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Thursday, 14 April 2011

#FridayFlash: Answers Part 3

This story is part 3 in the Northern Vampire: Answers series. The previous instalment can be found here, and if you'd like to read it from the beginning, please go here.


So there I am, propped up in Lucien's armchair, feeling like shite while he regales me with more of his story. I'm not really sure I'm up to this, it feels like my brain's in danger of dribbling out of my ears. As I was to learn later, much later, there's no stopping Lucien once he's got a bee in his bonnet about something, of course I'd don't know this yet, for now it's like having to sit through your Auntie's holiday snaps in a single sitting, all of them.

Anyway, Lucien's still speaking, banging on about his Conversion... brain finishes the thought for me with, “...on the road to Damascus” and I nearly get the giggles. Thankfully Lucien doesn't seem to notice, so wrapped up is he in his memories.

'I lay in cellar for two days and nights while the Purge was upon me, and was close to immolation when, on the third day I attempted to leave my sanctuary during daylight. It was not until darkness fell that I gathered my courage and left that accursed cellar. I fervently prayed--'

He laughs.

'Prayed I would not be discovered by the Infidel, and I was not. I know now that I had some power over their minds even in my weakened state, though at the time I concluded luck, and God must be on my side.'

Lucien pauses and sips his drink.

Is that red wine?

'Passing through the enemy lines proved a more simple task than I had imagined. My senses tingled, I was alert to everything. I presumed this was because of my fear of being discovered, of being captured, I know now it was my body's natural reaction to my new state of being.'

I don't think that is red wine, you know. And it ain't fecking Ribena either.

I'm having trouble following this. Feels like someone is blowing a high-pitched whistle right in my ears. I lean over and puke my guts up into the bucket.

'A crippling weakness came upon me suddenly as I neared the camp of my Order, and had the shepherd's hut not presented itself I fear I may have died lying in the desert when the sun rose.'

Lucien pauses again, staring over my shoulder with a glazed look in his eyes.

Is that a tear rolling down his cheek?

'What I did to Marzuq and his family that night...I regret to this day, especially to little Basim. A lovely boy, he seemed to have no fear of us despite our sickness, he often assisted me with the care of Mistral--'

He gestures at the horse in the glass case.

'That I should repay that kindness with death has haunted me to this day.'

'You killed...all of them?' I croak.

Lucien takes a moment before replying. 'I did not wish to, but once the urge to feed comes upon us, only a supreme effort of will prevents us from feeding at the first opportunity. You have yet to face the Urge,' he says with a wry smile and my guts turn to ice.

'When I stumbled into camp, my fellows took my being covered in blood to mean I had been attacked and carried me to my tent where I lay in a stupor for what seemed like days, unable to rise or to speak.'

Lucien wanders over to the French doors, slides them closed, staring out through the smoked glass for a while. I concentrate on trying to stay upright in the chair.

'Most of the camp was sure I had been struck down with the plague and would come nowhere near my tent, though after two days with neither food nor water two of my brother knights ventured to see if I still lived. As they approached the pallet on which I lay I was seized by the Urge once more--'

He's a bloody maniac! How many people has he killed?

Lucien glares at me. 'I know not what was different, but suffice to say my two brother knights and I left our camp under cover of darkness three days later and made for home.'

I fumble through the maths on my fingers.

That means there's...

'Three of us. Yes, you are correct, though only two of us still live.'

Lucien looks genuinely sad and for the first time I feel a sense of pity for him.

'Do not pity me, boy,' he roars and I nearly jump clean out of the chair. He's next to me in a heartbeat, his face inches from my nose.

'Never pity me,' he hisses. I make a mental note never to pity him.

'Enough!' he says, 'You need to rest. We will talk again once you have regained your strength.'

Lucien produces a blanket from somewhere, chucks it over me and stalks off into the hall. I just sit there, dribbling.



Mari said...

You did great, Sam, alternating between Lucien's speech and your MC's thoughts. This begs for more. :)

John Wiswell said...

Interesting mini-bio on Lucien you wedged in there. How much will his past experiences feed into the future of the story? Just setting up the 'Urge?'

Sam said...

Mari: Your wish is my command! I already have next week's installment written. :)

John: TBH I'm not too sure of the answer to that, John. I'm discovering Lucien as I go along, though for now I'd like to keep him in the background and give my protagonist a clear run to see where he takes me.

There are a few aspects of my vision of vampires I need to explain, the Urge is just part of that. :)

Chuck Allen said...

Intriguing! I see I have some reading to do to catch up on this tale. I like the sharing of the thoughts. "Is that red wine?" :)

Laurita said...

Your opening sentences never fail to grab attention. I can just picture the MC in that chair. Another great installment.

Sam said...

Chuck: Many thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the other episodes. I'm in the process of making a page to pull together links to all my vampire tales; he's not consistently talkative, so things are a bit jumbled at present.

Laurita: Thanks! I can't claim the cedit for them though, that's just how vampy presents himself. :)

Icy Sedgwick said...

I love your vampire's tone of voice - I read this in a Geordie accent and it just sounds perfect. I love his running commentary on Lucien's monologue, too.

Monica Marier said...

Excellent Narrative Device here, Sam. What would otherwise have been a LONG sililoquy became both informative AND enterataining with the boy's running commentary. Very funny, yet still chilling. :)

Sam said...

Icy: Thanks! I haven't quite pinned down exactly where my vampire hails from, but it's definitely somewhere around these parts; a Geordie accent for him sounds pretty much spot on to me.

He didn't have much to say this episode on account of how he's feeling physically, so I'm glad you enjoyed his commentary. This becoming a vampire gig really takes it out of a person, apparently.

Monica: Thank you! Yes, I've been trying to feed Lucien's story into this gradually but realised there was still a large chunk of it to do. I need to have it in there as background for future stories, so I'm chuffed you liked the way I did it. :)

Deanna Schrayer said...

Another wonderful installment Sam! I love the part where he 'makes a mental note not to pity Lucien', made me laugh out loud.

Thanks for changing my feelings about vampire stories, (I usually loathe them).

Sam said...

Deanna: Thanks so much, that quite a compliment you've paid me! :D

I'm trying to write this as a story with vampires in it, rather than a vampire story. I don't much care for vampire stories either usually, but I like this character, and not just because he chose me as his scribe. :)

Anonymous said...

I especially like the contrast between the characters' voices, it really works for me and lends the story that extra level to make it different from other vampire sagas. Good work.

Sonia said...

very interesting! but i think i need to go read the previous entries.

FARfetched said...

I must have missed the part where the MC gets turned… but he makes a very believable character. I'm enjoying this series so far, it'll be fun to see how this develops. Hope he doesn't get too carried away with the Urge…

trev said...

This flows nicely, and the use of distinct vocabulary and tone to separate the characters really helps define them.

Reginald Golding said...

Such a fantastic story you've got going with this. I had to back up to Part 1 and catch up, did the three in one sit. This is a very engaging atmosphere, and the character voicing / narration is masterful. I hope I can learn from you! Looking forward to more, sir!

Jason Coggins said...

Okay note to self: don't pity Lucien. I actually jumped at that point.

Your narrator's not such a smart ass now the change is upon him; mind you he has an eternity to crack smart comments so I guess he can take a bit of time out to listen to his master's story, oh and vomit!

Enjoying it.

Julie Lewthwaite said...

This is shaping up so nicely - good work, kidda. Really enjoying this. :)

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