Posted in Character Stories

Three Little Words

“It happened again, Sir.”

Back to the door, I glance up from the computer screen to stare at my chief of security. “How many?”

“Just the doctor.”

Another doctor. I nod. “Where is Miles now?”

“We haven’t been able to get into the room, Sir.”

Course. I take a deep breath, careful to keep the disappointment from touching my features. These people have to trust me. They have to believe I have a plan. They can’t know I’m drowning in this predicament just as much as they are. 

“Give me a moment. I’ll be right out to deal with him.”

He shuts the door, closing me in with my thoughts. I kick the extension cord under my desk. Another doctor. Dammit. 

We’re past the stage of throwing things around the room to blow off steam, so I carefully lean back in my chair and stand, leaving my keyboards and papers alone. This was supposed to be easy. It’s the next step up the ladder to power, but I can’t get there without Miles by my side. 

My father is doing everything he can to take power from the world. He’s ready to bloody swords and let his men fall in the face of older, wiser creatures, the kind of beasts that have ruled this world since the beginning of time and aren’t prepared to pull their claws out of its crust. That’ll change soon, though. When I’m ready to step onto the throne, they will hand it to me. 

I step out from behind the desk, buttoning my jacket back in place. Calm thoughts, Matt. A sunrise across the ocean tides. Pine cones with a fine dusting of snow across the forest floor. Miles. Just him. Dressed in sweats and doing something completely domestic in our kitchen. He’d smile or make a joke and the rest of the world wouldn’t matter. 

I have to fix him. 

Out of my office, I walk through the familiar halls of my hotel. My shoes don’t make a noise across the patterned blue tiles. Gold paint covers the baseboards and leads up to light grey walls. It’s a color pattern designed to keep my customers at ease. 

It doesn’t work on Miles. Nothing seems to work on him once the virus takes hold. 

I stab a finger into the elevator button and step inside. Level thirteen is locked for all guests and staff who aren’t scanned into the biometric system. I lay my thumb on the pad and watch the lights flicker. 

I’m on my way, Miles. 

The elevator slides to a stop on his level. Chaos meets me when the doors open. Two women in lab coats pace the space in front of me, their hands full of charts and their mouths full of questions. I raise a hand up, silencing them. Not now. I don’t want to talk about this just yet. We’ve had a failure, a setback, just the like the several dozen before now and I can’t waste a moment on talking about it. 

Miles needs me. 

Breezing by the several security members who already have guns in their hands, I put my thumb on the door scanner. “Nobody enter after me. Do you understand?”

There’s a general murmur of agreement. Nobody actually wants the title of supernatural wrangler. They all would prefer I deal with him myself. 

The tension in the room behind me is nothing compared to the scene in the all white office I made for Miles’ appointments. The carpet in the center of the room is red. Not dyed. Stained. It has soaked up the life essence of the last doctor.

Pity. That one seemed competent.

The door clicks shut behind me. We’re locked in. No help is coming. 

I don’t see Miles at first. Instead, I take a few steps inside and survey the scene. There’s the body. It’s splayed between the couch and the chair. Clearly, the man was standing when my husband attacked. I don’t doubt that he acted in self-defense. The virus is hyper-sensitive, far more trigger happy than the parasite entwined with my own DNA. Someone wanted to make improvements on the vampire virus of the twentieth century and now several doctors are dead. Perhaps science and genetic modification isn’t always the answer. 

Miles is in the corner. Head in his hands, I can see that his claws are still out. He doesn’t show conscious control over the obsidian blades attached to each finger. 

I unbutton my jacket and shrug it off, folding it in half and depositing it on the one couch cushions not sprayed with the doctor’s blood. May Jupiter smile down on my courage today. New vampires are stronger and faster than older breeds. It’s always a risk that I’ll lose a fight if he’s triggered in my presence. 

One step closer. My shoe sinks into the carpet. I’ll have to take them off before I leave this room if I don’t want to trail forensic evidence through the hotel. Miles’ head snaps up. He immediately points one curved claw to the pad of paper by his feet. 

I didn’t mean for it to happen.

I keep my hands at my sides even as my chest tightens. “I know, darling. It’s okay. It was an accident.”

His pupils are too large. I can’t tell if they’re dilated from fear or the virus. I watch him as he stares at me through his curtain of black hair. I don’t know what the right words are now. 

I love you doesn’t seem right. 

I’m going to fix this seems too forward. 

“I’m here to help you,” I settle on. 

He can’t quite close his mouth around the needle-sharp fangs poking into his bottom lip. Carefully grabbing his pencil, he stabs it onto the blood speckled paper to scrawl a single word. Why

“Because I promised to take care of you,” I answer carefully, slowly bending down into a crouch in front of him. 

I watch him pull his shoulders further back into the corner, shrinking from my close proximity. His hand is moving again. Who are you?

Three words. That’s all it is. Words. 

I take a shuddering breath around the sharp pain in my chest. “I’m Matt, Miles. Your husband.”

He shakes his head, vehemently denying my statement. 

NO husband


I close my fists and open them slowly. Slow and steady. I can’t move too fast or I’ll set him off. 

Someone else was in here. It wasn’t anyone on my staff. They’re all too scared of Miles. They wouldn’t want to be the next casualty. 

No. This is something else. Something insidious and political. 

Straightening, I take a step back from him. “What’s the last thing you remember, Miles?”

He doesn’t have to write anything down. Instead, he flings a hand towards the body in the middle of the room. 

Good point. Death is memorable. 

“Do you remember anyone else coming in here?”

A tear leaks down his left cheek as he shakes his head again. Nothing. They’ve scrambled his memory. He was getting better. It’s been weeks since we had an incident. He and I were sharing our apartment again. Things were looking slightly better. 

Which is bad for anybody against our cause. 

Miles is one of only two new vampires. The second is a girl that has been missing for almost two decades. If he got better, he and I could petition to join the world’s council. We would join the group of powerful couples who control the fate of the world. Old vampires have been fighting the genetically modified groups for decades now. Should Miles control his virus and learn to manage his powers, he would change the world and they couldn’t ignore us any longer. 

Which can’t happen. I know who was here. Someone came in here and altered his mind, undid the years of training and passion I’ve put into his project, and left as quietly as a shadow. 

It seems the princess is trying to regain her parents’ favor. 

I didn’t know Erisa Nabil had stepped into my territory. I hope she had her fun because she’s going to regret it. 

One question answered, I have another problem to deal with now. Miles is still curled up into the corner. He doesn’t know me. There’s blood all over his shirt and hands and smeared on his cheeks, his neck, his forearms. I have to get him out of here. 

I move my attention to the security camera in the corner and wave my hands to get their attention. “Clear the floor. I’m taking him out of here.”

This room is soundproofed, but I know chaos has broken out on the rest of the level. With only the one elevator, people are going to grab their belongings and shove inside. A few desperate individuals will push out into the stairwell to scramble to safety. 

Vampires are dangerous. Especially new ones. Especially Miles. 

I don’t blame them for their reactions. Too many of them have seen him lose control. Too many have been instructed in cleaning up the messes in here. I watch Miles sink his face into his hands again, his body shaking with a silent sob. This can’t keep happening. 

“I’ll be right back,” I tell him, not looking for a reaction or an answer as I back up towards the door and let myself out of the room. 

I can fix this. I have to help him. 

White sheets of paper spill onto the floor from several of the desks situated throughout this room. Pens are scattered among the mess. A few purses were completely abandoned. The staff understood the danger in my request and fled. Excellent. Perhaps they deserve a raise. 

With the floor clear, I carefully open the door again. “Miles, let’s go home.”

He doesn’t budge from his position in the corner, preferring to stay curled in on himself like a nervous hedgehog. It’s a good thing none of his extra properties have developed as invisibility. I’d probably never find him again. 

Okay. I’m going to have to move him myself. I can’t just leave him in here. 

Easing my way back into the room, I cross the floor and crouch down in front of him once more. “Hey, Miles. We should get you up in your room to take a shower. How does that sound?”

He doesn’t answer. Obviously. He can’t answer. 

I don’t want to reach out to touch him. I’m not in the mood to ruin a perfectly good outfit by having him claw at me. 

“I’ll get in the shower with you. We have that cherry blossom soap you like and, after, we can sit in bed and eat chocolate ice cream.”

His head snaps up from his arms. I have only a split second to register that his eyes are an unnatural shade of burgundy. This isn’t Miles. It’s the monster. 

No words can save me. I scramble back, falling on my ass into the wet carpet. Blood and fibers stick to my left hand as I hold my right up to fend him away. 

He lunges. I move. It’s a reflex more than a conscious defense. Miles crashes into the couch, shoving the thick piece of furniture several feet away. 

“I’m sorry, Miles. Please, you have to fight this. You have to be okay. I don’t know what they did to you, but we can fix it.”

There’s no rational creature in his head. He can’t hear my words. He doesn’t care. 

Red fills his gaze. Fangs dangle from his upper jaw. 

I’m going to fix him. 

I promised to fix him.

But it won’t be today. 

Fight or flee. Those are my options now. I don’t want to hurt him anymore than I already have, so I push to my feet before his dazed, emotionless eyes can focus on me again. 

“I’ll be back,” I call over my shoulder. 

The door slams shut behind me, muffling the unnatural roar that follows me from the room.

Author’s Note

This is a complimentary piece to the high school prompt a few weeks ago. Miles is my main character with memory problems, but I wanted to give a fresh look on his condition. The vampires in this series are incredibly complicated and versatile, their specific ailments differing wildly between characters, so be sure to keep checking in to see which character I highlight each week as we slowly put together this complex world of flawed and stubborn people.

As always, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to view this piece and be sure to check in with Anna and Bridgette as well!

Anna’s story:

Bridgette’s story:

Posted in Character Stories

The Wolf of ‘89

They’ve given me a proper spot where I can see the harbor. It’ll likely be the last time I glimpse the orange shades of the falling sun ripple across the dark blue waves. My hands tied behind my back, my legs shackled, a stake holding up most of my weight, I cannot imagine I have much more time.

There’s a main speaker for the gathering a few meters away from me. A man. Don’t know his name. Honestly, don’t care, either. I don’t remember how long I’ve been in this town or if I’ve seen his face before, but it doesn’t really matter anymore.

Blood trickles from a wound on my head. It was probably that large fellow who hit me. Knocked me out cold and then strapped me to this tree to burn for crimes I cannot remember. It seems I didn’t receive an invitation for this event. I did not even get a chance to run from it before someone hung me up as the entertainment.

The sweet scent of the nearby ash trees wash over me as a strong breeze blows over us. It carries away the voices of the murmuring crowd down below, caressing my cheek in a small attempt to make me more comfortable in my last moments. The sea and the trees are my only companions in this final piece of my life.

What would I give to sleep under the cedar of my mam’s house once more? I used to visit for the annual soccer games she held with my cousins. They were a noisy lot. Too large, too loud, too full of energy and life and laughs. They were probably some of the best people in my life.

Of course, that could be false. My head pounding, mouth dry, eyes wet, I can’t remember the last few days, weeks, perhaps a year. I’ve lost important time, things that could save me now, but I remember Mam.

She had a cottage in a forest where we all gathered for holidays and sports. It was just her and I for most of my life. On good days, the house smelled of cinnamon from cookies baking in her oven. Others, the subtle scent of mildew was never far off.

I can’t remember what happened to her. It’s probably for the best. Hopefully, she went first, so she never gets the news of what’s to happen to me tonight.

The crowd lets out a united roar. They’ve come for a show and they’re expecting more blood.

Mam raised me to be respectful of the powers of this world. Not just the Catholic deity, but any other smaller creatures that could be listening. The fae are never far from the trees. They can disguise themselves as owls and deers or wrap themselves in nightmares meant to scare children far from the safety of their homes.

I don’t care what they look like. They can have gnarled teeth and boils on their cheeks. They can be green or blue or orange or yellow. They can have feathers or only wear leaves for clothing. If any of them are listening to this now, I will hand over my life to their capricious capture. They can have my name, my soul, my eternity. I’d give anything to be released from this spectacle.

There’s another shout from the crowd. They’re not looking at me. Just at the man leading this mob against me. It shouldn’t be long before they’re up here with torches and pitchforks.

I wish I knew what I did wrong. I do not think I’m the kind of man to sleep with someone’s wife or daughter. I’m not a thief. At least, there would be a good reason if I was out stealing, right?

I don’t recognize this town or these people, but they’ve come together to agree I’m guilty of whatever happened. This entire ordeal is likely more interesting than anything they get on satellite television. Whether or not I did something isn’t really the point. I’m going to pay the price for their bad fortunes and then their lives will go back to normal and mine will be over.

Plain and simple, isn’t it?

I let my head fall back against the stake at my back. This is it. Nobody is coming to help me. I’m going to be burned alive or left strapped up here to die from exposure to the elements. Honestly, I don’tdon’t know which one is worseis worst.

A hand clamps down over my mouth. Struggling to breathebreath, I don’t fight back. Nobody at the end of the hill has moved or looked up my way in several minutes. This is something different.

“If I let go, you must not scream.”

Are the fae typically French? The man’s breath is on my ear. It’s warm in contrast to the cool air.

“Nod yes or no.”

Yes. Of course I won’t scream. This is the best thing to happen to me all day. I conjured a fae with my mind and I might be enslaved to its creative pursuits, but I probably won’t die today.

I nod quickly and the hot palm falls away from my mouth. The man doesn’t walk around to my front. He stays at my back, his voice low as he fiddles with the ropes keeping me bound.

“Can I have your name?”

Oh. I’ve heard these stories. When the fae ask for a name, you’re not supposed to give it up. They can take over your whole world with that simple trick.

My mam raised me right. She knew of the fae, encouraged me to not fear them, but taught me their tricks. My da was an English man who wasn’t home much. He laughed at her, but I think her stories might have just saved me.

My voice comes out in a hoarse whisper. “You may not have it, but you may call me Cedric.”

“Alright, Cedric,” he sounds confused, probably thrown off by my specific wording. “I need you to tell me why you’re here.”

“I don’t know.”

“Don’t know or can’t remember?”

I sigh. “Does it matter?”

He grabs the ties around my wrists. “The people down there think you’re a werewolf. They say you ate several sheep and attacked a human.”

“Wolves died out of Ireland in the 1700s.”

It’s not an answer. I know that. I’m stating the obvious in order to gain time to comb through the memories I don’t have.

Wolf. I ate sheep? I wouldn’t have hurt someone.

I’m not that kind of guy.

At least, I don’t remember being that kind of guy.

“Well? Having memory problems?”

I nod. No point in denying it. I don’t know how long I’ve been tied up here, but my hands are tingling and the cold has sunk into my bones. I don’t recognize a single person in the crowd down there. I don’t even know what town is off in the distance. I’m a stranger in a strange land being tried for crimes I can’t remember.

“It’s typical for someone who has been recently exposed to the virus.”

The ties around my left wrist startstarts to loosen as he saws through the thick rope. “I’m not sick.”

“True. You didn’t catch the common cold, Cedric. However, there’s been abe a recent rise in the virus out here.”

My left hand is free. I wiggle my fingers to try to get the blood moving again. With the ropes around my chest, I can’t step forward or move at all, but it’s a small bit of progress towards my escape.

“You a scientist or something?”

There’s a deep chuckle at my back. “Some would call me an antiquarian. I like to collect things that will eventually be very old.”

Okay then. Definitely an odd answer. Something a strange creature would say. He’s probably trying to gain my trust just enough to get me to agree to some horrible bargain.

This is it.

I want to ask for clarification, but we don’t have time for such things. The mob has changed direction. Thirty pairs of eyes are focused on me. The man at my back has stopped moving. For all I know, he’s gone.

Me against a mob that has now lit torches in order to make their way back up the hill. At some point, the sun fell completely behind the horizon. Night, it seems, will be my final companion.

Maybe I’ll live long enough to glimpse the full moon once more. I could settle for seeing a few stars. Anything would be better than staring out into the darkness that is coming quick to take me from my earthly existence.

The procession climbs the hill, their voices mingling together into a single message: My time is up.

Panic flares in my chest. The bindings have somehow tightened. I can’t breathebreath. I can’t move. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.


I can’t die like this.

.     .     . 

The world is upside down. A red mist lingers in front of me. It’s dark and I’m not breathing.

They’ve killed me. Why did I wake up just to die?

“Cedric. Up here, please.”

The voice of the creature from the woods. Is he here to take what remains of my soul? I’m already so cold. My chest is tight. My arms are limp at my sides. Bits of grass tickle my cheeks as I try to focus on the pair of legs standing just to the side of me.

“You need to breathe.”

Scuffed sneakers, legs wrapped in jeans, the creature looks entirely normal. I gasp in a breath of air as I push up from the ground to get a better look. Tanned skin. There’s scars around his wrists and on his hands as he reaches towards me.

“We need to go, Cedric. Can you stand?”

Black hair tied in a tail at the back of his neck. Green eyes. A slightly crooked nose.

“Cedric. Focus. We don’t have much time.”

I peel my eyes away from his face and the concern swimming in his gaze. The scene behind him takes away the little breath I had managed to contain. Splintered wood sticks up out of the grass. There’s smoke drifting away from a smothered fire. Nobody is standing. Instead, the men and women of this town are on their knees. There’s wounds. I can smell the tang of blood and hear moanshear a moans amongst the crowd.

“Cedric,” the creature from the woods snaps his fingers in front of my face. “We need to go now.”

I don’t look at him. I can’t.

There’s blood on my hands. It’s splattered across the front of my shirt. I don’t remember anything happening, but the proof is spread across me.

I did this. I don’t deserve help. I likely never did.

“Everyone is going to be okay, Cedric. I’m a doctor. I already checked on everyone before I came back to you. They’re going to stay still and wait for us to leave. That’s all.” His hand is still extended towards me. “Let me help you now.”

This can’t be happening. I wish I could see my mam or throw myself into the arms of someone more capable of dealing with this. I’m a monster. I hurt people. I should be burned and left to rot in the open as a warning for these people to be careful of what lurks out in the world.

“Who are you?” I croak.

He doesn’t waver in his stance. “Gideon Carter. I have a facility designed to help people like you. We just have to walk away from this.”


How am I supposed to walk away from the blood and fear coating the faces of these people?

Why is this something I have to remember?

“It’s not easy to be labeled as a monster, Cedric. You will survive this, though.” 

I want to cover my head with my arms and melt away into the grass, to truly be taken by the fae and never seen again. “What about the next time I black out?”

His hand stays in front of me, a current offer to change my life. “I’ll be there next time and every time after until we have this under control.”

“How can I trust you? What if I kill you? Who’s going to stop me then?”

Gideon crouches down to my level, his voice low to keep the conversation just between the two of us. “I’m the first vampire of the latest generation. I made it without help, but I won’t let anyone else go through what I did. You’ll be safe with me.”

Vampire. Not fae. 

My mind is spinning even as I slide my hand into his warm palm. This is real. It is very, very real. 

Mam would never believe I talked to a creature of the night and lived to tell the tale. 

He pulls me to my feet, slipping my arm over his shoulders in order to support my weight. Together, we walk away from the townspeople and the ocean I watched as I held what I thought to be my last breaths. I don’t know where we’re headed. I don’t even know if it’s the best place for someone like me. 

It’ll be a story, though. 

Something worthy of telling Mam if I ever do see her again.

Author’s Note:

Cedric is a minor character in the landscape of vampires I’ve compiled for one of my larger novels. He, however, as all good side characters should, believes his story is just as important to share. Going through these prompts and shaping them to characters I’ve known for years is a great way to add in shades of depth I hadn’t taken the time to do previously.

He and Gideon will return along their protagonist, Tamyra Raeleigh, in a story that parallels Lucy and Miles from the previous prompts.

Thank you for taking the time to read this week’s story and be sure to check out my writing partners, Bridgette and Anna: