Daywalker Chronicles Book 1: Vampire Morning
Sienna is walking on sunshine, well at least walking in it, which is rare for a vampire. She is also on a road trip with Dracula. Not your typical Vampire adventure.
Vampire Morning snippet –
You’d think a road trip with Dracula would be fun. The dude was like a billion years old. Well, maybe not that old. Whenever you talk about years BT (before technology) it all kind of blends together. You could also call those years BS (before showers) since, as I understood it, back when Dracula was a mortal, if you bathed more than twice a year you were probably royalty.
I can be a bit of an airhead at times, but I’m a smart airhead. Yeah, that’s a thing. Legally Blonde, hello! I wasn’t blonde. Not a law-student, either. Before I became a daywalker—a vampire whose more monstrous self only shows up under sunlight—I was a redheaded computer geek. I suppose that hadn’t changed, but I had fangs now, so I was way cooler than I used to be. Something about this new self was more confident than the old Sienna Cartwright used to be. Having the Grim Reaper’s daughter—well, his sister, now that her brother took over the family business—as a best friend, and saving the world together a few times helped.
Of course, if I hadn’t met Zoey, I never would have become what I am. Human-ish at night. A bloodsucker during the day. Long story short. Vampires abducted me. They tried to turn me. Zoey caught me. Her brother reaped my soul. The theory was if they kept my body alive until the vampiric venom was gone, they could put my soul back in my body and keep me human. It didn’t do exactly what they hoped. It made me what we called a “daywalker.” Human and vulnerable in all the usual ways humans are at night. Only a few minor features remained. My fangs, for one. My senses were improved, but not at all comparable to regular vampires who could see in the dark just as well as in the day. My vampirism wasn’t totally gone during the day, but it was absent enough that I barely noticed it and no one else did either. Unless I smiled too widely. Then, well, I looked like the failed experiment of an orthodontist.
I was almost indestructible during the day. In some ways, I was the opposite of regular vampires. The sun made me stronger (and deadlier), and if I wasn’t jonesin’ for blood, I loved garlic. A stake to the heart could ruin my day. I hadn’t tested it, for obvious reasons, but beheading might do the trick, too. I had a brooch, a device enchanted by a goddess and given to the reapers, that allowed me to keep my blood thirst under control during the day most of the time. So long as I didn’t encounter any blood or anyone with an open wound, it worked. It also had the ability to allow me to travel the astral plane. Basically, go invisible. I could use that ability day or night.
Why was I riding with Dracula? Well, that’s another long story. I’ll get to it. I’ll just say that this Dracula was half the villain he used to be. Probably less than half, but that doesn’t have the same ring to it. His quirky weird sisters—you might have read about them in the book about my newest travel companion—worked a little dark magic, Scholomance mumbo jumbo on the old Count, divided him up into something that resembled a Borg collective, and isolated anything about his personality that was non-villainous in only one of his various manifestations.
Yes, Dracula had been a master of the Scholomance. A mystical school that had trained sorcerers for centuries. According to legend, the devil himself was the school’s headmaster. Well, Zoey and I shook things up in hell a bit. We replaced Hades with Athena. She had a bitchy streak, herself—Zoey could tell that story better than I could—but the other gods on Olympus had her under control. Besides, ruling hell suited her. She did it well, and while she was always a goddess who wanted more power, and in a sense she had it, she was never the destroy-the-world-out-of-spite kind of devil. With her in charge at the Scholomance, Zoey and I learned that the school also offered another path. The path of light. Zoey and I went through it. We were able to isolate the one part of Dracula, after the sisters had divided his essence, where any semblance of goodness remained. We got him back to the Scholomance and, though he had been a master of the darkness before, he engaged the trials to become an initiate in the path of light. He passed. Throw the confetti. Toot a few horns. By combining our powers gleaned from the Scholomance, Dracula, Zoey, and I were able to destroy what remained of his darkness. That is, whatever of it the sisters hadn’t held on to themselves.
That was the guy I had riding with me. Dracula sans the evil. Still as eccentric as ever. But, you know, look who’s talking, right?
I’d say he was my new sugar daddy, but it wasn’t like that. The weird sisters were setting up a club down in New Orleans. Zoey and I took down the club they’d set up in Kansas City already. Zoey was preggers, so she was sitting this adventure out, but I bit Dracula, turned him into a daywalker like me, and we hit the open road. Not any daywalker could turn other vampires into our kind. I was the alpha daywalker. I’d been made by an accident, through a botched attempt by the reapers to shield my soul while the vampiric curse left my body. You had to be made like me to pass on the daywalker “variance” to other bloodsuckers.
Before we left town, Dracula got me a new vehicle. Quite generous from a vampire I’d only known a short while. I think he was grateful that he had a chance to live life as someone other than the most famous monster in the history of horror.
He bought me a Toyota Sienna, a minivan. He thought it was hilarious. Sienna driving a Sienna. You know, I used to love my name. I thought it was cool, unique, and kind of badass. That was before people started associating it with the number-one rated vehicle in safety and functionality among soccer moms nationwide.
He insisted we needed the space. Even as daywalkers it was good to have a place to take cover, especially since we were vulnerable at night. Besides, the van was a hybrid. More irony, I know, since I was a hybrid of a sort myself. It got great gas mileage, though.
Since Drac was an old fart, I thought I’d go retro with my music choices. What’s better for a road trip than a little Journey? I belted it out as we headed down the open road.
“Don’t stop… believing!”
Dracula tilted his head. “Please keep the volume down.”
“Party pooper. I thought you’d like old music. You know, since you’re so old.”
“This is not old.”
I turned the radio down. “I know what you’d like. You enjoy the king?”
Dracula raised an eyebrow. “The king of where?”
“The King of Rock ‘n Roll, genius. Look, we can even make the song our own. ‘I ain’t nothin’ but a vampire, bitin’ all the time. I ain’t never killed a rabbit ‘cause they taste like… turpentine.’”
Dracula shuddered. “Do they? I never bit one. I stay away from bunny rabbits.”
I shuddered. “You’re scared of bunnies? Maybe I don’t want to know.”
“Have you ever fed from a bunny and lived to tell the tale?”
I shook my head. “Only bunnies I ever ate were made of chocolate.”
“I imagine your song is accurate. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were turpentine-flavored rodents.”
“Not that I have a clue what turpentine tastes like. What can I say? I needed something to rhyme.”
“You can get an idea of what something might taste like by how it smells. People say things taste like shit all the time, but I doubt most of those people have ever had a sample.”
I snorted. “Good point, I guess.”
“This music still isn’t old.”
“Oh, come on. Elvis is way old. What do you like, anyway?”
“Do you have any Brahms?” he requested.
“Brahms? Is that like a death metal band or something?”
“No. Brahms composed his symphonies while he was yet alive.”
I huffed. “You can’t listen to a symphony on a road trip, dude. The idea is to stay awake. It’s gotta be something you can sing along with.”
“I know that song by Sir Mix-A-Lot.”
I laughed. “Baby Got Back?”
“I thought it was written by a knight,” Dracula explained. “Why else would he be called ‘sir’? So, I purchased the cassette. Then I couldn’t stop listening to it.”
I chuckled. “Well, I’m sure we can stream it if you’re really that into it.”
“If Brahms is out, then yes, Sir Mix-A-Lot is my choice.”
I didn’t know Brahms. I suspected he was one of those many dead classical composers whose stuff all sounded the same to me. I knew the gulf between Brahms and early nineties raps about butts was wider than the Grand Canyon. Okay, a massive crevice in the earth might not be the best metaphor when we’re talking about big butts, but you get the idea. If Dracula had a playlist, or even a smartphone, I’d be curious to see what it looked like.
I was driving. Dracula drove a little at the start of the trip, but I took over straight away. He wasn’t the fiend he was famous for most of the time, but on the road, he was downright terrifying. He didn’t exactly respect the concept of lanes on the highway. Turn signals weren’t his style, either. As a wealthy count in Romania, I suppose he wasn’t used to driving. Given his previous aversion to sunlight, he didn’t travel much, either.
My phone was mounted to the dash. I glanced at it repeatedly to see if Dylan texted me back. He was a werewolf that Zoey and I had saved when he was being held prisoner by a Greek goddess a while back. The sparks were there, and he and I hit it off quickly. Obviously, we didn’t do anything during a full moon. I’m not into hairy dudes, and certainly don’t dig quadrupeds, but ever since he’d left and rejoined his pack in Louisiana, I’d been looking for a chance to go see him. I won’t say we had a long-distance relationship. What we had wasn’t at relationship status. But we stayed in contact, sent flirty texts back and forth, and a few photos of each other that I won’t tell you about. When I sent him a message to let him know I was heading his direction and to warn him about the weird sisters, he didn’t respond. I thought he’d be excited. It wasn’t like I was pressuring him or anything. Our flirtations were mutual, and he instigated it more often than I did. How many more times could I text without receiving a response before it got Fatal Attraction freaky, though?
It had only been a day since I told him I was coming. He was a werewolf, and a full moon was coming in a couple days. Maybe he and his pack were off on a retreat somewhere off the grid, where they could shift and run free while minimizing the body count they’d wake up to in the morning. I hoped that’s all it was. As often as we texted, it was a little weird he hadn’t said something. Like I said, though. We weren’t in a relationship. He didn’t have to tell me anything. Still, I was checking my phone constantly, hoping for a response. Despite being a daywalking vampire, I’d only been on the earth for nineteen years. This sort of thing, anxiously checking my phone waiting for a boy to text, was pretty normal, all things considered, even if there was nothing normal about either of us, individually speaking.
Dracula didn’t get it. He hadn’t had much luck with romance through the years. Most of the people he’d ever found attractive ended up as a meal, and that sort of thing doesn’t do much for building a relationship with someone. He was even more confused why I’d be interested in a werewolf. “Vile creatures,” he insisted. When we fed, we were refined. We left two little bite marks on someone’s body. Most of our victims survived. Werewolves, though? Well, dismemberment was common. They feasted on people’s hearts. If you had to pick a monster to come after you, you were better off with a vampire than a werewolf. If you survived a werewolf attack, you’d become one. Most likely, though, you wouldn’t live through it. If a vampire bit you, unless you were bitten several times and sufficient venom was passed into your body, you wouldn’t likely turn. You’d be sick for a while, get better, and move on with your life.
My bite was different. Maybe it was because, as a daywalker, I was more-or-less human half of the time. More than that, really, since if I stayed indoors during the day my vampirism remained dormant. One bite from me, especially if you were a vampire already, and you’d find yourself craving blood the next time you went out in the sun.
At the moment, Dracula was the only one like me. I’d made others, but for various reasons, they were all gone. Some died. Others became human again—long story. I was a black swan. Some regular vampires hunted me, not to hurt me, but to bait me into biting them. They missed the daylight. Others feared me. Especially since my brooch gave me an advantage. I could disappear and, in astral form, push my fist through a vampire’s torso then touch my brooch to take physical form again and rip their icy hearts from their chests. It was as good as staking, but messier. A lot messier. I was the kind of girl who didn’t mind getting a little dirty, or bloody, in a fight, though.
Dracula and I drove all night. When sunlight began to show on the horizon, it made my ancient companion visibly uneasy, shifting in his seat. Since I made him a daywalker, he’d had a couple of days under the sun, but it was still an adjustment. Mornings are hard. Hell, they’re hard for everyone. The most I’d ever had to worry about in the morning was the condition of my hair. Historically, sunrises hadn’t done much for Dracula‘s complexion. Things were different now.
“Can you pull over?” Dracula asked.
“Sure. I need a pee break, myself. Shouldn‘t have gotten that forty-four-ounce Mountain Dew at the last pit stop.”
Dracula chuckled. “I don‘t have to pee. It‘s just I haven‘t enjoyed a sunrise in ages.”
I pulled over at the next stop, just the other side of the Louisiana border.
Dracula didn’t have a brooch or any other device to suppress his vampiric urges when the sun rose. He did have a lot of practice. When it came to controlling one’s cravings and restraining one’s urges, he was a master. Without my brooch, well, I was less predictable.
That was the funny thing about my relationship with Dracula. In most ways that mattered, he was the mentor. His life experience—if you can call centuries as one of the undead a life—was impressive. He knew how to handle cravings and how to operate in the shadows. I knew how to handle the daylight, how to navigate the world of the living, and more importantly, how to play well with others. Dracula didn’t have a lot of human friends, for several obvious reasons. Probably for the same reason omnivorous humans don’t usually befriend a lot of cows. I’d never befriended a vampire. All the ones I ever encountered in the past were my enemies.
In theory—we hadn’t put it to the test yet—we were a great team. We complemented each other. My weaknesses were his strengths, and vice versa.
I parked the car at the Louisiana visitor’s center. We had the back seats folded down in the van, and I double-checked to make sure the blanket was still covering all our wares. We brought a lot of weapons with us. I borrowed several items from Zoey, things useful for slaying vampires like stakes and crossbows. Dracula had several weapons of his own. Real medieval shit. Swords, spears, chain-mail armor. It was smart. Chain mail could stop a stake.
Anyone who might peek through the windows would have a lot of questions. Best keep it covered.
The dynamic of a 19-year-old daywalker and a very old original vampire working together could be a perfect match or an absolute disaster. Find out on March 28, when Daywalker Chronicles Book 1: Vampire Morning is released. Until then head over to Amazon and pre-order it today.