Weird: Book of Secrets, Chapter XXI [part ii]

This Room Ain’t Big Enough For The Two Of–Wait, What Do You Mean I Made This Joke Before?


27 of March 2021 – 10:06 PM


Mortals believe that the perks of being undead outweigh the cons, and usually I would agree. Let’s break it down point by point.

Pro: I’ll never age appearance wise until the graduation ritual–and even then, I get to choose the age I’ll appear as for the rest of my undead days. Con: until I graduate and can undergo said ritual, creeps will continue to pursue me.

Pro: I won’t gain weight because I don’t need mortal food or water. Con: I can only gain nourishment by consuming blood, and it is only through blood that I can taste the foods I once loved.

Pro: I will never get sick or succumb to disease. Con: my heart doesn’t beat, so I have to avoid human clinics and physicians… Which makes attending mortal school difficult.

Pro: I have supernatural speed, strength, hearing, and vision. Con: a trained trapper could still spot me, so I have to stay alert while out in public.

Pro: I’ll live forever so long as I’m not killed. Con: immortality means losing loved ones who aren’t immortal, and retaining enemies who are.

I suppose that last one isn’t entirely fair to Jesse–after all, neither one of us could help the series of events that led to our meeting and subsequent turmoil. To say we had a complicated relationship was the understatement of the past century and a half. It was an arrangement I had hoped to bury in the past, along with our comrades and my former alias… And yet there we were, facing one another with not twenty feet between us, and I wasn’t entirely sure how to feel.

Should I have been relieved? After all, he disappeared without a trace after I saw him last; no tracker in the mortal or occult realms seemed able to locate him, or even narrow down his possible whereabouts.

Should I have been scared? After all, this man took advantage of my young appearance and naïveté. He saw my rebel status and penchant for danger as the green light he needed to pursue a relationship with me… Granted, it was a different time, and since I had first introduced myself as sixteen to my friends in the years before, everyone believed I was eighteen by the time I met a then twenty-five year old Jesse. No one would have believed me if I had told them I was actually older than him by nearly a decade, as they were mostly humans.

No. At that moment, staring daggers at the cocky expression worn by my former lover, I decided that I wouldn’t achieve anything with relief or fear. The former would give the impression that I was happy to have him back in my life, when I knew all too well that his resurfacing meant that he wanted something. And all fear would do was embolden him to enact whatever plans he had in store… So, for the sake of those who gave me sanctuary, I would do whatever it took to figure out what the hell Jess wanted.

And the best way to do that was to be pissed off.

“What are you doing here, Jesse?” I let the words roll off my tongue with layers of distaste I reserved for the likes of Jude and other pompous pricks.

Jesse’s right hand flew to his chest as he staggered backward, feigning injury. “Damn! No preamble? Not even a ‘hi, hello, I missed you’–?”

“I’m not a liar,” I sneered.

His mouth twisted up in a devilish snicker. “Right. Unless it’s your name or age, then you’re aces.” When I opened my mouth to retort, Jesse held up a hand in dismissal. “Yeah, I know–we were humans, you had to hide in plain sight, and you’d already told the gang you were sixteen when you joined. Plus, you were already on the run, so it made sense you had to change aliases. Only natural you’d keep the lie going as the years passed. I don’t hold none o’ that against you, kid. You did what you had to do.”

I couldn’t help the relief that washed over my body, but I was grateful my face didn’t show it. If he isn’t here to get back at me for lying, then…

“It’s ‘cause I turned you, isn’t it?” I asked, dreading his answer. “That’s why you’re here. For revenge.”

His face contorted in a mixture of mild confusion and amusement. “Revenge? Why do I need some Anne Rice-ass motive to see an old friend?”

“You literally tried to kill me.”

“That was business,” he protested in an unperturbed tone, stepping off to the side and meandering toward my bookshelves. “Shit, you tried to kill me a few times, too. If anything, I think I sort of owe you for giving me a second chance.”

Alright–I have to admit, I’m not the most patient person. I know the stereotype is that vampires have “endless reserves of patience” thanks to their immortality, but that isn’t always true. Some vamps were turned before they could achieve emotional maturity, others before they could even reach the universally recognized age of majority. I was a teenage vampire in a standoff with my ex during a not-so-secret high school house party–and this particular ex had tried to take my life on numerous occasions. Needless to say, my patience was wearing thin.

“Jess, please just tell me what the hell you’re doing here,” I pleaded. I was overwhelmed by the sensitive nature of the situation, and my senses were all on high alert as I listened for any footsteps or voices outside my room. “I need to get back to the party, and you need to go home.”

Jesse turned to face me then. His body language and expression were still relaxed, as if he didn’t have a care in the world, but it was as those cool eyes locked onto mine that I realized something I probably should have before.

There wasn’t a hint of red in those grey irises, and a chill ran down my spine.

“Jesse,” I began, speaking slowly. “Who did you feed on?”

He let out an icy chuckle void of any mirth. “Why? Does it matter?”

Rage boiled within me. “I swear, if you touched anyone here–”

“Relax, I don’t feed on other members of the occult,” he argued, rolling his eyes. “Way too complicated. No one cares if a few humans die, though, right?”

I gritted my teeth to keep from shouting. “We’re under a fuckin’ trapper advisory! You can’t just go around attacking whoever you want! Times have changed–”

I hadn’t even finished my sentence before he appeared less than a foot away, glaring into my eyes. We were about the same height in spite of our biological age differences, and I’m not sure which of us was meant to be complimented by that fact. I had better things to worry about in that moment, like how his proximity excited some small part of me and enraged a larger portion. And how he smelled faintly of leather and tobacco. And how his eyes no longer matched the calm mask he wore.

“Times haven’t changed as much as you think,” Jesse growled softly. His eyes never left mine as we spoke.

“What the hell does that mean?” I had meant to sound aggressive or forceful, but my tone came across uncertain, meek even.

He leaned in close, his gaze never wavering. Several breaths passed as he eased closer until Jesse’s face was barely two inches away. I swear the tip of his nose brushed against mine, but I dared not move.

“It means you shouldn’t leave your window unlocked.”

Then he pulled away and stepped around me, leaving me befuddled at the center of my room as he unlocked my bedroom door. I spun around just as I heard the click–and the footsteps in the hall. “Wait–!”

Jesse opened the door and nearly collided with Sage. The witch was standing with their fist raised, poised as if to knock. Their brow furrowed slightly as surprise widened their eyes, but it wasn’t until those minty green pools found me standing behind Jesse that they narrowed with sadness as they came to the wrong realization.

“Sorry, guess I’m interrupting,” they grumbled with a curt nod. They were about to turn away when Jesse stopped them.

“Sage, right?” he asked, an amicable smile on his thin lips. He held out a hand to my friend, and I was impressed that the witch took him up on his greeting. “I’m Jesse. I’ve gotta admit, it’s surreal to actually meet you. I’ve learned a lot about you from Axel.”

You mean you read about them in my journal, you asshole.

“Is that so?” Sage chuckled nervously and glanced over in my direction. “Well, I can’t say the same–”

The small smile on their lips nearly vanished the second I signed, RUN.

To Be Continued
Updated on Mondays

Photo by Naqi Shahid on Unsplash

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