BLACKOUT: By Lori Titus

I can’t keep track of time anymore.

I remember yesterday, but not in the right way. I can recall a bunch of sensations: waking with hunger. Feeling my body tremble . The warmth of the rain as it fell on my face. Whispers. A tin cup of red wine that I drank from again and again, until there was no more. The metallic taste that blended the liquid. The shine of figures moving in the dark. Sound pounding in my ears, mixing with the beats of music from far down the street.

These things could have happened in any order, or none at all.

The most real thing was Morgan, and his laugh. I know that he came and gave me all that I needed. His face is a dark shape amongst even more darkness.

That is one way that I can distinguish him. He does not have the shine.

The first touches I always remember, his fingers finding their way across my skin. His thumb beneath my lower lip, and his cool minted breath. He likes mint. A holdover from the old days. I laughed at that. Some part of my mind registered that this was something interesting to know about him. That he still enjoyed taste. That he loved cigarettes and candies in his mouth. I could taste it too, when he kissed me.

After that, I remember nothing at all.

When I woke again, I was satiated. My head felt clearer. Morning was coming.

And of course, Morgan was gone. He never stayed very long.

I blinked, taking in the features of my small apartment. It had fallen into disarray lately. There were newspapers everywhere. The kitchen was a mess. I looked at the cold outline of the stove and I wondered if the gas jets could work anymore.

Something caught my ear. The smallest sound. Not a footstep, but rustling. The kind a mouse makes, moving against a wall.

I looked up, and I saw him standing, with his back against my door.

Joel was very still. I was laying on the mattress, and I sat up. We stared at each other for a time. It was dim, but I could see his face clearly: dark eyes, brown hair that skimmed the top of his collar, paper thin skin. When he spoke, his voice stirred something in me.

It was painful.

“Liylah. Why did you do this to me?”

I cringed. I made my body as small as I could against the mattress, but he was suddenly there beside me.

“It was bad enough that you left me. How could you do this? I loved you,” the words fell from his mouth like acid. “How could you ….?”

I stuttered. I looked away from his eyes, because they were as empty as my own. “I didn’t remember.”

“How could you not?”

“Morgan says, it’s different for everybody. And for me. I couldn’t…. I still can’t… sometimes I don’t remember.”

He grabbed my arms, and forced me to look into his face.

“Well I can remember for two,” he hissed.

It was there, in his eyes. When he touched me, he made me remember. It was like a movie, watching it playback in his mind. The night I saw him at the park. And I had been so hungry…. I had not even looked at him. I had not spoken. I did not hesitate. I took him, and I drank from him, ripping into his flesh. And his blood was something different than any of the other that I had tasted in my short time. Somehow I began to see it not only as he remembered it: the fear, the pain that went through him as I attacked, but the pleasure I’d taken in doing it.

More than just remembering. Experiencing it again, in both his flesh and mine.

And then, he took me farther back. I saw myself through his eyes, and how he loved me.

He made me go through it all again, from that first date. Our wedding night. And the arguments, the screaming and the crying and finally the night he got his things and left.

“Joel, I’m so sorry,” I was crying, for the first time that I could remember. “I didn’t know it was you. I never meant to hurt you.”

He barred his teeth at me. I didn’t move. I understood his anger.

“Well I guess it was different for you,” Joel said. “Because since the night I drank for the first time, all I can do is remember. I … believe you. That you didn’t know.”

I didn’t understand it, but his forgiveness meant so much to me. I knew that I was not supposed to feel this. Maybe this was a holdover from my past. When I looked into Joel’s face, I saw no hint of this forgiveness he spoke of.

“You were too wild with hunger to know, or care if you did,” he said cruelly. “I know that your memory may not be working, but think about it. Morgan brought you to a place to feed. A place where he knew I would be.”

Gray sunlight was slanting through the windows now. I wondered if Morgan was sleeping somewhere after a long night, or if he roamed outside, oblivious to the myths about sunshine and crosses. I wondered, if being my Maker, he could hear the conversation I was having with Joel. If he could feel the animosity that was bubbling up in my chest.

” Maybe Morgan didn’t think you‘d turn.”

Joel pouted. An odd expression on his otherwise immobile face.

“I don’t believe it was an accident.”

©2009 Lori Titus

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