The Waiting 6

I was tempted to name this one something other than “The Waiting 6.” It is the sixth in this weird little thematic series I’m doing, and it is about waiting, but this more than the others feels like its own piece.

Perhaps because I had a specific character in mind while writing it.

But what the hell. It’s late (for my fiction post) and I don’t have a better title just yet. Number 6 will have to do.

Thankfully, it’s also horror. I want to stick with horror for the rest of the month for obvious reasons. This month – oh, how I love October.

I hope you have plans to indulge your darker side for the next couple of weeks. We get precious little time to do that each year, at least without seeming morbid. It’s good for the soul. Pop in a scary movie. Read a ghost story. Visit a haunted house.

You’ll feel more alive for it, I promise.

No prompt this week, so straight to the fiction.

the waiting 6

This is how it should be, he thought. How it once was.

He relaxed in his seat, somehow maintaining perfect posture even as he reclined. His arms lay along the armrests. His feet were flat on the floor. A subtle smile pulled the corners of his lips upward, but his chest did not rise and fall.

The apartment wasn’t bad by modern standards, but it struck him as gaudy and cheap. Ikea furniture filled the room and framed prints, most likely purchased at Target, adorned the walls. It could have been anyone’s apartment, it so thoroughly lacked a sense of identity. Of home.

The people of this plastic age.

As he sat, his eyes roamed the room, from one meaningless bobble to the next. On the coffee table lay books that would never be read – one about highways and another about cats. The shelf next to the TV had 3 candles positioned among DVD cases, more show books, and vacation pictures. He could see the unburned wicks from here. And on the bar that separated the small living room from the kitchen sat unopened bottles of inexpensive wine.

It was an ‘un’ apartment. Unread. Unburned. Unopened.

He reflected on this, noting that it was so very much like so many other homes. So many other lives. His, even, at one time. Before the great change. Before he really began to live.

That’s the problem with mortality, he thought. One has all the incentive to suck the marrow out of life, but not time enough to develop the wisdom to realize it.

He’d been watching her. For weeks.

He followed her on her commute to and from work. He sat outside the gym, observing through large windows as she pounded miles on the treadmill. She liked to do her grocery shopping on Tuesdays and Saturdays. She slept in on weekend mornings, at least until 10 and sometimes as late as noon. And her social life was intact, but not overwhelming.

On that night, for example, she was out with a couple of friends. They planned to go to a neighborhood bar so they could walk home. There was a slim chance she would come back with the company of a young man, or not come back at all, but most likely she’d arrive before midnight, moderately buzzed and by herself.

He was, of course, prepared for other scenarios. Friends in tow, or a young man. These did not matter.

Only her.

He knew from the first time they passed within feet that he wanted her. She had the eyes of an old soul and the scent of something exotic, both fresh and different. He simply had to feel her blood on his lips. Taste her insides.

He could have moved with haste, but that was not his way. He was meticulous, taking great pleasure in the slow hunt. Every time he watched her, each time he lurked unseen, he felt a trill of delight.

He liked to come to her apartment while she was at work and wonder from room to room, smelling her.

He knew the moment he performed the inevitable act these simple indulgences would end. They would end whether he made this the first of many visits, or concluded the whole business that night. They would end whether she became a new convert or he drank fully. They would end the moment he took his first sip.

This was not his first time. He knew what to expect. Not unlike the first sexual encounter between two new lovers, subsequent sessions might hold their own wonders, but none would ever again be the first.

He so loved firsts.

He could see it playing out in his mind. She would open the door, completely unaware of his presence. Without a sideways glance, she’d walk to the kitchen for water or a final drink, depending on how inebriated she was already. He would wait until she was done with her libation before speaking her name.

Just her name. Once.

She would turn, alarmed. Intrigued. Already under his spell.

He would beacon with a finger, and she would come. Come to him, like a child seeking shelter in a parent’s lap. Come like a faithful dog when the master calls. Come like the sun crests the horizon each damnable day.

Because it must.

He ran his tongue along the front of his teeth.

The deadbolt turned. As the door swung open, he smiled.