COPPER SUNSET BLUES

“Andrew. Andrew, hurry up!”

I hear her voice through the open window of the trailer. The window is barely cracked. The sun has just dipped behind the horizon, spreading coppery orange across the desert sky. A gust of warm air passes through, making little swirls of movement in the sand.

“Hold your horses,” I call back, pissed. I wonder if she thinks this shit is fun.  It has been a long night, and the entire ride back had been a nightmare. I kept wondering what would happen if I got stopped somewhere by the police. The liquor on my breath would be the least of my problems if they decided to ask about the cargo in my trunk.

She slams the window shut. She’s waiting.

I pause, take a deep breath. I carry a weight beneath a painter’s cloth. My muscles burn.

I hoist myself up the three steps and into the trailer. Once inside, I put my burden on the floor.

I shut the door.  Lettie is sitting at the back, legs crossed. A little princess on her ramshackle throne.

She’s wearing a short white cotton dress and a pair of cowboy boots. Her blond hair is pulled back and tied in a prim little knot.

She smiles. I can’t see her lips, but I feel the change in her expression. Her eyes bore through me.

I pull back the painter’s cloth.

The boy is probably not much more than fifteen, despite the fake ID he used to get into the club. It was easy enough to pay a girl to pass him some ruffies. 

I had the truck in the alley around back, and I sneaked him out, unconscious, no problem.

 I took almost two hours driving,  the kid wouldn’t wake up.

In one lithe movement, Lettie was beside the boy. “He’s scrawny. How long do you think his blood will last me?”

“Long enough to haul your ass to Nashville,” I say. “Or did you forget? You’ve got a gig to play.”

She hisses. Her hand closes around my throat.

“You kill me, who’s gonna get your food then?” I croak, despite the crushing pain.

She lets go of me.

I have been Lettie’s manager for five years now, and despite what she is, I can’t get used to the idea that I have to listen to her. She controls me with her powers. At least some. I’m not convinced she really knows completly how to do it. It’s only been about three weeks since she became a vampire.

She’s still the fame seeking little whore she was before she was turned, and that gives me something. That and the fact she needs a Protector.

Such is my fucking luck.

There were four other girls in Lettie’s band, and she killed every one of them. I found them dead in their dressing room, like so many china dolls. Broken, and bloodless, their eyes staring into nothing. Lettie was sitting in a closet, holding the corpse of her best friend in her arms. Still trying to suck blood, though there couldn’t possibly have been any left.

And I had to clean up. Like I always do.

“He’ll do,” Lettie says petulantly. Kneeling, she takes the boy’s head between her hands, an almost motherly gesture. She strokes his cheeks. Her fingers rest on his lips.

Lettie always does this. It isn’t enough to just drain a poor sucker. She likes to play with her food.

“Aint you got nowhere better to be?” she snapped.

I go outside, take out a cigarette, and watch the sky.

It isn’t long before I hear screams as Lettie’s fangs pierce the boy’s neck.

I sing an old country tune, only half remembering the words.  Anything to drown out the sound of Lettie taking her meal.

________________________
©2010 Lori Titus

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