My sister and I lived in uneasy peace for a time. I fulfilled her demands, offering her any customer that caught her eye. In the meantime, she returned to her sewing, and soon enough we had expanded the teahouse to include a few of her flashier items. In no time at all, she earned a name for herself as the town’s best seamstress and people came to see her as often as they came to see me. We ended up renovating the teahouse so that she could have her own office.
To be honest, it wasn’t such a bad thing, having her back. Business had always been good, but it was phenomenal when she started offering her services. Whenever her customers came in, they’d also get tea from me. I made sure to send all my customers her way as well.
My sister, changed as she was, bore no ill will over her murder. It seemed as though she were no longer slave to such petty emotions as most of mankind. Actually, I was somewhat jealous of the change she’d undergone. Most people look on sociopaths with fear, but sometimes I find myself thinking how nice it must be, lacking basic emotion.
Unfortunately for me, I’m not a sociopath, despite what some of you may think. I do have emotions… I just happen to have the wrong ones at the wrong times. Or so I’m told.
At any rate, the only real problem with our arrangement was that she required so many sacrifices to keep her alive and happy. Eventually, people were bound to notice all the disappearances and put two and two together. As a result, it became painfully obvious that we needed to find another way to satiate my sister’s hunger.
The idea came to me slowly, but it was sparked by a rather unexpected event.
I remember that it was Tuesday. My sister, you see, had an awful lot of appointments booked that day, and every customer who came in said, “Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday, she said she’d see me Tuesday.” Unfortunately, she had to cancel all of them at the last minute because she was sick. It seems strange to me that you can still get sick after you’ve already been dead, but, then again, I don’t make the rules.
So she was sick. And she was demanding yet another sacrifice – it would be the third one that month. We tried to keep it down to one a month, but this had been a particularly bad stretch for her and it only got worse when she came down with what appeared to be the flu.
My first mistake was trying to pick someone I thought would be particularly nutritious – someone robust and full of life, full of strength. A middle-aged man who ran 5ks in his spare time seemed like a logical choice.
I didn’t realize that consuming a sacrifice actually takes a significant amount of energy on Lisa’s part.
After I convinced the man to follow me to the back of the teahouse – Thomas was his name, if I’m remembering correctly – she leapt on him and began her ritual. I watched for only a moment or two, long since desensitized and uninterested in her snacking habits, and was about to leave when something disastrous happened.
Lisa let go.
It was so draining, you see, sucking out his life force through her fingertips. She wasn’t able to hold on until he died, and so she let go, and the life began to bleed back into him. It was a slow process, but as he regained more and more of his strength it became harder to keep him pinned to the floor.
“What do I do?!” I screamed as she struggled to her hands and knees, panting with the effort.
“Get rid of him – I’m full,” she moaned, “I can’t take any more.”
So, I did what she asked and I got rid of him. I’m not just a tea connoisseur – I’m also quite good with my hands. It took some doing, especially since he was getting stronger and stronger the more we struggled, but all the same he ended up on the floor, eyes open and neck broken.
It was a strange sort of mishap. Neither of us had realized that she could consume a sustainable amount from one person without killing them.
And that’s when I realized – she didn’t have to kill her sacrifices. Sure, it usually took an entire human to satisfy her hunger for about a month, but given the right circumstances, she could partially drain one person over and over again. That way, I’d never have to find her new sacrifices, and she would have a stable food source.
Of course, what person in their right mind would let her put them through such pain year after year after year? My idea was interesting, but totally impractical, given that tiny little problem. So I let it go, for the time being, and life continued on as usual.
But normalcy has a habit of coming to an end in my life. Everything around me is made of chaos, and it’s quite impossible to stay in the eye of the storm for very long.
One of my long-time patrons was in the hospital. She was a kind old woman who often came to me and drank a special tea designed to alleviate her arthritis. I quite liked her – she was strong and self-assured and she made me a lot of homemade cookies. In absence of a biological grandmother, she did quite nicely.
I decided to visit her with a special homemade brew. She had suffered quite a fall and broken her back. She’d come quite close to being permanently paralyzed. The thought filled me with dread – she was such a wonderful woman – so I used my most treasured and rare ingredients to construct a tea that would assist in the healing process. Her bones would mend in no time, and soon she’d be back in my teahouse, chatting and laughing with me like she did every Thursday morning.
Upon leaving her hospital room, I happened to pass through a long corridor that housed a great number of patients. And on my journey, a certain room with a certain patient happened to catch my eye, and I happened to stop and peak in.
Quite a lot of ‘happening’ for one measly coma patient.
He couldn’t have been more than thirty, although probably closer to his mid-twenties. He was a handsome man, with dark hair and long eyelashes. I found myself imagining that he had have green eyes. Something about his appearance struck me, and my mind wandered back to the idea I’d dwelt on for several weeks.
A sacrifice who would never tell anyone what had happened to him. A sacrifice who would let her drain him whenever she wanted.
It was entirely too perfect.
So Lisa and I hatched a plan, a beautiful plan that was almost too good to be true.
Even better, it required very little work on my part.
I had managed to snatch the name of the coma patient – Arthur McVeigh. With just that information, we were able to find a few news stories describing what had happened to him. An unfortunate car accident had left him in a comatose state, and one of the articles we found expressed a fear that he may never wake up.
That was enough to go on, and Lisa started spending each and every day at the hospital. She gained little information from the nurses about Arthur, but she managed to catch their attention. Eventually, she told them that he had been a very good friend to her when she was going through some very dark times. She wanted *so* much to meet with his family, but was afraid they wouldn’t want to see her. Couldn’t she just leave a message and perhaps they might contact her if they were willing?
The nurses were moved and fell entirely into her trap. It was only about a week later when Lisa received the call.
My sister happens to be very charming. She won over his family quickly and, upon finding out that he wasn’t romantically attached, convinced them that she had been in love with him, hoping that he would one day look at her the way she looked at him.
They grew to adore her, and she received unrestricted access to him. The hospital even made an exception to their ‘family-only’ visiting hours, and she was able to see him whenever she wanted.
I can sense your judgment even through this computer screen. The words I’m typing look so awful as they stare me back in the face. But what we did wasn’t so bad, not really.
My sister can be a very kind woman. She treats Arthur’s family very well. In fact, she sewed a wedding dress for his younger sister free of charge. It was a beautiful garment, and his sister had a lovely wedding day. Lisa and I were both in attendance.
It’s true, I grant you, that this course of action must cause Arthur considerable pain. Lisa has to feed on him at least twice a month to sustain herself. But it’s really for the best, don’t you think? Now, all of our customers are safe. In fact, the vast majority of the townsfolk are safe. Yes, he suffers, but he suffers for the sake of his fellow man. Isn’t there something beautiful about it?
Perhaps it is unforgivable. Some people may choose to see it that way. As for me? I can’t think of a better solution to a very complicated problem.
I just hope that Arthur doesn’t wake up anytime soon.