************** CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE ****************
It was finally the weekend but Amelia Roe-Silka, was feeling disappointed and even a bit saddened. On one hand, she had some time off from her parent’s cafe - business had been quieter than usual for this time of year. On the other hand, it had been more than a week since she had seen Oscar in the cafe. Amelia had been very friendly, dropped as many hints as possible, and then given him her phone number. More than a week and nothing – no phone call and no reappearance of the tasty-looking blonde teenager who was so nervous it was cute. With most of her time is spent either in school or working in the cafe, it left little time for friends (or boyfriends). Most of the customers tended to be older than fifty or fat (or both) and the time Oscar had walked in, he looked like the embodiment of everything she wanted.
She had spent most of the day lazing around the home by herself just catching up with nothing important, just lots of stupid small things that sneak up on you. In reality, a stack of homework was waiting in her school backpack but other things on her mind took priority – Oscar. He seemed interested in her, making excuses to make small talk, and kept ordering more food to stay longer. Amelia felt that maybe she had scared him off, maybe she had come on a bit too strong. It was stupid but part of her even wanted to go to work, just on the off chance he came back to the cafe looking for her. Maybe Oscar was too shy to call her?
“Next time, ask for his number as well” she ordered herself to do so.
Her thoughts were interrupted when there was a noise from above, a dripping noise – there was water coming in from the roof.
“Maybe best he doesn’t call here. This place is a dump.”
Amelia exhaled noisily wondering if this would be her life. Work, eat, sleep and repeat. Growing older while waiting for Oscar or the “next Oscar” to come through the cafe door hoping that next time he would become more than a customer.
In another place, just a handful of miles away, in an unremarkable top-floor flat where Oscar and Eli were living – a smell of smoldering flesh was beginning to fill the air. A week had passed since the change from what he was to what he is now and Oscar was experimenting. He had spent the last half hour putting his hand in the sunlight through the window and trying to beat the urge to pull it back. The moment his flesh entered the light, it would burn and blister – automatically withdrawing itself into the safety of the shadows against Oscar's wishes. It was a strange feeling, he knew it was just sunlight but part of him screamed: “stay out of the light” almost as if he was putting his hand into the fire and that is exactly what it felt like.
Eli had instructed him to stay at home for a while, explaining that he needed time to adapt and get used to the new thing inside him.
“Your mind and body are a bit disconnected from each other. This still feels like a dream doesn’t it?” she had asked him.
It was true but Oscar...or Oz which he thought sounded cooler and more suited to his new nature felt fine.
“Really? Is that why you’re playing with the sun?”
Eli was stood some distance away to ensure that there was zero chance that she would get caught by that thing.
“Just working out what I can and cannot do” he had explained, but Eli didn’t accept that as an answer.
“There is no need. You will just – know. You will know what is dangerous before you do it. You don’t need to test it”
Oscar knew that she was correct. He seemed to have inherited some sort of automatic ability that was whispering instructions silently to him.
“Stay out of the sun. Get blood. No sunlight. Wait for the night. Get blood.”
After the first few nights, he had begun to get annoyed at this silent voice within him. Oz would get blood when HE wanted and go out when HE wanted not when the thing inside of him wanted. Eli was right (to an extent) that he still felt like Oscar but things were different – he was no longer just Oscar but more – there was more inside of him now. He guessed that Eli had been human for twelfth years but “this” for so much longer – because of that maybe she didn’t really remember what it was like before. That was understandable.
What had surprised Eli was that he had taken to this so readily and with so little difficulty. Both Oscar’s mind and body just let it happen and when the moment came offered no resistance.
“You’ve coped with it well,” she told him feeling proud and giving him a small hug.
Oscar shrugged and smiled. He had held back and hidden a few things from her. What he had felt like and what he had thought about things. The first few days were unpleasant; his body was determined to get rid of everything inside him that was no longer needed. All bodily fluids seemed in a hurry to exit from his front, his rear, and in the case of his stomach acid – out through his mouth. Vomiting for some twenty hours an acidic mixture of his stomach and bile was unpleasant. He was thankful that Eli had been tired and spent more time than usual resting in the bathtub. Part of him thought that maybe she knew this would happen and that it would be easier for him if she was out the way.
Oscar was leaking from places he didn’t think it was possible to leak from and fluids that he didn’t know he had. Everything went into a bucket and was thrown out the window to the ground below - things were too thick to simply be washed down the sink. If anyone had come across the wet, lumpy and smelly heap they would either think someone had died or a cat had been turned inside out.
One thing he wished had stayed inside of him but it did not. The expulsions meant a question that he had not asked had been answered – vampires cannot have children. He felt thankful that Eli had helped him experience it before he changed. At least he felt what it was like; at least he had experienced it – as he didn’t know if he would again.
The following night he could not sleep, he could not settle. His bed did not feel right, it was uncomfortable and too soft. Oscar almost felt like he was trying to sleep in the middle of a busy public place completely exposed with everyone walking past looking at him. No combination of duvets and blankets could resolve this so Oscar went into the kitchen and opened the fridge.
It was still filled with food. Some of it from his attempt to eat and live more healthily – those efforts now seemed rather fruitless. All of it was quickly bagged up and also thrown out the window to the ground. For some reason watching the bag explode violently was fun. It was like an organic nuclear explosion with orange juice almost making a mushroom-like cloud. He was almost tempted to open a chocolate bar and try it – just in case he was different from Eli – but the thing inside him was repulsed at the suggestion. When the fridge was emptied, he climbed inside and closed the door. The confined space and lack of stimulus were much more pleasant and he tried to rest and tried to sleep.
Eli had warned him about one thing.
“Do not eat yourself. When you’re hungry let me know. Trying to drink your own blood will only make you want blood more.”
Initially, he thought that she was joking and did not really understand. That had started to change. He could smell one thing in the fridge, the tiny suggestion of blood from the wound on his chest. It would have been so easy to stick his fingers inside and scoop some out but he managed to resist.
Time passed but it felt like minutes rather than hours and before Oscar knew it – Eli had opened the fridge door and was looking down at him in a lovely amused way.
“I thought you would join me in the bathroom, but I suppose sleeping in the fridge works as well.”
He felt disorientated, he felt like he was having a dream but the kitchen was nearly pitch black. Yet his eyes seemed to penetrate through the dullness and fix on to Eli, seeing her as if she was stood in some sort of light that only he could see.
“I... didn’t want to disturb you,” he spoke climbing out feeling a bit sore.
“You will learn to sleep. You just have to let yourself sink into it.”
Oscar agreed but he didn’t really have a clue what she meant. He started to yawn and then looked at Eli a bit confused when he realised what he was doing.
“That will stop as well. You don’t need to yawn, it’s just what you are used to doing” she smiled.
It felt strange that a lot of things he never had to learn in life, things that just happened by themselves would stop. As he stood in the kitchen something else happened... his stomach made a strange rumbling noise. Neither one of them had to speak as they both know what it meant. Oscar had hoped that this wouldn’t have happened so soon but Eli suspected that due to his injuries beforehand – it might.
“We’ll think of something” Eli commented putting her arm on his shoulder.
A few moments later Oscar put his hands in his pockets and felt a small piece of paper that he had almost forgotten about.
“Eli, I have an idea.”