In the time of COVID-19, life has changed. Going slowly insane under strict lockdown conditions, Clay is thrilled to meet Vincent. It doesn’t matter the man has somehow gained access to his home and woken him in the middle of the night; Vincent is mysterious. Not to mention a lover like no other Clay has ever had, or suspects he ever will again.
In the days after Vincent leaves, Clay is desperate to make contact with the vampire again. For reasons that remain elusive, Clay thinks he may have fallen in love with Vincent at first sight. The vampire is all he can think about, but dare he enter the vampire’s abode? Only able to leave his home under cover of darkness, there are too many risks involved in entering the abandoned building down by the railway line.
He has a choice to make. Does he push himself to do what his common-sense tells him not to? Or should he wait at home, hoping for another visit? The tension he feels may just drive him insane.
“Thank you for showing me that. What a wonderful gift to have. And you have so many.”
“We all have gifts, Clay.”
They walked across the oval to the other side, climbing over the small wire fence to get to the footpath.
“But your gifts ... your gifts are something else.”
Vincent placed an arm around Clay’s shoulders. “It depends how you look at things. Yes, I can call the animals to me, but it’s a lonely thing to be what I am.”
There was a note of ... what? sadness? longing? ... in the vampire’s voice.
“It’s no picnic existing alone in this world, without any family. Without friends.”
“Do you have ... I mean, you had a family. Once. Do you ...?”
“My father died some years ago. My mother is in a home, so aged I could barely recognise her. My two sisters…well, I am dead to them and they must be dead to me. Why torment them with a visit?”
Clay’s eyes misted over. He wrapped a comforting arm around Vincent’s waist.
“I can be your family,” he said.
Vincent stopped and kissed him. By the powdery illumination of a street light, Clay could see that Vincent was smiling.
“Don’t you already have a family?”
“Yes, but I could have two. It’s no more difficult to have two.”
Vincent cupped Clay’s face and kissed him.
“You’re a special man, Clay. Don’t ever change.”
They recommenced walking, passing house after house with darkened windows, lit only by the LED displays on the various electronics they owned. A dog barked at them as they passed, but fell silent as they walked further along the footpath. The night air, cool against Clay’s face, and the silence, so absolute it brought him a sense of calmness he could not remember having felt before.
They might have been the only two people alive on the planet that night.
“I want you to come and live with me,” he said suddenly.
The vampire turned to Clay.
“You heard. I want you to come and live with me.”
“Clay, I couldn’t do that. It would be ...”
“What would it be?” Clay interrupted. “It would be better than that dirty, dangerous old building you’re staying in now? Why would you rather stay there when you didn’t have to?”
“It’s dark. I can sleep in peace knowing that no-one is going to bother me.”
“But for how long? One day developers will come along and tear it down. Build apartments. The place will be swarming with people.”
“Then I’ll find somewhere else,” Vincent replied matter-of-factly.
Clay turned to Vincent, taking hold of both his hands.
“Move in with me,” he said, looking longingly into Vincent’s eyes. “I have a spare room. I’ll buy some heavy curtains for the windows. I’ll put a blanket over the door so no light comes in through the cracks. You can lock the door from the inside. You’ll be safer there than anywhere.”
“I just don’t know if it’s too early for this.”