Authors: Sheri Whitefeather
The Vampire Bracelet
THE VAMPIRE BRACELET is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental. The Publisher does have any control over and does not assume responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Copyright @2012 Sheree Whitefeather
All Rights Reserved.
Cover Design by Rae Monet, Inc.
“Tell me more about them,” eight-year-old Marie North said. She loved hearing about gen-vamps. She’d been taught that all sorts of “mythical” beings were real, either existing in other realms or living undetected among humans. But gen-vamps were her favorite because Uncle Darrin actually owned a handful of them.
“I have six in total,” he said.
“And all of them live inside of antique jewelry and grant wishes for the exchange of blood?” She knew they were sometimes called blood genies because of their feeding habits.
“That’s right, Baby Girl,” he replied, using the nickname he’d given her. “I have three who grant wishes to women and three who offer their magic to men. But the wishes are only temporary. They only last for two weeks.”
“Gen-vamps aren’t strong enough to grant lifelong wishes.”
“Because they’re hybrids?” she asked. Uncle Darrin had mentioned it the last time he’d told her a gen-vamp story. Not only that, but he trusted her to keep all of this a secret. She’d vowed to never, ever tell anyone. And she wasn’t going to, either.
“Yes,” he confirmed. “Because they’re hybrids. But they used to be human, like us.”
She spouted off her knowledge. “Then they got turned into vampires. And after that, they got made into gen-vamps and their hearts started beating again. But they still don’t have a pulse.” She considered them only sort of dead, whereas vamps were full-on corpses. She angled her head. “Who made them into gen-vamps, Uncle?”
“A big bad genie king named Mathieu. He’s the most powerful ruler in his realm. He has thousands of gen-vamps under his control, and their energy is what makes him so powerful.”
She pictured Mathieu with a gnarled face, deep-sunken eyes, and pointy fingernails. She also imagined him living in a dark and scary castle surrounded by ghostly trees and gray clouds. She gave a little shiver. “I don’t like him.”
“Most of the gen-vamps in my care don’t like him, either. Especially Simone.”
“What kind of jewelry does she live in?”
“A diamond ring.”
“Does she grant wishes to men or women?”
“Is she nice?”
“Truthfully? She’s rather fierce. She liked being a vampire, so being turned into a gen-vamp made her angry.”
“Is she pretty?”
“She’s gorgeous. But she has a temper. Mostly it’s directed at Mathieu. He’s the source of her contempt.”
Marie didn’t blame Simone for hating that horrible genie king. “Who else grants wishes to women?”
“Anthony and Nicholas. They’re brothers. Anthony lives in a ruby pendant and Nicholas inhabits an emerald bracelet. They weren’t vampires for very long. In fact, it was Simone who made them into vampires.”
“In 1950. By then, Simone had been a vampire for centuries. She’s much, much older than they are. But none of that matters now. A few months after she turned them into vampires, Mathieu made all three of them into gen-vamps.”
“What do Anthony and Nicholas look like?”
“They’re dashing. You’d think they were twins, but they’re not. Anthony is older.”
She pictured them like fairy tale princes, only with fangs. She also imagined them in ruffled shirts, velvet-trimmed trousers, and sashes tied around their waists. Maybe around their heads, too. “Are they angry like Simone?”
“No. Anthony is strong and helpful. And Nicholas is charming and clever. He gives me the most trouble, even more than Simone.”
“Because he flirts with the women he grants wishes to. He plays practical jokes on me, too, when he can get away with it. He can be a regular pain in the butt.” He smacked the side of his rump to make his point. “But Nicholas makes me laugh, too.” Even now, he was chuckling.
Marie laughed, as well. “Which one do you think I’d like better?” She leaned forward, eager to hear his response. “Anthony or Nicholas?”
She decided that she liked Anthony better because he sounded more like a prince. Fairy tale heroes, especially real ones, weren’t supposed to be pains in the butt, even if they drank people’s blood. “They can’t kill anyone, can they? Or turn someone into what they are?” She already knew the answer was no, but she liked being reassured.
“No, Baby Girl. Hybrids can’t do those things.”
“Can they guzzle someone’s blood and make that person weak?” Sometimes she guzzled grape juice. She never pretended it was blood, though. That would be gross.
“Yes, they can do that. But they aren’t supposed to.”
She doubted that Simone or Nicholas would follow the rules. Anthony was different. She trusted him. “Have you ever let any of the gen-vamps drink from you?”
“Only when they haven’t fed for a while. I don’t make a habit of it.”
She touched the side of her neck, poking around to find her vein. “Does it hurt?”
“A little. But mostly it makes you woozy. Like when adults get drunk or take more medication than they should.”
She didn’t know anything about that stuff. But she figured it was similar to when she spun herself around on the grass and toppled over. That was one of her favorite games. But one time she cut herself on a sprinkler and that wasn’t the least bit fun. The sight of her own blood had made her feel sick.
When they stopped talking, Marie wondered what type of wish was important enough to let a gen-vamp make you bleed on purpose. None, she decided. She would never want anything that badly.
Not even when she was grown up.
Marie entered the Chakra Circle, the magic shop Uncle Darrin owned. She was so nervous she could barely think straight. But she slapped a smile on her face. Desperate times called for desperate measures. She just hoped Darrin understood.
“Hey, Baby Girl.” He came around the front counter, greeting her the way he always did.
She embraced him with a loving hug. He was pushing seventy, but he was as striking as ever, with sharp-boned features, longish white hair, and bronzed skin.
She stepped back and lifted the takeout bag she carried. “As promised, I brought lunch. Chicken enchiladas for you. Vegetarian tacos for me. Sides of rice and beans for both of us.” She rattled the bag. “Chips and salsa, too.”
“Great. I’m starving.” He closed the shop, putting a clock sign in the window that said it would reopen in an hour.
They went to the tiny break room and sat across from each other at a cramped table. She set up the food, and he dived in with gusto. She ate cautiously, so as not to give herself a belly ache. When she got anxious, her stomach acted up.
“I have a favor to ask.”
“Sure. What is it?”
A deep breath. A quick burst of words. “May I borrow a gen-vamp?”
He made a worried expression. “Are you in some sort of trouble? You know I only loan them to people who are truly in need of their magic.”
“I’m not in trouble. But my life isn’t going as planned. I want to get married and start a family.”
“That’s what this is about? You and your boyfriend?”
“I’m certain that Keith would make a great husband. He just needs a push in the right direction.”
“The wishes only last for two weeks,” he reminded her.
“Then tell me, what exactly are you trying to accomplish?”
“My wish would be to have Keith propose within those two weeks and let the rest of it happen naturally.”
“The rest of it? You mean the wedding itself?” He sat back in his chair. “A legitimate marriage with a magic-induced engagement? Something isn’t right with that picture.”
“Please, Uncle. I’m almost forty. My biological clock is ready to bust.”
“You’re thirty-five. You’ve got plenty of time.”
“Not to have babies. It gets tougher the older you get.”
He sighed. “I’d be thrilled for you to have a family. But as much I hate to say this, I’m not convinced that Keith is the right man for you.”
She frowned. “Why not?”
“Because if he wanted to marry you, he would have proposed by now.”
“I told you, he just needs a nudge. A lot of men do.”
“Yes, but are you sure he’s the one? Love should be wild and consuming. You and Keith seem more like friends than claw-each-other-to-death lovers.”
Claw? Death? Was he serious? Her uncle wasn’t qualified to dole out romantic advice. He’d never even gotten close to walking down the aisle. “There’s plenty of spark in our relationship. And there’s nothing wrong with marrying your best friend.”
“If he wants to marry you.”
She didn’t reply and during the quiet, he continued to eat. Still concerned about her nerves, she did little more than pick at her meal. She hated being single. Everyone in her social circle was married and had kids. With each year that passed, she felt more and more like a spinster, especially when her friends went on family outings together.
Finally she said, “I love Keith, and he loves me.” Their relationship wasn’t wild and consuming, but it was solid and true. “We’re right for each other.”
Darrin didn’t look convinced.
She tried a different approach. “Give me a chance to prove you wrong. Loan me a gen-vamp and let me make my wish.” Cradling her arms, she made a rocking-baby motion. “I’ll name my first-born son after you.”
He smiled, laughed a little. “That’s quite a bargain.”
She released the imaginary infant. Funny how she’d changed. How many times during her youth had she claimed that nothing would ever push her in the direction of a blood genie wish? “I want to have a family more than I’ve ever wanted anything.”
“I know you do.”
Marie perked up. She could tell that he was considering it. She could see the concentration in his eyes, the melting resolve.
“All right,” he said.
She grinned. This was like Christmas, only better. She’d never received a holiday gift of this magnitude. “Thank you, Uncle.”