Golden dreamed of wolves, running in the night. He dreamed of owls, turning their heads this way and that. He dreamed of cottages, in which the disguised wolf waited as 'gramma'. And, always, the full moon rose over all, with a supernatural brightness.|
He woke to the sensation of Michael sinking in again for the grip. The moon of his dreams continued in wakefulness. Oh, the boring in, the painfulness, but Golden kept still. He felt Michael's essense entering him. The flow of the essence Golden craved, he could feel it traveling through out his body. He heard a siren in the distance. ''An ambulance on the way to the hospital?'' He would no longer have need of hospitals.
Michael again slumped over by his side, and mumbled that he had to rest. ''Am I so big, I take more of the stuff than most do?'' Golden wondered, but did not ask. Michael wouldn't have answered, for he was already asleep. This time, Golden didn't fall asleep. He just listened to the crickets, singing in the night, and held Michael, until he woke.
Michael woke perhaps an hour later, and finished 'the business' with a bit more brusqueness than he'd had earlier. He seemed wary of the time, concerned for the approaching dawn. Golden wanted Michael to go with him to his home afterwards, which wasn't far.
They walked there, even though Michael craved more sleep. An ominous glow had already begun in the eastern sky. All was dark at the house. Golden searched for his keys, but found his pocket empty. ''They must have fallen out when we were in the bushes,'' he realized, some perplexed.
He was hungry. He was always hungry. He had an reputation for a voracious appetite, and could down a whole pie in one sitting. His favorites were banana cream or coconut cream, but he'd eat any kind. Small wonder his waistline wasn't any thicker than it was, which was quite rounded at that. Golden sniffed, turning his head this way and that. He smelled food, he was certain he smelled food. He only saw that ratty, disgusting creep of a cat that would not leave their house.
''That CAT smells like food!'' Golden thought, and reached out to grab it. The cat fought back, snarling and clawing, but the attempt was useless. It managed to draw a claw across Golden's face, leaving a red line as it passed, but soon, that cat was under Golden's teeth and he was drinking.
Michael watched it all in amazement. He watched until Golden was done drinking, before he began his lecture. Golden drained it, and then looked up, puzzled as what to do with the remainder. ''Yes, we have a problem, don't we? The corpse will have to be dealt with. But first, the lecture,'' Michael grew angry, though he kept his voice low, ''I was going to teach you FIRST in the art of eating. There are many things you did wrong this morning. First off, we never, never, never eat the neighbors' pets or livestock! One goes FAR from the house for such things. Secondly, the prey must never be made to suffer more than it has to. It is an unfortunate fact of life that all living beings consume other living beings for their sustainence.
But there is a way to do it, that causes as little torment as possible. Either, we caress and soothe the animal into calmness, as the teeth are slowly sinked, and it little knows it's being done. OR, in the case of more dangerous prey, we give them a blow which renders them still alive but unconscious. Never cause unnecessary suffering!''
The lecture was interrupted by the sounds of wakefulness in Golden's parents' house. ''Mother's up. I'm sorry about the cat. It wasn't a neighbor's, it was ours, and I HATED the filthy thing. It only ever liked my little brother, anyway,'' Golden answered. Michael almost hissed, as he whispered, ''And won't your brother MISS that cat?'' You will have to be very careful, and feign ignorance when he wonders where his cat went off to. Later, as he becomes aware that cat isn't coming back, you will have to feign innocence and sympathy for his loss.''
''I, I, I'm SORRY! I . . .'' Golden's look of sorrowful contrition and apology got interrupted when they heard, Golden's mother came into the kitchen, near whose door the two stood. Golden knocked on the door, and his very startled mother answered it. She, in contrast to Golden, was short and slight of build, though her hair was of the same golden hue.
''Andrew! What are you doing up at this hour? Oh, you have a friend with you! Come in, both of you!'' She was flustered, not used to seeing guests at this hour of the morning. ''Sit!'' she gestured to the wooden chairs which surrounded a matching wooden table. ''Do either of you want coffee or tea?''
It was Michael who answered, ''Just water will be fine!'' Golden thought he'd better follow Michael's lead, and replied, ''Just water for me, too!'' His head spun, as the formerly familiar house looked so unfamiliar with his new eyesight. It would take some getting used to, seeing such details as he now could. He felt a little fearful, and was glad Michael was there. He'd look to Michael for guidance. He suddenly felt very young and stupid.
While Golden's Mother was scrambling to get glasses, Michael stroked Golden's hand. He seemed to say, ''Relax, follow my lead. You'll be all right!'' Golden breathed a sigh of relief, and tried to relax.
Dorothy walked back with the glasses of water, and as she set Michael's down before him, she gave him a good look. Her thoughts were audible to both of them. ''Hmmm, I bet he is of a 'certain persuasion'. Yes, he looks the type. Still, this is the first friend Andrew has ever had since he was a little boy, and he probably needs friends of 'that persuasion'. This needs to be encouraged.'' Golden smiled at her, knowing he best not acknowledge that he knew her thoughts. ''It's so like Mother to never use the words for things. She'd never just come out and say 'homosexual' or 'gay', she wouldn't.'' But he blushed, just the same.
As the three of them sat at the table, his Mother with her cup of coffee, and the two vamps with their water, Golden's Mother turned towards Michael with a laser eye efficiency, and said, ''So tell me about yourself!'' Her face looked greedy for details.
Michael took a deep breath and thought one step ahead before he spoke each sentence, ''Uh, my name is Michael. I was born in Maryland, to a rural family. We had a quiet life. I enjoyed tending the animals, but I hated the farmwork dealing with the crops. I had a good Mother. Now, I'm here, in Arizona,''
''How did you end up in Arizona?'' she pumped him. ''I had an e-mail coorespondance with a friend here, and I travelled here to meet her!'' he replied brightly, quietly amazed to himself that whole chunks of time could nicely 'disappear' like that.
''Oh, that's exciting! Now, HOW did you meet Andrew?'' Golden interrupted at this point and announced, ''My name is no longer 'ANDREW', I'm 'Golden', now!'' His mother looked at him a little puzzled, but determined to keep her composure. She gave a forced chuckle, ''Ah HEM, how did you meet 'Golden', then?''
''I was out walking and saw him on a bench, and we began talking.'' Dorothy looked disappointed, ''Is that all there was to it?'' Golden got perturbed, and injected, ''Why, Mother, what else would you think there'd be to it?'' He wasn't exactly sure what his mother was getting at. She continued brightly, as she addressed her pale son, ''I know you've had some rough years, and I'm glad to see you're getting some FRIENDS, at last.''
Just then, the stirrings of his father could be heard. ''So, what are your plans, today?'' she smiled, as she looked at Golden, who looked a little TOO pale. ''He must be nervous. He's always been a little nervous at times.'' Golden looked to Michael for guidance, who had to think fast, ''Golden's going to spend some time with me and my friends. We'll need to gather his things, but there's plenty of time for that. We won't leave until after dark. Do you mind if we just nap awhile here?''
Dorothy stepped back, startled at the revelations, ''Yes, I suppose it's good you go with your friends, Andr-- I mean Golden! Yes, I can imagine you're tired. You've both been up all night!'' Michael smiled at her. She was trying so hard! He loved her for that. ''Charming, really quite charming,'' he thought affectionately.
They slipped out of the kitchen as gracefully as they could, and Michael followed Golden to his bedroom. He was surprised at the things Golden had crammed into it. There were posters all over the walls, and clothing strewn here and there on the floor. But most importantly, a nice, soft bed awaited them, and the blinds were securely drawn. Sleep would be delicious.
But then, he thought of Gwen and Livia. He couldn't remember their phone number. He did, however, remember Gwen's email address, and was happy to see a computer among Golden's clutter. ''Can I use the computer to send an email message to my friends?'' he politely asked, grateful he had such knowledge. Golden's computer was different than the library computers. For one thing, the library computers are always connected to the web, and he was frustrated to discover he had to connect to the web, first. But he got his brief message off, and hoped Gwen would read her e-mail. It was her regular morning habit, so he was hopeful.
The message simply said, ''Hello sweetie! Have met new friend and will be bringing him home tonight. You'll like 'Golden'! Please hold 'dinner' until we arrive. Love you . . .'' That didn't say much, but hopefully she and Livia wouldn't worry overmuch.
This important duty done, he sunk himself into that plush bed, and sleep overcame him. Golden sunk himself beside him, and they both slept very, very well.