I, Vampyre

an excerpt

Chapter One

My intercom buzzes. I engage.

"Mr. Lewis to see you," Martin Farnsuit says. His voice is low and disconcertingly too sexy for his position as my acting secretary while mine attends the funeral of a dear friend. I'm temporarily sharing him with Peter Garol, Superintendent of Admissions. Martin is purely Peter's protégé; although, I often get the impression Martin would prefer being mine, despite nothing ever overtly said.

"Send him in."

The door of my office opens inward. Martin appears first. Tall. Handsome. Blond. Trim swimmer's body. Peter likes his men tall, handsome, blond, slender but muscular. Peter likes his men with big cocks, and certainly, Martin comes with one of those.

He steps to one side, all professionalism. There's nothing in the least seductive or flirtatious. All as if to say, loud, and clear: You're wrong about me and have been from the get-go. I'm entirely Peter's man, Peter's minion. I'm worthy. I'm faithful. I'm true.

Tanner Lewis enters. Eighteen. Dark hair, cut school-boy short on the sides, with enough on top to provide an attractive overhang as far as his eyebrows. Exceptionally green-green eyes. Very handsome young man. Intelligent. Well-liked. Well-connected: his step-father is not only a U.S. senator but a vampyre in good standing within the vampyric inner cabal. I'm told by Committee and Computer that Tanner is right for me. I'm not sure. My uncertainty is possibly more bred from my having been so long single, still uncertain as to whether or not I'm, again, ready for any kind of real one-on-one commitment.

"Sir," Tanner says.

He looks like a deer caught in the glare of a car's headlights. It's the typical reaction of any young man summoned before the Head Master. Even the most recalcitrant students can, at moments like this, look nervous, expectant, and uncertain.

"Come in, please, Mr. Lewis," I invite, trying to put him at ease. "You're not here for any kind of reprimand." I watch as he tentatively walks deeper into the room and sits on the chair I indicate, one of two lined up in front of my large ebony-wood desk. "Quite the contrary."

I leave him for a minute for the decanter on the window ledge. The window itself looks out over the school grounds. There's a large expanse of mowed lawn, beyond which is a rose garden backed by several topiary hedges. Manicured woods, composed mainly of National Forest trees, occupy the entire background.

I pour us each two fingers of sherry. It's tradition, and not enough to get anyone drunk. It's no longer drugged, either, and hasn't been for a very long time, since Tanner has been conditioned for some months now. He's been through this numerous times before, although he's programmed -- reverse Pavlov-dog syndrome -- not to remember the afterwards.

I bring him his glass and say, "I wanted, personally, to congratulate you on your excellent scholastic record in all the time you've been with us. I've talked with your parents and they're delighted, as well. Neither of them are adverse to you attending our short special summer session; an excellent opportunity for you to meet some of our alumni who can likely be of great assistance to you in the future."

Tanner tentatively sips his sherry. I carry mine over to my desk. I lean against one corner, placing my glass on the highly polished surface.

"Erasmanus," I speak the trigger word. His eyes glaze. "Come here, for just a moment, Tanner."

He gets up. Walks over to me. Hands me his glass when I reach for it; I place it with mine on the desktop.

I face him and loosen his school tie's knot. I unfasten the top button of his white shirt, revealing a small V of tanned hairless chest. The fingers of my left hand slide inside the shoulder of his shirt, sliding it and his school blazer a bit down his arm. Automatically, he tips his head slightly to one side. I place my right palm against his cheek, my left against his shoulder; both my hands exert pressure in opposite directions to provide a slight arcing of his neck which better defines the bite area.

I'm not hard, fast, or crude. My purpose isn't to maul or maim, merely to feed. My canines exert only as much pressure as is necessary to break the skin, begin the flow of blood. My purpose is a bonding, a sharing. I won't suck him dry. I'm not out to create a fellow vampyre. Not yet, anyway. Long ago, it was realized that there were too many of us, indiscriminatingly creating too many more, a genocidal winnowing necessary. Survival has since become far better managed, with fewer of us to be found, more places wherein we can hide, and fewer inferiors inclined to reveal the whereabouts of their fellows.

When I'm finished, I lick the wounds clear of blood, retrieve a handkerchief from my outside coat pocket and put it to the two small puncture wounds to which I have Tanner exert firm hand-pressure; which he does. I've a flesh-colored bandage ready, and I lay its coagulant-treated surface, quickly released from its clear-plastic cover, across both wounds. The concealed damage will be infinitesimal by tomorrow and gone completely by the day after.

I re-adjust his blazer and his shirt; I re-affix the top button of the latter. I tighten his tie's knot so that it fits back to regulation snugness around his neck. I smile and - hand him back his glass of sherry then tell him it's okay to return to his chair.

"Xaxus," I say to clear the glassiness from his eyes. I follow up with, "So, what do you think about being one of the boys to join in our special summer group, this year?"

"Yes," he says. As sometimes happens, he's enough aware of the bandage at his neck to briefly touch it with his free hand.

"You okay?" I express unnecessary concern.

"Just a scratch from soccer," he says. It's usually what he says.

"Anyway," I say, finishing off my sherry, which is his cue to do the same with his, "think about the summer session, which won't last so long as to screw up whatever else your summer plans are." I smile, take his empty glass with my left hand, and shaking his hand. He already has a firm handshake. His eyes are the greenest green I've ever seen this side of the Colombian emerald I once covetously spotted in the display case of a South American jeweler.

"I will. Thank you," he says. His voice is deep, smooth and silky, lowered by the onset of puberty. He's the total package, and I can see why he's gained so much universal approval from my peers who are sometimes overly concerned with beauty, intelligence, social acumen, and connections.

I watch him leave, see and hear the door close behind him. I put the dirty glasses back on the tray where I found them, knowing they'll be clean and ready, the sherry drugged if need-be, for my next feeding.

I sit down behind my desk, shuffling a few papers but not really seeing them. I've been feeling uneasy, lately, and not just because of my needing to make a final decision regarding Tanner and the possibility of that firm commitment, especially since there's still plenty of time, years really, to come to my decision on that. Certainly, I, and everyone else, including Tanner, want him to attain far more maturity than eighteen. We, as vampyres, have so much with which to deal, so many decisions to make, that we need our membership not ruled by immature emotions, or erections, which might control any young man whose balls have only recently dropped.

My intercom buzzes -- again. Martin -- again.

"We still haven't been able to locate Philip Janthrop. No answer on his land line or cell phone."

Philip is one of us. Philip is a vampyre and a teacher at Draqual Academy. Philip didn't show for his first class of the day, without having called in with any explanation. Initially, Glenn Fisher covered for him, but Glenn had classes of his own to teach when Philip proved more than just a little tardy. Frank Wilson filled in for Philip's second period, and a substitute teacher has been called for the rest of the day.

"Thanks for the heads-up," I say, suddenly concerned; the uneasiness I've been feeling, for days now, is on the upswing. "Get me Randolph Gilmore on the phone, will you, Martin?"

Less than a minute later, I have Randolph on the line.

"Philip is still missing, Randolph," I say. "I'm wondering if we should be worried this may be another incident. I know it's been a while, but..."

"I'll call the others. In the meantime, I'll get someone personally to drop by Philip's apartment and see what can be found."