by Holly Day
Flicker the vampire stalks into her room his eyes are big black holes in his head he looms over her, claws outstretched, the stench of the undead on his breath. Her heart dies in her chest at his approach, fangs bared lower jaw quivering in anticipation of her surrender, of the inevitable spurt of blood destined to stop her life all she is. Into a Slow-Moving Current If one puts a bulrush basket in the water and waves a chubby bundle goodbye, one should not expect a postcard 20 years later from a fully-functional adult grateful for whatever preparations one believes they gave that little one in the few moments they were in one’s life. These thoughts are not allowed. Only goodbye is allowed here. She tells her son this as he reads the letter over and over again reflects aloud on the want contained in the words, the implied debt. But there aren’t any words she can say that’ll make him change his mind. Damning and Details I tried to only focus on the cool, crisp raspy scratch of starched hospital sheets, focus on how my sweat refused to be absorbed into the rubber mattress just beneath the sheets clung to my backside in a warm pool. I wondered if I rolled over, it would look as though I’d wet the bed if I could roll over, if my friends would just look away embarrassed for me, but I couldn’t roll over, I knew I couldn’t. My friends gathered around my bed and tried to distract me from the chance, the fact, no, the chance, let’s not lose hope that I would never be able to roll over again, to walk again might never leave this room again, maybe frighten me away from the edge of death, because yes, there could be death looming somewhere in the room, perhaps even capital D Death, a specter only I could see. I would get better soon, they assured me. They’d come by every day until I could come home. There were more inane words of encouragement from my parents, my lover, a stranger who had seen the accident from the rails of a highway overpass, a stranger who kept describing the accident in excited detail, as though someone in the room might be writing a book about the event and he wanted them to get it right. All I remembered was seeing rabbits scurrying out of the way as I spun out of control a deer staring, curious, from the safety of a nearby stand of birch and fir brittle, yellow cornstalks rising in waves to catch the car as it finally fell. Dreams Interrupted for years, he dreamed of eating her, of trapping her between his paws and staring her into submission. too many years spent salivating over her and now that he has her, trapped under his claws he’s not sure what to do with her, his heart urges him to smother her before she can run, to swallow her whole like a snake would a rat, but his heart aches at the thought of all of this being completely over misses the chasing games they used to play, the ones she finally lost. He will always be watching her even during those times she thinks he’s asleep, eyes half-lidded in nonchalance, faking indifference. today, she gets to be the pet, his own, his only, and tomorrow he’ll only eat a bit of her tail for breakfast. The Second Attempt She doesn’t want to know him, despite their shared rib despite the fact that she’s just some wet bone ripped from his body to fulfill some unspoken, empty loss. She stills wants to remain an enigma, she will remain unreadable. She will find the first wife, her sister made of clay and mother of his nightmares find out all the things this first wife likes to do and she will do those things, too, because she already knows he doesn’t like them, and they are wrong. Familiarity only brings contempt and children, and she wants neither from him. Holly's writing has recently appeared in The Hong Kong Review and Appalachian Journal, among others. She currently teaches at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota, the Richard Hugo House in Washington, and WriterHouse in Virginia.