Prompt Short Story: Diet (Lawkeepers 7)

Shia kicked the door closed with one boot, hands full of grocery bags, keys in her mouth. She mumbled at Frankie as she poked her head out of the home office.

Frankie grinned, interpreting the grunts as the request for help that they were, “I can help, one sec.” She disappeared back into the room and returned in a few seconds, bare feet padding across the hardwood floor to the breakfast bar.

She began passing items to Shia, who placed them in their correct spots – cupboard, fridge, freezer, counter, “Good day?”

Shia shrugged, “Quiet one. No sign of the witch, she’s gone to ground again and Patterson is getting antsy. Did manage to bust a couple of vamps trying to trick humans into being eaten, though, so that was good.”

Frankie steeled herself, “So when you find the witch. Like. What then? You go in with lots of backup and keep out of danger, right? You’ve told me how powerful she is, surely Patterson won’t let you in the way of her magic?”

Shia’s shoulders stiffened and she half-turned to Frankie, voice ever so slightly cold, “Patterson and I will decide together at that time, and if finally catching her means going into danger, then that’s what I’ll do.”

“And what about me? If you die, what do I do?” Frankie asked, handing over a packet of deli ham. “Your blood keeps me alive, it fights my leukaemia. Without it, I’m dead.”

“Frankie…” Shia dropped the ham on the counter, mentally placing a zero on the ‘Number of days since we last had this conversation’ signin her head, and turned to her. “I’m not going to die, and honestly your obsession with it is a little disturbing. It’s every day. I know my death hurts you, too. But I’d like to think you trusted me, and had faith in my ability to stay alive. Instead of obsessing over the death that isn’t happening, maybe try to enjoy life with me. Maybe remind me sometimes that I’m more to you than blood, more than just your own life. I died and became a vampire, because I wanted to help you. I want this life – undead though it might be – to mean more to you than your fear of my permanent death. Fuck. I’m not even making sense.”

Frankie hung her head, “No. You are. I’m sorry. I just…you come home full of stories about how you did dangerous things, and I worry that your undeadness – is that a word? It’s a word now – makes you feel invincible, when you’re not. It isn’t about your blood, well a little, but not really. What you did for me, what you do for me…I can never repay. I can only sit here and pray you keep coming home. And that scares me, and leaves me far too much time to imagine terrible things happening.”

Shia reached out and pulled Frankie into her arms, “Sis. You never owe me anything. Not one thing. I chose to do what I did, and I choose to do what I do, and I have no intention of dying and leaving you without my blood. Without me. Besides, we both know it’d be your horrible eating habits that would kill you way before the leukaemia managed it.”

Frankie hugged her tightly, “I’m sorry. I get all worked up and take it out on you.”

“It’s fine, I get the fears. You have to find a better outlet though, Frankie, please, call the number I got you, take the therapist on, let them help. They’re extranatural themselves – some sort of empath – so they’ll be able to hear and know everything, and then help you.”

“You’re right,” said Frankie, muffled with her face buried in Shia’s shoulder, “I’ll call tomorrow.”

“Good,” Shia pulled back and held her younger sister by the shoulders, “So, I was thinking about making you something fancy for dinner. Help me out, shall I start with pasta, rice or noodles?”

“Oooh, noodles! Do that stir fry thing with the, whatsit, the sauce stuff and the crunchy veg.”

“The garlic and thyme sauce? I think I have some left from last time in the freezer, if not I can make some more. Gimme a couple of hours and you’ll be well fed. Now go sit down, you look a little pale. I’ll finish up here. You can watch one of your trash shows while I cook.”

Shia firmly turned Frankie towards the living room area and gave her a little push. She was so much better, her leukaemia had ‘miraculously’ gone into remission after the first couple of doses of blood. Twice a week Shia cooked a meal into which she could mix her own blood, disguising the taste with other flavours, and Frankie ate every bite, knowing it was her lifeline.

But Shia still worried. Was this a permanent solution? Would it require increasing levels of new blood in order to keep it at bay? There wasn’t exactly any studied science on this. Hell, it was barely more than rumours that she’d followed to find a vampire that would turn her. She’d hardly believed them herself until she actually met the guy and woke up with fangs and a blood craving. But for now it worked, and Frankie seemed much better, if still a little listless. But she worried far too much, and Shia hoped the therapist could help with that.

Meanwhile, she had food to make! Her job was to take care of Frankie, and that’s what she would do. She’d promised.

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Writing prompt used:

“I don’t need to be anything to you. I just need my life to mean more to you than my death.”

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