Strange work written for a flash fiction anthology that was turned down. 490-odd words
It was a simple word and yet it hung in the air between them like a curtain. All Garry could do was stare at Jessica, though he had to force himself not to drop his gaze. She would react badly to that, he knew it.
“Why” she repeated. There was cold fury in her voice, and, really, that was all Garry could hear.
“I couldn’t…” he started, but stopped himself. Making excuses was only going to make things worse. “Well, you…” he tried, but once again stopped himself. Throwing the past back at her was not going to improve the situation, either.
“Well, I what?” Jessica demanded, her anger coming off her like a cloud.
“I’m sorry?” he offered meekly, wincing even as he said those two words.
Her glare became almost a physical force against him. “That’s it? Sorry?”
“Well… you weren’t there.” Oh God, he thought; an excuse! I’m dead… Again.
“You could have called.” She held her smartphone up. The anger was still there, but now Garry was sure he could detect disappointment as well. Just to add to everything else.
“Guess I got greedy,” he offered. She inhaled deeply, as if controlling herself and scarcely doing that. “I really am sorry,” he went on quickly. “But next time, I’ll…”
“Next time?” she snapped. “You think I’m letting you out of my sight for so much as a second?”
He shrugged and finally let his eyes drop. “If that was the case, I really wouldn’t complain,” he muttered, then gazed up at her through the tops of his eyes.
The slightest of smiles touched her features. Cruel, maybe; evil, possibly; a smile, definitely. “Oh, really?” she asked, her tone disbelieving, but that hint of a grin remained.
She stared at him intensely as she stood tall, folding her arms across her chest as she did so. “Are you still hungry?” she asked.
He shrugged, then nodded, once, slowly. “Possibly,” he replied without conviction.
“Even after last night?” Jessica’s eyes flashed with that ire again.
“If not, you can have most of my share.” Garry’s own smile crept over his visage.
She laughed, then lunged forward so her face was less than a finger’s breadth from his. “So help me,” she growled, “if you ever do two at once again without calling me first, I’ll stake you myself.”
Garry nodded. He believed her. And so all he found he could do was whisper, “Then let’s go hunting.”
Jessica nodded, then kissed him quickly, making sure her elongated, pointed canine teeth did not pierce him. He grinned at her.
They stood side by side and threw their arms out with a strong flourish and within the blink of an eye a pair of large bats fluttered where two people had been moments before. Snouts touched and tongues flickered at one another in a show of affection before they flew into the night to feed… and to kill…