It borrowed my phone while I slept and took a selfie.
“It” started visiting my farmhouse five years ago, not long after I retired from teaching college and relocated to Kent, Vermont. My cats would become more skittish than usual right before the appearance of bright lights, and I’d smell an odd metallic odor in the night air when I dared to peek outside my front door. As with previous visitations, I would lose about six hours of time between the metallic smell and waking up on my living room couch as the sun came up.
This was the first time “It” left evidence of a visitation, however. The selfie itself was oddly familiar:
”It” had my facial features, save for the huge black eyes that seemed to be reflecting stars and the absence of a nose bridge. Studying the face and grayish brown skin, I realized that “It” was more than just familar, and the visits had not been just a part of my new life in Vermont. Indeed, “It” was a manifestation of an earlier series of visits from nearly 30 years ago when I last lived in New England in yet another rural small town.
As tears began to run down my cheeks, I clasped my phone and whispered “I love you,” to my daughter’s image.
My cell phone alarm wakes me up at sunset, my morning call to stretch my legs and step out of my walk in closet where I sleep post-conversion to vampire. And no, I don’t sleep in a coffin–I hate tight spaces as it is, much less a box fit for a dead body. I’m vampire, so that makes me alive and itchy near the sun, not dead. When I get my next to the next paycheck I will spend a few dollars on some tinted windows for my bedroom and bathroom so I can start sleeping in my bed again instead of that sleeping bag in my closet. For now, I endure the closet and try not to go into panic mode.
My first meal of the night isn’t really that different from most people who need a pickup before work: hot coffee. My stomach takes most liquids, including liquor, but since conversion to vampire I prefer beans soaked and roasted in blood, as well as a blend of Type A+ after pouring the hot brew into my favorite cup. By the time I’ve finished my coffee, I’ve read my work emails, watched evening rush hour news, and texted my boss.
Not much difference from anyone else, save for the faint impression of blood left on the table that never seems to disappear even after scrubbing the surface. Might need to buy another table before inviting humans over for brunch.
That was the rumor running around town when it came to her. Crazy as cat shit, said no one to her face, but the label stuck to her whenever she showed up to the farmers market to buy eggs and string beans. She lived in a brick house on the corner of Greene and Woodland streets near the edge of Vidalia Township. No one visited that house, save for postal services who would drop off boxes once a month to her porch steps. Her cats (hence the crazy as cat shit label) strolled around her fenceless yard, a dreary patch of dirt with a strange twist of trees covered in blue and green bottles. They never centered past her property and seemed to pose like sentries around her house in silence. No one knew her true age, or how she managed to buy groceries, much less the packages that came from Amazon, or even less the taxes on her property that surely increased as would be expected of a town now popular with gentrified families seeking small town goodness near a bigger city. She had no children or husband to speak of, no family or friends who would defend her reputation, so the label stuck.
And of course another name usually came in a harsh whisper:
So said the neighborhood a bit louder and with more urgency when the newly arrived widower moved down the street on Greene and began to introduce himself to the locals. A quiet but friendly man of advanced years, he was newly retired from the Army after decades of working as a physician in the Army Hospital in Germany. He had no children, and after burying his wife he settled for a small, neat house with a comfortable pension and sizable library to keep himself busy. His rose garden was a pleasant distraction from the swirling gossip that landed near his door with the first neighbor welcome.
The warm welcoming came with a warning to avoid the crazy witch that lived on the corner. He thought otherwise.
As he sauntered up her driveway holding a dozen freshly cut roses, she took note of the familar gait of his walk as he moved towards the front porch. She stepped outside her door and gazed on the man meeting her eyes with recognition and warmth. She removed her shawl and draped it across the left arm while her right arm extended to the roses he clutched. He nodded as he clasped her bird like hand.
Ever feel like you’ve slept a bit too long, like you’ve been missing out on what’s going on around you because you’ve overslept and you missed a meeting? or you missed a party or two because you snoozed past the hour you thought you would take before driving over to your friend’s house? Ever feel like you were missing a day or two, or even a year? Did you think you were a year older than you were, or a year younger, only to discover you were telling everyone the wrong age by accident?
Do you find yourself awake and driving around while everyone else is asleep, possibly losing work hours due to exhaustion from lack of sleep?
Do you wonder why you keep seeing the moon larger than normal, almost like a supermoon?
Do you find yourself trying to forget the object you saw that could not have been a plane or a helicopter–that thing that followed you as you raced towards the city?
Do you wonder why you keep seeing scratches in odd places on your flesh, or sore spots without scars or redness–just a slight tenderness?
Did you fear the sight of lightbulbs or bathroom tile as a child? Do you still take pause at the reflection of tile as you sit in your tub at night?
Are you finding yourself dreading the next late night drive on the turnpike surrounded by forests that remind you of a moment when you first noticed lost minutes or hours?