In every eighty-second grain of sand Dracula felt a particle of fossilized bone, eons from forgotten life. The West Coast suited him -- the place where the sun goes to die.
In which we linger at Hacienda Dracula
Nearing his veranda, his princely trot slowed to a strut. He called for the Laker Girl to wash his feet, but she did not come. Dracula's eyes burned red, unthinking he stormed through his home, ripping down the thick curtains that covered the bricked-in windows.
He found her in the cabana kitchen shaking, going through the purse she once carried. Her cheeks were flush with fear -- a rosy color that painted a happy Midwestern girlhood. Her panic spiced the smell of her blood.
How could she have a drop left? Why did she fear him? She slept in his coffin, at his side, fully drained since November.
She had been napping by the T.V. -- NBA League Pass. She could wait. The Dark Prince sensed an insult and strode to the entertainment room to seek it out.
* * * * *
z%HU PPGSSU ((Ghyq
Her hands were shaking too much to operate the touch screen. She hit send anyhow. The ambient hum of the kitchen started to fade. Getting quieter -- the Owner must be near.
She clutched the palm pilot and ran. The house was so dark. How did she navigate the halls before... before that light...
Tracing the edge of wall she scooted as quickly and calmly as she could muster. A dancer by training, the quickened pace helped her to think, to remember a bit...
The light was there for as long as she could remember anything. Was she watching a flat screen? She remembered nestling in the silk mortcloth, lazing to Joel Meyers's jingoistic sing-song. Moving pictures of her work, where she used to work... Staples...
The screen showed a different place. Black jerseys and a man with his head shaved like monk or something, her eyes could not leave him. He had a glow. He was warm.
His friends, too. She liked them. She liked the little one with the pretty wife cheering him on. So cute. The Owner -- her Owner? -- smirked and elbowed for her to watch. He cracked his knuckles and the little player gripped a limp hand in pain. The white Number 9 on his jersey looked like a beached fish on its side, jumping as if there was water beyond the air.
Still the light shined from the Monk. Her Owner could not bear it. He could not bear to even reach the remote. He would leave her there, and she would follow the Number 20, hungry.
She remembered more numbers and names: Spurs 88 Heat 76, Spurs 147 Golden State 116, Spurs 99 Thunder 96...
These were games? Men throwing an orange globe. It reminded her of something distant... she could not reach it yet.
Her Owner was gleeful after one of the games. His students wore purple. She watched them, loyal to their Master. They took to their teaching well, they all do, he said. He picked up his Black 5G and txted someone. He smiled, showing a newly whitened fang. She smiled, too, as if imitating a mirror on command.
The girl worked her tongue over her teeth -- no longer sharp.
That especially good student. Kobe? Kobe Bryant. Yes. The Owner allowed Kobe to watch the next game with him. A true Prince, her Owner was amused by a self-proclaimed boy king. She liked the pretty red jerseys. Kobe sat still and watched, not saying a word. Was he afraid, sweet Kobe... had she wanted to bite him?
The girl felt her teeth again -- even duller than before, a memory of braces.
The game with the men in black again. The owner was on the beach. The Monk rose to smack down a shot by a man a foot taller and 50 pounds heavier. The screen ignited. The orange globe, a sun! Spurs 94 Celtics 73.
The air felt tepid. But she breathed. Life. OMG. She had to txt someone quick.
OMMG HSIT W A MPI ERS
Her hands still shook. Her bare feet felt carpet give way to polished wood. The court. She heard a dribble... Kobe! She ran to him relieved and gripped him tight. Who cares what Vanessa thinks.
Kobe held her formally. The girl felt cold breath on her neck then the prick of twin needles.