Don't Read This Book, Chapter 13

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"Never wound a snake; kill it."

- Harriet Tubman

Chapter 13

Lena hadn't minded Bel's kisses on her shoulder during, but as they lay there afterwards gasping for breath, Bel draped over Lena's body and holding one of Lena's legs between her own, she occasionally kissed Lena on the shoulder, and it brought Lena back into the reality of the situation more quickly than she liked.

"I gotta..." Lena said, and finished the sentence by climbing out from under Bel and walking around the bed to the bathroom, which she used in the dark. Night skies in Wales during the height of summer still produce enough light that, upon her return to the room, she was able to find the backpack and her day's clothes heaped next to it. She sat down into her jeans on the edge of the bed, pulled on her shirt, and started putting on her socks.

"You okay?" Bel asked.

"Yeah. It was amazing. And confusing, a little, I gotta be honest. I'm just going to go have a cigarette, okay?"

"Sure," Bel said. "I'll go back to my room in a bit, and if you want to just go to sleep, that's fine, but if you want to come to my room after, I would still like that. If you want."

"Yeah, okay, I'll think about it."

"Make sure Josef is out there with you, okay?"


"And take the backpack."


Lena tied the laces on her tennis shoes a little too tightly. She wondered why she felt angry, and then wondered if she was angry with Bel. She exhaled loudly and pursed her lips. She pulled the backpack on by one strap and grabbed her room key off the dresser, a regular metal key on a ring attached to a plastic diamond with the room's number on it rather than an unmarked card. Clearly security was different in hotels in the UK. She left the room, trying hard not to slam the door and wincing when it clicked far more loudly than when Bel had come in. Down the hall, down the elevator, and across the lobby, she discovered another big security difference: The hotel's main entrance was locked.

She turned in place, unsure what to do, and found the hotel's night manager sitting behind the front desk looking at her.

"Can I just step out to smoke a cigarette?" she asked him.

He was a portly guy, white, bald, with a friendly smile. "Sure," he said. He stood slowly, came around the desk, and fumbled with his keys. As he unlocked the deadbolt that controlled the old-fashioned arms that connected to both sides of the double door, he said, "I'm going to vacuum the restaurant. Just close it when you come back and I'll lock it up when I'm done."

So, Lena thought, a person could mug me, kill me, take my key, come into the unlocked hotel, know exactly which room is mine, and then my murderer could sleep in my bed for the whole night, and this guy wouldn't know. Damn, they are trusting in Llangollen.

She wondered if the hypothetical murderer would still find a vampire in her bed.

After thanking the desk clerk, she stepped outside and took the pack of cigarettes and the lighter out of her pocket. The soft light in the night sky took her by surprise, and she had to remind herself that she was currently further north than Calgary, Canada or the entire nations of Japan and Mongolia. Thinking about those geography facts made her feel like she'd stepped out into the snow even though the air temperature hovered in the mid-fifties; her t-shirt wasn't appropriate for the night air, but far less so for her perception of the latitude.

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