Charleston · Writing

New Short Story: “I See Monsters,” Part VIII

Well, the good news? I blew through my clicks per day record this morning. The bad news? I joined Twitter. THEY MADE ME DO IT! (Sigh.) Anyway, you can follow me: (Another sigh.) But more good news! Here’s entry VIII of “I See Monsters.” Tomorrow, guest blogger Anjuelle Floyd tells us how to write a DANG FINE short story. So she’s going to give me a break from the madness and give some pointers. Phew! Good thing, too. This writing is a lot of work! (But it’s so much fun, isn’t it?)

* * *
“I See Monsters”
By Sara Dobie

That day, I had a dream. It was not really a dream, because it had happened before—in a far off time, when living blood had still coursed through my veins. It was the day Nathan was set to join my family for a feast at our plantation. My mother suspected Nathan planned to propose, and she played with her crucifix as I set my hair in braids and curled the braids into buns on the back of my head. I remember thinking how out of style I looked. All the other girls had bobs, and yet, my mother insisted I keep my hair long. She said bobs were sinful—the sinful signature of a morally decrepit generation. Since Nathan seemed to like my hair long, I never fought her.

I remember: “Will you say yes?”

“Mother, he has never mentioned marriage before.”

“He wants you, Angela. He won’t wait much longer. There’s something wrong with him. Something dark. He’s up to something. I don’t approve.”

“I know, Mother.” I did not see darkness in Nathan. No one did, except for my hyper-religious middle-aged mother. In Nathan, I saw a tall, handsome, well-off gentleman, who had never been anything but kind. What made me trust him the most was that my father loved Nathan. If my father approved, I could disregard my mother’s warnings with a clear conscience.

A bell rang downstairs, and it took my breath away.

“God save us all,” my mother said, crossing her thin, pale chest.

“Oh, Mother,” I said, but I was already heading down the hall and toward the first story.

“There’s my beautiful girl,” I heard, and there stood my father in his favorite brown three-piece suit, unconsciously pulling on the edges of his mustache out of time-tested habit. When I reached his side, he kissed me on the side of the head. “I’m so proud of you,” he said, and I blushed. My father often fed his children unnecessary compliments, but I had never gotten used to the attention. “You ready?”

“Yes.” I was nervous. Honestly, my mother was not the only person who suspected Nathan would soon propose.

blog todayMy father opened the front door, and Nathan stood beneath the kerosene porch lamp. The night was black behind him, and the Charleston streets were dark at his back. I looked at Nathan. I looked at my father to see his reaction, but he did not see it. Was I even seeing it? I looked back at my Nathan and realized my mother was right. He was up to something. He was dark. The brown eyes that usually warmed me caused a chill. The charming smirk on his lips was no longer playful but sinister. His skin was pale, tinged a sickly blue. And the way he stood, not as a human would, but like a black angel, wings hidden beneath his suit coat—as if Nathan was floating inches above the earth.

“Angela,” he said, and I dared not invite him in.

“Nathan, my boy! Come in, come in,” my father announced, and Nathan never took his eyes off me. He stepped across the threshold of my family home. Within an hour, my family was dead, and I was a vampire.

None of this came as shocking, even as I started awake in my casket with an empty pain where a living heart would have been. The shock came when I realized I was not sure if Nathan had been the one in my dream. Had the man in my dream actually been Joshua? Could I tell them apart anymore? I awoke as the sun set and ran cold water over my skin, trying to make sense of what I had seen. Nathan—my Nathan—had taken my family from me. So why did I feel like Joshua was taking something from me, too?

I had never spent this much time on the hunt. I had never given a mortal this much of my time. I knew it was because of the Nathan resemblance. I knew any relics of my family’s killer had to be erased, and as I dressed and left my apartment, I told myself that was all it was—this strange fixation with a damned mortal, who would be dead in sixty years with or without my help. I did not care for Joshua. I had no feeling for his dying mother or his ruined Jen. He was merely the imposter, and he had to be killed.

So why, as I climbed the wrought iron fence in his dark back garden, did I abruptly feel as though I had been hit in the chest? A choke escaped my parted lips, and I closed my eyes as I bent forward and wrapped myself in an embrace. I could feel his pain, and his mortal despair took away my capacity to move. I tried to focus on the grass. I looked down at the ferns and moss along the edges of the flowerbeds, and I regained something of my cold composure. I could at least return to standing straight, which I did, as I looked up towards the second story. Light came from the living room; the rest of the house was dark. My hands shook, and I could not bring myself to climb my tree. Instead, I took the fire escape. I ducked beneath the lit living room window—too close—and moved to the kitchen, where I could see into the living room without giving my presence away.

I once again closed my eyes against his despair before looking inside, cheek and palm touching glass. “No,” I whispered when I saw Joshua.

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2 thoughts on “New Short Story: “I See Monsters,” Part VIII

  1. I am really enjoying the story, Sara! Angela’s thoughts seem to defy time and space. Her introspective nature reveals a sinister frailty that is most unique, yet connecting to the reader. The writing is tastefully dark, and your flow seems to be improving more with each segment. More please…

  2. EEK! This is really good, Sara! Dark with a twinge of humor and heat…right up my alley! Only one more installment? I’m trying to guess what’s going to happen, but I think you’re going to surprise me. I’ve never attempted a short story, and I’m very impressed. Now I’m off to read Anjuelle Floyd’s tips on writing short stories.

    Well done!

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