Sniffing, Lazarus rolled onto his back, staring up into the darkness. He had no idea how long he had been down there. With a shudder, he picked himself up and carefully made his way out of the cellar. He was pretty sure that at some point, the memories had become a dream. He wondered just how long he had slept. Hardly matters anyway. Traipsing up the stairs, he turned and wondered where Melissa had chosen to sleep. It wasn’t hard to find her. She had fallen asleep in the study. Lazarus quietly made his way across the room, watching her sleep for a while. The sun had only just begun to set, blazing its path down beyond the horizon. Quietly, Melissa stirred, feeling Lazarus’ gaze upon her.
His pale blue eyes were bloodshot and haunted, but they held her steadily, her own green orbs unable to break away.
‘Good afternoon,’ Lazarus said, trying to smile. She watched as his lips twitched with the effort, but a smile never formed.
‘Lazarus,’ she muttered, wiping her eyes of their sleep grit. She pushed herself up and faced him. ‘What’s up? What happened?’
‘Nothing. I just didn’t really sleep. I got into the basement. There’s a room at the back I can use. I’ll try not to leave it,’ his voice was odd, emotionless and flat. Drained.
‘Tell me what’s wrong, Lazarus. You’re not telling me something.’ Melissa demanded, a small frown appearing on her face.
‘This house is horrible, the memories are horrible. After my last transformation this month, we’re moving on. I can hardly handle having to be here for two nights.’ He dropped his gaze to the floor, despising how weak he sounded.
‘Then we’ll move!’ Melissa said. Lazarus just nodded.
'Could you go get me some vodka... before the moon comes out? Please?' he asked, his eyes pleading with her quietly. Melissa sighed and nodded, picking herself up off the floor. She walked away, not looking back at Lazarus. She wasn’t gone long.
Sweeping into the room, Melissa handed him a large bottle of vodka and grimaced. ‘Enjoy,’ she muttered bitterly. Lazarus muttered an ashamed ‘thank you’ but Melissa didn’t seem to hear him.
‘Could you... could you sit by the basement door and make sure I don’t get out, please?’ he asked quietly, unscrewing the cap from the bottle.
‘Sure,’ she sighed softly as Lazarus began to drink. She pulled at his hand and told him to go down to the basement before he was too drunk to get down the stairs. Pausing he nodded and rose, leading her to the dank cellar.
‘Thank you,’ he whispered, hugging her quickly, before shutting the basement door behind him. Lazarus walked on unsteady feet to the room at the back again, sitting himself on the floor with his bottle. He had the presence of mind to preserve the only clothes he had left, stripping his jeans off and throwing them into a corner. Taking a deep breath, he gulped down the liquid, half hating it, half relishing the sensation as he slipped into a paralytic state, half asleep on the floor.
As the transformation hit, he let out a pitiful cry, the bottle sliding out from his weak grasp. He mewled, bawling like a baby, not quite knowing what was happening. On the other side of the door, Melissa covered her ears and did her best to stop herself rushing in there to comfort him in his stupor. The drunken cries became the quiet whine of a pained wolf, then stopped. She listened to him shuffling around quietly. There was a yelp, a crash and the smashing of several bottles of ancient wine followed by the clattering of the rack as he collapsed into the manor’s wine reserves. She wondered briefly why he didn’t just drink the wine to dull the pain, but figured he hadn’t touched them out of respect or something similar.
As she sat, her mind wandered away from Lazarus’s shuffling in the cellar. She and her mother had once lived in a manor house much like this, with her two sisters. She had never cared for them much, though. They had always been unfriendly, taunting her, calling her names. To them, she was useless. She couldn’t sew, and she had never been especially good at socialising. Most of her time was spent reading, hidden away in the library – alone. The only reason anyone had ever liked her was for her looks. They hadn’t loved her.
Now, though, she had Lazarus. However, something had irked him, she could tell. She had only spent an hour or so awake in this house and already she hated it. It was cold, lifeless. Decayed. And it was tearing at Lazarus. It had managed to undo all her work in a matter of seconds. She had done his best to change him, but there he was, drunk senseless, fumbling around in the dark in the shape of a wolf. Lazarus loved her, she was sure, but the question that plagued her as she sat there, listening to him, was just how much did he love her, how strong was the love? Would it endure their stay here? Beyond it?
She pulled her knees to her chest and encircled them with her pale arms with a doubtful sigh. ‘Lazarus...’ she murmured quietly to her knees as she rested her head on them. She hardly noticed as Lazarus fell silent. When she did realise that there was no sound on the other side of the door, she hesitantly rose, putting an ear to the thick wood. She could hear his breaths, slow and heavy. Asleep, she thought, shaking her head slightly. She waited a few more hours before actually entering the basement. He was spread eagled on the floor, snoring softly. She blushed as she looked at his vulnerably naked form shivering slightly in the cold on the floor.
Finding his jeans discarded on the floor a couple of metres away from his body, she picked them up, shaking the dirt off them before doing her best to pull them back on his limp form, wishing she had a blanket or something to keep him warm.