Bite Me: A Love Story Chapter 24


24. A Love Story?


It wasn't the first time she'd crept out of a guy's apartment in the middle of the night with her shoes in her hand, but it was the first time where the decision had been because she didn't want to kill the guy. He was so little, so frail, so lonely. She had taken people before who had the black ring in their life aura like Okata's, and they had thanked her. It had been mercy, relief, the end of pain, yet she couldn't make herself do it. She'd left him there, not to die alone, although he probably would, and not because he had been so kind to her, saving her, which he had, but because the prints weren't finished. He was a strange little man, a hermit and a swordsman, and he carried some great pain in him, but above all that, he was an artist, and she couldn't bear to stop that. So she'd left.

Now she was back.

He sheathed his sword and tried to lift her to her feet. Her limbs still felt like they were on fire, and she could move only her right arm on her own. She nodded toward Bella's pellet weapon. "Give it to me, Okata." She made a grasping motion.

He leaned her in a sitting position against the wrought-iron railing that surrounded the steps to his apartment, then retrieved the weapon and fit it into her hand. Then he held the barrel firmly and said something stern in Japanese.

"No, I'm not going to off myself," she said, and she smiled.

He let go of the barrel of the gun and she sprayed Bella's corpse with pellets until the gun stopped firing, then she threw the gun over the rail and motioned for Okata to help her into his apartment. Bella's body was nothing more than slimy chunks of meat by the time Okata got her through the door. In the morning, when the sun hit it, there would be only a charred stain on the sidewalk with burned gobs of plastic that had been a Kevlar suit, shoes, and sunglasses.

Okata helped her to the shower, where he rinsed out her wounds, then dried her off and retrieved the last bit of the pig's blood, which he'd kept in the refrigerator.

Jody felt a horrible twinge of guilt. He'd been waiting for her, probably had been outside looking for her when Bella had chased her around the corner.

After she drank the blood, and her legs had healed enough to hold her weight, she went to his workbench and turned on the light. The last print was there. Not finished, but two of the woodblocks had been finished, the black and the red. There she was, in the shower, her red hair streaming behind her in the water, black bits of ash puddling at her feet.

Okata was beside her, looking at the print critically, as if there was something he might have to fix at any second. She bent down and looked back from the angle of the print into his face.

"Hey," she said. "Thank you."

"Okay," he said.

"Sorry," she said.


Abby lay on the futon in the loft's great room. The empty rat cages were stacked in the corner of the room and Foo had unscrewed one of the plywood panels over the windows to let some light in. He'd been monitoring Abby's vital signs since six in the morning. At least she had vital signs. She hadn't even started with those. At noon, she opened her eyes.

"Foo, you dick, I'm mortal."

"You're okay!" He threw his arms around her.

She pushed him away. "Where's Tommy? Where's the Countess?"

"Tommy's in the bedroom. I don't know where Jody is."

"She didn't call?"


"Fucksocks! Did you turn Tommy back, too?"

"No. I started making his serum, but he didn't want to do anything until they take care of the other vampire. We need to, though, Abby. He won't live much longer if we don't."

"I know. The pirate Rasta guy on the black ship told us. Other vampire? Only one?"

"Rivera called while you were unconscious. The Animals took one of them down at the Safeway."

"Did you tell him to stay off the black ship?"

"Tommy did."

"What about Chet?"

"I don't know."

"He could be-Hey, where's my tail?"

"It sort of fell off when you turned back to human."

"Did you save it?"

"Well, no. I left it on the coffee table and when the sun came up, well, it sort of burned up."

"You burned up my tail? That was a part of me."

"It was a disgusting part of you."

"You're such a racist, Foo. I'm glad we broke up."

"We did?"

"We were going to, weren't we? Wasn't that what you wanted to talk about? About how I'm way too complex and mysterious for you and you need to return to your traditional science-nerd values and live in the Sunset with your parents, instead of the awesome love lair with your goddess-like vampire girlfriend, who will never do you again, even when you beg, even out of pity, no matter how fly your sexy manga hair is? Isn't that what you were going to say?"

"Not in so many words. I'm going to move to Berkeley. It's hard, Abby-"

"Well, save your breath, s'il vous plaît, I'm over you. I will not be further abused by your toady banalities and whatnot."

"Your mom called. She wants you to come home."

"Yeah, that's going to happen. Oh, what's this, monkeys flying out of my tailless butt?"

"She said they sent your report card. You passed Mr. Snavely's biology class."

"I did?"

"She said she almost fainted. Jared said it was your extra-credit project that did it. Why didn't you tell me you took one of the rats to school with you?"

"Well, I didn't think it worked out that well. I mean, the rat was already vamped, so when I took him out of the shoe box, he just looked kind of dead. And Mr. Snavely was all, "'Oh, that's lovely, Allison, a dead rat.'" But it was sunny in biology lab, and all of a sudden my rat just spontaneously combusts, and I'm all, 'Check it, bitches, spontaneous rodent combustion, it's the wave of the future.'"

"Well, because he couldn't figure out how you did it, he passed you."

"I am the dark mistress of Biology One-oh-two. Fear me. Rawr!" she said. Then she kissed him hard, but not as hard as she had when she was a vampire, which was a relief, but then she pushed him away and slapped him.

"Ouch. I didn't think you were a slut."

"I know, that's was our bittersweet break-up kiss. I will go grieve now until Lord Flood awakes and we resume the search for the Countess. I'm starving. Do you want to go get a sammy and a Starbucks? I have like ten grand in my messenger."


He awoke at sundown with her face in his mind's eye and panic running up his spine. He bolted out of the bedroom into the great room, where Abby was hanging up the phone.

"That was the Countess," Abby said. "She's okay. She'll be here in a few minutes."

"And you're okay? You're alive. You have heat." He could see the heat coming off her and the healthy life aura around her.

"Yeah, thanks. Foo destroyed my tail." She turned and looked to the kitchen. "The traitorous racist heartbreaking fucktard!"

"Little harsh," Tommy said. "He saved your life."

"Heartbroken. Grieving. Inconsolable. Tail's gone. Going to have to get totally repierced and tattooed."

"But you showered and your eye makeup isn't all racoony anymore."

"Thanks. I like the blood splatters on your pants."

"Hi," said Foo Dog from the kitchen, where he was filling a syringe with what looked like blood. "I have your serum ready, whenever you're ready."

"I'm not ready."

"You have to, you know."

The doorbell buzzed. Tommy keyed the intercom.

"It's me," Jody said.

He buzzed her in and she was at the top of the steps in an instant, then kissing him. He pushed her back and looked at her clothes, shredded at the elbows and knees, stained with blood.

"What happened to you? Where were you?"

"One of the old vampires? She ambushed me on a roof across from the black ship. That weapon they have did this. It's horrible. We can't let them get near us with that thing."

"How did you get away?"

"I was hiding at the bottom of a pool, trying to figure out what to do, when Chet jumped her. I got out of there while Chet was dry-humping her."

"Yeah. Go Chet!" said Abby.

"Abby!" Jody ran to Abby and hugged her, kissed her on the forehead. "I was so worried about you. You're alive. Really alive."

"Yeah. Foo changed me back. I want to be nosferatu again."

They all turned to face Foo, who was still in the kitchen. "Can't do it, Abs. You won't survive a second time. I tried it on the rats. You're only human."

"Doomed," Abby said.

"Jody," Tommy said, "what about the vampire who attacked you?"

"Gone. Destroyed. Someone rescued me just before she killed me. So there's only one left, right?"

"They're all gone," Tommy said. "Rivera called. The Animals got the other one. There's only Elijah on the black ship."

Jody put her hand to his face. "Tommy, we have to talk."

"I know," he said.

Foo Dog said, "Jody, I have no way of knowing when Tommy might, uh, expire. He could go faster than Abby was going."

"Come with me." Jody took Tommy's hand and led him into the bedroom. "I've got to show you something. You two, do not come into this room, do you hear me?"


"We can't make crazy monkey love now, Jody. They'll hear us, and we usually end up breaking all the furniture."

"You learned how to go to mist, when you were with Chet. You said you learned?"

"Yeah, that's how I got these clothes. They're stupid, aren't they?"

"Tommy, the vampire, the old one, her name was Bella, she told me something. Kiss me. Kiss me and go to mist. Don't think about it, don't stop, just melt into the kiss."

She kissed him and felt him as he faded from solid, and followed him exactly, until they were a single entity, sharing every secret, every fear, every victory, everything, the very essence of who they were, wrapping around each other, winding through each other as each lived the other's history, as every experience they had, they had together, with comfort and joy, with abandon and passion, without words or boundaries, and as often happens to two in love, time lost all meaning, and they might have stayed there, like that, forever.

When they finally fell out of it they were naked, on the bed, giggling like insane children.

"Wow," Tommy said first.

"Yeah," she said.

"So, Okata saved you?"

"Yeah, he needed to save someone. He had always needed to save someone."

"I know. I'm okay with it, you know?"

"Yeah, I know," she said.

"I can't do it, Jody. It's amazing, and I adore you, but I can't do it."

"I know," she said, because she did. "This is me now, Tommy. I like this, I like the night, I like the power. I like not being afraid. I was never anything until I was this. I love being this."

"I know," he said. He knew that she had always been cute, but not beautiful. Always a little dissatisfied with who she was, worried about what men, or her mother, or anyone thought of her. But she was beautiful now. Strong. She was exactly what she wanted to be.

He said, "I need the words, Jody. It's who I am."

"I know."

"I'm not a vampire. I'm a writer. I came here to be a writer. I want to use gelatinous in a sentence. And not just once, but over and over. On the roof, under the moon, in an elevator, on the washing machine, and when I'm exhausted, I want to lay in my own gelatinous sweat and use gelatinous in a sentence until I pass out."

Jody said, "I don't think gelatinous means what you think it means."

"It doesn't matter. It's what I need to do. I need to write something. I need to write my little Holocaust girl story."

"I thought it was a little girl growing up in the segregated South."

"Yeah, whatever. It's important."

"You know I know this already, right?"

"I know, but that's what I'm saying, I need the words. I love you, but I need the words."

"I know," she said. "Let's go let Foo change you back into a word guy."

"And you're going to go away?"

"I have to."

"I know," he said. "You know, I think that merging might have ruined me."


"Because you're lying there completely naked and I don't want to sex you up."


"Let me think about it. No, false alarm, I'm okay."

"C'mere, writer boy. Let's break some furniture."


"Praise Jah's sweet love for given us a fired-haired snowy biscuit," Kona said. "Welcome, me sweet deadie sistah. Welcome aboard."

"Mistress," Jody said. "Sweet deadie mistress."

"Troot, mistress. Welcome aboard."

The ship was a wonder of technology and luxury. Kona had lent Foo Dog his security bracelet and Foo had gone aboard and reset the security so the ship didn't kill anyone who set foot on board, then he and Kona had walked her through the ship showing her the thousand different ways it had been set to kill a person. It was an elegant, redundant death trap.

"You'll want to turn the systems back on," Foo had said. "There's a reason they had this kind of security."

Jody said good-bye and led him off the ship. Now that she had one of his UV lasers in one hand and a number of vacuum blood vials in the other she followed the ersatz Rastaman down to the deepest chamber of the ship, where Foo had not gone. They approached a wide, white, waterproof hatch with a small porthole and a heavy stainless-steel wheel securing it.

Kona hit a light switch. "That make just a wee UV, mistress. Make dat dogheart bastid turn solid so he can't sneak out."

Jody looked in the port and a face hit it with a snarl, leaving bloody spit on the thick glass.

"Well, hello, pumpkin. How have you been?"

The vampire snarled. It was Elijah, the old vampire who had turned her, turned them all, really, if the legend was true. But he looked like a wild animal now, naked, his fangs bared, snarling at the tiny window.

"Can he hear me?" Jody asked.

"Oh yeah, he hear. You got to tell him to go to the back of da room, ma. I'n'I can lock him back there with the second door. Like an airlock. Dat's how we feed dat old buggah."

"Go to the back of the room, Elijah. I have something I need you to do."

The vampire snarled at her.

"Okey dokey," she said, and she put on her sunglasses, placed Foo's laser against the glass, and promptly blasted Elijah's right ear into ash.

He roared at her.

"Oh, I know that had to hurt. Hear that high whining sound, Elijah. That's the laser recharging. Takes about a minute. When it's done I'm going to burn off your willie unless you get your ancient ass to the back of the cell." She smiled.

"Shoots, brah, she a cold heart bitch don't you know. You outta-shoulda do what she say, yeah?"

The old vampire backed through the inside door, snarling, and Kona worked the switch, sealing it. Then he opened the heavy outer hatch.

Jody placed the vacuum vials in the chamber, then said, "Okay, Elijah, I need you to fill these with that sweet, first-generation vampire blood."

They sealed the outer hatch, and Elijah snarled and resisted, but after having his other ear burned off, relented. Twenty minutes later Jody was holding the four vials of Elijah's blood and Elijah was lapping two quarts of tuna blood out of a stainless-steel bowl.

"He be all right," Kona said. "Dem ear heal up in minutes and he be back in the mystic fo' weeks."

"And how long to get the rest of the art supplies onto the Raven?" she asked.

"It's all on board, mistress."

"Then cast off, Cap'n."

"Aye, aye, mistress."

Jody turned to Okata, who had stood silently, his eyes wide, watching the whole scene.

"These are for you," she said, holding out the vials. "I'll help you. I hope you like night scenes. You're going to have a lot of prints to make. But you'll have time."

"Okay," said the swordsman, with a smile.

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