I freeze in place, and when I’m not immediately shot in the back I slowly raise my hands over head so whoever is behind me knows I’m not a threat.
“Turn around slowly.”
My heart skips a beat when I hear the voice.
What the fuck is my boyfriend doing here?
“Jason?” I do as he says, turning around as I let my arms drop but stop when he repositions the gun for a better grip at his shoulder. “Jason? It’s me, you can put the gun down.”
“I know it’s you.” Jason doesn’t put the gun down. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
“Me? This is my house, what the fuck are you doing here?”
“You know what I mean, Chan.” Aww, he’s still calling me Chan, how sweet! “You’re supposed to be at the Positive Path-“
“Nope, nope, nope,” I lower my arms and cross my hands in the universal sign for Time-Out. “I don’t want to sit through that whole title again. I’ve heard enough of it to last a life time. Just call it PPIMGBB… wait, no, that’s shit. Just call it the institute, please.”
Jason frowns at me, and still refuses to lower the gun. He asks his question again, slower, and with a firm tone that says he doesn’t want to ask a third time.
“Why are you here? You don’t get a release hearing until next year.”
“What are you talking about? I did a whole six months and got out on good behavi-” I shut up when he steps forward and presses the stock of the gun firmly into his shoulder, bracing it.
“No, stop! I don’t want your stories right now. Tell me now; why, the fuck, are you not at the institute?”
Well, you see, I escaped so I could go kill the vampires I failed to kill the first time; the ones that landed me there in the first place.
“Jason,” maybe it’s because my voice catches and comes out as a pained croak, or maybe it’s the hurt in my eyes as I’ve just realized that the person I care most about has very likely lost all faith in me, but Jason loosens his grip and I can see the tension in his shoulders slacken. I gulp and try again.
“Jason, I’m just,” I can’t seem to get myself to tell him the truth; I’m here to kill more stuff. But, I don’t want to lie to him either, so my voice is caught in a crossroads and just trails off.
“You’re just here to kill more fictional monsters,” the disappointment in his eyes hit me like a punch to the gut. I’m afraid if I keep looking at him I’ll crumble, so I avert my eyes to my shoes, realize that’s super cliche, and look toward the ceiling instead. When tilting my head back results in tears welling in my eyes I settle for staring somewhere over his shoulder, through the door, at the fridge in the kitchen.
“They’re not fic-”
“You killed a kid, Chan. A kid. Not a vampire, just some high-school kid. I don’t know why you’re seeing monsters everywhere but he was just a kid who dressed weird and hung out at abandoned warehouses, just like you.”
“I know!” I can’t stand this. This is the first time I’ve spoken to anyone I knew from before in nearly a year and it’s just going to be me defending myself, again. “I – I know he was a kid. I didn’t mean to kill him. I mean, I did, but I didn’t know he was human. I thought he was a vampire, like the rest of them, I couldn’t differentiate between humans and vampires, I thought they all-“
“There wasn’t an all, Chan. It was just the one kid. There was no one else there.”
“The vampire’s all turned to-“
“Turned to dust, yeah. All the others that you somehow managed to kill on your own turned to dust and floated away on the breeze. We all heard your story, we all saw the photos. Me, your mom, your dad, we saw the pictures of that kid lying there with a stake in his chest, which, by the way, you claim doesn’t even kill vampires!”
“It paralyzes them until you can cut off their heads,” I mutter quietly. He freezes at my words, like he’s trying to decide if he’s shocked or horrified. That wasn’t information he had before; that I intended to cut his head off. He lowers the shotgun, catches it in the crook of his arm to free his hands, and presses his hands to his face.
“FUCK!” Jason yells, turns and walks a few steps away. He runs his hands through his hair, turns, and walks back toward me. He’s pacing. “Fuck, Claire. What the fuck? Was it that damned Vampire game game you always played? I know you lost it when your sister went missing and threw yourself into it, but how could you fall that deep?”
I don’t know what to say here, or what to do to make things better. If I could just get him to see the truth then maybe everything would be better. He would see I’m not crazy, I’m not making things up, and maybe he could trust me again. Of everything so far, losing him has hurt the most.
“It wasn’t the games, Jason. Vampires are real, and they killed-“
“No,” Jason covers his face again. He can’t bear to hear me say this again. “No, Chan. Vampire’s didn’t kill Jules. That was just humans. Humans murdered Juliette because humans are shit. Maybe believing in this fantasy stuff has helped you cope with that, I don’t know, but humans did that, Chan. Humans killed your sister.”