When he suddenly realized what actually lives around him

The vampire had a car. An old blood red Bolt, something Henri only recognized through his older brother’s automotive enthusiasm. “Is that still a green car?”

“So I hear,” the vampire said, sliding into the driver’s seat. Henri sat down in the passenger’s seat, closing the door. It was smaller than he thought it would be. Fit the vampire perfectly though, somehow. “Where do you want to be dropped off?”

Right, he hadn’t just stepped into the car to be driven away and fed upon. “Nuevo García.”

The vampire knew where that was it seemed, because he didn’t ask for more than that. The car started out, as quiet as these vehicles ever were.

“You know, there are people who think that you won’t say anything because you were chased off from trespassing.” Henri shot him a look. The vampire continued to stare out at the road, unaffected.

Henri turned his eyes out the front, watching the car going in the correct direction to take him homeward. “It doesn’t really matter.” No one was ever going to do anything about Bloody Bones. Too much effort, he guessed.

As long as Henri never went down that way again, he should have been fine.

Yet suddenly the city seemed terrifying.


“I always eat my vegetables first.”

Her friend looked at her with a disgusted face. “Ew, why would you do that?”

“Because it leaves so much room for improvement.” The girl opened her lunch box and took out her carrots. “Anything I eat next is the best. Even if my mother didn’t use the best jelly after. Apricot is okay after carrots.”

“I don’t think apricot and carrots work together at all.”

Her friend could say whatever she wanted, but the seven year old knew she was right. She ate her carrots.

Less than beautiful

The green dress was made up of winter. The coat that had once been attached was somewhere else. She had never put it back on after leaving, it had been found in the “coat closet” of the school. It hadn’t mattered. Now it was July and freezing. The ground was full of snow and the ground was full of the dress.

Carine swept the frost off of the top of it. There was the blood, just as she remembered it. Though from a different perspective, when she had been looking down upon it. When she couldn’t feel anything. There was her dress, the one she had thought was perfect for everything she had wanted.

She reached down for the dress.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

Stopping in her tracks, Carine tried to recall if it was that voice. The one she couldn’t mistaken. No, it wasn’t. But something about the intonation was the same. She straightened her back and turned.

It was that girl she had danced with. The eighteen year old with the black afro and the beautiful grey eyes.

She wasn’t so beautiful now.

It was a life ago

They all asked how it had happened, but he didn’t respond. He couldn’t tell them exactly what had happened to him. It wasn’t that he didn’t know what had happened. Henri knew exactly what had happened to him. There was just little point in mentioning that he had been nearly ripped apart when heading into the alleyways of the Bloody Bones.

Anyone would call him an idiot. It wasn’t like he hadn’t lived here for his entire life.

Henri stood outside of the hospital and the entire city seemed like it was going to open up in front of him and drag him down. His heart hurt against his chest. He could feel every single rib.

Bloody Bones had wanted those ribs.

“Going home?”

Henri looked up. The vampire stood, nearly in front of him. “You look like the mascot of that old candy apple company.”

Oh, he hadn’t meant to say that. The vampire smiled though.

“I was. Come on now, mortal. Before you hyperventilate, let’s drive you home.”

Good to be prepared

Low battery. This was the last phrase that he wanted to read right now.

“Come on, come on.” He muttered, holding his phone out. The only thing on was the light, it was the only thing he had needed. He remembered when he was younger that his mother had always told him to have a pocket flashlight nearby, maybe stashed in his car. He thought having a phone with a light was good enough. Well, she would be laughing at him now. Too long a conversation before this. Now he needed a flashlight. He also needed a working phone when he got out of these tunnels, so as to get out of this mess. Which should he give up?

Reluctantly, he turned off his phone to save the rest of the power. Standing still, he tried to adjust his eyes to the dark of the tunnel. But that only worked when there was light coming from somewhere. And there wasn’t, there wouldn’t be, it was the dark of the underground.

Hand to the side, he walked forward.

Eventually, but it took too long.

“Can you promise me it won’t ever happen again?”

As uncertain as he had to be, his finger never pulled away from the trigger. One never put their finger on the trigger unless they were ready to shoot. Which meant he was ready.

After a long moment, she took a step back. She wished she could run, but there was no option. “No.”

He shut his eyes and pulled the trigger.

There was no slow down. It hit her in an instant. She felt it there and then gone. Or still there. She didn’t know. However people were able to tell, she had no idea. Her knees buckled and she dropped to the ground. All of her nerves screamed, but she couldn’t do anything more than choke on her air. Or try to. She couldn’t breathe.

She couldn’t breathe, but eventually she could die. It took too long and every moment was full of pain.

He walked away.

Finding it

When Carine woke up, she started to look for the dress.

She knew it wasn’t in her house. She had already checked, trying to see if she had thrown it away, or put it in the laundry (despite the fact it was dry clean only) or anything like that. Nothing. Her father hadn’t cared. At the very least, he hadn’t said he cared. It had been expensive, but it was gone now. He was far too glad that she was still alive to complain to her about it. She knew it bothered him though. Just because that was a lot of money for nothing at this point.

Carine searched anyway. Anywhere she would have forgotten. She didn’t know why it was so important, but the fact she woke up in that place still wearing it in her mind meant it was important. Somehow.

Which meant taking the trek between her house and the high school to see where she might have discarded it. She hated the thought – that she would have stripped it off and walked home naked. No one seemed to think much of her other than as a survivor of what had happened during prom, so it wasn’t like someone had seen her. At least, no one that she had seen since.

But it wasn’t home. So she began to look for the dress.

The mistake was finding it.

The next step

Lori was a big shot businesswoman. Donald couldn’t believe someone like her would be spending so much time looking into this.

Right after his shift, he met with her at the parking garage. It was only five blocks down from his work, though in the opposite direction of the bus stop. Her fingernails were painted a dark green, manicured to all heck. At least, he assumed so, because he didn’t know much about nails.

“I asked the police about a missing person Marie Thompson,” she said the moment Donald approached. “They didn’t know anything about her. No one had mentioned it to them.”

“You think it’s a prank?” Donald frowned.

“I’m thinking she doesn’t have anyone officially looking out for her. But she does have someone else who’s looking for her.”

“Finding whoever printed these papers won’t find her then.”

“No,” Lori agreed, “but it will let us know who she is. Then get the police to actually look into it.”

He hoped it would be as simple as that. Yet Lori had a calm sort of confidence that he couldn’t help but be swept up in. Plus, he couldn’t just let this go. He couldn’t shake the image of Marie from his mind and he didn’t know why.