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The Grave Marked Becker

(I'm a serial short story writer, as you might glean. I do write longer pieces and shall, at one point, make them AI-worthy. However, these will have to do for now.p.s. I don't know why the page randomly decided to highlight the first paragraph but I'm gonna roll with it!)

 

  Travis Becker smiled back at the blond girl in the seat opposite him. In his hand, he triumphantly clutched her telephone number, something he’d spent weeks upon agonizing weeks yearning for. This was the day she’d finally agreed to go on a date with him, tomorrow at the movie theater.

            Christine Lafey had golden hair, waving gently past her shoulders, and hazel, almond-shaped eyes that seemed drenched in beauty. Her body curved in sensual places, though that hadn’t been what had drawn Travis to her. No, it had been her free, lovely laugh. It wasn’t a giggle, or God forbid, a snort. He had heard it first in October, when he’d worked up the courage to actually say something to her, rather than staring like an imbecile.

            “I’ll call you tomorrow.” He promised.

            “Two o’ clock.” She told him sweetly.

            He gathered his backpack as the bus slowed down for his stop.

            “Don’t get killed by a ghost.” She snickered, in reference to the older-than-time graveyard that served as his bus stop.

            “Very funny.”

            He wished the driver a good weekend, and stepped off the school bus, vowing to buy a car the day he turned sixteen, which, incidentally, wasn’t that far off. Since elementary school, he’d been forced to walk the half-mile to the Cortez Family Cemetery in all kinds of wonderful weather. Today’s was a frigid, snowy, afternoon, clouds blocking out the sun and offering little warmth. He pulled up his hood, debating for a moment whether or not to dig gloves out of his bag.

            Travis glanced at the cemetery and halted. It was a February afternoon…the ninth. His father’s birthday. How could he have forgotten? Had he really dismissed his mother’s red-rimmed eyes and sister’s moodiness for time to scheme? It had only been two years since Phil Becker had died when a drunk driver ran a red light and straight into that familiar Subaru.

            It was getting dark, but this was important. He’d only be on the grounds for half an hour at most. There was no gate blocking his path, only the remnants of a rotten fence that hadn’t reached his knees when, as a ten year-old, he had gone past it for his grandmother’s burial. Two years ago, an errant splinter had scraped across his calf, drawing an angry red line. Today, he kicked a piece high into the air, taking pleasure in the thud it made upon its fall.

            Once Travis reached the grave marked Becker, however, his body crumpled, an appropriate feeling of sorrow gripping him. He sagged downward onto his knees, laying his head in his hands. Each breath was ragged, yet no tears welled up in his clear blue eyes.

            “Okay.” He said. “Okay.”

            “Okay what?” A coldly arrogant voice demanded of him.

            Travis’s head snapped up. A short boy with black hair stood atop a tomb, glaring down at him. He recoiled, vexed.

            “Okay what?” The boy repeated, as though there would be a severe punishment for remaining silent much longer.

            “Okay, I can do this. I can get through this.” He frowned. “Who are you?”

            The boy slithered down.

            “Don’t worry your pretty little head about who I am.” His clear voice rung like a bell.

            “I was just here to see my dad. I’ll go now.” He said in a dethatched voice, annoyed that this stranger should be able to drive him away.

            “How old are you?” The boy asked, taking no heed.

            “Fif…teen?” Travis’s brows pulled together. “Why?”

            The hint of a smile played on the boy’s lips. As far as he could judge, this mysterious boy was about the same age, maybe even a little older.

            “Come with me.” He ordered.

            “I…don’t think so.”

            The boy’s head dropped then, resting on his chin. Travis bent sideways to look more closely at him. He didn’t seem to be breathing at all and-

            He looked back up, and Travis had to leap backward. The boy’s eyes were black-lined, and heavy, dark shadows had appeared. His entire expression darkened, and Travis realized that his irises, too, were night-dark. And then his mind was a blank slate, and he could do nothing save stare into those black pupils.

            “You will come with me now.”

            Travis obeyed without a thought. His legs moved of their own accord, for he was too transfixed by those eyes. They were all that he knew, all that he saw. If they were not upon him, he feared. They were his whole world. They were everything.

            He was led past the newer headstones and into the far end of the cemetery, beyond sight of the entrance. He didn’t worry. He didn’t know how to.

            “Sit.”

            His knees bent instantly, and he felt damp grass beneath him.

            “Lazarus?” The boy’s spell was shattered by the sound. If Travis had thought Christine’s voice pretty, it was nothing, nothing! compared to this. It was high-pitched and clear, sharp and biting as a freezing winter wind, yet appealing nonetheless.

            The speaker was a petite girl. Petite, yet somehow mature in a way he couldn’t fully comprehend. She was old. Older than this cemetery. Older than this town. Older than he could imagine. Straight black hair that matched the shade of Lazarus’s curly mess hung at her waist, flat bangs curving over her eyebrows. Cherry-red lips formed a straight line. She was displeased. Travis hurriedly thought of ways he could change this.

            “Lazarus, what have you done?” Her voice pierced his mind like a bitter chill; he longed for more.

            “I know, I know. But this one…he just smelled so…delectable.”

            Travis was too intoxicated by the girl to notice their conversation. He wanted to get closer to her, touch her delicate skin.

            “I can tell that for myself.” She sniffed, moving closer to him. “Well, we shall have to take care of him now, won’t we? But not yet. Let’s have some fun first.”

            They shared a secretive smile.

            “I’m forgiven, then?” Lazarus inquired, licking his lips.

            “Yes, Lazarus.”

            They kissed then, but Travis did not notice. He saw the girl’s slim waist curve, heard a soft sigh, yet sensed little else.

            “Mmm…Monique.” Lazarus hummed.

            Monique’s eyes flashed towards Travis, still sprawled on his back. She proceeded to wipe her crimson lips rapidly, an expression of disgust on her beautiful face. Lazarus took no heed. She continued to size him up, a smile becoming more pronounced.

            “I’ll take him below.” Lazarus said, noting her countenance with unease.

            “He has two legs with which to walk. And land upon.” Monique objected. “You can do that, can’t you?” She asked Travis.

            “Yes, ma’am.” He responded quickly, feeling stupid as the words tumbled out, wrapping around his thick tongue. He stretched his legs, showing them off.

            She reached for his hand, and he nearly blanched. It was stone-cold and firm, nothing that her delicate façade had allowed him to believe. They walked, hand-in-hand, to a marble white crypt that Lazarus promptly opened.

            “I…go in there?” Travis blustered.

            Monique nodded encouragingly.

            “How far is there to fall?” He peered inside, but saw nothing in the total darkness.

            Lazarus sighed and shoved him inside. He let out a yell, cut short by his face landing on the stone floor of the tomb. Two whooshes of air beside him let him know that the two had also entered, for he could not make out their forms.

            Lazarus’s light steps echoed as he went to light a lantern. Travis blinked as light dimly illumined their face.

            “What is your name?” Monique asked, sitting cross-legged beside him.

            “Travis Becker.”

            “I see, Travis.” Lazarus hovered over him, grinning wickedly.

            And then they were upon him, biting his wrists, sucking his blood. He howled in this realization, attempting to wriggle free. It was no use; they were easily stronger than he.

            “Nooo!” He cried, kicking an unsuspecting Lazarus in the face. Not her, not ever her, not even now…He curled into a ball, nursing his freely-bleeding wrists.

            “Sleep now, Travis.” He heard Monique say angrily, and a huge blow to his head sent him flying into a wall, but he was already unconscious when he slammed into it.

 

 

 

            When he awoke, Travis was alone. The crypt was empty, the terrible twosome nowhere to be seen. Blind panic struck him, and he leapt for the exit. He fell back down instantly. How did they get up, then? The answer to his question lay on the wall. A rusty ladder, precisely the same shade as the wall, was attached to it, and very nearly inconspicuous.

            Outside, it was late night, the moon high in the sky, turning his hair to lustrous silver. He shivered, suddenly and painfully aware that he now wore only a tee shirt, and the leg of one of his pants had been torn away.

            He began to run, but got only a few feet before crashing to the ground. Monique sat comfortably beside him once again, her ballerina foot outstretched.

            “I don’t let my toys get away so easily, Travis.” She said, getting up, and offering him a hand. He took it, shaking. She drew closer, pressing her face against his shoulder. “Lazarus is out convincing the police of your death. It’s all taken care of.” She soothed him. Strangely, his fear was quelled by her touch, and he believed her with all of his heart. “He won’t be back for a while.

            The implications of her words struck him.

            “Don’t be afraid of me.” Monique pulled away. “I won’t hurt you. Lazarus is an animal, though, who thirsts only for blood. If you stay with me, we’ll destroy him.”

            “Stay with you?” He repeated.

            “I’ll make you like me, and you and I can live together. Just the two of us, Travis.”

            Slowly, he reached out to her face. She allowed him to gently pull her upper lip back. Behind it lay two, razor-sharp fangs, still stained with his blood.

            “You did hurt me.” Travis reminded her.

            “But never again.” She put her hand on top of his, and brought it back down. “Stay with me, Travis.”

            Her hypnotic eyes gleamed with hope.

            He bent down to press his lips to hers.

 

 

            The next day, Monique and Lazarus cackled without end. They embraced before the grave marked Becker, viewing a job well done, in their expert opinions. The boy forced to dig his own grave now laid to rest, his last words still reverberating through the air. Of hope, of longing- all these savory emotions gone to a beautiful, perfect waste.