Authors: Jessie M
Copyright © Jessie M. 2013.
Hot & Dreamy Books
Barleycorn Media LLC
All Rights Reserved.
This book is sold subject to conditions that it cannot by way of trade be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the author’s prior consent, in any form or cover, other than which it is published.
This novel is a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it, while at times based on real figures, are purely the work of the author’s imagination.
In The Beginning
500 BC, Etrusca, pre Roman Empire. The powerful and cultured inhabited this region of early Italy. Many were wealthy landowners. And it was from this uniquely cultured area that the first vampires came to be. They were created by a saliva borne disease that was transmitted animal to animal, and occasionally to a susceptible human through an infected bite. The result was virtual eternal youthfulness and enhanced physical beauty. These first blood craving individuals separated into two main factions, the Gianni and the Ristoria.
The Gianni maintained their civility and culture and blended so seamlessly within the local population that the locals never suspected they were anything but ordinary people. The Ristoria, on the other hand, were blood crazed, violent, and evil. They embraced the dark side of vampirism, causing fear and chaos wherever they happened to settle.
The two vampire families clashed and struggled against each other for centuries until Lord Aule, the great leader of the Gianni household, and his followers finally dispatched many of the Ristorian leaders and vanquished the remaining evil ones from their homelands. But they were not defeated. They were merely licking their wounds in retreat, waiting for revenge, for their turn to rise and strike again.
In 1994, Lord Aule and his human wife Melissa, conceived a child, a biological vampire, Calista Isadora. Eight months later, Lord Aule and Melissa were murdered, after which their child was removed and hidden for safekeeping until she reached eighteen summers of age.
Calista Isadora is the last true blood descendant of the wealthy and powerful Gianni lineage. The last vampire of noble birth. She must be guarded and protected at all costs for the proud family heritage to survive. This is her story.
I'm craving something… Badly... All the time.
It's not hamburgers, or diet Coke, or even chocolate. In fact I'm getting less and less interested in those simple life essentials. It's something far more basic than that. I've had this feeling for a few years now, it started when I was fifteen.
It comes in fits and starts.
I thought it was a normal part of growing up, to have odd cravings like this and that everyone felt this way, but over time I've come to realise it's not.
How and why do I know this?
Because what I crave is… blood.
I'm pretty damn sure no other 18 year old female wants it as much as I do.... to lick it from a very rare steak or to suck it from cuts and grazes. Not that I ever have. I just want to.
I'm one of those odd people, I guess. A sicko. A blood obsessed nutcase. A wannabe vampire or something ridiculous like that.
Maybe a few neurons in my brain are misfiring and always have? Perhaps I was dropped on my head when I was a baby and everything is scrambled upstairs?
I don't know the reason way I feel this way.
All I know is that I can smell it and taste it in the air. And my senses and cravings are getting so much stronger. I'm scared of it. Fearful of what I might do to get the object of my cravings. Worried I might lose control.
I used to be able to live with it and ignore it, but it seems to have increased ten-fold since I turned eighteen at the beginning of September, eight weeks ago. Now it is a constant craving and my life is hell.
Who can I talk to about this?
Who would understand?
What the fuck is happening to me?
I gather up my books and pens, shoving them back in my bag in a rush, and make to leave the classroom as fast as I can.
I so need to go, jeez, that was the worst I've ever felt....
Oh, Candace, can you stay behind for a moment please? I'd like a word,” Mrs. Jacobs, my English tutor asks me as I reach her desk. The other students look at me pitifully as they pass by. I'm not popular. By design. I'm a loner. A complete loner. I like it that way. It's safe.
I can't, I've got someone waiting for me outside,” I lie in desperation.
Just two minutes, that's all.”
I pick at a hole in my jeans while we wait for the last person to leave and I watch as Mrs. Jacobs finally gets up from her desk to close the door, then turns, and leans against it. She eyes me silently for a while. I know what's coming.
“What on earth's going on with you lately, Candace? You're absent at least one day every week. You don't seem to be listening in class. Your work is really low quality, if it turns up at all? I don't understand. Last term you were a straight A student and so focused on getting good grades. Now you'll be lucky to scrape by with a C in your finals. I've spoken to your Latin and French tutors and it's the same story.” Her tone suddenly changes from harsh and accusing, to soft and sickly sweet. “Candy... I want to know what I can do to help. Please feel free to confide in me. You can, you know? It's all strictly private, you can tell me anything.”
I'm a late bloomer, I guess. I'm having a teenage confidence crisis. I can't concentrate properly.”
Pretty good for an off the cuff reply, I'd say. It sounds believable enough to me.
“Oh dear, I see... Would you like to have a chat with Julia, the school counsellor? Just talking things through can be very therapeutic.” She walks towards me, stopping right in front of me and touches my arm, looking into my eyes. I can smell it, her blood. It seems to be coming from everywhere. It's a heady mixture of metal, sweet and salty. I can imagine it rolling on my tongue, slipping down my throat. I gulp and filter it out. I can do that. Block my senses. It's helpful at times like this. Times where I'm stuck in a small space with another blood filled living creature.
I don't suppose it'd hurt.”
Or help much either, because I ain’t telling Julia my real problem for sure. But hey... if I can get out of here faster, I'll agree to do almost anything.
“I'll arrange something and let you know, okay? And Candy, please come to me for help if things get too much for you to handle in the future. I want to see you do well. There's still time to catch up. You have another two terms in front of you. It's doable if you put your mind to it straight away.”
Yeah, right... I'm not helping her grading success rate go in the right direction, am I? That's what this is all about. It's not a personal favour she's doing me.
“Thanks, I'll think on it.”
I'm so fucking out of here. Her two minutes are up.
I shoot out the door, sorting out my locker stuff, and make a dash for home on my bike. It's becoming so difficult, sitting in a class of twenty people. The scent and craving is overwhelming. I can't zone it all out for hours on end. It's no wonder I can't think straight. I have to bite my lip and pinch myself and try just about every distraction technique I can think of to stop myself from exploding in a screaming fit of bloodlust. I've got another six months of this. This torture. This hell.
But what then? More hell somewhere else? University, work, a psychiatric unit...? Who knows? The latter is most probably where I'll end up.
I'm a mixed up, fucked up, blood craving monster. It's probably the best place for me. Under sedation in a padded room.
I cycle up the street, away from the central sixth form buildings, and past the main part of the school, turning onto the busy main road. It's starting to rain and it's windy and cold, it's getting dark too, very gloomy. I turn on my bike lamp. It's Halloween tonight and I see a few bright orange pumpkin decorations outside the houses as I pass by. It's not far by bike, but it would take me over a half hour to walk it. By biking it, I can avoid everyone as well; all the other students who go my way. I turn into Bakers Road and cycle up the slight incline and into Holly Bush Lane. There's only two houses up here. The retired Jones' bungalow and our house, a small 19
century thatched cottage. It's painted a sunny yellow colour which always cheers me a little when I arrive home. I open the gate to the front yard and wheel my bike in, propping it up in the woodshed.
I go inside the porch, unlocking the door, and dump my bag on the kitchen counter. I'm so thirsty, I need a drink. I put my mouth under the running tap and take a long, long slurping draw of fresh cool water. It's the only drink I can take these days, apart from a glass of wine or a gin and tonic. I'm rather partial to those. Not that I can afford to buy them, but Mum and Dad do and I sneak a little when they're not around.
I go upstairs into my bedroom and lay on my bed. I look around my room like I do every night. This is my comfort zone. It's the pink room of my childhood, apart from a few of my more recent additions. I look at my black shaded lamp and my Gothic style wrought iron framed mirror. I found it in a skip on the way home from school last month. I painted it matte black and it looks beautiful sitting propped up on my dressing table. It's my prize possession.
What a sad bitch I am...
I get my iPod out and put some music on to while away the time. I'm into rousing stuff with a hard beat and angsty, moody genres. Anything that tears at the soul and ears will do. Jessie J belts out loudly into my ears. I like hard rap too, if it's done well. And some of the popular Goth bands like Alien Sex Fiend and Cruxshadows, a cool darkwave band from Florida which I'm really into at the moment. After the mixed and noisy electronic blast I nod off for a while and wake with a sudden start. Mum's home from work, I hear her downstairs and the porch door slams shut with the wind, vibrating the whole house with its force. The rain is pelting down, and it's blowing a gale out there, smothering my window with a noisy sideways waterfall. I switch the black lamp on. There's not much difference in light after I've done it.
“Candy...? You in?” Mum calls upstairs.
Yep, just doing my homework,” I lie.
I get up and go and sit at my dressing table cum desk. I turn my laptop on and pretend to be looking at our course work, Chaucer.
How grim and dry this subject is...
I hear her feet on the stairs a little later, followed by a quick knock, and in she comes all bustling and chirpy with the usual cuppa which she puts down next to me.
“Horrid weather out there. The poor little kids trailing around the streets doing trick or treat, getting all soaked. It's such a shame.”
Mmmm…” I say half listening. “Don't make me tea Mum, I don't drink it anymore.” I've told her this several times but it appears I need to remind her. I can smell her blood strongly as she leans over me to pick it up again. I shut it out.
Oh yes, I forgot. I'm putting dinner on soon. It's veggie pasta. You like that don't you?”