I have an 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, right?
But I'm not plenty of people.
I don't chew gum to freshen my breath, prevent dry mouth, or to protect my precious teeth. My parents passed this trait down to me, bestowing a gift no sane person would accept, due to its destructive tendencies. I can't even cease chewing for the duration of time it takes to have a passing conversation with people. My habit is so debilitating that sometimes I even forget to breathe as the professor begins 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 at night, closing my eyes in search of dreams, my jaw is silently chewing away at the gum as my eyes fall to a close.
I have no friends because of my habit. People think I'm strange. Weird. Odd. Various boys in my class have attempted to talk to me, no doubt infatuated by my beauty, but no sooner than they mouthed a simple greeting, they stood awkwardly as I remained silent, chewing away at the gum my brain deemed more important. Quickly, word spread around campus that I was a freak. Gone were the days of being sought after. Gone were the days of awkward initiation of conversation.
That is, until I 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 one another by a magnetic force, our eyes met. She sent a simple smile in my direction, which in turn caused me to cease chewing in order to smile back at her. 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 against the urge to resume chewing, but her icy, blue eyes detained all apprehension.
"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. I'm sure my parents would find solace in knowing that I've met another Greek person. They didn't want me to come out here alone. They say there's too much danger in the city. They're very superstitious as I'm sure you could attest to with your own parents," she explained.
I tilted my head slightly at her words, but the curiosity quickly faded from thought when she stretched a smile across her face.
"Well, don't let me bother you. 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 campus seemed to change their opinion of me. Because her and I were inseparable, and she was every guy on campuses wet dream, through secondhand contact, I picked up a reputation I never thought I'd receive: popularity. Guys, and sometimes girls, would argue with one another just to get close to us. It was a sight I was familiar with but that only lasted temporarily, as I was labeled strange early on around campus. Something about Alexa and I together 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 as it had previously been, 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 a hold of it. Like any other night, I told her I'd get her her own pack if she wanted a piece of gum, but she proceeded to grab it anyway, ignoring my previous 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.
Within seconds, an all too familiar urge began eating away at my conscience, ripping it to shreds with each second that passed by.
"I'm serious! Give it to me!" I shouted, lunging at her.
But it was too late. She had already opened the pack of gum and saw everything she needed to see.
"What the hell, she mumbled, staring up at me and then back down at the pack of gum.
I shook my head, my lips taut.
"I told you to give it to me," I said, slowly rising from the ground.
Alexa dropped the pack of gum onto the floor and backed away with wild eyes.
"My mother was right about the city," she mumbled, 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. 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 a force that could not be controlled.
"Can I leave now?" she questioned, her body shaking violently, "I won't say a word."
Though I wanted to let her go, I knew I couldn't allow her to walk out after seeing what she saw. The people of this city would torch my family's home as 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 for centuries. No one could know of us... not even her.
So what happened next was my obligation to my people. I told her not to grab the gum. I warned her. Instead of listening, abiding by my one simple rule, she laughed it off. Unfortunately for her, 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 even taller 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 beneath me, I grabbed the pack of gum from the ground. Once Alexa had not one drop of blood left within her veins, I opened my mouth, threw the gum within it, and began chewing once more.
Written by GreyOwl