“You wanted to see me, Uncle?” Sylvia’s voice creaked across the dining room from the open doorway she leaned against.
“Sylvia, yes, yes, come in!” Uncle Albert shooed Deigen away from the chair at the table’s end and waved her over. “Sit here, I have some eh”—he looked down at his platter of little tablets—“what did you call these things I made, Ian?”
Ian lifted his head but remain slumped over the window ledge. “Vitamins.”
Uncle Albert clapped his hands. “Yes, vitamins! Come, sit, sit, they’ll make you feel better!”
“No, Uncle Albert, I can’t.” Sylvia closed her eyes, shaking her head toward the floor. “I’ve tried, I just can’t eat anything.”
“Try these!” Uncle Albert practically danced around the chair with his platter in hand while Sylvia made a slow, sullen shuffle to the table. For a brief moment, it almost became difficult to tell which was the zombie.
Sylvia sat and stared down at the multicolored curiosities placed front of her. “This is food?”
“In a way,” said V, handing her one of the pinkish ones. “Your uncle based these on his appetite suppressants but they taste like food and have some sort of nutritional value.”
“Taste like food but isn’t. Delightful.” Sylvia popped the vitamin in her mouth. In the next instant, she grabbed one of the linen napkins nearby and spat it out.
Deigen picked up one of the bluish vitamins. “Okay, so strawberries are obviously not the winner-
Sylvia rolled her eyes at the balled up napkin. “That was supposed to taste like strawberries?!”
-how about a blueberry one?” He placed the vitamin in her hand.
The amount of time from cautious tasting to napkin was even shorter this time. Sylvia looked like she’d just taken a gulp of sour milk. “That’s worse.”
“You didn’t even chew them,” complained Uncle Albert.
Sylvia pushed the platter away. “Uncle, those are horrible, I’m sorry.”
Ian finally left his post at the window and sunk down onto the chair to her right. “Just be glad you didn’t try any of the gray ones.”
Uncle Albert flopped his arms. “Ian, for the last time, I didn’t mean for you to try those.”
“Then why did you put them on the platter?”
“What’s wrong with the gray ones?” interrupted Sylvia while munching away on something.
V nodded his head at the platter. “Well, it’s just that they’re flavored like”—his jaw dropped slightly upon realization that only two remained inside their appointed circle—“eh, Sylvia, you, em, you like those I take it?”
Sylvia reached over to snatch one in each hand. “Sure these are great. Actually, they’re the only edible thing I’ve tasted in the past couple days.” She practically swallowed the vitamins whole, letting out a loud ‘gulp’ while finally taking notice of everyone staring at her. “What?”
Ian was the first to speak but not before scooting his chair a few inches away from her. He cast a worried glance to the rest of the room. “Um, what does that mean exactly?”
Uncle Albert hastily picked the platter up and scurried toward the kitchen. “It means I’m making more gray vitamins.”
“Albert!” Deigen chased after the zombie while speaking to him in a yelling whisper. “Albert, you can’t be serious. She likes the brain flavored ones!”
Uncle Albert whirled around, matching his tone. “And so do I, what do I care which flavor she prefers?”
“There’s a very particular reason you prefer those!”
“Deigen, the important thing is she’s eating something finally. That will help keep her alive, which will keep her from trying to eat anyone’s real brains.” He looked over Deigen’s shoulder before turning back to the kitchen. “Speaking of, I do love my niece dearly but her willpower is as weak as her stubbornness is strong. If this dreadful illness of hers truly is turning her into a zombie, I think that V fellow has the right idea. At least until I get more vitamins ready. ”
Deigen turned to find his fellow vampire now standing between Sylvia and Ian. With a stern face and one hand resting over the handle of his sword, V was a ready and waiting defender of life. Considering both the potential victim and assailant still sat quietly at the table, he looked more like the statue of a heroic waiter.