by Mike Ward
Darien was learning how to live again. There was no reason to deny it. She knew what she was. After all the nights, waking up in the woods with bloody hands, but it was getting easier. She found the right foods that didn’t hurt her stomach, did Yoga, and she was back to her job after 6 months of leave for “exhaustion.” No one seemed the wiser.
Things were even going well with dating. Tonight she would have her 4th date with Craig. He was so sweet. Some of the girls at the office didn’t like him, but it didn’t matter. It was their fourth date, and if it went well, she knew where she’d end up.
At 6 pm she dressed, put on perfume. She pulled down her red mini-skirt, made sure it wasn’t too slutty. She looked just right. Behind her was the cage she had ordered to keep herself locked in on those full and blue moon nights. They would be going back to his place or a hotel.
She kept good track of the cycle of the moon, so no problems there. Of course there was that one time when she became so excited. She shook herself.
They arrived at Mesa Rosa early. Craig looked great. He was in a black suit, and it really showed off his build. Darien loved men in suits.
During dinner they laughed a lot. She was surprised. Craig wasn’t usually that charming. It might have been the wine, or the fact that she was planning on letting go that night anyway. She had been under so much stress. After desert he leaned over to her and said, “I wanted to night to be special. I was hoping you might come back with me to the Ritz for a few drinks.”
“It’s so elegant there,” she said.
He helped her with her coat. He was being so good about everything maybe there was more to Craig than she had originally thought. She was now feeling somehow close to him. Maybe this would develop into something. It was the first time she had let herself go that far in the 2 years since she had been bitten. He hailed a cab. As it pulled up, he kissed her firmly. She closed her eyes.
She felt dizzy, and the cold rain dripping down her naked body. Squinting, she saw the fall trees covering the morning sky. She held up her hands, and there was the blood again, and mud. She felt the sickness, dreaded it. She turned to her stomach and wretched, and again until a pool of blood and bits formed in front of her. She clasped beside it, rested there with her eyes closed and when she opened them again she saw it shinning a little in the thickening pool. She picked it up and held it in her hand. When she opened it, she saw clearly, a gold wedding band.
“Son of a bitch,” she said.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.