Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Katherine, Part 2

He knelt over the candle, set in to the sand of the beach on the side of a river. I knelt across from him, observing. The flame danced in the breeze, and the light cast shadows in his dark hair and sparks in his blue eyes.

"Ready?" He asked.
"Always," I replied. The circle was cast around us, I could feel the weight of others present against my back, waiting to be invited. I had so many questions.
"Excellent." He said. "But first, answer your phone."

The riverside beach and the flickering light dissolved in to the dim grey of an Autumnal New England pre-dawn. I groped for the phone on the bedside table and checked the caller ID before thumbing the off switch and throwing the phone across the room. I fell back to sleep easily enough, but the dark man and the candle were nowhere to be found.

A heavy weight landed on the bed, and shoved a phone in my face. I pushed back, and Cade retaliated by dropping his drool covered prize - my phone - on my face. I wiped it off and shoved it under my pillow, intent on sleeping. Cade moaned plaintively, and when I opened my eyes again he was sitting by the open window, looking longingly at the street below. The gloom had burned off, and it was now 9am, by my bedside clock. I growled, but roused myself to the stage of a robe and slippers. The phone went in my pocket.

Cade (Cadence, really, but I shortened it) bounced around the kitchen while I made his breakfast. He bounced his tail while he ate, and he bounced again when he asked to go out on the run by the backdoor. I waited for my coffee to brew in the french press, and glowered.

9am on an October Saturday morning in New England is a wonderful thing. Birds sing, squirrels leap, and in the fall the leaves crinkle with a pleasing sound. Shadows of firecracker leaves dapple everything. It's a joy to behold, and the sight of it, along with my coffee, was enough to bring a smile to my lips. I sat in on my wicker swing and sipped while Cade cavorted, playing tag with the Skippy, the cat who lived under my porch. After a few minutes, Skippy landed on the woodpile and gave Cody a good swipe to the nose to let him know playtime was over. With dog under my knees, I finally pulled out my phone and turned it on. There were seven missed calls, all from my bosses number. This was, sadly, not unusual for a day off. THere were no voicemails, but there was one text. I hate talking. I love texting. My boss knows this, but is the opposite, and hates typing with his thumbs. I saw the visions of my week off fly past as I called up the text and read it.

"Job for you." It read. "Made, two dead. Location, Gypsum, NH."

My boss texts like most people send telegrams. Just enough and absoltutely not enough information, all at once. I was surprised he hadn't put in 'STOPS' instead of periods. Probably couldn't figure out how, I thought.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Katherine's Story Part 1

Let's get something straight here. True facts, right out of the gate. 

Vampires are monsters.

They are fiends, they are creatures of death and destruction. They may be demons, jury's still out on that. They live on blood and thrive on gore. They are not sexy, they can not be saved by adding a soul. They do not sparkle. 

Vampires are monsters, and they want you dead. Preferably dead and bloodless, by their own teeth.  

If you're willing to accept that, all of it, and move forward from there... consider this your invitation to my world. If you're insistent that love conquers all, that there's no such thing as evil, only evil actions... Please leave now. Take your things, we'll wait.

Still with me? 

My name's Katherine. I kill vampires. This is my story.

Vampires are predators, and have been since the dawn of time. They prey on humans, and nothing else. The blood of a rat or a deer or a pig will not sustain a Vampire. Without us, they wither and die. 

Vampires are not immortal. Close to it, yes, and very hard to kill. Modern technology has evened the playing fields a bit, but still the Vampires hold their ground. They use our blood to draw the lines of scrimmage.

There are two types of vampires:

The Born:
Vampires can breed with each other, but not with humans. Only Born vampires can breed at all. Their breeding cycle seems to work on the magnitude of years and decades, as opposed to a humans gestation of months and childhood of years. There are not many of them, the Born ones, but they're trying to change that. The females choose mates based entirely on their ability to breed healthy children. The males use what choice they have to make alliances, to run the politics and network. There are perhaps 500 Born Vampires in the US. Perhaps 10,000 in the world. 
In far flung corners, they are worshiped as gods, sacrificed to, sustained by the humans they live among. In the US they are not so well loved, but perhaps only because there is so much competition from the human government and media.  
Born Vampires can not tolerate sunlight, although they do not 'die' or become incapicitated during the day. They do tend to sleep when the sun is up, because it is convenient. They don't eat human food, because they don't need it. If they are forced to, to keep up the human charade, garlic does not bother them. Neither does any other root vegetable. 
One myth has held true over the centuries. The Churches were concerned that as their power faded, so would the magical barriers that keep Vampires from homes they have not been invited in to, however it has become evident that anyone with faith enough in themselves or in any higher power, can keep a Vampire out. 

The Made:
Born Vampires need to eat once a day. Generally, they kidnap someone and hold them, feeding on them until they die of starvation, malnutrition or blood loss. 
Made Vampires are a little different. Occasionally, a Born Vampire has a bad day. Things get out of hand, or a sudden hunger possesses them. Possibly, they're just bored. They grab a human and drain them, all in one go. The result, 90% of the time, is a corpse. 
10% of the time, it's a Made.
Mades are more dangerous, in the short term. Mades can go out in sunlight. Not truly dead, they eat and drink like the rest of us. They live out their human lifespan.  Drug addicts, alcoholics and the mentally ill are their favorite prey, just like most predators, which doesn't make them easier to spot. 
Mades don't need to feed on human blood at all. They do crave it, though. More than food. More than money. More than sex. Food, money and sex become paths to lead them to blood. 
Sometimes a Made is.. made.. lives and dies in the span of a week. Sometimes it takes months for them to meet a Killer, like me. Occasionally, it takes years. The craftiness of the Made is the equivalent to the intelligence of the human bitten. Really smart people rarely find themselves in dark alleys with Born Vampires in the middle of a rage. As a result, Made Vampires tend to have the social skills and status of the local drug dealer. You've probably met one. 

And me? 

My name is Katherine, and I'm a Killer. Some of my compatriots use the term "Vampire Killer", to differentiate between someone who murders humans, and someone who kills vampires. I don't. Not anymore.

I was born in a small town, and grew up right. I wasn't the Homecoming Queen, but I was on the court. I got good grades, I was the president of my Sorority in college. I go home for the holidays, I go to church on Sundays, I say my prayers every night. I don't have tattoos. I drink little, smoke not at all and don't do drugs. When I date, I wait until the third date before I sleep with the guy, and then I use a condom. 
I'm a good girl. 

There's no trauma in my past that egged me in to the life I live. My siblings (one sister, one brother) are fine and well, as are my parents, not murdered under suspicious circumstances. I didn't fall in with a bad crowd in High School, and loose a gang member to a Vampire. 

I went to a job fair. Senior year of college, thinking I might like a nice position in a Wall Street firm, or maybe a publishing house. An office with windows, a dress with heels. On a lark, I put in a resume with what I took to be a government agency with letters for a name. A spy job would be fun, I thought, and then promptly forgot about it. 

6 weeks later, the day after I graduated, They called me.  The anacronym agency I had thrown my resume to so cavalierly was interested.  Three interviews, a psych test, and a background check later, I had the job. I'm not sure why they chose me, even ten years later. I can't imagine doing anything else, though. I don't love it. I just can't imagine doing anything else.

I'll write more soon, unless I get killed. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A six month lesson.

Whoa... six months since my last post, huh? yeah... Winter wasn't so good here. In fact,  I think of the last Winter and I see that guy from Game of Thrones, wrapped in furs, brooding with his big sword. (I don't actually watch Game of Thrones.. I just follow the meme on FB. Don't judge.)

But it's half way through the half way month. A very on - the - edge sort of evening. A could go either way type of night.

A good day for starting and ending.

I came to a realization today, that I've slowly been working my way to over the last few weeks. The last few years, really. It wasn't an easy realization, although the truth became more apparent every day.

My dreams were making me bitter.

Not my dreams that I have at night, which are a different story altogether. My DREAMS. My wants, my desires, my longing ... to move West. To live in the Rockies. To wander.

I was sitting on my porch, breathing in the sweet smell of my aspen tree (I savor this, the week each year it blooms. It is the smell of home, to me.) and I realized that the smell of the tree.. the scent of my dreams.. made me feel bitter and angry.

Which kinda sucks, right? I mean, if you don't have your dreams, what do you have? Aren't we always told to hold on to our dreams? Isn't that the current pop psychology? "HOLD ON TO YOUR DREAMS. MAKE THEM REALITY."

Right. But.

Here I am, sitting on my perfectly nice porch, in my perfectly nice town, with an up and coming business of my own, a handsome teen son, a ferociously cute toddler boy, and a husband who works harder than he should...

and I'm not happy because I'm not in Colorado? Good Almighty Elements, Hil; YOU"VE EVEN GOT AN ASPEN TREE!

So I said to myself: "Seriously. Get a grip. You're turning in to someone you don't like. And if YOU don't like you, ain't nobody else gonna. Rule #1: Let go of what you want. If you love something, let it free. Be Here, Now. (Insert platitude.)"

And I heard a little voice.. a tiny, small voice.. the sort that could have come from, ooooh, a talking frog, let's say.. speak "Oh, Thank God. You got it. Here endeth the lesson."

I take it as a testament to my Higher Power's faith in me that they held on this long. I never lost faith in Them, either, even if They do sound like a frog. I just forgot Rule # 1. Let go of what you want.

I'll always love the West. I'll always see the Rockies when I think of home. And someday, I'll be there. But now, I'm here. And I've got a couple boys who seem to like me. I've got a big dog that I love to walk. I've got a good man. I've got a business of my own, and the probability of a partner to help me make it even better. I'm super lucky, and I know it. And if I can't be in Colorado, well then, Colorado will just have to come to me.

I've already got the Aspen Tree.

Here Endeth The Lesson.