To Open the Door, Part 3
Posted by Rystefn on December 17, 2008
In keeping with the previously established bite-sized sectioning of the story, here’s another couple of pages. Don’t bother telling me if you saw it coming, this isn’t exactly a twist ending. This is barely even the beginning.
A few weeks had passed, Eric’s presence making first Christmas and then New Year into crazy adventures, his wild nature infecting everyone around him.
Eric was, and still is, a creature of passion. More than that, he has this aura about him that draws out the passion in others, myself included. It should have been no surprise that we would become lovers, but neither of us saw it coming. I love him now, of course, but passion came first. What started out as a simple kiss at a New Year’s Eve party quickly became raw, animalistic sex – the sort of biting, nail-dragging sex that leaves you panting and sweaty on top of a pile of ripped clothing.
Even in gentle moments of tenderness, the passion and the need is always there. I’ve come to learn that he lives in the moment not because he gives no thought to the future, but rather because he is always thinking of the future. He makes love as though it will be the last time because every time he’s afraid it might be.
Maybe that’s why he chose the moment he did to tell me… Maybe he decided that when the last time came and I never saw him again, I at least had the right to know why. Maybe even he doesn’t know why – perhaps there really is no more than the only reason he’ll give: “it seemed like the thing to do at the time.”
I awoke to the gentle caress of Eric’s fingers gliding up and down my back. I don’t know how he does it, but the touch he uses to sooth me to sleep every night always seems to wake me up with the same effectiveness… and invariably makes me think of the other things he can do with those hands.
“What time is it?” I asked, stretching and rolling to look at him.
“A little after midnight; you’ve only been asleep for a few minutes…” He looked scared and nervous, something I had never seen before. “Listen, there’s something I need to tell you. I’m not sure how you’re going to take this…”
“Is it about your past, your life when you’re away from here?”
“It is, but you may not want to know. I belong to a very old and very powerful family. If they find out I told you, they would be very – angry. It could be dangerous to you. I’ll do anything I can to protect you, but I won’t put you in danger against your wishes.”
“Family?” I looked into his ice-blue eyes, “you mean like the mafia or something?”
He shook his head. “Not really, no. More like a secret society you have to be born into, or maybe a cabal. Hell, it’s damned-near impossible to talk about without telling you the whole thing.”
“So tell me.” I could see the hesitation in his eyes, so I pulled him close and kissed him.
“You’ve already told me this much, you may as well tell me the rest of it. You know I won’t give up until I know the whole thing anyway.”
He chuckled, “yeah, I’m pretty well committed at this point, aren’t I?”
“Damned right you are, so quit stalling and tell me.”
“Alright,” he took a deep breath, “but I won’t expect you to believe this, so -”
“Of course I’ll believe you,” I interrupted. “Why wouldn’t I?”
“Because it flies in the face of everything you think you know about the world and how it works. Because we’ve gone to great lengths to convince the world that we don’t exist…”
“Eric,” I said, “if you try to tell me that you’re a vampire, I’ll slap you. I’ve seen you in daylight more times than I can count…”
“Vampire?” He arched an eyebrow at me, “don’t be silly, there’s no such thing as vampires, Michelle. They’re a manifestation of man’s fear of nocturnal predators and repressed Victorian sexuality… Vampire…” he shook his head, “the very idea is patently ridiculous. Laughable, even. Vampires are imaginary. I’m a werewolf.”
“Very funny, Eric.” Well, that’s what I was going to say. I was going to follow it with: “If you think for one minute that I’m going to take you seriously…”
I got all the way to opening my mouth before he fell to his knees. The whole process couldn’t have taken more than a couple of seconds; he was hunched over on the floor, then he suddenly sprouted thick, dark grey hair all over. He seemed to shimmer a bit, then he was this thing.
I guess we have some sort of ancestral memory, or maybe they aren’t as secret as they try to be, because after he changed, Eric looked pretty much like every werewolf movie ever made: huge and muscular, claws, fangs, fur, all of it.
He was crouched on the floor, so I couldn’t tell exactly how tall Eric had become, but I could tell he certainly would have had to duck through doorways. I would later learn that when standing, the tips of his ears brush against most ceilings.
I probably would have screamed or fainted or something, but before I could, I saw his eyes – so worried, so human. The same ice-blue eyes I had fallen in love with.
Suddenly he wasn’t a monster anymore – as quickly as he had changed, he turned back into his old self.
“In time, you’ll get used to seeing me that way,” he said, “but I thought it would be less traumatic not to overdo it the first time.”
I don’t know how long I stared. I was completely stunned – part of my brain was insisting that what I had just seen was impossible while another part was insisting it was all too real and that I run for my life.
“Please, Michelle,” he was saying, “don’t be afraid. Don’t hate me…” There were tears in his eyes.
I wanted to reassure him, to tell him that it was alright, that it didn’t bother me, but all I could do was stare.
“I’m sorry,” he said, turning away, “I’ll leave now…”
I tried to say something, to stop him, but the words just wouldn’t come out. So I did the only thing I could do: I threw my arms around him and kissed him hard. Which, of course, led to what it always leads to when the people involved are already naked and in the bedroom.
Afterwards, as we were lying in each other’s arms, he asked me if I would be able to deal with it.
“I’ll understand if you don’t think you can handle living with a werewolf,” he said, “I was serious when I told you it was dangerous…”
“What kind of danger are we talking here?” I asked. “Running around attacking people and infecting them with your bites?”
“No,” he shook his head with a crooked grin, “you’re thinking of rabies… Although, now that you bring it up, a rabid werewolf would be incredibly dangerous.”
“What did you mean, then?”
“My people are very secretive; paranoid, even,” he answered. “People without the gift fear us, and humanity has an amazing ability to destroy what it fears. Being hunted to extinction isn’t very high on anyone’s wish-list.”
He stopped for a moment, and it felt like his eyes were boring holes into my soul. “You must never tell anyone about me, no matter what. Anyone could be one of us, and if my people find out you know, they will do everything they can to kill us both.
“I mean it, Michelle, no one. No matter how much you might trust that person. I’ll try to protect you, but if they catch you alone… there’s nothing you can do. One normal person can’t stop a werewolf. You wouldn’t stand a chance.”
“What about silver bullets and stuff?”
He shook his head, “I’d say that’s Hollywood, but it’s quite a lot older than that… but it’s still worthless superstition. Nothing short of complete molecular breakdown can kill a werewolf before old age gets us.”
“You mean like acid or something?”
“That’s one way. Burning would be another, and easier to accomplish… I guess irradiation might work; as far as I know, no one’s tried it.”
“How can you protect me, then?” I asked, a shiver of fear running down my spine.
“We still feel pain, and the claws aren’t just for show. Still, it would be safest if we never have to fight. That’s why you can’t tell anyone.”
It’s hard to know something and not be able to tell anyone, especially something as big as this. For a while, the only reason I managed to keep it to myself was Eric’s warning that anyone could be one of them. I had only seen him change for a few seconds, and even that had frightened me so badly that I had almost let the man I love walk out of my life.
After about a week, a thought occurred to me – perhaps there was a safe way. Someone he had known for many years and was very close to. Someone he obviously trusted. Someone I wouldn’t have been surprised to learn he had already told…