Saturday, January 22, 12083

Lamika was sitting at the dining table in the castle, eating her dinner of beef and mashed potatoes with gravy.
Her father, Count Magnus Lee, walked into the room. "Lamika."
Lamika turned to face him. "Yes, father?"
"You are 10 years old now." he said. "It is time for you to learn more about what it is to be a Noble. Vampires need to eat and drink, but we also require blood. Up until now, I have given you blood in a cup with your meals, but you must get it on your own from now on."
"How, father?" Lamika asked.
"Go into town and pretend that you are lost." he told her. "When someone offers to help you, lead him to a secluded area and bite his neck."
"I'll try, father." Lamika said.
"I will send Rei Ginsei with you." he told her. "He will protect you if you cannot overcome the human."

Lamika walked down a street in the town of Bistritz.
Even though she knew that Rei Ginsei was following a few meters behind her, she was scared.
Lamika spotted a young man and slowly walked over to him.
"Excuse me." Lamika said.
The man turned around to face her. "Yes, what is it, little girl?"
"I'm lost." Lamika told her. "I want to go home."
"Where do you live?" he asked her.
"On the...west end of town." Lamika told him.
"Come with me." he told her.
Lamika followed the man. She eventually went in front of him.
"This way." Lamika turned and walked onto an unlit part of the street.
The man followed her.
"Well?" the man asked her.
"Oh, I dropped my key, and I can't find it." Lamika said.
The man crouched down and looked.
Lamika's eyes started glowing blue, and she grew fangs. She grabbed hold of the man and sunk her canine teeth into his neck.
The man screamed and tried to push her away.
Lamika started sucking. She felt the man's struggling decrease and realized that Rei Ginsei was holding him in place. Lamika tasted his blood and drank it.
A minute passed, and Lamika felt the man stop moving. She stopped drinking. Her canine teeth went back to their normal size, and she let go of the man.
Rei Ginsei dropped the man's corpse and gave Lamika a smile. "Congratulations, Lamika. You just killed your first human."
Lamika stared down at the corpse, a smile slowly coming to her bloody lips.

Everyone was silent for a moment.
Then Lamika started crying.
Leila stared at her, furious. "Get out of my house!"
"Wait, Leila." Doris told her. "Let us tell you what happened to us recently."
Doris, Lamika, and Dan told Leila about how Doris had been bitten by Count Lee, their time with D, the battle to kill Count Lee, Lamika digging her way out of the ground and moving in with Doris and Dan, and the hatred that they felt from the rest of the villagers. Rory, Phoebe, and Ingrid then joined in, telling about the battle outside the club, Lamika and the Langs being exiled, and their tour. That brought Leila up to the present.
Leila was deep in thought as she considered all of this new information. Everyone else waited in anticipation.
"Okay." Leila finally said. "You can stay."
Lamika smiled, Leila smiled, and the two girls hugged.

Saturday, July 23, 12090

Lamika was standing in front of a mirror in the living room, watching herself as she spoke.
"Howdy! Y'all come on down to The Scene! We got grits 'n' lemonade!" Lamika shook her head. "Hey, hosers, come on down! We love Canadians at The Scene! Yesiree, we've got all of that back bacon 'ere 'n' donuts 'ere! So, come on down, eh?"
Lamika sighed and turned around. That's when she saw Doris, Dan, Phoebe, and Ingrid standing there.
"Lamika, what the hell are you doing?" Doris asked with a smile.
"Practicing different accents." Lamika replied. "How long have you all been standing there?"
Phoebe smiled. "Long enough to see you make an ass of yourself."
Ingrid laughed. "What a twit you are."
"Lamika, why do you want to change your accent?" Doris asked.
"Do you want me to sing with my accent?" Lamika asked.
Doris thought about that for a moment. "You have a point."

That evening, at 11:00 PM, Leila was on stage with Dazzle at The Scene.
Chaos had his synthaxe. Vixen was on her synthesizer. Ecstasy was on her bass guitar. Leila stood in the center of the stage.
Doris, Lamika, and Dan sat at a table near the stage. They and the rest of the audience were cheering and applauding after the final song.
Leila waved at all of them. "Thank you! Please come again tomorrow night!"
Suddenly, there was a puff of smoke. Leila coughed and tried to wave it away, but there was too much of it.
When the smoke cleared, Ecstasy was wearing a purple cloak and stood in front of a crystal ball. Leila, Doris, Lamika, and Dan looked at her with curiosity.
"I am the Oracle of Athens!" Ecstasy exclaimed. "Let me tell your future! I shall reveal all!"
"Are we gonna find our relatives?!" Doris asked her.
Lamika looked at Doris in surprise. "Doris, she can't really - "
"Play along." Doris told her with a smile.
Lamika looked at Ecstasy. "Am I going to get rid of my accent?"
"Am I going to get Leila?" Chaos asked.
Leila was surprised at that.
Ecstasy shook her head. "No, but do not let it trouble you. My friends, everything you desire will come to pass! It is your destiny!"
Chaos and Vixen started playing their instruments. Ecstasy waved her hands over the crystal ball. Ecstasy and Vixen sang the verses, and Chaos sang the refrain to Leila:

"I make a prediction;
just you wait and see:
all the things you want,
the Fates will grant to be.

It's destiny. (Destiny!)
The dreams I dream are destined to be.
I can see
the future, and I'm satisfied.
You and me, it's destiny.
Fate is on my side.

I share your convictions.
Same thing goes for me.
All her plans and schemes
are more than fantasy.

It's destiny. (Destiny!)
The dreams I dream are destined to be.
I can see (I can see!)
the future, and I'm satisfied.
You and me, it's destiny.
Fate is on my side.

You and me, it's destiny.
Fate is on my side."

Everyone applauded for the performers. Chaos, Vixen, and Ecstasy took bows.
Leila stared at Chaos, smiling.

Sunday, July 24, 12090

At noon, Leila arrived at a shop.
She walked over to the counter. A young man was standing there.
"I'd like to buy a motorcycle." Leila told him.
"See one ya like?" the man asked.
Leila walked over and looked at them closely. She found a red motorcycle that looked very similar to the one that she had before.
"I'll take this one." Leila told him.
"$7,000." the man replied.
Leila walked over to the counter, reached into her left pants pocket, pulled out a bunch of gold coins, and put them on the counter.
She walked back over to the motorcycle, put on the helmet, sat down, pressed the starter button, revved the engine, and drove off.

That evening, Leila was on stage with Dazzle at The Scene.
Chaos had his synthaxe. Vixen was on her synthesizer. Ecstasy was on her bass guitar. Leila stood in the center of the stage.
Doris, Lamika, and Dan sat at a table near the stage. They and the rest of the audience were cheering and applauding after the latest song.
Leila waved at all of them. "Thank you! We're gonna take a break!"
Leila and Rory walked off of the stage.
Doris and Lamika started reading their music sheets for the next few songs.
A teenaged girl ran over to Rory. She held out a photograph of him and a pen. "Chaos, can I have your autograph?!"
Rory smiled. "Sure. What's your name?"
"Jennifer." she replied.
Rory put his left arm around her. "Well, Jennifer, let's go some place a bit less crowded. Shall we?"
They walked off together.
Leila stared at them. "He certainly does flirt a lot."
Doris smiled at her. "Jealous?"
Leila laughed. "About as jealous as I am of D."

A few minutes later, Leila had to relieve herself.
She walked into the club's one bathroom.
Leila stopped in her tracks, surprised.
Rory had Jennifer pressed against the far wall. His eyes were glowing blue, and he had fangs. Rory's fangs were pressed into the right side of Jennifer's neck.
Leila's surprise quickly turned to anger. "What the hell is going on?!"
Rory pulled away from Jennifer's neck and turned to face Leila, surprised.
"Leila!" Rory exclaimed. "This isn't what it looks like!"
Leila stormed over to them. "Then what the fuck is it?!"
Rory's fangs retracted, and his eyes stopped glowing.
"It's okay!" Jennifer explained. "I wanted it!"
Leila examined the puncture wounds on Jennifer's neck. "Did you drink his blood?!"
"No!" Jennifer replied.
"Leila, I would never make her do that!" Rory insisted.
Leila pushed Jennifer towards the door. "Let's go!"
Rory followed them out. "Leila, we do this at all of our concerts! Our fans consent to it! It's how we feed!"
"You disgust me!" Leila replied. "You take advantage of people that find you attractive! And to think that I had a crush on you!"
Jennifer walked back to her table, holding her pen and her autographed picture of Rory.
Rory walked onto the stage and picked up his synthaxe. Vixen got on her synthesizer. Ecstasy put on her bass guitar.
"What's going on?" Doris asked. "I thought we were performing next."
Vixen and Ecstasy started playing their instruments. Ecstasy and Vixen sang the back-up vocals, and Chaos sang the lead vocals to Leila:

"Don't like the way I act.
Girl, you better face the fact.
You can wait a long while;
I'm not about to change my style.

This is me (Ooh!),
how I like to be.
Take it or leave it.
I am free,
how I like to be.
Take it or leave it.
(Take it or leave it.)
What you get is what you see.
You better believe it.
Take it or leave it.

You think I'm a big disgrace.
Why don't you get off my case?
You say I'm the hurtin' kind.
Girl, you oughta keep in mind,

this is me (Ah-ah-ah),
how I like to be.
Take it or leave it.
What you get is what you see.
You better believe it.
Take it or leave it,
Take it or leave it."

Leila turned and stormed out of the club in anger.
"Leila!" Rory called. "I don't get it. What's wrong?"
"What's wrong is that Leila has a problem with dhampirs, and you let her catch you drinking someone's blood!" Doris whispered to him after she had walked onto the stage. "I told you to stick to bloody steaks like Micki and I do!"
"But I didn't do anything to her personally!" Rory replied, confused.
"Hey, you'd better listen, 'cause I'm warning you." Doris told him. "Love is never simple with a complicated girl."
Rory got off the stage and stormed out of the club.
Lamika watched him go.
"Lamika." Doris called.
Lamika looked at her, then she stood up and walked onto the stage. She took her place at the synthesizer.
Doris picked up Rory's synthaxe. "We've gotta sing the rest of the songs on our own."
"I don't know if my singing voice has improved." Lamika told her. "How should I sing?"
"Just sing with a neutral accent." Doris told her. "Don't imitate any accent. Just hide your own."
"I'll try." Lamika picked up a microphone.
Doris, Vixen, and Ecstasy started playing their instruments. Doris sang the back-up vocals, and Lamika sang the lead vocals to Doris:

"When I saw you
for the first time,
eyes the color of the ocean,
something moved inside of me,
long forgotten, lying broken.

Now, I can't
turn away,
watching you as you lay sleeping.
Can you hear
winds of change?
Is this something to believe in?

I lost direction
in the darkness;
couldn't stop myself from runnin', runnin'.
I could feel the sun on my back (and I turned around),
but I was afraid to let the light in.

Now, I can't
run anymore.
Now, I see this gift you bring me.
Can you hear
winds of change?
Maybe this loser's luck is turning."

The band then went into an instrumental break. After that, Lamika sang:

"I will carry you in my heart.
I will hold you in my memory.
You could be a million miles away,
but, when I call,
you will hear

Everyone applauded for the performers. Doris, Lamika, Vixen, and Ecstasy took bows.
Doris gave Lamika a smile. Lamika smiled back at her. They hugged each other. Then Doris kissed Lamika on the lips very passionately.
"Much better." Doris told Lamika between kisses.

When Doris got back to Leila's house, she saw that Rory wasn't there.
Doris knocked on Leila's bedroom door. "Leila?"
There was no response.
"It's Doris. Can I come in?"
There was silence for a moment.
"All right." Leila finally said.
Doris opened the door and walked into Leila's bedroom, closing the door behind her.
Leila was sitting on her bed. She was wearing her pajamas. The lamp on Leila's nightstand provided the only light in the room.
Doris walked over to the bed and sat down to Leila's right.
"Leila, are you holding up?" Doris asked her.
"Not very well." Leila replied. "I don't wanna see that sick bastard ever again!"
"I understand how you feel." Doris told her. "I personally find it unnecessary. Lamika and I always request meat with the blood still in it. It sustains us just as well as human blood. But Rory has his own way. Phoebe and Ingrid occasionally do it, too. I don't approve of it, but, as long as they're not causing any harm, I'm letting them feed how they want."
"I can't accept that kind of behavior." Leila replied. "Who would want to be bitten by a dhampir?"
Doris didn't say anything.
Leila sighed. "Sorry."
"I was a regular human until three months ago." Doris said. "Then, when I became a dhampir, I started to crave blood. I learned to satisfy my cravings in a non-destructive manner. I'm sure Rory can learn that, too."
"Do you really think so?" Leila asked her.
Doris smiled. "If he doesn't, I'll whip him in the crotch."
Leila started laughing, and Doris joined in.
After a while, Doris stopped laughing and turned serious. "We're leaving tomorrow morning."
Leila stopped laughing. "Oh."
"Will you be coming with us?" Doris asked.
"I...I don't know." Leila replied.
"Would you rather live in a town filled with people that you hate?" Doris asked her.
"No, but...I kinda got sick of the whole bounty hunter thing." Leila replied. "I wanted a normal life, y'know?"
"I understand," Doris said, "but you need to decide how you want to live your life from tomorrow on."
Leila was silent for a moment. "I'll think about it."
Doris stood up. "We leave early. Good night."
"Good night." Leila said.
Doris turned and walked to the door. She opened it and left the room, closing the door behind her.
Leila turned off her lamp and lay down on her bed, her mind occupied with the decision that she had to make tomorrow until she fell asleep.

Monday, July 25, 12090

At dawn, Doris, Lamika, Dan, Rory, Phoebe, and Ingrid were standing outside, across the street from Leila's house.
Rory put the last bag into the trunk.
Just then, the front door to Leila's house opened.
Leila walked outside, a bag slung over her left shoulder, and closed the door behind her.
She walked across the street.
"Leila?" Doris asked.
"I want to be with you." Leila told them.
Doris smiled. "Welcome to the group."
Rory took Leila's bag and put it into the trunk. "I'm glad you changed your mind about us."
Leila smiled. "I've got a motorcycle. I'll follow you."
Rory closed the trunk and nodded.
Leila walked back across the street.
Rory got in the driver seat of the car. Doris got in the passenger seat. Lamika, Phoebe, Ingrid, and Dan got in the back seat. They fastened their seatbelts. Rory started the engine.
Leila put on her helmet and got on her motorcycle. She started the engine.
The car got onto the street and headed west.
Leila followed, the wind blowing through her hair.

The End

Copyright © 2001, 2002, 2003 by Mark Moore


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