Mother’s Gift

{graphic violence}

Mother’s Gift

“You’re a vampire!” Jeanette said as she backed into the floor lamp, away from her father. The seventeen-year-old girl pointed a broken chair leg at him. She was still in her Catholic high school uniform. Shadows danced from the shaken lamp.

Jeanette’s hand shook as she stayed trained on him. David Tanner scoffed, “Vampire. Do you hear yourself? And stop jabbing that stick at me. Tell me what you think you saw.” He unbuckled his holster putting it and his New York City police hat on the dining table.

She brushed her long brown hair out of her eyes and wiped her sweaty hand on her plaid skirt. “Those people in the news, drained of blood. That man downstairs, I saw you on him, you in your uniform. Either you were giving him a hickey, or you were eating his neck. Which was it?”

She circled with him as he stepped toward her calmly. She knew he was tricking her to get closer. “That man was a criminal,” he said, smilingly. “I subdued him, nothing more. What you saw was me trying to collar him.” Now within arm’s reach he paused. Jeannette’s eyes widened.

The hairs on her arms stood out. His eyes brightened and then dimmed, imperceptibly, but she saw it, and it was preternatural, something he could not control. He needed to feed. It was like facing down a starving wolf.

Without hesitation, and using gymnastics from cheerleading she hit the floor somersaulting toward him, knees and feet flying. She caught his legs with the force of her body weight and they both tumbled backwards. She deftly hopped atop him.

Jeanette drove the stake deep into her father’s chest. He arched his back and hissed. Vapor spewed from his chest. Then he grabbed Jeanette by her throat with his right hand, and cast the wooden stake out of his chest with his left. Jeanette fought and pulled at his hand.

Her eyes bulged. “Mother,” she squeaked out. “This is what you did to Mother isn’t it. You ate her. You lied to me all my life about how she died.”

“Anna loved me, we were partners. She kept me fed. I…needed more.”

She pulled at the hand on her throat as he gritted his long sharp teeth and slapped her head, sending her off him. She fell with over with an “oof.” Her breath was gone.

She turned her head a saw him get up on his knees. He was on his feet, low in a crouch ready to spring. She tensed, feigning as if stunned. He leaped on her, but to his surprise she grabbed the front of his dark blue uniform and flipped him over quickly and was back on top of him.

Stars flew as he fisted the side of her head and knocked her, sliding her, all the way under the kitchen arch. She lay limp, woozy. He stepped beside her, towering over her.

She looked up dizzily as he lifted her off the floor clutching the front of her shirt with one hand. “You,” he said, breathing hard and chuckling, “you put up much more of a fight than any grown man.” Suddenly the dining table was underneath her and he pinned her with his right arm. Struggling beneath him, he tilted her head to expose her neck. He opened his mouth, exposed all his razor-sharp teeth and bent to tear flesh.

She fought, jerking her head as his teeth sunk deep into her neck. Blood spewed as he drank. He reared up, laughed, and went back in for more. He gulped blood.

Her hands twitched. Then she lay still and limp. Her lips turned blue and her skin gray and ashy. He eased off her and waited. He put his wrist to his lips and bit. The flesh on his wrist popped. Blood ran down his arm and he moved the dripping blood to her face.

Her eyes fluttered. She saw his smile and his dripping arm and knew what he wanted. She would not let him turn her.

“You suck,” she said coarsely as she pivoted and cocked both feet back and kicked, planting both feet in his chest. She kicked him so hard he fell on his back into the living room. She stepped down off the table and walked to him, but picked up the broken chair leg first. She sat on top of him and planted the stake back into the old wound and he howled. Suddenly, she was too heavy for him to move. Blood from her neck soaked the front of her blouse.

“Mother was not your partner,” Jeanette said then planted a brown and white saddle shoe by his head and showed him her leg. She had a set of scars on her inner thigh, semicircular, one above the other. He saw the bite marks and his mouth went agape.

“That’s right, Mother gave this to me, hid the wound here. She bit me, then put a tiny bit of her blood in me when I was six. She said a day would come that I would need a little extra strength. I didn’t understand then, but I do now. Facing you, my rage over Mother brought it out of me. Now I can do this!”

She tossed the stake and drove her hand deep into his chest snapping bone. Her father screamed in pain. She jerked out his heart and then showed it to him, still beating. His body began steaming all over. Jeanette jumped up just before his corpse burst into flames and tossed his heart into the fire. She stood and watched the flames die out. It was over. There was nothing left of him but a dark smudge on the hardwood floor. She cupped her hand over her neck wound, then looked at her hand. It was no longer bleeding. She yawned and looked toward the bathroom.

“I need a shower. I’ve got school tomorrow,” she said and walked away.

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