Available Darkness: Chapter 30
(Serial and Milk: Available Darkness is a serialized horror thriller co-written by David Wright and Sean Platt. A new chapter appears here each Friday. If you missed previous chapters, you can read them here.)
Dread had rooted in the depths of John’s brain like a malevolent worm, devouring what little hope he still harbored inside. He laid in the fetal position, curled in the darkness of the van turned prison cell. His back was pressed against the black Plexiglas wall behind him, as he rocked his body back and forth, nervously waiting for the world to come crashing in around him. Though he listened keenly to the events unfolding outside the van, he was unable to hear much of anything beyond muffled exchanges while second guessing his decision to get into the van.
He closed his eyes, tried to focus on Abigail, to connect with her. He could feel her there, could even how close she was, but there was something—some sort of darkness surrounding her—preventing him access to her mind.
He heard Brock shouting.
And then the gunshots.
John leapt to a squatting position, waiting for something, his body prickling for action. But he was caged and helpless.
He felt Abigail starting to fade. She was wounded in the gunfire. He knew it as certainly as he knew the sun would soon be rising. He screamed and began to use his body as a battering ram, slamming himself against the side door as if he could somehow shake the locks loose.
“Abigail!” he screamed.
He thought he heard something, her voice? He stopped moving and tilted his head, hungry to hear something rise above the gunshots. Everything went silent as time seemed to pause in wait for whatever was next. Either his side door would open and Larry would appear or the van would start moving, on their way to his would-be kidnappers, and away from Abigail, who needed him now more than ever.
The silence was like a slow and steady suffocation. He started to rock again, shaking the van wildly and screaming. “Let me out!”
The side door slid open as John flinched, preparing for the worst. Thankfully, it was Larry whose dark shape filled the open door and not Brock‘s. Larry didn’t have to say a word, John could see the truth in his eyes and on the asphalt, just yards away. Abigail, in a pool of blood, eyes open and staring at him in a dead gaze.
John’s heart crumbled as he exploded from the van and sprinted towards Abigail. He collapsed to her side and reached to feel for a pulse even as her eyes held their dead focus on the van. He caught himself, unsure what damage his touch could do to her in this state. He called to her; but no response.
“Don’t touch her!” Larry screamed, his heavy footsteps thundering across the asphalt towards them.
Larry reached down and touched the child’s neck. His eyes widened.
“Holy shit!” he cried out, “she’s still alive.”
“Call an ambulance, we’ve got to help her!” John said through a cracked voice.
Larry looked grave, his hand still on Abigail’s neck.
“There’s no time, John. She’s dying.”
John’s mind raced as he shook his head, repeating, “No, no, no, no. There’s got to be something we can do!”
Something flickered from deep within the recesses of John’s forgotten memories; a glimmer of something almost recognizable, a faint echo of a lost transmission from a long dead satellite. Larry mumbled something about needing to get out of there before the cops came. John closed his eyes, trying to block Larry’s voice out.
“Wait!” he said, pointing at Larry.
John dove deeper into the murkiness of his subconscious like a blind man trying to find his keys along the ocean floor. Only, John couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen the keys, let alone recall what they unlocked.
“John,” Larry said, “she’s dying.”
“I fucking know that,” John barked, spinning towards Larry, anger flashing, and then…
…something came to him and John had an idea.
“I can turn her?” John asked Larry, “I can bring her back as a vampire, can’t I?”
Larry nodded, “You know how?”
“I think so, I am remembering… something.”
“If you do this,” Larry warned, “you’re sentencing her to a life of hell.”
“A life of hell is all she’s ever known,” John said, “but it sure as hell beats not living.”
John looked down at the helpless child. His angel. Her open, glassy eyes cut straight into his heart. Though Larry said she was alive, John was pretty certain she couldn’t see him. Something resembling instinct whispered, just let me take over. He wasn’t sure if the voice was to be trusted or if it was wishful thinking that someone or something would answer his silent pleas for guidance.
Do it, now.
John knelt down, leaned in close, closed his eyes and handed his intuition the reigns. As he drew closer to her neck, he could feel her pulse, faint and barely there, against his fevered lips. Something pulled him, commanded him, compelled him. He opened his mouth. Pain splintered through his entire jaw as John’s teeth seemed to grind, twist and churn beneath his gums as his canines grew longer and sharper, piercing the edges of his tongue. Blood flooded his mouth with the taste of metal.
Rationality and doubt pleaded with him to stop. This is insane, you’re going to finish her off right here! John closed his eyes tighter, ignoring the voice, and put his mouth on Abigail’s neck. His instincts screamed to just bite, but fear held him in check, wondering how hard to bite, what if he bit in the wrong place?
Instinct took over and flipped a switch. John bit down without further thought or hesitation. Blood flooded his mouth, warm and bitter. He drank, swallowed, and felt Abigail’s life blood sluice down his throat in two reluctant gulps. John then breathed into her wound. Only it wasn’t a breath from his lungs, but something else entirely; his essence delivered as her elixir. A current, different and less intense than the kind which he stole from the lives of so many, flowed—this time from him, to her.
Abigail’s body began to convulse. John pulled back, afraid his touch had started a fire which would quickly consume her. Her fingers splayed, as her legs shot out completely stiff. Her back arched up in an almost unnatural arc. Her jaws opened wide, her eyes even wider as she fought for ragged breath, her chest rising and falling rapidly.
John took another step back, his heart on the precipice of either fear that these were her final spastic death throes, or joy that he’d managed to save her. And then…
her body then fell limp as if whatever puppeteer holding the strings had just cut them all at once.
John dropped to his knees, his breath and heart both on pause. Her hair hung in tangles over her pale face—he couldn’t tell if she were alive or dead. A silent moan escaped her open mouth as she lifted her head, hair falling from her waxen face and eyes blinking open. Though barely there, Abigail smiled and spoke in a voice so frail, the gathering wind nearly tore it asunder.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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