This Sample is from the first installment of a new series called “Fanged Love.” “Fanged Destiny (Fanged Love #1) will be released late Spring 2013.
If I hadn’t been staring out the windows that lined one side of the Golden Skull bar, I don’t think I would have noticed it was a full moon that night. The bar was situated at the corner of Clayton and Haight in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. The moon seemed to be hanging just above the street sign at the intersection. It was a huge moon, a big glowing ball shoving its way in.
I envisioned an angel flying out of it and whisking me off, far away from Nathan and T who sat across from me at the table, whispering constantly to one another or texting on their phones, essentially ignoring me completely. My staring out the window was the safest option. Really it was the only non-threatening thing I could think of doing while we waited. Nathan had a meeting with a woman he had met on the internet.
I kept my back to the other customers in the bar. Nathan had instructed me that if I so much as looked at anyone, including Max, my former boss, I’d be in big trouble. He was convinced I’d try to run for help, but I had a plan instead. Running was no longer possible.
“If you so much as look at anyone Grace, I’ll kill em all, especially that old loudmouth hippy friend of yours.” Nathan’s words ricocheted through my brain again. Luckily it was Max’s bowling night, so maybe he wasn’t around. On the other hand, Jeremy, his son was another story. He had probably been left in charge for a few hours. Hopefully Jeremy wouldn’t stop by and congratulate us on getting back together? He thought Nathan was so cool, and he told him often how cute his girlfriend with the flowing red hair was. I didn’t feel like I was Nathan’s girlfriend anymore. I felt like I was his slave or his property.
Lately Nathan’s words had been harsh, even hurtful. Maybe I still felt an ounce of affection towards him despite our chaotic past. I guess it’s hard to let go of someone, even a person who enjoys victimizing you. I was becoming numb to his abuse though, slowly but surely numb. We had had a few months of renewed bliss when I agreed to rejoin him and his friends, but it eventually soured.
How long ago had it been when we were good friends, then lovers, when we hung out together, just the two of us at the bookstore or library before work, and before he adopted his friends who turned him against me? It seemed like a lifetime ago.
One night, we had met in a bar, this bar actually. While attending the San Francisco Art Institute, we both needed a job and thought hanging out in the neighborhood bar would show the owner we were determined to get hired. Actually the plan had worked. We had laughed when we discovered we had had the same idea. I had admired his confidence. He was so sure of himself, almost to the point of being cocky. Later it proved to be a trait I found very annoying, especially when his new friends – like T – began stroking his ego. Nathan wasn’t the same after that.
Max Edwards, the bar owner was a good-hearted soul who went on about the old days in the 60s when Haight-Ashbury, the neighborhood where he had lived and resided, was happening, as he put it. While I worked at the Golden Skull, he’d enjoyed reminiscing about how grand the neighborhood used to be before the punks and freaks moved in. His words, not mine. Max didn’t like many people, but for some reason he had taken me under his wing.
“You’ve got potential, Grace,” Max had told me. “Your boyfriend, on the other hand, is a loser. He can’t help it. Don’t let him drag you down.”
I should have taken Max’s advice because soon after that Nathan dropped out of school and Max fired him. Getting high and playing video games with his skinhead friends became Nathan’s new past times. Working at the bar, getting a degree, and avoiding Nathan at all cost became mine until he sucked me into his plan for a vampire revolution.
It boggled my mind now how I had been so taken with Nathan then. He had been a tall, lanky, shy guy who dressed mostly in black or dark green hoodies and dark jeans, and rarely talked above a whisper. He thought it was cool to mumble and act uninterested in most things. That drove Max crazy, not to mention the customers in the bar who thought he was mentally challenged when he didn’t pay enough attention to get their orders correct.
Once Nathan was free from his responsibilities, he started cruising around the city with his new friends, experimenting with heavier drugs. That’s probably when the bloodletting started. I don’t really know. I tried to stay busy with work and school, and not ask too many questions. I should have left him then because Nathan’s appearance and his attitude towards me changed greatly. He became a bloated, twitchy shell of a man with shifty eyes, a sweaty bald head and matching black tribal earrings. The kind that sag your ear lobes. He talked down to me, told me I was too stupid to get a degree, and made fun of me in front of his friends any chance he got.
When I found out he was stealing money from me to buy weed, I knew it was time to walk away. In fact, I was going to dump him that night when he and his friends jumped me. His friends had convinced him that he had a better solution for a new world beyond any current political movement. T and the others puffed Nathan up like a god, gushing on about his wacky theories on vampirism. They told him he would be their leader and they would recruit people into their army, starting with me.
I still can’t figure out how Nathan became a vampire because to be honest he’s not like any vampire I’ve seen in the movies. Obviously I haven’t met an actual vampire, so I have little to go on. You may have a few friends who think they are vampires, and that’s fine by me. As far as I know, vampires don’t exist. Nor do werewolves, witches, or warlocks. Heck, now that I think of it, angels don’t exist either. Wow, that’s a depressing thought. Anyways as I was saying…
Once he read on the internet that vampires originated in Ancient Greece and anyone with blue eyes was persecuted for being one of the undead, he started reading up on Greek mythology and trying to connect the origin of vampires back to the ancient gods like Zeus, Athena, or Apollo. There was no stopping him after that. He became obsessed with it. Perhaps he figured something out with his bloodletting rituals and the herbal remedies a woman on the internet started sending to him. He called her a disciple of the ‘True Giver of Life.’ I never hesitated to remind him that the woman’s name was Stephanie. And she sounded like a nut job.
One time I had insulted him when I asked, “How do you get vampire or true giver of anything out of a girl who calls herself Stephanie? Wouldn’t she pick a cooler name than Stephanie? Like imperial wizard or grand dragon maybe? Get real, Nathan!”
He split my lip over that question and comment, so I visited the care facility, got myself stitched up, and stayed away from him for several weeks. I decided the idea was so ludicrous, and that Nathan was so sold on it, that it was best to just drop it until I could figure out a way to get away from him for good. He had flipped for this woman. Nathan had come up with a notion that the Stephanie chic was some sort of enchanted goddess with special powers, and had a very intense look only a few were blessed to witness. “She’s the real deal. Listen to me. She’ll bring this world to its knees someday. I can’t wait!” He had said, giddy as a school boy. “She told me she looks just like Medusa from the Greek mythology books. She calls herself the new Medusa, but she keeps herself hidden under a dark cloak, so she doesn’t draw too much attention to herself when she walks among us.”
Once I heard about this woman and had then seen that snake woman who were probably the same person, a freak ‘walking among us,’ I was finished with Nathan’s nonsense. He had lost it! I couldn’t persuade him to stop chatting with this woman on the internet. He was more than fascinated with her. He was enthralled with her, and I knew I didn’t want to have anything to do with someone who claimed to look like Medusa. That was too insane for me!
I’d had enough to last me a lifetime, thanks to what happened to me when Nathan and T jumped me.
Whatever they did to me that night, and I’m not admitting that I remember all of it, but according to Nathan, the version he told his friends, my transformation had gone wrong, or it hadn’t been what they had expected. I was different. I wasn’t a pure vampire. I didn’t have fangs. I didn’t drink blood. There was something wrong with me. Imagine that! Duh! I’m not a vampire!
But to hear Nathan tell it, I didn’t believe this Stephanie person was a disciple of whatever, so I was beneath them all. He explained to his friends that he was being a good Samaritan by selling me off to Stephanie, instead of destroying me. “Grace will get hers when the world comes to an end. It’s not up to us,” he had told them.
I really didn’t think Nathan was a vampire either. He was a poser, a pretender, wearing blue contact lens and fake fangs, and scaring the general public when he got ‘vamped up’ with the rest of the guys. He and the other dressed up all the time like they were going to a gothic Halloween party.
If he’d paid attention in his history classes, Nathan would have known that you never underestimate your adversary, especially if she’s a woman. Maybe he didn’t consider me his enemy. I was too weak to be a threat. As Nathan knew, I did acquire a few tricks after that night. It wasn’t anything I wanted to show to him, or show anyone for that matter. I wanted to forget it happened. But I was different, as he said. I was very different and it scared me, almost as much as Nathan scared me. I wanted to forget it all together. I didn’t fully understand it. I guess it didn’t matter anyway. I had a way to fix everything now. I had a better solution, one I knew was the smarter way out of this excuse I had for a life.
Copyright 2012 Ally Thomas