It had been a most satisfying night. As Seth lay back under the stars, satiated with what turned out to be a surprisingly succulent sanguinary experience with William Wangshaft, he admired again his new trophies; a kidney, as promised, for his feisty fledgling and a most unexpected memory. Will’s reel had mainly comprised of beer, breasts and barbeques. His childhood had been rather dull. Very few experiences Seth deemed worthy of viewing, let alone taking.
Only one had stood out.
It was not only that Seth recognised her that made this such worthy obtainment, but also the tantalising scandal this could cause. Will had certainly had a type, but this one was too young and heavily sedated.
This would surely hold some benefit somewhere along the line.
Seth tossed the small organ into the air and caught it again. He was very used to long stints of loneliness, never really bored if he was outside in the vast, everchanging forests. But it felt like such a long time until the following nightfall when he’d next see Faith.
Was it too keen if he went to see her now? Yes. It was too keen. But what if he wasn’t going to see her? He could say he was simply returning Lilith’s call…
He very much doubted that Lilith would invite him in with open arms after he had ignored her earlier. Somehow that just made him want to do it more. He might meet Melinda. He might cause absolute chaos.
Seth was sure that sometimes his body had a mind of its own. He had already started walking.
Lilith stroked her thumb along Caleb’s jaw. He was willing her do it. She was willing to do it. So what was the problem?
Will it hurt her?
That was the problem. Was he actually more concerned for someone else than himself? All this time she had spent sacrificing her own humanity, her morals, every shred of herself in an effort to change him, to nurture empathy in him, to give him any kind of human side at all. Was it purely a product of the binding or was he experiencing genuine feelings?
His walls were still down; she could see that he was thinking about April, about what would happen to her after.
He was thinking of Melinda hugging him and calling him her friend. He was thinking of Faith calling him her buddy and teasing him about his hair.
Maybe they were feelings absorbed from April, she couldn’t be sure. But did it matter what the source was if it somehow improved him?
Did he deserve yet another chance?
Lilith was so focussed on her dilemma, on scanning Caleb’s thoughts for anything that would convince her to continue that she wasn’t aware she had company until she heard a shout.
“Let him go!”
Lilith snapped round to follow the sound of Faith’s voice, forgetting how she must have looked. She heard Melinda scream, but she barely had enough time to register that, let alone explain herself, before something shoved her. Hard.
For a while, Caleb, Melinda and Faith were stunned. Staring at Lilith who had seemingly launched herself through the air and had landed awkwardly against the radiator, unmoving.
Finally it was Melinda who broke the silence. “What happened? Is she—“
“She’s only knocked out,” Caleb said. “I can still feel her static.” He turned towards the girls. “Who did that?”
“I think it was me,” Faith said.
“I don’t know. I just felt so angry. It felt like I exploded.”
Caleb groaned, “You shouldn’t have done it. She is going to be furious when she comes round.”
“I didn’t do it on purpose! She looked like she was going to rip your face off!”
He ran his hand down his face anxiously. She’d probably be much more likely to employ a slow and painful method of decapitation now. Maybe he’d go burn down Marjorie’s after all.
“Yes, because I have truly messed things up this time.” He didn’t even know where to start. “I’ve married April.”
“What are you on about? Where is April?” Melinda asked.
“In my room.”
“April!” Melinda called up the stairs.
“She won’t come,” Caleb said. “I’ve bound her.”
Faith raised an eyebrow. “Bound her?”
“Is that it? Is that what Lilith was losing her shit about? That was worthy of ripping your face off, was it? You don’t deserve to be treated like that, Fringey!”
Caleb was standing with his mouth open, looking dumb. “You know about binding?”
“I wasn’t born yesterday. Can you go and untie her? We’re leaving Forgotten Hollow, we’re all over the news, they know we were around here, they can probably track our phones right to this house. And we’re not staying here now anyway, with that… thing.” She waved her hand at Lilith.
“No, I didn’t tie her up. I turned her the wrong way, into my doll. Now we’ve had sex we’re connected and she belongs to me, I can control her. Even though it wasn’t as romantic as I’d planned. Well, it started off alright, but then the curse took over, as usual.”
“Control her? Caleb, I understand that you’re new to this and you probably have some old-fashioned ideas about relationships, but sleeping with April doesn’t mean that you’re married or that she belongs to you. You don’t get to control her now,” Melinda said, horrified.
“Yeah, we really need to update your attitudes, dude. April is not your doll. But this really isn’t the time for this,” Faith said. “Go and get April. Mel, let’s see how many plasma packs we can fit in our inventories.”
“You actually want me to come with you? After everything I’ve just told you? After everything that happened tonight?”
“Caleb, will you stop being such a limp dick? You’re coming with us whether you like it or not.”
“I can’t leave her.” He looked at Lilith.
Melinda took his hands. “You can leave her. We’ll look after you.”
They both glanced at their joined hands and simultaneously pulled away.
Caleb watched the two girls head to the kitchen to raid the pantry. He looked down at Lilith who was still passed out against the radiator that they’d never turned on. He needed to get the girls out of here before she woke up. He ran upstairs.
“What’s going on?” April asked. “I heard loads of commotion! Is everyone OK?”
“April, listen to me. You need to leave me and go with your friends.”
“Yes.” He wondered why that one word hurt so much.
“I… I cant leave without you.”
“You have to.”
“I can’t,” she whispered. “And I don’t want to. If we have to leave, you have to come with us.”
Faith called from downstairs. “What’s taking so long? You’re not going for round two are you? Come on!”
Caleb sat on the bed beside April. “Do you really want me to come with you? After tonight?”
“Yes, silly. It will be better next time. Whenever you decide that will be.”
He wondered if her willingness was all part of being bound or if she meant it. She’d wanted him originally, hadn’t she? She’d given herself to him to drink from, she’d wanted him to take her away even before all of this.
Maybe Lilith was wrong.
Looking at her beautiful face made him feel like he was being hit in the chest with a baseball bat. He could hear that she was thinking something similar, but her terms were slightly less aggressive.
“Oh holy hell, April. I’m so sorry. I’ll be better, I promise. I’ll learn. I’ll do better.”
Caleb took one long look back at the house. They’d lived on this site for almost two hundred years. He’d often thought about it but he never thought he’d see the day that he would finally leave. He knew Lilith would be alright. Better probably, without him. He felt April link her hand with his and they headed along the path, Melinda and Faith close behind.
“I guess this is the end of your budding relationship with Seth the Sociopath,” Melinda said, quietly. “I was really looking forward to meeting him, too.”
“Ah well,” Faith replied through a smile as fake as all her future orgasms would probably be. “Holiday romance and all that shit. I don’t think he was really into me, or anything. He’ll probably just forget all about me now.”