Archive for Vampirony

Huddle Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And this time, I will be ready.

Vampires 101: Trust

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

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

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

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

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

I lied abt u today.

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

Why u do that? <SEND>

Don’t think I know enough abt u yet.

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

Wanted u safe.

Why? <SEND>

Felt it was important.

Who are u reporting to abt me? <SEND>

Not sure I should tell u that yet.

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

There are some things a vampire cannot tell.

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

I…

U know it’s important. <SEND>

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

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

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

Can we talk after your class?

That’s what I intend yes.
<SEND>

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

It can wait.

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

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

Why have u? <SEND>

It seemed the thing to do, considering.

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

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

I am transparent.

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

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

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

You’re blushing.

Yes. <SEND>

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

So u’ll come to the session? <SEND>

Yes. I will audit your class.

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

Ties that Bind

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony with tags , , , , on December 27, 2009 by vampirony

After a few hours trying to sleep, I finally call the nurse in about my headache.  She steps out into the hallway for a moment and then opens the door a crack.  She pauses, pursing her lips before speaking.

“You feel up to a phone call?”

“Yes.” 

“I’ll see about something for your headache then.  Be back in a few so you should keep it short.”

The phone at my bedside rings and I pick it up. 

“I was hoping they wouldn’t trouble you.”

“Well, frankly I’m surprised you haven’t taken me off of your emergency contact list.” 

It’s good to hear his voice and I instantly feel the same old wave of guilt for feeling this way.  He deserves better.  But the fact is I can’t take him off the list.  There’s still Jasmine to think about and she, well, she is what forever ties us together.

“You ok?  What happened?”

“I’m fine.  Just a concussion.”  I pause.  “You know I won’t tell you what happened.  It’s better this way.”

“Yeah, you keep saying that.”  I can feel his tension through the phone.  “What should I tell Jazz?  I can’t keep cover for you every time something happens.”

“Put her on the phone.”

“No.  Way.”

“You’re right.  You shouldn’t have to cover for me.  I’ve never asked you to.  But you will not explain things to her as I would.”

“That’s because what you’ll say is all crap and nonsense!”  He catches himself immediately.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean that.”

“Yes you do.”

“But it doesn’t help.  You’re hurt.  And I…”

“It’s alright, Dan.  You do mean it and I would rather you not lie.  But you can’t ask me to lie either.  This is who I am.”

I hear him sigh.  Then, in a faraway voice so I know he is covering the phone, “Jazz?  It’s your…”

“Hi, Sophie!”  Her voice is unmistakable.  She must have picked up the other line.

“Hello, sweetie.  Were you eavesdropping?”

“I got it, Daddy!  You can hang up now.”

I hear a soft click.  No goodbye.  No get better.  I don’t deserve it from him.  I struggle with the guilt but I do not wish that what we were had never happened.  A little girl back in Ohio stands as witness that life is bigger than any of us can know.

She whispers.  “He’s off now.  I checked.”

“How are you doing?”

“I liked the dress.  But you don’t need to send me those gifts.  I love you anyways.”

Nothing keeps the tears from falling.  “I know, sweetheart.  But I still like to think of you growing up like a normal little girl.”

“Like you were?”

I was.  At least, I had thought so.  I had once wanted to be a princess and get carried off by a knight on a gleaming white steed.  I had even thought I’d convinced myself that Dan was that knight and that I could make him happy.  But you can’t make someone happy when they think everything you believe in, everything you are is “crap and nonsense.”

“Ok, ok.  Miss sassy mouth.  You don’t dare say things like that to your father, do you?”

“No.  But he can tell I’m different.  He just ignores it.  For now.”  She is old beyond her years.  But no memories…well, not yet.  Hopefully not for a long long time.  “You ok, Sophie?  Daddy was really worried about you.”

“I’m resting.  I don’t mean to make him worry.”

“You can’t stop him.  He likes to worry about you.  But you sound fine.  Ooh, send me something from Seattle!  Isn’t that where that tower is?”

I laugh.  She loves collecting from my travels.  I’m not sure what is local flavor here but I’ll have to get her something.  “It’s called the Space Needle and I will, honey.”  My throat clenches as waves of loneliness and yearning pour through me, through the phone.  “I miss you, baby.”

“I miss you too.  Nite Nite, Mommy.”

Things Lost Forever

Posted in Vampirony with tags , , , , on November 15, 2009 by vampirony

Somewhere between the mention of the secret Christian order and the comment about blood flowing in a frigid stream, I start to cry. I think Lucy is caught up in memories, sifting through what details to tell me and what to omit that she fails to notice. But after she falls silent and the room is plunged into eerie silence, she lifts her sad eyes to me as I sniffle noisily and wipe my face.

“Auntie?”

It’s the concussion. But it’s more than that. I think I’d honestly thought that Maurice and Lucy wouldn’t survive, hoped against all hope they would but in the end of things, thought that they would’ve perished, freed from their monstrous being to start fresh again with cleared souls. But the true is far worse. They’ve survived, scratched and crawled their way through this imperiled existence to be betrayed, to fail, to suffer heartbreak, loss, loneliness, isolation. All the things a guardian never wants for her charges and the knowledge of how they suffered alone feels me with unspeakable sorrow that unhinges me.

But it’s more than that. I feel the walls of purpose tumbling down in the face of the most remote odds that I will ever make a difference. And at what unbelievable cost my small gains? My memory haunts me and I can’t hold back the sorrow any longer.

I’m bawling as Lucy hurries over to me.

“Auntie, what is it?” She pulls me into her arms and I cry. Doubt, fear, regret…all these things have been kicked up like the dust after the first specs of rain.

I can’t speak; I can barely breathe. And how can I even tell her how her story about Maurice has coalesced with the story of my lost child? So many pieces of so many lives ripped from me and I barely feel connected to this one. Kaga warned me of this. Maybe this lifetime should be for prayer and penance, not for the same goals as before. Maybe I’m not ready to step forward in this lifetime. How can I help others if I can’t find a reason within myself to do it?

The emptiness is threatening to swallow me whole.

“There, there, Auntie. We’ve become strong because of you. Because you taught us what was right and how to fight for it.” She strokes my head as I rock back and forth. “I’m sorry I told you that horrible story. Things haven’t all been bad. This thing with Maurice, it’s new. And here you are, back when we need you most. But maybe this time, we can be there for you.”

Her words are kind, meaningful, and supportive. But there’s something lost in all of this that is terrible to behold. It’s the loss of innocence and there’s nothing anyone can do to get that back.

Case #13 – Maurice: The End (As told by sister Lucy)

Posted in Vampirony with tags , , , on November 14, 2009 by vampirony

Maurice’s first attempt to end his mistake left him with a broken jaw that by the time he’d found me still hadn’t finished healing. By his admission, his own flesh had held the jawbone in place. He’d had to wrap his jaw to his head and it had healed too tight. So I had to break it again and wrap it correctly.

Caroline had a bevy of young, capable rail men to aid her and, well, even a vampire can be outnumbered. And Maurice has been foolish in allowing Caroline to marry a rail baron as a means to support them both. Coupled with her intense influence over the older baron, it had given her enough independent financial means that she had attempted to shut Maurice out. But several weeks later, she had crawled back to him all cajoling and seducing; she needed him to keep her young. When he’d refused until she’d left the baron, she slinked back to her mansion.

It hadn’t taken long for the rumors of the beautiful, enchanting railway wife to be superseded by local whispers of young men missing. Her husband ailing, Maurice withholding, she had sought out others to fill her needs. When she’d returned to visit Maurice a month later, looking flush, hearty, and full of vengeance, she had delighted in telling him how surprised she’d been when she realized that when she was with these young men, they gifted their virility to her. She was now one to be worshipped and these men, all of them, treasured her and would give anything for her, including their very lives.

Maurice had underestimated her capacity to comprehend her own abilities and the speed with which she would harness her influence into a veritable army. He tried to threaten her, reason with her, and finally tried to reach her with his heart only to have her rip it asunder. He was horrified, heartbroken, and out of options.

And unfortunately, I didn’t have any answers for him. I’d never heard of such a creature let alone understand how we had made her. I blame myself because we should never have mixed with humans so much. We had fooled ourselves into thinking anything good could come of it. And now, we were both left with the tattered remnants of those illusions.

Inspiration came from the most unlikely of sources. Brother Nathaniel, whom I had been assisting with the natives there, had managed to overhear our discourses. Imagine our surprise as he introduced himself as a member of the Order of the Mysteries, a military order aligned with the Catholic Church but predating it. He told us his mission was to tend to the sick, spread the word of Christ, but also to redeem evil where he could and if not, vanquish it.

He was not alone. To fulfill his mission in the wilds of the West, he had needed to find those willing to assist and after so many years amongst many native peoples, he had found that while they may never come to accept Christ, they fought against evil; tricksters, spirits, and bad people. His two guides, Little Rain and Kokosik, both warriors in the local Blackfoot tribe, were willing to travel with us.

I’ll spare you the horrid details of how we hunted her down. It was not dignified, efficient, or elegant. But between the five of us, we were able to end her unnatural long life in a cold stream at midnight. Which was lucky neither Maurice nor I could smell the blood or do anything about it all draining away in the frigid waters. While we’d hated what we knew we had to do, all the excitement of the hunt taught us we were not immune to our vampire heritage.

But that was the end of Caroline and a new beginning for Maurice and I. It took years to perfect and while we still prefer to flee or hide, we can fight if we have to. We’ve become quite good at it.

I tell you all this, Auntie, so you will hear me and know that I speak from truth and experience. This vampire of yours tonight, he is not to be trusted and not to be saved. He will be the death of you.


Case #13 – Maurice: The Becoming Part Two (as told by sister Lucy)

Posted in Vampirony with tags , , , on November 8, 2009 by vampirony

It was Annabel’s death that threw me off, hide the truth that was right before my eyes.  And the wall was there between us although us three traveling together, depending on each other seemed to drop most of the barriers between Maurice and myself.  Things had changed but I thought in many ways, we were stronger together.  The closeness between them I thought was that of a mother that had lost her children only to gain new ones.  For Maurice’s part, I still clung to the idea that he and Annabel had been first loves.  Well, I’m sure it might have been for her.  And for a time, I’m sure he was smitten with her.  But that’s not why he tried to save her.  She was a gift and a test.  And a trap all in one.

You mustn’t think poorly of Maurice.  He did none of that with malice in his heart, no true understanding of how his childish ambitions would play out.  i’m not even really sure that he consciousness knew how all of it fit together.  He was too close to it and reacted.  He wanted to keep her with him.  And as her child lay dying, in the way that our partly vampire minds think, he weighed so many variables.  As we’ve aged, I’ve watched many other vampires, seen how they think, felt it.  Perhaps it is another gift I have.  It’s not quite telepathy.  But I’ve been watching them for so long, I can feel their intent as it flows into their actions.  It’s kept us alive, in the most dire of times. 

But I suffered from nearsightedness, I was too close to it all to see it for far too long.  I was also inexperienced; we had been children made and the interactions between men and women, while I would see them, knew of them, my young vampire mind did not understand.  I had very much liked Lucas.  But I had not loved him.  I had not wanted him in that way.  Maurice and I had agreed to take turns surveying any new area during the night, Caroline would do so during the day while helping to get us situated.  But never for very long.  West.   She wanted us to move West.

The hints were small.  They would tense when I interrupted them.  Soon, I was taking most watches because I was better out sneaking around, becoming invisible.  It was true but something in his intention when he suggested it…well, like I said, it took me some time to question it.  Plus, I loved to go out into the night, watch how humans interacted, especially in the cities.  They lived on, danced, played, celebrated, never acting as if their fragility mattered when it was always there, just a hand’s breath away.  The actress, the courtesans always fascinated me.  How little power they had in that man’s world but how much control they could possess.  I watched it with fascination only to see it crumble so many times.  The tools of their trade:  makeup, perfume, clothes, manners, caresses, beguiling glances…I began to see it in her, began to see how she played him, how she whispered. 

For awhile, it didn’t bother me so much to know.  I love my brother.  I didn’t begrudge him any happiness she might’ve shared with him.  But as the years passed, I began to see her frozen in time.  At first, she seemed to become ageless.  And then, the fine lines began to disappear, the sagginess becoming taut and curved.  Her years of laboring were falling away from her and soon, the arguments started.  She was getting the sort of attention from all men that my brother must have lavished on her at night while I was away.  And she liked it.  They would have spats and he would take watch, unsettled, angry.  Sometimes, he would forget to bring us fresh blood.  Once, I was so starved I had to follow him to make sure he didn’t neglect us.

He had killed a deer.  But he had not drank.  After I took my turn, I held his hand and sat with him.  The wall had started to crumble.  He was afraid she would leave us.  He didn’t know what she wanted any more.  He was certain he’d never be able to give her enough.  But I knew what he did not.  Caroline had become addicted to the attention she received.  And while at the time I did not understand how she was able to do it, she was regaining her youth, maintaining it through Maurice.  I tread with care.  It had helped him to talk some; it quieted some of the brewing storm.  But the spats would happen, he would retreat, and I would comfort him.  Little by little, he admitted what they had done together.  The more contact with her he had, the more time seemed to turn backwards for her.

We had to stop the lie of her being our mother…she became our elder sister which made all of us uncomfortable.  But she quickly got over it.  So much easier was it to play the role of elder guardian than poor, widowed mother with two children.  She might be emancipated from us.  I was afraid it would break Maurice.  His powers were growing as were mine and his needs, they were growing too.  I knew I had to do something.  To keep my brother, I would need to break the bond between them.  I would have to find a way to make him choose.  His lover or his sister.

He choose Caroline and so I left him to her.  We were apart for a year and a day.  Our reunion was bittersweet.  He found me in Fort Shaw, Montana, where I was helping a blind priest named Nathaniel minister to the natives there.  It was 1887 and he wanted me to travel back East to St. Paul to clean up his mess, to undo what he had unleashed.  Caroline had changed into something neither of us could’ve predicted.  Maybe it was his fluids, his blood as he had begun to share that with her too.  Maybe it was that something was lacking as neither of us were quite mature yet.  It didn’t matter.  Enough had happened that he finally realized what she was and what, with my help, he needed to do.

We had to kill her, you see.  We had to kill Maurice’s first love.  She had become a succubus.

Case #13 – Maurice: The Becoming Part One(as told by sister Lucy)

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony with tags , , on November 1, 2009 by vampirony

We’ve never really been vampires.  We weren’t human for very long either.  We’ve been living in this half-life together for so long, it seemed like nothing could separate us, like we were growing into one being.  And then one day, it all just changed.  It seemed like such a small thing at the time.

Moving to the New World had taken a lot out of us, traveling in 1838 by steamship across the Atlantic.  The voyage took a little over 18 days and the only way we survived it was we took turns going into a sort of stasis while the other kept watch and fasted.  We arrived in New York famished and weak but managed to take up residence near a butcher shop.  It was providential in many ways.  The butcher had suffered a horrible accident just weeks before and Maurice and I were able to offer up our help to the butcher’s wife to keep the shop afloat for just a small room in the basement as payment.  The family never suspected what else we helped ourselves to but they admitted that the shop never looked so clean.

It took many months working there for us to build up our strength but we enjoyed our time there.  The Old World had become rampant with Undead but it was still a frightening prospect for most vamps to brave the voyage to the New World.  That’s why we had chanced it.  We were tired of running and hiding.  And in the city, we could slip in and out of hiding as we pleased.  We learned English within days, our brains able to harvest all the sounds around us into words and thoughts with strange speed.

But we stayed too long, we should have kept moving.  We looked just like teenagers then, maybe 16, street urchins, about the same age as the butcher’s children, a boy and a girl.   Neither of us knew what it was like to have playmates beyond each other and, well, we indulged in the idea of having a family.  We kept to the shadows during the day, claiming skin disorders but worked hard.  I cleaned while Maurice learned the art of butchery, seemingly learning overnight.  And I noticed things about myself, my strength had grown, my hair seemed longer.  While the trip had taken much from us, the limitless supply of fresh blood seemed to be rebuilding us in new ways. 

In a year, we looked like we had both gone through puberty.  My body filled out some, my hair grew, and I sprouted a few inches.  But for Maurice, the change was so much more dramatic.  He had always been smaller than me but he grew tall, he filled out into what a normal 18-year-old man would look like, his face became all angled losing its roundness.  I wasn’t alone in noticing.  I would catch both the butcher’s widow and the daughter Annabel admiring him.  I knew it was trouble but I too had an admirer in the butcher’s son Lucas and I was unwilling to give him up.  Being able to sit and talk, to have eyes stare into yours kindly as you spoke about faraway places, eyes wide with wonder and emotion, it was what we had never had.

Even with us growing up, maturing, Maurice and I still felt very much like one.  Maybe that is why we felt so much for the Butcher’s children.  Maurice’s infatuation with Annabel fed mine for Lucas and vice versa.  We would even share experiences back then, intense ones.  It was a strange and wonderful thing when I awoke one evening to feel Maurice receiving a kiss from Annabel as he awoke.  The wonder was followed by fear as I heard her call him her “Dark Angel,” a term she repeated as if knowing exactly what it meant. 

With that kiss, everything changed.  A wall went up between us as I urged him for us to move on, that it wasn’t safe anymore for us nor the family.  Maurice refused to leave and I had misundertsood why.  The family had become dependant upon us and I knew he felt strangely honor-bound to provide for them.  And his feelings for Annabel were complicated.  I think he knew before I did that she was ill; he struggled to decide what to do.  But before we could decide, both Annabel and Lucas succumbed and they were both slipping away.  

I didn’t know that Maurice had tried to turn Annabel until she lay screaming hours later.  He probably hadn’t even been unaware what he had done.  Whether by bite or by kiss, he’d infected her but his fluids did not have the strength to turn her completely.  She remained in horrifying pain for hours.  Whether her mother knew it was from the illness or something else, I never knew.  I never blamed Maurice because I had harbored the same dark thought about Lucas.  Sitting there watching my first love waste away, I had come to a similar resolve.  But it was Maurice who paid the price for acting first.  It was because Annabel had been sick first I suppose.

We all huddled around her bed, all of us, one dark arm of the family, one light.  Maurice held her and she spoke soft words to him before she sank unconscious and finally slipped away.  Her brother did not last into the evening of the next day.  The three of us, Maurice, me, and their mother cried together.  It was then that she knew that we were not human children.  Still, she had just lost her own children and so beset by the anguish of losing her whole family in the course of months, she adopted us.  She had squirreled away most of the money from the thriving shop and she decided we would move on West, get away from the city that had cost her one family.

As we traveled, I took Annabel’s name, Maurice took Lucas’s.  It was the first of our false identities in the New World with our first daytime companion.  The more we opened up to her and told her of our lives, the more determined she became to find a new safe place for us.  West, she said.  She did everything for us as we traveled, heading slowly west as far as the trains would take us.

Her name was Caroline.  And I learned that she had been Maurice’s first love.

Case #13 – Lucy: Lesson Number One

Posted in Vampirony with tags , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by vampirony

“I suppose I should catch you up. It has been ages.”

Lucy stands, walks the room while she collects her thoughts. Or rather, reviews what she intends to say. It’s about 2AM; She’s had lots of time to think waiting for me to come to.

“That would be nice. I’ll save my myriad of questions about how you’ve grown for later.”

She tosses a careful look back. “Oh, that. It’s simple really. We don’t drink human blood. Therefore we age more quickly than others that do.”

I think my jaw drops.

“I can tell you’re surprised.”

“I never knew there was such a tight tie between taking human blood and the aging process.” I try to think through the fog, to let all the obvious other conclusions fall into place but they won’t. What is it you do for a concussion? I’m trying to remember.

“Oh yeah. But it’s strange, you know. After a few decades, Maurice and I didn’t miss it, didn’t really crave it. ” She snickers. “He calls us Vegan Vamps.”

I laugh. “That is funny.” I take a deep breath. For some reason, there’s more to this that is hurting me than what logically makes sense. “What else?”

She finally decides to alight on the desk. The moment is like a murder of crows coalescing in one gentle but awful swoop. She waits watching me for a moment before I pick up on it.

“Yes, I guessed earlier that you are both negative vampires. Perhaps even…”

She holds her hand up. “I know, I know. And maybe that’s why I followed you. My senses are more acute than Maurice’s and given time to reflect, I was able to distinguish two creature scents on you, one that I’ve picked up before recently.”

“Our lovely Carpathian. So he’s recent to the area.  How recent?”

“Well, I’ve only noticed him in the last few months. You know, Mo and I often do recons just to know who’s about.” She shakes her head. “And I have to admit, we’re both curious about our heritage. We tell each other not to investigate vampires that move into our area…but we’ve both been guilty of it. This guy, he’s dangerous.”

I rub my neck, “Don’t I know it. You really were just feet from me?”

“I know, I wanted to step in but then I remembered how angry you would get when we interfered with your fate. I honestly didn’t know what to do.”

“No, you did what I always taught you. To hide.”

Allies Eternal

Posted in Vampirony with tags , , , on October 27, 2009 by vampirony

My ears are ringing and I feel clammy. I’ve fainted, a feeling I’m too familiar with. But I’m on a comfortable riveted leather chaise, a black trench coat draped over me. As I stir, try to lift my head, the Stars and Stripes start to play like a brass band in my forebrain.

“Ouch!”

“Auntie, try not to move.” A hand forces me gently back down on the chaise.

It’s Lucy. And relief floods me. It’s not the relief of seeing an old friend whom you’ve been parted from. It’s difficult to explain to those who don’t believe in the cycles of reincarnation, the evolution of our souls. Dr. Kaga once tried to put it into words for me: It’s the warmest feeling of knowing you’ve ever had coming from a deep but open space where there is no doubt, no fear, just true and complete belief. The moment is fleeting, ships passing in the night, a cherry blossom in full bloom.

But as relieved as I am to see her again so soon, it troubles me.

“Tell me you did not follow me and share a room with another vampire.” It’s more a statement of fact than chiding. The moment I say it, I know it’s true.

In days gone by, she might’ve bowed her head, looked embarrassed. Instead, she hikes up the coat around me as she simply says, “You were not fit enough for your meeting. And I was never in any danger.”

“Oh?”

She meets my eyes. “I can become completely invisible to others.” She smiles wanly. “After so many years of hiding, I have perfected it. I was never more than a hand’s reach from you.”

I slowly digest this. Against humans, I can totally believe this. But against a powerful vampire like Skovajsa?

She sees my doubt. “You were receiving texts on your phone. That’s why you were distracted. And you were about to answer when he attacked.”

I try to sit up again and this time she assists me.

“It was foolish. I can’t remember you being so lax.” It’s her turn to admonish.

“Well, you can’t say I haven’t paid for it.”

“Auntie.”

I brush her hair and pat her cheek. Lives divided and reunited. There is some magic at work here.

“Was it only for my health that you followed me?”

Her face becomes guarded in a way children’s faces cannot. It’s yet another reminder of where I have failed. I’m avoiding the flashback caused by what is clearly now a concussion. It’s too soon to go there and yet, it’s bubbling underneath, especially with these maternal thoughts for Lucy and her brother Maurice. Charges I loved dearly and lost with my own death to disease.

“I cannot believe that you are here. It seems Fate still drives our lives together, even if death tore you from us.” She exhales heavily. “You must help Maurice. He struggles with what he is becoming.”

When Honesty is the Best Policy

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony with tags , , , , on October 18, 2009 by vampirony

I didn’t know how long I’d been out of it but it can’t have been long.  Skovajsa still had me by the neck, feet hanging helpless a foot from the floor.  Having been in this position many times before, I know my weight and the pressure on the arteries in my neck will cause me to lose consciousness (or suffocate me) in mere moments.  I lift my sagging head as much as I can to look Skovajsa in the eyes.

He seems to have been waiting for that very thing.  “You have not been paying attention.”  He says it matter-of-factly, no hint of displeasure in his voice.

I croak a response.  Impossible to talk with his hand around my throat and my struggling for breath.  Now is the moment when I find out how far gone this vampire is beyond the reach of society’s morays.  There’s really no reason to kill me.  No reason when he has gone to such lengths to seek me out and try to impress me.  Even if I could speak clearly, I would be tempted to keep quiet.  Petulant behavior should be met with stony silence.

The edges of my vision start to blur in that all too familiar way just as Skovajsa sets my feet back down on the floor.  He relaxes his grip a little but doesn’t release me.  My eyes dart for a moment around the room, making sure no one has taken note of the interaction.  The last thing I need is someone swooping in thinking they will save me and getting themselves killed in the process.  Disgruntled vampires are better left alone.

I cough thickly, trying to get the muscles in my throat to obey.

“I am over five hundred years old.  You have never met a vampire as old as I.  You should pay me better respect.”

I clear my throat.  “Actually, Skovajsa, I’ve met lots of old vampires.  If you want to be an elder, you need to work on your manners.”  I can’t help that a little anger enters my voice.  My skull is pounding like jack hammers are trying to get out of it.  But before he thinks to squeeze again, I add, “I’ve heard every word you’ve said.  The trials of the Carpathians are well documented.”

“You seemed distracted.”

“I was trying to place your origins, your maker.  I do have to think while I listen, Skovajsa.  It’s part of my job.”  Now the anger is barely contained.  You don’t give vampires orders but if he doesn’t remove his hand from my throat, we are effectively done.

‘You are familiar with my plight.”  His statement has a hint of a question.  Then he removes his hand.

I rub my neck and then bend over a bit to take a few deep breaths.  “Yes.  I know several of your brethren who suffered through those dark times.  And I can’t help you if you insist on doubting me.”  Time to push the boundary back into place.  “If you don’t trust me, then I cannot help you and we’re done.”

He frowns.  Not a practiced expression like so many of his I’ve seen.  This one looks sincere.  He doesn’t know what to do or say.  Then his hand reaches up and traces the outline of the bruises on my face.  I flinch but manage to hold my ground.  As his finger moves over my skin, he’s surprisingly gentle.

“What happened to your face?”

“I had a run-in earlier this evening and got kicked in the face.”  My policy with dangerous vampires, especially ones on the verge of killing me is always the same:  tell the truth.  That way, if they kill you, you take your best karma with you into the next life.

He drops his hand and continues to stare down at me.  The effort to keep upright, helped by my right arm clinging to the wall, is still substantial.  I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through this.

“I apologize.  I overreacted.”  It’s almost a question.

“I think we’re done for tonight.”

He looks really saddened by this.  He really does love to hear himself talk, I conclude.  “I will let you decide when next we can meet.”

He then steps away from me and strides away.  I watch him walk out of view before I start to slump to the floor.  There’s a play of shadow beside me and suddenly an arm reaches out.

“Auntie!”

For the third time this night, the dark gobbles me up.