The Second Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker
The following story contains “adult material,” so if that sort of thing offends you or is otherwise not your cup of tea, you should probably stop reading now.
“Come on over and help decorate, Marishka.”
Sean was helping several others in his dorm decorate their assigned area of the UCLA Student Union. They’d all be heading home for the holiday break in a week and the girl from his one night class (he’d screwed up his registration and couldn’t get into any of the day classes for Beginning English Lit) was the only person hanging back.
“That’s okay, Sean. I’m not really into Christmas.”
There was something about Marishka that Sean found compelling. It wasn’t typical flirtation or attraction. Sure, he was eighteen years old and it was his first time really being away from home, and he could hang out with girls without having Mom and Dad breathing down his neck, but it wasn’t exactly that way with Marishka.
She was African-American, but not only was her skin pretty light, so was her hair and even her eyes. Sean wanted to ask her about that, but he didn’t know how without sounding rude. Maybe she’d even think he was racist or something. It wasn’t just her looks, but how strangely sad she seemed, like she had some sort of secret, something she could never share with anyone.
In High School, all his friends called him “The Shrink” because a lot of the kids liked to tell him their problems. Sean was one of those people who everyone seemed to naturally trust and even Mom said he was a good listener.
Sean hoped that whatever was bothering Marishka, she’d be able to tell him, although he never saw her except in their one class together. In fact, he never saw her around campus at all during the day and she never associated with anyone at school, which made it even more odd that she’d be in the Student Union tonight.
“Excuse me a second,” Sean said to his roommate Sven and Vic, one of the guys in the dorm room next to theirs. As he stood up and started to walk away from the tree they’d been stringing lights on, he heard the expected “Ohs” and “Ahs” like “Sean’s going to hit on a girl.” Now that he was on the receiving end of the same juvenile commentary he was in the habit of making, it didn’t seem so funny.
Marishka was standing near the door as if she needed an easy escape. She was wearing jeans, a “Toy Story” t-shirt, and a light sweater, though it was warm enough not to need one.
Sean walked up to her and she looked momentarily at the door and then back to him as if trying to decide whether or not to leave.
“Really, Sean. I don’t want to do Christmas decorations.”
“You don’t have to, Marishka. I just came over to say hi, not to drag you over to put lights on a tree.”
She looked down and smiled but only a little, then looked up at him making eye contact. “Thanks, Sean. I appreciate it.” Looking into her eyes was like looking into a bottomless well. Her depths knew no limits.
“Is there anything I can do for you? You look a little lost.”
“No, I’m fine. I mean, I guess. Look, I should go.”
She started to turn away and Sean put his hand on her forearm. It was the first time he’d touched her and he could feel a chill through her sweater. Marishka pulled her arm back.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you or…”
“No, it’s okay, Sean. I’m just naturally chilly. People aren’t always comfortable with that.”
He wanted to tell her she could trust him and that if anything was wrong, he’d try to help. Sean wanted to tell her that, but he didn’t know how to say it.
“You want to be my friend, don’t you?”
He felt his throat close. For a second, he thought he really had told her what he’d been thinking. How could she have known? Was he that transparent?
“Well, yes. I do, I mean, if you want to be friends.”
“I’m not so sure that’s a good idea, Sean. I’m kind of complicated.”
“Too complicated to be friends?” As he said it, he was wondering if friendship was all he was interested in.
“How about we go over to the cafeteria. I could buy you a cup of coffee or something.”
“That’s sweet Sean, but I’ll have something later.”
He must have looked hurt, he certainly felt that way, like she was pushing him away.
“It’s not like that, Sean. I do like you. It’s just…I haven’t been close to anyone in so long. I guess I don’t know what do to anymore.”
“Did something happen?”
She suddenly wasn’t looking at him anymore. She was looking past him or through him, looking at something he couldn’t see.”
“Something.” She said it absent-mindedly, as if she hadn’t realized she’d said it out loud.
Then she looked back up. “I have to go. I’ll see you after the break.”
This time, he didn’t stop her. Just watched her go through the open glass doors and into the night.
“Go after her you idiot.” It was Sven’s voice calling from behind. For once he was right.
Sean ran out into the darkness, ran after Marishka, grabbed her by her arm again, her cold flesh and his warm hand. She stopped and looked back up at him.
“Are you sure you want to do this Sean? Following me might not be good for your health.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means this.” She put her arms around him. Sean shivered as she pulled his face close to her’s. He’d kissed girls before, but only two. The first was when he was fifteen. It was New Year’s Eve. His parents had a packed house. Penny was seventeen and she’d been into the punch, the one for the grown-ups. At midnight, she led him into the hall and kissed him, her tongue thrust deep into his mouth. He almost puked at the taste of vodka and fruit juice, but he also got an erection as he pressed up against her.
The second was with Angie, the girl he dated when he was a senior. They’d actually made out a lot, but she always stopped him when his hands started “wandering” as she put it. They broke up right before graduation.
Kissing Penny and Angie wasn’t like kissing Marishka. When Marishka kissed him, it was fire and ice, passion and frozen foreplay. For her, being “friends” was something else than sitting in the cafeteria or in a dorm room talking about how adult you thought you’d feel going away to college and how much like a kid you turned out to be.
He felt he was drowning, like she was a million years older than he was, sort of like kissing Penny, an “older” girl, but holding Marishka in his arms was intimacy with what his Auntie Kimberly called an “old soul.” Marishka couldn’t have been any older than Sean but there was something else about her.
“I’m giving you one last chance, Sean. You can go back inside and finish putting lights on that Christmas tree or you can come with me. I think you’d be a lot happier with the tree.”
He took a deep breath. She was probably right, but thinking about walking away from her now felt so cowardly. “If you need me, I want to be with you.”
She smiled but again, just a little, like she didn’t want to show all her teeth. She moved beside him and took his hand. It was freezing, she was so cold, her body was anyway. “Come with me, Sean. Everybody from your dorm is here tonight. It will be empty. We can be alone.”
He’d only offered her friendship or so he thought. Sean let her lead the way because she needed something more. He was terrified of what that would mean. He’d never had sex before. She was so exciting all of a sudden. There was something about how she smelled. He just noticed it a few seconds ago. It made him feel light headed.
Fifteen minutes later they were in his bed. It was the first time he’d seen a girl completely naked, well, one who wasn’t in a magazine or on the Internet. He couldn’t believe how beautiful she was. Even with the covers over both of them, it was like he was embracing winter, but as cold as she was, Marishka was also fire. Her mouth was wet, her eyes were glistening. She was wet between her legs. He had no idea what he was doing but she was a good teacher. When she said she hadn’t been close to anyone for a long time, she must have meant sex. He was a virgin but she was anything but.
She let him get on top to slip inside of her. He could feel wetness and texture, like the inside of her vagina was covered with little ridges. The sensation drove him crazy and he orgasmed a lot sooner than he wanted to.
“It’s okay, Sean. I know it’s your first time with a woman. It happens.”
She pushed his head down across her breasts. Her nipples were hard and erect. Her belly was soft. He could feel tiny hairs brush across his cheeks. Her pubic hair was lighter than the hair on her head, tightly curled, moist, there was a faint odor. It smelled like sex and something else. She used the fingers of one hand to open herself and squeezed her clitoris. Marishka moaned softly and shuddered. “Lick me.”
He tried, stopped, licked more.
He did his best. Sean could tell good from not so good by how she reacted. He found a rhythm. She moved her hips faster in time with him. His face was wetter now. Outside she was cold but inside she was hot.
“Almost, almost, Sean…” She was growling more than talking. Then she rolled over and he was on his back. Marishka pulled Sean all the way backup to the pillow. She was on top now, pressing her crotch against his, rubbing her clit against him, her hips pushing. She plunged her face into his neck. He cried out in both pain and pleasure. He came a second time, squirting against her tummy. Her hands, her nails dug into him. She was screaming as her face was pressed against his throat. It was wet there, too.
She pulled up, arching her back, looking down at him. Her face was covered in blood!
“Daddy, wake up sleepy head.”
Lizzie was on the bed. Then he felt bouncing as Aaron and Jill jumped up and down on the mattress too.
“What? Kids. Where am I?
“Mom says to get up, Dad.” Aaron was sitting on his stomach now. “You overslept. She made pancakes. You promised to take us shopping for a Christmas tree today.”
Christmas. It was just three weeks away. They always bought their tree on this weekend. It was the same weekend when he’d made love to Marishka almost twenty years ago. He hadn’t thought of her in so long.
Why was there blood in his dream?
This should have been one of Sean’s happiest moments. Ever since he’d married Janet, one of the family’s most important rituals was picking out the perfect Christmas tree.
The first year he and Janet were married, they lived in that small one bedroom apartment in Berkeley. They only had room to put a tree on the desk they kept in the living room, a tree barely three feet tall.
Now he wandered through the lot with Aaron and Jill. Janet had to hold Lizzie to keep her from trying to drag every tree into the car or taste test the fir needles.
They could manage a little over six feet tall now but it had to be as symmetrical as possible. Sean was picturing the various Star Trek and Star Wars themed lights and ornaments that he hoped would add a modern innovation to the ancient traditions, or as ancient as Charles Dickens would allow. After all, as much as his church preached that the “first Christmas” was celebrated at the birth of Christ almost 2,000 years ago, what everyone thought of as “Christmas” was less than 200 years old.
The smell of pine trees.
It had never reminded him of Marishka before.
“Dad, how about this one?”
Aaron rushed ahead of him. It did look like a pretty good tree. Jill got down under the branches and was looking around.
“Honey, what are you doing under the tree?”
“Making sure there’s enough room for both Baby Jesus and the presents, Daddy.”
Jill was an interesting child and Sean loved the way she saw things. They were all truly a blessing.
The family agreed on that tree and had a couple of “Santa’s helpers” secure it to the roof of the van so they could take it home. Sean’s neighbor Sid saw them pull up and ran over to help unload their new acquisition. Sid and Esther Polack were a retired couple or semi-retired since Sid still did some writing, and let the kids come over to watch the lighting of the Hanukkah menorah every year. Sean and Janet thought it was important for the kids to understand that their Christian faith emerged from Judaism, and the Polacks were more than gracious.
Sean was stringing the lights when his hands began to tremble.
“Come on over and help decorate, Marishka.”
“What did you say, Daddy?” Jill was putting ornaments on the lower part of the tree while Aaron brought another box of decorations into the living room. Janet had put Lizzie down for her nap and was getting together the ingredients for tonight’s chicken pot pies.
“Oh, nothing, Baby. Just thinking out loud.
Why was he still thinking about that dream, about Marishka? He hadn’t seen her in almost twenty years. They’d only spent one night together. After Christmas break, she never came back to school.
He asked the instructor what had happened, and she didn’t know. No one else in class did either. Sean even went to the admin building to see if he could get an address or phone number, but they cited confidentially policy to him and so he went away empty handed.
Sean thought he’d never forget her until he finally did…that is up until last night.
The weekend gave way to Monday and now it was almost 6 p.m. again but fortunately this time, he didn’t have to run to make the BART train. He just had to wait on the platform with all of the other wage slaves who work in a city they couldn’t possibly afford to live in.
The crowd pressed in on him as the train entered the station. It was hard to be patient, but like a herd animal, he had to move along with the rest in the relentless wave of flesh inching toward the open doors of the car just ahead, hoping that there’d be enough room and he wouldn’t have to wait for the next one.
Everyone managed to pack themselves inside and Sean heard the doors swish closed behind him, like the doors on the Enterprise.
He heard someone speaking or thought he did but the voice was muffled. Sean looked down and she managed to raise her face out of his chest.
“I said, we meet again.”
“Dol.” He chuckled at the coincidence which she also seemed to be enjoying. “We’ve got to stop meeting like this.”
“I know, right?” They softly laughed at their shared joke.
They held on as the train accelerated into the transbay tunnel. “You heading home after work, too?” It was a dumb thing to ask. That’s what everyone was doing, including him.
“No, I don’t actually live in the East Bay, but sometimes I have to run errands there.”
“What do you do, Dol?”
It was as if the question caught her off guard and she paused for an instant. “I’m a freelance designer, office space, corporate lobbies, even the occasional private home.”
“Interior design. Make the space more efficient or artistic or whatever the customer wants.”
“Sounds like fun.”
“It is most of the time, but the hours can be strange. I mean you’re going home from work and I’m just getting started.”
“What, your customers can’t do business in the light of day?”
She seemed to stifle a giggle, but he wasn’t sure what she found funny.
“A lot of time, I have to work after business hours so I’m not in the way and frankly, so no one’s in mine.”
“That makes sense. Never thought of it that way.”
On the surface, they were having a casual conversation to pass the time until they got to their stop, but Sean felt it was a lot more, at least on his end. He didn’t know what it was about her odor, it wasn’t perfume or anything like it, but she smelled so sexy. She was still pressed tight against him and there was no way she could have missed feeling his erection. He didn’t want it to happen, but it was like there was something digging into the dark and primitive corners of his mind.
Then he remembered the hallucination he had, seeing her as a reflection in his car’s window. That was only last Friday.
He knew it was wrong to feel this way. It was as if his moral compass, usually so reliable, was recklessly spinning in circles, unable to find north, or in his case, fidelity.
Sean realized he didn’t have anything to really worry about. Her stop would come up, she’d get out, and that would be that. It had been an amazing coincidence the two of them ending up next to each other on the same BART train car at the same time of day just a few days apart, but random chance had played all her cards.
Then he remembered he didn’t believe events were truly random in a universe created by God. But if that were true, why was he seeing Dol today as well as last Friday? What did God have in mind? A test? Sean shook his head. He was over thinking this.
“Are you okay?”
“Me? Yes, I’m fine. I just remembered something I have to do.”
“Where’s your customer tonight?”
“All the way out in Dublin, believe it or not.”
“You’re kidding. I get off at the Dublin/Pleasanton station.” Suddenly, this all felt a lot less harmless for him. “How are you getting to your customer from the station?”
“I’ll probably just do Uber. I’ve got an app on my phone.”
“I can drop you off where you’re going if you want.”
“That’s really nice of you, Sean. I should probably just stick with Uber, though. I’m sure you’ve got someone waiting at home.”
“It’s that obvious?”
“Well, you’re the right age, it is that obvious, and besides, I noticed the wedding ring.”
He looked down at his right hand. “There is that.”
The fact that she insisted she use Uber even after he offered her a ride confirmed that even if he wasn’t thinking straight, she was. Sean hoped she didn’t think he was coming on to her. Was he coming on to her? That was crazy. It was just an offer for a ride. Sure, she was attractive, beautiful now that he was getting to know her a bit, alluring, even a tad mysterious, but that’s all it was, just a little flirtation. He was still going home to his wife and three children.
They were sitting next to each other when the train got to the Dublin/Pleasanton station. He walked her outside. “Are you sure you won’t let me drive you? It won’t be any trouble.” He felt like an idiot asking again, but he also didn’t want her to have to wait in the dark.
“I just sent for an Uber driver. Should be here in a few minutes.”
“Are you going to be alright alone?”
“Sean, you sound like my big brother. I promise I’ll be fine.” She was laughing out loud now.
“Okay, I guess I am a frustrated big brother. Little brother actually. I have two older sisters.”
“Have a good night, Sean. Who knows? We might see each other again.”
“You never can tell. Good night.” He turned and walked to his car. He had managed to get a space a little closer to the station than usual. He pressed the fob to unlock the car door and looking at the window, he saw Dol’s reflection again.
“This is getting ridicul…” He turned around expecting to see no one but this time, Dol was standing right behind him. He remembered the last time this happened, the eyes…the fangs.
“Is something wrong?”
She stared at him with those compelling pale blue eyes. She looked hungry, ravenous. She licked her lips seductively. Sean tried to say something but although his mouth was moving, no sounds came out. He wanted to turn, to open the car door, get inside and leave, but he was paralyzed. He realized he was biting his lower lip hard enough to draw blood.
He could feel a drop slowly descending down his lip and onto his chin. Dol stepped closer, extended her tongue and gently captured it just before it would have fallen onto his shirt. She licked up, took his lower lip between both of hers and sucked for a moment. Then they embraced and kissed, deeply, passionately, he wanted to drag her into the car, lift her skirt, expose his maleness, plunge it inside…
“I just wanted to say good night again. Thanks for the company, Sean.”
He was panting, leaning back against the car door. Dol turned and walked toward the station entrance. As she stepped onto the sidewalk, a car pulled up and she entered. Her ride.
Sean didn’t know what just happened, but he was happy it was over. He was a stranger to himself. He never imagined acting this way. How could he? If Janet had seen him with Dol just now, it would have killed her.
He opened the door, got in and shut it. His hands were shaking so much, he almost couldn’t get the key into the ignition.
“Calm down. I’ve got to calm down.”
He checked his lip in the rear view mirror. He could see by the parking lot lamps and there were plenty of flicking red and green Christmas lights nearby as well. He hadn’t hallucinated that. He’d bitten it. Fortunately it had stopped…
The mirror. White hair, pale eyes, coffee and cream complexion. She lunged at him from the back seat, screeching, baring ivory fangs. She grabbed his head and assaulted him, sucking, draining blood.
You can find out more about Dol in the story Stop Me From Falling.