Chasing Shadows (A Shadow Chronicles Novel)

BOOK: Chasing Shadows (A Shadow Chronicles Novel)
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CHASING SHADOWS

 

A Shadow Chronicles Novel

 

 

Christina Moore

 

 

 

 

Published by Black Room Press

 

 

KINDLE EDITION

 

*****

 

Chasing Shadows: A Shadow Chronicles Novel

 

Text Copyright 2010, 2012 by Christina Moore

Cover Art 2012 by Christina Moore

 

*****

 

This book is a work of fiction. Any person or place appearing herein is fictitious or is used fictitiously.

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form. Please do not reproduce or transmit this book, in whole or in part, by any means without permission in writing from the author.

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only, and 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. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy.

Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

 

Table of Contents

Dedication

Acknowledg
e
ments

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

Epilogue

Other works by Christina Moore

Sneak Peek

About the Author

Connect with Christina

 

 

Dedication

 

This book is for everyone who ever told m
e “Go for it.” Without their e
ncouragement, this book would not exist.

 

 

Back to Top

Acknowledgements

 

My deepest and most heartfelt thanks go to my Beta readers Michelle and Tonja, as well as Terri, who asked upon finishing, "When's the next one coming out?"

 

 

Back to Top

“There’s something I need to tell you.”

He pulled back and I let him—reluctantly, of course, because all I wanted was to continue the kiss, to let the passion that was obviously very mutual continue on its natural course.

But I could see that Mark was very serious, that he absolutely had to say what was on his mind before he could continue. So I nodded and waited for him to speak.

He looked at me, his eyes searching my face, before he swallowed and said, “Saphrona I… I’m not entirely human.”

I felt my eyes widen. So he did know after all, or at least had some clue that he wasn’t your average human male. This was a good thing, I realized, and it was the sign I had been looking for—the one that told me he was ready to hear the truth about me.

I smiled tentatively and looked into his eyes. “
It’s
okay, Mark. I’m not entirely human, either.”

 

 

Back to Top

One

 

 

“Vampires are not dead.”

I smiled as I read the first line of Vivian Drake’s most recent article in
Vampire
, the #1 best-selling magazine that catered to vampire enthusiasts (hence the name). I couldn’t help it—because I
am
Vivian Drake.

Oh, that’s not my real name. Nor is it even the name I was given at birth. But “Vivian Drake” seemed just the right kind of name for a fantasy novelist who wrote about vampires, and I had needed an alias. It wouldn’t do at all for certain people to find out that the woman who was spilling the secrets of vampire kind through supposedly fictional stories was one of their own.

Yeah, not only are vampires not dead, but they’re very much real. See, I’m one of them—sort of. I’m actually what vampires (and numerous human mythologies) refer to as a
dhampyr
, or vampire-human hybrid. I had a vampire father and a human mother.

“They are very much alive,” my article went on. “Sure, the process by which a person becomes a vampire can make them
look
like they are dead, which is why many people are buried and later rise from their graves. But the truth is they’re just being transformed. You see, no human being has ever been made a vampire
after
death—the transformation requires a living victim. Like certain species of bats, vampires produce a substance called draculin (named for Count Dracula, of course) in their saliva, which is injected into a victim through being bitten. However, unlike the draculin in bat saliva, which is an anti-coagulant, the draculin produced by vampires is a mutagen. When passed directly into the bloodstream, draculin first paralyzes the person and then begins to alter the human genome at the molecular level…and then
voila!
A vampire.

“So ladies, no worries about kissing your vampire boyfriends!”

The article I’d written went on to say that the mutation from human being to “undead” vampire was really quite painful, and it was highly recommended that one not choose to become a vampire. After all, the only thing a vampire can digest is blood, and the thirst for it is constant. Even hybrids like
myself
require blood in order to survive, though certainly not as much as a bitten vampire. We’re also capable of eating normal human food, but there’s no escaping the vampire side of our nature…so it’s not a lifestyle change one should
want
to undertake, no matter what benefits went along with it.

I detailed exactly what one could expect when becoming a vampire, and also tore apart the myth that
dhampyr
were hideously ugly monsters with no skeletons, no shadows, and no souls. That was a common belief in the Balkans and Serbia, or had been at one time, because how could a thing that was not living, whose soul had been damned, conceive a child with a living, breathing, not-damned human? Logic said that the dead could not conceive with the living; it was a truth that had eventually led vampire scientists to determine (with the help of advanced medical technology) that they were, in fact, not dead at all. Eighteenth century peasants simply could not comprehend the science behind what made a hybrid, so they allowed themselves to believe such children were beastly creatures that only roamed at night. So not true—the
beastly part, anyway—because I’ve been pursued relentlessly by dozens of men in my 230-plus years, both mortal and immortal alike. Guess that means I’m pretty.

Of course, this miraculous discovery didn’t mean that my sire’s people were ready to embrace their human brethren as equals. Just because you’re as alive as your food doesn’t mean you stop thinking of it as food—most humans knew that a cow was alive, but it didn’t stop them from eating steak. Plus, it was believed that humanity just wasn’t ready to accept the truth that not only were vampires real, but they were also living beings who had simply been changed from human to superhuman like the mutants in their comic books.

I closed the article with another truth, that there was a third kind of immortal: the
dhunphyr
. They were created when a human woman was bitten while pregnant. If the woman wasn’t killed during the attack and the vampire’s draculin didn’t cause her to miscarry, the child was born gifted with immunity from illness, accelerated healing from injury, and an extended lifespan. They were also blessedly free of the unending thirst for blood. No one knew exactly how long
dhunphyr
lived, however, as they were so very rare—most pregnant women who were bitten were killed, and if they weren’t, they miscarried during the change. Only those bitten after the seventh month, when the human fetus was considered viable, had a chance of giving birth to their children…a remote chance, but a chance nonetheless. Many vampire females desperate for children had tried to gain a child to
raise
through this method, but due to the high mortality rate of the mothers and infants, the practice was eventually outlawed.

Couldn’t have the mortal population getting suspicious when their young, pregnant mothers were dropping like flies under a swatter, after all.

I sighed, closing my copy of the October issue of
Vampire
and laying it on the coffee table. I checked my doors and windows to make sure they were locked, turned off the downstairs lights, and called to my two Chihuahuas, Moe and Cissy, who followed me up the stairs to my bedroom. After changing into a nightgown and brushing my teeth, I shooed them onto their bed, bent and scratched each one behind the ears, then turned the light off and climbed into my own bed.

As a hybrid I can sleep at night if I want to, and I most certainly dream. So I wasn’t really surprised to find myself soon dreaming of the same man I had been dreaming of since I was a child. Certainly I didn’t
mind
dreaming of the wickedly handsome man with short brown hair, warm brown eyes and a tall, muscular body—a body that in my dreams he certainly knew how to please me with. But the dreams always left me feeling a little bittersweet when I awoke, for I had been dreaming of him for more than two hundred years and still had not found him.

When I was about ten, I got the courage up to confide in a female companion of Diarmid’s about my dreams, and it was through her that I learned all vampires pair-bonded; that the man of whom I dreamed was my destined bondmate. A psychic I had once consulted after disowning Diarmid had said that the man held the missing piece of my soul—he would complete me. It was frustrating, though, to ache for the real thing and not know where the hell he was, or when I would finally meet him. Until then, all I had were dreams that scintillated and enticed and always left me wanting more.

 

*****

 

The following day was a busy one. I run a small farm where I breed Thoroughbred horses, as well as raise cows, pigs, and chickens. Most of the vampires I knew found this as unbelievable as my abhorrence of killing humans, because more often than not, such animals shied away from our kind—they can sense the predatory nature of vampires, and as such instinctively want to run away from the danger. But being half human helped me a great deal in that respect, in that while they knew I was dangerous, I still smelled human. It seemed to confuse them as to whether they should trust me or not, though I’m fairly certain my calm, gentle nature had won them over.

BOOK: Chasing Shadows (A Shadow Chronicles Novel)
8.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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