We were goingto take a bath.
The morning was close and Oskar was already sleepy.
Eli, while reading another glossy magazine, said with slight annoyance:
- I'm too pale. I want to get a tan.
Oskar ironically raised his eyebrow. Eli continued:
- I have an idea. We need a tanning salon.
- Are you sure that you do not "tan" in 5 seconds, to black coals?
- No, I'm not sure. But I want to try. I'll start only with a single nail. If nothing happens, then I'll continue with my fingertip, and so on.
So later, after looking at some prospects, they went to the nearest solarium. An assistant, looking at Eli, said:
- You are very pale. The first time you must not exceed five minutes.
They went into the cabin, Eli said:
- What about you?
- No, thank you. I will look at you. You'll be a trial balloon.
Eli showed him her tongue and gently put her finger under the glare of ultraviolet. Nothing happened. Oskar asked:
- What do you feel?
- Heat! Only the heat.
She undressed and lay down under the lamps. Five minutes later the assistant turned off the machine. Eli asked:
- Do you want to try it?
- No thanks, I don't want to yet. Maybe next time.
When Eli paid, she dropped a big yellow coin. It fell on the desk with a heavy ring. Oskar asked, curious:
- What's this?
- You're funny. Don't you know that Swedish bank has introduced a new means of payment - Swedish golden doubloon.
- Never heard of it!
And they went out.
But all was not as rosy as it seemed at first. In less than an hour later, when they returned home, Eli felt a strong burning sensation on the entire surface of her skin. Then it increased so much that she began to cry and moan in pain. Oskar did not know what to do. He ran to the bathroom, wet a towel in cold water, and covered Eli with it, to relieve her pain a little. He did this procedure a few times during the night. And only in the morning did she feel better. They fell asleep completely exhausted. The first thing that Oskar asked, when they woke up the next evening, was:
- How are you?
Eli thought for a moment and replied:
- I seem to be like normal.
Then she looked at her skin and added in surprise:
- And, Oskar, I'm a little tanned!
- But at what cost…
- Beauty requires sacrifice! I want to go again.
- Eli, no! For whom is the tan? I like you the way you are!
- Thank you, my beloved Oscar. I always knew that you are just an angel. But I'm just curious, if I can tan more. I'll try this time just a little bit - three minutes. I promise that I'll be very careful.
This time everything went more or less smoothly: Eli sunbathed for three minutes and I felt only a slight burning sensation, for not very long.
Then she went yet a couple of times, and Oskar served only as an attendant; despite any persuasion, he did not want to sunbathe. Soon, as always, they had to move. However, at the new location Eli also contrived to find a solarium. Thus, every time they moved, Eli found the closest solarium and visited it until the next move. Six months later her skin was rather dark and she could lie under the lights for half an hour.
But one day an event occurred that radically changed Oscar's opinion of the solarium. As we all know, vampires sleep very deeply, and to wake them during the day is very difficult. However, this time Oskar and Eli got carried away with their game and stopped at a time when the sun had already risen. They could not see it, all the windows were tightly closed with cardboard sheets, but they could feel it. Eli yawned:
- Well, let's go to bed?
They went to the bathroom. Suddenly, one of the nails holding the cardboard at the top dropped, and the sheet moved just enough to let the room get a thin ray of the rising sun. It touched Eli's arm, Oskar managed to jump back and pulled Eli after him into the shade. Eli cried:
Then she looked at the spot on her arm, where the ray of sunshine had fallen. It had turned red. Oskar spoke fearfully:
- Damn! Are you okay? Forgive me, please! It's my fault, I have not checked the cardboard. Usually I pull the sheets to make sure they stay tight.
- Oscar, you do not understand ...
- No, I mean, it's terrible. This will not happen again, I promise!
Eli replied excitedly:
- No, you do not understand! Half a year ago, if a sunbeam had fallen on me, there would be a bloody wound that wouldn't heal for a long time!
Oscar, surprised, had become silent. Then he asked:
- But what does it mean?
- Is means that I continue to go to a sun deck!
Six months later, after several moves and many visits to the solarium, it was decided to conduct a global experiment. Overcoming sleepiness, they waited for the sunrise, having previously made a small hole in the cardboard. When the first beam cut through the darkness, Eli, trembling, held up her arm under it. Oskar pressed the stopwatch.
- 10 seconds.
Eli drew back her hand:
- It begins to burn.
Oskar ran to the window, carefully closed up the hole and bounced enthusiastically around Eli.
- Wow! The sun! You're not afraid of the sun! I also want to go to the solarium.
- You're a year behind…
Later, for some unknown reason, the process went quickly, and within a month, Eli met her first dawn in more than 200 years, in the street. She stood with her arms outstretched to the sides, reflecting the Sun, and cried with happiness. Oskar was anxiously waiting for her in the apartment. When she returned, he asked:
- Well, how did it go?
- I ... I have no words ... the Sun. I have not seen the Sun for ages!
Suddenly Oskar found that Eli was blond. His eyes widened in surprise:
- Eli! You're blond!
- Yes, Oskar, I'm blond. Do you like it?
- Yes! It contrasts with your tanned skin. But... When you…
Oskar realized that he couldn't recall when Eli had dyed her hair. But something distracted him and he forgot about it.
Another six months later, Eli could spend more than thirty minutes in the sun, and Oskar was trying to catch up with her, as best he could. Then one night they were playing, chasing each other and generally fooling around as usual. Eli stumbled, fell and scraped a knee, peeling it decently enough. However, she did not pay attention to it and they continued to amuse themselves until the morning, when it was time for bed. Waking up the next evening, Eli casually looked at her knee and was surprised to discover that it had healed, but not completely. Scratches still remained.
- Yes, Eli?
- I think many things are changing in us. I do not know if you noticed or not, but before the onset of hunger we have now a much longer time than before. And... I think we are already mortal.
Oskar was so shocked that at first he could not find an answer. Then he asked uncertainly:
- But what do we do?
Eli replied with a mischievous glint in her eyes:
- I think we need to try some ice cream!
Without shelving their intention, that same evening they carried out the conceived. Both ate a half portion - they had no desire for more. What had been eaten didn't demand to leave their stomachs. Their joy knew no bounds. They felt dizzy from the long-forgotten possibilities.
That all changed when, one sunny morning, two men broke into their apartment. The door was kicked in and they opened fire without saying a word. Only because Eli and Oskar were not yet asleep, they were able to respond and were not injured. Eli lashed out at one of the aliens and broke his neck. Under the guise of his body (having to remind themselves that they, probably, already are mortal), they jumped out into the corridor and ran. The second stranger fired after them again, but missed.
From this point all their life turned to continuous flight. Each runaway was more difficult and more dangerous. The last time Eli was wounded and they only just managed to escape. They took refuge in the basement of an abandoned building and thought about what to do next.
- Oh, it would be nice to take a bath, said Oscar. - We, as I say it, smell...
- Yes …we will bathe, when it is all over.
- Listen, what do these people need from us?
- Our death.
- But why? Is this the police? Special services?
- No, I don't think so.
- I do not understand.
- Me neither.
This time the noise woke them just before sunset. The sun hung already low over horizon and it was necessary to get away in broad daylight, that would have been impossible a year ago. They found themselves in the open, where it was almost impossible to hide. They were surrounded with three, all armed with automatic weapons. In despair, Eli screamed:
- What do you want from us?
- We are the vampire hunters. Our task - to destroy the vampires.
- But we are already almost cured! We are not vampires anymore!
- In this case it isn't so important. You, boy, can live. But you, a girl who is not a girl - man chuckled – have committed so many crimes that you certainly deserve to die.
Oskar looked into the face of the leader, which seemed very familiar. And suddenly he recognized him.
- Mr. Avila? Mr. Avila! Do you remember me? I'm Oskar! Oskar Eriksson! Please, let us go!
- I'm sorry, Oskar. I have a new job now. It's well paid and I'm used to doing my job properly.
With these words the leader of group nodded and one of people seized Oskar from behind, in order that he didn't interfere. Eli, with pain in her eyes, looked at Oscar, was going to tell him something, but did not have time. Machine gun fire knocked her down and Eli fell flat.
The leader slowly approached her and kicked, as at a piece of garbage. Her light body rolled into the roadside ditch. Oskar was released and all three of the attackers turned and walked away. Oskar rushed to Eli. Her small body was in the dirt, covered in blood. They had not bathed for many days, so the smell was still there. But Oskar did not care. He fell to his knees and pressed her to him. For the first few seconds the grief spasm caught his breath. Then he screamed her name, and could not stop when someone shook him by the shoulder:
- Oscar! Oscar!
He woke up. Eli was there. Alive. They lay in the bathroom, in their rented apartment in Stockholm. Eli gently ruffled his hair.
- All is good. I am here, I'm with you. It was only a dream. A bad dream.
Oskar held her so tightly that she gasped:
- Eli. Eli…
A huge, horrible nightmare. The worst nightmare of his life.
He was shaking, a whole-body tremor, which did not relieve the strain. They had long wanted to use the bathroom for its intended purpose, but every time something prevented them. The smell of them was already noticeable...but it did not prevent Oskar continuing to hug Eli. He feared that if he let her go, something would happen to her. He said, in a trembling voice, the first stupidity that came to mind:
- Yes, Oskar?
- We were going to take a bath?
- All right. We can, right now. Because we are straight draggle-tails. Also we smell…
A few minutes later they were standing under warm streams of a shower. Eli considered her pale skin.
- You know, Oscar. I'm too pale. I would like to have a tan like that girl in the magazine.
Oskar exclaimed in horror:
He fell to his knees, as in the dream, and then hugged her.
- No, please don't! I like you as you are. I love you as you are.
He feverishly chose his words:
- In this thy pallor, there is something aristocratic ...
Eli ironically raised an eyebrow. Then he, letting go, told her everything that he saw in the nightmare. Eli gently wiped him dry with a fluffy towel, and muttered:
- Yeah. Perhaps we should bathe more often...