Saturday, January 28, 2012

Promised - Chapter Four



It all happened so fast after Tyler confessed to our entire plan. With every word I felt as if I were being stabbed and handcuffed, but soon enough the cuffs were replaced with four walls, and a locked door. My very own actual cage. 




I’d been given my nephew to watch over, and I named him Alexander Jacobs; the name my sister would have wanted. He was beautiful, with dark black hair like his father, but my mother’s light purple eyes. The eyes I remember only from photos of her. Often I wondered about my mother, the woman who died only a few days after my birth. She’d been raised by vampires, and was supposed to be turned upon her young adult birthday, but instead she met my father and chose to remain as a human. If only I’d realized how lucky I was to be a human for as long as I was.




Not long after my imprisonment, I learned that my father had been found dead in his room. They claimed it was of natural causes, but my father had always been so strong and healthy. It hurt me to think I’d been the cause for his death. 




Jude was apparently a lot higher in the vampire social chain than I had originally believed, as everyday without fail he would stop by to speak with me, keep me informed on that happenings above ground and on how my trial was coming. He was also the first to tell me that Tyler hadn’t been seen since my arrest. The popular theory was that he’d been killed for disrespecting his father and trying to take my side in the case... but I couldn’t bring myself to shed any tears for him. 




“So I notice you’ve been dealing well with the transition.”
I nod, not even curious as to how he found out. “Mr. Stone doesn’t want me sentenced to death, so he had me bit before imprisoning me here. The courts will be told Tyler bit me before Janice died, and at worst I’ll be given life in prison. I’m alright with that, it’ll be no different than my previous life after all. I just hope Alexander will be given to a good family.”




Jude sighed before pulling out a strange red vial and placing it on the table in front of me. “Becoming a vampire is a curse none should ever experience, not when they were born a human. That’s why I bought this for your mother when she was just a teen. When she married your father instead, I kept this vial for just in case. Now I’m giving it to you to use as you wish.”
“What is it?”
“The cure.” Is his answer. “Pulls the vampirism curse right out of you, and leaves you as your were, but a human. I’d take it myself but I’ve been alive for almost three human lifetimes already. I’d turn to dust in only a few minutes.”
Oh. Well, that was a terrifying thought.




My nephew aged up into a beautiful young toddler before my very eyes. He had Tyler’s hair, and my mother’s strange lilac eyes. Despite the nature of his birth he was such a silent and well behaved child. 




And only the following day, I had my own transformation. I felt dead inside and without Alexander’s smile to keep me going I don’t know if I would have kept my mind alive and well in the weeks that passed. 
Alexander was fair, and kind, and always happy. A breath of fresh life in this tomb.




At last he came, and judging by the smile on his face I knew the news would not be good for me. Luckily Alexander was down for his nap and no guards were near. If I played my cards right I might be able to save both myself and my nephew from further pain. 




“Mr. Stone... what a surprise to see you here. Can I get your anything?” Maybe a stake or some holy water?
Thankfully he didn’t read my thoughts. “A drink would be fine, Miss Jacobs. I have the results of your case and I would like to offer you a deal.”




I took a pre-packaged bottle from the fridge, puncturing the sealed hole and hesitating only for a moment before handing it to him. No going back now. 
Taking a seat from him I nervously folded my hands on my lap, trying to keep them out of sight. “So uh... what kind of deal are we talking about here? What exactly were my case results?”
“They’re not good.” He muttered. “You were found guilty and the judge is still contemplating a life in jail sentence for treason or the more expected death by sunlight exposure. 
I felt a shiver of dread. “But I thought you said I wouldn’t be sentenced to death.”




He shrugged, sipping from the drink I gave him. “I am your King, Jessica, not your judge. I am afraid that his decision will be final... although I may be able to sway his decision if I’m given the right incentive for it.”
I tried to keep the anger from showing on my face but I knew I was failing horribly. “What more could you want from me, sir? You’ve taken everything already.”
He smiled in a way that made my skin crawl. “The one thing I do not have is your vow of loyalty. Swear your public adoration of me and denounce Jude Campbell as the man who put you up to your crimes and both you and your nephew will be given a home of your own near my own.”




The decision took no thought. “I’d rather die.”
Jude had been my only ally in all this, to betray him was something I would not do. No matter how badly I wanted my freedom. And now more than ever I did not regret putting the vampire-be-gone cure into Edwin’s drink. 




He stood from his chai to leaving before stumbling slightly, as if in pain. I stood up as well although not to help him. I wanted to be sure the cure would work.




Quite a satisfying sight if I do say so myself.




I took no time in waking Alexander and dressing him for the trip. The night was only just setting down and soon Edwin would be missed. I wasn’t sure if he’d told anyone where he was going, but it wouldn’t take his guards long to guess. I had to take Alexander and get as far from this vile town as we could.




Stepping out into the fresh air for the first time in ages I couldn’t help but stop and stare at the wide open ocean before me. I’d lived by it my entire life but never truly imagined crossing it. I had no idea what lay on the other side but one thing was for sure. It was better than here. 
Anything was better than here. And for the first time in my life... I felt free.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Promised - Chapter Three



The wedding wasn’t going to be anything spectacular. Just a private ceremony between Tyler and “Jessie” in father’s bar. Nonetheless Tyler insisted everyone dress up for the occasion and who was I to deny his request? At the very least it gave me a reason to cover up every inch of my body, from neck to ankle. I’d never realized how many tattoos I had until I’d tried covering them up with whatever I happened to have lying around in my closet. 
Finally though I’d found something to cover up with. All that was left was to see if it passed Tyler’s inspection.




“It’ll... do.” He muttered, after checking to see if my birthmark could be seen from any angle. “And it does look like something Janice would wear.” 
“I took it from her closet.” I admitted before looking down at my sleeves. “She’s downstairs waiting for you, by the way. As soon as your father’s officiator arrives we can begin.” 
His face softened, looking at me with those sad eyes. “I truly am sorry for what all this. I just wish you would’ve given marriage a chance. I could have made you happy you know.”




“I wished to be loved by another.” I admit. “But I desire no man’s pity. Especially not yours.”
“I wasn’t trying to pity you. I was just-”
I silenced him will an eye roll. “Just stop it Tyler. Your father’s officiator should be here by now. Let’s get this over and done with, and then we won’t be each other’s problem anymore.”




Scratch that. Stupid vampires. I took a seat as he ordered, hands clasped on my lap. “Yes?”
“You’re a moron, you know that? This is NOT what I meant when I talked to you about leaving.”
“Would you have preferred me to just leave my family in a ditch?” I asked, honestly curious. “Mr. Campbell I don’t know how things work in your family, but I couldn’t just abandon them and run. I need to at least try and make sure they’ll both be alright without me.”
He sighed, seemingly contemplating his next words carefully. “I will not tell Mr. Stone on your switch... but he will still find out. Do not wait to leave. As soon as the wedding is over... just go.”
“Why?”
His face fell. “Just trust me, Jessie.”




I tucked his words away when my sister came into the room, looking stunning in an old dress I’d bought months ago but never worn. Identical or no, I had the sneaking suspicion she looked better in it than I ever would. Tyler seemed to think the same as his eyes never even turned to look for me while they said their vows to each other. 




Jude took off almost immediately after to inform Mr. Stone that the marriage had taken place. I had my bags packed, money in hand and plane ticket to Champe le Sims bought. The only thing left was to say goodbye.
My sister’s face almost broke my heart. “I just wish you’d stay until the baby was born...”
“I wish I could...” I answered, Jude’s words ringing in my ears. “But if I don’t leave now I never will.” 
A strange expression came over her. “Well then it looks like you’ll never be leaving.”




For a moment I thought she was threatening me, but then her hands flew to her stomach and a groan from her lips. 
Oh shit. The baby was coming.




There were two hospitals in our town. The main one was where visitors were taken, and human children when they were ill. The second was a tiny underground clinic where human wives were taken to give birth to their vampiric children. The doctor had assured us that my sister and the baby would be fine, but he thought she was Jessie. He didn’t know the mark on her neck had been drawn by me the night before. 
The curtains covered nothing but bare walls, no view of the outdoors to judge the time. How long had we been here? An hour? A day? Time doesn’t seem to pass here: It just is. We were three stories underground and the room smelt of death. How many women had lost their lives here?
Although the wall between us was too thick to allow noise I could hear Janice’s screams in my mind, could feel her fear. It was too much for me. I needed to leave, but I couldn’t bring myself to abandon my sister in her time of need.




I didn’t remember standing but I found myself standing in front of Tyler. “Everything will be fine.” He promised. “You need to calm down.”
“I can’t...” My voice broke before I could finish my thought. “I just... what if she dies?”
“We’ll make it through.” He said with a smile, taking my hand before I could object. “We’ll raise the baby together, and maybe I can convince you to stay with me forever.”
My resolution was weakening and faintly I wondered if he was using some sort of mind trick over me. “Tyler-”
“Her death will be for the best.”




I snapped. 
“Tyler you piece of SHIT. Don’t you dare say that! You have no right!” 
His face fell. “Jessie, I’m just trying-”
“Just stop!” I begged. “You have my sister, you have my past, my ties to everything I’ve ever known. Once I leave I won’t ever be allowed to come back! Just leave me with the belief that maybe, just maybe everything will come out alright! Stop trying to force me into this life!”




I could tell he was losing his patience with me, but to his credit he didn’t raise his voice like I had. Instead he spoke in a pained whisper. “You’re such a moron, Jessie. You’re never going to escape this, no matter what. The only reason father hasn’t personally intervened yet is due to the fact that he finds your antics amusing.” 
I felt my heart drop but I didn’t want to believe him. “You’re just saying that.”
“I wish I were! Dammit, Jessie. Why are you so stupid! Mr. Campbell tried to get you out when you still had the chance, why didn’t you just take it?”




I was about the speak when the familiar squeak of the clinic doors opening attracted my attention. I turned, perhaps too suddenly as instantly I felt a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, an emptiness where my heart should have been. 
It was not my sister who left the room, nor was it the doctor. Instead an ancient vampire who I’d only seen in photos before. In his arms the boy who belonged to my sister.




Behind me I heard Tyler groan. I tried to keep my face emotionless but I knew the fear was showing. 
The old vampire cleared his throat, his piercing eyes staring at me until I had no choice but to look away. “I would love to hear an explanation for this... who will give it?” 
Tyler spoke before I could even consider telling a lie. “It’s my fault. I accept full responsibility for the child, father.”

Promised - Chapter Two



Yelling. So much of it that I had headaches for days following Tyler’s failed proposal. And not all of it was from him. My friends yelled, his family yelled, even my father had a go at making me cry until I simply  refused to go outside anymore. 




I don’t regret my decision to refuse his proposal. But I do regret having to stay and deal with the consequences. The vampires in town claimed I was trying to start an uprising. My fellow mortal sims claimed I acted the way I did because my father had spoiled me. They blamed him for my actions. The stares and insults I could handle, but not that. My father had give up so much to raise my sister and me. To hear the things people were calling him now... it hurt. 
Was it in any wonder I withdrew from the world around me? Burdens are for shoulders strong enough to carry them. I was not strong. I’ve never claimed to be, and I never will.




In my city there are two distinct classes. The first: the high class vampires, most of whom were related to Edwin Stone, Tyler’s father, the vampire King. The second: the low class mortals from whom the vampires fed. Some, like myself, were lucky enough to be picked at birth to become mates and until we were of age to marry we would be safe from the disappearances that were all too common. 
That however didn’t mean we were given the money to live more than a stone’s throw from the poverty line. The bar my father ran was a gift from a vampire he’d befriended long before Janice and I had been born. Besides that we owned only the small beach behind it and the furniture inside of it. My computer had been a gift from one of Tyler’s brothers when I won a storytelling competition at school. Ever since I would write when I was scared or nervous. It calmed me down and gave me a new world in which to immerse myself and hide from the realities of life.




That said, I wasn’t the only one in pain from all this. Tyler was hit hard by my negative response and the shame of it kept him in tears almost constantly after. When he wasn’t glaring at me in anger or yelling he was in my twin sister’s arms crying. The sight of it alone could have made me apologize and ask for a second chance, but I knew how else my sister was cheering him up when they thought I was occupied.




The first time I caught them was the very same night I’d turned him down. Just an innocent kiss they’d claimed but all I could see was red. The betrayal felt like a slap to the face and I told them as much. When it became obvious that I wasn’t going to forgive and forget they stopped hiding their affections for each other from me. Tyler told me that we’d marry wether I wanted to or not, but he’d give me time to make the proper decision myself. And as soon as that was done he’d take my sister as his second wife. I was absolutely livid and the entire situation only served to push me even further into my own little world.
Tyler was just lucky Janice pulled him from the room before I staked him then and there. I was certainly angry enough to, consequences be damned.




I could hear them no matter where in the house I tried to hide. I found Father practicing his dart throwing in the bar and on a whim, decided to grab my jacket. “I’m going out.”
He shot a look at me before turning back to his board. “It’s getting dark. Vampires will be out.”
“What does it matter?” 
“They’re mad.” He tried to explain. “You’re still protected but they might still attack you.”
“Then let them attack.” I dared. “What’s it matter anyway? If I’m gone then Janice and Tyler can be happy and you can go out again.”
Alright so I didn’t actually say that last part but I thought it. If I’d dared to speak it aloud it might have broken my father’s heart then and there. I was cruel, but not that cruel.




The job down to the beach isn’t a log one, but its a rarely traveled one. Our beach is secluded and private. Besides the parties father threw for Janice and I on our birthdays, it was never touched. Imagine my surprise when I turned the corner around the giant boulder and saw the pale skinned man standing with his back to me, next to my fishing pond. 
I felt a flush of impatience, and then anger. This was MY family’s beach! I didn’t want to deal with some damn squatter, especially when I still felt like the smallest thing would push me over the edge into an emotional breakdown.




“Excuse me!” I called out, walking towards him. “This is private property! You can’t be-”
He turned when I was barely arm’s length away from him. It took barely a moment to recognize him, although I had seen him in person only once before and only a few times in the newspaper. “M-Mr. Campbell. I didn’t realize-”




He puts up a hand to stop me. “Don’t worry. I know this is private property, but to be honest I am very interested in speaking to Jessie Jacobs right now.” A pause. “You are her, correct?”
I tilt my chin to the side a bit so the mark becomes visible over my jacket. “I am.”
He smiles. “Good. I’m here to tell you that you’re in big trouble young lady.”
“... I am?”




“Oh yes, miss Jacobs. Mr. Stone is a close associate of mine and this entire situation has him very unruffled. He’s even considering leaving his roost to pay you a visit and let you see the error of your ways. He wants the wedding to happen before the week is up.”
I felt my heart drop into my stomach. A visit from Tyler’s father always meant death. Who would he take? My father? My sister? I couldn’t live with either. “I’m not trying to start any trouble. I swear. We’ll have the wedding as soon as we can if it’ll please him. Just tell him to leave my family alone.” 




“You mistake my meaning miss Jacobs. My advice to you is to leave town as soon as possible. Forgetting the wedding and forget those closest to you. You are far too... flighty for the life of a vampire’s wife.”
I must have had a stupid look on my face because he chuckled. His laughter just made me angry. “I will NOT abandon my family. They need me.”
“They really don’t.” He says, laughing again. “Head home and you’ll see why.”
“Oh I will head home you square-faced jerk.” Again, didn’t actually say that last line. 




I’d suspected something like this, but it still felt like a stab to my gut when I realized it. Hiding in the room she and I shared, dressed in the loosest clothing she owned, and my boyfriend’s arms wrapped around her. I didn’t need any clarification for why she was crying but I got it anyway. 




“We’ll be alright, Janice.” Tyler’s voice. Neither of them had noticed me in the doorway yet. “I’ll find a way to keep you safe. You and our baby.”
Forget being stabbed. It felt like someone had just replaced my blood with ice and my bones with lead. I wasn’t sure if I’d throw up or faint. 
Janice chocked back a sob. “But what about Jessie? If she knew...”
“She won’t find out.” He promised. “I’ll... I’ll do something. I don’t know what. Worse comes to worse we can just leave. Raise our baby on the run if we need to.”




I saw red. And lots of it. “You piece of scum!” 
Tyler jumped back as I stormed into the room, pushing my sister out of the way so I’d have a clear path at him. “Do you have ANY idea what the punishment for wedlock is? DEATH. And not yours, my sister’s!”
“Jessie it’s not like I meant to-”
“No you NEVER mean to!” I yelled back. “None of you stupid vampires ever do! Well you know what, I’m tired of just being a little play thing to you and your family! We’re done, it’s over. I’m leaving and that’s it.”




I didn’t need to look at Janice to sense her panic. “But if you go then we’ll all be killed!”
I let her worry for a moment, just enjoying her fear. “Oh please, Janice. Even though I feel like stabbing you right now you’re still my twin sister. I’m not about to let you die. Mr. Stone wants a wedding, and there will be a wedding.”
“But I don’t have the birthmark.” She whines. “Mr. Stone says you’re supposed to have Tyler’s first child, not me. Wedding or no he’ll kill me before the baby is born!”
My face pulled into a smile. “And Jessie will give birth to Tyler’s first child, right after they marry.”
Tyler and Janice just looked at me, but I ignored their stares. My plan wasn’t perfect, but it would work. And then I could be free to come and go as I please, not as a fugitive but as Janice Jacobs. “Come on you two. We’ve got to go to the tattoo parlour before morning. Giving you some wings will take a long time, Janice.”

Promised - Chapter One

Written for Heaven's Storyteller competition on the MTS website.

---



Fresh out of high school and my life was already over. No I’m not being dramatic (that’s my sister’s trait, not mine) just telling the truth. Ever since my twin sister and I were born with matching vampiric birthmarks my future had been planned out. Promised to the king’s youngest son as soon as I was of age... and guess what. I just reached “of age”. 




There were times when I wished my twin sister Janice had been picked instead of me, but I always tried to ignore those thoughts as soon I realized they were there. She was lucky that her birthmark had faded when she was still just a baby. Not that she ever had any trouble with the boys anyway. She was nerdy, she was awkward, but she always got the boys she wanted. It was crazy! And by watching her, I began to think there was some skill involved in being a girl. A skill I had never myself mastered or even discovered.




My father was just as skilled, but in a different sense. He was the best mixologist in town. So much so that despite owning the ugliest tavern in town we were always busy... when we were open. Which we weren’t today. To my surprise he motioned me over to the bar, pouring me a drink before returning to his chores. 
“Daddy?”
“Liquid courage.” He muttered. “You’ll need it today. Without a doubt Mister Stone will be on his way to see you soon.”




“Actually I’m already here.” 
Daddy jumped back in shock, almost falling as the young vampire materialized on the stool next to me, book still in hand. I just fought back a giggle. Tyler Stone, my promised husband, the youngest child (out of around 12 boys and 6 girls) of the head vampire in town. We’d been born only days apart, with him being older then me. Naturally no one had told us of our upcoming marriage until we were teenagers, and he’d taken it far better then I. 




He had me in his arms before I realized what was happening. 
“You look lovely today, Jessie. You grew up well.”
A light blush colored my cheeks as I smiled. “As did you.” And it was true. I hadn’t seen his since we were both teens, and back then he had been as awkward and dorky as my twin sister. Now... well maybe this marriage business wouldn’t be so bad. 




“I’m feeling a bit... peckish, love. Would you mind if I took a sip?”
Thats the line that always brought me back to reality. Even if I fell for Tyler, there was no way he was in love with me. I was just meant to be his first wife of dozens. A tool to feed from and give him children. I couldn’t say no but he still waited for my nod of acceptance before feeding. 
I didn’t have to look to feel my father’s disapproving gaze. Not did I have long to wait before hearing his voice. “Mister Stone, I would appreciate it if you held off from... that until you are both married and behind closed doors. 




Tyler took a step away from me, smiling at my father in an almost patronizing way. “Of course, Mr. Jacobs. Whatever my future father-in-law wishes.” 
I’d known Tyler long enough to see the slight tremble in his arm. He was angry, but he wouldn’t dare attack my father while promised to me. My father knew this, but his words were still foolish. Any of Tyler’s brothers could attack him in his stead. It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived. I’d never have his courage.




But I didn’t need courage to take the heat off my father. Taking Tyler’s hands in mine I drew his attention back to me. “Come on, Ty. Let loose a little. It’s my birthday! Lets go out for dinner or do something romantic. I want to go on at least one real date before we get married.” 
He smiled at me, the anger in his eyes completely gone. “I’m afraid we may not have time for dating. Father wants us married soon. He insists I don’t return home with the ring still in my pocket.”
“The... ring?”




He got down on one knee then and there, my heart almost leaping up into my throat when he pulled out the ring. 
“Jessie Jacobs, will you do me the honour of marrying me?”
It took only a few seconds for me to realize the sick feeling in my stomach was from fear, but happiness. A few more seconds to realize the tone in his voice. It wasn’t a command. It was a question. I could say no.
“Jessie?” 




His voice shocked me back to reality. Unable to hide my smile for even a second longer I put my hands on the ring box and slowly shut it. “No Tyler... I can’t. At least not yet. Please understand, it isn’t you. I’m just... too young for this shit.” 
“Jessie, I’m not much older. This is the way things are done in this town! If you won’t marry me I can’t guarantee your family will stay safe.”
I wasn’t listening to him. Not really. “Tyler I’m not saying no for good. Just for now. Please understand that I just need to live first.”