Dietary Choices

When the van doors opened, I was blinded. Again.

“Damn floodlights,” the vampire muttered, suggesting his eyesight wasn’t any better than mine at the moment. For a second, just a second, I thought of jumping out and running away. Then hands grabbed my arms and dragged me from the van, removing that possibility.

“Later, Vince,” the woman, Clara, called.

“Later.” Though I knew he had hold of me, it I still jumped when I heard the vampire’s voice directly behind me. “Come on,” he added, to me.

I quickened my pace before he could shove me around any more than he already had. We passed through a door, taking my poor eyes out of range of the bright glare of the lights.  Glowing, blobby shapes drifted across my field of vision. My eyes adjusted faster than they had when I’d woken up, but I still nearly ran right into the next set of doors.

“You know, you can’t actually go through doors when they’re closed.” The vampire let go of me in order to open said doors. “Unless you’re a ghost.”

“Stop trying to be funny,” I grumbled. “It’s creepy.”

“I’m a vampire. It’s in the job description.” He pointed me down a hall with barred cells on both sides, all of which appeared to be empty.

Jail Cell Picture-p1
Illustration by Maggie Greyson

He pulled a ring of keys from a pocket, unlocked the nearest door, and held it open as if it were the door we’d gone through to enter the building.

“Oh no. I’m not doing a cell again.”

“Not really a choice. Either you go in, or I make you. And I’m lazy, so…” the vampire gestured at the open door.

I glared at him and walked through. Maybe I should’ve taken that martial arts class Tabitha had suggested last year.

He locked the door behind me. “I’ll be back in a moment with breakfast.” A few soft footsteps later and he was gone, leaving me alone again. It was both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I didn’t have to deal with a vampire in close proximity. On the other, the only thing I could think about was how to get out of this mess and back to my life. And there wasn’t exactly precedent for anyone returning from the dead side of town.

“Are you hungry?” the vampire asked, interrupting my pointless inner monologue when he appeared, entirely too suddenly to be natural. In one hand was a plastic cup filled with dark red liquid. In his other hand was a paper plate, and on it was…a brain. He shoved the plate through a gap in the bars that had probably been built for that exact purpose. “For you.”

I inched backward, eyeing the plate and its contents with disgust. “I’m not eating that.”

“That’s what they all say. But you don’t get to leave until you do, so eat up.” He took a sip from his cup. God, that was probably blood.

“No, I mean, I’m really not eating that.” The vampire didn’t seem impressed, so I went on. “I’m vegan.”

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