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Night Like Any Other
Night like any other. Nothing's changed. Pulled into the school parking lot, hidden by the shadow the tall building made against the moon. Got out of the car, clutching the packet to my chest as if it held my very life. Grabbed my black sweatshirt closer so as to keep out the cold. The light from the gym made rectangular spaces of light in the grass. Slipped in the shadows, away from the light.
Laughter came from the gym as one of the glass doors opened. Froze, back up against the brick wall, holding my breath. No one can see me now. Not now, when I'm so close.
A tall figure steps out into the light, and I wish I were dead. Its him. It can't be, but it is. Knew that he only needed to turn around and see me, and my secret would be reviled. Prayed that he would go back inside. Anywhere, as long as he was away from me.
He seemed sad, like someone had just broken his heart. Standing there with his hands on his hips, staring up at the pale, unforgiving moon, he seemed ready to take on the world, but for the tears sliding down his cheeks. They made tracks of silver on his face in the darkness, painting them like an ancient Mayan warrior. Knew that most likely, his snake of a girlfriend had finally confessed her disloyalty. Didn't care, told myself not to. Had other things to do than pity a deserving subject.
He seemed aloof to his surroundings, so I took the advantage to slip away. Tiptoed around the corner, finally leaving the danger zone. Breathed a sigh of relief. Clutched the packet to my chest again, and headed for the fire escape stairs. Needed to reach the roof before the moon was peaked. Desperate to make up the time I'd lost.
Began to climb, using only one hand. Done this a thousand times before. Didn't worry. Scaled the ladder in a matter of minutes, stepping onto the flat roof, wreathed in moonlight. Stepped toward the small indention in the middle, opened the drawstrings on the packet.
Whipped around, hearing heavy breathing behind me. Didn't think to hide. Didn't think to run. Stood there, cornered, as he climbed over the lip of the roof. The contents of the packet shone under my face, causing me to appear as a being beyond the dead. Too close to the truth.
"Hey there," he said, "I didn't know anyone would be up here this late, especially with the game..."
He waited for my response. Didn't give him one.
"Are...do you need help with something?"
Shuddered, feeling the need within me, and it began to burn. Needed to get rid of him. Now.
“I don’t need help. Please go away.”
A puzzled look overcame his striking features. Stupid. Knew my voice wasn’t meant for this world at night. Stupid to talk.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” He sounded genuinely worried. Bit my lip, wanting to tell him everything, Knew I couldn’t. He came closer. Help up my hands, warning him back. He needed to go.
“I know you,” he said, and my heart clenched. He’d recognized me. “You sit in front of me in Pre Cou. And beside me in Chemistry. Right?”
Shook my head. Frantically waved. I could feel it coming, whether I was ready or not. He would feel it. He would know. He would die.
Stupid talk. Talk wasted time. Distracted me. Again, shook my head. Stepped toward him. Had to get him away.
He must have misunderstood. Came closer and grabbed my waving hands.
Shook my head, back forth, back forth. Leave, go away. He didn’t understand.
His hands moved over mine, gently squeezing, bringing them down so he could look into my shrouded face. Couldn’t let him see. His hand felt the packet, but didn’t try to take it away. Pulled it away from him anyway. Pushed his chest with my other hand. He was saying something, but the pounding in my head wouldn’t let me hear. Needed to get him away. Needed to succumb to the urge. Needed the moon to wait. Needed to hide. Needed to scream.
Falling to the cement roof, too weak to stand anymore. Pulled him down, too. He was calling for help. Couldn’t let him. No one could see. One was too much.
Grabbed his hand, pulled it to my chest. As I began to shake, my hood fell, revealing my shifting features. My glowing eyes. Saw him gasp. Saw him shrink back. He couldn’t run now. Too late to get him away.
“Close your eyes,” I whispered past gritted teeth. Almost didn’t understand my own words. The world was slipping past my comprehension. As the moon called, I held on to the last shred of reality: him.
Finally, couldn’t hold on anymore. Let myself go. Let the packet slip from my fingers, not seeing where it landed. Not caring. Slipped into the silver white of the calling light. Felt it grab my hands, my shoulders, my heart. Felt myself fill with the pure ecstasy I needed to sustain myself. Felt it and laughed. Laughed because it hurt. Laughed because it killed me. Every night, it killed me again. Tonight was no different.
Only it was different. Felt the power leave me. Felt the happiness cease. Go someplace else. Into someone else. Tried to hold on. Slipping away. Chased it until it winked from my conception.
Opened my eyes. The time had passed. Unfulfilled. I was not changed. Not human anymore. Tears slipped from my ethereal eyes, burning acid into the cement under my head. So close. Too close. Now, it started over.
Turned my head. He lay there, beside me. Was he dead? No, his chest moved up and down, up and down. Couldn’t see his face from where I lay. Could see his clothes, torn and burnt. Revealing translucent skin. Scarred skin. Inhuman skin.
Sat up quickly. Couldn’t be true. Too early. Too soon. Reached over, pulled him around to face me. His eyes were closed. But I could see his face had changed. Like mine. No longer human. No longer real.
Abruptly, frozen eyes stared back at me. Not the rich, chocolate brown of before. Feline irises slashed them in half, contracting as they met my face. Narrowed slowly. Then he sat up. Stared at his hands. Felt his ears, his hair, his skin. Didn’t understand the reason, I knew. His eyes told him what his heart did not let him believe. Fear kindled in those huge eyes. Fear of himself. Fear of the night.
Fear of me.
He stood slowly, never taking his eyes off me. Placed his feet, trying to gain his balance with his new height and strength. My heart was torn. I couldn’t let him go back. Back to the world he thought he knew. Couldn’t let him leave, now that he knew. Had to take him with me. Just as someone had taken me with them, all those years ago. He would hate me at first. Like I had hated. He would refuse to understand, as I had. Then he would begin to believe, as I had. He would accept it. He had to.
Now, he was just a beginner. Though stronger, taller, and more powerful than I, he would need direction. I would give it to him. Because I was the only one who knew.
He was speaking.
Grimaced as he winced at his own voice.
“You will understand,” I whispered raggedly. “Someday.”
He frowned. Angry. Stepped away from me.
“Come with me,” I said, “we must go.”
Held out my hand.
He stared at it as if it were a poisonous viper. Knew he shouldn’t trust me. Knew he knew he had to.
“There is no other,” I rasped. “We are the only ones. If you do not come with me, they will find you. You will die.”
“Because that’s the way it has always been. Even if you do not now, you will soon. I can protect you.”
Did not tell him the whole truth. Did not tell him he had been the one from the start; the one I would die for. So that he could live to raise another. Did not tell him I loved him.
He took my hand. It was done. Our fates were sealed. Reaching forward, I wrapped my arms around him. He was shaking. He held on to me like I was his life. Too close to the truth.
Kissed his brow. Kissed his mouth. Pulled him away, into the night.
Night like any other. Everything’s changed.