Abby shut and locked the door behind her and sank into a chair. She didn’t need to of course, but she liked those little human habits. Even after five hundred years, it was still nice to pretend that she had a beating heart, if only for herself.
The internet predator had tasted better than she expected – then again, human blood was such a treat, that any taste seemed like a feast. This meal would last her at least a week before she had to go was back to her old diet of guinea pigs and stray cats.
She shut her eyes and sucked in a deep breath of relief. Feeding always made her drowsy.
A knock sounded on the door. With a groan, Abby opened it to find -
“Janus?” She said, surprised. They hadn’t spoken in decades.
He smiled wearily. “Hello Anna Bella.” She felt her dead heart ache at that voice. “And people call me Runner now.”
“Runner?” She laughed mirthlessly. “It suits you.” Not even a hint of a smile. He looked down at his shoes. Abby swallowed. “Runner? What is it? What’s wrong? Has something happened?”
Runner ran a hand through his messy copper hair, and gazed at her with sad gray eyes. “I need your help.”
Twenty minutes later the pair stood in Abby’s rather bloodstained kitchen. Runner clutched a mug of (rather questionable) tea, Abby sipped a bag of fresh A+, and stared at the two children seated at her kitchen table.
The boy was skin and bones, his grimy shirt hanging off him like a dress. He watched her with suspicious hazel eyes, but his mistrust wasn't enough to stop him from wolfing down what little human food she had.
Abby thought the other child might be a girl, but it was hard to tell past the emerald scales coating her body, though she too looked far too skinny. She was lizard-like, with a thin tail and a green and blue crest like a dinosaur’s atop her head. Unlike the boy, this child was elegant; she ate nothing and watched the starving boy in disdain.
“- And I don’t think either one of them has parents -” Runner was just finishing his story.
“Then send them to the orphanage.” Abby hissed. “Hell – the boy could probably pass for human –” the boy took that moment to sneeze, and sparks flew from his mouth, lighting the table on fire. The lizard girl acted inhumanly fast to smother the flames, and then resumed glaring at him.
He cringed slightly, “Oops.”
Abby pursed her lips in annoyance. “Yeah, he’s not normal.” Runner smirked. “And I checked the orphanage they won’t have any openings for a week.”
“So you’re dumping them on me.” Abby finished waspishly, loud enough that the girl looked up from what they were doing. “what do you think I can just-”
"It's just for a few days!" Runner assured. The girl, now listening avidly, looked alarmed.
"Well why can't you take them then?" Abby argued.
"I can't." Runner complained. "My workshop is too dangerous to leave kids in."
"So you're leaving them with a vampire?" Abby laughed. The dragon girl elbowed the boy hard enough that he looked up.
"Abby!" Runner whined, "look - I'll even stay - I'll help you look after them."
"That's not reassuring." Abby deadpanned.
"You owe me!" Runner said. "Sicily - 1943. I'm calling that favor in -"
"Oh - but that's not fair!" Abby complained, becoming aware that both children were listening avidly by this point.
"It's totally fair." Runner stated. Abby glared. "Please." He begged. "Just…please." He repeated, seemingly at a loss for a better argument. "You were the first person I thought of taking them too." He confessed.
She rolled her eyes. "Liar."
"Will you do it?" Runner asked quietly, and Abby saw the two children watching her with bated breath.
At last she sighed, and leaned over the table where the two strays watched her solemnly, “what are your names?” She asked gently.
The room let out a collective sigh of relief, and the lizard girl spoke up, “I am called Ssilissa,” she announced, her forked tongue stumbling over the unfamiliar language, “and, no matter what he says -” she continued, glaring at the boy, who suddenly became interested in a bloodstain, “no one is to shorten that to ‘Silly’.” He squirmed slightly.
“And who are you?”
The boy looked up in surprise. “My name is Thomas Reaver. . . um miss.” He added as an afterthought.
Abby sighed and started clearing plates, “don’t call me that." She ordered. "If you're going to be staying here, you’ll have to get used to calling me Abby. Now come and help me with these dishes and you two can tell me a bit more about yourselves – you too Runner don’t think you can sneak out with that stupid smirk on your face…"
And so the strange new family began.