Author Feature: from ‘Night Shadow’ by Edward Buatois

My hands find my clothes where I left them and get out of there as fast as I can get them on, not even close to comfortable until I’m alone on the highway home.

It’s pretty much a straight shot back to Taylor’s, and I’m there in about half an hour.

“How’d it go?” Taylor asks when I come into the bedroom, his voice thick with sleep.

I flinch at that. “Not much of a deep sleeper, are you?”

“Not while you’re out eating,” he says. “Anyone I know?”

“Know any drug dealers?” I ask, fluffing out my hair.

“Depends,” he says, propping up on an elbow. “Does that include pharmaceutical reps?”

“No.”

“Then, no.”

“Good,” I say with a yawn. “I need to take a shower.”

He pillows back down. “See you when you get out.”

Going into the shower, I put it on extra-hot, my mind wandering back to that creepazoid guy who grabbed my breast. Yes, that was rude-ass, but not completely unexpected for an orgy room. Why am I reacting this way?

Maybe it was because I was sitting on a dead guy. That must be it.

Get a grip, Eyrtena.

I dry myself off and brush my teeth, then pop two Dramamine and down a couple gulps of Pepto Bismol right from the bottle. One thing Walgreen’s doesn’t carry is a cure for bad tummy from eating crummy souls.

Returning to the bed, I turn off the light and spoon with Taylor, kissing the back of his neck.

“Did the Dramamine help?” he asks.

“Not really.”

He sighs. “I wish you didn’t have to eat bad chaktal.”

“I have to eat, and the alternative is to hurt good people — I can’t do that,” I tell him, caressing his arm. “Never again. This way, at least I feel like I can take some bad people off the street.”

He turns around to face me, pulling my naked leg over his, causing a skip in my heartbeat. “Soon you won’t have to, and then…” he says, tickling the back of my knee.

“I still can’t believe you did it,” I tell him, unable to keep the hesitation out of my voice.

He laughs. “If you had so little confidence, why did you let me sample you, month after month, for a year?”

That isn’t it. My hand goes absently to the vivisection sites on my thigh, two inch-square cubes’ worth, which of course are now unblemished skin and muscle… having eaten, I heal like Wolverine. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? I can heal in moments what it would take a human months to heal, if they heal at all. They’re so limited.

There’s also immortal life: When eternity is yours, eighty or so years is nothing. Who would choose that really?

Me, maybe. I don’t know.

I press my lips to his, letting it linger a bit before withdrawing to my side with a sigh. “Do you mind if we talk about this more tomorrow? I’m suddenly very tired.”

“Of course,” he says, with a hint of disappointment, but he doesn’t press. That’s a lot of why I love him. “Good night, love,” he says, and rolls over to his side, much the way I found him when I first came in.

I pull the blanket up, and snuggle into my pillow, with my palm pressed against Taylor’s back.

His chaktal always tastes of honeysuckle and newly mown grass, and now that I’ve eaten and I’m safe, it’s comforting — and it relaxes me. As sleep overtakes him, sexual desire dissipating, it retreats into his body until I can’t sense it anymore.

Holy shit, I realize, reclaiming my hand from Taylor’s back as if from a hot plate. That guy at the club, he had no chaktal — that’s what’s been bugging me. That’s not possible — no one could be in that room who wasn’t dead, or…

An Incubus.

It was an Incubus.

And somehow, I swear it — he knew me.

You can find out more about Edward Buatois and his writing on his website.
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