“So, why are you here?”
Raven took a few minutes to re-compose himself before replying, “I suppose you could say I ran away from home. My vampires are gone. They’re all gone. The house, my home, was so quiet and empty without them. But in my dreams, they were still there. Alive. Bright. Happy. I’d wake up to silence. Empty, hurting silence. Sometimes.”
He took a breath and softly exhaled. “Sometimes, I thought I could hear their voices in the halls and their footsteps on the stairs. Sometimes, I would catch the faintest touch of their scents. Can vampires become ghosts, sir?”
It would be so easy to lie to him just to ease his pain. “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
Something seemed to burn out in Raven’s eyes. “I see, sir.”
“Doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Maybe it’s one of those things no one feels comfortable talking about. Like having little green men from Mars live in your closet.”
He smiled – the most unconvincing smile ever. “Then, I am alone.”
“You don’t have to be. Let me stay with you. The place I’m staying at right now…It’s become too complicated. I need to give her some space.”
Ambrose smiled. “Her.”
The phone rang.
Ambrose fetched his cleaning supplies as Raven dealt with his caller. He thought about Barbara. She loves me. She cares about me
She honestly cares about me. I wonder why. I’ve hurt her and hurt her. If she told me to go stake myself, I wouldn’t blame her one bit.
He swept the tile floor over by the front door. I want to marry her. I do. But should I? Is it right? Is it even fair to bind her to someone like me? It’s what I want, but does that even matter?
But what am I supposed to do? Let her go? I don’t want to do that. But does it matter what I want? What about her? What does she want? No. No, it’s so much more than that. After everything I’ve said and done, do I deserve to have a happily ever after with her?
He dumped the dirt and dust into the garbage can.
“I haven’t fully answered your question.”
Ambrose went back to sweeping. “Well. Go on. I’m listening.”
“I ran away from home. I couldn’t take the loneliness anymore. Certain ideas infiltrated my thoughts and I feared where they would lead me. I went on the train. I had no destination in mind. I just wanted to run as far as I could.”
Ambrose scooped up the rest of the dirt. “Keep going. I am listening.”
“Someone left their car on the tracks.”
Ambrose stopped in mid-sweep.
“My train crashed and fell on its side. People screamed and cried. People died. Their scents were so strong, sir. So powerful. Some good scents. Some bad.” He fell silent.
Ambrose tightened his grip on the broom.
“I still have nightmares of trains dripping with blood.”
“Where was this train crash?”
“Here in Pinkerlee, sir.”