UPDATE: The winner is…Susan Landowski!
All the Kindle Worlds are gone. 🙁 As a result, I’m repurposing stories that lived in other authors’ worlds and getting ready to republish them. One story I can never repurpose, because it’s solidly locked inside another world, is a piece of fan fiction I wrote for The Vampire Diaries. I was invited to write a story for the world, and Amazon even mailed me the first four seasons of the show (the only seasons available at the time) for me to immerse myself in the Diaries. Unbelievably, I’d never watched the show. I binge-watched with my dd and her husband, and then had to dream up a story that could have happened—like an episode of the show.
Since I can never repurpose this enough to sell and not run into copyright issues, I’ll be giving this one away to my newsletter subscribers. So, if you aren’t already a subscriber, here’s the link: Delilah’s Newsletter.
My original story had an uninspiring title—Making Amends. It centers around Damon and a creature he encounters. Read the excerpt, then try to think of something better than what I had. I thought maybe, Woman on Fire, but yuk. Offer a suggestion—good or bad, it’ll still count!—and you could win a $5 Amazon gift card!
Damon knew something was afoot the moment the door closed behind him. The usual soft snick of the lock was replaced by a dull, echoing thud. Instantly all senses went on alert.
Tilting his head, he concentrated, listening to the sounds of the old boarding house, dismissing the usual creaks and groans, and then narrowing his focus to anything living—anything with a heartbeat. No sounds alerted him. He raised his head and sniffed, but beyond dust and the odor from an open whiskey decanter, he detected nothing. And yet, the hairs on the back of his neck rose.
Never one to ignore his instincts, he let the change come over him, his fangs descending from his gums, and his face and body tightening as he allowed his bloodlust to overtake him, giving him added strength to greet whatever might be lurking in the evening shadows.
An amused snort sounded beside him, and he shot a glance toward the sound. Nothing.
Although he’d relish a fight, the speed at which this mysterious creature apparently moved removed that option. Better to know his foe before engaging in a battle…
He shook his head, retracting his teeth, his thoughts racing, but only in anticipation of a challenge. Not from fear. For him to fear, he had to give a damn about his un-life. He stepped deeper into the house. “Come out, come out, wherever you are,” he sang softly and narrowed his eyes.
A soft caress, lighter than a stir of air, touched his shoulder. A thin giggle sounded, high-pitched, young, moving from behind him, then retreating toward the large open living room. Logs shifted on the fireplace, then burst into flames, and for the first time, Damon saw the outline of something, a translucent echo of an image, as it shimmered in front of the fire, and then moved fluidly and quickly away, disappearing against the gloomy paneled walls and heavy furnishings. Legs, a torso, but beyond that it had moved too quickly, and oddly meltingly, for him to discern more of its shape.
“You are female,” he drawled, pretending unconcern, when he knew whatever had joined him in the house wasn’t benevolent. Just a hunch, but he knew.
“Am I?” came a voice, hoarse and deep, whispering into his ear.
Damon held still. He hadn’t felt a gust of breath, so whatever was here in this room wasn’t living, wasn’t breathing, since he’d felt no glint of recognition—not a vampire using some sort of glamour to mask his or her presence. Also unlike any ghosts he had encountered, which tended to appear as their former selves. What the hell was it? “You are…male, then?”
“What would be the point of that?” came a breathier whisper.
Damon quirked up one side of his mouth. “Do I know you?”
He quirked an eyebrow. “Did I know you?”
Breathless laughter rang around him, from just in front of him and then to the fireplace where flames licked outwardly before bouncing back as the tinkling laughter faded, nearing him again.
Damon felt almost dizzy from the frenetic movements of the entity. “Maybe I should leave you to your amusements, since I’m tired of this game.”
“Not a game, not a game,” came a singsong voice, still androgynously husky.
But decidedly female since he was intrigued. Damon drew a deep breath and strode toward the sideboard to pour a drink. No movements or sounds intruded, so he took a seat on a leather couch and drank, breathing in the sublime scent of 50-year-old whiskey while he pondered this latest mystery.
“Female, maybe,” he said softly. “Not human. Not vampire. . . .” He raised his voice slightly. “Not ghost.”
“Clever, clever.” The seat beside him sank, the indention pointed rather than a smooth curve like a round bottom sitting.
He stared at that point. “Won’t you introduce yourself?”
The point slid toward him, a faint groove marking the dark leather, until it skipped to his thigh. Damon felt the sharpness, like the dull side of a knife’s blade as it skimmed one thigh, then trailed upward, jumping to the arm holding the drink, up to his shoulder, then across his face to his mouth. There was sizzling heat in the scrape.
Instinctively, he gasped, then quickly pressed his lips together to keep whatever was touching him from entering. He arched a brow, not wanting the creature to see his unease.
The point scratched his bottom lip, drawing blood, and then left. The shimmer touched the fire in the hearth and crouched there, holding still for the first time while its form continued to glint red, orange, white, and blue, until it slowly solidified, colors dulling, but its form revealing its true nature.
Damon held perfectly still, his drink dangling from frozen fingers as he tried to gather his scattered wits. Cold spilled down his spine.
Although her appearance was strangely altered, he recognized her. How could he not? He’d killed hundreds of women, maybe thousands, but who was counting? Too many to remember all their faces. But he’d never forgotten his first meal. The one who’d made him a vampire.