Category: The Lost Boys
Length: 5-10k words
Star grimaced and hitched her skirt up another couple of inches. Another night on PPD. PPD stood for Pervert Prevention Duty. She convinced herself that if she didn’t take payment for what she did the men would take it from someone else against their will. I’m doing a public service, she told herself. I am not a slut.
Whatever helps you sleep at night, another voice responded. I don’t sleep at night, she thought, wondering if this inner battle meant she was going crazy. I’m at work all night, might as well be a vampire for all the sun I get to see!
“Hey there, girly,” A alcohol-laden voice broke into her thoughts. “What are you up to?”
Star eyed the curb-crawler in his pick-up. Fat, greasy, and it had been way too long since this guy had been near a shower. They possibly hadn’t even been invented the last time this guy considered washing. She forced a flirty smile, and in a sugary voice replied, “I’m just a lonely girl, lookin’ for some fun. Do you know where I might find some?”
“I got an idea…” he drawled, exposing his yellow teeth in a leer.
Can the upchuck reflex, girly. It’s this or live off air. She smiled, and tried to look coy as she edged closer to the pickup.
Half an hour later she was back on the street. She was sick of all the feelings swirling round inside, the guilt, the revulsion… and most of all the feeling that had lead her here in the first place. Grief.
There was a vicious circle of dirty feelings flowing inside. The grief that led her here, the revulsion at what she did—had to do—to make ends meet, the guilt for not finding a better way to live, and the guilt of not being able to save Nick. She tried not to think about the acts she was performing, but the only other path her mind took led to Nick.
Nick, short for Nicodimus, not Nicholas. He was only seven when he died. Seven, not even close to a quarter of the age he should have reached. All because she hadn’t been able to tell. Not the cops, or social services, not her friends, nobody. She had somehow been ashamed that she couldn’t stop her father beating herself and her brother ragged.
She couldn’t find the words. Not even after her father threw Nick down the stairs, where he broke his neck. While her Mom and Dad were at the cop-shop, she’d thrown a few things in a bag, stolen her fathers’ credit card and got the hell out of there.
Leaving her home town hadn’t made the dreams go away. The last thing she saw every night was her brother’s body, lying broken and bloodied at the bottom of the stairs.
A fresh assault of tears came, streaking down her face with no signs of stopping.
“You look like you could use a friend,” a kind voice commented softly.
Star looked up, through her tears she saw blue eyes and a kind smile, but her self-preservation kicked in. “I’m fine,” she told the stranger.
“I can still be a friend,” he prodded gently. “If you’re fine or otherwise.”
“I only just met you,” she protested weakly. A friend sounded good. A friend sounded very good.
“The world is full of strangers, if none of them got talking it would be a very boring planet. I’m David, by the way.”
“Star.” She wiped the tears from her face, and took a good look at him. He was very attractive, and if she hadn’t been feeling so awful she may have felt her heart flutter. He was dressed entirely in black from head to toe, a stark contrast to his pale skin and bleached blonde hair.
“Well, Star, would you like to go for a ride?”
For a moment she was taken aback, thinking she’d just got suckered in by another punter, aiming for a low price by being friendly, then she realised he was standing by a motorbike.
She shook her head, “I don’t know, I probably shouldn’t…”
“Accept lifts from strangers?” he questioned, raising his eyebrows. “I thought we covered this, I’m David, you’re Star, so we’re no longer strangers.” He walked over to his bike and climbed on. “Are you coming?”
“I still have to…” unable to finish, she gestured up the street, where several other girls stood, in various states of undress, smoking and smiling at the curb-crawlers. She was nowhere near making enough money to cover her rent, let alone provide food, but she was sorely tempted to go along. There was something entrancing about his eyes.
“Another time, maybe?” he asked and roared off, before she was able to make another comment.
The next night she paid more attention to her appearance. She applied her make-up carefully, instead of the usual slap-dash look that the punters seemed to appreciate.
Give it up, she told herself. He’s probably some kind of psycho. And if he’s not, he’s probably got a girlfriend, or a wife… maybe even both.
But her self-chastisement did nothing to stop her heart fluttering as she thought of the possibility of seeing David again. She wasn’t sure what had make her feel like this, was she attracted to him, or was it just that he was the first person in Santa Carla to throw a kind word her way?
“Doesn’t matter,” she muttered, discarding her scarlet harlot lipstick for a more flattering natural shimmer. “I’ll probably never see him again.”
So why are you dressing up for him? an inner voice questioned.
She didn’t know. She rolled her eyes at her reflection in the mirror, grabbed her keys and a small bag and headed out the door.
Star was more reluctant than ever to take jobs that night. It wasn’t just that she hated what she had to do, but she found herself looking out for David. She was worried he might stop by when she wasn’t around.
“Stupid,” she muttered.
She looked up, and met David’s icy blue eyes. A smile wrapped itself around her face before she could stop it. “I didn’t hear you arrive,” she said.
“I parked my bike a couple of minutes ago. I didn’t see you so I decided to buy some smokes and wait until you showed up. Want one?” He offered her the pack.
“No thanks, I don’t smoke,” she replied.
“Good idea. They’ll kill you.” This seemed to amuse him, because he now wore a small smirk. “How about that ride?”
Star thought it over. It didn’t take much thought. David could be a murderer or a rapist, or any kind of psycho, but she didn’t care. And if he was, well so what? What was in her life that made it worthwhile? The only concrete thing she could depend on was the guilt over Nick’s death. Hardly a reason for living. She wanted to go, it was that simple, it was just… “Rent day tomorrow,” she said sadly.
“Oh.” He nodded, seeming to understand. “Can you dodge your landlord?”
Star’s face lit up. Of course she could dodge him. Tina, the girl who lived next door, and who was currently leaning into a car further up the road did it all the time. She had once confided in Star that she got worried if she was any less than three weeks behind on the rent.
“I could give it a go,” she said.
“Come on then.” He offered his hand to her, and she was charmed by him, his manners, and his ability to make her feel better once more.
“Hold on tight, it’s gonna be the ride of your life,” he warned as she climbed onto the bike behind him.
She complied, sliding her hands around his waist. “Where are we going?”
“To Never-Never land!” he replied over the rev of the engine.
Let me be the one you call
If you jump I’ll break your fall
Lift you up and fly away with you into the night
David was right. It was the ride of her life. She was breathless from excitement. David, while not a reckless driver, certainly pushed things to the edge. He drove fast, took tight corners, and several times Star saw her life flash before her eyes.
She had never been so scared in her life, or as exhilarated.
Finally David slowed, and stopped at the top of a cliff. Star climbed off the bike, knees shaking. When she finally caught her breath she teased, “Is this Never-Never land?”
“We’re about halfway there,” he replied.
She smiled, uncertain if he was teasing. He looked so serious. She looked around, unable to meet his serious eyes. “Oh!” She exclaimed. “It’s so pretty.” She had a perfect view of The Boardwalk and beyond that, the ocean, lit up by a perfect full moon.
“I like to come up here. It’s my place to come when things seem wrong,” he explained. “The view helps clear my head.”
“I could use some of that,” Star admitted.
“Why’s that?” he asked, taking her hand and leading her to a sheltered place out of the wind where they could sit and enjoy the view.
“You think I enjoy my life?” she snapped, then regretted her harsh tone. He was the only person in this rotten town who’d so much as said a kind word to her. She didn’t want to alienate her only friend.
If David was bothered by this show of temper he didn’t show it. “I don’t presume anything,” he responded gently, his thumb caressing hers.
“I’m sorry. It’s been hard for me recently.”
“You’re new to town, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, I’ve been here just over two months,” she replied.
“Where were you before that?”
“Here and there,” she responded evasively. She did not want to go into details. Not now. Not ever.
“Here and there,” he repeated, with a small smile. “I’ve been there before. It’s alright, I wouldn’t want to make it my home though.”
Star wracked her brains to say something that wouldn’t cause questions that she didn’t want to answer. They had covered her life and her job, both coming up dead ends. Now to talk about him. “What do you do, David?” she asked. “Besides rescuing the odd damsel in distress, I mean.”
He favoured her with another small smile. “Do?” he repeated, contemplating the question. “My family is the most important thing to me, right now I look out for them, and keep an eye on them.”
Star shrank back a little, for several reasons. The mention had brought the image of Nick to the forefront of her mind. She pushed it down, but it took some effort. She wasn’t sure what to make of the last remark, either he was the type of guy you take home to meet your Mom, or he belonged to a cult.
Once again, Star tossed caution to the wind. Either option would be good. If he was the knight in shining armour she hoped he was she might just have a chance at happiness.
… If he wasn’t, well, cults apparently fed and clothed you. It would be a small step up from her life now.
“I’ve scared you,” he said.
“No—well, yeah. No. Guess you could say that family isn’t a word that’s synonymous with happiness for me.” She hadn’t wanted to even scratch the surface of her problems, let alone say something as revealing as she had, but somehow the words had tumbled out. Any minute now David would be asking why she didn’t like her family, and if she stared at those hypnotic blue eyes much longer she might just tell him.
“Let me tell you something, Star,” he began, staring at her intently. “Family is not about the people who brought you into the world. Your family are the people who look out for you, and you look out for them.”
I wonder what the food’s like at the Happy Family Cult, she wondered crazily, but said, “I wish I felt like that.” She realised she wasn’t lying.
David didn’t invite her to join the Happy Family Cult, he just smiled and told her one day she’d have a family that would take care of her. She didn’t resist when he put his arm around her.
She leant against him and they shared a silence that should have been uncomfortable, but wasn’t. “I should take you back,” he said at length. “We’ve been here for hours.”
“We have?” It felt like mere minutes since she had climbed off his motorbike. She wondered if she’d possibly fallen asleep on him and David, being David, had been too polite to mention it.
“Sunrise will be here in a few hours,” he told her. “And I have a few things to do before then.”
He helped her to her feet and escorted her to his bike. The ride back was as exciting as the first.
“I’ll pick you up tomorrow at midnight. Make sure you’re here,” he placed a gentle kiss on her cheek and disappeared into the shadows.
End Notes: Lyrics are from “Crash and Burn” by Savage Garden
Star slept through most of the day, as was customary for her. She was woken once by Bill, her landlord pounding on the door. She was glad of the deadbolt on the door. She ignored him and he finally left, with the parting remark of, “Just because you’re my prettiest tenant, doesn’t mean you can dodge your rent!”
Star was touched for a couple of minutes, until she heard him shout the same thing through Tina’s door.
When she was sure he was gone she went down to the nearest store. She checked her purse and only came up with a handful of change. Enough to buy a packet of chips and a can of Pepsi. Certainly not enough to quell her growling stomach. She hadn’t had a cooked meal for weeks, and was heartily sick of her constant hunger.
She retired to her scummy one room apartment once more. Sleep was the only way to avoid hunger pangs.
When she awoke once more she didn’t bother with the short skirts that attracted leers from the punters. She was dressing for herself tonight.
And David, a voice in her mind whispered.
Ok, for David too, she admitted to herself.
She pulled on her favourite gypsy skirt, long, glittery and very flattering. She had bought the skirt on a whim some time ago, but had never really had the confidence to wear it in public. It was her most cherished and least used possession. But tonight she would wear it.
She added some bracelets and brushed her hair once more, and left her apartment.
David was pleased by her appearance, she could tell by the way his eyes lit up.
“You look beautiful,” he told her as approached him.
She blushed and quickly changed the subject. “Where are we going tonight? Never-Never land?”
“We’re going to a restaurant.”
“Oh! We can’t—I mean, it would be lovely, but—I can’t.” Star thought about the eight cents in her purse and was ashamed. Once again, too ashamed to say what was on her mind. “I mean, I’m a vegan. With allergies.”
“Then we’ll find a vegan restaurant. My treat.”
“I can’t let you pay,” she protested. The thought of food was tempting, but she couldn’t take from David. All she did was take, and she had nothing to give.
“Then we don’t go. I don’t ask for a date and then make my date pay. It’s not right.” He looked at her with those hypnotic eyes again. “Star, I’m very hungry, I want to go to a restaurant, but I won’t let you pay me a penny. It’s not about money, your company is more than enough for me. So what do you want to do?”
“I—” She hesitated, then smiled at him. “I’d love to go to dinner with you, David.”
She noticed some envious looks from other girls as she climbed behind David on his motorbike, and was pleased. They should be jealous, David was one in a million.
“Just one thing,” he asked over his shoulder. “You’re not really a vegan are you?”
“No, I’m just stubborn,” she replied, and was delighted when he laughed in response.
Dinner was lovely. David displayed his usual charm, that startled many, seeing the gentlemanly behaviour from the leather clad biker. Star had wordlessly passed him the menu, not knowing what to order. It all sounded wonderful to her hunger-riddled body, but the prices were incredibly high and she hadn’t known where to begin.
David had ordered lots of side dishes, knowing of Star’s hunger, and simply overridden her protests with his argument that her company was worth more than anything he could buy.
During dinner he had asked, “What are you running away from, Star?”
She had bitten her lip and replied, “Will you take me to your cliff?”
He had agreed and changed the subject seamlessly.
So now they sat in the same spot as the night before, a silence stretching between them as he waited for her to speak.
An unknown time passed before she began to speak. And once she started she couldn’t stop. She didn’t just tell him of Nick’s death, but of all the things that came before it, and all the feelings that came after it.
When you feel all alone
And a loyal friend is hard to find
You’re caught in a one way street
With monsters in your head
When hopes and dreams are far away
And you feel like you can’t face the day
Let me be the one you call
If you jump I’ll break your fall
Lift you up and fly away with you into the night
David held her close and soothed her while the tears flowed down her face. A series of carefully constructed mental dams had given way while she was talking, and the emotions were flooding her.
“You know it’s not your fault,” he said finally.
“What?” She looked at him through her tears. “Of course it is! If I’d have spoken to someone—anyone—about what was going on, then Nick would still be alive.”
“Maybe not,” he replied, stroking her back. “Imagine the scene if you had told someone, and you Dad had found out. Could you imagine what he might have done to both of you? And, you never wanted your brother to be beaten. You were the victim too. If you want to blame anyone, blame your father. It was his fault.”
“I just feel so—”
“That’s right, you feel responsible, but you weren’t.”
If you need to fall apart
I can mend a broken heart
If you need to crash
Then crash and burn you’re not alone.
The ride home was subdued. David didn’t drive at his usual breakneck speed out of consideration for Star’s feelings. Once again she was touched by this wonderful stranger who had come into her life and possibly saved her.
“Take me home, David,” she whispered to him. When he asked for directions, she was amazed at his hearing.
She was embarrassed when David saw the block of scuzzy apartments she lived in, but knew enough about him to know that it wouldn’t bother him.
“Will you walk me to my door?” she asked.
“My pleasure,” he offered his arm to her in an old fashioned gesture, which brought a shy smile to her face. She took his arm and led him to her room.
She jimmied her key in the lock, a trick that was second nature to her after a few months of living there, and stepped over the threshold.
“Would you like to come in?” She offered. “I know it’s not much, but…”
“Thanks for the invite. Really. But I don’t think either of us is ready for this,” he stepped into the room, cupped her face with his cool hands and kissed her gently.
Yes, this is definitely a guy you can take home to Mom. She though a little disappointedly. What a gentleman.
“Shall I pick you up here tomorrow night?” he asked when they broke apart.
“No, best not to. I’m trying to stay low, dodging Bill, the landlord. A motorcycle might just attract his attention. Unless you want to meet up during the day?”
The thought seemed to amuse him, as he favoured her with a wintry smile. “Afraid not,” he said with real regret. “Daytime is family time in my home.”
“Oh,” she said in a small voice. When was she going to meet his mysterious family that meant the world to him?
“But I’ll come by earlier. Around ten?”
“I’ll be waiting,” she hadn’t meant to sound so sappy, but it just slipped out. This seemed to please him though, for he turned and kissed her once more before he left.
End Notes: Lyrics are from “Crash and Burn” by Savage Garden
Star bit her lip and forced herself to think happy thoughts, but it was hard work when her possessions were strewn around her ankles in the street. She tried to ignore the looks she was getting, they ranged from inquisitive humour to heartfelt pity.
She had been sitting on a low wall for nearly five hours. On occasion, people threw money at her, thinking she was begging.
She glanced at her watch again. David was due any time now. Her stomach growled angrily. She hadn’t eaten all day. She had no money, and even if she did, she would be reluctant to leave her meagre belongings on the street while she went and got something, and there was too much to carry.
For the first time ever, she heard David arrive. She had kept a keen ear out for any motorbike, and had strained her eyes looking up the road for him. She knew they had arranged to meet at ten, but she kept hoping an errand, or just plain concern would send him through her neighbourhood and he would help her plight.
Over night she had transformed from someone too proud to take food from him, to someone begging for a place to stay. Her only hope was that he still found her company enjoyable.
“What happened?” he asked, coming to a stop in front of her.
“Bill caught me,” she said resignedly.
“I thought you said there was a girl next door who was always a couple of weeks behind. Why were you thrown out when she wasn’t, or was she thrown out too?” His concern evident in his tone.
“Tina, yeah, she’s about six weeks behind now, according to Bill.”
“So?” he prodded gently.
“Bill can’t subsidise us both. Tina—” Star paused, thinking for the right way to phrase her next sentence. “Bill gets certain ‘perks’ from Tina if her rent is late.”
David winced visibly. “You did the right thing,” he told her. “Let me go borrow a car so we can gather all your things. Stay here, I’ll be right back.” The wintry smile appeared on his face once more, but this time it didn’t delight Star.
It troubled her.
David reappeared minutes later in a car, saying he had managed to borrow it from ‘some kid on the Boardwalk’. He quickly loaded up a couple of bags of clothes. There were only a few things that Star really treasured. Her journal, where she wrote down all her innermost thoughts, and inside the journal were a few pictures of Nick.
They drove in silence, while Star contemplated how so much could have happened in so few days.
“Do you want to come to Never-Never Land?” he asked breaking into her thoughts.
“Where you never grow old and you never die, right?” she asked, wondering where this was leading.
“That’s about it.” His wintry smile reappeared once more. “How do you feel about immortality?”
Star realised they were playing the ‘what if’ game. “I think it would be ok, for awhile. But it would be sad to outlive your friends.”
“What if they were immortal too?”
“Oh, well, that would be great. Wouldn’t you get bored though?”
“Bored?” he asked, as if he’d never considered it. “No, I don’t think so. My boys make life so interesting that sometimes I’d like to be bored. I think it’s time for you to meet them.”
“Your boys? Oh my god, you’re married!” She blurted out.
He let out a low chuckle. “Married? No.”
“Wait until you meet them.”
He drove up a dirt track leading to the cliffs, not the usual route he took her but one that led up near the old lighthouse. At the edge of the cliff, he stopped and got out.
“Come on,” he told her, raising an eyebrow.
“Where?” Star didn’t get it. She thought he was taking her to his home, and to be honest, she was feeling too fraught to stop to make out, even with this beautiful view.
“Home,” he said, walking round to open her door. “Never-Never Land,” he added with a smile.
“Is this a joke?” She felt a stab of fear. Why had he brought her up to the cliffs? Was he going to push her over?
He took her hand, and coaxed her out of the car. “Why would it be a joke?”
“I don’t know…”
“Star, do you trust me?”
“Yes…” She answered, but wasn’t sure at all.
“Come on then,” he had managed to gently tug her out of the car. He shouldered both of her bags.
She reluctantly followed as he led her down old wooden steps, she was worried they would crack under her slight weight. They were old, and the constant lash of the sea hadn’t done anything to strengthen them.
She reached the bottom of the steps and began to cross the walkway, it creaked ominously. If it wasn’t for David’s secure grip on her wrist and the fact he had the bag containing her journal, and her only pictures of her brother she would have turned and fled. He stopped, finally noticing her hesitation.
“Come on. I’m not going to hurt you. It’s perfectly safe.” He gave her a smile that reassured her more than his words, and they continued across the slippery walkway.
David pulled her into the mouth of a cave, paying no heed to the signs proclaiming danger and death to any who entered. But Star noticed them, and goosebumps broke out on her flesh.
After a few minutes of crouch walking, the cave opened up to a cavernous room. Star found it hard to take in. Mere seconds ago she thought David was taking her somewhere to kill her, now she appeared to be standing in the main room of his home.
Kind of. There was a broken fountain in the middle with couches surrounding it, a bed hid by lace curtains. There was a slightly torn and battered poster of Jim Morrison on the wall, the light was provided by a myriad of candles, and several oil drums with fires burning in them.
After a few minutes of staring, she became aware that she and David were not alone, she could feel the gazes of several others on her.
“Boys,” David said, breaking the silence. “I’ve brought a new friend home. This is Star, she’s one of us now, if she needs anything we’ll help her.”
Star glanced around, seeing David’s ‘boys’ for the first time. Two of them were blonde, one had dark hair. They all followed David’s biker style of dress.
“Hi.” She smiled nervously.
David put a hand on her shoulder, and squeezed reassuringly. “This is Paul—” he gestured to the taller blonde boy, who was wearing tight white jeans and a tail coat. “Dwayne,” the dark haired one, leather trousers and no shirt. “And Marko.” The youngest-looking of them all, long blonde curls and leather chaps over jeans.
“Hi.” Same word, same nervous smile.
“Dwayne, food please.” David said, with a nod. “Oh, and take the car back to its owner would you?”
He smiled at David. “Sure.”
“Welcome to your new home, Star.” David smiled again.
David’s ‘boys’ were eyeing her with curiosity, there was nothing threatening in their gaze, all the same Star felt somewhat intimidated.
David put her bags down on the bed. “You can sleep here.”
“What about you?—I mean, where—” Star tailed off blushing. She didn’t want to leave her apartment to move into David’s home… and his bed. She wasn’t ready, but she didn’t want to seem ungrateful, or insinuate that she would never… be ready.
It was an uncomfortable situation, and the other two guys in the room weren’t helping her to fit in. Admittedly, they were paying no attention now. Paul had put some music on and was walking on the lip of the fountain, occasionally singing along to the music, and Marko was rummaging around in the back of the cave, apparently looking for something and making the odd comment about Paul’s lack of talent in the singing department.
“The boys and I have a place through that cave down there.” David explained, pointing. “But I’m here for you, anytime you need me.”
Star smiled, more genuinely this time and began to relax. It wasn’t exactly the cult, or loving family environment she had envisioned when he talked about his ‘home’ and ‘family’. But one day, maybe she could call this place home too.
“Thank you,” she said softly.
“Food’s up!” Dwayne called into the cave. “C’mon boys, let’s eat!”
David turned to Star. “Shall we?” As he led her into the main area of the cave he eyed his boys sternly. “Let’s play nice tonight, boys. We have a guest.”
Star didn’t understand what he meant, unless David’s ‘boys’ were the type to throw food around and act stupid. She didn’t really think this was the case, but added it to the list of things to forget about. There seemed to be a lot of things she didn’t get recently.
She sat down with the boys, and self-consciously helped herself to a slice of pizza. She felt their eyes on her as she ate. Occasionally she looked up and smiled, but didn’t manage to meet anyone’s eyes but David’s.
“You want your wine, boss?” Marko asked.
“Not tonight.” David replied. “Let Star settle in before she sees us… drink.”
“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said, as the boys looked at her again. “If you want to drink, go ahead. Don’t stop on my account.”
“No. It’s not polite.” David smiled gently at her and she began to relax. “Perhaps another night.”
After they had eaten, Star sensed a change in the boys. They seemed impatient and edgy. Paul resumed his walk around the lip of the fountain, humming as he did so. Marko and Dwayne made a few comments about his singing, which made him sing louder. Finally Dwayne walked past the fountain, his arm swept out to knock Paul off his feet.
Paul landed with a crash and a few curses were sent in Dwayne’s direction. Dwayne offered his hand to help Paul to his feet. Paul grabbed it, dragged Dwayne down, and they began wrestling. Marko, unable to just watch any longer jumped into the fray.
Star backed away until her back was pressed against the cold rocky wall of the cave. Had she left one violent home for another?
David watched the ruckus with interest, but on noticing Star’s reaction, strode over and began to disentangle the boys.
“Boys, no rough-housing, you’re scaring our new girl,” he told them dragging Marko to his feet by the collar of his jacket.
Star laughed, it seemed like such a fatherly action, from a man who was probably no more than two years older than the rest of them. She almost expected him to add, “If you can’t play nice…”
“It’s ok.” Star smiled at them. “But, Paul, your singing really is terrible.”
The boys, including Paul, laughed, and she felt better.
“My boys are getting restless.” David told her. “They’d better go out before they destroy each other.”
Marko, Paul and Dwayne were waiting for David’s permission to leave the cave? She wondered. They really do respect him.
“Are you going?” she asked, not really wanting to stay by herself in the cave on her first night, but not wanting to infringe on David’s routine. He had already done so much for her.
“I’ll stay with you, if you want my company,” he replied, as his boys began to file out of the cave.
“You don’t have to.”
“I know I don’t have to, Star. I want to.”
She smiled, marvelling at his ability to say the right thing. “I want you to.”
Star spent the next three days adjusting to live in the cave. It was cold and damp, this didn’t seem to bother the boys, but David noticed her discomfort and dragged an oil drum close to her bed to provide more warmth.
“Soon you won’t need this,” he had told her. She assumed that he meant that she would get used to the cold, as the boys had. She hoped it would happen soon.
The boys seemed to keep a nocturnal schedule, Star wasn’t entirely surprised. They lived in a cave, that was odd in itself, anything else they did just seemed natural for cave dwellers. And anyway, she herself slept through most of the day long before she’d come to live here, so it didn’t take much effort to adjust her sleeping patterns to theirs.
She was beginning to relax around all of them and enjoy their company, David’s especially.
Every night when the boys went out he would sit with her on her bed and talk. He would start the conversation gently, and let her bring it around to Nick. She shared thoughts with him, thoughts she had only shared with her journal before. She told him about the dreams too.
“You know the dreams are only misplaced guilt, Star,” he told her. “They are not a higher power’s way of telling you that you failed him. You’re parents failed Nick, and you. It wasn’t your fault.”
“I do know that… now,” she met his eyes, and smiled. “But knowing and feeling are so different.”
“I know you’re in pain, but time will heal you.”
“I hope so.” She tucked her hair behind her ear. “Do you want to see a picture of Nick?” she asked, hoping David would understand how important this was. Nick was her… he was like a son to her at times, and to let David see his picture… maybe it was nothing, but it felt like giving a piece of herself away to him.
“Are you sure you don’t mind? You don’t have to.” He touched her arm. He understood. He always did.
She nodded and reached for her journal where she kept her three photos of him. She handed them to David wordlessly. David took them gently, as if they would crumble to dust if he was too rough with them.
He didn’t speak right away, finally he said, “You can tell he loves you.”
Star smiled. “How can you tell just from a photograph?”
“Well, in this one, he’s turned towards you, smiling for you rather than the camera, and in this one where you’re kneeling down next to him, he’s stroking your hair. This one too, it shows he loves you, see how tight he’s holding you? He loved you, Star, he wouldn’t want you to be unhappy,” he gave her the photos back, and she put them back in her journal.
“I’m not entirely unhappy.” She trailed a finger down his cheekbone, shocked at how cold he always seemed to be. “You make me happy.”
He gave her a smile that startled her, it seemed to light up his eyes. He took her hand and kissed it. “I’m glad I make you happy, Star. You deserve it.”
He surprised her by kissing her on the mouth. She was David’s, and he was hers, but they hadn’t been very demonstrative about it so far, and she had wondered why. She kissed him back wanting to be loved by him.
She lay back on the bed and pulled him close to her.
Later when she awoke, David was already dressed. “I have to go out,” he told her. “We haven’t celebrated you joining the pack. I’m going to get some wine, we can celebrate tomorrow.”
“Why not tonight?” she asked.
“The sun will be up soon, and the boys will be tired,” he answered, dropping an affectionate kiss on her forehead. “Tomorrow, my love.”
He left the cave. Star pondered his last words. My love. Did he love her? She couldn’t tell, he certainly cared for her, just as he cared for his boys. And more importantly, did she love him? She wasn’t sure, and the fact that she wasn’t sure led her to believe that she didn’t. Love was, surely, something one didn’t have to guess about. It had to be something so all encompassing that you couldn’t fight it, so strong that you just knew.
But that was ok. Love would grow with time.
… she hoped.
“So you’re officially gonna be one of us?” Paul ruffled Star’s hair as he walked past. “Glad to hear it. You brighten up the place.”
“Thanks, Paul.” Star grinned, the boys were taking it very seriously, her joining their pack. “You’re not going to sing though are you?”
Paul rolled his eyes at Dwayne and Marko. “She’s here a couple of days, and already she’s picking up your rudeness.”
“Give it up, man,” Marko said. “You’re no more a singer than I’m a Surf Nazi.”
Star ducked for cover. Over the past few days, she had realised that ‘Surf Nazi’ was the ultimate insult. They were a rival gang to her ‘Lost Boys’ as they called themselves. Paul launched himself at Marko, who hid behind Dwayne, and once more, they all began wrestling on the floor, knocking into candles and oil drums. If the place wasn’t so damp Star would be worried about going up in flames.
“Knock it off, boys,” she called in a menacing tone. She walked over and grabbed Paul’s tail coat, and tried to drag him off the others. “If you can’t play nice…!” She threatened, then laughed. Yes, she was definitely one of the Lost Boys.
She heard a laugh from the other end of the cave as David entered the main room from his own chamber. “Boys! You heard what Star said!”
The boys broke apart and got to their feet. Paul contented himself with sitting on his fountain, singing. Marko stood up and began to pick the dried candle wax from his hair and flick it at Paul. Dwayne watched the scene impassively, as if he had not been rolling around on the floor fighting with the other two just moments ago.
“I’ve known five-year-olds who fight less than you,” Star told them.
“We’re a family, girl. It’s what we do.” Paul stated.
Dwayne glared at Paul. “It would happen less if Paul didn’t sing though.”
“Hey! Take that back.” Paul jumped to his feet.
“Boys.” David said tiredly.
“Does anyone else think it’s about time Paul started smoking dope again?” Marko asked. “He’s far more mellow when he does.”
“Funny you should say that, Curly.” Paul reached in his coat and brought forth a bag of weed. “Better than resin,” he added.
“Nice one.” Dwayne approved. “Skin up.”
Star realised that everyone was staring at her, waiting for her approval. She guessed that, like the time Marko asked about the wine, if she said no David would forbid the boys to partake. Well, what the hell, it was her night. She was officially joining the Lost Boys, why not? “Sure, go for it,” she said.
“That’s our girl,” David said softly.
Dwayne dug out the stereo and put some music on while Paul rolled joint after joint and began passing them round.
Star felt all eyes on her when Marko passed her the joint, she smiled at them and inhaled the smoke. She didn’t feel anything right away, but as the night progressed her head began to feel floaty, in a good way though. She had been worried that she might throw up or pass out in front of them, but she just felt very relaxed.
It was a tight squeeze on the couch but she was feeling very comfortable with them. Paul sat one side of her, Marko the other, with Dwayne the other side of him. David sat opposite her in an old wheelchair the boys had scavenged from somewhere unknown.
Marko had got the giggles from the gear, and every so often for no reason he would get an attack which would make Star giggle too.
“Always happens to Marko,” Paul told her. “As long as I’ve known him, he always gets the giggles.”
Marko giggled again.
“See?” Paul took a swig from his can of lager.
“Can I have a sip of that?” she asked, she didn’t like the taste but her throat was very dry from all the smoke.
Paul handed her the can, but David leant forward and took it from her, then handed it back to Paul. Star reached for it again, laughing. Marko once more joined in the laughter.
“We’ve got something better for you, Star,” David told her. “Dwayne, would you do the honours?”
Dwayne went to the back of the cave and brought forth a bottle of wine, it had some kind of metal casing, with jewels on it.
“Pretty,” Star commented. Marko giggled again, and Star joined in. She couldn’t remember a time when she’d felt this good. She took the offered bottle, and looked around. Everyone was strangely silent. Paul had stopped humming, Marko had controlled his giggling, David and Dwayne, as always remained impassive.
“What?” She asked.
“Have a drink, Star. Be one of us.” David implored.
“That’s it? Drink this, and be a Lost Boy… or girl?” She smiled, only Marko returned it.
“Everyone here has once drunk from this bottle.” David replied.
“What’s the big deal? Is it really old?”
“Something like that,” David finally smiled. “It’s vintage.”
“Ok,” she was stoned, and all she had to do was drink some old—and probably very potent—wine and she was one of them. She could be a part of this forever. She might throw up, but she didn’t care. She wanted to belong to them. She raised the bottle to her lips and drank.
The wine slipped down her throat easily. It was very sweet, and she wanted more.
The boys went wild. Paul got to his feet, turned up the stereo and began dancing round the room, Dwayne soon joined him, whooping joyfully.
Marko hugged her. “You’re one of us now.”
“A toast boys, to our first Lost Girl!” David called.
I belong, She thought. And drank again.
Star was almost finished with the bottle when the woozyness hit her. She collapsed onto the couch, after dancing with Dwayne. She had danced with all the boys. She put her head back and closed her eyes, still taking small sips of the wine.
When she opened her eyes again, there was a change in the cave, that she felt rather than saw. Her vision was cloudy, but the boys seemed different. Paler. Their faces more angular. Their teeth…
… Oh god! Their teeth had lengthened and sharpened to points.
“Vampire,” she whispered.
“We are. And now, so are you,” David told her.
Your cruel device
Your blood, like ice
One look could kill
My pain, your thrill
I’m a vampire? I just drank blood? She wondered.
“You’re not a full vampire yet, Star. You’re not one of us until…”
“Until I make my first kill,” she picked up where David left off.
“Very good. Can you feel the power running through you, Star?”
She could, she could feel it running through her, she was surprised that she wasn’t giving off crackles of electric energy. It was more intoxicating that the ‘wine’ David had given her, more powerful than anything she had ever felt. She was higher than any drug could take her.
I want to love you but I better not touch (Don’t touch)
I want to hold you but my senses tell me to stop
I want to kiss you but I want it too much (Too much)
I want to taste you but your lips are venomous poison
You’re poison running through my veins
You’re poison, I don’t want to break these chains
She could feel the urge to kill. The need to have warm blood filling her mouth.
You’re poison running through my veins
You’re poison, I don’t wanna break these chains
She understood the power David had given her, and knew that he could control her.
Poison, oh no
Runnin’ deep inside my veins,
Burnin’ deep inside my veins
I don’t wanna break these chains
“You bastard!” she screamed. “All of you. You fucking bastards!”
And then she passed out.
End Notes: Lyrics are from “Poison” by Alice Cooper. This could be considered the end of this fic. The next chapters introduce Laddie, and more importantly lay the groundwork for my other fic, A Moonlight Tale where Star has a daughter.
Star’s language gets worse, this story may become a 15 for that reason. If it offends you, I apologise, but give Star a break, she’s just been vamped.
Star awoke. She was not alone, she realised that before her eyes were even open.
“Ready to play nice yet?” David’s voice. Who else?
She opened her eyes, managed to focus on him, and glared. It was the best she could do so early after waking.
“Well?” he probed.
She turned over in bed, her back to him. And came face to face to him. How…? Her mind didn’t even finish the question.
“Vampire speed and strength,” he answered. He gripped her shoulders tightly, his hands burned like dry ice on her bare skin. “So I ask again, are you going to play nice and join in the festivities, my girl?”
“I am not your girl,” she spat out, sickened by his contact with her. “And I’m never going to kill anyone… except for maybe you.”
He slapped her before she even saw it coming, a trickle of blood ran down the corner of her mouth. It tasted wonderful. She licked her lips.
David saw, and laughed. “You’ll change your mind, Star. One fine night, you’ll be one of us and wonder why you ever fought it.”
“Again?” he challenged.
“Leave me alone.”
He did leave. But two of the Boys remained to watch her. Paul and Marko appeared to pay her no attention, but she could feel their eyes on her. Paul as always, was walking around the fountain. Marko was reading.
“You don’t have to stay here,” she finally snapped at them, when the silence became too much.
Marko didn’t even look up from his book. “David says we do.”
“Scared I’ll run off?” She asked.
“Why would you wanna do that?” Paul asked, with a quizzical look.
“You’re killers!” She spat out.
“So will you be, why fight it, girl?”
“I’m not a killer.”
“David picked you for a reason, Star, just like he chose all of us.” Marko finally shut his book and rejoined the conversation. “I’d have just figured you for a meal, myself, but David saw something else. He gave you a great gift, why don’t you see that?”
“He tried to make me a killer.”
Star had no answer to that. Hadn’t her own father killed her brother? She felt the rage start to burn within her. She could go back and see her father. And give him every last drop of pain he inflicted on her and Nick…
“That’s what he saw!” Marko smiled triumphantly.
Star ran her tongue over her teeth, shocked by the feel of elongated canines. She clapped her hand over her mouth and the boys laughed.
“Why fight it?” Paul repeated.
Star’s response was cut off by a pain slicing across her midsection and working its way through her body. She would have fallen to the floor had Marko and Paul not caught her in time.
Star bit down on her lip in an attempt not to cry out, as the boys carried her to her bed. “What’s happening?” She gasped.
“You’re becoming one of us. It hurts, but it passes.” Marko told her. She gripped his hand tightly as another wave of pain shot through her body.
“Make it stop,” she pleaded. At that moment she would have done anything to end the pain.
“Time, girl. A few seconds and it’ll be over.” Paul squeezed her other hand.
Even before Paul finished speaking the pain began to subside. Star took deep breaths, trying to steady herself.
“How are you?” Marko asked.
Star didn’t reply. I’m hungry, is what she would have replied, luckily she passed out again instead.
“Hey, Sleeping Beauty’s up.”
Star sat up, slightly dizzy.
“Hungry?” Marko offered her a slice of pizza which she took eagerly.
“Where’s the other jailer?” she asked bitterly.
“He was restless, David told us not to leave you alone, but Paul got hungry, so he went out.”
Hungry. The word echoed in her head. Paul got hungry translated roughly into Paul’s gone out to kill someone. An innocent person. Her stomach growled, and she tried to convince herself that it was only pizza she was craving.
“Why didn’t you go?” She asked, largely to ignore the hunger.
“Like I said, David asked at least one of us to stay with you at all times… besides, all that weed last night got to me.”
“You got the giggles last night,” she told him, then remembered that she didn’t have to be friends with David’s boys any longer. They were killers.
“That always happens, even when I was human.”
That comment got her interest. “What were you like as a human?”
“Way different to how I am now,” he laughed.
“How? Aside from teeth and murderous impulses, of course.” If she couldn’t work out a way to stop herself from becoming a vampire, the least she could do is anticipate what she might be like.
“Well, I was shy, quiet, never spoke to anyone except for the bartender.”
“My father used to beat me senseless, I used to go to the nearest bar and drink ‘til I couldn’t feel any more—or at least try. One night I met David and he gave me a drink that worked. My father was my first kill.”
“What about the others?” He chooses the ones with anger. Bastard. “Paul and Dwayne, were they unhappy before…”
“I don’t know. David knows their stories, he always bonds with his childer, unlike some vamps who just turn you and abandon you.”
“Oh yeah, he’s a real great guy,” she snapped.
Marko flinched slightly at her change in tone. “Why fight it, Star? Become one of us. You loved belonging to us last night. You loved us last night. Think of how safe you would be here. And it would last forever.”
Maybe I wasn’t that wrong when I though David belonged to a cult. “So you see David as a saviour then?” she asked, not even trying to hide the sarcasm in her tone. “He comes along and makes all the pain go away by turning you into a murderer.”
“It’s a nasty old world, Star. You’re either the giver or receiver of pain no matter what. David just gives you the choice.”
“I don’t believe that.” But she did.
“You’re a runaway. Wouldn’t you like to go back and wreak a little revenge on whatever you’re running from?”
She would. Her heart pounded at the though. She pictured herself standing above her father, him bruised and bloodied and her saying “This is for Nick you rotten son of a bitch!” She fought to get control of herself, afraid she would vamp out again, and no doubt Marko would take this as some kind of victory for the boys. “I can’t,” she said finally, moving to her bed where she could hide from this conversation.
It was too much, she couldn’t deal with this alone. She needed to talk to… it would have been David she turned to with her problems, now he was the cause of them.
Star used the same tactic she had used before she came to live at the cave. Sleep helped her avoid the hunger pangs. She spent almost three weeks trying to sleep. They boys made sure she ate, sometimes they brought her food, sometimes they forced blood from the bottle down her throat.
At first she wondered why they let her sleep in the main cave where she could easily escape. She tried one day to escape while they were sleeping, or at least she planned to, but found herself unable to stay awake long enough. Besides, where could she go where David wouldn’t find her?
She reached for her journal, she had been strangely unable to write in it with the same freedom that she had before. It wasn’t that she was scared the boys would find it, oddly they respected her privacy. It was more that she was ashamed of what had happened. She couldn’t find the words to express what had happened to her.
Story of my life, she thought bitterly. She threw her pen down, knowing the words weren’t going to flow today either, but then she noticed the red dot at the top of the page. She flipped back a few pages, they also had red dots on them.
Red dots to mark when her period was due, circles around them to show when it arrived. She flipped back further to see the last dots and circles. No, she hadn’t miscalculated.
Maybe vampires—even half vampires—don’t get periods, she told herself. There’s plenty of things they can’t do, like sunbathing.
Except the hole in that argument was that she could sunbathe if she wanted. She’d be asleep at the time, but the sun wouldn’t cremate her the way it would do with David. It would itch, and make her even more tired, but it wouldn’t kill her.
Could I be pregnant? she wondered.
She couldn’t exactly ask David if half vampires did get periods, aside from the obvious embarrassment on both their parts, he would then want to know if she suspected she was pregnant. She couldn’t imagine David as a father… not a traditional one, but this child—if there was one—would be part vampire, and David would want it in his gang and under his thumb.
She felt sick to her stomach at the though. She would never be able to leave the pack, and her child would be a murderer.
I’m driving myself crazy here, she though. It could be that I’m not pregnant. I have to know for sure.
It would be sunrise soon, an hour or so. Dwayne was on jailer duty for the moment. Out of all of them, she preferred him the most. He said very little, no questions, no pleas or demands that she fully join the group. He just watched her.
Paul and Marko spent a great deal of time with her, trying to convince her that being a vampire was the best thing that could possibly happen to her. They knew what they were doing, the words they used awoke the blood lust in her, her dreams were thick and heavy with death. Death of her father, mainly—no, it wasn’t just death, it was torture, she had dreams of torturing her father. And she enjoyed them. It scared her.
David kept his distance from her, knowing that his presence would only cause her more anxiety, and he wanted her to accept the situation and actually want to be a vampire.
She had to get out of the cave. She had to find out if she was pregnant. She was exhausted though, sleep was calling to her but she fought it off.
She heard the whoops and yells as the boys returned to the cave. There was blood around David’s mouth, it should have sickened her, but instead it brought forth her hunger.
I hate you, She though with so much venom that she was shocked.
Just think, David’s the best thing in your life, another voice inside her head responded. She wondered, not for the first time, if she was crazy. Not going crazy, but gone. There already. Loopy. Sometimes she hoped she was.
She noticed how tired the boys were, it must be closer to sunrise than she first thought. Then she realised that she wasn’t so tired any more. Keep my mind busy, and I won’t get so sleepy, she told herself.
The boys slunk back to their sleeping chamber and Star fought to keep herself awake.
She waited half an hour, hoping they would be asleep by then, before she left the cave. She sun was up, but it was a cold morning. She shivered and considered going back for her jacket, but decided that cold was best. Cold would keep her awake.
The morning light was making her squint, but she couldn’t complain, it was her first foray out of the cave for almost four weeks. The air was fresher too, in the cave it was musty, with a distinct undertone she now recognised as the smell of blood and death.
She made her way towards the nearest café to get a cup of exceptionally strong coffee while she waited for the shops to open. She had money, David had given it to her, and told her to buy something nice. She had been shocked at how much he had given her, but now it made sense. It had come from his victims, and why should he keep it? What would a vampire want with money?
She sat down at the breakfast bar and ordered a cup of coffee “so strong the spoon stands up” and a croissant. The guy behind the counter poured her coffee.
“If you don’t mind me saying, girly, you look awful.”
“I don’t feel too great,” she admitted.
“That’s the problem with your generation, you sleep all day, party all night, how’s that working out for you?”
“Not too good,” she smiled and took a sip of her coffee, grimaced, and added three spoons of sugar, paused and added another two. “I’m thinking of giving it up.”
“Good for you, girl, your body will thank you for it!”
The exchanged a few more pleasantries until the next customer came in. Star was struck by his kindness. He was just being pleasant, she knew that because he was giving another girl the same advice he had just given Star, but he seemed a nice guy. Not nice in the way Bill, her old landlord, had been nice, nice with a distinct undertone of lechery, or nice in the way David had, with his subtle manipulation. He was just nice. There weren’t enough nice people in the world, she decided.
She drank four more coffees, and then set out to find a chemist.
It was horribly embarrassing asking for a pregnancy test, more so when the good-intentioned chemist began to ask personal questions, and recommended she see a doctor and have tests for STD’s if she’d had unprotected sex. It was made worse by her doziness, she kept missing words and asking the chemist to repeat himself.
She finally escaped with a few tattered shreds of dignity. Could’ve gone worse. They could have asked about David, I could have told them how I think I’m pregnant by a vampire, and better yet, I’m a half vampire! a cheerful little voice sounded in her head.
Oh, shut up, she told the irritating voice, as she entered the same café she’d been in earlier. The owner greeted her cheerfully, “Another coffee so strong the spoon stands up?” he asked.
“That would be great,” she replied. This time she didn’t drink her coffee at the breakfast bar, she took it to a small secluded table where she could read the instructions to the test.
Someone had left a pack of cigarettes on the table, even though she didn’t smoke, she lit one. What’s cancer to a vampire? she thought irreverently. She inhaled deeply then put the cigarette in the ashtray. She slid her hands in her bag and unwrapped the cellophane covered box. She pulled out the instructions and began to read them.
Or at least try, but the words began to swim in front of her eyes. Her head drooped and she realised how close to sleep she was. She took a long drink of her coffee, not caring about burning her throat. She picked up the cigarette and took another drag on it, tapped off the excess ash, and then pressed the red hot cherry to the back of her hand. She held it there until she was sure she was more awake. She was glad of the secluded booth, her actions could have attracted attention.
She took a deep breath and turned her attention back to the instructions.
Positive? Positive! I’m pregnant! her mind screamed the same words over and over as she headed back to the cave. She had considered hopping on the next bus out of Santa Carla, but her body was screaming out for rest, and worse it was screaming out for blood.
To have so many people near her, their pulses singing in her ears, was too much temptation. She couldn’t fight it, not right now.
She finally collapsed on her bed and fell quickly into a deep sleep.
How ironic, she was glad to be back.