The Un-Life of William Moore: Chapter 2

The first chapter of The Un-Life of William Moore is live on Kindle Scout, as well as some of chapter two. But chapter two gets cut short due to the 5k word excerpt limit and the first two chapters running around 3k+, so here is the complete chapter two of the novel! In chapter two, we find out more about William's origins and some of what makes him tick.

Before you read it, you might head on over to Kindle Scout and read the first chapter. While you’re there, nominate it! If the novel is selected for publication, all voters get an early, free copy of the ebook! And who doesn’t love free books?





                                                                                                                                                     



Two

The next seven days couldn’t seem to pass fast enough. I was terrified at the thought of a vampire using me as a meal, but I was also curious as to what books couldn’t tell me. I couldn’t wait to ask him questions he didn’t give me a chance to inquire. As I waited for a week to pass, I spent my free time at work at the public library diving into as many vampire stories as I could get my hands on. I checked out every book about vampires they had and neglected my homework as I read one or even two a day. I stayed up late at night, and often fell asleep in the middle of a sentence, finding my book dropped on the floor when I awoke. After rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I’d pick it up, find my lost page, and start reading again. I read in class when I could get away with it, but I often fell asleep during class, too. I was sure the library didn’t appreciate my drool gluing the pages together, and my professors didn’t like my lack of attention, either.
I wanted to tell someone, but as the week progressed, I couldn’t help but wonder if it had all just been a dream. Every passing day put distance between me and that night to where it felt like it could have been nothing but my imagination. No one would believe me if I told them, especially since I couldn’t completely believe myself.
“Where are you at?” my best friend, Alyssa, asked me as she waved her hand in front of my face.
I blinked and focused my gaze on her. We were eating at the campus restaurant between classes. I had a plain turkey sandwich, while she had a giant meatball sub with practically everything on it. “Right here,” I said.
“No, you weren’t,” she said, taking a carnivorous bite out of her sandwich. Her father was full-blooded Native American and it really showed with her noble face and jet black hair. She wore all colors of the rainbow pretty much every day, and today it was a tie-dye shirt and shameless yellow banana patterned PJ pants. “You were on Mars or something with as far away as you were looking. So spill, where were you at?”
“Just thinking about a story I read recently,” I answered without commitment.
“You’ve been reading even more than usual,” she commented, wiping her mouth with a napkin. “You absorb too many more words, and you might get sucked into a book.”
“I wish,” I said.
“Careful what you wish for,” she replied. “You could get sucked into War of the Worlds or The Most Dangerous Game or, dare I say it, Dr. Seuss. Do you want to eat green eggs and ham on a boat with a goat for the rest of your life?”
“I guess not,” I chuckled.
“Not to mention all the papercuts,” she added with a grumble.
I almost told her several times about the vampire who called himself William Moore. But I didn’t. Of all people, she would believe me, and even then I didn’t think she would. So I passed the week in silence.
Aside from the slight ache in my neck and the usual tiredness, everything was still the same. I went to college almost every weekday, studying English and history. I ate, I slept, I walked, I talked. Nothing was different. Except me.

Dismissal couldn’t come soon enough on the last day. I tapped my pencil on my notebook, glancing between my pitiful notes and the clock above the whiteboard. Finally, Professor Hark said, “Have a great weekend,” and I burst out of the campus to my car.
I got home in plenty of time—the sun wouldn’t set for hours.
There are two doors on the porch of the duplex I lived in. The one on the left was to Mrs. Needlemeyer’s section. She owned the home and I rented from her. Her side was roughly the same layout as mine, only opposite in orientation. I walked across my threshold to the right and went all the way down the hall to my room. I put my backpack on my bed and dug around for my textbooks and placed them on my desk. I glanced at the door on the left side of the bed that connected Mrs. Needlemeyer’s room to mine, glad that it was locked and that we never used it. Supposedly she has insisted during the renovation of the home that there be a door connecting the two sides, just in case. Just in case of what, though, I didn’t know. She could just as easily come through the front door with her key.
I paused to look out the window across from the foot of my bed where William had come in a week before. I shook my head and once more considered my sanity as I opened my closet and dug around for something different to wear. Tossing a bunch of clothes around, I eventually put on a pair of pajama pants that had the cow jumping over the moon patterned all over them, and a light blue tank top. Now that I was actually expecting company I didn’t want to be caught in a nightgown again.
I headed back out my bedroom and to the bathroom next to it. I brushed my hair out and put it up in a messy bun. On the way to the kitchen, I tossed my dirty clothes into the open washer in the hallway, and then entered the kitchen to see what was in the fridge. Lettuce that needed to be thrown out. A half drunk bottle of flat soda. After rearranging everything a few times, I found a package of bacon and a couple eggs. Good enough. It didn’t take long to prepare them then plop myself on the love seat in the living room to eat them in front of the TV. I flipped through the channels until I found some documentary on the History Channel about Shakespeare.
 When I was done eating, I cleaned up the dishes and took a shower. I fussed over what I was to wear and how to put my hair, just as if I were on a date. Maybe it was a date. A dinner date.
Finally, I just decided to keep wearing the night clothes I had already put on. It suddenly worried me to think of how William had probably seen me in my frillier nightwear. Or even not wearing anything at all. Ugh! He could have done anything with my mind gone in the cloudy world he put me in. Surely I would have been aware of anything too extreme. But how could I be sure…I barely knew him or the extent of his hypnosis. My mind kept whirling into deeper and deeper paranoia, so I found one of my various vampire books and tried to occupy my thoughts with the written word instead. So far, I’d found that most of the books I picked up were useless, fluffy romances that didn’t seem to have any anchor to reality, so I had to take their vampire lore with a grain of salt.
I stayed up reading until I noticed the time. After finishing the page, I closed the book, turned off my lamp, and waited for a vampire to suck my blood. Minutes ticked away in nervous anticipation. Many things passed through my mind during that time, all centered around William. Why did he make me turn off the light? I knew what he looked like. What was his story? Surely he had a life more interesting than his plain face. Where did he go when he left here? I wonder if he went to suck other people’s blood.
I felt my eyelids growing heavy with tiredness. I was just about to fall asleep when I heard a soft tap at my window. With a start, I sat upright. A dark form in the shape of a man waited outside my window, and I saw his hand raise and jerk back and forth in a wave. Then all the fingers curled into a fist except the index finger as he pointed upward, signaling to open the window.
Slipping out of bed, I unlocked the window and slid it up, latching it into place so it wouldn’t accidentally fall and hit him as he climbed in. It was so dark I was surprised he didn’t fumble, but I supposed he could see better than I. “Good evening,” William said, straightening from his crouched position on the floor. “How was your week?”
I closed the window again because it was a bit chilly outside. “Fine,” I replied. “And yours?”
He chuckled, seeming to laugh at a joke I wasn’t in on. “Fine.” William turned toward me and I heard the smile in his voice. “You smell nice.”
“Delicious?” I asked, trying to make the word seem lighter than it was, though I felt it choke as it struggled through my throat to my mouth.
I saw his head shake back and forth, but only barely. He blended in with the darkness so well he seemed to melt into it. “No,” he said. “Your shampoo. Cherry blossom? It smells very nice.”
“Oh.”
I wanted to laugh at my own paranoia, but I didn’t, because he stepped closer to me and whispered, “But you do smell delicious, too.”
To that I had no idea how to reply, so I simply turned my head to the side and gave him unhindered access to my throat. But he didn’t really seem to care as he strode over to my desk and took a seat in the computer chair that was pushed in under it. “You have neglected your studies,” he commented. “We can’t have that. Am I a distraction?”
I walked over to my lamp to turn it on and he jerked his head again to signal me to stop. Putting my hands behind my back, I said, “I’ll get on it tomorrow. How do you know I haven’t been doing my work?”
He jerked his head in the direction of textbooks on my desk, papers scattered around them. I couldn’t read them in the dark, but I knew what they said: “Due Monday”, and the date for several days before. I crossed my arms and made a slight chuckling sound. “Remind me to make myself less obvious.”
He didn’t move in response to my statement, and I had that feeling that he was looking through me again, into my very being. To interrupt his spiritual examination, I asked, “Aren’t you hungry?”
I was completely unprepared for his sudden laughter, so much so that it made me jump. “Is that what you are thinking? I wanted to try and prolong it so it didn’t seem that that is all I am after.” His chuckles ceased and he breathed in deep through his nose before saying, “Yes, I am hungry. ‘So why don’t I eat?’ you want to ask. I am not the mindless beast depicted in fairy tales. My hunger is no more uncontrollable than yours, Kaylah. You can hold back from shoving your face in your most favorite food, right? Though, it is uncomfortable to starve myself.
“The blood I drink goes into my veins so that I might be strong again. I do not lie when I say that you are probably stronger than I am right now, but it does hurt my pride a bit to admit it. Even you, tired from lack of sleep—aye, I see the darkness under your eyes—and weak from blood loss, are stronger than a vampire. But this does not bother me; I am patient. That is why I must play mind games with humans so I can render them weaker than myself so that I might gain their strength. Does my answer satisfy your curiosity?”
I wanted him to talk more. His voice felt like a lullaby that rocked me back and forth in its gentle embrace. But I did listen to what he was saying, too. I think I was starting to get the hang of ignoring the charm. “I suppose. Why don’t you let me turn on the light?”
There was no doubt William now wore a frown, though I couldn’t spy it with my own eyes. I could hear it in his tone. “That is something I wish not to tell you now. If you want to see me, I want you to feed me first.”
Though he said it lightly and kindly, it still sent a shiver down my spine. I walked over to him and he met me half way. His looming, dark silhouette forced me back toward my bed and I sat down as he sat next to me. His fingers were cold as they brushed back my hair from my neck. “Can we try it here now?” he asked, his melodious voice a whisper.
I found that I could not find words, so instead, I slowly nodded.
I wondered if his hearing was so keen he could hear my heart beat in double time as his lips touched my neck.
I yelped softly at the sting of his teeth piercing my skin. Again I could feel, as he put it, my strength becoming his. I felt that strength as he took me in his arms when I grew so tired I could barely sit upright anymore. It seemed he stopped sooner than he did a week before, and he ran his tongue over the bite before I had a chance to touch the wound. I didn’t have to feel it to know that it was gone. I was mildly surprised how very little he spilled. Maybe only movie monsters were really messy eaters.
I hid my face in his chest as my lamp suddenly turned on, and I waited for my eyes to adjust. When they did I looked up at his face. He seemed a bit paler than I remembered, but his eyes were no less bright. “Thank you,” he said as he did last time. “You are most generous.”
“That’s it?” I whispered.
He tucked my hair behind my ear. “Your health comes before mine, and you are much too tired to give me any more.”
William transferred me from leaning against him to lying on my bed with all the gentleness as if I were a fragile doll. He covered me up and smiled at me. Before he had a chance to turn away and disappear I grabbed his hand. “Billy, don’t go yet.”
He chuckled and sat back down. “Billy?”
Pouting slightly, I closed my eyes, feeling like at any moment I would fall asleep. “You don’t like Billy?”
He squeezed my hand. His hands were very warm, because of me. “Billy is fine. I just haven’t been called that in a while.”
“How long?” I asked, opening my eyes again. Maybe I could get him to talk.
Billy glanced at my desk and got up, picking up my planner. “May I?” I nodded and he flipped through it to look at the calendar and he smiled. “It’s been that long?” he seemed to mutter to himself. “About…eighty years or so.”
I pondered this. This young man was as old as my grandpa, at least. “Is that how long you’ve been a vampire?”
He nodded and sat down once more, crossing his legs at the end of my bed. I forced myself to sit up as I watched him speak. “I was eighteen when it happened. You must understand, as I’ve told you, hunger is not uncontrollable. But just as there are evil people in the world, there are evil vampires. It all depends on ideals, civility, and personality. The vampire that turned me didn’t care about human life. In fact, I would go as far to say she wasn’t mentally stable. She attacked me and drained me to the point of death. I don’t wish to frighten you, so I won’t describe the other horrors I experienced as she drank my blood. She was very…cruel to me. So cruel in fact she cut her wrist and force-fed me my blood tainted with her veins. Then she left me, and I never saw her again. That was about 1936.”
Billy watched me, and I looked at him with millions of questions running through my mind. So instead of letting me ask, he continued on. “I was very confused, and in very much pain. I was caught somewhere between human and vampire. To put it most accurately, I was dying and being born at the same time. My body was dying, my heart was stopping, and yet…I was alive. And yet I was not. I am afraid this is difficult to explain, for even I don’t understand.”
He paused to collect his thoughts, and then said, “Luckily, I didn’t really need someone to tell me the rules about being a vampire. It comes naturally. By instinct, if you will. It also helped to be wary of superstitions you already knew. The sun was rising, and I shunned away from it, trying to find a place to hide when all the stars disappeared and black faded to oranges and blues. I forced open a cellar door and buried myself between barrels of wine and old vegetables. There I waited until the sun went down. By then, I had died. It was a frightening thing, to still be animate and yet not feeling my heart beat in my chest. It still is. I bit my lip with my monstrous fangs, scratched my face with terrible claws—”
“But you don’t have claws. Or very long fangs,” I interrupted.
He stared at me until I said, “Sorry. Go on.”
“Anyway. I didn’t need to feel hunger to know what I was craving. So to put a long story short, I have drunk blood every night since September 30th, 1936. It is my own personal choice not to kill, maim, or otherwise harm those I drink from. I might be a fairy tale monster, but that doesn’t make me a real monster. I like to think I’m affected by some kind of incurable disease and I just have to learn to live with it.”
“In a way, I suppose it is a disease,” I agree. “It’s infectious like one, transferred via blood. But that might be where the similarity ends.” I hesitated, a thought occurring to me. “Is there a chance it will infect me?”
His eyes widened and he shook his head rapidly. “Oh, no. I’ve never had a problem with that. Vampirism is a little more complicated than a virus. If everyone we bit turned into a vampire, there’d be no humans left to feed us. A person has to already be on the verge of dying to become the undead. And I’m not going to put you on that edge with what little blood I take. When it becomes unhealthy for you, I’ll stop drinking from you altogether.”
I couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief. To distract my thoughts from wondering if he was even telling me the truth, I said the first thing that came to mind. “Have you ever met any other vampires than the one that turned you?”
Billy sighed, resting his head on his hand. “Yes.”
“Tell me about them.”
He looked at the window and shook his head. “No. You need sleep.” He got up to leave.
“Wait,” I said and he paused. I opened my mouth to ask him again, but instead, I said, “You can use the door.”
He blinked as if he had been struck dumb, then laughed heartily and said, “Forgive my outbursts, I do not laugh at you; I laugh at myself. I am not used to talking to anyone, let alone doing something as simple as walking through a door. A window is my usual access.” I watched him walk confidentially down the hall as if he was familiar with his surroundings. I could see him open my front door from my bed. “Don’t forget your studies,” Billy said. “Remember to sleep, and when it is time for me to visit again, have the lights off. Or I won’t come back.” The door clicked softly behind him, and before it was even shut, my eyes were, and I was drifting into my own dreams unclouded.

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