Authors: Jennifer Martinez
t Kill Dinner
The Rules Trilog
Table of Contents
Don’t Kill Dinner
Copyright © 2013 by Jennifer Martinez.
The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. The author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners of various products and places mentioned in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of the characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Cover Art and Design © Amanda Carroll and Sarian Royal
Appendix font © Erwin Vader
Mature Audiences Only
To my mother who instilled my love of reading with a little cardboard book, my husband who fosters all my crazy ideas with a smile and nod, and to my Kitty Crew: CM Stunich, Leanne J. and Marlena F. for always being my cheering squad, idea bouncers and best FB buddies. Without all of you telling me it was possible, this story would still be on a piece of computer paper.
That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
Rule 1: Don’t Kill Dinner
Rule 2: Don’t feed from people you know
Rule 3: Don’t tell anyone
Being a vampire in New Orleans isn’t very hard; people go missing all the time and with the amount of “gutter punks” and hitchhikers, it is never hard to find a meal. The hard part about being a vampire in New Orleans is not breaking the rules. With all of the Vampire tours and spazoid True Blood fans in the area we have to keep a low profile. Kill someone in a dark alley and your mug is likely to show up on some “they do exist” website, which makes Arthur very unhappy.
Arthur is my sire. He saved me from the mundane life I was leading. When we met, I had no idea what he was. For the first two months I knew him, all I knew was he ordered one plate of Beignets, a black coffee and sat in the far corner of Café du Monde every night. He was one of my regulars. I had moved to New Orleans three years earlier to pursue a career in acting. You may think it sounds weird, but a lot of films and TV shows are filmed in the Big Easy. Breaking into acting had proved difficult though and I ended up with a job at the famous Cafe du Monde
, smack in the center of the French Quarter. Needless to say, slinging beignets wasn’t my lifelong dream and I guess my face showed it. Arthur and I started talking about theatre and performing and I was awestruck. I had never met anyone else my age who knew that much about theatre. He was able to relight a passion within me that I thought had completely died out. The more we talked the more I came to admire him.
One night after my shift, Arthur asked me to go for a walk with him. As we walked through the old brick streets lined with street performers and mule drawn carriages he began talking to me about the history of New Orleans. He told me when New Orleans had been originally settled it was settled with felons so they could build the city. As we walked along Royal Street he continued telling me about the rich history of the city until he stopped me in front of a beautiful old brick building with an antique looking oak door and flame lanterns hanging from the walls. As I admired the architecture and beauty of the building he said, “Kenna, I can tell you are unhappy. If you could change that would you?” I was completely stunned by his question. This was our first time talking about anything more than skin deep and he comes out with that! “Of course,” I replied, “no one wants to be unhappy. It’s just hard. I don’t know what I am living for anymore.” That statement caused his sapphire blue eyes to sparkle. There was a hunger in his eyes I had never seen before. It was the kind of passion you see when a starving man sees a steak.
He took my hand and interlaced his strong fingers through mine. The feel of his hand surrounding mine made my heart stop. The roughness of his hand caressing my soft palm tickled and the calm I felt coursing through my veins made me feel completely safe. With a devious grin, he led me away from the corner and headed toward Bourbon Street.
As we walked down Bourbon Street we laughed at all the tourists. Even on a Tuesday night Bourbon Street was alive. Girls were flashing the men and women on the balconies holding beads and the exotic dancers were enticing men from the entries and open windows of their businesses. For residents of New Orleans, Bourbon Street is overplayed. Everyone gets their one night and two hand grenades then you move on to the local bars along Esplanade. Just as I was beginning to tire of the view of Bourbon Street we turned down Toulouse and headed toward The Dungeon.
The Dungeon is a welcome change from the rest of New Orleans and exactly what it sounds like. When you walk in you are right in front of a long bar and the further into the building you go the more fun the rooms get. There are cages, dance floors, chains hanging from the walls and people everywhere. No one judges you in the Dungeon and that is one of the reasons I love it so much. Arthur grabbed my hand and led me to the back room.
We walked into the room and headed to the plush purple couch in the back corner. When we sat down, I began to take in the sights of the room. My friends and I usually congregated around the pool tables. I almost never came this far back into The Dungeon. While I was looking around the room Arthur had scooted closer to me. When I turned to face him our faces were nearly touching. He looked into my eyes and the same devious grin flickered across his face for the second time that night. As I became lost in his bright sapphire eyes, he lifted his hand and caressed my cheek. “Kenna… I…,” he started. I could see the turmoil just beneath the surface of his beautiful face. “Just say it, I can take it.” I replied. “There is a beautiful world out there and I want you to see it with me.” I was completely dumbfounded. This drop dead gorgeous, intelligent, well spoken hunk of a man was sitting here saying he wanted to see the beauty of the world with me by his side. I released the breath I didn’t know I was holding and gave him a quizzical look.
“What if I told you that you didn’t have to live the mundane life you have come to resent?”
“Yea, yea,” I responded. “You have the power to change your situation! All you have to do is believe,” I said, my voice dripping with sarcasm. He snorted and said, “No. I mean it. I have a way to open new doors for you. Doors you could never imagine, to places you could never forget.”
Oh, here we go. Of course he can’t be perfect and like me…He’s a nutter. I knew it was too good to be true,
I thought to myself. “I am not a nutter!” He said sounding offended. “Oh crap. I said that out… wait no I didn’t…”
“Kenna,” he turned toward me and held both of my hands in his, “I am… different. You don’t know how yet, but you will soon and I want you to have the same opportunity I did, to change your life for the better.”
“OK, I’ll bite. How are you different?” He laughed again at my remark and I shot him the dirtiest look I could muster, which was pretty hard considering how amazing he looked laughing.
“What do you know about the paranormal?”
“I know it makes for awesome movies and great campfire stories.”
“No, really. What do you know.”
“Hm. Ok, I know that VooDoo priests really do believe they can talk to the other side and Vampires should never sparkle.”
“Yea, we don’t.” He said, with a contemplative stare.
“Yea, we don’t what?”
“We don’t sparkle.”
“Whoah, hold the phone and call the doctor.
don’t sparkle… Oh crap you really are crazy. You think you’re a vampire. HA! Ok, thanks for the laugh Arthur. Glad I could entertain you for the night. I’m going home now. Ass.”
As I got up to walk away he grabbed my wrist. I turned toward him an
d rolled my eyes. “What Dracula?” I snapped.
ook around you. What do you see?” He asked.
“A bunch of
drunk people making out and me leaving. I should have known better.”
“Look closer.” He urged me.
I decided to humor him. Even if he was nuts at least I could go out for happy hour tomorrow with Becca and laugh about the whole thing.
That’s when I noticed it. People weren’t making out, they were biting. Wrists, necks, lips, they were biting each other. Arthur grabbed my other wrist and led me back to the couch. “Vampires are real. We live amongst you in hiding. We look and act just like you but we have been blessed with the ability to see things and people
as they truly are.”
I was completely stunned. I was sitting in a room being held by a guy telling me vampires were real as I watched countless people being bitten and fed upon around me. I fought with my fight or flight response and told Arthur, “Can we
talk about this somewhere else? I really don’t want to be dessert.”
We left out the back entrance of The Dungeon and headed back toward Jackson Square. We walked in silence for five blocks until we came back to the beautiful building on the corner. This time Arthur walked up to the door and pulled a key from his pocket. I was completely floored. Why didn’t he tell me this was his house. “It was my father’s,” he said as if he was reading my mind again. “I have lived here for over one hundred and twenty years, please come inside. I will answer any questions you have.”
When we walked inside I was in awe. The grand staircase curved through the center of the foyer and up to the second floor. On the left was a beautiful ca
rved Mahogany dining table and eight high backed chairs to match. I followed him to the right and into a study with bookcases from floor to ceiling surrounding the entire room. He sat down on a red velvet couch and patted the seat next to him.
I decided I would rather look him in the face and sat in the chair adjacent to the couch. He stared at me with an open soul. I could tell he wanted me to trust him and believe him but I wasn’t sure I could. I sighed. There were so many questions I wanted to ask but where do I start.
Why not start at the beginning,
“So, you kill people.”
“Ha, no.” He replied. “We are not cold
blooded murderers. Rule number one: Don’t kill dinner.”
“Rules? Vampires have rules?”
“Yes, vampires have rules. We have to stay hidden. If we didn’t have rules, there would be nothing stopping the world from knowing about our existence.”
“What are the other rules?”
“Don’t feed from people you know and don’t tell anyone.”
Why exactly are you telling me this if it is expressly forbidden?”
He breathed a heavy sigh. “Kenna… I…. um…”
“Well spit it out already!”
“Kenna, I want to turn you.”
“Ha, I’m not falli
ng for that one. I want to turn you. If you say no, I won’t, but I wanted to give you the opportunity to escape the life you are so unhappy with.”
“Thanks for the o
ffer buddy but I am not ok with being stuck in the dark forever.”
“We aren’t bound to the night, you know.”
He stood up and walked to the bookshelf. He pulled out an old green leather bound book and flipped though the pages until he found what he was looking for. “Have you ever seen this flower?” He asked while pointing to a picture of a purple and yellow flower. I shook my head no. “It’s called nightshade. It protects us from the effects of the sun if injected into our bodies.” I stared at him waiting for him to say just kidding. When he didn’t I replied, “You mean like shoot up? You certainly are not helping your case Arthur.” As he took a step back he said, “No Kenna, we aren’t crackheads on flowers.” His hands trailed to the top of his red button down shirt. As he stood there I was finally able to see him in all his glory. He was six feet tall, toned but not too big and he had the most amazing Sapphire blue eyes flecked with grey. All of a sudden I was really anxious for him to start unbuttoning. As he coughed to stifle a laugh, I realized I was ogling. Whoops. Now, as if trying to tease me, he sauntered my way slowly unbuttoning his shirt. He stopped right as I was getting a killer view of his abs and pulled his shirt back to expose his chest. He pointed to the tattoo covering his broad chest and said, “The nightshade is mixed into the tattoo ink. That is what protects us.”
As he sat back on the couch I stood up and walked like a moth to a flame to where Arthur was seated. I traced the tattoo on his chest with my fingers
and a million questions flooded my mind. How would being an immortal change my life? Do I really want to live forever? What about my family?
“How will it change me?” I asked him.
“Once I change you, you will acquire all of my knowledge. I’ve been to college a few times so getting a better job won’t be a problem. You will stop aging, obviously. Your senses will increase exponentially; you will be faster, stronger. You will be able to see minute details, smell everything and hear a pin drop. It will be a lot at first but it is like seeing the world for the first time. There are colors you have never seen and the town has a sound like no other.” After letting the idea soak in I asked, “How does it work?”
“Well Kenna, we will do it during the day. You will come over, make yourself at home and when you are ready we will do the deed so to say.”
“And what, pray tell, does the deed entail?” I replied with just the right hint of sarcasm for him dodging my question.
“I will bite you, drain you to the brink of death, then you will drink my blood. My blood will replace the blood missing in your system and your transformation will begin.”
“I though you weren’t supposed to kill people?”
“I am not
killing you. Once my blood has replaced yours your body will change. Your lungs will no longer need to function, your senses will heighten. The vampire blood in your system is what will make you an immortal.”
“So one day, no pain, boom! I am a vampire and you just let me go?”
“No Kenna, I don’t just let you go. The change to a vampire is a hard change. You will be in pain and once the pain subsides you will need to learn how to do everything again with your new abilities. You can stay here. I will make up a room for you so you don’t have to go through it alone.”
“Awesome, so you are going to kill me, bring me back and I will be tempo
rarily back to the state of my one year old cousin still learning how to walk?”
“Do you always use sarcasm when you are nervous?
“I always use sarcasm, always. You’d better get used to it if I am going to be staying here for a while.”
“So you will do it? You will become a vampire?”
“I’m leaning towards a yes. When do I get my tattoo? Can I put it wherever I want?”
“You will get your tattoo on your first night. I will call Erista and tell her to prepare. You can get whatever you want, wherever you want.”
“What do I tell my friends? I can still have my friends right?”
“Just tell them you are going on vacation. You will be back to normal in a few days. You can keep your friends but they can never know about what you are. One day they will realize you don’t age and you will have to leave them. We must remain in the shadows.”
ed at my phone and saw that it was nearly six am. “Arthur, give me a couple days. I have to think about this. I promise I will not tell anyone. Can you walk me to my car?”
“Of course. Let’s go.”
While I was driving back to my apartment in Metarie I couldn’t help but think about everything he said. I could keep my friends, my family wouldn’t have to know and I would be faster, better and stronger. I had made up my mind by the time I put my key in the deadbolt. I texted Arthur, “See you Friday.” The day went by in a blur. I had a lot to do to prepare for my immortality. There were bills to pay, days off work to request and I had to find a way to tell Becca I would be MIA for a few days. The next day I called Becca and asked her to go to lunch with me. We sat outside at my favorite restaurant, Lucy’s and talked about our weeks. Becca had tons of stories to tell me about her boyfriend and their never-ending search for entertainment. I told her about work and how I decided to take a week off and disappear. She knew I was stuck in a rut and encouraged me to take a breather, turn off my phone and have a little “me” time. We parted ways and I realized I should probably tell my parents about my one-week soul searching vacation. I talked to my mom and she was very happy I was taking the time to get back to myself. With all my loose ends tied up I went back home to pack and figure out the question of the hour. What do you wear to your own death? Three hours and one tantrum later I had my bags packed and my outfit chosen. I knew I needed to have my neck accessible so I went with my favorite pair of Rock Revival jeans and a tank top.