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Once Bitten

Fan Fiction by Adam Smith (USA)

Chapter 3

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His eyes flashed.  “How dare you.  That was supposed to be my choice.  And I told you—remember?  You asked me, and I said no—I didn’t want to be like you.  With you, yes.  But not the other.”  He looked away from her, then rolled over to face the opposite wall.  “Oh, I’m so angry right now.  I trusted you, Eli!  How could you?”

“I’m sorry.  I said I’m sorry!

He turned back over to stare at her, his rage burning hot in his chest as he shouted.  “Sorry?  I just blew my guts into the toilet, Eli!  Sorry doesn’t cut it right now!”

“I said you can kill me, if that’s what you want!  I know I deserve it!”

He could not restrain a cynical laugh.  “You know damn well that’s the last thing I could want right now.”

“Then I’ll leave.”

He rolled away from her again in disgust.  “Jesus.  And leave me like this?  Uh uh.  Not in a million years are you doing that.”

“I’ll train you, then.  So you won’t need me.  Then I’ll leave.”

He didn’t turn around before replying.  “You won’t need to ‘train’ me.  I’m not killing anyone.  I’ll never drink another drop.  Never.”

There was a pause.  Then, Eli suddenly realized that Oskar sounded just like her, more than 200 years ago. 

And with this thought she began to cry for him; for what she’d made of him.  She wept for his strong, beautiful heart.  With that one statement, he had proven how innocent he was.  And she’d ruined it—ruined him.  The one good thing in all the world that had ever been given to her.

She put her face into her hands and wept bitterly.  “Dear God . . . please forgive me for this.  Please.”

He snorted.  “Do you know how pathetic you sound?  Just shut up.  You’re such a baby.  Praying to God for forgiveness for what you’ve done to me.  Well let me tell you—He’s not listening.  No one’s home up there.  Couldn’t be, to let things like this happen.  No fucking way.”

Eli abruptly stood up and looked around the room for something, anything, to ram through her chest.  But of course, the room was nearly empty, because they had nothing.  It was, as always, barren and destitute. 

The anger roiled inside her, a living thing that demanded expression.  He saw it in her eyes.  “How dare you? How DARE you say that?  You . . . YOU shut up!  You—Ohh!”  She pulled her hair and shook with pent-up fury. 

She couldn’t hurt him, couldn’t hurt herself, and so her anger settled upon the nearest thing that she could destroy.  She picked up the old metal lampstand and hurled it like a lightning bolt against the wall.  It crashed against it, the globe and bulb exploding and leaving an ugly gouge in the drywall, and then fell to the floor, a twisted mess.

“Eli, don’t!” he hissed.  “The neighbors will hear!”

She stared at him in an absolute rage, her hands balled into fists at her sides.  “The neighbors.  The NEIGHBORS!  I don’t give a fuck about the neighbors or what they hear!  I’ve been afraid of neighbors all my LIFE!  Well, FUCK THEM!  Let them hear THIS!

She grabbed the bedroom door and wrenched it from its hinges, then threw it out into the hallway.  It crashed heavily against the wall next to the bathroom, splintered and thumped to the floor.  Oskar watched, his anger replaced by fear, as she spun about, looking for something, anything, to break.  She grabbed a cardboard box full of some of her toys they hadn’t bothered to unpack and hurled it against the bifold closet doors.  It split apart on impact and buckled the doors, the toys flying in all directions.  She scrambled over to them and began to grunt and growl as she picked up whatever was within reach and started flinging them in every direction.  With each object she vented her frustration.

“I HATE THEM!”  A porcelain doll whizzed across the room and smashed into the wall, narrowly missing the window.  “I HATE this LIFE!”  A heavy, bronze, lion-shaped paperweight spun through the air and struck the light dangling from the ceiling, shattering it and spraying Oskar’s mattress with glass shards as he cringed in a ball in his blanket, before imbedding itself into the molding and thudding to the floor.  “And I HATE being ME!”  She flung her chinaman statuette through the doorway and into the bathroom, shattering the mirror.

A voice came, muffled, through the ceiling. “Quiet down, down there!  People are trying to sleep, Goddamn it!”

Eli spun around to look at the ceiling where the voice was coming from.  Her eyes glowed and her face was livid; and when she shouted at the top of her voice, Oskar saw her fangs. “Come down and make me, you BASTARD!  Come down and MAKE ME!”

Eli felt as if she would explode.  She suddenly saw herself running through the apartment building, killing each and every occupant—man, woman and child.  Then she could curse all she wanted; could shake her fist and swear at God, at herself, at the whole world, and no one would complain.  And she knew she could do it, too.  She would be a beam of pure hatred and destruction, blasting and destroying every living thing around her.

She felt the sudden urge to run, to get away from here.  From everything.  She ran out of the bedroom.

“Eli, wait!  Don’t go!”  Oskar stumbled out of the bed and ran after her.  He didn't fully understand why, but he knew for a certainty that it would be disastrous for them if she left their apartment this way.

She dashed to the front door and started to unbolt it.  Oskar caught up with her, grabbed her around the waist, and pulled her away.  “No, Eli!  Don’t!  Not now!”  His voice was full of fear and anger.

Eli twisted around in his grip, wriggling to get free.  She was surprised by how strong he already was.  “Let go of me!  I don’t want to be here!”  She shoved him and he fell backwards and landed on his behind.  Then she turned once again to the door and unlatched it.

She had opened the door and was starting through it when he tackled her, grabbing her around her legs.  She fell forward onto the hallway carpet and Oskar dragged her back inside.  But she fought him like a wildcat, twisting, kicking, clawing, and gouging, and they rolled about on the floor in a furious tangle as Oskar tried to restrain her.  One of their legs connected with the door and slammed it shut.

“Damn you, Eli!  Stop it!”  One of her hands raked across his cheek, peeling off three strips of skin in parallel grooves.  “Owww!  Fuck!

With this pain Oskar’s anger finally boiled over, and he threw himself bodily upon her, pinning her arms with his legs.  Just as quickly, she bucked him off; but instead of going for the door again, she leaped on him, seized his wrists, and pinned him to the floor.

For a second they glowered fiercely at each other, panting and out of breath, their features contorted with anger.  Then she saw what she’d done to his face, and all of the anger and rage departed from her like a suddenly deflated balloon.  She relinquished her grip on his wrists, sat up, and gently touched his cheek.  And at her touch, the anger left him as well, leaving behind only grief--not for himself, and what he’d become, but for the unreachable depths of her despair.

A look of terrible sadness came over her as she felt his blood with her fingertips.  “I’m sorry, Oskar.  I didn’t mean to hurt you.” 

To her, Oskar suddenly looked like that little boy she’d first met: terribly fragile and uncertain of himself.  “Eli . . .” His voice was weak and trembling.  “You don’t really mean that . . . you hate life with me, do you? 

“Oh, Oskar.  . . . No, no, don’t you understand?  That’s why I did what I did last night.  Instead of letting you go.  Because I love you.  And I just . . . I just couldn’t—you’re the only thing that has ever mattered to me.”  And with this, her tears broke and she began to cry, her body wracked with sobs.  She slowly collapsed down on top of him, and he held her that way in his arms.  “Oskar, Oskar, please don’t hate me.  I’m begging you.  Please, please don’t.”

He took her head into his hands and looked into her red, tear-stained eyes.  “Eli, I believe you that it was an accident, and I understand why you didn’t let me die.  And I’m glad—because I love you.  He turned his head to whisper in her ear. "You’re everything to me."

Then they kissed; kissed in the darkness that had become their light. 

More next week

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