Usually, October is MY MONTH. I plan all sorts of over-the-top Halloween-y fun. But between work being very crazy and trying to buy a house, I admit that just getting chapters out is a challenge. Still, I might get my life together for something appropriately spooky before the end of the month. In the meantime, enjoy…
The vampire, formerly known as Miss Hell, did not know how to start her own story. Memories, after a long time, tended to be disjointed. The way you moved through the world—that was the thing that got stuck. It became a habit to be secretive or violent or a survivor.
“I was loved.” She didn’t know why, but that felt important to say. “My parents were not terrible; my family did not abuse me. I was loved.”
Mikel scratched his cheek, tone dubious, “I don’t think I’ve ever met a single vampire who became that way happily.”
“I wasn’t happy…not that I was unhappy…I just…I was born in a different time,” she said finally. “My parents indulged me, encouraged me even, but the expectation was that I would marry, start a family and raise a bunch of children who would repeat the same process. The future I wanted didn’t much figure into the equation, and at 18, I was fool enough to believe that made me special.”
The alien laughed, but it came out bitter, “Yeah, even on Sixam, growing up is all about understanding exactly how little we’re all worth.”
Anastasia stared at him. She had no experience with aliens, but she knew all about wounded men. “I don’t think poorly of myself,” she clarified, “I just mean, my restlessness wasn’t singular. The things I wanted—more excitement, more freedom, they’re exactly what every young sim wants. Somnus knew that. It’s how he bought my loyalty.”
If this were a movie, there would have been fast-paced orchestral music playing.
The “action violins,” as Alice liked to think of them, would have kicked in right when she cast a small wind storm—
—and keened loudly when that same wind storm hurtled her downward with such speed that she landed in a heap at Vlad’s feet.
Why was her life like this?
“Are you hurt?” he asked, kneeling beside her.
“No,” which was a lie. Her pride was hurt. And her head…and her stupid shoulder. The pain was…the sound was…what the hell was that sound?
“It’s your shoulder,” Vlad said, helping her up, “I can hear it.”
“What?” The room dipped and spun, and that cracking sound—”Why can we hear it? We’re not supposed to hear it! What is that?”
“Healing,” he cupped her face, “You dislocated your shoulder and splintered the bone. That sound is your body trying to repair itself.”
No. Fuck no. “That’s not how healing works,” she cried, eyes darting around, “It’s supposed to be magic and quick, and this is—”
“Slow. Brutal. I know; that’s why I’m going to reset the bone.”
Alice jerked, sending sharp pangs shooting up and down her arm. “No! Are you crazy? Are you out of your mind?”
“Yes,” Vlad replied, shoving her shoulder back into place with expert efficiency.
She screamed, a string of expletives pouring out of her mouth. This was immortality?
Eventually, the pain went from white-hot to a dull throb. Vlad dabbed the sweat from her brow, “Better?”
“How did you know?” she whispered, enjoying the cool relief of his hands.
“Supernatural healing is fine for wounds but hell for bones and tendons. Such is immortal life.”
Fine? This did not strike Alice as fine. “This happening to immortal creatures all the time? Is everyone just in agony constantly?”
“Fuck? What else don’t I know? Can’t command my power, don’t know shit about my own body,” she started pulling away.
“No.” She had to get out of here, get some air.
“Alice, stop. I’ve had centuries to—”
“I just need to breathe, assuming that’s a thing I still know how to do,” she snapped, heading towards the door.
“Don’t move,” he shouted, grabbing at her sweater.
The stupidity she had been feeling morphed from embarrassment to anger. “Stop trying to help me! I get it! I’m—”
He snatched her back just as an urn and a large headstone crashed to the floor, narrowly missing her.