by Steven Cuffari
She sucked. But I loved her. And she loved me. We were a perfect match. She was smart. She was beautiful. Some might have even said hot. When she wore a little black dress, she didn’t need to use hypnotism to cattle her victims. Her curves could do that on their own.
The worst part of being married to her was not her insatiable need for human blood. It was her incessant cheating. For a cold, undead creature of the night, she was ridiculously horny.
One night, it was the last straw. I had been working late, extra hours to pay the mortgage on my castle in Virginia. Twenty minutes from home, I stopped in at the Rusty Hole. I had just wanted a quick beer. It was cheaper than sertraline and was just as good.
I sat down at the bar. The place was pretty empty, even for a Tuesday.
“Yo,” nodded the bartender.
He served me the drink and went back to whatever it was that he was doing. I sipped it and looked around. An old lady wearing a low cut shirt that showed her tits and super red lipstick made eyes at me. She raised her glass and smiled, waving for me to come sit next to her.
I smiled back and raised my beer to her, shrugged and pointed at my wedding ring. I chugged it until it was half done and was about to finish the other half when the jukebox started.
“Oh shit, that’s my song,” I said. The opening riffs of “Sweet Home Alabama” made me want another beer. I chugged the rest of the first and got up.
“Another one, please. I’m gonna go take a piss.”
I played air guitar on the way to the bathroom and pushed the doors open just as the lyrics came on. The men’s was on the left and the ladies’, on the right. I swung left, unbuckled my pants and got my dick out to piss as fast as possible so that I didn’t miss the song. As I looked down into the urinal pushing as hard as I could without having an accident, I heard a woman moaning in the ladies’ room. She sounded like she was having fun, and I smiled. I shook off the excess drops and put my junk back in. I continued to listen to the woman moaning as I washed my hands fast and left the bathroom. As I passed the ladies’ room, I tried to ignore the woman’s moans. But there was something about the way she said, “Fuck me! Put it in me!” that made me pause.
“Imelda?” I said to myself. The realization made me pallid. I spun on my heels and barged into the ladies’ room. She was pressed up against the sink, grabbing the ass of my best friend Thom as he humped her.
When she saw me, her legs were almost over her head. She nearly fell to the ground as she tried to squirm out of the “compromising” position. I averted my eyes for a second out of reflex, but quickly looked back.
“It’s not what it looks like, baby!” she said. She grabbed Thom’s neck, crushing it and jammed her fangs into him. “I was feeding!”
“Fuck you,” I growled and stormed out.
“Here’s your beer,” said the bartender as I rushed passed the bar.
I slammed some money on the bar. “Keep the change.”
“You still owe two bucks, pal!”
“That was a ten dollar bill,” I said.
“Two beers, twelve bucks. Sorry pal.”
Imelda came out and shouted at me. “Bierce, wait!”
“Jesus Christ. Here’s another five.” I slid it across the bar, and she hurried toward me. The bartender looked at the both of us and frowned, shaking his head.
“Please, wait!” she said.
With all of her “supernatural” powers or whatever they were, she could have easily forced me to stop. I never understood why she didn’t use them on me.
“Fuck you!” I said without stopping.
She chased me out to the street. My car was down the block.
“You can’t leave me,” she said, walking backwards in front of me.
“Watch me,” I said and pushed past her.
“Just stop!” she said. She grabbed my arm and squeezed it, pushing me toward the side of the adjacent building. I winced in pain.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
“No, no you’re not.” I circled around her and continued to walk.
“Yes, I am.” She continued to follow me.
“If you were sorry, you’d stop.”
“Ugh, that’s such bullshit. You know I have a problem.”
“Problem? You’ve fucked everyone in this town! ”
“I told you. I can’t help it. It’s because of… my condition.”
“Yeah. I know. I’m done with it.”
“No. No you’re not. I won’t allow it.”
“I’m leaving in the morning.”
We got to my car.
“I’m coming with you.”
“No. It’s my castle! Mine! I don’t care that your parents owned it hundreds of years ago. It’s mine now, and you’re not welcome there anymore!”
That hurt her. I almost felt sorry for her. But then I drew up the images in my mind of her infinite infidelities and sympathy drained from my veins.
“You can’t say that,” she finally replied. “You can’t mean that.”
“I can, and I do. You’re uninvited.”
She took a breath and held back a sob. I had seen it many times before. She always looked so repentant. But I knew she wasn’t. I got in the car and drove off.
As my headlights reflected off the road markers on the way home, I cursed myself for ever having bought the castle. When I got to the road, I slowed down and drove cautiously. I pulled up to the front and parked.
The castle was small, but it was a castle. Made from large, heavy stones, it was impressive despite its size. I didn’t want to sell it, but I had to. I slammed the car door shut and walked across the layer of wet leaves that led to the front door.
Imelda jumped out and startled me. She had her fangs exposed and her claws extended.
“What the fuck are you doing?” I asked. “You need to go. You’re not coming inside. Not this time. Thom was my best friend.”
“No he wasn’t,” she replied.
“You fucked him and killed him. And yes, he was my best friend.”
“No he wasn’t. He was there too, you know! He wasn’t innocent.”
“I don’t care. I’m done with this.”
“Please, Bierce. You have to believe me. It’s because of this… this fucking curse!” She retracted her claws and fangs and sweetly approached me. “Who’s going to watch over my coffin in the daytime? Who’s going to make sure that I have enough soil from my homeland? Baby, I love you. I need you.”
“You love me because you need me.”
“No, I need you because I love you.”
I don’t know if she was hypnotizing me or not. But I couldn’t resist her either way.
“I love you too, but I…”
Tears rolled down her face. “You love me… I know.”
“I just can’t…”
“And I know what I have to do,” she whispered.
“I can’t do this–”
Before I had the chance to finish, my brain exploded with pain. Everything went dark, and my head began to ache insufferably. I could feel myself standing, though I had no strength left in my body. It was a cold night, but somehow it became instantly colder. I felt surrounded by ice. Then I couldn’t breath. I felt like I was in a vacuum. No air. It was still dark. I couldn’t tell if my eyes were open. It was as if I were in another dimension, another plane of existence. It all happened so quickly. But just as quickly, it returned to normal.
Normal, as always, being a relative word.
I opened my eyes wide and took a deep breath. Imelda stood there, hands clasped together as if she were praying. Her sad, hopeful smile was covered in blood and tears.
I coughed before speaking. “What’s going on?” I felt strange, but I couldn’t understand why.
“It was the only way,” she said.
I looked at my hands. They were covered in blood. It took a moment, but I finally began to taste the blood in my mouth. I touched my face. It was sticky.
I ran to the car. “What did you do?!” I shouted. I looked into the side view mirror and saw my face covered with blood.
She came up next to me. “I didn’t know what else to do. I just wanted you to understand.”
“Understand? Understand?!” I was about ready to strangle her, when I felt it for the first time. I was hungry. It filled my every cell. When I jumped on her, she didn’t fight back, though I know she could have if she had wanted to. Unearthly noises came out from my mouth as I growled and screamed on top of her.
“Yes…” was all she said. Instinctively, I bit her and drank her blood. She seemed to love it. She began to take off my pants, unbuckling my belt. I followed her and began to rip off her clothes. She bit me and drank from my veins. We could have been rolling around there in the leaves for hours, minutes or seconds. I completely lost track of time.
A moment of satisfaction never came. Not even after we stopped. Every part of me cried out with desire. We gathered our clothes and sat there naked.
“It’ll never go away. You’ll learn to control it, but it will never go away.”
I didn’t know what to say. “I’m… sorry,” I said.
She couldn’t hold back tears. “I know. But I’m more sorry.”
I held back tears of my own. “You’ve lived like this for hundreds of years now… I can’t imagine… I… Why didn’t you tell me?”
She laughed and wiped her face. “Are you kidding me? It’s all I’ve ever been telling you. You just didn’t want to listen.”
I was stunned. She was right.
“But I don’t blame you,” she said. “If I were you, I would hate me too.”
“You know I don’t hate you.”
She laughed again. “You know you do. But you love me too. I know that. Even after all I’ve done to you, you still love me. You always have. And I know that. That’s why I knew I had to show you… this…”
I laughed. “You cursed me with being a vampire because I love you?”
She laughed, and more tears fell upon her cheeks.
“Typical you. I guess I should have seen it coming.”
We laughed together and finally went inside.
Over the next few days, we became closer than ever. We hunted together, fed together and made love together. But there was always that desire, especially when feeding, to be unfaithful to each other.
I felt ashamed every time we killed or had sex with our victims. She did too. I finally understood where she had been coming from all those years.
I didn’t like feeding, killing, though I was compelled to do it. Somehow, I got the idea that if we could control our sexual desires, we could control the hunger too.
“I have an idea,” I said one day over breakfast.
“What is it, honey?” she asked.
She was reading the newspaper and I was on my cell phone.
I sipped my coffee. “Right here. We should do this.” I showed her the webpage.
Sex Addict Support Group, it read.
“You’re not serious,” she said.
She laughed at me. “I can see it now, Support Group Bloodbath. That’s a good headline.”
“It won’t come to that.”
“If you say so,” she said and leaned in to kiss me.
“I love you, baby,” I said.
“I love you too.”
So we showed up to the next meeting of the support group. It was in the basement of a church. Everyone gave us a warm welcome. There was a definite sexual tension in the room. After introductions, people began to speak. Finally, it came to Josh, a big guy and professional football player.
“Katherine is my perfect match. Her sorority was a sister house to my fraternity. We do everything together. The sex is great. Everything is great. I wish I could stop cheating, but I can’t. Two days ago, I was in Moonbucks waiting for my coffee. A young girl started making eyes at me and slipped me her number. I tried to ignore it, but we both got our coffee at the same time and happened to walk out together. It was as if something took over me. I can’t remember if we even spoke. But we ended up in my car.”
Tears ran down Josh’s face.
“I just want to be faithful to my wife!”
“It’s okay, Josh. We’re here for you,” someone said.
Josh broke down and cried uncontrollably.
Imelda and I watched as the group consoled the delicate giant. Their words seemed well-intentioned, but they were all meaningless. They all needed more help than they were getting. It was clearly hopeless for all of them.
We shook our heads as we watched. The others noticed and grimaced at our lack of sympathy. They were trying to be something other than what they were. It was sad.
I looked into Imelda’s eyes and smiled. “I love you,” I said.
She kissed my lips. “I love you too.”
“You were right,” I said.
She was confused. “About what?”
“‘Support Group Bloodbath‘ is a great headline.”
We smiled at each other and continued to watch Josh cry.
Time to feed, I thought.
And I knew she was thinking the same thing.