Abigail cringed, hearing the sound of her husband’s feet coming down the steps. She knew what he wanted her to do; she could hear the resounding thud on the steps behind him. CLOMP, THUD, CLOMP, THUD, CLOMP, THUD…then the sound of dragging as he crossed the floor. Abigail stood next to the cot he allowed her, waiting for him.
The light in the basement was dim. She squinted, trying to see his face in the gloom, hoping to determine his mood, as he hoisted the body up on the table. He was smiling.
“M’ere wife,” he said, his voice gruff.
Abigail crossed the room, the chain that kept her there, scraping across the floor. Her husband placed the butcher’s knife on the table next to the body. “Leave the heart out,” he said, “store the rest.” Leaving her to the task, he crossed the room and was back up the steps before she’d picked up the blade.
Harold wasn’t her husband. Not really. They had never been married in a church or a court of law. But he said all that mattered was Harold’s law and his law wass he brought her here, she was his. He’d even given her a ring…his mother’s. He had taken it off his mother’s hand when he ‘married’ her. That was all that was left of the woman, her hand. Abigail could only imagine what had happened to the rest of her. Then he had forced her to have sex with him on the dirty cot. The blankets, stained red in places, reeked of dirt, sweat, and blood.
He visited her every day for a week before giving her the first task. The body he’d drug down the steps that day belonged to someone that had gotten lost on the highway and stopped to ask for directions. Harold showed her what to do, how to butcher the body and store it in the freezer. Abigail refused to follow his instructions, sticking the knife in his chest instead. He’d stood there bleeding all over the floor, the cleaver embedded in his chest, and laughed. When he pulled it out she knew she wasn’t dealing with a normal man, not that there had ever been anything normal about Harold. But a cleaver to his heart should have killed him. It didn’t, but it did remove a finger; the pinky on her left hand. She never tried that again.
Picking up the knife, Abigail looked at the body. The man had a hole in his chest, the stake Harold used to kill his victims with still embedded in the heart. Harold believed the men he killed were vampires. He also believed that by consuming their bodies, especially their hearts, he gained immortality. Grasping the stake, Abigail pulled it from the man’s chest. It wasn’t easy and Abigail heard a sucking sound as she pulled it loose. Picking up the knife, she held it over the wound, preparing to cut the once beating organ out. She made a cut, crying out in surprise as the man’s eyes flew open and he sucked in a breath of air.
The knife clattered to the floor, falling from Abigail’s hand as she backed away. He sat up, looking around. His gaze falling on Abigail, he smiled, revealing two sharp fangs. Abigail shook, frightened. Her chain scraped across the floor and the man…vampire, averted his eyes from Abigail’s face to the source of her imprisonment.
“So you are not a willing participant in this…this atrocity,” the vampire asked.
Abigail shook her head, but didn’t speak. She couldn’t make her voice work.
“I suppose you must not be, or you would have known not to remove the stake.”
“You are the first to ever come back to life when I have removed it,” Abigail said, her words coming out in a rush.
“That is because I am the first vampire he has ever killed,” he said. Abigail let his words sink in, then she started laughing, her shoulders shaking from the unfamiliar action.
“What is so funny,” the vampire asked.
“I was just thinking…all those bodies, how he said he was saving the world, how he was a great vampire hunter…” her voice trailed off. Abigail stopped laughing and just stared at him. Their eyes connected for the briefest of moments and then her shoulders started shaking, this time while she cried.
“Even the delusional get lucky sometimes,” the vampire said, standing. His knees buckled a moment, weak. “I need blood, or he will get lucky again.”
“Take mine,” Abigail pleaded. “Free me.”
Her heart began to quicken, racing with fear as the vampire approached. Abigail tilted her head, exposing her throat, frightened, but willing to give her life and end this vile existence. She just wished she could see the look on Harold’s face when the vampire killed him.
“You will,” he said, just before sinking his teeth into her flesh.
Abigail felt a strange peace come over her; she felt her blood draining from her body as he drank. Then he stopped. Her mind was foggy. She wondered why he had stopped, why he hadn’t killed her. Somewhere, from a great distance, she heard Harold’s feet clomping down the steps.
“Watch,” the vampire whispered, turning her head towards the stairs.
Abigail saw Harold’s shadowed form move into the room. He paused, looking around. Did he see her on the floor? She heard him scream. Then she saw his head fall to the ground and roll across the room, stopping just before reaching her. His eyes were open, his mouth wide. She felt the chain loosen from her ankle and the vampire helped her sit up. She was so weak. Why was death taking so long?
“Here,” he said. “I have drained his blood. I now have enough to finish the task.” The vampire placed his wrist against her mouth and Abigail felt his blood trickle between her lips, coating her tongue. Swallowing she breathed in, a new life beginning.
Word Count: 998
Copyright© 2011 Lisa McCourt Hollar. All rights reserved