Monday, February 2, 2015

Flash Fiction Challenge: Vampires in Space-ace-ace

Chuck Wendig is nice enough to create some fun flash fiction challenges for us. I took part in one like a million years ago and I'm finally doing another. I have had some killer writer's block, so this has helped me kind of get my mind off of it. For this challenge we use a random number generator to give us a mash-up of two subgenres. I got 2) Space Opera and 19) Paranormal Romance. Or as I like to call it:

Vampires in Space-ace-ace



They retreated to space over a hundred years ago.

The world discovered vampires after space travel was already approved for civilian colonization. Perhaps that changed how we dealt with the "problem" of vampirism. 

I've read enough books and seen enough movies about what might have happened if it hadn't gone in that order. 

Short version: lots of blood, lots of conflict, not good.

So the governments of the world gave them a choice: allow for a free relocation to space or face annihilation from the big-ass bombs each country controlled. Now, looking back I'm pretty sure it was a bluff. I mean, what country would be willing to risk nuclear winter just to rid the Earth of a few hundred blood-suckers. However, that's neither here nor there because the vamps took the deal. And the Earth (and humanity) were free of them. 

That is, until we realized we'd pretty much run out of space for the humans that lived on the planet. And we needed to ask the very creatures we'd exiled to airless space if they would pretty-please give us just a bit for our very own. They graciously allowed it, but they had made up some rules of their own. Humans in space would be governed by the law of vampires, and since we were pretty much desperate we agreed.

That brings us to today. There are some pretty sharp lines drawn around different classes of humans. The ones rich enough to buy sanctuary on Earth. And those too poor and pathetic to keep one foot on solid ground, the ones destined to live out a life as glorified blood-bags for the vamps that rule space. 

People like poor ol' me. I know, I will now accept your words of pity.

The day I first met a vampire I wasn't even supposed to be outside of the station. It wasn't my day for cleaning the boosters, but of course I am just so damn nice that I let my so-called best-friend Nicci talk me into taking her shift. Not that I hated cleaning the boosters on the space-stay that two-thousand-ninety-two sad excuses for humans called home. I actually enjoyed the view. I could almost make out the glow of the sun on the other side of the Earth. However, leaving the metal tin-box meant venturing into their territory. No one much liked being outside, it made you an easier target for the scavenger vamps.

So when I saw the dark shape floating towards me I knew I was in for a world of hurt. At first I thought (or maybe hoped) that my eyes were just playing tricks on me. I'd never seen one up close. I guess I expected them to look like the old Earth vids they sometimes played on movie nights. Vampire movies aren't the most popular, but I'm pretty sure I saw every last one we had on the ship.

Anyway, the first time I saw a real-live vamp he was floating by the ship. If Earth was down, then he was drifting by on his back. Like he was taking a leisurely backstroke swim through space. I knew better than to be fooled by the peaceful smile on his face. His closed eyes didn't mean he didn't know I was mere feet away. It just meant he was deciding when to strike.

Even though none of them require oxygen and could survive well enough without a suit in space, the only vamps that went for a float alone were scavengers. The blood-thirsty ones that couldn't wait for the bloodletting day that came once every month.

I braced myself, holding the scrub brush in front of me like a laser canon. I knew it wouldn't do me any good. But it still felt better to have something gripped in my hand. My heavy breathing fogged up the glass face-plate of my suit, but since I couldn't very well take off my helmet I was left with a hazy view of six feet of undead flesh and muscle floating within grabbing (and eating) reach of me. I might have lived my whole life submitting to the monthly blood draws for the vamps, but that didn't mean I wanted one biting into my neck. Plus there was the added downside that his fangs would tear right through my space suit and suck all the oxygen out of my tank.

His mouth moved, but in the vacuum of space I couldn't hear a damn word that left his lips. I wondered if he was just mocking me.

He opened his eyes and finally looked at me. He reached out and I swung the brush up, knocking at his hand. It looked like he laughed as he pushed it away to float into the black of space. I swore to myself, I was going to definitely get penalized for losing a piece of the space-stay's equipment. If I lived long enough to get penalized.

As I started to bring my hands up to push him away, hoping the force would cause him to float out far enough that I could make a clean get-away, I saw more dark shapes start to appear. Great, a gang of scavenger vamps. I might as well have a neon sign that said "dinner is served" on my chest.

That's when something strange happened. He seemed to tense, and he put pressure on my chest, enough that I ended up crouched against the hull of the ship. My boots were suctioned to the side so I was bent backwards at the knees like a sideways L. He buried his face against my cloth-covered neck and I braced myself for the feel of his piercing teeth. For the sound of oxygen rushing from my suit.

It didn't come.

Instead he laid against me as I just made out the bodies of the other vamps floating past us.

I counted as they drifted by: one, two, five, eight, nine.

Nine other vamps who could possibly make me their next meal. Nine other vamps who might decide not to wait until the next government sanctioned meal day. Nine vamps who ruled this black abyss called space since they didn't need stupid things like oxygen or warmth.

It was a while before my heart rate slowed enough for me to concentrate on anything else. I realized that his arms were wrapped around me, his hands a light pressure on my back. His face was pressed against my neck, but I realized his lips moved, like he was whispering unheard words to me. When more than ten minutes had passed I pushed against him and he moved easily away. Too easily, he could have held on if he wished, he was much stronger than me.

I frowned as he helped me so I stood upright again. I wanted to ask him what he wanted, but I knew he wouldn't be able to hear me. It didn't seem to matter to him, his lips were still moving. His own personal monologue as he took my hand and started guiding me back towards the entrance to the ship. He stepped aside and looked at me expectantly.

"Oh, sorry," I muttered before I realized only I could hear myself. I punched in my code and the hatch opened.

It wasn't until we were back inside of the airlock that I realized what I had done. I had let a vampire into the ship. I had let a blood-thirsty beast enter our safe home. Except, he didn't seem all that beastly to me.

I watched him as he pressed the controls, easily knowing which to press to close the outer doors, to let oxygen flood the small space, to open the inner doors. I hadn't gotten a clear look at him outside. The outer lights of the ship weren't that strong, so I'd only really seen a shadow of a shape.

His dark hair fell around his face in clumps, like he hadn't brushed it in days. He was tall, with a lanky build. His eyes were dark, black. They tilted at the edges, but that might have been the playful smile that sat on his face. A face covered with some kind of space dirt and specks of red that I seriously suspected was blood. It was a far cry from the clean-cut, suave vampires I'd seen in old movies.

Still he was gorgeous. You know how some guys hate to be called beautiful, well that's what he was. But all vampires are some kind of beautiful, so it wasn't too surprising to me. You think there would be at least one ugly vampire, but nope, all beautiful. 

I watched him so long that I hadn't even moved to take off my suit until he walked back towards me and pulled my helmet off himself. With a swoosh, I could smell the stale air of the airlock, and I could finally hear his voice. It was different then I expected, there was a slight twang to his words. Definitely different than the cultured British vampires I'd seen in the movies.

"...and it's not like I wanted to. It's just that I couldn't help myself. I guess it must be all that floating around with only myself to talk to," he said as he placed my helmet into the storage closet with all the other gear.

I opened my mouth to ask all of the questions clouding my head. What the hell was he talking about? Why didn't he take a bite out of me out there? Why wasn't he sucking out all my blood and leaving me to die a slow and painful death? Where the hell had he come from? Instead I said, "Uhhhh...what?"

He turned back towards me and gave a crooked grin. I'm not proud that it made my heart skip a little beat. "Sorry, like I was saying. You're the first person I've seen in like a week. I mean, not counting those assholes back there. But since they're just a bunch of scavengers I didn't really count them as proper company. Sometimes space makes vamps a little insane. You know?"

"No." I shook my head. "I really don't."

He paused and understanding seemed to dawn on him. "Am I..." he trailed off a moment as he studied my face. "Am I the first vamp you've ever met?"

My mouth felt dry so I just nodded.

"Ah, I see," he said. "Well. I'm Shin."

"Jian," I said.

"Nice to meet you," he said.

"Really?" I asked, surprised.

He gave a rich laugh that caused my head to spin a little. "I like you Jian. I think we're going to be great friends."

"Didn't your parents ever teach you not to play with your food?" The words were out of my mouth before I could stop myself. Sometimes I'm really an idiot.

But Shin didn't laugh, or sneer, or have any of the normal reactions I would have expected. He just tilted his head as he studied me closer.

"I think you'll be perfect," he said, nodding.

"Perfect?" I asked, images of him sautéing me in a giant skillet popped into my  head.

"Yes, I think you'll be perfect to help me spread the word."

"Yea, you've lost me. I am still trying to figure out if you're planning to eat me right now," I said without thinking. See? I'm an idiot.

"We have more important things to discuss than your delicious blood."

Yup, there it is, I thought, bracing myself.

"There's a war that's about to start. A war that is bigger than you might think. And I need your help to get the humans on board. Because we'll have to get vamps and blood-bags on the same side if any of us are going to survive."

I swallowed to wet my suddenly dry throat. I had a feeling I had made a bad decision taking Nicci's shift. A very very bad decision.

"Come on," Shin said, grabbing my hand and pulling me towards the hall leading towards the rest of the ship. I still had on my bulky space-suit and I almost tripped over my own feet as he dragged me along. "We need to go talk to the captain. We have no time to waste." He looked back with a wink. "Partner."

And that's how I met my first vampire. Now how we caused an intergalactic human-vampire war is a whole other story. That will take much longer for me to tell you.


2 comments:

  1. That picture is totally of a vampire in space.

    I want to know about the intergalactic human-vampire war!

    I like how it's told in like a "western-style" "old-school" way, but like...takes place in space...and it's about a vampire. I don't know. It just had that "old picture" style to it for some reason. In any case, these are fun! Looking forward to reading more :)

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    1. I may have just googled "vampires in space" for that photo. Also it was definitely written in old style, not necessarily Western-style, but I probably did write it like that because some of my fave space operas are shows like Firefly.

      Also, the war is epic, there are obvi aliens involved.

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