Cracked knuckles

Magic Hollow 
Something righteous lit up in her as he seemed to squirm. That is what she wanted. Cris wanted him to feel like shit.

Osvald had almost killed her. A few seconds of feeling like she was on top was the least she deserved.

But ultimately, she relented. She crossed her legs, tucking the wine into her lap, then grabbed his hat to twirl it with both hands.

"I was at a McDonald’s. And I fell asleep. Because someone was taking all my blood and I’ve been tired lately."

She gave him an eyebrow raise.

"Some old fat guy wakes me up by hitting me with his tray. I refuse to get up, and he dumps his soda on me. So. I leave the restaurant."

Cris looked down to the hat.

"And I went out to his car. Waited for him. He shoved me, so I punched him in the face and then broke his car window."

And then she put the hat on, waiting eagerly for disapproval.

"He fled and I did too."

She did not seem inclined to tell him to leave. Instead she decided to talk, and at the first accusation, he frowned.

She was supposed to have been taking care of herself. What would he know of the limitations of a human?

The tale of the other man roused guilt and discontent in him.

"So confrontational."

It was said with the disapproval she could have expected.

"You tell me all this, why? Do you wish for me to kill him?"

That was what she wanted for reasons she couldn’t explain even to herself.

"He literally started it. I was asleep."

Feeling the wine continue to roll in, she uncrossed her legs and flopped onto her side, the hat falling off in the process. The world seemed to turn for a time afterwards.

"I don’t know where he is or else I would. He called me homeless. He tried to slap me."

Pulling her legs up toward her chest, she found that lying down didn’t especially help.

"I don’t have anyone else to tell. My only friend got turned into a werewolf a few days ago. I can’t tell my roommate or he’d know I’m crazy."

Yes, yes. He started it, she continued it. Osvald found her increasingly ugly in this moment, a desperate urchin, drunk and in need of care and entitled in a way that made her feel like she had a right to accuse and make demands.

"Well. If you should learn of his whereabouts, you can provide the information to me."

There was a blunt thud, and grunt outside while he spoke. He wondered if he drunk ears would pick it up.

"I do stress that you should move from there. I would rather you not go the way of your other friend."

She did hear it.

Her eyes wandered toward the sound.

"Nothing even attacked her. She kissed someone and the spit was enough."

Her lips pursed together.

"Is that a vampire friend outside?"

Or maybe the dead guy was coming back to life.

That was quite disgusting, and he made a face that said as much.

"Yes. I've been instructed to remain inside until the hallway is clear. Rest assured, nothing will come of this night. I only ask that you not share it with anyone."

If only he had chosen to let her die, so that he didn't need to make such a request.

Osvald felt at the pockets of his jacket for his checkbook, and pen. The agreement was technically no money on blood nights, but he assumed she would appreciate the extra money to waste on whatever it was she used it for.

"I imagine we will not see each other as often. I take no pleasure in hearing that your generosity is leading to such lethargy."

He signed it for a proper month's worth of pay, four thousand, and tore the check off to lay on the arm of the sofa for her.

This was it, huh.

Cris felt.


"If we traded blood every other time, I’d be fine. But I’m not sure how to keep you from trying to kill me again."

It was outrageously stupid to offer this. But what did she have to lose, really. She had no friends. Some cop was probably going to show up and arrest her for punching some fat fuck who deserved it.

Rolling into her back, she stared at the ceiling, listening to what sounded like panicked breathing outside.

There was a sense of feeling clung to. He reminded himself that an easy meal a week was a boon for a vampire that needed to feed three to four times a week.

"Expelling me is the correct move. It was, in fact, the reason I told you of that at all. No vampire is always in perfect control of themselves, however much we like to think."

The words were spoken as fact and not with as much of his usual sense of grandfatherly charm. But he had had quite a night, and the aged vampire was rather weary.

What else could she have done, in the end.

If he hadn’t told her, she’d be dead, she supposed.

After a moment of quiet, feeling trapped here with him but also decidedly afraid of being alone, she spoke again.

"Thank you for telling me. And for giving me your blood. I know you didn’t have to do either."

Thanks was unexpected, and left him decidedly conflicted on what to do next.

He noted that there was silence outside, and wondered if it was done.

"You inspire more interest than the average mortal. Irrespective of your blood."

Mildly, flattery. But as much as she was a weed, her clinging earned her at least some temporal connection.

One day she'd take a step too far, and he would cease to hear from her, and that would be a sad and slow realization indeed.

The average mortal. She huffed quietly, but it wasn’t an entirely ungrateful sound.

"Sometimes you talk like such a vampire."

She looked toward him and smiled in a way that hopefully made it clear she wasn’t trying to be a complete brat about it.

"Can you tell me how you fixed all of that mess in the hallway. But. In another language."

Cris kind of just wanted to hear him talk, a reassurance of his humanity, but knew she wouldn’t get the answer she was looking for if she pushed.

Another language. His more native tongue, perhaps? He hummed, offering her a smile in return while she lay there.

"Jag visste att jag inte kunde hantera det själv," he began, speaking slowly. "Så, jag kontaktade min Dominus, och han kom till mitt hjälpmedel. Han utövar hans inflytande, och vävde en trovärdig fabel."

He obliged, and Cris returned her gaze to the ceiling, eyes closing. The effort left her head spinning, but she was exhausted enough to let it twirl.

His explanation didn’t last as long as she’d expected.

"Not many words," she murmured. Less complaint, more observation. "Not a long process."

Alcohol combined with exhaustion from so many levels of horror seemed to catch up with her. The next few words came out in a barely audible mumble, though Osvald would likely have the enhanced hearing to manage it.

"Say some more."

It would be apparent relatively quickly with the slowing of her heartbeat that sleep was hitting her in the seconds to follow.

No indeed. Even beginning to gather into a clutch, he was offered more ease and protection than he would have handled alone.

She wanted to hear more in his language. He pondered what to say.

Perhaps just...

"Flickan sitter ensam i ett rum, och väntar på en vän hon kan prata med. Barnet är förlorat, men kommer aldrig att erkänna att hon är ledsen."

Presumptuous of him to assume she'd never understand him, but even if she did, she'd hardly remember what he said.

"Hennes vän vet inte hur man ska hjälpa, ge henne död och livet är att ge henne makt att förstöra. I stället fortsätter hon att leva, så han kan njuta av hennes blod och känna att hon är meningsfull. Men snart kommer hon att dö, och han kommer att leva, tills han söker solen."

He was not sure when the last line would hit him. Perhaps when the rapidly evolving world finally slipped past what a six hundred year old man could handle.

Cris loved the sound of it. Sincerely. She did not love many things. The meaning was all but white noise, but that was what she was looking for. Maybe it was a story. Maybe it was more about tonight. Maybe it was a string of insults.

It didn’t really matter.

She felt childlike as she slipped into slumber. The world had humbled her for the thousandth time, and here was someone so many times her age all but reading her bedtime stories.

Comforted by the sound of something she did not understand, by the presence of someone she had no business trusting, she passed fully out within another minute as he spoke, face tilted slightly toward him with his hat further above her on the bed.

His voice slowed as he listened to the sound of her breathing. The sound of her heartbeat. The sounds in the hallway, or lack thereof.

Osvald rose quietly. He would leave her his hat; he could always get a new one.

The vampire shut her door securely, nodded to the bloodstains on the carpet outside. Hopefully she would not be questioned, and if she did, she could simply say she had no recollection.

But who knew how smart she was. In the end, even if this came to be an incident in the public eye, it would be a blip in eternity.

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