The earthquake the night before had been so faint that it hadn’t woken him up. He wasn’t even aware of it until he heard about it on the radio. It had been deep underground, the
magnitude light, detectable only by banks of sensitive equipment miles away,
and apparently their dog, who’d made a mess on the kitchen floor in the middle of
the night. Nevertheless, sometime while the rest of them slept, the earth had
subtly rearranged itself.
The rearrangement of the landscape within himself when
he looked at his wife that morning was much less subtle.
She was around two years old, that age where children thought, if they
covered their eyes and couldn’t see you, you couldn’t see them. It was a
strange age for a vampire.
Her minder, a tall, slender woman—her mother before,
perhaps—seemed barely able to rein in the tike, who tried to
bite anyone who passed: a dog, the man holding the leash, women in skirts,
their exposed ankles enticing. She caught me watching her and gave me a faint smile, a bit of fang
days, she seemed to say. What can you
Sarah took her hand, a little uncertainly, but
smiled as my mother grasped Sarah's forearm with her other hand. The gesture seemed tribal to me, and I could tell Sarah was
uncomfortable, but the look in my mother's eyes was gratitude and something
I had only met her five minutes earlier, but I wanted my mother to look at me with that same feeling.
Sarah turned to me and said, "You're going to
be in big trouble at school tomorrow."
"Me?" I lowered the ice pack. My mother made me put it back. “What did I do?"
I feel like everything is unraveling; the whole year has
been like that. Even though some marvelous things have happened, like my book
being accepted for publication, everything else seems to be fraying. In a case
like that, why is it so hard to leave that unraveling thread alone? I
constantly have to fight the urge to pull on it and watch the tapestry of
whatever sort of life I’ve created unwind until it’s nothing more than a pile
of yarn on the floor. Is it because that’s the only way to figure out where
everything went wrong?