Now Sig and I were alone on the bike path. My eyes had finally adjusted enough to make him out as more than a pale shape against the asphalt. We were both shivering, me from the cold and the adrenaline dump, Sig from the pain of what I’d just done to his knee.
“I’m sorry,” I said, and I meant it. But I reminded myself that he’d tried to do worse to me. He’d hurt Jenna and Miranda, and then there was Chelsea…
Sig didn’t look like he had much fight in him now but I was careful getting close to him, like you might be with a wounded animal. I was worried about more than his teeth.
Sig asked, “What are you going to do?”
“Can you go anywhere?” I replied. He’d already rejected going to a hospital. Naturally he didn’t want doctors checking him out, though I’d have liked to know what they’d find—fangs, blood that didn’t circulate, what else?
“My apartment,” Sig said. “I can… rest there.”
I thought of Sig’s car. It had to be nearby. “I can drive you,” I said. “Just answer me some questions first.”
He was quiet for a few long seconds. “This really hurts,” he said.
“Let’s not mess around, then,” I said. “What are you? What is Nick?”
Sig gurgled something like a laugh.
“You know what I’m talking about. Tell me!”
“We’re goddamned vampires! Does that satisfy you?” He spat this at me like he could hurt me with it, but when he saw that I wasn’t surprised, neither was he. “Nick’s a vampire, and now I’m a vampire.”
“Is that why you attacked me?” I asked. “Because Nick knew I was figuring it out?”
“Nick’s an idiot,” Sig said. “He thinks he can always slip by. I was there when you were poking around. When the cops came to my place today, I knew it was you who tipped them off.”
It was probably better to let him think I had made that call. “They were looking for Chelsea,” I said. “What did you tell them?”
“Nothing. I haven’t figured out all Nick’s tricks yet, but I could get rid of them.”
Like he tried to get rid of me? Probably not—better not to bring it up. “What did happen to Chelsea?” I asked.
“Is that what this is about?”
“It is now.”
Another long pause. “She was one of Nick’s regular hook-ups. He never drank too much from her. He gave her time to recover. He used her to teach me how to drink blood. We were drinking together but I… couldn’t stop.” He looked hard at me. “I didn’t mean to kill her. I didn’t choose to be this.”
“Nick did it to you?”
He nodded. “A couple weeks after I met him, when I started giving him rides. He asked if I… considered him a friend. I told him yes, and he went for my neck. At first I couldn’t stop him. Then I didn’t want to.”
“Why go along with it? Why all this?”
Sig almost laughed. “Well, no one wants to die.”
Maybe that was all there was to it. We do what we have to to survive. We never really wonder if we should. “One last thing,” I said. “Well, two.”
“Where can I find Nick,” I said, “and how I can kill him?”
Submitted by Corodon Fuller