Inspired by this song: Life On Mars
Dawn stole the money from Brenda’s wallet before she leapt through the door out into the night. It was a new city, and she had heard Brenda talk to someone on the phone about the “movies,” and thought this new thing was something she ought to try.
There was plenty about the big bright world she hadn’t seen, that her father had tried to shield her from like some puritanical hypocrite fuck, but she was out here and she was proud to have left him behind, so she bounded into the world, looking for the place.
After wandering around the right vacinity, she found it, and paid her ticket for some random title. There were food stands, and she passed by without even considering them; she couldn’t pass the stuff, anyway. That was the problem with having a partially dead body. She couldn’t even claim blood as a snack, just an occasional necessity. And she didn’t get hungry much, anyway.
Sitting in the dark room, it occurred to her that the effect was lost on her, as a vampire. She could still see the room, in crisp detail, and she wondered if that would lessen the visibility of the screen somewhat. At least there was no glare.
The ads were running for a bunch of other films. She didn’t pay much attention, apart the occasional quip that caught her eye or ear, and waited for the film to begin.
Finally, it did, and the scene began to unfold before her. The black of space was faded at the edges as a ship came into view, intricate and foreign to her eyes. Not understanding what was happening, she was hooked to the screen, already the makings of war earning the film its title. Two men in a small desert hut then came to view, talking. Then they were attacked.
Brenda came and sat down beside her, hooking her fingers into the cupholder as she kept her arm a calculated distant parallel to Dawn’s on the armrest between them.
“Figures you’d choose a film with war in the name.”
“I was curious.” She glanced at Brenda, who was slightly stiff in her seat. Dawn pressed her back more into the cushions, almost as a challenge. She had never been used to comfort. “How did you find me?”
“Asked. Just had to find someone who saw the malnurished girl. You know, I could help you with that.”
“Drinking you wouldn’t help my figure. I’m afraid I’m stuck like this, like it or not.”
“I’m just worried, that’s all.”
“Don’t be.” There was an edge to her voice, and Brenda looked ahead of her at the screen, saying nothing but looking uncertain. Eventually her eyes settled, and she watched the movie with Dawn.
Occasionally, Dawn couldn’t help but glance at her. Eventually, she sighed. “This movie is weird. I’ll admit there’s some weird shit in the world, like what I am. Vampires. But it’s nothing like this.”
“It’s just sci-fi.”
“Sci-fi. Science fiction. It’s all speculative.”
“Yeah, well I don’t like it. Look at that thing. What is it?”
“An alien. A species from another planet.”
“Look, it’s a foreign species.”
“Oh,” said Dawn, looking down and up again. She found she had reached out and intertwined her fingers with Brenda’s, and they were hanging over the front of the cup holder. She almost pulled away, but she found she liked it. It made her feel close to someone again, like she had her sister. She looked up into Brenda’s eyes.
“I think I’ve found who I’m like. That Ray person. The eager warrior. You’re the cowardly stormtrooper.”
“Thanks,” retorted Brenda.
“Seriously. Afraid but loyal, till the end.”
“Movie hasn’t ended yet.”
“Yeah, but it’s pathetic. I already know that’s where we’re going. Again. There’s a war, we fight together, I kick their asses, you take their names. We win. I’ll always be happy to fight, and you’ll always complain about having to defend me. And then we be together.”
“Is that where we’re going?” said Brenda.
“It’s pathetic,” Dawn repeated, real venom in her voice this time, but not aimed at Brenda. “We fight, we break up, we come back. Because we’re friends. Because I couldn’t live without you. And now here’s this, this movie, serving it to me like I don’t know, like a neat little package served up with alien monsters like that’s supposed to mean anything, like it’s not some fucking fantasy.” She took a breath, steadying herself. “I know what I am. And so do you, and so do we. I don’t need to be manipulated, or reminded.”
“Is that what you think I do?” said Brenda. “I know you understand, but they don’t. Sometimes it hurts too damn much, to know they don’t. All these swirling thoughts in my head, these feelings… I just want them to know you like I do, to understand. I want them to love you, Dawn, like I do.”
“Is that a confession?”
Brenda blushed, sheepishly smiling, turning slightly away. “Not like that. But you know what I mean.” She forced the smile down. “Tell me I’m not wasting my time.”
“You’re not. Not on me, anyway. Maybe on them.”
Brenda shrugged. “It’s important to me. I have to try.”
“I know you do.” Dawn looked softly at her, as though about to say more, but she didn’t. “I love you too.”