I have a small obsession. Most days, regardless of whether I ate or not, I chew gum. Seemingly, it isn't a big deal, right? Plenty of people chew gum consistently, wasting away precious dollars that could be spent on a number of things that would benefit them.
But I'm not plenty of people.
I don't have limited money, and I don't chew gum just for the fun of it. My parents seemingly passed this trait down to me, bestowing a gift no sane person would accept, due to its destructive tendencies. I can't even talk to people in class because all I do is chew the gum, endlessly. Sometimes I forget to breathe as the professor begins the lecture, unknowing of my absence from reality. There is never a time I'm free from my addiction. Even as I lay in my quarters, closing my eyes for a hefty slumber, my jaw is silently chewing the gum... restlessly, as my eyes fall to a close.
I have no friends because of my habit. People think I'm strange. Various boys my age have attempted to talk to me, infatuated by my beauty, but no sooner than they mouth a simple greeting, they stand awkwardly as I remain silent, chewing my gum. Quickly, the word spread around the campus, speaking of the strange girl I was labeled to be, but that changed when we came back from winter break.
A new student had arrived in my class, confidently she stood towards the bottom of the lecture hall and introduced herself. Almost as if we were being pulled towards each other by a magnetic force, our eyes met. She sent a simple smile in my direction, immediately causing me to stop chewing in order to smile back. Once she received my smile, she made her way towards me, swaying up the staircase to the empty seat beside me. Her stare caused chills to run up my spine.
"Hey, I'm Alexa. What's your name?" she asked, extending her hand out to me as she took her seat.
I fought the urge to begin chewing again, but her icy blue eyes detained all trepidation.
"Elizabeth," I spoke, tucking my gum securely along my right cheek.
Once her hand met mine and a gentle handshake ignited between us, Alexa seemed to study me with her captivating eyes.
"Beautiful name for a gorgeous girl. I'm guessing you're of Greek descent?" she asked.
"That's cool. I'm Greek, too. My parents didn't want me to come out here. They say there's too much danger in the city. They're very superstitious," she said.
I tilted my head slightly at her words, but the curiosity quickly faded from thought when she stretched a smile across her face.
"Well, I don't want to bother you anymore. If you ever need anything-," she said, writing down her number on the corner of a blank page she had ripped from a piece of paper, "call me."
I accepted her number quickly, sliding it down my jean pocket with ease, before beginning to chew my gum once more.
From then on, Alexa and I became close. Weeks had passed, and everyone around the campus seemed to change their opinion of me. Because we were so close and displayed such love for each other, I picked up a reputation I had never thought I'd receive: popularity. Guys argued with one another just to get close to us. It was a sight I was used to but only temporarily, as I was labeled strange early on. Something about Alexa and I was intoxicating. I couldn't tell if I was in love with her or if I was just in love with the admiration I received from others because of her.
But our love was put to a halt one afternoon.
As we had done countless times in the past few months, I invited Alexa over my parents' place, as they were out of town on a business trip, for a sleepover. Everything was peaceful as usual, our constant laughter filled the barren house, making the cold of the air not so cold anymore. Alexa perched up on her knees, leaning over to the pack of gum resting on the ledge of my nightstand, and grabbed ahold of it. Like any other night, I told her I'd get her her own pack, but she proceeded to grab it anyways, neglecting my offer.
"Give me that," I said, reaching for the pack of gum.
Alexa seemed confused, but a playful smile invaded her face. She thought I was joking.
"Elizabeth, what the hell? Calm down," she said, moving the pack of gum in all directions as to avoid my grasp.
The unrelenting urge began eating away at my conscience, ripping it to shreds with every tease imposed by Alexa. Not only was I craving the gum, but I didn't want her to see-
"I'm serious! Give it to me!" I shouted, lunging at her.
It was too late. She had already opened and saw everything she had to see.
"What the hell," she mumbled, staring up at me, and then back down at the pack of gum.
I shook my head, clenching my lips together taut.
"I told you to give it to me," I said, slowly rising from my seated position.
Alexa dropped the pack onto the floor with wild eyes.
"My mother was right about the city," she said, glancing past me and at the bedroom door.
Gradually, my blood went cold, and my face twisted into a scowl. I was far too young to control... it. It was heart-wrenching to do so, even when I first met her, allowing myself to stop chewing in order to speak to her. After a mere five minutes without the succulent taste of the frozen blood clots I call gum in the back of my throat, my self-control would begin unraveling, monstrous tendencies vibrating throughout my body and mind with raw force.
"Can I leave now?" she questioned, her body shaking violently, "I won't say a word."
I knew I couldn't allow her to just walk out after seeing what she saw. The people of this city would torch my family's house while we slept. Even though I loved Alexa, I couldn't allow our secret to become known to the rest of the world. Our existence has been left in the dark abyss of mystery and folktale. No one could know of us... not even her.
So what happened next was my obligation to my people. I had told her not to grab the gum. I warned her. Instead of listening, abiding by my one simple rule, she laughed it off. I couldn't laugh it off. The... thirst fell over me like a blanket of unquenchable desire. My eyes began pulsating, blackening with each blink. My claws extended from my fingers, ripping away the nails and flesh as they exploded outward.
Alexa stood there, trembling as I towered over her, growing tall with each passing second. Because she saw something she wasn't supposed to see, because she forced me to become what I was born to be, I lunged at her, slashing her neck with one swift movement...
As I drank from her, her eyes and mouth fluttering frantically, I grabbed the pack of gum off of the ground. Once Alexa had not one drop left of blood within her veins, I opened my mouth, threw the gum within it, and began chewing once more.
Written by GreyOwl