AW July Blog Chain — Antagonist Redux

July’s blog chain topic is to  “Cast your antagonist in a sympathetic light”.  Aheila preceded me in the chain and David Zahir will follow.  Be sure to give their posts and all the other participants’ (listed at the end) posts a read.

The antagonist in my current WIP, working title My Fair Vampire, is an old vampire living in Albuquerque, NM. His name is David Baca and he’s not your typical tall, dark and brooding vampire.  He’s short, a bit overweight and a lousy dresser (Queer Eye for the Vamp Guy anyone?).  However, he has a ruthless but covert survival instinct and an excellent ability to find ways to enrich himself as a “broker of need fulfillment”.

One of his own needs puts him at odds with the heroine, Dori, hence his role as antagonist. However, he has a bit of an Achilles heel, and that is in the form of his partner in crime, Raina, a succubus.

The text that follows is based on a short scene in which Raina is trying to persuade Dori’s sire, Donovan, to accede to David’s wishes.  We get a peek inside David’s head as the scene unfolds.

He watched Raina slink across the room and plant herself on Donovan’s lap, wriggling suggestively. She knew exactly what she was doing. His watch reminded him she had an itch to scratch.  She couldn’t help her nature, a nature he’d chosen for her. How many times had he wished he hadn’t been so selfish? She could have been a vampire like him if he’d satisfied her posthumous hunger with his blood instead of his lust. The finger of guilt pointed squarely at him, though his apologies had long expired.

She cast a seductive smile, and like a fisherman’s net in a school of fish, seldom came up empty. That was nearly all the conscious effort she needed to exert. Her supernatural sex appeal included a healthy dose of pheromones that did most of the work for her.

In an official capacity, it worked well for him too.  How many times had she seduced a man or woman of his choosing to further his interests?  For nearly a quarter century she’d been by his side, doing his bidding, satisfying his needs, both carnal and political.

What would she say if she knew he’d never been with another since her? Would she pity him? Would she want to leave? Would his weakness disgust her? She often remarked upon his power, his acumen at manipulating events to his advantage. Was that why she stayed, for his protection, for those material comforts only he could provide with unfailing regularity?

A laugh burst from her lips, red and full since her metamorphosis. They hadn’t always been that way. Before he turned her, the casual observer would not have found her at all remarkable. Short and pear-shaped with stringy dark hair and coke bottle glasses–that’s what someone who passed her on the street would have seen, if they’d even bothered to give her a second glance. He’d seen her differently though, had first noticed her sitting alone in a coffee shop, dried tear tracks on her cheeks. Why he first approached her, he still didn’t understand, but he had.

“I’m dying,” she’d told him, “and no one will miss me when I’m gone.”

Death had camped out on her shoulder like a vulture but he’d already wrestled with and won his own match.

“I could help you,” he’d suggested.

She already knew what he was; he’d told her himself the first night they met, but she didn’t care.  The suggestion went ignored for weeks until her condition began a rapid decline.  Having already endured two rounds of chemo and radiation, Raina gave up on traditional medicine, refused all further treatments.

She came to his home an hour after they’d said their nightly goodbye.  “I’m ready,” she said.  “Do it.”

He warned her there could be no undoing once done, that there was always a chance she’d never rise again.  It did not sway her from her decision.

So he infected her with his blood then killed her by draining her.  He arranged her body on his bed, hands folded gracefully on her abdomen, and he waited.  For two nights he waited in vigil by her side, lying in rest beside her during his own daytime hibernation.

On the third night, her eyes flickered open and she sat bolt upright.  She turned to him and smiled.  As her maker, she was his forever.  Only one last step to seal her fate.

A million times since then he’d wondered why he deprived her of the blood she needed.  Instead, he put his needs above hers, and succumbed to a baser yearning.  He claimed her, but instilled a hunger for sex not for blood.  He knew he’d burn in hell for what he did if dragged to its fiery depths.

He hadn’t considered his inability to be all she needed. That had been the cruelest irony of his selfishness.  She was his but he had to share her, had to share the only woman he had ever loved.

As she flirted with Donovan, David clenched the fists he’d slipped inside his coat pockets.  His face betrayed no hurt, no jealousy, no anger.  He’d had years to practice, but inside, his battered heart suffered yet another bruise.

Here are all the July Blog Chain Participants:

CScottMorris: and direct link to his post
Aheïla: and direct link to her post
AuburnAssassin: YOU ARE HERE
DavidZahir: and direct link to his post
IrishAnnie: and direct link to her post
Anarchicq: and direct link to her post
Proach: and direct link to her post
devero: and direct link to his post
hillaryjacques: and direct link to her post
LadyMage: and direct link to her post
M.R.J. Le Blanc: and direct link to her post
Mariekeme: and direct link to her post
aimeelaine: and direct link to her post
CowgirlPoet: and direct link to her post
Collectonian: and direct link to her post
Amb The Creative: and direct link to her post
defyalllogic: and direct link to her post
cryaegm: and direct link to her post

Audio Post–My NPR Round 4 Submission– “Regrets Only”

This is my experiment with second person, present tense for the NPR round 4 contest a couple of months ago.  As always, the stories had to be 600 words or fewer — FICTION (that’s in big bold letters so my husband doesn’t get any wrong ideas) that could be read in roughly three minutes. The story had to include four words: “plant,” “button,” “trick” and “fly.”

I didn’t win, surprise, surprise, but I thought I’d use the new audio feature of my blog to give it a whirl.  I didn’t realize how much like an old woman I sound on the phone.  Yuck!  I read this in about two minutes.  Should have used bigger words and/or read more slowly (sorry).

This piece is also part of the first #SpokenSunday.  Please check out all the other participants reading their flashes here.  The stories are wonderful and the accents make them even “beytah” (she says in her really bad Aussie accent.)  I love shrinking the writer’s world in this manner.

Text of the story follows:

Regrets Only

You rise while he’s still asleep, his button fly jeans in a crumpled heap where you’d helped him hastily discard them hours earlier.  What once seemed so urgent, so necessary, so right, now lies in dark shadows of regret.  The light plays tricks on your eyes.  It can’t be evening yet.

The clock reads three o’clock.  Thirty more minutes.  That’s all the time you have left before you must retake the reins of your humble, risk-free life.  You’ll be home in fifteen.  Just in time to shower, just in time to wash off all traces of the lie.

You’ve already planted the seeds of your alibi–an afternoon of shopping and a solitary movie.  What movie?  Why that chick flick you’d been dying to see of course.  It was alright, very true to the book.  No, you didn’t see anyone there you knew; it wasn’t a busy theatre that time of day.  Buy anything?  No, nothing tempted you.

But that’s all a lie, isn’t it?

Your children tumble off the bus in a rush and dash for the door when they see you waiting for them.  They look so much like him that you feel a pang, a dull ache.  You wonder for the thousandth time what you’re doing, why you’re putting your own selfish cravings between you and these innocents.  One phone call is all it would take to end it.  It’s over, you’d say.  No one would ever have to know.

But you can’t.

“Mommy, why do you look so sad?”

She takes your hand and looks up into your face and you see yourself at her age.  So much has changed, become complicated and tangled with equal doses of adrenalin and anxiety, desire and dread.  You wish you could go back, make a different choice.

But it’s too late for that.

Like a junkie on a downward spiral, you feel yourself falling, falling and no matter how many times you reach out to catch hold, you can’t gain purchase.  No one will save you and you’ll hit the bottom because the wicked always do.

And the wicked are you.