Task

“You what?” I asked, confused.

‘Forget I’m a vampire,’ he repeated patiently.

“Why?”

Well, I think it’s because the human mind can only cope with so much. Perhaps, remembering a night of hypersensitivity and predator instincts is too much. As a vampire, I remember nearly everything I’ve been through. The human memories can be quite confusing, I must admit. But as a human, I have ‘dreamless nights’ and only memories of daytime. The inability to deal with vampire memories probably accounts for the lack of psychic ability.

“So, what you’re saying is I won’t be able to run up to you and kiss you if and when I see you as a human?”

Yes.

“But, that means we’d have to almost start the whole relationship again!”

He nodded gravely.

“Wait! You do still love me as a human, don’t you?”

Yes. Thankfully, love and hate remain the same.

“But, you could end up courting someone else?”

He nodded again. ‘Unfortunately, yes.’

“I have to tell you I love you.”

I frowned. Surely, it would be like the declarations made on the bed a few minutes ago?

No, no it wouldn’t.

We’re not even acquaintances. I’ll think I’ve never talked to you in my life. I’ll be nervous, flattered, perhaps, but confused by the prospect of a sudden friendship. I’ll probably stutter and feel awkward (I don’t have half the courage I have as a vampire). But, no matter how hard it will be, you must know that I do love you.

There was a long silence as I absorbed this.

“I’ll have to do it soon,” I realised.

I’m sorry.

“It’s not your fault!” I laughed shakily, breaking the tense atmosphere. I surprised myself when my vision blurred and tears popped into my eyes. It’s not that bad, I scolded myself.

‘It’s bad enough.’ He sounded bitter and annoyed at himself.

I quickly decided what I was going to do. “I’ll tell you tomorrow, then.”

Are you sure? You don’t have to put yourself through that.

I do have to. I want to. You don’t want to hurt some poor girl’s feelings by ending up in a relationship as a human. Where shall I meet you and when?”

I love you, you know. You’re far too good for me.

“Where?”

Do you know where I live?

 “No. Is it a place as amazing as you?”

He chuckled. I live in the house on the hill.

I gulped. “The hill?

Yes. Don’t tell me you’re scared. You’ve been spending the last few hours with a blood-sucking vampire.

“But, you’re harmless!”

He snorted. ‘Your blood is delicious, like sweet hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream. Does a harmless person say things like that?’

“No, but I’m still alive, aren’t I?”

I haven’t been too thirsty, though.

“You were thirsty last night. And you drank my blood then.” I was surprised at how matter-of-fact I sounded.

Fair enough. But what are you afraid of?

“The house is meant to be haunted...”

‘Terri.’ I felt thrills as he said my name. ‘Think. What am I?’

“A vampire,” I replied, confused.

So..., what’s haunting my house?

“Oh!” Comprehension dawned on me. I felt incredibly stupid.

And, seeing as you’re going by day, there’s really nothing to be scared of.

I blushed. “Right. So, when shall I meet you?”

Between 9 and 12. If all goes well, you may be able to have lunch with us.

“What are your parents like?” I wondered

Mum’s lovely, if a little clumsy by day, while Dad is always friendly.

“Why always?”

Oh, he’s human.

“So, you’re what? Half-human?”

Three quarters, actually. Mum’s only half-vampire.

“Oh, I see.”

So, now we’re settled about tomorrow, can we think about the rest of tonight?

“Sure. How long till you ‘transform’?”

Nice phrasing. Sunrise is about 4 o’clock, I think.

“That’s good. We’ve got about 1 and a half hours, then”

Yeah. Let’s not cut it too close, though. I might think you’ve abducted me. I’ll go about 3:30.

“How will you leave?” I realised I’d never seen him enter my house, let alone leave it.

Well, I get in through the front door. You have a knack of leaving it unlocked. I leave through the window.

“Is that safe?”

‘Oh, yes. I always land on my feet. Why? Are you worried about me?’  he teased.

“Perhaps...” I considered. I decided to tease back. “It doesn’t mean anything though.”

Oh, really? I was under the impression that you were in love with me, I guess that means I should just hypnotise you and leave you.

He rolled over to stare intently at me. I briefly had the sensation of falling, but he seemed to catch me with a blanket-like fold and held me in his gaze. Instead of putting me in a trance, though, he started kissing me. I teasingly pushed him away, but he pulled me closer with one arm, while using the other to grab my wrists so I couldn’t push anymore.

He broke away. ‘Actually, you could do with some sleep.’

“I don’t want to,” I protested, but I yawned, betraying my fatigue.

You need your sleep.

“I don’t want it. Wait, do you sleep?”

Yeah. Why do you think I don’t get here until midnight?

“Oh, I thought that’s when you became a vampire. Or else, you hunted till then.”

Well, I did hunt tonight, but I didn’t last night.

“How much do you need a night?”

Only about a quarter of a human’s blood a night. Not enough to kill them, thankfully.

A strange idea suddenly occurred to me. It was totally random, but I asked anyway.

“Um, do you want... erm, could I be...?”

‘My food source?’ He sounded as surprised as I felt.

“Um, yes.”

That’s nice of you to offer. Are you sure?

“Well, won’t it be preferable that your food’s been offered? You must feel slightly awkward taking something from someone without their permission.”

Yes, actually. I do. You’re amazingly brave to offer something as precious as your blood.

“Well, I know you won’t let anything bad happen to me, and I feel sorry for people who suddenly, out of the blue, feel light-headed and dazed for no apparent reason.”

That’s truly touching. Won’t you mind going into a trance, though? You’ll have no control over what I ‘suggest’.

“You’ve hypnotised me before, though. I doubt you’ll ‘suggest’ anything, out of care and respect for me. And to be honest, it’s a bit like fainting, so I won’t mind going into one.”

‘I will endeavour to always be careful. Thank you.’ He sounded sincere, although mystified. Who could blame him? I’d just offered to feed him with my blood. He shook his head before glancing over at my alarm clock. I wondered how long we had left.

‘A luxurious forty five minutes.’ He grinned.

Something suddenly occurred to me, related to trances. “Um, Christopher?”

‘Yes.’ He gazed intently at me, smiling encouragingly.

“You’ve put me in a trance before... When I wake up, it always feels like you’re moving your hand from my shoulder...”

Yes.

“Why?”

Because I am.

“No, why is your hand there at my shoulder at that point? Or was it just coincidence that you were touching my shoulders both times?”

‘Not coincidence.’ He sounded amused.

“Care to expand?” I couldn’t really be very annoyed at him, though I was slightly frustrated.

Do you think you wake up spontaneously, naturally?

“Um, I never gave it much thought.”

Well, you don’t. You need something to wake up, break the trance. I tap you on the shoulder to wake you up. Do you have any other questions, while I allow you to think coherently?

“How do you become a vampire?”

Well, I was born one. I think other people are bitten by vampire bats.

“They exist?”

‘No, I’m lying.’ His tone was sarcastic.

“Do you turn into a bat? Or shape-shift?”

No.

“Can you fly?”

No.

“You don’t do much, do you?”

Oi! I’m telepathic, aren’t I? I have fangs. And if you’re not careful, I’ll make you forget who you are, which could be incredibly unpleasant.

“Are you threatening me?” I snorted.

‘Yeah, I suppose I...’ But he didn’t finish. He froze.

‘Footsteps. It’s your...mum. She’ll buy it if you say you’ve been talking in your sleep. See you tomorrow, sort of.’ He swiftly kissed my forehead, before leaping soundlessly off my bed and running quietly to the window.

‘I love you,’ I thought to him.

Love you too. Now close your eyes.

I closed them. A second later, the bedroom door opened, followed by the faintest crunch of gravel.

The End

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