one night stands

Neither sex nor the previous night’s drinking binge were the proximate causes for her to pick up perfect strangers from perfectly innocuous bars. It was never about preferences – short, fat, tall, bald or downright ugly suited her just fine. All she needed was a body to lie with, to let those few breaths of pleasure replace the memories that tormented her every waking moment.

Getting up softly from the bed, she turned and looked at the rumpled sheets and the man snoring under them. Her eyes trailed his bronze arm down to the fingers that held a fistful of sheets. They had been clever fingers searching all her nooks and crannies, finding spots that had made her give in to moments so sweet that she could have wept with relief. He had made her forget the demons that had darkened her soul’s doorstep.

Now in the harsh glare of the morning sun, she knew this was not another flash in the gathering dark, leaving her cold. Although he was different from all the rest, she could not let him close. It would be too dangerous. Wearing her clothes softly, she let her eyes trail over his dark beauty one last time.

He carried his African heritage with a bold imprint. Curly dark hair fell carelessly over a high forehead, thick lashes swept down his high cheekbones covering eyes that she knew to be mischievous amber. His lips hid sharp, sparkling white teeth. He smiled as he slept, dreaming perhaps of the night before.

He had made her laugh and feel some inkling of her former self in that dingy little bar, surrounded by mortal hearts and evanescent emotions. She had laughed, so close to tears, so close to letting the hollow gaping wound surface and sweep her away in a wave of inexpressible rage. She had then looked into his eyes with quiet desperation and asked him to take her home.

Silence had blanketed the distance between their close bodies and she had held her breath as he made up his mind. She could tell he wasn’t the kind of man who would screw around at the spur of the moment especially with someone like her.

Shaking her head, she had begun to slide off the stool when he had taken her hand in a gentle hold and kissed it. That had been her undoing and tears had spilled down her satiny cheeks.

He had tipped her chin and stared into her sad eyes and in his gaze she found a reciprocating pain that he had hidden behind a playful façade.

Together they had left the bar. Not a word had passed between them as he drove them back to his hotel room. They had undressed each other in silence and then loved each other with such feverish pitch that made words seem unnecessary. She had clawed his back and held him close wanting him to feel her pain just for a few seconds, to curl up under his skin and breathe easy as if nothing bad had ever happened in her life.

Yet it had happened. Her peaceful world, with its picket fences and rose bushes, had crumbled. There had been nothing left of her loved ones except telltale signs on the corpses. Signs that told her that they had caught up with her and they had left their calling card – the little pinpricks on the necks of her human husband and her two little ones, children the council had considered abominations.

She had grieved and raged like a rabid animal. Anger had made the blood thirst uncontrollable and she had gone on a feeding frenzy. She had taken them down like cattle; she had turned from a guardian to a predator. They had screamed for mercy on bended knees but to no avail. Her mindless grief had exacted its revenge on the innocent till she could no longer suffer the sight of blood any more.

It was then that sanity had finally lifted the curtain of madness off her eyes and she had recoiled in horror. They had proven that she was no different than them. She was a vampire just like her brethren and her love for humanity was a farce she could not hide behind. Yet she loved her victims as much as she loved her own children. She loved them for their mortality, for their casual acceptance of the dark, and for their quotidian lives, so unlike her own.

And then she had begun to run. She had run from the devastation she had caused and from her brethren, who pursued her to bring her to justice ordained by the council. They had no such affection for their prey. Being a day walker, she had eluded them till now but justice was meted out to her nonetheless by the souls of those she had inadvertently killed by loving them or by her mad rampage.

But now he had finally caught up with her. Five years later, here he was, sleeping in a bed that held her scent. A day walker like her, he was part human and part vampire and yet he was so far away from her. She could not let him near.

It was time to move on. If he was able to find her, so would they sooner or later.

She wore her red sandals and began to tiptoe out of the room when his voice stopped her.

“Planning to run away again, are you sweetheart?” his deep baritone made her close her eyes.

June 2018
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