The Others

March 8, 2009
Everything’s different now. He smiles and breathes simultaneously into my ear, twirls my long dark hair with his fingertips. I see him, but I don’t. I’m looking over there instead, where the other one, ageless, accompanied with shades to keep out the morning sun, is twirling his thumbs and looking back at me. He has a mysterious almost-smile on his lips. I like this smile better. The one I don’t know.
“What’s the matter,” he asks as he pulls away, a look of blatant concern painfully obvious in his expression. His emotions stay there, frozen and soft as the snow under us; I can still hear the echoes of his heart pulsing behind his homemade knit-sweater, one of the many his mother used to make in her spare time before she died. He always wore his heart on his sleeve. That didn’t bother me until now. Now that this other one has arrived.
I am not paying attention in the least to the repetitive questions he is asking. After a few more moments of his pestering in return for my silence, he gives up, lies down on the blanket I brought from home and closes his eyes. I take a quick peek, the other one has now returned to his book. I am now intent on trying to discreetly read the cover, desperate to see if we have anything in common. He lifts up the book slightly, as if he read my mind at that exact point in time. I see the cover is entitled “Interview with the Vampire,” by Anne Rice, one of my current favorites. At that moment he smoothly takes off his shades and looks up. He then proceeds to give me a smoldering look with his almost-black eyes into my cat-colored ones. I force myself to look back into them, those never-ending pits of darkness and light. Even if I’d wanted to, I couldn’t have looked away. Something about his glare was hungry and forceful, as if he was holding me there, seeing right into my soul.
I then hear a voice in my ear. Although this time it is a different one, not the one that is attached to the never-ending questions. In contrast, this one’s deep and enthralling, slipping its way in through my eardrum and up into the center of my skull. This voice asks for my name. I then realize with horror mixed with undeniable captivation that this voice is coming from the other one. I cannot speak, let alone move for that matter. As I make a feeble attempt to reply, through my mind or out loud I’m not sure, he puts his book down, stands up with an easy grace, and begins to approach me. There is and isn’t any time to move, my mind is screaming at me to run if I don’t want to come to the end of the clearing too soon, but my body hasn’t quite come to an agreement. And then it is too late. He gently rolls over the too-many-questions boy (he grunts, then curls up into a ball) and sits down next to me. He then asks me for my name again verbally, although the voice still crawls into my mind. I muster up enough strength from my temporarily weakened body to answer “Skye.” This comes out a croak, incomprehensible gibberish. However, he seems to understand me and replies “Zane,” and then gives me a brilliant smile; the kind that could be plastered on billboards or in a teeth-whitening commercial. After a few moments of silence and me still gawking, Zane takes my hand. I instantly feel a tingling sensation that runs all the way from my head to the ends of my boots, and electric currents flowing through that one point of contact. His hands are unbelievably cold.
“What’s the matter?” The other ones voice isn’t whiny and repetitive, like the one now issuing soft snores from the ground, but rather calming and convincing, making everything seem right.
I take a moment to reply, “It’s just your hands.”
“It is only the weather,” he says through a toothy grin. Almost instantaneously I hear a whisper of, “Do you want to take a walk?”
“Yes, but what about him?” I wrench my hands from his grip, they are just too cold.
He doesn’t seem to notice my reluctance. “He’ll be better than fine, considering he is sleeping like a rock.” To prove this he lightly pushes the one on the blanket, but he doesn’t budge.
This other ones voice is reassuring, and never taking his eyes off me he pulls me up.
He does not reach to hold my hand as we head out toward the outer limits of the park, and I do not have any expectations. We do not say a word. There isn’t a need to exactly, it is a comfortable silence. There are a couple of birds, ravens flying overhead. I do not pay them any attention; I am only observing him, his face mostly. The dark eyes surrounded by a mass of slicked-back hair, a pointed chin, and pale lips that I keep going back to. He is beautiful, in all senses of the word. The kind of “tall, dark and handsome” you can only imagine. Except he is pale, almost blending in with the snow, and the white sweater I am sporting.
He suddenly stops and I imitate him, forcing myself to look down, not at his lips. Zane then gently lifts my chin up, looks deeply into my eyes for what seems to be an eternity, and then almost as if it never occurred, takes his thumb off my chin and continues on walking towards the end of the park. I am standing there speechless as well as breathless; but I give myself a hard slap across the face and walk briskly toward him, slowing down my pace once I reach my destination.
Suddenly the sky cracks open and snow begins to fall. We look at each other for a moment, and then continue walking looking in opposite directions.
We are at the end of the park. There is a lake, but not an organism in sight, human or otherwise. It is silent all around us, almost deafening. A snowflake falls in my hair, its soft wetness making my hair frizz. He stops again, and I do the same. He turns, and is so close I can see the light freckles dusting his nose. Zane picks the remainder of the snow that fell in my hair, never taking his eyes off me. The expression on his face seems to dictate that he is experiencing inner turmoil; I can almost hear his thoughts echoing off everything that surrounds us, but I am unable to comprehend. At last, he seems to come at peace with his decision, his expression relaxes, and he leans forward and kisses me very softly on the lips. He pulls back, a look of frustration on his face, then relaxation, and he leans in and kisses me more deeply this time. I am stiff for about a second, and then I slowly relax, an exhalation of hot air into the atmosphere. I can taste the sweet bitterness of his mouth, and as I run my hands through his hair he puts his hand on the small on my back and makes circular motions with his fingertips.

I am lost in this moment. Everything seems to be slowing down and speeding up at the same time. I can feel everything, and yet see nothing. Suddenly he grasps my arms and pushes me away from him. A look of confusion must have somewhat briefly crossed my face, because he tells me that we have to stop.
I can still feel his lips on mine, the tingling sensation dry and bitter but wonderful and begin to open my mouth in protest, but I stop in mid-breath.
I then notice his teeth.
His canines, to be exact; they are longer, more defined than his other ones, enough to be a noticeable difference.
All of the images suddenly start flashing in my mind in an almost fast-forward motion: the appearance of agelessness, the sunglasses, and the whiter-than-snow complexion.
“How old are you?” It suddenly comes bursting through my teeth like a poison, and I cover my mouth.
He takes my hand off my mouth and takes his arms off from around me, steps back about a foot. I was born on the sixth day of June, 1302.
I stand there, gaping at him, about to ask “What are you?” but he cuts in and says with an eerie look of hate and adoration “I think we both know perfectly well what I am.”
The thought of “He just read my mind” flashes though my brain, and I open my eyes even wider, unable to move.
The other one suddenly lunges forward with a super-human speed, grabs my neck and scrapes it with those awful teeth, I let out a scream foreign to my own ears.
He suddenly lets go. I am standing there fighting to get the breath back into my lungs, and he stares at me with a look of utter hatred on his face. Then, as quickly as it came, his face starts to relax again. I let out a cry of relief mixed with fear.
We both look down; there are two drops of blood in the snow, as clear as the daylight around us.
“I’m sorry,” he says, keeping his head down, but I can still make out the look of sadness among his features. My fear begins to ebb away, replaced by the sympathy I feel for him, his kind.
“It’s just” he begins, but this time I cut him off. “I know,” I say in a whisper, understanding that his ears are able to pick it up.
Out of nowhere, a white hare comes out of the brush. He looks at me, I nod, and when he and the hare make eye contact, the hare stops. I see the same predatory glance I witnessed a couple of moments earlier, and stepped back a couple feet, preparing for the worst. It wasn’t. Zane approached the hare, and then began to walk past it into the forest. The hare followed. I sat down, anticipating the creature’s cry of pain. There was none. He came out a few moments later, wiping the red marks on the corners of his mouth and sat down next to me.
“I’m sorry,” he repeated softly, and kissed me lightly on the lips. There wasn’t a need for words anymore.

He pulled back again, and this time a smile, with no trace of what he feasted on, lit up his eyes, and they seemed a bit brighter, if only for a moment. It was all the reassurance I needed.

I stand up, and he looks up at me, seeming to come to terms with my decision. He stands up, caresses my cheek with his palm. Zane then puts his hand on the small of my back and very gently turns me around. I glance over my shoulder at him one more time, a silent agreement passing between us contained in a neutral expression. I then turn around and break out into a sprint, never once looking back.





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