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emerging from the harbor



 
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Bo Dika


The last thing she remembers is cold. The next thing she remembers is cold, too. Actually, everything is cold. Especially her fingers, crossed over her chest, the nails digging into her arms. “Um…” Her voice sounds hollow even to her. She punches upwards, easily splintering the box she’s been locked in, and immediately chokes on water, and darkness. If her mouth was working, it would be screaming, “ ****!” As is, she lets herself be buffeted, spun, rocketing upwards until she’s cresting the water in a large harbor. It’s bitterly cold. Bo is aware that time has passed since she ended up in that box. The 70s were crazy, but New York never looked like this. She doggy paddles, bobbing in the water. It tastes like sewage. This is New York, she’s pretty sure, but it’s a New York she never knew. So Jenny’s gone, then. Dead, probably. Bo swallows once, and tells herself that the wetness on her face is just seawater.

 

Bo learns that decades have passed, once she manages to grab the attention of a friendly group of tourists who haul her soaking body overboard until she sprawls on the boards, breathing heavily. She’s quite sure the stink of the harbor is never going to come out of her jacket. After taking a moment to breathe, she looks up at the gawking tourists. A boat full of them, soft and pink, gaping at her. The closest one, a child, holds out a black box that flashes a bright light at her once. She snarls on instinct, swiping at him. The trip after that is not so friendly; she’s locked in a storage room with no light. There are rats at least, that she manages to catch and devour before the ship’s captain swings the door open to glower at her. “Get off my ship,” he says, moving aside as Bo stands. She nods. He can clean up the rat carcasses scattered over the floor, if he wants to. “So this is New York?” she says in passing. “Of course it is,” he growls. 

 

She walks down the gangplank and onto city streets that, if they were ever familiar, definitely aren’t now. There’s something vibrant about New York, though, and that hasn’t changed. The sound of humanity thrums through her bones. She searches for a newspaper to find the date, and realizes that several decades have passed since she was put away. The thought of being in a world without Jenny…She twists the ring on her finger, grateful it shows no signs of rust or decay. It’s the only thing she has left now. She clenches one fist, and reminds herself that she’s not thinking about it. She’s not thinking about how much time has passed. How much time was lost. What she needs right now is to get some new clothing, instead of the virginal white shift someone put her in. And shoes. She looks down at her bare, wiggling toes against New York’s dirty pavement and nods her head. Definitely shoes.

 

An hour later, having managed to rob a large department store without much incident, Bo steps onto the streets of New York again. With boots on this time. She feels better already, able to slip through the crowds without notice. She’s careful to avoid reflective surfaces; humans tend to notice anyone without a reflection. The humans all smell so good, too. Lush, delicious…Their veins throbbing just under the skin. Bo wets her lips and reminds herself that ripping them apart would cause a scene. And also it would be wrong, or something. Morals have tended to escape her as the years go by.

 

 When the temptation gets too much she ducks into an alley and manages to snag a curious pigeon by pretending to have bread. It claws at her wrist as she wrings its neck, ruffling through feathers to reach what little blood she can. Undignified, but she’s done worse. Back when she was first made, everything was so easy. Humans, ripe for the picking, so stupid and scared she never even had to try. Virgins, sometimes, which was nice. Bo was never famous, or powerful, but she had her own little corner of the world, and a forest that humans often travelled through and disappeared in. Then she got in trouble, and had to run, hop a ship to the New World. After that came war, and morals. Little by little. Now she’s reduced to this. Sucking on scraps in an alley. Alone. Disgusted with herself, Bo wipes at her mouth, smearing her jacket in lackluster pigeon blood. It helped, though. She rests a hand on her stomach, considering, and decides it’s best to get out of here. Head to the south, to the areas she knows best. Where she met and loved Jenny. She prefers long, hot days and humidity to anything New York can offer, anyway. She wishes she could lie to herself, say she’s not going down south because it reminds her of Jenny. She’s not able too, though. 

 

She decides to take a train, and starts pickpocketing as always. At least that hasn’t changed. People have been putting their money in the same places for thousands of years. She’s two fingers deep in the pockets of a bored teenager when she smells something…off. Not the regular bland smell of humanity, with their underlying odor of decay. And not another vampire, either, not old blood and dusty age. This is warmer, like fresh, clean dirt. And fur. Bo has half the urge to sneeze. She slips her fingers out of the teenager’s pocket and follows the scent, figuring it’s as good of an idea as any. She’s always enjoyed making friends; it hurts to be alone, after all these centuries. Being solitary drives her mad. The only other choice is to take a human under her wing, and she hasn’t done that in centuries. Other creatures make better companions. So, using her nose, Bo follows the angry looking brunette woman through crowds of people, curious. 
April 12, 2018 10:57 pm
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