My roommate was avoiding me, and I didn’t know what I did wrong.
I didn’t know where he was going. I heard him come and go, but I never saw him.
A few days later, he was waiting for me when I came out of the bathroom.
“Finally, Zell, there you are! What’s going on with you?”
“Benji, I have to tell you something.” He couldn’t even look at me. “You may want to sit down for this.”
(Was it awkward that I was in my underwear? No, this was Zell. He was my roommate and we were cool, right?)
He spoke. “Benji, I’m… a vampire.”
“Oh. My. God.” I clapped my hands over my mouth.
“Hah!” I said. “I’m just joshing with you, Zell. It’s pretty obvious, I think I figured it out a while ago…”
I was laughing, but Zell wasn’t. “Hey, Zell, it’s ok,” I said. “I’m not mad at you-“
“-maybe you should be-“
I got up. “C’mon, Zell, let’s hug it out-“
He stammered, “N-no, I don’t think that’s a good idea-“
I felt my stomach drop, as if I were in an elevator that was suddenly plummeting towards the ground.
Zell looked as shocked as I was, and I suddenly felt very self-conscious standing there in my underwear.
“Um, I’m… I’m gonna go change…”
He followed me into the bathroom. I had never seen him look so fraught before.
“Benji, I haven’t told you everything yet,” he said.
“You remember that red mist I sometimes have around me?” he said. I did. Well, I remember being drawn into it a few nights ago, but then I blacked out.
Zell continued. “The mist is one of my vampire powers. It lures people in to me and manipulates them so that they become easier to drink from.”
I was immediately alarmed. “You use your powers to manipulate people into becoming your victim!? Zell, I have two questions, and you need to answer them honestly right now-“
He nodded meekly.
“Question 1. Have you ever used your vampire powers to manipulate me?”
“No!” he shook his head fervently. “Absolutely not! That night was the only time it happened, but it was an accident- I would never use my powers to influence you-“
“Ok,” I said. I sincerely hoped he was telling the truth and that I wasn’t under some kind of mind control right now. “Question 2. Did you drink from anyone that night? From me?”
Zell didn’t look at me for a long time. “No…” he finally said. “…but I wanted to. And I might’ve, if you hadn’t…”
My heart sank. My roommate was a bloodthirsty vampire, the bad kind. The kind who manipulated innocent people and wanted to hurt them.
He cleared his throat. “But when I saw your face, Benji, I remembered how ashamed you looked at me the last time I drank from someone, that night at the karaoke bar… kind of like the face you’re making right now…”
He looked down again. “And Benji, you’re not… you’re not going to ask what happened in the mist?”
“You know what?” I said. “I don’t want to know whatever dumb things I said. Like you were saying, it wasn’t me. I was being manipulated.”
“-it’s not what you said…”
He quickly cleared his throat again and avoided my eyes. “Are- are we still good, Benji?”
“I don’t know,” I answered truthfully. “I don’t know.”