Authors Note: Horizontal Breaks Time break
I am a butterfly…
By: Saran D. Pity
"Why is the sky blue?"
"Why did mommy leave?"
"She couldn't take care of you anymore."
"Why did Daddy die?"
"He was very sick."
"Why do people die?"
"Because everything dies eventually"
"Why do bad things happen to good people?"
"Sometimes life is unfair"
"What's good and what's evil, grandma?"
"Only God knows that, baby."
Naila awoke with a start at a loud beeping beside her bed. She sat up, blindly feeling her nightstand for the source of the infuriating racket. Once she had deactivated the alarm clock, she stood up and made her way to the bathroom. She looked at herself in the mirror, there was a salty crust around her eyes, she knew why, even though she couldn't admit it to herself.
School was a chore more than anything to Naila. She went because she was obligated to by the state of New Jersey, but she would be dammed if she was going to enjoy it. To her, school was a waste of life and she was wasting space that could be used for one of the eager children who loved to learn—the one's who basically had an aneurysm to answer the questions asked by the teacher.
You see, Naila was destined to be a failure at life. The kind of person who died with not a soul at their funeral. No one would cry or buy flowers for her. No one would collapse at the burial sight, not for her. No would to remember her after she was gone. Why would anyone? She had no family to speak of—foster imposters didn't count. She had no friends.
"Naila!" She looked up to see an angry pseudo old woman standing in front of her. She wasn't that old in years per se. But, she had on one of those dresses with flowers so small that they looked like minuscule polka dots from afar and it fit very loosely—God forbid she show any hint of shape. Her glasses were the horned rimmed kind with fake rhinestones—like Frenchy from Grease. And her hair was pulled into a loose librarian bun. "Did you hear me?" of course she hadn't heard a word, she wasn't even aware that she was talking until she screamed.
"Uh huh." Like I'm going to admit that I wasn't paying attention, common sense would tell her the truth anyway.
"So you agree?" err, split second decision, should she say no and risk being sent to detention, or say yes and hope it wasn't anything too strenuous to her severely unused brain.
She chose the latter, "Of course!" She grinned the cheesiest smile she could muster. Maybe her enthusiasm was a little too much; tone down, she told herself, for the next time someone actually chose to acknowledge her existence.
"This is Tristan," Naila had been vaguely aware of the boy standing next to the phony old woman—she just assumed he was one of the usual brats in her class. He was different somehow, she couldn't place it though, he looked pretty normal outwardly. He was tall about 6 feet, he was pale, he had light gray eyes, and long dark hair—some of which, was flowing into his flawless face. He was wearing jeans and a blue t-shirt that said in small white letters, 'heaven's not a place you go when you die…' He smiled as her teacher, who she soon remembered was called Mrs. Talia sat him in the seat next to her. "He just moved here and needs help getting his barrens straight. You two have the same schedule so please show him around." She winked and Naila realized that the fact that Mrs. Tailia had repeated her direction proved that she was aware that Naila hadn't heard a word the first time. She grimaced. She was barely aware of where her classes were, let alone able to show someone else.
"Nice Shirt." Whispered 'Tristan'. Naila jumped in surprise, she wasn't used to her peers speaking to her. At least not directly. He was laughing silently.
"You like the Smashing Pumpkins?" She became conscious that she was wearing a shirt with the band's symbol. She guessed she spoke louder than she should have because the whole class had turned around to look at her. She didn't really care. She couldn't believe someone in that god-forsaken-hell-hole listened to the same music as her. Most people there only listened to 'Radio Disney' pre-approved by Mummy&Doddy.
"I don't really know them well." He admitted, "There's just this one song that I find particularly interesting." Naila noticed he spoke with a slight accent, though she couldn't place it. He pronounced every syllable smoothly. His voice was like velvet.
"What song?" She was amazed at her own inquisitiveness. She rarely took interest in anything anymore.
"Bullet with Butterfly Wings." He spoke matter-o-factly.
She could barely hold back her astonishment. That wasn't what she was expecting. It was one of their lesser known songs. "Why?" She smiled a crooked smile. The kind of smile where you lift one cheek higher than the other. She was actually enjoying this.
"They have a reference to butterflies and vampires in the same song, but the butterfly is the more evil being." This answer surprised Naila. She never really read into lyrics, she took them at face value. This guy is weird, but I like him, Naila taken aback with her own thoughts.
"That's dumb, how can a butterfly be evil?" He lifted an eyebrow.
"They are the bringers of death Naila." The way he spoke was much too calm, too smooth. Naila began getting lost in his voice. "Haven't you ever heard, 'once a butterfly follows you, you will surely die." She hadn't.
"But vampires bring death too." She uttered breathlessly. I feel like I've been running, I can't catch my breath. For the first time Naila looked Tristan in the eyes, really looked. There, behind the gray, Naila could swear she saw a hint of crimson.
"I guess so." He shrugged and turned away and Naila felt her breathing evening out.
The rest of the day had gone smoothly. Naila had shown Tristan to all their classes. There wasn't really and unnecessary speech between them for the rest of the day, either. Naila was now walking home—or what the State qualifies as home, anyway. There was an ominous aura in the air. It was mid afternoon, but the sun was already setting. And the trees swayed slowly back and forth, shedding their rainbow of leaves. For some reason, Naila felt as though someone was following her. She constantly looked behind herself periodically.
"Hello." Naila jumped so spastically that she nearly fell. "Didn't mean to startle you." Truthfully, though she had only heard the voice a few times, she knew without a doubt who she would turn around and find.
"Tristan, where the hell do you get off, stalking me home?" She felt herself shaking uncontrollably.
"Sorry," he smiled, "But you took off so quickly after our last class." There was no hint of repentance in his voice.
"Liar." Though she did leave the school quickly, something told her that it was not the reason for him following her. If it was, he would have revealed himself as soon as he had started to pursue her.
"Perceptive." He looked up. He was gazing directly into Naila's eyes. She felt her heart flutter and her breath once again came in uneven pants. "I wanted to get you alone." There was now a sinister edge to his voice.
"Why?" She was scared—no that was an understatement—she was petrified. She saw him grin. It wasn't like the other times though. He was smiling so wide that the whole first row of his teeth was showing. That's when Naila noticed it, the elongated canine teeth on either side. Her head was spinning, and she heard him laughing. The velvet voice became louder, more daunting. STOP IT! Naila knew no more.
"Stay there or I'll shoot!" An old woman in a beige nightgown was shouting. There was a young girl no more than seven bawling at her feet. The girl was in hysterics.
"Just put the gun down old lady and no one will get hurt." The young girl let out a loud sob. Shut up!
"You think I'm dumb?" The old lady cocked the silver revolver in her hand.
"No grandma, don't kill him!" The girl shouted. Just as the old woman looked down to console her granddaughter, the man jumped towards her. There was a flash of light.
"No!" Naila awoke to find herself in her bed. The light was on and dimmed.
"The dead has arisen, eh?" Naila's head snapped towards the source of the voice. There, sitting on the vanity, swinging his legs to and fro was,
"Tristan." Her voice was weak, she couldn't think. It was as if there was a dull fog, blocking her thoughts.
"Hello Naila!" He replied brightly. He waved his hand nonchalantly as if this were a normal occasion. As if the situation was— normal. "I'm glad you came to, you've been out cold for almost an hour." Sure enough, as Naila looked to Tristan's left at her alarm clock, it read 5:00pm. She began to panic; her foster parents would be home soon. But after an initial second, the shock wore off and she returned to her usual indifferent state.
"You couldn't just leave by any chance and forget that you're stalking me, huh?" It was worth a try. She added, "At least for today." He smiled a wide grin and Naila once again saw the elongated canine teeth. In the dim light, they appeared deadly.
"I'm not stalking you." The way he lied with such ease frightened Naila. No one should be able to lie that flawlessly.
"Then how'd you know where I lived?" She was going to play his game. Maybe it would send him on his way.
"A little butterfly told me." He left it at that. No further explanation. A sort of finality hung in the air, after he had spoken.
"Could you at least tell me one thing?"
"Asking couldn't hurt." He replied smartly.
"Well—" she knew what she wanted to ask, but she couldn't find the words. "Are you a vampire or a butterfly?" she had never heard a laugh such as the one that escaped from between Tristan's lips at that moment. It wasn't cold and patronizing as it had been earlier. It was—warm. Her body seemed to be filled with an indescribable emotion. She felt her cheeks flush.
"If I remember correctly, you said earlier that they both kill, so is one superior to the other?" She spoke without thinking,
"Butterflies take lives, but they don't kill. They're not bad or evil." It was a simple assessment. She had no real way to know if what she was saying was true, but something told her it was. "I'm a vampire." she whispered more to herself than to Tristan.
"Is that so? You, Naila, a killer?" She pondered the statement wordlessly.
"What are you?" She asked. He smiled as if that were an answer in itself.
"Would you like to live as I do Naila?" She couldn't hide her surprise; her face was suddenly full of lucid, betraying emotion. "Even for just a day?" The temptation was too sweet to resist.
"Only a day right?" she was sold long before he even nodded.
After a brief talk, Naila learned that she would be able to transform into what she felt she was for so long. Tristan had told her that it would last for 24 hours, and then she would return to her normal self.
"Ready?" he asked. She replied by closing her eyes and silently bracing her body.
"Yes." she felt the words escape her lips, but they were no longer a part of her. She suddenly felt Tristan's cool breath against the sensitive skin of her neck. Her pulse quickened. Am I really doing this?
Naila lost herself for all of thirty seconds. It was like she had blacked out, but instead of becoming unconscious, she instantly became aware of everything, yet nothing, all at once. Everything eventually drifted back into focus. But it was not the world as Naila had remembered it only seconds ago. Everything was sharp and dangerously clear. It was as if she had always watched the world with blurred vision and it was suddenly snapped in clarity. The dull colors of her room were all so vivid, that they seemed to glow. The blues especially.
"Tristan, why is everything so bright—and blue?"
"Beautiful, isn't it?" He whispered to her from his place on the vanity across the room in a volume that would have been inaudible before. His eyes glazed over as he spoke to her. He was looking directly at her but Naila could tell he was really somewhere else entirely. She wondered silently what memory had captured the young man's consciousness. "Aren't you going to get going?" Naila found herself being snapped out of a nostalgic memory of her own.
"Huh?" was all she could say in turn.
"Time is wasting away. You won't feel it like you did before, but all the same it's wasting away." She peered at the clock to realized a whole thirty minutes had passed. She almost gasped with the ease that time seemed to have slipped past her. She jumped up at once; she wanted to explore the world with her new found senses.
"Where are you going to be—like when it's over?" He smiled.
"I'll find you." He turned away as if to leave then about-faced and said, "You're going to have to feed before the time's up. If you don't, I'm almost sure you'll die." With that he was gone before Naila could even blink. Feed? Did that mean she would have to drink someone else's blood? Drain a person of their life-force, in order to live herself? She let the thought slip into the back of her head. He was probably joking to scare me anyway. Nonetheless, her hand instinctively went to her mouth where she felt the two sharp little fangs, this too she put to the back of her mind. She wasn't going to spoil this delicious gift, at least not yet.
Naila felt herself glide out the door; she instantly felt as though she emerged into another universe, everything was so—beautiful and well, colorful. She walked up to the old oak tree in front of her house. She reached up and grasped a dry, golden leaf from its branch. The loud snapping sound surprised her. She slowly observed the leaf with a childlike curiosity. The leaf that would have once appeared as a dull yellow was now sparkling with brilliant golds and crimson, with just a hint of blue. A laugh escaped her lips. She had not genuinely laughed in so long that it shocked her. She began to twirl aimlessly. There was such a feeling of freedom radiating from her body.
Not for any reason in particular, just because it felt right. She began to run. But this was not like any running she had done before. It was so smooth; she had to look down to make sure she wasn't flying. Something, somewhere told her that she was running incredibly fast.
Naila could not be sure how long she had run but, night had come and gone, and the sun was setting in the sky once more. Her body felt invigorated, but tired. This was not fatigue as Naila had known it. Her vision had begun to blur, and her breath became labored. Her throat burned like she hadn't drank in a year. Just as she thought she would pass out, overcome with sickening exhaustion, she heard a loud noise behind her. She became aware of her surrounds instantly. She had stopped in an alley, dark with buildings on either side. She turned on her heel to see a man dressed in black behind her. There was something gleaming in his hand—A knife! His hair was long and greasy, he wore a black shabby parka, though it was not cold enough for it. His eyes gleamed mad and ravenous, he was ready to kill. But Naila felt her eyes take on an even brighter, murderous gleam.
She lunged before the man could even think about moving. She locked his head with her left arm. She grasped him by the hair with her other. She could almost smell the blood that pulsed through the protruding vein in his neck. She noticed how his pulse quickened when she smiled. He gasped as she leaned towards him. Something was telling her what to do. She was working on pure instinct. The sound of his heart was almost deafening as Naila lowered her head millimeters away from the man's neck. The sound grew louder still; she felt her pulse rise with his. Her throat ached and her body began to weaken, somewhere long ago, a little girl was shouting…
"No grandma, don't kill him!"
There was a flash of light. The old woman fell to the floor with a limp crash. The man dressed in black stood eyes wide, with a pistol in his hand. He moved toward the little girl, eyes hungry and ravenous. The young girl picked up the gun lying next to the stiffening form of her grandmother, still cocked. As the girl lifted the gun to protect herself from the man who was now making his way towards her, there was a deafening crack. The man fell inches from the girl. The pistol fell from his hands. The girl screamed.
"No!" Sweat drenched Naila's body. Her breath came in heavy gasps as though she hadn't breathed in years. A cool breeze touched Naila's skin. She looked toward the source. Her balcony window lay open. A shadow of a figure stood, watching her intently. He walked forward a little and the pale moonlight reveled his face.
"Tristan." Her voice was quiet, raspy, and foreign to her. She moved as if to lift herself from what she now knew as her bed, but her strength failed her.
"Sleep." He spoke quietly into her ear. A finger lightly moved a stray hair away from her face. "I'm going to leave you now, Naila."
"No!" She cried out loudly. There was so much she wanted to ask, to tell, to know. He couldn't possibly leave her now.
"I must." He replied simply. Something in his tone told her she would not be able to argue, but there was something she had to ask. If she went another lifetime without another answer, she needed to know.
"You never answered my question, which are you?" He had already been walking away toward the balcony as she spoke. He turned around facing her, almost invisible, if not for the moonlight illuminating him. He smiled and shook with silent laughter before simply saying,
"Didn't I?" At that very moment, a blue butterfly fluttered on to his outstretched hand. He smiled at the delicate creature before turning around tacitly. Naila knew what would happen. She blinked back tears, and in that millisecond, the boy who had changed her life was gone with the night.