I chose the picture of my apartment in grad school for this week’s writing prompt. The usual twenty-minute sprint plus some copy editing. I hope you enjoy.
Kelly started awake, sitting up in her bed, heart pounding. She looked around, wondering what had woken her up. She jumped again when someone pounded on her apartment door.
Grabbing her robe from the chair beside the bed, she slid out from under the covers and pulled it on, shivering as she crossed the room in her bare feet. It was winter and her electric baseboards just couldn’t keep up with how cold it got here.
She crept to the door, managing not to jump when someone pounded on it again.
She paused beside it, not sure if she should push the curtain aside to look out or just ignore them.
The pounding came again, a little quieter this time.
“Come on,” she heard a muffled voice say. “You have to be home.”
Kelly reached up and pushed the curtain aside a little, keeping herself a bit back and to the side so she wouldn’t be clearly visible from outside.
There was just enough light from the streetlight at the corner for her to make out Mark’s features. She hadn’t seen him in six months. Not since she moved out of the house she’d shared with him, his sister, and their cousin. She flipped on the light and reached to unlock the door.
“What the hell?” Kelly asked as she opened the door.
Mark had one hand braced on the doorframe and the other was raised like he was going to bang on the door again.
“You’ve got to let me in and close the door,” Mark said quickly, glancing over his shoulder. “I promise I’ll explain.”
“Come in,” Kelly said, stepping back. She watched behind Mark too. He wasn’t the nervous type.
“Thank you,” Mark said, hurrying past her.
She closed the door, flipping the bolt out of habit. “So what’s going on?” Kelly asked, glancing at her microwave. “It’s three in the morning.”
“I think Melody’s dead, and Veronica tried to kill me.”
“What?” Kelly said, taking a step back and bumping into the door.
“I don’t know for sure about Melody,” Mark said quickly. “She could have gone home to see our parents, but her room was a mess and there was all this sticky stuff splattered everywhere and I think it might have been blood.”
“Did you call the police?” Kelly asked. When you couldn’t find your sibling and though there was blood in their room, you called the police.
“No, I ran,” Mark said. “I got home late and I just poked my head in to see if she was there, and I didn’t even have time to decide what I though the sticky stuff was before Veronica showed up. She was crazy. She kept trying to grab me and she was talking nonsense, so I ran back out to my car. She ran after the damned car. I’ve never seen her run when she wasn’t being chased.”
“Okay, slow down,” Kelly said, taking a deep breath. “You need to explain everything in order and you need to include all the details. Why don’t you sit down?” Kelly pulled the chair over from her table, putting it facing her desk and then sat in her desk chair.
Mark sat down, taking a few deep breaths. He was still in his work clothes, black slacks and a polo with the restaurant logo on the breast.
“Start at the beginning, and go slowly,” Kelly urged him. Then she sat back and listened.
Mark told her about getting out late because of a huge party in the private room. He hadn’t even turned on the lights coming through the house, but he’s gone to check on his sister. She was usually still up at two in the morning. He’d noticed how much of a wreck her room was and turned on the light. It looked like someone had torn through the place looking for something and maybe had a brawl while they were at it. And there were drops and splatters of something dark reddish brown that were tacky when he touched one.
That’s when Veronica had shown up. She’d yelled at him for being in Melody’s room. He’d said Melody didn’t mind, and asked what happened. Veronica wouldn’t answer any of his questions. She kept saying that Melody had stolen from her and Veronica hadn’t meant to do anything, just get it back, but then Melody opened it and she tried to grab it and it was everywhere now. Mark had tried to back away but Veronica grabbed him, her grip tight on his wrist. He held it up to show her the red mark that said he’d have a bruise by morning.
“And her eyes seemed to glow in the dark,” Mark said. “I was freaked out, so I ran.”
Kelly sighed. “Mark, I think I know what happened, or at least part of it.”
“What?” Mark asked, looking so eager for an answer.
“Veronica got infected, and they gave her a supply of blood in case the craving hit when she was home. It’s pretty typical. My guess is Melody took her supply. I have no idea why. The blood you saw all over the room was from the supply that Melody opened and Veronica fought to get back.”
“Infected? You think Veronica’s a vampire?” Mark asked, his eyes getting really big.
“It would explain how she could hold you so tight it’s going to bruise, and her chasing after you.”
“Am I safe here? Have I put you in danger?”
“Vampires are only dangerous if they aren’t getting proper meals,” Kelly explained. “I’m majoring is Preternatural Biology, remember?”
“But what about Melody?” Mark asked.
“Did you call her yet?” Kelly asked.
“Shit, I was too freaked to even think to,” he said, pulling out his phone.
Kelly sighed. This was probably some weird family dispute or Melody freaking out about Veronica getting infected. Hopefully she would answer and then Mark could go home and Kelly could get back to sleep.