This where the idea for BV Kansas started. I had the idea for this sort of bratty teenager, who was a vampire, and at the time I had just started writing so I was a little obsessed with hurting characters as much as possible because I could, so the idea was to invent this guy, initially named 'Josh', but later 'Zack' who really was cruisin for a bruisin and got exactly what he deserved. Except... I wound up with someone completely different. I wound up with Zachary, a guy who's so out of his depth he may as well be in the mariana trench, and I end up feeling so bad for him that I invent Wallace to get him back on his feet. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
This story is from before I knew how to handle writing in 3rd person, so I instead tell the first part of the story through a nameless character that (though central to the scene) has no lines. The second half of the story is simply told in first person through Zachary. I need to emphasize, this story is in first person POV and I am embarrased about that because hypocritically... I would never read something like that. I don't like the 'under the skin' feeling, though I used it maybe as a crutch when I was first starting to write. I don't consider myself an expert at all by the way! I just know I have more understanding now than I did in 2019.
I've kept you long enough. Enjoy.
There were two figures in view, a pair of vague, shifting shadows that seemed to roam about the room. Something was wrong, but it didn't seem important. Sometimes the shadows spoke, but the things they said didn't matter enough to remember.
"Jesus, you think I'm that bad at keeping a vic from squirming?" A hand roughly shook me by the shoulder. I remained upright. "She's practically out of her mind already."
"No, she's not mad, just pliant. I happen to think it's easier to judge art when the canvas isn't trying to thrash the paint off with all the grace of a rabid dog. You certainly know how to keep them from leaving, but your methods aren't exactly the kind of thing a respectable vampire collective would want on the books..." an unsubtle presence briefly invades my mind, not unlike a cooking thermomiter. "Or in a donor's memories."
"Ah, so it's just a paperwork thing." The hand left my shoulder. "So just write down that I was mediocre at best, and I'll get out of your hair. I have a hot date with--"
"You think it's acceptable to ignore the rules you were bound to, just because you thought no one would find out. You were selfish, greedy, and stupid. Once you found a shtick that apparently worked, you didn't even once think of telling anyone about it. Do you have any idea what you've been doing? What kind of precidence it sets?"
"Are you..." a laugh permiated the room, before lightening to end in a small cough. "Are you jealous? What, did you want to steal my brilliant ideas? I hate to break it to you, but you're not much of a looker. You might be able to raid a retirement home, charm of the aged meat, but that's about it. You were old when you were turned, and you're old now. You're just a prude, you think no one else is allowed to have fun just because you have to practically blind someone just to feed."
A sound of shoes scuffing the floor, then of a cabinet rattling as someone was slammed against it. "Have you completely forgotten your place? After the last stunt you pulled, more than a few superiors mentioned the possibility of putting you back through induction. I wouldn't want to be standing where you are, not by a long shot. You're in over your head, using amateur-- not to mention banned-- methods, all as a crutch for your lack of discipline. If you want to sink to that level, fine, but don't even think about complaining when you get what's coming to you."
"You want me to follow some outdated missionary-ass guidelines? Fine, pick up a damn pencil, and prepare to be bored."
One of the flat ceiling lights was buzzing. Not necessarily louder than before, but I was drawn to it. I stopped slouching, and slowly straightened up until I was looking directly upward, my chin as high as it would go. Something was wrong. There was movement in my peripheral. Something was wrong.
The movement stopped. "What? I'm doing what you asked. She wasn't going any--"
"I hadn't even let go." Something was wrong. "It's a damn good thing that I didn't." Something was wrong. "Do you want to see how it goes when I'm not giving you a set of training wheels? Or would you like to admit that you're the weak link, without the embarrasment of having it proven to both of us as well as the meat."
Something was wrong.
The room snapped into focus near-instantly. I lowered my gaze to eye-level, suddenly aware of the two men standing at my right. The younger man, inches away, had an honest-to-god switchblade, and-- it wasn't-- something was wrong! For a fraction of a second, part of the young man's face was distorted, weakly shifting like a melting wax figure, while the older man stepped back, content to let this muderer-- this-- I hadn't realized I was already screaming, weak and clumsy fingers prying at my mind-- weaker hands escaped from as I threw myself off the desk and towards the door-- my throat burning raw and dry with a single horrified note held far too long-- the younger man shouting at the older and i could only hear it once my voice gave out-- scrambling at the door's handle and trying to open it open it open it and get out and tell someone-- the clumsy fingers clawing at my mind not allowed in not allowed in not allowed-- being tackled with force and I fought it like a rabid animal as the young man tried to grab at my throat--
"That's enough!" The young man's hands went limp at the sound before slipping off me as he fell like a stack of bricks. He crashed to the floor backwards, coming to a rest on his back, staring at the ceiling with unblinking stillness. Something was wrong, but it wasn't as bad as before. Something was wrong, but it was difficult to complain now that the murderer was down. Something was wrong, but it didn't matter now. Something either caring or insidious, a gentle 'inside voice', spoke to me as the older man approached. He was a shadowy mass once more, impossible to focus on, but the voice spoke with clarity, an unremarkable script that was both familiar and out of place. "We are sorry for the inconvenience," it began, only to be finished by a voice quite close to my head, but this time not inside it. "Perhaps it would be best if you forgot the whole thing."
For a brief moment, I tried to consider attacking-- but those particular thoughts wading through molasses that thickened by the moment, were a jumble of actions that I couldn't quite put into motion. It was much easier to ask him what to do, even with a larynx nearly on fire from before. "Which way is the exit?" I managed to eek out, barely above a whisper.
Two voices, echoing within and without, replied: "Take a right, down the hall there is a fire exit."
I nodded, moving to the side as the door was unlocked, having to step over the still-staring murderer. Just before I left, there was a brief feeling of immaterial loss. But it didn't matter. None of this had been important.
I couldn't respond. Couldn't even move properly. My back hurt.
"There weren't always comittees for decision making, there used to be no codified council at all."
I strained at random muscles, trying to get up from the floor. Every time I was close to getting my bearings, I lost my strength and collapsed back down.
"New turns, today, are told they're rather lucky," he continued, knowing he was the source of my difficulty moving. "They're kept safe and fed without much of anything being asked for in return, other than the following of simple rules. The rules themselves are made very clear, you might even remember the ceremony where you learned them."
Ceremony? There had been a dry boardroom meeting with him as the witness, but it hardly counted as anything notable.
"Nope, not exactly," he responded out loud to my thoughts.
Oh god, how old was he, if he could directly read my--
"It seems like you need a refresher before the next lesson, so lets take a trip down memory lane."
I was finally able to sit up, but started listing to the side from a strange dizziness. Thoughts started to jumble together, the corners sanded off so that they would fit together differently. The older man-- why couldn't I remember is name-- was sitting on a simple, wooden office chair. Where had that come from? His face was clear as day. That wasn't normal. He had told me once, something about keeping it covered up, or projecting the image that he covered it up, to avoid breaking a rule. He never liked the rules, but never broke them.
He had a little bit of stubble, it was salt and pepper gray.
"Do you remember the ceremony? Do you remember seeing me?"
Yes and no. The memories of the ceremony were unclear. There were some tiny fragments of clarity, words like 'report directly to' and 'severe penalty' and a name and a face just barely out of reach. Something metal, clear plastic bags, a lot of strangers' hands.
"Do you want to feel it again, for a moment? The induction process?"
No, I didn't. It seemed sterile. Maybe even hostile. Cluttered piles of paperwork, tests, something loudly ringing just inches away from slack fingers, something echoing, rattling too intensely, everything being too bright.
Tiny, prickling sparks washed accross my body. Another fragment of buried experience.
"That's just too bad, because I think you ought to see it again." His hand was under my jaw, gentle, guiding me to look up at him. The eye contact had an undercurrent of something else, I knew I should have put up some kind of mental defences, but I was distracted by the oddness of finally looking at him. His nose was sculpted, his cheekbones strong, something was fizzing like poprocks in in my head, his skin was somehow warm and tanned if not naturally olive, and his eyes were overwhelming. I was melting into his hand, lost in space, my eyes barely open a sliver. I felt something swab the inside of my mind, gliding through completely unobstructed. Barely conscious, I didn't notice when the scene changed. I was sitting at a desk accross from him, leaning as far towards him as I could with both hands cuffed behind my chair. His hand was still under my chin, and I was very nearly drooling.
There was a knock at the door. I saw his eyes look away from mine, as I heard the shoes of a secretary. For a moment, I was able to claw my way up from the bottom of a deep void. Like briefly waking from a dream, I was just aware enough to understand some of the conversation.
"That was fast," spoke a voice that sounded too young to be natural.
"You always push efficiency, and this just happens to be my strong point."
"Would you say this one is ready to go today, or?"
His eyes returned to mine, and for the first time there was an unpleasant tension in them. His lips were moving, but all I could focus on was the pulling sensation, it was as if he was trying to yank me back down into the previous state, but couldn't do it with her here. As she left, the tension evaporated. I sank back almost willingly into the feeling of bonelessness, and let him root around my mind however he wanted to. Eventually he found something, some vague shadow in my psyche, and wheather he liked it or hated it was unknown to me, but he started pressing at it, jumbling my thoughts until I was limply hanging from the cuffs, my face against the desk... and I could see. I could hear. I was aware of every bump and scratch on my aching body, aware of my then-beating heart, hammering away. I just couldn't move.
He hadn't told anyone, it was a forced secret between him, and me-- the inductee who couldn't, at the moment speak. I wasn't under. I was almost fully 'sober', only the smallest hint of an observer with me. Sharing in the experience. He sent me into processing, let them drain me via IV-- preventing a blood bond-- all while aware of what was happening. The tapes. The audio tapes. They just kept repeating, the rules, the emotionless efficiency of it. It was torture. When that tiny hint of prescence within me decided the time was right, when it decided to cut me loose-- when I finally started screaming-- they chalked it up to differences in psychology or physiology, that maybe I was farsighted or something, some kind of outlier with a bad reaction to one of the procedures. Oh, I scared the hell out of a few lab techs, weak paper-pushers who knew only how to mould the softest clay. No one expected the work of a bitter 175 year old who yearned for the days when he could just do it the much easier way, keep everything greased on the wheels of predictable emotional responses. Before clans were replaced with communals, before families were forcibly dissolved into cold, clean, formal--
I was crying, that's what brought me back to reality. We were both sitting on the edge of the desk, he was wiping some of the tears away with a thumb, and I was crying. Why did he have to do that to me-- or force them to accidentally-- or-- whatever that was, why did he do it? Why me?
"Because someone else had to understand that it was wrong, someone else had to know it was unnatural, immoral, even, to industrialize." He smiled faintly, like it was a delicate thing to do. "Someone else had to understand that there was a better way, and I knew you'd be the one to bring it back, and you were. You broke the rule that had been setting us back since 1928."
That didn't make any sense, all I did-- the apparently cardinal sin I had comitted-- was have a few one night stands with some girls a year or two older than I looked, and the only rule I broke was the one where I wasn't supposed to feed on them while getting busy. One of them even came back for more, with a confused memory and some rather extreme-looking hickeys decorating her throat. I hadn't turned her, hadn't killed her, it doesn't work like that.
"Oh, but it does," he spoke, snaking an arm around my shoulders. "You made the connection yourself, blood, sex, power, memories, all the rest. It's all connected. That's why you could only do what you did best when you were in the thick of it. You were a natural, born for this, but you didn't quite fit."
This was too much, too much information, too much skin, too uninhibited, with my thoughts gliding in a million different directions before each spun off into the void, too much forbidden knowlage to keep within my own thin mental walls.