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Last Updated: 8/7/2010



BOOK SYNOPSIS ...................................................................................................................................... 3

AUTHOR’S NOTE .................................................................................................................................... 4
DISCLAIMER ........................................................................................................................................... 5
CHAPTER 1 – FOOD SHOPPING FOR MY ZOMBIE BOYFRIEND ............................................................ 7
CHAPTER 2 – DJINN IN A ZIPPO ......................................................................................................... 16
CHAPTER 3 – DRUGGING THE HOG.................................................................................................... 27
CHAPTER 4 – ZOMBIE ARMAGEDDON ................................................................................................ 34
CHAPTER 5 – THRALL SEEKERS ........................................................................................................... 43
CHAPTER 6 – KISSES UNDER THE RAIN .............................................................................................. 47
CHAPTER 7 - WIKIPEDIA ENTRY - RIOKI ............................................................................................. 52
CHAPTER 8 – THE COW JUMPS OVER THE FULL MOON ................................................................... 55
CHAPTER 9 – UNEMPLOYED, UNDERAPPRECIATED, AND UNDEAD ................................................ 62
HAPPY TO SEE ME? ............................................................................................................................. 73


Evie Strump, a trash-talking, small-town vampire, is chased by

hunters who believe she's the Dark Overlord Queen who'll control the
undead and kill many humans.

She is on a quest to prove that Councilor Nick Price and his silly visions of
the future are wrong. She’s only a small-town vampire living in Keno, Iowa,
minding her own business, and not bothering anyone.

She’s so NOT evil. So much so, that she’s willing to go to the ends of the
earth, or more aptly, the Otherworld and the Netherworld, to save the
incriminating human from the scary Akeldham Brotherhood who
kidnapped him for his ability to foretell the future.

She swears, she steals, she lies, she deals, she cheats, she kills, she maims,
she seduces, and she betrays to prove she’s not the evil, power-mongering
Dark Overlord Queen everyone thinks she’ll become. Or will she?


While cruising through my Thanksgiving tryptophan high last year, I

thought, “I need to write about a vampire who is bad instead of vampire
hunters off to save the world.”

If you’d like to help me out with editing, rephrase sentences, point out
inconsistencies, remove boring bits, or just want to opine (e.g., Ryann W.
suggests as part of Evie’s character development, she should start liking the
environment and cats. Thanks Ryann. You crazy tree-hugger, you.)

Feel free to critique of my book no matter how painful and cruel. (For e.g. if
you lost interest after the first chapter, let me know.) You don't have to
critic the whole thing. I'll take grammar errors and typos if you notice 'em.

Leave a note on
Or DM me in Twitter at
Or vote for me in Authomony:

I might just invite you to the party when I get this published officially. :D


All of Lizzie Vale’s worlds are works of fiction. All names, characters, creatures, animals, places,
locations, locales, business establishments, organizations, associations, groups, entities,
dominions, planes, dimensions, states, nations, governments, beliefs, circumstances, conditions,
and events portrayed in this story, text, writing, symbol, image, or illustration are either
fictitious or fictitiously used. Any resemblances to real or actual person, living, dead, or undead,
are pure coincidence. Any resemblances to real or actual persons, living, dead, or undead, are
pure coincidence. Any resemblance to real or actual character, characters, place, places,
location, locations, locale, locales, business establishment, business establishments,
organization, organizations, association, associations, group, groups, entity, entities, dominion,
dominions, plane, planes, dimension, dimensions, state, states, nation, nations, government,
governments, belief, beliefs, circumstance, circumstances, condition, conditions, event, or events
that exist, exists, existed, have existed, or will exist are pure coincidence. Any resemblance to
reality is pure coincidence.


Many thanks to the folks in and Alexandra Riley, Alexs_H,
Alpha Tango, B.J. Winters, C.C. McKinnon, Anthony Lund, Brian W. Porter, CCastle,
crharris77, Freeman, Fortuneight, gillyflower, GirlWithAPen, JD Revene, June A, ldspete,
pandy, paxie, seasoned_geek, selestiele, T.L Tyson



F ive pounds of ground beef were on sale for $7.99 at Wal-Mart. I reveled in
my good luck because normally it would've cost me $11.99. The ground beef
was marked 78% to 84% lean, more fattening than the 85/15 lean, round
beef. Since I was only feeding my zombie boyfriend, Chas, I wasn’t about to
pass up the opportunity to save a few pennies for the sake of ruining his figure. I loaded
up half my shopping cart with the packaged meat, whistling the Wal-Mart falling prices

A middle-aged woman passed me and did a double take at the sheer amount of meat I
had in my cart. I gave her a huge, friendly smile without fangs. After she glanced up at
my face, she took off with her cart like a bat out of hell, which was hilarious. She couldn’t
turn into a bat, but I could.

I continued shopping, snatching a few packages of frozen pigs’ blood. The local butcher’s
shop would’ve been my first choice for my meat and blood supply but in the last week, a
persistent group of vampire hunters ambushed me while I shopped there. After
thousands of dollars of property damage and ruined red meat, the butcher called in the
big city witches and they drove all the way down to my humble, home town, Keno, Iowa,
to set up complex wards in the butcher shop to keep me out. And that was the reason I
drove up to the city, twenty minutes away, to Wal-Mart Supercenter, and was shopping
among the living.

Instinctively, the living knew I was a threat. Ever since I Turned, no matter how much I
tried to look human, people steered away from me. For example, last night I visited my
favorite dance club in the city. I dressed in a ten-dollar whorish getup typical college
girls wore, a slinky red dress and knee-high boots. Yet, I didn’t even get offered a free
drink or took pleasure in small talk from men with less than noble intentions. As a top of
the food chain predator, I sucked. I couldn’t even corner a guy in the restroom for a little

I must look very scary and unapproachable. It was either that or my face must be
hideously ugly after I turned vampire, which I wouldn’t know. I hadn’t seen my
reflection. Once, I asked my boyfriend, Chas, to give me his opinion on how I looked, but

you know zombies, all they ever do is moan and say, “Brains.” I reminded him that
brains were for snacks only. I kept him locked up in my basement dungeon.

I tried my best to look human and alive. Blue contacts hid my blood-red eyes. My
straight hair was dyed Jessica Simpson blonde. I’d rolled up the sleeves of my red-and-
black, flannel shirt to show off my fake tan. I even wore a green farmer’s cap.

People still kept their distance. This was the reason I wasn’t too surprised when the
store looked particularly empty of customers. Cheerfully, I pushed the cart along an
empty aisle, gaining speed and putting my weight on the back of the cart like a little kid
on a scooter. I skidded to a stop in front of the seasonal aisle.

While I was deciding between Banana Boat SPF100 and Coppertone SPF100, the
fluorescent lights in the store flickered mysteriously. I froze and listened. The store
music playing the greatest hits of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. I heard the hum of the
fluorescent lights, the store refrigerators, and the freezers. I heard multiple heartbeats,
about a dozen mortal beings, moving in from all directions. I heard swooshing noises
and slow, ever so soft clicking sounds on the white, tiled floor. I took a breath, which I
didn’t normally do, and smelled gun powder, sweat, and wet dog.

A man clad in black and decked to the nines with all kinds of weapons emerged from
between the aisles twenty yards from me and hissed, “I’m sending you to hell where you
belong, vampire.”

Not this again.

He pointed his automatic weapon at me and fired a series of rounds.

I dove out of the way of gunfire and rolled right behind the display of weight-loss
products. Hey! My favorite weight loss pills were on sale. Then, I remembered I was a
vampire and my body would stay fabulous and slender. The silver bullets from the crazy
man–in-black perforated my abdomen and made minced-meat out of my left arm. I
checked to make sure my hand wasn’t completely severed. Nothing was worse than a
healed-over stump. To my relief, my hand was still connected and already regenerated.
“Hey, you missed a spot,” I yelled.

Bullets continued to puncture through the shelves, spewing out a mixture of floral-
smelling shower gels and the sharper smell of dandruff shampoos. A bullet pierced
through my skull. I lost my green farmer’s cap but my head knit itself back and quickly
spat the bullets out.

A large, blue, semi-transparent blob floated above me. A bolt of blue lightning hurled
from it. A djinn! I leapt out of the way and ran towards the Toys aisle. Bottles exploded
in the wake of more lightning bolts. Methodically, I pulled bikes off the rack and flung

them at the djinn and at the man-in-black who had reappeared within bike-flinging

I tested out one of my glamour abilities to get the man-in-black to stop being so hateful.

I am not your enemy. I am beautiful and loveable like Megan Fox holding a defenseless
little Golden Retriever puppy.

No effect.

I am beautiful and have a heart of gold like Angelina Jolie with half a dozen orphans.

Not working.

I am Gerard Butler clad in all my Spartan glory rescuing helpless dames from an evil,
horny, hunchbacked monstrosity.

Still, no cigar. This superpower sucked.

“Your mind tricks won’t work on me, vampire.”

“Why would you want to send me to hell? I’ve been so good!” I tossed a couple of
children’s electric Hummers at the man-in-black who conjured up a large ball of blue
flame in one hand to hurl at me.

Wonderful. I got myself an angry fire mage with big guns and big balls. Of flame.

“I pick up trash from the highway sometimes.” I continued with my justification. “And I
help the elderly once in a while.” Effortlessly, I dodged the incoming great balls of fire.
They whizzed past me and exploded, making a molten, metal mess of the Bikes,
Scooters, and Skates aisle. “I even had my parents donate my old bikes to Goodwill.”

I tried changing into mist or shape shift into bats but I couldn’t. Whenever I tried, I felt a
psychic block on me that prevented me from shifting. I’d normally imagine my calm
place, a small waterfall, and I’d be swimming in the large swimming hole at its base. I’d
imagine mist or bats coming out from the cave behind the waterfall. I’d will them to
envelope me and I’d shift. Except now, when I called up the mist, it couldn’t get to me.
Before it could touch my skin, it dried up and left only sizzling blue sparks. When I tried
to call up the bats, a wall of hot air with blue sparks blocked them from me. The psychic
block came from Mr. Hot Air Fire Mage.

A propane tank from the Outdoor and Sports and Fitness Department flew at me. I
evaded and it exploded nearby, too close for comfort. A couple of sprinkler heads above

the Toys department activated and a spray of cold water drizzled on my assassins, the
heap of flaming merchandise, and me. I scrambled clumsily towards the Auto Care
department, slipping on the wet floor a few times. There had to be something in the
superstore I could use to blow up stuff, like say, a killer fire mage.

Mr. Fire Mage growled as he chased after me. “You are a rogue vampire. You kill and
destroy indiscriminately.”

“That’s not true.” I didn’t kill and destroy indiscriminately. I was extremely
discriminating. I cared about human life. I even cared about farm animals. Except for
cats, I hated cats. And the environment. I didn’t give a flying fuck about the
environment. “I’ve only killed in self-defense!” I protested. “You’re the unreasonable,
homicidal jackass.”

“You, vampire, are a murderer. You don’t deserve to exist.” To punctuate his last
statement, he sent three small fireballs after me.

Countless, miscellaneous objects levitated high in the air and flew towards me at high
speed. Gas grills, knives, and cast iron cookware chased me. A fishing rod skewered my
shoulders and I gasped as I pulled it out. I ducked in time before a spinning golf club
decapitated me. The store music played the chorus of an 80’s love song.

I pulled down aisle after aisle behind me to slow Mr. Morality down and block his
exploding blue balls and the other flying objects. The blue, floating apparition followed
me without difficulty, soaring over my attempts to obstruct. I wondered if the djinn
came with a lamp, like the genie in Aladdin’s Magic Lamp. Or perhaps in a bottle that
needed to be rubbed the right way, like Christina Aguilera.

The djinn hit me with a lightning bolt and my damp clothes caught fire. I dropped and
rolled, frantically putting out the flames with my hands. My red-and-black flannel shirt
was a black, smoldering mess. I made a mental note to buy flame resistant shirts and
sports bras next time.

A group of eight men in green camouflage gear fanned out to my right to join the party.
Some of them aimed their crossbows at me while others pointed their automatic
submachine guns. A couple of crossbow bolts hit me in the chest and impaled me
against a shelf full of yellow bottles of motor oil. Bullets bit through my skin once more.
“Nice aim,” I said, conversationally. I pulled myself out of the shelving and yanked the
bolts out with ease.

I glamoured the men in green. This time I made them think I was a group of scantily clad
sorority girls doing a fundraiser on trampolines. It worked. “Don’t get too excited boys, I
use teeth.”

The fire mage was back with his flaming balls. I grabbed car batteries and aimed them at
him. To fry or not to fry. My only option was to take a close combat offensive against the
men in green camos and hope they’d go down in the crossfire.

I focused on my anger and frustration over the unfairness of the situation. I let a familiar
blinding rage overwhelm me and what little goodwill I felt evaporated. I fed my fury
until dark shadows filled my vision and consumed me.

A few seconds later, I was aware of the taste of blood in my mouth. I’d ripped apart the
arms of the first seven men-in-green and I was in the process of making a chew toy of
the eight one’s neck. The eighth man-in-green splashed holy water on me and burned
my eyes. I smacked the offending bottle away and finished him off.

I looked up at the fire mage with my fangs extended and blood dripping from my mouth.
My eyes blazed red but unfortunately, he couldn’t see the full effects of my ferocity since
I had blue-colored contacts on. “Did you say you work for the betterment of mankind?
You seriously think destroying me will help?” I grinned evilly. I threw a couple of bodies
his way and advanced towards him.

A wall of hot air slammed against me and I tumbled backwards onto the shelves with
automobile tires. “Blue sparkles are pretty,” I said, dazed, feeling much like a cartoon
character with stars circling my head.

Vicious snarls alerted me to three werewolves coming at me from different directions. I

could tell they were no ordinary wolves. They were like the wolves equivalent of body
builders who lived off protein shakes and a daily gym membership. All three of the
powerfully-built werewolves jumped and drove me flat on my back on the ground.

While the werewolves shredded my shoulders, three winged creatures glided in the air
towards me. They looked like pixies, about six-inches tall, with pointy hats, pointy ears,
and butterfly wings. Each of the pixies was a different color. One was dressed in an
elaborate lavender gown shaped like a dome at the waist. A pair of pointy lavender
shoes peeked out from under her skirt. Another pixie wore a light-blue top that bared
one of her shoulders. Her matching blue skirt came halfway down to her knees. The
third one was garbed in a pink shirt, a pair of pink breeches, and a pair of pink boots.
Lavender, blue, and pink sparks surrounding the three of them.

“I’m not a murderer,” I growled as I quickly pulled myself up. I finished off the last
werewolf with a swift blow to the neck and a bloody heart-grab into his chest cavity
with my talon-like nails, the vampiric bloodrage at its best.

When I took a step away from the mangled mess that were werewolves, the three pixies
immediately flew about my head and sprinkled glittering light-blue, pink, and lavender
dust on me. “The Easter Bunny wants its colors back.” I half-heartedly swatted at them.
The pixies effectively evaded me. “You guys are pretty spry,” I told them. I felt a strange
sensation that everything needed to slow down.

The fire mage unsheathed a long sword and stalked towards me. If I lost my head, I
didn’t think it was possible for vampires to grow it back. I hadn’t had a chance to check
out a copy of the ‘Vamp Instruction Manual and Survival Kit’ from the library.

“What does your magic spell do?” I asked, yawning. My knees buckled and I crumpled
onto the ground not far away from the werewolf carnage. My talon-like nails and my
fangs retracted against my will.

I fell into a puddle of blood face first and I let my face marinate there for a little bit. I
laughed as I pondered how absurd my life had become in the last week. I couldn’t stop
laughing even after I inhaled blood through my nose. Everything was too funny. Wait!
What happened to my bloodrage and bloodlust?

Fighting against the compelling feeling to just slump down, relax, take a hit, say “dude”,
pass it to the left, and develop an affinity for munchies, I pulled myself up to a crouch.

The fire mage took the exceptionally sharp-looking sword and held it against my neck.
The djinn hovered close by. It must be time to destroy what was left of my dignity.

Up close, the fire mage was a good-looking fellow, clean-shaven, around thirty-years-
old. His eyes glittered silver-and-blue and they watched me warily. He had light brown,
curly locks with a few strands plastered on his forehead in sweat. Conjuring up magic
from a distance exerted him. In his defense, he also played dodge ball with my random,
solid object throwing. Too bad I’d have to rearrange his pretty face soon.

“The spell blocks you from harnessing your dark powers,” he said coldly.

I gave him a goofy smile minus the fangs. “But I do believe in fairies! I really do! If I clap
my hands will I be saved from this spell?”

He ignored my silly quip. “Do you deny murdering Charles Garron Marshall, the third?”
He slowly sank the sword into my throat, drawing blood.

Chas. They believed I murdered Chas.

I went back to the waterfall inside my head. I could no longer tap into the wicked
hunger and strength that fueled my bloodrage and bloodlust. I stared at my large

swimming hole and made the water turn arctic cold. I dove into the icy water and forced
myself to shake off the spell that made me languid.

“I didn’t kill Chas,” I lied, staring at the fire mage’s unfathomable silver-and-blue eyes.

With his free hand, he reached into one of his many pockets and took out a needle
packaged in a large, silver tube.

I hated needles. Or any sharp, pointy things such as stakes. “Uh, what’s in that?”

“Death.” He swung his hand to start the momentum to stab it into my heart.

The angry fire mage drove the needle deep into my heart. A shock of pain burst through
me and quickly fanned out all over my body. I wanted my mommy. Mr. Jackass injected
me with something that had silver in it. The itching and burning pain I felt inside was a
hundred times worse than an extremely bad case of yeast infection.

My super sharp bite and long, razor-sharp nails may be gone but with help from my
mental cold plunge, I still had my good human reflexes and muscles honed from years of
detasseling corn before I Turned. With speed to rival the scrambling for clothes after
Sheriff Connelly caught us while having a little nookie with Toby Swanson in the
backseat of his 1982 Chevy Camaro Z28, I snatched the fire mage’s wrist, slammed it on
the floor, and kicked the needle out of the way.

Mr. Unfeeling Jerk tackled me and planted my face on the floor. He started hacking at my
head with the sword, chopping off some of my hair in the process. I pulled a leg-swipe
move and I was on top of him. With my knee, I pinned his injured wrist down. I grappled
with his sword hand. I managed not to get my head sliced off completely. Thankfully, my
neck regenerated.

“My hair! You chopped off my hair! It took me forever to grow it this long, you mean
bastard.” I pummeled his sword away. I was exaggerating, of course. It would take less
than a day to grow my hair back if I willed it. Although, applying blonde hair-dye evenly
without a mirror’s help was a pain in the ass.

One of the pixies, the pink one, buzzed around my head once more, stabbing me with a
tiny sword. I ignored it, too busy staring down at fire mage who looked up at me

On instinct, I bit against the fire mage’s jugular and then realized I no longer had my
razor-sharp teeth. Confused, I pulled back and looked at his neck. I had drawn a little
blood but the marks looked more like love bites. “Damn!” I muttered sourly. I could
never do anything right.

The fire mage rolled on top of me. With his sword hand free, he reached inside his black
coat and pulled out a pair of silver handcuffs. With one deft, eyebrow-raising motion, he
cuffed us together.

“Hey!” I yelled in protest. I tried to rip off the handcuffs while pinned on the floor, not
caring if I tore his arm off. That earned me a sharp, agonizing pain, which shot from my
wrist and arm into my skull. I almost wept. Vampires didn’t feel this much pain, not
unless we‘re tanning under the sun or burning to death.

The fire mage smiled bitterly and said, “Charmed cuffs. We are bonded. You hurt me and
you’ll feel it ten times as worse. You kill me and whatever’s left of your miserable, vile
existence will dry up into an empty husk.” I was stunned into silence for a few seconds
or it could’ve been the silver concoction in my bloodstream.

He had both my hands pinned down over my head with his left hand. With his right, he
reached into his coat pocket once more and pulled out an engraved, silver Zippo lighter.
With all the silver he carried around with him, maybe I should invest in silver
manufacturing stocks.

The fire mage glared contemptuously at me and without breaking eye contact, he said,
“Zeke, get the team out of here and blow up the place.”

The djinn made a slight move towards us. “Are you certain, master? You will die.”

“Yes,” the angry, suicidal mage bit out. “I’m the only one who can keep her from shifting.
I promised the Council I will fight to the death to give the Dark Overlord Queen her due.
I will see this to the end.” Queens and councils. Cripes. My Sire should have given me a
“Freaky Shit Handbook” after he turned me into a vampire. It was too bad I killed him

I needed to shake off the liquid silver brain hold. The fire mage held out the Zippo
lighter towards the pixies. “Princess Eolande,” he stiffly said. He must be hurting, too.
The brain pain was two-way.

One of the pixies, wearing the pretty, lavender dress moved cautiously towards us. I felt
the fire mage’s muscles strain. “Make sure Councilor Nicholas Price gets this, your
highness. I trust in your honor and the honor of House Clemens,” he gritted the words

The lavender pixie curtsied in the air, lavender sparkles shimmering around her. She
replied solemnly, “Lord Knox, you have my word. Your noble sacrifice will never be

I rolled my eyes and snorted even though I had an immobilizing liquid silver brain-
freeze that was up there in pain intensity as an ice cream brain-freeze. My lord and
noble, indeed. Who talked like that anymore?

The lavender pixie reached her hand out to take the Zippo.

I deliberately banged my head backwards against the hard floor. The impact produced a
debilitating pain that magnified exponentially in my head. The shared pain made Knox
groan and he collapsed on top of me. Fortunately, I was much better and quicker in pain
recovery than he was.

I reached out and snatched the silver Zippo lighter from his hand before Princess
Eolande of the House Clementine or Clumsy or whatever, got a hold of it.

There was a loud whoosh. Knox screamed into my ear, “No!”

The djinn hovered right in front of me, close enough to touch. The djinn looked at me,
bowed down, and said, “My name is Zeki, of the Ancient Djinn of the Aaydeen. You can
call me, Zeke. Tell me your wish, mistress.”


I pulled myself up, yanking Knox’s arm up with me with my left hand. The
liquid concoction of silver inside me was losing its hold. As Knox stood up, he
barked at the pixies, “Kellan, Rhoswen. Take her highness out of here, now.”

I saw a blur of blue, pink, and lavender shoot off towards the front entrance of
the store. “Are you sure you guys don’t want to stay? We can try to be friends?” I called
after them but they were already gone.

I turned to Zeke and reached out with my right hand, the hand that wasn’t shackled to
an enraged mage, to offer the djinn a handshake. “Well, hello there, Zeke. I’m Evie
Strump. You can call me Evie. It’s about time someone had the common decency to be
polite around here.”

Zeke gave me a huge smile as he extended a hand towards me as well. As I reached out
to shake his hand, I grasped empty air instead. I almost lost my balance. I scowled at the
djinn. “I am, what you say, intangible. Without substance?” he said with his Cheshire cat

“Here, we call that, rude. I take back what I said about politeness and decency,” I

“I apologize, Madam Evie.” He bowed his head slightly. “I will remain intangible unless I
transform into a mortal form. It takes a large amount of energy to do so. Tell me, what is
your wish and it is my command.”

“You’re pretty eager.” I observed. “I thought I get a free magic carpet ride first.”

Zeke, the djinn wore a black vest and a pair of black balloon pants. He had a matching
pair of black arm cuffs around his bare, bulging biceps. A black turban sat on top of his
slick, black hair. He had a swirly mustache, a goatee, and one of those wide noses with a
bulbous tip that reminded me of political cartoon editorials.

His gleaming, blue eyes shone with amusement and he grinned mischievously, showing
off a set of exceedingly white teeth. His blue skin shone while he hovered with his legs
crossed a few feet from the floor. It was very cliché.

“Nice ‘stache,” I commented.

I turned to Knox. “Hey, Knox, you’re not assaulting me or hacking my neck off. Should I
be worried?”

Knox gave a shoulder movement that could have been a shrug. “To destroy you, all I
need to do is take my own life.”

“You mean this pair of handcuffs can do all of that?”

He breathed out as if it annoyed him that he had to talk to me. “It would be as if our
bodies are Siamese twins, whatever hurts me will hurt you. Whatever will kill me will
kill you.”

I brought the handcuffs up for examination. “It gives a new meaning to ‘til death do us
part’, doesn’t it?” The silver handcuffs tarnished quickly as soon as he cuffed us
together. It was almost black now. That was all right with me. I didn’t want shiny
surfaces to remind me that I wasn’t human and without a reflection.

Instead, my attention was diverted to his hand. He had nice hands, calloused, probably
from waving his sword around like a maniac. He wore a ring. “Nice ring, is it silver?” I
almost giggled at my inside joke. The simple signet ring on his ring finger was duller
than sterling silver and had a crest engraved on it. Lord Aristocrat didn’t bother

I looked at his ring closer. I saw the typical shield, a couple of lions, and a crown. At the
bottom of the crest, the inverted writing said, ’Lux, Aero et Spiritus’. “Light, Air, and
Spirit. That’s deep,” I murmured and looked up at him skeptically. “How are you
planning to off yourself, Knox? Spontaneously combust?” I snickered.

A small, blue ball of fire immediately appeared in the palm of his cuffed hand.

I jumped back, startled. “Oh, right. That!” I laughed. “You’ve got issues, man. You should
think about counseling with all your suicidal tendencies. Besides, some religions say
your soul goes to hell if you commit suicide. You’re no better than those terrorists.”

“The difference is I don’t harm innocent civilians. You are hardly innocent, vampire.”

I frowned. “If you kill me, no one’s going to take care of Chas. You’ll be hurting innocent
civilians.” If no one fed Chas, there was a strong possibility he might escape my
basement and feast on the whole town of Keno, Iowa, with its 6,283 inhabitants. With
the townspeople wiped out, who else would appreciate the small town, its abundance of

trailer homes, its pig farms, its black-and-white, checkered water tower, its one
stoplight, its single gas station, its rundown bowling alley, its thriving meth labs, and its
12 bars where you can play all the Keno you want until 2 AM?

Knox looked at me in disgust, his usual expression around me. “Charles Marshall is a
vampire? You turned him into a vampire?”

“He’s not a vampire,” I said carefully. “He’s extremely sick and I’m the only one taking
care of him. You don’t want to kill me yet.”

Knox straightened himself. “All right, vampire. Deliver Charles Marshall to me alive and
I will bring you to the Council. You will get a fair trial. Wrong me and you die.”

“Agreed,” I gave him a winning smile. Lying through my teeth was hard work. There had
to be a way to get out of these stupid cuffs and from the crazy mage. “Zeke, can you take
this off me?” I shook the cuffs.

“Is that your wish?” the djinn asked pleasantly.

Knox interrupted in a low voice, “I suggest you think long and hard before you rattle off
your hearts desires, vampire. The djinn doesn’t always tell the complete truth.”

“How many wishes do you grant, Zeke?” I asked, fingering the Zippo lighter, watching
Knox warily in case he decided to make a grab for it.

“I grant wishes three and then I am set free,” the djinn said, smiling.

Knox quickly supplied, “You should be aware, vampire, that the djinn offers a total of
three wishes regardless of who uses up the wishes. There are, in effect, only two wishes
left before he is set free, not three. I’m warning you that if you were to ask him to
remove these cuffs and you word your request wrong, the magic of the cuffs will destroy
us both immediately. Its magic is greater than what the djinn can wield. You can forget
about removing the cuffs right now and show me where I can find Charles Marshall.”

I looked at the djinn. “Is what he saying true? I could ultimately die from a wish?”

“He tells the truth for the most part.” The djinn nodded slowly.

“Well,” I said, irritation showing in my voice. “Will I die or won’t I?”

“I will protect your life to the best of my abilities. That is my primary purpose. I am not
able to hurt you or kill you. However, you may lose your life as an indirect result of a

wish. It is like saying automobiles will kill you. The automobiles themselves don’t kill.
Likewise, I am merely a transport who can make your wishes come true.”

“Can you take the cuffs off now without killing me?”

“It will take time but it’s possible,” he said enigmatically.

“Do I get only two wishes?”

“No. In fact, you get all three. My Lord Knox was incorrect in saying there are only two
wishes left. I have not completely fulfilled the first wish before you gained possession of
the lighter, which made that particular wish null and void.”

I tapped a finger on my lips in thought. I wanted many things. I wanted to be human

again. I wanted Chas to be human again. I wanted good health and dental insurance
when I turned human again.

Hearing how tricky the djinn could be, I may get more than what I bargained for. I once
heard of a man who wished that his dick were long enough to touch the ground. The
djinn granted his wish and sure enough, the man didn’t have legs any more.

“What was the last wish you tried to grant?” I asked. I was curious.

“To kill the Dark Overlord Queen,” the djinn replied.

“Are you saying I am the Dark Overlord Queen?” I said, amused and mystified.

“Yes, you will be.” The djinn twirled his curly, black mustache.

Knox snapped, “Word your requests carefully, vampire, if you decide to squander your

“Why thank you, your lordship,” I retorted. I needed time to think over all the
possibilities. “What happens if I asked to have the cuffs removed without killing both of
us? What will you do, Zeke?”

The djinn answered, “My abilities to grant your wishes are limited to what your powers
are. You have strength, bloodrage, bloodlust, glamour, and compulsion magic. I can
harness your powers, magnify them, make them remarkably potent, or I can finesse
them. With those powers, I will do my best to fulfill your wish.”

“If you proceed with this wish, you will have the strongest wielders of magic hunting
you. You do not want to start a war,” Knox warned. “The only way the cuffs can come off

is with help from a large group of archmages. The djinn will most likely kidnap them,
glamour them, war will break out, many will die. I will destroy you before that

“Fine,” I muttered. “Not at all like the fairy tales. I’m disappointed.”

“I would like to see Charles Marshall now, vampire?” Knox impatiently demanded. He
made the word ‘vampire’ sound like a profanity.

“I’ve got some unfinished business to take care of. It won’t take long.” I surveyed the
mayhem we caused. I was relieved that the rest of the store was untouched. The damage
was contained to a relatively small area. “They can still salvage this. A little Febreeze
should clear the air,” I mused. I wondered why the police and the fire department hadn’t
barged in on us yet.

I walked towards the Seasonal Aisle where I’d left my shopping cart, pulling Knox along
with me. I cleared my shopping cart of exploded bottles, bits of shelving, and some
unidentifiable gore. I threw in a couple of bottles of sunscreen and headed for the Self-
Checkout counter.

After I scanned the goods under the scanner, I reached for my wallet from my back jean
pocket. All my cash was soaked in blood. Hell, I hated using my credit card but this was
an emergency. As the receipt printed out, I looked over at Knox smugly. “You see, Knox,
I’m a law-abiding citizen. That is, when I’m not being assaulted by assassins who have
this ridiculous notion that I’m an overlord queen.

“Come on, Zeke,” I urged.

With the shopping cart, the three of us stepped out through the store’s automatic sliding
doors and walked into the parking lot. At least a dozen people were outside. They
included the city’s sheriff, a couple of his deputies, and the city’s fire fighters.

Every one of them was motionless, frozen as if time had stopped.

I looked in wonder at the frozen tableau in the parking lot. Someone had wielded
serious magic. The sheriff stood motionless with one arm lifted and his mouth wide
open. His breath hung in a frozen mist in front of him. A couple of fire fighters were
immobilized in mid-motion while they uncoiled the hose on the fire truck. Another man
was as still as a statue, suspended in mid-air while jumping off the fire truck. I saw the
three pixies and they were motionless in the air next to a black, windowless van. On the
other side of the parking lot, several unmoving people wearing Wal-Mart uniforms
stood next to a large pile of snow. They were clustered around a motionless man in
green camos.

I found unmoving people a little disturbing so I tried to mist. I couldn’t summon the
mist. I tried to conjure up my bats. Knox’s sparkly wall of blue air intruded in my
waterfall haven. Then I tried to drop fang and sheath my talon-like nails. Yes! My blood-
sucking, enemy-tearing vampire powers were back. I felt around for my pointy incisors
with my tongue. I drummed my fingers out in the air to admire my elongated nails. Silly
pixies and their pixie dust. Tricks were for kids. And Knox smelled delicious.

I turned and looked at Zeke and exhaled in relief. He wasn’t frozen. That was good news
in case I needed to scream out an impromptu wish to save my life.

“Well, that didn’t work.” A strong, male voice rang out. A handsome man with flowing,
Kevin Sorbo hair stepped out from between a couple of cars. I touched my own uneven,
limp, platinum blonde hair and gave Knox a dirty look for butchering it. But Knox wasn’t
looking at me.

“Stay where you are, Councilor,” Knox warned.

The Councilor didn’t follow Knox’s advice. Instead, he walked towards us. His eyes fell
on our shackled wrists. “I was hoping you didn’t have to use the Cuff of Shayam. I’m very
sorry, Brandon,” he said calmly in what sounded like an Australian accent.

The Councilor looked at the djinn. “Zeke,” he acknowledged.

The djinn gave him a nod and his usual mischievous smile.

He turned to me. “Brandon, will you introduce me to this lovely lady?”

“The vampire is hardly a lady,” Knox said with scorn.

“He can hardly introduce me when he and I were never politely introduced ourselves.” I
said with comparable scorn.

The Councilor was about as tall as Knox was. He wore a dark, long overcoat which hung
open and showed an expensive-looking navy blue suit and a buttoned-up, crisp, white
shirt. He had to be at least five years older than me.

He had an air of smooth confidence and respectability that was the complete opposite of
Knox’s unrelenting harshness and crackling anger.

“Allow me to introduce myself.” He held a hand out. “My name is Nick Price. I’m a
representative of the Council of the Worlds. You may call me Nick. You must be Evie

“Evie, you can call me Evie,” I said evenly as we shook hands. “As much as I love to stay
and chat with all of Mr. Knox’s friends, I’d like to be on my way.”

“Thorne,” Knox said in a clipped tone.

“I’m sorry?” I glanced at Knox’s direction.

“Thorne is my surname. My name is Brandon Thorne. Lord Knox is an English title. You
may continue calling me Knox if you prefer.”

I blinked at Knox in mock disbelief, “Are we being civil to each other now? Give me a
moment while I recover from the shock.”

“Evie.” Nick looked all business. “I believe we have come to what we call an impasse.
You have control of the djinn, which makes you very dangerous to us right now. At the
same time, Lord Knox is offering his life in sacrifice if you become too dangerous.”

“Yes, it’s a quandary.” Eight letter word that meant dilemma. Thank you, Sunday night’s
crossword puzzle.

“I don’t suppose I could convince you to give the djinn to me?” Nick looked at me

“Nope.” I didn’t even hesitate. “As long as your world council or whatever thinks I’m
some dangerous queen overlord, I think I’ll keep him.”

“I apologize again, Evie.” Nick nodded his head slightly. “I’d like to be upfront with you. I
was the one who went to the Council with a vision of the future. I have Visions. I carry
with me the burden of knowing what terrifying events would happen in the future.

“I saw in one my visions that in the next full moon, an army of darkness from the
Netherworld will come out of every mirror into both your Mortalworld and the
Otherworld. There will be many fatalities. We dubbed this event ‘The Breaking’.

“Moreover, I saw that in thirty years, a vampire named Evie Strump has taken control of
not only all the vampires of the world but she has power over Revenants. The
Revenants are the spirits of the dead who have come back from the Netherworld.

“I saw visions of wars waged while the Dark Overlord Queen and her forces are in
control. Similar to my Vision of ‘The Breaking’, I saw many deaths, not just in the
Mortalworld, but in the Otherworld as well.”

“Maybe, it’s my twin sister in power, calling herself Evie.” I didn’t have a twin sister.

“Please understand where we’re coming from, Evie. Charles Marshall is missing and
there’s a rogue vampire living in the same town who refused to answer to the governing
authority. The Council sent their elite team of vampire hunters and you took them down
ruthlessly. In addition, you seem to be immune to silver, which is extraordinary in itself.

“In all seriousness, we believe you are very powerful and will be responsible for the
oncoming slaughter.”

“What proof do you have that it’s me that will cause this? It’s hardly fair that I have a
bounty on me based on speculation.”

“If you prove you have not murdered Charles Marshall, we’ll be more sympathetic. We’d
like to take you into custody until the threat of attack through the mirrors has passed.
However, if Charles Marshall is dead, we will be more apt to believe you’re capable of
future atrocities.”

“Why does everyone think I murdered Chas? Did you see visions of that, too?”

“No, the police reported Chas Marshall missing last week. The last time he was seen
alive was at his place of work. The gas station showed signs of a violent struggle and lots
of blood similar to vampire attacks. The county’s Master Vampire highly suspects a
rogue vampire attacked Chas. You are the only rogue we know who lives in Keno, Iowa.”

“How did they find out so fast? How did they know I even turned vampire? I only turned
a week ago and I doubt anyone filed a missing persons report on me.”

“I had a vision you would be here today and that you are a vampire. That’s how we
knew you’re the vampire we’re looking for.”

“Hell, your Council should have hunted the guy who Turned me. Then we wouldn’t be
having this conversation about me being a vampire. Where were you last week?”

“Unfortunately, my visions were about you and not him. He is not the one who would be
amassing an army of the undead. He’s not the one whose powers threaten our worlds.”

I sighed. They were convinced I was the evil villain. “All right, I see your point. I’ll take
Knox here to see Chas and then I’ll voluntary turn myself in to your Council until this
‘Breaking’ event is over. Then, will you promise to get rid of these forsaken cuffs?”

“We’ll talk to the archmages and see what they can do. There is the question about the
djinn. Can we discuss that? He may prove to be helpful against the army of darkness we
will face?”

I chewed on my bottom lip. “Here’s what I can do. I won’t wish for anything from the
djinn until I’ve met with your Council. I can’t promise anymore than that.”

“I hope you’d reconsider.”

I turned to the store. “What about the bodies? Will I be prosecuted for our little firefight
in there?”

Price looked agreeable. “We’ll clean up the mess. There will be an investigation, of
course. If you fought in self-defense, then you may return home afterwards.”

“Awesome.” I suppressed the urge to stick my tongue out at Knox.

“Brandon, do you agree with this arrangement? Can you bring her to the Council no
later than the day after tomorrow?”

“We will both be there,” Knox promised.

“Very well, on behalf of the Council, we appreciate your understanding regarding the
urgent matters at hand. I’m happy we could reach an agreement.”

“Me too,” I smiled. That went smoother than I thought. I imagined more bloodshed,
some weeping, and maybe a bite or two.

I gave Knox a smug look. “It’s amazing what we can accomplish if we’re not overly
confrontational and distrustful. Don’t you agree, Knox?”

He nodded, almost imperceptibly.

I let Knox grab a heavy duffel bag to bring with us from the large, black van parked in
the Wal-Mart parking lot. I wondered he had a change of clothes in there.

Knox helped me load my groceries onto the bed of my pickup. I dutifully pushed the
shopping cart into the designated cart return area like a good citizen.

“I will be seeing you soon, Evie.” Nick Price waved a hand once. I waved back after
slamming the truck bed cover into place.

As soon my truck was out of sight of the supermarket, I heard the sound of sirens
resume. It felt a little crowded in my pickup even though Zeke was intangible. “So, Zeke,
how do I get you back into the lighter?”

“I prefer not to go back in there.”


“It’s a torment. It’s similar to being placed in solitary confinement”

“Can you transform into a human, then?”

“I could.”

“How about a dog? Can you transform into a dog?”

“I suppose I can.”

“Oh goody, I always wanted a puppy.”

Driving my red ’89 Chevy S10 pickup was a little uncomfortable. I turned the steering
wheel with my right hand while my left hand was handcuffed to Knox’s. The truck had
manual transmission.

“It’s a twenty-minute drive to Keno.” I told Knox, “I’m stopping by a gas station to fill up
the tank. Do you need to use the toilet?” This was going to be more awkward than that
time I had my first gynecologist checkup and the doctor turned out to be Jason Worth’s
mother. At that time, I was dating Jason. I had to tell her whether I was sexually active or

“That’s a good idea, thank you,” Knox replied with a nod.

I bantered on. “I figure I could touch up my make-up or something,” I chuckled,

considering I had dried blood and other miscellaneous non-flattering substances caked
on my face.

At the gas station at the edge of the city, I hummed a tune while I filled the tank with
regular, unleaded gas. Knox sat on the driver’s side with his left hand stretched out to
give me room to maneuver. We had a rhythm going while we moved around. We were
especially careful not to touch each other’s skin at all.

I screwed the gas tank lid shut and told Zeke to wait in the truck. It was half past eleven
in the evening according to the clock behind the clerk in Gas N Dash. The gas station

clerk stared at us in fear. We looked terrifying. Knox looked intimidating in his black
trench coat. My whole body were covered in dried blood. I planned to use glamour on
the clerk, of course.

In addition to his broken wrist and the tiny cuts and bruises all over his body, Knox had
large, bloody gashes on his face, his arms, and legs. Unlike him, my wounds healed

I followed him to the men’s room, tracking in mud from the outside. I preferred the
typically cleaner women’s restrooms but I didn’t want to argue with him. The men’s
room had a urinal to the right, the sink to the left, and a paper towel dispenser on the
wall. While he did his business, I politely faced the sink and stared at the mirror that
didn’t have my reflection.

I waited patiently as Knox finished up, zipped up, and washed his hands. I handed him a
dry paper towel. He said thanks. I watched him wipe his hands and turned away from
me for a second to toss the soiled paper towel into the trashcan.

A second was all I needed to pull the entire paper towel dispenser off the wall. Using my
free hand, I slammed it on the side of Knox’s head as hard as I could.


I woke up from my blackout and found both Knox and myself tangled up on the
disgusting, mud-streaked, white-tiled floor of the men’s toilet in Gas N Dash. It
was littered with brown paper towels and the broken parts of the paper towel
dispenser. I was thankful I didn’t wake up face first in the urinal. He was still
unconscious. I must’ve broken his jaw because my own face hurt badly.

Knox was a big guy, a couple of inches over six feet, with broad shoulders and muscular
arms. With his arm around my neck, I dragged him out of the restroom. If I were human,
there was no way I would’ve held him up. I made my way towards the clerk who I’d
glamoured into thinking we were just a group of rowdy, college kids.

While I held Knox up against me, I reached into his back pants pocket to take out his
wallet. He had plenty of cash, some currencies I didn’t recognize, credit cards, bankcard,
a military ID, and a United Kingdom driver’s license. He was twenty-nine, eight years
older than I was. Even in his identity card photos, he was scowling as if someone was
poking him in the back with a dildo. The clerk rang up the gas. I paid for the purchases
with Knox’s generous donation. “Sorry about your restroom. It’s slippery in there.”

I roughly pushed Knox through the driver’s seat and onto the passenger’s seat. “How’s it
going, Zeke?”

“He will be very upset with you when he gains consciousness.” Zeke floated in his
ethereal form on the passenger side next to Knox.

“Gee, I haven’t thought of that,” I said sarcastically. “If he wakes up again, why don’t you
hit him on the head? Then he’ll be mad at you.”

“Constant head trauma can cause injury to the brain. He is human after all.”

“Oh Zeke, I didn’t know you cared. I promise I won’t damage him,” I said wryly. “Too
much.” I eased the truck out of the gas station and back onto the road.

“I can’t very well hit him on the head. I’m intangible, remember? I would have to
transform into a human form first.”

“Why don’t you change into a human now?”

Zeke transformed from being an electric blue, otherworldly creature to a dark-skinned

man with curly, black hair, dark brown eyes, bushy eyebrows, and a thick mustache. His
nose stayed the same, bulbous and hideous.

“You look like a porn star,” I stared at him, amazed, and almost slammed into a parked
car on the side of the street. I over-compensated and the truck fishtailed. “And you’re
still ugly,” I said after I gained control of the vehicle.

I drove into a neighborhood made up of trailer homes. We arrived at a trailer home that
had the same shade as discolored teeth. A couple of feet of snow sat on top of it and the
carport next to it. I parked behind a red Toyota Corolla. The lights inside the trailer
home were on. I told Zeke to keep it down low and not say anything unless I tell him.
The less people knew about the djinn, the better for me. Corporeal Zeke helped me with
Knox as we exited the truck and lumbered our way through the icy slush on the ground.

A tall, lanky man dressed in a dirty white, wife-beater shirt opened the door before we
reached it. He had a pistol tucked into his blue jeans. “Evie, you naughty girl. Picking up
drunk men in bars again, are you?”

“Hey Kyle, what’s up? This is Zeke. The drunk guy is Knox. Invite me in, will you?”

The inside of the trailer was as cramped and cluttered as I remembered it. We settled
onto a large, orange, floral sofa that took up most of the living room space.

“You look terrible, Evie. Is that dried blood? Are those bullet holes on your jeans?”

“I ran into vampire hunters,” I said nonchalantly.

Kyle and I had known each other since grade school in Keno. Back then, he was a
scrawny kid and got beat up often. I stood up for him against bullies and he was
eternally grateful. We dated a few times in high school but decided to stay friends. He
became involved into dealing, had a few police encounters, and even served time in
juvie. After high school, he moved from Keno to the city where he had a larger customer

I stopped by his place last week to see if he had some illegal sedatives I could use on
large animals. I convinced him I was vampire after I turned into a bat in front of him. He
was one of the rare people I couldn’t glamour. It must be because his brain was fried
most of the time.

“I need more of the stuff you gave me last week, Kyle.”

“Damn, girl. You used up all that shit already?”

I raised my left hand and rattled the handcuffs. “My man and I are into some kinky, role-
playing games. Right now, he’s pretending to be an English Lord and I’m an evil queen.”

Kyle laughed. “You’re always a riot, Evie.” His expression turned serious and he looked
at Zeke. “Are you sure he’s okay?”

I gave him a fanged smile. “Believe me, you can trust him.”

He nodded and walked towards the entryway to his bedroom. “I got some Liquid X,
Temmies, Rope, Versed, Valium, Halcyon, and Xanax. Pick your poison.”

“I’ll take all the Temmies you have.” I told him. “Do you have any liquid Versed? The one
you inject and not the red syrup?”

Kyle came out of the bedroom with his stash. He dropped two Ziploc bags on the coffee
table in front of me. One was filled with red and light-blue capsules and another one
with tiny, dark bottles with white labels.

“That blood you gave me last week was the shit, Evie. I have customers clamoring for
more of it. I’ve started calling it ‘Liquid Venom’. ”

“There’s more where it came from, Kyle,” I said dryly. “Got syringes for the Versed?”

I had plenty of experience with sedatives in the last week. I learned my lesson when I
drank pigs’ blood. Frantic, squealing pigs wake up the neighbors. Happy, aroused pigs
also wake up the neighbors. Releasing my pleasure hormone into them wasn’t my most
brilliant idea. It was something I never cared to witness again. Ever.

In my attempt to divert attention away from my nocturnal activities, I started drugging

the pigs beforehand. The drawback was, I’d pass out after drinking their blood. But I
recovered quickly. My feeding plan didn’t involve killing the animals. I didn’t want to
leave a wake of dead bodies after each feed. I liked my hometown and didn’t want the
attention. I also used the drugs on Chas to prevent him from escaping and annihilating
the town.

“So how’s business?” I asked while I pushed the needle of the syringe into one of the
bottles labeled ‘Midazolam’.

“It’s going really, really well. In fact, I want to focus on selling Liquid Venom, Evie. You
and I can make a lot of money.” Kyle was excited.

“Bring out the collection bags. I’ve got a few pints to donate. We’ll make it a party.” I
stabbed the syringe through a large tear in Knox’s pants into his right thigh.

Knox’s eyes flew open and he shot up straight from the couch. “Oh, shit!” I tackled Knox
back onto the couch. “Zeke, grab the bags and get Kyle outside, now!”

I was on top of Knox on the orange couch and he stared up at me wildly with his silver-
and-blue eyes. I felt the temperature rise between us. If it were any other guy, I
would’ve thought it romantic. Unfortunately, this was Brandon Leonardo Thorne, the
English Lord of Knox, Major General Brandon Thorne of the Western European Division
for the Magocratic Kingdom of Europe (according to the military identity card in his
wallet), a fire mage with serious anger issues.

He had the barrel of a gun on my right temple. The bastard pulled the trigger.

I dodged but not before the bullet blasted away half the back of my head. While my
poor, abused skull knitted itself back together, Knox’s body burst into blue flames.

“Damn!” I screamed as what was left of my clothes caught fire. “How long before the
drug kicks in?” Searing pain tore through my body.

“Five to fifteen minutes,” Kyle yelled through the open door of the trailer home.

The couch was on fire.

“Sorry buddy, this might cause some serious cranial discomfort.” I bashed him on the
side of his head once more. My world went blank.

I slowly regained consciousness with a pounding headache and an all-consuming pain

that scorched every surface of my body. Some wet substance clung to my eyelashes. I
was drenched in fire extinguisher foam.

“Son of a fucking bitch, Evie. That was twisted!” Kyle exclaimed.

I wiped the frothy liquid from my face. “Which one? The blazing ball of blue fire or my
brain matter on your couch?”

Through the smoky haze, I could make out Kyle’s coughing form. He held a red fire-
extinguisher in his arms. The air in his trailer home was thick with acrid smoke. This
was going to cost me gallons of my blood.

“This is some messed up shit, Evie,” Kyle said in wonder. “What have you gotten
yourself into? Who is he?”

Knox was unconscious but he smelled of burnt skin and burnt hair. “Think Gandalf on
crack,” I muttered as I checked Knox’s body with my free hand. His skin was charred, his
breathing erratic, and his pulse was frighteningly slow. Damn these handcuffs! I felt as if
someone crazy glued waxing strips on every inch of my own skin and viciously pulled
them off.

“Kyle, get me a funnel, quickly.” I snapped. “And any liquor you got, like vodka or

I tore at my wrist and dripped blood through the funnel I shoved down Knox’s throat. I
washed the blood that clung to the side of the funnel down with Kyle’s bottle of
Smirnoff. Knox’s body slowly healed itself. “Kyle, you said my blood heals and is an
aphrodisiac. Does the benzo wear off after humans take Liquid Venom?”

“Fuck, Evie. I don’t know. I don’t make my clients fill out satisfaction surveys. You know
me, Evie. I don’t sell sedatives just to anyone.”

I frowned. “I’ll probably should give him an extra dose of Versed.”

By the time we left Kyle’s, I had glamoured a rookie cop who had stopped by the
neighborhood to check on the fireworks that neighbors mistakenly reported as gunfire,
I had outfitted Knox and myself with unburnt clothing that belonged to Kyle, I had
donated pints of blood, I had obtained a Glock model 29 pistol and ammo, which I had
no idea how to use, and I had relieved Kyle of his Liquid Venom profits.

We were driving on the highway in the outskirts of Keno when Knox woke up dazed,
looked at me, then at Zeke and then back at me, and said with intensity, “Let’s hunt the

“Let’s not,” I rolled my eyes at Zeke.

I gave Knox a beguiling smile. “We met earlier this evening, Brandon. It was instant
fireworks between us. We had a few drinks and now I’m taking you back to my place.”

“That’s odd.” Knox looked at me thoughtfully. “I honestly don’t remember.”

I slowed down the truck and followed the speed limit that quickly changed from 55 mph
to 35 mph. Sheriff Connelly was a dick and liked to catch travelers in the speed trap. It
was almost two o’clock in the morning, bars were closing. I needed to stay extra vigilant.

Knox noticed the handcuffs and frowned. He reached into his clothes with his free hand
and was confused even further. He wore a pair of overalls and a green-and-red flannel
shirt with safety pins where Kyle and I cut the sleeves to account for the handcuffs. If he
was looking for his cell phone, wallet or weapons, he was out of luck. They melted when
he decided to play with fire.

I saw Sheriff Connelly’s police car with his headlights off, facing the main street, parked
at Keno’s only gas station, Casey’s General Store. The gas station was closed for the
night. I gave the sheriff a one-motion wave. I sighed in relief when the sheriff didn’t
follow us into town. I wasn’t in the mood for a chat with law enforcement. The main
street was devoid of any traffic. I stayed on it as I drove to the other end of town. Farmer
Bill’s farmhouse was past the cemetery at the other side of town and a left turn onto a
gravel road.

Chas and I were bunking at Farmer Bill’s farmhouse. Three days after I Turned into a
vampire, I left the low-income apartments at the downtrodden part of Keno and moved
into Farmer Bill’s farmhouse. The apartments had too many people, neighbors were too
nosy, and the windows were too sunlight-friendly. At Farmer Bill’s, I had access to the
two rooms in the sunlight-proof basement, rent-free.

It helped that I could glamour Farmer Bill into thinking I was his anti-social, crotchety,
mail-order bride who doesn’t cook, clean, do laundry, or perform her marital, ahem,
duties. Did I mention Farmer Bill was a sixty-five year old hog farmer? That guaranteed
an abundant supply of pigs’ blood, albeit tainted with animal tranquilizers. The gazillion
stray cats living in the barn were good zombie food. I did say I hated cats.

“You’re not a vampire, are you?” Knox peered down at me.

“Hell, no!” I denied, smiling. “Maybe you’re a vampire. Maybe you are one of those
forsaken and abominable creatures?”

He had to think about it. “I don’t believe I am.” He shook his head slowly. “As a matter of
fact, I believe I’m an officer of the Magocratic Kingdom of Europe.”

Knox took my hand, the one handcuffed to him, and kissed it. “Major General Brandon
Thorne at your service.” His fingers were warm. His grip tightened.

I choked in a laugh and turned my eyes back to the road.

“I know you,” he said in a low voice. Knox pressed my palm against his cheeks and
closed his eyes. “You feel so familiar.”

He moved his lips over my wrist. “You smell so familiar.”

He slowly slid the tip of his tongue over my pulse. “You taste so familiar.”

“Evie, my name is Evie.” I breathed unevenly. Holy fuck in a can. My vampire fangs
dropped on their own accord and inadvertently sliced my tongue. I slammed on the
brakes, drove over a curb with a lurch onto the sidewalk beside the cemetery. Knox’s
upper body flung forward onto the dashboard as the truck rolled to a violent stop. The
truck sputtered out. I forgot to take it out of fourth gear. The dashboard knocked Knox

Zeke asked me, “Madam Evie, was that really necessary?”

“What?” I exclaimed defensively. “I didn’t mean to stop so suddenly. You’re blaming me

for not putting the seatbelt on him?”

“No, why is it necessary to put Lord Knox in such a tranced state?”

“Oh, you mean drug him?”

“Yes, it seems quite extreme.”

“Well for starters, my glamour doesn’t work on him.” I peeled Knox off the dashboard by
his hair. “I have no clue how to do the Vulcan nerve pinch.” I eyed his jugular with a sigh.
“And it seems that this Council seems to know everything else about me except for
where I sleep or they would’ve staked me already.”

I heard Knox’s blood coursing through his body. I forced the hunger down. I let go of his
soft, curly, light brown hair and he slumped back on the seat. “Of course I don’t want
them to know where my super secret lair is.”

“I see.” Zeke scratched his chin.

In the darkness, I watched the rise and fall of Knox’s chest as he breathed unhurriedly in
his blunt force trauma induced sleep. I felt a twinge of envy as I remembered what it
was like to be human and not be consumed with insatiable craving for tasty human
blood. Headlights flashed, giving me a glimpse of his strong jaw, his skin still flushed
from drinking my blood.

I heard cars screeching to a stop. A light blue Dodge Neon stopped in front of my truck.
A white Nissan Sentra blocked the truck from behind. The three vampire-hunting
necromancers in pink hospital scrubs were back to take care of unfinished vampire


T hree nurses wearing hospital scrubs stepped out of the two cars that
surrounded my red Chevy truck.

“Don’t run away from us again, shadow spawn,” one of them taunted. She was a
redhead. “Come out and play.”

I met them twice before, once at Sam’s Butcher Shop downtown and the other time at
Casey’s General Store, the gas station, the night when Chas worked there for the last
time. They were self-proclaimed vampire hunters and they were downright scary.

I responded, “Sorry, I’m not a fan of violent games that hurt me.”

“We just want to help you get to hell quicker,” a heavily accented, female voice sneered.

If I ran away now, they could possess me and kill Knox. If I fought them, they could
possess me and kill Knox. Either way, I’d be dead. “Ever met any necromancers, Zeke?”

“A very, long time ago,” he said looking wistful.

“Well, if you have any sage advice on how to defeat them, feel free to chime in anytime.”
I opened the truck door. “Come on, Zeke. Help me get Knox out of the truck. I need to
finish this tonight.” I could shoot them with the gun Kyle gave me before they steal my
body and exile my soul.

Knox was starting to come to. “What is happening?” He took in the scene that was in
front of him. We stood face to face with our adversaries. The three of them were dressed
in pink hospital scrubs. The young redhead who called me ‘shadow spawn’ was the
ringleader. The blond young man was her boyfriend. The third scrubs-wearing nurse
was a short black-haired woman with the Southeast Asian accent.

“They think that you’re a vampire, Knox, and they want to kill all of us.” I embellished.
“You think you can put up a psychic shield for both of us?”

“Me? They think I’m a vampire. That’s preposterous!” Knox exclaimed, looking at the
nurses suspiciously.

The three nurses started chanting, throwing salt, and pouring blood from plastic, gallon
milk-jugs onto the ground. I drew the gun and pointed it at the ringleader. A psychic
cannon ball blasted through me and my spirit body tumbled out of my vampire body.
My spirit body fell onto the ground half a dozen yards from my physical body. Damn it!

“What is going on?” I turned towards Knox’s voice. His spirit body was crouched on the
ground next to me. A thin, semi-transparent, silver string connected us. Knox was
blasted out of his body along with mine. That wasn’t good. I looked back and saw Zeke
drag our limp bodies away from the three necromancers.

“They’re necromancers, Knox. They’re trying to take control our bodies.” The three
necromancers circled Zeke and our bodies, performing their ritual chanting.

“They can’t do that not unless my body is dead,” he said indignantly. “Unless…” There
was a look of horror in his face. “I’m a vampire. I’m a bloody vampire.”

I hauled his ethereal ass towards the djinn.

I saw a red blob inside my physical body. It was over my heart. The red blob spread
quickly until it flooded my body completely. Knox’s body was blob-free. Unfortunately,
his physical body was dying, away from his spirit body.

“You’re making this too easy for us, shadow spawn,” the redhead bragged. “Destroying
you and your minions is a piece of cake.”

She made my vampire body stand up, hold Knox’s body in its arms, move his head to
one side exposing his jugular. With all my astral strength, I shoved Knox and myself into
his physical body. It was a tight fit, like trying to squeeze into skinny jeans when you
knew full well you couldn’t because you’d gained fifteen pounds.

Conscious in Knox’s body, I felt my vampire body’s sharp bite and blood drain. Knox and
I both felt the pain. Then, Knox and I both felt the heady rush of pleasure. “Zeke!” I
croaked using Knox’s voice. Where was Zeke?

I summoned the bats from my waterfall cave. A host of bats congregated above our
bodies, swooped once in a large circle, and flew right into the three necromancers in
pink hospital scrubs.

My vampire body let go of my (aka Knox’s) throat. Our physical bodies fell heavily onto
the ground. I was finally back in my own body.

I laughed as I stood up. “Piece of cake, you say? Have you tried losing the weight after
feasting on cake? It’s not so easy.”

Knox looked pale and faint. I could still taste his delectable blood in my mouth. I pulled
him up to me by his bloodied, flannel collar and shook him. “Your psychic shields
around both of us. Now!”

I felt warm air quickly envelope me like a fluffy, down comforter that just came out of
the dryer. In my waterfall haven, I could see a wall of air with blue sparks barricade the
perimeter. As soon as he put up the barrier, my bats disappeared.

I sealed his neck punctures with a hasty lick and then quickly let him go. I gave the
redhead my most wicked glare.

“Do you think this is over, oh forsaken one?” the redhead laughed. She continued
circling us. The blond young man was slumped on the ground. He had blood oozing out
of his neck. The black-haired woman disappeared deep into the cemetery.

“I am hoping you’d just give up because you’re not very good at what you do,” I
responded cooly.

“Madam Evie,” Zeke called out. “They’ve encircled me in a blood circle. It’s too powerful
for me to get through.”

I could hear the redhead’s scorn. “Why do you insist on bringing in more foul creatures
into our town, shadow spawn? That one attacks us like a vampire but he feels like a
demon.” Zeke in human form was trapped in an invisible circle. ‘Human form’ wasn’t
accurate. His eyes blazed red and sharp fangs peeked out of his blood-smeared mouth.

I pulled Knox with me and tried to cross the circle to get to Zeke but I couldn’t get past
the invisible wall.

“You’re Evie Strump, the vampire I’m hunting.” Knox stared at me. He shook his head in
disbelief and said under his breath, “And I am now a vampire.”

“Now is not a good time for pointing fingers, Knox,” I said under my breath.

The redhead chanted again, waving around what looked like a bone in her hand.

Knox kept mumbling something.

“What’s she doing, Zeke?” I smacked the invisible barrier. “Are you all right?”

“She’s invoking a spell to banish me to the Underworld.” Zeke didn’t seem alarmed. He
stood in the middle of the circle, hands in pocket. Apart from his terrifying vampire eyes
and deadly looking fangs, he was a poster child of calm and tranquility.

“I’m getting discouraged here, Zeke.” Zeke was my one chance of getting out of these
blasted cuffs. Zeke just smiled mysteriously and then he disappeared.

Grabbing Knox’s hand, I pounced on the redhead. I knocked her ritual bone-thing out of
her hand and she fell back onto the ground. “What the hell did you do?” Towering over
her, I let go of Knox and seized her hands, flashing my fangs. Knox groaned unhappily as
he lay prone on the frozen ground next to me. He most likely ate dirt and snow.

“The sooner you let go of the delusion that you’re still alive, the happier you’ll be,” the
redhead said unruffled. “You don’t belong in this world, shadow spawn. I’m just helping
your soul get to where it truly belongs.” I shivered. It was reminiscent of Knox’s first
words to me.

Someone jumped me from behind, grabbed me around the neck with one hand, and
stabbed me in the back with his other. “Get your evil hands off her!” It was the blond
young man whose neck Zeke had bloodied. He was still alive, kicking, screaming, and
stabbing. He fell back when I elbowed him in the stomach. I pulled the knife out of my
back and tossed it out of the way.

When I let go of the redhead, she sprung up and clawed at my eyes. We struggled until I
pinned down her hands once more.

The blond young man was back on my back again. He yanked my neck backwards with
his arm and with one, deft motion, sliced my neck. He had a second knife. I gurgled
blood. Thoroughly irked, I wrestled the second knife away from him. He hadn’t sliced
my neck all the way. A rookie mistake. I head-butted the young blond but he clung
persistently to me with an arm around my neck.

A wall of air slammed on him sideways and knocked him half a dozen yards from us,
taking along with him a large chunk of my hair and scalp. Knox sat up on the ground
with tears running down his eyes, his free hand feeling the back of his head and neck. He
felt my pain. Blue sparkles slowly dissipated in the air. It was about time he joined the

Sighing, I did what seemed to be the theme of the day. I struck the redhead on the side
of her head and rendered her unconscious.

The blond young man cried out in alarm when he saw what I did. He stood up and
shouted something in another language. We heard the black-haired woman, hiding in
the cemetery somewhere, respond back loudly in the same language.

Rumbling sounds echoed from within the cemetery. Knox’s eyes flickered to something
behind me. “Bloody hell!” I turned around to see what prompted such vehemence from

About a dozen zombies ambled towards us animatedly. “In my experience with zombies,
they tend to tear you into little pieces, eat you, and then ask questions later,” I

“Let’s move along, then.” Knox hauled me up and had us running towards the truck. We
were a couple of yards from the truck when I smacked onto yet another invisible
barrier. Knox grunted in pain. I swore.

The necromancers had a containment circle around the cemetery to prevent me from
leaving. Knox could leave the circle but I sure the hell couldn’t. He was alive, I was
undead. There was just the tiny matter with the handcuffs. I needed Knox to stay alive
and conscious long enough to keep the shields up. Without Knox’s psychic shields
around us, we were both as good as dead. I‘d be deader than dead.

My gun was on the ground a few yards away from the group of zombies shuffling slowly
towards us. As long as the necromancers were alive, shooting zombies would be
pointless. They were just puppets after all. However, if we killed the necromancers first
and the zombies were anything like Chas, then the zombies would become out of
control. Their physical cravings would lead them to attack and feed on live flesh, mainly

Killing the necromancers meant we were trapped in the blood circle indefinitely. In a
few hours, the sun would come up. This didn’t bode well. The boding was going badly.

“Knox, this is the worst first date ever.” I declared.

The group of about a dozen rotting corpses shuffled towards us. Their states of
decomposition ranged in various degrees. Some were merely skeletons while others
still had eyes in the sockets, their faces and bodies complete with badly peeling skin.
The ones with intact vocal cords made sinister, moaning noises. One thing they all had
in common was they smelled bad. “I wondered what that horrible smell was. I guess
some people don’t care about hygiene,” I mumbled.

A small, blue fireball appeared in Knox’s left palm.


“Whatever you’re thinking of doing, Knox, we cannot kill those nurses,” I warned him.
“Not until they open the circle and the zombies are stopped.”

Knox looked menacing with his pulsing fireball. Blue light from the fireball illuminated
his hard face and played against the shadows there. He stared at me with those
intimidating silver-and-blue eyes. I swallowed. There were no fire extinguishers here.

I wasn’t sure whether he was still in the benzodiazepine-induced hypnosis or he was

back as Knox, the kamikaze fire mage. He asked solemnly, “Since I’m now a vampire,
doesn’t that mean that I have regenerative capabilities?”

“Um, that’s one of the perks of being a vampire,” I evaded.

He smiled. I had whiplash from turning my head so fast to take a second look at him. The
drugs were definitely working. He had a perfect set of English teeth.

Knox levitated his fireball above us. It split into multiple fireballs and struck out at every
zombie that was advancing on us.

“What the hell are you doing?” I yanked him back as waves of heat from the burning
zombies blasted our faces.

“I’m destroying them.” Knox gave me a puzzled look and then looked back at the
zombies. The zombies fell backwards on the ground from the impact. However, they
didn’t hesitate to pull themselves up.

“Great!” I said caustically. “Instead of getting torn apart to death by zombies, we now
have the option of getting torn apart while burning to death by zombies.”

“Come along,” he pulled me behind him as he advanced towards the zombies. He was

I stopped him and tugged the other way. “Zombie touch is very bad.” I told him as if he
were a small child.

Knox motioned that I follow him. “I have a plan.”

“A plan? This has to be good.” I said with a mocking tone. My own plan was to torture
and maim the necromancers until they opened their blood circle and freed us. “This plan
of yours, I hope it involves flying.” I pointed to the walking, moaning corpses. “We want
to move away from them.”

We moved quickly along the outer perimeter of the blood circle. The animated group of
flaming zombies continued their leisurely saunter towards us. A flaming zombie lunged
for us. The zombie’s face and limbs were bloated. “I bet you had bad shellfish allergies,” I
told the zombie as we avoided its fiery grasp.

All the zombies changed directions at the same time to face us as if wires controlled
them from above, like marionettes controlled by puppeteers. Apparently, being a
zombie wasn’t creepy enough.

We ran towards the only mausoleum in the cemetery, the Goode Mausoleum. Matt
Goode and his family were the only ones in Keno who could afford their own private
mausoleum. The Goodes were the owners of the ‘Goode Funeral Homes’.

When we reached the mausoleum, Knox swiftly thrust his left palm forward and blew
open the Goode Mausoleum door.

“You could have told me you have telekinesis, Knox.”

“I don’t. I can only control the air around objects.”

“Strange,” I said dryly. “I seem to recall pots and pans chasing after me. There were even
a couple of direct hits.”

“Zeke can control my abilities with more precision.”

He entered the mausoleum with me tagging behind him. “Why are we stopping here?
Did you want us cornered before the zombies decide to roast us?”

“You can trust me,” he smiled again, his eyes reflecting the light from the fire of the
advancing zombie army.

I stared at him with my mouth hanging open. I shut it and without stumbling over my
words, I said, “The necromancers, we need to get the necromancers.”

“We will,” he assured me.

“Are we going to try to trap the zombies in here?”

“No,” he said simply.

“I don’t think that will work. They don’t follow the laws of physics. If they can climb out
a grave covered by six feet of frozen dirt, then chances are-”

“Evie,” he interrupted. I was taken aback. First, there was the smiling. Then, he was
calling me by my first name. It was without doubt the drugs. “You do prattle on a little
too much.” He went to a slab of granite from a burial vault and tried to lift it. “Shouldn’t I
be able to lift this with my vampire abilities?”

“Oh,” I scrambled for an answer, “It takes two to three days to get your full powers.”
Then I added quickly, “Same thing with your claws and fangs.” I lifted the granite slab
for him. “What do you want me to do with this?”

“Block the entrance,” he gestured towards the opening where we came through.

I hesitated. The moaning zombies were almost at the steps leading into the mausoleum.

“Do it, Evie.”

I slammed the slab over the entrance.

Outside, the whistling of the wind grew louder and louder and I felt the air pressure
drop. Knox was using his air powers to attack the zombies. The mausoleum shook and
pieces of stone fell from the ceiling.

“Don’t kill the necromancers!” I yelled over the sound of the howling wind. The wind
pushed against the slab. I threw myself against it to keep it from crashing on us. I felt a
stabbing pain in one of my shoulders.

“Shouldn’t my body be regenerating?” Knox asked. I turned and saw that a large chunk
of the ceiling had fallen and torn a big gash on his left arm. He was bleeding profusely.

My wicked vampire self, the one who hadn’t had a full meal since my last nocturnal hog
visit, took control. It didn’t help that I had a taste of him already. I pushed Knox hard
against the makeshift door. Mesmerized by the sight and scent of his blood, my fangs
descended and I lowered my mouth over his wound and hungrily drank his blood. He
inhaled sharply.

I didn’t bite. Unless I bit him and infused him with my vampire venom laced with happy
chemicals, he wasn’t getting the pleasure perks of being dinner for a blood-sucking
vampire. Greedily, I sucked up his blood and felt his pain as he bled. I forced myself to
stop and brought my head up to look at his face. His eyes were closed.

I sliced my tongue with my fangs, pulled his head down to mine to kiss him. My body
ground forcefully against him, my right hand gripping his wounded shoulder hard. He
gasped in pain and I thrust my tongue into his mouth.

The howling outside turned into a very loud, vicious roar. He responded with equal
fervor. One of his hands curved around my nape and he pulled me harder against him.
Every nerve ending I had tingled as his sweet blood mingled with mine. I felt his strong
heart pounding rapidly against me. I basked in his scent, his hardness, and his heat. The
cuffs intensified not just the pain, but also the pleasure and the desire.

His tongue stroked inside my mouth and I groaned. I pressed closer against him, letting
go of his arm and roughly raking my fingers through his soft, brown hair. His own free
hand slid from my neck, down to my hip, and wandered over the curve of my bottom. I
whimpered and moaned, and was vaguely reminded by similar moaning sounds I’d
heard sometime earlier that day somewhere around here from someone or something.

The slab shook behind him. I thought it was because our passion was so earthshaking.
Then I realized the earth was really shaking and it was from his tornado outside. My
sanity returned. I was only supposed to give him a little bit of my blood. I pulled away
roughly and glanced at his shoulder. “Oh, look. It’s healed,” I said dispassionately. I
wasn’t even out of breath.

He, on the other hand, was breathing hard. If the heavy breathing wasn’t a glaring sign
that said, ‘Hey there! I am still a human,’ then I didn’t know what else might convince
him. He didn’t glance down to look at his healed shoulder. He had a wild look in his eyes
as he stared at me. His mouth smeared with our blood.

“I hope the nurses are still alive,” I yelled over the frightening roar outside.

Then, there was silence.



T he silence lasted five seconds before we heard the sound of heavy things
raining down around us.

I removed the slab and peered out in the darkness. With my super vampire
night-vision, I surveyed the damage that Knox wreaked. There were pieces of bones,
charred limbs, and exploded chunks of something that may previously have been
zombie heads, scattered around us among the sections of broken headstones, bare tree
branches, dead leaves, dirt, and snow.

I whistled. “A little bit over the top, but effective.”

I saw a movement beyond one of the headstones. I immediately pulled Knox along with
me to investigate. The redhead lay on the ground with the black-haired woman who
knelt over her making a tourniquet. A large piece of tree branch had skewered the
redhead's thigh. I could see the rise and fall of the redhead woman’s chest. She was
talking to the black-haired girl. “I’m bleeding very badly.”

“You certainly are,” I interrupted their little tête-à-tête. Her blood didn’t smell as
appetizing as Knox’s blood.

“Let us out of the circle and I won’t kill you both,” I growled.

They both turned to look at me. The black-haired woman looked at me in fear. The
redhead looked at me in contempt. “I’m not afraid of you, shadow spawn,” the redhead
breathed heavily.

“Maybe I should try harder to be scarier,” I responded back.

“Don’t worry, you’re scary enough. Who gave you that hideous haircut, a blind man?”

I scowled at the redhead. “At least I’m not the one who resorts to using the dead to do
my dirty work. I don’t think Tara Van Dyke would appreciate knowing her dead father’s
body was prancing around naked in the moonlight.”

“Why do you keep trying to convince yourself that you’re human when you’re not
human anymore?”

“I’m not some crazy vigilante targeting victims just because they fit certain physical
characteristics. That’s like the M.O. of serial killers,” I pointed out. “I have more
humanity left in me than you.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” she said heatedly. “You are parasites who prey on humans.
You have no humanity. You are predators, enjoying killing for the thrill of the kill.”

“Humans enjoy hunting, there’s nothing wrong with that,” I countered.

“Yes, but vampires use compulsion and glamour to cover up whatever foul activities
they’re doing. You have uncontrollable bloodlust that hurt everyone around you. You
are like rabid dogs, dangerous and out of control. You all need to be taken down.” Her
voice was high and loud.

“I disagree. I am neither dangerous nor out of control.” I ignored the fact that I was
dangerous and out of control not so long ago with Knox in my arms. In his condition, I
was practically date raping him. “Why can’t we just agree to disagree? Open the circle
and let us go.”

“We just want to help you attain peace like all the spirits of the dead should,” the
annoying, black-haired woman piped in.

“Lady, I am at peace,” I retorted. The conversation was getting tiring. “Let us out of the
circle now or I’ll turn her into vampire.” This time I flashed the fangs trying my best to
look like an indescribable horror.

The black-haired woman flinched.

I loomed over the redhead and stepped on her wounded thigh. The redhead cried out as
she scrambled away from me.

I felt Knox’s grip on my shoulders. “Stop, Evie.”

‘Let us go,” I grated out.

The black-haired woman jumped up to face me, a small knife in her hand.

“No!” the redhead said weakly. “Let them go, Delia.”

Delia relented. Delia walked with us towards the truck.


She did her ritual that involved chanting and hand waving. She then made a tiny cut her
in her palms with her small knife. She dripped blood onto the circle. “It’s done,” she said.

“All right, how about that circle?” I pointed. A familiar-looking mist hung inside the
circle where Zeke the djinn had vanished.

She performed a similar ritual.

As soon as her blood touched the circle, Zeke materialized in his dark-skinned and
brown-eyed body. Delia jumped back in shock and fear.

“Zeke!” I exclaimed in relief. “I’m so glad to see you.”

“Madam Evie, it’s good to see you again also.” He smiled broadly.

“Well, let’s get out of here.” I flashed Delia a triumphant smile and started walking
towards my truck.

There was gunfire.

I saw a flash of movement to my left. I shoved Knox behind me as I took the brunt of the
bullets. The blond man stepped out from behind a tree trunk holding my pistol.

Son of a bitch.

Another bullet tore through my shoulders and hit Knox on the chest. I grabbed Knox
before he dropped onto the ground. I held on to his sagging body as I fought the
onslaught of pain that caused him to pass out. Our psychic shields were down.

“Zeke! Here’s my first wish,” I yelled frantically. “I wish to stop these motherfucking

Zeke immediately put his hands out, one towards Delia and the other towards the
blond-haired man. I felt the swell of magic wash over us. I felt three extra bundles of
emotions inside me.

“Damn Zeke, what the hell happened?”

He turned to me and bowed. “They are now part of your thrall.”

“My what?”

“They are now your servants.”

The blond man and Delia knelt on the ground with their head bowed towards me.

“Okay,” I mouthed. “I wasn’t expecting slavery.”

“I used your powers of compulsion to make them do your bidding,” Zeke explained.
“They will now protect you with their lives, as I do.”

Thrall. That didn’t sound temporary at all. “Is their condition permanent?” I had to ask.


I felt the necromancers’ emotions. I felt their reverence and their fear. I felt the
redhead’s pain. That reminded me of the pain in Knox’s chest and of my impending
death if he died. Shit.

I cradled Knox’s head in my arms facing me. “Wake up, Knox.” I shook him. “Here we go
again,” I muttered and gave him another bloody kiss.


ey, you’re awake,” I said softly.

Knox shot up from the bed, his left hand feeling down his shirt for a gun, I
assumed. He noticed the handcuffs and glared at me, “You!” Yep. The drug
had worn off and I hoped he didn’t remember anything.

We were on my twin bed in my windowless, basement bedroom in Farmer Bill’s

farmhouse. It was a small room with ugly, yellow and green, vertical-striped wallpaper.
None of my furniture matched. I had an oak side table next to my black, wrought iron
bed, and a mahogany dresser with a red television on top of it.

I was watching the local news when Knox woke up. There were reports of a bizarre out-
of-season tornado that annihilated the cemetery in town. I lifted the remote control to
mute the television and looked at my enraged bedmate.

“Good evening, sunshine!” I smiled warmly at him.

“What did you do to me?” he asked angrily. “Where are my weapons?” The angry fire
mage was back. He looked dangerous, imposing, and moody. His strong jaw was dark
with the shadow of a beard. I flinched slightly at the intensity of his silver-and-blue eyes.
I could only imagine what he’d do if he found out what really happened to him.

I glanced at the black shirt that he was wearing. It was a nice black shirt. I’d taken it out
of his duffel bag. The shirt now had a stripe of duct-tape, shiny like silver, on one side to
hold it together where I’d cut it. I’d also taken advantage of his long slumber and had
both of us cleaned up and dressed with help from my servants, Delia, Rob, and Chloe.

I was ready to tell him my tall tale. “We stopped at the gas station. We were in the
restroom and you slipped on the wet floor and conked your head on the urinal. Before
you passed out, you burst into flames and melted your clothes and weapons.”

He looked at me in disbelief.

“Hey! Don’t blame me,” I protested. “You were probably just crashing from an
adrenaline high after your crazy Wal-Mart war games last night.” I pointed to his duffel
bag on the floor. “I believe that’s yours.”

“What time is it?” he demanded. He was so prickly.

I sighed. “It’s just after sunset. We can go see your Council after you see Chas.”

I led him to the hallway and we stood in front of a closed door. I knocked on the door
and Chloe, the redhead nurse necromancer in uniform opened the door.

Inside the room, Delia, the short, black-haired nurse necromancer sat next to the twin
bed where Chas lay asleep. A bag of my blood hung from an IV pole next to the bed
behind her.

“Hey Delia,” I said pleasantly, “How’s our patient?”

“He’s doing great,” the black-haired nurse smiled. “I gave him a little more of the
medicine and he should sleep better now.” I could sense through our thrall bond that
she wanted very much to please me. Of course, by medicine, she meant sedatives.

The irony of it all was that the necromancers were majorly responsible for Chas
becoming a zombie in the first place.

When I was still human, I’d always been infatuated with Chas. In high school, he was the
star hockey player who never acknowledged my existence. He was blond-haired, blue-
eyed, corn-fed hunk of a man and I was the loud, chubby, obnoxious girl who hung out
with losers like Kyle Brooks. I wasn’t naturally blonde, skinny or petite like the
cheerleaders he dated.

Four nights after I Turned, I went to the Casey’s General Store to see Chas. I was in my
new vampire body, dyed my hair blonde, and had blue contact lenses. I hoped he’d
notice me.

I flirted with Chas while he stood behind the counter. It was a slow night and there were
no customers around. He flirted back.

Unfortunately, the three nurse necromancers recognized my red pickup truck parked
outside Casey’s. We had an encounter the night before at Sam’s Butcher Shop.

They burst into Casey’s and within seconds, my spirit body was floating ten feet in the
air from my physical body.

The necromancers informed me that vampires were wicked and shouldn’t exist. They
assumed Chas was my boyfriend from the intimate way we were macking on each other
and they decided to punish him by association. And frame me for it. They made my
vampire body attack him.

My vampire body was drinking his blood, similar to what happened to Knox. I tried to
jump back into my own body but couldn’t. They had full control of it.

I jumped into Chas’ body instead. His body was completely drained of blood. I fought my
vampire body using Chas’ body and in the process, managed to scare the necromancers
enough that they took off in their vehicles.

As soon as they left, my vampire body fell onto the floor. In Chas’ body, I crawled
towards my vampire body, tore my neck, and drank my blood. Chas’ body began to heal.
However, I realized that Chas’ spirit was no longer there.

When I was back in my own body, Chas’ body rose up and attacked me. Whatever
necromancer magic still pulsed in the air, compounded by whatever abominable thing I
did to him, it had animated his body.

I fed him my blood after he was drained of his own blood. He was already on his way to
becoming a vampire. Without his spirit, he was just an empty vessel contaminated by
necromancer magic. A zombie. I covered Chas’ mouth with duct tape to stop his zombie
self from tearing into me.

On the floor of Casey’s near the front counter, I held him in my arms. In my complete,
utter misery, I cried tears of blood. I cried so hard that blood pooled underneath us. It
looked like it rained 32 ounces of cherry slushy on the floor.

I kissed Chas on the mouth over the duct-tape and I promised him I’d find out a way to
get him back to normal.

I took him home and chained him to the bed. However, I decided it was easier to
restrain him by drugging him with sedatives.

Ever since, I routinely drugged him and fed him my blood so he didn’t rot away like a
zombie. Whenever he woke up in a trance, I fed him cats from the barn or whatever raw
meat I could find.

Now he lay in bed in Farmer Bill’s basement in a sedative-induced sleep, nursed by my

newly acquired servants who worked the evening shift at Keno Municipal Hospital.

I celebrated that I no longer needed to be so paranoid about sleeping during the day. I
could order them to watch over me. I told them that after Knox takes me away, they
must go and hide Chas where no one can find him.

Some people would argue that having servants bending to my will should prickle my
conscience. No prickling here. I was going to take appreciate the hell out of them. I
appreciated them when they helped me corner and sedate Curly, the hog.

“He’s got swine flu, I think,” I told Knox.

Chas slept peacefully. He had a healthy color on his cheeks and he looked handsome
with his blond hair falling over his closed eyes. I gently tucked the hair away. He
mumbled softly in his sleep. “Brains.”

Knox leaned over. “What did he say?”

“He said ‘rain’. He likes the rain. He likes kisses under the rain,” I fibbed.

“All right, Ms. Strump. Why did you not tell the police he is staying with you?”

“Um, He got so sick so fast and I was so worried so I took him home with me. I didn’t
know the cops were looking for him.”

“A large amount of blood was found in the gas station. How do you account for that?”

“Oh, that was my blood not his. I tried eating Casey’s pizza and couldn’t hold it down. I
must have thrown up blood. It’s a vamp thing. I meant to clean up the mess but I
panicked because Chas got really sick so fast.”

He looked at me in disgust. “This doesn’t make sense at all, Ms. Strump.”

I gave him a serious look.

“Nevertheless, Ms. Strump, we should be on our way to see the Council. I will make
sense of whatever happened here eventually. Our priority right now is to get you to a
secure place.” Secure place. Translation: imprisonment

Chloe, the redhead nurse asked politely, “Any last minute instructions before you leave,

“Oh, you know the drill. Keep him away from water and bright lights. And never feed
him after midnight.”

Knox looked at me questioningly.

“I’m joking!” I insisted. “He likes the rain, remember? And don’t worry, he’s not a
vampire.” Yet.

“Later, Chloe, Delia.” I nodded at them. “Take good care of Chas.”

“Let’s go, Knox. Zeke’s waiting in the truck.” Knox and I made our way upstairs from the
basement. Knox carried his duffle bag. Along with some clothes, he had guns and a cell
phone in his duffel bag. With me, I brought my wallet, my lighter, some sunscreen, and
my pistol. I hid a stash of benzodiazepine in my person just in case.

We found Farmer Bill sitting in the dining room eating his dinner. He had a feast of
prime rib, sweet potatoes, freshly baked corn bread, and apple pie in front of him. Rob,
the blond necromancer, was wearing an apron and was giving Farmer Bill another slice
of prime rib.

I’d glamoured Farmer Bill into thinking that Rob was his mail-order bride who
eventually took a job at the hospital and decided to cook and clean for him.

I grinned impishly at Farmer Bill and Rob. “My parole officer is here to take me to the
police station. Don’t wait up for me. See you later Dad, you too Mom!”


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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improve this article if you can.
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Rioki [ree-oh-kee] was a god[1] in Mage mythology. In monotheistic religions, he was

considered a demon. According to medieval history, he instigated conflicts and wars
from the late 1st century through the early 6th century among mortals in the
Mortalworld as well as among the Others[2] in the Otherworld[3].

Rioki had the ability to change his appearance. This power could only manifest only
through blood sacrifice. Therefore, he was known to have caused wars with bloodshed
with the intent of improving his good looks.

Not only did he feed on human life force through blood to support his power, he was
also an incubus[4], feeding on human life force through sex.


Rioki was the debauched son of the Greek god Aeolus[5] and the Greek goddess Hestia[6].
Rioki married his own sister. As a result, Aeolus exiled him to the Mortalworld for
committing incest. [citation needed]

Character of Rioki

Rioki was a smart, cunning and manipulative trickster. He was selfish and thought only
of self-preservation. There were many recorded occasions throughout history[citation
needed] where he was portrayed as evil, a coward, a liar, a cheat, a thief, and a murderer.

Rioki’s rebellious nature was attributed to having straight-laced parents.[citation needed]

This was also known as the “PK syndrome”[7].

While he roamed the Mortalworld, Rioki met Vikari[8], the god of blood, and they
wagered on their abilities to seduce mortal women. As a result of the wager, Rioki was
said to have many children[9].

Rioki was the master of seduction. He had the ability to change form to reflect what his
victim wanted to see. To add a new form to his repertoire, he absorbed the life force
from the death blood of ten mortals or of one virgin mortal.

When Rioki wasn’t seducing humans, he was seducing everyone and everything else. He
was also the one who coined the phrase, “Can you have sex with it?” [citation needed]

Rioki’s other favorite pastime (third only to his seduction schemes and political
machinations) was fighting as a knight in jousting tournaments. He owned a lance that
never broke. He also used the unbreakable lance[10] as a marker to indicate the number
of women he had slept with[11] and to hit women he thought were too ugly[12].

Rioki and the Incubus Wars

A group of mages, including Merlin of King Arthur’s Court[citation needed], was fed up of
Rioki and his wake of abominable offspring. They were also troubled by Rioki’s political
interferences that resulted from all the bloodshed to feed his power.

Using their combined magic, they waged war against Rioki, destroyed him, and hurled
him into the 4th sublevel of the Netherworld to be tormented forever. The mages
accomplished this by forging a weapon called “the Cuff of Shayam”[13] to lure him to his
destruction with help from a prostitute.

A book called “The Eight Elementals Manuscript, A Black Grimoire”[15] is rumored to

contain instructions on how Rioki was defeated. The location of the grimoire [16] is
currently unknown.

13Rioki and the Cuff of Shayam

The Cuff of Shayam was forged out of silver using the eight medieval elementals[14],
auric[17] and pranic[18] magic, and the blood sacrifice of 77 archmages.

Rioki and Hendel’s Prophecy

Hendel[19], the Guardian giant at the Seelie[20] Courts, foretold the end of the world,
calling everyone to arms. His prophetic ramblings have included Rioki as one of the
main figures ushering the end of the world[21].

Rioki and the Akeldham Brotherhood’s Book of Prophecy


The Akeldham Brotherhood[22] has a book of prophecy that warns about freeing Rioki
from his sealed tomb that could only be unsealed by the blood sacrifice of 77 archmages
as well as the dying blood of an innocent virgin.

Rioki and Poetry

Rioki considered himself a poet. There are several collections of his poems currently in
private collections throughout the Mortalworld and the Otherworld. The most popular
is “Aldanna, my lover”[23], which was published as a book and was available in public
libraries until it was removed from circulation because they were deemed too titillating
and pornographic. Electronic copies of the book became viral[24] as a result of the ban.
Rioki was known to overuse words such as “lusty”, “bosom”, and “c***” [25] which
triggered outrage[26] from religious sects.


1 god – A god is a supernatural spirit with superhuman powers.

2 Others – They are immortals invisible to most humans, such as angels, demons, goblins, gnomes, faeries, elves, and pixies.
3 Otherworld – realm of the Others where old age does not exist. Portals to the Otherworld are “Crossroads”. They are normally

places in liminal state.

4 incubus – a demon male who has sexual intercourse with human females.

5 Aeolus – god “Keeper of the Winds”.

6 Hestia – goddess of hearth and home.

7 PK Syndrome (Preacher’s Kid Syndrome) condition that afflicts children born in good homes, who then rebel against their parents.

8 Vikari – god of blood, forbidden from entering the Otherworld because he infected the blood of a prominent, royal family.

9 Rioki’s children – his children were half-god and half-whatever he seduced (which were not always mortal or living).

10 unbreakable lance – could also be used as a metaphor for his other unbreakable lance.

11 bedpost notch – The notches in Rioki’s unbreakable lance were the medieval origin of “notches in your bedpost”.

12 ugly stick – the unbreakable lance was also the medieval origin of “someone beaten with an ugly stick”.

14 eight elementals – Air, Spirit, Earth, Water, Fire, Fuel/Oil/Sulfur, Salt, Pure Metals/Mercury/Silver.

16 grimoire – book of magic.

17 auric magic – magic involving etheric body, energy body.

18 pranic magic – magic involving breath of life, vital energy, spirit.

19 Hendel – Guardian at the Seelie Courts born around 150 A.D. A giant. He is the son of Bran the Blessed. He wears the black vial of

Zarepath around his neck.

20 Seelie Courts – The Seelie are light faerie who are mostly friendly to humans. They have their own royalty (court).

21 end of the world – a great war that will usher the destruction of the Mortalworld as well as the Otherworld.

22 Akeldham Brotherhood – A brotherhood who procured relics no matter the cost.

23 Aldanna, my lover – A book of poems written by Rioki, the original copy is currently in the private collection of HRH (His Royal

Highness) Archmage Delphin of MKE (Magocratic Kingdom of Europe).

24 viral – an Internet phenomenon where a contribution such as a video, photo, or document is spread through mass sharing.

25 c*** – a bad, bad word.

26 religious outrage – Book and document burning have been included in many religious ceremonies under the guise of “ritual

sacrifice” which allowed religious communities to burn offensive copies legally within city limits.

F. M. Ashanna, Mage Lore: A Handbook (Thorwood, 2008)
Christian Brown and Tina Drahman, Famous Incubi, (Cockle Press, New York, 1977)
Fernando Diaz Handbook of Mythological Gods (Capshaw, 2005)
Rayna Hess, “Mage History” (Durham, 2000; 2009)
Thomson, Kelly, Rioki: Genealogy (Euclid, 1996) ISBN 960-77077-0-7-3871
15Author Unknown, The Eight Elementals Manuscript, A Black Grimoire [16] (early 6th century)


he meeting place for the Council of the Worlds was very anticlimactic.

I imagined lavish palatial halls worthy enough for the representative kings and
queens of each dominion to assemble at. I anticipated sentinels and troops of
soldiers at hand, armed and ready to subdue the Dark Overlord Queen in case
she behaved badly.

Instead, Knox escorted me to the big city’s courthouse. It was a three-level brick
building most likely built during the early part of the century, judging from dilapidated
look and the dirt and grime on the brick façade.

The courthouse security guard didn’t blink at seeing me handcuffed to Knox. We left the
weapons in my pickup with Zeke so we didn’t set off the metal detector. Neither the
handcuffs nor Zeke’s lighter set it off either. The security guard acted as if a visitor
showing up at the courthouse after regular business hours was normal occurrence.

While the guard patted me down with professional indifference, a young man and a tall,
young woman stood in line next to the metal detector behind us.

The tall, young woman looked at Knox in surprise and said, “Brandon? Oh my goodness,
is that you?” She had a Brooklyn accent, which I recognized from watching television.

Knox turned around to face her.

“Brandon Thorne? St. Bart’s College of Magical Arts, class of 2003? It’s Kaylie, Kaylie

The woman had long, curly, strawberry-blonde hair and pale skin. She wore a pair of
khaki slacks and a brown, leather jacket over a well-fitting black shirt.

I could see the butt of a large gun in her shoulder holster peeking out from under her
brown, leather jacket.

“Kaylie,” Knox gave her an earnest smile. “It’s been a very long time. How have you

The guard finished searching us and let us through. I let Knox stand on one side while he
talked with his long-time buddy. I didn’t know anything about Knox. My curiosity was

Kaylie replied good-naturedly, “I got my Hedge Mage license a couple of years ago. I
heard about the troubles down here. They needed help apprehending some rogue. I
could use the bounty.”

She handed her gun to the guard, muzzle pointing away from him. “I’ve heard about
your accomplishments, Brandon. You’ve done well for yourself. How are you doing?”

“I work directly under Archmage Delphin, now.”

She nodded, “Yes, I know that. I know you’re a Major General now. But how are you
really doing? The tabloids said you got engaged to Lady Victoria Winslow.”

I turned to look at Knox face. This ought to be interesting.

I saw pain flash across Knox’s face and it was gone in an instant. “That didn’t quite work

“Uh huh,” Kaylie prodded. “Come on, Brandon. We pledged Kappa Theta Rho together.
Remember the lion incident in the Trafalgar Square, what I did for you?”

Knox looked uncomfortable.

Knox turned to look at the scrawny young man. “Why don’t you introduce me to your
friend, Kaylie?” The little sneak was changing the subject.

The young man who came with Kaylie was tall and skinny with an acne-ridden face. He
looked like he was struggling to reach past puberty. I felt so bad for his disfigured face
that I wanted to give him one of my healing kisses.

Kaylie introduced him as Scott Taeringale. He was a hedge knight who pledged his
loyalty to her during her current stint as a bounty hunter mage.

“Who’s your charge?” she asked when she noticed the handcuffs and me.

“Kaylie Silverstein, Mr. Taeringale – Ms. Strump,” Knox looked at them and nodded
towards me.

Kaylie just about fell over her sensible boots. “The Seelie King has a bounty on you for
two million ducats if you’re brought in alive before the next full moon.”

Seal king? The only king I knew was Martin Luther King Jr.

I didn’t know what ducats were either. Showed how much I knew about anything

“How much to deliver me dead?” I asked casually.

“A million.”

I chuckled. “Can I deliver myself?”

Knox tugged at me. “We best be going.”

He shuffled me into a conference room. Kylie and Scott followed.

Six pairs of eyes watched us as we walked into the conference room.

Five men and a young woman sat around a large, rectangular folding table that
dominated the small, windowless room.

A round conference phone sat in the middle of the table. A projection machine was
running. I heard someone squawk a question from the conference phone.

One of the men sitting at the head of the conference table leaned forward and said, “I
disagree. We have plenty on our hands right now. We can’t possibly afford to offer
protection and then fight for the Norms if this Breaking truly happens.”

We found empty seats on the other side of the room from the door.

“This is a joint effort Governor Valdez. We would truly appreciate it if we get some
cooperation from your people,” a voice from the conference phone said.

I sat next to a young woman with a riot of short, black curls framing her pretty face. She
looked up from her laptop and smiled at me with her Betty Boop lips.

I smiled back.

I could tell from his looks that she was vampire. She had a certain sheen to her skin that
told me she wasn't quite human. She turned back to her laptop and continued her
furious typing.

“What could possibly be so important that it trumps our worlds’ survival?” a deep, male
voice boomed from the conference phone.

“Survival?” Governor Valdez, the vampire sitting at the head of the table, scoffed. He had
a thin, hawk-like nose and ears that didn’t lie quite so flat on his dark head. “We’re told
that the attack will come out of mirrors. We’re vampires. We don’t own mirrors. As far
as I can tell, my people’s survival is not the issue here.”

“So you’re just going to let the mortals get slaughtered in your city?” A different male
voice said in disgust.

Governor Valdez had an arrogant expression on his face. “That’s not our problem. We
have our own internal problems that are more pressing which does concern my clan’s
existence.” Governor Valdez leaned back on his chair at the head of the conference table.
He wore a gray shirt over a black, pinstripe suit that bunched up on his chest when he
crossed his arms. He raised his chin up in a haughty manner.

Across from me, a large, brawny, blond man with a military haircut snorted. “It will be
your problem when the mortals die from this invasion, the human economy collapses,
you’ll lose your businesses and your investments, and there would be no one to line
your pockets to support your extravagant lifestyle.” The blond man smelled suspiciously
like a werewolf, pungent and earthy, though he wore a splash of cologne over his musk.

Governor Valdez puffed, “How dare you criticize my lifestyle? If this Breaking is as
serious as everyone says it is, I don’t think a thousand vampires pulled out of their
regular jobs would make a difference in this city.”

There were a thousand vampires in the city? That was a surprise.

My gaze wandered to the projection on the wall. Then it struck me, the projector
machine wasn't being used for a presentation. It was video feed from nine other

“To get back to Mr. Morris’ original question, what is so important, Governor Valdez,
that it supersedes the issue at hand?” An older gentleman in the video projection asked.
The words on the bottom of the screen of his video feed said, ‘Washington, D.C. –
Archmage Potts – Magocratic Kingdom of North America’.

“I believe vampires are being hunted in my city. Our people have been disappearing
without explanation,” Governor Valdez responded.

The white-haired Archmage Potts loomed closer to his video camera. “It’s possible they
are connected to Major General’s presence in the area. He is a celebrity after all. There
may be some unlicensed few who have heard about the hunt for the Dark Overlord
Queen and decided all vampires need to be destroyed either for fame or for the bounty.”

“This is exactly what we wanted to avoid! Only a few of us are supposed to know about
this bounty King Taranis offered. This prejudice will has to stop. You can’t punish a
whole species because of the acts of a few.” Governor Valdez griped.

“How many of your vampires are missing?” A man who wasn’t on video asked through
the conference phone.

“We’re missing six vampires just in the last week,” Governor Valdez responded.

“Do you think this has something to do with your drug problem?” said the same, deep,
disembodied voice.

“What drug problem?” A voice boomed with authority.

Governor Valdez hesitated for a couple of seconds and then said, “Someone’s been
selling vampire blood to the Norms, Master Mancini.”

“Vampire blood? I thought vampire blood only gives a temporary high similar to a
caffeine buzz? If they want to get the same high, isn’t it cheaper to just buy an energy
drink?” asked the brawny werewolf who sat across from me.

Governor Valdez shifted his weight in his seat and said, “This one’s different. They’re
calling it Liquid Venom on the streets.”

I perked up.

Another male voice rang loudly through the conference phone. “I agree with Fane.
Vampire blood is not that impressive. Certainly, you can get a buzz, if you can get past
the metallic taste. The pleasure comes from the act of biting itself, when the dopamine is
released through the vampire’s fangs to counter the pain while the blood is being

“The ones showing up on the streets are different,” Governor Valdez insisted. “They’re
selling high grade vampire blood.”

“Um, what exactly happens when people take this high grade stuff?” I asked.

I felt everyone’s eyes on me.

“Hi there. How are you? Now, what does this Liquid Venom do to humans that make it
so dangerous?” I asked again.

There was a cough.

“It’s more like weed laced with ecstasy. It produces a temporary, sexual high. The
difference is this particular vampire blood heals the body,” someone answered through
the conference phone.

“That doesn’t sound so bad.” I shrugged.

Someone choked in a laughter.

“It puts the user in a stupor for several hours similar to the marijuana high and gives
them a sense of invincibility,” the low voice explained.” It’s become popular among
college kids.”

“And we all know that marijuana is not a safe drug,” someone commented.

“The healing is the one that worries me. Normal vampire blood doesn’t do that. Do the
Norms know it’s vampire blood?” Antonio Mancini, the USA Federation Master Vampire
asked. He must be the vampire equivalent for a president.

“We don’t know if they know.”

“If the Norms find out, we’ll have vampire hunters hunting us all over the country so
they can harvest our blood,” an authoritative voice warned.

“Or hunt you for contributing to their drug problem,” another voice said sardonically.

“The blood with healing properties doesn’t come from just any vampire blood. It has to
come from a Master and the first of his line.” Master Antonio Mancini remarked.

“Better than a Master Vampire?” a vampire governor from the West Coast spoke out.
“That’s unbelievable!” He had his own square in the projection screen but the seat
looked empty. That confirmed my suspicions that vampires couldn’t be videotaped.

“There are 2,632 registered Masters and only 12 Firsts in the Mortalworld. As of this
morning, all the 12 Firsts are accounted for,” the low voice in the conference phone
pointed out.

“Are you accusing one of our Firsts of pandering their own blood to junkies in a
Midwestern city in the middle of nowhere?” the West Coast governor asked in disbelief.

“Hey, I resent that!” Governor Valdez objected. “Don’t you dare insult my city!”

“Maybe Master Lazaro decided to start a new line?” the low voice suggested.

I heard low murmurs in the background.

“Did anyone bother to ask him if he did?” Another voice asked.

“You don’t just ask the Father of All Vampires if he started a new line,” the low voice
pointed out.

“This brings us back to the topic of the Universal Registry. We should register each
vampire and each were-animal, collect samples of their blood and put them in an
international database.”

I didn’t like that idea at all.

“Can we shelf this topic for some later time? As much as I want to start a long debate
about rights to privacy versus homeland security, I do believe the impending war takes

I silently cheered at whoever spoke up against the registry idea or more specifically, the
collection of my blood and the resulting match to a certain street drug.

“Hey,” I turned to the girl vampire with the laptop. “What does the Father of All
Vampires look like? Have you seen him before?” I asked in a low voice in her ear.

“I’ve never met him but I’ve seen his portraits. He’s absolutely gorgeous. He has black
hair, brown eyes, a cleft on his chin, and a sexy mouth. I hear he’s quite the ladies’ man.”
She whispered back, smiling.

“What’s his name again?”

“Master Victor Lazaro,” she replied, still whispering.


Victor Lazaro.

Vick Laszlo.

I met a vampire named Vick Laszlo once.

And I killed him.




“W hat’s a pretty girl like you doing all alone in a place like this?”

I glanced sideways and saw a tall, middle-aged, balding man wearing a

faded, denim button-up shirt with a matching pair of too-tight jeans. He
interrupted my sorrow drowning.

My hand tightened around the empty glass of Rum and Coke in front of me.

“Sorry, not interested.” I turned my back from the man who took a seat on the barstool
to my right.

“I wasn’t talking to you. I was talking to her.”

I realized my mistake. He was in fact hitting on a middle-aged, blonde woman whose

bosom practically fell out of her thin, form-fitting, red blouse.

“You look lonely so I thought I’d give you some company,” he cooed at her. He leaned
over the counter and asked Mac, the bartender, to bring whatever drink the bosomy
woman had previously ordered.

I smothered my irritation and continued nursing my foul mood. I was frustrated at how
my life had turned out.

Earlier that day, I was laid off from my job at the old folks’ home. I worked at Heritage
Senior Living Center in Keno as a Resident Associate (aka Janitor) since I graduated
from high school. The money I earned helped pay for classes at Metro Community
College in the big city.

I made beds, cleaned common areas, served meals in the dining hall, assisted with their
recreational activities, and sometimes helped the residents with their personal needs.
Some of those needs were extremely personal, such as smuggling in Penthouse
magazines for lecherous Mr. Chandler and D-size batteries for Mrs. Meyer’s vibrator.

I’d just finished cleaning up a toileting accident when Phyllis, the director called me to
her office and informed me that because of the economy, they had to let me go.

For four years, I worked hard for them and they laid me off instead of the no-good
imbecile Diana Simmons who was idiotic enough to use cleaning products that
produced fumes around the senior residents with respiratory problems.

In a seething rage, I left the Heritage Senior Living Center and drove from Keno to the
city. I took my frustration out on my liver. Big Jim’s Tavern was the place to do exactly
that. It was a small hole-in-the-wall in the southern edge of the city. The patrons there
were older and rural, rather than hip, college-aged types.

I preferred imbibing in the anonymity of the city than in one of Keno’s twelve bars
where everyone recognized me and knew what a loser I was. I scowled at my empty
glass once more.

“I almost feel awkward for you.” A low, husky voice behind me said.

“Excuse me?” I turned towards the voice.

The most handsome man I’d ever seen stood behind me, his sensual lips curved into a
mocking smile. A small cleft on his chin only served to emphasize his masculine jaw. His
long, flowing hair, black as a raven, framed his gorgeous face. His deep, brown eyes
were mesmerizing, pulling me inexplicably towards him. I almost fell off the barstool.

I internally smacked myself. What was wrong with me? The tall, dark-haired, olive-
skinned vision wasn’t even my type. My type was Chas Marshall, the jock athlete from
my high school, with his classic good looks, the blond-haired, blue-eyed dream wonder
whom I lusted after since fourth grade.

“It must feel awkward to be overlooked for another woman.”

“Overlooked for big-breasted women, you mean,” I said wryly. “Yeah, I already know I
don’t stack up to the competition.” I hastily added, “As I said, I’m not interested.”

“The sting of rejection is never pleasant, regardless of who does the rejecting,” he said in
his deep, sultry voice.

I snorted in an unladylike manner and turned to watch the hockey game on the screen
bolted to the wall above the bar. Let him feel the sting of my rejection.

I waved to Mac, the bartender, to give me a basket of free popcorn along with another
glass of Rum and Coke.

In my peripheral vision, I saw Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome move to my left and give
the man on the barstool next to me a look. The man, who was sitting there innocently,
wearing his cowboy hat, drinking his beer, and watching the game, stood up and walked
away. The tall, dark, and handsome man slid onto the newly unoccupied seat.

“A tad aggressive, don’t you think?” I couldn’t help commenting.

“I always get what I want,” his eyes glittered and held mine for a few seconds.

“Always?” I asked.

“Always,” he replied enigmatically.

“Are you saying you’ve never been turned down before?” I asked with disbelief.

“Not by a woman, no.”

“Well, good luck with that,” I said cheerfully. I forced myself to look away from his
enthralling eyes to watch the hockey game on TV.

I crunched on hard kernels of corn, silently griping at the fact that some people had the
‘it’ factor. Things they wanted came easily to them. I wished I had power to get people to
do what I wanted. Then maybe I’d still have a job. Maybe Chas would finally realize I
existed and hold me in his arms and kiss me. People like me had to work a little harder
to get what we wanted in life while others got it handed to them in a silver platter.

“Tell me, where are you from, darling?” Mr. I-Always-Get-What-I-Want asked in his
deep, sexy voice leaning towards me casually.

“Balls,” I replied caustically without looking at him. “I’m from my daddy’s balls.”

He laughed. He persisted. “Is the game going the way you want?”

It was the fourth quarter and the Detroit Red Wings was losing. Hell, they had been in a
losing slump all season. I was actually going to lose money to Mr. Sullivan, one of the
senior residents at the old folks’ home. The good news was I wouldn’t have to cough up
the money if I didn’t show up for work over there anymore. My cloud had a silver lining.

I was going to say something ornery, like, Is your game going your way? but I decided
maybe karma would be less bitchy to me if I reined in the snide remarks. “No, my
favorite team’s doing badly. Do you follow hockey?” I asked, turning to look at him,
which was a mistake. His dark, brown eyes held mine.

“No, it’s not my kind of sport.” His eyes were deep wells, drawing me in. “I like to hunt. I
like the challenge.” He smiled wickedly. I smiled at his double-entendre.

“Hockey too violent for you?” I asked, chewing on a handful of popcorn, not able to tear
away from his gaze.

“Regrettably, I don’t see the attraction. It’s quite primitive. I like sports that require
more finesse and thought. I like sports where the prize is a lot more substantial than a
mere puck in the net.” I felt his intense gaze move from my face, down to my shirtfront,
and then back to my face again. I shivered.

You can put your puck in my net, anytime. I shook my head. Where did that thought come

“I disagree,” I said loudly. “Hockey players have to think literally on their feet to defeat
their opponents. They have to come up with game strategies. The game requires
leadership and determination. The players have the skills that only come from years of

I liked hockey. I liked watching the man’s man. I appreciated a man who could stand up
for himself, a man who could stand up for me, and a man who could stand up to me.
Chas was the star hockey player at Keno High. Chas was the Conan to my Valeria.

“I have to admit, the game is quite barbaric,” I admitted. We both watched the screen as
one player slammed against another player with explosive violence. “It’s not any
different than other activities you’re probably familiar with, fighting for territory,
releasing pent-up aggression, and showing raw emotions.” I smiled at him.

Was I flirting with him? Why was I flirting with him? This man was an arrogant stranger
who boasted that he gets what he wanted. I was making it too easy for him. “If you
always get what you want, what prompted you come to a shit hole like this place?” I
asked dryly. I noticed he wasn’t from around here, judging from his dark, long coat, his
dark pants, his fancy, black, silk shirt, and his accent that I couldn’t pinpoint.

“I came to enjoy the company of a beautiful and fascinating woman.”

I laughed. “Haven’t heard that before.”

“People are inherently lonely. They have a deep-seated desire to seek the company of
others in places such as this.”

“Yes, yes. Like you, I came here to trawl for sex. Satisfied, Mr. Freud?” I said with heavy

He gave me another one of those deep stares. “What really brings you here?”

“I’m here for the atmosphere,” I said with my mouth half-full of popcorn. “I wasn’t here
for the company.”

“Tell me, why is a lovely, young woman like you here by yourself. A lovers’ spat,

I made an undignified noise. Popcorn may have come out of my nose.

“I got laid off today from my job at Heritage Senior Living Center in Keno. I drove up
here to forget about my problems by drinking large quantities of alcohol.”

“Don’t you have family who can help you through your troubles?” he asked with concern
in his deep, sexy voice.

“No, no family. I never knew my father. My mother passed away a couple of years ago.
I’m an only child.”

“No man in your life?”

“No man, no.” I quickly turned away from him. “I shouldn’t be telling you any of this. For
all I know, you’re some psycho killer.”

I could see him flashing his charming smile at me from the corner of my eyes. “You have
a fear of intimacy.”

“I don’t have a fear of intimacy. I have a fear of strangers who could get me to talk about
things I don’t want to talk about.”

I got up from my seat. “I don’t know how you’re doing whatever you’re doing, but it
won’t work with me.”

While I was in the ladies’ room, I splashed cold water on my flushed face. There was
something about him I couldn’t quite figure out. I was proud of my abilities to see past
pretenses and be immune to players’ charms. When it came to this man, I didn’t like
him, yet I liked him. Something strange was going on with me. I needed to get out of

He was no longer sitting at the bar anymore when I left the ladies’ room. “Where did the
man who was sitting here earlier go?” I asked Mac, the bartender. Mac shrugged. I
mooched a cigarette from him.

Outside, I lit the cigarette using a book of matches from Big Jim’s Tavern. I leaned back
on door of my truck as I enjoyed the crisp, cool air and the harsh drag from the cigarette.

“What would it take for you to spend time with me a little longer?” a voice called out. All
of a sudden, Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome was standing right beside me.

“Shit!” The cigarette fell into a puddle. “You’re not my type,” I said nervously. How did
he sneak up on me so fast?

“Tell me, what is your type?”

“Not you,” I turned to open the driver’s side door of my truck.

He put his weight on the door. “I feel that we have a connection,” he said earnestly.

“You and I have a connection, all right, when I connect my fist to your pretty face if you
don’t move out of my way,” I warned. As much as I loved strong men, I didn’t like it
when they used their strength against me.

“Please,” he said softly. “My name is Vick. Vick Laszlo. Tell me your name.” He let me
open the truck door.

I hesitated and then turned to look up at him. He had beautiful, dark brown eyes, like
chocolate. “I’m Evie.”

He smiled. “Evie. That’s a beautiful name. Will you let me buy you a drink and sit with
me for a while? I promise I will play nice.”

I gave in. “We can go to Roxanne’s. It’s a dance club downtown. You can follow me in
your car.”

“I didn’t come here in a car.” That was interesting. Public transportation in the big city
wasn’t dependable. I’d be surprised to see a taxicab on this side of town.

We drove together to Roxanne’s. It was a Thursday night and the club wasn't very busy.
We sat at a quieter section of the club where we could still hear each other talk.

We watched the young people at the club and we talked about how men and women
interacted with each other. We talked about the philosophical reasons why men do
what they do to women and vice versa.

“What do you think about her? Would you seduce someone like her?” I asked, pointing
at a woman whose breasts were so perky and artificial, they looked like they were about
to explode.

“I am not biased,” he responded.

He dressed well. His silky-looking, black dress shirt showed a little of his muscular
chest. I asked him where he was from and he said something vague like the East Coast.
Vick kept buying me Rum and Coke. As I chugged down my drinks, I became chattier.

“That man loses points for groping her. There’s nothing more disgusting than a man
who cops a feel on the dance floor,” I declared drunkenly.

“I agree. If I were he, I would show respect to the woman first. I’ll have plenty of time to
disrespect her later.” He looked at me suggestively. I laughed. I took another large
swallow from my glass.

I went on. “Men need to learn how to read a woman’s body language. I mean, look at
that guy. He just doesn’t get the hint. The girl practically wedged herself between her
girlfriends to avoid dancing with him.”

“What would you do to avoid unwanted attentions?” he asked casually.

“I’d excuse myself and go to the ladies’ room,” I grinned widely. “Or I’d just tell them I’m
pregnant, or I have children. Telling them you have a boyfriend or that you’re a lesbian
won’t work. It just encourages them. If I’m not feeling nice, I just tell them to fuck off.”

“And what kind of men would warrant your attentions?”

A man who was good inside but a pervert in bed. But I didn’t say that out loud.

“I like men who knows who they are and what they stand for, strong, secure men who
are confident in their beliefs and don’t shy away from a challenge.”

One of the themed rooms at Roxanne’s had pool tables. I challenged Vic to a game of
pool. Somehow, during the game, women flocked to him and flirted with him. I rolled
my eyes. “How do you do that?” I asked while I racked the ball for another game. He had
won the first one and I lost five bucks.

“It’s about perception. Your appearance, your presence, your status, your confidence,
your responses, they all play a part.” He smiled. “You spark their curiosity. You
communicate that you have something they want that no one else could give.” His words
sent an involuntary thrill down my body.

After I lost another five dollars, I told him, “Okay, Vick. Twenty says you won’t be able to
get a girl’s number if she’s already committed.” I pointed to a girl wearing a large
engagement ring who was at the club with a large group of girls, celebrating her
bachelorette party. “Get her number.”

Five minutes later, he came back with a glass of Rum and Coke for me and a phone
number. She had bought him a drink.

“You should write a book on how to attract the ladies,” I told him. He was smooth.

“It must be last call for drinks. Fido over there is looking for someone to dry hump,” I

“I’ll drive you home,” he took my arm and we left Roxanne’s. He ushered me to my truck.
I certainly didn’t want him to drive me home. That would mean I’d have to invite him
into my apartment until we could get a taxi to drive down to Keno from the big city.
However, I was beyond capable of driving home by myself. I had no choice but to let him
drive my truck. I scolded myself internally for being an idiot.

He stood next to me as I unlocked the passenger side door of my truck. I was about to
pull the door open when he pushed it closed. “I really don’t like it when you do that,” I

He had both his hands on the truck on either side of my head. I had my back on the
truck, my face looking up at him. We stared at each other for a few seconds. Then finally,
Vick lowered his face until it was inches from mine. “Don’t you like it when I do this?” He
grazed on my lower lip, teasing and seducing. I pulled his face towards me and accepted
his kiss.


As we reached the outskirts, I made Vick stop in front of Keno’s black-and-white,

checkered water tower that was surrounded by a chain-link fence.

“What are we doing?” he asked curiously when we were exiting the pickup truck.

“We are climbing this water tower.” I said with glee. “Ever wondered what we do for fun
in small towns? Come on, Vick, bring those gloves.”

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” he said, but he looked amused. “Isn’t this illegal?” He
shrugged off his coat and placed it on the driver’s seat of the truck.

“Highly,” I said as I pulled myself up on the chain-link fence. “It’s only illegal because it’s
trespassing, not to mention we could fall and break our necks.” I was giggling
uncontrollably by the time we scaled the chain-link fence around the tower.

A metal sheet covered the base of the ladder. I started climbing the back of the ladder
and Vick followed. The metal on the ladder was very cold even though I was wearing my
black, leather gloves.

When we reached the platform with a railing that circled the thickest part of the round
tower, my lungs were burning and I was out of breath. Vick didn’t remotely look
exhausted. Somehow, his clothes managed to stay impeccable.

I shivered when a cold, light breeze blew around us. Vick put both arms around me.
“Isn’t the view magnificent?” I let him hold me. I expected him to envelop me in his
warmth but his skin was cool. I shivered some more.

From a distance, we could see the bright lights from the big city. I saw the fluorescent
lights from the Casey’s General Store at one side of the town. It had closed for the night
but the lights from the 24-hour gas pumps were still on. On the other side of town, past
the cemetery, I could see lights from Farmer Bill’s farmhouse.

“Have you ever wondered if there’s more to human existence?” he asked.

“All the time,” I sniffled. The wind was a little nippy and parts of my anatomy were
nipping out.

“What is it you want out of life, Evie?”

My thoughts quickly went to Chas Marshall. I didn’t expect much from life. My
philosophy had always been, dream little, expect little, and I wouldn’t be disappointed
on how life turns out. My dreams were simple: Chas Marshall and me, together. Maybe,
tattoo his name on my back. Yet, here I was in the arms of a stranger named Vick on top
of Keno’s black-and-white, checkered water tower.

“World peace.” I replied. “I want to end world hunger and I want world peace.”

“What if you are given the ability to make a difference in the world?”

“I suppose I can be like another Angelina Jolie, saving the world, one orphan at a time,” I

“I can offer you power and glory beyond your wildest imagination.” Vick expressively
swept his right hand out, palm up. “Say, yes.”

“Um hmm,” I murmured. I was half-paying attention to him, half-paying attention to the
liquor unhappily churning in my stomach.

“I can give you whatever you desire, darling.” I felt his deep voice resonate in his strong,
broad chest where I lay my head.

“Now, that is a pickup line if I’ve ever heard one.” I laughed.

He silenced me with another kiss. It was a passionate kiss for him, a drunken kiss for
me. My head spun, most likely from the alcohol. He slid his mouth over my cheeks and
down the side of my neck. His arms held me tighter.

As he bit me, I felt a sharp, intense pain. I was about to protest but I immediately felt a
concentrated rush of pleasure, which spread throughout my body. I was feeling guilty
receiving too much pleasure. I barely knew the guy. “So what are your hobbies?” I asked

I looked up and saw the twinkling stars begin to fade. Slowly, I blinked out.


The sounds of blood rushing and pounding filled my head. I heard the loud drumming of
a heart beating. The beats were very slow at first and then the beats picked up pace,
faster and faster. Slurping. There were sounds of someone slurping.

The metallic smell of blood triggered a strong need in the pit of my stomach. I was so
thirsty, desperately thirsty, and I was drinking for all my life’s worth. A hard body lay
underneath me and it felt good. I moaned and squirmed. A muscular arm around me
held me down like a vice. I felt the tight hold of fingers knotted roughly in my hair. My
own fingers were entangled in someone’s hair.

In my experience, feeling this good meant I was doing something very naughty. Very
naughty, indeed. I tried to lift my head up but the hand kept my head down. “Drink,” a
gruff voice ordered. I wasn’t about to disobey the voice or the painful hunger pangs in
my belly. I drank and drank.

A warm glow radiated throughout my body. I was giddy with pleasure. However, the
pleasure was short-lived. The heat intensified slowly around my heart. The temperature
on my chest rose until it was almost unbearable. The heat violently seared through my
veins. The burning scorched my body and I began to thrash in pain. I started to yell, but
the hand held me down.

Every nerve in my body screamed in anguish. I needed the pain to stop. I cleared my
mind of the horrible pain and tried to think of something nice. Chas, maybe? No, the
ache of unrequited love would just add to the whopping pain. I needed to be somewhere
cool, somewhere exotic, somewhere away from the world I knew.

Water. The cooling, healing energy of water. I envisioned a small waterfall. Cool,
refreshing water flowed down into a large swimming hole at its base. I clearly saw
myself floating in the swimming hole, the water cooling my skin, soothing my insides. I
floated, feeling the water wash over me, calm me, and heal me.

A loud rumbling interrupted the quiet serenity of my secret place. The rumbling sound
became increasing loud and my whole waterfall haven shook. There was a cave behind
the waterfall, hidden by the sheets of water flowing down. From the cave, thousands
and thousands of bats flew out. The bats flew towards me and encircled the air above
me. I screamed.

I was back on the platform railing that curved around Keno’s water tower, straddling
Vick Laszlo. He looked up at me with a smug smile, a pair of long incisors peeking out.
Even in the darkness, I could clearly see that his neck and shirt were drenched in blood.
Both his wrists were dripping in blood.

Hmm. Here, I had an exceptionally seductive guy with fangs, who had essentially Jedi
mind-tricked me. In addition, I had an overwhelming hankering for blood, there was the
general horniness on my part, and let us not forget the creepy bat vision. An elementary
school kid could figure out what was going on.

“Phick Laszlo, You’re a Jack Ass wiw a caphital A,” I lisped.




“I think I know the answer to this question but what the hell did you do, Vick?”
I yelled out after I figured out how to retract the sharp fangs without slicing
my lower lip.

I rolled off him, pulled myself up, and backed away from him until my back was
touching the metal of the water tower. My head was clear, all remnants of alcohol-
induced haziness had dissipated.

My night vision was remarkably sharp. I watched him as he stood up. He was no longer
wearing what I thought he was wearing that evening. The, black, silk shirt and black
pants had been replaced by a crimson vest and a white shirt with ruffles. A long, white
cloth hung around his neck. The white ruffled sleeves and the white neck cloth were
marred with blood. He wore a pair of grey breeches that were probably fashionable two
hundred years ago. His boots had ruby buckles and the heels added about three inches
to his height. He wasn’t such a tall man after all.

I took a deep breath. I could smell everything. I smelled the metal that made up the
black-and-white, checkered water tower. I smelled the hogs at Farmer Bill’s farm on the
other side of town. I smelled blood. Sweet, delicious blood. I licked my lips. Vick’s blood
in my mouth tasted like heaven.

He was a vampire. “You’re truly a vampire, aren’t you?” I pressed myself harder against
the water tower.

“You don’t remember me?” He smiled.

“What are you talking about? Of course, I remember you. You’re the nice guy I picked up
from the bar who was nice enough to fucking Jedi mind-fuck me. And if I’m not
mistaken, you also killed me.”

He took a couple of steps towards me. “I know what you are. The question is, do you
know what you are? Do you remember who I am?”

I swallowed. My stomach rumbled and I felt the sharp pang of hunger for more blood.
His blood. I wanted to jump him and suck on his neck. I disgust me.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve never seen you before tonight”

“For three years I have been looking for you.”

Three years ago, my greatest problem was getting Chas Marshall to notice me in high
school. My greatest problem today was trying to get Chas Marshall to notice me. My
dreams were dust. No way was Chas going to love me now.

I was truly, irrevocably dead. That reality hit me hard like that time when nasty Jennifer
Delaney threw an ice-hard snowball at my head and taunted me, the uncool loser. I may
be an uncool loser with no job, no future, and no love life but dammit, I was a living,
breathing loser. Vick Laszlo took the choice away from me. I was no longer human. No
longer part of the mortal world. I was dead. Or undead.

Vampires were evil, weren’t they? Was my soul damned for eternity now? My head
spun. I couldn’t breathe. Can vampires have panic attacks?

“Stay away from me.” I scrambled down the ladder. I missed a step I braced myself as I
slid clumsily the rest of the way down. Instead of the jarring impact that should’ve
shattered my knees, I landed at the base effortlessly.

I flung myself over the chain-link fence and landed on all fours. When I got up, I came
face-to-chest with Vick’s crimson vest.

“Whoever you think I am, you got the wrong person. I’ve never seen you before tonight.”

He reached over and placed both hands on my shoulders.

I twisted free from his grasp and ran to my truck. I slammed the door shut and pushed
the manual locks down. I had the engine running when Vick looked in through the
driver’s side window, frowning. “Evie, please stay. We’ll talk about this.”

I threw the gear in reverse with violence. The tires spun on gravel and I maneuvered the
truck backwards onto the main street.

The truck roared as I changed gears too quickly, going fifty miles an hour on Keno’s
deserted main street. Shit. Shit. Shit. I’m a vampire. He’s a vampire. This had to be a
dream. This wasn’t real. This wasn’t happening to me.

Sure, I’d maliciously slandered some girls in high school. I’d seduced a virgin
Sophomore on a bet during my Senior year. I’d smoked some weed. I’d spat on Sheriff
Connelly’s pork tenderloin sandwich during my very short stint behind Mick’s Bowling
Alley’s concession counter.

I zoomed past the bowling alley wondering if Sheriff Connelly would be able to help in a
time like this. Maybe not. After all, I was vampire now, too.

Why was I being punished? What did I do to deserve this?

I approached the turn that led to the low-income apartments where I lived. A lone, dark
figure stood in the middle of the street. It was Vick.

Shit! He followed me. I swerved to avoid him and missed my turn. I glanced at the rear-
view mirror and saw bats flying where he had once stood.

Evie, stop! His voice echoed clearly in my head.

Against my will, my foot eased up on the accelerator. My new vampire heart pounded
loudly. Shit! How the hell do you escape a vampire who can control your body?

As the truck slowed down at the next corner, I jerked the steering wheel to the right. I
let the truck coast towards the only other place I considered home. The Heritage Senior
Living Center.

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