Come Alive

Page 28

Maryse got out of her chair and went to rummage through a shelf, while I sat there absolutely dumbfounded.

I looked at Maximus, for once wanting his advice. “What do I do? How should I tell her?”

He shook his head and gave me a gentle smile. “You can’t tell her. You know you can’t. Perry is stubborn as anything and the moment you tell her something can’t happen, she’ll try and make it happen. To tell her this, to tell her that this part of her future is over, it would kill her. Crush her.”

“But what am I supposed to do?” I repeated, feeling crushed myself, my internal organs being put through a vice.

“You’ll figure it out,” he said.

Maryse came back, placing a small vial of oil on the table and a Ziploc bag full of hand-rolled cigarettes. “The oil is Van Van oil—lemon verbena—it will help protect you, whether now from zombies and black magic or from dark forces in the future. The cigarettes are to get through it all. There’s some special herbs in there too, ones that might help clear your mind a bit.” I took the oil and the cigarettes, folding up the bag and sticking it in the pocket of my jeans.

“Thank you,” I said, my voice failing me as I got out of my seat.

“You’re welcome. Now I hope you take some time over the next few days and be kind to yourself, Dex. These are some large but important truths and your mind needs a way to work around them, to fit them into the life you thought you knew. Don’t rush anything or make any rash decisions. Just be and feel and ask for help when you need it.”

I tried to smile but failed. “It’s kind of hard to take some time for myself when we’re trying to film ghosts and zombies.”

“Ignore the ghosts and the zombies. Just go home.” She gestured to the top of the stairs. “Please show yourselves out and tell Rose and Perry that I’m sorry I couldn’t be of much help.”

We nodded and climbed the stairs out of her Voodoo cellar. An hour ago, zombies were the biggest concern in my life. Now my biggest concern put that one to shame.


Perry and Rose were understandably anxious and suspicious when Maximus and I returned from the cellar. They asked us non-stop about what happened downstairs and I kept having to lie, over and over again, with Maximus picking up the slack. We told them that she thought both of us could have information about the zombies and that she put us under hypnosis to see if there was anything we could recall at the house. We told the girls that she made them leave because they would have been too distracting for us and that Perry couldn’t be hypnotized because Maryse sensed too much resistance in her. The hypnosis didn’t turn up anything that we hadn’t already told her. It was amazing how easy I was able to tell that lie, even right to Perry’s face, and it gave me a sick sense of hope that I’d be able to keep the real truths buried.

And as for that, I didn’t know what to do. All I could do was keep a little distance from her, which was actually quite easy. I had trouble even looking at her face without getting lost in the beauty, lost in the feelings, the love I had for her. I was dying slowly inside and tired as hell. The minute we got back to the B&B I went straight to sleep. I could tell Perry wanted to talk or to even get in my pants, but I couldn’t do it. I mumbled something about it being the middle of the night and passed right out, swept away by blissful sleep.

The next morning, Perry was trying to rouse me awake but the minute my mind latched onto the horrible memories of last night, I wanted to stay in bed. I couldn’t deal with this. I couldn’t make sense of this, not with Perry there.

Thankfully, yes thankfully, Maximus knocked on our door, telling us he wanted to go through the footage from last night and see if we had enough for a show. If so, we’d stick around another day and shoot some atmosphere shots and then head home, screw the zombies.

I never thought I’d say this, but I wanted Maximus around me. He was the wedge between us, that awkward buffer, and now I wanted him back. I wanted him between me and Perry while I figured out what to do. I wanted him to keep her mind occupied so she didn’t start worrying about what was wrong with me, why I was so quiet and avoiding contact with her and keeping my distance. He knew it too. When he came in the room with the equipment, he’d come in with breakfast that he pilfered from downstairs, and he didn’t leave while we quickly got ready. Perry was fully-clothed in her pajamas, but looked pissed off that he was there and interrupting her morning time. I hadn’t slept nude, so I just pulled on the pair of jeans by my bed, slipped on a clean t-shirt from my bag and was set.

That said, I barely paid attention to what we were looking at on the footage and kept leaving the room to go smoke Maryse’s cigarettes on the balcony. They really were keeping me sane and clearing my head. I fingered the bottle of Van Van Oil in my pocket and wondered if rubbing the cigarettes with them would do anything. I didn’t exactly believe in all the Voodoo hoodoo hocus pocus crap, but I’d seen more and more crazy shit over the years, fuck, more crazy shit in the last twenty-four hours alone, that told me to never discount anything.

Like the fact that your old college roommate, classmate, bandmate and overall thorn in your side hadn’t even been human. He was something else entirely, an immortal being whose job in life was to act as a guide to those who could see through worlds. Only he didn’t exactly like the job when it came to it and decided he’d rather forget all that and eat all my food and play all my music and be friends with all my friends. He was a fucking supernatural freeloader, and at the moment, the only person in my life whom I could be completely honest with.

“Can I have one?” Perry asked shyly, coming on the balcony to join me.

“Guys, we’re not done yet,” Maximus yelled from inside.

I glanced at her and sighed, deciding I might as well give her one. For all I was dealing with, now she had to deal with a distant boyfriend and the fact that part of her zombie attack was captured (albeit at a weird angle) on film.

“Here,” I said, fishing it out. Our fingertips brushed against each other and I felt that deep-rooted spark, the one that always tied me to her, the one that made me want to rip her clothes off and drive myself so far into her that you couldn’t tell where I ended and she began. That spark that could lead to her death, that spark that could rip apart the fabric of worlds.

This was hell. This was so much hell. All I wanted to do was take her right here, bury myself inside and never come out. Say goodbye to the worlds and the truths and the consequences. Perry was my world, and yet I was beginning to realize I had no choice but to walk away.

“How are you feeling?” I asked thickly, taking my hand away from hers. My nerves went cold at her absence.

Her brow furrowed, her features scrunched delicately. “How are you feeling, Dex? Why are you smoking now? Why won’t you look at me?”

I shrugged, trying to find a way to play it off, a headache maybe, but then Maximus was there behind us.

“You kids, I think we have one hell of a show,” he said. Perry told him off with her eyes, annoyed that he was interrupting us while I let out a sigh of relief.

Show…show…how could there even be a show?

“Dex,” Maximus said in a warning voice, “you look a little ill. Is that headache coming back again?”

Thank you, you ginger son of a bitch, I thought. I nodded, playing it up. “Yeah, ever since that hypnosis, I just feel so off.”

“You’re stressed,” he said, his voice dropping a register. “You’re probably overthinking things. Remember what Maryse told you. To be kind to yourself and relax.”

Perry’s eyes were volleying between the two of us. Now I could see she was doubly suspicious, not only at the mention of hypnosis, but the fact that Maximus and I were talking pleasantly to each other.

“I get it, fuck face,” I told him for effect. Then I flicked my cigarette over the railing and came back inside, leaving Perry bewildered in a cloud of smoke.

He was right though. Once I was able to push through the nagging pain in my heart, my gut that twisted from anxiety, I could see that we did have a good show. You could see Tuffy G as he came at me in the attic too, only in the darkness his features didn’t come out too well. That was just as well since Maximus had to remind us that it was a crime scene now and if any of the NOPD came across the video it would look pretty suspicious if they could ID Tuffy in the shots. In fact, to play it extra safe, we decided we wouldn’t show full exteriors of the house, just in case someone recognized it as the house that burned down. Inside it was too dark and old to really tell where it was.

We went through the footage a few more times. If I’d been feeling like myself, I would have been extremely pissed off that Maximus was calling all the shots, even with shit such as editing and the music, which was one hundred percent supposed to be my duty. We might have gone to the same film school, but he really didn’t know shit when it came to these kinds of shows.

I was about to remind him of that when his phone went off.

“Rose?” he said, answering it. I could hear her squawking through his speaker. He nodded quickly a few times before saying, “Okay, we’ll be right there” and hanging up.

“What was that?” Perry asked. She was sitting on the bed and had drawn her knees up to her chest in worry. She looked so fucking cute. I had to mentally kick myself.

“That was Rose,” he said getting up, his tall, wide frame seeming to fill the whole room. “She’s swinging by here to pick us up. Apparently Ambrosia was attacked by a zombie a little while ago.”

“What?” Perry and I both asked in unison.

He grabbed his camera, pulling the memory card out from the computer and sticking it back in. “Let’s go.”


Rose must have been nearby because as soon as Perry was dressed and able to smudge on only the tiniest bit of makeup, the truck was roaring up Royal Street.

Once we were in and bouncing along the rough roads of the Quarter, she told us that Ambrosia had gone to the nearest supermarket, just off the 10, for Maryse’s groceries. She said she was attacked in the parking lot, the man able to take a bite out of her. She said he looked disheveled, like a homeless person, and white. Passerby restrained the man and police had him in custody. They were blaming it on bath salts.

Ambrosia didn’t have the luxury of a private room, and was the only patient in there who looked to be not half-dead or dying.

Still, even in a blue hospital gown with her neck bandaged up, she looked utterly radiant. Her bed was by the window, and the sunlight filtering in made her dark hair shimmer with strands of copper and gold, her lips soft and shiny. She looked like an angel. I felt terrible for even considering that Ambrosia had been behind any of this, and even worse that I put that idea in Maryse’s head.

“Hey y’all,” she said to us, tilting her head, her light eyes sparkling beneath her dark lashes.

“Hey,” I said, coming toward her. Her skin looked so soft and touchable. She smiled at me, and it reached so far into me it was doing something to my dick.

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