at his failure emanated from him like wave. The psychic trace reverberated out. He wondered if his little niece was close enough to pick up on it –that memory of their last meeting. Perhaps she might think it only a dream.
No matter. Soon, they would have their reunion, and that would not be any dream.
Jebediah smiled sinisterly. He could barely wait until sunset and the hunt would resume.