With the blink of an eye, you finally see the light.
That when the moment arrives, you know you'll be alright.
And I'm saying a prayer for the desperate hearts tonight...
Midnight Snacks: Chapter 2: Rejuvinate
Lightning flashed, briefly illuminating the interior of the bare, abandoned room with a harsh, white glare. Just as quickly, it was gone, leaving the dull glow of the city lights through the rain to barely cross the threshold of the broken windows. Thunder sounded like distant drums, the vibration carrying low and slight, like an ancient echo from a time long past.
She paid mind to none of these things.
She knelt beside the body sprawled on the cold floor, heedless of the dust smearing her white dress. She looked at the face of what was once her own. She reached out a tiny hand and brushed a stray blonde curl from the handsome face. She gently closed the lids over the pale blue, unseeing orbs. Her fingers fluttered down the torn shirt, to the gaping hole in the chest. She traced the edge lightly, her cupids-bow lips turning down, her dark eyebrows drawing to produce a shallow line in her forehead.
She withdrew her hand, and slowly reached into the laced bodice of her dress. She produced a small knife. The metal glinted slightly in her hand. She raised her hands over the body’s chest. Her lips tightened into a thin line as she, with one swift downward stroke, sliced open her wrist. The blood flowed quickly, spilling over the ragged wound and torn, scorched flesh surrounding it. steam rose from the wound where the liquid touched it, the cold flesh sizzled slightly at the contact.
She set her jaw, willing the blood to flow faster, and fill the hole that marred the pale flesh of the body’s chest. As the wound filled, the dark liquid suddenly grew hot. It bubbled and steamed, filling the empty space with its potent, metallic scent. The girl’s eyes glinted slightly as she inhaled the fumes. She then moved her still bleeding wrist over to the face, forcing the jaw open with her other hand. The life fluid slowly began to fill the mouth, spattering over the jaw and cheeks in the process. The girl’s lips pulled back from her teeth, her large eyes narrowing with effort. her nostril’s flared with the breaths she took, if only out of habit than need.
The blood in the mouth, too, began to boil. All at once the girl’s shoulder’s slumped and she pulled her bleeding wrist to her chest, closing her other hand around the wound. Her once full cheeks were now hollow, her eyes sunken into her face, her flesh drawn around her small bones. Yet she still stared at the body, her gaze never faltering. The blood gradually stopped boiling, and finally lay still in the open mouth and ragged wound.
Then, her eyes were drawn to a movement so slight as to be invisible to any other. The skin at the base of the jaw and throat rose ever so slightly, and fell.
The slight tightening at the edges of the girl’s mouth was the only indication that she was smiling.
“aichiwawa! The woman is hot shit!” Mikey shook his head and popped another kernel of popcorn into his mouth.
“you see the woman practically every day. What’s the big deal?” Leo leaned over the back of the couch and stared at the tv over Mikey’s shoulder.
“look at her work, man, she’s like ‘scourge of the slimy senator’. Are you seeing this, dude? She’s totally chewing the guy out for his policy on education. If this guy ever had hopes of getting elected, they’re long gone now. boy, it’s like seeing an artist at work…” Mikey sighed dreamily.
“well, if anyone can verbally kick an ultra-conservative right-winger’s ass, it’s our April.” Leo walked from the couch after taking a last look at the intrepid reporter in action. He ambled over to where Donnie was hunched over his computer screen, staring intently at it. “hey Donnie,”
“uh… earth to Donnie…”
“hey” Leo put a hand on Donnie’s shoulder.
“EEEYIKE!” screeched the turtle, jumping about six inches into the air. He spun in his chair, and looked wildly at his equally startled brother.
“tense, much?” Leo smiled to cover his concern, but it still sat as a hard lump in his stomach.
“s-sorry” muttered Donnie, looking down.
“good of you to visit once and awhile, John Glenn.” Leo pulled a stray chair up and plopped into it, facing Donnie.
“sorry,” repeated Donnie, “I’m just a little tired I guess.” He turned back to the screen.
“dude, maybe your ‘pms’ing!” called Mikey from the couch.
Donnie rolled his eyes and muttered something about Neanderthals.
Leo gave Mikey a look, which was totally missed, and turned back to Donnie, “you wanna go out patrolling tonight?”
Donnie shrugged noncommittally.
Leo lowered his voice to just above a whisper, “look, I don’t mean hunting or anything. You wanna just take a walk?”
Donnie looked at him.
“and talk, maybe?”
Donnie sighed, a dozen excuses going through his mind. None of which would remotely fool his empathic brother. “well, I’m not really in the mood to fight or anything…”
“naw,” said Leo, rising, “we’ll just walk around the safer parts of town. Get some exercise.”
Donnie sighed. He’d been avoiding “the talk” for a week, he supposed it was time to face the music. He got up and caught the long trenchcoat Leo tossed in his direction. After buckling on his belt and tying on his mask for good measure, he swung the coat on and topped it off with a hat. Leo, similarly garbed, accompanied him.
Within 15 minutes they were strolling the border of central park, keeping to the shadows of the trees, but within sight of the still-busy and well- lit streets.
Leo started off the conversation, “well, let’s hear it. what’s up?”
Donnie made a scoffing sound in his throat, “what do you think?” he snapped. He immediately regretted speaking harshly to his well-meaning brother, and glanced over to him. “sorry, I-“
“don’t sweat it, I understand that everything must be pretty hard for you. I can’t imagine what you must be feeling. Maybe I would if you’d tell me what happened for those couple days.” He looked into Donnie’s eyes, making no effort to hide the determination in his features.
Donnie shrugged lamely, “I told you, he took me to an apartment, fed on my blood a few times, and took me with him hunting that night. you know the rest.”
“do I? If it was really just that, why have you avoided the subject for a week? Hell, you’ve avoided everything for a week, including the people you live with. If this guy really had no real effect on you, why are you acting so strange? Usually you’re glad to accompany Raph, Mikey and I on patrol, eager to help people. This past week, you’ve come out with us twice.”
The memory of feelings passed through his consciousness. He searched for the words to use to describe what he was feeling and why, and they continuously eluded him. He finally latched onto a memory which had remained in his dreams steadfastly though the week. “have you ever seen the city from the top of the highest buildings?” he asked quietly.
Leo was about to say “sure”, but stopped himself. “now that you mention it… I don’t think so…”
“he took me to the top of one of those rotating restaurants. You know the ones, where you can see the whole city. Suddenly I felt like… I don’t know.” His eyes focused on the pavement beneath his feet, as if it might put words in his mouth.
Leo was about to encourage Donnie to elaborate, when he began talking once more.
“I wasn’t a freak anymore.” He sighed, “I suddenly felt like I belonged here. it didn’t matter that I hide from the people who live on the surface. None of that mattered. It was like… it was like I suddenly realized that this city is as much mine as it is anyone else’s.” he raised his eyes, but they were no longer focused on his surroundings. He was seeing beyond the people and the streets. He was seeing the city as a myriad of colored lights, a living, breathing entity. He sighed at the memory, “it was just me, the city and…” he abruptly stopped talking, his eyes refocusing to the present. They dropped to the ground once more.
“…and that vampire?” finished Leo for him.
“you know, you never told us his name.”
Donnie’s mouth twisted into a sour smile, “it was ‘Angelo’. He would’ve fit right in with us, huh?”
“he was Italian?” asked Leo, trying to keep his brother talking, but not wanting to pressure him into any topic too sensitive. He could feel the weight that was lifting from his brother’s shoulders as he spoke.
“he didn’t look italien. Now that I think back on it, he may have been French. He would sometimes pronounce his ‘r’s in the back of his throat.” Donnie’s smile became fond as he sifted through his memories of those few days he spent with the creature.
Leo wasn’t sure what to make of Donnie’s attitude toward his captor. That thing was an animalistic predator, he had seen it attack someone. Yet, from the way Donnie was acting, it seemed almost as if he cared for his captor. Not the sort of enamor that one sometimes gets from kidnap victims who become dependent on their captors, but a genuine fondness. “Donnie, what else happened?”
Donnie gave him a startled glance. A flush creeped into his cheeks and he abruptly averted his face. “I don’t know what you’re talking about…” he muttered.
Leo saw his brother’s face redden out of the corner of his eye. He stopped abruptly. Donnie halted a few steps in front of him, after realizing that his brother was no longer beside him. He turned around to face Leo.
“what is it?”
“you tell me.”
Donnie’s eyes fixated on the sidewalk once more, “okay, so some other stuff happened. Big deal.”
Leo stepped up to his brother and set a hand on his shoulder. Donnie raised his eyes to meet Leo’s, “Donnie, if that… thing forced you into something, you need to tell-“
“There was nothing ‘forced’ about it.” Donnie blurted. Suddenly realizing what he’d admitted, his eyes widened, his face began to look like a tomato, and he swiftly turned from Leo, hiding his face.
Leo stood in stunned silence as the idea sunk in.
“Don’t get the wrong idea,” said Donnie quietly, his shoulders hunched and his hands jammed into his pockets, “I admit it, okay? It was mutual, he wouldn’t have done anything to me if I hadn’t wanted to. And we didn’t go all the way or anything. I don’t think he would have even if…” Donnie trailed off, unsure of what to say.
Leo was tongue-tied. His brain just wasn’t processing the information. His world of good and evil, black and white, was being barraged by a multitude of grays. Donnie and Angelo… a good guy and a bad guy… that just didn’t work. “I realize that it must be difficult for you, but-“
“Leo.” Said Donnie, his voice remaining quiet but commanding the attention of his concerned brother, “He didn’t rape me.”
Leo flinched at the word he’d been trying to avoid. He took a deep breath, and started to walk again, Donnie by his side. “So, are you… uh…” He faltered, it being his turn to blush, unsure of just how he had suddenly gotten into *this* conversation.
“Gay?” Donnie looked at Leo, a small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. “I dunno. Maybe.”
“Well, whatever you are, you know that I’ll support you.” Leo felt confident in this statement, one which he knew was true, and held onto that concrete truth in a world that suddenly seemed so strange.
“Thanks. That means a lot.”
The two slipped into silence, each with their own thoughts. Presently, Donnie pointed at a spot of central park which they were passing, “there’s where it all began.” Without looking at Leo, he walked onto the grass, toward the tree he had been pinned against by a supernatural being, not too long ago. He placed his hand on it, and imagined that he could almost feel a tingle of residual energy, left over from that intense encounter. He looked over to the tree where his bo was embedded. The part that had stuck out was sawed off now, but he could still make out, in the minimal light, the circular, wood-filled hole in the tree where the rest of his weapon remained.
Leo stood at the edge of the circle of light created by the nearest lamppost, sensing that this was a moment his brother needed to himself. He suddenly smelled something. A strong floral scent was coming from somewhere nearby. He casually glanced around for the woman who had put on a bit too much perfume. Seeing no one within at least 6 feet of him he shrugged and forgot about it.
Donnie smelled it too. Puzzled, he couldn’t figure out why the scent was familiar to him. Was it coming from the tree? He sniffed the bark. No, it wasn’t that. It smelled like… roses?
The significance of the smell hit him, just before the dark form dropping from the darkness did. He tumbled to the ground and looked at the figure looming before him. In the dim light he could make out skeletal limbs, and a face, pale and sunken. Hair fell in tangles down the thing’s shoulders, and through the grime he could just make out it’s golden color. It was the eyes that held him. They were a brilliant, pure blue, and seemed to consume him.
This observation occurred within the space of a millisecond, before his assailant darted down and sunk his sharp teeth into Donnie’s exposed neck. Leo’s alarmed shout seemed to come from a great distance as the world around him began to darken at the edges. “Oh shit, not again” he breathed, just before the darkness claimed him.
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