Do stay awhile and enjoy your read...comments are welcome, it is good to know what you like or don't like so I can keep working on my writing...

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Elvis and the ice-cream sundae

The wheels passing over the roughly joined paving stones gave a thrilling jolt, threatening a fall. Suzie realised roller skates were not the most sensible footwear for running away in. For hours she’d whizzed and wobbled up and down the front path waiting for her mum’s attention to slip away. Finally out onto the street the world ballooned before her, randomly she rolled left.
One hand clutched the Mr Bump duffle bag made by her Nan, the other waved around as if trying to point out twenty things at once. The skates had been a birthday present and over the last two weeks Suzie had tried to look as graceful as her best friend Judy, failing due to a complete lack of balance.
Suzie also received three crisp five-pound notes inside her birthday cards, one each from Aunties Mary, Doris and Anne. They lay folded inside her purse, the one shaped like a little sailor hat. This was her running away fund.
Three wobbly streets from home she stood opposite the Tea Turtle, a café famous locally for its ice cream sundae, four scoops topped with a whole glacé cherry, half a banana and lashings of raspberry sauce. Without hesitation she threw herself across the road, arms flung wide yelling, “Wheeeeee”. This abandon found a sudden halt as whirring wheels struck the kerb full force, flinging her towards the pavement, straight down like a dropped broom.
Inside the Tea Turtle he sat with his back to the door, half turning as it dinged cheerfully open, a pavlovian response, before returning his attention to the apple pie. Only the gasp of the waitress made him turn back around. In an instant he was off the stool and heading across the floor with the waitress close on his heels.
Suzie wavered on wheeled feet, knees and nose dripping blood onto the clean linoleum. No words came out but in her mind she was trying to ask for that sundae. Her chin bobbed up and down instead; nose screwed up with the effort of holding back tears.
He looked beyond the girl; eyes scanning the street outside then dragged them back to her startled bloodied face.
“You on your own?” sounded gruffer than intended. Suzie bobbed her head as a yes, making more blood spatter onto the floor. It reminded her of raspberry sauce and she wondered if she could ask for extra with her sundae.
“I’ll get some tissue,” said the waitress flashing the girl a quick smile. He scooped Suzie up and in two strides was back at the counter, plonking her on top of a high stool. She clanked her skates against the wooden legs, absently swinging her feet until she caught sight of his brow furrowing and stopped mid swing. In case she started up again he bent down saying, “I’m just going to take these off, don’t want you taking another tumble.” He didn’t see his own little girl very often, on the road with work all the time. Slightly out of his depth he fumbled over the laces and cursed quietly. A giggle bubbled up within her that wouldn’t go away so she let it loose, peeking to gauge his reaction through scrunched up eyes.
He tried to swallow the smile that crept up on him, saying, “Well little miss, looks like you’ll mend.” Once all the blood was wiped away Suzie looked a lot less damaged, she’d have some great scabs to pick at on her knees but the nose wasn’t broken. With a toothy grin she turned to the man, “My name’s Suzie, what’s yours?”
He hesitated before replying, “Elvis”, returning the toothsome smile. “Pleased to meet you miss, fancy an ice cream sundae?” The words made her eyes sparkle, expanding the grin towards her ears she declared, “Uh-huh”, nodding her head in time with each syllable.
“Don’t tease the man,” scolded the waitress. Suzie furrowed her own brow in confusion. She was so busy wondering how she’d said the wrong thing she forgot to ask for extra raspberry sauce.
Elvis watched her delve into the dish, spooning huge lumps of ice cream down her throat faster than it could melt. “Suzie, where’s your Mum?” She didn’t look any older than his girl who was seven and there was no way he’d let her wander the streets alone.
“I’ve run away” she said, thrusting out her chin, “I thought it was about time I tried”, she added matter-of-factly, returning her attention to the sundae. Elvis stifled a chuckle behind a cough. Ignoring her reply he said, “Your skates look shiny – are they new? I’ll bet they were a present.”
“Ooh yes, my Mum and Dad gave them to me for my birthday. I got lots of other things too; in my purse I have three five-pounds.” She waved the tiny sailors hat triumphantly.
“Well isn’t that wonderful, your family must love you a lot,” he said. Then as if the thought had only just occurred to him, “I suppose they’ll really miss you now you’ve left home.”
Suzie sank her eyes low. She hadn’t considered that, lost in dreams of adventure. The spoon hovered before her mouth as she struggled to find an answer. Ice cream puddled in her dish, finally she said, “I miss my Mum.”
The waitress shook her head, tutting quietly as she fussed with a cleaning cloth pretending not to listen.
Elvis reached out a hand, and stroked Suzie’s cheek. His fingertips felt rough not at all like her mums, more like Samson her cat’s tongue. She missed Samson too.
“You’ve had a rough day with that fall, why don’t I take you home and you can try running away another time?”
A great sigh escaped Suzie as relief hit her belly. “Can we go now? My Mum might be worried.”
Elvis took a deep breath before pushing the doorbell holding firmly to Suzie’s hand. He gave her a little squeeze of reassurance. Her mum threw open the door, face taut, braced for the worst, eyes wide with worry that widened further at the unexpected sight in front of her. Before she could speak, Suzie launched into her adventures, “Mum I fell over on my skates and Elvis bought me an ice cream sundae.”
“I’m sure he did sweetie,” interrupted her Mum, “but who is this nice man that brought you home?” casting an apologetic glance at the stranger on her doorstep.
Elvis blushed, “Err, I’m Elvis. I know. Can’t sing for toffee unlike the other one.”
Suzie’s Mum felt her face redden. “I’m so sorry. Thanks for bringing her home.” She turned to glare at Suzie, “And you, little madam, where have you been?” Suzie looked at Elvis for help, realising she was in big trouble. With a little shake of his hips Elvis said, “She’s all shook up. Got lost practising on those skates and took a nasty tumble.”
Suzie’s mum felt a grin loosen her face up. “Don’t think twice, it’s all right.” A huge guffaw escaped as she pulled Suzie in for a hug, over her shoulder she said, “Sorry, I am huge fan! I thought it was why she concocted the Elvis story. “Please come in, have a drink.” Unable to resist the temptation, with a wink she turned and headed indoors, shouting, “Justin, she’s back! Fetch some beers…we’ve got Elvis visiting…”

Friday, 25 March 2011

The seaside widow

For a while I had a job which involved taking photos of OAP's and I often wondered about the lives they might lead...this is a short story about just that.
The toes flop out from beneath the heavy feather duvet, feeling for the floor like a pair of newborn blind things, uncertain and wary of the world. They point down, dipping into the air slowly, as if into the chilly waters of the channel, which rock and heave just a short walk away. Nails flaked and yellowed beneath a clumsily applied layer of frosted pearl nail varnish lead the way to moccasins, the leather shiny with use. A watery light filters through the pattern of the curtains, providing enough illumination to avoid turning on the bedside lamp. Bunions slip out of sight and it is only then that the rest of the body emerges, slowly, with creaks and complaints, dismayed to be doing it all again. Evelyn Wainright and her body have fallen out these last few years; they don’t see eye to eye.
She perches on the edge of the bed, finally upright, pausing at the shock of gravity. This is always the hardest part, the morning. At least she has stopped feeling the empty space next to her, willing the worn, warm body of her Albert to be there. She’s grateful that time has been kind, erasing the memory of his cold lips as she kissed them goodbye, before they sealed the oak casket. It wouldn’t have been decent to bury him in anything cheap, Albert had standards, and even in death she felt obliged to honour them. No, it wasn’t that last kiss that she sighed over. Instead she allowed her mind to drift backwards, to Morecambe Bay; those fledgling days as husband and wife. Such magical words, transforming them from lovesick teenagers to a unit of two. Fingers intertwined they had strolled beside the waves, thrilling in the novelty of each other. And for them the feeling lasted, even when novelty slipped into familiarity. Windswept and sea salty Morecambe Bay was the reason they came here in the end; looking to find that same happiness for their twilight years. Albert had always loved the sea. Janet laughed when she’d told her where they were going at his retirement party, “Mum, Brighton is full of students and crazy hippies, what’s wrong with Devon or Cornwall? There’ll be loads more people your age there.” Evelyn had wanted to slap her daughter then, instead she said, “Your father and I want to stay active.” As if that explained everything. Truth be told she hadn’t fancied Brighton much herself, it had all been Albert’s idea. But now she wouldn’t be anywhere else in the country. Her twice yearly visits up to Bristol were a trial, missing the shush of the waves and the unique buzz of the seaside town. Janet had begged her to move up there after Albert passed away but she’d said no. What she hadn’t told her was that she needed to be in a place that had so many visitors. She needed fresh faces and new smiles. She needed her audience to change daily; because her stories changed with every sunrise and in a place where everyone knew you after a time she would be caught out. Now it had to be Brighton, because her stories were what she looked forward to each day.
“Well, I can’t sit here all morning”, she says to the empty room, half hoping for an answer. Silence snuffles around the slippered feet, gently she kicks it away. With a soft plop she’s standing and the day truly begins. These moments before she leaves the bedroom behind are savoured. This is her dressing room. Brighton is her stage. She is getting ready for her performance, using the solitude to find that space insider her head where confidence lives, confidence to get out there and pretend. For a good five minutes Evelyn stands stretching her arms high into the air. Up and down. Up and down. Because today is special she bends low, aiming fingertips at the feet, getting as far as her knees before the tendons rebel, still she holds the stretch there breathing deeply. With a “humph” she’s back upright and heading to the mirror. For a woman of seventy two she can, and frequently does get away with being ten years younger. The hair dye helps. They say that as you age you should go lighter but that is nonsense, Evelyn knows the auburn shade she favours is the key to her success. It brings out the hazel of her eyes, flecked with tiny spots of amber. Tiger eyes, Albert called them. Playfully she pulls at the skin either side, instant face lift, eyes open wide to catch the light, what there is of it. “I’m a tardy one this morning” she says, pulling the dressing gown off the back of the chair, wrapping it tightly round her body. It wouldn’t be right to open the curtains in her nightdress alone. Even though it is a second floor flat, standards must be maintained. With a flourish she pulls back the patterned fabric, and daylight floods the room. No dust dares settle; instead it floats in motes on the air, dancing away from surfaces cleaned daily. She swishes her hand through a beam of light and watches the motes scatter and weave, admiring their agility and pining for her own. “Still, not bad for my seventh decade, eh Evelyn?” she tells herself before heading to the bathroom for the first of twice daily ablutions. The cleansing ritual has five steps, ending with a generous amount of anti wrinkle cream. Albert had always admired her skin, even now in her dreams he would visit and whisper in her ear, “Evie my love, you’re as soft and scrumptious as ice-cream.” Often she would wake up giggling with a blush creeping over her cheeks. Today had not been one of those mornings, which was a pity. The encouragement would have been nice.
The air follows her out of the bathroom, scented, as she is, with vanilla and roses. The smell is old and young all at the same time, like apples on an ancient tree.  Now the hands go to work, the nails painted the same frosted peach, but neater than on the feet. Next the face is hidden behind a mask of gunk and goo as Albert called it. He liked her best without the make-up. “Gunk and goo, where are you?” she sings quietly as she hunts for the essential ingredients to turn her into a Russian matriarch, a Brazilian ex-pat and a Bulgarian lace maker, all of which she will be today. When she goes out on her story telling expeditions she’s always careful about the look. It has to be plausible for each person and the life they’ve lived; there is purpose to the charade and no room for public humiliation.  Especially not today; today is her wedding anniversary and in honour of Albert the Bulgarian lace maker will be crafting a veil for a society wedding; something timeless and classy just like he was.
On the coffee table in the living room sits a pile of travel guides and history books, biographies, anything that will help her get the details right, she doesn’t simply make it all up, that would be foolish. Her wide choice of subject matter confounds the librarians, “Mrs Wainright, you do have broad reading tastes”, they say every visit. Whether it is a compliment or a question she can never tell, but she always gives the same response coupled with a smile, “Thank you, it keeps me occupied since my dear Albert passed away.”

Friday, 18 March 2011

The green, green grass of home

The green, green grass of home is one of my weekly flash fiction stories. This week I'm dedicating it to my friend Mr D in celebration of his 40th.

Smoke fills the air, thick and choking but there isn’t a cough to be heard, only concentrated silence. All eyes focus on the table. Jason thinks it looks like grass, smooth as the lawns back home where he and Tara used to run when running was all that mattered. There is no room to run here; there is just the green of this table and the game. He grips the cards in his hand tighter. Ned eyes up the baize, all natty and picked, it is old this table, the green faded in places and speckled with tiny burns where someone’s cigarette has slipped. How many games, he wonders, have been played out across this table top? Too many; too many lives held in the balance of a deck of cards. A small sigh seeps out, a slow puncture, discreet but ultimately destructive. Henry saw the green and thought of the old pound notes. He misses them, always felt like you had more in your pocket when it was stuffed with notes. These silly coins rattle and jangle around like small change; you could have twenty quid in there and not know it. There is a damn sight more than twenty up for grabs tonight, thank god. The notes sit there in a pile, a mini Everest of riches just waiting for the right person. Henry needs that mountain, or rather Lizzie needs it and he needs Lizzie which really amounts to the same thing. His bum shifts in the chair inching that bit closer to the prize.
            All three men are pitting themselves against fifty two pieces of card with little more than a will to win. To lose means to lose the lot. Not just the cash but hope, a future and in Jason’s case his life. Maybe he was foolish to borrow like that. Everyone knows that Mr Ed is not to be messed with but Jason figured he’ll win big, pay him off and head home before anything else hits the fan. He hadn’t banked on the cards refusing to cooperate. His eyes flick down, just for a second; this wasn’t a tell or anything, just checking the numbers. A small smile edges round his lips which he hopes gives the signal that all is good; in fact all is not good and he might just laugh and never stop if he lets that smile get any bigger. He has nothing in his hand, sweating fingers grip numbers that do not add up. Not even a pair. This is the last game; there is nothing left to put down. Every player has put their entire stake into the pot and it comes down to these three with nothing more to gamble and everything to lose. Jason chews the tip of his tongue, a secret gesture of despair while his eyes soak up the table top and wish for home.  
            Henry lights another cigarette off the butt of the last. His cards lay before him, coy faces hidden like expert strippers just waiting for the moment of the big reveal. A fug of smoke bellows out from his soggy lips, joining the cloud above, a ghostly spectator with no interest in the game. He blows out another long plume, enjoying its dance and whirl into space, Henry remembers when he could move like that, lighter than air and twice as shifty. His old bones are not what they used to be but he still has a few moves left.
            “Beer?” Ned asks only because he has drained his and another is essential. Like Henry his cards are face down. Ned is afraid to look at them; his eyes bounce around the table and refuse to settle on the red and white backs of the five playing cards. Weren’t little Ned’s socks red and white stripes today? Ned blinks away the thought of little Ned’s face if he tells him they have to move house again. He waves to the hostess who ambles over and plonks three beers down by the men’s elbows, a little amber liquid slopping onto the baize turning the green moist and dark. Apart from the dealer there are no other people in the room; this isn’t the sort of place you linger once luck has deserted you.
Condensation gathers on the sides of the glasses, slipping and sliding down in trickles; sweat does the same on Ned’s forehead. Slowly, as if the speed with which he moves will determine the outcome he turns the cards over one by one. Thumb and forefinger grasp the bottom right corner each time, lifting it gingerly as if the card is harbouring a deadly spider. And flip, the card is turned. There is no need to mask his reaction; this is for all to see. Henry almost drools as each card shows its face, two down and three to go. Ned pauses, guzzles down the beer fast and deep. It cools the back of his tight throat and without asking the hostess comes over with three more. Jason downs his in a fat greedy gulp making his throat husky with the sheer volume tumbling down into his blood stream.
“Whisky please or bourbon if you have it.” It doesn’t matter anymore, he kicks back in his chair, limbs loose in defeat. Those two cards are a pair there in front of Ned. The ratty green table will be the last green he sees; Mr Ed owns this place he won’t be getting out the door, never mind back home. He sets free a careering wild horse of a laugh, loud and careless, liberated by the total lack of options available.
“Turn them.” Henry urges. He glances at Jason and offers a short nod, condolence condensed into a gesture; any one of them could be in his shoes. Ned leans back for a second, balancing the chair on two wobbly legs, weighing up the situation. Then he turns the third card. Three of a kind. An inexperienced player might get excited but Ned knows fortune does not smile until she’s damn ready and only when every card is face up from every player will the game be over. Quickly, he flips the remaining cards. Nothing. Three of a kind is as good as it gets. His gaze swivels in Henry’s direction but Henry is already on his feet and heading out the door, his cards upturned and discarded.


Friday, 11 March 2011

Peek-a-boo People

 Three people sat on a sofa; they looked ordinary, one with dirty blonde hair to a jutting chin, wearing jeans and beat up converse; she was Jenna and she was in charge. Next to her sat the brains of the unit; Billy knew all there was about computers and some more on top; he was geek through and through, down to the adidas vintage blue flash on his feet. Billy understood that it was the geeks who would inherit the earth and smiled his gap toothed smile at Melanie. Ah sweet Melanie with her dark bob, all neat and compact like a fold up version of a human, a factory model someone, a careless cleaner perhaps,  let loose on the streets. Beneath that perfectly plain exterior lay a mind like a bomb. Melanie brought energy to their little gang; surplus energy that leaked out of her fingers, tap-tapping their way through this planning meeting. Yet another planning meeting; what was up with all these meetings? What about some action? Yet she sat and tapped and smiled vaguely back at Billy, wondering if she would sleep with him or not. Perhaps it would help him get over her; or maybe she’d fall for him. It happened. One minute you’re having casual fun and the next, bam, without them you’re a wreck. If she thought about it too much it became alarming. Best not to think; just do.
            If you saw them you would think, students for sure; they all wore that slightly impoverished bish-bash style which involved no real style at all. It was anti-style, retro-style, ironic-style; ultimately anonymous, it blended. And they wanted to blend. To stand out from the crowd was to invite curiosity and they all knew the tale of curiosity and the pussycat. These three wore their individuality on the inside, where it counted. These three had a plan. It was Jenna’s plan really but she knew that without Billy and Melanie there would be no plan at all. Need was too strong a word she felt; glancing sharply at them both. A better word for it was valued. Yes, she valued what they could bring; their talents, gifts if you will. Both had been gifted with traits that afforded them a certain perspective on life; it was random luck when you thought about it. Which Jenna did, often. She liked to think things through. There’s nothing wrong with being thorough is there? Her attention to detail is what has brought them this far. This is what both these two beside her come down to; details pure and simple, components. Without them her plan cannot function. Soon it will all come down to Melanie and this makes her nervous. She can’t figure her out. Billy is infatuated; he thinks he’s hiding it behind those NHS specs of his but Jenna is a woman above all else and her feminine instinct is never wrong. Melanie seems not to notice, or at least not to care; Jenna would care if someone loved her like that.
            “I’ve been into their database and we’re all set. I’ve reloaded the code through the back door and when you go in it will all be there waiting. You simply ask and walk out with it.” Billy bit his lip to stop more info spilling out. These girls didn’t want the tech-specifics. He made it sound so easy, reloading code, huh, seventy-five hours of programming went into that last week alone and a hundred the week before. Billy was earning his share and more. It wasn’t the pay off though, that was only money. Billy’s heart quickened at the thought of another programmer, someone in-house, discovering his backdoor Trojan and how they couldn’t fail to admire the flourishes in his work. By the glaze skimming across Melanie’s eyes he knew there would be no appreciation of his efforts from her. Instead of feeling annoyed his gaze softened in her direction; the buzz and hum of suppressed motion all around her like a halo. She would play her part beautifully he was sure; as Jenna had played hers. Billy beamed at Jenna, wanting her to know that he was glad to do his bit; that her plan was worth his time. Jenna frowned.
            Melanie bounced gently in her seat, ready to propel her self forwards at any moment. “Right then, so, one hour, yeah? I’ll go in and do the do and meet you all back here.” She twiddled a poker piece of hair around a finger, red varnish glowing at the tip. It gleamed like a cigarette butt in the dark and Billy wanted to inhale her. Instead he nodded and held back the words good luck, which seemed unlucky to say out loud. Jenna curled her toes up, scrunching them into the floor secretly, while her face remained a calm mask.
“Yep, one hour. Any longer and we’ll be at the depot as planned.” This was the fall back, should it all go wrong. They would be safe there; Jenna needed a plan B. After Melanie left Billy and Jenna sat and looked at each other or the clock. In one hour they could do anything; go anywhere, be anyone. Sixty minutes is a long time when you count it out second by second. They could not stop the relentless flick of their eyes in the clocks’ direction. The TV was just noise, conversation was impossible and tea sat cooling in untouched mugs. The tick and tock towards all or nothing absorbed every corner of their consciousness.
            The door bounced open after fifty-eight minutes; Melanie threw down the satchels knocking the tea mugs off the table. Jenna didn’t even tut; it was done. Two years of careful planning came down to this moment; two bags on a table holding all their futures in clean, useable notes crisp and perfect. Melanie danced round the table throwing Billy a wink. She’d made up her mind; she would sleep with him tonight. It was her thank you, just as he’d said all she’d done is ask and it had been there.
            Perhaps it was the wink, Jenna wasn’t sure; she’d planned on sharing it, but maybe not. Why bring the gun otherwise? Billy and Melanie looked at the steely snub nose pointed in their direction and laughed; Jenna took up both satchels and left without a word. Melanie stood still for once; Billy gap toothed took in her beautiful simplicity with an open smile. She nodded and headed for the bedroom. The bam had happened.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Sleepless Nights

It was a velvet sky, smooth-black and sexy. No clouds spoilt the effect yet no stars peeked through; she tilted her head way back but not one winked out. She was alone which is exactly what she wanted. The old swing seat rusty at the hinges creaked and squeaked companionably as it rocked back and forth, back and forth. The tired fabric of gaudy flowers smelt of mildew and stale rain. Nadia inhaled and wished for rain; such a comforting smell, took her back to summers at nana’s house when the sun shone bright on long summer days and rain was just another plaything. The surrounding fields were so fresh after a shower like god had washed his creation. She laughed at this notion; as if there was such a thing as god.
Only the light from inside illuminated the garden. They were inside and she did not want to be there with them. Her eyes scanned the shadowy darkness with no fear. There was nothing to be afraid of out here; she owned every inch of it. Nadia let her mind stretch out to the darkest corners where her eyes could not reach, parading the borders of her territory. She sniffed the night air, lavender and something else; something fleshier hit her flared nostrils, gently like a nose bump from a puppy. A deep breath in sucked up the scent, savoured it at the back of her throat, she rolled it there like cigar smoke before exhaling long and luxurious. Ah, tonight she might indulge a little, let loose her inner demon; it was her birthday after all. That is why they were all here, to celebrate. Celebrate what precisely? That they believed they were edging closer to their inheritance. Another year to the tally was nothing more than a hindrance; no cause for a party in their eyes. Such a long tally it was too. A smile, small and twisted crawled across her face as she thought of them in there, mingling, chatting, and faking it all to remain in with a chance. They made her flesh creep these bloodsucking relatives of hers.
“How long, how long can this go on”, she whispered into the silence, enjoying the sound of her voice in the night air. It was a soft voice, not gentle but subtle with power. It was a power of sorts she possessed; wealth certainly but there was something more to Nadia than a bank balance, it was the part of herself she both loved and despised.
A small rustle caught her ear, Nadia turned sharply towards the sound. He emerged from the side of the veranda, brushing against the bushes that softened the shift from house to garden. His jacket was shabby but serviceable, his face bright in the darkness, the song whiter shade of pale skimmed across her mind as she took him in, all six foot four of him. Tim wore his limbs loosely; they flowed like ribbons from the solid core of his chest. This combination of lax movement and firmness presented an oddly reassuring figure. He made no effort to speak; just smiled a slow rolled out smile, sat down beside her and rocked them both gently in the tarnished old swing. Nadia loved Tim. He was the one. Of all her relatives he understood. Perhaps it was because he never asked her for anything; oh it wasn’t pride. Nadia was not a fool. He asked for nothing because he wanted nothing; needed nothing. He was as free from desire as she was saturated with it; not for him, no. She wasn’t perverse. Nadia craved life, blood pumping, sweat soaked, and imperfect life. No matter the years that ached out behind her; what counted was the swell and heave of the years ahead. She wanted more than she could have. Tim knew it; he understood that the night was not always for watching but sometimes hung heavy with longing and regret.
With no real movement involved his hand found hers and softly squeezed. “Happy Birthday Nadia.” Nothing else was said, she simply squeezed back and they both sat immersed in the night. Laughter from inside trailed out, high pitched, grating on the ear like a fork scratching over a plate. Crickets hummed in the grass trying their best to erase the intrusion from those inside.
“They’re waiting for you”, he said. The words seemed to float from him easily, moths on the night air. His wide smile did not hide judgement but rather invited it of the crowd inside. Tim had no time for his family, its mean streak and greed. To live was enough for him; and what a life this family had been granted; at a price admittedly but still, what a life.
“I don’t want to go in yet. I want to give you something first.” Nadia’s eyes were bright in the dark, sparkling with decision and delight. A playful smile skipped over her lips as they parted, she leant forward and went straight for the jugular. When Tim was almost drained and she knew his innermost secrets; she could be sure her decision was correct. He was the one. All the while Tim accepted his fate with no fight, his head tilted a little to ease her passage to his neck. He had done this to others so many times before; it was intriguing to be on the receiving end again, eyes closed to enjoy the pure sensation. This was first part, for some it meant the end but Tim knew that tonight would bring the second part; the change. Only when there was barely a flicker left in him did she tear at her own wrist and pour her gift down his throat.
            He gulped, slurped and gripped with iron jaws despite himself; this was Nadia he reprimanded, be tender. When she eventually pulled away, eyes still bright in a pale face, he felt a loss, sudden and severe. As her blood mingled with what was left of his Tim understood Nadia from all angles, her power became his power. This was the true inheritance; what they all wanted inside. The rest was trinkets and junk in comparison. Now the family could stop jockeying for position; the successor was crowned.
“Come”, she said, “Let's go make a toast. Shall we share our news with them? For the first time in three hundred years I will see sunrise.” The night sighed its satisfaction; a soft warm wind behind them as they entered the patio door arm in arm.