The air is warm, the night moonless. An oddity, to be sure. I am thankful for it, though. It allows to me to concentrate on other things, my mind isn't occupied with thoughts of warmth or brightness.
Or it is?
We walked past a church nearly an hour ago, one of those pseudo-Gothic monstrosities imposing its presence on the city. It must have been midnight mass; coloured glass staining the concrete of the sidewalk with the light that shone through it, illuminating its contents. I could hear a voice inside: loud, self assured, and probably seething with hypocrisy.
That scene is behind me now, and the death bed of my father further back still. Both things affected me. Both things shower my mind with thoughts, feelings. The cathedral burns bright in my mind, a construction of everything I am not, filled with holiness, sanctity, and goodness. And lies, faces and deeds fashioned to fool not only friends, but one’s self.
My kind doesn't need to lie. We accept brutal truths.
The final image of my father also remains engraved in my consciousness. His frailty, the rasp of his laboured breathing, weakness showing on his proud frame. He had wrapped himself tight in darkness, a comforting cloak of night. Alone, save for me.
And now I share his fate.
"Kostya, something's up. Tell me." Dmitriy's usually solid voice echoed soft in the relative silence, an older brother comforting his younger counterpart.
I don't bother answer.
"Listen," he sighs, "if you don't want to go through with this..."
His voice trails off. He probably doesn't want to give up his fun, ruin this night.
"No, Dima," I say, firmly. "I need this. You need this." I lower my head, close my eyes, and add, "My father needs this."
Now it is his turn to remain silent, to nod in reply.
Why is it so cold?
The night around her had suddenly chilled, and goose bumps were raising themselves across her exposed flesh, which there was quite an ample amount of. Hugging her coat closer around her, she meanders down the street, her heels a steady clip clop in her wake.
Not only men think themselves horses.
The thought brings a momentary smile to her painted lips, but it is quickly chased away by the cold fingers of the dark. She shivers and hurries her pace, an effort to keep warm. Body cold, teeth clattering a staccato rhythm, and black-lined eyelids pressed together, she collides into an object. It gives a little, and is warm.
She quickly realizes, though, that she is pressed against a body. An un-paying body, at that. She takes a quick step back and looks up, and trembles with cold, not fear.
There isn't much more to fear once you've brought yourself to this.
It has finally come to this. Such an inhuman act.
The body lies limp in my arms, her skin cold, but the flesh beneath warm. She had fainted when Dmitriy smiled, his sharp incisors barred. I stare longingly at her exposed neck, Dima’s hot breath tickling my own. My hands shake as I brush her hair back, baring her neck, and revealing a thin chain in the process. I trace it with my eyes, downwards, towards the nape of her neck. I reach a quavering hand out towards it, intent on seeing what was affixed at its middle.
“Kostya, I didn’t think you the type,” Dima whispers behind me, chuckling.
As usual, I don’t answer, my thoughts lie elsewhere. My fingers grasp the chain gingerly and lift the charm from her blouse, a faint tinkling of metal giving voice to the silent stars above us.
Dmitriy gasps behind me.
Goddamnit. A cross.