“The Augustin Mansion is also known as the Vamporium,” she explained. “Rumor has it that vampires live there.”
I nodded slowly. “Right. And let me guess, there are werewolves in a place called the Werewolfian here, too?”
She was not amused. “Listen to me. I doubt that anyone would go here if they didn’t believe in vampires, which means they must exist, or something like a vampire exists. There has to be a vampire in here that’s willing to turn people.”
“You really believe that?” Because I did not.
“It’s a shot in the dark, I know. But at this point, that’s all I can afford. I got in touch with the owners and they seemed nice. They can fix what is wrong. And there’s so much wrong with me right now. I’m so sick that I don’t even know when my last day will be. So this is my...”
“Don’t you dare say it.” I put my finger to her lips and she fell silent. “I do not want to hear you talk about how this is your last chance at life.”
“But it is. So that’s where I’m going, Ian. That’s where I’m going to start chemotherapy. And if it turns out that it’s hopeless, then...,” she shrugged, “then I’ll take fate into my own hands.”
I was appalled by this decision. So much of it did not make any sense. She was jumping too far ahead and not thinking any of it through. “You want to go to Vienna to get treatment? Why can’t you do it here?”
“I don’t have faith in very many things,” she sighed. “In fact, I was pretty sure I would die. But then I saw this ad and my hope came back. I asked my doctor and he said it was fine if I believed it would help. As long as I was getting everything done, I would be okay. Of course, I didn’t tell him about the Vamporium.”
“But...” I started to protest.
“Ian, believe me on this. I have taken care of everything. You don’t need to worry about my treatments or the doctors or anything is. I have it all under control.”
I was not convinced. “You sure about that?”
“I know that for a fact. I’m not in the best of shape, Ian. I’m just hoping that I live long enough for the transformation. I could die before then, you know.”
I knew and it scared me, but I didn’t want her to smell my fear. It was a quick decision on my behalf, but I opened my mouth before thinking things through. “I better not hear it while I’m watching you get treatment.”
“You... you what?” She seemed to catch the end of my sentence, only. “Ian, are you telling me that...?”
I tried to stop myself, but it was too late. My mouth was doing more talking than my brain was thinking. “I’ll talk to my father and take the semester off. We’ll make sure you get cured and everything, okay? I don’t want you to go to Austria where you don’t know the language or have anyone with you. What if this thing you want isn’t what it seems? You’ll be a lot weaker from chemo and you’ll be around people claiming to drink blood and all. Plus you may get lonely. Not exactly the most comforting thing in the world.”
She started to protest again, but stopped herself. “Well, you do have a point. Just because my parents can’t come doesn’t mean you can’t.” The smile widened on her face. “Okay, Ian! I can go ahead and get you a plane ticket then. I’ll call up the place and tell them you’re coming with me.”
“That’s the spirit!” I exclaimed. In that split second, she looked like the old Alexis. She didn’t look tired or worried, but thrilled that something was going her way. I stroked her hair and her smile faded. “What’s wrong?”
“It’ll all be gone one day.” She said, touching her hair. “I hope you won’t mind.”
Mind? Did she know who she was talking to? “You’ll be beautiful no matter what.”
“You’re lying.” She sighed. “But thank you for saying that anyway.”
I wanted to stay longer, but knew I had a few thing to take care of, first. If I was going to leave for Vienna, I couldn’t do it like that. Hopefully, my sudden decision would not be a bad one. That night, after I had left Alexis’ dorm, I went home and explained the whole situation to my father. He had already known about the cancer, but this was a new level. Here, I was getting involved. And I knew his reaction would not be pleasant. He might have been a small man and didn’t look like he could hold his own, but his voice was booming. If he yelled, the whole neighborhood heard. So I stood against the wall and waited for him to start screaming.
“You want to do what?” my father asked. It was not the scream I had expected. I wasn’t sure if he had heard me the first time around or not. His voice had a mix of disappointment and shock.
“Alexis is going to be alone,” I explained. “You know how her family is. They’re already fretting about how to pay her medical bills and expenses. She’s going to start chemotherapy in a few days and she’s getting ready to go to Vienna.”
My father kept looking at me like I had announced I had come out of the closet. The disappointment had been replaced with confusion. “But why Vienna? Why not here? Your mother didn’t go to Vienna.”
Yeah, well, Mom had no desire to turn into a vampire I wanted to say out loud, but kept it to myself. When my parents had come to this country more than twenty years ago, they had known nothing about it. My father knew a total of three words and my mother only knew a few more. They had worked hard and learned everything with very little help from others. My mother had been the one to teach my father all the way up to her death from AIDS. She was gone before I turned four, so it became my father’s responsibility to raise me. Together, we were teaching other and learning so it turned out to be a good experience.
Yet Alexis was not my mother. My mother would not be vampire crazy in the first place, nor would she run far away to get her treatment. She would also want everyone in her family at her side, not do something crazy without anyone knowing about it. The more I thought about this, the less excited I became.
“Dad, I made a promise to her,” I said. “I’ll just take this semester off and I’ll go back in time for the next to start, okay? I’m pretty far as it is. I just have a few classes left to take before I graduate. But I don’t know how long Alexis has to live. You see how this has affected her.”
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Genre – Supernatural / Romance / Fiction
Rating – PG13
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