The Kaliyah Chronicles Part Two

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After I knew who I was, it became easier to please Mother. I was able to feel a certain empathy for her. That’s not quite right. It wasn’t empathy. It was pity. I pitied her, a normal woman who had simply wanted a baby girl; who wanted to have a real mother-daughter relationship. I felt I had let her down immensely, being an abnormal demon thing, unable to have normal emotions, unable to share with her those things that mothers and daughters shared. We didn’t get our nails done together. We didn’t talk about dating. We didn’t go shopping. We did not have shared Pinterest boards with purses on them.
I went to school, kept to myself, and got passing grades. I mowed the lawn. I helped Mother with the dishes and I learned her spaghetti sauce recipe, duplicating it to within acceptable parameters, I was told. Her smiles and hugs told me when I was doing well by her. I felt satisfaction when I earned them. I knew that I was assisting her to feel better. This was important to me.
As I went forward with a new understanding of my identity, I learned things about my capacities and powers. I learned that not only could I change my hair color; I could cast a glamour around myself which would cause me to appear the way prey wanted to see me. I learned this slowly and by happenstance, from the breathy, guttural comments my food made to me directly before they realized their doom. When I was very hungry, I would think, “I wish that the perfect prey would come to me.” In less than a few minutes, the child rapist would appear, lewdly commenting on my non-existent Catholic school girl uniform, or my ample bust or lack thereof, whatever he personally desired. Did he like pigtails on underage, innocent teens? My hair would suddenly part and go up in elastic bands. As I gained more and more experience, I could taste the flavor of the prey’s perversion, and knew the chalky taste of a baby goth grabber, or the metallic taste and smell of the “she seduced me” sicko, always over 50 and Caucasian. Apparently, I could even change race, as I learned once when one dinner warbled his “sweet Asian kitten” swan song. I remained, shall we say, well fed.
In my first year as a consumer of human predators, I managed to attract solitary prey. After all, it was easy to go out alone at night and attract an opportunist to assuage my hunger. But it was one day that I found myself in a different situation that I met the first person, other than my divine mother, who knew what I was. I was out hunting as usual. I was magnetizing myself to my lunch. I had gotten on a bus to go into the city of Anoka, MN. I found it was best to jump around. It made me nervous when the news crews noticed that too many local men from one place had disappeared. I rode the bus for around 45 minutes and disembarked on a cute little street with lots of bars and antique shops. I sat on an ornate bench. It was green with black, iron legs and arm rests. After about 10 minutes, a well-dressed man approached me. He smelled of expensive cologne. I couldn’t get a fix on his flavor, but he began telling me that I would make a wonderful model. He was a photographer, he said, very well-known, and asked if I wanted to see his portfolio. I said, “sure.” He pulled out a tablet and began swiping photos of girls and boys, all teens and tweens, in various surroundings. None was specifically “sexy,” but there was a sliminess to the energy of the pictures that I couldn’t quite place. I had felt my hair change to red right before he approached. He commented on how photogenic my white skin and bright red hair would be. He wanted to photograph me in a deep green dress, he said.
The man handed me a business card and told me to call or text any time. I said, “Is your studio around here? I have some time.” The man smiled and pointed across the street to a building next to a butcher shop. It looked abandoned. I asked about that. He assured me that his suite was in the basement. It allowed him to control the lighting for shoots, he said. I made my eyes big and nodded enthusiastically. We walked to the building and went down a rather dark stairwell. I began trying to consciously control my change as I felt the man’s excitement at getting me alone. I breathed slowly, calming myself.
We went through a large, heavy metal door, and what unfolded next was unexpected. I was standing in a beautifully appointed office, brightly lit and festooned with plants, artwork, and shiny marble floors. A crisply dressed lady in her 30’s was sitting at a reception desk, her Ray Bans were perched on her blonde head, holding back corkscrew curls. Dark red, matte lipstick, the kind that looks expensive, was meticulously applied to her perky smile. She chirped a greeting to us, calling the man “Mark,” and asked how he managed to meet such a beautiful model.
Mark laughed a friendly laugh and said, “Would you believe we met at a bus stop?” The lady practically sparkled and answered, “Like finding a Van Gogh at a garage sale!”
Mark led me through the office. It smelled like lavender and seemed to be much longer than it was wide, so it seemed “smaller from the outside.” We arrived at a photo set with special back drops and those weird umbrella-looking lights on stands that photographers always have. Several sets were arranged in front and back of one another, and I saw a boy who looked like a wrestler or a football player duck behind a screen, presumably to change clothing. Mark pointed to the middle set and invited me to go through a rack of size small dresses, asking which ones I liked. I looked through them and picked out a forest green strapless dress, plus another royal blue sequined ball gown. Mark looked pleased.
“What’s your name, dear?” Mark asked.
“I’m Katie,” I lied.
“Well, Katie, now you ARE 18 years old, and can sign a modeling contract, correct?” Mark nodded at me with an intense look. I gathered that I was supposed to agree that I was 18, so I did.
“Absolutely!” I smiled. “I just turned 18 last week, as a matter of fact!” I exuded my “barely legal” vibe with gusto.
Mark gave me a knowing look. He was well aware that I wasn’t 18. He said, “I’ll go get the contract, and you pop behind the screen right there and put on the green gown, OK?” I hauled the dresses over my arm and went behind the screen. I wondered exactly what was going on here. I mean, he was definitely under the table with his willingness to photograph a minor without parental consent. But there was more to it than that, I was sure.

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Read “The Kaliyah Chronicles!”

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I Am Not a Vampire

Online school was not something Mother would consider. I understood her reasons. She was a normal person and she grew up like a normal girl. For her, pep rallies and school socials were important events that helped her fit in and enjoy the milestones that all normal mothers who used to be normal girls think their daughters need. It wasn’t her fault that she didn’t know me. It wasn’t her fault that she didn’t even understand that people like me exist.
The electrical shocks in my limbs had gotten worse in the last year or so. My tolerance to daylight was decreasing as well. Mother gave me iron supplements and tried to force me to eat red meat. The red meat helped a bit. I was able to hide the intense, stabbing electric-like shocks that went through my limbs, for the most part. I was having a much harder time with the shifts in consciousness lately, though.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this is another teen vampire story. You’re wrong. OK…well, you’re not completely wrong. But I’m not actually a vampire. When I was 13, I was convinced I was a vampire. I read on line all about psy vamps and sanguines and becoming pale and hating the sun, etc. And my 13-year-old mind was all excited that I had a name for what I was. I was all ready to join a house and a coven and move in with them and be all vampy. I was disappointed to find out that many of the people who write this stuff are life stylers who basically want to cosplay full time. I had the idiots who tried to convince me that they were several hundred years old and somehow always wanted sex with me, a child, as their end game. They were pathetic. They couldn’t talk about history in a meaningful way, didn’t know any dead languages or old techniques for doing things. They were frauds. They were predators. And two of them who tried to hurt me got what they deserved. They hadn’t met anyone like me before. I was real, you see. And more than that, I’m not anyone’s lunch. Their bodies will never be found.
Sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. Now you think I’m a monster. I’m not a monster and I don’t enjoy killing people. It’s the worst experience of my life, to be honest. I was so disappointed that the label I thought I had found for my condition wasn’t accurate and the people who claimed that label were not, for lack of a better word, usually very competent. They just wanted to play dress up and try to be scary and they would have these parties and wear flashy contact lenses and drink the blood of their willing donors. It was all very Anne Rice. And it wasn’t for me, in the end. Because what I am is not what they are. I wish I were just a life styler cosplayer who likes to wear black. That would be fun. That would be less painful.
I never found anything on line or in books that completely describes what I am and what I experience. I was alone. This isolation was my cloak and my protection. I couldn’t be with other kids my age. They were frightened of me as a very natural reaction to my energy. They used to bully me. Then they left me alone, whispered behind my back, but never taunted me. They instinctively knew that they shouldn’t anger me. And I feel safest when I’m alone, because I don’t have to try to control my behavior. I don’t have to worry about harming anyone. I honestly don’t know how long my life will be, and sometimes I hope that my condition is terminal and I won’t live very long. I know that sounds dramatic and teenage goth suicide romantic but it’s not. It’s the truth. I think anyone who had to live like I do would probably feel the same way.
I wish that death did not feed me. I am a very nice person by nature and I dislike harming anything, even bugs and flowers. I don’t squish spiders. I wish that my condition would go away. I wish I could go to college and live in a dorm and put band posters on my walls with that stuff that you can remove that doesn’t harm the paint. I wish I could go to parties and drink beer and complain about the cost of textbooks. I wish I could be a nurse. I always wanted to be a nurse.
The first one was a guy who was about 30 and told everyone that he was 750 years old and had been “changed over” at the age of 24. It was getting pretty hard for him to keep up his story because he was clearly ageing. I mean…you can’t tell people you’re eternally 24 for very long. I was targeted and wooed by him when I snuck out of the house and went to a vamp party in a seedy basement club downtown. I had been invited by someone on line in a vampire chat room. I know it was stupid for me to go. But I was 13.
I wore regular clothes and showed up hoping that I would find “my people.” I was very excited to be in a place where others understood me. What I found was a lot of booze, a lot of sex, and a lot of leather and silver barbells through pale flesh. What I found was a den of delusional predators. They wanted to be something. I, on the other hand, desperately wanted NOT to be what I was. I scanned the room. I felt each person’s feelings, their motivations, their reasons for being there. Some were definitely psychic and had energetic talents like I did. They looked at me when I looked at them, and they nodded and I nodded back. This gave me hope. At 13, I didn’t know that being psychic didn’t automatically make a person be like I was. I was so hopeful then. I was innocent. I was a child.
Antonius (that is what he said his given name was) was thin and handsome with a mop of what looked like natural, undyed black hair and piercing blue eyes. He had a story about how he was changed by a woman who was very wealthy and owned the estate on which his mother worked. and he stuck to his story but the details didn’t work. When I asked him on the second night to say something in his native tongue, he rambled off what sounded like a phrase he had memorized phonetically. I asked him how to say, “I dislike red wine,” and he obliged me with a string of sounds. Of course, I have a perfect memory…it’s not a gift, I promise you…and I later looked up the phrase he said. It was not a phrase in archaic Bulgarian (his mother was supposedly Bulgarian and his father was a Roman soldier…you know…the usual story…and that’s why his name was Antonius). It was not a phrase in any known language. I wasn’t shocked. He seemed a bit dimwitted but was a master at applying impressive eye liner.
I liked him and thought he was fun to hang out with, so I started going to the parties pretty regularly. It seemed that I had to attach myself to someone so as not to be “preyed upon,” and that’s what I did. I became Antonius’ “minion.” And so the grooming began, and he got me pretty outfits to wear, and made me up to look like a vampire queen of the night, and it suited me quite well. He wanted me to move into the mildewed corner room he had in the club, the one with a few bare lightbulbs hooked up to extension cords and a bathroom down the street at the gas station when the club wasn’t open. He behaved as though this were a great privilege he would bestow only upon one so worthy as I clearly was. We would be creatures of the night together. It would be grand.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I learned a lot that year. I learned from these self-described vampires that human blood really did stop my pain for a moment. I liked the taste of it and enjoyed the ritual of feeding, as it was romantic and the donors clearly liked what they were doing. These people knew how to play their parts and we all had a lovely time drinking wine and exchanging blood for cuddles and it was, in fact, the only time I really felt part of something. That was nice. It probably saved my life at that time, as 13 is a time of desperation for even a normal child. I was becoming convinced that I should leave my life at home with Mother, leave school, and live in a basement with a 30-year-old mechanic who drank blood at night and wore capes. I was “in thrall” as they say. I was a vampire! I was part of an underworld that was romantic and edgy, and I was in demand. Donors flocked to me. It was idyllic and the danger that I felt each night was thrilling. What I didn’t understand is that it wasn’t the danger of being preyed upon that would undo me. It was the danger of learning what I really was. And my innocence was not to be had by Antonius. It was to be had by Death itself. And there was no safe place for me after that.

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St. Margaret’s School for Girls Teaser!

A little teaser is now available on the “Stories” Page!

This Young Adult Paranormal Novel is for ages 13-16 but even adults can enjoy an evilly twisted teen tale of ghosts, vampires, magic, and peril.  Join Clarissa at her dark and haunted boarding school as she befriends human and non-human beings alike to fight an ancient and terrorizing force which threatens the lives of everyone around her.

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Photo credits:  Photographer Scott Taylor, Model Taija Barnett, Stylist Kathryn Hunter