Sean Becker was working on his third cup of coffee sitting at the counter in the town’s only all-night diner. He thought it would help kill the taste, but so far nothing really helped.
“Want a refill?” The waitress looked tired and bored. The only other patrons in this dump were a couple of truckers pulling an all-nighter.
“Yes. Thanks.” He was careful not to smile too widely at her. She poured more of the bitter brown liquid into his cup.
“Sure you don’t want something to eat? It’ll be morning soon. We serve a good breakfast.” He could tell she really didn’t care. She was flying on auto-pilot.
“Actually I just ate not long ago. I came in here for something to wash it down with.” He started smiling again and then remembered what would happen if she saw too much.
“Suit yourself.” She walked away without another word.
He took another sip. He used to love coffee, even the poor quality java served in greasy spoons like this one. It was finally starting to kill the taste of his meal, but only by a little.
He involuntarily remembered her face. She was a nurse getting off the late shift at the local hospital a few hours ago. He came up behind her just as she was unlocking her car door. She heard him and spun around. There was no way she could have stopped him, though.
Sean bent his head down and pressed his hands against his ears as if he could block the memory of the sound of her scream.
He didn’t kill her. Oh dear Lord, he couldn’t kill her. That would just make a bad situation worse. There were enough of his kind out there, one more that he knew of anyway, the one who created him.
She’d have a fantastic tale to tell the police, but she’d also have the evidence of her injury and she’d seen his face. He’d have to move on soon, but like the waitress said, it was almost morning and he’d have to hold up until night came again.
Sean paid his bill and left a generous tip. It was lousy having to work all night. He should know. Since last month, nights were his only life. As he exited the diner he could feel the change in the air that told him sunrise was not far off. He’d have just enough time to get back into hiding.
He was new at being a vampire. He hoped with time and experience he’d get used to the taste of blood.
The saga of Sean Becker continues in the short story The Shadow Meeting.