Editor's note: This is a "short-short". It is purposely short. If you don't like very short stories, even though they are very good stories, then I ask that you move on. Please do not vote on something you KNOW, before beginning to read, that you will not like. That is why the SOL story codes exist. That said, I hope you enjoy this short, and well-written tale!
When Alice awoke, she initially thought that she was on fire. Her entire body felt warmth of an intensity for which fire seemed a reasonable explanation.
As sleep faded from her eyes, she looked around. She still couldn't see very well, but the lack of light convinced her that there was no fire. Her lover moaned softly, sucking on her neck. No, he must have been giving her a hickey in his sleep. Or something. She pushed him softly away, and got out of bed to take a shower.
It was not until she began to put on her makeup, that she noticed two puncture wounds on her neck. Even so, she probably would have assumed he'd used a bit too much tooth during the hickey. Paul was often less than gentle in bed. However, the marks were glowing softly.
After a few dates during the day, she knew Paul wasn't a vampire... unless he'd been turned within the last week. She didn't remember if she'd ever gone on a date on a full moon.
She was pretty sure he had just done something to her, but she felt pretty much normal now that he was no longer biting her. None of her silver jewelry was causing any problems. A short prayer to God did not cause her to burst into flame. She tried forming a cross with a couple forks, but nothing happened.
Still, she was pretty sure that Paul was some sort of monster. If he was not intrinsically evil, a cross wouldn't do any harm.
That day, Alice bought a small wooden cross. Hiding it under her bed, she carefully woke up before Paul the next morning. He was biting her neck again, bringing that wonderful burning feeling--no! She would not let this evil live.
She touched the cross to Paul's forehead, and he burst into flame. Fortunately, none of her stuff seemed to be damaged. It was over surprisingly quickly. He didn't even leave any ashes behind. It was kind of boring, actually. She'd expected to have him scream or, or almost burn down the house, or age before her eyes. Unlike the movies, he just disappeared in a couple seconds. Perhaps the movies had dramatized the results of defeating evil. It wasn't nearly as difficult or messy as she'd expected.
It was kind of depressing, actually. She'd been starting to fall in love with Paul. As cruel as it would have been for Paul to suffer, she'd kind of wanted to at least say goodbye. Despite such feelings, she was pretty sure that allowing evil monsters to continue to exist was a a bad thing. Fortunately, his evil had not spread to her. The cross wasn't causing her any problems.
She was still contemplating what had happened, a week later. She tended to think about Paul a lot, especially in the mornings. Alice definitely missed waking up with Paul in her bed. Surprisingly, nobody had come knocking at her door about Paul after she had destroyed him. Perhaps nobody had realized they were in a relationship. They'd gone out to eat a few times but had never really hung out anywhere for long. They never really went out with one another's friends. She wondered if Paul had done this on purpose.
As she continued to contemplate Paul, she realized that the warm feeling had returned. Paul was back, and sucking on her neck again.
She screamed more from the shock that Paul was alive, than from the neck-sucking, which felt rather nice.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
"I love you. I missed being with you. I thought you might want some time alone, but you never called so I came back to see you," Paul replied.
Once again, Alice pulled out the wooden cross, and pressed it against Paul's forehead. He gave her a sad look before burning up again. She noted that Paul had taken longer to "die" this time. Alice was starting to get worried.
The next day, Alice bought wooden stake and a mallet. The clerks didn't seem to notice anything unusual about her purchase. The stake she purchased was not one designed for killing vampires. Alas! Specialty stakes were only provided to private users or movie producers, or something. Apparently it compromised the blessing to sell such a tool. Being a Protestant, she figured she would just bless the stake herself. Getting a priest's assistance would be a betrayal of her beliefs. Paul was starting to make her wonder, though. She blessed some water, too.
As she went to bed each night wondering if Paul would show up, she continued to miss him. She was rather worried that she was beginning to become a vampire, or whatever Paul was. She found herself hoping he'd suck on her neck a bit before she got a chance to kill him. She tried praying to God for help, but He didn't seem to be responding.
Paul, on the other hand, did show up. And once again, she awoke to find him sucking on her neck.
"You know, there's only one thing that can kill a vampire," Paul told her.