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: http://cscottmorrisbooks.com/ and direct link to his post
Aheïla: http://thewriteaholicblog.wordpress.com/ and direct link to her post
AuburnAssassin: YOU ARE HERE
DavidZahir: http://zahirblue.blogspot.com/ and direct link to his post
IrishAnnie: http://superpenpower.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
Anarchicq: http://anarchicq.com/ and direct link to her post
Proach: http://everythinghistorical.wordpress.com/ and direct link to her post
devero: http://mysticcrossroads.wordpress.com/ and direct link to his post
hillaryjacques: http://www.hillaryjacques.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
LadyMage: http://www.katherinegilraine.com/ and direct link to her post
M.R.J. Le Blanc: http://libraryofandunien.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
Mariekeme: http://www.mariekenijkamp.com/ and direct link to her post
aimeelaine: http://www.aimeelaine.com/writing/blog and direct link to her post
CowgirlPoet: http://frontnotes.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
Collectonian: http://collectonian.livejournal.com/ and direct link to her post
Amb The Creative: http://ambthecreative.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
defyalllogic: http://tavialewis.com/hyperbolicallyspeaking/ and direct link to her post
cryaegm: http://enigmainklings.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post

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30 thoughts on “AW July Blog Chain — Antagonist Redux

  1. This is an absorbing excerpt. Your antagonist really does evoke a certain sympathy while not letting the reader forget that he’s a monster, achieving the fine balance which serves the story so well.
    I learned about the AW blog chain from Aheila and decided to stop by here. And I’m happy I did. Your writing’s terrific.

  2. I rather like the different take on vampires you’ve given us. Slate an newly risen vampires need with blood, you get another vampire, slate their need with sex, and you get something else. A succubus?
    It’s getting harder and harder to come up with new takes on vampires lately, good job.

    • Yeah, lots of interesting spins already out there. Part of the gist of this novel, though, is what happens when a vampire turns someone who was already 1/2 supernatural but didn’t know it? I have more than one “accidental” supe or supe hybrid running around.

    • That’s weird. WordPress ate my first response to your comment.

      Thanks! I always intended to make David somewhat grey–pitiable and understandable but despicable too.

    • Thank you!

      I’ve planted a few hints of Raina’s feelings and may add another line or two to give it a dash more substance, though she is a minor character. The novel is in Dori’s 1st person narration, so both David’s and Raina’s views are only told via dialogue and Dori’s impressions. Raina recounts her making in a dispassionate manner to Dori, though not with any back story as provided in this post. She’s not bitter, I’ll tell you that.

  3. He is pretty pathetic, easy to dislike but at the same time you kind of pity him. You feel bad, but you don’t feel THAT bad. It’s also cool to see a vamp that’s not the typical ungodly gorgeous type (though I like those!). Very nice dynamic.

    • Yeah, he’s a bit on the sleazy side for sure…not overtly evil though. Thanks for the read and comment.

  4. Aw! You did a good job of making him sympathetic. Sadly for him it is to the point of him being pathetic, which I’m sure makes for an interesting kind of complexity when he’s being the villain. That’s an original origin for succubi. It perked my little reading ears right up. The lovely writing swept me right along.

    • Thanks! On the Succubus, I’ve only read one other book that discussed the creation of a succubus and it seemed much more far-fetched than my take so I guess anything goes with the supernatural.

  5. good job. I agree that he’s pathetic, but in a why that people just don’t get. it’s a internal upset for never making the right choices and resigning yourself to being a person who just makes poor choices.

    I’m sympathetic but not to a point where I want him to win. 🙂

    • Yeah, his internal compass is a little off. He meant well…once upon a time…but didn’t really see much benefit to acting that way. Thanks for the read and comment.

  6. Pingback: July 2010 Blog Chain – Villains! « The Mystic Crossroads Blog

  7. Wow. This kind of reminds me of Spike and Dru from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The relationship, not the characters. David’s only redeeming feature is his love but he can still never get it right because deep down he knows he is something gross and despicable and most of all selfish. He loves this woman even though she can never love him in the same way and best of all he created her to be that way! Love it!

    • I read so much about Buffy…one of these days I’ll have to rent the series and check it out. It seems to be the current TV gold standard for vampires though True Blood and Vampire Diaries are on the rise.

      Thanks for the read and comment.

  8. Awesome scene. I definitely feel for David even though I hate his guts.
    He saved a girl’s life by turning her into a sex toy. He uses her for his own profit but genuinely love her. These are very nice paradox. Now, I just have to figure out if the good outweighs the bad. And I don’t want the good to win. *laughs*

  9. This is good. I really did sympathize with this guy, even though a part of me thinks he deserves it. But I really love this scene. It’s wonderfully written.

  10. I’m with Abby – I don’t like him, but I pity him. I hate what he’s done, but I understand loving someone so much. Easier to say we’d never go that far. I’ve always thought vampires are so romantic, despite their capability for cruelty.

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