The first thing that struck Seth was that all the lights were off in the house.
Despite having excellent night vision, Lilith always had lights on, even if there was no-one home. It made it look ‘lived in’, she would say. It didn’t matter that not a single soul ever passed here, she liked to pretend to the world that she was normal, almost human. He used to find her desire to cling to humanity quite endearing and it made her inevitable descent into vampiric madness at his hands all the more satisfying for him to watch.
The second thing that Seth noticed was that it was eerily quiet. Not a thought to be heard for miles; only an empty static, that he suspected belonged to one vicious vixen.
He wouldn’t usually walk straight in, uninvited. Perhaps it was being full of Will’s Wangshaft bravado that caused him to try the handle, watching as the door swung open to permit him.
His attention was first drawn to the living room and that infernal device! Why Lilith had obtained one of these was beyond him, but he felt that smashing it to pieces was not a polite way to start the visit.
He looked around the room, wondering why on earth anyone would choose to spend their time boxed in like this. He had never been comfortable indoors. The longer he stood there, the more restricted the space felt; the walls pulling in towards him until he wouldn’t have been able to breathe even if he’d had functioning lungs. He walked back into the hallway, composed himself and spotted Lilith.
Interesting. He crouched beside her, tried to tune in, hearing nothing but that empty static.
Wakey wakey Lilith.
There was a flicker across her face that told him she’d heard him, but her mind was completely empty. How unusual. He stood back a few paces and waved his hand to compel her to her feet. She barely shifted.
Now he was intrigued. He refused to be bested by this mystery magic.
He lifted his arm, channelled as much energy as he could, willing her to stand.
He watched as she rose up in an unwieldly fashion, her eyes blinking open, finally supporting herself but looking very confused.
She walked past him as if he didn’t exist and seated herself at the table. He stood in the archway watching as she slowly collected herself.
“Better?” he asked when she eventually focused on him.
“What the hell are you doing in here?”
Clearly better. He walked over, taking the kidney from his pocket, tossing it and catching it a few times. “I would have fashioned a few organs into a bouquet but alas, I had no ribbon and intestines just don’t tie the same.”
“Still bringing me shit,” Lilith spat. “You never change.”
“It’s not for you. What happened?”
It amused him that despite her indignation, Lilith’s face had most certainly fallen upon finding out that this gift wasn’t for her.
“I don’t really know. I think it was something Faith did as she was seething. It felt like a hard shove but I’m certain she didn’t actually touch me.”
“And it rendered you helpless? Marvellous,” Seth said, making a mental note to not anger Faith again. “So where are they now?”
“I don’t know. I could only hear so much. They don’t want to live with this thing,” she grumbled, pointing towards herself. “After everything I did for that bastard, he tells them I mistreated him! Lets his friend attack me then doesn’t even check if I’m alright. None of them checked if I was alright! And they robbed me of all my stock!”
Seth could feel the rage burning inside him, doused it. He threw the kidney across the room landing it directly in the sink, pushed back the chair and sat opposite her.
“I didn’t say you could sit. Get out.”
“Lilith, you’ve pushed away enough people tonight. Admit defeat. Game over. I can see you’ve suffered quite the brain-bollocking this evening, so let us talk. I shall not pry.”
“Makes a change.”
“Why would they attack you?”
She folded her arms. “Caleb and I were having a disagreement about his behaviour tonight and they walked in at the wrong time.”
“He was rather restrained tonight.” Seth paused, reading. “Ah, no. Wait. We’re thinking of different things.” He rubbed his jaw, trying not to smile. She had always been prudish. “It was only a matter a time before he weakened to his lust, Lilith. Vampire or not, April is a simply a body full of holes, after all.”
“Your efforts not to pry lasted all of five seconds there, new record,” Lilith huffed. “And what the hell is wrong with you vampire men?! A body full of holes?!”
“Not my personal opinion, as well you know.” He smirked as she rolled her eyes. “Your greatest mistake has always been tarring us all with the same brush.”
“Because you’re all the same! Me, me, me.”
“That beast lives within us all, Lilith.” He had completely given up on his effort not to rifle through her thoughts now. “Oh dear, Caleb. Although it couldn’t have been that bad if she still left with him? Maybe she likes it a little rough?”
“She had no choice,” Lilith spat. Seth watched as Lilith shared a memory, probably in an effort to make him leave sooner.
“Ah, I see. Kiss of death.” He didn’t really need to know more, but he enjoyed watching her glare at him as he delved into her.
“You just can’t help yourself, can you?”
“I can, I don’t.” Seth continued watching until he’d seen the whole scene. “I see. And you say I’m a monster. I would say ‘poor girl’ but her brain was barren, so no great loss.”
He started to push back from the table.
“Where are you going?”
“First you want me to go, now you want me to stay,” Seth said. “I’m going to find them, of course.”
“Why bother? You don’t have any interest in any of them except Faith and she didn’t mention you at all before she left.” Lilith flashed him a wicked grin. “She’s got a nasty habit of using and losing men, that one. I think she might have jilted you.”
Seth couldn’t deny that he identified such tendencies in Faith. He clenched his jaw, but remained composed against this possibility.
Surely not. She wouldn’t dare.
His voice was calm. “They don’t stand a chance out there, thanks to you and your nannying.”
“Sure. Go and find them. Teach them to slay humans, that’ll solve everything.”
“Lilith. Your life is a misery, mine is not. Who’s methods are wrong?”
“Of course. You won’t be joining me I take it? You’ll be… ah, still looking for that damn fruit. It doesn’t exist, Lilith.”
“It does. Hopefully I can find it before they all get caught and bring about another wave of vampire-hunting hysteria.”
“They won’t get caught. Not with me around. I’ve been on the run my whole life, surely I am a master of it?” Seth said, with an arrogant smile.
“Ooh look at me! I’m the ‘master’ of everything. Except showering.“
“You’re just full of love for me tonight, aren’t you? Perhaps I should have left you to rot.” Seth pushed his chair back. “Good bye for now, Lilith. I’m sure our paths will cross again.”
Seth headed towards the door slowly, not at all surprised when Lilith followed him.
“I tried to reach you tonight.”
“I know. I assume you were trying to prevent me from corrupting Faith?”
“No,” she answered. “From corrupting yourself. Look, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll leave Faith alone. She’s too similar.”
“To the green-eyed woman?”
Lilith’s voice became soft; one that spoke directly to his heart. “You asked me to do it for a very good reason. Please. Leave her buried.”
Chuck had parked up near a billboard with a fish on it. He was hopelessly lost. A scantily dressed woman had told him the bar was a mile down the road, but he’d driven this stretch twice and still hadn’t spotted it. The woman was nowhere to be seen this time. He got out of his car and scratched his head.
The banana sausage surprise had been every bit as awful as he’d imagined. A split banana containing a split sausage that held the ‘surprise’ element, a tuna puree. It was really taking its toll. He needed to find the bar as much to use the facilities as to look for clues. He looked around desperately. No one seemed to be about.
Check him out! Only three hours into his quest and he was already relieving himself in the woods. He felt like a cave man, a bear. Unburdened by niceties and social norms. Wild and free. It reminded him of his teenage road trip, how he’d gotten so drunk one night that he’d ended up naked in a—
Oh darn, someone was approaching along the path. He hastily aborted his mission and yanked up his jeans.
Maybe this person would give him better directions than that unscrupulous young lady had. He stumbled out of the bushes to greet the stranger. He instinctively extended a hand but changed his mind. Bit gross.
“Hello good fellow! I’m looking to get to Joe’s Bar. Can you direct me?”
The man turned slowly to look at him. It was a warm night but Chuck shivered, the air felt cold and heavy around him. He’d suddenly developed a rather peculiar headache.
The man took a step towards him, eyeing him suspiciously. Chuck felt uneasy in his presence, like he’d made a huge mistake. He was thinking of Babs and Melinda even though he wasn’t trying to.
“Joe’s bar?” he repeated, surprised at how quiet his voice sounded.
“I heard you the first time.”