“Peter. I didn’t…” I tried to sit up, but overwhelming dizziness forced me back down.
The exhaustion I felt before came back in tenfold. Even though Peter hadn’t drunk very much blood, I could barely handle what I already lost.
I tried to think, to reason with him, but my mind was suffocating. The lack of blood and the haze Peter put on me were too much. I closed my eyes, meaning to clear my head for a minute, but when I opened them, Peter was gone.
I knew I should call Jack or Milo or somebody. I had to warn them that Peter was back, and he knew what was going on. I wanted to move, but it was far too much work.
Nothing seemed to be working, and the best I could manage was reaching out for my phone on the night stand.
Something was shaking me so hard, I thought I would get whiplash. My body flopped back and forth, and hands squeezed my shoulders. I tried pushing them off, but I could barely even raise my arms. A voice screamed my name shrilly, and I realized belatedly that it was my mother.
“Mom!” I shouted, swatting at her wrist the best I could, and the shaking finally stopped.
“Alice? What the hell is going on with you?” Mom looked at me with wild eyes.
She sat on my bed, holding my shoulders, otherwise I would’ve fallen back onto the bed. Bright sunlight shone in through the curtains, and not only was my mother actually home, she was in my room.
“What are you talking about? What are you doing in here?” I said groggily, and when I tried to push my hair out of my eyes, I poked myself in the eye. I felt like a drunk person when I moved.
“I just got home. It’s ten o’clock in the morning, and your alarm clock was going off, as it had been for the last three hours. You didn’t hear it? At all?” Mom stared at me, trying to figure out if I was high or drunk or just sick. “When I came in here, I turned off your alarm, and you just laid there. I thought you were dead.”
“I’m not dead. I’m just tired.” I tried to shake her off, but she wasn’t letting go so easily. “I’m fine. Really.”
“You slept through an alarm clock and you didn’t wake up until I shook the hell out of you. You are not fine!” Her grip on me softened, and she pushed the hair out of my eyes, so she could get a better look and see if they were bloodshot or dilated. “Alice, are you on drugs?”
“No, Mom,” I batted her hand away, and she finally let go of me so I could lie back down. “I’m just tired. I think I’m sick. Like I have mono or something.”
“Mono? What boys have you been kissing?” Her voice got shriller and higher, and I buried my head in my pillow to block out the sound. “Is it that Jack boy? Did he get you sick? Is he giving you drugs?
“No, Mom, no drugs!” The mention of Jack picked at something in the back of my mind, but I couldn’t exactly figure out what it was. “Just go away and let me get some sleep. I’ll talk about this later.”
“You’re just skipping school today?” Mom asked.
“Guess so. I’m sick.” I hit at the air above my head, shooing her away.
“If you’re not up by this afternoon, I’m taking you to the doctor,” Mom relented and stood up. “And I’m having them test you for every drug known to man. Is that clear?”
“Crystal,” I muttered into my pillow.
Once she left, I rolled over and tried to clear the fog from my head. I really, really wanted to go back to sleep, but I blamed that on the counteractive effect of the Red Bull. I forced myself to do too much yesterday, and my body completely shut down.
Something about Jack was making my heart panic, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. He hadn’t talked to me yesterday, and then I had gone to bed, and then…
And then Peter.
I touched at my neck, feeling for bite marks, but there weren’t any, not that that really meant anything. Very little of last night remained clear to me. Just Peter’s green eyes and the strange fog in my room. But there couldn’t be fog in my room. That’s not even possible.
And he had spit my blood on my floor. Mom would’ve freaked out if she saw the floor covered in blood. I rolled over, checking the floor just to be sure, but other than a few pieces of dirty clothing, it was clean.
I lay back down and touched my neck again. What had happened last night? My head still felt fuzzy. Maybe… maybe it had just been a dream.
As tired as I had been lately, it didn’t seem likely that I would wake up to any noise. Besides that, Peter moved in almost total silence. I doubted I’d even be able to hear him come in.
It was probably just a bad dream as a result of my own obsessive paranoia, my exhaustion, and too much caffeine all rolled up together.
Just be completely safe, I called Milo anyway. If Peter was in town, it wouldn’t hurt to give them a heads up, and if he wasn’t, it would give me a piece of mind.
Milo didn’t answer when I called but that was reassuring. If Peter had stopped by, they’d all be awake. In fact, they’d call me to make sure I was safe. But Milo not answering meant that he was still sleeping, and everything was okay.
“Hey, Milo, it’s just me,” I tiredly told his voicemail. “I just had the weirdest dream and I wanted to make sure you all were okay and what not. Just give me a call later, okay? Okay. Bye.”
I made sure to set the ringer to loud on my phone, just in case there was trouble, and set it on the nightstand. In the meantime, I was tired as hell. Pulling the blankets over me, I snuggled deeper into the bed and passed out.
I forced myself out of bed at seven o’clock, before my mother went to work, to prove to her that I was still alive and okay. I was feeling better, but not as good as I pretended to be.
Once she left, I took the pills Mae had given me, then downed another Red Bull, and crashed on the couch. While I hadn’t the best experience with too much caffeine last night, I figured that a little could probably help take the edge off the fatigue.
Milo came over, disrupting my plans to just fall back to sleep on the couch. He looked amazing, as usual, so it was safe to assume that nobody had attacked him in the night. Leaning on the back of the couch, he looked down at me.
“You look terrible,” Milo said, and that was probably true.
I’d pretty much been sleeping the last couple days. The last time I showered was before school yesterday, and I hadn’t brushed my hair in just as long. My skin was ashen, even for me, and I hadn’t eaten or changed out of my pajamas since the day before. So yeah, I’m pretty sure I looked terrible. I felt terrible.