I know I have been missing for a few days and I wont bore you with the reasons but will just say took some sternish words and a character as stubborn as mine to get me to start posting again.
(You know who you are)
Once again I find myself wondering poetry or short story. So for today I would like to share something I have been working on before I return to my given gift for poetry in time for tomorrow's post. All views as always would be gratefully appreciated as this style of serial writing is a little new to me and would be very interested if it works as a serial and if it engages the reader enough.
Stay safe everyone who reads this and may life be as bright as the stars and may one fall and bring life to your dreams.
The Katarina Chronicles
A new school beckoned, to say I was nervous would be the understatement of the year. Sure, I had been to other schools but never quite fitted in. With a hint of trepidation I looked at the clock, watching the hands tick down the time, only thirty five minutes to go to sunset. Now I know waiting for sunset may seem a little odd, so I think I had better explain.
For most of my school life I had been home tutored by my mother but for reasons never explained to me I was to attend Darkenfield College for two years.
Darkenfield College was in effect a school held at night for people of a certain persuasion, to put a finer point on it ‘vampires’.
I can guess where your thoughts may be going, creatures of the night, never growing old, allergic to sunlight, free to do what we like and all that twaddle. If only all that were true, life would be easier, although the allergic to sunlight part holds true. Life for a vampire is a little more complex than that and yes we still have to attend school at some point, especially if you are known to one of the six ruling houses.
Mum never explained how she became a vampire nor was I inclined to ask, our relationship was such, that she had her life which I never questioned and I in effect had mine. One rule however, was never to be broken, ‘never leave during the day’. I have for ten plus years hidden one fact from my mum I am different, I am able to leave during the day although I don’t use this gift very often I must confess that sometimes it feels good to sit on a hill and watch the sunrise, feeling the first morning rays bathe my skin a rare luxury that I have only indulged a few times and the not going up in flames is an added bonus.
Finally, my wait was over, waving goodbye to my mum I shrugged into my long, black, leather coat, picked up my skateboard and left the small house we rented from the ruling house in the district, the House of Cerberus.
Darkenfield College lay about half a mile north of home and with a flourish of my trailing leg I was off, the steadily growing wind snaking my black hair behind me. Nobody out and about in this small hamlet even raised an eyebrow at my passing. The birth of the Gothic dress code had unbeknownst to the rest of the world granted all vampires a dress code, and a chance to blend in with the subservient minorities of the day. Turning a sharp left hand corner I screech my skateboard to a halt, there before me lies Darkenfield College, complete with gargoyles and entwined serpents, each one seemingly watching my approach in stony silence. An involuntary shudder ripples through me, its icy fingers caressing my spine. With a sense of foreboding I look to the main doors where a group of students stand smoking and laughing.
Thigh length black boots crunching upon the white gravel lining the driveway I head toward the main doors. On hearing my approach the group become silent and all eyes turn my way. So here it was, the first test, stopping dead in my tracks I begin sizing each one of them, returning their stares with indifference. My eyes linger on the centre of the bunch, a smug grin beginning to crease her features; predator and prey.
Taking in the obvious quality cut of her clothes; travelling head to toe my eyes seek a weakness. In every ounce of her being I see the softness of easy living. If this is to go down she will be my target. I take another bold step forward; the pack close ranks around lady easy living, their body language betray that they are ready to pounce. So I stop, each muscle in my body steeled for the onslaught that is coming. Lady easy living raises her hand, eyes locked we smile at one another and then her hand begins its descent. I step forward to meet the onslaught, only sure of one thing, I will go down fighting. From the corner of my eye a dark blur emerges; the pack freezes, unsure of itself. Lady easy living, hand frozen in mid-air hesitates for the briefest moment. Taking full advantage of their indecision my mysterious saviour grabs my arm and drags me forward, dumbfounded I follow. Recovering the pack tries to close its ranks around lady easy living, but it’s too late, my saviour is already between them dragging me forward into the well-lit hall of Darkenfield College. Glancing behind, my eyes once again lock with lady easy living, her face contorted with hatred. Still being led forward at a brisk pace by my saviour, I reflect this is one hell of a way to start my first day at school. Taking in my saviours broad shoulders encased in his long flowing black coat, I realise that he is still gripping my arm and leading me forward. No introductions, no explanations, feeling the anger rise in my chest I brake to a sudden stop, spinning my saviour round to face me. The questions I had, now forgotten, as I stare into the clearest blue eyes I have ever seen. Standing open- mouthed it takes me a moment to register the feint mocking smile playing upon his full blooded lips. Now the anger returns, snatching my arm from his I demand to know what is so goddamn funny, his smile slipping at my furious outburst, holding his hands in mock surrender my saviour offers to take me to the library and explain. Frozen in his returning smile I hesitate unsure of what to believe. His coat swirling like raven wings my saviour turns and heads off at a brisk pace.
Yet again watching his broad shoulders tightly encased in leather, I realise this may be the one chance to make a friend. Quickening my pace I catch my saviour and offer a feint, hesitant, smile of my own.
Finding seats in one of the alcoves my saviour begins his explanation. Born in Galway in 1912, after his mother was bitten by a vampire, Caleb was raised along with his older sister Trinity, and had known a good life until his mother’s death from blood poisoning five years earlier. Caleb believed his mother’s death was no accident and with his sister Trinity in tow he had set off for England. A thirst for vengeance driving him to these distant shores and his hunt for a vampire named Talarus. Sitting and brooding in silence, Caleb stares off into the distance his narrative at least done for the moment. Taking a chance on this lull in conversation I quickly dispatch with the pleasantries before asking some questions of my own, the primary one being, who the students we had seen at the doors were? Caleb’s whole attitude suddenly changes, his body going rigid I look around bewildered, my eyes finally coming to rest on the open library door.
The five students we had previously met filed in lady easy living in the lead. Caleb leaning back in his chair pointed a finger and named each one in turn, finishing with lady easy living herself; Kristen Michaels, Talin Fitzgerald, Lucius Marconi, Salome Collins and Tanya Raynes.
Chairs scraping back Caleb and I wind our way around the tables to face the five. Why I was standing here was beyond me but it felt right. One thing was certain, something was about to go down. Sensing something wrong behind me I spin round, hands raised and knuckles clenched, the leather of my gloves stretched taught over my skin. Eight vampires had crept in the bottom door at the pre-ordained orders of Tanya no doubt. Glancing back I see the five leaving with a cheery wave of goodbye. Side by side we stand; eight big burly meatheads advancing slowly and menacingly toward us. With a sudden burst of speed Caleb is on the move leaping high into the air feet thrust out in front, he lands feet first into the throat of the leading meathead. Rolling on landing he ducks a punch from another and grabs the meathead’s arm; twists, and with a deft snap the bone breaks. Arm hanging uselessly by his side the meathead again ventures forward but Caleb is already spinning, his foot swinging in a graceful arc before crunching with sickening force into the meathead’s face, eyes glazing before he even meets the ground. Slipping by Caleb a meathead leaps forward, arms outstretched reaching for my throat, and instinctively I drop. Flying above me the meathead tries to halt his flight but it’s way too late. Tightening my fist, I punch upwards with all my strength, smashing my fist into scrotum before jarring my whole shoulder against his pelvic arch. Eyes’ glazing from the pain my adversary crumples to the floor, a limp rag doll slithering toward the wall. Swinging my legs but staying low to the floor I snake out a foot, ripping out the legs from underneath the nearest meathead. With cat like grace I am on him, raining blow after blow until all fight has left and he is at last glaze- eyed. Flipping myself back to my feet I see Caleb has trounced another meathead with a sound roundhouse kick to the head. Now standing side by side, muscles tensed for action, Caleb and I take a step forward; this is enough for the remaining meatheads. Turning sharply, tails tucked firmly between their legs, they sprint through the door from where they had come. Before any relief could be felt, sounds of applause come from behind us. Turning sharply fists ready I see that the five have returned and it is Tanya who is applauding, “Bravo, Bravo”. His whole body rigid with suppressed anger Caleb strides forward, only stopping when he is face to face with Tanya. Looking as if she would like to blend into the wall Tanya holds her hands up, palms upward in mock placidity. Under a smug smile Tanya begs for a chance to explain. Body still rigid with his undisguised anger Caleb folds his arms across his broad torso, at least granting Tanya an audience for now.
“My dear Caleb, the thugs were only a test, I had to see if you and your new ‘lady’ friend (the word ‘lady’ spat out like a bullet) had what it took to attend the SUNQUEST tournament and it gives me great pleasure to say you both did.”
With a final glare at me and a blown kiss for Caleb, Tanya turns to leave. Fury burning through my veins I stride forward and grab Tanya by the shoulder. Spinning her around to face me, I let my fury loose,
“Your turn to listen you bitch, I don’t know what your problem is and I don’t fucking care, you can shove this Sunquest where the sun don’t shine, I want no part of it.”
In that moment one thing became very apparent; Tanya was not use to being man-handled by anyone, stepping in close to prevent her striking out at me I stood my ground. Under such fury I got to admit it wasn't easy to stand there with all the murderous looks around me but I guess I am just a stubborn cuss pure and simple. Relaxing under my gaze, Tanya begins laughing, yet the fury was not lost in her voice,
“Now your turn to listen you goddamn little tart, Sunquest is compulsory to who I say it is and believe me that includes you.”
As she was speaking Tanya kept jabbing her finger into my chest, as the last word was spat out I grabbed. Bending the offensive finger backwards I could feel the bone grating at the knuckle and was just ready for the final twist when Caleb stepped across us breaking the contact. Just as I was about to let fly at Caleb he merely nodded behind and I saw that the other four members of Tanya’s troupe and some of the spectators were ready to pounce. Stepping backwards; I steeled myself again for the onslaught that I felt was coming. Without a word Tanya merely turned and left the library closely followed by her troupe. Now I can’t decide which is scarier the fact that she just left or the fact I wasn’t ripped to shreds but either way it was a plus in my corner.
With a deep sigh I took to my seat again with Caleb sat opposite me and looked deep into my eyes, and began to apologise for the trouble he had brought but holding a hand up I simply offered my thanks. As we talked of this and that the conversation gradually turned to the forthcoming Sunquest. Standing lithely up, Caleb asks me to follow him. Falling into stride beside him, I felt pretty good even if my first forty minutes at school had been spent in hell.
Leaving Darkenfield Caleb led me to an area beside the sports field to a plain white wall. As we drew closer I noticed that something dark stretched across the wall like a long smudge. To my horror a row of eight manacles came into view. Looking beseechingly at Caleb I hunt an explanation.
“Your first thoughts are right Kat, we are fastened here at three am, dawn is five-thirty am, so we get two hours and thirty minutes to answer three riddles, answer correctly, you’re released, don’t answer, you fry. This is barbaric was my immediate thought, then the realisation hit, I had no way out and my secret as a Daywalker would soon be revealed. This had been one hell of a day and classes hadn't even started yet. Turning away from the wall I followed Caleb Back to Darkenfield and my first lessons. I did get one relief; there were no more instances with Tanya’s pack so the rest of the night flittered by until we were finally released.
After all that happened I traipsed home in the early hours tired but happy, I had least made one friend in Caleb. For the first time in what seemed an eternity I actually felt good. Yeah! Ok! There was the whole Tanya and her pack situation but hey no-one ever said school was easy and at least I had one friend. Unlocking the front door, mum stood expectantly, hands on hips; obviously she wanted the full oration of my first night at Darkenfield. Taking a deep breath I begin my lies. Don’t worry you heard me right, lies. I knew I couldn't tell mum the truth about Tanya and her pack because as usual it would be my fault,
So there I stood, a cute smile of sincerity etched upon my face telling my lies of the nights events and how cool Darkenfield was. Faking tiredness I took my leave from my mum’s beaming smile and headed for my room. Laid on my bed, images of Darkenfield swim into view, smiles tinged with apprehension and exhilaration were the order of the day. Sleep felt far from my mind but I knew the answer to this particular problem. Listening silently I waited for the one sound I needed and there it was the gentle snick of mum’s door closing. Ten more minutes and then it would be time. Silently opening my window I drank deeply of the morning air. Sunrise was moments away and from somewhere deep inside I knew I just had to feel the sun on my face today. Now don’t expect me to explain it because I can’t. Without any preamble the first rays of sun crept over the eastern horizon and bathed me in its golden light. I had long since forgotten the beauty of sunrise and how it always made me feel good. Soaking up more of the sun’s rays I slowly began to feel sleepy, I knew it was time to stop but boy it felt so damn good, just like a drug but alas the human world would be waking soon. Brushing myself down, I head back toward my window. Stopping dead in my tracks I stare hard at the reflection next to my own albeit a more distant one. Spinning round (too fast I may add) I slip and am soon falling headlong off the porch roof. No scream shredded the morning because to wake mum wasn't going to happen. So my final thought as I at least turn myself around a little was this was gonna hurt, a lot. Closing my eyes to my fate, I waited for my bone jarring date with our driveway. No thud, no pain, nothing, snapping open my eyes I looked straight into the smiling eyes of Caleb. How? This question burnt its way to the forefront of my mind as the sun beat heavily upon our bodies. Only one answer made sense, I was not the only daywalker in Darkenfield.