The Dash-All Chronicles: As Far as Normal Goes


For the rest of the night I felt like a sleepwalker, I even nodded off once, standing behind the reception counter, and woke as I began to lose balance. I crashed into the stool behind me, realizing I really should be sitting on it as an ache bloomed across my hip where most of the impact had been centered. I rubbed the spot as I sat down, my unseeing eyes staring out across the dimly lit lobby.

I wanted to try and go to sleep – there is a cot in the back office just for when such an occasion arises  – but something kept me on that stool, like a vague premonition of the need to practice patience, or possibly the fear of the lion’s ghost bending over me while I slept, showing sharp teeth and an accusation in his small, brown eyes.

I was freezing and finally gave up fighting the urge to pull my Livington sweatshirt over my head, thus disregarding the fairly strict policy set by Mrs. D – the owner – that we should always look professional, even at four-thirty in the morning. “First impressions last,” she’ll sing-song while her tiny hands flutter all over you, correcting buttons and berets or hairbands, cleaning imaginary smudges off your cheeks or scratching dirt off your neck. Oh, yes, she does that with her sharp, polished nails. But it is with love, so we forgive her.

When Kay arrived at five-forty five she gave me the thrice over, eyebrows raised high, with an only comment of “You look like hell, girl.” She – naturally – didn’t. Sometimes I wonder if she sleeps sitting up, keeping her hair and make-up perfect at all times; it seems like such an arduous task if she doesn’t. I once asked her what time she usually gets up in the morning and she merely smiled wide and patted my cheek affectionately while she mumbled “Aw, honey.” I’m still to this day not entirely sure what that was supposed to mean.

I muttered my gratitude at her keen observation and got my purse, trudging home in the light-blue of dawn, yawning as I went. Was my head filled with alarming words like Undead, Killer Hunter or Vampyre? No. Seth had been truthful when he told me it would all seem like a dream in a few days, it already did. The events were completely fuzzy, like they had been wrapped with pink colored tissue paper through which they were barely distinguishable. And, honestly, why would I want to look past the pink colored tissue paper? It seemed such a neat way to do away with all the messy memories.

Or so it would have been, if what happened next hadn’t happened.

You see, as I entered my apartment, which is small, with dark floors and green walls and a kitchen big enough for two people and a dog to crowd into (I’ve tried with two people, a dog and a parakeet and it was a small disaster, mostly because the parakeet threw a hissy-fit and hauled its tail feathers out of there), I shut my front door, locked it with my one lock – as this is Livington and not LA – and proceeded into the living room/dining room/library, where, through the large windows that is one of the features I love the most about my home, the first golden rays of the sun was falling across the floorboards.

When I say the rays were golden, I mean they were: deep molten gold. You know, when they actually look as warm as they usually are and you think you can reach out and grab one and hold onto it. I was much too focused on the sofa to really reflect on it at the time, but I’ve made the observation many times before, because dusk and dawn are my favorite parts of the day.

However, when I stepped into the sunlight on this morning, the molten gold felt as though it was literally being poured into my neck, pooling into such a horrifying pain that I must have screamed as I moved out of the offensive light and into the shadow of the wall between the two windows, both hands clasped over the spot, heart thudding like it was going out of style as I stalked up to the mirror above the bureau by the kitchen door, bringing my hands down so that I could survey the damage.

There was barely any.

What I had expected would be an open, gaping flesh wound turned out to be two pin-pricks that had bluish bruises around them and small, red veins snaking just underneath the skin, stretching out from them less than half a centimeter. Still. This discovery served to tear the pink tissue into fine bits and I remembered with perfect clarity what had happened to me earlier in the evening.

I had been bitten.

By a vampire.

“Holy crap,” I murmured, my fingers touching the spot with sudden care as I met my own eyes in the mirror. “I’ve been bitten by a vampire.”

TBC with Curiosity Killed a Thousand Mortals in 1758

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~ by mescribe on February 23, 2011.

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