|The Taylight Zone - The Vampire Anthology
04 - Sunrise, Sunset - Amerika & t.s. brody
I was up at midnight as usual, waiting for Conan O'Brien to come on, when my front door was gently knocked upon. It was Taylor, of course. He'd walked a block and a half in the cold rain without so much as a jacket. His breath came in pale puffs streaked with rain and his clothes clung to his slender frame - he was soaked and freezing. I ushered him inside.
"For God's sake, Tay, are you okay?" I asked as I unbuttoned his shirt.
"No," he mumbled and shivered as I dropped the wet garment onto the wooden floor of the front hall. He lifted his arms and I peeled off his white t-shirt, letting it fall with the button-up. He kicked off his shoes and socks, and I pulled him into the candlelit bathroom.
"Tell me," I said as he sat down on the closed commode, "What happened?" I sat on the rim of the bathtub and began to run hot water, testing it with my wrist.
"I made a vampire," he said flatly. My heart lurched.
"I made a vampire, Effie," he repeated. I still couldn't believe what I'd heard.
"What...why?" I asked incredulously.
"I didn't have a choice," he shook his head, shivering. I postponed an explanation to reach into the linen closet and retrieve the two biggest, softest towels to wrap around Taylor's bare shoulders. His hair was wet and stringy and his teeth chattered as he pulled the towel around him tightly. I frowned and pressed my hand to his forehead, feeling the fever brewing.
"You're gonna get a temperature," I said and stroked his cold cheek, which was clammy like the rest of him. He looked at me with red-rimmed eyes and I felt like crying; nothing tore my heart open like seeing Taylor so sad and pitiful.
"Let's get you out of those chilly clothes and into the bath," I said and gestured for him to stand up. "Then you can tell me what happened."
Without objection, he allowed me to unfasten his jeans and push them to the tile floor, and his stepped out of his boxers and into the tub. He eased in, seemingly not the least uncomfortable about his nakedness, and leaned back into the blessedly pleasant water.
I shut off the knob and dipped my hand in the bath - just right.
"So tell me what went on," I said as I rolled up my sleeves and knelt beside the tub, minding the lit candles on the rim. "I haven't seen you in a couple days."
"We played the Winter Hall music centre," he began, and I squeezed shampoo into my hand, nodding. He took a deep breath and continued.
"After the show I was really hungry. Like...hungry."
"Uh huh," I dipped his hair back into the water.
"And we were signing autographs after the show, and that was the last thing on the agenda before going home, right?"
"Uh huh," I massaged the shampoo into his locks gently.
"I figured the last person in line I would invite backstage and take, y'know?"
"Yeah," I said and tilted his head back into the water to rinse.
"Well, the last person in line was this boy named Shaun," he said painfully, and paused. "He saw my teeth. He knew I was a vampire, and he wanted me to make him one."
"He just assumed you were a vampire?" I frowned. "That's a long shot, if his only clue was your teeth."
"It's a pretty big clue!" he said, getting upset, his voice shaking.
"Shh, it's okay," I hushed him and stroked his wet silken hair. "I didn't mean to be mean."
"I'm sorry," he sighed and shook his head as if trying to shake away the thoughts.
"What happened then?" I asked and wet the sponge in the water. He sighed again and went on.
"Shaun was pretty persuasive. He...kissed me," Taylor said, his words trembling. He swallowed. "I lied and said I’d do it and figured, y'know, he'd never know the difference if I just took him all the way."
When he didn't speak for a long moment, I stopped rubbing soap into the sponge and looked at him. Though his face was already wet, I could see the shining paths of fresh tears on his cheeks. He was torn up on the inside. Whatever had happened must have been awful for him. I’d never quite seen him like this. I reached down into the water and took his hand into mine, squeezing it gently.
“It’s okay,” I cooed. “It’s going to be okay. Just take it slow.” His hand was shaking. Even in the warmth of the steaming water, his body shivered.
“I tried to take him all the way, Effie. I swear I did.” The tears were flowing freely now. “I almost had him...just a few seconds more...but he pinched my shoulder. God, the grip he had. He made me pull away, he knew what I was doing.
“He...he...put a knife to my throat and he made me open my wrist for him to drink. I should have fought him harder, Effie. I didn’t mean for this to happen. I swear to God I didn’t.”
He was sitting straight up now, tense and erect. I gently pushed him back into the tub, putting my hand gently to his cheek, wiping the tears away. “It’s alright, baby. It’s all over now. Just try and relax. Where is Shaun now?”
“I don’t know,” he responded, a little more at ease. “He kinda disappeared on me. He’ll be back, though. I know he will.”
“Let’s worry about it then, okay?” I said, gently massaging his shoulder. “You have nothing to worry about right now. I’m here with you. Would you like some tea?”
“Alright,” I said, giving his shoulder one last loving squeeze. “You finish up in here and I’ll have it ready for you when you get out.”
I left him in the dim glow of the bathroom and made my way to the kitchen. As I gathered the ingredients for his cup of tea, I rehashed his story in my head. Another vampire, I thought. When will it end?
I mindlessly filled the kettle with water and placed it on the warming burner. I pulled a mug from the cabinet, placing the teabag inside. I felt tears well up in my eyes, the counter and its contents becoming blurred. The reality of the situation gripped me like a rusty vise.
It was all my fault.
I’d made Taylor a vampire. I’d caused the horrible pain he’d endured this evening. I’d made him run through the pouring rain, terrified out of his mind, not knowing where else to turn. I was responsible for him and for Shaun. The weight fell down upon my shoulders, almost knocking me to the floor.
I could have said no to Taylor. I should have denied him his wishes, but I didn’t. Out of my own selfishness, my own longing to be closer to him, I’d made him what I am. I’d reduced him to a lowly bloodsucker, someone who couldn’t possibly hope for anything close to a normal life. I’d have been better off to have killed him that night. At least then his pain would have only been temporary.
I wondered how long it would be before his family began to ask questions. How long before they got suspicious of his fondness for the night? What would happen to the family? What would happen to Hanson? It was all making my head spin.
My thoughts shifted to the mysterious Shaun. Who was he? Why would he have done such a thing? What mysterious power did he have over Taylor?
I was stirred from my mind trance by a loud knock at the front door. I quickly wiped the tears from my eyes and made my way into the living room. The knock came again, more impatient this time. Who would it be at this time of night? I approached the door, a feeling of dread falling over me as I reached out for the handle. Somehow I knew who stood on the other side.
It was Shaun.
He stood a little taller than Taylor, maybe a few inches or so. He sported long, flawless brown curls that hung into his face with a casual elegance. His eyes were two perfectly round caramels. He offered an adorable half-smile that made me go weak at the knees. He was stunning, but I had to maintain control.
“Can I help you?” I managed to say.
“You must be Euphrosene,” he said.
“Call me Effie,” I responded, not at all politely. “You’re Shaun?”
Shaun smiled, wider this time, and offered a wink. “My reputation proceeds me,” he said, obviously taking note of my rudeness. “How nice. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, beautiful Effie.” He reached out for my hand and lifted it to his mouth, offering a gentle kiss. I knew now what Taylor was talking about. This guy oozed charisma. He was smooth, I had to give him that much. “I’m a friend of Taylor’s,” he continued. “Is he here?”
“Umm...yeah, he’s here, but I don’t think he wants to talk to you.”
“I’m not surprised,” Shaun said, a look of concern flashing across his face. “I was hoping I could see him.”
I shook my head. “I don’t know, Shaun. He’s pretty upset.”
“It’s okay, Effie,” a voice rang out from behind me. “Let him in.”
I turned. Taylor was naked accept for a long towel wrapped around his waist. I gave him a look that said “are you sure?” but he simply nodded. I could tell he was afraid. I wanted to take him into my arms and hold him tight, but I opened the door wider to let Shaun through. He stepped into the living room and I could actually feel his presence. He makes one hell of a vampire, I thought to myself. Shaun’s smile spread across his entire face when he caught a look at Taylor.
Taylor was something else, especially half-naked. Evil thoughts shot through my mind and I pushed them away. I had to focus on the matter at hand. I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I knew Taylor was upset and angry. What I didn’t know, however, was what he planned on doing about it. Besides the fact that it was all I could do to keep from ripping open Shaun’s throat and letting him bleed to death on my floor.
“My, my,” Shaun said, “don’t we look delicious?” His eyes were taking in every inch of Taylor’s body, longing for it. I could hardly blame him.
“Cut the crap, Shaun,” Taylor said. “What do you want? Why did you follow me here?”
“I -- I love you. I wanted to be with you.”
“Ha! You have a hell of a way of showing it. You almost killed me.”
“I’m sorry, Taylor. I didn’t mean to hurt --”
Taylor’s cheeks were flushed with anger. He stormed towards Shaun, shoving him backwards. “Did it ever occur to you that I could have died on that bathroom floor? How could you be so incredibly selfish?”
Shaun grabbed Taylor’s arm, gripping it tight. “That’s big talk coming from someone who was going to drain me and leave me for dead. I don’t understand how you can be so angry. What I did was in self-defense, I was looking out for my own ass.” Shaun emphasized the word “ass” by reaching around and grabbing Taylor’s backside through the terry cloth, pulling Taylor close to his body.
An electric moment passed between the two of them, so much so that I could actually feel it from across the room. They were greatly attracted to each other. I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous. I held my breath, waiting to see what Taylor was going to do next. I didn’t have to wait long.
“Take your hands off of me, you son of a...” he struggled to pull away, but the grip was too strong. Shaun pulled him close, causing their lips to meet. Taylor resisted for a moment, his body tense and rigid. Then, he relaxed. He allowed Shaun to kiss him passionately, opening his mouth, welcoming Shaun’s tongue to probe inside.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The sight of Taylor wrapped in the embrace of his nemesis sickened me. It didn’t make sense.
Suddenly Taylor stopped, breaking the moment of passion, a look of horror on his face. “What the hell,” he said, trying unsuccessfully to pull away from Shaun. “Get off me!”
Shaun smiled again, not willing to let go of the treasure he held in his arms. He pulled Tay towards him again, forcing their lips to meet. As before, his entire body relaxed, and he kissed back. Shaun’s hands reached around, cupping Taylor’s towel-covered buttocks into his hands. According to the throbbing mound that had begun to show itself below his waist, Taylor sure seemed to be enjoying himself.
I stood there as if in a trance, not sure what to think of the scene playing out before me. Then, I could stand it no longer. Fueled by anger, jealousy, and perhaps some primal motherly instinct, I thrust forward, grabbing Shaun and ripping him away from Taylor. “Get away from him!” I screamed. “Get out of my house before I kill you!”
He seemed a little stunned at my brazen display of bravado, but he quickly recovered. A smirk formed on his mouth. “My dear Euphrosene,” he began. “I do think you need to learn some manners. This is no way to treat a guest.” He grabbed me and pushed me up against the wall. “Maybe I should teach you a thing or two.”
Taylor, who appeared to be lost in some weird funk, spoke up. “Guests are invited, Shaun. That’s one thing you can’t claim. Get the hell out of here.”
Shaun loosened his grip on me and turned towards Taylor. His expression was somewhere between anger and hurt. He smiled wickedly. “I’ll go if you want, but on one condition.” Taylor scowled. “You have to admit that you enjoyed kissing me.”
“I will do no such thing!”
“Do you have a problem with telling the truth?”
Taylor shook his head. “That’s not the truth.”
Shaun moved forward, grabbing Taylor’s boyhood through the towel. “Sure does feel like it to me.” With his other hand he sofly caressed Taylor’s cheek. Again, Taylor seemed to melt. His expression went from anger to admiration, with a little confusion thrown into the mix. “I love you, Taylor. I’ve loved you for a very long time. I never intended to hurt you, and I’m sorry that I did. I simply want to be with you. Can’t you see that?”
Taylor nodded, almost unnoticeably. He stared helplessly into Shaun’s brown eyes, caught in a spell of infatuation. Shaun brought his other hand up to Taylor’s face. He gently moved forward and kissed Taylor again. In an astounding display, Taylor wrapped his arms around Shaun and pulled him closer.
The one thing that meant the most to me in the world, the love of my life, was in the arms of another. I was shocked; I was angry; I was hurt. I wasn’t sure what to think. The only thing I could think about was killing Shaun. I hated him. An anger coursed through my veins, one so fierce and so murderous that it scared even me. Red was all I could see -- red as the color of Shaun’s blood flowing in massive rivers out of his body. I saw his dying frame laying in a pool of crimson on my floor; a large, gaping hole where his neck used to be.
I wanted to scream. I wanted to run over and grab Shaun and push him through the wall. Instead, although I could have kicked myself for it, I cried. No, I sobbed. I turned away, unable to look upon them any longer. I couldn’t stand to even be in the same room with them. All of the sudden I felt a hand on my shoulder. “Effie?” a voice said.
It was Taylor. I wanted to turn around and collapsed into his arms. I wanted to tell him that I loved him. I wanted for him to tell me that everything was going to be okay and that he loved me too. The anger came back, however. Without even looking at him I said, “get out of here -- both of you.”
“Effie, please,” he persisted.
“Go away, Taylor,” I said, turning towards him. “Just go --” When my eyes met his, the anger faded. I couldn’t be angry with him. “I’m so sorry, Tay. I’m --” I fell towards him, wrapping my arms around him. I was still sobbing.
“Shaun,” Taylor said, “will you excuse us for a moment?”
Without waiting for an answer, he escorted me to my room and sat me down on the bed. I found the irony hilarious -- this was where it had all began, where I’d made Taylor a vampire. This was where I’d made the most horrible mistake of my life, and this was where I was paying for it.
“Effie, what’s wrong?”
It took a moment before I was able to answer him. He reached out with his hand and wiped the tears from my face. “I hate him, Taylor.”
He nodded. “I know you do.” There was silence for almost a minute as he contemplated his next set of words. After letting loose a big sigh, he continued. “Part of me hates him too, Effie. It’s so confusing. There’s something about him. Something --” He looked towards the floor. “Hell, I don’t know.”
“I never thought that I’d meet someone that loved you like I do. God, Tay, he’s got it bad. And you --”
It was my turn to sigh. “Do you love him?”
Taylor’s brow furrowed. He was having to think about it -- not a good sign. “I’m not sure,” he finally said. “I want to be mad at him -- I want to kill him -- but I just can’t. Do I find him attractive? Yes. Do I want him? Yes. But love? Man, that’s a tough one.”
I looked him straight in the eye, bringing my hand to his silky smooth cheek. “I love you, Taylor.”
There was a knock at the front door. I stood up, but Taylor stopped me. He took hold of my hand and gently kissed it. “You’re beautiful, Effie, and I love you too. But how can we leave Shaun out in the cold? He’s arrogant, maybe even downright rude, but we owe it to ourselves to help him out.”
“Why Taylor?” I shouted. “Why should we help him out? He got himself into this mess -- it’s his own fault.”
“Shh,” he said gently. “You could say the same thing for me, Effie. I got myself into this mess too. I asked you to do this to me. It’s my fault I’m this way too, but you didn’t leave me out in the cold. He’ll be dangerous if we don’t help him. We can always sort the rest out later.”
Shaun’s voice cried out from the living room. “Taylor, there’s someone here to see you.”
Taylor stood up from the bed and gently kissed my forehead. “It’ll be okay.”
Somehow, he always made me feel better. Taylor always managed to turn my mood around. It was one of the many things that I loved about him. I could be having the most terrible day and one smile from Taylor could turn it all around. He was my angel in human form, my sacred treasure. I truly adored him. Suddenly, I started laughing.
“What?” he asked with an adorable smile.
“You’re still wearing that silly towel.”
He grinned. “It beats the alternative.”
He walked to the bedroom door while I tried to compose myself. I was a mess after a good cry. As I was wiping my nose with a Kleenex from the night table, Taylor opened the door to enter the living room. Suddenly, he let out a shriek. “Shaun, no!”
I stood up from the bed. “Taylor, what is it?” I rushed over just in time to see the body of Zac Hanson fall limp to the floor. Standing over him was Shaun, his mouth stained a horrible shade of crimson. Shaun bent down and bit his wrist, offering it to Zac, who took it greedily.
Taylor and I watched helplessly as Zac Hanson began the painful and horrifying journey of becoming a vampire.