Blood Bourne (Chapter 1)

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Blood Bourne (Chapter 1)

Post  thisangel on Sat 01 May 2010, 12:03 am

Hiya! Below is Chapter 1 of my novel Blood Bourne. I'd love your honest feedback, as this is my first attempt at writing a novel, and my goal is to have it published. This is a work in progress. It is one of a trilogy, and the trilogy itself is one of a series of trilogies I am working on that are all set in the same world - which is our world, only with creatures out of myth and legend walking around in it. This first Trilogy is currently called the "Rue The Vampire Trilogy" ...but I'm working on a better name. It's about a Vampire, named "Rue" - who just happens to be the oldest Vampire in the world. I won't give any more away than that just yet. Wink

GENRE: Dark/Gritty Urban Fantasy/Horror.

WORD COUNT: 3,565

DISCLAIMER: There is some swearing, some violence, and some sex in this book. I tried to make every bit of it necessary for the plot, or for the characters.

2 SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: “An ancient vampire living in modern-day Dublin must turn to a new love to survive. But can she trust in love? Can she even trust herself?”

CRITIQUES: I'd love a detailed critique - as I want to be a better writer, and I want this to be a better book than the vast majority of "Vampire Fiction" out there. But more general comments are welcome too. Really, I just want to know what you think!

Thanks a million and here goes:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven. What matter where if I be still the same?” – John Milton



Chapter One: Rue

Smoke and screams fill the air around me. I can’t move, can’t breathe, can’t scream. I try to run, but my feet are heavy as lead, and I sink, suffocating, into the burning floor. Then I realize I’ve been here before. Frantic, I lunge for the door I know is there, but even as I reach out, the walls begin to melt away. Monstrous shapes spin and leer around me, their familiar formless faces bathed in ash and blood. Razor tipped hands tear at my skin, ripping and clawing at me as I am jerked and torn like a rag doll between them. Red-hot blades lash out at me, glinting in front of silver eyes that flash behind leering jagged grins. Finally I have the breath to scream as the blades pierce my flesh with burning, seething light. I know what happens next, but there is nothing I can do to stop it. The knives rip me to shreds and then I am falling into a broiling sun. Choking on the molten fire I sink, screaming as I slowly burn to ash. All the while someone is laughing - a high-pitched, maniacal laugh, more like a scream than any sane laughter - and I sit bolt upright, tearing in a panic at the tangled sheets. In my own bed. Safe. Not burning. The screaming in my dream becomes a siren splitting the night as a police car speeds past on the street below my window.

I release a shuddering breath. The nightmare fades away, leaving me with fragments of images like reflections in broken glass. It takes me a few long moments to remember where I am, who I am, what I am. Each time the dream seems to cling to me longer. Untangling myself from the sheets, I get up, making my way in the dark across my flat to the fridge, my pale tattooed arm glinting in the glow of the light as I hold the door open - and stare disbelieving at a pile of wrung out and quite empty IV bags.

“Shit.”

I had forgotten, still half-asleep. Fresh out.

Wait…this doesn’t make any sense. Jude was just here…wasn’t he? I’m still bleary-eyed and numb with sleep as I rummage through and squeeze out a few of the bags in denial, hoping that a drop might be left - but no - not a one. Something’s not right. I stand up, leaving the fridge door open as my eyes come into focus. Running a cool hand over my face, I turn to the sink – and drop the bag in my hand. Piled next to the basin are more bags – empty. The counter and sink are stained crimson.

“Shit, shit!”

Something is wrong – drastically wrong. Wide-awake now, I move to check the doors – front and back - then the locked blackout shades on every window. All shut tight. I check the alarm – still armed. No one could have got in – not without waking me. I move back to the sink, grip the edge with cold hands and stare at the dark stain around the drain. No. No one but me. A cold twist in my belly tells me that I did this, no one else. I can sense the truth of it. And judging by the way I feel now, it must’ve been a while ago. I close my eyes and try to remember, try to see myself doing this. But I come up empty. Which means I did this in my sleep. Which doesn't make any fucking sense at all.

My stomach twists at the thin, metallic scent of the blood and makes me aware of a burning, hollow ache slowly growing inside me. Quickly, I wipe at the sink and counter with my hands, licking my fingers in a vain hope – but there’s not much there, and what is left has gone off. Way off. Gagging, I rip open all of the empty bags, one by one, licking the plastic clean. It’s only enough to make me even more aware of how hungry I am. Fuck. Okay, I have to calm down. This isn’t like me. I stand still for a moment, slowing my breathing, willing myself to be still, to take it easy. No need to panic. This is just a little hitch. But instead of the usual calm that comes easy for me, the terror from the nightmare echoes around, and somewhere, a deep - seated anxiety blooms and grows. Swearing again, I hurry back to the bed and fumble around the bedside locker for my mobile. It’s set to silent – another thing I don’t remember doing. The inbox symbol is flashing, but I ignore it as I hit the speed dial and wait for an answer. The voice on the other end is angry and urgent.

“Where the hell have you been?”

Okay – he’s mad. I must’ve been asleep longer than I thought…

“Listen, Jude, I really need some more nourishment…”

“I’ve been ringing you for a week, Rue! Would it kill you to pick up the phone?”

“Probably not” I sigh - better make nice, he’s in a bad mood, and I should've called…”it’s the heat…I just tend to sleep when it’s like this. Summer. You know...

“And drink, obviously – how did you go though all of that so quickly?”

“Well...” I close my eyes, rubbing the sleep away with the back of my hand, – “it’s – not something I want to talk about right now.”

“Right. You and the phone thing.”

I can see his smirk though the phone. He thinks I’m paranoid. Maybe I am. But I’m still alive.

Then what he said sinks in.

“A week?”

“I was going to try and break in if you didn’t answer tonight.”

“Shit.”

“Listen – you don’t sound quite yourself. Is anything else wrong?”

I shake my head and run a hand through my tangled black hair – then remember that he can’t see me.

“No – look - I’m Fine. Just … well, I really – really need some more. Soon.”

Gods I hate all this talking in code shit. But it’s necessary. You never know who might be listening. Another reason I hate talking on the phone.

“It’ll be a few hours before I can get any more. I can maybe get a couple to you by…six or so… but after that I’ll need more time. It isn’t easy, you know.”

“Shit.”

Shit shit shit shit. I’m already shaking. One week with nothing. Dangerously long. And it’s like the nightmare took the last of what I had in me away. This isn’t like me. Sleeping that long – blacking out, wasting all of that -

“Rue?”

“Yeah?”

“Will you last?”

“Yeah…don’t worry.”

“Don’t do anything stupid in the meantime, okay?”

“Yeah. Okay.”

I end the call, toss the phone on the bed, toss the empty bags, clean up the mess, make certain everything’s back in it’s proper place, and head downstairs one level to my library and workout area. Have to stay in control. Keep myself calm. First I do a short meditation, then move into Asanas. Yoga is one of the things that’s kept me sane over the years. I slip into the long practiced habit of ancient forms that modern practitioners would love to get their hands on, holding each for many practiced breaths, then moving into the next, and the next. Then another short meditation, and I move into my usual martial arts practice.

Tonight every stance is a bit shaky, however, and it’s difficult to stay focused. It’s like my emotions – usually fairly stable – are on overdrive. I am impatient and restless. After a couple of hours I give up, and head for the shower. I can feel my own heart beat and flutter in my chest, like a bird caged with a cat. Not good. I turn the tap to cold, and get in. The water brings relief - for the moment anyway, and I just stand under the spray for a while. That damn dream. Every time I sleep, of late, it’s always the same - and I can’t shake the feelings that come with it - panic, terror - helplessness. That’s the worst of it - not being able to fight back. Not being able to control anything. The dream images flash behind my eyes again, and the lingering emotion feeds on my already growing hunger. Fuck it. I need to get out. I can take a walk, distract myself, kill some time, come back and a few hours after that, Jude will be here. Simple. Easy. I turn the tap to hot and finish washing. Stepping out, I swipe steam from the mirror and take a good look. I can see the rising need behind my pale blue eyes, but I don’t think anyone else would notice. Yet. I dry off and dress quickly; jeans, T-shirt, harness boots, and my favorite old leather coat, vintage 1933 - remembering to bring my sunglasses as I head down the stairs.

My home is the top floors of a converted Georgian building. Well, mostly converted anyway. The whole thing’s mine. I use the two top floors to live in, one for storage, the ground floor I rent to a used bookstore and the basement I use as a garage. On the whole it’s convenient, private and safe – plus having the bookstore there gives me extra security during the day. I take the back stairs all the way down, cutting back up through the garage to the lane outside, arming the alarm again before leaving. It’s not the only exit, but it’s the quiet side of the building, and I’m feeling way too jittery to step into the light and noise of the Dublin night without warming up to it first. I stand for a moment on the cobblestones, taking in the evening. It’s a late summer night, and although it’s nearly eleven, the sun has just set behind the buildings. The dying light is reflected in the Liffey, giving everything around me a crimson glow as night begins to creep up the eastern sky.

Out of habit more than anything, I carefully scan the street and surrounding buildings, doorways and rooftops before heading east, moving at a slow pace for now. I leave the clubs and pubs behind me, and move deeper into the old industrial streets – now mostly under development. Cranes tower over soon to be shiny new glass and steel building. Their skeletons rise around me like bones in some giant elephant’s graveyard, shadows bending and crossing one another, creating patterns of light and dark that would have entranced me, in the early nights. Tonight I am too restless and worried and hungry to be entranced by anything. I still can’t quite believe I dumped all that out. It just isn’t like me to waste anything. I can’t, every drop is precious – and to dump it all down the drain? I wouldn’t do that. I just wouldn’t. But I must have. Okay so why? Frustration claws at me, and threatens any calm. And still the nightmare hangs around me, and with it, that ever- growing anxiety – like I’ve forgotten something important, and very soon I’ll remember, but it‘ll be too late.

I slip through the Saturday crowds smoking outside the pub doors, making myself unnoticeable – although I notice them, the life and heat radiating from their bodies in tempting waves. Again the thing in my gut turns and snarls and so I move faster, away. I turn the corner and head for the docks. I need the space – sea air and all that. The night grows darker as walk, and the darkness brings some relief from the shaking in my veins.

Once I am clear of the crowds I pick up the pace. I’m pretty fast – and soon enough I reach the North Wall. I meander my way through the docklands. It’s quiet enough here, and I relax my hold on myself a bit, letting the night sink in. I want to be inside the darkness. It’s comforting, like a mother’s embrace. It’s then, just as I’ve almost relaxed, that I notice. I hear it first – the gritty scuff of a misstep on gravel. Then, as I turn a corner, I see it. Not two blocks behind. A flicker of a shadow darts back into a laneway as I glance behind me.

I’m being followed.

I change direction abruptly, doubling back and heading for the tallest of the new buildings under construction. At the same time the wind changes, and I catch the faintest – and oddly familiar - scent on the air. Vanilla. I frown, picking up the pace. If it’s hunters – and it probably is – then I’ll be damned if I’m giving them any advantage. I’ve met hunters before. Our exchanges are never pleasant. This time I’ll choose the battleground.

I reach the skeletal frame of the building, and begin to climb up; hand over hand. It’ll take them a good bit to catch up with me, and in the meantime I can suss how many they are and how strong. I reach the top with a final leap that lands me on the half finished roof. It’s quiet up here. The view down over the river and out across the Irish Sea is exquisite. But I barely take it in as I search the streets below for my pursuers.

For a few minutes I see nothing. No one. Then, a black clad woman steps tentatively sideways out of a laneway across the street. She looks very young. And scared. She’s carrying a small crossbow with a small torch taped to it, and is holding the weapon out in front of her awkwardly, aiming at every shadow. Great. A newbie. I really don’t need this right now. I scan the streets and buildings all around for her friends – but I don’t see anyone else. Which is odd. Either she’s alone – which I doubt, as hunters always travel in packs – or her friends are very good at hiding. Which is bad for me. Troubled, I go back to watching the girl. I doubt she can see me up here – but even so I lean back as she stops and stares up at the building. She hesitates a moment - then cautiously crosses the street into the building site. Brave girl. Brave or stupid.

The wind picks up her scent again, and something inside me shivers at the familiarity of it. I wrack my brain trying to think where I could have met her before, but come up empty. Frowning, I move back across the half-finished roof as the girl steps into the maze of the framework below. She is managing to be pretty quiet; I’ll give her that. And I still don’t sense any others. Maybe she’s alone. Or maybe she’s bait. Either way, I’ll wait.

It doesn’t take her long to find the stairs. I follow her progress through the building, moving to keep her in sight, and staying alert for her friends, wherever they might be. She stops on the third landing a long moment, like she’s heard me, although that is pretty impossible – but still, I freeze. I can hear her breathing – fast and terrified. After a few moments, she begins to move up the stars again. I can see her clearly, although she’s in complete darkness save for her torchlight, the beam flickering left and right as she ascends. Night vision is a nice side-benefit of my condition. She is plainly petrified. Unlike any hunter I’ve ever seen. They are often scared, don’t get me wrong – but are usually driven, and more than a little psychotic. This girl seems sane enough.

Hunger twists again in my gut, hard and cold, a hollow, growing need. It would be so easy now, the thing inside me says. Just take her, and damn the consequences. But no. I am not so far gone. I wait as she steps tentatively out from the stairwell door, and out onto the roof. I watch as she moves into the night – eyes wide, searching – that crossbow held in front of her like a shield. I can see she’s a little older than I thought. Maybe early 20’s. She’s pale, with a spattering of freckles and honey-colored hair that frizzes around her face like a halo. A pretty girl. And so familiar…I feel like I’ve known her – or someone like her – before, but I still can’t place it.

It doesn’t matter anyway. She’s followed me, and she’s got a crossbow with a wooden bolt knocked in place. Which means she probably knows what I am and may know where I live. And that makes things complicated. I have to try and talk to her – find out how much she knows and where she got her information. Which won’t be easy – as I am sure she assumes I’m going to try and kill her. They always do.

I hate assumptions. Especially when they’re about me.

I wait until she is a few feet away - then I step out into the open, all casual and easy.

“Nice night for it.”

She gives a little shriek – and the crossbow bolt comes speeding toward my torso. She’s fast; I’ll give her that. But I’m faster. I snatch the bolt out of the air, and hold it up to the dim light, inspecting it as I take a few steps toward her.

“This is well made – where’d you get it?”

She doesn’t answer – as she is busy backing away from me, trying to re-load another bolt in the crossbow and get something out of her satchel at the same time. Something has to give – and it’s the crossbow. She lets it clatter to the floor as she takes out a canister of what looks to be pepper spray and lets it loose in my direction. It covers me in a misty cloud. Only it’s not pepper spray. It’s water. I smirk.

“Let me guess…holy water? Sorry to disappoint you, but that doesn’t really work on me.”

She is trying not to cry now, but underneath her fear I sense anger and desperation. I feel sorry for her, and stop, letting her collect herself. She fumbles at a chain at her throat – then breaks it off and holds the charm up at me, defensively.

“Stay back!”

She glares at me – eyes wide. She is trying to be frightening, I know – but she succeeds only in looking more terrified.

I give her a smile, trying to put her at ease.

“Nice necklace. Is it silver?”

She winces – and I take a slow step forward – my hands up in front of me in the universal gesture of ‘hey, I’m not gonna hurt you’.

“Look – I don’t know who you got your information from – but they left out a few things.”

She’s trembling – but doesn’t lower her hand. “I know enough…I know what you are…I know what you did -!”

I reach up – ever so slowly – and take off my sunglasses – putting them in my jacket pocket as I take another step toward her, meaning to put her at ease with eye contact. If I can meet her eyes, I may be able to calm her down, mind to mind. I have a little skill there – although I’m far from being able to read minds, or control them. Not to sound all hippie, but it’s more of a give and take – a sort of empathic energy exchange - than anything more specific.

“Take it easy…let’s talk about this, okay? First…about what you think I am…and second, about what it is you think I’ve done…”

Her eyes widen as she sees my own – and I realize belatedly that mine’ve got to be fairly incandescent with hunger by now. Shite. She scrambles for the crossbow – grabbing it up and holding it in front of her again, even though it’s no longer loaded – the torchlight shivers in my direction, glinting off my eyes, which makes nothing better. I blink in the light, and she takes another step backwards – bumping abruptly into a half-constructed wall. I close the distance between us with a few more steps, and then stop. She is shuddering, pressing as flat against the wall as she can – as if she would pass right through it - but she holds my gaze, even in her fear. This close, she is beautiful. So beautiful my heart catches in my throat and I can’t move for a moment. I can see the heat from her body; smell the sun on her skin, taste the scent of her hair…vanilla. That’s where it’s coming from. Her hair. Something in me gives a little twinge. Like a memory of emotion. And that surprises me. I’m just thinking of what to say to try and calm her down – just reaching gently for her mind with my own - when her eyes widen, the pupils dilating in further fear as she sees something over my left shoulder.

Shit. Company.

I don’t even have time to turn around before the shotgun blast rips through me from behind, and everything goes black.
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Re: Blood Bourne (Chapter 1)

Post  Dreamygrril on Sat 01 May 2010, 8:21 pm

I will come back to this for sure!

Looks like its gonna be a great read!
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Re: Blood Bourne (Chapter 1)

Post  Gwyndolin on Mon 03 May 2010, 12:44 am

It really is. You guys are gonna love it.

Angel, I'll come back and read it too. Probably tomorrow. Anything new since I last read it?

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Re: Blood Bourne (Chapter 1)

Post  thisangel on Mon 03 May 2010, 9:15 am

Nothing new, although I have updated the chapters you have read already - so I guess this is the 2nd draft version (although I can already see more things needing re-doing, lol!). I am a bit stuck on Chapter 12 at the moment - but am pressing onwards, and hopefully will have it ready to post soon, along with Chapter 13, which I already have the first draft done of Very Happy.

Thanks a million guys, am so glad you like it!
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Re: Blood Bourne (Chapter 1)

Post  SnowCamellia on Thu 06 May 2010, 10:08 am

Wonderful! At first when I read this, the words seemed a bit "heavy" to me. I kept getting the feeling that when you were writing this you were trying a bit hard. But don't get me wrong! I really enjoyed reading this!! As I continued to read I started thinking that this was a bit different from other vampire stories, it has a unique and anticipating plot. That last line, of course, makes me want to know what's gonna happen next. And makes me curious as to the spark between the vampire and girl.

I thought you did absolutely amazing for a first attempt at writing a novel. Waaaaaay better that I ever did! Lol.

Smile
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Re: Blood Bourne (Chapter 1)

Post  Dreamygrril on Thu 06 May 2010, 10:43 pm

Great stuff here.

I dont like the tense, and if you wrote the whole book like that most publishers wouldnt keep with it (just a suggestion given to me as well), otherwise youve got a GREAT voice, and youve eradicated any girlish tendencies in your writing kudos.

I enjoyed your character, a very well developed MC.


Look forward to reading more Very Happy
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Re: Blood Bourne (Chapter 1)

Post  thisangel on Fri 07 May 2010, 7:10 am

Thanks a million, Dreamygirl and Snowcamellia Smile

As always, I appreciate your comments and critiques.

Snow - I'm so glad you like it! I did want to make it stand out from the sea of other vampire stores out there! I'm not sure what you mean when you say the words seem "Heavy" - could you elaborate? Do you mean it's a bit "wordy"? I have pared it down from the first draft - but am willing to take another look and pare it down a bit more!

Dreamy - So glad you like the story and Rue. I of course love her - she's been in my head for a very long time, and I think she's delighted to get out and on paper!

I have been writing the whole book in the 1st person present. I know this is an unusual tense to use. In fact I can't think of any book I've read written in 1st person present. And only a couple written in first person past.

It's funny, others have commented on it as well - and I've tried other tenses - but they just didn't work at all - they just weren't "Rue". This is actually how she talks to me in my head while I'm writing. I guess the only comparison I have is those old film noir voice overs, Y'know?

The only thing I might try in the 3rd draft (especially if this is a consensus among the readers of this 2nd draft, lol!) - is change it to 1st person past, as I have read a few books done that way. I'm torn, though - that it will take away from the immediacy of the story. Then again I do want publishers to read it Very Happy

Does anyone have any recommendations for books written in the 1st person present? Someone told me the Jax books are written that way...maybe if I read more of 'em, I'll get a better idea of what to do, lol!

Thanks again for reading - there's more to come!

Very Happy
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Re: Blood Bourne (Chapter 1)

Post  Liberty on Wed 12 May 2010, 2:34 pm

Lovin' the story idea, and I'll get back with some more responses later. Crappy internet so I'm gonna read it later in the day. Smile

ETA: May 14,2010

Okay, I'm back.
Here are what stood out too me when reading this.

A little too detailed, descriptive in certain areas.
There were a few sections that could've been worded differently. I don't know how to describe it other than awkward wording. Like...
“Tonight every stance is a bit shaky, however, and it’s difficult to stay focused.”
“Every time I sleep, of late, it’s always the same - and I can’t shake the feelings that come with it - panic, terror - helplessness. That’s the worst of it - not being able to fight back. Not being able to control anything.”

Other than that I'm really digging the story. Hope to read more. study
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Re: Blood Bourne (Chapter 1)

Post  thisangel on Sun 16 May 2010, 11:11 am

Thanks, Liberty - I appreciate the read and review!

I'll take another look at the sentences you mentioned and see what I can do. On the details front - well, I'm a big believer in them, but I'll keep in mind what you said and try not to go overboard!

I'll post the next chapter now in a new thread so as to avoid confusion (and mile long thread chains!) Wink
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Re: Blood Bourne (Chapter 1)

Post  Whisper on Thu 20 May 2010, 3:07 pm

Vampires usually aren't my thing, but this is very well written! You give plenty of descripts, and enough story to move it along without getting tedious. Well done Smile

One little comment: You have a lot of very long paragraphs. You could break them up into shorter ones. For example:

For a few minutes I see nothing. No one. Then, a black clad woman steps tentatively sideways out of a laneway across the street. She looks very young. And scared. She’s carrying a small crossbow with a small torch taped to it, and is holding the weapon out in front of her awkwardly, aiming at every shadow. Great. A newbie. I really don’t need this right now. I scan the streets and buildings all around for her friends – but I don’t see anyone else. Which is odd. Either she’s alone – which I doubt, as hunters always travel in packs – or her friends are very good at hiding. Which is bad for me. Troubled, I go back to watching the girl. I doubt she can see me up here – but even so I lean back as she stops and stares up at the building. She hesitates a moment - then cautiously crosses the street into the building site. Brave girl. Brave or stupid.

Could be broken up into:

For a few minutes I see nothing. No one.

Then, a black clad woman steps tentatively sideways out of a laneway across the street. She looks very young. And scared. She’s carrying a small crossbow with a small torch taped to it, and is holding the weapon out in front of her awkwardly, aiming at every shadow. Great. A newbie. I really don’t need this right now. I scan the streets and buildings all around for her friends – but I don’t see anyone else. Which is odd. Either she’s alone – which I doubt, as hunters always travel in packs – or her friends are very good at hiding. Which is bad for me.

Troubled, I go back to watching the girl. I doubt she can see me up here – but even so I lean back as she stops and stares up at the building. She hesitates a moment - then cautiously crosses the street into the building site. Brave girl.

Brave or stupid.
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Re: Blood Bourne (Chapter 1)

Post  thisangel on Fri 21 May 2010, 2:19 pm

Thanks a mil, Whisper Smile

I'm so glad you like it - thanks for taking the time to read and critique. I will take your suggestions about the paragraphs on board for the next draft, for sure.

Cheers!
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