Read A Reluctant Vampire Online

Authors: Carla Krae

Tags: #the sanctuary war series, #historical vampire fiction, #the adam chronicles

A Reluctant Vampire

A RELUCTANT
VAMPIRE

 

By Carla Krae

Published by Carla
Krae at Smashwords

Copyright 2011 Carla
Krae

First Edition

The right of Carla Krae to be identified as
the Author of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with
the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All characters in this publication are purely
fictitious and any resemblance to real persons--living or dead--is
purely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this
publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted, in any form or by any means mechanical, electronic,
photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written
consent of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form
of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and
without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent
purchaser.

This e-book is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to
other people. If you would like to share this book with another
person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you
share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it,
or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return
it to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for
respecting the hard work of this author.

 

A RELUCTANT
VAMPIRE

It was the first day
of the year the sun’s warmth made my robe feel too warm. Sitting on
a stone bench, I inhaled the scent of herbs and greens. Spring was
late this year and my brothers kept me inside until the slippery
threat of frost had fully faded from the garden's stone path, so
finally getting outside again was a blessing.

Footsteps crunched
the dirt, coming nearer. "What is it, Brother Michael?" I
asked.

"How do you always
know, Adamo?"

"Your footfalls are
heavy, my friend. I doubt you could creep upon the ancient."

He placed a hand on
my shoulder. "It's time for supper."

Steadying my walking
stick on the ground before me, I stood and set my hand on his
shoulder. He was one of the few men taller than me at the
monastery, but not by much, and he was used to modifying his gait
to match my hesitant steps. Twenty paces later, we reached the
kitchen door.

Ours was not an order
subsisting on bland and meager offerings, so the scents of roasted
meat and vegetables came to me upon Brother Michael opening the
door. My mouth watered and stomach growled, causing me to wonder
how much time passed while I was outside. He led me to the dining
hall and my usual seat at the end of a bench. Someone would place a
plate and mug in front of me. Needing to depend on them to feed me
bothered me at first, when my world went dark, but by now I knew I
could trust them implicitly.

Brother Michael's
footsteps neared again and something thumped on the wood table.
Sliding my fingers along the surface of the worn wood, I found a
bowl. "Stew?"

"Brother Thomas
thought the bowl would be easier for you. The food is already
cut."

"Hm." I found the
handle of a spoon when I felt around the circumference of the bowl.
"Did I leave the table dirty?"

"Calm yourself,
Adamo. He's only trying to help."

"I don't need to be
treated like an infant, Michael."

"Thomas hasn't been
here long, Adamo. Eat, friend, and don't be offended."

Nodding, I picked up
the spoon and shoved the bite into my mouth. Most days, I was
grateful to be in the abbey instead of out in the world where
people like me were beggars just to survive.

Someone slid a torch
into the wall sconce to my right. Dusk must have fallen, cutting
off the light coming through the windows. The night breeze stirred
my hair, still carrying a touch of Winter's chill. Brother Theo
called for someone to close the window from the cold. He was one of
the elders and the cold sank into his bones more easily these days.
Soon, it would be full dark and we would lock up for the night. Our
location was secluded, but we were close to a main road for
travelers.

After supper, we
attended evening devotion, then separated for free time before our
rituals for bed. Some read, some wrote, others played music or
games. We liked each other and it was unusual for one of us to seek
solitude in his chamber unless he was ill.

I couldn't read or
illuminate manuscripts, but my hands were nimble enough to be
useful. So, I was in the middle of counting stitches, needle poised
in my right hand, when I heard horses' hooves outside. Who could be
here at this time of night? A lost traveler?

Boom. Boom. Boom.
Three
knocks. My brothers murmured among themselves and I heard someone
walk away down the hall to answer the door. Michael came to my
side.

"What is it?" I
asked.

"I don't know. It
bothers me."

"The Spirit giving
you intuition, Brother?"

He snorted. "Nothing
so grand, Adamo. Just a feeling."

"The Lord is subtle,
Michael. Perhaps you should tell--" There was a shout down the hall
from the front of the building. "Michael?"

"Go to your room,
Adamo, and wait for me."

"What--"

"
Go
." He shoved my staff
into my hands and left me. There was much commotion and shuffling
of feet around me.

Counting off the
steps in my mind, I walked to my bedchamber, my free hand clutching
the cross hanging from my neck. Getting inside my room cut off the
noise, but not my anxiety, and I whispered a prayer for peace.

A horse and rider
passed by the small open window opposite the door. I hurried to it
and shut the hatch. Perhaps they were robbers. That would certainly
explain the hurried actions of my brothers. We didn't shelter
jewels or priceless artifacts, but we did keep volumes of value.
Knowledge was priceless to some.

I shouldn't get ahead
of myself. There had been no sounds of fighting.

Yet.

The thunder of horse
hooves passed by again, accompanied by the shouts of men. The scent
of smoke seeped in from outside. Had they set the outbuildings on
fire?

“Adamo!”

I opened my door.
Michael grabbed my sleeve. “This way.”

“What is
happening?”

“No matter what, do
not leave the building.”

“Michael, I don’t
understand what--”

He stopped, deeper in
the monastery, and I heard hinges creak. He grabbed my wrist and
pulled me down. “Feel the ladder. Hide in the cellar until all is
quiet, even if you have to wait till morning.”

“What trouble has
befallen us, Brother?”

“Agents of the Devil
himself, Adamo. Promise me.”

“I swear it.”

“Hide now.”

I climbed down the
ladder, tremors of fear dancing in my stomach, and felt along the
wall to a pile of sacks of grain and crouched behind them. The
hatch was shut and I heard something scrape across the floor and
stop above me.

Would the cellar
become my tomb this night?

God
in Heaven, please help us
I
prayed in whispered Latin, clinging to the cross hanging from neck.
The sounds of struggle carried further out into the monastery. I
heard the screams of men and their cries in death. My sanctuary, my
home, was being destroyed. It didn’t make sense! My tears fell onto
the dirt floor.

I don’t know how long
I huddled in the dark listening to my brothers dying.

Then…the sound of
footsteps, light and close together like a woman’s or a child. They
stopped above and then the hatch was pulled open. I tried to not
make a sound, but my breaths were rapid, dragging harshly out of my
lungs.

The footsteps came
closer. I heard the swishing of fabric brushing against the burlap
sacks, and smelled roses. The footsteps stopped in front of my
hiding place and then I was suddenly yanked by my robe toward the
ladder.

“Unhand me!” I’d only
heard one set of footsteps, but it wasn’t possible for a woman to
move me so. “I have no riches!” The hands let go, and I regained my
balance. “Who are you?”

“What is your name,
boy?” a husky female voice asked in Italian.


Adamo,
signora
. You shouldn’t be here. It isn’t
safe.”

She laughed. I wished
I could see the owner of that lovely voice. “Of course it is.”

“Oh, please help us.
My brothers--”

“Shhh. I will take
care of you, Adamo.” She caressed my face with a cool, soft
hand.

My body sagged in
relief an instant before I felt an intense sting in my neck.

****

Noises. Scratching
and whooshing and pounding and—

So much overwhelming
sound.

Hide. Run.

Curled in a ball
covering my ears, I moaned, “I’m dying!”

A woman laughed and
the loudness of it shattered my head. “Adamo, focus. Relax.”


Speak
softly,
signora
.”

“I whisper, child.
Sit up and show some dignity.” Her voice carried a note of
authority and I did what she asked. “Good boy. I will get you
something to eat.”

The swish of her
skirts faded away. She’d left.

There was a draft, so
we were no longer in the cellar. I sat on a wood floor, so it must
be the dining hall. Though I didn’t expect to see anything, my eyes
opened by reflex.

“Jesu be praised!
I’ve experienced a miracle!”

Instead of the
shroud of obscurity I’d come to expect for over half my life, the
room was visible. Not perfectly, if I remembered correctly from
childhood…the details were blurry and there was little color to my
world, but I could
see
.

I moved to my knees
and praised God for this gift. It was not disappointing to receive
imperfect sight since it must be the will of the Lord to keep my
humble, to try my faith. Saint Paul endured much, so a lowly
servant such as I could endure this, too.

A sudden cuff to the
ear sent me reeling, splayed on the floor and stunned.


You will not
speak that name anymore! It is not
God
that
gave you this gift, but I! And so much more. Rise. Drink. We have
hours to travel.” A dead goat with its neck at an odd angle was at
her feet. “I would have brought you a human but you slept too long.
Eat.”

Seeing me shake my
head in denial, she huffed and slashed the goat’s throat with a
dagger, spilling its blood on the floor. Instead of my stomach
recoiling at the sight, I felt even worse hunger than I woke with
and grabbed the corpse. New instinct took over. I drank as much
blood as I could get down my throat. She petted my hair.

Blood was all
over me, staining my robe, my hands, and dripping from my chin.
Once my belly was full, my wits returned. “What have you
done
? You have damned me!”

She grabbed my
chin and forced me to look up at her. “I have
freed you
. Come, childe. We do not have time for this.” She
was a beautiful, terrible thing and something inside told me I
could not refuse her command.

I was given clean
garments, a bowl of water to bathe, and instructed to follow to the
carriage outside when I finished. Splashing water on my face, I
discovered someone had shaved my beard. My brothers hadn’t wanted
me to handle sharp objects, so once my beard started to grow,
Brother Michael trimmed it for me every so often. The skin was
tender to the touch now. What else had changed while I slept?
Sighing, I lifted the soiled robe over my head and winced when my
pendant landed on my bare chest. The contact of the cross stung. I
tried to examine it and it burned my fingertips.

I was forsaken. Truly
damned.

Tears leaked from my
eyes. I didn’t know what I’d become, but my Lord, my Savior, had
turned his back on me and all my friends were dead. Death, too,
would be my destiny…

Except the woman’s
compulsion would not let me deviate from my task. First, a monster,
and now bewitched? The night was truly cursed.

Lifting the cord from
my neck, I set the pendant on the table and continued dressing. The
fine new clothes felt odd compared to the rough robes I’d worn
since coming here at age five. The only home I really ever knew.
Seeing the beloved rooms should have been a gift, but all I saw
were the dead bodies. All I felt was pain.

Outside, men sat on
horseback flanking the carriage. The woman nodded to one of them,
stepped up into the carriage, and beckoned me inside.


I am your
maker, childe. You will do as I say when I say, without argument.
In turn, I will teach you what you are. Do you know the word
lamia
?”

Other books

Healthy Place to Die by Peter King
Serial Separation by Dick C. Waters
Some Possible Solutions by Helen Phillips
Cole (The Ride Series) by O'Brien, Megan
Woman to Woman by Cathy Kelly
Just The Thought Of You by Brandon, Emily
Hope Takes Flight by Gilbert Morris