I'm kind of ashamed of this one. The writing is fine. It's just... I couldn't think of anything more creative than vampires. Lesbian vampires, even.
At least they don't sparkle.
By David Goodner
moving. Find some people, a crowd. Where is everyone?
“Justine? Where are you?” Her voice is sickly sweet, falsely
friendly. “You’re not scared, are you?”
mall is right up ahead, open late on Friday nights because of the club and the
movie theatre. The automatic doors slide
open for me. The mechanical voice says
“Welcome to Nolan Pines Mall. Please
come inside.” It offers me no
protection. But there are people inside.
down on the end with the arcade and bowling alley. Loud music blares out of the opening,
different than the not quite so loud music blaring from the mall’s
speakers. Should I go in? No.
There’s no way out but the emergency exits. I have to be able to slip away unnoticed, to
get far enough ahead that she can’t follow me, then to get into a house. I’ll go to my brother’s. We don’t get along, but he’ll let me in, and
he’s never invited Katya over.
pause for just a moment, scanning the crowd.
Are any of the others here? They
love to play games. Did they just heard
me this way?
department store at the other end of the mall has three exterior exits. Can I make it? It’s late.
A lot of stores are closing up. Steel
cages roll down from the ceiling, most only pulled half-way down so far. The crowds are thinning out, too.
I shed my jacket
and stuff it into a trashcan. I pull my
hair out of its ponytail. If I can
change my appearance enough, maybe I can throw them off.
(In my heart, I
know it won’t work.)
Just a few more
minutes, just keep walking. My breath
thunders in my ears. I can’t believe
everyone isn’t staring at me. Somehow, I
keep it together, keep walking at a pace faster than normal but not so fast I
Is that Katya up
on the second level? Is she waiving to
me? No, some other redhead, in a
different outfit, even. I’m jumping at
I’d saved my cell
phone from my jacket pocket. I can’t
call the police. They can’t stop
her. No one can. But a cab.
If I can get a cab to meet me at the mall, we can get away. Katya and the others are on foot. They couldn’t keep up with a car, could they?
Transport,” says the bored dispatcher on the other end.
I try to control
my breath. “I need a cab. I’m at Nolan Pines Mall, and I need a ride as
fast as possible.”
“We have a limo in
the area. We can pick you up in five
minutes, but there’s a $50 dollar minimum.”
fine. I’ll pay it. I’ll be at the tire shop entrance. On the south side.”
behind me. I turn, nearly drop the
phone, but there’s nothing.
“Did you hear me,
miss? I need to know how you intend to
I’d left all my
money in my bag at the club. Thank god I
knew my credit card number.
Amex. Is that okay?” If this was one of the places that didn’t
take American Express, I was going to die.
“That’ll be fine.”
I give the guy my
number while trying to keep my eyes on everything at once. As I pass the food court, there are more
people, more smells: grease from the burger joint, meat-smell from the little
Mongolian style grill, sin incarnate from the Cinnabon.
learned what sin incarnate really smelled like tonight, a little musky with the
hint of apples: Katya’s perfume.
They don’t seem to
be following me. Maybe I really had lost
them. The smells from the food court
might slow them down. I duck down an
employee only isle. I’d worked here
once. The tunnel lead back outside, but
only a few yards away from the department store’s tire section. Some guy in a hairnet says “hey…” but doesn’t
try to stop me. I wouldn’t have tried to
stop anyone, either, not for minimum wage and a free burger a night.
I get to the
store. There’s no limo. The night is cold without my jacket, and in
my short skirt. It’s dark. The streetlamps don’t illuminate much beyond
isolated circles of pavement. I stand by the door, locked at this hour, and try
to figure out where else I can run now.
A white limo pulls
up in front of me. The window rolls
down. “You call for a ride, miss?”
I think. “Yes! Yes. I
need to get over to Farmington.”
I reach for the
door, but the driver is already getting out to let me in. It seems to take forever. I sink into the seat, which is the most
comfortable leather upholstery I’ve ever felt.
The limo drives off, headed for the highway and safety.
I’m so glad you could make it. We’re going to have such fun at the club
tonight. Your new sisters are waiting
for you.” Katya smiles, sitting in the
seat across from me, her legs crossed in black satin leggings. Her fangs gleam perfectly white in the dark
compartment of the limo. “I know changes
like this are scary, baby, but once you join the family, I know you’