While going through all my files looking for something on google docs, I happened to stumble upon an old story I was writing a couple years back called The Vampire Wars. It was intended to be a book but has never saw the light of day, and somehow I found myself rereading what I had written.
A huge part of me wants to revive this story and make it into what I had planned. The inspiration to make it complete has me hankering to work on it again. The funny thing is, I cannot even remember why it got pushed back and forgotten. With that said there would be no better time to do so once I have finished my Women Of War series that is currently in progress.
In the meantime however, I thought it could be nice to share a massive excerpt. I could really use some thoughts and feedback on whether anybody thinks this story is viable. Is it worth saving? Now keep in mind, what I am sharing is from a couple years ago, and literally has no editing. It is a quite a rough draft without a single ounce of revision or proofing done as of yet.
As far as writing goes, I feel I have made tons of improvements so if I did revive this story, there would be massive rewrites, revision, and editing. Well, without further adieu, I will let everyone get to the story. Leave a comment because I really need some thoughts about if this should even be salvaged and worked on more! Should this one be made into a book?
THE VAMPIRE WARS
EXCERPT WRITTEN BY SAMANTHA JAMES
The sound of howling sends terror down my spine as I will my legs to go faster. Why did I run so slow? The wind keeps causing my cloak to fly up in my face and my long dress constantly threatens to trip me. The mucky wet ground offers no solid surface. This is not good! Howls pierce the air as the noise grows louder and more insistent. I mutter something unintelligible and keep moving. Dexter is catching up! Sweat pours down my face as my companions frantically scan the swamp trying to see through the shrubs and trees. The night’s sky is gray and cloudy. The air is much too humid. The four of us race as fast as our bodies will take us. We need to gain distance and no one dares to lose a precious moment. This was life and death. There is an entire pack of werewolves chasing us.
These beasts would kill us all.
They move with speed, coordination, and purpose. The monsters never fail to find their targets because prey is all that matters to a werewolf. Their violent blood lust and lack of mercy is infamous. The stuff of legends and nightmares. My heart thuds rapidly like a beating drum announcing a battle. I had brought death here! The fatal price would not be paid alone.
The horribly dark and absurd truth was that I wasn’t even a witch like these women thought. They had trusted me and considered me one of their own. This was how I returned the favor. Guilt washed over me. Tears leaked through my eyes. The coven who thought they were protecting a witch were doomed because of me.
Everything had gotten so screwed up!
I had never meant to put anyone’s life at risk, especially over a ring. I look down at my left hand and there it is, perfectly fitted on my finger shining under the moon’s light. It was a simple silver band; however, it is infused with various enchantments. It offers me a different kind of magic and provides me warnings when danger approaches. The ring has a habit of turning into solid frozen ice when werewolves are nearby. This very moment it simply has a small chill. This means we were several lengths away from our predators but not far enough!
The pack’s alpha is named Dexter. He is after me because I have a magic item that could literally destroy his whole kind and I know how to use it. This may sound dramatic, but the information I possessed could end the vampire wars. Knowledge was power in the dark supernatural world I had been born into. It was dangerous. Reluctance tied my hands. I could never tell anyone my secrets. The vampires would win and take over everyone. The werewolves acted as buffers. They kept the vampires too busy to bother much with witches. There was a delicate balance and way of life that could not be disrupted at any cost. If the vampires won and took over. I feared for all of New Orleans.
Something sharp pierces my arms as we race through the swamp’s moss. I screamed out in pain, clutching my right side. It feels like a hundred sharp needles had been carved into my skin. I begin to stop as my mind tries to focus on what has cut me.
“Don’t slow down!” shouts one of the women.
Panic takes hold and I fight to keep moving. The wind causes the trees and branches to bristle in the night. Every noise produces horror. The hooting of an owl has us running faster sure that a werewolf was right behind us. It doesn’t seem like we were making much progress as we struggled to run through the wet mushy land and navigate between tangles of plants. We were avoiding the human paths and try to remain concealed. My ring starts to become blaring cold. I wince. The ring is rapidly starting to freeze and it feels like fire. A werewolf was near! He was too close. My hand starts tingling in pain from the cold. The temperature implies there is possibly more than one. I turned to warn the others. The blood drains from my face as we all come to a staggering stop. Nobody makes a sound.
Time stands still.
The blazing light of the moon shines into the swampy forest revealing two figures up in the distance. The masculine shape and snouts protruding from the men immediately tell us they are werewolves. As if I hadn’t already known. One of the men opened his mouth to say something to his accomplice. His long sharp white teeth glisten , making him seem more animal than human in the shadows.
Instinct compels me to run the opposite way in flight yet I stand absolutely still unable to control my muscles. Cowardice keeps me in place. The women from the coven seemed as petrified as I felt. In silence I scan their faces hoping that someone has an answer. All I find are scared looks washed in concern. What were we going to do?
Seconds tick away. The werewolves seem to be searching intently for any sign of activity that might reveal their prey.
Have they seen us?
I motion to the others to get down as I quietly lower myself moving slightly closer to some large shrubs growing near a willow tree. This allows a little protection. The moments pass by without them charging in our direction. My arm throbs in jagged aches. The skin feels scratched and bruised. My fingers become sticky after lightly pressing my hand against the injury. My nostrils are immediately assaulted by the smell of copper and rust. Great! It takes all will power to stifle the whimper that is desperate to escape, Now is not the time. I wipe the blood on my cloak rather than my gown.
Clinging to this thought, my eyes roam to my companions for distraction. Caroline is closest to me. I meet her gaze and she gives me a shrug. The werewolves must not have seen us. She gives me a questioning look. Caroline knows I can somehow sense when they are too close. The witch is highly perceptive and observant for such details to slip past her notice. I like her because she has never questioned me on it. Caroline knows how to mind her business. A true lady of virtuous character. I try to concentrate on how cold the ring is but the focus is rocky. There is too much going on. I think it has warmed up. In an effort to calm down I breathe deeply in and out of my nose. Yes, the ring is not nearly as cold as before.
With shaky resolve I inch up in an attempt to get a peak. Relief rings through me in a crash of emotions. The two figures are gone. I see nothing.
Caroline is the first to stand up. She points in the opposite direction. There is no running this time because that might attract attention. All of us are paying attention to each step we take keenly aware of every branch snap. We wade through shrubs and plants shifting past tree after tree.
It doesn’t take long before we enter a small opening surrounded by trees and find ourselves in a meadow. It is not a place easily found. The grass is full and neat. There is no doubt a caretaker who has done his magic. The flowers and hedges are neatly trimmed. Everything is proper. A large fire burns in the center. The flames glow bright and fierce in angry lashes. The fire-pit is made of glass. I give out a mangled cry that gets choked up in its delivery. The volume is inaudible. Standing around the fire is something infinitely worse than werewolves. These creatures are black, evil, and seductive. They lack humanity because they have no souls.
All is lost.
Caroline grabs my hand and tries to provide me courage as we face what is before us. The snarls are sporadic and quick as soon as they see us standing at the edges of the meadow. We had just walked into a clan meeting. There are at least twenty vampires staring back at us.
The eyes are all different shades of reds and maroons. The darkest ones are the hungriest.
There are moments in life that are so traumatic and shocking. Our minds become incapable of functioning. The person is devoid of thought. Nothing is there. All is blank and fear does not even play a part. We forget to be afraid when confronted with true terror. Standing huddled with three witches surrounded by vampires was certainly one of those moments. The bright lights of the fire-pit and full moon illuminated the area perfectly.
There was no friendly face in the crowd.
Near the back stands a cart that gleams of gold. A silver tray lays on its top carrying fancy glasses and various bottles of champagne. Vampires stand around the refreshments. It seems they have been engrossed in conversation. All is silent now. The cart blocks what looks like a path leading to a stairway going towards a house covered in stone and brick. Chills make there way up my spine as I confirm there is no running away. We would never get very far.
A tall blonde stands up from a black chaise lounge made of whiskery leather, His skin is almost translucent. The vampire is wearing perfectly tailored light brown trousers and a coat that covers a white linen shirt. The jacket is dark brown and cutaway in the front with a long tail in the back, The fashion of the rich in New Orleans. He looks frail and sickly. There is lines of age showing in his too white face that make him look washed out and old. There is disbelief and mirth in the way his mouth curves. A smirk dances across the edges of a smile straining too hard to come across as polite and inviting. That is the allure of all vampires. They appear innocent and kind.
“Witches?” He questions.
The voice is smooth as silk. A melodic song.
“What on earth are you ladies out here for and all alone without an escort?”
“They have come to spy on our meeting” hisses a vampire.
The sound is more sinister and filled with hatred. I strain to focus on the vampire speaking but my ears feel clogged with cotton. My eyes are dizzy. The dread is very real.
Caroline is the first to speak.
“Sir, we were celebrating the moonlight festival of our ancestors and are quite lost.”
Her voice is shaky and knowing. Witches that are unlucky enough to encounter vampires did not live to tell the tale. I knew this firsthand.
“Please allow us to go on our way” She begs.
“How unfortunate,” the blonde replies.
He takes a step closer shaking his head in mock sympathy sniffing the air appreciatively as if smelling something delicious and edible. The vampire’s big red eyes lock onto my shoulder. I had forgotten I was bleeding through my gown’s sleeves. My hand instinctively goes to cover the wound as I manage to take a small step back. As if that would help.
The blonde grins widely at me. His eyes burning like fire.
Quicker than I am able to blink, he reaches out for Caroline, tugging at the skirt of her blue velvet gown. His hands breeze through the air like wind. There is nothing fragile about this vampire. Long fingers latch onto both of Caroline’s ears. Her long wavy strands of blonde curls slowly become stained with deep red liquid dripping down the side of her face, In one swift movement he snaps her head off. Caroline’s body falls to the ground with a deafening thud. Blood drips off the vampire hands.
Cries from my companions fill the silence. The agony of their lost sister is intense. All chaos breaks loose as the vampires descend on us with a vengeance. White gleaming teeth hiss at us in rapid snarls. They sound predatory. I take off in a blind panic towards the stairway. Screams finally rushing from my lungs for the first time. They are loud and blaring.
My footing falters as I stumble to a stop.
A vampire grabs a hold of me. My fist immediately lash out to punch my way free, but he is quicker. I spin to face him. Long red strands of curls immediately greet me. Light brown freckles stick out under dark maroon eyes, The face is contorted with deep anger and concern. I slump in relief as recognition kicks in. I know this vampire. He would kill every last creature here if it meant keeping me from danger. My life was too valuable to him.
“What on heaven’s earth are you doing here!” he screams.
The relief washes away as my mind searches for a response. My words are lost. He opens his mouth to say more but his face turns white and pale. Something yanks me back and teeth sink into my neck. The fangs are sharp and piercing. A startled cry escapes my lungs but strong arms lock me down as a vampire drains me of blood. I yell out for Cash to help. Everything becomes dark and fuzzy. Then there is nothing. The world goes black.
Everything had happened so fast. Cash had barely a moment to think. He had been enjoying the evening and success of the alliance between Trevor’s and his own clan. King Antoine was going to be so pleased with Cash’s progress. The Melville clan had become increasingly popular in New Orleans’s society. Hosting grand balls and making deals with prominent public officials. Everyone knew Trevor was going to make a move against King Antoine and this could not be allowed. This reason had brought Cash to New Orleans a little over a year ago. He had been ordered to slowly take over the three major clans and strengthen Antoine’s reign in the growing Americas. The night had been going so well. The first steps towards taking over the house of Melville had been planted.
Cash was having a celebratory cocktail in the corner of Trevor’s gathering when four women stumbled into the meadow. They were beautiful women dressed in formal silk gowns complete with thick velvet hooded cloaks. He rolled his eyes and was about to make his way towards the stairs. Cash wanted nothing to do with the carnage that was about to ensue. That is when he saw her.
The girl nearly trips and ungracefully grasps the air for balance. A blonde witch takes a hold of her hand. The gesture allows the girl to steady herself and come to a stop. Big terrified green eyes look towards Trevor as he stalks toward the women with amusement and delight.
The blonde witch is the one brave enough to speak but Cash does not hear any of her words. He is focused on the small girl with green scared eyes and dark ebony hair. He can’t help but be taken by the innocence of her fear. This very fixation had caused him to do irrational things in the past. She was the girl. The longer he stood there staring only deepened his assurances.
A long year had passed since he last saw her.
Cash slowly inched closer to the witches. He wanted to get as close as possible. The girl was not safe. This would not do. Chaos ensues before Cash is able to get close. The arrogant vampire Trevor has ripped the head off the pretty blonde witch and now everyone is ready for a killing spree.
He runs to catch the girl in his arms. She fights and hits at him dealing quite a strong thump to his arm as he spins her around. He wants to kiss her and say everything will be alright but he is too mad. Cash only finds angry words to hurl at her. Truthful but not tactful.
It is in this dreadful moment that Trevor spots the girl in Cash’s arms and he lunges for her. He quickly locks his teeth into her neck and drinks. The girl loses consciousness and Cash goes crazy. Watching Trevor suck the life out of her sets off an irreversible sequence of events. The only thing Cash knows is that the girl is dying. Memories intrude upon his mind. This is just like last time. He could not let her die. There is not a moment to spare if he is to save her.
Cash quickly charges Trevor with deadly and determined precision. He kicks up his legs at just the right moment grabbing the blonde vampire’s arm as he flips. The crack is heavy and vicious. Cash’s feet land squarely on the ground. His body landed in a steady crouch holding the ripped limb of Trevor.
The blonde immediately wails as he drops the girl from his grasp. He reaches for where his left arm had been but finds nothing. Cash doesn’t waste a second. He springs again with every ounce of power in his being. His fist roll into a ball as he jabs into Trevor’s chest, fingers crunching through bone until they find a heart. He slides his arm out and drops the bloody organ onto the floor panting in pure rage as the vampire’s body falls into a heap next to the girl laying oblivious on the ground.
This was bad. Very bad.
Everyone becomes quiet as the vampires all look upon their leader’s lifeless body. The situation was ironic. None of the vampires attack their clan leader’s killer. Cash outranked Trevor, which is an automatic pass for killing anyone he pleased. There was not much fear of reprisal or consequences for taking such an action. At least not usually. Cash is head of a more powerful clan. The house of Marquess. The vampire was a favorite adviser and friend to King Antoine. All reasons enough to prevent any of the surrounding vampires from attacking.
Cash was infamous.
He stands there staring down the gazes that bore into him with daringly bold eyes. Challenging anyone to come forward and fight. None did. He knew they wouldn’t. The vampires didn’t wish for death.
Cash bends down and swoops the girl up in one swift movement. Her black hair falling over as her blue velvet cloak hangs down from her body. She doesn’t wake up from the sudden jostle. He is quick to back away and turn towards the stairs to leave. Cash knew he was in for a world of trouble later. He simply didn’t care at the moment.
There was no fixing this now. A clan war was surely going to happen. This was not the right time. The vampires already had so much to contend with. Werewolves were constantly at their throat. The vermin dogs were a problem. He looked down at the girl bleeding in his eyes and knew they were a danger for her kind too. The werewolves troubled the entire community hidden throughout New Orleans. The girl moans slightly and Cash picks up his pace. He needs to get her help.
In front of the house, a man stands patiently waiting by a carriage whistling until he hears the sounds of footsteps. The driver pauses when he sees his employer carrying a girl. His face darkens into concern as he looks down on her. He walks closer to Cash to assist, taking the girl into his arms.
“What is Miss Rosella doing here? Is she quite alright?”
The driver places the woman into the carriage as gently as possible.
“Nothing is okay. We have to go now. Miss Gabby needs to attend to her wounds.”
The driver stands there not knowing how to respond.
“I just killed the heir to house Melville in order to save the woman I love. Someone who is not a vampire and nobody is supposed to know she exists.” replies Cash.
He takes his hat off and wipes sweat and blood from his eyes. There is no doubt the vampire is distraught. Timothy notes the man’s shaken appearance.
“The king won’t like that.”
“No he won’t. We need to get home.”
The man nods saying nothing more and turns to take his seat in the drivers spot and Cash hops up. It doesn’t take long before they are racing into the night towards the French Quarter. Their destination is the Ormond House. The large mansion serves as home to the Marquess Clan.
A bright light shines through the darkness waking me from sleep. I open my eyes feeling confused and unable to remember where I am at. The room is familiar. My arm feels hot and itchy as my hands find bandages wrapped neatly. Aches and pains throb throughout my body. I feel a bandage on my neck. Memories from the night before flood through me. Cash! I saw him last night. How dreadful. He had been so angry with me. The blonde vampire and Caroline run through my mind. I chase the painful thoughts from my mind. Those poor women!
I look around the room for distraction. It is just the same as I had left it a year ago. The morning light shines in through the veranda’s glass doors and I can hear servants down in the courtyard laughing as they attend their morning chores. The door is ajar. A maid must have opened it to allow in some cold morning air. The room is freezing cold. I shove the covers off of me and climb out of the bed. The movement causes me to wince in pain. My arm throbs. The pain is almost unbearable.
I close the door blocking the outside cold and pull at the curtain cords. The room darkens and somehow that makes me feel safer. A shudder runs its course though my body. I roll my eyes. This is silly. The French Quarter was as safe as any other place in this world.
My old bedroom has not changed. I wonder about this. How surprising. He had not allowed anything to be done without it even after vowing to him that I would never return to this house. A pile of books I had been reading still lay next to a half burned candle next to the bed.
A knock on the door causes me to jump.
The door opens to reveal a maid carrying a tray of breakfast. There is an assortment of fruit, muffins, and eggs. The smell makes my stomach rumble. I couldn’t think when the last time I had eaten was. Must have been early yesterday afternoon. I wasn’t sure.
“Miss, I am sorry to disturb you. How are you feeling?”
I nod in acknowledgment as she makes her way to a table near the fireplace and sets down the tray. She fiddles with the plates and pours some tea into a cup trying her best to look busy. I smile at the girl and am quite pleased to see her after all this time.
“ I am well”
“That is a good miss. You gave me quite a scare in the evening. I couldn’t sleep with worry for you ma’am. Oh am I relieved to see you up and about. Yes I am.”
I sit down at the table and take a long sip of the tea. The warmth is comforting. The maid sits on a plate with a buttered muffin in front of me. The taste sensational as I gulf it down quickly. I was starving.
“It’s rather cold this morning. Would you light a fire for me?” I ask her in between bites.
Something is different. I give her a smile and hope to find our old comradeship. It doesn’t seem to be there anymore; however, the maid’s answering grin calms my fears of lost friendship.
“I am forgiven then?”
“I missed you Ma’am”
The reply is layered with the emotions of an old hurt. I frown. The way things had been left a year ago was unfair to her. We had been close and I had not been a good friend to her.
“ Gabby, I know. I am so very sorry”
“No need to fret over such things”
“I didn’t really have any choice. It was my only opportunity to leave. There was no time for goodbyes. I should have done better. You deserved that.”
She nods and refills my cup of tea. I watch as she makes her way over to the fireplace and begins picking up some wood logs into place for a fire.
“He has been lost without you”
“Is he still awake?”
She shakes her head no.
“The master has retired to his rooms about an hour ago”
Gabby’s face turns contemplative, as if she wants to say more. Her hands wrong in irritation. The fire is lit and the heat feels good. She stands up and bows.
“Let me know if you need anything else. I left you some clean linens on the dresser”
I nod but say nothing else as she exits my room.
Memories of old loneliness creep back into me. I sit at the table looking out the window and pick at the fruit. Anger fills me. What was I supposed to do all day! The guards would never allow me to leave the property and venture into the city alone. The feeling of being trapped is not a feeling I cherished.
© Samantha James and The Chronicles of History: Reading Into Our Past, 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Samantha James and The Chronicles of History with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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I admire your ability to create a scene for your action. Supernatural creatures aren’t my cup of tea, so I have no way to evaluate the worth of your contribution, but I have confidence that whatever you end up with will be well-written.
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Thank you! I am glad you think the action was strong. That was what I was hoping for. A good action packed introduction to the story. I am really glad that you took the time to read it despite the supernatural not being exactly your cup of tea. I am working on a lot of different stuff, including tons of non-fiction, historical fiction, and fantasy too. 🙂
So the starting question is what are you trying to accomplish here? We see what’s at least a three-cornered struggle between werewolves, vampires, and witches, which somewhat confusingly is called the vampire wars, which suggests they play a more important part than just being one side of the triangle. Our witch protagonist is someone special, who may have the power to utterly change the nature of this struggle. (Suggestion: make her power to do so have more than one possible outcome; you want to keep her conflicted emotionally.) Our vampire protagonist is someone special, too, though not quite as special as our witch protagonist; he merely plays a pivotal role in vampire politics . . . and presumably war aims. For balance, and I don’t mean to go all “Twilight” or “Underworld” on you here, you do need a werewolf protagonist, or at least main player. An enemy is a fine thing; an enemy with a human (or inhuman) motivation is a finer one for emotional tension in the story. That said, I wouldn’t make him a romantic rival of your vampire protagonist, as that is too “Twilight.” And while you are obviously driving a vampire-witch romance, let’s stick in reasons based in their natures why this is something it it risky for them to pursue; it’s not just earning the scorn of their kind, there should be personal dangers for them both.
Of course, I could have the ideas of your novel-length story all wrong, in which case have a good laugh over this and get on with your vision. But I hope this description of what I’m getting out of this fragment and how it would relate to a larger story is useful.
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Thanks Brian you have given some good thoughts and also a couple great ideas to think over as I plan reviving this story into a novel after I finish my project writing a non-fiction series called Women Of War. I really appreciate it!
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forget Twilight, this is my kind of vampire story!
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Haha I will definitely be reviving it and making it into a real novel as soon as women of war is finished and out! Thanks for taking the time to read it. 😁
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