Humans are no longer alone; they have been joined by Arcanes, Lycans, and Vampires. It’s been over a hundred years since the Earth went through The Shift. Where once almost eight billion humans lived, the population now holds at four billion. But that wasn’t the only change.
No one anticipated the branching of human DNA to produce new species of humans. Arcanes, Lycans, and Vampires are hidden throughout the genome, awaiting puberty before they manifest distinctly unhuman abilities. Finally, the new species of man were welcomed. No longer studied or treated as outcasts by most. People accepted these new humans and they integrated into society, albeit not easily. This allowed the UN Government to focus on colonizing space, in order to secure a future for all.
Risks remain however, permitting a vampire to feed from you can cause shared memories. Tobin Corsian took such a risk. He resides in a newly reopened district of San Jose, California, where his family’s old home stood. He lives there with his friend Mikel, a Lycan, and his dog Begger. Instead of making his mandatory monthly blood donation at the government blood bank for the vampire community, Tobin decides, with the help of his therapist, to visit Biter, a vampire spa.
The spa allows vampires to feed from humans directly while providing spa and sexual services, granting the donor a three-month reprieve from their required donations. Tobin’s encounter at Biter opens a window to his past and an experience he had as a child on the moon. Questions abound as he tries to unravel his past and make sense of his life.
“Empty. Dark.” Malifo exhaled. His eyes narrowed as he continued to glance out at what space offered. Of course, space had a beauty too, and on the rare occasions when he would go off to see the Earth rise, the views were always lovely. Unmatched by anything else he had seen in his long life. But no matter what, the moon wasn’t home. Home, his proper home, was out there on a world filled with corruption, bigotry, hatred, and pain, a world in all his years, despite all their advances, had never changed.
A world, part of him, still longed for.
Images of the days of the pandemic, what they called The Shift now, his parents, their home. Everything he knew. Played out like a movie. Being taken away from his family, studied, tested, everything the scientists and doctors threw at him to try to explain what happened to him and the others. Try to heal him… fix him.
They came up with medical terms and scientific names once they learned they couldn’t stop the changes, or cure The Shift, but for the others of the first generation, this acceptance came too late. All their faces flashed through his memories. Images he would never forget, each of his friends, those changing, there one day and gone the next, never to be heard from, or seen, again until he was all by himself.
The glass he held in his hand shattered.
“Fuck.” Malifo barked.
He bent down and picked up the broken pieces before the auto floor cleaner rushed over to tidy up his mess. He remembered loving all this new technology back when he was young… He stood, making his way to the bathroom and dropping the pieces of his glass into the recycler. Exhaling, he dusted off his hands and made his way into his office.
He glanced out at the gardens, the lawn, the trees, and the rose bushes, all transplanted here from Earth when he and the others founded Volaria. They had such high hopes, but the one import from Earth coming with them was their own corruption. He caught sight of his guards patrolling the outside area. A frown pulled at his lips.
Just like Earth.
The doors to his chamber opened.
He dusted off his shirtsleeves and watched as Qunitx and Daxtim entered, dragging a body.
Malifo sniffed the air, human… no arcane… female. Was this the one they were looking for?
Soja Nguyen, Marval’s former lackey.
“What do you have for me?” Malifo glided across the room, meeting his people.
“This little one has been snooping around where they don’t belong.” Quintx released the arm of the woman they held. “Their chip says they are working for the arcane guild here on the moon, but we know their cover is bullshit.” Quintx spat the words out. Their harsh tone assaulted the quiet of Malifo’s office. “She’s been making inquiries into all of us and Volaria.”
“Hmm.” Malifo rubbed his clean-shaven chin.
“We couldn’t move until she was stupid enough to come here where the constable doesn’t have eyes, then we nabbed her.” Daxtim, their voice was softer, more welcoming, making them more deadly in Malifo’s opinion.
“So, what you’re telling me is we captured this little magic user legally, so there won’t be any trouble with the UN and their tools in the guild?” Malifo’s eyes narrowed on both Quintx and Daxtim, waiting for an answer. They were two of his most trusted. But still they were Gen Threes and Gen Fours, so young and eager; useful, but occasionally sloppy. Still, he valued them both and would be lost without them.
“The guild won’t be an issue, but the Constable… the laws around trespassing are getting tricky.” Daxtim’s lips pursed.
“We transferred everything we have on her to your private net.” Quintx’s words blustered.
“I still can’t believe you use that antique.” Daxtim quipped, glancing at Malifo’s desk.
The desk may be an antique as well, according to Daxtim. Late twentieth century, the desk belonged to his grandfather. His father took the piece of furniture after his papa died. He remembered sitting off to the side sometimes when his dad was on a video conference for his work.
Malifo walked to his desk and picked up his tablet. “Old? Yes.” He scanned through the files once they were uploaded, “But this antique isn’t monitored and there are few people outside of museum technicians who can access the data when properly secured.” He ran his fingers over the PDFs and Word Documents. This kind of file storage was long since dead, but he insisted on using the device. Why change? Because the technology had been outdated? Malifo didn’t see anything wrong with the technology, only the age and speed. And maybe being out of place here on the moon. Kind of like him, in a way. After reviewing the information, he placed the tablet down on his desk next to his laptop circa the 2020s.
“Sometimes the old ways are the best ways.” Malifo sailed back to his colleagues. “Take the silencers and restraints off her.” He instructed and pulled over a chair to have a seat in front of his prey.
He waited for Quintx and Daxtim to remove all but a few of the restraints and he was pleased to see they left the magic neutralization threads on. There would be no spell casting from this one.
Daxtim shook the woman, not enough to harm her, but enough to help her come to. The woman in front of him stirred. Her eyes fluttered as her head moved side-to-side.
“Ah, there you are.” He reached out and lifted her chin as she came around.
“What is this?” Her voice was groggy and cracked. “Where am I?”
“This is my home. You came here unwelcomed. Trespassing.” Malifo spoke as if he read these words from a script, but put no life into them.
The woman blinked several times. She glanced to either side of her. She tried to move.
The woman struggled for a few more minutes, maybe longer. Malifo found time was something not fully relative to him, but still to others younger than him. The older he got, the fewer matters like time seemed to bother him. So he waited.
Finally, she spoke. “What have you done to me?”
He nodded. She now understood. “Well, for starters, we blocked your access to magic. We also have your restrained so you can’t move, and if my companions did their job.” He spared a glance at Quintx and Daxtim. “They removed and destroyed your ear link to the data center.”
They nodded. She struggled, but Quintx and Daxtim held her firm.
“Also, we’ve deleted your accounts.” He sat back, letting go of her chin. “Unfortunately, you will have an accident on your way to Mars.”
She thrashed about at this news.
“My dear, there is no reason to struggle. You did this to yourself.” He crossed his left foot over his right. “Well, you and your people. You are nosing around in affairs not concerning you.”
“I don’t know what–”
“Don’t you ever lie to me!” Malifo shouted. “I know lies.” He raised a hand. “I’ve been lied to longer than you, your parents, and your grandparents have been alive.” He stopped, took several breaths, forcing himself to calm.
“What are you going to do?” The woman asked.
“You’ve given me and my friends no choice.” He pointed towards his people.
Quintx and Daxtim both laughed. He noted Quintx licking their lips, ready for a fresh meal.
“You can’t. I can help you.” The young woman pleaded as they tugged their arms, trying to break from the grip. “You’re being lied to. The truth is being hidden from you.”
This peaked Malifo’s interest. He wondered what a PhD in arcane magic might do for him, assuming he can trust her. Granted, he already had several arcanes working for him, not really trusting them, but still they served an important purpose. Along with humans and lycans. So she had nothing to offer him.
But… maybe… no.
People were always desperate when they were pleading for their lives. The begging was almost sad. A memory of his younger self, strapped down to a bed, the cries of those like him long since silenced. He blubbered, he pleaded for his parents; he pleaded for someone to help him. Malifo promised all manner of things only a child promises. He shook the image from his mind. Was he any better than those people from his past? He supposed not.
Still, he wouldn’t torture her. He had the ability to make her passing pleasant and pain free and despite what happened to him, he would never put another through any kind of pain, if pain can be avoided and not warranted.
“Is this what Zeberly would have wanted?” She shouted.
The chair Malifo sat in all but flew to the wall. An enormous crash behind him. The sound pushed instant feelings of regret to the pit of his stomach. “Never mention that name.” Malifo yelped. “You don’t know what he would have wanted. None of us do, because he was taken from us by people like you! You know nothing of him.”
“What about the other one?” She begged.
This made Malifo laugh. He shook his head. “Your information, my dear, is outdated. There is no one else, there were only two and with Zeberly’s death, the link ended.”
“You’re wrong.” The woman pleaded. “I received word–”
“Enough of this.” Malifo commanded and turned his back on the woman. “What else do you have to say? Or are you ready to face the inevitable?”
“I have your name.”
Malifo laughed. “Everyone has my name.”
“Your actual name.” Soja countered. She licked her lips. “Martin Li—”
“Enough!” Malifo bellowed, walking over and stuffing the silencer back over her mouth. “Take Soja to be prepared for her draining.”
Quintx and Daxtim shared a look, but said nothing to Malifo.
If they want to live, they will say nothing about the truths Soja spoke.
Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.
Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.
When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of twenty plus years.
M.D. is giving away a couple free eBooks. Two winners – one free eBook copy of The Calling and one free eBook copy of Contact via Amazon.