Author : Ian Muneshwar
Billy lost his grandmother to the portable DVD player five months after his grandfather died. It started when she discovered that, with Netflix, she had access to an almost infinite supply of B-rated romances. Before long, she started using the portable Sony so she could continue to watch them all over the house: she made it through “Gigli” while cooking a pot roast and finished “Breaking Dawn” in the bathtub.
About a week before it happened she had become obsessed with a hopelessly unoriginal vampire movie. There was one scene in particular—the final dialogue between the romantic leads—that she watched over and over, until both she and Billy had memorized every word, every caught breath, and every vapid declaration of undying love.
The night the movie took her Billy found the DVD player on the couch, looping the final scene. There was a shallow imprint on the cushion, so he knew she couldn’t have been gone for long.
“Grandma?” he called, sitting down. There was no response.
He set the Sony down in his lap and put the headphones in, one at a time.
“I don’t have much time,” the girl said when Billy reached the other side.
He recognized her immediately; she was Amanda, the white-blonde, quivering-lipped protagonist of the vampire movie. She was different on this side of the screen, though. There was a small but bright red pimple at the corner of her mouth that someone had unsuccessfully tried to cover with concealer and, standing this close to her, he could see the light brown roots in her hair.
“Bill, it’s your grandmother,” she said, blinking. “And I don’t think either of us has much time.”
“Time before what?” He tried to take a step forward, but instead his hand reached out and his long, unnaturally white fingers ran through the girl’s hair. “Wait, am I the vamp—”
“I tried to leave but I think we’re stuck,” she interrupted. “Stuck to acting out the last scene of this goddamn movie.”
She took his hand in her own. Billy looked down at her full lips and the poorly-concealed pimple.
“How did we get here?”
“Have you ever wanted something so badly, Billy, that you’d give everything you are just to have it?” She pulled him closer. “I couldn’t get this story out of my head. Eternal life seems so nice, you know?”
“You realize that Armando isn’t alive, right Grandma? He’s undead.”
“Dead, undead. He can spend the rest of time with Amanda. They could be happy together literally forever. That would have been nice to have.” She paused, brushing hair out of her eyes. “I’d give the world to have had that with Grandpa, undead or otherwise.”
“But that’s not how it works, Grandma. This isn’t real.”
“Who are you to say what’s real, Armando?”
“I’m not Armando—” Billy began to say, but the girl drew him in for a deep kiss.
“I loved you from the moment we met. I want to be with you, like this, forever.” She blinked coyly.
But Billy could feel it, too. His own words were being blown to the far corners of his mind. The script began to bleed into him; his language, like his actions, were no longer his own.
“We can be together, Amanda,” he said. He stared deeply into the girl’s eyes, where he saw his own terror reflected. “There’s a way.”
“Take me, Armando.” She uttered the movie’s closing line in an exaggeratedly breathy whisper.
Billy pulled his grandmother’s head back and, tenderly, plunged his teeth into her chest.
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