On a chilly day in early October, I stumbled up the steps to the apartment with my arms full of files. Home at last. I thrust the door open with my hip and dropped the legal files on the floor. “I am never going to that hell-hole of a law firm again,” I declared aloud. “I am putting death and decay behind me. Once I'm done with these cases, I'll put my sad history with Deitrick, Egbert & Drake behind me forever.” I stepped over the pile of files and dropped into the nearest chair.
My roommate Charlotte came out of the kitchen. “Are you going to leave those files on the floor? They're blocking the door,” she pointed out.
Groaning, I left the chair and scooped up the files. I dropped them unceremoniously on the coffee table.
Charlotte shook her head. “Here, let me help you stack them. They're all messy.”
“Leave them alone, Charlotte.”
“It's no trouble.” Charlotte grabbed some of the files before I could stop her.
“Please don't,” I said.
“These files are bloody,” Charlotte realized. She dropped the folders and edged away, looking pale.
“I told you to leave things alone.” I pulled off my denim jacket and tossed it into the corner near the door. “Anyway, it's not my blood,” I said comfortingly; “It's not blood from anyone you know.”
Charlotte shrieked and pointed at my shirt. I looked down and saw splashes of rusty red on the white oxford.
“It's not my blood,” I shouted.
“Then whose blood is it,” Charlotte shouted back.
I ran into my bedroom, stripping of the shirt on the way. “Don't worry about it, Charlotte.”
But she did. She followed me into the bedroom and demanded an explanation.
“There was an incident when I got to the law firm,” I said reluctantly. “That's all you need to know.”
“But I thought all the vampires died. Like, dead-dead.”
“They left a guard dog.”
“You killed a dog,” Charlotte shrieked.
“No!” I grabbed the first clean-ish top I saw, pulled it on, and turned around to face my roommate.
“You have to tell me what's going on,” Charlotte said pathetically. And was she starting to cry? Dang it.
“You don't need to be involved,” I insisted.
“Why? Because I'm not a lawyer, like your friends from school; or because I'm not an undead slayer like Absola and Robert?”
I hid a smile. “Slayer of the undead,” I corrected.
“That's what I said.”
“No, you said undead slayer.”
“What's the difference?” Charlotte cried. “No, don't tell me. I don't care. All I care about is that I'm your roommate and best friend, but you shut me out of things. It's not fair.”
“Charlotte, you freak out when you see a harmless ghost. You can't handle this stuff.”
“That's not true. I'm tougher than I look. And I've learned to live with Anthony the ghost, more or less.”
“You want to be included in Undead Bar Association discussions? Fine. But you're not allowed out on cases, and if I say something is none of your business then it's none of your business.”
We stood there, glaring at each other. Charlotte broke eye contact first. She bent down and picked up my bloody shirt, holding it with her fingertips at arms length.
“I'm starting a load of laundry, and I'll be happy to wash this,” Charlotte offered. “Will you tell me what kind of blood it is?”
I sighed and said, “Technically it's werewolf blood.”
Charlotte's mouth dropped open. “Oh...ugh...um. Okay,” she said weakly. “How should I wash it?”
“Bleach and wolfsbane. The latter is in a plastic container labeled 'WB', on the shelf over the washing machine.”
“Right. Okay.” Charlotte walked off in the direction of the washing machine, holding the shirt as far away from herself as she could.