Road Trip

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For as long as I can remember, Kate has been with me. She and I have been best friends forever. I know what you’re thinking. A guy in his late twenties and a chick the same age have been friends for years and they’re FINALLY going to get together.
Sorry to disappoint, but this isn’t one of those stories.
Kate and I have been friends since kindergarten. We knew we were destined to be best friends the second she ate a worm some rude boy was trying to force down my throat. The kid was so dumbstruck he never spoke to either of us again. From then on, Kate was given this epic reputation and I got to go along for the ride.
Now that we’re old and have finished all of that schooling, there are no hierarchies to defend ourselves against, and it makes life weird. Kate and I still hang out from time to time, but it’s rare that I’ll see her more than twice a week. She’s working on becoming a musician and I’ve been focusing on my computer repair business. Jobs and life have just sucked all of our time away.
But I’m getting mopey; you’re not here to listen to my sob story.
This one month had been particularly hard on both of us. January, to be more precise. Kate had been suffering from some serious writer’s block and the holidays had been making it hard to get gigs in our area. Not to mention, everyone was getting new computers for Christmas so I hadn’t had a customer since Thanksgiving. We were both in a slump and were griping about it over coffee one day when suddenly Kate jumped out of her seat and said: “let’s go on a road trip.”
“What? Why?” I asked.
“Because I want to and you need to. We’re so bored in this dumb little town, let’s go right now. We’ll take the clothes on our backs and see where what we have in our wallets can take us.”
She was so excited, it had been a while since I’d seen her wriggle with such enthusiasm. I decided I didn’t have anything better to do, so I agreed.
Unfortunately, after about three and a half hours driving out of town in a random direction, we got bored and nervous. Thoughts like “what if we can’t afford a hotel?” and “what happens on day 3 of wearing the same pair of underwear?” popped into my head.
“I’m really not so sure about this, Kate,” I said.
“Gerald, come on!” she pouted. “Make this left here.”
“You…know where we are?” I asked.
“No idea. Turn now!”
I nearly missed it but made the turn anyway. A narrow gravel path wound around tall trees and into a wooded area off of the main road. It was a scenic route, lined with tall pine trees and a guardrail that kept us from falling off of the side of the mountain. The gloomy weather created fog clouds that obscured our view of what lay beyond the rail.
Kate shifted uncomfortably in her seat. Just moments ago, she had been excited to take this unexpected turn. Now she was clutching her stomach and wincing.
I glanced at the clock and my heart began to race as I realized what was wrong.
“You didn’t bring anything to eat, did you?”
“No,” she said quietly, staring out the window.
“Do you want to stop somewhere? I’m sure there’s something mulling around these trees.”
“I didn’t think our trip would take this long. Can we head back?”
The small road had no second lane and the sloping mountainside to our right made pulling off of the road impossible.
“I can’t turn around here, I’ll have to wait until we find a driveway or something,” I said.
Kate curled up onto her seat, tucking her knees under her chin. She closed her eyes and took deep breaths, shaking her head nervously every once in a while.
I suppose now would be a good time to mention that Kate is a vampire. She needs to feed every 4 hours and is currently being plagued by the fact that she can hear the blood pumping through my veins.
I continued down the road for another half hour until Kate began to cry. Tears made dark stains on the light blue of her jeans and she used her sleeve to wipe her nose.
“Can you pull over please?” she said, just louder than a whisper. I complied and stopped short, putting the car in park. She opened the door and ran over to the dead leaves and brush that had gathered by the side of the road. She vomited; thin, blood-red liquid fell from her mouth and down the incline of the mountainside. She stood there for a bit, dry heaving and hunched over, clutching her stomach and crying.
I wanted so badly to go comfort her, but I didn’t want to make things worse. The fog had now made its way onto the road and a light drizzle began to fall. The road before me was just barely visible through the haze.
Before I knew what was happening, a pair of headlights came flying through the fog. The oncoming car slammed into the front end of mine and pinned me to the steering wheel. I felt all of my ribs crack at the same time and my lungs collapse. Thankfully, Kate hadn’t been hit. She ran over to the car, her mouth stained red and her eyes bloodshot from crying. From what little I could hear over the piercing horns of each car, she screamed when she saw me. After her initial shock, she did what she could to pry my body from the steering column, but it seemed to be too difficult. The blood and carnage got to be too much for her, and I watched her eyes go dark and her fangs protrude as she freed my arms. She shook her head several times, but her features never changed.
I couldn’t speak, so it was impossible for me to tell her that something had penetrated my heart and I could already feel my life slipping away.
She did her best to undo my seatbelt and used her superhuman strength to push away the dashboard. I felt the thing in my heart shift and a sharp pain shot through my entire body. A wet, gurgling gasp escaped my lips and blood was now pouring from my wounds.
Kate’s eyes went totally black and she was now unrecognizable. She took a moment to stare at me, her fangs fully visible. She took a deep breath, smelling my blood and no doubt counting down my dwindling heartbeats. Slowly, she cocked her head to one side and licked her lips. She lunged at me with a growl and chewed away at my flesh.
I died in the arms of my best friend, doing what I could to save her life. Is there a more noble way to leave this wicked world?

Last Week’s Story: Her Name is Luna

Next Week’s Story: Passion

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