Vampire’s Daughter – Chapter 6 WIP, part 1

Vampire's Daughter

Vampire’s Daughter

Closely following the blood trail, I burst out of the underbrush and into a small clearing that was clearly not natural to the forest. Brush and trees had been hacked back to make room for easy access to an ancient hunter’s cabin. The ground around the cabin was muddy from recent rain and with use: footsteps, tire tracks, and evidence of a sharp blade used against brambles and brush marked the clearing. The cabin itself was small, a single room with a rotted roof. Squatting above the cabin was a handmade, stone chimney perching precariously at the peak of the roof. Along the one side of the rotten structure, two small windows peer out of the cabin’s dark interior. Much repair over the years has kept the cabin barely standing; planks nailed over pine logs used in the original construction keep the patchwork of lumber in place.

I am deep in the forest. There are no humans for miles around. Only single-minded determination would lead someone to hack through this cruel underbrush and low hanging limbs. Poison oak climbs tree trunks, and nearly every shrub has vicious thorns: Even my own skin bears a few scratches.

Both cabin and trail are nearly hidden by the trees looming tall in the night. Were it not for the moon directly above, at least the cabin would go unnoticed by most.

Yet, I wonder at the humans who chose to build it here, and wonder again at the one who chooses to inhabit it now. The cabin is surrounded by the razor of brambles and thorns, and it appears to have stood in the shadow of these ancient trees for least a hundred years. Cedar shakes bind the walls and roof to rude beams that show through the siding in odd spots. The shakes themselves are covered with moss, and ivy creeps up the walls. In the moonlight it looks less a cabin, and more a shambling green hulk, a great creature slumbering in the forest.

Under the Influence of KaTe

Sometimes there are five faces
of wow in our breath. You
never knew me.
As a child,

howling under ice: still

I am two steps and running away,
never knowing moments of pleasure–
of us dying together so that we might

survive. Yet, what would I do

without you? Take away the moments
of love and anger: with no warning,
we are as fresh as Eden, crackling
green and whole, rising in one joyous

shout. Your light is pale:
the fantasy, my deliverance.
I am your ghost. Deliver me
from hiding and cold memories.

I want to escape

Gravity, (long form

of grave), pulls me
to reality.
I’d rather rise

to cremation, to
supersition and ash:
skip the feast of worms.

Let me ride winds to low tables
in Japan where people pick me apart

with chopsticks,
grown towering
and cut for meals like me.

Take me above where I can become
the fall and cry of whippoorwills
and crows, where I can ride mother’s breath

until I’m sucked back into life. Then
take me to outer spaces until I smoke:
That high, leave me too close
and falling into the sun.

gravity01

photo credit: NuageDeNuit | Chiara Vitellozzi via photopin cc

Vampire’s Daughter – Chapter 5

Vampire's Daughter

Vampire’s Daughter

“You’re late.” Tom tapped his beer bottle on the table and glared at Laura. The bar was dark and smokey, and Tom seemed to be a part of the gloom.

Five empty beer bottles were pushed to the far end of the table, against the wall. Tom was drinking more these days. When he drank, he got mean. “Sorry,” Laura said. “Homework and Monica.” Laura slid into the booth opposite Tom. “You know how she gets.”

Tom spun the longneck bottle between his hands. It was almost empty, and the beer in the bottom of the bottle turned to froth. “No, I don’t know how she gets,” Tom said, his voice dropping to a growl. “Why don’t you tell me?” The last was a challenge.

“Don’t be angry,” Laura said, motioning to the bartender. “It’s just–”

Tom reached out and grabbed her hand. He yanked Laura hard into the table so that her face was only inches from his. “I said you’re late.” Tom jerked her arm with each word.

“Tom–”

“Just shut up.” Tom shoved her back into the booth. “I told you to be here at 6, and it’s quarter after.” Tom swallowed what was left of his beer and signaled for another one. “Where were you?”

Laura rubbed her wrists. Tom rarely acted this way. She wasn’t sure what to do. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I didn’t think–”

“You’re right.” Tom spit the words out. “You didn’t think. I told you when to be here. You’re wasting my time.”

The waitress came up beside the table. Her voice was high, and had a lilt to it. “Two-fifty,” she said. “You want something?” she added, nodding to Laura.

“She doesn’t want anything,” Tom said, throwing three one-dollar bills onto the table. “But I might, later on.”

Laura’s mouth dropped. Tom had never been so crass, nor so cruel. “Are you all right?” she asked.

“I’m fine.” He bit the two words off one at a time. “I’ll be better after I’ve had this beer.”

The waitress winked at Tom, and slipped him a small piece of paper with the bottle. Laura saw it, but didn’t say anything. Tom took both the scrap and bottle in one hand. He didn’t appear to notice the paper, but when he put the bottle down, the note was gone.

“Look,” he said. “I’m sorry. I’m just wound up. Finals next week.” He tipped the bottle back and swallowed about a third of its contents. he put the bottle down. “And you know my sister is sick.”

Laura watched Tom’s hand, not his eyes. She didn’t see the scrap of paper and thought it had probably fallen to the floor. She looked up. He was staring at her.

“My sister,” he said. “You know, the one with cancer?”

Laura was still waiting to meet Tom’s family. She had hoped for a dinner at local restaurant, or at her home. But one crisis after another had prevented them from sitting down to a meal and conversation. Tom’s grandfather had died just a few months ago. He was a private man, Tom said. The kind of person who wanted only family around the coffin — only family to cry and remember. Laura tried to offer what comfort she could from an emotional distance. She wanted to help Tom get through the death of a man he so plainly loved, but Tom was private about the death.

“He would have wanted it that way,” Tom had said. “It’s family. It’s who we are. That’s what Papa taught us.”

Then, not long after, Tom’s brother was hit by a car and spent a week in critical care. “It’s his face,” Tom said. “He doesn’t want anyone to see him this way.” Apparently the boy’s face was crushed in the accident. He would live, but with scars that would make living a normal life difficult at best.

Tom was depressed about how his brother would have to live, and he drank more than usual through the time his brother was in the hospital. Tom was angry and unforgiving of mistakes. But nothing like this.

Tom swallowed another third of the beer and sat the bottle down carefully on the table. “I’m sorry, Laura,” he said. “I just–” He stopped and toyed with the bottle again. “I don’t want anything bad to happen. When you were late, I thought–” He pushed the bottle around in the wet circle condensation had left on the table from earlier drinks. “I just thought, well, that you didn’t–” He looked up at Laura. “I love you, Laura. I don’t know what I’d do if you ever left me.”

Laura’s ribs hurt from being pulled into the table, but she put out one hand. “Tom, I know it isn’t easy. If I could do anything to help, I would.” She took his hand in hers and thought about Monica. “I don’t know what I would do if I ever lost my aunt. I know–”

Tom interrupted her: “You don’t know,” he snapped. “You don’t know what it’s like when someone you love dies.”

Laura gripped his hand tighter for a moment, and her eyes glazed. Something she almost remembered — something she almost knew: someone close to her had been murdered. But the memory eeled away.

“I’m sorry, Tom.”

Teaching Grace

spare the rod, spoil the man

I used to turn a man’s head
by grasping his ears and twisting
until he could see his own ass
was split similar to mine

No need the panting
tongue and shrill whistle
common to hindsight

Each time understanding
failed with the light in his eyes:
I counted that victory until I realized
the seed of more than one man left the garden

man


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