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Once Bitten

Fan Fiction by Adam Smith (USA)

Chapter 5

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5 July 1983

 “Just try again.”

“It’s not working.  This is stupid.”

“Just picture it in your mind, and it’ll happen.”

Oskar sighed.  “Eli, we’ve been at this for half an hour.  I’m no good at this.  I can’t.”

“You don’t know what you can do and what you can’t.”

“Okay.  I’ll try again.”

Oskar closed his eyes, leaned back on the couch, and tried to concentrate.

. . . My teeth are fangs.  Sharp, pointy teeth.  Fangs, fangs, fangs . . .

He groaned in frustration.  “I don’t get it!”

Eli touched his forearm.  “Oskar, just settle down.  You’ll never be able to do it when you’re all upset like this.  Here, just watch me for a second.  Maybe that’ll help.”

“You already tried this,” he said dejectedly.

“I know, I know.  But just try one more time.  Here.  Now watch.  You need to learn to do this, Oskar.  If you can’t, well . . . .”

Eli closed her eyes, opened her mouth halfway, and then tilted her head back.  After a second or two, a set of sharp teeth lowered themselves into view behind her upper lip.   She opened her mouth a little wider and her upper and lower set became clearly visible.

“There.  Just like that.  It’s that easy.”

Oskar looked at her face in disgust.  “Ugh.  I don’t want to see them, Eli.  They’re so . . . .”  He turned his face away, wrinkled his nose and shivered.  “Yuck.  Can you please—”

Eli rolled her eyes; then she closed her mouth, put her forehead down into her hands, and talked into her lap.  “I never thought this was going to be so hard.”  Then she looked up.  “Maybe it would help if you watched yourself in the mirror.  Come on.”  He reluctantly followed her into the bathroom and they stood in front of the vanity. 

Oskar looked at the mirror, then at her.  “Gee—it might be easier to use the mirror if it wasn’t busted all to hell, Eli,” he said playfully.  He poked her in the side.

She crossed her arms and frowned at him.  “I was angry--I couldn’t help it.  You were being mean.”

Me?  You were the meanie.  You started all this, not me.  I don’t go around biting people.  Especially not my best friend.”  His voice dripped with pretend sarcasm, and he was surprised to find that he was grinning.  He had never thought he could find what she had done amusing.

Eli saw that he was teasing and shot back a grin.  “Well, if you weren’t so darn cute, maybe I wouldn’t have.  I couldn’t help myself.  It was all that long hair.  I told you you should cut it—but no, you wouldn’t listen.  ‘I like it long’ was all you could say.  La dee da.”

For a moment, they just looked at each other, smiling.  Then Oskar stepped to one side of the sink where the mirror wasn’t so cracked, leaned forward, and looked at his face.

“Now please, give it a try.”

“This is gonna make me sick.  I just know it.”

Eli stamped her foot.  “Ooo . . . you are so stubborn!  You have to learn this!”

Oskar raised his lips and studied his teeth as he responded.  “But I don’t want to learn it.  I told you, I don’t want to hurt anyone.  Why do I have to?”

“Because  . . . because, you’re going to get—aren’t you already hungry?  It’s been three days!”

“Nope—not really.”  Actually, Oskar was feeling quite hungry; he simply did not want to admit it to himself, nor especially to Eli.  It would give her just the opening she wanted; the leverage to make him do what he didn’t want to do.

“Well, you’re going to be hungry soon, if you aren’t already.”  She looked at him suspiciously.  “And I’ve been there before, and trust me, it’s not pretty.  I don’t want to see you suffer, Oskar, so please—try to cooperate!”

Then a thought occurred to Oskar.  He knew it was unfair, but Eli was pressuring him, and he therefore felt justified in saying it.  “I just really don’t want to go out and do this, Eli.  Maybe you should get it for me.  After all, you’re so good at it, right?”

Eli opened her mouth to reply, but then stopped.  Her arms hung limply at her sides.  Then she glowered at him and looked away angrily.  Silence ensued as she appeared to be thinking it over.  Then she simply said, “All right, Oskar.”  Her little shoulders sagged, and she turned and walked out of the bathroom.

Oskar stood for a few moments in front of the mirror.  He knew she was disappointed in him, but he didn’t care.  Better that than the other. 

He looked at the toilet, and thought how bizarre it was that he hadn’t needed to use it for almost half a week.  No urge to pee, like he used to have every morning.  None of the other, either.  Because there was . . . nothing down there now.  Just thinking about himself, all . . . hollow and empty, was repulsive.  From now on, whenever he looked at the toilet, he was going to think of that terrible night when--

“Oskar, will you please come into the kitchen?”

He looked toward the doorway, puzzled.  “What for?”

“Please just come in.”

He wandered into the kitchen.  She was standing at the sink with her back turned to him.  Without looking at him, she told him to sit down.  He was puzzled, but did as she asked.

He heard a clinking sound as she dropped something into the sink.  Then she turned and brought a small bowl over to the table and placed it before him.

A bowl of her blood.

Oskar inhaled sharply in surprise and scooted abruptly back from the table in his chair.  His eyes grew wide and he stared at the bowl with alarm.  A sensation immediately arose in the pit of his stomach: hunger.  He closed his eyes and shook his head.  NO.  His chair squealed loudly on the linoleum, then toppled back onto the floor as he fled the room.

Eli slumped down into the other kitchen chair, put her head down, and began to cry.  My fault, she thought through her tears.  My fault that we’re having to do this—not his.  She looked up at the stupid little bowl sitting on the table.  What did you expect?—that he was just going to lap it up like a dog?  Why are you doing this to him?

Because he has to learn, or he’ll die.  That’s why.

He wouldn’t have to learn if you hadn’t been so weak.  He’d be fine now, and you’d be happy, playing some game with him.  If only you—

Despair at her pathetic failure to control herself suddenly overcame her and she cried out loudly, unable to contain the dejection and anguish she felt.  For what she’d done.  She knew she had no right to cry, but she couldn’t help it, and with her head down on the table she bawled like a baby into her arms.

She was still crying when she heard Oskar pick up his chair.  She looked up through her tear-stained eyes and saw him sit down, completely composed, across from her. 

Without looking at her, he looked down at the bowl.  Slowly, hesitantly, he lowered his face to it until his mouth was less than an inch from the dark red fluid.  Only then, with deadly earnest, did he look up at her through his long, blond hair.

“For you.”

He extended his tongue and lapped it slowly.  Then lapped it faster.  Then he picked up the bowl, craned back his head, and drained it.  And when he lowered the bowl away from his bloody lips and looked at her again with unsmiling eyes, his freshly minted fangs were stark, nearly glowing, in his mouth.

More.”

Eli spoke not a word as she stood and came around the table.  His eyes never left her, and he breathed heavily through his mouth.

He turned in his chair and she stood before him.  Raised her arm and offered him her bloody wrist.

He drank and drank.  Eli closed her eyes, curled her toes, and the tears rolled down her cheeks.

17 July 1983

Eli and Oskar lay on the floor of their darkened apartment with the living room window uncovered, looking up at the full moon.  Eli laid on her side; Oskar, on his back, with his head propped up against Eli’s stomach.

“Oh Mr. Moon, Moon, lovely Mr. Moon, won’t you please shine down on me . . . .”

Eli smiled.  “You know that old song?  I didn’t know you knew that.”

“Yeah . . . that’s an oldie.   My mom used to sing it to me.”

Eli gazed thoughtfully at the pale white disk and smiled.  “I love the moon.”  She ran her hands through Oskar’s hair, then added, “and its light.”

“It’s almost as bright as day,” Oskar remarked.  “Or maybe it’s just because of how I can see now.”

Eli smiled.  “Whenever I see the moonlight, I like to remember that it’s reflected sunlight.  Then I can imagine that the moon is my special mirror, showing me what I could never see during the day.”

Oskar suddenly realized that he hadn’t seen the sun for more than two weeks; and, upon realizing this, he felt a little sad.  He missed the sunlight.  But he liked what Eli had said, and he turned his head to look up at Eli’s face.  “Can it be my mirror, too?”

Eli laughed softly.  “Of course.  It’s plenty big for both of us, I think.”

They were silent for awhile; the sounds of the city life around them drifted in through the window.   Then Oskar spoke.  “Eli . . . I think I’m getting hungry again.”

“And?”

“You know.”

“Oskar, I am not a walking blood bank.  I’m tired of this.”

“And I told you, I don’t want to do it.  I just don’t.”

“Do you think it really matters, Oskar, whether you do it or not?  It just makes it harder for me.  I have to find twice as much as I usually would, just so I can take care of you.  We aren’t avoiding anything this way.”

Oskar looked at her, surprised—he hadn’t thought of this.  “You have been?  Oh . . . I didn’t realize that.”

“What did you think, Oskar?  Look at me—I’m little.  Smaller than you.  Do you think I can just let you drain me every few days without doing something like that?  I’d shrivel up.”

Oskar sighed and turned around and onto his side to face her.  “I’m sorry, Eli.  I know I haven’t been very fair to you.  It’s just . . . I can’t stand the thought of hurting someone.  Of . . . inflicting pain on someone.  Because I know how it felt when you . . . well, I know it’s gotta be painful.”

Eli pulled her legs up, laid her head down on her arm, and stroked Oskar’s face.  “Oskar . . . it doesn’t always have to be painful.”

“What do you mean?  You’re not saying that they’re just going to hand it over, are you?  Let you put a needle in their arm?”

“No, not like that.  It’s more complicated.”

“Well, explain it to me, then.  Because I’m confused.”

“Let me ask you: back on that night that we were playing Mikado . . . you said that after you got over your pain and fear, you began to enjoy what I was doing, right?”

“Yes.”

“What do you think made the pain go away?  Because that happened first—didn’t it?”

Oskar squinted his eyes, trying to think.  “I . . . I don’t remember, exactly.  It just—it seemed like it just, at some point, that what you were doing to my neck stopped hurting and became . . . well, it—I guess it felt good.”

“That’s right.  It did.”

Oskar looked up at the ceiling for a moment, and then said wonderingly to himself, “That’s so weird.”  Then he looked back at her, puzzled.  “Okay . . . what are you talking about, Eli?  What’s this all about?”

Eli’s tone grew serious.  “There’s an erotic nature to what we do, Oskar.”

Erotic.”  He drew back a little and looked even more puzzled than before.  “What do you mean?”

“Do you know what ‘erotic’ means?”

“Mmm . . . no, I guess I don’t.  Sort of like . . . sex?”

“It means desire.  And yes, there is a physical aspect to it.  A bodily desire, you might say.”

“Someone tearing my throat open causes desire.  I don’t think so, Eli.  That was way too painful.”

“At first, yes.  But it didn’t stay that way, did it?”

Oskar pursed his lips and thought.  “No, I guess not.”

“Would you say that at some point, you . . . desired me, Oskar?”

Oskar looked at her for what seemed like a long time.  He was clearly extremely uncomfortable with her question.  Then he sighed, exhaled heavily, and said, “Yes.  It’s true.”  He rolled over onto his back, unable to look at her.

“Oskar.”

“Hmm.”

“Look at me.”

He turned his head slowly to look at her.

“It’s all right, Oskar--to admit that.  It happens all the time.  It’s almost—unavoidable.  It doesn’t even matter if it’s a man or a woman.”

Oskar fidgeted on the floor, then rolled over to face away from her.  “This is so weird, Eli.  This is not making me want to go out and do this sort of thing.  It’s . . . ugh.”

“Oskar, think of it as an anesthetic.  You know what that is, don’t you?”

“Yeah.  Doctors give it to you when you need surgery.  So it doesn’t hurt, and you won’t remember.”

“That’s right.  And what I’m talking about is a natural anesthetic.  It makes it easier for you and your victim.   And you need to understand that, because Oskar, I can’t keep doing this for you.  You’re not making the effort to learn anything.  Now just hold still and let me show you.”

Eli slid over so she was lying directly behind him, like two spoons in a drawer.  She wrapped her arm around him and raised herself up so her head was over his neck.  Then she brushed his hair aside to expose its tender curve.

Oskar flinched at her touch and grew tense.  “Eli, that tickles.  Come on.  Please stop.  There’s no way I’m going to do this to—”

Shhh!  You be quiet and relax.  I’m not going to hurt you.”

Oskar sighed and tried to relax.

After a few seconds, when he really had become relaxed, she again placed her arm around him.  This time she took his hand into hers.  Then he began to feel her warm breath on his neck.  It grew steadily warmer and more intense until it became a soft, warm spot just below his ear.  He found himself growing even more relaxed, almost sleepy; if she had not been holding his hand, he would have lifted up his arm and run his hand through her hair.  Then he was surprised to feel a gentle sucking sensation and realized that his blood was flowing from his neck and into her; but yet, there was no pain.  He began to breath through his mouth without realizing it, and quickly became completely limp.  He had no energy to do anything, not even wriggle his toes.  All he could manage was to weakly squeeze her hand.  And, as before, he did not want her to stop, and was disappointed when her heat withdrew, replaced by the cool air.

Slowly, his body returned to normal.  He felt more awake and his breathing sped up.  He rolled over to look at her in amazement, and as he did so, he touched his neck.  There were only two tiny spots, nothing more, and hardly any blood.

Oh my God,” was all he could say at first.  Then, “how did you do that?”

“It’s just a power, Oskar.  You have it now, too.  All you have to do is be gentle, and it will happen.  And the person won’t feel a thing . . . or a least, they’ll willingly tolerate what they do feel.  Now you try it.”

Oskar was very reluctant at the thought of doing what Eli had just done to her.  But then he remembered that he’d been biting her regularly for a few weeks now with much less gentleness that she had just exhibited.   He began to feel sorry for her, for the pain that he had inflicted, because he hadn’t known how to do it earlier.  Why hadn’t she told him?

As he had done, Eli rolled over to face away from him.  He sidled up to her, pulled her hair out of the way, and brought his open mouth down on her neck.

Now it was Eli’s turn to flinch.  “Wait!”  She turned her head to look at him sternly.  “You’re going too fast!  You need to go slower--be gentleJeesh.”  She shot him one more warning look, and then turned away again.

Oskar rolled his eyes at her, but then he did make a deliberate effort to slow down.  As he lowered his face to her neck, he said softly, “do you want me to actually bite you?”

Eli whispered, “It’ll be okay if you’ll just be gentle.  You’re such a caveman.”

Oskar tried to mimic what she had done.  He put his arm around her and gently held her hand.  She gave it a squeeze, and he squeezed back, smiling a little as he did it and knowing that she was probably smiling, too.  At this moment, it dawned on him that perhaps this could be fun, could be . . . delightful.  And this thought, for the first time, overcame the deeply rooted feeling of disgust about what he was about to do.  He opened his mouth and breathed softly on her neck as he slowly lowered his lips to her.  He was not surprised to realize that all by themselves, his teeth had become sharp.  Then he gently transformed his breath into a kiss; his kiss into a bite; his bite into . . .

Her blood flowed into him. 

He would never be able to tell her how much he had come to enjoy its flavor, its sweetness. 

As he had been, she was completely relaxed and vulnerable; he could have done anything with her that he wished, and she would not have stopped him.  Her damp grip on his hand loosened, her breathing became deep and regular, and she seemed to fall into a trance-like sleep. 

She was beautiful, lying there in the soft moonlight.  And as her blood flowed across his tongue it came to him like a lightning bolt:

My Eli.  How much I love you.

In that instant, Oskar realized just how great Eli’s sacrifices for him had been.  Offering herself for him, in so many ways, since the first time they’d met.  Offering herself, her very blood, for him now, so that he might learn.  Might learn, and therefore live.  Her turning of him, which he knew in his heart she had not intended, suddenly seemed a very small failure in comparison.  And with these thoughts he realized how selfishly he had been behaving since the night all of this had happened.  And he resolved in his heart to be the best vampire he could be—for her.

Oskar reluctantly withdrew his fangs from Eli.  She did not move; only made a soft, semi-purposeful noise that people make when they are drifting off to sleep.  But her grip on his hand tightened, and she pulled his arm more closely around herself.  He curled up around her and held her close; cherished her in his heart.

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