Excerpt

Hi. I’m cheating today, because I’m at a loss for topics and I really need to go write my discursive essay now. This is an excerpt from a novel I started over the summer, just to get a little writing practice in. It’s about vampires, because it’s an easy topic with a practically built-in storyline. I did try to mix it up a little bit, but it’s nothing special.

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She was on the floor below, in her bedroom. The door was half open, and through it I could see her standing by the window. She was on the phone with someone.
“- well of course I think that’s strange. But really – this has nothing to do with me and I’m busy – “
There was a pause as whoever was on the other end answered.
“No, I understand,” continued Olivia. “You need to let off some steam.” Another pause. “Right now? I really can’t, Jay. No, not tomorrow either – no, listen, it’s a little complicated right now.”
I didn’t doubt that I was the “complicated”.
“You could come over here,” she offered. “Great. I’ll see you then.” She hung up, a small smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.
I pushed the door open the rest of the way. The hinges squeaked and Olivia swung around to face me. Suddenly she looked worried.
“Hi,” she began. “Do you –“
“We need to talk,” I interrupted. “Now.”
She nodded like she wasn’t surprised and came towards the door. “We’ll go to the kitchen.”
I let her pass and followed her down to the ground floor.
The kitchen was beautiful, large and modern, all stainless steel and granite – the whole nine yards. I practically drooled. I love to cook, always have, and our little kitchen at home was always full of food. You could say it’s my coping mechanism – when I’m stressed or upset, food output easily doubles. No, I guess I should say it was my coping mechanism, since it seems I will now be feeding rather than eating. There isn’t much you can make using blood, after all. Blood sausage, I suppose. Blood pudding. Both of which I hate.
Olivia pulled a stool out from the center island and gestured. “Have a seat.” She poured herself a glass of wine, and I watched her as she moved around the kitchen. I was interested to note that it seemed to be fully stocked with food. Was it just for show? That seemed like a waste. As she was putting away the bottle Olivia asked me if I wanted anything. I looked at her blankly.
“Water? Orange juice?” She prompted.
I think I stammered out “Orange juice”; in any case that’s what she poured me a glass of. She sat down across from me. I stared down at my glass, wondering if the liquid it contained would still taste like oranges now. Since it was an easier question to ask than some of my others, I decided to start there.
“Am I even going to like this now?” I asked, staring at the thick orange liquid.
A little more viscous, a little more red…
“Hmm?” Olivia looked surprised.
“I just mean that I thought I wouldn’t want –“
“Oh, oh! Of course. I’m sorry. I keep forgetting you don’t know about any of this – you must be overwhelmed.”
I laughed, but it was without humor. “Whatever gave you that idea?” My voice was almost so sarcastic as to be painful, and I regretted it immediately as Olivia’s eyes darkened with hurt. Whatever problems I was having, Olivia was trying to help me now.
“I suppose I deserved that,” she said heavily. “To answer your question, though, we still eat and drink normal food. Not a lot, and not nearly as often as a human would, but it’s still just as enjoyable.”
So my cooking hobby was safe. But I had another question, now. “We?”
“Vampires. You and I.”
“Are there others?”
“Yes.”
I processed that for a minute before asking, “Just vampires?”
“No. There are other kinds of – you know, I think that that’s maybe a little complicated to get into right now”
I frowned, but I wasn’t going to push it. “So what about sleep? Do we sleep?”
“Very little. An hour or two a night. I have a library, on the third floor, if you need something to do.”
I paused. I had more questions about vampires, about what they could do and what my life would be like from now on. It was becoming clear to me that I was in an entirely different world from the one I had known. But first, I needed to know for sure what had happened after the car crash.
Olivia sensed my hesitation and seemed to guess its source, because she downed the rest of her wine in one gulp before asking me to continue.
“After I left…” I trailed off.
“When you were discharged?” Olivia asked softly. I nodded.
“I-I was in the car. We were driving home.” My voice broke.
“You were brought in maybe an hour after you’d left.” Olivia’s voice was quiet, reserved. The doctor giving you bad news. “Your parents,” she paused, took a breath, and went on “were pronounced dead on arrival. You weren’t breathing; they’d revived you twice on the way over but you’d crashed again. The rushed you straight into the OR.”
When she said my parents were dead, my stomach constricted. I’d known, of course. I remembered coming to briefly in the hospital bed and screaming for them until the nurse had told me they wouldn’t come. Tears were welling up in my eyes but I held them back with sheer determination.
“They admitted you to the hospital, after that. You were on a ventilator for a few days, before you woke up. They had to keep you sedated, though, because you wouldn’t stop screaming.” Her voice broke. What a mess we were. “You got an infection. Your fever wouldn’t respond to any antibiotics. And then, maybe a week later…”
“I died.”
Olivia winced. “Almost. I turned you, to save your life. It was selfish of me but to see you suffering there – I couldn’t.”
“It’s all right,” I said. And it was. I knew there were so many things I would miss out on now, friends I would never see again, a life that couldn’t be mine anymore. But if Olivia hadn’t turned me, I would have died and I would have lost all of those things anyway.
I walked out of the kitchen without another word, leaving my empty glass on the island. I walked all the way back up to the fourth floor – I needed to be alone tonight. I had said it was all right, and it would be, but tonight I needed to mourn my family and the life that I could never reclaim.
I didn’t sleep that night.
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