A first draft

This is part of the first draft of my Vampire novel. It’s rough in places… but I love where it’s going.

He glides, a ghost of silk, chrome and steel reflecting his pale, soulless perfection. The pumping beat, the grinding bodies clad in black, they are his element. Every environment needs predators and prey. In this place, at this time, he is the archetype of the predator. He scans a room that is bright as day for him, looking for that one perfect victim, that one who will not be missed, who is weak enough to be separated from the herd but strong enough to satisfy him.

Finally, over in the corner, a sad little girl, lost behind layers of white makeup and black dyed hair. She reeks of desperation, of loss and pain, and none of those around her seem to look at her, seem to really notice her. She is beautiful to him, a lost deer waiting for his jaws to close around her neck. From where he stands he can see the vein pumping blood through her pale neck, beneath the short bob on her head. He flows over to her, the crowd parting before him. He beckons her to him, and she comes drawn by the power that flows through him. He holds out his hand, takes hers and presses it to his lips, a quick dry kiss on the back of the hand, with a bow. “John,” he says.

“Samantha, Sam I mean”. She’s flustered, confused, unsure. Exactly as she should be.

“Let’s find somewhere a little more private.” He realizes that she is younger than he thought, too young to be in a place like this. She comes with him, no hint of resistance in her stance or in her eyes, eyes that are dark with something hidden, a blankness that seems out of place in her fine features. He knows that there is something coursing through her veins that came from a needle, but that doesn’t matter to him. He draws her out the door and into the alley behind the club. She leans back against the wall, welcoming him to her body, pulling him down to her. He pulls his head back and extends his fangs. She stares at them and then says, “Well, fuck,” her tone dead and empty.

It stops him. He’s heard screams, panic, fainting, even lust a few times, but never the sort of empty resignation he hears from Samantha. “What? What did you say?”

“Look, it’s been a shit day. Just get it over with.” Still no hint of emotion there.

He’s intrigued. Most of the time when he’s not hunting he’s just bored, but now she’s got his interest. “Not yet. I want to talk to you first.”

She doesn’t resist this either. He takes her to his car, a sleek black European sports car, the kind that draws looks. She gets in the passenger seat, not even looking around, head down. He takes her through the dark city to his building. They go through underground parking to the elevator and right to his penthouse. The furniture is darker and more expensive than the club they left. Chrome and smoked glass again, of course, but a higher grade of it. He guides her to the couch. She sits down and starts to unlace her corset. He lays a hand on hers and says, “Stop.” She does, without any protest. “Why don’t you fight? Why don’t you care?”

“I don’t know. It just doesn’t really matter that much. Death, life, whatever. I am a bit curious about the fact that there are real vampires though.”

“So ask. I will answer as best I can.” He doesn’t know why he wants this, this strange interaction… but he does know that he wants it, wants to see her care about something, if only for a moment.

“Is your name really John?”

“Yes, believe it or not, it’s Johnathon Smith”.

“How old are you?”

“I was turned in 1978, at the time I was 22”.

“Wait, I’m about to be killed by a 33-year-old vampire?”.

“I haven’t decided if I’m going to kill you or not, but yes, it’s actually my 33rd birthday today.”

“So you were alone on your birthday? That’s kind of sad.”

“Well, when I was alive I had people around me all the time. I didn’t really appreciate it then, guess I don’t really miss it that much now.”

“How?”

“How what?”

“How did it happen, how did you end up being a vampire?”

“Well, I was in a band. We were almost Joy Division or Bauhaus or something. Had a bunch of dark music in a time when people wanted that. I was the lead singer, knew that the world was mine for the taking. I figure if I’d held off on the drugs and the groupies for a few months longer we could have been huge, but I didn’t. I did too much of everything. The band fell apart and I kept trying to go solo. Eventually, a producer noticed me. Everyone said he was huge, the real deal, had a stable of acts that was going to set the world on fire and more money than god. He invited me to his place one night, a mansion up in the hills. I went, packed a knife. At the time I said it was so that if he wanted a blowjob I could gut him. Looking back I think it was because I thought he might have some heroin I could steal. I got there, it was the nicest place I had ever been. Nicer than this place. Very old world, none of the crap that was everywhere in the 70’s.”

He’s getting lost in the memory, the texture of the place. It’s something that happens to him now, his senses are so much stronger, his memory so much clearer. He can feel the grain of the wood under his fingers from when he brushed the wall on his way in, smell the faint smell of wood oil, the stronger smell of smoke. The producer had asked him inside, very civilized, very old world. His accent was faint, eastern European but very hard to detect. At the time John had not even noticed it. There was a fire in the dining room. The producers’ name was Ivan. He offered John food and wine and then sat back and watched him eat. He didn’t talk, not the way people do when they are eating a meal together, and he didn’t eat anything. He did drink, red wine he said. After the food, he offered John a needle full of brown fluid. John’s eyes were fixated on it from the moment it entered the room in the hands of the silent manservant that appeared to be the only other human in the house. Ivan tied off John’s arm, a movement that he seemed to have a great deal of practice with, and found a vein with no effort at all. The needle slid in and he pushed the plunger down. John just let it happen. When he woke Ivan was sucking on his neck. It hurt, it hurt a lot. He felt his body floating, weightless, his life draining out into Ivan’s mouth. He tried to push Ivan away but his limbs were too weak, and his vision was clouded. Finally, everything went dark. Then he felt a burst of something in his mouth, a salty sweetness with a strong hint of copper. Not blood, blood wasn’t sweet like that. He started to drink, drank as deep and as strong as he could. He felt a hand push him down, and the drink left his mouth, left him gaping at air, gaping for more. When he woke he felt strong, powerful. He saw Ivan lying naked next to him, strands of dried blood on his mouth and his wrist. John could smell the individual types of wood that were being burned in the fire, make out when two logs were from the same tree. He could feel the texture of the floor, the movements and eddies of the air. He knew that the manservant was one of seven humans in the house, could hear their hearts beating. He was so very, very hungry.

Ivan woke up and caressed his cheek, told him that he was beautiful. The horror of what had happened, the chaos of his new senses, it took hold of him. He smashed his fist into Ivan’s face. Ivan stood up, raised himself to full height. John tackled him around the waist, driving him back to the large fireplace in the room. Running on something primitive, something that was older than him, he drove Ivan and Ivan couldn’t stop him. Ivan smashed his fists down on John’s back, but it was too late, he staggered over the raised lip of the fireplace and fell back into the flames. As he tried to rise John grabbed the poker and smashed him, as hard as he could, again and again. Finally, Ivan stopped trying to rise and burned. The manservant and a large man in a suit had come in by that point. The large man rushed John with a pointed stake in his hand, but John grabbed it faster than he would have thought possible and then threw the man who probably outweighed him by a hundred pounds with one hand. The man smashed into the far wall and then fell to the ground with a wet thump. John ran for the window. The manservant told him to stop very quietly. John did, for some reason the man’s voice seemed very reasonable. He told John that it would still be daylight for another hour and that he should wait until full dark to leave. John waited with the manservant, the wet lump that was the bodyguard and the charred corpse of Ivan for a full hour, then he left into the night.

He recounts this to Sam, leaving out nothing. Not sure if he is trying to disgust her into caring or simply needs to tell someone. She listens, then she asks if he has a kitchen. He guides her to it. She asks him to wait in the living room while she makes something.

Sometime later Sam comes back into the living room. She has something that looks a little bit like a cake. It has a single emergency candle in it.

“I don’t eat”.

“That’s okay, you didn’t have any real food in there anyway. This isn’t edible. It would kill me, hell it might even kill you. Now blow out the candle and make a wish.”

There is something about the gesture that breaks John down. He walks over and blows out the candle, then he draws her into his arms. He holds her, that’s all, just holds her. A warm body next to his cold form. It is something he hasn’t felt since his death. After a while she pulls her head back, reaching up with a questing mouth, seeking his. He returns her kiss, but he can feel the blood flow beneath her lips, he pulls away. She keeps reaching for him, so he pushes her back with a snarl.

“Why, what did I do?”

“Nothing, you didn’t do anything. If we keep going you die”.

She sits down on the couch, shaken. He can feel it in her, hear her breathing ragged in her rib cage. He goes and sits in the chair across from her. The view behind him is the entire city, lights twinkling. He apologizes, another thing he hasn’t done since he died. They sit, just sit, for a long time. Finally, she speaks.

“Look, I had a bad day today. I didn’t know what I wanted when you took me. I know now, I don’t want to die. So, you have to figure that shit out, because if I’m near you I’m going to kiss you. Hell, I’m going to fuck you, if Anne Rice was wrong and vampires can do that. Get your shit together and deal with it”.

“Alright. But not tonight, I don’t have it in me. I haven’t fed in a week. Tomorrow, after I feed, I’ll come get you. Bring you back here.” He decides in that instant that she isn’t going to die by his hand, at least not this night.

An alarm sounds and John presses a button next to the window. Steel shutters slide down across the floor to ceiling window.

“I have to go to sleep. You are welcome to the couch for as long as you want. If you leave, leave me a note with how to get hold of you. I have to go, now.”

He walks to the back room, grabs a bathrobe from the door, it’s twice her size, and it’s the closest thing he has to a blanket in the place. He throws it to her, apologizes for the lack of amenities and stumbles into the darkened room in which he sleeps. He falls into the room, unmoving as if dead. The door closes by itself, locking behind him.

The next evening he wakes up shortly before sunset. Pushing it as late as he did has left him sleepy, drowsy. He walks into the living room, hoping that she will still be there. He knows it’s stupid, but something happened to him last night. She isn’t there, but there is a note on the door. It contains her address and an upper case S at the bottom. Nothing else. He goes to the garage, gets in his car and drives to her place. He isn’t sure what he’s doing, but he goes with it. It’s a building, a tenement really. The kind of place that should have been condemned twenty years ago. As he walks to the building from the street he sees a bunch of locals checking out his car, and realizes that it will be stripped if he just walks in, also that he hasn’t dealt with his hunger yet. He turns to a cluster of young men leaned against a wall.

“Please ensure that nobody touches my vehicle while I am inside. I am holding you responsible”. This last is aimed at the man who looks to be in charge. “If my car is untouched when I get back, I will give you a reward”. He’s working on the man’s mind, glamouring him, convincing him. It doesn’t always work, it’s not magic… but he has a hundred dollar bill in his wallet, and he shows it to the man. That kind of temptation makes the glamour stronger. Then he walks around the building, confident that he will find a meal. It takes a moment to find a junkie passed out between the wall and the dumpster. He grabs him, making sure nobody can see, and drains him in a moment. He hopes that will keep the hunger at bay enough while he is with Samantha. He walks into the building, ignoring the prostitute in the lobby trying to entice him with her body, a body so wasted by meth or crack that any genuine femininity has long since died. The elevator is sitting there, doors open, obviously it is going nowhere, so he takes the stairs. He is accosted on the steps by a man with dreadlocks offering to sell him drugs, he declines and continues up, his eyes clearly giving the signal that he isn’t a victim. He knocks on her door. She yells from inside that she will be right there, but the door opens. The man who opens the door is short, overweight, balding, wearing boxers and a stained wife beater t-shirt. “What the fuck you want with Sam?”

“I plan to take her to dinner”.

“Fuck you, pretty boy. Goth fag. You’re too old for her”.

“Let’s let Sam decide that”.

Sam comes to the door, wearing the smallest dress John has seen on a girl who wasn’t a prostitute or a stripper. She tries to walk past the fat man, but he blocks her with one arm. “You ain’t going nowhere, little slut. Think I don’t know what’s going on here. Rich pretty boy like this, you started hooking didn’t you?”.

John reaches out, pushes the fat man out of the way, gently, but with more force than the fat man can resist. It’s as if a steel bar was suddenly blocking the fat man. Sam slips out, a hint of tears in her eyes. “Fuck you Frankie. You aren’t my father, you aren’t shit. Get the fuck off me.”

They walk out of the building, Frankie screaming at them, but he isn’t giving chase. The car is untouched. They drive out into the night.

“I meant it about dinner. I’m taking you to a nice place, you look like you could use the food.”

They pull up to a restaurant, and John hands the keys to a valet, walks in like he owns the place. Sam is unsure, a little scared. He takes her by the hand, walks her in. The Maitre De takes them to a table, greets John by name. Takes them to a table. John holds Sam’s chair, a little overly stiff, a little formal. She sits, still very unsure. “I’ve never been in a place like this. I don’t know what to do, hell, I don’t know what half these forks are for.”

“Don’t worry about it. With what I’m paying we can pretty much do what we want. The staff here, they won’t judge you. They just do what they need to in order to make sure you have everything you want.”

The waiter starts to bring over food. Samantha has never seen half of it. She starts tucking in. John stops her. “Look, there’s a lot of food coming. I can’t help you with it. Have a little bit of everything. It doesn’t matter if some of it goes back to the kitchen.”

She eats for what seems like hours. There is desert, and wine (they never ask her for ID, she has one but it’s fake and she thinks to herself that a place like this would notice).

Finally, she is done, so she tells John she wants to go back to his place. They leave, head out into the warm night air. The car ride is magic for her, something unlike anything she has felt before. She believes she knows him, at least a little bit, she believes that while he’s a killer, he won’t kill her. Somehow she doesn’t care whether or not he kills someone else. She heads up to his place. She’s sleepy, from the large meal. In the elevator up she kisses him, long and deep. Wrapping her body against his. It’s strange and intoxicating. He’s solid, not like anyone she’s ever touched before. He’s thin, but he doesn’t move under her weight at all. He kisses her back, lost in the moment of it. It’s like there’s a fog in his mind, blotting out everything but the two of them. They make it into the apartment and fall on the couch, a mesh of arms and legs. They strip each other naked and fuck, hard and fast. After, she lays her head on his marble chest. “The thing I don’t get, I mean, in books vampires always have money. You have money, but where the hell did it come from? I mean, it’s not like you have bank accounts with interest from hundred of years or something.”

“Vampires can’t fly. We can climb the side of a building almost like it’s level ground though. We are strong, and we can enter a building in ways that most people can’t imagine. I’m a thief.”

“A killer, a thief, almost enough to make me think Frankie was right about you… but not quite. Also, sex with underage girls.”

“How old are you?”

“Seventeen. Don’t worry, you can’t get arrested for fucking me. It’s probably immoral. I would say you are going to hell, but I think that’s a foregone conclusion.”

“I think I died already, no hell so far. No heaven either. If there is a god he has some explaining to do, including how the hell I can exist.”

They lie together, just being with each other for the night. In the minutes before dawn, he slips into his room and she finally sleeps. There is a blanket this time, something he had gotten sent over from a store that does home delivery. Something exotic and down filled. She sleeps better than she ever has in her life. When she wakes it is still daylight outside. She walks to the kitchen and is surprised to find out that it has been stocked with food. Despite the meal the night before she is hungry. There is a ton of food there, huge amounts. She grabs some cereal, something with marshmallows in every colour of the rainbow. There is a stereo, so she throws it on. John has his band’s only album in the shelf, so she grabs it and starts to listen to it. She is surprised because it’s actually pretty good, something she would have listened to either way.

She is dancing around in her underwear when he comes out of his room. He watches her, dancing like a maniac to the one reminder of his mortal life. The familiar ache that he felt every time he listened to his music is still there, but it is altered, bittersweet instead of simply bitter. He drinks in the site of her, sustaining him in a different way than blood does.

That night they go to the beach. They lie on the sand, make love under the stars, it’s the most perfect night of her life. Around four he tells her that it’s time to go. She walks to the car with him and they drive through the empty streets. Not completely empty, but close enough. When they get back to his apartment he takes her into his chamber, the one he vanishes into. There is a canopy bed, something that hadn’t been in there before. There is also a double entryway, kind of a light lock. Someone has placed palm print scanners on either side of the door. John gets her to place her hand on the scanner and programs her in. He invites her to sleep with him for the day. She will be able to leave whenever she wants. She doesn’t know when he managed it, but she loves that he has. They lie down together again, flesh wrapped around flesh. He is cold, radiating no heat at all. It’s weird, but kind of nice. They fall asleep, well, she does. He seems to just return to death.

Many hours later she wakes and heads out into the condo. He has ordered things needed for a living person to survive there. Food, toiletries, there is an extra room with a note on the door. It just has her name on it, nothing else. She opens the door and sees a beautiful room with dressers and a queen size bed. She looks in the drawers of the dressers and notices that the dressers are full of the kind of clothes she wears, same with the closets. It’s a fantasy, a wish and a dream come true. When John wakes she is dressed in black silk and lace, something he provided for her. She says to him “Turn me. Make me like you.”

“Not yet, soon… if you want me to. Take a walk in the sun tomorrow, let me know how you feel after. Maybe then.”

She’s frustrated by this, but he won’t budge, and she knows he is trying to protect her. From this at least she lets herself be protected. The night is perfect again. John is dark and passionate and loving, but not always gentle and never soft. They go to sleep together again, and when she wakes she goes outside. The main entrance of the building has a doorman. He says “Good morning miss Samantha. Don’t worry about keys, we have instructions to let you back in.” She has no idea how he even knows her name, but she goes with it. Of course, it isn’t morning, closer to five in fact, but the sun is shining. She walks down the sun-dappled street, listening to spring birds chirping. She sits under a tree and just sits there, focused on nothing but sitting. Finally, she figures it out. She goes back to the apartment and waits for John to get up. As he walks out of the chamber she says “Look, I thought about it. I guess I don’t need to be in a rush to change things. Let’s give it time, I want to be with you forever… whatever happens between now and then I can at least play in the sun.”

He takes her in his arms, kissing her.

“We have time, lots of it. Sure, I would love to have you at my side when I hunt, but you need to have the life I didn’t have. You need to have a chance to experience things. I wish I’d gone to school, learned something in my life. I blew my shot at it. You have one, take it.”

“How do you know we have time? I could die tomorrow.”

“Yeah, you could, but you probably won’t, and this isn’t a decision we can take back. You turn, you are turned forever.”

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