“You don’t have to do this!”
“Aww, widdle Chawee… You’ve been crying a lot again, haven’t you?” Ed said. “Just like you did back in grade school.”
“Shut up, Ed.” Charley said, through clenched teeth, his lip trembling.
“Everybody used to pick on you. But then, one day, you grew out of it, didn’t you? Your mom kicked your shithead dad out, and you grew into a well-adjusted young man. People left you alone.”
Ed groped at Charley’s arm, digging his fingernails in. Charley yelped and fell back, dropping Ed. “Shit.” He whispered, as he fell to the floor, holding his arm. Ed leaned down, getting in Charley’s face.
“Well, imagine this: your shithead dad never goes away. In fact, your mom leaves you alone with him too often, for long stretches of time, and life keeps getting worse. You never grow out of the nicknames you got as a kid. You never become well adjusted. People don’t leave you alone. Imagine that , Charley.”
“Then imagine your only friend gets a girlfriend and now you have nowhere to go anymore. Bullies at school, bullies at home, what’s a boy to do, Charley? Because life isn’t an After School Special, it’s a fucking nightmare, Charley, and you’re in it.”
“Ed, I’m sorry…”
Ed kicked Charley’s legs out of the way and grabbed the stake from him. “Quit your crying, Charley. I’m bored with it.” Ed chucked the stake out the broken window and sat down on the bed.
“What the fuck do you want from me, Ed?” Charley said, quietly, trying to still his sobbing.
“I haven’t decided yet.”
“Are you gonna…” He paused and breathed in deeply. “Are you gonna kill me, Ed?”
Ed stared at him for a long moment. “You’re too pathetic right now. Wouldn’t be much sport in it. I thought you’d put up a better fight, Brewster.”
“So, what now, then? I’m defenseless and you’re not going to do anything about it?”
“Has it occurred to you that maybe I’m bored, Charley? I mean I don’t even get electricity here anymore, much less cable.”
“So, what, you just want a play thing?”
Ed smirked. “You make it sound dirty, Brewster.”
Charley looked up and noticed that the clouds were parting. Moonlight was starting to stream in through the shards of broken glass in the window pane. Charley could see a very faint glint of Ed’s cross scar. Ed almost looked normal, sitting there, calmed down. Charley’s heart ached. His best friend...He’d thought he’d lost him and, well, he supposed he had. But he wasn’t gone. He was right there, but it wasn’t right. Charley closed his eyes and breathed in deeply.
“I...I’ve missed you. I thought you were dead and I- Well I still…” Charley found himself crying again and heat was rushing to his face. He was always embarrassed crying in front of anyone, but now that Ed had pointed it out, it was mortifying. “It’s all my fault.” he said, putting his head in his hands. “I shouldn’t have dragged you into it and now everything is just…. fucked.”
“Why aren’t you running away, Charley?”
Charley looked up. “What?”
“Why aren’t you running away? You don’t have any weapons and I already told you I’m not going to do anything. So why aren’t you leaving?”
Charley looked down at his hands and earnestly searched himself for an answer. He hadn’t even thought of it. Why hadn’t he thought of it?
“I...miss you, Ed.”
Ed leaned back and regarded Charley, sitting there, quivering in the dark. It’d be easy enough to just feed on him. To just turn him, right then and there. To do anything. Something. Ed normally would have preferred a situation like this. Someone who was too tired to fight. Someone who had given up. But seeing Charley sitting there, sniffing… All he could think of was the day they met.
“Charley, do you remember that playground where we met?”
“Yeah? Ed, what the he-”
“Just show up around midnight tomorrow. It’s getting a little late to talk now. Or, early, I guess.” Ed said, eying the window.
“Ed, why should I show up? How do I know-”
Ed stood up and walked toward Charley. He grabbed Charley’s collar and pulled him up close.
“Because if I’m not doing anything right now, in private, what makes you think I’d prefer to in public?” Ed smiled at him. "And, you miss me."
Ed dropped him and walked towards the door. “Anyway, no one’s making you. But now you know where I’ll be.” He walked out, and down the stairs.
Charley stood up slowly, then walked over to pick up his flashlight. He searched around on the ground until he found his rosary.
“Why am I even…” He sighed. He looked out the window and noticed the sky was beginning to get light. His mother would be home soon. He ran back home and rinsed the blood off his arm. He looked at himself in the mirror for a long moment. “You’re a fucking idiot.” he muttered. Because even after looking at the gashes in his arm, he was still thinking of going to that playground...