A movie producer turns to the undead for help, love and a new life...
They had known each other nearly a year at that time, and were going out for one of their usual late night movie jaunts. One or the other always drove. That night it had been Devon’s turn. Devon seemed to be a night person, like himself, so that made it easy. Robyne knew Devon was all up all night at his club anyway, so he had gotten used to the hours, he mused. Robyne had always been an insomniac himself, so sleep was something that was nearly alien to him. “Hey Dev! I’m here!” Robyne went to open the door. Why was it ajar? He usually used his key to get in. Fearing the worst, he ran into the apartment searching frantically for his friend. “Devon! Devon!” Robyne ran upstairs; the only rooms upstairs were Devon’s bed and bathroom, and a cursory check didn’t turn up anything, so he ran back down. That was when he smelled it. Oh god, what was that smell? Robyne’s stomach lurched. Something had happened to Devon, he just knew it. He put his hand over his nose and mouth and followed the noxious stench into the kitchen. Blood was everywhere, on the table, the floor, the walls, and the sink. Devon was at the sink, his back to the door. The water was running and the walk in freezer on the far wall was open. “Devon? Devon are you ok? Thank god! I thought you were dead or something. What happened?” “Don’t come any closer Robyne. I don’t want to frighten you. I can explain…really I can.” “Frighten me? What do you mean? Did you injure yourself? Let me take a look at you.” “NO!” The tone of Devon’s voice scared Robyne. For the first time since he had known him, Devon had yelled at him. Robyne’s eyebrows shot up, in surprise more than anything. “I’m sorry Robyne…I’m so sorry. Please go sit in the living room. I’ll be out shortly and I will explain everything.” Robyne was beginning to get frightened now. Devon had always been strange, but had he done something that Robyne couldn’t have thought of? Was he in danger? Had Devon murdered someone? “What’s going on Devon? I’m not going anywhere until I get some answers.” Robyne’s voice didn’t shake, which made him feel better. No matter the situation, Robyne had to stay in control. As far as he was aware, his life could depend on it. The voice that answered Robyne didn’t sound like Devon. It sounded like something dead, something from the grave, something ominous. Robyne couldn’t stop shaking. “I understand Robyne and you’re right. I said I could explain and I can. Just promise me one thing…please.” Robyne was still apprehensive but willing to listen. Whatever Devon had done…maybe Robyne could help if he was in trouble…there he was jumping to conclusions. Just calm down and listen Robyne, he silently told himself. “Sure Devon.” “Promise me you won’t hate me and that you will keep what you see and what I tell you to yourself. I beg of you.” “Of course. I swear I will not tell anyone about what I see or hear. You are my best friend Devon. You can trust me. Please trust me.” The pause before Devon answered was an eternity and Robyne’s heart raced to the point of dizziness. The room blurred and shifted. It was as if time itself was holding its breath. Robyne hoped he could keep his promise to Devon…but if he had murdered someone…he would have to go to the police. He couldn’t take a chance on being an accessory, or some other charge the cops could think up to pin on him, if he helped his friend cover up a crime. “Thank you. I’m going to turn around now.” Robyne didn’t know what to expect and nothing could have prepared him for what he was about to see. His heart pounded so hard it hurt. Devon turned slowly around and Robyne nearly vomited. His hands flew to his mouth and he closed his eyes. The last thing he saw before he closed his eyes was Devon dropping his face into his hands, as if wishing he hadn’t shown his friend his horrifying appearance. “Please don’t be afraid of me Robyne. I won’t harm you…I swear.” Robyne let his stomach go back down and slowly opened his eyes. How could he describe what he saw? If he hadn’t known better, he would have sworn Devon had been the victim of one of his former makeup artists, on the movie set. His mouth was dripping blood, his skin, what there was of it, was a horrid color, more horrid than he could describe, except to say that it was pale, greenish, gray. The bone showed through the most badly rotted places, his hair was missing in places on his scabrous, open, and bloody, scalp and what was that? Oh God…worms were crawling out of his ears! Robyne knew his expression gave away his repulsion. He felt terrible that Devon had to see his “gut” reaction, but he couldn’t help it. Even after all the years he had been involved in the film industry, and all the heinous things he had seen that could be done with make up, seeing it for real was totally different. He was disappointed in the fact that, nothing could have prepared him for the real thing. “I had planned on telling you…but…well, I’ve only told one other person and I never thought I would get close enough to a human again to want to tell them…I…” He trailed off a moment, and his shoulders heaved. It seemed as if he was trying to cry but couldn’t. As terribly as Robyne felt for his friend, he couldn’t go to him, he couldn’t offer him comfort, not while he looked like…this. He hoped his burning face didn’t betray him too badly. “I am a zombie; Robyne. I am the walking dead. I have to eat humans to exist. I can’t die.” Robyne’s mind started racing. That explained why he had never seen Devon eat! Offers of popcorn at the movies, dinner at his place, or even going out for dinner, all had been politely refused, with convincing, but suspicious excuses. As disgusting and unbelievable as this revelation was, he was seeing this with his own eyes! Oh God, it explained so much…but…what would…what did, Devon want with him? What would he do with him now that he knew? What if he didn’t trust him not to tell anyone? Did he befriend him in hopes of eating him? Would he eat him if he thought him untrustworthy? Robyne suddenly felt really ill. “You…you’re not going to eat me are you?” Robyne was immediately sorry. He couldn’t help it, the words just came out. Devon looked both shocked and hurt…but wait…that couldn’t be. He couldn’t look anything if he was dead…could he? But the expression, it was unmistakable! Robyne had wounded his friend terribly and Devon’s face showed it. “How could you say such a thing to me, Robyne?” “I’m sorry Devon, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it…it just came out. Please forgive me.” Robyne felt like a child who was trying to explain to his parents how he had broken his grandmother’s antique vase, knowing that it wouldn’t make any difference as to his punishment. Devon nodded slowly. “I understand Robyne. I can’t blame you for feeling the way you do. It’s just natural, human, emotions. You fear and loathe what you don’t understand.” Robyne walked over and closed the open freezer. “I don’t loathe you Devon, but I am frightened. Not of you, but…” The child in him suddenly burst through the surface again. He really felt awkward. Devon nodded again. “I know what you mean, Robyne. I understand. Thank you.” Robyne didn’t know how to ask tactfully, so he would just ask, and hoped it wouldn’t hurt his friend further. “How…who do you eat?” Hearing Devon’s voice still creeped Robyne out. However, he could tell, by the nonchalant answer, which was how the Devon he knew, would answer, that it was still Devon. “Criminals. Robbers, rapists, child molesters. I leave the club when things are slow and hang out in alleyways, watch them commit their crimes then follow them home and murder them. I bring them back here and they go in there,” he motioned to the now closed, giant, freezer, “until I need them.” Robyne nodded. He couldn’t think of anything else to do. Devon was actually doing New York City a favor. Still… Devon’s hoarse; rasp of a voice, startled him back to the kitchen. “You go on out tonight. I don’t want to spoil your night any more than I already have.” “No, I couldn’t go, knowing you’re here all alone. Is there anything I can get you?” Robyne felt sorry for Devon, he really did. Dead or undead, he was still his friend, and he wouldn’t leave, not when he needed him. “No. Just let me eat and clean the kitchen up.” “I’ll just go sit in the living room, ok?” Robyne turned to go then stopped. “Please come talk to me after you have cleaned up, Devon. I’m not leaving; not unless you tell me you don’t want me here. I’m not asking to talk to you out of pity, or because I’m afraid you will come to my house and “get me”…I want to stay because I think you need me. I can’t imagine the courage it took for you to tell me your secret. I’m honored that you trust me enough with something so incredible, and I want to be here for you. Please.” Devon once again looked up with, what would have been had he had them, tears in his eyes. “Please stay,” he whispered. Robyne nodded. “I will.” He hesitated a moment, and a grin creeped across his handsome face. “I guess you are older than me.” Devon grinned, a hideous, toothless grin, but it was still Devon, Robyne could see that. “A lot older.” DEVON Devon settled back with a bottle of blood, his goblet full. Creepy! Until that moment, Robyne had always thought it was red wine. He shuddered. Devon seemed to stare away and his eyes took on a different cast like he had the sorrow of lifetimes on his shoulders, distant and despondent. Robyne looked carefully at his friend. He was “Devon” again, handsome, suave and once more, the man he was happy to call his friend; not the being, the odious creature he had been just a short while ago. Robyne was horrified, but fascinated. His fascination far outweighed how he felt earlier, and he wished to know all he could about Devon’s “life” up until their meeting. “You won’t mind hearing my story Robyne? It is long and quite sad.” “Please tell me Devon.” “As you wish.”