Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy what you find here. Whilst you may not agree with everything I post, if you respect my right to my opinion I'll respect your right to disagree with it and we should get along just fine. :)

Disclaimer: the views expressed by the characters in these works may not necessarily represent the views of the author. Got that? Good.

Right then, on with the blog...

Friday, 8 January 2010

#FridayFlash: A Rude Awakening


Quite a few of the readers of my last #fridayflash story First Foot said in the post comments that they'd be interested in reading more about the character of that tale (thank you wonderful readers, you know who you are!) and so here, for your reading pleasure (hopefully!) is another story in the same vein. In this tale, which takes place some three years before First Foot, our hero...

No, I won't spoil it. Here we go...

#FridayFlash: A Rude Awakening.

Kat and I had spent the day hanging round the Theatre Royal’s stage door trying to keep out of London’s bitter winter weather. Luckily we got on well with Joe, the stage doorman, and he’d kept up a steady flow of mugs of tea to ward off the cold. A serial tea drinker, our Joe. Now we were looking for somewhere warm to sleep.

So there we were, round the back of the theatre, sheltering from the stinging sleet which had begun lashing down at dusk, and wondering whether we could bed down among the discarded cardboard in one of the theatre’s big industrial bins when that last mug of tea started to make its presence felt to my bladder.

Diving round the other side of the bin, I went to relieve myself while Kat stayed out of the worst of the sleet storm. I was just tugging my zip down when a figure turned the corner into the alley. All I could see in the flickering light of the single, faulty streetlamp was a tall, thin man in full evening dress, complete with cane, opera cape and a top hat. This was the sort of bloke Joe would have called a “proper toff.”

Kat hissed to me from her side of the bin, ‘You seen that knob over there? Bet he’s got a few quid.’

She winked and, as I zipped up thinking the tea would have to hang on a bit longer, I knew exactly what was going through her mind. At least I thought I did.

Did I tell you about Kat? Willowy little Irish thing in her late teens, all pale skin, flaxen hair and delicious curves. Eyes like a spring morning sky that could melt icebergs, if she was in the mood. And as hard as nails. We first met that summer when we were arrested in a police raid after both taking a wrong turn on the way back from separate spots of petty larceny on Oxford Street. I never said I was a saint.

We’d ended up among a crowd of protesters yelling vociferously about something or other - ban the whale, save the bomb, whatever. By the time we were released from custody we’d become friends and had been looking out for each other ever since.

Anyway, back to the story at hand.

As the man drew level with my side of the bin, I stepped out of the shadows slowly so as not to frighten him too much, just enough, and did my best to look pathetic and needy, with just a hint of menacing. I wasn’t too good at menacing, dressed as I was like an advert for ‘Man at Salvation Army.’

He began turning towards me, then Kat sprang at him from the other side of the bin. I thought we were only going to rough him up a bit, I didn’t know she had a knife till I caught a flash of the blade in the streetlamp’s orange glow.

I suddenly had the uncanny feeling this wasn’t going to end well and started forward to head her off, but I’d only moved a step before the man’s arm shot out and, in a perfectly timed manoeuvre, grabbed Kat by the throat, swung her up off the ground, and I heard a sickening crack as he broke her neck with nothing more than a flick of his wrist.

‘No style,’ he muttered as Kat’s lifeless body landed at his feet.

I registered the shock on her face, saw the knife slide out of her hand, then turned and ran. I must have made it oh, a whole five yards before I felt, rather than saw, the shadow pass me, then suddenly there was an iron band round my throat and my feet were the ones windmilling as I was hoisted into the air.

My heart was hammering in my chest as I dangled like a rag doll in his vicelike grip. I struggled for breath and began to choke, all the while surveyed by the most piercing green eyes I have ever seen, framed in a pale, angular face.

Then he sniffed my face, not the snuffling sniff of a dog, a single long delicate sniff like a chef examining the heady aroma of a rare ingredient and, for reasons I still don’t quite understand, my fear melted away in that instant, replaced by a burning white hot rage and I swung my fist at his face. My clumsy punch connected with his right jaw and he grunted. I winced as a wave of pain radiated up to my wrist from my newly broken knuckles. I’ve never been a fighter.

“Spirit,” he murmured with just a hint of surprise, “I like that.”

I didn’t, my hand was regretting it already.

As his eyes rolled back in his head and his fangs slid into place, a couple of things happened almost simultaneously – I felt my eyes widen to the size of saucers and, as he pulled me close and sank his fangs into the side of my neck, I pissed myself all over his shoes.

Then everything went black.

Now, let me tell you something. The entertainment industry has a lot to answer for as they have, en masse, got it wrong. Very badly wrong. There is nothing even remotely sexy or exciting about waking up in the muck and filth of a London alley, in clothes that haven’t been off your back for a month, and covered in your own urine. Just sayin’.

As Lucien introduced himself and began to explain what had just happened to me, it crossed my mind that this was not how I’d have imagined a vampire’s awakening to be, had I ever thought about it. I was still ruminating on this when Lucien pulled me to my feet, slung his arm affectionately around my shoulders, and together we headed down the alley toward his car.

Was that a speck of my blood at the corner of his mouth?

_______________

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the story. Please take a minute to visit Ad Astra Poetry and read her wonderful poem inspired by this story.

[Sat 09.01.2010. Edited for clarity and POV following kind comments from Sulci Collective, mazzz_in_Leeds, and Carrie Clevenger. Thanks for the constructive comments - there were a few parts of the story I just couldn't get right, so I'm really grateful for the fresh eyes and the advice.]



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43 comments:

Tony Noland said...

Very nice bit of backstory. I liked the way the tables were turned on them, in a notably unexpected way.

Marisa Birns said...

Bravo, Sam! This prequel is marvelous. Love everything about it.

Laughed at the comment about the entertainment industry getting it all wrong.

Loved how Lucien sniffed "no style" for Kat and "spirit" for the man.

You have a great story and you write it very well.

R.E. Wolf said...

Wow!! Awesome stuff - I can see it all!

Sulci Collective said...

You describe people (beings?) so well and deftly. I knew who Kat was within the two lines you cinched on her. I knew exactly who Lucien was too.

Only minor quibble, a POV thing - how does he know his own eyes widen to the size of saucers? Does he see this in the other beast's eyes?

Doesn't detract from a nasty (in the nicest possible way) little tale with plenty of toothsomeness in it.

marc nash

Josie said...

Another great story, Sam, and thank you! You left it on tenterhooks as well, all ready for the next instalment (hint). Roll on next Friday ;-)

G.P. Ching said...

I love the supernatural and found your story very entertaining. It has just enough traditional vampire accouterments to anchor the reader--we know what to expect. But, the humor and perspective of the nontraditional protagonist is interesting and original. Nice work.

dan powell said...

Great stuff. I missed 'First Foot,' last week so went straight back and read it. Liked the tone of this piece. The narrative voice is engaging and sympathetic. Great stuff.

Emma Newman said...

I loved how the voice of the protagonist came across, made me smile in places too. Reminded me of the jaded gumshoe tone of detective noir, mixed with vampire lore. Nice :o)

Amy J Taylor said...

There's something beautifully poetic about this! Chosen for his spirit, killed and born in a filthy alley, and perfectly honest - nothing sexy about that at all! Well told! I wrote a poem with a similar tone a while ago - I think I'm inspired to post it to my blog now! Thanks for sharing this.

Lauren said...

I really like your phrasing and sentence structure here - this character really comes through in the rhythm of your words. Another great one, congrats!

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

Great stuff Sam! I love the guy's voice. Fantastic prequel, and most excellent desription of Kat. Great flow, great everything, nice one!

The only thing I wasn't sure about was pissing _oneself_ over someone _else_'s shoes, but I know what you mean :)

phonelady said...

I have said it before and I will say it again you missed your calling I think you should write a book . I mean it .

Michael Solender said...

very crafty and good lead in. nicely done sam.

Karen from Mentor said...

Even though I knew he survived...I still found myself on the edge of my seat while his feet were windmilling in the air....[pretty good writing there I'd say]
This line made me laugh "ban the whale, save the bomb" I love the little things you sprinkle in Sam.

Laura Eno said...

Had me spellbound! You are an excellent writer, Sam. Keep writing! Your pacing and turn of phrase are wonderful.

Skycycler said...

Love stories set in the smoke! This is great - these guys have 'spirit'. Lucien's shoes though - I'll bet they weren't cheap... Nicely done, Sam!

Draco Torre said...

Great pace, a nice addition to "First Foot." I liked 'sniff like a chef' and rest of the paragraph is exquisite.
-David G Shrock

peggy said...

I really enjoy your style. I too, loved the ban the whales line.

David Masters said...

Like peggy, I liked the cynicism of the ban the whales line. My favourite sentence, however, was:

"I stepped out of the shadows slowly so as not to frighten him too much, just enough, and did my best to look pathetic and needy, with just a hint of menacing."

Loads of truth here, I picture his face and his stance - yet it's also very funny.

Eric J. Krause said...

Very cool. Great descriptions, and a good look at how vampires are made. I enjoyed reading this one.

Laurita said...

I thought this whole thing was awesome, but what I liked most was the paragraph about movies romanticizing the birth of a vampire. Nice gritty feel to that. Very well done.

techtigger said...

The voice in this is excellent, great work! You should definately keep going with these characters :)

Linda said...

Fabulosa! First Foot has such a great voice: funny, self-effacing, nostalgic. The 'sniffing' paragraph masterful indeed. peace, Linda

arcadianpoet said...

Wow, Sam, you really do have a way with words. I enjoyed this one just as much as the last. Perhaps these characters have a novel-length story or three in them?

Carrie said...

Aside from the 'Diving round the other side of the bin to relieve myself while Kat stayed out of the worst of the sleet storm, I was just tugging my zip down when a figure turned the corner into the alley," (lots of actions in one sentence, sorry Sam!) this was a well-bled (ha!)tale. Fantastic action-description. It's hard to describe what you did and oh so well. I envy that ability. You are a fabulous writer sir.

Scott King said...

Enjoyed this to the point that I had to go and read your story from last week.

What I liked best is the writing. Word choice and sentence structure give the whole piece a nice flow that really sets a tone.

Caroline said...

Fangs for the great story! :)

I love it - wonderful, as was the previously posted 'follow-up' story which curiously I'd missed, and have now just had to go back and read. Also wonderful. I do hope there'll be more from these characters!

Melissa said...

Loved the character and the surprising turn of events. I was glued to the monitor, wondering what would happen next...great story!

Estrella Azul said...

There's a twist I loved, lovely lovely characters. Very well written, your talent is irrefutable.

Marilyn said...

This is an excellent story Sam. Very well written and very visual, I felt as if I was there. Lucky for me I wasn't. :-D

Well done.

Sarah Snell-Pym said...

Yay! I'm still hoping to see more of this character and his lavish sire!

Sarah/Saffy

Cascade Lily said...

I loved the line where he pissed all over Lucien's shoes...all that tea had to come out eventually! And all that build-up about Kat only to have her so unceremoniously dispatched. Well done :)

Julie (Okami) said...

Wonderful again!! As I said, I think that you have found your calling.

AUTHOR! AUTHOR! **ovation**

anasazistories said...

I absolutely love your pacing and voice here. And your balance of humor and violence. Nice ending, too. Very well done.

Deanna Schrayer said...

Love, love, love the voice! Oh, and I love the voice! Just fantastic work Sam - keep it up!

Paul D. Brazill said...

Very smart and strong balance of black comedy and tension.

Anne Tyler Lord said...

Sam,

This was brilliant. I agree with the other comments about voice and pace - perfection.

You really have something of depth and beauty here. I agree, maybe a novel or a few, hear. Those vampires are quite hot now. Yours is very believable and has an interesting point of view to speak from. I can hear him begging to be heard.

shannon esposito said...

Oh yes! What great characters you've birthed here, shame to let them part not knowing what happens next (hint hint) Excellent, distinctive voices. Loved this!

Donald Conrad said...

Lucien's comments killed me (well, not really. You know what I mean.) regarding Kat and the MC. The story flowed well and I enjoyed it. Thanks.

Sam said...

Thank you to everyone who has read and commented on my story.

I hope you will indulge me for a moment, I am genuinely blown away by all the advice, comments and praise (and calls for me to put these characters into a novel) I have received for this story. I thank you all most sincerely. *grins*

Thanks in particular to everyone who has commented about the style, pacing and voice of the story. I really do appreciate it.

Sulci Collective, mazzz_in_Leeds, Carrie Clevenger - thanks so much for your advice. I have editied the story to take account of the points you made. Hopefully, with your help I have been able to improve it.

Josie, Techtigger, Caroline, Sarah Snell-Pym, Shannon Esposito - looks like I'm going to have try writing another story with these characters, good job I already have a few ideas. *wink*

Cascade Lily - just because she's dead doesn't mean we've necessarily seen the last of Kat.

Thanks again everybody, please do take a couple of moments to drop by Ad Astra Poetry and read Amy's poem inspired by this story.

Aislinn O'Connor said...

This would make a marvellous basis for a movie - MUCH more compelling & believable than most of the vampire stuff out there! Sorry for poor Kat, though - hope she somehow turns out to be un-dead...

Mari said...

He pissed on his creator's shoes? hahahah! Fantastic!

Loved too the touch of rolling eyes before the fangs come out. Original and creepy! :)

Sam said...

Mari: Oh yeah, he's always had style has my vampire! ;) Glad you enjoyed the story.

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