Seeking Twilight Ch. 01bydaj8577©
Michelle Constantine was dead, and everyone knew it. So, how is it that, seven years after her death, she could be standing in the shadowy corner of a bar in downtown Minneapolis.
She had committed suicide in Winona, Minnesota in the summer of 1998. Although it made it no less tragic, it came as no surprise to anyone that she had killed herself. It was, after all, widely known, both in Michelle's circle of friends and by the residents of her dorm that she had been increasingly depressed in recent months, even suicidal. She had even set up attempts to commit suicide that she had failed to go through with. This time, however, was different. This time she couldn't fail. This time, she drove her car off of a bridge.
The aqueduct was low, so the car had hit the retaining wall and exploded. The Medical Examiner's office later found that flesh and hair had melted to the seat. The body had obviously been incinerated by the explosion. The death certificate was signed by the Medical Examiner, and cosigned by the investigating officer, Julie Kaldwell. Yes, Michelle Constantine had most definitely committed suicide. This was a fact that no one disputed, and yet, the same young woman who had been cremated by her own car was now seven years older and no worse for wear, waiting in a bar to meet a guy and have a drink.
His name was Derek Fenton. He was president of the University of Minnesota chapter of Tau Kappa Theta. He was the captain and star quarterback of the university's football team. He was a complete jackass who was somehow admired and adored all over campus by those who had never met him but couldn't help pissing off most people within fifteen minutes of being introduced to them. He was on the seventh year of a free ride provided by his father, a very successful attorney for the largest law firm in the twin cities and a generously contributing alumnus. And he, Derek, was Michelle's only reason for being in the kind of place where she wouldn't normally be caught dead.
The bar was a typical frat hangout, that is to say it was a bastardized cross between an Irish pub and a sports bar; pool tables, dart boards, air hockey, foosball, hot wings, big screen televisions, beer logos and sports memorabilia crowding the walls. Michelle stood back in the darkest, most unobserved corner of the bar trying not to stick out, which was no easy task. She was dressed in knee-high leather platform boots, fishnet stockings, a thigh-high pleated wool skirt, a leather corset, and a biker jacket, all black, and all of which only served to starkly contrast her soft, pale skin and her golden blonde hair which hung down to the middle of her back. Yet she was managing to stay fairly unnoticed. Not bad for someone who looked like a cast member of the Rocky Horror Show posing for an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog.
She watched as the narcissistic prick got drunk, not only on beer, but on his own machismo, and hit on every girl in the bar. She could see that he was there that night for action, so she waited until he was just drunk enough, then ordered a round of beers for his table. She watched the waitress take the beers to their table, knowing he would hit on the waitress. She could almost hear the waitress make some remark that would've gone over his head even if he wasn't drunk. As he pulled the waitress to his lap and then got more physical, Michelle watched as the waitress yelled out for the bouncer, who Michelle knew to be the waitress' brother. She relished the look on Derek's face as this seven foot tall, 400 pound bouncer picked Derek up and carried him out of the bar. She then slipped out the back door, down the alley, and came out just a few yards down the block from the front entrance of the bar in time to see Derek throwing a pre-adolescent tantrum in the general direction of the bouncer.
She took a rather nonchalant stance leaning against the front wall of the bar, watching as Derek turned and walked up the street toward her. She took a cigarette and the lighter from her jacket pocket, acting as though she were unable to light it. He stopped in front of her, pulled the lighter from his pocket, and lit her cigarette, thinking himself dashing. It amused her to listen to him attempt to strike up a conversation with her, mocking his endeavors in the back of her mind.
She finally lost her patience, no longer entertained but instead annoyed by his prattling. She dropped her cigarette, crushing it out with her toe, then reached across and grabbed him by his collar with both hands. She quickly pulled him to her, pressing her lips to his, pushing her tongue into his mouth. The combination of his currently drunken stupor and his shock slowed him for only a moment, and he quickly had his arms around her, his hands all over her. As his hands slid up under her skirt to grab her ass, she pulled him down the alley for a little more privacy. Her own hands slid down to his crotch, teasing and exciting him further into a trance-like state of arousal.
She pulled away from him slightly, teasingly, and looked down below his belt, licking her lips as she slipped her jacket off of her shoulders and let it fall to the ground. She again pulled him to her, her hands reaching behind his head, pulling his lips to her neck. He began to kiss and nibble and suck on her neck, as their bodies ground into each other. She began to do the same to him, biting and nipping at his shoulder.
She knew she had him. His mouth was all over her throat, his one hand pawing at her ass, and his other hand fumbling to undo her corset. She had to act now. She opened her mouth wide, revealing her abnormally long and sharp incisors, and dug deep into Derek's jugular. It barely phased him at first; he merely thought she was giving him one hell of a hickey. She swallowed hard, the pressure of his arteries filling her mouth quickly. She could feel his actions and his heartbeat slow. She pushed him up against the wall, propping him up as she felt his body begin to collapse into unconsciousness; she felt his blood ceasing to push out of his body. He slumped and slid down the wall into a sitting position as she sucked what little blood she still could out of him.
She stood up and stepped back from the now dead body of Derek Fenton, licking her lips. She picked up her jacket, dusted it off, and put it back on. Then she opened her mouth wide once again, this time dislodging the elongated caps from her incisors, and proceeded to lick them clean. After all, she hated getting things stuck in her teeth.
Miles away, in Bloomington, Tina Curtis awoke with a start, sitting straight up in bed, a paralyzing chill running through her and the taste of blood still on her tongue. She scrambled and squirmed to get the covers off her, as if she had felt some unseen menagerie of creepy crawlies slithering and skittering across her pajama'd body. She curled up against the headboard, staring at the empty space on the bed where she had just been laying. She was so frozen by her own terror that she had failed to notice that the force with which she woke had knocked her boyfriend Denny halfway out of bed.
"Aw, crap, not again," Denny whined into the carpet, having just woken up with his face squashed against the floor, hanging out of his bed by his ankles. As he attempted to spit floor lint out of the sides of his mouth, his legs pulled free from the tangled blanket, and he clumsily somersaulted to the floor with an unceremonious thud. He pulled himself back up to the bed to see Tina curled up against the headboard, sitting upright, legs pulled tightly to her chest, arms wrapped around her knees, eyes wide as saucers, staring downward into space. He crawled back into bed, put her arms around her and whispered, "Honey. . ."
Noticing her lack of movement or response, he asked, more audibly this time, "Tina, are you alright?"
With a heavy sigh, she melts into his embrace.
"I had that dream again."
Denny said nothing in response, and instead, ran his fingers through her hair and kissed her forehead.
"I know . . .", she said, "I know it's just a dream, but it's so real . . ."
She leaned in to him, her head pressing against his chest and her arms around his waist. He kissed her forehead again and whispered in her ear, "Its okay . . . It's okay."
The tone of Denny's voice was always soothing to Tina, and tonight was no exception. She loved feeling the way she did at that moment, that feeling of being comforted. It was like being cradled by a life-sized teddy bear. Denny, on the other hand, was tired, and had been for most of the week.
Tina had dreamt the same dream a month ago, and it had kept her up all night, which had kept Denny up all night. After that night things had been fine until a week ago, when she had the dream again. This time, however, it kept the both of them up not only that night, but every night since. In fact, up until waking up choking on carpet fuzz, Denny had been having the best night of sleep he had gotten in a week.
Denny started to move, but Tina didn't want him to. She tightened her grip and pouted up at him, saying, "Don't go."
"I was just gonna get the blankets. It's late, it's cold, and we need sleep."
"Okay," she resigned, letting go of her human pillow.
Denny turned and crawled to the foot of the bed, struggled with the tangles for a moment, then pulled the blankets up over himself and Tina. He spooned up to Tina, wrapping his arms around her and closing his eyes. Tina's eyes, however, remained open, focused on the blood red glow of her digital alarm clock.
Tina Curtis wasn't like her boyfriend. Oh, she was very much in love with him. She could be tender and caring, like he could be. She could be strong and supportive, like he could. She could be playful and flirtatious and sexy, like he could. Yet they had their differences. While Denny was and idealist, Tina was a pragmatist. While he wanted to change things, she was resigned to the belief that they never would. While he loved to ask questions, she didn't want to know the answers, because, while he believed that the truth was the best of things and could only serve to help people, she knew that the truth could be a dangerous and even deadly thing. She loved Denny very much, and, although she knew they lived in Minnesota, where the only news was record snowfall, she knew how zealous and tenacious he could get. As a result, she was always afraid that he might find out something he wasn't supposed to, and she refused to lose him because of it.
Tina stared into the blood red glow of her digital clock, as her mind flooded with images from her dream. She shut her eyes, trying to push the images out of her mind, but they only became more vivid and intense. Blood, pain, shadow, the smell of rotting death. They ate away at her soul and stabbed at her mind.
Tina sat up in bed and looked at her clock. Not a minute had passed since she had closed her eyes. Damn it, she thought. It annoyed her that the one thing she needed right now, more than anything else; sleep; was the one thing she couldn't have. Not without help, that is. She got up and went to the bathroom medicine cabinet. She normally hated to take sleeping pills, but right now she didn't care. She filled the water cup, grabbed out the bottle marked "Nighttime Aspirin". She sat down on the closed toilet, popped a couple of pills in her mouth, and swallowed them down with a swig of water. She sighed and sat back, trying to relax her mind and focus on anything other than the dream she just had.
Denny's arm slid over in bed to the empty space left by Tina. He warily opened one eye, noticing the light from the bathroom. He rolled out of bed, standing on wobbly legs, and walked to the bathroom, holding his hand up in front of his eyes.
Tina jumped, and then laughed to herself.
"Jesus, Denny, you scared the crap out of me."
She looked up at Denny and saw how tired he was.
"Go back to bed, baby. You look exhausted."
Worried, Denny asked, "You sure you're okay?"
Tina reached over and took Denny's hand.
"Yeah, I'll be right there. Just try to get some sleep."
Denny turned and headed back down the hall. Tina smiled to herself, and then stood up. She rinsed out the cup and closed the medicine cabinet. As she did, she saw the reflection of another woman staring back at her. Not the reflection of someone else in the room with her; her own reflection had been replaced by the image of this stranger.
Everything was different. Tina's straight, shoulder-length, brunette hair had been replaced by the woman's long, flowing blonde hair. Tina's pajamas had been replaced with black leather. Even Tina's face had been replaced, even though it moved the way Tina's moved, expressing what Tina felt. The face itself was alien to Tina, and yet, she found it somehow familiar.
Tina's gaze was locked on the woman in the mirror who barely moved. Suddenly, the woman reached out from the mirror and grabbed Tina by the throat. No sooner had the woman's hand made contact than the vivid, random images from Tina's dream flooded her mind. The grotesque montage of the murderous dream played out in shades of blood red like some grisly sports highlights. As the visions overwhelmed her mind, her nearly unconscious body wobbled on tired legs. Her grip on the cup loosened and it slipped from her hand, landing in the sink with a loud clang. Her attention snapped down to the sink, seeing the cup.
Denny had only just laid down in bed when he heard the clang from in the bathroom. He sat up and called out, "Tina?!"
At the sound of Denny's voice, Tina called back, "Yes?"
"What was that?"
Tina, now even more shaken than before, grabbed the glass and put it back. She looked back in the mirror and saw her reflection as it should be. Denny called out to her again, more timidly this time, "Honey?"
"I dropped the glass," Tina said as she turned off the light in the bathroom, then gave her eyes a moment to adjust, went back into the bedroom and got back into bed.
Denny put his arm around her and asked, "You okay?"
Tina stared up at the ceiling, and said, "Yeah, I'm fine, just tired," lying more to herself than to Denny. She rolled over, then, confronted yet again by the glow of her digital clock, she pulled the covers over her head and attempted to sleep. She slowly drifted off to sleep, her mind fighting against not only the images from her dream, but Denny's snoring as well. As her mind finally gave up, the images cleared, leaving one single fact behind, glaring in her head like cheap neon: tomorrow was Monday. Tina hated Mondays.