Archive for Fiction

And All Sorts of Messes

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , , on May 17, 2011 by vampirony

symbol_cleaver-colorWith a vampiric growl, the tea cup sailed across the velvet room like a missile, smashing into dust against the opposite stone wall.

“Something tells me this isn’t going as planned.”

Valerian now sat forward, robes askew, panting with the effort to keep from ripping the room apart. “If I had other choices, Aubry, I would use them.”

Aubry floated silently over to the wall and began to brush the dust into a pan that he pulled out from his robes. He always seemed to be cleaning up messes these days. “You could still send someone else. Or better yet, let me handle this.”

“No. I cannot afford to show more interest. And sending anyone else into that area would alert the Shapeshifters.” Valerian bowed his head, shaking it from side to side. “Jesper is all I have at the moment to work with. And what he lacks in actual vampiric ability, he makes up for in intelligence… and charm.” Valerian chewed over the last word as if it were moldy bread.

“He has altered from his time with her, has he not?” Aubry spoke, still bent about his task, his back to his master. But he did not need to see Lord Valerian’s face to feel the vampire’s displeasure nor wonder at its source.

“You saw his wounds?” Valerian asked softly.

Aubry stood, surprised. “No, I did not.”

“I only noticed because I’ve always felt he was made quite young, never having truly lived and experienced, showing no scars at all.” Valerian sighed heavily. “He’s sporting two recently healed round scars, square on his chest.” His fingers started tapping again.

“Stakes? Is that possible?”

Valerian nodded to himself, his eyes staring off into the distance.

“Perhaps Mr. Jesper is a better guardian than you thought.”

Valerian leveled his eyes upon his servant. “What good does it do me if he won’t obey later? If he wants her for himself?”

Aubry smiled cautiously, “Perhaps we should focus on the immediate need: keeping Sophie alive.”

“If it is the Taint, Aubry, she’ll need more than our bookish vampire to save her. There must be more we can tell her.”

“The last thing she asked about was the Book itself. She never answered back about the photo. She wanted to know about the book’s origins.”

Valerian stood, a glimmer of his weary mind showing in his slow movements. “Never mind about that. That damn book of hers is no longer important. I should have burned it a long time ago instead of allowing you to reunite her with it.”

Valerian made his way to the door while Aubry waited. He could see the wheels turning in the vampire lord’s mind. Hundreds of years of experience and this one human still vexed him sorely.

“No, Bruno has served his purpose for the moment. It would be best if he went dark. We could use him later to draw her back in, if all else fails.”

“And the tainted one, this Skovajsa?”

Valerian steeled an eye on Aubry. “Jesper had better hope his resources are enough to keep her safe. His life won’t be worth much to me if she dies. I can’t afford to wait another hundred and twenty-five years for a reunion.”

Valerian shuffled out of the room, leaving Aubry with nothing but doubt about this course of action and everything but hope about what the future held for his old friend from the Ghost Club.

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But Sharing is Caring

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony with tags , on January 26, 2011 by vampirony

Looking like a statue frozen and expressionless, Skovajsa waited across the street from the Deli, hidden within the tree line, for some sort of sign. About an hour after he began his vigil, a young blond man of medium height stepped out the door to the office on the top floor of the building.

“There he is,” Oksana, wearing a very expensive version of her previous garish outfit, stepped forward, purring. She focused on Skovajsa, her face enraptured that she had reason to be this close again, sure that her reward would be great with the information she had revealed to him. She reached out newly painted nails of glossy, glittery red to touch his arm.

While Skovajsa turned to look robotically at Oksana, the man in question disappeared in a streak across the sky. Skovajsa’s complete lack of emotional response to Oksana’s touch forced her to let her hand slide from him and Skovajsa returned his gaze to the building. The doorway was now empty.

“Hmm,” was all he uttered and he breathed in deeply, sensing powerful waves of energy emanating from the building.

Oksana felt cheated that he didn’t offer her praise but when she looked back at the building, she noticed the obvious. “Where did he go?”

“Disappeared. Through shadows. Or stealth.”

There was cunning and conniving in his tone that Oksana readily recognized. Maybe this would lead to reward after all. She narrowed her eyes, tilting her head looking up at him. He was tall, handsome, powerful. Everything she wanted in a man. And he owned property, including that shit hole she knew as her family’s Russian deli. When she had first laid eyes on him several months ago when he’d taken over the loans her family owed, he was, by his very presence, intimidating her grandmother.

That alone would’ve inspired her admiration.

She had tried to talk to him then but her grandmother had forbid her. And then the community Orthodox priest had come to minister to her. It meant this stranger, dark and foreboding, had power that her family feared she might be drawn to. And she was. She had obsessed about him, wondering when he might notice her, intrigued that the few times he did visit, he came in a shiny black Escalade and only at night, when the shop had just closed.

But he never noticed her. So she made her own luck. About a month ago, when he was talking to her grandmother, she had gone outside to his car and left him a note inside the car, in the driver’s controls. It was the business card of a nightclub she liked to visit in Pioneer Square where she had written on the back: “I know who you are. Come at midnight.”

She had gone to the club for three straight nights waiting for him to show, dressed in her best. She ignored all the other men who tried to paw at her, not wanting him to arrive and see her with anyone else. Then early one morning, after the clubs had closed, she was about to board the bus back to Bellevue, disappointed when a voice called to her.

“Why don’t I give you a ride?”

Back at his condo, he had told her he’d watched her, wondered what she meant. She told him she knew he was a man, a big man, a powerful man. He proceeded to show her otherwise.

The fact that he was this powerful creature bothered her little. In fact, it made her love her even more. She worshipped everything about him. How insignificant everyone else in the world seemed when he was this beast, this god. He was Vampire! She loved it when he said it, meant it, and then sunk his teeth into her to prove it. She wanted that power all to herself, wanted to become one with him, wanted to do what he did.

So one night in the throes of sex, she had bit him, hard, drawing blood. He’d thrown her across the room. She begged for forgiveness, groveled that she just wanted more of him. Even how he had thrown her thrilled her. Such strength. And it was all hers now. Well, if not now, it would soon be. He would be all hers. It would only take a little while.

He had seemed perplexed by her devotion. But he was like any other man to her. He had invited her back, the next night and the next. The right amount of flattering and seduction convinced him she was his to enjoy and command. Then, after letting him drink from her until she felt dizzy and empty, she had asked if she could bite him again and he seemed eager to let her try.

The biting had led to bleeding, the bleeding had led to this beautiful, dark place where she could hear his heart beat and imagine she could see the years that folded out behind him in his long unnatural life. Her heart collapsed under the weight of unimaginable and horrific ecstasy.

She had started to convulse and ultimately expired.

She didn’t fault him for disposing of her body. He hadn’t expected her to die. He had been surprised, shocked even, when it had happened and shock must’ve driven his actions. He had been equally shocked this evening to have her call his private line, asking him to meet her back at the deli. Confusion had to have been his primary emotion because he had first hung up on her.

“There are others here like you.”

That had grabbed his attention when she had called him back and had to leave a message.

And now he turned his head to look back down at her. Whatever he wanted was what she wanted. And now she knew that others like him were important to him.

He cupped her cheek in a very practiced way.

“You’ve done well, copil. A very powerful and providential find.”

She lowered her eyes, smiling, swaying in sensuous pride. Yes! A reward was due her. She had struggled the last few weeks, finding substance, fighting the itches under her skin. She had managed a few random feedings but they had been horribly messy. But a few credit card purchases later from that businessman or that geek savant and her clothes were getting more to her liking.

She looked up at him through her lashes. His face was expressionless. It must be hard for him, she thought, to open up again after he had thought she’d been lost to him. He dropped his hand and turned back to the deli building. He considered it for a moment before beginning to walk in the opposite direction.

“What will we do next?”

He paused, as if he’d forgotten she was there. He was such a thoughtful man.

“Come with me, copil. We should finish our relation.”

Back at his place, she found out exactly the nature of his thoughts. He valued her find and not really her. He had summed it up nicely for her right before ripping her throat open.

“I am Vampire. I do not share.”

Bastard, she thought as her life expired yet again.

DJB: Memoirs, Volume 3: Housecleaning

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony with tags , , , , on January 14, 2011 by vampirony

Didn’t know what happened to me, my mind was all a jumble. I had to get out of there, head bursting suddenly with places and faces and none of it made sense as to why. I grabbed the lemons. At the time, didn’t know why, just seemed important.

Grabbed the kid’s jacket and out fell the Book. Old, worn, leather, excellent craftsmanship. Fingers brushed it as if familiar. All went quiet in my mind and I remembered one singular memory: My heart in anguish as I wandered the desert alone at night. Something about blood in the sand. But the memory teased me, wouldn’t come back fully formed and the moment my skin broke contact with the book, the torrent of other lives began knocking around in my head again like so many rubber balls.

I stuffed the lemons in the pockets and I fled. Couldn’t remember how I’d wound up in such a desperate state but my impulse was to go to ground, get to the safety of my lair, try to stop the tempest in the teacup that was my skull.

I flew out of there. I never do that, not with such abandon. One moment I was standing at the doorway, the next I was at my balcony. The speed at which I had traveled only served to create more confusion but I had enough current presence of mind to push the door open and get inside.

I made my way directly to my study, pulling all my books off the shelf, aimlessly. I couldn’t focus on what I wanted but I kept searching. There was an annoying chirping coming from my pocket. I took out this cold piece of black, vibrating plastic, held it out in front of me. I closed my eyes for a moment. The memory of it was there, being pummeled by strange and grandiose vistas, snowy mountains stretching high into the sky, buildings clinging to these pillars. I pushed the mountains away, recoiled from the sands, antlers trimmed in fur and lace, dread and more dread, the smell of jasmine in her hair…

Calm returned. I opened my eyes. “Cell phone,” I spoke out loud.

The words on the screen said Morena. My brain remembered what the phone was and vaguely who Morena was but also did not want to currently pursue it. I finger hit a button to silence the machine and I looked back to the shelves of books. It looked much like the reception area mess.

The sense of now was returning to me. I wanted one of my journals which all seemed to stubbornly remain intact on their shelf. Volume One: mostly my human life and as much as I could remember of how I became Vampire. Volume Two: My wanderings throughout Europe and Asia. Volume Three: My life in the New World. My fingers went between Volumes One and Two. There was a gap of time in my recollections between the first two volumes. It could have been caused by folding memories too deeply or some injury which had taken me some time to recover from while I wandered.

But a new explanation dawned as keenly as the memory of anguish felt so deeply upon touching familiar pages of another book that looked exactly like mine. She laid here, between these volumes, the memory of her so fraught with peril that I had sought to wipe it out of existence. I had folded her away without talisman or gesture so that as I aged and folded more memories on top of her, she would be compressed into nothingness, out of my reach. Or so I had thought.

I had never once considered that the gift of a book of mine long ago would have undone centuries of forgetting. That a simple caress would replace the folding gesture that had become reflex and second nature to me. And that’s why I had run. I was not ready for any of this. The first memory to rise up out of the abyss was that of tormented loss. And with it, an insatiable panic.

Vessels within my chest contracted and when I placed a hand there, I found it covered in blood. Glancing down, I remembered the fight with her Halfling. My flight had exacerbated the injuries to full wounds that now needed attention. I stuffed a hand into my pocket, bringing out the lemon. I let my nails grow to pierce the rind and then stretched back my head, squeezing the juice into my open mouth.

Radiant light roared inside my mind before I blinked into darkness.

When I came to later, I was lying on the floor. As I shifted up to my elbows, I noticed my chest had started to heal. In all my vampire life, I could never remember healing from anything other than blood. I repeated the same with the other lemon, went lights out again.

This time, there was a brief smile of a memory there for me right before I awakened. A curve of skin. A dimple. My chest had completely healed and was now itchy with scar tissue. Scars. It felt so odd to have scars. I scratched and instantly drew blood from the purple skin. The panic began to grow. I had closed off this part of my life long ago; the muscles needed to tend to it had atrophied.

The cell phone chirped again. A message.

R u alright. U left ur shirt.

I laid my head back on the floor. She’d liked that shirt. I’d caught her eying it with keen, unprofessional interest. The panic began to ease, if just enough to let me breathe. I focused on my breath and somewhere, underneath layers of memories, I heard her voice, soft in volume but firm in belief: It’s going to be alright. I’m here to help you.

Hours have passed and I’m scribing again, sorting through the memories that have been unsettled. Some of them force me to reread my journal to fold them back but some, I leave open to me, questions suddenly raised all over again. If I cannot trust my own memories, than what does this immortal life amount to?

One thing is certain: her book is no ordinary tome. It was crafted from the best leather, lovingly made by hand with sycamore maple and vellum, the pages imbued with ink in a special process that allowed the scribe to bring the ink to rise up from the page rather than just adding ink on top of it. There was more than a little magic folded into the making of that book, straddling the edge of alchemy and science. It was intended to hold memories.

And as certain as I am that I crafted that book for her, I am unable to remember who she was to me except to know that her memory is a void in my own history. And whatever ancient science enabled the peculiar abilities of these books of mine, it was past to me from her.

She taught me to read. She taught me to write. She taught me to fold my memories. Something as simple as her mere gesture, one that I had repeated ever since in my own folding process, had broken open a torrent of disconnected memories that had been carefully stored away.

My powers were changing, manifesting in strange ways that threatened everything I had known for years. There was no telling how the Conclave would react to these daylight abilities, usually only reserved for our South American relations. There was heightened Vampire activity in the area that needed to be handled. Valerian and his dealings with the Conclave were becoming ever more complicated and tense.

But this woman held more power over me than I ever allowed anyone anymore and that frightened me more than all the rest.

It sent my pulse hammering. And I think I secretly liked it.

Vampire Practicum

Posted in Vampirony with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2010 by vampirony

I’d like to be able to describe firsthand what a well-trained, well-motivated Carpathian half vampire looked like attacking a 500 plus year-old vampire of questionable origins and mysterious new issues but I didn’t actually see anything.  Best I can figure, Lucy attacked, Jesper stepped to while pushing me back out of the way, and the next thing I saw was Lucy flat on her back on the floor, missing her weapon.

I think I yelled, “Don’t hurt her!  She’s one of mine.”

I finally saw what manner of weapon it was when Jesper turned back towards me.  It was a gleaming silver short spear two feet of which were sticking out of Jesper’s chest.

“One of your what?” he asked, voice clearly elevated but strangely, much less strained than expected.  What with a silver spear sticking out of his chest and the vampire girl that attacked him doing a flip up from prone like I’d seen in many Jet Li films.

Depending on the vamp, wooden stakes may or may not do anything at all but huge holes in one’s chest, that normally slows a guy down, at least for a bit.  Jesper turned as if it were nothing; grabbed it with one hand, ripped it out, and swung it in front of him.  Not at the advancing Lucy, I might add, just in front of him to ward her off.  Then he threw it on the floor.

She kept moving, her face all fanged out, reached behind her back and tumbling for the spear, while Jesper moved to stay in between us.  The movements were just blurs to me most of the time, but time started to slow down, making their actions more distinct.

It wasn’t some special ability I’d been granted; it was the adrenaline pumping through my body, making everything run in slow motion.  Unfortunately, I was in slow motion too.  By the time I got to speak again, Lucy had resumed her attack with spear in right hand, a new strangely bent long bladed and very shiny shorter weapon in her left.  A kukri. 

The sense of profound dread settled over me like a oppressive cloud.  I couldn’t allow that weapon to touch Jesper.  Somehow, I just knew it.  Just at this point, maybe six seconds into things, Morena made her first move, reaching behind her back for her gun.  But I knew by the time she drew it, this might very well be over.  Class turns into Practicum just like that.  SNAP!  Nick, thankfully, had flipped over the back of the settee to hide this one out.  Good kid.  Smart too.  He knows better than to take up a profession without skills.  But he was throwing a look towards Morena, one I’d take no time deciphering later, and was clearly going to head her way.  Crap!

I needed to end this.  Now.

Jesper was, as he should be, one step ahead of me.  In Vox Compulsum, he commanded, “Stand down.”

Nick and Morena froze in that unnatural way when their bodies and minds have been disjointed from action.  They wouldn’t fall over, merely powerless to do anything.  For a moment, I had thought his plan had backfired as Lucy pushed through the Vox as if it were nothing.  Later I would get it: He meant it to be broadband, to catch everyone in the room, even me, especially in the event anyone else, namely human, thought they should get in the middle of two vamps fighting it out.  ‘Cause that would be stupid.  Sign me up.

But for some reason, Lucy was unaffected and I, well, Jesper hadn’t known the Vox didn’t work on me either.

I scrambled across the floor, trying to find my legs and then my feet, all of which was taking too long.  Strangely, Lucy and Jesper dodged and parried like matched sets, he could obviously overpower her at any moment but she was just capable enough to keep him from disarming or grappling her.

And it was frustrating him.  I had to help.

“Lucy!  Stop!  He’s a friend!”

I wasn’t exactly sure of the sentiment but at this moment, Friend might have way more weight than Patient.  Especially given my current client list.  Will all the crazed vampires in the Seattle metropolitan area please stand up and be counted?

Lucy ignored me as if she’d heard not a word.  She feinted and whirled a spin kick at Jesper’s chest, catching him off-guard because of his injury.  She must have seen him favoring just enough.  But I didn’t have time to be impressed.  The one good thing about how good a fight she put up was it forced Jesper back towards me, by which point I could stand.

I felt rather than saw Jesper sense this, this feeling of alarm coursing through him (was it flowing through me too?), dividing his attention just as the spear came in again.  He turned toward me, I think to again get me out of the way, felt the spear puncture his chest again, thought better of pushing me, and focused all his energy on Lucy, slamming her with both palms, keeping the spear from penetrating further.  He hadn’t had the time to pull his punch and Lucy went flying.

She crashed into the bookcase next to Nick’s leaning body, then disappeared in a poof of black smoke.  Jesper’s command would not let Nick get out of the way.  Two entire shelves of books went flying and hit him, dropping him in a heap to the floor. 

I finally was going to get my chance to break this up.  Jesper moved his head for an instant to me and I saw his eyes were glowing with that strange amber light again.  I hesitated.  Something tugged at a memory.  Distant sands, mosaic tiles, strong coffee, call to prayers.  I stepped toward him.

He hesitated too, too long to prepare a more subtle defense against the sudden reappearance of crows solidifying into a two handed swipe with the kukri.  I know what it looked like to see death through decapitation flying on glossy raven wings because I was standing right in front of it.

“Neilza!”

Behind me, I felt rather than saw light, a wave of it, carried almost like Vox Compulsum, crash into me flowing all around me and hitting Lucy wherever I didn’t give her cover.  The force of the strange light smacked me hard into her and instead of my normal fading black circle of consciousness, this time light seemed to burn me up from the outside in.  All the while my neck at the base of my throat was burning.

I closed my eyes with the impact and felt dark, cold sand between my fingers, underneath my nails as I dug.  Then everything went familiarly black.

Class is in Session

Posted in Vampirony with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2010 by vampirony

Whatever expectations I had in seeing Jesper the vampire again, he certainly shattered them.  First, he was exactly on time.  To the dot.  Secondly, he was taller than remembered.  Much taller.  And it unnerved me just as much as his charcoal grey knit turtleneck that his physique seemed to be trying to tear itself out of.

Dumbfounded is I think the exact word to describe me standing in the doorway, staring up and up at him.

“Ah, Miss Quinn, uh Sophie.  I hope I’m not late.”

Shook my head mutely.

“Well, I do like to be punctual.”  Nearly rakish smile suddenly muffled into sheepishness as he laughed.

Nod my head slowly.

“Just a little vampire humor.  Break the ice.”

“Uh-huh.”

Still standing in the doorway, he let his eyes peer in through the halfway opened door I still barred him from entering.   “Look, Sophie, I would like to apologize to Morena personally, although how she would ever agree to see me again, I have no….”

Morena opened the door wide behind me.  I just stared.  He was taller, wasn’t he?  And his hair, was it always so golden?  What color were his eyes, blue, green, I couldn’t quite remember?  His voice….aaaarghhhh!!!  Frustrating, this damn attraction.

“Hello, Jesper, good of you to come,” Morena said, without any such distraction.

“Morena,” he said surprised.  “I know I have a lot of explaining to do…”

She kicked the door wider, “Then come explain it to us.”  She then turned on her heel and heading back to the far wall, cross her arms and leaning a shoulder against it, daring him to enter.

He turned back to me.  “Will you invite me in?”

Our gaze met and suddenly he knew that I knew that invitations aside, any vampire could walk into any home unbidden.  And that awareness prompted the corner of his mouth to turn up.  He was testing and teasing me.

“Oh, come on in.”  I managed, now turning surly from wanting to do something so entirely different with him at this moment.

As he glided by me, he dropped his mouth near my ear and whispered, “Is it right to keep that one to ourselves?”

He was right of course and his reminding me of the reason I had gathered all us together at my office worked like throwing ice water with fire sand on me.  Time to get my head back in the game and go to work.

But before I closed the door behind him, my attention was draw for a moment by a cacophony of birds in the sky:  several starlings overhead were badgering a bald eagle.  Yeah, the national symbol bald eagle.  It was the first one I could remember seeing…in any lifetime.  And it seemed to be quite harangued by the inky black birds.  Whether a dispute over territory or food, the eagle seemed to be moving off to fight another day.

I shut the door behind me and looked over this motley crew.  Morena, leaning against the wall and trying very hard not to look at Jesper.  Nick, sitting on the settee with a laptop, ready to take notes.  Jesper the vampire, who took in every corner of the room before leaning back against my desk.

I walked to the whiteboard we’d put up in the front of the room and took up a marker, just to have something to grip.  “First off, vampires do not require your permission to enter a place.”

Nick sagged, “Oh, really?”  He started typing frantically.  “I was kinda hoping that one was true.”  He threw a spurious look at Jesper but said nothing else.

Jesper folded his arms and revealed more well-defined guns than I’d previously noticed.  Biceps were a failing of mine.  I took the cap off and wrote on the board, stabbing it as I did.  Something was different about him like I hadn’t quite met him before.  It was bugging me that I couldn’t figure it out.

I turned toward him with the question in my throat but paused.  Wouldn’t Morena notice too?  I mean, she’d been with him for longer than I.  I mean, been with him.  A-hum.  I felt my face flush.

“Yes?” he asked since I was staring right at him.

“Would you like to say something before we begin?”

“Um, no.  Let’s just see where this leads.”  His face became suddenly impassive and I could tell the guard was going back up.  His arms tightened, his neck muscles twitched in alert.  So strange how he’d gone from totally relaxed to alert mode.  When I looked back at the others, his eyes did another scan of the room, as if he sensed something.  But nothing was there and he settled his eyes on Morena for a brief moment for returning them back to me.

Senses.  Perfect place to start.

“First off, it is true that vampire senses are sharper than almost any other creature.”

Nick typed and then stopped.  “Wait, there are other kinds of creatures?”  There was an edge of panic there.

Jesper shook his head once.  “You have no idea.”

“Nick.  Focus.”

“Sorry.”  He thought for a moment.  “So what, like, hearing, seeing…smelling?”

“You might want to have a little less mirin in your udon,” Jesper suggested.

Nick didn’t blink.  “Yeah, it was too salty too.  I need to talk to Khang about that…Wait, you can tell I had udon?  That was two days ago!  You shitting me?”

“He can smell it in your skin, your blood,” I explained.

Morena and Nick looked ready to bolt.  I needed to bring this back a piece.  Jesper was a particularly old vampire and very special…in many ways.  Using him as a prime example would just not do, in any regard.

“Not all vampires have senses that…sharp…”

“Or discerning…” he added, causing me to throw him a glare.  He was preening over there, like some high school jock showing off his letterman jacket.

“But these are the basics you need to always remember so you don’t ever try to, well, trick a vampire.  He will be able to sense it.”

“Not to mention the fact it’s just rude,” Jesper added for color.

Morena, who had started biting her lip, looked like she wanted to say something.

“Morena?  A question?”

It drew Jesper’s attention.  She tossed her eyes to him then back at me, uncertain.  “What…what about healing?”

Jesper’s head turned back around but showed his displeasure.  He and I had not yet discussed the vampire attacks I’d suffered and as far as he knew, Morena had not been harmed.  I think the simple fact that he hadn’t approached her sniffing like a guard dog showed that the twins were able to mask their smells and auras quite effectively.

I ignored him.  “Vampires are difficult to injure.  But I don’t want to start there.  That’s not the point of this session.  I know of all this may seem unimaginable, overwhelming, and frightening.  And you need to know what you’ are dealing with.  But not to fight back, not to injure, but to keep yourselves out of those situations.  Most vampires are hard to provoke because using their abilities makes them vulnerable to disclosure and they prefer to stay hidden.”

Morena shook her head violently.

“I know it may be hard to believe but if you don’t walk into their lairs, if you avoid them, if you deal straight-forward with them, like you would a bear or a tiger in their element, you can stay safe.  And that’s what I want.  I want you all to know enough to be able to avoid confrontations.”

Jesper looked even more uncomfortable, his eyes shifting around, but his body was completely still.  I should have known this class would’ve had this reaction on him.  Unsettling to hear yourself described like a wild animal.

Morena and Nick looked unconvinced.  “Ok, some basics.  Let’s cover what vampires can’t do.  There’s actually quite a lot that has been ascribed to them that’s false.  Invisibility, turning into a bat, flight…”

Jesper perked up.

“What?” I asked.

“Oh nothing.  Just…interesting…that last bit.”

Then his lips curled in a smile.  I crossed my arms, annoyed.

“If you’ve got something to add, please, go right ahead.”

“I didn’t say a word.”

“Vampires can’t fly.”

“Yes, you’ve made that abundantly clear.”  I couldn’t put my finger on Jesper’s behavior.  He seemed bemused by my vamp facts, but every so often, he’d obviously stretch out his senses and go still as a statue, as if picking up a threat.  But right now, there was no threat, not exactly.  His eyes were boring into me.  And they were starting to glow.

“Oh, shit.”

He unfolded his arms, dropped his smile and took a step towards me.  “What?”

He was standing facing away from the others, luckily.  When I began to shake my head, my mouth falling open at his eyes changing color, he suddenly was at my side, his arm reaching out for mine, concern all over his face.  I’m sure he meant to lightly grasp my arm to force me to look at him, nothing intended.  But that’s not what the murder of crows that suddenly descended on him thought he intended.

“Get away from her, you basilisk fuck!” Lucy spat as she materialized in mid-kick, wielding a sharpened spear, aiming it right for Jesper’s heart.

Huddle Up

Posted in Vampirony with tags , , , on January 16, 2010 by vampirony

My early life in Ohio exemplified middle America. Girl Scouts, church potlucks, barn dances. I was even a cheerleader. I put on a brave face but I messed up various cheers paying too much attention to Dan getting hammered on a play. I hated to watch but didn’t feel I had a choice. I was his girl, I wore his varsity jacket, I had to make a show of supporting him.

Once, during a cold wintery game, our quarterback got knocked back into last Thursday. Dan, who normally played tight end, filled in as backup quarterback since our school was barely big enough to field a team. He called the team to huddle up. They were down by 14 late in the fourth quarter. It was -29 degrees wind chill with flurries. Winning seemed out of reach. From the sidelines, the crowd watched the weary players crowd around Dan as he took a knee in the midst of them. By the time they yelled “Break!” in unison, infused with courage and determination from somewhere unknown, inspired by Dan’s words, they anxiously lined up for the 4th and 4 play with 4:37 left on the clock.

Dan, looking like a steely general leading his team, hiked the ball, faked a handoff and did a quarterback keeper, running around the end, breaking a tackle, getting an awesome block from his receiver, and went in for a touchdown. Fired up by the score, the team rallied to tie the game and win in OT. As a junior, it solidified Dan as a high school legend and we both rode that legacy through the rest of our school days. We celebrated that night with the most inspired sex we’d ever had (or would ever have).

When I asked Dan years later what it was he said to the team to get everyone to move in such perfect concert to free the line for his run, he shrugged and said, “I just told them the truth. That as individual players, we were outmatched and didn’t have a chance. But for that play, we all knew exactly what we needed to do and for one play, if we acted in concert, with full knowledge and complete commitment, we could have each others’ backs and go down fighting…together…like brothers, like family.”

He hadn’t seem very impressed with it. This was after years of disappointments and family strife had robbed him of much of the steeliness that had made me fall for him in a life that never felt my own. I wanted to be around him because he seemed to have a plan and felt like he’d have my back. When he’d finished telling me about his little speech, he looked up to find me crying. I was holding our baby Jasmine and tears were streaming down my face. He asked me what could possible be a matter.

I didn’t have the nerve to tell him that he’d lost his family, lost his team to have his back, not just because of life’s twists and turns, but mainly because along the way, he’d lost all vision that there could be another way out, that there could be a way to score, that even in going down with a fight, there was something of a victory.

I buzz the nurse and ask her to bring me writing materials. I’m scheduled for release in the morning and I haven’t any time to lose. I need to write down the plan. I have players in the wings unaware of the game they are playing. And I desperately need someone to have my back. The twins, Morena, Nick, maybe even Jesper….all needing me to have the vision and draw up the game plan. Things could spiral out of control if I didn’t do what I do best, assess the situation, pull it all together, draw up the play, and execute. So many lifetimes, ripping pages out of the playbook because I didn’t want to put others in harm’s way, didn’t want the team. But now, whether I like it or not, I can’t do it alone and others are in danger.

This time, it is time to play in concert, everyone will need to do their best, fulfill their role.

And this time, I will be ready.

Vampires 101: Trust

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , , on January 10, 2010 by vampirony

My concussion rated fairly high in terms of damage done so I thankfully let myself be monitored for forty-eight hours. I fully understand it is more to give the detectives time to try and find some angle I might have on a body disappearing from the morgue than my injuries, no matter how serious. Why they suspect a connection with me, I don’t know. I guess I have that sort of face.

Forty-eight hours in a hospital is a lot of downtime. I think about the detectives, Skovajsa, the blonde Nick has told me about…and Jesper. And Morena. I feel responsible for the attack, even if she may have ran into danger eventually. And one cannot take the knowledge of vampires back. Well, I can’t, at any rate. Offhand, I know three vampires with enough power over the mind to do just that. Boy, it would be useful for her to know that too. And Nick too. Dangerous times for newbies.

It’s time for a class. I start writing up the syllabus. After all, a class is what started me on this path in this lifetime. Dr. Kaga couldn’t have known the connections his course on transcendental meditation would awaken the memories, enabling me to find the book. Which awakened more memories. Most not happy ones.

I text Nick with the cell phone he returned to me, ask him to get some things ready. I also ask him to go see Morena, request she at least talk with me. As I get his affirmative reply, I get another text.

I lied abt u today.

It’s Jesper. I feel him again, this time standing near the window, not so close this time.

Why u do that? <SEND>

Don’t think I know enough abt u yet.

Why did u tell Morena to follow me to protect me? <SEND>

Wanted u safe.

Why? <SEND>

Felt it was important.

Who are u reporting to abt me? <SEND>

Not sure I should tell u that yet.

I can’t help u if u don’t trust me. <SEND>

There are some things a vampire cannot tell.

Means there are some u can. <SEND>
Would u be willing to attend session? Assistant, unfort, has discovered who my clients are, puts him at risk not knowing basics. <SEND>
U don’t have to say anything but I’d like u there to naysay any facts that have changed over my lifetimes.

I…

U know it’s important. <SEND>

Knowing hasn’t kept u out of rm 824 in Overlake Hospital.

No. But it kept me out of morgue. <SEND>

*sigh*
(I can feel him sighing as if it’s through her mind.)

Can we talk after your class?

That’s what I intend yes.
<SEND>

Is there something u need to talk about now? <SEND>

It can wait.

U know, u can contact me anytime. Like to think u felt comfortable doing that. <SEND>

I do. Would never presume to interfere with ur recovery otherwise.

Why have u? <SEND>

It seemed the thing to do, considering.

U’re not to blame for my attacks. <SEND>

A surprised current runs through the room, as if I shocked him by reading his intentions. Then it dissipates, accepted.

I am transparent.

I’ve gotten pretty good reading vampires. <SEND>

Not so good to know I contacted u because I really look forward to seeing u again.

It is my turn to feel flustered and off-center. He laughs lightly.

You’re blushing.

Yes. <SEND>

It seems I too have not lost all of my abilities to read humans.

So u’ll come to the session? <SEND>

Yes. I will audit your class.

I feel his presence leave the room like the time lapse fading of white fragrant flowers and spices, now with a hint of citrus. First order of the syllabus: abilities of a vampire. Because one cannot teach trust.