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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Victoria Schwab - Vampires

"Home"

When you die, the life you lost becomes a drug. You think if you can only have a taste – a brief glance – you’ll be satisfied, you’ll stop craving it. Maybe you’ll even be able to let them go. It’s a lie. It’s all a lie.

Dying was nothing. Losing them was everything.

I’d been keeping tabs. Asher warned me four, maybe five times, to step away, to leave it alone. But I was a Watcher. I’d given up my life to protect the town of Arden. Surely this was part of my duty, to watch over my family. That’s what I told my self that night, when the city man followed my sister into the dark.

I sat on a rooftop, invisible against the moonless sky. A small shadow against a much larger one. Church bells started ringing, and the wind caught them up in this way that made me feel like I was still alive, still there inside the small stone building, kneeling between my little sister and my father. The doors groaned open and the townsmen poured out, and I strained forward on my ledge.

I’d been good.

I hadn’t gone home – couldn’t have handled going home, so I stole my glances on church nights, when my family bled in with the masses. That’s how I justified it. I wasn’t just watching my father, or Emma. I was watching all of Arden. I was doing my job.

What’s funny now, in a sick way, is that I’d seen the city man before mass. I’d smelled him, all strong liquor and smoke.

And I’d resisted.

Now the crowds petered out, and my father broke away for a moment to speak to a friend, leaving Emma to go ahead home.

I wouldn’t have followed her, but I saw the city man and I swear that even from the roof I could smell the bad on him now, and took the same path as Emma even though that road led out of town and toward our home. I slipped across the rooftops, watching as he made two long steps to each of her one. Silly Emma always staring at stars instead of watching the ground, instead of listening for the sounds of extra feet. I pulled my hood down lower and sped up.

Never let the living see the lost.

A rule drilled in again and again by the Watchers but when the city man reached her, when he found the clasp of my sister’s dress, I forgot. I forgot everything. I dropped from the roof to the alley, ripping the city man away from Emma like a rag doll from a child.

The wind was up and swallowing the sounds. The sound of her surprise, the sound of his stumbling backward, of his cursing, of my teeth sinking into his throat. The only sound I heard was the pulse. Not mine, but his. Slowing. Slowing. And I pretended, for just a moment, that it was my heartbeat. Calming, falling, stopping. The city man fell to path but I didn’t hear the sound of that either.

Until I heard my name. “Connor?”

I turned, and found her eyes -- so blue I used to tease her that it came from always looking up -- and for one moment, I was home.

And then I smiled, and Emma screamed.

24 comments:

  1. The world needs more vampires. I love that he pretends his victim's heartbeat is his own for that moment. <3

    Tessa

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  2. You know, Tessa, it's just, I heard there is this HUGE vampire shortage right now. Really. I mean, look around. Do you see any vampires? I don't see any vampires. Or sparkles. Or fangs. I'm just trying to satisfy a need here :p

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  3. Let me rephrase: The world needs more vampires WHO EAT PEOPLE.

    :D

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  4. YES. YES X 1000.

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  5. I love it! It's both lonely and delicious.

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  6. Thank you, Jamie and C.J.! And C.J., "lonely and delicious"? I love it :)

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  7. Watchers? Protectors of the city? I love that concept... and would love to find out more about Connor.

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  8. Marty, I'm glad you like! Funny enough, it's from a book I would LOVE to work on, but have been order by ZE AGENT to wait about 10 years until vampires have calmed down. Still, I'm very close to the idea :)

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  9. You seriously scare the crap out of me.

    And you know I mean this in a totally loving way.

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  10. Oh... the characterization you've done in only a few short paragraphs... brilliant! Your agent is probably right, but I want to read this book now!

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  11. Myra, I would have taken that in the best way anyway :p

    And writermomof5, thank you! Connor is close to my heart.

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  12. Ooooh, that last line gave me chills. I like it! :)

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  13. Very creepy- and bittersweet. Great job!

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  14. Thanks Maurissa!

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  15. "I swear that even from the roof I could smell the bad on him now."

    I think I love you. Is that awkward?

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  16. Elizabeth!

    *hugshugshugs*

    Not awkward. Or if it is, it's totally fine with me :)

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  17. I LOVED this story!!! AWESOME. And just the way vampires should be.
    I am very excited about this blog, cannot wait to read more :)
    Tye

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  18. Amazing!! I love that your vampires are not fluffy adorable vamps just looking for love. But very real and mildly creepy for pretending his victim's heart beat is his own, though that's also a little sad for him.

    I love the line about Emma's eyes being so blue, that he use to tease her it was from staring up.

    I very much can't wait your next short story!

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  19. I might be in love with this. Yes... Yes I am.

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  20. Tye! So glad you like the story, and the blog!

    Liz, haha my vampires will probably never be fluffy puppy types.

    Georgia, :DDD

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