For once the weather channel was right. The rays of sun were swallowed by thick clouds and the rain had started to fall. As Lilith pulled her boots on, Melinda turned to her. “Please can I take some of those packs with me?”
“Of course,” Lilith walked to the kitchen, Melinda in tow, “you can take as much as you’d like.” She opened the pantry and paused. “Do you think April and Faith might want some?”
Melinda nodded. “If that’s OK. I don’t want you to starve because of us.”
The pair navigated the pathway back to the house. With the slightly increased light levels, Melinda could see that it was a fairly straight-forward route and tried to commit it to memory.
The path once again opened up and the creepy house became visible along with the frantic, purple-lipped vamp on the porch.
“Mel! Oh my god!” Faith came running towards her. “April! She’s here! She’s OK!” She grabbed Melinda and pulled her into a tight embrace as sun started to break through the clouds. “Mel, I was so worried. Why didn’t you take your phone? Where have you been? And who are you?” she asked, noticing Lilith for the first time.
“This is… um… this is…” How do I introduce you, Lilith? The sister of the guy who ruined our lives?
Lilith sighed, stepped forward and extended her hand. “I’m Lilith.”
Faith reached out to take it but their palms had barely touched before she recoiled.
“Well, fuck me. You’re one of us.”
April had appeared on the porch, beckoning them over. Faith looked between Lilith and Melinda, her mind racing with questions.
“I can explain,” Melinda offered as she headed towards the house.
“So you saw a cat, followed it, got lost in the woods and just happened to find yourself at a fellow vampire’s house?” April settled back in her chair and laughed to herself. “Wow. You’ve had quite a night.”
“Haven’t I just,” Melinda said.
Faith narrowed her eyes but didn’t say anything. She didn’t have to, Lilith still heard her. Just happened upon a vampire? What are the odds…
“And you make these pack things, Lilith? You don’t drink directly from people at all?” April was looking at Lilith with wide, fascinated eyes.
Faith turned a pack over in her hands feeling the contents slide about suspiciously. “What is it?”
Why do I really wanna bite it? Don’t bite it, look unimpressed.
“It’s a mixture of blood and body tissues,” Lilith explained. “It takes a bit of getting used to, but it scratches the itch and it means no hunting.”
“Huh.” Faith placed the packet back on the table. “Interesting.” I kinda enjoyed my method. I guess I can still bang strangers for fun. Plus, if it’ll stop any more fatalities…
Lilith smiled, “When you need more, just come find me, if you can remember the way?”
Melinda laughed, “I might need to follow the cat.”
Lilith looked up to see April still staring at her like she was an attraction at the zoo.
April said, “Melinda really likes cats.”
Caleb was right. She is very strange, Lilith thought to herself, leaving Faith’s mind and listening carefully now to April’s.
There aren’t supposed to be any others. Lilith’s really pretty. Is she prettier than me?
April clapped her hands. “I have so many questions!” she squealed. “Where shall we start? Ooh! How long have you been a vampire?”
How many other vampires are there? Why didn’t he tell me about her?
“Over three hundred years,” Lilith responded. Her tone had changed, her smile gone.
“Three hundred?” April’s mouth dropped open. “So you were alive when the vampire hunts were going on? Do you know Caleb Vatore?” He lied to me! He said he didn’t have anybody.
Melinda went to speak but Lilith quickly interjected, her voice strained. “I did… at least, I used to. How do you know him?”
Melinda took this cue and stayed silent.
“He was the one who turned me into a vampire, against my will,” April said gravely. She looked between Faith and Melinda. “But I forgive him.”
And I’m still here if he still needs someone.
Lilith got to her feet, tried to smile. “It was great meeting you all. I think I’d better be going. Melinda, come by again soon, very soon. Yes?”
“I will. Let me see you out.”
Melinda bid farewell to Lilith and was lingering just outside the front door, overhearing the tail-end of a hushed, angry conversation.
“Fine, I’ll do it,” Faith said.
“Do what?” Melinda asked.
“Talk to Caleb,” Faith smirked.
“That’s not—” April began.
“Why do you want Faith to talk to him? Talk to him about what? How can you even forgive him?” Melinda asked. “He destroyed our lives!” She was relieved that April did not seem to notice the doubt in her voice.
Faith laughed, bitterly. “She won’t be able to control her loins around him.”
“Faith!” April felt the heat rise to her face as she stumbled for words. “I would! I just think he’s a bit… misunderstood, is all. We should give him a chance. Lilith however—“
“He attacked you!” Melinda reminded her.
“Allegedly,” Faith mumbled.
“What can I say? I’m a forgiving person. Besides, we need to talk about Lilith—” April stressed, looking intently at Faith.
Faith snorted. If April wanted to play games now, she was playing them her way. “You finally get away from one lunatic who ruined your life and immediately go for another. Do you just enjoy the pain, Blondie?”
April rounded on Faith, her eyes glowing with rage. “Too far!”
Melinda managed to step between the two as April lunged at Faith. With strength that defied her tiny frame, she caught April’s wrists and managed to restrain her.
April’s irises were so light that Melinda could barely see them. She looked over to Faith, noticing that she appeared to be the same.
Was this what thirst looked like?
“I think you both need to feed,” Melinda said calmly, picking up a couple of packs off the table. “Let me get these warmed up for you.”
April looked to Faith and mouthed do something!
Faith got to her feet and slapped the pouches out of Melinda’s hands, hating herself. “I don’t want that weird juice, Melinda.”
“Something we can agree on,” April said quietly.
Melinda looked between the two of them, confused. “But I thought…”
Faith sighed, “We need to feed on live people. Besides, you can hardly protest after what you did to Paul.”
“Paul? No, I didn’t do anything to Paul—“
“It’s OK, we dealt with it. But please, Mel. Come back to your senses.”
“I never lost my senses!”
“You’re stalking the woods at night! Befriending deadly strangers! Trying to make us drink unknown liquids!”
“Lilith’s nice! She doesn’t even drink from people and she has lots of chance to!”
“Then are you completely sure she doesn’t?” Faith took Melinda’s hands, her voice softening. “You’ve only just met her. And you’re really vulnerable right now. She could have really hurt you.”
April had appeared beside Faith. “We care about you Mel.” She brushed Melinda’s fringe from her eyes. “You shouldn’t have gone in her house. Think what could have happened! And there could be anything in these pouches.”
“We’re competition for her, Mel. She could be trying to poison us.”
Melinda’s lip quivered. “But… but…” she whimpered, feeling foolish. “She said… and he—“
April pulled Melinda into her arms. “I’m really sorry, Mel. I wish I could tell you what you want to hear. You need to stay away from Lilith. We’ll look after you.”
Melinda started to cry as April soothed her, rocked her.
Faith had to turn away.
She didn’t mind being the bad guy, if she had to be. If it protected someone she loved.
She just wasn’t sure who this was protecting.