I do a lot of writing in anthologies, and this is probably one of my favorite pieces that has shown up in them. It also apparently made John Hartness lose his ever-loving mind and not hunt me down for breaking all his rules, so there’s that, too. This is one of those stories that incorporated some older work I’d played around with early on and hadn’t done anything with. I’m hoping eventually the characters in this story will get their own longer work, but we’ll see.
Rave and Asha are vampire siblings on the run from their sire, While she wants to settle down and settle the score once and for all, Rave is in love with the bad boy lifestyle. When a confrontation becomes unavoidable…Asha decides to go shopping. It’s after breaking in a local Addington dress shop that Rave meets Sin, a human who’s completely different than the vampire fangirls he takes pleasure in killing. Unfortunately, he’s not sure how to deal with how much she’s piqued his interest, and it isn’t exactly the most convenient time…
This bit is from the middle of the story, a nice little exchange as vamp and human try to wrap their minds round each other. And yes, while technically you could say the story has romantic elements, it is definitely put through the Selah filter, which means the actual ending of the story will pull the rug out from under you and no one is safe. Heh.
For two nights they kept Sin company while she worked. At first Rave had stayed only to make sure Asha didn’t try to walk away with half the inventory—or at least that’s what he told himself. Maybe it was a girl thing, maybe he’d just been expecting more chit-chat, but sewing was really freakin’ boring to watch. He couldn’t even relax with a good skin mag for fear Asha would read him the riot act, and he’d be damned if he’d sit there watching Sin mumble to herself and fuss with fabric doing whatever weird sewing voodoo that was required. Maybe Asha cared, but he didn’t. The only saving grace was that Sin shared his taste in music. When she’d gotten him into a debate about the merits of G’NR vs. Aerosmith, he’d been intrigued, but then she’d gotten lost in her work and went back to ignoring him.
It shouldn’t have rankled him so much. What did he care if she ignored him? She was doing her job and she had nothing to do with him! Still, her sitting there so alive yet so oblivious was infuriating. In retrospect, going out to make a few kills and work off some tension probably wasn’t the best idea, especially since he re-entered the small shop trailing blood and a few leftover chunks of intestine, but nobody was perfect. Better Sin understood what had come calling on her doorstep so she could be properly scared instead of…whatever it was she felt.
That was the other thing: she just didn’t react to him! He’d always gotten the girl right off the bat, had always known what to say to get legs and throat open. Fine. She wants to be all calm and aloof? Let her deal with this! Rave smirked as he trudged into the back room, boots squelching. At this rate I won’t have to feed for a week, he mused. He stretched contentedly before flopping onto the small couch that sat beside the large square cutting table and the small counter of sewing machines. He wriggled when his shirt and jeans rode against his skin like a swimming suit after a long day at the pool, and purposefully made a big deal of getting comfortable.
Sin didn’t look up once. She was bent over the machine, her full lips pursed into a slight frown. She had a mouth that could do a lot of good as a human woman or a lot of damage if she’d been undead. Stop it! Where the hell did that come from? You don’t notice things like that! She’s cattle and a chick, so she’s good for two things. Well, three if you count sewing.
“I never realized making a dress took so much time,” he finally offered. He wasn’t one for real conversation, but it beat sitting there playing warden or babysitter.
“It does if you want to get it right. And since I don’t want to see my insides on my outside, I figure I’d better get it right,” she mumbled, teeth clenched around a mess of straight pins.
Rave admired her focus and attention to detail. Still, he’d been around long enough to know that most obsessive people didn’t obsess without a reason. “Not everyone does. A lot of people these days just bust somethin’ out and figure someone’ll pay for it. What’ve you got to prove?”
Sin’s shoulders raised and her face momentarily crumbled in on itself. She carefully spit the pins onto the counter and glanced up at him. “Look, I get that you’ll probably kill me when this is over. It’s what you do. I just want you to know so you don’t think I’m spillin’ my guts to you for no reason. You think I like working for a self-important has-been in a nowhere town?”
“Then why do it?” Rave asked and squished back into the couch cushions. He made no attempt to correct her assumption; he hadn’t figured out what he was going to do with her afterwards, himself. “The pay can’t be that great. Dalia keeps you hidden. You obviously aren’t selling a lot in a place like this.”
“I do okay online. But…D has contacts from back in the day. She could set me up if she saw something in me. She probably never will, but…I need to work my way up somehow. I don’t want people to think…” Sin paused and bit her lip. “I made some mistakes when I was younger. I wanted to get out and see the world, so I took a gig dressing a local band. Not local to here—I grew up in St. Louis. It didn’t occur to me that they could pick their own clothes and I’d been brought on for other reasons until I was there and decided to…make the most of the lifestyle.”
Interesting. Now that was a tidbit worth perking up for. “So you’re afraid to go back to those contacts because you want to be seen as a designer and not—”
“Yeah, she admitted and sighed. “I just feel stuck. Dalia’s so in love with Dalia and her own version of small town haute couture that nothing else matters. I think she gets off on baiting me with the promise of bigger things, full-well knowing she’s not gonna do it. I’d kill to have her address book,” she sighed and ran a hand through her short hair. The delicate two-toned spikes rippled under her fingers and Rave found his own hands clenching against the urge to see if they were soft and supple against his hands or hard from product. “I hate being caught like this.”
“You do good work,” he offered. Why the hell am I bothering to be nice to her? I should be out raising hell or plotting a way to take down Amanda, not comforting some random human who probably wouldn’t even make a good blood slave. It was bad enough he hadn’t spared Amanda a thought in the last two days, but to occupy his thoughts with a random human girl? Not his style.
“I know,” she agreed. It wasn’t an arrogant comment by any means, just an acknowledgement of her effort and potential. “But it’s all about connections. No one cares if you’re killing yourself to make something amazing. I guess I’m getting used to no one noticing and I don’t like that.”
“I’ve noticed.” Sin looked up with a surprise that Rave felt, himself. They stared at each other, neither one able to come up with a reply.
“Your sister’s gone out to feed or hunt or whatever you call it,” Sin finally offered and turned back to the machine. “Or is it gettin’ lucky?” she added with a wry smile.
How long had it been since met a girl with a similar sense of humor? “Depends on the day,” he admitted. “She’ll be back soon.”
“She’s sweet. A good kid.”
He snorted. “One of the few times I’ve ever heard her called that.” He shifted his weight. There was already a sizeable stain underneath him. “Sorry ‘bout the mess.”
Sin shrugged and grabbed up a different color thread. “I smelled you when you came in. I figure it’s what you do. It’s all good as long as it’s not me.” She paused and bit her lip. “Is it hard to kill?”
It was Rave’s turn to stop and think. She’s got balls, that’s for sure. “At first it was. We were turned in the fifties, so it was a different set of rules then. It took a long time to get out from under that way of thinkin’. After a while it’s not hard.” He pressed on at her tentative expression. “Haven’t you ever gotten so fed up at petty people or all the little, stupid things they do? Isn’t there someone that’s gotten under your skin and made your blood boil so bad you can’t think of anything else? You just have to focus on that until it becomes habit. Then, it’s just like sittin’ down to dinner.” He expected her to be put off by his flippant attitude, was almost looking forward to it. While she considered it, Sin didn’t look particularly disgusted.
“I guess that makes sense,” she finally admitted. “I guess it’s something anyone could get used to if they wanted to.” In all his years Rave had never had anyone agree with his philosophy, especially not someone who could easily become his next meal. “So are you looking forward to this party thing, then?”
He snorted. “No.”
Sin blinked and tried to smile, though the look on his face killed her efforts pretty quick. “C’mon. A party with your own kind? That must be fun.”
He stared down at the little puddles oozing out of his boots. “I’ll look forward to seeing Amanda dead on the floor in front of me. If that happens, I’ll have a blast.”
“Is that like a thing, to hate your sire?” He could have gutted her for even trying to pursue the conversation; he probably should’ve. Things had gotten way out of hand fast. Still, she’d shown him hers, so to speak…
“She’s a psycho. Remember, it was the fifties. People were getting edgy about the Cold War and were desperate for ways to avoid any doomsday threat.” The actual memories were blurred out by decades of hard living, but the emotions still stung deep.
“You were turned to survive nuclear fallout?” Sin whispered, horrified. “Would that even work?”
Rave shrugged and twisted a chunky ring he’d acquired from one of his victims. “People thought it would. No one really knows for sure. It was yet another way to preserve the American Dream. Keep your family close and instill your values for all eternity. Or something.” He hesitated. “Amanda got interested into that line of thinking, went to meetings, and decided to sign us up.”
“But why would some random…wait…” Sin trailed off, looking up from the fabric in her hands at last. Rave nodded at the realization in her eyes. “She’s your mother?!”
For more of Rave, Sin, and Asha, be sure to check out their full story in…
Everybody loves bad guys, and these are some of the baddest of them all. Forget the rules. There aren’t any heroes. No one is going to save you from the wickedness in the darkness. Monster hunters can easily become the hunted. Twisted perverts can find themselves on the receiving end of their own deviant desires. No matter how big and bad someone or something may be, there is always something bigger and badder just waiting. Even the classics like a dragon, werewolf, or supernatural being can fall victim to something even more evil. Take a peek, if you dare, inside the malevolent world of super-villains, monsters, demons and just plain evil folk. Be careful, what you see there might be disturbingly familiar …
Real Wild Childe
Rave isn’t interested in examining his soul or atoning for his misdeeds. He’s a bad boy vampire and determined to enjoy every kill. The only romance he’s interested in is the kind that gets him laid before getting his fangs into an artery. Unfortunately, he and his sister, Asha, are on the run from someone older, someone that they barely escaped once. To make matters worse, Asha is determined that they settle down in Addington, Indiana, once and for all. When an unfortunate invitation leads them to Sin, resident outsider and human seamstress, Rave’s life is about to get a lot more complicated as he struggles to sort out his feelings and decide if he’s finally ready to grow up and stand his ground. To read an excerpt, go here