Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It Began In Darkness Pt. 2

I still don't know where this plot is headed, so feel at liberty to make suggestions. Read part 1 here.
His body shook itself awake, still awash with the horrors of recent events. 

The cry strangled his throat, and he tensed again, expecting to be shushed, but nothing came. There was light against his eyelids. The morning was no warmer than usual, but sweat still rolled down Mikhail’s back. His body felt unusually limp. 
He sighed, staring at the wall. He was in his home in the city, he had to work today, and he had a date with Leona at seven. 
“We are not underground anymore,” came a voice in his ear. 
Startled, Mikhail sat up and nearly fell from the bed in his haste. It was the lilting accent from that terrible never-ending night, from that man-thing that bit him, Cillian’s voice. His hand flew to his leg, tracing the edges of the broken skin. The spots were mostly scabbed over, as though it had happened a long time ago. 
“You bit me,” he said. It sounded inane, but better than accusations of blood-sucking. “What are you doing here?”
Cillian sat up as well, shaking his honey-brown hair into his face. It was long enough that only his mouth and chin were visible. Mikhail thought he looked ridiculous.
“What, indeed?” came the dry response. “I thought that you would know.” He reached over the sheets, searching for something, as though it was too difficult to open his eyes and look. Grabbing his fingers, Mikhail pressed them to the wounded spot, careful to keep Cillian from touching him too intimately by accident. 
“Right here,” he said. The fingers traced the puffy edges gently, respectfully, then withdrew. 
Cillian bowed his head slightly. “I was careless. I apologize.” 
Careless? Mikhail ran his gaze over the stranger, taking in Cillian’s fair skin, pouty lower lip, and sculpted body. “Was I drunk?” 
“Are you positive?” 
“If you like, you could go to your local law enforcement.” 
Cillian tilted his head. “Provided, of course, that you have a logical complaint and go to the right people.” 
Looking over the side of the bed, Mikhail was grateful to find his pants from yesterday crumpled on the floor. He checked his wallet. Everything was there, including the business cards he had collected after the meeting. His briefcase was lying next to the bed, full of everything but the materials he had given out for the pitch. When had he gotten his clothes back? Perhaps I should call in sick, Mikhail thought briefly. 
“Do you have a bathroom nearby?” Cillian asked. 
Mikhail pointed to the open door. “Right across from you.” 
Cillian rose, making his way with shuffling, careful steps and outstretched arms. They had to have been drunk last night. Mikhail hadn’t picked up a man in over ten years, but clearly he had made an exception. Cillian’s clothes were nowhere to be seen; perhaps they had left them on the way up to the bedroom. 
“If you could,” Mikhail asked politely as he passed Cillian on the way into the bathroom, “grab your clothes from last night. I can at least throw them in the dryer with a dryer sheet.” He hoped he had some left over from the ones Leona had left. 
“I don’t have any,” Cillian replied. 
Mikhail paused then checked the room. All items within were his. He checked the stairs, then the kitchen, the living room, the garage, and even poked his head outside. On returning upstairs he found his unexpected guest supine on the bed.
Mikhail rubbed his forehead. “Any idea where your clothes might be?”  
Cillian sighed weightily. “Would this be denial?” 
“Your clothes.” 
“Nonexistent,” Cillian shot back. “And you can thank me for getting yours. They were going to make it look like you skipped town.” 
Mikhail exhaled heavily through his nose. “Who?” 
Had there not been a curtain of hair in the way, Mikhail imagined that the young man would have rolled his eyes.  
“They. Them. The Stamp Corp. My people.” 
Mikhail rubbed his forehead. He gave up on finding Cillian’s clothes, and instead pulled out sweats he hadn’t worn in a while. “I don’t think the Stamp Corporation was looking to be rid of me,” he responded, trying to sound patient. “I work in development. I’m not a threat to their business."
Cillian snorted. "Of course you weren't. Yet you obviously saw something that you shouldn't have, otherwise you wouldn't have been thrown in for me."
"Ah, so that you could punish me with a blowjob and a weird blood fetish." Mikhail felt his patience slipping and struggled to keep the sarcasm from his tone. “Are you a hustler?”
"You were food, you great dolt," Cillian said meanly as he pulled the sweatshirt over his head. "Bodily fluid to replenish my own depleted sources. I ate you up." He grinned. "There was no money and no fetish. Look at my teeth."
Mikhail glanced at the gleaming dentition. "You do have very straight teeth and pointy incisors," he acquiesced.
Cillian snapped his teeth. "To rip your thigh open and suck you dry."
Grasping tiredly at any train of thought that made sense, Mikhail chuckled, “I thought you all sleep during the day.” Keep it light, don't let his crazy infect you.
“We’re crepuscular.”

Mikhail rolled his eyes. “Sure.”

Cillian sat up and stretched. Mikhail could understand why he had taken the man home. It was like watching a bobcat awaken from a nap. Cute, he thought, even beautiful, but dangerous. Cillian seemed the type who could break hearts and cause trouble without a thought to anyone but himself. However he had gotten into Mikhail’s home, it hadn’t been a good idea. It would be a worse idea to let him stay.
Sighing, Mikhail rose from the bed and pulled a pair of boxers from the drawer. “Feel free to wear these,” he instructed his inadvertent guest. “I hope you like cereal for breakfast.”
When there were no footsteps following he turned around. Cillian was seated at the edge of the bed with his head down, hair still covering his eyes.
The man looked away. “Have you heard of night blindness?”
“Beg pardon?”

“Night blindness,” Cillian repeated. “My people aren’t night blind, we’re day blind. Did you notice that all the important people wore glasses? The kind with the color-changing lenses?”

“Yes, but—”
“It’s like turning the lights on after watching a movie,” Cillian explained. “We can see, but it’s as difficult for us to see during the day as it is for you to see in the dark.”
Mikhail folded his arms. He didn’t have the time to babysit someone who was either trying to cover up a disability or was creating one for sympathy. He had time for honesty, one bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee, and a quick shower. That was all.

“Would you like help?” he asked. Cillian stretched out a hand in response. Mikhail pulled the smaller man out of bed and tucked Cillian’s hand under his arm. “We take a left, walk down the hall, and then go down a flight of stairs,” he warned.

“You’re wary of me,” Cillian commented, amused. “I can feel how tense you are.”

Instantly Mikhail felt guilty. Relax, he told himself. “I’m accustomed to keeping a tight schedule in the mornings,” he explained, leading Cillian to the kitchen island. “And I clearly don’t remember meeting you, so I’m just a little confused.” He flipped the coffeepot on and got out two bowls and spoons.

“Meeting me?” Cillian laughed as he slid onto a barstool. “We met when I was sitting on your chest. We were both naked and my hands were tied behind my back.”

Mikhail shook his head, not sure if he was denying Cillian’s statement or suppressing a memory. He poured cornflakes into the bowls. “That wasn’t—”

“And we had to be quiet because too much noise wakes up the bats.”

“No, I’m positive—”

“Give it up,” Cillian snapped.

Mikhail stared at him for a moment, wondering what he had gotten himself into. “What you’re saying doesn’t make any sense,” he reasoned slowly. “I’m not saying that I don’t remember that we were both in the dark and nude, etcetera. I just don’t remember how we got there, or how we got back.”

Leaning his elbows on the island, Cillian exhaled in exasperation. “I was in that cave, that hole. The door opened, I got shot with a tranquilizer, and they threw you and all of your shit in with me.” He spread his hands. “What more do you want?”

Mikhail opened the refrigerator, searching for something to occupy himself. “You told me you don’t know why I was down there.” He set a jug of milk on the island. There wasn’t enough milk for two, so he decided on toast.

“I don’t, but I can guess,” the other man replied. “You had a meeting, you saw something you shouldn’t have, and the goons who caught you decided to get rid of you the easy way.”

 “A blowjob is the easy way?” Mikhail laughed. “If they were trying to get rid of me, why did we get out?”

Shrugging, Cillian fiddled with his spoon. Mikhail looked to the ceiling and wondered what he had done to deserve such a frustrating houseguest. He put bread in the toaster and changed tactics.
“Fine. Don’t explain. Why were you down there?” Mikhail asked, pushing a bowl of cereal at him.
Lightly sweeping his hand to find it, Cillian lifted the bowl and sniffed the contents, then set it back down. “My people are one of unity and strength. I am not with them.”
Mikhail rested against the countertop. “Why?”
Cillian shoved the bowl away from him, his expression unchanging. Mikhail had to lurch forward to catch it, milky wheat flakes spilling over his wrist.
“I cannot see, and so I was left.” The creature’s voice was hollow.
“You just told me that none of you can see,” Mikhail pointed out.
Cillian lifted his head stiffly, brushing his long hair from his face and opening his eyes. Pearly irises barely distinguished themselves from the whites of his eyes, staring sightlessly at Mikhail. “I cannot,” Cillian’s voice was cutting, “see.” Sitting back, he let his hair fall back over his eyes. “Not in day, not in darkness,” he expounded, “I’m simply blind.”
Mikhail poured himself a cup of coffee, watching the way the other man’s head turned in response to the sound. “So they left you with me.”
“They left me alone” Cillian growled. “To die.”
“But they left me there, too,” his host commented.
Cillian pulled at his hair, silent for a moment while Mikhail doctored his coffee.
“I thought they had changed their minds,” Cillian finally mumbled. He lifted his head, pointing at the other man defensively. “You were a sacrifice, you know. It could have been far worse for you.”
Did he allow his imagination to run along with the unspoken, or demand an explanation? Mikhail glanced at the clock. “I have to go to work,” he informed his—what? Guest? Hostage? “You can shower once I’m finished. I’ll set everything up for you and leave you some clothes.”
Cillian said nothing.
“Do you want to wait downstairs or in the bedroom?”
Sliding down from the stool, Cillian stretched out his hand towards his host, who took it unthinkingly. Leading the other man up the stairs Mikhail informed him, “I have about an hour to get into the city. If you want, I’ll leave you the extra key. Lock the door if you leave.”
“I need you to take me,” Cillian said evenly, following Mikhail back through the bedroom. “I can’t stay here alone.”
The other man rifled through the closet, pulling out extra clothes. “Here,” he pressed them to Cillian’s chest. “I have to work.” He needed some normalcy, some way to convince himself that despite what Cillian said, that last night had been some nightmare brought on by celebratory overindulgence at some nearby bar.
“I want to shower with you,” Cillian said without a hint of insecurity or suggestiveness.
Mikhail shook his head before he remembered. “No,” he said flatly. “I have to be at the station in forty minutes.”
“Are you going to argue for the next thirty, or can you wash my back?” Not waiting for an answer, Cillian brushed past him.
Mikhail wished he had locks on his bathroom door. “Shower’s the other way.”
Had it really been that long since he had last bathed? Though it had only been one night, the water swirling around the drain was tinged with dirt. Mikhail made a slight noise of disgust.
Cillian stepped in behind him.
“Here’s the soap.” Mikhail poured some into the other man’s hand.
Cillian ignored his host until he had soaped and rinsed all but his face and back. “I was in cuffs for a week,” he reminded the other man. “I can’t raise my arms above shoulder level.”
Biting back his frustration, Mikhail lathered the man’s shoulders and shampooed his hair. He couldn’t recall ever washing hair other than his own; he had to remember to scrub the scalp gently, to run his fingers through the ends without pulling. Cillian shivered every time Mikhail brushed his fingers against his ears or lifted the wet hair plastered against his back.
He sighed eventually. “Why did you do that?”
“Do what?” Cillian asked obstinately.
Mikhail thought for a moment. “Everything, I guess.”
Cillian laughed snidely. “I could make something up, I suppose, but everything except for the last bit, or bite, was my own gratification.”
Mikhail was silent. He realized he had hoped there was some sort of logical explanation for all the questions he had asked himself, rather than being manipulated for someone’s twisted amusement.
“I hadn’t been anywhere near another beating heart in, oh, maybe a year,” Cillian explained. “I wanted to touch you.”
“Touch me?” Mikhail snorted. “You gave me a blow job.”
Cillian shrugged, nonchalant. “It’s easier to withdraw blood when it’s pumping faster.”
“So that part about needing to hurry, the rock breaking, all that—“
“I won’t explain.”
Mikhail dropped his hands from the other man’s head. He needed to get to work. “Rinse off. I’ll leave clothes on the toilet seat to your left.”
Cillian grabbed his arm, pulling him back underneath the spray of water. “Wait, wait,” he begged. The plea startled Mikhail, who stood still as Cillian ran both hands down his sides, then his right hand over the marks left by sharp teeth.
“What are you doing?” Mikhail asked when the other man sank to his knees.
Cillian pushed his nose against the sore area, then his check against Mikhail’s wet cock. “I don’t like corn flakes for breakfast.”
Mikhail nearly tripped as he pushed Cillian’s head away and climbed out of the shower. “I’m running late,” he said tersely. “I’ll be downstairs.”
He couldn’t remember the last time when he had gone to work late. Usually he was there early, in time to make his coffee and talk to Leona. Grabbing his phone from the table, Mikhail flipped it open to check the time. “Dead,” he muttered irritably. He had just charged it yesterday morning. Perhaps the battery was getting old.
 “Where is your office?” Cillian asked, startling him again by appearing at his side.

Mikhail threw his coat on and grabbed a scarf. “Fifth and Main.”

“Ah, good,” Cillian said. “I’m going that way.”
 Go away. Mikhail couldn’t bring himself to say it. “I’m running late. Can you keep up?”

It must have been a trick of the light that made Cillian’s smile look menacing. “I won’t hold you back.”

The creature stayed true to his word. Mikhail couldn’t recall when he’d had better luck—the subway doors stayed open just long enough for them to hop on, there were no slowpokes crowding the sidewalks, and the elevator wasn’t as crowded as usual. Nevertheless, he couldn’t help the rising irritation that accompanied the hand on his arm.

“I really need for you to find another way to occupy yourself,” Mikhail said softly as the pair walked down the hallway. “I have a lot of work to do on the proposal from yesterday. You need to let go of me and go back downstairs. Don’t worry about the clothes. You can have them.”

The hand tightened around his bicep. “No."

“Don’t be a little brat,” Mikhail said sharply. “You’re embarrassing me and yourself.” 

“Are your coworkers usually this silent?” Cillian asked, more a statement than a question.
Indeed, the usual morning chatter was subdued; something had cast a pall on the office since he had left yesterday.
“Mikhail!” his boss shouted. All heads turned toward the two men in the doorway.
With a brief internal sigh Mikhail threaded his way through the desks to his own, Cillian keeping a tight grip on the strap of the other man’s bag. “Hey, Charlie.”
“Where the hell have you been?” Charlie exclaimed, throwing his arms around the taller man. “We thought you’d skipped town!”
Mikhail laughed. “I’m only five minutes late, Chuck.”
“Dude,” one of the interns said, disbelieving.
Cillian spoke up. “Tell him how long he’s been gone, then.”
Even as he turned to admonish the other man, Mikhail noticed for the first time the barrenness of his desk. Where were all his projects? 
“Are you fu—“ Charlie glanced around, then finished, “frigging kidding me, son? You think our boy here would skip out for two weeks and not notice?”

1 comment:

  1. Still love this one - can't wait to see a third chapter!