I’m (still) struggling to find a balance. Between work, exercise, relaxing, food prep, pet care, getting enough sleep, and writing. We work too much in this country. We incentivize people to put in long hours at work, but it’s not healthy to work 50 or 60 or more hours per week. I wish more employers cared for the wellbeing of their employees. Well-rested people who have time to do the things they love and be with those they love are happier, more productive people. Really, it should be a win-win. But a lot of things aren’t the way (I think) they should be, and the list of those things is longer and more tragic than I have the energy to get into tonight.
I’m tired of how our society as a whole treats people.
With my somber mood tonight, this will be another short one:
“I want to drink your blood,” Dominic deadpans.
At first Joshua thinks Dominic is actually a vampire but then he sees the slight upward turn at the corner of his mouth and realizes he’s joking.
“Vampires aren’t real, Joshua.”
A short one tonight:
Joshua tries to keep his surprise from showing and mostly succeeds. He is not able to swallow his blurting out of the first question that pops into his head. “What are you?”
I feel like I should go back and show how Joshua and Dominic met. When I wrote that first scene I wasn’t planning for it to turn into a story.
I’ll have to think of something suitable.
Meanwhile, from where we left off:
“Just how closely do you think they’ll be spying on her? If I send her a text telling her I’m okay and asking her to delete the text right away, would they be looking close enough to see it?”
“I thought you were trying to reassure her. Asking her to delete the text sounds strange and ominous.”
“Stranger than the week I’ve had?”
“Of course not, but strange in the context of a familial relationship. Unless something like this has happened before and she will therefore understand that it’s not safe for her to know what’s going on and simultaneously not be alarmed by that?”
Joshua sighs. Loudly. “Wouldn’t it be better than her thinking I’m dead?”
Dominic considers this.
Joshua frowns at how long Dominic appears to be thinking this over. “I mean, wouldn’t any mom rather know her kid is alive?”
“I would not know. I did not have one.”
Joshua sleeps for 14 hours and he doesn’t dream. Waking groggy and bleery eyed, he finds Tsubasa curled up next to him on top of the blanket, eyes open and watching him.
“Did he ask you to look after me?” He asks around a yawn.
She wags her tail.
He scratches her head before swinging his legs over the side of the bed and making his way to the bathroom. Later, they find Dominic in the kitchen, making scrambled eggs.
“So it’s a safe house with WiFi and fresh food?”
“Magic,” Dominic responds simply.
“It’s magic WiFi?”
Dominic smiles briefly. “It’s magic that keeps the food fresh.”
“I had no idea what I was missing out on.”
“Your mom called at least ten more times.”
That sobers Joshua quickly. He slept 14 hours while his mom spent the night thinking he’s dead. “Shit. I did to do something to let her know I’m alive.”
They pass several minutes in silence. Joshua’s trying to think of the strongest memories from his childhood, of funny things he said that his mom would recognize and no one else would remember. Nothing’s coming to mind. He’s very tired.
After Joshua’s fifth yawn, Dominic speaks. “You should go to sleep.”
“What about dreams and my accidental powers?”
“I can make sure you don’t dream.”
“Have you seen movies or shows with vampires?”
“Yeah…” Joshua doesn’t know why this is relevant.
“I can compel humans.”
“That’s sweet of you.”
Dominic raises his eyebrows at the word ‘sweet.’
Joshua ignores him. “But none of this is actually your fault. You couldn’t have known how things were going to go down. My mom though… If I could get a message to her that no one else would recognize as being from me… would that work?”
“Perhaps. What do you have in mind?”
“I don’t know. Let me see if I can think of something. Unfortunately, I haven’t been leading some kind of secret agent life where I created code words with my mom.”
Joshua’s mouth thins to a hard line as he reads the posts plastered on his mom’s Facebook wall. Her friends are very concerned about the explosion that happened in the apartment building where her son lives. The news pieces can’t say the cause of the explosion – the police investigation is just starting – but Joshua builds a narrative that makes sense.
“When they ambushed you at home there must have been a separate team waiting for me at my place, except I wasn’t there because I was on my way to check on you. With rush hour I knew it’d be faster to walk so I left my car at home. The explosion happened hours ago and since she hasn’t heard from me she’s terrified I died when my building went up in flames.” He recites this litany in a monotone, like it’s ancient history about people he never knew.
“I’m so very sorry to have gotten you caught up in this,” Dominic whispers, eyes focused on the carpet at his feet where Tsubasa has stretched out. “I will fix this.”
This weekend I went to Rohnert Park (in the Bay Area) to visit my mom and uncle and celebrate my mom’s birthday. It was a lot of fun and I loved seeing them. I’d fully planned on posting yesterday evening but then I spent an hour looking for my favorite ring, which I put in a “safe place” when I moved. Hilariously, and rather predictably, I found all the other jewelry that I don’t explicitly remember putting in a “safe place.”
Today’s gotten a bit away from me too so this will be really short.
“It’s a safe house in 2019. Of course there’s WiFi.”
“Shit. Shit. Shit,” Joshua chants after listening to the message from his mom. “She thinks I’m-“
“Dead,” Dominic interrupts. “Yes, I know.” At the look of confusion that flits across Joshua’s face, he adds, “My kind have very good hearing.”
“Of course you do. Why does she think I’m dead?”
“I heard the same message you did.”
Joshua’s gaze hardens to a glare. “You’re gonna have to try better than that. My life didn’t turn upside down until you walked into it. She said she ‘heard what happened’ and had to call because she ‘can’t believe I’m really gone.’ Where would she have heard…? She can’t possibly have heard ‘what happened’ because it’s not like anything that’s actually happened to us would be on the news or anything so…”
“I would tend to agree. But watching the news may not be a bad idea. If she heard something there we can find out what it was.”
Joshua returns his attention to his phone.
“Do not call her,” Dominic commands quickly.
“Yes, sir. I was actually going to check online for news. I was paying attention all of, what – six minutes ago? – when you said it’d be safer for my family if they don’t know anything. Hey! There’s WiFi!”
Joshua’s iPhone vibrates in his pocket, where he’d forgotten it. He pulls it out and sees that it’s survived the accident without damage. It’s lit it up with the word ‘Mom’ and a photo of her. It’s very late for her to be calling – past 2:00am – so something must be wrong.
He starts sliding his finger across the screen to answer but before he can, Dominic snatches it from him.
“It’ll be much safer for your family if they don’t know anything about where you are or what’s happening to you.”
“You mean the people after us will send people after them too?”
The call goes to voicemail. Dominic doesn’t hand the phone back to him. “They will spy on your family. If you don’t make contact with your family then they shouldn’t have any reason to harm them.”
“Except as bait to draw me out.”
Dominic shakes his head. “Not if they don’t find out about the power you have. Right now, you’re only in danger because of your association with me. They’re unlikely to use your family as bait because they know it won’t get them what they currently want – me.”
Joshua frowns as he thinks through the implications of that – that Dominic wouldn’t help Joshua save his family if his family was put in danger because of this mess of a situation.
The iPhone lights up again, this time with a voicemail notification.