Recommendation Thursday – Carmilla Web Series

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I recently became obsessed with a web series. Has that ever happened to you?

The Series is based off an old novel called Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu published in 1872 and apparently one of the inspirations for the original novel Dracula.

The first season is everything I love about college fantasy stories. It has excitement, humour, romance, and kissing. (Yes this is a kissing show.)

The show has a total of 3 main seasons  (I recommend you also watch season 0 after you watch season 2.) and is coming out with a movie October 26 (If you’re in Canada check Cineplex for showtimes).

The show does a lot of things amazingly including romantic tension, representation, and humour. It melds the feel of Lovecraft, Supernatural, The Lizzy Bennet Diaries, and Only Human.

It’s Halloween month and this is a great vampire romance. What are you waiting for?

 

Later Days,

Éric

 

 

Reading Bites

Somehow I missed posting the pictures from Can-Con 2015! This is one of our absolute favourite conventions of the year, which is kinda obvious if you know that our due date coincides with their convention THIS year. (Sept 9-11) Seriously, go check them out and then buy a ticket. The writing community of Ottawa is incredible.

A red shirt, author Éric Desmarais (Follow him on Facebook, his blog, sign up for his newsletter through his website, and buy his book here) is about to get bitten by a vampire, author S. M. Carrière (Follow her on Facebook, her blog, sign up for her newsletter through her website, and buy her books here) and is pleading for the Doctor to help!

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Only Human (Serial Story) Part 13 – Conclusion

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 |
Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12

The circle glowed and bright lights erupted out of it as Tim and Ginny forced the lever down on his prototype Metaphysical Transfiguration device.

Rachel, still held by the neck by the Smiling Dark, felt oddly light. A feeling of joy and excitement ran through her. It was a feeling she hadn’t felt since she was a child.

* * *

It was Christmas morning. She and Natasha were sitting in painful anticipation for it to be seven AM. The time their parents told them they could wake them up.

“What do you think Santa brought us this year?” asked Rachel, vibrating with excitement.

“I don’t know, but I hope my motion sensor camera caught him doing it,” Natasha’s eyes sparkled with delight. “You know this is just a memory right?” she asked.

The question caught Rachel off guard. “Can’t I enjoy it?”

“This was my last Christmas…” Natasha trailed off.

“Am I dead?”

Laughing, Natasha said, “Always the optimist. No sweetie. You’re not dead… Not yet.”

“Are you real?” Rachel threw herself at her sister and hugged her.

“At the moment, anything you think of can be real. Now wake up.”

“I still miss you,” Rachel’s tears fell onto her sisters back as they hugged.

“I know, but I don’t miss you enough yet to have you join me. Wake up.”

* * *

The feeling of excitement and power was almost painful.

“What just happened?” asked the man in front of her. He was shadowed as if light didn’t enjoy touching him, but he was still just a man. His face looked like an aged movie star’s, his skin closer to grey than any real colour.

“I think you just became punchable.” She punctuated her quip with a punch.

Lightning crackled around her fist as it connected with the Smiling Dark’s face. It left small burn marks on his cheek. He fell to one knee, his smile disappearing for a moment, and said, “Just because I’m corporeal doesn’t mean I’m helpless.”

His arms reached out and shadows coalesced around his hands forming dark blades. He took a fencer’s stance and started moving towards her. She could see dark tendrils of shadow moving around him like some sort of Lovecraftian monster.

The machine had turned him into a monster that creates and manipulates shadow instead of being made of it. The belief of monsters all over the world that he existed was amplified. Rachel knew what had happened to him had happened to her. The belief of everyone on campus was that she was a demi-god, and she could feel the power of the gods inside her.

“Leave now and you can live.”

“I will have you one way or another.” He attacked and she parried with blades of lightning.

“Ew!” she exclaimed before adding, “I warned you.” Turning to her friends, she said, “Leave the room.”

They fenced, Rachel letting him think he could win, until everyone had left the room.

“I am darkness, shadow, and death. You can’t kill me.”

“I am a demi-god of lightning and energy. Let’s see if you can survive with so much light there isn’t room for shadows.” She reached deep into herself for her new power and pulled it out forcing it into a ball of pure lightning bright plasma around her. She let it expand and cover every millimetre of the room.

The Smiling Dark’s screams were drowned out by the crackle of power. When the entire room was light and electricity she tried to stop it and found she couldn’t. The energy went wild and there was nothing she could do to stop it.

* * *

“Thank you,” whispered her sister’s voice as Rachel started to wake up.

Everything hurt. Rachel opened her eyes to see that she was in her dorm. “She’s awake,” yelled Ginny. Her friends walked into the room followed by a large man with an eyepatch.

“How are you feeling?” asked the large man.

“I hurt, but I think I’m ok.” She was better than that; she knew her broken bones and cuts had healed completely.

“The ache will pass with time. It’s a side effect of returning you to your human self.”

“Ok.” It was all she could think.

“You fought well, Rachel, and for that I hold no grudge for you copying my son’s powers. Just don’t do it again.”

His son? Rachel’s eyes went wide. “Odin. Oh my…” she trailed off.

He chuckled. “If you so choose, your place in Valhalla is guaranteed.” With that, he disappeared.

“Way to go, you amused and impressed the All-Father,” Tim said, probably meaning it to be a joke, but sounding just as amazed as she felt.

“Wow.”

“So whatever you did, vaporised my lab and the entire Transmutation building.” Tim still sounded amazed, and seeing her worried look, he quickly added, “Don’t worry about it. It happens more often than you’d think. Transmutation is a volatile area of study.”

“Dowan and I got everyone out in time,” said Ronnie smiling at Dowan.

“Naw, it was mostly you, man,” Dowan replied smiling back.

“Oh, get a room,” gagged Tim.

Turning to Tim, Ginny said, “That’s not a bad idea.” She cocked an eyebrow and crooked a finger. Tim turned bright red and rolled to the kitchen. They closed the door behind them as they entered the kitchen area.

Both Dowan and Ronnie looked uncomfortably around the room until she said, “I’m not up for a threesome.” Their eyes opened wide until they saw she was joking.

“Who would you have chosen?” Dowan asked, with a twinkle in his eye.

“Yeah,” smirked Ronnie.

“Me. If I had to choose someone to die, it would have been me.” The boys looked a little disappointed with her answer and she added, “If you’re asking who I choose now, I don’t know. I like both of you and I’ve had a long few days. Why don’t we have a few dates before I decide?”

“Ok,” they said at the same time.

“I’m not opposed to that threesome,” said Dowan, and he winked at Ronnie before disappearing.

Ronnie turned bright red, something Rachel thought vampires couldn’t do, and said, “Take care,” before walking out of the room still blushing. There would be a lot of time for her to choose. Avenging her sister made her feel more at peace than she’d ever thought possible, and now she was looking forward to her classes and flirting with two hot boys. Her life was looking pretty good.

Both Tim and Ginny were in the kitchen. Ginny walked back in and asked, “Anything I can do?”

“I’m ok. Thanks.”

“I’m glad you’re alive. Sorry you lost your god powers.”

“I’m not. I like being me. I like being Only Human.”

The End

Only Human (Serial Story) Part 12

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 |
Part 10 | Part 11

Standing holding the heart of Rachel’s professor, the Smiling Dark said, “Shhh. That’s enough information for my new bride.”

Rachel, Dowan, and Ronnie stood there mouths agape for longer than they should have. The Smiling Dark was exactly what it sounded like; a Cheshire smile and piercing grey eyes surrounded by a semi-transparent shadow in the shape of a man.

“Bride?” asked Rachel, still in shock.

“Yes. I’ve been following and guiding you your entire life. I made sure you found what you needed to be strong and what you needed to grow stronger. I forged you through pain and combat until you became the woman you are. Now you’re almost ready to take your place at my side.”

“No!” she said sounding more confident than she felt.

“You don’t have much choice. You’ll do it. If not for yourself but for your friends,” the shadow sneered.

In a smooth motion Rachel pulled out and threw her mystical dagger. It should have hit the shadow right in the face but instead went through it and stabbed several books in the cluttered office.

The shadow laughed. “You cannot hurt me. I’m not corporeal. I’m an idea, a fear, I don’t work on your plane of existence unless I want to.”

Something about its words made her think of Tim but she didn’t know why and didn’t have time to think about it.

“Must make having a bride difficult,” snarked Dowan. “I mean what’s the point?”

“I will transform her to be like me and we will rule the world.” The shadow’s arms lifted and both Ronnie and Dowan were pulled up by their necks by an invisible force. “Rachel. You will be my bride or I’ll destroy anyone and anything you’ve cared about. The last woman to refuse me was Atlantean.”

“Scary. Put them down.” Again her voice was calm while she was terrified.

“Kill one and you’ll be ready.” When she hesitated, he laughed and added, “I’m not without a heart. You can keep one as a toy.”

The Smiling Dark, literally dangled two men in front of her. She’d known she’d have to choose between them eventually, but not like this. She’d hoped the other would still be her friend, not dead.

“The trickster is quite handsome but he’ll age and get old. The vampire will offer you decades of play time. Both will scream prettily for you.”

“I think you have me confused with someone else. I don’t want to hear them scream… in pain.”

“Not yet. Once you kill one, you’ll feel differently.”

Part of her relished the idea and it sickened the rest of her. Had her bloodlust and love of the hunt been because of the Shadow? Is he the reason she liked to kill?

Her stomach churned. How could she fight something that wasn’t corporeal; that was more of a metaphor?

“I’m not killing them! They’re my friends.” she said, and thought about all her friends.

“If you don’t, I’ll destroy everything you care about.” There was ageless patience in its voice.

“Can you give me time to decide?” She couldn’t think of a way out of this, if she couldn’t hurt it than she was helpless.

“Of course, my bride. You have one hour to decide.” Both men fell at the same time and the shadow was gone.

“I can’t believe that worked,” she mumbled.

“Good job getting more time,” choked Dowan.

“What do we do now? How do we beat that thing?”

“We don’t,” she replied. “But I know who will.”

She had a plan, based off sketchy information and half thought out, but it was a better than no plan at all.

* * *

“What does this thing do?” asked Dowan confused.

Looking up at him from his wheelchair, Tim sighed, “It converts belief to reality.”

“Isn’t that impossible?” asked Ronnie.

They were all standing in Tim’s lab. He was doing something with the electronic parts and all the knobs. Rachel didn’t fully understand was he was doing. Only that it could move the Smiling Dark into phase with them so she could punch it.

Shaking her head, Ginny said, “If people believe in something strongly enough, that belief can fuel the creation of something. It’s why we have gremlins; they were dreamed up through a combination of altitude sickness, lack of oxygen, and human belief. Over just a few years, all the pilots in world war one believed in their existence. A lot of the mythical races owe their existence to belief.”

“It’s called Gaiman’s Hypothesis of Metaphysical Transfiguration,” Tim added.

“Normally it takes years, sometimes lifetimes, for the belief to become real,” Ginny rubbed Tim’s shoulders as she talked. “Tim’s research is about speeding up or slowing down this process. The Smiling Dark is part way through and has found some way to influence the world.”

Ronnie looked at Rachel and tilted his head towards his sister and Tim, wiggling his eyebrows. Rachel gave him a smile.

“Wait, we want to make this thing more real?” asked Dowan, rubbing his throat.

“Yes. If he’s real, he can feel pain.” Rachel actually growled. She impressed even herself with the viciousness of the statement.

“Just make sure he’s standing in the middle of the collider,” Tim pointed at a series of tubes set in a perfect circle on the ground. There were wires coming from various parts of the tubes and magical glyphs on every surface.

“Don’t get trapped inside with it.” ordered Ginny.

“Why?” Rachel asked, and both Ginny and Tim shrugged.

“Time’s up, my bride.” The shadow appeared behind them, smiling, always smiling.

She had to figure out how to get him into the giant, really obvious, trap. “Remind me why you need a bride?” she asked to buy time and sidle towards the right place.

“Once your innocence has been taken—” he was cut off by snickers from all of Rachel’s friends. “Once you kill one of those you love, you’ll be ready to be my bride. We’ll combine and become one.” He moved with her, shadowing her movements.

“First, I’m still trying to decide if I like them enough to do more than kissing. I wouldn’t say I love them. And when you say combine and become one, you mean figuratively right?”

“My essence shall invade your body and we shall meld into a being of great strength and darkness.” If it was possible, its smile grew wider.

She was standing in the middle of the circle and the Smiling Dark was moving towards her. She was ready to throw herself out when his arm, composed of shadows and fear, reached out and grabbed her by her throat.

“Which of them have you decided to kill?” it asked, moving its entire body towards her.

“You!” she choked out. “Tim, now!”

Only Human (Serial Story) Part 11

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 |
Part 10

Ginny had fallen unconscious from blood loss. Rachel took her knife back up and shuddered at what she had to do next. She had to cut the flesh that had touched the holy oil. It infected and necrotised the flesh of a vampire, who were not actually undead.

After cutting up her best friend, she reached into the fridge for a bottle of artificial blood and fed it to Ginny. She woke up part way though feeding and screamed in pain. Her wound started to close slowly as security arrived.

She told them everything, except her being human and hunting for her sister’s killer.

When they left, Ginny insisted she stay in the same room. As she cuddled with the sobbing vampire, Rachel couldn’t help but feel like her quest to find her sister’s killer was hopeless.

* * *

There was no heat in the bed with Ginny. The extremely low body temperature of vampires must have been the root of the rumours about them being dead.

It was cold and Rachel was sore from her various fights of late. She’d come close to death that night. When Ginny had fallen asleep she got up and walked around, cleaned the kitchen, and did some studying.

When she went to the washroom, the toilet seat hurt her back. She rolled up the t-shirt she’d changed into and saw a perfectly circular bruise where she’d been hit by the wizard’s spell. It was as wide as her hand was long and just above her bellybutton. She touched it and it stung, the skin felt sensitive. It felt like she had burned her skin and bruised. Looking at her back in the mirror she saw that she had an identical bruise on her back.

“I hope this isn’t all in my head,” she whispered.

The whispered words connected with something inside her and she felt dizzy. A flash of memories burned into her brain.

* * *

“It’s all in your head, Natasha,” Rachel yelled at her little sister when the treehouse was empty.

The adult Rachel could see her younger self and sister arguing about the existence of what they’d always called cryptoids. Rachel was firmly convinced they didn’t exist, it took Natasha’s death to convince her.

Natasha was nine in this memory or vision and Rachel was eleven. It was when she’d stopped wanting to play at hunting mythical creatures.

Adult Rachel tried her best to ignore what was going on and not look at her sister. It hurt too much. Instead she concentrated on the treehouse, everything in it, and everything around it.

“You’re mean and I hate you!” yelled Natasha as she climbed down the rope ladder.

Younger Rachel rolled her eyes and yelled back, “You’re just a baby who still believes in monsters and fairies!”

As she watched the past, Rachel saw something behind her younger self. It looked vaguely human shaped but cloaked in shadows that shouldn’t exist on that bright summer’s day. As she watched in horror the shadow smiled a bright Cheshire cat smile at her younger self and slowly looked up at her. When she started to think it could see her, she said, “Can you see me?” It winked at her and she found herself once again looking at her bruise in the bathroom mirror.

Her phone rang.

* * *

“So I heard you and my sister cuddled last night. Should I be worried?” Ronnie asked as she distractedly walked across campus.

“Not from her,” replied Dowan appearing on the other side of her.

The two men followed her as she continued to walk. After her waking dream she’d contacted her divination teacher, who’d invited her to meet in the morning at her office.

“Ginny’s prettier than either of you, both of you should be worried.” Rachel said over their bickering.

Pulling a coffee from the air, Dowan asked, “How is she, by the way?” He was the one who’d called her after her vision.

Ronnie replied, “She’s fine. Tim’s with her.” When Dowan gave him a funny look, he added, “The little dude is awesome and makes her feel comfortable.”

“He has my gun and he’s a specialist in ‘Metaphysical Transfiguration’,” Rachel said shrugging.

“Do you know what that means?” asked Dowan.

“Do you?” snapped Ronnie.

“No,” replied Dowan.

“Me neither.”

Both of them burst out laughing and looked at Rachel. “He tried to explain it to me and I think I fell asleep. Something to do with changing things that aren’t tangible into something you can touch and manipulate.” Rachel couldn’t help joining into the laughter. The three of them had to stop walking they were laughing so hard.

Both men knew where she was going. She’d told Dowan when he called and she’d told Ronnie when he and Tim showed up to take care of Ginny.

The three of them walked in comfortable silence until they reached their teacher’s office in the Blue Wizards’ School of Divination and Illusion.

The office was small and cramped. It had four desks shoved in the middle together and it looked like the office was shared by multiple professors. The Hag, their teacher, was sitting with pink spectacles on her warty nose, grading essays.

They awkwardly filled into the room and Rachel told her all the details of her dream, or vision.

“Oh my dear. That’s terrible,” the Hag said, looking distraught.

“Am I getting visions or memories?” asked Rachel.

“Oh definitely a vision. You have great divinatory powers. It’s a rare power for a demi-god. Normally it’s a human trait.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Humans are the most powerful divinatory beings. They can feel the magic around them and use it instinctually. It’s fascinating they have no clue how powerful it is. They call it good reflexes, luck, or gut instincts, but it’s all because they’re more attuned to the magic of time and knowledge.”

“Wow,” said Ronnie.

“You’re human, aren’t you, dear?” the Hag asked.

Changing the subject, Rachel asked, “What about the Shadow Man I saw in my vision. Do you know who that is?”

“Yes but…” she trailed off. Sighing deeply she said, “It sounds like the Smiling Dark. Subridens Tenebris.”

Both men gasped and Dowan said, “That’s just a myth, right? A story that parents tell their kids to make sure they behave.”

“Says the trickster spirit, to the Hag, standing next to a vampire,” deadpanned Rachel.

Smiling, Dowan lifted his hands. “Good point.”

“How do I find it?” asked Rachel, feeling closer than she’d ever been before.

From the crowded bookshelf, a shadow moved. At first Rachel thought it was from the clouds shifting, but it was an overcast day. It floated behind the Hag, and in one swift movement pulled out her heart.

“Shhh,” said the shadow. “That’s enough information for my new bride.”

Only Human (Serial Story) Part 10

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9

After a night of dates and kissing, Rachel felt drained and tingly. She knew that the two men would want her to choose eventually; their fight in the cafeteria proved that, but for tonight she was going to bask in the rare attention.

Growing up in an orphanage and foster homes made it hard enough to make friends but being built like a professional linebacker meant not many boys had been interested in her. Add her fixation with finding what killed her sister and she made people uncomfortable. Apparently she didn’t make monsters uncomfortable, considering how the two men had been reacting.

They were both surprisingly good kissers, she thought, and couldn’t help but smile. Ronnie was gentle and attentive while Dowan was strong and passionate. She wondered if their kissing would be the same as their lovemaking. Even alone, she blushed at the idea.

The excitement of the day slowly washed over her and she started to feel drowsy. Her eyes felt heavy but her lips still tingled. “What a great way to fall asleep,” she thought.

On the border between reality and dreams she sat up. Fully awake her heart beat in terror. Something was wrong. She didn’t know what or why she thought it, but she trusted her instinct enough to get up and arm herself. She was thankful to have forgotten to change. It made re-arming much easier.

Once armed, she looked around, feeling a little silly. Slowly she walked across the room to her door and quietly opened it. It was dark but she could see a shadow moving. The light to the kitchen area was next to her door and she flicked the light bringing up her crossbow. She’d decided against the gun, not wanting anyone to investigate her.

The shadow froze as it was bathed in light. It was a man, dress in a long leather coat. He had black hair tied in a ponytail and he was carrying a giant knife in one hand and a large gun in the other, on his belt you could see these swiss army knives. Both the gun and the knife had strange swirling symbols on them. The moment she saw him she shot at him. He deflected the crossbow bolt with his knife and gave her a big smile.

“Ah! So you heard me coming. Good job.”

She didn’t reply, just reloaded the crossbow and shot again. He didn’t move, but the moment the arrow came close to his coat it flew off in a ninety-degree angle and hit Ginny’s door.

“I bet you didn’t expect it to be me?” He asked with a smug smile.

Opening her door, Ginny looked at the man and asked, “Who’s this guy?”

“I have no idea.” Rachel couldn’t remember where or if she’d seen the man before. He seemed a little familiar.

“What?” The man looked confused. “You’ve been following me since that first night.” The man was yelling. “You attacked my friend Sylar…” he trailed off.

“The Cyclops?” She asked.

“Yeah, and then you killed my roommate from Quebec.” He must have meant the thing attacking Tim. “I thought you were a Huntress and I’d heard they were territorial so I sent one after you, but you survived.”

“You didn’t kill my sister,” Rachel was disappointed.

“Of course not. I’m a wizard not a murderer. But tonight you walked into the Atlantean restaurant that I work at and I knew you were on to me.”

Moving at super-human speeds, Ginny appeared behind the man. She picked him up and said, “You’re an idiot and a jerk.” It looked like she was going to toss him at the door when he sliced down with his blade and cut deep into her thigh. She screamed and dropped him.

“Dipped in holy water and garlic oil,” he bragged as Ginny screamed and bled.

Knowing that she had to act quickly if she was going to save Ginny, Rachel said, “Impressive, did you make those yourself?” she gestured with the crossbow at his weapons and coat.

Puffing up, he said, “Yeah. Nice aren’t th—”

He was cut off by her dropping the crossbow and unsheathing her knives. The enochian runes glowed as she sliced at the gun first. It was obviously not spelled and her knives cut through it easily. With the biggest threat to her life gone she proceeded to position herself between the crazy wizard and Ginny.

“The gun wasn’t important. A prepared wizard can’t be defeated,” he said, his voice cracking.

Lunging at him, she cut through the runes on his coat and nicked his side. She saw blood darkening his shirt. “What were you prepared for?” Since he’d made his own equipment, she knew her weapons, which she’d gotten blessed and spelled by four separate expert practitioners, were more powerful than anything he could have made alone.

“I added some dragon blood to the blade and prepared a spell for you,” he smirked.

Rachel almost laughed, but managed an approximation of worry. He still thought she was a demi-god. Dragon’s blood was one of the only ways to kill a demi-god.

He started a spell, “Propter quam causam admoneo te tu me fascinavit. Tu melius prohibere ea quae facis. EGO iustus non potest stare , tu mihi semper.” It had an almost lyrical sound to it.

His blade glowed with power that shot from it and hit her before she had a chance to move. The energy hit her and went straight through her.

“Nice tune but you can’t really dance to it.” She said it seriously, but inside, was extremely happy to finally get off a good quip. She was also happy to be alive.

“That should have paralyzed you…” He stepped back and hit the wall.

Advancing on him, she brought up both her blades. He half-heartedly lifted his and she sliced through it easily. Sheathing a blade, she grabbed his throat and said, “I’m going to tell you this once and only once. I’m not out to get you. These were all coincidences. The only person I plan on hunting is the one who killed my sister.” He tried to nod. “Now you’ve hurt my best friend and made the best day of my life a little worse. I want you to promise me you’re never going to come after me again.” When he didn’t say anything or move, she squeezed a little and he gargled.

She let him go.

“I won’t come after you again.” His eyes were on the ground.

“Good. Now don’t move.” She tied him up and called campus security.

Read Next

Only Human (Serial Story) Part 9

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

“Thanks for not killing me.” Ginny smirked, standing half in the threshold of her room half in the shared kitchen.

“I went on a date with your brother. I should be thanking you.” Rachel smiled. She liked Ronny, he was sweet.

Ginny rolled her eyes and went into her bedroom. Rachel turned and went into hers. She chuckled at the idea that Ronny, the vampire, was the stable, boy next door.

“What’s this about a date?” asked a soft voice from her bed.

Without hesitation, she tossed a knife at the voice and dove to the ground. Pulling another out of her sleeve, she crouch-walked as quietly as she could towards the bed. She reached the bed and placed her knife on the person’s throat. “I’m turning on the light, move and I’ll give you a second smile.”

Turning on the bedside light she saw Dowan with a wide smile. “You’re hot when you do the whole Rambo thing.”

Putting away her knife, Rachel grumbled, “I could have killed you. That was really stupid.”

“I brought flowers,” he said, snapping his fingers and making three vases of roses appear around the room.

“Did I hit you with the first knife?” she asked, looking worried at the red on his beige shirt.

“Naw, you just hit the snack I brought you.” He pointed at the brown paper bag with a knife sticking out of it.

Reaching out, she touched the liquid on the bag and brought it to her mouth. “Cherry, Yum.”

“Before you killed it, it was cherry syrup for the ice-cream I brought.”

He rolled off the bed and carried the paper bag, which still had a knife in it, to her desk.

“What are you doing here Dowan? And how did you get in?”

Looking around, he shook his head at the mess and gave a small shake. When he shook his head a small table with napkins and 2 bowls appeared in front of him. “How do you live like this?”

“It’s been a crazy couple of days. If I knew I was going to have guests I’d have cleaned up.” Rachel sighed and added, “Stop distracting me. Why are you here?”

“Don’t worry about it,” he said and a part of her mind went blank before she forced herself to remember and concentrate on what he was saying.

“You are not a Jedi and your tricks don’t work on me now spill.” She stood the way her foster mother used to when she was truly mad; hip off to the side, one hand on the hip, and a scowl.

Lifting his hands in the air, he said, “Fine. I saw you were in trouble and I wanted to make sure you were ok.”

“Is that why you called me two days ago?”

“Yes,” he looked at her and pouted, “I was comfortably asleep and suddenly felt your life depended on me calling.”

“Right.” She didn’t think he was telling her the whole truth, but didn’t know what to ask.

“Here eat,” he pointed at the bowls which were now filled with vanilla ice cream, three kinds of syrup, and sprinkles. She didn’t have the heart to tell him she’d already eaten. Plus it looked good.

After a few bites he chuckled and said, “From the small moans of pleasure I’ll assume you like it.” She didn’t remember making and noises, but it was damn good ice cream.

As she took another bite, he asked, “So what’s so special about mister sparkly across the hall?”

“Ronny is a nice guy. He’s cute and he makes me feel special…” she trailed off. “And it’s totally none of your business. Mister trickster. You’re my TA not my mother.”

His eyes literally sparkled, it was a little disconcerting. “I may be your TA but I’m also an attractive man who’s totally into you.”

“About that. I did some research on Mannegishi and found out that you’re a little tall for one of the little people.”

His smile faded for only a second before he sighed, “Fine. I’m a half-breed. My mother was human and my father was Mannegishi.” When she looked at him disbelievingly, he added, “I wear lifts in my shoes.” He took off his shoes and was shorter than he’d been. He looked absolutely miserable.

As far as Rachel noticed, he’d always been short. Most people where shorter than her. Ronny being her height was something she liked about him. She smiled at him and said, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

His face turned into a knowing smile and he said, “And after I didn’t tell anyone about your secret.”

“My secret?”

“You being human and not demi-god,” he seemed smug as he stood closer to her.

She sat on the bed, “You know.”

“I’ve known since we first met. I’m a trickster. I know when others are lying. You are built like a goddess though.”

Maybe it was the ice-cream or that damned crooked smirk of his that lit up his face and showcased his high cheekbones and dimples, but the cheesy line made her blush.

Through her blush and sudden urge to kiss his soft looking lips, she forced herself to ask, “Are you the one who sent the Huntress after me?”

“Yuck, no. Those people are insane. I wouldn’t send them after my worst enemy, let alone a girl I have the hots for.”

She studied his face to see if he was lying and the assessment turned into appreciation. He was really good looking. He looked at her with a mix of amusement and hunger. She leaned towards him and looked up at him. Not an angle she was used to. He leaned forward and her entire body felt warm as she moved closer for a kiss. She held her position a hairsbreadth away from his lips and he smirked but didn’t move forward. When she couldn’t stand it anymore she tried to close the distance but he pulled away.

She gave a small whimper of frustration and he asked, “Do you want me to kiss you?”

“Yes,” she replied grabbing his head and kissing him forcefully. He tasted of cherry syrup.

The kiss felt like it lasted forever and ended too soon. He pulled away, winked at her, and said, “We should go on a date,” and he disappeared.

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Only Human (Serial Story) Part 8

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

Sitting down onto the low cushion hurt Rachel’s healing side. The cut hadn’t been as deep as she’d thought, but it was at an awkward angle and hurt if she moved wrong.

“Your side still hurt?” asked Ronny.

“It’s only been a few days, we can’t all heal after a meal,” Rachel snipped. She was more annoyed that he’d noticed, she thought she’d done a good job at hiding her feelings.

“Sorry.” He lifted his hands in the air and looked like a whipped puppy.

“It’s ok, Ronny. What do you have planned for tonight?” After his show of bravery, or stupidity, she’d agreed to a date. It also gave her a chance to ask him questions and make sure he wasn’t the one who took the picture of her in the cafeteria.

They were at a restaurant she didn’t recognize, which was decorated in bright orange and red with short tables that had cushions instead of chairs. Each eating area had a thin curved fish tank around it for privacy.

“First dinner, then we’ll be trying something that I think you’ll love.”

“Mysterious, I wouldn’t have thought that of you.” She smiled at him. He was cute, his pale skin nearly glowed in this lighting and instead of making him look evil or monstrous it gave him an ethereal quality. Combined with his looks, that would make a super hero jealous; she liked the look of him. More than that, she liked who he was when he was alone with her. He was equal parts shy gentlemen and eager puppy, a surprisingly sexy combination.

“So what kind of food do they serve here?” she asked, trying not to stare at his well defined arms.

“Atlantean.” When he saw her surprised look he added, “Yes that Atlantis. It’s one of the only authentic restaurants in North America.”

The waiter arrived before she could ask any further questions. There wasn’t a written menu. Instead they had four authentic dishes. Two were sea food, one of chicken, and a last was blood based.

When the waiter left Ronny said, “Atlantis was a mixed colony of Vampires and Humans.” As an afterthought he added, “And they lived in harmony. Not slavery like the late Egyptian pharaohs.”

Ronny told her about Atlantis and the ancient world, he was a history major, and they talked about everything but what was going on. It was a wonderful break from her semi-obsessive mission to find out who’d sent the huntress after her.

The waiter came back after they’d finished and asked if they wanted any dessert. Rachel was going to say yes but Ronny shook his head as the waiter looked at her.

On the way out she asked, “I kinda wanted dessert.” She comically pouted like the girls on television and they both burst out laughing.

Taking her hand in his, which was as cold as ice, he started walking away from the restaurant and where they’d parked. “Atlantean food is great, but their dessert is lackluster. There were no bees, sugar cane, or chocolate on Atlantis. They only had sour and bitter dessert. There’s a story in one of my books where they complained that rhubarb was too sweet.” She made a face and again they laughed. It was easy to laugh around him.

They were so deep into conversation that they passed the place he’d been planning on taking her and had to double back. The small shop he brought her to was called, “Chocolate Bars by You!”

“How did you know I love chocolate?” she asked genuinely surprised.

“I’ve seen you orgasm over the cafeteria’s chocolate pudding and you live with my sister.”

Inside looked like it was decorated by five year olds with a love of colour. They must have looked odd both in dark clothes. It certainly wasn’t a place she’d expect to see Ronny the vampire and football star. He didn’t try to hide his excitement; he had a childlike joy in his undead eyes.

Walking in, they were given a tray with two compartments, one for chocolate and one for everything else. The walls were covered in candies, nuts, cereals, chocolate and other wonderful things.

What happened was you chose your chocolate and what to go inside and they made you a giant personalized chocolate bar which was flash frozen so you could eat it right away.

Ronny made a semi-sweet chocolate bar with peanut butter and rice crispy cereal. Rachel made a dark chocolate bar with chunks of caramel and gummy worms. The bars were the size of a piece of paper and they nibbled on them as they drank a coffee in the coffee shop next door.

In a lull in the conversation she asked, “Why do you do the macho crap when other people around?”

He frowned, creating lines in his smooth forehead. “People expect it and it’s easy. The jerk me doesn’t get hurt.”

Surprised at his honesty, she leaned forward and watched as he did the same. With eyes open she kissed him. It was a soft but passionate kiss that sent pleasurable shivers up and down her spine.

Pulling away she teased, “That makes sense. Plus if you show your sensitive brooding side they’ll compare you to Edward or Angel.”

He made a face and stuck out his tongue. “I’m totally team Spike,” he said, surprising a giggle out of her.

They left with less chocolate than she’d expected. As they walked away from the store, she could tell they were being followed. She took Ronny’s hand and pulled him down a side street. She hoped the person wouldn’t follow them.

The dark shadow turned into the same street and she whispered to him, “We’re being followed. Trust me.”

Leading the mysterious shadow down alleys and other streets, Rachel hoped to lose them. She could fight, but with her side still healing, she’d rather avoid it.

After multiple twists and turns she brought them back to the car. It was the only one left in the parking lot. Checking her watch she saw that it was much later than she’d expected.

Ronny got into the car and Rachel pulled out a pair of throwing knives. When she saw the shadow she threw a knife at it and it gave a high pitched scream followed by, “Rachel, it’s me!” Ginny came out of the shadows with her arms raised and said, “Don’t kill me!”

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Only Human (Serial Story) Part 7

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

The woman who’d invited her to a bar in the middle of the night was a Huntress; a cult of monster hunters who claimed they were descended from Artemis. When she’d first heard the term she’d looked them up and Rachel found no proof they were anything but human.

The woman’s speed as she attacked proved there was something supernatural about her. She closed the distance between them and drew a long sword in the time it took Rachel to take a step back.

“Resistance will only make it more painful for you and more fun for me.” The woman smiled a smile that was one part pure joy and ten parts loonier than a Canadian vending machine.

“I thought Huntresses only killed monsters? Not innocent humans?” Rachel stalled, putting her hand on the machete. She wanted to try and disable the woman and find out how she’d found her.

Spitting on the ground, the woman said, “You’re pretending to be them and your friends with them.” She sniffed the air. “You reek of monster.”

“The sniffing thing’s a little weird, even for—” Rachel’s quip was cut off by the woman’s sword thrusting towards her. She jumped back and pulled out the machete just in time to parry the sword.

The woman’s longsword was longer than Rachel’s machete but Rachel was a good foot taller than her and had a better natural reach. Using the naturally tight quarters of the bar, Rachel moved in close to the woman and pushed her attack. Between the close quarters and the length of the blade, the woman’s motions were limited.

“You’re good, but I’m better!” cackled the woman as she thrust the sword towards Rachel in a reckless move that left her sword arm overextended and exposed. Taking the opening, Rachel dodged the thrust and slashed at the woman’s arm. She didn’t see the dagger until it was too late and it slashed at her side. If the coat hadn’t been thick leather she would have been gutted, as it was, she received a deep gash on her side.

Like a fool, Ronny ran into the bar. “Hey bitch. I don’t drink sentient blood but I’ll make an exception for you.”

The woman dropped the sword and lunged forward with the knife. Rachel easily deflected the knife but the attack wasn’t mean to hurt her it was meant to distract her. The woman pointed her hand at Ronny and something flew out of her sleeve hitting him hard in the shoulder and pinning him to the wall. The thing the woman had shot from her arm was a hawthorn stake.

Between her blood loss and the nauseating smell of seared flesh where the hawthorn touched Ronny’s flesh, Rachel wanted to vomit.

Things went from bad to worse when Ginny ran into the bar. Her perfect face was twisted in anger. She must have seen what happened to her brother. She moved with a staggering speed and was on the Huntresses back. It was funny to see the tall slender model-like Ginny wrapping her arms and legs around the larger huntress.

The Huntress laughed as Ginny bit into her throat. Instantly Ginny started choking on the woman’s blood. The woman grabbed Ginny and lifted her up as a human shield pulling out a different dagger. The way it sizzled on Ginny’s throat, Rachel assumed it was silver.

“Put down your weapon and I’ll let your vampire pets live.” The woman was lying and Ginny knew it.

They stood staring at each other in one of the tensest moments of Rachel’s life. The Sig-Sauer pistol weighed on her hurt side. Rachel could feel the strength leaving her body with her blood and she knew she needed to do something quickly. She needed a distraction. If she pulled the gun out she’d never get a shot off before the woman killed Ginny.

As if it knew what she was thinking, her cellphone, which she was certain she’d turned off, started playing a death-metal version of monster mash. The moment of confusion was enough for Rachel to pull out her gun and shoot through Ginny and into the huntress.

The woman dropped Ginny and stumbled back. Rachel didn’t take any chances and emptied the clip into her. Replacing the clip, she holstered her weapon and walked to Ronny.

When she pulled the hawthorn stake out of Ronny, he whimpered a little as it ripped flesh. Her phone started to ring again.

The Caller ID read Dowan and she answered saying, “You have interesting timing.”

“I just woke up from a nightmare and had the overwhelming feeling I had to call you. I never ignore those kinds of feelings.” Dowan sounded worried.

“Thank you. You saved our lives.”

“Our?”

“Me, Ginny, and Ronny.”

“Ronny, huh? Oh well.” The disappointment in his voice disappeared and he said, “Since I saved your life would you be willing to grab dinner with me?”

“It might be the bloodloss talking, but why not.” Rachel couldn’t help but smile. He hung up and she sat down.

Ginny took out a bottle of suspicious red liquid and gave it to her brother. “This will fix him but you need a doctor,” she said to Rachel.

“I have a first aid kit in the car and Tim can sew me up,” Rachel responded as she went through the Huntresses pockets. The woman had no ID, and twice as many weapons as Rachel. Thankfully for everyone, that didn’t include a gun. Rachel marveled at the arrogance of the supernatural community for shunning guns.

In a hidden pocket inside the woman’s shirt was a picture. It was Rachel, Ginny, and Tim in the cafeteria talking. On the back were the words, “Huntress, Demigod, or Human?” The angle of the shot told her it was taken from inside the cafeteria, which meant it had been taken by another student.

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Human by S.M. Carrière – Recommendation Thursday

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I can count on one hand the Vampire novels I’ve enjoyed. Most of the time they are filled with angst ridden, brooding, Lestat clones. It’s obvious that S.M. Carrière has done research on the history and mythology of vampires. These vampires are cursed and deadly, not huggable puppies.

The romance in this novel is intriguing in its lack of cringe worthy moments and highly enjoyable for its blush worthy sex scenes.

The story is a wonderful mix of political intrigue, monsters, romance, mystery, and action. It seriously has something for everyone. S.M Carrière has a strong, clear, and concise voice that is laced with wonderful prose.

Be warned, a side effect of vampires being monsters is a high death toll and the author doesn’t pull any punches. Be prepared to bawl your eyes out at least four times.

Go pre-order the book now at the Author’s website or join them and Renaissance Press at a huge book launch event at the Royal Oak (161 Laurier St., Ottawa) on Sunday October 25th, 2015, at 1:00 PM.

What kind of Vampires do you prefer?

Éric