It took quite a while to find the right rhythm to be able to start working on the short story requests that have come in, and I know I’m probably 6 months behind at the time of posting this but I greatly appreciate the patience and support! This post is the first short story writing challenge that was requested of me from my stream as a Channel Point Reward redemption, courtesy of good friend and Twitch user darthzelduh. I originally set the limit for short stories to be between 750 and 1500 words, but once I finally started digging into this one I ended up with close to 2500! I’ve cut some out and saved them for future requests that I just KNOW will come in. Anyways, I hope you enjoy reading this piece!
They say that the night hides many secrets. “They”, whoever they may be, are only half right. Those same secrets can walk around during the day. Cackling as they defy commonly held ideas of what they are, those misconceptions pave the way for the ‘denizens of the night’ to actually reign supreme among the people of this world.
Every year, each vampire around the world feasts upon hundreds, sometimes thousands of unsuspecting people, and sometimes their victims are able to join their ranks. Dozens or more of these ‘lucky’ individuals are given the opportunity to serve and learn from their new Master (the vampire that turned them) so they can quickly adapt to their new lifestyle. In modern society, the Masters have more choices on how they educate the newest generation of the undead. Most Masters make the same choice. They choose to send their Fledglings off to Professionals who can teach them far more effectively and efficiently. They get sent to school.
This is the story of a Fledgling named Sam from a small farm town in the Midwest.
How Sam came to be a Fledgling wasn’t exactly by the normal means that vampires usually conduct their business when feeding on the living. The day he was turned, Sam was just minding his own business, taking a long lunch to go for a walk while browsing through the few shops that were still open in the small two block strip that made up the downtown. It was the middle of the day when everything went sideways for him. Quite literally.
Being such a small town there wasn’t really anyone around to see what happened. As Sam was taking a step around the corner at the end of the first block he was sent flying back into the street by something that felt like a moving brick wall. Everything happened so fast that Sam never saw the three vampires that had been running up the sidewalk. They were a blur, playing a game of high speed tag and almost didn’t notice him as he flew through the air. Sam also never saw the large amount blood that had pooled around him after so quickly hitting both a vampire and the road in quick succession.
Sam’s body bounced twice before coming to a stop near the sidewalk across the wide avenue. The three vampires stopped in shock. They were somewhat familiar with this town, having passed through many times, and knew that nobody would normally be here at this time of day because they would be working. As they watched the blood pool around him, they began to panic.
A tall, lanky vampire with glasses was the first to speak. His scratchy voice shattered the silence of the trio as he quietly exclaimed, “Shit! Albert, what do we do?!” His eyes were darting around looking for other signs of life that might have been overlooked.
As if snapping out of a spell, the stocky Albert jerked at the sound of his name and tried to work his jaw to respond. “I-I-I….I don’t know! Wes, did you see where he came from?! I barely felt him bump into me!”
A tiny, timid voice clutching to the back of the first vampire replied, “Alby, it looked like he was coming from around the corner,” the third vampire had finally worked up the courage to speak around their friend while. “Also, that didn’t quite look like just a ‘bump’ to me. Anyway, I think we need to move him.”
Lying face down in the road, Sam couldn’t see anything. All he could do was listen as he heard three unfamiliar voices bickering from what he thought was across the street, which was odd to him because he could have sworn he hadn’t seen anyone else outside the shops. He was briefly aware of some warm liquid oozing around his face followed by the taste of blood. Sam’s consciousness was fading quickly and all his senses began to feel dull and muffled, but he was able to make out a few words before everything went black. “…poor guy skipped like a rock…”
Sometime later, Sam regained consciousness. He wasn’t sure what was going on but noticed he couldn’t move. Where the hell am I? He thought. Everything was dark around him and he was faintly aware of a pain in his neck while trying to look around. Think…I was just downtown. I ate lunch and then snuck out for a walk…I had just left the Hendersen’s thrift shop and…nothing. As he tried to recall what had happened, those last words he had heard suddenly replayed in his head. Oh shit, he thought. Am I dead? He realized he was awfully calm as the thought of his demise crossed his mind. Why doesn’t this situation bother me…
A voice from the darkness seemed to cut him off and said, “That’s because you’re not dead. Well, not TECHNICALLY dead.”
Somewhere between a strained grunt and a hoarse gasp, the voice had startled a sound from Sam’s throat before two small pricks of light flared up in his mind. The pain in his neck suddenly changed and the darkness was replaced with a searing white.
“Oh, good. You can at least hear, even if you can’t see right now. That might make this easier. I’m sure you have a lot of questions, but we’ll get to those later. This hasn’t happened to us before, but I’m told this kind of thing doesn’t happen too often. The important thing for you now is to hang in there. Don’t worry, it should be over soon.” The voice tried to sound encouraging as Sam started to feel the warmth draining from his body.
A gruff, uncertain sounding voice said, “Serena could you not, you know, talk to the food?”
The question was met with a cheery, musical laugh, and the encouraging voice of Serena replied, “That’s cute, Albert, but remember that if this works you owe our ‘food’ an apology.”
Fighting through the searing pain to form a solid thought, Sam was able to ask himself, what do they mean by ‘food’? Am I…?
Serena had caught Sam mid-thought and decided to jump in with an explanation. “I know I said we would get to questions later but maybe we owe you this one, considering how much effort it took to get that thought across. Yes, you are kind of our ‘food’ right now. We’re draining the life out of your veins,” she said bluntly, almost as if it should have been obvious to Sam based on the pain and coldness. “But like I said, don’t worry! It’ll be over soon, and then we’ll wait!”
To Sam, that last part sounded ominously happy, but he couldn’t figure out why. His mind was an absolute mess and nothing made sense anymore. The only thing that was consistent now was the pain. After what felt like forever to Sam, the pain finally started to fade away along with his consciousness for the second time.
Not long after Sam was out again, a small voice spoke up. “I think he’s gone now. How long are we supposed to wait?”
Serena sat on a nearby crate, legs kicking playfully at the air. She checked her watch, looking between it and Sam’s lifeless body a few times before answering, “From what my Sponsor Mazel told me, everyone enters the first stage in their own time. Although, she did mention that no one ever comes back after a day. Something about being too far gone into Death’s Domain to pull themselves back. Don’t worry Wesra! I can stay behind to keep an eye on him while the three of you head to the checkpoint. It’s almost time for the next semester, you know!” Serena always seemed to be in a cheerful mood, which was apparent by the way she always finished talking.
“Ah crap… I forgot that break was almost over.” Albert groaned. He was tired of being in school for so many years at this point, and always dreaded going. “Hey Trent, you always keep track of this stuff, how many days we got left before the bus leaves?”
Trenton, the final vampire from the trio, checked his phone and said, “About 3 days, but you know how those bus drivers are so we better get there a little early.”
“Well, that settles it! I’ll stay here and if anything happens I’ll let you know. You three better get going now. Wouldn’t want you missing that bus!” Serena hopped off her crate and, smiling sweetly, ushered them out of the small machine shed. “It’ll probably take you a day and a half to get to the checkpoint, so don’t lollygag too much, okay? The Recruiters will get mad at me if you don’t get there on time.”
After the trio had been pushed out into the night, Serena watched for a moment as their blurred forms vanished. She rocked back and on her heels a bit while scanning the horizon for signs of life, making sure that she, and Sam’s lifeless body, wouldn’t be discovered. When she was satisfied, she walked silently back into the shed and sealed it so that if anyone managed to approach unnoticed that they’d have trouble getting inside. She crouched next to Sam and poked his head to the side. His neck had a few different bite marks where the others had fed on him. It’s not really my style, but maybe there’s a little bit left to snack on she thought, lifting Sam off his back a little bit so she could kneel next to him, mouth poised over the other side of his neck where there were no bite marks. Well, let’s get this over with. She bit deeply and tried to pull whatever life was left hiding in Sam’s veins.
Sam’s eyes flew open. He tried to sit up and scream, his hands reaching toward his neck. A hand clamped down on his mouth before any noise could escape from him, and another grabbed his shoulder and pushed him back down. Panicking, he flailed for a moment and screamed into the hand. His muffled scream came to a halt when he saw the auburn haired woman above him with a serious look in her eyes. As the woman cautiously took her hand away from covering his mouth he realized just how strongly he had been held to the ground. Taking a look around to get his bearings, Sam could see he had been covered in dirt from the waist down. “What. The. Fuck.” Those three words were all he managed when the sky above started to brighten up with the morning sun and he could finally see the edges of the deep hole around him. He lay there in his shocked state trying to process everything he could recall when the woman finally spoke up.
Serena, seeing that Sam had calmed down, breathed a sigh of relief, sat back on the small mound of dirt covering his feet and said, “Welcome back to the land of the light, Sam!” The usual cheer in her voice sounded a bit forced, probably due to the sudden scare she had when the young man jolted back into life, but she still put on a smile. “Congratulations on becoming one of us!”
If you’ve reached this point and I’ve still got your attention, feel free to comment on the piece and let me know how I did. Constructive criticism is always appreciated!