The Hickey

First, I dealt with the man.  As my fangs slid into his jugular, his eyes flickered open in panic. He thrashed and gasped, struggling against me. No- more like struggling against the irrevocable death that I was bringing to him. He would have died either way, but for some reason, like all other humans, he just had to fight against it. Once I’d punctured his throat, his blood flowed slowly, a side-effect of my debilitating venom. If I left him as he was, he would become a vampire, my child in a sense- but why would I want a full-grown baby? I sucked strongly at his neck, twisting his ugly face away so I could get better access to that hot, sweet blood. It filled me, warmed me like hot chocolate on a winter’s day. Delicious. I craved more, but the flow was slowing to a mere trickle now; I bent his body up towards me, breaking his spine with a sharp crack to squeeze his oxygenated blood towards my mouth. Like squeezing the last glop of toothpaste from the tube, back when I brushed my teeth. Now, all I had to do was hawk up a little venom when my breath turned stale; it burned through all the dirt in my mouth without actually hurting me, since it was diluted by normal saliva. Normal. Why did I still think being human was normal? I’d been like this, a vampire for twenty years now. It should be second nature.  After all, it had already become second-nature to know when all that was left of my meal was flesh and bones. The man was dry now, his skin cracked with dehydration.

I was the desert that had filled his ocean. I winced. Such a horrible metaphor- maybe I should switch to similes? Or hyperbole.  

I left the corpse on his bed, tucked in the covers around him. How soon would he be discovered? I noticed that the covers were still warm from his body heat.

I was so hot, I was on fire. I strutted out the room and down the hall towards the baby’s room, the clicking of my stilettos muffled against the carpet. Then I paused, realized what a horrible hyperbole I’d just thought up.  Oh god, the horror, the absolute, repellant horror of that literary device was a stake to my paralyzed heart! I savored the melodrama of my reaction, then continued walking. Back to metaphors we went.

The baby, tiny and kicking in its plastic cradle was adorable. It looked nothing like my own child, long ago. My baby had had skin like Tim Horton’s chocolate milk with crisp, tightly-wound curls that had sprung up from his tiny head in a halo of darkness. Whenever I approached him, no matter if he was sleeping or awake, he’d gurgle at me and wave a miniature fist. He was more than adorable- he was mine. Utterly mine, and irreplaceable. And regardless of how many decades passed, I still thought of that impossibly good sparkle of life, every day…Every night…Why did he have to die!

I slammed my fists against the wall over the cradle, felt the plaster crack under my hands and crumble in tiny chips of dust over the baby. It awoke with a scream, squinting blue eyes in outrage at having its sleep disturbed. Unthinkingly, I scooped it up and cuddled the infant against my breasts, lightly bouncing like I used to with my own son. How easily instincts come back to haunt you. Its heartbeat slowed, but I heard that delectable wetness thrashing in its thoracic cavity like a loonie in a straightjacket. I could let the crazy guy out, let this baby’s crimson blood dribble down my chin like it had that night, so long ago…

Screaming and pain. Pain like a wooden spoon trying to cut my body into steak filets. Pain like poisoned daggers pinning my arms and legs to the ground. Pain like unsatisfied lust; like whips biting into my back; like lilies trailing over my intestines, glistening and dripping over the cedar wood floor. And then wetness on my face, on my lips. I lick them and taste scalding ambrosia that shakes away the agony for a moment. That’s it, drink my blood, a cruel voice cackles. Then heaven is gone, and I am back in hell.

No! I shook myself away from the memory. I looked back down on the child, sleeping peacefully in my arms. Why did it trust me?  It shouldn’t. It should die because my child died. And it should suffer because my child suffered.

I pushed my fangs out, a simple clenching of muscle like squeezing out a particularly stubborn piece of shit.  I leaned closer to the bundle of joy in my arms until I could feel warm puffs of air heat my cheek. My fangs extended, long and hollow, protruding from my mouth. My fangs were lollipops of poison. A surge of satisfaction; my metaphors were really on point tonight!

A drop of poison dripped onto my baby’s cheek like water from a leaky faucet, and the thing woke up shrieking bloody murder. Not that I could blame it- I knew from firsthand experience how much venom burned. After all, when I was turned, half a century ago, I’m pretty sure my creator was an amateur. He’d simply dribbled his venom all over my body, bled into my mouth and then – only then! – did he realize that he should probably stick his venom in my bloodstream! So, to put it mildly, I was a damsel in a fucking ton of distress and no hope of a convenient prince on a white horse to rescue me from my own body. Even now, I kill every white horse I come across, and the blood tastes pretty good too, fresher than human blood.

The baby’s blood calls to me like a siren’s song. Similes are easier than metaphors.

The baby’s eyes were watery, deep as a well and I wondered, the instant before I drained the infant of life- what if, there wasn’t any difference between these shrunken humans? What if it had chocolate-colored skin and hair like cocoa-flavored sea foam? Their faces were the same, this thing and my child…and my baby also screamed when venom touched him. What if they were the same child? What if I didn’t have to be alone?

Alone…the word was longer than its definition. It should’ve only been one letter- half a letter. The word should’ve only existed in the hearts of those who feel it, because it was a sense of utter nothingness and gone-ness and isolation from the world. From the sun. So really, night was a blessing, even though it blinded me because I could at least touch it. And do you know what it felt like?

Baby’s skin.

 

Okay, so I stole the baby. Sue me.

As I fled the house, fearing the approaching dawn, I didn’t even try to convince myself that the kid was a little snack I was saving for later. I don’t believe in lying to myself.  But I didn’t precisely think about what I was doing either- I’d stolen a baby. A registered baby which the police would be looking for as soon as the father’s body was found. Of course, they might just declare the baby dead, but…I’d never had that much luck anyways.

I sprinted to the little cave I inhabited, deep in the forest bordering the little town, where traffic seemed to be just a dream from long ago. Hardly relevant in the present issue of what the heck was I supposed to do with a kidnapped baby?! Already, the greedy thing was crying for milk and its heart still beat noisily in my ears. Its blood still scented the crisp air with the promise of delectable moistness. I swallowed my drool.

Then, I unbuttoned my blouse, hoping against hope that I somehow still had milk. My breasts gleamed like an opal in the greyness before dawn, impossibly perky. It was as if a surgeon had stuffed an inflated balloon inside the sagging skin and fat, the consequences of breast-feeding and size D breasts. Through no fault of my own, I now had Barbie’s plastic boobs. I wondered if my milk had turned to plastic as well. The infant squirmed, struggled, poked and pried- and finally, its rosebud mouth discovered my nipple. Then it proceeded to bite and suck at my bullet-proof skin, little cheeks puffing in and out with the effort. I smiled, remembering how my baby used to knead at my boob while drinking as if practicing for future maneuvers with other breasts on other girls. The smile faded. All that practice was for naught.

“Are you done yet?” I jiggled the baby in my arms. It let go of me, wailing fitfully. No milk then. Well, what was I supposed to do now?

I rocked the kid, walked around with it still snuggled against my chest. Did it have absolutely no sense of danger? I wanted to drink it dry; it wanted to cuddle. Idiotic child.

I couldn’t go outside, not with sunrise on its way…But maybe tomorrow night I could find a mother…Hopefully a better one than me.

Wailing. Dimly I hear wailing. Benny. My baby. My thoughts are a game of pick-up-sticks; one wrong move and they all come tumbling down. I quickly make the wrong move: getting up. I intend to move slowly, creaking like an old grandmother; instead, my legs push me up so quickly my stomach blasts through my mouth. A torrent of blood seeps through my beige carpet, dribbles down my chin. I wipe off the spittle, swallow back the acrid bile resting on my tongue and walk forward. I’ll clean up the mess later- Benny needs me.

Then, a barrier, like a brick wall in my face. A scent, solid and visceral. Something warm, delicious. My mouth waters.

 

Sunset. The sun sank behind the horizon like a spoonful of honey dribbling off a spoon. I start congratulating myself on another simile well done, but the baby starts wailing like an abandoned kitten mutated into a banshee. I blinked. Wow. Two similes in one go!

The latest pop sensation ran through my mind. I’m too hot (hot damn)/ Called a police and a fireman/ Too hot (hot damn)…

But then its horrendous shrieking broke into Mark Ronson’s melodic baritone.

“I’m coming, I’m coming!”

I did go to it- but only to tie it up in an old shirt and strap the crappy bundle of joy to my back. It occurred to me that maybe it had pooped or peed…But there was no way in the ever-loving hell that I would touch its shit.

I started running back to town since the light was now well and truly gone. Trees blurred past me as I rushed through the silent forest. Silent, because animals were smarter than babies- they knew when a predator was near. They ran away from me, a vampire. Why the hell did this baby stay nestled so peacefully against my back, just sucking its thumb?

 

I’d already stolen the hospital records- I knew that a Christine Johnson had given birth to a baby girl three days ago, long enough to be back home at 1620 Maple Wood Drive. It wouldn’t be hard to find her; mother’s milk adds a certain…tang to the smell of blood.

Since the baby’s ear-piercing wails had dimmed to mere whimpers, I decided to take the scenic route through the park. Streetlamps shone golden circles on the blackened pavement. I was walking in the spotlight– not quite a metaphor but close enough.

I pretended the path was a catwalk, and my hips swayed in rhythm to the baby’s heartbeat. Step, step, sashay.

“Listen baby,” I told it. “If you ever become a model, this is the proper walk. Step, step, sashay.

I demonstrated, twirling on the spot to change direction. I grape-vined across the path on the balls of my feet, thrust out my hip when I reached the edge, struck a pose.

“Step, step, sashay,” I sung out, doing just that. I bounced the baby on my arm, lifted it up by the armpits and showed it how to walk.

“Step—“

I turned its little body to the left.

“Step—“

Turned it to the right.

“Sashay!” And then I lifted it above my head and twirled, watching it – her – dimple and emit gurgling laughter like a sprinkler emits water. A fountain of laughter sprayed into the starry night.

Applause cracked the bubble of laughter. I spun around to glare at the modern version of Snow White, carrying a fucking picnic basket.

“Bravo, bravo! You and your daughter are lovely dancers- I swear you made my day.”

Me and my daughter. Daughter…Mine…

Could I keep her?

I glanced down at the gurgling child, remembered the milk/plastic breasts issue.

“Hey, do you have any milk in that basket?”

Snow White looked startled, but she wasn’t scared; her heart didn’t beat any faster.

“Umm…” She rummaged through her basket. “I just came from my sister’s. I’m babysitting her new baby for her, and so she gave me some formula…” She brought out a plastic bottle sloshing with white liquid. It looked horribly unappetizing, but the kid- my daughter- smiled and stretched out its- her- arms to the liquid resembling a sperm smoothie. Wonderful. My daughter was going to grow up a whore. Unless…I could turn her. She’d never grow up, never need to drink sperm milk, never die. She would be shackled to me for survival. Completely mine to love and take care of.

In return, she would gurgle nonsense syllables and laugh as I came into her room, just as my son had done.

Had done. Past tense.

 

I cuddle his body to me. I know he’s dead, but maybe, just maybe- if I hold him close enough, he’ll wake up. Maybe he’ll forgive me. The room is so dark I can’t see him, but I feel his soft, soft skin growing colder. How many hours has it been?

I get up, still clutching Benny close to me and check the bedside clock. It’s 5 AM. Sunrise in an hour. I know what I am and I know the myths about what I am. Vampires burn in the sun. Should I stay here, let his body molder and rot in my arms, stiffen into a coffin of skin? Or should I leave when the sun rose and burn the blood that sloshes in my stomach, pumps through my veins? Did vampires even have veins?

The door is a darker shadow at the end of the hall. My vision is really horrible at night now.

The dumpsters are right next to the building I live in…

No! I shake away the thought. How could I even consider throwing my baby away? He’s mine!

But I destroyed him, took all of him within me again. He can’t be taken away from me anymore…He’s inside me. His blood mingles with mine in a hot salsa of love.

What use is a rotting body to me?

 

I dipped my fangs into the baby’s tiny neck like a swimmer dips his toes in a pool. An apt simile, I congratulated myself. With this baby transformed into a monster, I would have no shortage of figurative language to continuously amaze myself with.

I felt the skin of her neck stretch around my teeth, elastic, snug. That hot blood tickled my gums, waves lapping at the shore. The waves were attracted to the shore. I could feel each pulse of blood, each new crest gush around the obstacle of my fangs…It wanted to be sucked. It was begging for it, her heartbeat practically singing to me.

No, no, no…Don’t suck, don’t suck. You want this child alive. Remember your figurative language?

Her blood rushed down my gullet like fine wine.

Her blood sang an aria on my taste buds.

Her blood was fucking delicious. No need to metaphors.

Snow White gasp fluttered away on the wind as I lifted my head from the baby’s body. My lips felt moist.

I puckered my lips at her. “Does this lipstick suit me? It’s type AB flavoured.”

She stared, started edging away. I almost laughed. Did she actually think I wouldn’t notice her escape attempt? I was still hungry, and she would tell on me like a five-year-old whose yoyo got stolen.

“Yeah…Yeah, it’s really, um…red…”

Red…Skin white as snow, hair black as ebony, lips red as blood. Ha! This really was a fairy tale. But if she was the ditzy princess, then it would be my job as the spunky mirror to tell her what colour her lips were.

“I think that’s my line, Snow White,” I told her.

 

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