The subject of this story refused to come out before dark. Enjoy!
Honey, the vampire’s here.
I chuckle at the joke and the woman on the bed turns to look at me.
Hey, you look just like that horror author. The one who’s in all of his movies. Are you working here to research your next book?
Nope, just an unfortunate coincidence. I tell her, rolling my cart up to her bed. I’m a working vampire.
I thought vampires were supposed to be rich and glamorous.
Only if they start that way, I say, focusing on the vein in her arm.
Well, watch your investments and maybe you’ll manage the rich part.
Are you saying I’ve already managed the looks part? I look up at her and smile, the vials of blood slipping easily into their holders.
Honey, you have a face for radio.
Thank you for the compliment, Mrs. Sanders. The last person who noticed said I was a two-bagger.
Mr Sanders laughed and his wife giggled. They’d been keeping me company for the last week while they waited for her hip to heal. A feisty older couple, they looked like they could have been my grandparents.
In truth, they could have been my grandchildren.
I wave as I head out to finish my rounds, the vials clinking gently as I roll my cart through the hallways.
Everything is hushed in the hospital at night, even the machines take a quiet tone, as though unsure they want to wake the bodies they monitor. I wave to the nurse who’s working the desk and she waves back, her eyes focused on her paperwork.
The next room has no visitors, just an angry old man who snores in his sleep. A long list of contacts runs down the board on the wall with relationships next to them. Some have been smudged and moved around, as though there’s a pecking order in the old man’s health decisions.
Melanie Holmes is the last name on the list and the only person I’d met. She’d been in the night before, the smell of fries clinging to her uniform, just sitting by the old man’s side. I knew the old man was completely oblivious to her presence and told her so.
I know, she’d said. I’m here for me. For a few minutes of peace before I have to go back out there.
She was so sweet, her face just showing the lines of stress two jobs and a crazy mess of a family can make. My heart had thumped hard in my chest as she watched me do my job and it made me envy the elders of my kind.
Ages ago, I would have scooped her up in my arms and taken her away, made her my bride before the end of the week.
Of course, ages ago, it was unlikely that we would ever have crossed paths. Rich and glamorous vampires didn’t meet a whole lot of waitresses unless they were skulking down back alleys looking for victims. And she likely wouldn’t have been missed.
Now, though, I have to at least attempt some form of seduction. Wooing her away from her normal life is the least I can do and far safer than abduction. And hey, as popular as vampires have been lately, she might even be interested.
For now, though, her grandfather was having blood drawn. A couple vials more than strictly necessary but he wouldn’t miss them. A couple patients like this every night was enough to curb the hunger. And the graveyard shift paid better than the day light ones because nobody wanted them.
It took only a moment to apply the bandage and put the vials in the cart. On the way out, I snapped a picture of his contact board.
Normally I would say it was too late to call but Melanie struck me as the kind of girl who liked to stay up late.
Besides, who calls anymore?
Taking a break in the lab, I pop open a vial and drink it, my fingers moving quickly over my phone’s screen.
Hey beautiful, missed you at the hospital tonight.
Had to work late. Who is this?
Just your friendly neighborhood vampire. I send with a chuckle.