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The Immortal Rules

By @choppedmint

Story 7

“Claire, please take him out.” The fact there was a ‘please’ anywhere in that sentence astonished Claire. That just didn’t happen with Myrnin. Not unless he was going stir crazy. Or maybe the small boy, Sam, just brought up something that made him communicate a little better.

“Um,” said Claire. She looked at Samuel blankly. He was hunched in a chair, eyes on the floor. She wondered what was annoying him or if he was always like that.

But it wasn’t like she held any sort of grudges from the first few times she’d seen the small boy. Well, she actually had to check something first.

“He has eaten, right? I don’t think it would be wise if he hasn’t,” said Claire.

Myrnin waved his hand dismissably. “Yes, yes, he is perfectly fine. Don’t worry about it.” Once again, Claire looked at Samuel. “It’s daylight,” she pointed out.

“And he looks like a walking clothing store. And?” Was Myrnin’s catch-all answer. Claire sighed at this response.

“Do you want to go?” she finally asked Sam. She had to confirm he was okay with all this. Sam finally looked up, blinking at her. “I want to do something other than sit here,” he responded, shortly and with a clipped tone. This seemed like the only response she would be getting, so Claire nodded, trying to smile. He sounded like the board teen he was. “Okay,” she said. What else could she say?

And she turned, walking towards the stairs.

Sam kept his head down and his hands in his pockets. Claire checked back for a bit and then just slowed her pace so she was walking next to him instead. “Everything alright?” she asked. Sam looked sideways at her and shrugged. It was impossible to see his eyes under the hood, and even then, his face was mostly throw into a self-made shadow. Which was good, she knew, but it also made it very hard for her to get an idea of what he was thinking. Biting at her lip, she tapped at the much smaller figure’s shoulder. “This way,” she said, motioning with her hand as she led him around a corner. Samuel followed without question, so maybe she could gage how he was feeling if not what he was thinking.

The winding path she took brought them to a bit more active area of the town. There wasn’t a big population of youth in Morganville, but there were plenty of college age students and even they used where she was leading Sam. 

The look of the place was a big, slightly weather warn building, huddled between other shops and stores. It contained tinted windows, which possibly suggested that this place got vampire customers or that its mortal visitors were just as averse to the sun.

A couple of the letters on the sign, she knew, didn’t actually light up even though LED lights above them tried to eliminate the faint words. At night, it looked like it read ‘Saky am’

In the daylight, it just read Sparky’s Games, though she had no idea who ‘Sparky’ was. 

Sam didn’t look up, not once, to read the sign or understand what it meant. Instead, he shuffled through the open door that Claire held for him into the slightly darkened room. Here he did look up, around, maybe even a bit surprised. The blips and sounds all around him were … familiar. Around him, humans (and maybe a couple not so humans, but Claire couldn’t really pick them out. Everyone looked pale in here, thanks to the screens they were looking at) were playing video and arcade games. There were several old classics placed near the entrance of the room. Thanks to Sam’s eyes, already expanding to circular spheres within his head, he could tell that the further you went into the building the newer the games became. Some people were teaming up for the multiplayer games and even though Claire couldn’t pick out the vampires Sam could. A team of three were working on one game he didn’t recognize. It didn’t have the best graphics, so maybe something from the early 2000s. One of them, the vampire he’d picked out, seemed far better at the game than the other two. Mirror-like eyes flickered over the man and Sam could tell from his posture that he was also holding back, just a little. Not enough to lose the edge he had, but enough that he was making it entertaining for the other two sitting next to him. There was a sad little ‘whoop, whoop’ as one of the players died on screen and one of the human players leaned back, her face disappointed but good-natured. She wacked the male vampire in the arm with her controller, saying, “I almost got ya the last level.” She got up and hovered around the other human male now, after receiving a chuckle as her only response. She hung over the other human’s shoulder, pointing at the screen every now and again and trying to give advice.

Sam watched all this, fascinated not by the game but the interaction. They all seemed to be friends.

Claire tapped him on the shoulder and pointed to a bench postioned by the windows. “I’m over there. Here.” He hadn’t noticed her go, but she must have because she pushed a plastic, neon green bracelet-type ticket at him, apparently having payed for it and returned without him having registered it. She smiled at Sam, glad that he seemed to be looking around. She was pretty bad at all these games, though when Shane, her husband, had found this place over three years ago he’d found it all very exciting. She thought a vampire probably ran – or co-owned – it. This place needed that sort of overseeing to keep the peace between the species. Sure, it wasn’t like how Morganville used to be, almost ten years ago, but there was still stress between vampires and humans. But taking Sam to a place where that was lightened seemed like a promising idea. And anyway, teen boys liked this sort of thing, right?

So, she walked over to the seat and Sam continued to look around the room, eye wondering over games and faces alike. It was hard to tell, but he seemed … less bent over than he had before. 

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