Archive for preternatural

I must not fear

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , , on April 3, 2011 by vampirony

I woke early evening after being hunted and tormented in nightmares brought on by too little sleep and too much melatonin. How quickly I had moved from the troubles of the dreaming, sun-endowed vampire Jesper to the more sinister evils of the Carpathian cannibal Skovajsa. Something about it all just seemed so off.

How much of it could be explained by his not having known his maker, not having a mentor to work him through the process, I wasn’t sure. The very survival of a newborn usually demanded a maker, a parent to provide for and protect, especially in the cities. The era of bloodbaths and the countless missing peasants whom no one noticed was over. Even if a newly made hunted the homeless, someone would take note.

And then there was Skovajsa’s textbook story that seemed all too…textbook. But he seemed so proud of it, so caught up in it. Never mind his aggression; he’d already shown him himself perfectly capable of violence with little regard to the fact that it was uncivilized.

No maker, a back story that reeked of a Bela Lugosi film, the emotional depth of a teaspoon, and the vanity of male model…it went without saying. I was afraid to see him. Afraid for my life. I was ashamed of it. I’d lived lifetime after lifetime, becoming acquainted the my many selves, knowing that because I fell so far from perfection, so far from being able to give up that which might free me from mortal concerns that I was doomed to be reincarnated again.

But it wasn’t the life that I feared losing…it was what was left behind. The mystery of a dreaming vampire and his glowing eyes. Just the thought that my going out to meet Skovajsa tonight might mean that last night would be the last time I saw Jesper curdled the blood in my veins. I’d lived so many time that the loss of my own existence no longer phased me. But the loss of his, the sheer impossibility of ever connecting with him again the way he was right now, warm, funny, vulnerable, and so very very intriguing; it terrified me beyond all else. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the thought because my heart finally ached not to be parted from him, not just yet.

Maybe he felt the same, maybe he was just his positive vampire self, taking advantage of the situation to his own ends. I had never cared that my emotions be returned in kind. The fact that I had them for once…finally…after feeling so bereft of emotions for so very long. The emptiness, the void was suddenly bursting with this all-consuming fear and I was shaking in my damp sheets, clutching my arms around me.

He was everything that Skovajsa was not. I knew Skovajsa was bad news. So why would I even consider going to meet him?

There was a Carpathian long ago that I had tried to help. I had been fascinated by him, fallen in love with him, and watched him slip from my grasp as his imbalances had turned his interest in me to obsession, his love into fear, my refusal to be turned into hate, my attempts to minister to him twisted into ridicule of him, contemptible conceit. In the very end, his very love for me had been my undoing. I hadn’t seen how far he’d gone into this madness, hadn’t been aware or prepared.

My failure had cost me my life. It had been the last time I remember feeling anything more than fondness for someone, excepting, of course, my daughter.

One dark night in London in 1883, I met a vampire named Valerian, in the flat of a Mr. Roland Emmerick, during a meeting of the Ghost Club, an organization founded to investigate spiritualism and science in a quest for knowledge. While women were not allowed in the Ghost Club officially, having a strange aptitude for reading people’s past landed me an audience in the club as a medium.

Valerian, who must have been already over 400 years old by this time, was investigating this club for what threat it might have against him and his kind. I suspect he had already started a horror of his own and wanted to see about setting London up as his home. He cut quite an impressive visage; tall, dark, and handsome with angular cheeks and deep set blue eyes.

Whether he was actually attracted to me physically or rather some of my comments had piqued his interest initially, he knew well how to mete control of his abilities to charm and attract. It had caught me off-guard. What was worse was that as we began to talk, the wall between my professionalism and his, well, vampire nature, slipped seamlessly away. He led me to a quiet corner of the room to share a brandy with him. Since most of the assembled might disapprove of such a strong drink for such a gentle lady, I agreed, thinking, mostly, that it would settle my nerves.

It did. It emboldened me, matter-of-fact, into revealing what I suspected of him.

“A vampire? Surely you are letting these zealots of the supernatural influence you,” he joked, but a darkness crept over his face.

“Zealots they may be but the fact remains, you are a wolf in sheep’s clothing, testing the shepherd’s flock for your own designs.” I took another sip. “It speaks of your refinement, maturity of one of your kind. The fact that you can meld so well in such animated company further demonstrates your power and capability.”

“If I were sufficiently capable, as you suggest, wouldn’t I be able to charm you into thinking me just a man having an entrancing conversation with a beautiful and yet enigmatic woman?”

“Lord Valerian, as you have already been made aware, I have supernatural tendencies of my own. Though, this brandy helps me to confess, I feel the power of your sway most strongly. I do hope you will not take advantage of a lady who only seeks to offer up her abilities for benefit of others.”

“You can rely upon me, sweet lady, to take the utmost care with your person. Although, I too must confess myself strangely held captive like no time in recent memory. If we were to pretend, for a moment, that I was this, uh, creature of which you speak, what special skills might you lay upon my person?”

Looking at him coyly, drunk off brandy, “I would help you find the balance which you seek.”

He guffawed heartily. But as I remained steadfast in my gaze, he face sobered into incredulity. “Let me make sure I understand you. You believe that I, a stranger that you have just met for all of an hour, am unbalanced?”

As I held his gaze with my own, I watched it sneak under his armor and behind those dark blue eyes, there was a tremor. First, it was a flash of anger and he seemed about to bolt. The room was heading with incense and some other odor. Pipe smoke filling the room and the brandy like liquid courage in my veins, I moved to ease his mind, putting my gloved hand out.

I misjudged my mark, my hand landing not on his arm as intended. Instead, it fell upon his upper thigh.

His eyes flashed and his mouth dropped open just enough that I clearly saw his fangs snap out. It would’ve been quite acceptable, maybe even expected of him, a gentleman, to recognize a lady out of her depth, too much in the drink, and in danger of, perhaps already sullying her reputation.

He was old enough, mature enough, powerful enough that my small slip of propriety should have been nothing to him. Even as Vampire, such a touch, such a conversation, should have done little to move him from his plan. But I got to him that evening, just as he had got to me and we were staring at each other, as if suddenly both naked.

He wasn’t without any subtleties. He leaned forward, letting the fabric of his jacket drape over my arm so that no casual observer might notice where my hand lay. The room was stifling, my head began to swim, and I surmise now that it was in no small measure because he lost control of his abilities. I dropped my brandy glass and put my other hand to my head before fainting away.

The rest I know from Emmerick who told me later how Valerian gathered me up in his arms, declared that I had just had a powerful psychic fit in reading his future and that he would return me home posthaste in his carriage.

When I came to later, my head was resting against his shoulder in the carriage. But contrary to what could have been, he had taken no other liberties, both of his hands rested on his walking stick. As I stirred, opening my eyes, he spoke.

“I must apologize. There must be some truth in your words for only if I were not quite right would I take such a risk and spirit you away from that assembly.” He took a long, slow breath. “But I find I cannot be parted from you just yet.”

I lifted my head, felt his being all throughout me. I put a weak hand to my throat.

He noticed the movement. “No, I have not bitten you…yet.”

“You’ve done far worse.” I spoke softly. Without a bite, it could only mean that his sheer power alone had been brought to hear. He’d charmed me, nay, perhaps even worse than that, he’d entranced me. The pull felt so strong, I had to clench my hands to keep them from him.

He turned to look at me. Instead of a jaunty smile, there was regret and a sheepish look. His fangs peeked from under tightly drawn lips. “I did not intend it.”

I should’ve been fighting with all my remaining strength against him, to get out of his carriage, but I believed him. I read in his eyes the truth of the situation, that it was almost a reflex; he was Vampire and he must keep what was his. And somehow in that drawing room, I had intrigued him enough, shocked him enough, that it had forged some bond.

“Perhaps, my lord, if your mind was put at some ease, you might be able to relinquish your hold.” It was like gasping in air to make any sense, no matter how he was to be believed. I tried not to fight it, that could only led to wrecking of my mind especially if, he had no control over this binding that had happened.

He smiled without mirth, moving a hand to take my chin gently in his grasp. “And what possible ease could I find in your presence, when you look right through all four hundred thirty three of my years and make me feel like a schoolboy scraping my knees at the altar of a divine?”

I couldn’t think past the current moment. The only thoughts that seemed to make any sense were to give in enough that we both might have some ease. With shaky fingers, I undid the top buttons of my collar. His fangs grew involuntarily at revealing my neck to him. I blinked my eyes shut, wanting to dive headlong through this moment so I might find a way back out the other side.

He moved to wrap his arm around me, tilting my chin with his hand. Besides the bumpy nature of the carriage, once I was completely in his hold, I was no longer jostled, his strength so complete that I felt like I was floating.

His thumb moved over my cheek causing me to open my eyes to him again. There was a question in his gaze. “You think this will break my regard for you?”

“Yes,” I breathed. Arrgh, I just wanted him to hurry!

I could feel my veins throbbing in my whole body, heart thumping just for him. If this didn’t work, I’d be lost.

“My lady,” he whispered, eyes still searching mine. “What is your name?”

“Darcie Sherbourne,” I replied simply.

“Darcie Sherbourne,” he tried the name on his tongue, head leaning over me. Then Lord Valerian, loyal lieutenant to Stephen the Great, Prince of Moldavia, who fought to repel the Ottomans during the Battle of Vaslui in 1475, ancient vampire, gentleman and scholar, professed his own prescience.

“You will be the death of me.”

Then he bit me.

“““““““““““““““““

I was in no way ready to meet Skovajsa. I was too vulnerable. I realized I was still willing to give Skovajsa a chance because of my past with Valerian. But Valerian had killed me. Our bond had been broken in one way in that carriage and forged in another. And it been the undoing of us both.

The twins might be my biggest regret but Valerian had been my ultimate failure.

And here I was, afraid of losing this life more than any other I could recall, stepping into a cab at half past 10PM to meet the vampire fraud in the heart of downtown. As I settled into the seat, my phone buzzed in my pocket.

A text. From Jesper.

Got yur message. See u later?

Nothing in this life was ours to keep. Everything we acquired, every happiness we managed, only moments on loan to us. The trick was to accept those moments as gifts and linger over them only for a moment, not to clasp them tightly until they turned to dust.

Sure, I texted back. I leaned my head back in the cab, watching the water of another lake fill my view. This moment, right now, with my heart beating warmly in my chest with relief, this moment I would savor.

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What the eyes can’t see

Posted in Vampirony with tags , , , , on August 4, 2010 by vampirony

I didn’t pass out this time.  Things had just gone dark.  Bully for me.  I felt my eyes blinking, but I couldn’t see anything.  I only heard a muffled scream, smelled something burning, and the scuffling of shoes.  Beneath, I felt a body, presumably Lucy’s, struggling against me.  Just as I was rolling off of her, hands grabbed me firmly and I was clutched to a very warm, firm chest.

A collective gasp and a whimpering.

“Is everyone ok?” I called out, loudly, over compensating for my impairment.

No one spoke and there was silence for a breath as a thumb and forefinger cupped my chin and gently pulled my head back.  My eyes followed the movement although they still saw nothing.  I was blinking a lot, my eyes watering.  Instead of fighting the position my head had been moved to, I relaxed into it.  I felt strangely comforted where I was, on the floor, in this warm embrace.  It must have been Nick and I put my hand out to pat his chest in thanks.

Part of my hand slide into a strange depression that was slick with something.  My hand didn’t recoil from it, moved up along a throat, thumb reaching up until, Ouch!  Something pricked it.

I brought my hand back, was about to put my pricked thumb into my mouth when a vice-like grip grabbed my arm.  At the same time, a low, menacing ringing began in my ears.

“Don’t,” I heard Lucy say.  Her voice sounded strained and she was panting.

“What’s going on?” I asked, confused.  “Someone tell me.”

Then the fog over my eyes started to lift and I was staring up into Jesper’s worried face.  His fangs were still exposed; it was what I had pricked my thumb on.  At first, it made sense to me that Lucy warn me from putting my pricked thumb in my mouth.  Many vampires excrete anti-coagulant and paralyzing agents in their saliva, sometimes in massive doses.  But as I took in more of my immediate surroundings, I realized she hadn’t been talking to me.

With his fangs extended (I’m not sure how fully), pushing just over his bottom lip, holding onto me after just pricking my thumb, Lucy had moved over to us, grabbed my hand, and had the kukri in hand, ready to deliver a killing blow to Jesper’s neck.

He ignored her completely, continuing to look at me until my vision cleared and I held his gaze.  His eyes were normal again.  Hazel, definitely.  With green flecks.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

I nodded.  Why was he so warm?  Those narrow fangs, I’d seen them on two separate occasions with two different lengths.  How long were they?  They were almost pearlescent in color.  Were they hollow?  I went to move my hand and realized someone still held me by the wrist.

I turned to look at Lucy.  The outer edges of her body and some of her hair were badly scorched.   She was shaking from the effort of maintaining her defenses.  

“Oh my god, what happened?”  I slipped out of Jesper’s hold and gently cradled Lucy’s face.  She struggled against me at first.  “Oh for heaven’s sake, Jesper won’t hurt me.  And he was trying not to hurt you!”  I looked back at the kukri nearly against Jesper’s completely immobile body.  He didn’t want to provoke her any more now that I was out of his hands.

I slapped her arm away.  “Bad girl!”

“Tante!” she complained, lowering the curved blade before letting it clatter to the floor. Her skin had crisped all along the outer edge of her arms, her hair was smoking.  Whatever had hit her had only hit an outline of her.  She was trying to heal, her skin smoking now, but the effort was turning her skin ashen.

I looked around for Morena to help to find her aiming her Glock just above Lucy’s head, two steps away.  I let a breath out in exasperation.

“When are you going to learn, Morena, guns don’t kill vampires.”

She lowered her gun and shrugged.

Turning back to Lucy, “Do you still carry?”

She was trying very hard not to scratch but was rubbing at her burned ears.  Her lovely long hair would have to be cut.  “Yes, in my backpack.  I think it fell over there.”  She waved toward the bookcase.  She cast a wary eye to Jesper who hadn’t stirred.

“I’ll get it,” Morena said.  She turned toward the bookcase. “Shit.”

“What?”

She hurried over to the bookcase and pulled Nick ‘s torso out of the chaos of books and papers by his shoulders. We had all forgotten about him. My breath stuck in my throat until I saw him come around.

“Nick?” I queried.  Morena put a hand to his head, with a certain amount of care. There was a story there that I apparently hadn’t heard.  Or maybe the same haplessness that endeared him to me was working on her.

He blinked a few times and then spoke. “Huh.” Then he pulled his arm out of the debris and with it, Lucy’s backpack.

Morena couldn’t help a genuinely tickled smile from covering her face, as she gave his hair a tousle. Hapless, maybe to some eyes. But one thing was certain, things only went so wrong for Nick Sakaki.

“Hey, watch the ‘do! Takes me hours to attain that perfect mix of Pattinson-McAvoy bed hair.”

Morena helped Nick out of the heap while I also stood, carefully standing in between Jesper and Lucy. Jesper mimicked my action and stood as well while Lucy just watched us.

After settling Nick on the settee, Morena brought me the backpack, casting a spurious eye at Lucy who’d become perfectly still. She was starting to go into a healing shock, her body shutting down in order to regenerate. I quickly searched the bag and found one of the foil liquid pouches. Dropping the bag, I snapped the straw off and stabbed it into the foil bag.

Lucy greedily grabbed for the pouch and I felt Jesper take a step forward behind me. He could smell it too. Lucy began sucking at the straw like a thirsty kid at recess, the dark red liquid pulsing through the straw into her mouth. Her fangs slipped out from under her tightened lips, a reflex to the liquid coursing into her.

“What is it?” Jesper asked from behind me, a hint of revulsion in his voice.

“Dude, Capri Sun for Vamps!” Nick filled in.

I smiled. “Exactly.” I think these guys were getting the hang of this.

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.

Case #13 – Skovajsa: The story behind the story

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony with tags , , , , , , on October 8, 2009 by vampirony

I blink and find myself still sitting in the arm chair in the Ice Lounge.  Skovajsa is pausing for a breath.  Had I made a sound, startled as I was to have it feel so real, Jesper whispering to me?  Am I startled that I feel him standing there still behind me, his hands gently squeezing my arms, breath against my ear?  I blink again deliberately.  I’m holding my phone, his last text there.  I push a few buttons to switch it to silent mode.

Skovajsa is waiting for me.  “Shall I continue?”

“Yes, sorry.”  I set my phone in my lap, turned up so I can see the next text as it comes in.  “Please go on.”  Can’t remember what he was saying last so I guess.  “So spawn of Vlad Dracul would make you…uh, five hundred and fifty, give or take?”

He settles back down, convinced for the moment that his story has me in rapt attention.  This guy’s survived on ego, his details are all out of a book somewhere, nothing authentic which means he can’t remember turning, someone brewed up that story for him, or he’s fooled himself into believing it and how old it would make him.  Either way, he’s showing positive signs of all sorts of pathology and I should be paying close attention to him.  Instead, I keep glancing down at my Smartphone screen.

“Yes, I traveled southern Europe for years after, weak, alone, hunted first by the Turks then the Greeks…”

I should have made a break from Morena.  But she was not afraid when she learned what I was.  And it was fascinating to me.

Right.  I bet.

It’s not what you think.  I never meant to deceive her.  I’ve been trying to back away.

Not.  Trying.  Very.  Hard.  How can I blame you?  She’s beautiful, strong, intelligent, tall, and yet fragile…You back away after you’ve peaked her interest, she’s just going to want to reach out to you more. 

“…as I moved towards the coast, over the decades, I fed off more and more powerful victims, my powers growing rapidly…”

My head pricks up and I stare at Skovajsa.  Strike Two.  He has no idea what he said is so very very wrong.  The only way a vampire grows in power besides age is to feed off of other preternatural creatures.  He probably hunted other young vamps during the Great Blood Hunt of the 17th Century, taking advantage of his own.    This changes things.  I’m not sure I should tend to a vampire who has killed his own for power.  I’m not sure I can.

You’ve saved me again, done what I did not have the strength to.  Freed her from me.back_room8

I have a moment of doubt and my gaze is draw back down to Jesper’s words.

“…I’ve always looked for ways to make myself safer…”

Cannibal.  I need to get out of here now. 

I owe you a great debt that you must tell me how to repay.

“…you’ve probably never met a vampire as old as I.”

And for the first time in a long long time, I feel the kind of gut wrenching fear that fills your belly like churning ice water.  Jesper.  Help me.  My fingers twitch toward the keys just as the phone enters locked mode.

I drop the phone when Skovajsa grabs me around the throat and slams me hard against the nearby wall.  For some reason, I remember the intricate raised velvety patterns of the brocade wallpaper the moment I hit.  It reminds me of paisley.  Paisley stars in my eyes.

Case #13 – 5: Coffee talk Pt 1

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2009 by vampirony

Rough night but finally got a few hours sleep.  I thought Seattle was supposed to be temperate, cool, rainy, wet.  Not ungodly hot.  At least the room has air conditioning but it’s a shock to walk outside at 8am and have it be 80 degrees in the Pacific Northwest.

I arrive at the Starbucks across from my hotel for my meeting early.  Again, part of sizing someone up is how they enter.  In this case, I choose the spot out of convenience to me.  Meeting a vampire’s human followers is always a tricky business.  Normally, I treat them exactly like the vampire, many of the master’s traits rub off on them.  And personalities need to mesh.  You can tell a lot by the company someone keeps, especially when that someone can cause you harm if they slip up.

I sit down with a local paper.  Dead girl found in a dumpster.  Small print today, will be no print by tomorrow.  Meet is at 9am.  Should be able to get to the Sports page.

At 8:43AM, a striking tall latina with long raven hair, perfectly fitting t-shirt, jacket, and jeans, and no nonsense eyes that physically move two businessmen out of her way strides in.  I think my jaw drops open.  Morena Fourtenay doesn’t just enter the room.  She owns it.  Hercule’s dossier spoke a lot about her abilities with weapons and combat, her shining career, fast tracked then stonewalled, then reassignment and quitting .  But this woman here looks anything like a quitter.  And the dossier has no ranks for kick-ass-edness.

I toss a look around the room.  Even the picture didn’t do her justice.  Must have been an official one from her embassy days, all prim and proper.  Every able male in the room (and some of the women) are currently fighting a whole different morning woody.  She cases the room while ordering her drink.  But she’s distracted, sloppy.  I’m not trying to avoid her eye contact but her eyes brush by me.

Makes it easy as I wait for her to choose a spot then very casually move to exchange my paper on another open table, peruse it, then sit down right behind her.  That’s when I notice the fidgeting, her fingers drumming against table as she drains her venti in under five.  I let her sweat it out for a few minutes.  The drumming doesn’t let up.  And they say vampires are OCD.  Just as I’m about to say something, I hear her sigh.

“This is a total waste of time.”

I lean back in my chair.  “Coming from an ex-Secret Service agent, that’s saying something.”

She startles, grabs for the back of her jeans, under her jacket.

She’s packing.  In a coffee shop.  Great.  Great start.

They come mostly at night…mostly

Posted in Vampirony with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2009 by vampirony

Checked mail, no answer from Bruno, tried calling bartender with no answer so left vague voice mail.  Seem to recall a video tapping at the club, resolve to look that up.  Spend an hour updating FB with some excerpts from the Factbook on influencing since it’s in my mind.  It’s not that I’m avoiding sleep…it’s just not coming.

After a few years of seeing clients at all hours of the night, sleeping at night feels like a wasted opportunity.  But meeting early tomorrow, 9AM, to see to this other lead.  But now, it’s probably too late to take a sleeping pill.  And my head is reeling with memories.

smacardsPart of the trouble with remembering past lives is that they creep in when you’re most vulnerable.  For me, that’s the night mostly.  Which is why I don’t mind working in the evenings.  I actually prefer it.  By day, I’m so tired that I crash and when I awaken, there’s light and movement and all the sights and sounds of a life in full view that distracts me beautifully.  I’ve been on this quest, perhaps quixotic, so many lifetimes that my nights are filled with memories of vampires.  Ones I couldn’t help, ones that hunted me, ones that even killed me…I’ve had so few successes.  But my failures, they are grand indeed.

But then, there are moments.  Like the Burim twins.  I protected them for a spell.  Made vampires by mistake at 13.  Hired as a governess, I was Auntie to them.  When I had finally revealed that I knew their horrible secret, I had been able to help them find a way to not take up the vampire life, to avoid it and yet survive.  They never drank human blood.  That seemed key to keep them from growing too strong, for keeping their powers undercover.  And using the techniques I had through lifetimes to record my work, save it away, entrusted to a guardian who would continue the line until I surfaced again, we were able to set up familial guardians for the twins.  So they might never be alone, unprotected.

melatoninIn honesty, I’d lost track of them after that one lifetime.  I have tried off and on to find out what happened to them, so many things could have.  But this lifetime is too new and the memories sometimes fade into fog if I try too hard to remember.  It’s better to let them coalesce on their own.

I get up to go call in my last stand: melatonin.  It usually eases me to sleep.  And sometimes, the best remedy for the night is to pass through it unknowingly.

Case #13 – Skovajsa: First Impressions

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2009 by vampirony

Reason one out of, oh, I don’t know, about one hundred, why I always conduct my first meeting with a client in a very public place: You just never know what you’re getting into.  Skovajsa. One name, like Cher or Sting. The Carpathian vampires are still the most dangerous. Full of power, hunted for centuries almost to extinction. Terrified of the world and ready at any moment to try and conquer it. Not the sort of vampire I would ever expect to call for my services. 

 He’s a tricky read: emotionally disheveled, almost childlike in his discomfiture, like an adolescent trying to fill adult shoes.  Like Bela Lugosi’s shoes.  It’s almost sweet.  But then, all that economy of emotion and movement often covers ill intentions.   It is like a first date; you get to see the persona and if it does its job, if it’s intriguing enough, you might want to see more, to try to tell what’s fact versus façade.  I admit I’m intrigued.  1100 miles is a long way to go for a five minute talk.  He’ll call.  He hasn’t figured me out yet.  And he wants something.  That much is clear.

 Of course, it coulda been worse.  He could actually have been charming or cute. 

 Get back to the hotel# and up to my room, my groceries have been delivered.  Empty out the bag just to check.  A lemon rolls out of its mesh bag.lemons

 *sigh*  No lemons for you, Mr. One Named Wonder.  Bartender hasn’t called me back.  Will try him tomorrow.  He might’ve gotten busy.  Would’ve thought that $100 would have kept me on his to-do list.

Now here comes the strange part.  I’m looking out the window, there’s a moon, and honestly, I’m missing simpler times.  Missing someone to get to know me.  Missing an adult conversation.  Missing…flirting…   So stupid.  If it isn’t in my cards, it just isn’t and nothing on Earth can change that.

 THUMP! Goes my trunk.  Archaic, I know, to travel with one but I need my references.  I open it up, take out the Book.  Give  it a rub.  Ok yeah I talk to it when I’m morosely lonely.

 “Getting a little restless, eh? Been a long time since you’ve stirred.  You seem to like Seattle?”

 It doesn’t actually talk back.  Ever. 

 I set it on the desk, move to the bed to unpack some things.  Have a sudden feeling that somebody just walked over my grave.full moon

 The book’s cover knocks over and the pages start to flip on their own.  Ok, when I moved the book from my carry-on upon landing in Seattle, it moved on me.  This?  This hasn’t happened in my recollection in over a century.

 The book falls over onto the floor with a thud.  I go pick it up, careful to note the page.

 It’s one of the blank pages towards the back of the book, the edges well worn.  I flip back a page and land on the Burim twins.

 “Lucienne and Maurice Burim – My brave charges, how can I write of you and your bravery, so young when turned, without cursing the heavens for damning your souls to this world of pain and suffering forever.”

Heartbreaking but no, not them.  This page.  I’ve touched this page many times before but it won’t give up its secrets so easily.  Sometimes I forget that the magic of this book is all its own.  I can’t quite remember who gave it to me, which lifetime, only that I have ever since used it to record the people I have met in my lives.  And every new life, with every new awakening, I find the book again and it shares with me those that I have met before.  Only this lifetime, every since stumbling upon it 3 years ago, it has been mostly silent.

 Until now.  And yet, it’s not ready to tell me what it wants me to know.  Crazy.

 Hope to hear back soon from Bruno.  Already, Seattle is becoming more than I bargained for.  Better get some shut-eye.  I have a real meetup with a real adult (vampire cohort but still adult human) early morning.  Something about vampire dreams.