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by Kayla Rae Candrilli

These particular vampires are the best of friends. They drink chilled red wine and listen to Miles Davis. Drunk on the floor they describe each other. Feel the contours of each other’s face with their long fingers. Let the cool pale skin feel soft to the touch. One tells the other that she has a beauty mark right above her eyebrow. The vampire is self-conscious, touches her face like this is the most concerning trouble in her life. She wants to be beautiful. The other vampire spends most of her time convincing her that she is beautiful. That the beauty mark is the most striking tattoo she’s ever seen. It’s a light pink, like strawberries she’s seen people eat.

They, of course, spent all their days like this, close to tangled on the floor. The strawberry vampire feels the need to touch the other’s chest, cool and boney, but somehow all she can think of are the ridges between piano keys. Your body looks like music, like Chopin, she says. The piano vampire holds the strawberry vampire’s hand to her chest and hums Chopin’s Nocturne #5. She says her heart is always in F sharp when we are together.

These vampires want to be lovers. They can feel it in the bones of the fingers that touch each other; it’s fire that feels only like the bite they once received. They can only see themselves in words. They create each other, paint each other carefully, like Mona’s half smile. One day this will not be enough. They will wrestle on the floor, kiss with fanged teeth and pray that their reflections will appear in the water of the other’s eyes. But no matter what, they will only ever see themselves like this: strawberries and piano notes.

Kayla Rae Candrilli is an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama, and an associate editor for NANO Fiction and the Black Warrior Review. Candrilli was awarded first place in Vela Magazine’s non-fiction contest, and is published or forthcoming in Rattle, Puerto del Sol, CutBank, Vinyl, The Chattahoochee Review, and others. You can read more of Candrilli’s work here.