<<< Chapter 2
Chapter 3: The Hot Morbidity of Cats and Cushions
“That’s what we should be doing.
I don’t want to use the word “screwed,”
but I screwed him. That’s what we should be doing.”
— Donald Trump
They were making out hardcore by the time that Melantha and Salvador arrived at her second floor apartment. The otherwise unremarkable complex neighbored a haunted amusement park that had been leased out to an eccentric mortician, as well as a deep and terrifying lagoon, so the rent was quite affordable. But the dozens of annual disappearances and grizzly murders in her neighborhood were the last thing on either of their minds.
With their lips locked, Melantha fumbled to open the door while Salvador’s icy hands worked her nipples into rock-hard passion knobs. He toggled them with the eagerness of a teenager working a console game controller and was on his way to earning the high score. Their clothes just seemed to fall off with a life of their own, which added urgency to them actually getting inside her apartment, as Mrs. Halls was watching them from her open doorway with a look that bordered between disgust and awe. Then again, she’d had a stroke last month, which left her facial expressions open to interpretation. Melantha was fairly sure that she had been Mrs. Halls in a former life.
They practically fell through the door — not literally, as in, they did not physically pass through the material of the door, but as it opened, they stumbled through in a semi-sexual position expurgated from the Kama Sutra for its absurdness and impracticality, what was once known as “Stork Plucks a Weird Lily With Pants Around Its Ankles.” It was gross and weird. Mrs. Halls definitely felt disgust even if she could only emote moist bemusement.
Salvador screamed as his flesh burst into flames. He smelled like grilled bratwurst, which in this context was gross. He looked increasingly like questionable meatloaf from a substandard restaurant overcooked to the point of still being on fire.
“Oh! Sorry, sorry! I forgot to invite you in.” Their passion dampened, Melantha rushed to think of a solution or at least remember where the fire extinguisher was.
“Do it then!” Salvador howled.
“Invite me in!”
“I thought I just did!”
“You only said you forgot to!” Salvador’s eyes sizzled and then burst out of their sockets. It was a total mood killer. His blazing flesh was melting from his bones and dripping onto the floor. There was a fat chance in hell that Melantha would ever get her security deposit back, but at least she knew that her smoke alarm was working
“Oh . . . welcome to my home. I — I invite you in!” Melantha said, which extinguished her vampiric companion instantly. There was really no need for him to get pissy about anything. Vampires caught on fire all of the time. He would heal just fine.
“Dammit!” Salvador shouted. “I can’t watch Lethal Weapon without my eyes! Even if I’ve seen them a million times, it’s a visual experience.”
“How about The Golden Girls then?”
“That will suffice. I enjoy the comedy, but I do not like looking at their aged flesh.”
“It disgusts you?”
“It reminds me that I must live an eternity, never growing old, without the promise of an end to to my tormented existence, never qualifying for AARP or Social Security benefits. The curse of my dark secret mandates that I pay full price at the cinema even though I am eligible for senior rates.”
Melantha felt pity more than arousal, as though Salvador were a co-worker who had invited her out to drinks after work. She was still going to have sex with him, but now she was going to have to put it off until later to ensure that she stayed classy and kept his respect. Unless he made her into a vampire, in which case she would fuck him into orbit.
“It smells like death in here,” Salvador said as he plopped down onto the sofa that she’d found abandoned by the dumpster and then had reupholstered with Doctor Who print polyester fleece that was now half cat hair. It was amazing that he could smell anything other than the stink of his own immolated body.
“There’s probably another dead cat under the couch.” Melantha stepped into the kitchen to put some popcorn into the microwave and pour a couple glasses of . . . well, all that she had was diet cola. Fortunately, vampires drink diet cola. “They climb up into the underside and get caught up there sometimes. I have so many of them that I usually don’t even notice until I find a skeleton.”
“You are a woman with many hidden corners. I like your casual attitudes about death.”
Melantha paused. She set the timer on the microwave, and then paused again. Was she really so casual about death? Sure, she thought it was funny to lick the deceased while paying respects at a funeral, but that was more about her being a free spirit. She’d had sex with a corpse, but again . . . free spirit, and also kind of an accident. She’d see a fatal car crash and laugh a little, but . . . that was more like giggling than guffawing . . . and well, the popcorn was ready, so that was enough personal insight for the day.
“I’m a free spirit.”
“I could tell by your jewelry. Did you make it yourself?”
“Yes. I pick out the beads, and the order that I string them in tells a story about what beads were available at the craft store and how much money I had on that day. I call this one Clearance Bin on Payday. The big green bead has an Asian symbol for ‘Bird Rice Demon’ on it. I’m not sure what that means.”
“I wish that I could see it. I wish . . . that I could see your face, but it will be some time before my injuries are fully healed. The only thing that could speed my recovery is . . . blood? Sorry. That sounded like a question. It’s blood. I need that, but I can not drink your blood. When a vampire is this injured, he must drain every last drop of his victim. I would kill you. Some chocolate would be great too though, and if I could hold one of your cats, one or two.”
“I can get you the cats,” and I certainly have enough chocolate, Melantha accidentally thought to Bill Gates instead of herself. Fortunately, her misdirected thoughts rarely made it past the windows. “And, you know what, I think that I may have a way to get you all of the blood that you need.”
Salvador thought that was super funny. He laughed, and Melantha laughed along with him. They laughed for like five-minutes straight, which felt pretty good. Maybe she could make this relationship last after all.