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Once Bitten

Fan Fiction by Adam Smith (USA)

Chapter 2

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3 July 1983

Oskar woke up with a start from a bad dream. 

In his dream, Eli had been smothering him with a pillow.  He would kick and thrash desperately to get free, but she always came back and put the pillow back over his head, her eyes vacant, her face impassive.  He struggled and struggled, unable to breathe, as she held its softness tightly over his face, sealing off his mouth and nose . . . .

He was in his bed, lying on his side, with his head on his pillow.  He gasped sharply and drew in a breath, felt a sharp aching across his chest as the muscles there complained.  Realized he hadn’t been using them, because . . . he hadn’t been breathing.

Eli was lying next to him, wide awake.  Watching him.  He could see her clearly, as if it was noon on a bright Spring day, and he was disoriented for a moment, because she shouldn’t be awake during the day.  A confused thought entered his head: was she cured?  Had he cured her last night?

No--it’s night.  I’m the one who’s changed.  It all came back to him.  Her violent, completely unexpected attack; her mouth and body stuck upon him like glue; the sensation of . . . .

He began to feel sick to his stomach.  Something weighty, deep down below his intestines, pressing against his backside.  He felt like he had to go to the bathroom, only . . .

“Oskar.”  She reached for him.  She looked very apprehensive, as if she were waiting for something terrible to happen.

He took her hand into his before it could reach his face and squeezed it.  “It really happened, didn’t it?”

She slowly nodded her head, and with her affirmation the last vestige of something died in him; the last little sliver of hope that maybe, somehow, it had all been a bad dream.  It finally happened: I’ve become a vampire.

“I’m . . . so sorry.”

“I have to go to the bathroom.”  He rolled over and got up from the bed.  As soon as he was upright whatever was going on down below seemed to increase in urgency and he began to feel as though he might be sick, too.

“I’d better come with you, Oskar.”  She slid across the bed and got up behind him.

He gave her a puzzled look over his shoulder as he stumbled down the hallway toward the bathroom.  “Uh, Eli . . . I think I’d rather . . . be alone.”

“Oskar, please.  Let me—”

“Eli, no.  Please.”  He reached the door, stepped in, and shut her out.  Barely in time.

His bottom had not even hit the ring when things gave way.  A sudden release of pressure, accompanied by a groan from his abdomen.  Then a sharp pain.  This wasn’t just a crap, what the hell—

He moaned loudly in pain as something that felt like the largest dump he’d ever taken splattered into the toilet.  At the same time he peed the last pee he would take in his life.  The odor that rose up from below him was incredible; a choking miasma.  He wrapped his arms tightly around himself and doubled over; moaned again.

Eli spoke, her voice muffled through the door.  “Oskar, listen to me.  Don’t look into the toilet.  Whatever you do, don’t look.  I’m coming in there.”

His desire for privacy easily collapsed in the face of the strangeness of what was happening and the certainty that he needed her help, because he was reasonably sure that some part of himself had just left him.  “Okay.”  He almost glanced down, caught himself, then looked at the doorhandle as it turned and the door swung open.

Eli came in and knelt down beside him.  He was horrified that she would smell whatever disgusting mess he’d just deposited into the toilet, but if she noticed, she didn’t show it.  She immediately reached behind him and pushed down the handle.  Flushing the bowl brought some improvement; things didn’t smell so bad, and the cool overspray on his behind actually made him feel better.

He locked eyes with her as he rocked back and forth, sensing that more was coming.  “Oh God, Eli, what was that?   What’s happening?”  But he already had some inkling, and it came as no shock when she told him.

“Your body is changing, Oskar.”  She was trying hard to stay calm, but he could hear the trembling in her voice.  “It’s . . . it’s getting rid of what it doesn’t need any more, that’s all.  You’ll be all right, it just--”

She was interrupted by another loud, involuntary groan as he felt a bolt of pain in his abdomen and more came down.  He couldn’t see what was happening, but a sudden mental image flashed through his mind—scooping out the inside of a pumpkin, turning it upside down to shake out all that—pumpkin goo.  Pumpkin guts.  Tears welled up in his eyes from the pain and he grabbed Eli’s arm as he continued to moan.

Eli started to talk softly to him, trying to keep him calm.  “It’s okay, Oskar, it won’t go much longer.  It’s almost over, hang in there.”  He glanced over at her and saw a face consumed with remorse and anxiety.  He suddenly hated her for getting him into this.  But this was not the time or the place for such emotions.

As soon as the toilet tank filled up she flushed it again.  Oskar could tell from the sound of the water that this time it was having a hard time with whatever he’d just left, and for a moment he was certain that it was plugged and would overflow.  But then, as if by some miracle to spare him the indignity of seeing his intestines float out onto the floor, it went down with a throaty chugging sound.

At last he felt better; weak and wiped out, but better.  Felt like there was nothing else.  The pain slackened, then disappeared.  Eli got up, went to the shower, knelt and turned on the water.  She held her hand under the faucet as the water warmed up, and turned her head to talk to him over her shoulder.  “You’re going to have to get in here so I can wash you off.  Think you can get off the toilet and into the tub?”

He nodded weakly and unbundled himself.  She took one his arms and put the other around his waist and helped him in.

“Turn and face the wall.  Lean on it, if you need to.”  Oskar did as she instructed.  He suddenly realized how weak and rubbery his legs felt.

She took the spray handle down from its bracket by his head and then he felt the warm water spray across his bottom.  She angled it to get up underneath and asked him to spread his legs a little.  He looked down as he did and saw bright red blood mixed with water swirling past his foot on its way to the drain.  Just seeing it made him feel dizzy and detached from his surroundings.  This isn’t happening.

But it was happening.  Eli was spraying his ass with a shower handle and he was bleeding into the tub.  He felt light-headed and for a brief moment, felt as though he might faint. 

“Do you feel like you have anything else?”

Her asking him made him realize:  yes, there was some more.  Only . . . more liquid, less solid.  He swallowed and felt utterly humiliated.  Oh my God, I can’t believe this is about to happen.  Please tell me it’s not going to happen.  He didn’t want to admit it to her, but he finally spoke with a forlorn whimper.  “Yeah . . . I think there is.”

Eli didn’t hear him over the shower.  “What?”

Louder this time.  What the hell; why not shout it!--it can’t get any worse.  “I said, yes, there’s--”

He couldn’t hold it any more and he relaxed.  Don’t look down; don’t look down.  He closed his eyes and rested his head against the cold ceramic tiles as he felt the warm fluid spurt and run down the side of his leg, then the soothing shower spray as she quickly caught it and went to work.

At last she turned off the water.  She grabbed a towel off the rack and wrapped it around his shoulders.  With her help he stepped, trembling, out of the tub.

“Do you want to go lie down?”

“Yeah.  That would be nice, I think.  No—wait.”  He didn’t feel like he was quite ready to get too far from the toilet.  And sure enough, when he glanced down at the bowl and saw the redness splashed on the underside of the ring, his gorge rose in his throat.  But—

. . . don’t want my face close to that.

He turned around, collapsed next to the tub, and with a loud barking sound, vomited onto the shower handle that she’d left lying near the drain.  Brownish-red and lots of it, emitting that sickenly sweetish odor peculiar to vomit.  He coughed to get the stringy strand off his lips; then bent over and rested, waiting to see  if there was more.

Eli was again by his side, her arm over his back, patting him as she turned on the water in the tub once again.  She kept telling him that it would be okay as she washed off the shower hose, then used it to spray down the tub.

A minute or so passed, and Oskar finally realized that there was nothing further.  Thank God he hadn’t eaten very much last night; a small thing that he now counted as a huge blessing.

He felt as weak as a kitten.  She helped him back to the bed, then sat down next to him and sadly stroked his hair.  He looked at her in the dark with his new eyes.

“Eli . . . why?”

She slowly shook her head as she replied.  “There was no good reason for it, Oskar.  It just happened.”

He looked carefully at her face, searching for the slightest trace of dishonesty, but saw none.  He did not know what to say.  He almost wished she had said she’d done it deliberately; at least that, maybe, he could understand.  But this . . .

“Just happened.  What the hell does that mean, Eli--‘just happened’?  Come on.”

She looked down, bit her lip, and began to rub her hands together in her lap.  To Oskar, she looked like a little kid, about ready to fess up to breaking a window.  “I  . . . I don’t know.  One minute we were having fun wrestling and all, then we stopped and we were hot and you laid down on me, and you were so close—your neck was . . . was right there, and . . . and . . .”

She stopped kneading her hands together and looked up at him as she continued, her voice beginning to waver.

“—and you were so beautiful to me.  So . . . warm, so . . . alive.  And I--”

“You what?”

“I wanted to kiss you.  And I did. I knew it might be dangerous, but it felt right.  But the moment my mouth touched you, touched your—pulse, it got . . . twisted.  And then I lost control, I was locked up, and the thing that lives inside of me took over.  And I couldn’t, I couldn’t—”  She began to shake her head again, more forcefully this time.  “regain control.  And once you started to bleed like that, it was all over.   There was nothing I could do.”

She looked away from him and stared at the wall as she began to sob.  “You can kill me if you want.  I won’t stop you.  Right now, if you want.  I’ll understand.”

“You told me once that there are worse things than death.  I would’ve died if you hadn’t fed me.  Why’d you do that?”

She looked at him, her face wet with tears.  “Because I couldn’t bear the thought of killing you.  Because . . . I can’t live without you.  Even if that means—you having to be like me.  So . . . I did it.”

The silence drew out between them.

More next week

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