I sneezed, then coughed, then winced as my lungs burned and my head pounded. I barely propped my head upright on the couch as I watched TV. I didn’t know what was on. I didn’t care. All I knew was the misery of a super cold in the middle of July. I had spent three days—four?—on this couch, slipping in and out of sleep.
I heard the door bell, and barely croaked out “Come in.” My neighbor’s kids, Brian and Tommy had brought me my mail and the occasional meal their mother was good enough to make for me.
But it wasn’t them.
It was Nikki. I had invited a vampire into my home; I didn’t care.
“Please kill me,” I managed to her.
“Not today, Matthew.” She wore jeans and a tee shirt, looking quite normal and every day, and went directly into the kitchen. I tried to angle my head around, but gave up after moving an inch. I had to settle for the sounds of her rummaging around clanking dishes and firing up my stovetop.
I blew my nose, feeling a cargo ship of mucus leave my sinuses, and sighed closing my eyes. I didn’t know how much time had passed when I felt her hand on my shoulder. She helped me sit up and pushed a bowl of soup into my hands. I had no sense of smell left, but I could taste spiciness in the steam that came off it.
I looked my question at her.
“An old folk remedy. Likely the recipe no longer exists except in my memory.”
I took a bite, tasting a bit of potato, carrot, and a spicy sausage, which I could see chopped into fine pieces throughout the soup.
“We need to get you well. Now that we’ve seen to your body, it’s time for your spirit.”
She slipped a disc into my Blu-Ray player, which loaded up a pack of Ava Gardner movies.
For the first time in days I smiled, which pulled painfully at my sinuses, making me wince.
“Eat. And rest.”
I nursed the soup down, the first real food in days, too, and watched The Killers.
“She has some of the best outfits in this movie, Matthew. I had some gowns made based on hers.”
I smiled again. “Ow.”