Chapter 1

Humans just don’t get it. They don’t understand what it’s like to be different, to feel differently about things. They cling to out-dated ideas and stereotypes, and they can’t accept that sometimes, things and people change, y’know? Like being a vampire. They see you without a reflection, they catch on to the fact that you’re not a morning person, and all of a sudden it’s garlic breath, crosses all over the place, the Lord’s Prayer and fear of fangs and biting. I mean, Christ, okay? Just because you have a neck and some blood coursing through your veins doesn’t mean I’m going to want to bite you. Hell, that’s an old stereotype anyhow – only the most outdated of vamps still goes around biting people.

No one realizes how much their diet affects their blood, and believe me, the taste of cow or tobacco in someone’s blood is disgusting. Hell, even a human that eats nothing but candy and fruits is still pretty gross. Human blood is definitely an acquired taste.

So most of us, the few that aren’t the hardcore poseurs, we dine on pig and cow’s blood. It’s easy to come by, it has a great musky flavour to it, and no one minds if it’s missing. Don’t think that we go after cows while they’re living, either; that’s cruel and it’s tough to manage, too – the cow’s all thrashing about and blood gets all over the place. You think human blood is tough to get out of clothes, well… you haven’t seen anything until you’ve tried to wash a couple of gallons of cow’s blood out of a nice lace shirt or taffeta skirt.

Yeah, I gotta admit, I do buy into the stereotype when it comes to clothing. There’s something so sexy about goth clothes; the laces, the bindings, the leather… damn, that’s hot shit. It’s also tough to get off, so it really adds to the tension in foreplay… but that’s another thing entirely. Now, vamps’ll give hickies just like the next pair of horny kids – it’s kinda sexy with the added fear of biting and stuff. Some vamps get off on pricking their partners, or being pricked – it adds a whole new meaning to the term, lemme tell ya (and you don’t want to tell a guy vamp his prick was too small for ya, damn was that an important lesson to learn), but most of us are pretty fangs-off when it comes to our partners. Blood was put in our veins and yours for a good reason, and we like to see that it stays there.

Anyhow, sorry to write and dash like this guys, but I gotta be off; Steve and I are off to do some shopping, and he’s looking pretty impatient. Trust me, you don’t want to keep a werewolf waiting when full moon is a few days away – they’re fucking testy like no one’s business.

Catch you later,

Louisa

I clicked on the post button and waited to make sure my site updated properly. Once I got the all clear, I shut down my laptop and set it back on the coffee table. I stood up and shook the wrinkles out of my skirt, then headed over to where Steve was lounging in the overstuffed armchair.

“Hey, did you remember to put the blanket down before you sat down?” I asked him. “You know how you shed more when it’s closer to full moon.”

“Yeah, I did,” he growled at me. He tended to get pretty snippy as the month wore on, too. Honestly, it’s just like living with a woman with PMS. I think. Having never experienced PMS myself, it’s pretty hard to know.

I took Steve’s hand and tugged him to his feet. Anyone else trying this maneuver would either lose a hand – when he bit it off – or an arm at the shoulder; Steve is far from a lightweight guy. Fortunately, the history books have it right when they say that vampires have super-human strength, and it’s come in handy on a number of occasions. Steve’s pretty obstinate at times.

We slipped on our shoes and slid on sunglasses, then headed off. I never worried about locking the door; it’s not like I don’t have nice things, it’s just that a girl’s rep tends to get around, regardless of whether it’s for being a whore or being a vamp. The guys around here were too scared to touch any of my stuff, regardless of how nice a price it might fetch, ‘cause they knew that I could overcome my disgust for human blood anytime. At least, I let them think as much; it always helps to have some people afraid of you, I find.

They did well at keeping the other burglars out of my place, too, and in return, I’d let them have the steaks and things I picked up from the butcher to allay suspicions; I just told the butcher that a proper steak had to marinate in a whole bunch of cow’s blood for it to taste truly French. People around here are so uneducated; they just accept it without blinking. I do hear the whispers when I leave, though…

Oh yeah, that’s another thing – super-human hearing. Good times, comes in handy an awful lot.

Anyhow, where was I? My mind wanders, Steve likes to make fun of me for it. Right, the guys around here. They keep the baddies out of my place, and I leave ‘em alone. I don’t actively tell them I could rip their throats out if they pissed me off, but they believe it. There’s been a few times around here that I’ve had to step in to clean up some messes, so the rumours of my abilities definitely aren’t exaggerated; I just don’t make use of them all that often.

So yeah, that’s why I get to live the way I do. I have an understanding with the folks around here; they leave me and my stuff be, I leave them be. Everybody’s happy. They’re pretty much used to me now, but Steve still makes ‘em nervous, and they don’t know why. Weres aren’t nearly as accepted as vamps are – not that we’re widely accepted I mean, but we’re tolerated – so he doesn’t “come out” to them if he can avoid it.

This is why we were both sporting sunglasses when we left, even though it was practically dark out; him to hide his wolf-like eyes. Weres’ eyes are the first things to change during their transformation, and it starts several days before the full moon comes out. Vamp’s eyes are tricky; mesmerizing is really easy to do, and what with my big blue babies, it’s hard not to be mesmerized when you look at ‘em. Now that sounds vain, and it isn’t meant to be. It’s just that after living like I have been for as long as I have been (and believe me when I say if you think it’s rude to ask a human lady her age, it’s about a billion times worse to ask a vamp lady hers), you get to accept a few facts.

The guy who sired me said that what lured him in was my eyes… and since then, I’ve been luring in guys myself, either accidentally or on purpose. It took me awhile to realize what was going on when I’d talk to guys and they’d start repeating everything I said mindlessly; once I hooked up with Steve and he taught me about pheromones and mind control and stuff, I got a lot better at controlling it. When I’m feeling especially lazy, the easiest thing to do is just pop on a pair of sunglasses and I don’t have to worry about it.

So there Steve and I were, preparing to go out for a lovely evening of nearly-nighttime shopping. I like being in the malls just before they close; there’s so much energy with all the little punk kids wandering around and I like to feel that energy wash over me. Steve likes to sniff out people and tell me what they’ve been up to; if you parents ever want to know how much sex, pot, cigarettes or booze your kids are into, by all means, befriend a werewolf. It does kinda take some of the fun out of people-watching, but other times, the details he feeds me are just phenomenal.

And if I’d been paying attention, instead of drifting off in my own little world, I’d have heard all the details that he was feeding me now about the people we were passing enroute. “Wow, that little chick just came from…” Here he took a slightly deeper sniff, to try to better place things in his scent memory, “A party with a bunch of sweaty teenagers, do they ever shower, or is that something that teens give up as some weird rebellious phase? Okay, a party with five, no six sweaty teenage boys, and they had some damn good pot. Wow, haven’t smelled anything this good in awhile, I think I’m getting high here myself. There was vodka, lots of vodka…” Yeah, even I could smell the vodka when she passed, and it wasn’t because of my vamp nose, she just reeked that badly. “…and … Coke?! You animals were drinking vodka and Coke together? Oh, God, I give up all hope on teenagers today.”

When it looked like he was going to turn around and tell her what she should’ve been drinking, I grabbed his sleeve and directed him forward once more. Steve’s usually pretty good at staying focused on things, usually scarily so, but when it gets close to the full moon, he’s like a puppy with ADD. Don’t tell him I said that, though; the worst thing you can say to a werewolf – especially a fully grown, sexually mature male one – is something about him being a puppy. If you’re friends with them, you might be able to get away with it, but otherwise, they’ll rip you a new one, and I don’t mean verbally.

As we got nearer the mall and into the crowds of people, I could see Steve’s nostrils flare as he gathered in all the scents around him. I was doing the same thing, and I could feel my canines lengthen slightly; it’s an involuntary reaction, I promise. Like a guy popping a boner when he looks at porn, when I’m surrounded by rushing people, or people full of adrenaline, my canines grow. I don’t like it and I do my best to hide it, just like a woman with nipple hardons; and being a female vamp, I get that double curse. It’s tough being a woman, regardless of your species.

The nice thing about being “otherworldly,” as the PC humans like to call it, is that people give you a wide berth, not even knowing why. It’s a bone-deep instinctual thing; humans like to avoid that which goes bump in the night, and even when it’s walking among them, they move around it. They also don’t look too closely at it, unless they’re feeling drunk, stoned, brave or stupid. Again, it’s not like we pick fights or such – personally I prefer to avoid tangling with people, it’s just too rough on the clothes – but some of them like to challenge us to prove their machismo, bravado, or stupidio. Usually a good shove will discourage them and it won’t cause them to lose too much face in front of their buddies, but sometimes… but anyhow.

For someone paying attention, this avoidance means that it can be a bit easier to spot the otherworlders. All it takes is a slightly raised perch, and if you follow people’s paths through crowds, you can find who’s who. Or I guess I mean who’s what. The vamps tend to walk through crowds without caring whether or not people move out of their way; they know that humans are kinda accepting of their kind, so they don’t mind whether or not they upset anyone. Weres, on the other hand, don’t usually want to stir up trouble, so they’re careful to keep their eyes down and just walk straight ahead – but they’re the first ones to apologize if they bump into someone. Or maybe that’s just here; we are living in Canada, after all.

Then you get your other kinds of ghosties and ghoulies; the ghosts, well, they just pass through everyone. Ever feel a draft when you walk into or leave a building? Chances are you’ve just been brushed through by an impatient ghost. They usually avoid doing it, ‘cause it makes them feel weird and tingly, but if they have to get to work or something, then they don’t care. Just like business humans, business ghosts are always on the go, and they don’t even have that heart attack fear to slow them down.

The ghoulies are broken into a few groups; you have the wee folk, like the pixies and the fairies, and then you have the ones I call creepoids. They wee folk just feel like little kicks to the ankle, or bugs flying in the air; I’m not exaggerating when I call them wee folk, believe me. A lot of the pixies have taken to carrying tiny pitchforks (yeah, pixies with pitchforks, believe me when I say there was a lot of ribbing and alliteration in the papers over that one) to speed their progress through human crowds. A little poke on the ankle, and you just think someone kicked you, so you step aside, clearing space for the pixies. No harm to anyone, and it gets them on their way a little faster, so they’re happy.

The fairies are small enough to blend with the flies; at least, most of them are. They can control their size, so when they’re out in public crowds, they usually reduce so they’re small and blend easily. Some of the really bratty ones will land in some human’s hair and tag on like that for awhile. Sometimes, if they’re really feeling mean, they’ll slowly start to grow to full size as they’re up there, to really screw with the human’s perceptions.

Then, as I said, there’s the group that I call the creepoids. Steve gets mad at me when he hears me use the term – he starts going on about how I’m holding groups like the Weres back by using derogatory language and all this – but he has to admit, when he’s feeling really honest (or drunk) that it’s apt. God, is it ever apt.

The creepoids… well, think of the really dirty, smelly, ragged bums that you’ll often see on the road. Now, add oddly coloured or textured skin, add some tentacles or remove some “regular” limbs, and you have your creepoids. Not all of them are demons, but the vast majority are, and they make me uncomfortable. They do live in harmony with the other otherworlders, the vamps and the Weres and the wee folks, but that doesn’t mean they don’t wig some of us right out.

Fortunately, as I passed through the doors into the mall, I didn’t see any of the creepoids out tonight. They usually prefer to hang around when it’s late out, where they can lurk in shadows and people-watch or sell drugs. Again, not all of the creepoids are drug sellers, but just like humans, there exist some in every group. Unfortunately.

I did feel a little bit of pressure in my hair, though, so I reached up to see who was hitching a lift into the building. I rag on the wee folk for doing this, but I have to agree with them, they don’t have any way of getting in otherwise. The nicer ones will take off as soon as you’ve passed through the doors.

“Hey Louisa,” I heard from the little figure in my hand. “I’m glad you showed up tonight – I got some stuff I need to talk to you about. There’s some big shit brewing, and I think it might wind up on your doorstep.”

“Thanks Chip,” I told him, recognizing the voice as belonging to one of my favourite pixies, Chip. His parents had a sense of humour, you see. Chip was one of the good guys, fun to talk to and always full of information. Somehow he managed to always keep his ear to the ground – so to speak – and he was often my best source of information. “Let me get someplace where you can transform and you can fill me in, say over a cup of coffee?” As a species, the wee folk really took to coffee for some reason, so I was pretty confident my offer wouldn’t be turned down.

“Sure thing, Louisa,” he said. Looking around, I noticed that the alcove where the payphones were was empty for a change, so with a nod of my head to indicate to Steve, who had heard everything of course, but pretended not to for propriety’s sake (weird Were courtesy thing, I’ve never understood it), where I was taking Chip, I set off to get some privacy for the two of us.

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