Ever the optimist, Janie wore capri pants and a light blouse. Helios blessed her for it. The sun shone down, warming what started as an icky day.
Most of the irritating people she expected to pester her in the office early in the day had planned for weather and dawdled around in a precipitous mood. They never quite made it to her desk.
When eleven thirty rolled around, she grabbed a jacket and headed out to a cafe three blocks away.
Usually the cafe bustled with activity. The threat of rain must have kept everyone away, she thought. Oh. Not quite everyone.
A handsome but unusual looking man with a shaved head and brown skin sat at a table by himself. He glanced at her and grinned.
She smiled and looked away but he waved her over. Janie joined him.
“I’m so glad you came here today. I was beginning to think I would have to eat all alone and here I am spending lunch with a compelling young woman,” he said.
Janie couldn’t place his accent. She couldn’t place him at all but his charm, Oh, his charms.
“I’m Janie,” she said.
“You can call me Rus,” he laughed.
When the waiter came and took their order, she asked if Janie and Rus wanted the extra garlic.
Janie shrugged involuntarily. “No, I take supplements for that. Thanks though.”
“I’ve already had some today,” Rus laughed.
His eyes were always filled with laughter. She felt it ran up his ears, there was so much of it.
The waiter took their order and left them alone.
“Not a fan of the fangs, are you?” he smiled.
She shuddered. “No. I don’t get why people think they’re romantic. Living on the blood of humans … yuck.”
“Some people think the age difference is a little creepy.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Doesn’t bother you as much?”
“No, I’m ok with older men.”
He laughed, heart light as a feather.
They ate a light lunch and Rus charmed her into taking a walk with him.
A loose brick tripped Rus and he fell over into the alley.
For the moment Rus stood in the darkness, he looked … like a wrapped dead body.
“I’m sorry, Janie,” he smiled. “I didn’t mean for you to find out this way. It’s not something you tell someone in the first five minutes you know them.”
“That’s really … weird. I didn’t know mummies … like vampires. I—”
“It’s ok. It’s a shock, I know. There used to be more of us but humans ground many of us into powder to make a certain dye. Only a few of us escaped.”
“Hey!” a voice behind them shouted. “You’re the one who shouted, right?”
She shook her head, “No!”
The stranger swung a shovel with the tag still on it.
Rus’s eyes flashed red.
The man sunk to the ground, dead.
“With powers like that, how could they get you?” Janie said.
“I’m vulnerable if I go to sleep,” he shrugged. “And certain times I must sleep. We were sacred in my time and the kings and royal family still had elaborate protections considering the time.”
“I hate to interrupt you, my dear, but we’d better part and leave before someone discovers the corpse.”
“Tomorrow? At the cafe?”
He smiled. “If the sun is shining.”