I’ll be posting any review shortly. Thought I would share a story I’m currently revising which I plan to be part of an anthology: Claws, Fangs and Broomsticks. This tale is entitled Vampire Girl . Let me know what you think of this first chapter.
There was no moon in the sky, darkness covered the land like a blanket. There wasn’t much in the little room, a canopy bed, table with a candle, and a chair by the door. Who am I? Isabella Montevaldo wondered. What am I? The quick and easy answer flashed through her mind; you are the daughter of Razvan Montevaldo – vampire.
Isabella turned as the door opened. Ana-Marie entered the room; the old woman had acted as the girl’s nanny since infanthood.
Ana-Marie wore a black cowl and hood. Her usual stoic face was cracked by a smile. She moved slowly, like crossing a floor of broken glass. What brought pleasure to the woman this night?
“Good evening dear,” Ana-Marie said.
Isabella smiled, “Good evening Ana-Marie.” She soaked in the woman’s smile. “What puts you in a fine mood this evening?”
Ana-Marie looked around the dark room. She waved her hand, and flames ignited from the candles.
Impressive, Isabella thought and smiled. She could do a few things of her own; things that a vampire could do. Like, shape shift.
“You child,” Ana-Marie replied. “Soon ye shall’t be a full fledged vampire as dawns your 21st birth year,” her old voice seemed to creak as she spoke, but a certain giddiness oiled the hinges of her vocal chords. “Joyous forever youth, my child.”
Ana-Marie walked to the window and looked outside.. Her shoulders trembled at the chilly air. “Tis a beautiful night.”
Isabella liked the cool temperatures, so long as it didn’t get below 50 anyway. “Yes, it is, and I’m rather excited myself.” There was so much she wanted to do.
“Well, come along,” Ana-Marie said as she took Isabella’s hand.
Compelled by her boredom, Isabella once again queried, “Ana-Marie, you think father will let me go out an explore the world?” Isabella asked, her voice echoing sadness.
“Oh, dear,” Ana-Marie said, her voice was slow and low. “You know how he fears to let you leave the mansion.”
“Doesn’t he trust me?” Isabella asked as she followed Ana-Marie from the room.
“Course he does, dear,” Ana-Marie said. “Tis others he don’t trust; if they find what you are – they’d kill you.” Her voice choked toward the end of her statement.
“So, what am I that would worry anyone?” Isabella asked.
“Why, you are the daughter of Razvan Montevaldo.” Ana-Marie said. The answer that didn’t really help much.
Ana-Marie chuckled. “Now don’t go feeling sorry for yourself princess.”
Her hand clutched the railing as Ana-Marie descended the spiral staircase. Isabella followed her feeling a bit impatient with the woman’s cautious pace, but patience, father said, was a virtue.
“I just want to get out, see the world, meet new people,” Isabella said.
“You know how your father feels about that,” Ana-Marie replied. “Humans are dangerous to such as us; they hate us.” She paused, looking at Isabella with sad hound-like eyes. “And you.” She paused, turned and started walking again.
“What makes us so different from them?” Isabella asked.
“Why we be their monsters,” Ana-Marie as if the question surprised her. “Witches, vampires.”
I’m a vampire, at least half-vampire and half—human. Come to thing of it, what exactly am I? Isabella mused to herself.
The staircase led straight into the livingroom. Through there they walked to the diningroom.
Over the rectangular dinner table swung a candelabrum. The table was covered by a white cloth and surrounded by wooden high-back chairs. Father sat at the head of the table, a smile creased his pale white face; dressed in black he was tall and thin; his head was bald as an egg. Razvan Montevaldo was ancient, but he never discussed his age: time has no meaning to such as us.
“Nosferatu Jr.” Ana-Marie quipped and father smiled. Isabella was lost as to their meaning.
What did it mean to be human? Or even monster? Isabella wondered.
Razvan smiled as he looked at his daughter. He rose and waved his hand, his bony fingers extending from the palm. A chair pulled itself out for Isabella and she sat down.
“I want to go and see more of the land,” Isabella heard herself blurt out. Her eyebrows rose; wasn’t often she voiced her inner thoughts.
Father’s eyebrows twitched and he looked at her. A dead man placed a plate of mutton and baked potato in front of her father. “Why my dear? Everything you could need we have here.”
Except other people, Isabella thought, hoping it wasn’t too ungrateful to feel that way.
The dead man carried some food to Isabella. She eyed the plate hungrily; the man was very tall, over six-feet, with course skin and a face frozen in the expression of the somberness of death. Father called him Harold.
“Thank you Harold,” Isabella said. The dead man grunted.
“I want to see other people father, meet other people see what is going on in the world.” Isabella said.
Razvan issued an exaggerated sigh. “I knew one day you might wish to leave.” His face began to register sadness.
“Father, I just want to explore.” Isabella said.
“I understand my precious,” Razvan replied. “Really, I do. But, it is dangerous out there and I worry for your safety.”
“Those who call themselves human kind are dangerous to us,” Ana-Marie stressed as she slowly approached to the table.
Harold looked to the old woman and grunted.
“No thanks Harold, I’ve already eaten.” Ana-Marie said.
Harold grunted again.
“But there’s no one here except us,” Isabella said. She looked down as her fork stabbed the food. “I’d like to see more places.” She forked a piece of mutton into her mouth. “
“Does it matter?” Razvan asked. “They are all the same.” He paused a moment and looked at her. “Centuries I mean.”
Isabella smiled. She knew what he meant.
“You’re safe here,” Ana-Marie added.
Harold pulled a chair out for Ana-Marie and she sat down. Isabella looked at them, thinking they were cute. Could the dead feel emotion?
“Father,” Isabella’s tone tensed with exasperation. “I can’t stay cooped up in here forever.”
“Why not?” Razvan questioned. “It’s a nice castle.”
“Isabella, dear,” Ana-Marie said. “Your father is doing what he feels best. He loves you.”
“I know,” It just didn’t help anything.
“I think it is a mistake,” Ana-Marie said. “They do horrible things to their own kind,” a far-away look came over her face as though reflecting on something from her past. “Yet they call us monsters.”
Razvan growled. He looked to his food and stabbed a fork into the mutton. “I’d rather not discuss this anymore tonight.”
“Very well father,” Isabella said.
“Very well father.” She smiled and changed the subject. “I’ve been practicing my shape shifting.” She finished the last of her dinner. “I can become a bat, a wolf or a snake.”
Razvan smiled proudly, “Very good my dear. Very good.”
“Really?” She was feeling a bit impish. “What good is it if I have no one to show off for?”
“You have me, Ana-Marie and the staff,” Razvan said.
Isabella stood, held out her arms. She enjoyed showing off, and the change felt like nothing. She just closed her eyes and visualized, first a bat; then, a wolf and finally the snake.
Razvan laughed and clapped his hands. “Very good my darling.” He stood, and dissolved into the darkness.
Isabella became human again. “I’ve got to master that.”
Razvan reappeared with a smug smile. “It’s all a matter of focus and concentration my dear.” He paused and sat back down. “As you imagine yourself a snake or a bat, you visualize yourself becoming part of nothingness.”
Harold began clearing away the empty plates and glasses. Ana-Marie watched in an absent minded fashion.
Isabella wondered if Ana-Marie had known Harold when he was alive. Was she the one who brought him to “life.” Could there be some interesting parts to that story? Her mind played with the idea of torn lovers for a bit.
Then Isabella wiped her lips with a napkin, “Well, I shall be in the library.”
“Have fun darling Isabella,” Razvan said.
Turning, Isabella walked through a dark hallway. She pushed open a door and entered the library. The darkness was dispelled by the illumination of some torches and some strange lights floating about the ceiling. Witchcraft? She wondered/
A bag of bones behind the desk promptly came to life, “Isabella, Isabella,” He called in a weak voice. “Nice to see you.”
“Hello,” She only knew him as the librarian and Isabella was only assuming it was a ‘him.’ “Got any new books?”
“The latest Charlaine Harris,” The librarian said. A book floated up from the desk and into Isabella’s hands.
A raven flew into the room through an open window. It carried a book in its beak, which it dropped on the desk. The bird then landed on the desk.
“Oohh,” The librarian said in an excited tone and stroked the bird’s feathers. “Thank you Caw-Caw; the latest Harris book.”
The librarian did seem to like this Harris’ books.
“What troubles you?” The librarian asked. “Your father won’t let you go into the human world?”
“Yeah,” she replied glumly. Maybe if she got away in the daytime, no one would notice. Father slept during the daylight hours. But, Isabella had long ago found she didn’t need to.
But, would running away in the daytime be fair to father an Ana-Marie? They were so good to her. Her face fell to the floor.
“Isabella,” The librarian’s voice called her back. A stack of books was on the desk, his open hand gestured toward them. “Some books you may enjoy.”
Isabella walked to the desk and scanned the titles. There was history, fictional works by assorted authors; and a couple other books one on automobiles, and another on famous sorcerers.
“Thanks,” Isabella said to the librarian. She lifted up the seven books into her arm and started to the door. It opened automatically.
Glancing back, Isabella saw that the Librarian was engrossed in a book. She smiled and the door closed behind her.
On returning to her room she dropped her stack of books and plopped down onto the bed. Grabbing a Harris book, Isabella glanced to the open window. The wind seemed to be calling her name. There was an old record the librarian had brought in and sometimes played on his Victrola record player thing. It was called Where the Wild Goose Goes. About a man whose lot was to wander and see new things. She could sympathize with the man in that song.
Reading through the book, the song replayed in her mind. The outside still seemed to call her name and her heart began to race. Setting the book aside she rose and walked to the window. Standing there, fear filled her, this was something she’d never done before – just taking off, but the call of the wild goose, was powerful. She focused on being a bat.