The Vampire Life
Another long lonely night was heading towards dawn as Murphy sat looking out the window of her apartment watching the shades close on the windows of the apartment across from her. She'd been watching those shades close at the same time day for years. Sighing, she nodded to herself in satisfaction because tomorrow morning was going to be different. Finally she had plans for the unsuspecting couple across the way.
Murphy waited in the darkness as the fascinating couple walked hand in hand down the street, heading home after an evening of dinner, dancing, and a late night movie. In the distance they could hear the city waking up and they quickened their pace. As they neared the apartment complex, a woman stepped out from her doorway and called out softly, "Please, wait up."
Henry turned toward the voice and placed a restraining hand on Vicki's arm. "What is it? Do you need something?"
"Yes. Something only you and your companion can give me."
Henry raised an eyebrow in question as he nodded for her to continue speaking.
Murphy took a deep breath and thought to herself, It's now or never and said out loud, "I know what you are and I want to be like you."
Vicki hissed under her breath as Henry spoke softly, "Just what do you think we are?"
Between one blink and the next, Henry was behind her with a hand on her neck saying into her ear, "That's not something you say to a vampire and expect to live."
Murphy stood straight and with one hand quickly pulled back on Henry's thumb breaking his hold before her actions registered. "You can kill me, wipe my memory, or listen for a minute, but you will know that I'm not just some crazy old woman that can be dismissed without first being heard."
Vicki liked the older woman's attitude and spoke up, "Let's listen."
Henry gave Vicki a quirky grin and said, "Talk."
Murphy smiled and revealed that at one time she had been quite pretty, "The name's Amanda Murphy and I live in the complex across from yours. We can talk there."
Henry held out his hand for her to walk ahead, waved Vicki forward and he followed with all his senses on high alert.
She opened the door to a neat, uncluttered apartment. It had a showroom quality without personal touches. Looking around if seeing it for the first time she said, "I don't spend much time in this room. Mostly I live in the bedroom. Working night shift as a nurse tends to do that to a person. Sleep all day and there's not much time left for living before having to go to work again. Days off are spent doing laundry, shopping, and cleaning. There's not much time left in a day to enjoy life."
Henry listened to the words and tone in which they were spoken before asking, "What makes you think we're vampires?"
"I've lived across from you for the last ten years and I've watched you come and go only in the dark. You keep the same hours I do, but you haven't aged. The few times I've had several days off in a row, I've never seen you out and about." Murphy sighed, "It's more like I'm hoping you're vampires than knowing for sure." She pointed to a love seat as she slumped down on the chair and added, "It's all gone."
Vicki, with the voice of a cop questioning a suspect asked, "What's gone?"
"I thought there would be plenty of time to live and enjoy life after high school, but then came nursing school and then working full time. My true love was drafted and later died in a jungle during a stupid little war. Just as I was about to have a life of my own my mother fell ill and I spent my time off caring for her. Now I'm too old to keep up with modern medical changes, the wing where I worked for twenty years on the night shift closed and I transferred to a highly technical intensive care unit where the young nurses didn't want to bother showing me what to do. I don't learn as fast as I used to, and it's easier for them to do it themselves. Finally I was given a choice, retire early or get fired. So here I am young enough to live 40 more years with nothing to do. Please, do me a favor and don't give me the crap about hobbies, travel, going back to school or joining groups to meet people. I've already been down that road. I don't want to sit around with a group of old farts discussing bowel movements."
Vicki nodded in understanding, she'd had a few of the same thoughts when she was first told about her eyes, "How would it help, being a vampire?"
Murphy stood and said, "Follow me." She led them to her bedroom and opened the door. From floor to ceiling on all four walls were book shelves filled with stories about vampires. "I've got the most complete collection of books available on the subject. And over there are VHS tapes, and DVDs of all the movies and TV shows that ever had a vampire in them. Working nights, I've drawn blood for lab tests, hung it to save patient's lives, cleaning it up from wounds, off beds, off myself, off floors and even off walls. I know all about blood. They call those of us that work nights, vampires. So will you help me or not?"
Henry said, "That's something Vicki and I will need to discuss later, but now it's time for us to leave."
Murphy placed a hand on his arm and smiled faintly at the cold beneath her touch, "When will I know?"
Henry's eyes blackened and said, "You will forget that you've ever talked to us. Tonight, an hour after sunset, you will greet us as we leave the apartment complex. Then you'll have your answer."
Nodding, Murphy turned her back on them and reach for her morning read and selected a book about a prince turned vampire. She was no longer aware of Henry or Vicki as she climbed into bed, forgetting to place the security chain.
Vicki turned toward their apartment and Henry pulled her back, "Not here, we'll use our secondary place today."
Vicki asked, "Are you sure? You know how much you hate tight places."
"She might or might not mean us harm but we can't afford to take the risk."
The two hundred year old church sat on corner in a long neglected part of town. The once beautiful grounds had been left to grow wild and tall weeds grew around the tilting stone steps. When it was being built, Henry had made subtle changes in the drawings and a small opening to the deep foundation was created. Over the decades, Henry would clear it of debris then replace the covering stone. Here was a refuge that stood the test of time and Henry only resorted to using it when absolutely necessary. It reminded him too much of his first days after turning, when for three nights he had been trapped underground in total darkness and only because Christina had persisted had he been released to walk the night.
Henry pointed for Vicki to start the slow journey down and in. "Right! I get to find and kill all the crawlies first."
"You know I'm not fond of spiders. Besides it's tight in there. If you go in first and squeeze against the side, I'll be able to work my way down."
Vicki grunted, "Spoons or nose to nose?"
"Nose to nose."
Henry stopped her and tapped her nose, "Nose to nose, breasts to chest, and I should be able to tuck something else in nice and tight."
"Do you ever think of doing something without trying to work in a little sex?"
He grinned and said, "Not if I can help it."
Vicki felt the pressure of dawn pounding in her head and made her way head first into the tight space. She relied on her vampire skills to navigate in total darkness. She heard Henry behind her as he placed the heavy stone closure in place. Without a way to turn, Henry crawled backwards his feet bumping Vicki's.
Vicki's movements became slower as she fought to stay awake. Henry applied more pressure to her feet and she picked up the pace as he said, "Soon there should be enough room for you to turn around."
Speaking sharply she said, "Stop moving and I'll turn around."
He paused briefly then continued his backward motion until they were side by side. Then they shifted so that they were nose to nose and Vicki said, "Forget sex, I don't want to associate being in what amounts to a grave with love making."
Henry rubbed his chin along the side of her face, "I couldn't agree more. Don't forget I'm not nice when I wake up in tight places."
"How can I forget after the last time you woke up swinging." She traced the outline of his frown and added, "I know you can't help it, given the way you woke up the first time as vampire, and you were stuck there for three nights. I got to wake up in your arms. For me, waking up each night brings me back to you."
With the comfort of knowing that they would be in each others arms all day, they felt the sun drive them down into the dark of death.
Henry and Vicki stood waiting in the shadows outside the apartment complex for well over two hours when Vicki finally said, "There's something wrong. No one ignores your compulsions."
Henry tapped her on the chin, "You do."
Her eyes sparkled, "I'm different."
Henry nodded in agreement and watched the door for someone coming or leaving. Eventually he pointed to the young couple holding the door open to let a old man out, "Now."
Vicki darted at vampire speed through the opening as Henry followed close behind. The old man looked at the young couple and remarked about the funny weather lately, causing short bursts of wind that chilled the bone then was gone.
Henry's nose twitched as they came out of the stairwell on the third floor. Vicki took a sniff and looked at him saying, "I know that smell."
He nodded in agreement saying, "It's what's left behind after a soul leaves."
Henry placed a hand on her back as they entered the apartment. They found Murphy on her bed with an open book lying on her chest and a faint smile around her lips. Death had come for her earlier in the day.
The apartment door was left standing open as Henry and Vicki made their way down the back stairs and out of the building.
"You know it's better this way don't you?"
"I know, but sometimes you can't help but wonder what the alternative would have been like."