It’s technically Friday on my end, so to celebrate, here is a free short story I just finished. It’s meant to be a cynical take on vampires in urban fantasy, but I suspect it won’t make a whole lot of sense to anyone. Note that I literally finished it two seconds ago, so it’s “raw” expect plenty of grammatical errors and awkward sentences. Also note that this story contains lots of foul language and some sexual references (originally, it was going to include something a bit more explicit between the two male characters, but it was difficult to squeeze in so I just cut it out entirely). It could have been longer, I think, but I’m kind of at the point where I just want to get it out there. Also, I would have liked to have the MC’s girlfriend bust in with a shotgun, ’cause that would have been awesome, but this is a cynical take on vampires, after all.
So, yeah, read it after the jump….
First and Last
I first saw him over my beer glass. He was a fey creature, skin pale as ivory, svelte, blond hair tied up in a mermaid braid. I couldn’t see his eyes, they were closed, but his mouth was open, his expression nothing short of ecstatic. His head was thrown back, body twisting like the thrashing of a dying snake. It was the dance of a wild animal. It was the dance of a man who knew that everyone was watching and didn’t give a shit.
I turned away, bringing my attention back to my glass. He wasn’t my type, and besides, I already had a girlfriend. She wasn’t sitting with me tonight, though. She was over in the far corner with a group of friends, talking about whatever it is that people talk about when their S.O.s aren’t in earshot and they’ve had a few too many drinks. Had she taken notice of the dancer? Nah, it was a busy club, too many bodies in the way. Still, my eyes I sought her out, just in case.
There, at the usual table, her bright orange hair like a beacon. She dyed it every couple months or so. I loved that about Ellie, always so authentic, never one to slavishly adhere to current trends in fashion. I was dull in comparison next to her brilliance, jeans and a t-shirt served me well enough.
When I turned my attention back to my glass, he was there, cat-smile on his face, eyes like amber, even in the dim light.
“I saw you looking at me,” he said in a voice as smooth as silk. His tone was not accusatory, just a simple statement of fact.
“Yeah,” I replied, trying to sound uninterested in the hope that he would take the hint and leave. It was hard to be genuinely uninterested, though, not when my eyes kept straying to take in his thin lips, the sensual curve of his neck, the way his eyes burned like twin embers….
“Did you like what you saw?” Gods, a man with a voice as smooth as his could make a fortune in advertising. I needed to put a stop to this, once and for all.
I took a gulp of beer, set the glass down on the table before responding. “I’m not interested….”
His shoulders lifted briefly in the barest of shrugs, and I felt like an asshole for refusing him. Wait, what? I don’t feel anything for him! I already have a girlfriend! I sighed and shook my head, setting the glass aside. He was already gone. I caught sight of him on the dance floor, writhing with a partner this time. She moved like a marionette compared to him, or a skeleton.
There was a lump in my throat as I pushed my chair in and went to see whether Ellie was ready to go. I needed to get out of the club, now.
We went back to the apartment that we shared and had the kind of sex that consists of two people bashing their bodies together without regard for the state of the room after the fact. For a few sweet hours I forgot about the man with the cat-smile and amber eyes, content to reacquaint myself with Ellie’s body, smiling to myself when I found one of the many things that made her moan.
“Tell me you remembered to put on a condom,” she murmured afterwards during our mandatory after sex cuddle, sighing as she leaned into my shoulder.
“Of course I did, Ellie,” the condom was one of the few things I had remembered in the frenzied discarding of clothes and tangling of limbs. It was a condition of hers when we first started dating, I just assumed that not giving your partner an STI or an unwanted pregnancy was a standard part of any relationship, but I guess my parents were very open-minded about that sort of thing.
“Oh, good,” and just like that, her breathing shifted and I could see that she had fallen asleep. I managed to stay awake a few moments longer, but then I also succumbed to sleep, and my last thought before I left waking consciousness behind was that I really liked the smell of that new soap Ellie was using.
When I woke the next morning, my first thought was of last night and the man in the club, but that thought was quickly pushed aside in favour of thinking about bagels and coffee for breakfast. Both of us were ardent worshipers of Caffeina; she even had her own small shrine next to our altars where we gave her offerings of coffee beans and drink receipts.
“Are you only putting butter on your bagel again?” Ellie asked, smiling over the rim of her mug.
“Can’t have a toasted bagel without butter,” I replied, taking a bite.
“Most people put something else besides butter on their bagels,” she pointed out, poking at the jar of strawberry jam on the table.
“Nah,” I replied once my mouth was empty, grinning. “Too much sugar….”
She sighed, shaking her head, still smiling. “You’re impossible, you know that?”
I drew my lips together in a mock pout. “I thought you liked that about me.”
She stood up and came to my side of the table, giving me a quick peck on the cheek. “Yeah, I guess I do.”
I smiled in reply and gave her a little wave as she headed out the door. Ellie used to work in a cubicle before starting up a bakery. It was difficult to picture her in that environment, having to hide her brightly colored hair under a wig and dress in a pantsuit. It was easy for most people to do, but on Ellie it looked like she was cosplaying at a convention than dressing in something a little less casual. This way, at least, she was free to pursue her passion without having to conform to corporate standards.
I stood up and took the dishes to the sink before going to toss the garbage down the chute. On the way back, I nearly collided with our neighbor, Brett Taylor. “There’s a big protest at City Hall,” he told me. “You wanna’ come with?”
I shook my head. Brett was an activist for Humans for Interspecies Harmony, an organization with good intentions but severe myopia. Activists like Brett cared more about co-existing with the monsters under our beds than about dealing with issues that affected their fellow humans. In particular, the man loved his homophobic slurs so much that I wondered how his opinion of me would change if he knew that I’d dated a boy in high school. We were still good friends, we just both realized early on that while we were good as friends, we didn’t make the best couple.
Brett shrugged. “Suit yourself,” and then he was off running down the hall with his placard and box of buttons. I headed back into the apartment and sat on the couch with my laptop, checking for emails from new clients. I did a little freelance research to supplement the income Ellie brought in at the bakery. Occasionally, I was lucky and a big name would want some info that search engines couldn’t provide, but the majority of the time I was working on a few small jobs at once, nothing too difficult or lucrative, but it was better than nothing.
There were no urgent emails from current clients demanding my attention, so I decided to clean the apartment a little, and then, since it was a nice sunny day, decided to go for a walk around town. Maybe I’d even stop in at Ellie’s bakery and pick up some sweets. It would drive her nuts being unable to taste them before closing time, but such was the price one paid for profits.
I passed by the bar on the way to Ellie’s. It looked so different in the daytime, the way a rotting corpse differs from a living person. Once again, I found my thoughts straying to the night before and the man with the amber eyes. My memory of him was so vivid it was as if he was standing right in front of me. I could still see the graceful curve of his neck, golden hair tied up in a braid, the way he smiled, confident and utterly shameless….
Are you still thinking about him? I chided myself. Gods, you’ve been like this since last night! Snap out of it!
I tried, but I couldn’t seem to rid myself of the memory, as if someone had taped it to the inside of my skull so that it was all I could see if I closed my eyes.
In the end, I didn’t go to Ellie’s bakery; I just turned around and walked home.
I went to the club again that night. He was there, as I knew he would be, alternating between women and men like he couldn’t decide who made the better dance partner. Our eyes met, and it was as if a puzzle piece was sliding into place. He disengaged from his current partner and stalked towards me, and I couldn’t help but notice how gracefully he moved, perfectly poised like a professional dancer and confident like a predatory animal.
He took a seat across from me, and my eyes followed his slightest movement.
“You were watching me,” he said.
I took a mouthful of beer. “I guess.”
He cocked his head to the side, so like a bird. “I’m a monster, you know,” no excuses, just a simple statement of fact.
“I know,” I murmured. So why can’t I just forget about you? His fingers hooked a stray lock of hair behind one ear, even such a simple motion was suffused with feline grace. I couldn’t look away, couldn’t bear to look away even though I wanted to.
I downed the rest of my drink, it was unsettling, how he didn’t blink, out of all the things I could have said about him, that was what I noticed. I guess blinking lets you know that you’re alive.
He said “Come, dance with me….”
Before I had fully processed what was occurring, I had abandoned the table and the empty beer glass and had been swept away by the current of flesh on the dance floor. He acted as if no one else existed, as if the sensual movements he made were only for himself, and I was but an interloper, but then he opened his eyes, pulling me close in the space between one breath and the next.
“I really….don’t—“ I began, but by now my brain had ceased to function. I tried to think of Ellie, of her bright orange hair and permanent smile, but awareness of him filled me like the fragrances in a flower shop.
That was when he bit me the first time.
I felt a sharp pain in my neck, and I instinctively recoiled from it, pushing him away with all my strength. “What the fuck are you doing?!” I roared, hardly caring if everyone in the club was staring.
He merely shrugged. “The pain helps clear the mind.”
“Like hell it does!” I spat, and then I stormed out of there, angry and confused and unexpectedly aroused.
That night, I had another body-bashing session with Ellie. My neck still burned and throbbed, but less so when I was with her. By some miracle, I managed to sleep well, though my dreams were occupied by fey men with bloodied hands and mouths, smiling like fools.
The next day I was twitchier than an actor right before going onstage to a sold out crowd. I snapped at Ellie when she tried to kiss me goodbye, apologized profusely and promised to take her out to dinner–a nice restaurant, not fast food—then tried again with the kiss. This time it was more successful, but thoughts of him were like an itch on the inside of my skull, like invisible fingers snaking around my brain and squeezing.
I went out for a quick jog, soak up some sun before autumn set in and the sky became gray until spring. The sunlight cleared the fog from my mind—or maybe it was the jogging that was doing it. It was like waking up in the morning and realizing you did something stupid while drunk. I made a promise to myself that afternoon: I wasn’t going to go back to the club that night…..
…..Guess where Ellie wanted to go after dinner?
Stupid bitch, can’t she see what this is doing to me? I take another swig of beer, glaring at no one in particular, as if everyone in the room was responsible for my new obsession.
Nah, you can’t blame her, she doesn’t know, none of them do. I steal a glance at the writhing mass, wondering if any of them knew what sort of thing walked among them. Maybe they did, and they were just as scared as I was.
I got up to go to the bathroom, passing Ellie en route, indicating where I was going with my head. She gave me a thumbs up, and then disappeared as I rounded the corner….
….and ran straight into him.
I’d never seen him away from the dance floor, so the effect was the same as seeing your teacher in the grocery store, like he didn’t belong there. The fog returned almost instantly, and I suddenly found myself fascinated by the buttons on his jacket.
I pulled away and made to walk past him, but he turned towards me like a flower does the sun, following me into the bathroom.
“I didn’t think it would be that easy,” he breathed as I tried to think of anything else, settling for examining the sink.
Just don’t talk to him. My subconscious was right on the money, too bad my mouth wasn’t listening. “What’s easy?” I asked.
Again, a slight shrug, “Takes longer, usually, but they all succumb in the end.”
At this point, my brain should have realized that I was in imminent danger, then one flight-or-fight response later, I could have grabbed Ellie and we would have been out of there, far away from the club, from the city if we had to.
But I barely registered it when he sank his fangs into my neck….
Oh gods! The pleasure was exquisite, a hot fire which spread throughout my body. He sucked a little, and I moaned, going from limp to rock hard at record speeds. It was like the best of dreams, the kind that feel so real. The kind of dream that makes you long to fall back asleep and dream of a sequel. I dimly registered throwing my head back, basking in hedonistic glory.
Then, it was as if a plug was being pulled, as if tethers holding me were being cut, and I was falling. I tried to move my legs, but I couldn’t, couldn’t move anything, couldn’t think, couldn’t feel….
The last thing I saw before everything went dark was him, lips reddened with my blood and smiling like a fool.
The end! If you’re thinking “Man, Gef! Your writing is shit!” I completely agree with you. I definitely don’t have my friend’s talent with words, but that’s what editing is for, right? The story definitely could have benefited from more scenes detailing the protag’s descent into
complete vampire mind control madness, and maybe if I didn’t have a bunch of other projects clamoring for my attention I could extend it, but I just felt like it needed to be finished, so here it is.