Real Vampires Don't Sparkle, vol. 1, is being released June 9th! It's available in either ebook or paperback, for your reading pleasure. In celebration, up until June 9th, I'll be giving away free stuff on Facebook. Just join the Real Vampires Give away Free Stuff event: events/601907746509492/ It's open to everyone!
My Facebook page (feel free to friend/follow): . .3
RVDS facebook page: pages/Real-Vampires-Dont-Sparkle/403618189691692
RVDS Goodreads page: book/show/17568054-real-vampires-don-t-sparkle
If you read the original RVDS, stop by the Goodreads page and post a review or rating! Every little bit getting the word out helps!
Thanks again to everyone who commented/favorited! You guys are awesome!
Okay, fictionpress, wave bye-bye to RVDS. For the NEW and EDITED version visit: www . curiosityquills . com! Thanks again to everyone who read, reviewed, lurked in the shadows, upping my hit count like slash-loving ninjas. I'm leaving this up because one) I like the reviews, (they make me go all squishy inside) and two) in case anyone missed the memo. Sorry if this violates some kind of rule, I'M A REBEL LIKE THAT, FP.
Real Vampires has a facebook page! Like it, and you'll get notifications in your news feed whenever a new chapter goes up. The link is here: www. face book-dot-com /pages/ Real-Vampires-Dont-Sparkle/ 403618189691692 (Spaces added because FP is a whore.)
Clickable links in my profile! Very convenient! Click your little hearts out!
I want to thank everyone who commented / favorited / stalked RVDS. I love it every time a new fictionpress e-mail pops up in my inbox. Without all you readers, I wouldn't have gotten noticed. So thank you. I'm going to leave RVDS up for a little while, but it will be taken down before August 19th. Thanks again, and hopefully I'll see you over at CuriosityQuills.
-DeliriousEphemera AKA Amy Fecteau
Somehow, Matheus thought that the night he died should be fraught with weather straight out of the Old Testament. There should be thunderstorms and hurricane winds and floods with arks. His death should be epic. He wasn't sure why. In the grand scope of human affairs, he was a speck, but dying still annoyed him, and the universe should have offered up some kind of acknowledgement. A full moon, or a particularly ominous-looking cloud; anything, really. No, the night he died had to be a standard issue, East Coast September evening, city lights tinting the sky orange, and a handful of wispy clouds hovering near the skyline. Sometimes, the universe didn't appreciate proper atmosphere.
Of course, he didn't realize this until later.
At the time, Matheus thought, God, I hope I don't get mugged. He never visited this part of the city; no one did, unless condemned to live there or serve jury duty. Matheus wondered if convenience or coincidence located the courts in the section with the highest crime rate. The subway didn't run out here; he'd had to take the bus, feeling more and more awkward the longer the trip lasted. At the end, Matheus was the only one in khakis and definitely the only one who even owned a sweater vest, let alone wore it in public. Seeing a bum eying him from a doorway, Matheus closed his coat over the argyle pattern. He ducked his head as he hurried past the bum, shoving down the reflexive guilt. He'd been raised Catholic, so he had a lot of practice.
A group of teenagers occupied the street corner, shoving at each other, laughing, shouting insults in foreign slang. A boy, dodging a smack from one of his friends, bumped into Matheus as he passed. Matheus muttered an apology, walking faster. He listened for footsteps, but heard only laughter. Strains of music mixed in, displacing the laughter as he passed a row of bars, sidewalk thick with exiled smokers feeding their addiction. Matheus thought about stopping for a drink; alcohol had always been a friend in times of need, although the kind of friend that borrowed credit cards without asking and used them to pay its rent for six months, but who got forgiven because it was alcohol! It'd been a friend since middle school. That kind of bond couldn't just be thrown away, even if it meant living in a box behind Amato's while his credit score recovered. Matheus had explained all this to his therapist once. His therapist had not been amused.
The reunion had to be postponed, however. The note had been very specific as to location and time, as well as what would happen if he ignored either. Matheus shivered, reaching down to touch the small box crammed into his pocket. He'd already started looking for a new job. Once his boss discovered the theft, she would know right away that Matheus took the box. Only eight people had access to the vault, and only Matheus had shown any recent interest in the piece. He thought there wouldn't be enough evidence to arrest him, but he read up on shiv-making, just in case.
The feeling of being followed began a few weeks ago. Matheus dismissed the creeping sensation as ordinary paranoia. Then came the phone calls, with that voice, a voice made to be obeyed. The vocal chords had threat built straight into them; not some subtle, creeping evil, but direct as a razorblade to the throat. Matheus hung up, ignored the calls, disconnected his phone. Nothing made a difference. Yesterday morning, he woke up to find a note on his pillow, his name in spiky black writing across the front. After throwing up for a bit, Matheus planned his involuntary robbery, the result of which banged against his leg as he walked.
A streetwalker old enough to be his mother, and possessing fewer teeth than Matheus had fingers, called out to him as he passed. Matheus ignored her, turning away from the commercial area toward the block housing.
"Cocksucker!" she yelled after him.
"Syphilitic trollop!" Matheus shouted back.
The whore scratched her head.
Matheus didn't stop to explain. He worried about the state of public education sometimes. He made up a little rant in his head, distracting himself from his dismal surroundings. The music dwindled away, leaving an empty chill in the air. The buildings here were dark and shuttered, bars on the windows, bricks decorated by layers of spray paint. Matheus sidestepped a pile of broken glass and turned down a narrow alley.
The alley reeked of rotting garbage cut only by the sharp sting of cat piss. A squelching noise accompanied each of his steps. Don't think about it, he thought, then moaned as something splashed up his pants leg. Carefully, he pulled the sticky fabric away from his skin, cursing whatever had died in this alley, himself for not opting for that hazmat suit he'd seen at the flea market, but mostly, the owner of the razorblade voice. Matheus wiggled, trying to reach his phone with his free hand. He fumbled with the buttons until the flashlight app switched on, the glow illuminating the end of the alley with terrifying, blue-white accuracy.
Matheus gagged, dropping his phone as he spun around, desperate for clean air. He managed two steps before the bile rose hard and fast, nearly choking him. His body jerked, forcing him to bend at the waist as vomit splattered on the foul ground.
At least I missed my shoes, Matheus thought wildly, anxious to fixate on anything but the bloody tableau behind him.
"Charming," a voice drawled near Matheus' ear. He jumped, landing in the fresh mess. Matheus gagged again. He was definitely burning these shoes. Then he imagined walking home, step after squishy step. On second thought, he'd just leave them here.
"What . . . what the hell is that?" he asked. His stomach jumped around in his gut, dividing his attention. Matheus struggled to ignore the jittering. He had more important things to worry about, like the dark figure standing in front of him. Matheus couldn't make out any details, not even an outline. The tall buildings blocked out any light. The streetlamp on the main street gave a valiant but unsuccessful effort. The dark crushed the light's yellow glow into oblivion by the third step in. Matheus had only the sensation of another's presence, a vague shifting of shadows, and the voice.
"That is what happens to people who annoy me," said the voice. "Did you bring it?"
"What happened to his head?" Matheus couldn't keep the shadow of a shriek out of his voice. He wiped his face on his sleeve. The taste of vomit burned in his mouth. Whatever—whoever—that had been, Matheus decided he didn't want to know details.
"That is for me to know," said the voice, closer this time. "Unless you want a demonstration?"
"Ah, well," the voice sighed. "No sense of adventure."
"I'm going to be sick again." Matheus felt a pair of hands grasp his shoulders and turn him around. They pressed hard enough to leave a bruised feeling in his shoulders.
"That direction, please. I like this suit."
Matheus heaved, but he'd already emptied his stomach of everything except watery acid. He hadn't eaten that day. Hadn't done much of anything really, except snap at his co-workers and steal an ancient artifact. Being caught between thoughts of prison showers and extremely specific threats of maiming did not aid the appetite. Maybe he could market a new diet plan. The Lose-Weight-Or-We'll-Come-To-Your-House-And-Remove -Your-Shinbones-With-A-Pair-Of-Pliers Plan. Not the best name, but effective, nonetheless. Matheus choked back a laugh.
"You wore a suit?" he asked and spat to clear his mouth. "Here?"
"I do have other things to do," said the voice.
Matheus didn't miss the warning. Shaking, he turned around, pulling the small box out of his pocket. He thrust his hand in the direction of the voice.
"Right," he said. "Here." He shuddered at the brief brush of skin over his palm. Shoving his hands deep into his jacket pockets, he looked longingly at the entrance of the alley. His skin felt sticky, as though the stench and blood had sunk straight through his clothes. He needed a jet ride home, a scorching shower, and about a gallon of gin. Possibly two gallons.
"Excellent," said the voice. The box closed with a sharp click, making Matheus jump. The voice laughed.
"Twitchy, aren't you?" it asked, in a tone that might be considered jovial if not for the bloody mess splattered over the brick.
"Can I go?" Matheus asked.
"Don't you want your reward?"
Matheus began backing away, tiny silent steps.
"I don't want anything," he said, shaking his head. "Except to forget the last twenty minutes."
"Unfortunately, that isn't possible."
Matheus felt something brush over his cheek. He shifted away, stumbled over his own squishy feet, then slammed into a wall. He bounced off, found his footing, squeaked as a pair of arms wrapped around his waist.
"What are you doing?" Matheus asked in a desperate, hysterical voice. Pre-teen girls sounded more masculine. The arms were solid, holding him in place against a hard chest. So this is what a heart attack feels like, Matheus thought. His whole rib cage vibrated in quick, double thumps.
"Insurance policy," said the voice.
"Shh. No talking during meals." The voice sounded pleased, amused by itself.
Matheus, less so.
"What!" he yelped. Wiggling did him no good; the arms only gripped tighter. He tasted panic, bitter on his tongue. He shoved at the chest in front of him, fingers sliding over smooth fabric. The bastard had on a suit, didn't he? He should've had a tie. Matheus could've strangled him with it. Where the fuck was the goddamned tie?
"Oh, please struggle. It's so much more entertaining."
Thoughts of ties and strangulation flew out of Matheus' head. He flailed, landing one wild blow. Although blow may have been excessive. Tap might have been more appropriate. Or graze. Or gentle caress. Matheus hadn't been in a fight in ten years. He'd assumed, at this point in his life, his days of punching strangers in the face had ended.
"Don't worry," said the voice. "It's like getting a shot."
"I hate shots! I'm frightened of needles!" Matheus shouted.
The voice laughed against his throat.
"Good thing I won't be using needles, then."
Matheus felt pressure against his pulse point, driving the adrenalin level higher. He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to fight the sensation of his body folding into itself. An inner darkness closed on his mind as each panting breath tore out of his mouth. The pressure increased, contracting into a single barb.
"Shit," Matheus said, and fainted.
*Bonus non-canon scene*
"I've never eaten a tomato."
Matheus looked up from his newspaper, frowning across the room at Quin.
"What?" he asked.
"Tomatos," said Quin. "Never had one."
"You're Italian," said Matheus. He lowered the newspaper completely. The article about the latest healthcare reform just couldn't compete with the crazy man spouting about vegetables. Matheus was unlikely to need or want healthcare. On the other hand, he had to interact with Quin on a daily basis. So occasionally, Matheus had to listen to him.
"One," said Quin, holding up a finger. "I am not Italian. I'm Roman. There's a difference. Two, the tomato was not introduced to Europe until the sixteenth century."
"And you know that off the top of your head?" Matheus asked. "Why? I mean. . . why?"
"I do read."
"I know you read. I also know how you read."
"What does that mean?"
"When you start a book, you finish it. You don't leave it splayed out like a hooker on roofies for fifty years."
"That sentence structure makes it sound like the hooker spent half-a-century strung out on-"
"You know what I meant!" Matheus snapped. "When was the last time you actually read a book beginning to end?"
Quin opened his mouth.
"Within a single decade," interrupted Matheus.
Quin closed his mouth. He tapped his fingers on the arm of his chair.
"Fine," he said. "But I've still never eaten a tomato."