As I’ve been too busy finishing Killing A Vampire, I’ve not had the time to interview other authors or write a short story this week. Instead, I’m going to give you a sneak peek of the first chapter of Book 3, the last one of the Suckers Trilogy. Enjoy!
My decision to go on national television meant all my hopes and dreams for a quiet suburban life would forever be lost. Yet here I was, my hands sweaty and my breathing deliberate. It hadn’t been an easy decision as there were more consequences. There had always been protesters, sucker-haters, but this time they had shown up in great numbers at the entrance of the studio, trying to prevent me from going in. The guards had to protect me and get me safely from the cab to the entrance. It would only get worse now. It would also mean I would be in the public eye more frequent than ever before. More interviews, more paparazzi, more work. Something Charlie didn’t agree with.
I picked up Sonny to distract myself from the anticipation, and, while cuddling him, I waited for the signal.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kate Clarke!” I heard the woman’s voice say.
The man with the headphones and clipboard pointed at me. He mouthed, ‘You’re on,’ and my adrenaline level peaked.
“Let’s go, Mommy,” Sonny said, a broad smile on his face.
I stepped onto the stage, sincerely hoping I wouldn’t trip with my son in my arms. The bright stage lights shone in my eyes and their warmth hit me with equal surprise. Emma waited for me at the white couches. I put Sonny down before shaking her hand. She ruffled Sonny’s hair. The three of us sat on the comfy two-seaters; Emma on one, Sonny and me on the other. I had expected Sonny to cuddle up with me, but he decided to occupy the other half of the couch, his legs just not reaching the end of the seating cushion.
Please don’t let his shoes make any marks on the white fabric.
He bumped his feet together, never sitting completely still. When he caught my eye, he smiled at me.
“So glad you could make it, Kate. I see you brought your son, Sonny. Hi Sonny.” Emma beamed an extra broad smile at him. I presumed to make him feel at ease.
“Hi, Emma,” he said to her. I was so glad he wasn’t shy at all.
“Sonny, why don’t you give Emma the drawing you made for her?”
Sonny eagerly moved off the couch, took the drawing he had made out of his pocket, and handed it to Emma.
“You’re not going to bite me when I take it, are you?” Emma said to Sonny. He hesitated to answer, turning to me for help. “Just kidding, kiddo.” She took the paper from Sonny’s hand and with her other hand ruffled his hair again. “Aw, thank you, sweetie. That’s so cute. It’s me holding hands with Kate and Sonny.” She showed the drawing to the audience. One of the cameramen ran up to take a close-up shot of the stick-figure drawing which instantly appeared on the big screen behind us. The audience ‘aw’d’ with Emma.
I patted the couch where he had sat a moment ago. Sonny climbed back onto the couch but cuddled up to me this time.
“You call him Sonny because he’s your son. And of course, it’s a good shortening of his full name, Nelson. Nellie would sound a bit strange.” The audience laughed. “He isn’t the son of your partner though, is he?”
“No, Sonny was conceived as a cruel experiment in the sucker internment camp.”
“That must have been a terrible experience for you. Good things have come from it though. One of them is sitting right next to you.” She smiled at Sonny again. “Isn’t he adorable, ladies and gentlemen?”
The audience agreed. I hugged Sonny as I completely agreed with Emma. “Another result of your predicament was that you became the head figure of SAM, the Suckers Acceptance Movement in Maine. Can you tell us a bit more about what SAM does?”
I shrugged as I let go of Sonny and leaned forward.
“SAM tries to help integrate suckers into everyday life. When the Succedaneum virus plagued the world during Black October thirteen years ago, a lot of lives were lost. People blamed suckers for it, but it was actually the government who was the cause of the sucker pandemic as they made the virus and failed to contain it. People infected with it had no choice but to act upon their bloodlust. They aren’t to blame. The vaccine they created eradicated most suckers from the planet, but there were cases in which it didn’t work, when vaccination was too late to have any effect. These people will always be suckers, even though they didn’t ask for it.
Most children conceived during Black October ended up in an internment camp, but some parents were able to keep their sucker children out of the hands of the government. They kept them in hiding from the public out of fear of retribution. These children deserve to have a normal life as well. Sucker children should be able to grow up, have friends, and have a happy future like any other child. SAM is trying to help people accept suckers into their communities and to not be fearful of them. They are normal people with a disease, a manageable disease. Suckers aren’t a threat to society anymore.”
“That’s so true,” Emma said, “and you, of all people, know this first hand because you have two sucker children, don’t you? Sonny, who is here with us today, and Sue, your older daughter. How old is Sue now?”
“Officially, Sue’s twelve years old, but because sucker children grow twice as fast, she’s already a fully grown adult. Sonny looks like he’s four, but he’s only two years old.”
“And they don’t display any of the aggressive behavior suckers did during Black October?” Emma asked. “Because that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it; people fearing we’ll have another Black October on our hands if we let suckers loose into the world.”
“Absolutely not. Sucker children need a strict upbringing, I don’t deny that. They need to be taught to be gentle as they are a lot stronger than other children. Otherwise, they are as playful, strong-willed, and cuddly as any other child. They still need to be loved.”
“What about the older suckers? The ones for which vaccination came too late? Are they a threat to us? I mean, I don’t want to walk next to one and he suddenly ‘fancies a snack.’” The audience laughed at Emma’s comment. I didn’t find it funny at all.
“There are still some suckers that have lived underground since Black October and haven’t changed their attitude. SAM is there for these people as well. Once these individuals are discovered, SAM will guide and counsel them. With the help of the Army, we rehabilitate them, so they can live in our society once more. As you know, there is a mandate for every sucker to register and requiring them to give a DNA sample, so that if a biting incident happens, authorities will be able to tell which sucker has been the perpetrator. This system for suckers is similar to the fingerprint system used by the justice department for virus-free humans.”
“That’s so comforting to hear. Now, I can’t keep my eyes off your son as he’s so adorable. He must be very special to you.”
“He sure is, Emma.” Sonny just sat there, taking it all in his stride. It always amazed me how ‘grown up’ he was. As if he was an old soul.
“He’s actually very special in a broader sense, isn’t he? What time is it now? Early afternoon?” Emma made a show of looking at her watch. “And you both came here by cab. No under-cover-of-darkness stuff.”
“That’s right. Sonny’s extra special because he’s a daywalker.”
“And not only a daywalker but also a half-blood which means he doesn’t drink blood but eats meat, or so I’m told. Is this correct?”
“Yes, it’s true. As a daywalker, he isn’t affected by sunlight, and because he’s a half-blood, his diet isn’t limited to blood alone. He can also eat meat, but only raw meats.”
“So, wouldn’t it be handy if all suckers become meat-eating daywalkers? Problem solved?”
“I wish it were that easy, Emma, but there’s only a small window during the incubation of the virus when suckers can become daywalkers. Unless their mother was a daywalker, children are born true suckers and photo-phobic for life. It lessens over time, but they will always be affected and move slower. There also aren’t many half-bloods around. Only a few special individuals appear to be immune to the aversion to mate with ‘the others,’ so to speak, and create a half-blood. I’m extremely lucky that both my children have come from such a union. They are both able to eat meat.”
“I can’t imagine what that would do to your grocery bill,” Emma replied, and of course the audience laughed again. “It’s better than getting blood from heaven knows where, though. Tell me, where do suckers get their blood from?”
“The virus changes the body, so, just like cats can’t be vegetarians, suckers need to drink blood to survive. Fortunately, suckers can survive on animal blood which has been a huge waste product from slaughterhouses, and until recently, only a part of it was used to make fertilizer and food additives for animal feed. Most of it was dumped in sewers or landfill. Now it fills a gap in the market. It’s treated to prevent the spread of diseases like mad cow disease, and bagged blood is currently available for human consumption in supermarkets, next to the blood sausages. It’s one of the major triumphs of SAM’s efforts.”
“I don’t know if you know this, but I’m actually a vegan, and I’ll tell you, my stomach content is churning with all this talk about consuming blood. I think it’s time we end this conversation. It’s been so nice talking to you and hearing about all the good work you’ve been doing with SAM for suckers. I wish you all the best.”
“Thanks, Emma. Thank you so much for having us on the show.”
Emma rose from her seat, and so did Sonny and I.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Kate Clarke and her son Sonny!”
I waved to the audience as they applauded. Sonny copied me. We followed the instruction we had received earlier to leave the stage on the opposite side of where we had come from. Once backstage, a woman took off my microphone and guided us to the room downstairs where our belongings were. I took off the make-up applied earlier and put my jacket back on. I then put Sonny in his jacket and gave him a kiss.
“Time for us to leave, Little Man. Let’s see if we still have a home to go to.”
Copyrighted (c) by Jacky Dahlhaus
Killing A Vampire will be available very soon!
Why not catch up with what happened to Kate before and check out Book 1. Living Like A Vampire and Book 2. Raising A Vampire? You can find them in on Amazon and on KOBO, but when you buy them from my bookstore, you’ll get a 20% discount! 🙂