Archive for vampire

Hell in High-Heeled Shoes

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , on July 18, 2011 by vampirony

The first thought that ran through Nick’s head when Irina’s grandmother went flying across the deli, smashing into a wall, and shaking the whole building was whether the old lady would leave a dent. It was a terrible thought and as she fell to the floor, whimpering in pain, Nick’s taxed brain added insult to injury with the thought, The Iron Curtain has fallen.

It was an infantile response to complete and utter fear. In this case that fear took the form of one recently deceased Oksana dressed in her tattered tranny outfit with gold strappy heels and boy, did she look pissed! She also looked jacked, blonde hair going every which way, her skin was mottled and gray, and her eyes cracked and red, like she’d just done a week of all-nighters or some not-so-legal substances. Or both. And she was filthy, like she’d just crawled through a garbage dump on her hands and knees.

Uh-oh. She had literally picked up her grandmother by the shoulder and thrown her some twenty feet across the room. This wasn’t Oksana anymore. This was something else. Emphasis on the thing.

“Not good,” Nick swore to himself. “Irina! Wait!”

Irina had already started to move around the counter towards her grandmother, catching Oksana’s attention. Oksana made a step towards Irina when her grandmother struggled to her feet, grabbing something out from underneath her shirt. Her voice was strong as she addressed Oksana in Russian, holding her silver Orthodox cross out in front of her. That seemed to enrage the creature formerly known as Oksana and she jumped at her grandmother, grabbing at the cross. When her hand closed around it and hissed as the flesh burned, her grandmother straightened her bearing, full of fervor as her words pounded through the room. Nick thought she looked a lot like Hopkins playing Van Helsing.

Oksana shrieked, letting go of the cross, and slapped her grandmother, propelling her over the display case into yet another wall. The silver chain holding the cross broke and the object dropped to the floor, still smoking.

“Baba!” Irina cried and for an instant, looked down at the little cross. It had fallen just a few feet from her.

Nick saw what was in her mind and shouted, “Irina, no, leave it. Get out of here!”

He needn’t have bothered to warn her. Oksana tilted back her head and let out an excruciatingly horrifying bellow that made Irina step back against the counter and cower under its ledge. Nick crouched too, hands over his ears. But as he looked at Grandmother Iron dragging herself across the floor with arthritic hands, blood soaking her head scarf and dripping into her eyes, he knew he had to do something. He’d been separated from Irina when Oksana barged past him from the back of the deli, knocking him down, taking them all by surprise. He somehow needed to get them both out of here. Or fight back.

Oksana had a fit of rage, grabbing the cash register from the counter just above Irina and throwing it through the front window, then smashing the glass of the display case with a kick. Ah God, what was he going to fight that with? He looked up above him at the wall of decorative Russian art, which included a heavy looking brilliantly painted paddle looking thing. He didn’t have time to think but he did anyway. He was scared as Hell. But he saw Irina, hands pressed against her ears more in denial than sound, tears streaming down her face as her beloved older sister wrecked the restaurant. Yeah, he had to do something, alright. Something crazy.

He jumped up and grabbed the wooden paddle from the wall and just as Oksana turned back toward him, he gave out a rebel yell and smacked her as hard as he possibly could in the face with the paddle. It split in two and he dropped it as the impact blooded her nose but otherwise did nothing but make her go quiet.

And this was why Nick never resorted to violence. “Uh….,” Nick stammered taking a step back.

Oksana’s face broke into a maniacal smile as two very jagged, incomplete looking fangs snapped down in her mouth. Her eyes went a milky white and Nick stepped back, tripped over a table, crab walked backwards on hands and feet, all the while an ominously calm Oksana stalked him.

Oh, this was so not how he wanted to go out. “Irina, get your grandmother out of here!”

Irina looked frozen in place, her head finally raised, hands still held near her head but her grandmother was by her side now, tugging at her arm. Irina and Nick shared a look, one of sheer terror as both of them knew what would happen next. Irina’s grandmother shoved her into the kitchen and Nick’s eyes moved back to Oksana, looming over him.

Her fangs looked funky, rotten, like the rest of her seemed to be. Her eyes looked more zombie-like than vampire-like. And Nick realized how ridiculous that thought was as she grabbed at the front of his shirt to haul him up. It didn’t really matter how fresh a vampire she was. She was still going to make a feast of him and drain him dry. He hoped.

The entire side window exploded in a shower of glass, a human sized projectile launching at Oksana and smashing her back into the far wall. Nick fell back to the floor, head too slow to catch the movement as Oksana suddenly flew back the other way across the room, landing awkwardly in a mess of tables and chairs.

Morena’s dark hair was flying all around her and that one-of-a-kind moment he thought he’d had at The Mystic was duly repeated. She saved him…again. He could get used to this.

But first, he had to duck a table that Oksana threw wildly about. Morena just phased out of the way. It was the only way to describe her movement; one moment she was in one place, then a blur, the next in another place. Awww, man, she hadn’t gone vamp too? Nick pushed away the certain depression that would come from that reality and hopped up into a crouch.

“Nick, call Jesper. Now.” Morena tossed him her phone and went after Oksana. The two women began a girl fight of epic proportions and on top of all the other bad thoughts and reactions he’d had this evening, this one topped them all. He stood there, Morena’s phone in his hand, her orders clear in his head, with his mouth agape, watching as she scuffled with Oksana.

She ducked Oksana’s swipe unnaturally fast, spinning into a round house kick to the solar plexus that again sent Oksana to the wall. Then, she was just standing there, fists raised but side turned away from Oksana, her eyes meeting his.

“Nick!”

He snapped out of it. “Yeah!” He glanced down at her phone, ducked as a chair flew past Morena towards him. Her phone was locked. He raised his head to ask her for her password when he saw her do an amazing arm block, then twist Oksana off balanced into the display case, head first. Oksana shrieked and Nick decided Morena might be a tad preoccupied.

“Well, how complicated can it be?” he asked no one and typed the four digits to the The Mystic’s street address in and watched the phone log in. “Awright!” he celebrated to himself and was about to look at her call history when a message popped up. It was from Jesper. He pushed a button to dial immediately but it went to voice mail. Like everyone else’s had done all flipping night. “Dammit! Voicemail!”

Morena lifted her head a smidge at the news, only a split second distraction but Oksana wrapped her arms around Morena and flipped her up and over, down onto her back. Oksana tried to finish the move with a stab kick from her stiletto heel but Morena had rolled away. It was like watching brute force fight a fully trained fighter. So much different than the fight at The Mystic.

But Nick could tell that Morena seemed to be slowing down or tiring or both. He raced along the wall keeping Morena between him and Oksana, trying to dial again when the damn email reminder popped up again. “Damn!” he swore but clicked to read it anyways, scanning the message. “Holy shit! We need an axe!” He dialed Jesper’s number again.

“What?” Morena shouted, her and Oksana taking a moment to rest and measure each other up.

“Or maybe a cleaver?” he thought to himself, having chopped through a few chicken necks in his day. As he was about to dart to the kitchen, Morena had made another move, feigned high and struck low, kicking Oksana in the gut. Morena grabbed Oksana by the shoulders and pushed her into the shattered display case, food and glass scattering everywhere.

Nick wanted to run into the kitchen but he couldn’t take his eyes off Morena, couldn’t abandon her, not for a second. While Morena leaned over Oksana, Oksana was smiling, grabbing onto each of Morena’s arms and forcing her up and back and then, for good measure, squeezing her elbows until both of them let out a sickening pop. Morena screamed and Oksana threw her like a rag doll to the floor. Then, she kicked Morena in the face with her heel, an angry red scrap welling up across Morena’s face where the heel had cut her.

Nick held the phone to his ear while he watched Oksana turn back in his direction.

Leave a voice mail for Jesper Bretton after the tone.

“Uh, yeah, Jesper. This is Nick. We’re all going to die now. Hope you and Sophie survived. Nice knowing ya.” He then threw the phone at Oksana while he backed against the far wall.

Oksana again stalked him. What the Hell did she see in him anyways? Maybe it was what he got for playing hard to get the other night. If it was possible, she looked even more gruesome, bordering on ghoulish as she stepped just up to the counter. That was when the skateboard flew in from the kitchen, tripping her and causing her to fall on the floor.

Irina suddenly appeared from behind the counter, her face strangely calm.

“I can’t believe that worked,” Irina spoke quietly.

Nick had no clue what was happening but he jumped on Oksana. It might not be worth much but he knew he needed to hold her down. And then Morena jumped on top of him, grabbing Oksana’s arms as she flailed. Irina was then adding her meager weight and pressing the cross she had scooped up from the floor into the back of Oksana’s hair. Her hair smoked and burned and she shrieked in fury, trying to get free.

“Baba, now!” Irina shouted.

Grandmother Iron emerged from the kitchen, holding a small axe in her hands, mumbling in Russian and then, swinging down hard, she spat, “Move!”

At that point, Irina jumped off and Nick and Morena both turned their heads away. It took Grandmother two hard whacks with the axe during which blood splayed all over but Oksana’s head separated from her neck and her body stilled.

Grandmother panted heavily but didn’t waste time. She picked up Oksana’s head by her smoldering white hair and turned back to the kitchen. A few quick words in Russian to Irina and Irina picked up the necklace again.

Nick and Morena, blood splattered, still laying over Oksana’s corpse on the floor, watched with eyes wide first as Grandmother shuffled into the kitchen and then as Irina put the necklace around the stump of Oksana’s neck and bowed her head in prayer, lips mumbling the words. Meanwhile, Nick heard the oven door open and then slam shut moments later.

“Oh, Hell no!” Morena said.

Irina’s head jerked up. “Grandmother explained. We have to burn the head now and then the rest of the body to ashes. You cook, Nick. How hot do you think we need the oven?”

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With a Little Lemon Twist

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

“That won’t be necessary, Mr. Mordecai. I will handle this.”

Mordecai looked up to see Billy, the drunkard spirits distributor that was new to this area and nursing a broken heart and a thirsty liver, straighten up in his seat and swivel toward him. At least, that had been where Billy, fifty-five, grey to balding, paunchy, shabby old tan suit too tight around the middle, had been sitting. In his place, a younger, dark-haired but pale looking man tapped his cigar ashes into his glass and stood, placing the cigar back into his mouth.

“Huh?”

As the stranger unfolded out his chair, his clothing seemed to transform before Mordecai’s eyes, the suit reshaping to maroon with blue stripes, the fabric growing an expensive sheen as it stretched and fitted to exact tailoring as the stranger walked over to where the vampire lay prone and panting.

Mordecai looked down at the vampire as he tried to push himself up. Was his hair a little less blond? Earlier, it had almost been platinum, like Monroe. The stranger paused just above him, stogy in his mouth, and removed a case from his inside jacket pocket. His dark eyes glared disgusted at the figure struggling on the floor as he handed Mordecai a card, one side white, stating in black lettering:

Gypsy Twin Alchemistry: Spirits & Potables

Thomas Darnell, Purveyor & Proprietor

As he turned it over, Mordecai could make out a glossy black ribbon embossed over the black matte background, the recognized symbol of the Irregulars. His eyes flew up to the stranger.

“I’m so sorry, Sir. I didn’t know it was you.”

“Nor were you meant to, Mr. Mordecai,” Mr. Darnell answered, placing the case back in his jacket. “For your own protection. And as to that, I must ask you to leave now as I handle this…snag.”

Mordecai paused, caught up in the moment. The actual head of the Irregulars. Well, one of them. One heard stories about the woman, she seemed more accessible even as it was clear that she shared top responsibility in all endeavors. But the elusive man behind the curtain? No such sightings existed, at least documented ones. This was he and Mordecai was seeing him, face to face.

But something was happening to his face, as if it was melting from memory before his very eyes. The shatteringly dark eyes were no more. The handsome pale face, the dark hair…wait, what was the color of his hair…was there hair? Hair of what? Mordecai wondered why he was still here, so late. He had delivered the cigars and that was that.

“There’s a good man, Mr. Mordecai. Perhaps we shall renew our acquaintance at a later time.”

Sam Samuelson, Mordecai as his MMORPG persona, shook his fuzzy head and walked out of the bar, muttering about being late and wondering if his wife would be upset that his night out with the boys had been longer than expected. The elevator seemed to open to him as if by command and Chain, the elevator repair man and earlier the state trooper, gently grabbed Mordecai’s arm and pulled him into the car.

After the elevator had closed, Thomas Darnell, once known to a very very dear aunt as Maurice, kneeled down to the fallen vampire with an unsettled rage that he could barely suppress. He grabbed at Jesper’s face, turning Jesper’s chin towards him and blew cigar smoke into his face. The smoke held strong notes of cedar and oak and after inhaling a face full of it, some of the red in Jesper’s eyes faded.

“You will remember this night as the one in which we all saved Sophie Quinn,” Maurice spat.

Then, Maurice grabbed Jesper by the back of the neck and hauled him up to his feet. Jesper was blinking rapidly but still conscious, although still quite ill. Maurice shook him to keep his head from lolling. He grabbed across the bar, and produced a lemon. Using his short sharp fangs, he tore a strip of peel from the lemon, juice squirting out. His own eyes brightened to a dark blue as he shoved the naked lemon into Jesper’s mouth.

Jesper’s head shot up and after he swallowed, his eyes flew open, red eyes turned to glowing amber as his whole body convulsed. His hand grabbed at the fruit and squeezed more into his mouth as Maurice dropped him to his feet, seeing that he could now take his own weight. As Jesper devoured the fruit, Maurice swayed slightly and bent to a knee to keep steady.

Breathing heavily, he picked up the Jesper’s sunglasses. Then, bracing his hand on his thigh, he stood again, spreading his feet to support himself. He wouldn’t show this creature his weakness. When he met Jesper’s gaze, Maurice felt the rage recede, replaced with wonder.

Jesper’s hair had changed to a dark auburn, his amber eyes had turned back to red, the texture of jasper. Lucy had been right: this was no ordinary vampire. But Maurice saw a will there that he had not expected. As Jesper turned to go, Maurice held the sunglasses against his chest to stop him.

“You could barely best Lucy. You cannot hope to defeat a Carpathian in combat, even blood doped. We’re just keeping her away from him.” Maurice paused to take a shuddering breath, his pallor turning green. He slipped “We’ve taken care of the rest.”

“I am Vampire!”

The sound of Vox echoed through registers that no mortal could hear and both vampires looked around for the source. Then they settled eyes back on each other.

“Go!” Maurice said but Jesper didn’t wait to be bidden; he was already running through the restaurant at human speed, senses reaching out, trying to find another clue. The view from the restaurant was amazing, almost a full 180 degrees fully lined with windows. He could see the change in the night sky. He needed to hurry. He needed something more to go on.

At the other end of the restaurant, there was no smoke and his senses could clear. Oh now he smelled him, smelled the Carpathian. He was so close. Jesper put his hands to the glass on the south side of the restaurant. The lemon had cleared away all the cobwebs as well as some of his vampire strength. It didn’t matter. A conscious vampire was worth more to Sophie than a comatose one.

“Sophie, I’m here.”

Then he heard it, the faint drag of the vowels, the smell of jasmine in his memory, a voice from an age ago.

“Jesper. Help us!”

West side. He flew to the windows along that side of the building but didn’t have to wait too long. In a moment, he saw the Carpathian, carrying Sophie across the roof top, vaulting over to the construction site, up high on one of the unfinished floors. His vision focused in, like slides on a presentation, closer, clearer, until he could see the Carpathian, a struggling Sophie held in one arm. She clutched at something that dropped from her hands just before Skovajsa stepped into the open shaft that would become an elevator and disappeared, obviously going to ground.

He took a few steps back from the window and then launched himself just as he pitched a Vox scream at the window, shattering it. Arms outstretched, he took flight, gliding through the brightening sky like a bird aflame on a mission to save the one he could not save before, for a chance to do it all over again, to fix his fate, and finally be the hero.

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Lucy raced into the bar side of the restaurant to see Jesper race past her. She through her gaze to her brother and watched him sink back against the bar.

“Maurice!” She put her arm around him as he shook. “What happened?”

“C poisoning. I’ll be alright.”

“What about Sophie?”

He shook his head. “It’s out of our hands. We’ve done everything we could to prepare.”

“The sun is coming. We need to go.”

Maurice let out a cry of rage, slamming his fist into the bar before nodding, letting his sister whisk them both away in a flight of crows. This was one game that they had played to within stalemate. The final positions were being set and a new piece had just entered the board. He had risked it all, years of anonymity, years of hiding away to put this piece in play. He hoped for his sister’s sake and for Sophie’s, his call had been a sound one.

Wine and Dine on Her

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

As nerve-racking as first dates are, I wasn’t holding a lot of sympathy for Skovajsa at present. The floral bouquet was making me sneeze and the wine was anything but a drinkable vintage. His demeanor was on par with some snooty playboy who wasn’t getting his fair share of adoring attention.

Oh, and the fact that he’d broken into my room under some romantic pretense and after receiving a not-so-favorable reaction had resorted to force and at present he held me down on the bed to smell at my hair, wasn’t endearing me too him to him much right now either.

“It’s impolite to address me in that way,” he spoke without a shred of anger or feeling, as if he was reading cue cards for some hack version of Romeo and Juliet. “I came to offer you my special bond. You should be honored.”

Then again with the smelling. Slowly, from the base on the left side of my neck, up past my earlobe, around the crown of my head, and down the other side. Vampires and their heightened senses dictated no need for this kind of scrutiny so I had no idea what he was up to. I just hoped to heaven that this strange sense I had, that Jesper was or had just been here with me, would not be something he could notice.

“Excuse me if I’m reading more into your actions than your gifts.”

He jerked back, staring at me. Since I had his attention and he looked a little like a scolded child, I figured I’d push it.

“A woman prefers not to be pawed at!” It took every ounce of my thinking mind to not slam my free knee into his groin, a move so instinctual and yet fatal in this instance, that I had to bite my lip. I was flexing my wrists against his grip but only to keep the blood flowing. Any direct resistance would trigger him into fight mode. And there would be no way back from that.

He released my hands and sat upright. His face looked mildly confused and he pursed his lips.

“I brought flowers.” His attempt at explanation.

I didn’t trust him so kept my position on the bed. I wanted to rub the feeling back into my hands but putting them together would make it easier for him to control me if he went feral again.

“Yes,” in my most stern school teacher voice. “And with no greeting, no explanation of how you came into my room, startled me and attacked me, unprovoked.”

He shook his head once and, like some ancient punch card machine, he calculated his mistake. “I brought you jewels.”

“Irrelevant while I’m still pinned to the bed. May I ask you to control yourself and get off my person?”

With vampire speed, he moved to stand just next to the bed. But it seemed like he paused, like he’d meant to go farther but something grabbed his attention. He looked down at the bedside table where the phone off the hook was beeping. He carefully picked it up and put the receiver back in its cradle.

“I have disturbed your sleep,” he said softly, his back turned to me as he crossed slowly to the other side of the room.

I sat up carefully, not taking my eyes off him. He was in some state, anxious, fang-happy, on the edge. But his shoulders were slumped, as if his intentions had been shattered. He stooped to pick up the flowers that he’d dropped when he lunged at her. He’d trampled the lilies.

I sneezed.

He turned toward me. “You are allergic to the flowers.”

“No,” I paused to rub my nose. “Actually, the pussy willows.”

Skovajsa stepped to the door, which hung ajar from him forcing it open. He opened it long enough to throw the entire bouquet out the door and then stepped back, turning to me.

“Thank you,” I said quietly. It seemed very strange that the one item out of all the ones florists might use in a bouquet that I was allergic to would be one that ended up in his offering. I touched my lips, which still tingled. I wish I could remember my dream and more importantly, why the room felt like it did when Jesper’s presence was around. I almost thought if I whispered his name, he might hear me. I bite my lip again. That was sure to enrage Skovajsa, who seemed to be calming down.

He gave me a determined look that made me think “Uh-Oh” and stepped to me, hand reaching into his jacket. In a swish of supernatural movement, he was on his knee before me, holding out a rectangular jewelry box.

“Forgive me. I have misbehaved. I had meant to shower you with gifts so you might see how much I desire you to join me.”

He flipped open the box, as eager as a schoolboy, but even I had to marvel at the creation inside. Not that I was warmly impressed. It was a stab of icy fear that a man with resources to acquire something obviously so expensive and so unique would’ve set his sights on me. It was a prelude to the kind of ownership that was absolute and completely devoid of any semblance of familiarity with me.

“You are of great value to me, Sophie Quinn. You should be with me.”

This is the part in most romance novels where the heroine tossing all care to the winds and recognizes that all was done for love, all should be forgive, the sins of the past were the forgotten under the spell of adoring admiration and undeniable sexual chemistry. Of course, in most romances the heroine was exquisite in form, wily of spirit, just in need of someone to love her completely, no matter what.

The only thing Skovajsa loved about me was my wealth of knowledge about vampires. The thing he truly cared about was his own safety and he would kill anyone and steal anything to safeguard it by becoming more powerful.

“You say nothing to my proposal?” His brow furrowed.

My eyes narrowed. He had backed me into a corner and there really wasn’t anything I could say that wouldn’t wind up with him killing me. So I might as well put a name to his doubt.

“Vasa Skoda.”

He took it like a slap. The lid of the jewelry box snapped shut and he was on his feet, his eyes hurt, his brain percolating. “What did you say?”

“Vasa Skoda. It’s your name. Your real name.”

He shook his head violently. “No.” He backed away, into the breakfast cart. “No.”

For the first time, I saw a hint of humanity in his eyes, a hint of fear. I had to take advantage of this opportunity. It would be the last I would get to try and pry him open. I flipped off the bedcovers and stood up in my sock monkey jammies and tank top.

“You are Vasa Skoda, Yugoslavian by birth, born sometime in the 1930’s,” I spoke with certainty, taking a step toward him with each bit of information I revealed. “You were a failed actor, model, who moved to Italy to try and become famous.”

“You lie! You know nothing about me. I am Skovajsa! I was blood brother to Vlad Dracul.” There was a note of panic to his tone.

“You were not. Vlad Dracul was never even a vampire. I have that on good authority. Dracul is a reference to the Order of the Dragon, a Christian group founded to defend Europe against the Ottoman Empire.”

He crouched away from me, his hand grabbing for the antique wine bottle. It seemed to be a talisman to him and, with it in hand, he straightened and took a step towards me. “I am Vampire!”

The force of his Vox shattered all the mirrors in the room and sent me to the floor. I didn’t stay there for long as he quickly grabbed me by the throat and threw me against the bed.

“You would slander me. You would deny me!”

With one hand around my chin forcing my mouth open, he flipped the stoppered top of the wine bottle open and began pouring what I knew to not be wine into my mouth. I seized my throat muscles shut, held my breath to try and prevent the liquid from getting down my throat but it didn’t do any good.

With a familiar flash of consciousness that harkened me back to the winter of 1885, a red searing pain cut through me, flooding my consciousness with all twelve prior lifetimes as they tried to exert themselves against the vampiric flood. I screamed as my head felt about to explode with the strength of thirteen enraged personas, tearing at the influence of the vampiric strain.

It was a familiar strain. I’d felt this before; the force of immortality trying to rip me asunder and staple me back together with rusty velvet ties. It was Valerian, his blood. His oppressive figure appeared in my mind, just as he had stood over me when an accidental taste had given us both a glimpse into what would come. Tearing at my hair, screaming at the burning with my mind, there had been no room for him in me. There was no room for him here, years later. But he pushed on anyways, his blood in wine format summoning his dark, demands of complete surrender.

The sisterhood of my lives formed ranks again to try and fight him but with only one new recruit and her fighting every thread of memory she had of him, they would be no match. It was a tapestry hallway in my mind, skirts of different ladies shuffling around each other, clustering together to protect the most essential part of my soul while the rest of me lying naked, shivering on the floor while Valerian approached.

He kneeled down to me, his hand brushing the hair pasted with sweat to my face. “No, no, no….”

The skirts stilled and then suddenly rustled as a figure stepping through them, tailored pants in short ankle leather boots. The figure stopped just behind me and kneeling Valerian looked up to see…himself.

“You cannot have her.”

The other Valerian, the one brought here by the Taint nodded and caressed my cheek. “She needs me. She is injured.”

“Fine,” my guardian Valerian spoke. The skirts of my past lives gathered behind him, each putting a hand on him to feed him energy. “You may go wherever you need to heal her, except beyond this door. You will not speak to her sisters. You will not dredge up any memories. And when she is healed, you will go, entirely.”

The tainted Valerian smiled fiercely. “She will need protection. She has always needed protection.”

A dark eyebrow rose. “Oh? I don’t know, ladies. I think we’re doing quite well, don’t you think?”

Heads of different styles and colors nodded. The taint of Valerian burst into a red flood and washed all through the hallway but parted around the back doorway, crashing into the carpet, completely absorbed. The pain continued but I felt the Guardian Valerian clasp hands with Darcie and the pain ebbed to an ache. I started to feel my body again, pushed gently back to reality by a young shepherdess I didn’t quite recognize.

Just as my mental redoubt was shoring up, Skovajsa chuckled in a pleased way, producing four fearsome, uneven fangs. Coming back to that was as jolting as waking up in the first place.

“No one denies me!” he snarled and tore into my neck.

Well, then, there’s nothing for it, Sophie dear. Knee to the groin then.

It was Darcie’s voice. I had never realized she did have a distinct voice until just this moment. Her accent reminded me of Maggie Smith. Wasn’t she in that one Mystery show? I launched my knee into Skovajsa’s groin only to have my suspicions realized. The man had no balls to speak of and my knee hit his pelvic bone hard. Ouch! Great.

The kukri, Sophie. Call to it. The accent this time was Indian, from the mountains, English not natural to her.

I didn’t have to call to it. I’d kept it close. Under the pillow. All I had to do was grabbed for it but I couldn’t reach and my consciousness was starting to fade as Skovajsa’s hand gripped into the opposite of my neck. Damn!

Just as another persona swelled up, Skovajsa jerked up and spat my blood out. I’d never see that happen, realized I wasn’t seeing it happen from within my body at all. I floated just above and watched my body racked by seizure, Skovajsa still holding me down, the wine bottle forgotten on the bed, soaking into the bedcovers.

The Taint and Skovajsa’s bite had caused me to jump out of my body. My other lifetimes were taking turns inside to try and get me free. I’d have to ponder over how it was possible later but the pain was a smidge less although I still couldn’t breathe yet. Skovasja was still choking me. But he suddenly staggered away from me, lifting the bottle to his lips and drinking down all that was left.

Somehow I recognized that whatever protection Taint Valerian offered might have extended into my blood. Or maybe it had been whatever had rendered me unconscious might have somehow altered my blood chemistry too. I wasn’t able to string the thoughts together to figure it out. Whatever it was, it meant he couldn’t feed from me which, in this case, meant he probably couldn’t convert me.

Universe 2, Vampire Psychologist (via her Super Secret Friends) 1

A sudden scent of jasmine and gardenia tugged at me hard, propelling me back into my body. I was dimwitted for certain but this nameless persona stretched my hand out and grabbed the bag the Kukri was in. Her strength suddenly faded as my skin contacted the metal but there was one last thought she shared.

“Jesper. Help us.”

I couldn’t know if it was she or I that breathed it but Skovajsa, eyes now red with fresh blood, raised his arm and smacked me in the face with the wine bottle. Before I could crash into anything, he’d already snatched me up.

“You will tell me everything. You will guide me towards the power I seek. And you will be my vampire bride.”

With that, he crashed us back through the hotel door, out a fire exit at the end of the hall, and jumped across the rooftops until he landed in a construction site across the street. Amazingly, I’d managed to keep the knapsack with the Kukri. Furthermore, the sky seemed to be lightening up with the dawn of a Northern summer sky.

Universe 2, Vampire Psychologist 3

The odds seemed to be stacking up for me. I just needed to somehow survive the next half hour. The prospect of which was absurd. However, a soft voice reminiscent of the scent of flowers assured me I wouldn’t be alone for long.

Possession is Nine Tenths

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , on July 7, 2011 by vampirony

Nick returned from a longer than expected shopping trip with bags full of goodies and proceeded to show Irina that the difference between pierogi and gyoza was a matter of language. After all, dumplings were dumplings, boiled, fried, or steamed.

And no offense to her Russian grandmother, which he discovered was actually Georgian from the city of Tbilisi, but her piergoi was crap. Boiled and tasteless, it might serve perfectly for wartime peasant folk without much access to anything but staples…but for the more adventurous and less ethnically sensitive Bellevue crowd, any food had to have the name of authenticity with a decidedly fusion blend.

By the time he was done with them, the pierogi had taken on a chipotle-infused mutton and oozed like more familiar soup dumplings. When bidden by the smell Grandmother Iron Curtain ventured out from the office, pushing Nick out of the way as she fished one onto a spoon and surely burned her mouth sampling it.

Her face screwed up, flushed, and just as Nick was certain she was going to slap him upside the head, she grabbed him in a fierce hug and streamed rapid-fire Russian in his ear. Stunned, Nick was just getting his balance back when she quickly released him, shoveled ten of the doughy pockets into a bowl and retreated back behind her calico curtain.

Irina laughed heartily, “You reminded her of home.”

“I hope in a good, pre- or post-Communist way,” he joked and scooped two platefuls for himself and Irina and then sat down at one of the Formica tables in the restaurant proper to eat. After a few moments where they both greedily slurped up the pierogi, Nick asked, “Your family been here long?”

“My parents moved to America when Oksana was just two, right after the Soviet Union fell, in ‘92.”

Nick smiled. He’d meant here as in the deli but obviously, it was a story she wanted to tell. He played along, his interest piqued, “Isn’t it a little odd to leave Mother Russia when it had finally become free?”

“Free? Yes, for the mobsters and criminals. Not for simple people with not a lot to pay off the gangsters.” Irina looked down at her plate. “Grandmother used to tell us stories, how it was better with the Communists because at least they had a predictable system of corruption.”

“Still, you were able to leave.”

“My parents were athletes. When the system fell, there went their support. So when they could, they moved over and brought Grandmother back a few years later when I was born.”

Nick chuckled, hooking his thumb back toward the office. “Oh, so it’s your fault.”

Irina laughed, a wide smile with a gap toothed smile that reminded him of Madonna. “Sure, blame it all on me.” Then, she turned suddenly serious. “Grandmother is the best. She took care of Oksana and me when our parents died.”

“How…?”

“Car accident.”

“Ah, gee, sorry.”

“Maybe because I never knew a life without her, I just was used to Grandmother. But she and Oksana, they always fought, even when she was little. I think she was embarrassed about Grandmother and her peasant, folk ways.” She sighed. “Grandmother warned her to stay away from Him.”

Something occurred to Nick just then and he stood, grabbed his messenger bag. Irina watched him silently as he dug into the bag and fished out the rental documents for the office space. When he found what he was looking for, he asked, “This guy, Shishka? What rubbed your Grandmother the wrong way about him?”

Irina shuddered. “Big shot. Fancy clothes, cold, looks down on us. Grandmother thought worse.”

“Like worse how?” asked Nick, holding up the rental paper.

Irina hunched over her food, fork pushing a pierogi around the plate. “She called him upyr.

“What does that mean?”

She shrugged, “Bad man. It’s silly.”

“Victor Bella, that’s your landlord, right?” Nick put the rental paper down on the table in front of Irina, pointing to his typed name on the listing.

She shook her head. “I’ve heard that name but that’s not what she called him.”

“Your grandmother?”

She looked up from the paper, confused, “No, Oksana.”

Nick let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. It all made sense now.

“Let me guess. She called him Skovajsa.”

Irina nodded, dumbly.

“You want to tell me again what upyr means? It isn’t bad man, is it?”

Whether Irina didn’t answer because she didn’t want to believe it or whether she could see that Nick knew it to be true, Nick didn’t know. But he did know what happened to her sister. He grabbed his phone out of his jacket, dialing Sophie’s number only to have to leave a voice mail.

“Hey boss? We may have a teensy problem. You know the office? The one I just retrofitted for your clients? Well, it happens to be owned by one of your clients. And you’re not going to like which one.”

Even an hour later, Nick was still trying to convince Irina and her Grandmother that they needed to pack up immediately. He had to use, as his last straw, the story about how he’d seen Oksana chewing on that guy’s ear in Jerry’s. Irina still denied it and was refusing to translate things that Nick was saying to her grandmother when the Iron Curtain stepped right in front of Nick with a week old newspaper.

She spoke to him, gesturing to the picture.

“Yes, that’s him.”

“Bah!” Grandmother spat. She threw the paper at Nick and went back into the office. A zipping sound could be heard and as Nick pulled the curtain aside, he saw that Grandmother had a small suitcase out and was packing. She came out a few moments later and cleaned out the till of the cash register.

“What is it?” Irina asked, confused.

Nick stepped to Irina, showing her the photo of the businessman under the headline which read: Missing Business Man Found Mauled. She shook her head as she read it.

“Now do you believe me?” Nick yelled. He dialed his phone again, this time getting Morena’s cell number. Again, it went straight to voice mail. “Morena, it’s Nick. Where the Hell are you? I got a situation here. Call me back.” He hung up. “Dammit, where the Hell IS everyone?”

symbol_cleaver-color

Morena was wondering the same thing at that moment. It had been so much time she’d made it through the recorded life and times of Sophie Quinn…twice. She’d been mildly surprised that Sophie had been married so many times.

She’d tried everything she could think of to break through the door, the lock, the hinges…but nothing worked. And her cell didn’t get any signal. She’d watched the battery drain to almost nothing.

For lack of anything better to do, she’d started reading through a few magazines left in the room. She scoffed at the article about simultaneous climax and found herself nodding at the article about Marrying Mr. Wrong. It made her think of Jesper. She forced her mind to other things. Then she lay down on the exam table and while her brain turned over and over what might be happening, she nodded off.

It was early morning , 3:30AM by her watch, when her phone chirped, the battery finally giving due notice of impending shut down. She started, surprised she’d slept at all. She’d had the strangest dreams, red rivers of blood flowing down from Jesper’s shoulder as she clawed her fingernails into his flesh.

There was nothing for the cell so she turned it off. Just as she did, she felt the room rock violently.

“What the Hell was that?” She went to the door and started banging on it anew. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up and she strained for a second to listen just as the floor rocked again, almost as if something had hit it.

“Shit!”

She needed to get downstairs. NOW. Her vision focused and, as she grabbed a side of the frame with each hand, she felt this surge of pure, unadulterated power boil from within. She kicked out at the door, convinced she was going to get through it even if she broke her damn leg.

The door buckled in where her boot splintered it and the force was so strong, the lock popped out off the frame. Stunned with herself, she stood there staring. Her leg hurt like hell and some strange part of her brain realized that she had fractured her thigh but blood was already swelling there, healing her.

“Sonofa…” She didn’t waste any time. She hobbled out the doorway just as the building shook again, this time the sounds of crashing and glass shattering urging her on.

DJB: Kiss and Tell

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , , on June 23, 2011 by vampirony

When I first caught a scent of the Carpathian early in the evening, I had followed it out to the street expecting that a fight would ensue. I found myself facing yet another new condo complex under construction just across from the Hyatt. If its originality was already marred by just advertising luxury condos, it looked like a wine bar was nearing completion on the ground floor. Imagine, a wine bar in Bellevue. I’d have turned up my nose if I hadn’t been actively sniffing with it.

But after that first very strong whiff, the scent faded and I was standing there for far too long being buffeted by toxic car fumes. Unable to ascertain its direction further and unwilling to hunt it down, I’d taken up watch back in the Wintergarden, grabbing a magazine.

At first, waiting was a blessing. It meant I had more time to assimilate the bounty from my blood gorge the night before. I could feel my cells bathing in it. It made me feel strong, fast, nimble, lethal. In other words, I felt little like my normal self. I was a terrible vampire, in the traditional sense, and I had plenty of time sitting in the Wintergarden, surrounded by the vacuous space of modern hospitality architecture, to rue my decision of not letting Valerian help.

I wondered if my pride and anger had gotten the better of me and, in doing so, would be the worst for Sophie. Stretching out my senses, I tried to hear her, feel her but we were not that acquainted yet, not in this lifetime. When she was my Helene, I could discern her heartbeat as if it were the thundering of hooves from miles way.

I pushed those thoughts away before they dragged me back into reverie. Here I was, spoiling for a fight I did not want to have, impatiently wanting to see Sophie. But did I want her to see me like this, blood gorged eyes, barely controllable fangs? Maybe not.

After a mind-numbing article about Marrying Mr. Wrong and a rather more intriguing one about six ways to simultaneous climax that I intended to file not too far back in my mind, I really needed to see Sophie. I realized I fit too horribly close to the first article to even spare a hope of the second. When last we’d talked, we’d argued…in Turkish. The time before, I had run out of her office after collapsing in her lap. I wasn’t having a very good run.

And now that I recognized her, now that I remembered bits of our past together, it pained me even more. Not to mention the fact that I was depending on some security guard and my own limited vampire senses to let me know if Sophie was in danger.

By midnight, I’d worked myself into such a fuss, that I had to get up and stretch my legs. And then I just happened to walk past the elevator for her tower when the doors opened. And then I just happened to get into the elevator with someone else going to the twelfth floor. When we stopped on that floor, an odd thing happened.

“Oh wait, I forgot they moved me to a suite, guess they are doing some work on this floor. Ha ha. Sorry, buddy.”

I paused for an instant as the young man pressed the button for the 21st floor. But then I stuck out my hand to catch the door just as it was sliding shut. The man gave me a strange look.

“Beg your pardon, I just got my new room key from downstairs,” I slipped out the door without another look. No need for expending any extra Vox.

As I stood in the hallway, I realized how quiet the floor was. The man had been right; there seemed to be no guests on this floor. Save for one. I heard a faint slow heartbeat, a woman’s heart, toward the very end of the hall and I headed towards it.

I didn’t know what I would say. I should apologize. Shouldn’t I? I should tell her I would make it ok. I would tell her about the Taint, break the Conclave confidence. Then she would know why I needed to do this. She would understand.

As the room numbers counted down, I realized that she would not understand, she would not condone, she would not give up on her principles. I fervently hoped that somehow, this situation would be out of my hands. But I knew what I had to do. I had to protect her and hope for the best.

I knew her door from the sounds of her heart beating and her breathing just inside. I saw an evening paper lying there pushed partly under the door. When I picked it up, something fell out. It was a business card, with one black side and one white. On the white side, there was a single black symbol: a tied satin ribbon. On the other black side was the phrase written in white letters: “Gypsy Twin Irregulars.”

It made no sense to me so I pocketed the card and got out the card key Morena had given me. I breathed in first and knocked softly, head listening. Her breathing was even, uninterrupted by my knocking. I slipped the key in the door, watched the lock sensor light turn green, and turned the handle, pushing the door open.

There was a breakfast cart in front of the bed and the lamp beside the bed was on. Sophie lay on the bed partially obstructed from my view by the cart, outside her covers, in a heap. She was fully clothed so I stepped inside, softly closing the door.

“Sophie?”

Again, her body gave no response and I cautiously approached the bed. There was something in the way she lay that looked unnatural, like she’d fallen face forward unintended. I sat on the bed beside her, brushing her hair away from her face. Her mouth was open, pressed against the bedcovers. A sort of worry quickly overcame me but I was gentle when I grabbed her shoulders and drew her back against my shoulder. Her head lolled to the side and I used my hand to turn it toward me, all the while the sense of concern growing. Her heartbeat remained constant throughout.

I smelled around her head, her hair, and finally her mouth and something quite off struck me. A medicinal smell. Somebody had drugged her. Maybe even a poison. My head turned toward the food cart and the most obvious choice was the champagne glass, completely drained of its contents. I reached over and picked it up, putting it to my nose. Orange juice and champagne but no hint otherwise. I would’ve tried to taste it but there was nothing left.

I set the glass and looked at her again, lying limp in my arms. I laid her carefully back on the bed, warring with myself over what to be done. Her heart rate was solid…but I didn’t know if that would last. Had someone meant to knock her out or poison her? There was only one way to tell.

I leaned forward, both hands braced alongside her head, and kissed her. I couldn’t taste anything from her lips so I took liberties and opened her mouth, tongue exploring the tastes. The sweet taste of citrus made my eyes shock open with light for a moment and I lifted my mouth from hers. I couldn’t taste any poison and I immediately felt guilty. I’d wanted to do that but had not envisaged our first kiss with her unawares.

My hand turned hers over in mine, my thumb moving over her wrist, feeling her pulse. As if I needed any more assurances that she was fine. Drugged indeed, but nonetheless fine. Perhaps she’d taken something herself. Not that I believed that. The drug had obviously hit her suddenly.

But what kind of a lout was I? Under pretenses of protecting her, I had snuck into her room and then, worst of all, taken advantage of her. No, this wasn’t what my Helene deserved.

But she wasn’t my Helene. I did not know her like I had known that other version of her from years ago. And she did not know me. I was a perfect stranger who barked at her in a foreign tongue and collapsed into her lap. I claimed to want to protect her but here I was invading her privacy. I rose, tucked her carefully under the covers, pulled them up over her, took one further liberty brushing her hair carefully aside, then stood looking over her.

Would she know to call me for help? Would she even need help?

I picked up the receiver on phone by her bed. It took me a few moments to understand how to dial out, but I pressed the numbers and heard my cell ringing. I took my headset out of the pocket and put it on as I heard the call connect through. I then set the receiver on the nightstand. If something happened inside the room, I could hear it and be here straight away.

I gave her one more long look.

“Next time, Sophie Quinn, you will ask me to kiss you.”

I left her room then, slipping the card key in my pocket in case of the most dire of circumstances and headed back to the elevator to wait in the lobby. I pressed the down button and when the elevator opened, it was the same young man as before.

“You look like she said no,” he spoke.

“Huh?”

He smirked. “You know, the bar on the 21st floor is much better than the one in the lobby. Closer too for catching an elevator in case she calls you back.”

I stood there stunned while the elevator doors slide shut. Then I pressed the button up and waited for the next elevator.

Every Plan Has Its Loose End

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , on June 22, 2011 by vampirony

The walk from the Hyatt over to the office only took Morena twenty minutes and it gave her plenty of time to think. And she really wished she had brought her gun. But she realized her gun was a crutch and she needed to unlearn what she’d learned about how to fight if she was ever going to hold her own against a vampire.

She recollected how Lucy and Jesper had fought and the speed alone had been insane. Before she’d even recognized an action, the two had moved on to a parry and another block. Super speed super sucked for humans to have to deal with. She wasn’t sure how a kukri was supposed to counter that.

As she approached the building from the back of the lot, the first thing she noticed was a cluster of crows around the dumpster making an insane racket. She didn’t see Nick’s motorcycle as she bounded up the stairs. At the landing, she paused with her hand on the doorknob, turning back around to look back down at the dumpster. The birds were calling up to her in perfect unison. It creeped her out.

It was no wonder. It looked like some kids had been having some fun roughing up the dumpster. It had been flipped over on its side and there were quite a few holes punched into the bottom. It was hard to tell more but the ground just there looked like someone had dug something up. She couldn’t see much better; the streetlight right over that part of the parking lot was out.

Crows? Really? When there’s a dangerous vampire that Jesper is probably fighting right now? She shook it off and went through the front door of the office.

The office was dark but something immediately felt off.

“Nick?”

She stepped lightly over the wooden floor, stopping at the desk to flip the lamp on. That was when she noticed a sliver of light from the doorway of one of the examination rooms down the hall. She put her hand in her pocket and pulled out her Asp. Her gun might be her crutch but she wasn’t stupid to not carry anything at all.

With a flick of her wrist, the Asp snapped open into a 16” black chrome baton and she slowly headed down the hallway.

“Nick?”

She got to the slightly ajar door, took a breath, and then kicked the door open, blocking the entrance, eyes darting around the room. There was a small exam light on but the room was empty. She listened quietly for a moment and then, hearing nothing but crows squawking, she relaxed. She spotted a folder sitting open on the exam table and entered the room to take a look.

It was a collection of papers that looked like Sophie’s case notes. Instead, it was some sort of timeline that looked like a record of her life. Correction, lives. Morena picked up the folder and began to read, marveling at the concept that anyone could really reincarnate, let alone remember their pasts.

She shook her head. She certainly didn’t want all that baggage to drag around. She had enough in this lifetime.

Just then, the door slammed shut and Morena jumped. She quickly crossed to the door but when she turned the knob, the door didn’t open. It was locked. A shiver went up her spine and started her scalp tingling.

“Nick?” She knocked on the door. “Nick, are you out there?”

She was quiet for a second but couldn’t hear anything. She wrestled with the doorknob and then, unsuccessful, pounded on the door, “Is anyone out there?”

She got her cell phone out and say that there was no signal in the room. She recalled Nick being particularly proud of being able to fulfill some of the stranger requests in the exam rooms, like no wireless coverage, virtually soundproof, lightproof. It was meant to hold vampires and keep them safe. As she walked around all corners of the room and still no signal, she realized it was going to keep her in too.

She continued to pound on the door in futility for about five minutes but was already silently cursing one important point: Nick was good at his job.

“Shit! Nick!”

Universe 1 Vampire Psychologist 0

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , , , on June 20, 2011 by vampirony

The first response from the Universe I received after our little chat came as a knock on my door just an hour after sundown. I had slept all through the day and awoke groggy and drooling into my pillow. I raised my head from the pillow and watched as a paper was pushed under my door. It would’ve seemed strange at this hour had I been fully in my mind.

But as I was still woolgathering from dreams spanning the centuries, I just figured it might be worthwhile to check out the paper. So I crawled out of the covers, switched the bedside lamp on, and shuffled over to the door in my premium hotel slippers, curious to see the Universe’s response to my defiance.

There was a room service cart complete with a coffee service, an ample silver lidded tray, and an orange bubbly drink in a champagne flute. Confused, I checked down both directions of the hall, seeing no one. Looking back at the cart, I saw a card and picked it up.

“Miss Quinn,

For being one of our frequent stay guests, here’s breakfast on us!

The Management”

With that, I shrugged and wheeled the cart into my room.

I got comfortably seated on the bed and uncovered the tray. Pancakes with maple syrup, scrambled eggs dusted with cheese, heart slices of bacon, a fat sausage link, wheat bread lightly toasted, and country potatoes steamed and smelled delicious as I set the tray lid aside.

The Universe had decided to respond to defiance with…breakfast. I smiled just as my stomach growled. A hot version of the most important meal of the day seemed just the thing, even if it was almost 11 PM. I was about to spear the sausage link when I took note of the bubbly orange concoction.

I took up the champagne flute and sipped it.

The Universe toasted my defiant spirit with a Mimosa. I knocked it back, felt it burn all the way down to my empty stomach and resolved to relieve the discomfort with a mouthful of banana pancake. Which I followed with that speared sausage link, and proceeded to challenge the sin of gluttony with wild abandon.

It didn’t take but a few moments before I felt very sleepy. At first, I’d thought it was all those carbs hitting my stomach like anchors showered in fairy dusted powdered sugar but after my eyelids kept drooping, it became as clear as it could in my befuddled mind that the fairy dust was not of the naturally occurring dietary kind.

With the knowledge that dumb arrogance would be trumped by belligerent righteousness, I groaned as I toppled over in bed, my whole body going numb. My eyes spotted the empty champagne glass, as if in a spotlight of a cosmic boxing ring. In this corner, the Universe, aka The Management, intended to strike back with sugary carbohydrates and spiked Mimosas.

“Shit,” was all I could manage before I fell back asleep.

57 Channels and It’s So On

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , , on June 20, 2011 by vampirony

Just after sundown, Alex the night guard had sat behind his close circuit TVs in the Hyatt Regency’s security office watching while Morena talked to a tall, athletic-looking, fair-haired guy wearing shades in the lobby. He had smirked, wondering who Corey Hart was, wearing his sunglasses after dark. After a few minutes, Morena had quickly turned and exited, like she was in a hurry. A few moments later, the tall guy had made his out of the lobby towards the hotel bar only to come back about twenty minutes later, looking rather nervous and, well, shifty.

Alex had once been one of Morena’s students in her Personal Protection Pistol Class that she had taught at the Bellevue Gun Club. Honestly, he’d signed up because one of his D-Day Reenactment buddies had told him this total babe was the teacher. Within ten minutes of the class, she had a smart ass student flipped over on his back near to kissing her boots, while she spun and shot off a perfect round. Hot for Teacher had never been so true but she turned out to be a cool chick, great at what she did and appreciative of his former turn in the Service.

Not that they hung out. But once and awhile, he’d run into her at the range and she always said hello. Not interested but hello. That was fine with him. He appreciated the honesty and not being treated like a pariah. So much so, he liked to keep an eye out for her, go out of his way to walk her to her car when it was late, opening the door when she was hauling her rifle case in.

There was a rumor that she was not only ex-military, ex-Secret Service, but also that she was ex-CIA. Or maybe not so Ex. She kept a network that was for sure. He’d heard that bust up at her bar in Ballard a few days ago hadn’t even been written up because she still had friends in the Force. So it wouldn’t have been unheard of if she’d come and asked him for a favor.

What had been intriguing was that his supervisor at his security firm had beat her to it, telling him that she would be seeking him out tonight, even switching his work location to make sure he was working the Hyatt. Occasionally, his firm did fill in work when companies had temporary security needs or training.

This landed him perusing Hyatt security cameras and wondering who this fool in the shades was. That wouldn’t be a hint of jealousy, would it? Crazy. The dude had kissed Morena on the cheek before she stormed out.

Hmm, this guy’s bad news. Looks like he’s waiting for something.

He was about to get on his cell and call in when the phone rang. It was his supervisor.

“Hello?”

“Sidewinder, time to report in,” the voice said.

“Oh, yeah, there’s this jerk off loitering about. Is this your guy? You want me to send Rob and Brock down?”

“Was he with Morena?”

“Uh, yeah but she left–.”

“Then no. He’s not our guy. He’s fine. Brock’s got road duty and Rob, well, he’ll be busy later. Send up the gift.”

“The gift? Now? It’s not morning.”

“Now, Sidewinder.”

Alex shrugged. His supervisor also did reenactments but always for the Axis side. Still, the guy had a lot of street cred and had helped him out with shifts and things for awhile. He was one to be trusted.

“Ok, Ritterreiter, I’m on it.”

He hung up his cell phone and picked up the house phone. “Yeah? Hospitality?”

The Running of Errants

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , , , , on June 19, 2011 by vampirony

The vampire Skovajsa, once the human called Vasa Skoda, was having a very frustrating night. Although not know for his patience, he had decided that the bonding of this human Sophie Quinn deserved a bit of wooing. She obviously wanted more than just a simple generic trinket of diamonds that he’d picked up in a pinch from a nearby jeweler. The song had lied. Diamonds were not best friends to all girls.

His own pride also dictated that anything belonging to him would wear his unique style. That was why he’d arranged to have a special piece made with what he considered his symbol, a crown, joined with what seemed to be hers, an infinity symbol.

He’d noticed the amulet around her neck when they’d first met, assumed her vampire male had given it to her. It was said that sometimes it was better to acknowledge a woman’s ex, even as he was meant to be replaced by one older, stronger, more worthy. It would be so obvious that she was choosing the best once she compared the paltry leather strapped silver amulet to the magnificent piece that Skovajsa intended to give.

So on this night, before he finally made her his, bonded her to him for all times and gained the valuable information she contained in her passably tolerable visage, he would appeal to her romantic side with offerings of gold, jewels, flowers, and, at the end, wine. The special wine. His own blood.

He admitted to what seemed to be butterflies of anxiousness. His last episode in bonding, however inadvertent, had ended…poorly. The creature he had begun with, while beautiful in form, had lacked considerably in lifeforce, essence, style. Not that this human Sophie had any discernible style. She seemed to favor the same jeans and t-shirt only opting for chino shorts in this latest heat wave.

And frankly, her form was underwhelming by modern standards. Short, doughy, curves in the wrong places…brunette. Her one redeeming physical feature was her very long statuesque neck. And her blue eyes were a sort of pretty. But he’d seen the remarkable nature of the ultimate makeover on many television programs and was convinced that once undertaken, she would not degrade the impact of his flawlessness. After all, style could be applied, substance need to be intrinsic.

And what a wealth of knowledge she was. Rumors abounded on her reincarnated lives, lending her centuries of vampirical experience. She would help him greatly, help him find others of worth so he might expand his capabilities.

But it demanded the right touch, the right offering. And so instead of heading straight to her hotel room, 1234, of the Hyatt, he headed into downtown, needing to run a few errands, the first picking up his “Crowned Eternity” necklace at Gilbert’s Jeweler’s, near Pioneer Square.

Which was where things began to go wrong for Vampire Skovajsa. As he entered the shop after hours at his appointed time, the dark curly haired woman behind the counter was not as he expected. He approached while she continued to jabber away on her cell phone, while blaring music in her other ear.

“Oh my God, I can’t believe he said that. That’s ridiculous!”

Skovajsa put both hands on the counter, straightening to full height and impressiveness. He reminded himself that he needed to remain calm tonight, of all nights. It would not serve to lose his cool in front the human Sophie and he had noted that his calm, once lost, was nearly impossible for him to recover.

Excuse me,” he said, pushing just a little Vox in it to gain her attention.

The tousled haired woman stuck her finger out at him. “Just one second.” For a blink, he didn’t know if she’d said it to him or her phone. Then, she tapped an earpiece on her other ear and the music leaking out of her ear reduced to a dull hum. She twisted the phone receiver from her mouth and settled her dark almost black eyes on him.

“Can’t you read the sign? It is after hours. Unless you’re this….” She glanced down at a guestbook in front of her, finger tracing the page. “Victor Bella?”

“Yes, I am. I’m here for my package,” brow furrowing. The Vox didn’t seem to work although he wasn’t at all practiced in using just hints of it.

The dark haired woman, perched on a stool and strangely dressed for the weather in a black turtleneck, gave him the once-over with her eyes, hovering just at his waist.

“Hmm, I’ll say you need to a pick up for your package.” Then she spoke back into the phone. “What? Oh no no no no. That’s just wrong. You tell that fuckin’ little fish faced rat bastard—“

“Ma’am, I really am in a bit of a hurry.” He suddenly felt unwell. It was really bright in the small store. The lights were blaring at him and reflecting off of all the glass and mirrors. He was suddenly sweating in his leather jacket, blinking his eyes.

Ma’am, who you calling ma’am? Alright alright, if you’re going to just keep interrupting,” she said. “Tommy, I gotta go. Yeah I know, some dude that couldn’t be bothered to keep normal hours. Yeah, call you in a few. Buh-Bye.” She smacked the phone down on the counter and slide off the stool. Then she stood there, tapping long fingers on the glass. “Well?”

Skovajsa was confused, digging a finger under his collar. “I’m sorry, who are you? Where is Mr. Gilbert?”

She tilted her head, “Mr. Gilbert spent the last five days straight fashioning your, uhum, package, the last two nights of which he spent refashioning part of it to change moons into that boneheaded ‘8’ symbol because somebody didn’t like his original design and changed his mind last minute. So Mr. Gilbert spent some quality time with Mr.’s Beam and Bitters and went off to bed.”

“I see.” He looked up at the ceiling lights, blinking furiously. “Have you changed your lights recently?”

“Why yes, Mr. Twenty Questions. Just got them installed today. They use natural light to better show off the brilliance in the diamonds, best in the Emerald City.” She laughed. “But yeah, they can be a bit much. Why don’t you put these on?” She reached plastic glasses that looked like Roy Orbison’s sunglasses to him and he gladly put them on. While he still felt uneasy, the light wasn’t directly in his eyes and he felt better for it.

She waited for him to respond. He waited for her to do something. “Am I supposed to say something?” Really, human females were so tiresome to predict.

“A claim ticket would be nice. And your ID. I don’t mind handling Mr. Bella’s package but would like to make sure I give it only to him.” She smirked as if she’d made some sort of joke.

“Oh,” he got his wallet out and produced his ID, handing it to her.

She lifted it up so it was aligned to her view of his face. “Not a very good picture, is it?”

“What?”

“No one’s driver’s license picture is any good. I think they practice taking bad photos at the DMV. Ok, your claim ticket?”

“But you already know that I am..Viktor Bella. You should just hand over my package.”

Her hand went to her hip and she leaned forward, all slender 90 lbs of her. “Look, pal, my uncle didn’t spend forty years sweating in cramped dirty musty basement cupboards of New York giving his hand toiled artwork away for free out of the goodness of his heart. The store policy on your receipt clearly states both ID and claim tickets are required for pickup.”

Skovajsa the Vampire could feel calm ebbing away as his cool dissipated under the premium lights of the store. Harridan. He took in a deep breath, ready to unload a torrent of Vox right in her face when she spoke again.

“Unless, of course, you have your receipt.”

He huffed the air out. Where had he put that? In his preoccupation of the last few days, he realized that instead of filing his receipt away with the rest of his financials, he’d left it in his wallet. He fished it out and handed it over, one eyebrow raised to see what else she would throw his way.

She unfolded it carefully, raising the ID in one hand and the receipt in the other, examining. Then, a shriek rang out, causing Skovajsa to jump back from the counter.

“BARTY!”

She lowered the paper and ID, gave him a shrewd look, and tossed her head around. “Barty! Customer here for a pickup!”

A muffled sound was heard from beyond the showroom towards the back room. What shuffled through the door looked like half man, half metallic spider with crutches and braces everywhere on its 4 foot minus frame. “Yes, miss?”

“This kind gentleman is here for his package. Go fetch it.”

The man named Barty looked utterly confused and nearly incapable of movement. “Um, name?”

“Yours, mine, or the customer’s?” the woman replied snidely. “Look, it should just be on the back desk. Uncle Gilbert made this after hours appointment special.”

Barty’s head turned as far as it was able to the back room while his bottom lip jutted out in a way that suggested he didn’t quite know where the package was. And as Skovajsa was about to pitch a fit of his own, the woman flew after the retreating Barty, her white sparkling flip flops making as much racket as she was chattering after him as the two employees went into the back to find the necklace.

Skovajsa decided patience could be found when someone serving his own interests was verbally flogging a fellow human as savagely as the woman was doing to Barty. So he waited and nearly an hour and a half of his patience which involved minutes of finding the right package (after two wrong ones were offered), inspecting the workmanship (which was excellent, by any judge of taste), having to try several of his credit cards while the Versa machine went down, then the computer, then the cash register locked, finally paid off as he made his way to the door and was about to step out when the woman called to him one last time.

“Sir!”

“Yes,” he tensed.

“Would you like complementary gift wrap for that?” She smiled. “Any special lady deserves extra special presentation.”

Skovajsa sighed and resolved to the next half hour of selecting just the right presentation. It was the gift of a lifetime and he couldn’t explain how the exasperation resolved into pride and anticipation with his elegantly wrapped, one of a kind offering.

He was so satisfied with himself that he thought she couldn’t possibly refuse him. As such, he was later than he’d wanted, now staring at midnight, and he was about to skip the flowers part of his offering when he ran right into Mariner’s late night game traffic. With the crowds, there was no direct way of getting Eastside without being seen or messing up his perfectly coiffed hair, so he called the specialty florist to rouse her from bed.

Strangely, she was perfectly agreeable to opening up for him at the late hour so he turned his black Escalade down Alaska Way towards lower Queen Anne. It wouldn’t get him out of the city sooner but he might as well use up the time while the traffic cleared to improve his case. Of course, his florist Vicki kept insisting in adding these ugly pussy willow stems to the bouquet and seemed to have installed the very same Diamonique lights in her store so he kept those ugly Roy Orbison glasses in place, even as they seemed to hum a bit.

Another hour lost but with a gorgeous bouquet of lilies and roses, and yes, the damn pussy willows that he intended to yank out on his own but traffic had cleared and he used all 403 horses in his Escalade to cruise across the 520 bridge. He was feeling relieved as if this evening had been some sort of trial and he had survived it with his calm intact.

Until, that is, the red and blue flashing lights jumped into his rearview just as he was taking the Bellevue Way exit. Skovajsa the Vampire, having lived for many years had never received a speeding ticket or parking infraction of any kind so gave himself a calming breath as the cop approached. He had to say, he was little impressed with the figure approaching. The man was smallish and his pants seemed quite ill-fitting. It actually made him smile, almost as if it was some sort of jest in this night of all nights.

The officer approached sideways and did not exactly step up to the window as Skovjasa lowered it. “License and registration, Mister.”

Skovajsa, full of humor and pride from knowledge that this fellow would be easy prey to the Vox, had thoughts that maybe he’d make this fool dance the jig down the centerline in the middle of traffic.

Aren’t you a little short for a state trooper?” he remarked, Vox issuing with vigor from his voice.

The officer stepped up to the window, facing him with dark aviator sunglasses and these odd earpieces that seemed familiar, before flashing him full in the face with some sort of halogen torch that seared his eyes, making them tear up.

“Laugh it up, jackass. Now hand me your license and registration so I can properly write up your ticket for going forty over the speed limit and talking back to an officer of the law.”

No, this night was not going as Skovajsa had planned. As he got out his wallet, it was only going to get worse as he realized the woman from the jewelry store had never handed back his ID. The officer appended driving without a license to the ticket with a smile and a relish, seemingly as impervious to Vox as everyone else he’d had contact this night had been.

Perhaps it might make more sense for a bite to eat to settle himself. He began to look at the officer in a new light.

“You do realize that this registration is three months expired?”

His fangs began to extend all on their own. “No, officer.” His hand moved to the door handle.

Just then, a road construction crew with a portal light generator pulled over on the opposite side of the off-ramp and the crew began to unpack, the lights shining right into his windshield, causing his to shield his eyes, removing his hand from the door.

“Sonofabitch!” The officer called over to them. “You can’t just set up like that without a flagger!” The officer tossed his id and registration into the car, tearing the ticket off the pad and tossing it in the window as well. Then he took several steps back, across the pavement. “Oh, Hell! Move along, move along!” The officer waved at him angrily to get out of the way.

Skovajsa, assessing the situation, realized with so many witnesses and his recent spat of luck, maybe he should take this opportunity to consider his errand run concluded and get moving towards tonight’s goal. So he put the SUV in drive and got the hell out of there.

The officer watched Skovajsa race away and picked up not his 2-way but his cell phone. He dialed a number and paused, waiting for the call to connect.

“Yeah, Ritterreiter, package is coming your way.”

Sunglasses at Night

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony, writing with tags , , , on June 13, 2011 by vampirony

The sun had been full down for fifteen minutes. Morena, decked out in all black, elbows resting on the top of a counter, except for the electric blue of her earphones stuffed into her ears, checked her watch one more time. One of the hotel staff stared at her from reception. The sound of Lincoln Park blared from her headphones. She turned her eyes to him just as he thought to go speak to her about it. She raised an eyebrow at him as if to say, “Yeah? Come try it.”

She frowned, checking the time on her phone, about to text, again, when she finally spotted Jesper striding towards her from across the hotel lobby. His movements seemed tight, controlled, like some sort of caged animal. There was an aura around him that almost looked like the heat coming off scorching pavement.

It was the blood doping. He’d explained. He’d be at maximum capability stuffed to the proverbial gills with fresh blood. A lot of it hers. And it had hurt like hell. Still, it made him damn sexy to look at. Except he had to lose those ridiculous sunglasses.

He paused next to her, seemingly taking in the lobby while she remained, holding up the counter as it were. She studied him, wondering what else got revved up by that much blood in his system.

“It’s the bite, you know.”

“What?”

He turned his head towards her. “I can see the way you’re looking at me. Sense it. It’s just a side effect of biting my shoulder, drawing blood.”

She lowered her elbows off the counter but remained where she was. “Sure. What’s with the sunglasses?”

He stared her in the face and lifted the shades to show her. The iris of his eyes was a golden red color.

“Oh.”

He dropped the shades back and place and turned his head.

“She had any visitors?”

“Naw, no one’s gone up or called her room. Alex, the security guard on duty, woulda called me if so.” There was something in the way his head was turned, the look on his face; it was like he was only half paying attention. “What?”

He turned his head slowly to her. “Listening.”

“For what? You couldn’t hear her from here. She’s on the 12th floor.”

Morena saw his eyebrows go up and down.

“You are shitting me, right? You can hear 12 floors up right now?”

A smile crept across his face. “Just this floor. And maybe one more up. Or two.”

Morena stared for a moment. She wasn’t sure what she would’ve done if, per chance, this nasty vampire dude had shown up. She’d given the Kukri, the only weapon she knew of that could help humans deal with vampires, to Sophie. She’d even decided that carrying her piece actually made her react in too human of a way and left it at home. She thought she might felt naked without it, especially after having a good portion of her blood drained the prior night.

“How are you feeling?” Jesper asked, as if reading her damn thoughts again.

She felt wonderful. Like she had just done some amazing cleanse and all the bad juju had been drained out of her and was being replaced by the bright, shiny, new. She couldn’t help flash him a smile.

“It’s your marrow. You’re feeling it regenerate your red blood cells.”

“Way to spoil an oh so fresh feeling.”

“When the cells regenerate—“

Morena held up her hand. “God, Soph was right. Once you guys start talking, can’t shut you up.” Before he could interject anymore vampire wisdom, she fished an electronic card key out of her skinny jeans and handed it to him. “Room 1234.”

He smiled. “Thanks. I got this.”

It took Morena a moment to understand what he meant.

“No, seriously, I got this.”

He put it all into the look that passed between them. Whether it was because this had now turned personal between him and Sophie, or because he would likely be fighting another vampire, he didn’t want Morena involved further.

Her face showed her disappointment. She was in this with him. She wanted to see it through.

“Nick. You need to make sure he’s safe. Watch over him. I’ll take care of Sophie.”

It took a moment. From inside, there was this thread that wanted to follow him anywhere in the world that he might lead. It was the bite. She knew that. Residual influence from direct contact with his blood. Whatever he had taken from her in blood, he had kept his promise. There was no binding in it, no charm, no intended influence. He had further seen to it that Camille didn’t even remember what had happened or that she had ever thought vampires existed.

But then there was Nick. He probably would be rolling into the office at any moment with no clue what Hell was about to be stirred up in Downtown Bellevue. For Jesper was convinced the Carpathian would attack this evening and he had done everything to be prepared. And now, it was time for her to play her part.

She nodded, stuffing her hands in her pockets. He exuded such vampiric strength and confidence; she had no doubts that he could handle whatever Bad Vamp could dish out. But still, you never knew what could happen in combat.

As she was about to say something, to reach out to him, he stepped to her and kissed her check.

“It’s going to be alright.”

She nodded, her eyes getting misty. Then, before a tear escaped her eye, she turned on her heel and heading out into the night.

Jesper took his cell phone out of his pocket and proceeded to send her an email. It would probably take a few minutes to get to her but, by then, she would be able to do nothing to change his fate.

Morena,

If I fail, it was not because of you. If he finds you, severe the neck, clean through. Then cremate the body, to be sure. Do not bury anything but ashes.

I was not deserving of such a friend.

-J

He caught a scent on the air. It was time to go. It was time to fight.