Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Chapter Five: Diana, Haunted

Diana clamped her hands over her mouth, stifling her scream. She turned slowly as her eyes filled with tears and horror.

“Di, sweetheart, you up there?” her dad bellowed from down stairs. He’d heard her, of course.

“Hi, sis,” said AJ. His chest had been laid open in five ragged wounds and his throat torn away by vicious fangs. Diana had seen those fangs up close. They would have eaten her if not for AJ.

She leaned back against the door and slid downward. It seemed as if just taking  a breath required supreme effort. She shook her head in answer to her father, though she knew he couldn’t see her. 

“Dad won’t be able to see me. Just you,” AJ continued. “I’m sorry I scare you. It’s not my fault.” Diana nodded at him through her tears. She missed him so much.

Anthony senior’s footsteps thudded on the stairs and up the landing all three bedrooms shared on the second floor. “Honey, you all right? You didn’t hear nothing, did you?”

AJ sat across from her on the floor, cross-legged. He stared at the door as if he could see their father standing out there. His face, even through the blood, held such an expression of love and admiration that she thought for a moment only of her dad and how much they both loved him. 

Diana inhaled and lied, “I’m fine, daddy,” she said, forcing herself to find some clarity, to spare her father this madness. “It’s just been a rough day, you know?” She remembered teaching her little brother about lying. She’d helped him blame some missing cookies on their dog, Buddy. He was dead now, too.

“Aw, sweetie, do you want to go out to Ianaccelli’s for some ice cream? Just you and me.”

“Maybe later, daddy.”

“Yeah, okay, maybe later.” She could sense his relief. They hadn’t been to Ianaccelli’s in years. Her tears made him uncomfortable. But she loved him for trying. Diana laid her cheek against the door, wishing for a second she’d said yes and left her room and the bloody ghost of her brother behind. 

“Look, I’m going out, but you call me on the cell if you need anything. You hear me? I love you, sweetheart.” The door practically hummed with the command in his ‘dad voice.’

“Yes, daddy. I love you, too.” Diana barely spoke, the notes of compliance and despair carrying more than the exact words. Words she’d spoken thousands of times to her father. She heard his footsteps drum away.

“Here,” AJ said, “this will be easier with the shades drawn. I think light shines through me.”

Diana turned and saw AJ closing the blinds over her desk. It left her room dark, except for little slices of light between them. She could see little dust motes twinkling in the evening light. The ragged figure of her little brother’s ghost made a dark outline against her wall. Her room was covered with movie posters and memorabilia. It was her thing. Seeing ET’s finger reaching out toward her brother almost made her laugh. Almost.

“What’s happening to me?” Diana whispered.

“You’re a werewolf, Di. Just like Patrick.”

“No!” She hid her face in her hands. The name brought up the horror of the summer, the cause of her family’s grief. A gorgeous face, kind blue eyes… she’d wanted to fall for him. And he’d tried to kill them. But hadn’t he wanted her, too. Wasn’t that what it was all really about? Her brother was dead because she trusted someone based on his appearance, really based on the fact that she wanted to make out with him, maybe more. Hell, even her dad had trusted the guy. He was persuasive. He was handsome. But he was also a monster.

“It’s a fact. Look, you got bit, you survived. Now you’re gonna be one. But it doesn’t have to be the end, sis. You don’t have to be like him.”

“No!” She repeated it again and again. But something inside her, the very calculating part, took note of his words.

When she had stilled, AJ said, “Look, Di, I don’t have much time. This place… it’s no picnic. In fact, it kinda sucks. There are things here that want to eat me, Di. LIke eat my spirit forever. I need you to set me free so I can go on.”

Diana looked up at him, his ravaged body more clear now despite the gloom. “How… what can I do, AJ?”

He moved to her stereo and put in a disk of Within Temptation, one of her favorite bands, that he begrudgingly had admitted was “pretty okay.” The song The Howling began and built in volume.

AJ turn back to her, “Di, I need you to avenge me. Only silver or the fangs of a wolf can kill Patrick. One way or another, Di, I need your help.”

“How am I going to kill someone, AJ, what are you talking about?” she couldn’t just accept this. She must be crazy, seeing her dead brother. It was her guilt, but she could shed that as easily as her flesh and bones.

In an instant he was there next to her, the wet edges of every wound clear. His glassy eyes fixed on her.

“With your teeth, sis. And your claws.” Then he whispered, “and that big brain of yours.”

Diana’s breath hitched and she closed her eyes against the truth.

When she opened them, AJ was gone. 

* * *

That night, Diana dreamed of the moon. She had never paid much attention to the moon before. It was just something beautiful and strange that one took for granted. The moon.

The words waxing and gibbous might have made some sense to her, but her mind she saw the moon vividly, pregnant and ominously crimson in the sky just over the eastern horizon. It was past half full, a promise of silver and purity to be fulfilled. In her dream, the song of the moon wound around it’s bloody light and she floated on that song. There were no barriers to the moon, and she floated out into the night to dance.
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