DROWNING DAVID: A Vampire Serial
Wake Up/Part ONE
Available installments at Amazon.com
Summary of Part One:
David Potion and his powerful vampire father, Lucas, are rudely awakened from a self-imposed hibernation when their hiding place is being destroyed. Aided by amazing fortune, Lucas’ former lover’s daughter, Rachel, finds them in the sun and gets them to safety. As Lucas works to bring their lives up-to-date, David must decide how to best fulfill his father’s wishes: that he woo and pair up with Rachel. Lucas wants grandchildren, but a marriage between a vampire and a mortal is guaranteed to bring heartache and plenty of bloodshed…
Note from the Editor: Story Content Rated PG-13 for mild language, sexual situations, and violence.
Drowning David: A Vampire Serial
Wake Up/Part One
9527 Words/40 Novel Pages
Written by Ellen C. Maze
All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2011 Ellen C. Maze
This book may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including graphic, electronic, or mechanical without the express written consent of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
ONE: Drowning David
David swam toward the surface as the moon shimmered through the water, the image refracting crazily as he neared the breakthrough point. As the moon grew larger in his vision, he realized it was not water he pushed his body through—but space, time; an indelible fabric that he only experienced in his dreams. As David broke the surface, he was wide awake—and the world had turned upside down.
Someone yanked his arm, tentative at first, then forcefully.
“Now! Before it’s too late!”
His eyes focusing slowly, David turned to the sound of his father’s voice. He worked to command his legs to stand as tight and angry muscles fought every attempt. He’d been asleep a long time and his body was reluctant to obey. Besides, his father seemed different—he looked insane.
Lucas’ cool grey eyes were rimmed red, his shoulder-length white hair dripping with moisture, and his mouth an angry grimace. Yet none of his venom was directed at his son. No, David’s father was upset about something else. What was it? What did he just say?
David mumbled inaudibly and managed to roll clumsily off the dusty pile of shavings he’d made his bed so long ago. He forced himself to stand, awkwardly at first, and then more balanced as the seconds ticked on. He slowly swiveled his head to the right, toward the sound of his father’s voice. How long had Lucas been up, and why was he shouting?
“Snap out of it, son. We have to make a break for the house.”
David acknowledged his father with a nod, his mental faculties a hazy mess. Still, his ears were working—he heard crashing wood, earth-moving machinery, muffled businesslike yelling, raucous laughing, and intermittent cursing. He smelled smoke and sweat, and above all, his father’s panic. Then, as the precious seconds ticked by, finally his eyes focused.
Dread chilled him to the bone; the light outside was white.
“Lucas, it’s Day!” His own voice sounded foreign to him as he barked his first words in decades. His father heard him, but didn’t turn. He stood at the escape door—the one they’d installed years ago for such an emergency. It led to a fifteen-foot tunnel and then out a door, a mere hatch in the earth. They’d thought to use the hatch at night; never in the harsh light of Day.
David shakily found his feet and stepped to stand behind his father. Miniscule slivers of light sneaked between the basement ceiling and the stone walls of the old shed. They were below ground, but twelve inches of cold stone stood above ground attached to the foundation. As David watched, Lucas put his shoulder to the heavy reinforced oak door. It was made to withstand uninvited human entry, but when held up to Lucas’ immeasurable might, it crashed in as if made of cardboard.
“We’ll make it, come on.” Lucas took two steps into the damp cavernous space and turned to wait for his son to join him. He must have read David’s reticent countenance for he attempted a smile and relaxed his shoulders a fraction. “Look, son. We’ve seen worse. Just stick close and make for the house.”
David nodded again. Apprehensive or not, he rarely disagreed with his father, and now was not time to start such a practice. Even though, running at high noon, no matter how close their end goal, would take unimaginable effort. Within a few seconds, they reached the outer hatch and Lucas put long fingers to the wooden handle.
“Davey, the house is one hundred yards south. You can do that in your sleep.”
David chuckled uneasily; he was still mostly asleep.
“I know you can do it. Make for the house. If I get there first, I’ll gain entrance. But if you outrun me, you must get in. Be prepared for it to be locked, bolted, barred—whatever. But get in, understand?”
David tipped his head and held his breath as his father’s fingers tensed on the hatch. The sun was hateful, a mean old man who sat on their shoulders like a thousand-pound demon. Its millions of ultra-violet rays would fall onto his skin like a blanket of lead. Could he run with that pimp on his back? Sure, he’d done it before, but a hundred yards? David wasn’t even sure he could command his legs to walk much less run for his life. If only they had more time to come fully awake. His lips parted to ask Lucas to wait, but the hatch was pushed open and the sky was a blinding light that astounded him.
David sprinted across the overgrown field.
His eyes were barely open, but he had the yard mapped out in his memory. He peeked for any new obstacles that may have been added since he went to sleep, but so far, the way was clear. Old Man Sun was truly sitting on his back by the time he’d run a quarter of the way. He concentrated on his legs and even spoke to them under his breath.
“Pump! Pump! Pump! Come on! Go!”
By the half-way mark, the demon of the Day was in his head. Sleep beckoned and spoke sweet words of comfort, peace, and everlasting paradise. He fought, he resisted, but when he opened his eyes a tiny fraction, he could see that the house was too far away. Had he stopped running? Was he moving backwards? The weight was becoming unbearable; his breathing slowed and his blood pressure dropped. The sun sapped his energy as sure as ever, and any remaining resolve melted along with his willpower.
No! No! Keep running! He shouted in his head, wishing he could call out to Lucas, but it was no use. Sleep was a beautiful siren and she ran with that Pimp the Sun. David heard her speaking to him again, promising him the world, if he’d only sleep.
Rest easy, little man. Rest easy. I will hold you. I will rock you in my arms. Shhhhh…
She moaned in his ear and stroked his subconscious, and she was right. Sleep was a blissful place, a true place of nirvana and happiness. Isn’t that why they went to sleep this last time? They had been very tired. The world had sped up so quickly; the technology, the people; Lucas and David were old. Too old to be traipsing through such a violent and changeable place.
Rest easy, you needn’t worry about a thing, little man. Shhhhh…
David was not little; he’d grown into a man years ago. But Sleep had always been a woman to him, and she usually did rock him to sleep in his mind. David stopped running. He didn’t have to close his eyes—they hadn’t been open for almost a minute. He exhaled and sat down under the weight of the demon and slept.
TWO: Angel of Mercy
“Water, then. Bring him some water…”
Lucas’ voice, as if heard through a tunnel, and he sounded worried.
David opened his eyes, happily back in the dark; the blissful darkness that soothed and revived his tired, aching muscles, and acted as a balm on his pounding head. Even as the Sun sucked the life from him outdoors, in here, in the Dark, he found his strength. David focused on the ceiling. A single forty-watt bulb hung from an ancient wire and Lucas’ strong arms supported him. His father cradled him in his lap, seated on the rough cement floor. David laughed then, relieved more than anything.
“She missed, eh Lucas? Sleep—she missed.”
His father roughly fluffed his hair and pushed him out of his lap, the coddling passing along with the perceived danger. David recognized the room. They were in the root cellar of the house. Their house. And his father looked more like himself. The crazed panic had left his face and all that remained was the strained look of a man worrying after the well-being of his only son.
“I thought I was a goner for sure.” David tried to sit up and did with a helpful shove from his father. “You brought me in, then?”
“Well, I had help.” Lucas trained his eyes toward the stairs as someone descended into the cellar.
David followed his line of sight and watched a woman approach, carrying a bottle of clear liquid.
“This young lady, to be precise.” Lucas finished his sentence and the young woman managed a tiny but cautious smile.
“Linda?” David started, but his father held up his hand.
“David, thirty years have passed. Meet Rachel Forbes. She helped to get you indoors.”
Confused, David worked to simultaneously calculate the year and figure out who the new woman was. She met his eyes briefly, but cast her gaze down again, actively avoiding eye contact with them both. It occurred to him why: She understood something about them; something that frightened her.
So, why was she helping them?
“Rachel,” David offered softly, and accepted the water from her shaking hand, “thank you for helping us.”
“Linda was my mother,” the woman said almost inaudibly. “I recognized your father…” Rachel reached into her pocket and pulled out a creased and faded Polaroid. She held it out to them both and Lucas gingerly plucked it from her fingers.
“Hah,” he huffed softly and passed the picture to David. “Linda’s 30th birthday.”
David nodded and examined the photo, the memories flowing back to his still-sleepy brain like syrup. Linda looked radiant, as always, in her party dress. It was a strapless red number that went nearly to her ankles.
Standing against her, like a close friend who wished to be more, was Lucas in a suit and tie. David had snapped that photo, along with a dozen others during their tenure together. He handed it back to Rachel, but she didn’t meet his eye.
“How old are you, Rachel?” Lucas asked, and David could tell he was using his gentlest voice. Rachel was as timid as a rabbit and they needed her to keep her wits about her until they could figure out their next move. David purposed to sit very still and follow his father’s lead as he slowly sipped his water.
“You are less than thirty…”
Rachel nodded and stepped back from them to sit on a stool she had pulled up. “Yes, I’m 23. Mother…”
“Your mother…is she…?” Lucas stopped asking, apparently unwilling to hear the answer.
Rachel nodded with intuitive understanding. “Mother passed when I was 11.” There was a quiet pause and in the weighted silence. Rachel read the mood and offered an apology to her mother’s former lover. “I’m sorry.”
Lucas nodded, but David saw wetness in his eyes. Linda had chased them both away soon after her 40th birthday. Lucas had never been one to force himself upon anyone, especially upon a woman he truly adored, so when she made it abundantly clear that she never wanted to lay eyes on them again, they left her in peace. As David watched the embers of an old pain flicker in his father’s far-away gaze, he knew Linda had not been forgotten.
David was present the day Linda popped the question to his father.
After nearly four years of pretending everything was normal, she finally mustered up the courage to ask for some straight answers. It was the housekeeper’s night off. The three of them were in the second living room—the one off the back door. The formal living room, which housed soft cream-colored velour arm chairs and easily-stained white suede sofas, was never used. But this room was where they spent most evenings, talking, laughing, playing games, and watching the occasional comedy on the television. So tonight had begun like so many others, but as David laughed at his father’s impression of some of the movie characters they named in their current game, Linda became suddenly serious and sat up between them.
They were all three on the plaid sofa, extra long and wide, with plenty of leg room for the two tall men, and comfortable enough for Linda’s shorter stature. Lucas sat on her right, thighs touching, but hands free for gesticulating the various impressions he was doing. David sat on her other side, inches away as felt appropriate, and turned slightly to the side to see around Linda to his father. Thus when Linda suddenly sat up, a look of dead seriousness crossing her lovely face, David was the first to notice.
“Lucas, I’m not happy like this,” she said and then she stopped, as if to word her concerns exactly. Lucas put an end to his bang-on impersonation of Jimmy Stewart and looked at her sideways, his expression open.
“Pardon?” he asked, and then looked at David.
“Something’s wrong. I think we need to talk.”
David read his father’s expression and stood to his feet. “I’ll just let you have some time alone.”
When Linda didn’t look up from her hands and Lucas gave him a very tiny nod, David shrugged and proceeded to leave the room. Of course, he could still hear them, and he knew Lucas would not mind if he eavesdropped—they had no secrets between them. In fact, his father had taught him early on that if they ever felt they had to hide anything from the other, they might as well kill themselves. If they couldn’t trust each other 100%, he said many times, they would be dead soon anyway. He had taught David that the only way their people survived the ages was through trust and dependability. Every relative of his father’s who had separated from the family had perished or gone insane. Since David and Lucas were both fond of living and of their sanity, they did everything they could to keep the cards in their favor.
So, David listened to them from the kitchen, two rooms away. He had excellent hearing, and would have been able to hear them from upstairs. But easier was better, and he lighted onto a stool and sat at the kitchen bar in the dim light provided by the moon, and listened in.
Linda was ready to hear the straight truth from her platonic lover, ready to either move the relationship forward and get married, or call it off, and get on with her life.
David was very interested in what Lucas would say. Lucas had been married in the moral sense before and David had been the product of that union, but he never knew his mother. She died soon after he was born and Lucas raised his son alone. But that was nearly two hundred years ago. Linda Forbes had somehow caught Lucas’ eye that crazy night four years previous, and he was in love again—for the first time in nearly two centuries.
David closed his eyes and concentrated on the conversation in the next room, imagining himself to be there, on the couch with them. He imagined Lucas’ face as he shared the deepest secrets of their world, their people, and their distinct unnatural and supernatural existence among Linda’s kind. It was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time and David imagined Lucas’ expression would have revealed the same state of mind. He was an old creature, that was for certain, but he had strong feelings for the woman Linda Forbes. And he would not be the one to let the relationship go.
After covering the basics of his odd inhuman attributes, filling in whatever the woman had not yet discovered, Lucas closed with a very straightforward statement of devotion.
“Linda, you’re everything to me. Aside from my son, David, whom I love more than life itself, you are all I have. There will never be another woman for me as long as you live. What do you want me to do?”
“I understand, really I do. But we’ve been together almost four years now and I’m not getting any younger. I’m twenty-five Lucas—twenty-five.” She stressed the words the second time.
“I know. Please, what do you want? Anything you ask, I will do.”
“I want a husband, children, a family. Is that something we could have together? Can we get married?”
From his listening post in the kitchen, David opened his eyes and studied his hands. Of course at a young age, Lucas had explained how the “birds and the bees” worked among their people. But being outside, Linda could not have any idea what she was asking to be part of. The only reason Lucas’ people lived so long was because they drank the blood of the living. In the blood is the life of man, and since his creation, Lucas had been consuming this food of the gods to cheat death. He’d lived centuries on this personal creed, an abhorrent practice no doubt to the humans they fed upon, but to their kind, it was the answer to their power and immortality.
Linda was aware of this doctrine, for the most part, but she had no idea what was involved if she wanted to bear children with Lucas. What she couldn’t know was that there was great difficulty in copulation among his kind. The rare conception occurred, certainly, but it was very rare and had the potential to be uniquely dangerous if one of the pair was mortal, as was the case with Linda Forbes. She wanted to venture into the world of creating a brood with a being like Lucas Potion?
David waited to hear what his father would say. It could go either way and David had no idea what the man might choose.
Lucas’ voice, soft but clear. Then there was a long pause before Linda’s voice filtered to him two rooms away.
“Really? ‘Okay’? That’s all?”
“You wish is my command, my dearest.”
David looked blankly at the wall; Lucas couldn’t possibly be finished. After a few happy noises from Linda, his father continued.
“But I have a warning for you. Once you hear the risks involved, you will choose which is more important to you; my intimate companionship, or your safety. Okay?”
No reply. Lucas cleared his throat.
“My kind do not reproduce easily, and I know you’ve wondered why our relationship has been so bizarre up to now…so platonic…”
“Well…” she started, then stopped a moment, thinking. David could imagine Linda shrugging as she stumbled along. “I know we enjoy each other’s company. And I know you adore me. I know you’re a bit older than I am. Maybe you thought you were too old for me, but I’m not a child. I’m a woman and I’m ready to make a decision about my future.”
Lucas chuckled. “Our ages aside,” more nervous chuckling. “I never moved our relationship forward because it could be potentially dangerous for you. If we were to become physical...”
There was another pause and David looked at the wall again, as if he’d be able to see them through the plaster. But he did not have X-ray eyes…
Come on, Lucas…you have to tell her…he egged his father on silently by will alone.
“My physiology is quite different than that of a mortal man, Linda, dear. I’ll try to put this politely, but I’m, well, I’m physically unable to perform unless I am aroused by the blood lust.”
“I don’t know what you mean…” Linda’s voice, much softer and now shaking.
“You know that I use human blood to sustain my life. My wife would have to be very hardy and be able to donate blood in the marriage bed. That is the only way I put it without being more graphic. Do you understand?”
“You can’t make love unless you drink my blood?”
Linda was whispering now and David actually stood to cross the floor to be sure he did not miss a word. No one spoke for almost a minute and David imagined they were looking at each other, each one concentrating fiercely on what they wanted to say. When Linda picked up the conversation, her voice had nearly returned to normal.
“I don’t think I’d like that.”
Another long pause before Lucas answered, now his voice not as strong as David would like it to be.
“I respect that. What would you like me to do? I want you to be happy.”
David had to wait nearly two minutes before anyone spoke again as he stood stock-still in the center of the dark kitchen. For the first time in four years, he began to entertain moving on, changing their venue, their surroundings. Would they return to Europe? They had been in America for almost fifty years. It shouldn’t be any trouble to update their passports and hitch a ride on one of those fancy trans-Atlantic jets. Traveling by air was infinitely superior to travel by ship and David could not have been happier when the technology had caught up with the need. If they booked a flight an hour or so after sunset, they should be able to race the sun to the next continent and arrive when it was still night. Book a hotel in or next to the airport, sleep in away from the Day, and then begin the new life that first evening.
David began to choose a destination when he heard Linda crying. He stepped to the kitchen door and leaned against the jamb. The conversation was not over.
“I don’t want to live without you. I don’t think I can. If you can live without that physical stuff…so can I.”
Sounds of sobbing and David thought perhaps Lucas was shedding a few tears with her. He cleared any thoughts of jumping ship from his mind.
“Can you just forget I ever said anything? I don’t need anything—I have everything if I have you. I love you. I am so stupid! I should’ve just kept my mouth shut! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!”
David stepped into the hall and stopped at the door of the living room. Lucas was holding Linda across his lap; her face buried into the fabric of his cotton shirt, her fists twisting the fabric into wads. David watched as his father kissed the top of her head and mumbled to her soft words of assurance. She continued to sob, but not quite as loudly, and Lucas looked up and saw his son in the doorway. He did not have to speak; David understood everything and he tried to smile at his father before he turned away and headed for the cellar.
Lucas did not come down to their basement room that night to sleep, and from then on, he slept away the Day in Linda’s bed. How it worked David never asked, but it did. Lucas never took blood from her, Linda never made love to his father as a wife would a husband, but they held each other. Even if that meant Linda becoming a night person, against her nature, that is what she did. For the next sixteen years, until she could no longer watch her own face and figure age as her partner’s never did, she held Lucas close day after day.
A platonic lover and best friend.
Until human vanity caused her to send them away.
I ran out of space to post the remainder. The other half of this installment can be found here: LINK
Anyone who reads this blog and would like to see all of Part One for FREE* on Kindle, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get it to you.
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In Part Two/Love Hurts (now available at this LINK), Rachel gets too close to David when Lucas is away, and learns much more about the younger Potion’s bloodlust than she ever intended…
In Part Three/Repercussions (now available at this LINK), Two-hundred-year-old vampire David Potion has nearly murdered the woman his father Lucas wants him to wed. Using a daring reviving technique, David and his father watch and wait, hoping that when Rachel recovers, she is perfectly well and not insane from the experience of being brutally attacked by the man she loves. In the meantime, old friend Rabbi Lyman Cohen can’t get his mind off his former relationship with the younger Potion; God would not approve… but the temptation to revive their game of “soldier” is almost too much for the clergyman to bear.
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