“But if you use our new patented system, I can guarantee that you’ll never have another bad—-”
“Now, Ma. I told you not to keep the tea kettle so close to the stove.” *cue canned studio laughter* “Well, shucks, Mabel. I thought you meant don’t put the kettle IN the stove.” “But durn it all, Ma! That’s what you did!” *more canned studio laughter*
Robin huffed out a sigh. Just a bunch of stupidness. What a waste.
His day exhaustion walloped him.
He shut the tv off and laid down on the couch.
He closed his eyes.
He fell asleep.
The man who looked like Olessa grabbed Isellta’s hair and pulled his head back.
Isellta’s wings flittered.
“You think you’re so smart.” His face thinned. A mask appeared. She tightened her grip on Robin’s hair. “Well, you aren’t, vampire.”
She released him.
A muzzle covered his face.
He tried to pull it off.
His hands were bound to the wall.
He tried to turn his head.
His head was bound to the wall.
He tried to kick, to stomp his feet.
His legs were bound to the wall.
Isellta materialized. He unfastened the muzzle. Tears ran down his face. “I’m sorry, Robin. I don’t want to do this.” He cried as he touched the dagger’s tip to Robin’s forehead. “I don’t want to do this. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Robin, I’m so sorry.”
Robin cried out and opened his eyes.
His vision was the same as always – half clouded, half clear.
Half almost blind.
He traced the line on his face over and over.
What would I do if Isellta were sitting next to me?
Probably yell at him.
I always yell at him.
He rubbed both eyes without thinking.
His stomach turned as his hand stretched the split in his eyelid.
“Uhh.” He quickly uncovered his eyes.
The dagger dragged straight down.
Through eyebrow, eyelid, eye, eyelashes, lower eyelid.
And it kept going.
“Please stop.” He trembled. “Please.” He turned his head, but the images followed him wherever he looked. “Please.”
Isellta, suddenly appear. Be here. I need you.
He covered his eyes with his hands.
The images were still there.
Isellta, I’m so sorry.
Elsie looked smug and triumphant. “Well?”
“Okay.” Hildreth shrugged. “You win this round. They actually do have good food here.”
“Out of curiosity, what were you imagining?”
“Oh, I don’t know.” He burst out laughing. “Tree bark and lichen, for starters.”
“Come on! It’s called ‘The Moss’. It was a logical assumption.”
“Hildreth, don’t ever change.”
He dug his fork into his pork and beans salad. “Well, it would take a vampire to change me and I’m not likely to let THAT happen.” He offered her his forkful. “Try some.”
“I don’t care for pork.”
“Oh, I know that. But try it. Come on. Just one fork-filled bite. Come on. You know you want it. You want to eat it. You want to digest it. You want—-”
“Idiot. I know what I want.”
“Oh? And what would that be, Elsie Vansing?”
“I’d rather not say.”
“You want to whisper it?”
“Not with food in my mouth.”
“Huh? You don’t have food in—-.”
She snagged his fork and swooped the food into her mouth.
“Okay. I concede. You have food in your mouth.” He watched her eat it. “You want some more, don’t you? Yum. Yum. Pork and beans and romaine lettuce and—”
She moved the plate closer to her and dug in.
“My. My. Look at you go.” He claimed her fork and scooted closer to her.
She looked up at him.
And he saw glimpses of a memory.
Elsie climbed out of bed and walked towards him in just her spaghetti strapped tank top and white sleep shorts. Her hair was an explosion of black frizz.
I’d never seen anything more beautiful.
Ambrose came over to Elsie and wrapped his arm around her waist. “Yes, Hildreth. You heard the lady. Go away.” He smiled and it was not kindly. “You aren’t wanted here.”
His arrogance had pressed a button inside of me. One that I never knew existed. I wanted to throw down my weapon and punch that smirk off that vampire’s face. I raised my weapon instead.
Funny. I guess I’ve always hated him.