Tags: #short story, #vampire, #romantica, #supernatural, #paranormal
Forget Ever After
Copyright © 2007 Kallysten
reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in
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that in which it is published and without a similar condition being
imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
The right of Kallysten to be identified as
the Author of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with
the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
First Published 2007
All characters in this publication are purely
fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is
Edited by Tracey W. and Zoe G.
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Forget Ever After
The words in front of Lena’s eyes
were becoming blurry, melting together on the paper in an
She slipped a
bookmark between the pages of the heavy medical textbook and leaned
back on the bed, arms spread out to each side of her. She closed
her eyes and she tried to review the definitions she had just gone
over, but her memory refused to cooperate. The bits of sentences
that were coming to her mind in random order might have described
the inner workings of an alien from a faraway world, but in no way,
shape, or form, could they possibly apply to human
With a deep sigh, she rolled onto her side and
opened her eyes again. On the bedside table, mere inches from her
face, the picture of Liam looked back at her with serene blue
quiet smile seemed to be saying. “
You’ll ace that test. I know you
Lena’s hand trembled a little while she reached
out to run a finger along the image in a gesture as habitual as it
“For you,” she murmured and sat up.
She found the place where she had stopped
reading and started again, forcing her mind to focus on the
definitions she had to memorize.
It was Friday night and the exam was
scheduled for Monday morning. She would be ready—she
that she knew all these terms when she wasn’t too tired to string
words together in a sentence that made sense. However, as Liam had
often said, reviewing a little more couldn’t hurt. It wasn’t as
though she had anything better to do anyway.
After a while someone knocked on the door, Lena
was so absorbed in what she was reading that she almost jumped,
startled. She looked up at the door, and it opened before she could
call out an invitation. Alice stepped in and Lena blinked. Her
friend and dorm-mate seemed to have grown horns and a tail since
she had last seen her at breakfast.
“You might want to have someone check these,”
she said with a quiet snort, pointing at the glowing horns attached
to Alice’s head. “Tumors that size have to be malignant.”
Alice completely ignored her attempt at a joke,
her lips not twitching into a smile for a second. Instead, she
stared at Lena, looking consternated.
“You’re not ready,” she commented flatly. “I’m
guessing it’s my ears I should have someone check, because I could
have sworn I heard you promise you’d be ready at nine.”
A quick look at the clock on the wall and Lena
grimaced and tried to look contrite. She had lost track of time as
she studied. Or maybe her subconscious had been all too happy to
forget about the Halloween party her friend had tricked her into
agreeing to attend. She had a tendency to forget this kind of
things ever since Liam…
Shutting down that line of thought, she offered
Alice an apologetic smile. “Sorry?”
Alice crossed her arms as she frowned. “Sorry
isn’t going to cut it this time. Don’t you dare move.”
With that warning, she walked out, and through
the open door, Lena could hear her high heels clicking down the
hallway. The sound ceased before it became too faint to hear, then
resumed after a few seconds. When Alice reappeared, her smile was
“There,” she said, handing a plastic bag to
Lena. “You can wear these. I was going to put them on with the
horns but I changed my mind.”
With some trepidation, Lena pulled out of the
bag a bundle of white tulle and glitter. A moment of confusion
passed before she recognized what she was holding.
She raised a dumbfounded look toward Alice, who
eyed Lena’s jeans and plain white shirt critically.
“You won’t make the classiest angel, but I guess
you can pull it off as long as you smile. Come on, let me put these
Lena glanced back at the wings in her hands. She
could see that Alice had good intentions, and her friend’s support
was the reason why she hadn’t quit the school during those first
few weeks after Liam’s disappearance. But good intentions or not,
the prospect of dressing up to go to a Halloween party seemed even
more silly now than it had every time Alice had mentioned it over
the past week.
“Listen,” she said gently as she stood and
folded the wings back in a bundle, “you’re the best for asking me
to come along—”
“The next words out of your mouth had better not
be ‘but I’m not coming’,” Alice cut in. “You love Halloween. You’ve
always loved Halloween. You’ve made me dress up in ridiculous
costumes for three years in a row, there’s no way I’m not returning
the favor. Now hurry up and give me those wings. Carlos and his
friend are probably waiting for us by now.”
The casual mention of this ‘friend’ didn’t
escape Lena and she tensed, knowing all too well what Alice had in
mind. Her eyes flickered toward the bedside table—toward Liam’s
picture—in an almost instinctive glance.
“It’s not a good idea,” she protested again,
looking back at Alice. She expected more reproaches and protests,
but not the sad smile that tugged at Alice’s lips.
“You’ve been locked up here for months, Lena. If
you’re not in class, you’re at the library or in your room
studying. And if you’re not studying, you’re putting up posters and
pestering the police. Do you really think he would have wanted you
to stop living?”
They’d had this discussion a dozen times over
the past weeks. Alice had supported Lena for months, but like
everyone else, she had eventually accepted that Liam wouldn’t
return, nor would he be found alive. Everyone accepted as much,
save for Lena. She refused to let go of hope. It was the flame that
kept her sane, day after day, that allowed her to keep living and
keep waiting for Liam.
However, after hearing Alice repeat it with
increasing force as the weeks passed, it was slowly sinking in that
what she had been doing, since her fiancé’s disappearance, couldn’t
be called ‘living’. At most, she was surviving. Moreover, that
wasn’t something Liam would have ever tolerated. He would have
glued those wings to her back if needed, and dragged her to the
nearest club. He would have made her dance, then smile, then laugh.
He would have made her love him even more.
Without a word, she handed over the wings to
Alice and then turned her back toward her. Alice was equally silent
as she slipped the translucent straps onto her friend’s arms before
tightening them, securing the wings on Lena’s back over her
Alice was beaming when Lena turned back toward
“You look lovely.”
With a murmured word of thanks, Lena stepped
over to where she kept her shoes by the door and slipped a pair of
sneakers on. She had to force herself to smile when she asked,
“Are we going, then?”
When she threw her usual glance at the bedside
table before closing the door, Liam’s grin, for a second, seemed a
* * * *
Lena almost changed her mind about the whole
shindig when the car stopped and she stepped out with the others in
front of the club. She had never been there before, but one look at
the name scrawling in blue neon over the entrance—On The Edge—told
her all she needed to know.
She gave Alice a hard look. “We’re going to a
Carlos rolled his eyes at her as he encircled
Alice’s waist with his arm.
“It’s not a vampire bar. It’s just more…friendly
to vampires than other places. And tonight, there’ll be more humans
in there than vamps anyway.”
He started pulling Alice toward the entrance,
and she looked back at Lena with an encouraging smile.
“Come on, it’ll be fun. Half the campus ought to
be here tonight.”
Lena was still hesitating when she noticed the
fourth member of their little group, Carlos’ friend whose name she
had already forgotten.
“It’s quite safe, really,” he assured her a
Still unconvinced, Lena watched Alice disappear
through the entrance. “I’ve heard people were killed by vampires in
it,” the guy
corrected her. “You’ll be safe as long as you stay with—with the
She could have sworn he had been about to say
“And there haven’t been any deaths linked to the
club for a while, now,” he added when she kept staring at the
Its color had now turned to a bright red, and it
seemed to bleed over into the crisp darkness of the night. Hardly
the best of augurs, a small part of her wanted to comment, and that
thought jolted her into action. She was being ridiculous, if she
was putting any faith into supposed signs and what they might mean.
Liam had often urged her not to look for meaning where she would
find only coincidences.
She started moving so abruptly that the man—was
his name Tony? She thought it might have been—needed to take a few
quick steps before he caught up with her. He proceeded to walk by
her side, offering to buy her a drink only to lead her down the
club’s suspended staircases and bridges when she politely
Lena had heard friends describe the club before,
but what she discovered was nothing like what she had imagined. In
her mind, a place that openly catered to vampires had to be dreary,
with dust, cobwebs, and cold stonewalls illuminated by torches, or
maybe candelabras. On The Edge, she soon had to admit, had none of
these dubious attributes. Metal staircases gave access to the lower
level, the dancing floor, where pulsating lights played over the
dancing crowd, following the fast beat of the latest rock hit. The
only flagrant difference that Lena could see from other clubs was
the conspicuous absence of mirrors anywhere in sight.
“Would you like to dance?”
She almost didn’t hear the question, Tony’s
voice all but drowned out by the sound of the music, but he leaned
closer to her as he finished. He had blue eyes, she noticed, full
of hope as Liam’s had once been.
Her answer was a tiny nod, to which Tony
answered with a beaming smile. He took her hand and pulled her
after him to the dance floor. Lena got a glimpse of Alice and
Carlos in the middle of the crowd, but she lost sight of them too
fast to suggest joining them.
At first, Tony kept her hand in his as they
danced. It made Lena uncomfortable, not because they had to look
rather ridiculous holding hands when everyone around them was
dancing wildly, but rather because she wasn’t used to anyone other
than Liam holding her hand. Tony’s hand was too large, too clumsy,