Vampire’s Daughter – Chapter 6 WIP, part 3

Vampire's Daughter

Vampire’s Daughter

Towering around the cabin, coned pine trees crowd needle and branch against thin red oak. But close to the cabin, a tiny circle is clear of even scrub brush or wild blueberries. It is not as clean as the yards in the Southern portion of the country, where tired residents daily sweep the dirt in their yards to keep down the growth. Here, around this cabin, clots of grass grow near the porch.

Even with the bogs so close, it is quiet, but for the constant whine and buzz of flies and other insects. Flickering above, bats are silent, like small demons swooping through the feast.

A dozen yards in front of the cabin I see graves. Ten of them closed, one more lies open. The earth around the open grave is fresh. It has been recently dug, the dirt packed to one side and covered with a blue tarp. Someone means to use it soon.

Now I stop, every sense wide open and alert. Perhaps I assumed too quickly that the hunter has taken a wounded friend to the hospital. I stare hard into the trees and strain my ears for the slightest sound that would be out of place in the night.

buzz. whir. screech. snap.

Normal enough, and the shapes moving in the darkness are all night creatures. A mouse tittering to itself as it chews something tiny in its paws. A fox slinking near the rodent. An owl twisting on a limb high above.

I hold in silence for a moment more, then continue.

The blood trail I follow skirts the open grave, though there is a small pool near what could be the foot of the pit. I remember the perfume and consider the movements of the two. If she was dead, it’s possible that he paused here and considered dumping her body into the open grave.

But then, why carry her? Why not simply drag the body? Indeed, he has a vehicle. He could have driven the woman to wherever he needed. Have they left together?

Something is wrong here. The scent of blood from the cabin. Ten graves, the eleventh open. And the pool of blood by the grave, not near the Jeep track. If he loaded her into a vehicle, the blood should be closer to those ruts, not here on the raw earth.

The scent of fresh blood hangs heavy outside the cabin: It calls me.

A rough-hewn pine door is bolted to the cabin’s door frame. It padlocked from the outside, a hunter’s caution against thieves. I know where I am in this forest. Vandals and looters would be rare this far out of the city. No matter, and with the hunter gone, no need for silence. The lock twists easily against the hasp as I pull it from the wooden frame. My hands are much tougher than they used to be. The lock gouges my flesh, but my skin heals as quickly as it is ripped.

The door swings outward and creaks as it does so. It is silence inside. No one is here. Just one tight room, cluttered with broken wooden furniture. On the back wall, near the fireplace, is a long box. It is a bed, almost like a coffin. From here, I can see old blankets stuffing the box. A warm nest on a cold night. The hunter could burrow down into the blankets and shield himself from the cold.

There is no kitchen, just an area for cleaning dishes. There are a few cabinets on the wall and a small shelf. Two large pots, likely one for washing, one for rinsing sit on a another cabinet below the first two. No dish drainer. A couple of rusty knives held to the wall on a magnetic shelf.

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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.”

Vampire’s Daughter – Chapter 1

Vampire's Daughter

Vampire’s Daughter

Chapter 1

Finally night has fallen. There’s a chill to the air, and it no longer steams in the heat trapped by the forest. The night is crisp, and the woods around me are alive with insect life. The temperature dropped quickly as the sun set behind the hills. I haven’t seen the sun in years, but I know that it has turned the sky to fire.

Yet, the cold air outside yanks me conscious. I wake to the dirt and stones I pulled over my head and body, covering my eyes. I scream and claw my way to the surface. Clenched in clay, sand and detritus: my bed for the daylight hours.

For some, it would have been a grave, more permanent in the rest that it offers. For me, its a temporary home, clawed from the floor of the forest floor just 12 hours earlier.

As I push the dirt aside and pull myself from the ground, I feel small pebbles lodged under my claws. It is a minor annoyance, like the sand in my eyes, in my ears. It gets into everything, this mixture of sand and clay. It fills me.

Over the years I have come to know the silence of different earths. From the sands of coastal beaches to the hard clays of the South. Loam in the deep forests of North, and more hard sand in the West. I am a connoisseur of the grave. Every day a new grave. Every night a new life.

Or unlife, depending upon which side of the grave you lay.

Many of my brethren choose cities in which to live, stalk and prey. They find in the abundance of food a security unmatched by the lonely forest. For them, it is the fear of starving, of being alone, that keeps them close to humanity. But they grow lazy, never knowing the real hunt.

Last night, I chased a small buck through the forest, giving and taking the distance between us as it scrambled in the brush. Reaching out with my senses, I felt its heart hunch in its chest, pounding against its ribs. A tiny deer, a spike buck, no more than sixty pounds. Yet its youth gave it speed.

Such a delicious shrill of snorts and screams: Spindly pines broke in our rush.

Somehow, I lost sight of the moon during the chase, neglected to pay attention to the night. That’s dangerous. But the thrill! I live for that feeling as my own blood races and pounds. Sometimes I forget the need for the cool, dark embrace of the dark and the calling grave.

The chase! That pounding pursuit! Let the deer get just far enough away to think it’s free, then pause and listen, stalk and scramble. Give the young buck a reason to scream again as I let him catch my scent and hear the cracker-like crunch of my bare feet in dry pine needles. The slight odor of decay I carry from past feedings alerts the deer: I am a predator.

That scent, more than anything else, drove the small deer into a frenzy. I felt it. The creature wanted to fly in every direction at once. Its muscles, shivering one against the other — each a clamor of fear and flight. In those moments, I felt the buck gather itself to plunge deeper into the forest, thrashing through brambles and ivy, tearing the brush out of the ground with its short prongs.

Each moment of his fear was delicious, an elixir sweet and heady. Though not enough to sustain me, it was enough to remind me of my own life before the night claimed me as one of its own. Honey tastes like this — thick, sweet and cloying.

But too long, too long — I nearly died for that deer. The sun found me ripping the buck apart, my claws buried deep in it’s chest, its tiny hooves flailing around my head. Its bleats were choked around a swollen tongue. Then, behind me, rising just above the trees, crackling on my skin through a canopy of leaves, shafts of light speared me. I threw my head back and howled, my fangs bared at that bastard sun.

My mouth still filled with bits of flesh and blood, I dug through the twitching carcass of the deer, then scraped away needles and sand to the gravel and clay underneath. Above me, the sun — filtered through the heavy tangle of branches of hardwood and pine mix — sliced my skin.

I ripped through roots and tossed fist-sized rocks into the forest as I dug my grave, howling in rage and ecstasy: This is the way to live! On the edge, a kill still fresh in my mouth. My own death, in any case, was only moments away — the mini not-death, not-life of the grave, or blackening to ash under the sun.

Even my own fear tastes good.

But not this clay. The earth is bitter here in the forest. Too much acid in the soil, and too much of it in my mouth. It fills me with reminders that my own permanent death is someday to come. From the earth, to the earth.

But not today. I live, because I beat the daylight. I pulled the earth over my body and face before sun’s face could ruin my own. I covered myself in in clay, sand, gravel, deer’s blood and fur, and laughed at the sun. I was alive, and that was reason enough to celebrate.

***

Now, the night again.

All day long, I was aware of the sun. I knew it blazed above my daylight grave. New Jersey’s Pinelands swelter in early fall, and clouds of mosquitoes and biting gnats vie with birds and reptiles for flesh and blood when a fall day reaches its zenith. It is odd, though, how I can remember the buzz and whine of insects — bloodsuckers, wasps, yellow jackets — but I can’t really place the taste of honey, other than wrapping it around that young buck’s fear. The things I remember, and those I’ve forgotten, play in my mind when I lie in my grave.

Dreams, visions and fragments of who I was before I began to make my bed in the bosom of the Mother. They are snatches of a life years gone. I miss little things of that life: the taste of honey; a day at the lake scouring the shore for driftwood; and my daughter’s wide brown eyes.

As night covers the forest, as insects scream and whine above my shallow grave disturbed, I claw free of the earth.

In my mind, my daughter’s freckled face, hovers just beyond my reach.

Summer of Zombies

The processMany have forgotten that 2012 was the Year of the Zombie. Stories broke around the world on an almost daily basis of bizarre happenstances: a nude guy chewing the face off another man; the mysterious smoking drum that could have held patient zero; the odd rash that covered dozens of Florida teenagers.

I haven’t forgotten any of these suspicious reports. The Horde is out there, and it’s waiting for you to make a mistake.

-5/3, but not reported until 5/16: Mad-cow Testing Equipment Nabbed by Thieves
http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2012/5/16/madcow_testing_equipment_nabbed_by_thieves.htm

-5/3, but not reported until 5/17: Stolen medical equipment may carry deadly brain disease
http://www.cfnews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2012/5/17/stolen_medical_equip.html

-5/4: Atlanta man bitten by rabid bat
http://www.ajc.com/news/man-bitten-by-rabid-1431464.html

-5/4: A man’s illness could have been transmitted by BSE
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2012/05/05/2003532065

-5/7, about the same cow as seen on 5/18 and without referencing the above: Atypical BSE Has Never Led To Human vCJD – But Could It?
http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/05/atypical-bse-has-never-led-to-human-vcjd-but-could-it/

-5/9: Fox attacked Morganton, Ga., woman, tested positive for rabies
http://timesfreepress.com/news/2012/may/09/fox-attacked-morganton-ga-woman-tested-positive-ra/?breakingnews

-5/11: Suspected human rabies exposures surge in Palm Beach, FL
http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-05-11/health/fl-palm-rabies-exposures-20120510_1_rabies-vaccinations-animal-care-control-dave-walesky

-5/14: North Georgia officials warn residents of rabies increase
http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/18385795/north-georgia-officials-warn-residents-of-rabies-increase

-5/15: Florida Raccoon Tested Positive for Rabies
http://www.wtvy.com/home/headlines/Florida_Raccoon_Tested_Positive_for_Rabies_151641535.html

-5/15: Hazmat teams blow up mysterious smoking drum in Hollywood, FL
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/hazmat-teams-blow-up-mysterious-smoking-drum-in-2357686.html

-5/16, : McArthur High School HazMat Situation: Students, Teachers Decontaminated After Breaking Out In Rash
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/mcarthur-high-school-contamination_n_1521764.html

-5/16: Clinical Data Published for a Phase I AADC-deficiency Trial Using a Gene Therapy Manufactured by Florida Biologix
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/clinical-data-published-for-a-phase-i-aadc-deficiency-trial-using-a-gene-therapy-manufactured-by-florida-biologix-2012-05-16

-5/16: Children with rare, incurable brain disease improve after gene therapy
http://news.ufl.edu/2012/05/16/gene/

-5/16: Gene Therapy for Brain Disease: Delivering a missing enzyme to the brains of paralyzed children with a rare, life-threatening neurological disease restores movement and builds muscle mass.
http://the-scientist.com/2012/05/16/gene-therapy-for-brain-disease/

-5/17: Polk Co., FL confirms 6th positive rabies case after 2 dogs found with dead raccoon
http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/2b01b9048f9e47729d913dac88fca1d2/FL–Rabies-Polk-County/

-5/17: Rabies alert issued in Suwannee County, FL
http://suwanneedemocrat.com/local/x234161220/Rabies-alert-issued-in-Suwannee-County

-5/17, after Taiwanese man (referenced in 5/4) contracts human mad cow disease: Florida Biologix helps Taiwan University Hospital achieve manufacturing objectives
http://manufacturing.pharmaceutical-business-review.com/news/florida-biologix-helps-taiwan-university-hospital-achieve-manufacturing-objectives-170512

-5/18, in Washington: Review so far shows mad cow case was atypical
http://wtaq.com/news/articles/2012/may/18/review-so-far-shows-mad-cow-case-was-atypical/

-5/19: No confirmation on chemical at Fort Lauderdale International Airport
http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/terminal-2-evacuated-at-fort-lauderdale-airport-in-hazmat-scare

-5/21: Police: Man bites woman in Westchester
http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westchester/newsnow/x639948018/Police-Man-bites-woman-in-Westchester

-5/21: 24 people treated after Dalton, GA chemical release
http://www.wtvm.com/story/18571497/24-people-treated-after-dalton-chemical-release

-5/21: Third case of flesh-eating disease diagnosed in Ga.
http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/third-case-flesh-eating-disease-diagnosed-ga/nPBPG/

-5/23: I-285 reopens after hazmat incident
http://www.wesh.com/r/31112110/detail.html

-5/23: Man Bites Cousin’s Nose Off
http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Man-Bites-Cousins-Nose-Off-153100125.html

-5/24: Second Broward school reports mystery rash
http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/24/2815003/second-broward-school-reports.html

-5/25: Hazmat Called After Kids Exposed To Pesticide On Bus: Hazmat, EMS Respond To Lake County, FL School
http://www.wesh.com/r/31112110/detail.html

-5/25: Boynton Beach roads shut down after tanker rollover actively leaking fuel
http://www.wflx.com/story/18625981/boynton-beach-road-shut-down-after-tanker-rollover

-5/25: ‘Disoriented’ passenger subdued on flight in Miami
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/05/25/passenger-restrained-on-flight-to-miami-arrested/

-5/25: Lake in Palm Bay permanently closed to swimmers
http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/floridatoday/access/2669326701.html?FMT=FT&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&fmac=e2db29ecf40534aa81c590dab8c0a335&date=May+25%2C+2012&author=Stacey+Barchenger&desc=Lake+in+Palm+Bay+permanently+closed+to+swimmers

-5/26: Naked Man Allegedly Eating Victim’s Face Shot And Killed By Miami Police
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/26/naked-man-eating-victims-face-killed-miami_n_1548359.html

-5/26: Florida Doctor Spits Blood at Highway Patrolmen After DUI Arrest
http://abcnews.go.com/US/florida-doctor-spits-blood-troopers-face-dui-arrest/story?id=16436402

-5/27: Georgia contractor bites Lowe’s employees, resists arrest
http://columbus.wtvm.com/news/crime/54763-contractor-bites-lowes-employees-resists-arrest

-5/27: North Broward boil-water notice in effect through Monday
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/fl-boil-water-sunday-brf-20120527,0,7437699.story

-5/28: Group urges halt of U.S. beef imports due to ‘L-type’ human mad cow disease
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2012/05/28/2003533928

Divine Wine – an Excerpt

DivineWineTHThe night turns brutal in Atlantic City when a serial killer who indulges in necrophilia crosses paths with a vengeful Vampire. Cyber punks and tourists make way for the Vampire and killer as they square off in a blood-soaked romp under the harsh glow of neon and a full moon

In the light of day, Atlantic City is like a war zone. At night, city’s glitzy exterior of neon and multi-billion dollar casinos masks the grime that lies just below the surface.

The best part of Atlantic City is the number of disposable teens that stalk the night streets with sneers and baggy pants. The former is a result of the bravado of perceived invulnerability. The latter slows the little youths down to a pants-yanking shamble. Many of Atlantic City’s youth are cheap, wanna-be gangsters who know nothing about real life and death. They’re the kind of punks who brag about guns and murder and their plans to one day move to the Big City, where they’ll be players, with plenty of whores and drugs in easy reach. These little thugs beat and rob tourists, rape girls and boys in back alleys, and fight endlessly over perceived territory violations.

They are the kind of scum that the police would just as soon quietly disappeared.

She’s the vampire for that particular task.

Enjoy this excerpt from Divine Wine:


I see him coming down the block, crossing the street against traffic to reach the screamo bar. The little fucker bobs and weaves as he walks, yet his lank, greasy hair remains plastered to his neck. He’s wearing a fitted black-on-black ball cap that’s turned sideways on his head. I make out the words White Aryans stitched into the front. He’s sneering and walking with a swagger that tells me he’s looking for fresh, dead meat.

It’s near midnight, yet the streets are still crowded with gamblers and tourists. The rain subsided long ago. The air, blowing in off the ocean, is moist and heavy. Most of the people wandering up and down the city streets give the little thug a wide berth, though a few of the younger cyber goth girlies veer near to brush up against him. They try to catch his eye, but I know they’re not his type: they’re skinny, white and alive.

I drop in behind the little fucker as he struts up the street. I keep my face low and let my dark hair shadow my face. Music belts through the walls of the screamo bar, and the building seems to throb in the night. The boy puts his hand on the door.

“Hey, you. Little fucker. I’ve seen your tiny cock.” My words are low, rumbling in my throat, and I aim them directly at the little fucker. It’s a skill that I picked up while still human from an overly-affectionate uncle who reeked of bathtub gin: He’s the only member of my family that I enjoyed shredding into tiny bits.

My words have the reaction I seek. The little fucker freezes, one hand on the door handle.

Two of the cyber goth girlies hover nearby. One has blue and white pigtails that spring from her head like icicles. Her mouth is covered with a blue leather mask, and she wears a frilly, school girl’s dress. The other is swathed in faux Victorian garb and has an oversized pacifier in one hand. Neither of them heard my words to the little fucker, but they feel the tension between me and him. “Go away,” I growl. “Get the fuck out of here.”

There’s a moment of confusion, but when the goth girlies get a look at my face, they turn and run. I refocus my attention on the little fucker still frozen at the door. “I’m talking to you, dickweed. I saw you in the alley. You and your tiny dick.”

He turns his head slowly, and his rage almost palpable. No fear in this little fucker. The realization that he’d been seen didn’t frighten him. It fans whatever fires he had in his belly and they blaze through his tiny mind.

“What do you think you saw?” His beady chocolate eyes try to find own eyes.

I keep my head bowed and look up through my dark hair. “I saw you, little fucker. I saw you.” Streams of people pass us, oblivious to our throaty conversation. “I saw your narrow, white ass and that tiny thing you call a cock.” I raise my head and nod toward the alley. “I figure you could try it out on a white woman for a change.”

My skin is like porcelain, what most humans would call dead white. I don’t have a big ass. My breasts are small, almost non-existent. Vampires don’t have a lot of fat on their bodies. We shit that out along with most of our internal organs during the transformation from human to bloodsucker. What’s left is muscle and bone. I have a heart: I feel it beat. My lungs suck air, and I can talk. My brain functions as well as it ever has. And it’s for that reason that I know I have make the little fucker hate me, because I’m definitely not his type – too white and too slender.

I take a step closer to him. About two feet separate us. “Don’t you want to fuck a real woman?” I grin at the irony in my own question. He doesn’t realize that I’m not a woman at all. He takes my grin as mocking and bristles.

“Yeah.” There is spittle on his lip. His beady eyes narrow. The little fucker put one hand into his pocket. I know he carries a knife. “Sure, bitch. We can fuck.” The rage is clear in his pockmarked face. No fear. Just rage. He wants to kill me, then fuck my dead body. The little fucker is trembling with suppressed hate, and I could see the bulge in his pocket where he gripped the knife in his fist. “We’ll fuck in the alley.”

He murmured those words, but they come out as a growl. His dark eyes are fiery. He backed up a step. “You look like you could use a good fucking.” He spits the words. “Skinny little cunt. You need some cock in you. You need me to shove my cock inside and fill you up, fill you up all the way to those tiny fucking tits.”

I smile through my hair, just enough to show white teeth. His rage is building nicely. I feel it around us, like a shimmering cloud of hate. The tourists and gamblers passing by give us odd looks and veer off long before they come anywhere near either of us.

“Yeah, you little fucker.” I slipped my tongue between my lips. “I need your cock like I need a pinprick.”

That did it. The little fucker was hooked hard. Nothing, not even my slender, white, muscled body would stop him from to trying to kill and fuck me. He was like a greasy little fish – caught, but expecting to slip away by shoving a knife into my guts.


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