“I’m hungry,” Adonis muttered as he was dragged down twisted metallic corridors by the silver-haired boy.
“Yeah, me too,” he nodded. “But first we’re clearing up that mess on your face, ain’t no way I’m going out with a dude who looks like that, you’ll cramp my style and all that.”
“Did I get slammed against a door?” Adonis questioned as they climbed a set of stairs.
“Yup. And the ceiling, and the wall, it was pretty badass,” he smirked as he opened a small door and emerged into a somewhat normal-looking bedroom with blue painted walls and hanging pictures. He let go of Adonis’ arm and spun to face him, spreading his arms wide. “Check it out, dude!” He grinned widely. “Secret entrance! Robyn is like that Dexter’s Lab kid!”
Adonis stared at him blankly. “I can’t feel my eyeballs.”
The boy raised an eyebrow. “Can you usually?”
He stared then nodded briskly. “Right. Whatever.” He sniffed loudly and placed his hands in his pockets, rocking on the balls of his feet. “Oh yeah! The name’s Duncan.” He nodded casually. “I’m kind of the cool guy around here.”
“I’m Adonis Wells.”
“Yeah, I got that from the kid’s tantrum,” he sniggered and wiped his nose on his sleeve. “Do yourself a favour. If you don’t wanna end up looking like you’ve been decked in by wolverine, don’t ever call Robyn a girl again.”
Adonis sighed. “But the narrator got it wrong too.”
Duncan stared and shrugged. “You’re just lucky he didn’t get Number Two involved,” Duncan winced. “That guy can pack one hell of a punch, let me tell ya.”
“I don’t want to talk about it, dude.” He shook his head. “Anyway! Come on!” He led Adonis from the room and across the hall into a somewhat cluttered, disorganised kitchen. Plates were piled high all across the work surfaces, and several of the cupboard doors were open. They were, however, completely empty.
“’Sup Miss. K,” Duncan nodded to a woman seated at the table completely covered with scattered paperwork.
“Oh Hello Duncan.” She forced a smile. “And who’s this?”
“Adonis Wells,” Duncan replied casually as Adonis stood there awkwardly, gaping around the kitchen.
“Hello, Adonis Wells,” she chimed. “Oh dear, did you get into a little play fight with my sweet darling?” Duncan snorted and Adonis blinked.
“My cherub, my whoopsie-pups.” She smiled and tucked her curling blonde hair behind her ear. Duncan was shaking.
“Oh. Yeah. Kinda,” was all Adonis managed to say.
“Looks like he won.” She closed her eyes as she smiled and returned to her work.
Duncan marched across the kitchen, pulled open a draw and removed a small red case. He threw it to Adonis. “There. Medical shit.”
Duncan shrugged. “Bandages and all that. I dunno. Throw stuff at your face and see what sticks. I’m not used to dealing with mere human injures,” he said darkly. Adonis opened the box, took items at random and applied them to his face.
“That looks bloody awful.” Duncan stared. “Are you like a retard or something?”
“It doesn’t feel right.” Adonis stared back.
After Adonis had managed to remove most of the dry blood from his face they headed outside. Their location was actually not far from Adonis’ own house, it only required a little deviation from his daily route.
“I know this place.” Adonis smiled slightly.
“Oh yeah?” Though it was warm Duncan had zipped up his jacket completely, he had even pulled the hood up and tightened the drawstrings which only served to highlight his pale, drawn face. And perhaps even stranger, he had removed from his pocket a pair of red woollen gloves and placed them over his hands.
“Maybe I can catch the end of my lecture,” Adonis said absentmindedly.
Duncan stopped, then rushed to catch up with him. “Dude… what? Lecture? Are you crazy? You wanna go to some dumb lecture?”
“Professor Hinckleberg is not dumb, Duncan, he published a book, you know.”
“Dude do you even understand what just happened to you, what Robyn just did to you?” He was in front of Adonis now, racing backwards breathlessly in an effort to keep up with his speedy walk.
“I have a pen to return,” he said simply, and turned a sharp corner. But Duncan leapt out and grabbed his arm roughly with his gloved hand.
“For fuck’s sake! Come on man, you’re making this hell for me. Christ almighty would yo’ jus’ listen to me? Robyn will kick my arse if I lose you!” He grabbed Adonis’ shoulders with both hands and forced his body firmly against a wall. “Yo’ jus’…yo’ jus’…stay there.” He held out his hands and sighed. Adonis stood, blinking. “Robyn he’s like… When he said he was a genius he weren’t joking man! That kid is psycho but he’s like….you know that algebra shit you learn in school? This kid fucking… understands that? You get me?”
“Algebra isn’t really that difficult,” Adonis replied.
Duncan paced in front of him. “Alrigh’ dude, don’t show off,” he snorted. “Anyways, Robyn is like this genius kid and he can do all kinds of shit with like… the power of… science… There’s like this purple shit that he… like you know… like doctors’ needles and… injects it in…” He trailed off and hung his head. Several minutes later he perked up again. “Alrigh’… I got it… Robyn can make people do cool shit.”
“Shit again?” Adonis raised his eyebrows.
But Duncan seemed to have finally thought of something worthwhile and was smirking. “Like this… my whole… appearance like. The way I look. That’s all down to Robyn.”
“He slammed your face against a door too?”
“What?!” Duncan cried. “No! Dude! No! Harsh…” he said weakly. “Like my eyes, my hair, my teeth, my skin… All down to Rob—”
“What about them?” Adonis stared.
Duncan paused. “You’re fucking kidding me. Don’t tell me you hadn’t even noticed? They’re like basic character traits!”
Duncan suddenly came very close to Adonis, thrusting his face into his, which was rather difficult as he was shorter than he.
“Yellow,” Adonis said slowly, staring at his eyes.
“Yah huh! And…” He grinned widely.
“Pointy…” Adonis looked at his teeth. “And I know the other one. Silver hair. I know that one.”
“Well done, little red. Pretty cool, eh?” Duncan smirked. “Robyn has a team, Adonis, and now you’re part of that team!” He looked down and smirked. Now Adonis’ attention had been drawn to the oddities of his appearance he realised just how alien-like he looked with that hood drawn up about his face. “We’re the coolest team, Adonis. You should be pretty glad you’re with us.”
Duncan nodded. “Robyn has the power to create anything he wants. You’ve already met the zombie, and I guess I can call you human puppet or summit.” He sniggered then waltzed towards him. “But I haven’t introduced myself properly yet, Adonis. My true title in this little team is: ‘The Vampire.”
A heavy silence hung after his words, broken only by the slight breeze which swept through the empty street.
“Do you want to say it out loud? Lots of people like to do that,” Duncan whispered. “Say it. Adonis. Say it. Go on.”
“Vampire,” Adonis said monotonously.
“Sounds good doesn’t it?” Duncan licked his lips. “Now I do not wish you to be alarmed, though I’m sure you’re trembling inside.”
“Not really,” Adonis shrugged.
“But this curse, this burden… it is one which I must shoulder. For the good of the world.” He laid his hand across his forehead, then leant into Adonis and whispered. “Pretty cool, eh? The chicks totally dig this vampire shit.”
“You smell… awful…” Adonis gagged.
Duncan drew away and scratched his neck uneasily. “If you had to take a bath in rotten earthworms and year-old turnip juice you wouldn’t smell so fresh yourself, aite?” Adonis stared. “It’s the vampire way, innit?”
“It’s… really… not…”
“It’s not?” Duncan’s eyes opened wide.
“I’m gonna fucking kill her.”
After a quick detour to the corner shop where Adonis purchased a sausage roll and a coke and Duncan spent a great deal of time glaring at the magazine rack Adonis found himself following Duncan around the local shopping centre. Once inside Duncan pulled down his hood and removed his gloves. He was sweating profusely and his streamlined hair spikes had begun to sag.
“Oh man,” he moaned as he scrutinized his appearance in a mirror. “Oh man. I hate these fuckin’ hoods!”
“Why don’t you dye it?” Adonis muttered, staring at his silver locks.
Duncan spun to face him. “You what?” He groaned loudly. “Vampires have silver hair! It’s what we do!”
“Yes!” He sighed, then licked his hand and ran it through his hair.
“Which vampires have silver hair?”
“Loads!” Duncan sighed, then his eyes wandered and his brow furrowed. “I’m sure there are loads…” He shook his hair and looked in the mirror again. “Anyway. I rock this do.”
“You look just… incredibly ill,” Adonis said slowly.
“Hey! I don’t ‘ear the ladies complaining, aiiiiite?” Duncan smirked and grabbed Adonis by the neck with difficulty. “They love to land a slam Dunc’ — You get me? Ahahaha… you totally get me.” Adonis did not manage to force out any coherent words through the gag reflex which Duncan’s scent had kicked into gear. “Anyway, stop messing around, dude!” Duncan hissed as he released Adonis and glanced in the mirror once more. “You’re gonna get me in trouble with the boss!”
“Yeah, the boss!” To Adonis’ horror, Duncan grabbed his arm and yanked him close to him. “Listen, dude, I got work to do here, aite? I’m scouting out. I’m on location and shit.”
“What does that even mean?” Adonis winced as he spoke.
“Means there might be a couple of guys here who got issue with us, you get me?”
“Yeah, like enemies!” He laughed and threw his arm around Adonis. “You’re pretty clever, dude!”
“I’m going to get a 2:1.”
“A what?” No sooner were the words out of his mouth than he leapt behind a clothes rack, dragging Adonis with him. “Yo! Yo! There they are!” he hissed and pointed repeatedly across the store. Following his direction Adonis noticed two girls — a blonde and a brunette, both reasonably attractive. They were casually walking between the racks of clothes, chatting and laughing.
“Them?” Adonis snorted, but Duncan drew a finger to his mouth and shushed loudly.
“Don’t let ‘em see you!”
“Do they even know me?” Adonis gaped at them, as if they might suddenly change appearance into something more odd and Duncan-like.
“Jus’ watch ‘em alrigh’? I gotta — what was it…?” He scrunched up his face. “Ah yeah, ‘Document their movements.’”
“Robyn asked you to do that?”
“Well duh.” As the girls moved slowly through the racks of clothes, Duncan followed them around the perimeter, constantly keeping a deal of distance between them. “They could be planning anything…” he whispered, his yellow eyes watching them constantly. One of the girls threw back her head and giggled loudly.
“I’m going to guess… it’s just a guess mind you…” Adonis murmured as he crouched to Duncan’s level, “that they’re buying clothes.”
“Yeah — but why?” he said slowly, gripping the racks and forcing his face between the clothes.
“So they don’t have to be… naked?” There followed a silence after Adonis’ words and as he glanced to Duncan he noticed his eyes were glazed over and he was smiling slightly. “Errr…Duncan?”
Duncan shook his head quickly. “I’m fine. I’m aite. I’m with ya.” He scratched the back of his neck and continued to watch the girls with intensity.
“Is it because I said naked?” Adonis whispered.
“No!” Duncan hissed.
“Because they’re not naked right now.”
“But they would be if they didn’t buy clothes,” he said steadily. “Naked I mean.”
“Stop saying ‘naked’!” Duncan hissed and placed his palm over his sweating brow.
“Why? What’s wrong with saying ‘naked’?”
Duncan froze and stared behind Adonis, he turned and came face to face with a shop assistant who was staring at them with a great degree of loathing.
“…’Sup,” Duncan nodded and placed his hands in his pockets casually.
“What are you doing here?” she asked in her drawling speech.
“Browsing!” Duncan blurted at an alarming sound. He cleared his throat. “Shopping like.”
“‘Shopping’,” she repeated dully.
He nodded. “Ain’t nowt wrong with that is there?” He shrugged.
She stared at him for several seconds then sighed, placing her hands on her hips. “You’re not allowed in here.”
“I’m not?” He muttered with a sideways glance.
“You know you’re not.” A walkie talkie at her side made a static noise. She lifted it to her mouth. “I’m dealing with it,” she said loudly. Adonis glanced at Duncan but he just shrugged innocently. She lowered the walkie talkie. “Yeah. You have to leave.”
“Leave? Why?” he protested.
“You know why. You hang around here too often. It’s weird. Especially after last time.” She gave him a long look.
Duncan winced but Adonis was scratching his head. “What’s so weird about hanging out in a clothes…” His words trailed as for the first time he took a proper look at his surroundings. Hanging from every single rack which surrounded them were pairs of bras, pants and women’s undergarments. “This is a women’s underwear store!” he exclaimed, causing several people to stop and stare.
“Nah nah! Yo’ got it all wrong.” Duncan cringed. “This is just the underwear section, innit?”
“Yet it is always the one where I find you,” the woman replied, lazily chewing as she spoke.
“What ya trying to say?” he pouted.
“I think she’s calling you a pervert.”
“The kid who looked like he just rolled out of bed — ding ding! Congratulations.” She clapped slowly.
“I’m twenty years old,” Adonis said with wide eyes.
“You know…” Duncan spoke low and very slowly began to move towards the shop assistant. “I too, have the appearance of a twenty year old… but actually my age is far greater. Far, far greater than you can imagine… My years on this earth are long… and tormented…”
The woman raised an eyebrow then glanced at Adonis. “Is your friend on—”
“Because you see the truth is… it is a burden to me…” Duncan grasped his chest then looked up into her eyes intently. “I am what you might call… a vampire...”
She stared down at him with half closed eyes. “What? Like that Edward Cullen shit?”
Duncan grimaced. “I know of him, yes,” he smiled, flashing his pointed teeth.
She sighed and then spoke very loudly. “Listen, kid, I’m used to dealing with creepers like you in this store, but if there is one thing I can’t stand it is faggy little emos who smell like shit. Okay?”
Duncan’s mouth dropped but he continued to stare at her.
“I think she wants us to leave,” Adonis said as he watched her lips curl downwards.
“She only protests because she is afraid!” Duncan turned to her once more. “Do not be afraid.”
“You need to piss the hell off out of here or I’m going to get security again,” she warned harshly. By now the entire shop was watching the two of them, the girls they had been tracking were staring at Duncan as they clasped hangers of lacy underwear to their chests.
“You…” He drew up close to her and took a deep sniff of her hair, then letting out a long breath he whispered, “You are exactly my brand of heroin.”
Her face contorted with disgust as she stepped away from him. Then she lifted her walkie talkie to her mouth and yelled, “Security!” The other shoppers were whispering and pointing.
Adonis was staring at Duncan. “I’m guessing this isn’t part of the plan?” he hissed just as a bulky black shirted man came around the corner and grasped the two of them by the arms roughly.
“You can’t put a lockdown on my heart!” Duncan yelled as the guard dragged them away, knocking down racks of bras as he ploughed through the store.
“Pervert!” someone yelled.
“Yeah, you dirty paedophile!”
“There aren’t any kids here, though…” Adonis muttered as he watched the girls shudder and grimace.
“She was totally digging me,” Duncan smirked as they were dragged to the entrance. The guard let go of them roughly. Duncan tripped and fell ungracefully to the floor. Adonis stared. “Yeah she… she totally wanted a taste.” He clambered to his feet and smoothed his hair. “Of the slam-dunc-the-funk.”
“You definitely have the funk,” Adonis muttered as his silver-haired companion slung his arm around his shoulder once more and led him through the crowds of gawping shoppers.