When I slowed and looked around, I saw with amazement I'd trotted sixteen blocks in about three minutes. Summer Olympics, here I come. Assuming they held the races at night.

I was on one of the side streets behind Minneapolis General Hospital, and figured I should go inside and call a cab. I sure as hell wasn't going back to the cemetery-I wasn't meeting up with any of those losers ever again. And if I ever saw that rat bastard Elvis wannabee sociopath again, I'd have his eyeballs for...for something disgusting you'd use eyeballs for. Every time I thought of his hands on me, his thumb in my mouth, I got hot. No, dammit, that's not what I meant...I got pissed. Really pissed. I should shove my fingers in his mouth, see how he likes it. I should shove my fingers into his windpipe! Up his ass! Around his--


By now I was really stomping down the street, so I was almost relieved when a dull voice cut through the light traffic and the other night noises: "See ya, world." Yes! Something to distract me from the unsettling events of the last hour, praise God.

I looked up. Six stories above, a guy a few years younger than me was standing on the ledge. He was looking down, straight at me. I knew at once he was waiting until I got out of the way so he could jump without taking the chance of splattering himself all over me. I stopped walking.

The building was an old one, built of rough brick, and as I put my hands on the wall, testing the texture, I had a thought-a brainstorm, really. They really are like storms for me-it's like there's this crash and then I've got a brand new idea from nowhere. Anyway, I pulled myself up and started to climb. In no time I was skittering up the side of the building like a big blonde bug. I was pissed about what had happened in the cemetery, and worried for the guy on the roof, but couldn't help also being elated at what I was doing. I was climbing six stories...me! I couldn't even climb that damned rope in gym class, not even the easy one with the rubber grips. And it was easy. It was wonderful! It required about as much effort as opening a can of Pringles. I was fast, I was strong, I was...I was SpiderVamp!

I got to the top and gave a little jump, which sent me soaring a few feet in the air, only to land on the roof and go into a deep bow. "Ta-dah!"

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He was really cute. Dressed in scrubs which-uh-oh-smelled like dried blood, here was another guy with deep black hair. Except while Finger Boy gave off an air of understated menace, this fella was throwing off vibes of exhausted despair. His hair was cut brutally short, his eyes were dark green, and he had a goatee that made him look like a tired devil. He was lightly tanned and thin, almost too thin. He stared at me with eyes gone huge.

"What have you been eating?" he said at last.

"Let's not go there."

"I must really be tired," he said, more to himself than to me.

"Nice try, but I'm no illusion. Although in these second-rate tennis shoes, I ought to be. Why d'you want to jump? What happened?"

He blinked at me and shifted his weight. He wasn't nervous to be talking to me, not at all. Probably thought he could jump long before I got to him. And he was so sad and unhappy; nothing was surprising him tonight. "I'm sick of kids dying, I'm in debt up to my tits for medical school, my dad's got cancer, I haven't had sex in two months, and I'm being kicked out of my apartment because the owner sold his house."

"That's pretty bad," I admitted. "Except for the sex thing...I once went two years."

He pondered that one for a minute, shaking his head. "What about you? What happened to you?"

"Well, I died earlier this week, found out I can't die again, my stepmother stole all my good shoes, I can't eat any kind of food, I raped a perfectly nice guy last night, met a bunch of vampires who turned out to be every bad movie stereotype imaginable, and threw a really bad vamp through a stone cross. Then I saw you."

"So you're a vampire?"

"Yes. But don't be scared. I'm still a nice person."

"When you're not raping men."

"Right. How about we go get a cup of coffee, talk about why our lives suck?"

He hesitated. The wind riffled his scrubs, but his hair was too short and didn't move. He glanced down at the street, then back at me.

"Come on," I coaxed. "Vampires exist and you never had the faintest clue, right? I know I didn't. I mean, come on! Vampires? What year is this? But if we exist, think of all the other amazing things out there you don't know about. It's a little early to shut the book on your whole life, don't you think? What are you, twenty-five?"

"Twenty-seven. Are you just luring me down so you can feed on me to quench your unholy thirst?"

Why were people always asking me this sort of thing? "No, I just don't want you to jump. I can wait a while for my next meal."

"I'll get down," he said slowly, "if you'll make me your next meal."

I nearly swooned at the excitement that simple statement brought. "What have you been smoking? You just met me!"

"Yeah, and the last fifteen seconds have been the most interesting in the last three years. So...?"

"Pal, you have no idea what you're asking." I tried to sound tough and cool, but since I gasped out the whole sentence I sounded more like a horny cheerleader.

"Sure I do. Part of the reason I'm up here is-you were right, I figured there's nothing new in the world except death and people being shitty to each other. I never should have been a doctor. Never wanted to be. But my dad-anyway, it's just death and paperwork and more death." He trailed off and I saw his eyes shine with unshed tears. He blinked them back. "Anyway. Sorry. So, prove me wrong. Prove a few more things, besides. I want to feel what it's like. I want to feel something besides-besides nothing."

I bit my lip. The poor guy! "Forget it." But I was sidling toward him. I was thirsty, and here was a perfectly sane (as sane as a clinically depressed suicidal man could be) specimen offering to be my dinner. I was nuts to turn it down. The alternative was taking it by force from some poor jerk. Why in the world would I hurt or scare someone, when there was a willing guy standing right in front of me? At least he wasn't all goo-goo eyed and mumbling about my beauty, such as it was. He was perfectly clear-eyed, and curious, and what was the harm? And why was I trying to convince myself? I had to eat, right? Why was I still talking to myself?

"Okay...if I do this..." I did a fairly good imitation of Reluctant Night Stalker. "...you promise not to jump?"


"Or leap in front of a truck or take a bath with your toaster or comb your hair with a chainsaw?"

He laughed. He looked years younger when he did that. He wasn't afraid at all. And that made up my mind for me. "I promise. Now do it, cutie, before I come to my senses."

I pulled him off the ledge, gently. Brought him to me like a lover. His shirt had a v-neck, so I just pulled him toward me and bit him. He gasped and went rigid in my arms, then his arms came around me in a strangler's grip. He went up on his toes and his hips pistoned toward mine. His blood was slowly spilling into my mouth and it tasted like the lushest, most potent wine ever made. My unbearable thirst became-if possible-even more unbearable for a split second, then abruptly abated. Sounds were sharper, the light-such as it was-became brighter. His heartbeat pounded in my ears and he was breathing in ragged gasps. I could smell his sex, hard and urgent and pressing against me, the smell of musk, the smell of life.

I pulled away. Another thing the movies got wrong. Vampires didn't have to drain a person dry...heck, I'd probably had half a cup, if that much. And it would last me the rest of the night, easily. I could drink more, of course, but it would be for pure pleasure, not need. I bet that creep from the cemetery drank ten times a night.

"No," my dinner gasped.

"Yes, that's all I need."

"Do it again."

"No-uh-what are you--?"

He was fumbling at the drawstring of his pants, tugging, and then his pants were around his ankles and he was pulling his turgid cock from the slit in his boxers (navy, with red stripes, my mind reported helpfully). His erection filled his hand; his cock wasn't terribly long, but was certainly thick, and pre-come glistened at the tip. He gripped himself so hard his knuckles went white and, while I watched in stupefaction, pumped once, twice, three times, and then he was coming, and I leapt out of the way.

We stared at each other for a long moment, then he hurriedly stuffed his cock away and pulled up his pants.

I blinked. "As God is my witness, I have no idea what to say to you."

"Me? What the hell did you do?" He asked the question in a tone of total admiration. "One minute I was miserable as hell, the next all I could think of was-uh-the exact opposite of dying." He colored, the blood rushing to his cheeks. I could almost hear it. "I've never done that before in front of-I'm sorry. You have no idea how weird that is for me."

"Hey, I'm not complaining. Now that I'm recovering from the shock, I mean. It's no worse than what I did to you. Thanks for taking matters into your own hands, as opposed to planting your dick in me."

"You didn't rape that man," he said out of nowhere. His gaze was firm and uncompromising. "If you bit someone and had sex with them...it wasn't rape. He wanted to. In fact, it was probably like he had to."

I didn't want to talk about that. Being overwhelmed by a bloodsucker and needing to fuck them didn't mean the bloodsucker wasn't the bad guy. "Never mind. Let's get off this roof, what do you say...err...?"


"I'm Betsy."


"Don't start. I can't help it if I've got unholy powers and a stupid first name."

He laughed again. It was the laugh that made us friends, which I thought was just fine.

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