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'So this is what it feels like to be a whore.' Lane thought to himself as he felt the loneliness settle in. He pulled his blankets tightly around his shoulders to reassure himself. The feeling being almost like a hug.
The room felt empty and cold... and so did he.
Just an hour before, he had thought he had finally found someone to love him.
He had thought that, for once in his life, he had found a person who didn't think he was too skinny or too much of a geek to be loved. He thought that maybe all the poets and romance novelists were right and there really was someone for everyone. Even him.
For just the briefest moment, he felt special.
He felt loved.
Lane felt the tears welling up in his eyes and turned to bury his face into the pillows to cry.
Everything had been so perfect.
He met Julian waiting in line outside a little diner called Tommy's. It was just a chance meeting of two strangers who had nothing better to do than to talk as they waited for a table to come available. By the time they reached the front of the line, they had chosen to have dinner together. Within minutes of talking, it was like they had known each other for years.
Lane had never been able to talk to anyone so easily before. Julian was comfortable, friendly and seemed to be genuinely interested in him.
The conversation over dinner had been mostly generic, but both he and Julian had seemed to be fascinated by it and there had been that proverbial 'chemistry' that romance writers love to go on about.
They had shared laughs and tender glances. It was like something out of a story book.
As his tears soaked the pillow, Lane thought about how he had taken a chance and invited his new friend to come back to his apartment so they could continue their conversation after the diner had closed.
That was the only awkward moment of the evening. But Julian had gratefully accepted the invitation, seeming to be as excited by the idea as he was.
As Lane thought back, it seemed that the moment they were inside the door, Lane found his pants were around his ankles and Julian was doing things to him that he had only fantasized about before.
Julian had said that he was 18, the same as Lane, but Lane had his doubts. In fact, he suspected from the way he introduced himself, that Julian wasn't even his real name. But in the heat of the moment, none of that mattered.
Lane could feel the ache from their lovemaking... or at least, at the time, he had thought that it was love.
After nearly two hours of incredible sex that was beyond anything Lane had ever heard of or imagined, his 'lover' suddenly announced that he had to leave.
It was like a slap in the face.
He felt like the most naive child for allowing himself to be used and discarded.
Lane hated to admit, if even only to himself, that he had felt something, that he had given his heart to Julian.
Finally feeling an end to the tears, Lane lifted his head and his breath caught in his throat.
His pillow was soaked with blood.
Ice ran through Lane as he stumbled out of bed and ran to the bathroom to look in the mirror.
* * * * *
Numb horror washed through Lane as he stared at the trails of blood running down his cheeks.
"Oh my God!" Lane gasped as his mind raced.
"No. No. This can't be happening." Lane whispered to himself, somehow hoping that his giving voice to the words would make them true.
Finally, a thought came to him and he straightened with panic.
"No. It can't be that." Lane muttered as he ran back into the bedroom and grabbed the small trash can from beside the bed.
"Don't be." Lane said as he pulled out one of the used condoms. "Just don't!"
Before he could even get it fully out of the trash can, his heart sank.
The semen was dripping out of the end of the condom, it was leaking like a sieve.
He pulled the next one out of the trash to find that the end of it was completely shredded.
"Fuck!" Lane said as his tears started flowing again.
Sitting on the floor beside his bed, Lane pulled his knees up to his chest and started to cry in earnest.
* * * * *
When he was finally out of tears, Lane forced himself to stand and walked to the bathroom again.
He needed to be rational and decide what he was supposed to do next.
It seemed obvious that Julian had done something to him. Given him some disease. But before he ran off to the emergency room in a panic, he needed to try and figure out what disease it was that he had.
Some research on the Internet revealed that what he had seemed to be a condition called haemolacria, and that it was not at all dangerous.
The condition seemed to occur spontaneously, sometimes as a result of a trauma, and there wasn't really any treatment for it. According to the articles that he read, it would eventually just stop on it's own.
Lane felt relief wash through him at the information. Julian hadn't given him some horrible disease, he had just screwed him so hard that it made his eyes bleed.
As Lane thought back on the night, he had to admit that the sex had been vigorous enough to knock something loose.
With a smile, Lane went about the business of tidying up his small apartment and he took the pillowcase to the sink to try and wash the blood out.
He noticed that he was feeling strange, like he was suddenly becoming aware of the texture of everything that he touched.
Lane marveled at the sensation of the texture of the wet pillowcase in his hands. It was like he could feel each individual thread and how they wove together.
* * * * *
Without warning, Lane felt his stomach begin to constrict.
He barely had time to turn to the toilet before he started vomiting.
Just as suddenly as it started, it stopped.
He waited for a moment, in case it started again, but his stomach felt perfectly fine now.
Lane walked to the sink and drew a glass of water to rinse his mouth out.
He puzzled over the fact that he didn't feel the least bit sick. A bit hot, perhaps, but not queasy or anything else that would indicate that he was unwell.
After a moment to consider, Lane finally concluded that it must be his nerves. Mind blowing sex, then getting dumped, then crying blood... yeah, it was enough reason for his stomach to rebel.
* * * * *
Lane cleaned up the bathroom and decided that he should try to get some sleep.
He was used to staying up late, since he worked the late night shift at the video store. Or at least he had until two weeks ago.
His boss had called him into the office and fired him.
"Things are tight right now. Last hired, first fired." The big jerk had said by way of explanation.
As Lane sat down on his bed, he noticed the time and smiled.
Rather than lay down, he scooted over so he was within easy reach of the phone.
He had to wait for less than a minute before the phone started ringing.
"Hi Dad." Lane said with a grin.
"Good morning, Lane. I didn't wake you, did I?"
"No. I was just about to go to bed." Lane said gently.
"You stayed up all night? That's not going to help you with your job hunting."
"It's Saturday, Dad. No job hunting today or tomorrow." Lane said frankly.
"Are you okay? You sound funny."
Lane let out a sigh, then quietly said, "I had a one night stand last night. I'm kind of bummed out about it."
"Oh. I hope you were safe."
"We tried to be. But the condom broke. I'll stop by the clinic for a test while I'm out job hunting next week." Lane said with resignation.
"Try not to let it get you down. I know there's got to be a special person out there just waiting for you."
"That's the part that has me so depressed. The guy last night... I really liked him." Lane said as he felt the tears welling up in his eyes again.
"What did he do? Hold on, let me rephrase that. What did he say before he left?"
"He told me that he was sorry, but he really needed to be somewhere before sunrise." Lane said quietly.
"Son, maybe he was telling you the truth."
"Or maybe he was just blowing me off." Lane said frankly.
"If you really like him, think about accepting what he said and try not to read anything more into it."
"Why?" Lane asked curiously.
"Because sometimes, very rarely, I grant you, but sometimes people say exactly what they mean."
Lane thought about it for a moment, then said, "Okay Dad. If I ever see this guy again, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt."
"How's mom?" Lane asked cautiously.
"She's a bit upset with me at the moment."
"Because you paid my rent?" Lane asked cautiously.
"In a word, yes."
"Well, if she would rather, I could just move back home." Lane said frankly.
"I'll suggest that to her."
"Yeah. That should shut her up." Lane said with a tinge of bitterness in his tone.
"Please try to understand that she was raised by some very strict and religious people."
"Yeah. I can see that. A person doesn't learn to hate that much without some help." Lane said flatly.
"I've got to go. I'll call you tomorrow."
"Thanks for risking her wrath to call me. I really appreciate it." Lane said sincerely.
"I love you son. Always remember that."
"I love you, too, Dad."
* * * * *
As Lane settled in to sleep, a sudden urge came over him.
He rushed into the bathroom and had barely come to rest on the toilet before his bowels unleashed their fury.
Lane felt like a tube of toothpaste and every last little bit was being squeezed out of him.
"Oh my God!" Lane gasped when it finally seemed to be over.
* * * * *
"This has been some kind of a day." Lane said as he crawled between the sheets.
He felt thirsty, but decided that it would be too much trouble for him to get out of the bed to deal with it.
Sleep quickly claimed him.
* * * * *
Lane woke and couldn't remember ever feeling so hungry in his life.
As soon as his feet hit the floor, he nearly ran to the kitchen to find something to eat.
The first food that he encountered was a sleeve of Oreo cookies that he had been working on for nearly a week.
He popped one into his mouth as he walked to the refrigerator, hoping to find something to drink to sate his thirst.
When the taste of the Oreo registered, he began to cough and choke.
The cloying sweetness of the cookie was way too intense for him to even consider eating.
He spat the cookie into the garbage, then ran to the sink to rinse out his mouth.
As he was rinsing, he felt a strange sensation, like a fluttering in his cheeks, just under his eyes.
He reached up to rub the strange twitching sensations.
"Oh God!" He gasped. "What now?"
Lane nearly tripped over his own feet trying to make his way to the bathroom.
When he got to the mirror, he opened his mouth and tried to get a clue of what might be making the weird moving sensation behind his cheekbones.
Just when he resigned himself to the fact that he couldn't see anything, he noticed something curious about his reflection.
Lane drew up his upper lip and bared his teeth.
As he stared in horror, his canines began to move forward and drop down to hang nearly half an inch farther down than the rest of his teeth.
"Fuck." Lane gasped as he stared at himself.
"What..." He began to ask, when the answer seemed to supply itself to his mind.
"Oh no. Fuck, no. Not that." Lane muttered to himself as he raced out of the bathroom and into his bedroom.
Just to prove to himself that it wasn't what he was thinking, he threw the blackout window blind back to allow the daylight to shine into the room.
* * * * *
Lane would have screamed if all the wind hadn't suddenly been knocked out of his body.
He found himself laying on the bedroom floor about three feet from the window.
Fortunately, the blackout blind had fallen back into place and recovered the window when he fell.
He looked down at his hands and saw that they were bright red, as though they had been scalded.
Lane rested back and tried to just endure the pain. Every bit of exposed skin was throbbing.
"Vampire." He whispered to himself. "I'm a fucking vampire."
He felt the tears threatening to fall, but fought them down.
'When I came out to my dad, he was great, but I think this might be too much, even for him.' Lane thought to himself.
'Of course, Mom's convinced that I'm the spawn of Satan because I'm gay, so I'm pretty sure her opinion of me couldn't get any lower.' Lane thought bitterly.
'I haven't been bitten. But I've only had physical contact with one person in the past two weeks.' Lane thought slowly.
"Julian." Lane gasped as he sat up. "You had to be somewhere before sunrise."
"I just bet you did. Back in your coffin." Lane said as he stood.
He looked curiously down at his hands to see that they were just a little bit pink now.
"God, I'm hungry!" Lane said aloud, then realized just what that meant.
"Fuck! Of course I'm not hungry for food." Lane said with wonder.
'What the hell am I going to do?' Lane thought as he looked around his bedroom aimlessly.
His gaze finally settled on the clock and he realized that it was after 4pm.
'Okay. The sun will probably be down in an hour or so. Then I can go out and find something... or someone to eat.' Lane thought to himself anxiously.
* * * * *
He sat for a few minutes, then walked to the kitchen, hoping to find something to prove that it was all a mistake.
After a moment of looking through the cupboard over the stove, he found the container of garlic powder.
He took a deep breath to brace himself, then opened the container to take a quick inhale.
At least that's what he intended.
The stench of the garlic filled his nostrils and immediately caused him to choke.
He quickly screwed the top back onto the garlic powder, then ran out of the kitchen, gasping for breath.
"Daylight, garlic... I don't have a cross or holy water to try and prove it that way." Lane muttered to himself as he felt his hunger gnawing.
Lane walked into the bedroom and began to dress.
He didn't know if he was going to be able to bite someone and drink their blood. But he was certain that he would starve to death if he stayed inside.
* * * * *
As the sun finally made it's way below the horizon, Lane opened the door of his apartment and ventured out into the hallway.
He saw Mrs. Shannon from the next apartment.
The thought only crossed his mind for a moment as she greeted him.
If he were going to commit murder so that he could eat, he would at least do it to someone he didn't know... or didn't like.
He was as polite as possible and got away from her then hurried downstairs and out of the apartment building as quickly as he could.
Once he was out on the street, he had to decide where he wanted to go to get a 'bite'.
He didn't even consider taking his car, mostly because it ran so unreliably.
It wouldn't do him much good to try to flee from the scene of a crime in a car that wouldn't start.
His legs carried him away from his apartment and toward downtown where people tended to congregate.
Lane's anxiety increased as he tried to tell himself that what he was about to do was a matter of survival.
* * * * *
By the time he found himself in the park, he had come to the conclusion that it was going to be a matter of whether his hunger was strong enough to overcome his humanity.
He wasn't an evil person.
He had never had the desire to hurt anyone.
Okay, maybe a few of the guys in school who used to tease him because he was skinny, but he never would have really hurt them.
Then again, if he ran into one of those jerks tonight... he might be able to do it.
Lane looked around and found that he was in a nice little secluded area of the park.
If someone happened along, he wouldn't have to worry about anyone else seeing what he was doing.
All he had to do now was wait and see.
After a few minutes a woman came along, pushing a baby stroller.
He didn't care how evil he ever became, he couldn't leave a child motherless just to feed himself. He'd rather die.
Movement drew his attention and he just barely saw an alley cat slinking at the edge of the bushes.
He considered for a moment, then shook his head. Even if he could catch the thing, he didn't think he would be able to feed on it.
'After all the hell I went through when I came out, I'm not about to start eating pussy now.' Lane thought with an internal chuckle.
Before he could think much more about it, a pair of joggers came running in tandem down the path.
They were obviously a couple and looked like they were really happy.
And, of course, they were jogging, which meant that they were really trying to be strong and healthy.
Him making them dead wouldn't be a very nice thing to do.
As Lane considered, a thought came to him.
Maybe he should be looking in a bad part of town.
If he were to bite a drug dealer or a pimp, he really wouldn't be doing something so bad.
Then again, what would that blood be like?
Yeah, it'd be just his luck to bite someone who was so high on crack that he didn't even know where he was. And then Lane would have that to deal with on top of the hunger.
What effect would the tainted blood have on him? Would he get high too?
And what if he became addicted to addicts?
What if he had to go out and find two or three crack heads a week just to support his habit?
Just as he was about to give up and start walking toward the 'bad' side of town, Lane saw a timid boy walking alone.
He looked to be about fourteen or fifteen years old.
Lane felt a cold numbness wash over him as his hunger told him that this was the one.
He tried to fight down the emotions that were telling him that this boy deserved a chance at life, the opportunity to grow up and become an adult.
The boy looked around the small clearing, then looked at Lane curiously.
It didn't matter. His hunger had made the decision for him, and now he had to follow through with it.
"I'm sorry." Lane muttered as he took a step toward the boy.
"What?" The boy asked in confusion.
"I'm... I'm really sorry." Lane said as tears started falling down his cheeks.
"Is something wrong? Do you need help?" The boy asked with concern as he approached.
The teenager was being nice and Lane wanted to run away and leave him alone.
But his hunger was pushing him onward, forcing him to do what he had to do to survive.
"I don't want to... but I have to." Lane tried to explain as tears dripped off his chin.
The boy stopped and stared at Lane, still looking concerned.
"I'm really, really sorry." Lane said sincerely, then gave the little 'push' that made his fangs drop down. "I have to."
The boy's eyes went wide as he realized what was about to happen.
Before Lane could take the one step to claim his meal and finally satisfy his hunger, the boy dodged out of the way.
"Back off." The boy growled.
Lane turned and saw that the boy was looking at him with a vicious look in his eyes, and... he had fangs, too.
"I... you're..." Lane said as he froze in place and everything seemed to be spinning.
Blackness began to fill the edges of Lane's vision.
"I'm sorry." Lane whispered one last time before the blackness narrowed to a pinpoint, then the world went away.
To Be Continued...
Editor's Notes: Is that a cliffhanger or not? Wow! Poor Lane! Who was that guy that infected him? Did he do it on purpose?
What has Lane gotten himself into? Who was the guy that showed fangs at him? Maybe we will find out in the next chapter. I hope so.
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher