🦇 trans-neptunian object 🦇


sept 11 2023

Even after the light in her second-story window goes out, I wait another half-hour, shivering from something more than just the iciness of the air; a bitter chill sank into my bones years ago.

Carefully, I pick my way through the slightly-overgrown lawn, avoiding dry red-and-orange leaves peppered like landmines in the silent suburban night. A full moon glowering over wispy clouds lays me bare against the wall, its light punctured by the silhouettes of skeletal trees.

My gaze slides around the neighborhood.

Like a ghost town.

And then my eyes catch on her front door -- it's purple. The painted wood looks desaturated in midnight's shadow, but I remember how it looked when her parents first laid it out to dry, a brilliant, bright purple. She loudly declared it her favorite color to anybody who would listen, when she was a child.

When we were children, I remind myself.

But it doesn't matter. The color of the door doesn't matter. I can't enter through it, and God knows I've tried.

I hastily rub the stinging from my eyes and look to her open window. It's not too high for me. I know that.

After a moment's hesitation, I unsheathe my claws and sink them into the side of the house, dragging myself up hand over hand. My breathing grows shallow. For once, I'm thankful for the lack of a heartbeat, because I'm convinced it'd be audible from across the street.

Clutter on her windowsill, delicately brushed aside. I perch on the ledge and gaze into her dark room -- posters for popular bands hung on the walls, makeup products lining the top of her dresser, half-filled cardboard boxes shoved off into one corner. On her desk, an acceptance letter to some prestigious university.

And against the far wall is her bed.

All that's visible is a lock of dyed-purple hair, spilling over an outstretched arm.

Her arm. Curled. Drooping. Warm.

Before I realize it, I'm crouched in front of her, pulling the flower-print comforter away from her face. She's beautiful, so much more than what memory can capture, delicate eyelashes and parted lips and smile lines smoothed out by the cast of sleep. Horribly beautiful.

My fingernails gouge my palms. It's so intense, the warmth and blood and life that radiates from her, it makes me want to...

I look away.

It can wait. It can wait. I lower the covers just a bit more -- exposing her neck, and I bring my mouth to her soft skin.

It's almost like a kiss. Almost.

But that brief pleasure is immediately displaced by a jolt of self-loathing, and it's enough-- more than enough to hold me back. I inject the narcotics from my fangs into those twin holes and quickly pull away. No, drinking her blood is much too intimate.

I can't help but tremble, fraught. Desperate. Her eyelids flutter slightly but remain shut. I clutch her dangling wrist as her pulse slows, and then I get up, and I crawl into bed beside her.

Her body is limp and unresponsive, but I can forget that, I can forget that. She's finally in my arms. If I hold her close enough, I can absorb her warmth just as well.

I don't even remember when first I had that crush on her, or how it eventually turned to gnawing obsession.

It's the shame, I think -- I could never resist it. The horror I felt at my own desires, averting my eyes in changing rooms as though it would burn me, the fear that somebody would someday notice the way I looked at her and call it. But now I wish they had. Maybe she could've loved me, too.

I run my fingers through her strawberry-scented hair, and for the first time in years I truly feel something. I want to stay here. I want to fall asleep with her in my arms. She makes me feel human again.

But then, I'm a worse kind of monster.