NaNoWriMo Project – Chapter Two – first draft


(Sorry for out-of-order.  I guess I’m that sleep deprived.)

CHAPTER 2

 

I was face down on the ground when I awoke.  I felt a warm weight pressing on my ribcage and it was …. vibrating?  I lifted my head to try to see what was pressing on my back, making it difficult to breathe, but when I did that whatever it was stood up and apparently stretched….digging 18 claws into me.  I wriggled underneath the animal and knocked it off me, then stood to see what it was.

“Mrowr?”  I heard.  At my feet was the most disheveled cat you can imagine.  ”Mrowr? Purr-purr-purr,” she said as she rubbed up against me.  I noticed her tuxedo coat was matted against her body, I could see teeth marks and a small tear in her left ear, one eye was larger than the other, and her little bobbed tail had been broken in several places.

I bent to scratch her behind the ears and she purred louder, moving her head to tell me where she wanted to be petted.  It seemed her favorite spots were right on the ridge of her little nose and just under her chin.

“What were you doing sleeping on top of me, huh?”

“Rawr.”

“Well I have to go find somebody, little kitty, maybe I’ll see you again soon?”

“Mew!”

I scratched behind her ear once more, got my bearings on where I was and headed towards the city to find out if there were other attacks like the market and to attempt to learn the control Athena had taught me, but most importantly: I had to find Reena.

I walked toward the city, trying to find a deer to practice on before I got there.  After walking a few feet, I realized the cat was right on my heels.

“Oh you want to come with me?”

“Mrowr?”

“Well alright little one, but be quiet while I try to find a little snack.”

The kitty stayed right by my side while I hunted and fed, just as quiet a she could be.  When the deer ran off after I let it go, she looked at me cock-eyed, “Mrowr?”

“Yes, Kitty, you can talk now.  If we’re going to be friends, maybe we should come up with a name for you.”

“Meow, purr-purr.”

“Hmm, how about Truth?  Because you came along after I discovered the truth about what I am.”

She purred a little louder, rubbed against my legs and swished her tail.  ”Okay, Truth it is!  Off we go, Truth.”

~*~

Truth and I headed toward the city.  I needed to find out about my market victims and I hoped Reena might be there looking for me.  When we arrived, the market was open.  Folks were coming and going as though nothing had changed.  It appeared to be business as usual.  As I got closer, I heard a few people talking about a ‘massacre’.  I knew they must be talking about what I’d done, so I used my sensitive hearing to hone in on those discussing the tragedy and, well to put it bluntly, I eavesdropped.

 

“They’re still setting off funeral pyres, you can see the smoke from here.”

“I imagine it’s taking a while, what with so many bodies.  Each one takes hours to build and there are so many families to gather.”

“Has anyone figured out yet what happened?”

“Nobody really remembers.  Those who remember anything only remember hearing a whirring sound, like a fast wind, and they ran to the market to see what the noise was.  Everyone was there when they got there and nothing was ever found that could have made the sounds they heard.”

“Forty-two people, just suddenly dead.  It doesn’t make sense.”

“And what about those others?  There still seem to be more dying every day.  But nothing like the market, just one person every other night, but they all die the same way. Have we come upon a plague?  What is happening to everyone?

“I don’t know, but let’s hope nothing happens to us.”

“Definitely.  I don’t want to lose you.”

 

Others.  There were others.  Finding Reena would regrettably have to wait.  First I needed to find my progeny: the ones like me whom I had created.  I had to teach them how to control their hunger. I didn’t want to be responsible for more people dying.

 

NaNoWriMo Project – Chapter Three – first draft


CHAPTER 3

 

I didn’t know where to look, or even how to recognize the other vampires, but I had to try.  Night was coming quickly, so I started immediately looking around the city thinking that they must be staying nearby, or the people I heard talking earlier would not have known about the other deaths.  Truth just followed me.  She must have agreed.

We stayed in small areas, away from most people. The city had alleyways for waste between the buildings, so we spent a lot of time in those alleys.  Occasionally, I’d stop someone who was walking alone and try to mesmerize them.  I wasn’t quite sure how to do it, but I greeted a friend of Epi’s first, thinking I could tell if they noticed anything unusual.  I spoke with her for a moment, and then looked her straight in the eyes.  She was still talking at first, but slowed down to a stop very quickly.  I fed a small bit from her and then looked in her eyes again.  As I relaxed my gaze, she started talking right where she’d left off.  It appeared to me that she hadn’t noticed a thing.  This was a marvelous tool!  Plus I was starting to stave off the hunger and stay in control.  I was almost excited to find such hope after feeling so bleak.

I searched for hours, but I had no idea what I was looking for.  I was telling Truth how frustrating the search was, when suddenly I felt a kind of humming sensation.  It was a humming deep in my chest, almost near the heart I noticed a movement in the shadows near me and saw a woman fall to the ground.  I raced over, but there was nobody else there.  I felt the humming get stronger as I neared her.  It felt like a tugging down into the shadows of the alleyway behind where the woman had fallen.  I followed the sensation.  There in the corner.  A shadow darker than the rest.  He was looking at me with curiosity, and maybe a little fear.  He couldn’t have been more than thirteen. My heart bled.

“How did you see me?” he said.

“You can’t feel me?”

“F-feel you?  What do you mean?”

“Nevermind.  Do you know what is happening to you?”

“I j-just woke up the other day and I was s-surrounded by d-dead bodies.  Something felt different, but I still don’t know why. I’m f-feeding on blood and k-killing more and more p-people. I d-don’t know how to s-stop!”

“I can help you.  I’m afraid I’m the reason this has happened to you.”

“Y-You d-did this to me?

“Unfortunately yes.  I didn’t know what I was doing.  I also didn’t know it would cause others to hunger as I do.”

“You feed on b-blood too?”

“I do, but the gods have shown me how to control it, and I can share this with you.”

“Really?  You can really c-control this?”

“Yes, come with me, I’ll explain everything.  This is Truth, she’s with me.  What’s your name?”

“Aww she’s cute. I’m J-James.”

She rubs up against his leg“Purr-rrr-rrr.”

“I think she likes you, James.”

James and I walked for a bit, talking about his new state of being and about how to control his cravings. I explained everything that had happened to me and about how Athena appeared to me. I told him about the group of ladies in the clearing in the woods and that we’d have to find the survivors soon.  I also told him about Reena and why I had to find her first.

You see, Reena had been a teacher to the children of kings.  She was honored among teachers.  Her family had taught for generations, with much demand for the best to teach the children of royalty how to fit into society and how to rule.  It was unheard of for anyone in her family to leave the palaces for other employment. Okay, so Epimetheus was still royalty, but he was not royalty in the sense that ruled the kingdoms of Greece.  His influence had a much farther reach.  Anyhow, when Reena heard of Epimetheus’s gift from the gods and his impending nuptials, she was thrilled to start a new challenge, to teach an adult everything about life and society.  She gave up everything she’d known to teach me, and now I must find her and hopefully make it up to her.

As we reached the end of the alleyway, I finally thought to ask, “Do you know of others like yourself?”

“I knew of o-one other.  We w-woke up at the same time, but she went a little crazy.  She just started k-killing everyone close to her. She didn’t try to get me.  I’m not sure why.  There were people there building pyres.  Those she didn’t attack went after her with t-tools and stabbed her in the h-heart.  I never saw any others.”

I thought that sounded a bit off, but maybe the others were burned before they could rise.  I hoped they didn’t suffer.

“Good.  You’re a fine young man.  Thank you for telling me.”

We decided to practice mesmerizing a couple of people, and made sure we were confident before we exited the gates.  By the time we left the city walls, we were both well fed and nobody was dead.

~*~

We finally left the city walls and headed towards the mountain paths. The moon was full, so the path was well-lit, though we didn’t need it.  Truth pranced along beside us singing her little ‘mrowr’ song along the way.  I bent to scratch behind her ears, enjoying her company.  She came along just at the right time and I appreciated her dearly. I couldn’t wait to introduce her to Reena!  We would arrive at this pace just after daybreak, and I had to fight not to run, so excited was I to see my beloved Reena again.

Apparently sleep was not on either of our minds so we made good time. James told me about all the rest that had happened since his ‘change’. The town was still in an uproar and every person was talking about the market massacre.  Still nobody could give one detail about who or what had killed so many.

James hadn’t been as overwhelmed by his hunger as I had since I was so shocked by it at first and, I’m guessing, because I fought it so hard and went without for so long once I knew what that hunger was.  He’d fed right after turning.  There had been a guard on shift by the bodies and everyone just assumed he had fallen victim to whatever had killed the first victims, which, in a manner of speaking, was true.

Because of how he’d started, or so we presumed, he’d been able to eat every other night without going into a frenzy as I had done.  Or maybe it was just because what I experienced was stronger, or maybe even because I had never been truly human at all.  Whatever the reason, I was glad for his control and that there had been no other massacres of which I had been the cause.

At some point I’d have to verify that and go find the ladies I’d turned in the woods. I hoped, since I saw how they fed on the deer, that it wasn’t a horrible lack of control.  Yes, they’d been driven when they’d smelled the blood, but I didn’t think any of them had lost total control.  Maybe they had though.  What does it take to feed on the neck of a beautiful animal such as a deer?

Then again, what does it take to feed on a human neck?  I wondered what had possessed James to try that since he hadn’t lost control like I had, but … I was afraid to ask.  It was nearing dawn and we were almost to my old home.  I was nearly giddy with hope that Reena would be there.  She was the only thing left that was familiar to me.  She was my only family.

As the sun crested over the horizon, James started to struggle.  He was visibly tired now and he seemed to be sensitive to the light.  I was beginning to fear he wouldn’t make it.

“When was the last time you slept?”

“S-sleep? I guess I’ve become a night owl.  Daylight seems to d-drain all my energy away.”

“So this isn’t lack of sleep it’s because of the daylight?”

“I guess so.  I hadn’t really th-thought about it.  I just get so t-tired during the day, so I sleep.”

“Do you think you can make it? We should make it by full sun up.”

“I think I can. I’m tired, but I ain’t asleep yet,” he laughed.

I decided to take a slightly longer path, but it kept us mostly in shadows the rest of the way.  The trees were just starting their turn to the subtle golds and ambers, peaches and oranges of the annual descent into winter.  The colors never lasted long, but I enjoyed them while they lasted.  Within a week, they would be brown and crispy and falling from the trees.  I’m glad I didn’t miss this in my attempt to run from the world. It was my first time to see it.

I remember my sense of wonder at how the trees had changed, practically overnight.  I almost forgot about Truth and James walking alongside me and even about how anxious I was to get to Reena, so lost was I in the new wonders of trees changing colors.  I didn’t know it would last such a short time. Perhaps it was a foretelling of how my next days would pass.

~*~

I could finally see my old home, though it was off in the distance yet.  I started to shout with joy! Then James fell.  I’d forgotten he was struggling.  When I looked over, he was breathing heavy and sweating.  The sweat was pink tinged. He was losing what we’d fed on the night before.  We were so close, but we’d have to wait. I’d have to get him under cover and help him recover.  I looked around to see if there was some sort of shelter.  I found a slight drop off, maybe ten feet, on the dark side of the mountain not too far away.  I led him there and laid him down under the small cliff side and there we rested until night.  He was asleep almost immediately.  His breathing was raspy at first, but after an hour or so it returned to normal.  I watched over him and waited.  Near sundown, a raccoon decided to make its way around to the warmth of the remaining daylight. As it passed by, I raced over to it.  In the blink of an eye the raccoon was unconscious.

I still wasn’t used to how fast I could move when called for.  Maybe we should have come up the mountain faster, then James wouldn’t have suffered so.  But then, maybe he couldn‘t zip around like I could.  I’d have to ask.

Just before sundown James woke with a gasp.  He startled me a bit.

“Are you hurt?”

“Hurt? No.  Where are we?  We didn’t make it to your home?”

“No, just as it came into sight, you fell and you were almost unconscious, so I brought you here for the day.  Here, try to eat on this.  You were sweating pink, so  you may need to replace some of what you lost.”

“Raccoon?  Can you eat animals?”

“I’ve fed off of deer. It’s not quite as satisfying, but it should keep you till tomorrow.”

James took the raccoon and gave it a try.  He already looked far better than he had that morning, but now he looked vibrant.  Such a vast difference from how he’d been this morning. I was still amazed by how resilient we are.  I found myself wondering yet again if I, if we, could die at all.

“I’m sorry you didn’t get to see if Reena was at your old home,” James said.

“It couldn’t be helped.  Has this happened to you every day?”

“It’s never happened before. I’m not sure what happened.”

“We need to keep an eye on that.  Do you think you can travel now?”

“I feel fine now.  Let’s go.  I’m anxious to see this Reena that is so special to you.”

“The road is back this way.”

NaNoWriMo Project – Chapter One – first draft


CHAPTER 1

 

I wandered aimlessly after I realized what  had done.  I tried to stick to the fields and wooded areas, feeding on the occasional goat or deer.  I had to try to prevent what had happened at the market in the city from ever happening again.  I didn’t know what to do or why I’d ever thirst for such a thing.

Weeks passed, maybe longer.  I contemplated thoughts of suicide, but even the deepest cuts from the thorns in the woods healed in just seconds.  Could I even die?  Was I doomed to this horrific existence forever?  That thirst was ever-present, only moderately sated by the animals I fed on. It haunted me. It taunted me.  How could I go on like this?

I was pondering these things while walking a path in the woods.  I was just beginning to see a clearing up ahead when suddenly there as that smell. And the thirst took over.

~*~

Hours later, I sat on the rocky cliff at the edge of the woods, mourning the people I had killed over the past few months, but mostly mourning my first two victims:  my beloved Epi and Reena.

“Gods help me!” I cried, “I can’t seem to control myself!  What do I do? I’m so alone!”

Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder.

“No, my dear, you are not alone,” said the beautiful glowing figure who could only be a goddess.  The goddess who had given me the gift of weaving stood before me, beautiful as ever.  Her shining dark hair flowed down her back and her eyes sparkled with the wisdom that was her domain.

“Why are you here?” I asked, for I was certain that the gods had forsaken me after I’d released such a foul curse into the world.

Athena smiled.  ”My father set you up to fall because of his animosity towards your beloved Epi.  Now that he is dead, Zeus has allowed me to help guide you and to ease your suffering.”

“My dear, you are not alone, for I am with you, and for now my gift is control.  If you feed regularly and in small doses, nobody has to die and you will no longer suffer such insatiable thirst.  You have the ability to mesmerize the humans if they gaze into your eyes.  Do this to feed small amounts regularly and you will quickly gain control over your thirst.  And soon you’ll need to feed much less often.

“Beware, however, for you are not the only vampire now, although you are one of the two mothers of all vampires, and therefore one of the two strongest.”

“Two?” I heard myself say.  ”Who is the other mother?” I asked.

Athena faded away, but I swear I heard her whisper Reena’s name as she vanished.

~*~

I immediately fell prostrate on the ground, tears pouring down my face and shouting, “Thank you gods!”  Suddenly, not only was I not alone, but I had hope!  Maybe my future wouldn’t be so bleak after all.  The gods had NOT forsaken me!  This truly was a miracle.

And Reena!  Oh Reena!  Had she really survived?  Could she truly be alive and like me, another mother of all….what had Athena called us? Vampires, I think.  Yes, a mother of all vampires, like me.  Oh I must find her!  But first I should prepare funeral pyres for those who I those victims from the clearing in the woods.  I’d not been able to return to the market for fear I’d kill others, but that clearing should have been clear by then.

As I rose to head towards the clearing, dusk was settling and I noticed through my new eyes, which were now full of hope, something that I had failed to notice in the weeks before when I was hopeless and lost.  I noticed that even with the sky darkening, I could see more clearly. Everything had a crispness to it; a clarity and intensity that was almost overwhelming.  How I had missed it before then I couldn’t tell you.  I’m sure it was much like the sensation you must get after going many years with flawed vision, then suddenly having corrective surgery, only even the colors were brighter, deeper, richer.  I had noticed earlier that I could hear the animals in the trees around me.  I’d used that, along with my incredible speed to survive these past weeks in the wilderness.  I supposed these two things were just part of what I had become, and I was sure I’d discover more.

I was still pondering what other changes I had missed when I came close to the clearing and felt a strange sensation.  I slowed.  I heard movements and people talking, some of them weeping.  I carefully remained out of sight and used my enhanced senses to determine if there was danger, or if someone had actually survived my attack.

As I watched, I discovered some HAD survived.  And the ladies (yes, all women; why were there no men there?) who were still alive were digging. Sticks? Rocks? Whatever they could find, they were using to bury the bodies between the stones of what appeared to be some sort of ritual area.  At the time I had never seen such, but it was much like a smaller version of your Stonehenge.

Burying bodies was unheard of in that time.  Bodies were instead burned on a pyre and sent off to the next life with hope.  I must say I was fascinated!  I watched until the earth had been scattered over the last body and I watched them pray in a circle, asking the gods to release their spirits. They prayed that the bodies would consecrate the land that had been fouled by their blood.  As they finished praying, the leader spoke in a language I was unfamiliar with and I watched as the earth smoothed back into place as though the ground had never been disturbed.

I was stunned and even a bit frightened.  I started to leave but as the ladies left the consecrated ground for what appeared to be a casual meeting area, a small family of deer came into the clearing from the direction in which the ladies were heading.  Suddenly all six ladies were on the deer, feeding as I must have fed on those they had just buried.  I realized with a start that I must have fed on them too and they had become like me!  I backed a way, shaking my head in horror, and then I ran from what I had just seen.

I ran hard and with no destination in mind.  I just had to get away from that awful scene.  Athena had told me there were others like me but now I realized….I HAD CREATED THEM!  How many others were there?  Had some of them been burned on a funeral pyre, thought to be dead?  Were they all out of control and blindly killing others as I had?  Sure these ladies had only killed a few deer, but what if there had been humans around? Were there other massacres like my market incident?  Six ladies out of about 30…the percentage was astounding.  And each one would probably create more like us without even knowing, as I myself had done!  Dear gods how could you allow this? Why would you allow me and others like me to survive? I was so lost to the horror that I stumbled and fell.  It had been weeks since I’d slept, or even wanted to sleep, so I allowed oblivion to take me.