Out-take #1: Vanguard Newborn, Chapter 9
This is the cut text from chapter nine of Vanguard Newborn. Note that the story has changed hugely from this, so don’t draw wrong conclusions. With the re-write I’m much happier with the flow and readibility of the story. Plus, it leads to better and bigger things more intrinsic to this first book’s plot. The cut text was a small part of the chapter.
“We can’t.” He simply stated. I began to understand. But I could ask why.
“Okay. I get that. You can’t tell me. This is driving me crazy. How would you like it if everyone else was shocked by your appearance, whispers about you, and seems to hate you and tells you to go away?”
Mig’s face turned to a frown.
“Who’s been that nasty to you? We haven’t told you that.”
Before I knew it my mouth opened and answered.
“I was up in a little town outside of San Francisco the other day. Earlier in the day that we argued. A guy there really hated me. He attacked me and just shouted abuse at me. His partner wasn’t much better.”
“You were there? Who exactly did you see there?”
There was no way I was going to divulge my sources, especially considering that Edith had warned me to be silent. I had already said too much in telling Mig where I’d been. And I had to trust someone. Him. So that he would trust me.
“A girl I know suggested I talk to a woman there. She said she might be able to tell me what’s going on.”
“And did she?”
“Sort of. She told me a story about a vampire girl who had been expelled. Her family, her coven had gone with her. It all seemed unrelated to me except that they went away. Overseas I think. She wouldn’t say where. Or, she just didn’t know. It was at the mention of my home town that Robert flipped.”
Mig blew a big cloud of cigarette smoke into the dark night. He watched it billow into the air.
“I’ll tell you what I can.” He said, before falling silent and thoughtful for a few seconds. “You know that the Council makes decisions, right?”
I nodded, suddenly alert and hungry for what Mig was offering. Judging from his demeanour though, I saw that he was unsure about telling me anything. He leaned forward on his elbows and grimaced at me.
“So the Council decides things. We mere mortals have no say in whatever they say or do. They do not tolerate dissent. How this affects you is that the Council ordered something to happen and it was ignored. People died. “
I waited for the punch line. I had an idea already what it was.
“The warrior who disobeyed them, she looked like me, right?”
Mig bit his lower lip and gave me a long hard look. Shaking his head, he couldn’t bring himself to tell me.
“That’s it. That’s why every vampire hates me!”
Mig was still silent. His eyes looked sad and now stared away from me. I pulled on his arm tightly, wanting to be closer to him, wanting confirmation. Wanting Mig to open up to me. His silent mood was not helping my own feelings of needing him to be close to me, and to have trust in me. Trust. Having him trust me was something I needed. It seemed no vampire, so-far, had trusted me. Allison had kicked off on me when I’d gone out in London without her knowing where I’d gone. Something had happened and she’d been worried. Here in LA it was my boyfriend who I needed to trust me. He had shown no inclination yet and I was crying out for that from him. All he had to do was talk to me. Tell me the truth. His silence reinforced that sense of dread. Whether or not Mig was being honest with me I didn’t know.
“That explains it all.” I said lightly, trying to make out that what he’d said was just a trivial bit of information. I truth it was like a sledgehammer. I didn’t want to make matters with Mig worse. His silence conveyed to my racing brain that this was serious. That my physical similarities to the expelled warrior were too much to ignore. Alarm bells were going off in my head as my stomach lurched with the realization that Mig may walk away from someone who could be such trouble in the future.
“Mig, we can’t let this get in between you and me. That warrior traitor is nothing to do with me. I am not her!” I pleaded, trying to elicit some sort of sympathy from him.
“Zetty, that’s not it. You don’t look like the warrior. Not by a long shot.” Now his eyes looked sad as he looked at me, as if some tragedy was in play. For an instant I froze. What was he on about? I was puzzled.
“What?” Was all I could utter in response.
“She didn’t look like you. She’s Asian looking.”
That threw me. I didn’t look like her because she is Asian looking. There was only one Asian girl I knew of. That’s Kaji, Elizabeth’s sister. She was Thai.
“Christ Mig! Obviously I ain’t her then am I!” I snapped back at Mig. Guilt shot through me for losing my cool, again. I re-evaluated what I wanted to know for a moment.
“Then who do I look like?” I finally asked.
“She was, um, someone a long time ago that many of us came across. She was well known – they all were – in LA. She was her pet. I suppose that’s what you’d call her. Local people, vampires, remember her like it was yesterday.”
“I look like her?”
Mig hesitated and stared at me. He was unsure about answering me directly. His eyes flickered as if he was uncertain how to react. I held my breath and froze waiting.
“Yeah. You look like the human.”
Mig nodded still focussed on me. For a long moment the world stopped as I took this information in. My brain was resetting itself as I comprehended his words.
“How long ago did, was, this human here?”
“She left the West Coast back in the nineties. You would have, um, been a baby then, I think. But, the fact that she knew us and what happened makes people remember her, and them. It’s a morbid curiosity I suppose.”
“That’s why people are nervous when they are around me?”
I had Mig on a roll now, and he barely stopped to take a breath as he explained the connection between me and Fatima.
“They’re nervous because of what happened afterwards. The human girl, who you really do look exactly like, was killed by Council warriors. A lot of our kind got killed.”
Considering this sudden openness from Mig, I sat back and thought about things. C-Lar had said that the girl’s name was Fatima. So Fatima and the warrior girl had been in love. The coven had fled when they refused to kill or turn the Fatima. She must have been Arab or Middle Eastern looking with that name. Mig, Robert and C-Lar’s partner obviously knew all about it. C-Lar too. Edith maybe.
“You haven’t said how you know about all this.”
Now Mig relaxed and he copied my posture by leaning back in his chair. A weight had been lifted off him. He pulled a cigarette packet out and we both lit up. I waited for him to explain.
“Over time we began to pickup rumours about vampires. How vampires we real and that we lived amongst humans, hiding as it may be described, ‘in plain view’. One or two reports began to surface in the media. We could never figure out who was leading the reporters or journalists, whatever, to do the stories. All we knew was that the human world had obviously been told more than we had ever told them. And what they were writing was way too accurate to have been invented by some imaginative person.”
“She, the human girl, Fatima, was telling people.” I continued for Mig.
“It turned out that when we did figure out who was telling humans about vampires and the Vampyre Council, that it had to be someone close to us, but without the same loyalties or deep understandings.”
“The fear of humans.”
“Yes, that’s exactly right. They would kill us all in a blink of an eye if they knew or even really did think we were the monsters that we honestly, sometimes, are. But, going on. The Black Society soon figured out where the leak was coming from and the Council ordered the human girl to be got rid of.”
“Either, killed or made into a vampire. I’ve already been told that part.”
Mig gave me a frown. Probably for interrupting his story again.
“You know the story already? I thought you were desperate for me to tell you.”
I just wanted Mig to continue and forget this detail.
“Yeah, someone I met explained that the vampire refused her orders and the whole family was expelled.” I said, simplifying the whole outcome to fit into one sentence. We were wasting time and getting distracted from Mig’s story.
“So,anyway Zetty, the human girl was protected by the family. The coven ran. I think they are in Canada now. Miramichi.”
“What happened to the girl, Fatima?”
“Mig just shrugged and took another drag on the ciggie.
“I have no idea.”
Just then a waitress from the café appeared outside and we fell silent. After clearing a few of the tables that had been left vacant in our end of the pavement seating area since we got there, she headed toward our table. I asked for a tall coke on ice and seeing our mugs were not empty she headed back inside.
I waited until she brought out my coke and the coast was clear. There were no humans nearby to distract us again.
I leaned closer to Mig. An idea was crystallizing in my head.
“Um Mig. The coven went to England, right? Or they may have done.” I needed to get this part straight before I told him my idea.
Mig frowned and grimaced. “I think so. We don’t really keep up with things over there. All I know is they went to Miramichi in New Brunswick”
“So, to find out the truth I’d have to go and talk to them, wouldn’t I?”
This got Mig animated and he jolted upright. He pulled my arm close to him. He suddenly seemed angry.
“You can’t go looking for them Zetty.” He hissed at me, trying to keep his voice down.
“What say I may know who and where they are?” It was a gamble and I wasn’t sure Mig would support my idea. The way things were going he was well and truly against it.
“I would say, do not go there!”
Now Mig was definitely angry with me. I wasn’t sure if he was scared or if he was just upset that I’d raised the issue. I hadn’t even told him my idea yet and he’d seemed ton have guessed it. Was I that transparent? He seem to be shaking with fury now. I’d never seen him like this and now I backed away from him.
”Mig. Mig!” I said to him, spitting out his name trying to get his cool calm attention. I was going to say what I had to say. He held-off his demented shaking of the head for a fraction of time and I just blurted my thoughts out.
“The warrior girl. I think she made me.”
My words hung in the night air. I tensed for Mig’s reaction. I had been certain he would not take my conclusion lightly. Now, he had frozen and closed his eyes as if trying to keep calm. As the silence enveloped us I began to hear noise that in discussion I had not even been aware of. The chatter of pedestrians, hushed conversation of diners inside. Cars and buses passing by. The silence between Mig and I contrasted with the sounds of the human world. It was surreal as I sat there, almost dizzy with sounds pummelling me all round.
I watched Mig carefully. He still wouldn’t look at me. This is going nowhere fast. I drank the tall glass of coke down and adjusted my bag, nervously checking I had everything. Turning I began to get out the chair. I’d had enough of this.
“What do you want to Zetty?” A small soft voice said beside me.
“I want to find out what the hell is going on. I want you to help me Mig. If you can’t, well …” I fell silent, not wanting to say the words. Then I gave up holding back. “Well, I’ll do it myself.”
Now anger was seeping through me. I stood at the table glaring at Mig. It felt like we had gotten nowhere. He was still trying to hide whatever truth there was from me. Pushing the chair to the table I just shook my head in frustration.
“You won’t be happy knowing the truth Zetty. It will destroy you if you go looking for it.”
“Then that is what will have to happen. You do what you have to.”
Turning from the table I walked away. Fully expecting never to see Mig again. The Vampyre Council was about to meet in Amsterdam. A perfect time to travel. And find the truth.
(c) 2011 David R. Noblet. Alll rights reserved.