Jeff Friedman

Vampire

 

“Stop biting me,” I said—scratching a new welt on my neck. She must have bitten me again while I was napping on the couch. Past midnight, the shades and windows were finally open, letting in the moonlight. “I’m not biting you,” she said. “Don’t scratch—it just makes it worse.” I looked at her face, beautiful but pale, and the enlarged pupils of her eyes. She licked her lips and puckered her nose, but the tips of her ears flushed slightly as they did when she bluffed at poker. “Rebecca,” I insisted, “you’re lying.” “What’s wrong with you?” she answered. “Don’t you want eternal life?” She had bitten me so many times over the past few weeks I had a red ring around my neck. Apparently, I had plenty of blood. I had noticed some changes though, a new vigor and the desire to stay up all night watching shows on Netflix.  “You just think you’re a vampire,” I said. She kissed me on the cheek and then opened her mouth, the way vampires do in movies when their fangs come out, only her fangs were just large pointy canine teeth. I think she expected me to be frightened or at least impressed. “That’s still not proof you’re a vampire.”  “Sweetie,” she said, “there are some things about me you’re going to have to accept.”  She leaned in as if to kiss me again, but this time she bit into my neck and began sucking.  Then, her lips bloody, she offered me her neck. “I’m not a vampire,” I said, but bit in anyway and didn’t stop drinking until we floated out of the window, up and above the roof, suspended in the dark.  “I didn’t expect this,” she said delighted, but neither of us had any idea how we were going to come down.

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Jeff Friedman’s seventh book of poems, Floating Tales,was published by Plume Editions/MadHat Press in fall 2017. Friedman’s poems, mini stories and translations have appeared in American Poetry ReviewPoetry, New England Review,Poetry International, Plume, Hotel Amerika, New World Writing, New England Review, Fictional International, New Flash Fiction Review, New World Writing, Flash Fiction Funny, Agni Online, The New Republic and numerous other literary magazinesHe has received numerous awards and prizes including a National Endowment Literature Translation Fellowship in 2016 and two individual Artist Grants from New Hampshire Arts Council.