Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What's this?

I couldn't help it, you guys. I know I said the vampire story was over, but I just couldn't resist tacking this onto the end.

Do you know what I like most about writing? It is that moment when an idea coalesces into shape, that instant where all the different characters and worlds swirling around in the brain come together and form a complete picture. It is the feeling that everything is sliding soundly into its proper place. That moment, to me, is pure creative magic.

Now, I'm not saying that what I have written below is polished or perfect, but it was conceived in one of those blissful moments of inspiration. So, say hello to a character I mentioned a while back. I'm so glad I found a use for her!

The sun poured through the grates on the windows, creating a lacy pattern on the opposite wall.

Amanda Gilbert (she didn’t think she could be called doctor anymore) hadn’t been in the institute long, but already she had lost track of the days. It was an interesting existence, and she found that she rather enjoyed not having control for once in her life. The dark nights got a little uncomfortable, but she loved the days when the sun would paint the white walls with brilliant golden light and delicate patterns.

More importantly, she felt safe. The walls of the old building were sturdy, the glass of the windows were thick. Amanda wasn’t sure which of the old superstitions were true, but she felt confident that the vampire would have trouble fulfilling his unvoiced promise. She had made the staff promise to turn away any night time visitors asking to be let in and had procured some garlic for her windows. It had worried her at first that she wasn’t allowed to keep a stake with her, but addition of a crucifix eased her mind.

Of course the kind hospital staff believed this was all part of her paranoid delusion. Amanda was fine with that; she didn’t care what they thought as long as she felt safe.

One afternoon, while she was watching the lacy, latticed shadows play on her wall, Amanda was told that she had a visitor. Fear seized her mind, gripped her so thoroughly she began to wonder if she had gone mad. The monster couldn’t be there in the day, could he? Even after she was told her visitor was female, Amanda couldn’t help but wonder if the vampire had somehow reconstituted some allies to join him in his hunt.

Shaking, Amanda was led down the vast corridors of the institute and to a small room. Like all the consultation rooms, this one had a plain table and two chairs plus two windows, one that looked out onto the grounds and another for others to observe the interview without being a part of it.

Amanda noticed immediately that the nurses and administrators seemed a little off, almost miffed at what was going on. She was shaking almost uncontrollably as her imagination took of after a myriad of situations, each worse than the last. Her anxiety was so much that, needless to say, when she looked into the room and saw an attractive woman instead of a hideous walking corpse Amanda nearly fainted with relief.

“Dr. Gilbert.” The woman smiled warmly. She was beautiful, with full red lips, wavy black hair and bright green eyes. She looked like she had just stepped out of a 1940s fashion magazine. Now, Amanda was no slacker when it came to looks, but after months in an insane asylum she felt positively homely next to this woman.

“I wanted to ask you a couple of questions about the night you and your students were attacked. Is that alright with you?” The woman slid gracefully into one of the chairs and motioned for Amanda to join her. Amanda sat uncomfortably on the cold metal chair and eyed her visitor suspiciously. There was something about her, something that wasn’t quite right, but for the life of her she couldn’t fathom what it was.

“Dr. Gilbert, when you found the body, were the stakes pushed all the way through to the ground below it or were they merely in the flesh?” Amanda answered to the former. “I see, and were the stakes wooden or metal? Metal? Good.”

A headache bloomed in Amanda’s temples from the strain of fighting her fear and doubts. She couldn’t figure out how this woman would know the details from her site or what possible reason she had for asking about them. Suspicions made her defensive.

"Now,” the woman looked Amanda in the eyes, “did the vampire say anything to you or indicate in any way why he left you alive?”
“What?” Amanda recoiled despite all her efforts to appear disinterested. “Why did you say vampire?”

“Because that’s what you said.” The woman smiled again. “Dr. Gilbert, you and I both know you did not kill those people nor are you delusional. My team and I were tracking reports of vampire activity in this area when we heard about your claims. From what you just told me, it sounds like you did indeed release a vampire from its grave.”

Amanda found the fact that someone actually believed her to be more terrifying than being thought insane. Again, her mind began to race with all the ways that the woman intended to do her harm. But the woman smiled so compassionately that Amanda’s defense of implausible scenarios crumbled.

“Who are you?”

“My name is Charlotte Foxtrot, and it is my job to make sure the dead stay dead. If you’re interested in leaving this place, I’d like your help.”

Something in her tone, her earnest expression brought up an urge in Amanda to take back her life. Suddenly, it seemed that safety lay beyond the walls of the institute and resided soundly in the company of Charlotte Foxtrot.


  1. Oh goody! I'm so glad Charlotte is back in the game! What intriguing characters you write dear. Does this mean we're going to see more of our swamp friend with his zombie gator? Curious otters want to know! :D

  2. I,m along for the ride, Hope it is a long one.
    Moskeeta Jack

  3. Oh yes, I certainly plan to bring Francois back into the picture, although I suspect that he would rather be left alone.

  4. A zombie, a vampire and a bombshell walk into a bar. I hope they all end up in a ruined plantation house in LA. Please don't let this drop!

  5. oh goodness! i'm hooked. Ms. Maxwell you are a magnificent writer :)