I was roughly shaken awake, by a stranger, in what felt like a strange place. I’ve always needed a few minutes upon waking, to take inventory and collect my marbles. I wasn’t going to get that few minutes this time, as an unfamiliar voice kept telling me to ‘get my stuff’ and ‘hurry up.’ I swung my legs to the floor and pulled back the blanket, noticing that I was completely naked. As luck would have it, this annoying stranger noticed, too. Her teenage bugged out eyes were transfixed on my exposed junk. I quickly jumped up and turned away from her, giving her my ass to look at instead. I glanced over my shoulder only to see her eyes, unmoving. Her demeanor went from being so anxious and impatient, to content and happy. Great, I just couldn’t win. I spotted my underwear, well Timmy’s underwear, and drew them up my legs. I found the rest of my clothes scattered around, and got myself dressed and ready to go.
I saw Timmy laying next to the spot I just vacated. Looking so peaceful and comfortable. Why couldn’t I just crawl back into bed and snuggle up with him? This all seemed so unfair. I looked over my shoulder and saw the random girl was thumbing through some magazine, now that my naked show was over. Having lost her undivided attention, I leaned over and kissed Timmy on his cheek. I was shocked at how cold he felt so I ran the blankets to just under his chin. One of his hands was flung outside the blanket and I could see there was something clutched inside his fingers. It was a string, maybe about four inches long, with alternating beads strung on it, black orange and white. Kim made it for me a few years ago, as a gift. Once in a conversation, I revealed that Halloween was my favorite holiday. That was all Kim needed, to make me this token of friendship. She modeled it after my love of Halloween. It’s been attached to the zipper of my backpack since the day she gave it to me.
Seeing it in Timmy’s hand, was a reminder of the amazing night I had just spent with him. I smiled to myself as the events replayed in my mind. I knew full well he was lying in a state of undress as well, below those blankets. We learned a lot about each other, but left some doors closed. Perhaps for future exploration. My heart and body ached for those future days. He was everything and more than I could ever have wanted. I feel like the luckiest boy alive.
Right before passing out, Timmy asked for a token, something of mine to keep near, until our next meeting. I gave him my beaded string.
I was rushed along by this rude girl who was obviously put out by having to take care of me. Once we were in her car, she relaxed a bit and explained that she had somewhere to be, so her time was short. She worked at the same coffee shop as Jasmine, and was like me, human. Once she started to talk, she wouldn’t quit. I just stared out the window, looking at parts of Chicago I never knew existed. Ugly parts. Parts I don’t want to visit again, if I can avoid it. When we finally got back to my neighborhood, I had her pull up a block away from my house. She told me to come see her anytime. Free coffee, and she coyly added, maybe we could hang out, if like, I wanted to. No thanks honey. You’re not my type. You’re a girl.
Once out of the car, I went immediately to the spot where Timmy and Skyler had their battle. Jasmine did do a good job of cleaning up the scene, but she didn’t cover the trail that led off through the yards and alleyways. I didn’t much feel like going home, or going to school, so I set off to follow the tracks and blood that trailed through the bright snow.
Timmy took a very jagged, confusing path of escape. It looked like he leaped over chainlink fences and soared over cars. Pretty remarkable stuff, really. About a mile from my house, I saw where a larger pool of blood had settled. There was also a spray of blood a few feet away. Like a cough or spit. Timmy’s tracks seemed to continue at a running pace off into the distance, but Skyler’s turned, and dragged toward an apartment complex. They stopped near a fire escape that was dangling down about ten feet off the ground. This is where the trail ends. He had to have gotten up that fire escape. It’s the only thing that makes sense.
I took some time to look around and think about what to do next. If I found Skyler up there, then what? Am I supposed to fight a vampire toe to toe? Not likely. However, it is daytime and that gives me an advantage. I read through that book Kim got me cover to cover. I know a lot about vampires. I know what to do. Skyler plans to kill the boy I love. He plans to kill me. He’d never expect me to hunt him. I can do this. I can end Skyler, and get Timmy back. I can save us all.
I struggled to push an old dumpster just below the ladder. The wheels kept getting stuck in the snow and ice. It was very frustrating, and I spent about all the energy I had. I half thought to scrap this crazy idea, but as soon as those ideas crept into my head, an image of Timmy would form. This was all the motivation I needed to press on. It must have been adrenaline that forced me to jump up and grab the bar, and then pull my body up to the third rung until I could get my feet on the bottom rung to lessen the burden. I climbed up to the top of the building and was rewarded with a new trail of blood leading toward some kind of roof access door at the center of the building.
I slowly edged toward the door, my heart pounding like a kettle drum. With my shaky hand, I reached for the handle of the cold, steel utility door. Locked! Now what? Except for a few air conditioning boxes, and giant fans, this rooftop was empty. Just a vast expanse of pea gravel and tar. I walked around the access room a few times. Looking for any sign of weakness or damage. Nothing. I stepped back a few steps and saw it. The roof. It didn’t look like it was fitting right. One corner was slightly askew. As if on cue, a gust of wind swept through causing the sheet metal corner of the roof to flap. The roofline sloped down slightly from front to back, but I couldn’t pull myself up enough to swing my legs on top. Too short and too weak.
I walked to the edge of the building and ran full speed toward the back of the entrance. I leapt with all I had and planted my hands on the roof. I timed my spring just right and almost overshot the entire structure. My right arm caught on the peeled back sheet metal, scraping through my jacket and carving a painful gash in my forearm. It stung like a bitch, but I put the pain in the back of my mind. I was about to do the stupidest and most dangerous thing I’ve ever done. I had to calm myself down or risk making a mistake, and getting myself killed.
I got myself reorganized and sat on top of the roof bringing my breathing back and corralling my emotions. I started to notice the pain in my arm again. When I looked down, I could see the entire sleeve was saturated with blood. My navy jacket looked black. I needed to act fast, as I didn’t know how long I could go without getting the bleeding to stop on my arm.
I noticed some of my blood had pooled up on the bent metal roof and was dripping into the small enclosure. I positioned myself behind the torn corner and placed both of my hands on the jagged edge. I started to pull, happy to see that I was able to bend it back enough to pop out the old, rusty nails that were holding it in place. After I curled back a good size opening, I peered over the edge to get my first look inside.
Right as I came over the top, my throat was viciously grabbed and squeezed by a pasty, dead looking hand. Luckily, I was able to fall back, freeing myself from its clutches. A few sharp claws did pierce my skin and I could feel a little blood seeping from my burning neck. The hand came out again, joined by another, and then an ugly face emerged. Red eyed and fanged. Fresh blood dripping from its forehead to its lips. Even in this ugly, demented state, I recognized this face. It’s the vampire who I saw in that alley with Timmy all those months ago. I had found Skyler, and he looked pissed off and hungry. The giant gash on his cheek seemed to really take its toll on him. He was dying, and my blood had given him hope. A chance at survival.
He brought his clawed hands out further, trying to get a grip on me. But he quickly retracted, as the sunlight was burning his flesh, causing wisps of smoke to spiral into the air. This meant that my plan should work. All I had wanted to do was drag him into sunlight. I quickly got myself back behind the damaged roof and started tugging furiously. Slowly the roof was peeling back like a can of sardines. I pried and pulled. My grunts mixing with his growls and screams. He was about to die, and he knew it. He was running out of shadow to hide behind.
I watched as more and more smoke started billowing out of the small shed. I could now see him furiously clawing at the locked floor entrance below his feet. His back caught fire as more and more sunlight poured into the small room. Then the fire spread to his arms and legs. No longer screaming, he collapsed onto his stomach, as the flames consumed him completely.
I jumped off of the building, as the metal was getting too hot for me to touch. The stench of his rotten soul was getting worse, too. I ran a distance away and puked from the smell and the fact that I just extinguished a life, sort of. I sat there with a confusing round of emotions, not sure how things would be in the end. I waited a good half hour, until finally all the smoke had cleared. Skyler’s life was all but gone. Burned out on the top of some random apartment building. No one knew, and no one cared.
I went back to the shed and climbed up the back. I needed confirmation, and I got it. Ash. Nothing more.
I was feeling woozy. Most likely from the blood loss, combined with the use of all my energy. I needed to get my arm fixed, so I made my way down the fire escape and started out to find a hospital.
I must have looked quite the sight when I arrived at the emergency room. Luckily, the nurse seemed to buy my story that I was messing around and slipped on some ice and met the wrong side of a guardrail. Fifteen stitches and a call to my mom later, and I was on my way home. My mom had gotten a cab and she sat silently next to me as we rode home. I know I will get a lot of questions, and some serious punishment, when she is through with me. Sneaking out and not coming home, again. Skipping school. This is not gonna be pretty.
As soon as we got inside the door it started.
Although I knew it was coming, I made a big production out of it with a long sigh, like she was really putting me out.
“What in the world is going on with you Tyler?”
“Nothing? Really? You’re getting in fights. Staying out all night. Skipping school. Are you…are you on drugs?”
“God mom! No. It’s just been…kind of weird lately.”
“I see, and so…what am I supposed to think about all this? What am I supposed to do? I don’t even know you anymore and the person you’re becoming scares me. What happened to MY Tyler? Where has he gone?”
“Mom. I’m still me. It’s just complicated. You…you wouldn’t understand.”
“Try me. Give me a reason not to ground you for a month. I’m listening.”
I thought real hard and real long. I’m not gonna get out of this without revealing something. It was compromise time. I had to give her something.
“Wellll…I…I kind of met somebody.”
Her face actually lit up for a moment, until she remembered what she was supposed to be doing.
“Ok. So, tell me more. Is this why you’ve been staying out all night? To be with this person?”
“Ok. So what’s her name? Will I get to meet her?”
She was fighting to remain strict, but it wasn’t working. She was slipping into that gossipy, girl mode. I sat silent, worried how she’s react if I told her the truth about this person I met. Not the vampire part, but the boy part. I looked at the carpet between my feet to hide my shame. I just couldn’t look her in the eye. I started to cry a little bit, which caught my mothers protective attention.
“Tyler? What’s wrong honey? You can tell me.”
“M…m…mom. It’s not a girl.”
“Oh…OH! I…I umm…ok. So you, you met a boy?”
I found a bit of courage and picked my head up to answer her question. She was trying to smile, but I could see the struggle on her face. “Yes. It’s a boy.”
“Ok. Well that will take some getting used to. Umm…when do I get to meet him? I’m not convinced I’ll like him. He’s been a bad influence on you with sneaking out and missing school.”
“You will never meet him. He’s gone. And it was me who snuck out and skipped school. Not him. He’s not a bad person.”
“Ok. Ok. I’m sorry. Why is he gone Tyler? Where did he go?”
I started to cry harder now thinking of the possibility of never seeing Timmy again. “I don’t know mom. I don’t know.”
My mom set aside any prejudices she might have to console me. She wrapped me in her loving embrace and assured me everything will be ok. When things settled down, she promised me she’d keep this secret from my dad. He wouldn’t be nearly as understanding as she is.
In the end, I was given a final warning. No more staying out all night, and no more missing school. There would be real consequences if I did not abide. I spent the rest of the day in my room. I didn’t dare go out again tonight, to look for Timmy, and tell him the news about Skyler. I did think of a way to maybe get the message to him that wouldn’t require covert actions. I could give that annoying girl at the coffee shop a message to pass along to Jasmine, and still be home before curfew.
I managed to catch my mom right as she was getting ready to leave for work. “Mom? Can I go to the library tonight with Kim? I promise I’ll be home before ten.”
She thought about my proposal and countered with, nine, and not a minute later. I’ll be calling here, so you’d be wise to be here.”
“Ok. No problem.”
She left and I went back upstairs, waiting for evening to arrive. It got dark outside and I stood in my doorway wearing my coat, with my backpack slung over my shoulder. Waiting for my dad to make a move downstairs, so I could make my escape. He went into the bathroom downstairs, so I scooted by, like so many times before.
I walked into the coffee house, and she was working. She spotted me and looked at me with a cocky smile.
“Well, look who’s here. I didn’t think I’d see you this quickly. How’s it hanging? Hehe.”
Great…a dick joke. I didn’t want to be here at all, but she was my only connection. I just needed to play it cool.
“Ahh…hey. How are you?”
She came from behind the counter and gave me a hug, like we were long lost friends. I’m sure it was more of a show for her friends who were piled around the counter, than anything else. I played along, for the sake of the plan.
“What can I get ya’ babe?”
“Just…just a coffee is cool.”
“Nonsense. You look like you could use a mocha. How about it?”
“Yeah. Great. I’d love a mocha.”
“I knew it. I’ll get one ready. Make yourself comfy.”
I went and sat at my usual table. After I got settled, I heard giggling from near the counter. I turned to look, and saw the annoying girl and four other girls, all staring at me, covering their smiles. This should be great fun.
A few minutes later, she walked up with my mocha. “Here ya’ go. So what are you working on?”
“Thanks. Oh, just some homework.”
I couldn’t help myself from glancing back at the collection of giggling girls, while she stood by me.
“Oh, don’t worry about them. I kind of told them about how we met.”
“I’m sorry. Don’t be mad. It was kind of…funny, don’t ya’ think?”
She set her arm in my shoulder and leaned in closer. “Anyway, you don’t have anything to be shy about, at all. Enjoy your coffee.”
She bound off just as I picked up my face. Did she just…? I umm…wow.
I decided the next time she stopped by that I would pass on the message to Jasmine. In a discreet way, of course. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long.
“Umm…so you know Jasmine pretty good, right?”
“Yeah. I mean I work with her. We’re friends. Why?”
“I was…I was wondering if you could pass on a message to her, like next time you see her.”
“Yeah. Sure. What is it?”
“Tell her I took care of everything. Everything is better now. Oh, and I’m Tyler.”
“Hello? I know your name. Umm…why don’t you just tell Jazzy that yourself? Don’t you have her number?”
“Ahh…no, I don’t.”
She grabbed my pen off the table and wrote on a page from my notebook. “There you go. I, umm put mine in there, too. I close this place on Fridays. Alone. Maybe you could come up and hang out and do whatever. Or just give me a call if you want to hook-up.”
She walked away, looking over her shoulder with a big, confident smile, swinging her narrow hips in that girl way. I blushed a smile back at her, acknowledging my understanding of her offer. Knowing full well I wouldn’t visiting her again, or calling for a hook-up. I looked down at the paper and saw Jasmine’s number, and another number with the name Trisha and a smily face next to it.
I hung around for a while longer, so she wouldn’t think I only came to pass on that information. She made frequent glances my way and smiled or waved. Chicks are odd beings. Mindful of my curfew, I left with a good cushion of time to spare. Once outside I dug out my phone and called Jasmine. I was excited to tell her how I took care of the Skyler problem, but I was also nervous about how she might react. When the call connected it went immediately to a recorded message that said the number was no longer in service. I tried a few more times to make sure I got it right. I got the same message every time. I hope Trisha gave me the right number. I dreaded the idea of visiting her again, but I might have to. I’ll make sure to wait a few days. I don’t want to give her the wrong idea.
I got home a half hour before my curfew and made it past my dad with minimal incident. A few cheap shots and nothing more. I preferred him in this disinterested, lazy mood, over his sometimes seething, hate-filled mode.
I spent the next few hours laying in bed with my eyes open, just staring at the ceiling. I was thinking about the events of the last few nights. Hell, the last few weeks, and how completely insane it’s been. My mind never drifted too far from Timmy. That magical night. His curves. His perfect proportions. His gentle touch. Just thinking about him made me ache for him. With everything straightened out, he should return to me soon. He can’t get here soon enough.
As I grew tired, my mind kept drifting back to my confrontation with Skyler. I tried to put it out of my mind, but something wasn’t sitting right with me. Then it hit me. I left blood there! They could trace it back to me! I started to panic as I played out all these scenarios, all with bad conclusions. Would they even be able to find blood in the burned up mess that was left behind? I decided that tomorrow, after school, I’d go back there and see what I come up with. It’s probably nothing to worry about, but you can’t be too careful. I did murder someone after all.