by Misty Singer
Excerpt #1 - first draft (unedited)
More double? My English skills were starting to slide a bit.
Daytime, I was a normal Senior high school student, doing normal high school things. Nighttime, I was dodging friends to train with my bad-ass Bellator Keeper.
Not surprisingly, my black belt in Tae Kwon Do and time spent training in the Kickboxing ring had prepared me well for my Bellator training. I was good.
Tess was better.
Like, a lot better.
Everything I thought I was - quick, lithe, and powerful - Tess was tenfold. She put all my so-called skills to shame.
And the best part about her? She didn’t hold back. She pushed me hard and made me keep up with her, and as it turns out, it was no small feat.
She had me learn every weapon her arsenal, and there were weapons in there I’d never even heard of, much less had ever seen before.
Medieval battle axes, Katana’s, Sai’s, daggers, spears…
Each one I had to master before I could move on to the next one. Once I had them all mastered, I was able to choose the weapon I wanted to carry with me, along with my trusty silver stake. And the weapon I had the best knack for and felt the most comfortable with were the small throwing knives. They felt perfectly balanced in my hand, and the speed and accuracy I had when throwing them was impressive, even to me.
One afternoon, as soon as I arrived at Tess’s safe-house to work on training, I suddenly started feeling sick. Maybe not sick exactly, but I felt weird.
Like, really weird.
My stomach felt queasy, I was starting to sweat, and I had this weird feeling in the middle of my back, right between my shoulder blades. I was definitely coming down with something. This was not normal.
“Hey, Tess?” I hollered, not seeing her. “I think I may need a raincheck on today’s training.”
“Not feeling well?” Her voice came from behind me. I turned to find her leaning against a doorjamb to a room I hadn’t been in yet.
I frowned. “No, I’m feeling gross all of a sudden.” I said, my intuition peaked. “How’d you know?”
She just nodded, acting a bit strangely. “Hey, what’s that on your wrist?”
I held up my arm, inspecting the little green stone that hung from the silver chain, encased in a curling of silver wire. “It’s a family heirloom, it belonged to my Nana. She had an extensive collection of them.” I shrugged, knowing there was more to the story, but it was a story I didn’t understand, so I couldn’t explain. My mother had given me this particular bracelet on my thirteenth birthday, making me promise to never take it off. But, I’d wore one similar to it all my life, so I had never really thought much about it. Besides, she had always wore one very similar to it, too.
“What is it?”
“I’m not really sure. A green stone of some kind. I can’t remember the name of it.”
I frowned. “Actually, yeah, I think that’s it. My mom made me promise to always keep it on. That it would protect us, or something like that. Probably an old gypsy superstition.”
“Well, she’s right. Vampires don’t like Jadeite, it’s toxic to them. So is silver.”
I looked again at the pretty, sliver bracelet. Maybe I needed to have a talk with my mom. Did she know? What if I asked her and she thought I
was a crazy loon? Would I blame her if she did?
I could just imagine how that dinner conversation would go. “Hey mom, I just found out that I’m a super strong vampire slayer from a crazy powerful bloodline. Nana was one, too. Could you please pass the peas?”
Ugh. Peas. The thought of them reminded me that my stomach was really upset. I could feel the sweat beading up around my hairline. My neck was now slick with it.
“Can we talk about my bracelet later? I’m really not feeling well.”
“Like nauseous and hot?” Her tone held something in it, like she knew something I didn’t.
My eyes narrowed. “Yes… why?”
She didn’t answer my question. “Come with me, I have something to show you. Leave your bracelet on the table over there.” She pointed at a table by the door, then turned and disappeared inside the room. “I promise you will be safe without it for a few minutes.” Her voice floated out from the other room.
I hesitated only for a moment before I followed her. She was acting strangely, which peaked my interest. But, I was feeling worse by the minute.
I unclasped my bracelet, set it on the table and stepped inside the room. The moment I crossed the threshold I felt like I was hit by a Mac truck. My stomach lurched, and my back radiated with heat, burning up my neck.
I couldn’t take my eyes off the scene before me.
Tess stood in the middle of the large cement room. It reminded me of a holding cell - a huge wall of extremely thick, glass-like substance separated us from another dark room.
A room with a single being inside of it, rooting around in the darkness.
My mouth dropped open in shock. I had never seen one before, this was my first look at a real one. He slithered around the cell, making a strange hissing sound as he passed by us each time.
I remembered that sound well. It was the same sound I had heard last year, when Will had saved me that night in the woods. The creature that had been stalking me that night had made that same sharp hissing sound.
It made my entire body break out in goosebumps, and my stomach turn a little more.
“How do you feel?” She asked.
I shook my head, not sure what she wanted me to say.
She shook her head back, eyebrows raised. “Stomach upset? Weird, burning sensation in your back?" Tess was nothing, if not persistent.
I nodded, bewildered.
“Good.” She said, nodding appreciatively.
I stared at her a full minute before I said, “Good?”
“Yes. That’s good.” She said again. “That means you are starting to become aware. You are starting to feel them when they are near. That’s a good thing.”
I nodded like that made sense, while my brain tried to sift through the fog.
“Those are your gifts, Mia. Gifts of your bloodline.”
I frowned at that. “What does that mean?”
It means that there isn’t any doubt about who you are. You most certainly are a descendant of Elini. Only her bloodline carries those gifts.”
“You mean, you don’t have any of these… gifts?”
She shook her head. “No. I have heightened senses, I’m aggressive, competitive, combative, lithe, strong and fast. We all are.”
“Okay.” I said, reverting to my catch phrase when I didn’t know what to say.
“But, it’s nothing like what you can do.” Her tone was serious and held a hint of awe.
“But, I... I’m not… all of those things. I mean, I am some of them, but…”
“You are all of those things and so much more. You just don’t know it yet.” She shook her head. “You are a direct descendant of Elini, the first of our kind. You have so many gifts, so much power that you just haven’t tapped into yet.” She laid a hand on my shoulder and have me a firm, but reassuring nudge. “But, you will. You will see just how powerful you really are.”
I couldn’t help but worry that she would find disappointment at the end of this road. How could I be any of what she thought I was?
I looked past her at the creature in the cage. He looked haggard and gnarled, with eyes the color of coal.
Soulless eyes that pierced right through me.
“How will I ever be able to fight these things, feeling like this? This isn’t a gift, Tess. These gifts will get me killed.”
“The nausea will pass, once you become acclimated.”
“Yes, acclimated to their evil. Your gut reaction is rejection. That is what your body is feeling right now. It’s rejecting the vileness of that being in the next room. A few more times in their presence and you won’t feel that much anymore. You’ll probably always feel it a little, but that is just part of your warning system. Warning you when they are near.”
I took a steadying breath, trying to hold down whatever was still rolling around in my stomach, and took a single step forward.
The soulless beast lurched at the glass, slamming into it, startling me back a step.
Sniffing at the air, he started scratching at the glass, as if he could claw his way out of it.
“He finally got a wiff of you.” She looked from him back to me. “Your blood is like candy to him. He will seek you out like no other.” Your bracelet is what keeps them at bay, it makes you almost invisible to them. They can’t smell you apart from any other human while you wear it. Once it is off you, they can… and they will stop at nothing to kill you.”
“Yet another gift of your bloodline, I’m afraid. You my girl, are a Vamp-magnet. Especially with your Elini blood. You can’t take that thing off outside of this training facility. In here, you are safe and secure, behind several tons of thick concrete. Outside of this room, with that bracelet off, they will not stop coming for you.”
I nodded as I watched the creature hit the glass again. “Good to know.”
“Don’t ever forget it. Your life depends on it.”