Archive for writing

And All Sorts of Messes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You saw his wounds?” Valerian asked softly.

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

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

“Stakes? Is that possible?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“And the tainted one, this Skovajsa?”

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

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

Advertisements

The Theory of Relativity

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony with tags , , , , on September 26, 2010 by vampirony

For moments after Sophie and Jesper had left, the reception room was quiet, except for the sucking sounds and crinkling of the foil bag.  Morena just stared down at Lucy, marveling at how oblivious she seemed to be, how completely enraptured in drinking she had become.

“Are you gonna be ok?” Morena asked and received not even a blink of acknowledgement.

“She doesn’t say much, does she? All kick, no conversation. You two cousins?” When Morena didn’t rise to the jibe, Nick offered, from the relative safety of the settee, “Maybe he charbroiled her ears?” Morena tossed him a glance and shrugged.

But as a matter of fact, there was something a little odd about the shape of Lucy’s ears, like a piece of flesh was sticking out. Morena kneeled next to her which prompted a suspicious look from Lucy but nothing more.

Morena slowly raised her hand and touched Lucy’s hair just above her ear. When she didn’t get attacked and Lucy just turned a shoulder to protect her drink, Morena tucked the still crispy ends behind what remained of Lucy’s ear. It wasn’t flesh but a flesh-covered piece of metal, electronics to be exact.

She touched it and tensed when audio feedback was her reward. Lucy ripped a cord from behind her neck off and both pairs of inserts came out of her ears, hitting the floor.

“What?” Lucy shouted, crushing her foil bag into a tiny ball in her hand. The wounded vampire girl then fished another out of her bag and began sucking it down.

Morena stared down at the device. When she didn’t respond to Lucy’s remark, Lucy glanced down at the floor. She stopped feeding, sighed deeply, setting the pouch down.

“Oh. Those. Sorry, were you trying to say something?”

“What are those?” Morena asked, now fascinated by all things Lucy.

Lucy smiled. “Anti-Vox Compulsum Modulators.”

Morena just blinked.

“Noise-cancelling earplugs?” Nick asked.

Lucy half turned towards him.  “Simply, yes. But specifically calibrated to a vampire’s control voice: Vox Compulsum.”

Morena picked them up in her hand. They looked just like ear buds with an extra thick cord but the wiring had partially melted. “Shame.”

“Oh, not really. I have loads of them."

Morena threw her a look of amazement. “Really?”

Lucy seemed more chipper and her skin less discolored with every moment. “Yeah, I get them from a manufacturer in Taipei. I buy in bulk.” She sighed. “Still haven’t figured out why some human voices don’t make it through, though.”

“So you couldn’t hear Sophie tell you Jesper was a friend?”

Lucy’s eyes went wide. “She said that? Oh boy, no wonder I’m in trouble.”  She dropped her head but Morena saw the furtive glance she cast toward the hallway where Jesper and Sophie had gone. “I hope she’s right about that. I’ve never seen any vampire like him before.”

Morena cast her own glance at Nick, who asked the question for her. “What do you mean?”

“I’m not sure I should say.”

Nick huffed, “Look, Sophie set up this class so we humanoids could learn about vampires and be better prepared. I hardly think she had this in mind but it’s probably been the best for us. Sure beats trying to decipher that book of hers.”

Lucy’s newly regrown ears perked up. “She gave you the Book?” To Nick’s dumb nod, she nodded herself. “Well, that certainly settles things. She has given you the book of her past lives and experiences. If she has trusted you with that, than I am to trust you too.”

Lucy looked at Morena.

“Um, I tried to save her life once? Badly, I know. But maybe, if I knew more, I might be successful.” It was more a question.

Lucy nodded again, her eyes straying to the hallway. “What do you want to know?”

Morena shifted her weight slightly to half-turn. “Right now, I want to know why you seem so intent on the hallway. Is Sophie in some kind of danger?”

“I don’t know.”

“You obviously think something,” Nick prodded.

“Vampires heal serious wounds only through consuming their food. In my case, blood.”

“Yeah, you both got your licks in,” Nick quipped, trying to lighten the mood. “So?”

She answered with a question. “How much blood do you think I just had?”

“Could you ask a grosser question?” Nick blanched.

Morena shushed him before turning her full attention to Lucy. “Maybe a pint? Why?”

“Each foil pouch holds 10 ounces and it took almost two full pouches before I began to regenerate. It will likely take me several weeks of heavy feeding to fully recover from both blood lost and cell damage done.” She then tossed a stern glance at the hallway. “How long do you think it’ll be until he needs to heal?”

Morena looked back at Nick.

“When you say you’ve never seen a vampire like that, you mean the high beams, right?” Nick asked.

“Well, that’s another thing entirely. Even without that, if I’d known a vampire could sustain that much damage and be seemingly immune to silver, I wouldn’t have attacked him by myself.”

Morena swallowed, her stomach churning. Her eyes locked with Nick’s.

“Maybe we should check on the happy couple,” Nick said.

Lucy picked up the kukri from the floor. “I would heavily suggest it.”

“Great,” Morena agreed. “You go first.”

Vampire Practicum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I needed to end this.  Now.

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

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

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

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

And it was frustrating him.  I had to help.

“Lucy!  Stop!  He’s a friend!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Neilza!”

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

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

Class is in Session

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

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

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

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

Shook my head mutely.

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

Nod my head slowly.

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

“Uh-huh.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senses.  Perfect place to start.

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

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

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

“Nick.  Focus.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Not all vampires have senses that…sharp…”

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

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

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

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

“Morena?  A question?”

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

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

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

Morena shook her head violently.

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

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

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

Jesper perked up.

“What?” I asked.

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

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

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

“I didn’t say a word.”

“Vampires can’t fly.”

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

“Oh, shit.”

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

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

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

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.”

Getting the Kiss-off

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

Lucy interrupts, “Your phone has been ringing off and on for an hour.”

I let it ring, try to catch Morena’s eyes.  When I finally do, I know everything.  All of it makes sense.  Now I know the real source of Morena’s temper earlier.  Jesper had told her to look after me.  I feel heat rise up within me and I’m unable to decide if it’s anger or flattery.  Which makes me angry.  Meanwhile, the phone keeps insisting.

I snatch it up.  It’s Nick.  “What?”

“Are you alright?  Been trying to call.  Thought you’d stop by the office before your, um, appointment or at least let me know where and when…maybe even throw in a what.”

“Appointment?”ballard

“Yeah, it’s in you calendar.  Sko-Vaj-Say 11PM.  Wow, what a fun name.  Where are you?”

Crap!  “Uh, Fremont.  I’ll be late.”

“Fremont?  Well judging by the traffic map, that’s where you’ll stay for awhile.  Maybe you should cancel…”

“Where’s a public place downtown that’s relaxing quiet but still, public?  Where you can have a conversation and no one hears it but you’re seen?”

“The Ice Lounge, 3rd and Columbia.  It’s in a hotel, kinda gangster-like inside, lots of cushy places to sit…even settees.  But never busy.”  He has good instincts.  “You can be there in, oh, about 15 given a good driver.”

I look at Morena who’s adrenaline is wearing off.  She’s not fit to drive.  “Can you call me a cab right away?” I ask Nick.

” Give me the address.”

I do so then hang up to text Skovajsa.  With no immediate response, I turn back to the room.  Lucy and Maurice are still staring intently at Morena who looks like she’s long past wanting to leave.

“I have to go now.  But we will catch up.”  I start for the door.  Maurice catches me up.

“Auntie.”  The concern is clear on his face.

“Do not worry.  I have always guarded your secret.”

“This vampire you’re meeting, that smells of magic.  He will smell us off of you.”  He’s assumed and gotten it wrong about my vamp clients but I don’t correct him.

Lucy joins him.  “And look at you…both of you.  We were only protecting ourselves but Maurice is strong, no?”

Morena speaks up, testing her elbow.  “She’s right.  I don’t know how I’m going to explain to Jes—.  J.  how I got my ass kicked by teenage vampires.”

I sigh.  “Nor how my client will react to my face.”  I don’t need to see it, I feel it.  Puffy, hot, achy, skin tight.  Yeah, major bruising.  And Maurice had barely moved.

He looks uncomfortably at Lucy.  She nods.

“What?” I ask at their conspiratory air.  She steps up to me.

“We have a way but you’re going to have to trust us,” she says, taking my hands.  Something in this I don’t like, but she’s sincere and I nod to her.  She looks at Maurice and tilts her head toward Morena. 

I watch the child charge he once was dissolve from his frame as I feel him exuding powerful forces of attraction against Morena as he approaches her.  Lucy squeezes my hands. 

“You must tell her to trust him.  He will not hurt her.”

I find myself a little befuddled myself before I realize why.  He’s not yet directing his abilities right at her, instead letting her see the effect on me, feel the effect herself.  She throws a near-frantic look at me.  “Sophie?”

“It will be alright, Morena.  Better this than Jesper’s interrogation.”  Maurice I know, Jesper I don’t.  And he and I are in need of a serious discussion.  I let her how upset I am with him.  Although, I have no idea what this is, really.

Maurice stands in front of Morena and at first, I think he’s going to share blood with her to heal her.  That terrifies me, knowing how viral vampire blood can be, unsure of how it might effect her permanently.  But as if he can hear my thoughts, Maurice says in a soft voice to Morena, as if she were the only woman in the world, taking her hands in his, “It will heal you.  There will be no lingering effect.”

raggedy annShe’s staring right into his eyes, being the same height as him and while there’s fear there, it’s not the only thing I see in her eyes.  As he leans in and she closes her eyes, it’s clear what he means to do and I feel all flustered and turn my head away, embarrassed.  But I can hear it.  And it goes on…for awhile…and gets louder…

“Do you want me to make you not hear it?” Lucy asks me, grabbing my gaze.  It bothers her too, I can see.  Maybe more than she knows.  There’s worry there in her face, like back when she let him lie or do something but she offered up a unified front.  She’s trying not to look too.

“No, no, it’s fine.  It’s just…” A throaty moan.  I swallow.  “Well, maybe we should leave them…”

Then it stops and I can’t help but look over.  Maurice is gently lifting Morena back to her feet, raising his head away from her.  She looks, in a word, dazed, mouth gaping open, eyes still fixed on him.  When he finally tries to step back from her, she moves forward with him until she blinks suddenly, realizes her hands are gripping his shoulders.  She then steps back, blushes deep red.   Then, she looks at me.  And she’s glowing.  Literally.

Lucy sees my shocked expression and looks over.  She shakes her head, “Brother, you’ve gone too far.”

He steps back away, almost sullenly.  “She was more injured than we expected.  She has a high tolerance for pain.”  He stops near his sister who puts a hand on his arm to draw his attention back.  “It was my fault she was so hurt.”

“Now let her go, brother.”

He fights it for a second.  Then, the humming in the room that I scarcely registered goes quiet and he looks at the floor, suddenly winded.  Lucy’s face shows concern but she covers it quickly to look back at Morena, who blinks like just awakening from a dream.  A really good dream.

“We need to go now,” I say.  I take my hands away from Lucy’s and step to Morena, hand on her arm.  This was not at all what she was ready for and soon, really soon, she’s going to crash down from it.  And I find myself more angry than ever at her so-called vampire Master.  He never used these abilities on her and thus, she was unprepared.  She looks at me with childlike eyes when I tug her arm.  The crash has already started and she shakes off my hand and folds her arms about her.

“Let’s go,” she says and storms out, angry, confused, but holding it together for the moment.

I follow her and as I pass Maurice he ventures a look up at me.  And it’s the look of his 12 yr old self seeking some sort of redemption. 

I pause for a moment, as Lucy says, “Probably not wise to tend your wounds as well, Auntie.”

I swallow past a lump of disgust in my throat, the mere thought of Maurice doing that to me.  “No,” I say.  I give them my card.  And I rush out after Morena.

My, My, You’ve Grown

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

Lucy and Maurice Burim, whom I had known in a former life as pre-teen vampires, stand before me looking closer to twenty than twelve.   Despite the obvious difference in their height, their faces have matured.  The innocence has been replaced by purpose, the fear replaced by conviction.  No, these are not the twins I had known.  But somehow, they are the same as ever.

Maurice pats Lucy’s arm around him.  It’s an old gesture.  He used to do it to get her to let go of him when she was clinging too tightly.  Now, it’s an intimate movement of connection between them.  They watch carefully as Morena gingerly stands up.

“Actually, it’s Darnell now.  Tammy and Thomas.”  His voice is richer, polished.  His matured in a way I never would’ve thought possible.  And she’s bloomed, still slight but lithe and comely.  And underneath it all, I feel it.  Morena shifts her weight backwards in response.  My darling charges are negative vampires.

“You want to help your old auntie up?” I raise my hand. 

Lucy smiles widely and pushes Maurice forward.  He’s at odds, as an young man would be, reacquianting with his past.  He steps forward uncertainly and the effect forces Morena back another step, out of his way.  He notices it immediately and I sense him get a handle over himself.  The twins had never shown such complete control before.  He takes my hand gently and I’m on my feet without the slightest sense of having been pulled up.  Yes, grown in every way.  Including power.

I stare up at Maurice who stands about 5’10”, not excessively tall, but inches away from where he had been when I had used to tuck them both under my chin for hugs.  Lucy had always been willowy but somewhere, her brother has finally surpassed her in height.  And there’s more as he holds my hand.  I feel the tension in him.  He meets my gaze but in a way that tells me his focus is elsewhere, his thoughts in hiding should they show through his eyes.   But he’s reading me, trying to at least.

Lucy breaks the silence.  “Old?  You are much younger than last time we knew you, Auntie Giselle.”

Maurice drops my hand.

“It’s Sophie now.  And you two, you’re older.  How is that possible?”

Maurice throws a suspicious gaze at Morena, who’s starting to show the signs of her embrace with a wall.   “You reek of bad blood.  We were certain we’d finally been found.”

I raise my hand up.  “My bad.  Some clients seem to cling about me.”

A tight smile creeps over his face as he looks back at me.  “Still on a fool’s crusade, Auntie?”  He shakes his head and sighs.  “And what of her?  A protege?”

“Hardly,” Morena mumbles, gently dabbing at her bloodied lip.

Lucy steps forward, excitedly staring at Morena.  “It was you I smelled first, before Auntie.  You smell of blood and light and magic.  Very confusing.”

“I wondered why you were so slow,” Maurice chides.

“Slow?  You call that slow?”  Morena asks, in shock.

Lucy looks somewhat between cowed and annoyed.  Maurice fixes his glare back on Morena.  “If she’d done as she was supposed to, you never would have seen her at all.  And we both would have been gone before you’d even noticed.”

She fights the feeling.  “That’s new.  Vamps that cut and run.”

Maurice bristles but I put a hand on his shoulder.  Like old times.  And it turns something deep inside of places I hide away that his response feels the same as when he was a child.

“Forgive her.  She’s greener than Kermit the Frog.”

Lucy’s face finally turns unkind.  (In French)  “Terrible child.  She seems more trouble than she’s worth.”

Morena answers back, “Not near as much trouble as I need to be, apparently.”

“Does everyone speak French now?” Maurice asks rhetorically.

“Lucy, Maurice, this is Morena, Morena Fourtenay.  She’s a cohort to a local vampire, a client.”

A look passes between Lucy and Maurice and they stop breathing.  It used to mean they were having a “twin moment,” as I used to call them, a time when they could seem to know each other’s thoughts, like telepathy.  They stare back at Morena, now with more interest.

She notices.  “What?  I don’t look like the cohort type?  My…uh, master…he won’t be happy I couldn’t keep Sophie safe.”

I blink just as my phone buzzes.  “What?  What are you talking about?”