This is my last post for 2012, and an early Christmas present to you all. Cheers, everyone!
The Fiercest of Friends, by Alexander Paul Willging
Word Count: 642
All your life, Lucy has always been there. You remember when you were six, in the playground when all the other kids had gone home. She came and sat beside you, beautiful and loving like the way you wanted Mom to be. Remember how she made the snow in the air dance around her and how you shared secrets and smiles in the creeping dark.
You remember when you were eleven and it was Christmas Eve. Lucy was there again, a friend from out the shadows. Her hands pulled you free from Uncle Martin’s iron grip and decked him right in the jaw. He’d stopped drinking after that night, and you could finally tell Mom and Dad about the bruises on your back. And when you did, you imagined Lucy watching, dressed in black with a smile on her pale face.
She resurfaced after another five years, when you went with your friend Elaine Verdugo to the Homecoming Dance. After the dance was over and Elaine went home, you were alone near a park. Lucy waited there for you, wearing a black Zephyr dress. She took your hand and you danced with her beside the old playground, amazed at her timeless beauty in the moonlight.
And who could forget your twenty-first birthday? After your friends dragged you back to your room when you couldn’t stomach one more drink, you collapsed onto your bed and started to black out. And who else should be sitting at your bedside but dear old Lucy? Something was different about her. Maybe it was the blood trickling from one corner of her lips, or the way her face became redder than you remembered. You’d muttered something like “vampire” before you passed out.
Another five years come and gone. Now you were a receptionist at a copyright lawyer’s office. That nasty coworker Sierra accused you of snooping through company records. You had no alibi. The whispers that Lucy planted in your ear, all the firm’s secrets she’d divined by some witchcraft. You started to hate her interventions, like when the senior partner fired you and then mysteriously died of a heart attack that same week.
Memory is a little blurry after that. Mostly desperation. Frantic research into Romanian folklore and other myths. Losing touch with your family and friends. No one believing you. No recourse. No sympathy. And all the while, Lucy lurking in the shadows. Always one clawed hand reaching out to offer a dance for old times’ sake.
And now, at last, the courtship has reached its end. Old and withered, you sit upright in bed at the nursing home, watching snowflakes fall against the window. You’re no longer surprised to see Lucy sitting beside you, just as young, pale, and beautiful as ever.
“I forget sometimes,” she says quietly. “I forget how mortals are. The pain, the anxiety, the ignorance. Like there’s a giant clock ticking and you can never forget it’s there.” Her cold hand touches your cheek, colder than the snow outside. “Give me a chance, darling. Be young and free with me again. I get lonely without you.”
And truth be told, you’re tired now. You’ve been running all your life—running toward her, running away from her. You’ve reached the end of your life and you know it’s time to go.
No, not quite ready.
So it is, on what was to be your last Christmas ever, you lie in the arms of your dear old Lucy and let her sink her fangs deep within your neck. Draining your blood, replenishing it with her own incorruptible strain. Your heart beats furiously for the first time in years. Your eyesight is restored. You feel like you could start dancing and never stop.
Because that’s what your life has always been. An everlasting dance with Lucy, your own fallen guardian angel.
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