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Fiction Thriller Suspense

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

(Content Warning: Mild Language and Violence.)

Laura Watson awoke from a restless sleep and batted her eyes at the morning sun. She couldn’t see the beautiful beaming rays infiltrating her window, but the warmth cascading on her skin was undeniable. There was no doubt another morning had come her way. Laura didn’t have to worry about adapting to the world because she was born into a life of darkness.

She sat up, placed her feet on the hardwood floor, and smiled. Soft whispers from her late mother reminded her that being blind had its advantages, like squinting during moments like this.

“Hey Siri, what time is it?”

“It is six a.m. Good morning.”

Siri’s voice was a lifeline that made things easier. Phones don’t have braille, so being able to speak to learn simple things was a game changer. There was a time when things were more complicated, and Laura was thankful that her mother was there to lend a helping hand. Her passing from cancer a few years ago was hard, but you must keep moving forward because nothing gets done standing still.

“Hey Siri, play my eighties playlist.”

“Okay,” Siri replied.

A few seconds later, Laura’s ears were greeted by Billy Idol’s Dancing with Myself. She stood, placed her hands on the nearby dresser, and felt the smooth surface until she came upon the clothes she had laid out from the night before—blue jeans and a black Def Leppard t-shirt. She jumped around the floor in an attempt to slide into the soft denim pants and then spun around with the music. Unlike movies, hearing songs was a delightful experience because it didn’t matter whether or not you could see what was happening. All you had to do was listen and dance.

Laura pulled her shirt on and briskly combed her black hair. All the while, a conscious effort was made to sing into the comb like it was a microphone. Her pretend audience shouted for joy!

“Hey Siri, give me some applause!”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t get that.”

“Of course, you didn’t,” Laura gruffed. “Stop playing music.”

“Okay,” Siri replied.

Laura stuffed her phone in her back pocket and made her way to the kitchen. Finding her route through the house was second nature. It took some time counting steps and learning her placement, but with her mother’s help and steadfast persistence, she eventually got it. Everything had its place. Laura often wondered how she would have gotten along had she not inherited the house on Pinecrest Avenue.

While listening to a news podcast, she made scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast and wondered how people stayed sane in an insane world. Laura’s life was simple, and despite her disability, she fought like hell to maintain that lifestyle. Thanks to speech-to-text technology, Laura had written over a dozen best-selling books and was still going strong.

Her new book was about the downfall of an ancient vampire civilization and their struggle to survive in a new world. The hardest part of any novel is the middle, and Laura had spent weeks struggling over one part in particular—the justification of why.

Why would the blood suckers want to carry on despite centuries of struggle and hiding from mankind?

The answer will come eventually. Probably when I least expect it.

Laura finished her breakfast and said, “Hey, Siri, podcast off.”

“Okay.”

The cold sound of a synthetic voice was a reassuring comfort in the dark world. She was tired of hearing the news. Too much negativity is never good, but she had to keep up with worldly things. When you can’t see, you have to sharpen your other senses, like listening. This was the only way Laura could discern the environment around her. Details matter.

Knock, knock.

Laura’s expression lifted with glee because she immediately knew who was tapping at her front door. She placed her hand on the wall and glided down a long barren hallway from the kitchen to the living room.

“Is that you, Harvey?”

His reply was quick. “It can be no other!”

Harvey Kline was Laura’s best friend, although he would hope to say otherwise. The fall was instantaneous. When Harvey met Laura in the grocery store, she was feeling her way through the produce section, trying to find an apple. How could he not help? She was the cutest thing he had ever seen. There was an instant connection, but she didn’t want to burden him or anyone else, for that matter, with her impairment. He understood her concerns and remained a faithful friend.

“Are you gonna let me in or what?”

“Yes,” Laura said, fumbling with the deadbolt. “You know I hate it when you tease me!”

The door was unlocked with a click, and Laura was greeted with a swift embrace. The aroma of jasmine filled Harvey’s nose, and he breathed deeply. “How are you this morning?” he asked.

“I’m doing alright,” she shrugged, “but if I’m being honest, I’m still at a crossroads with the book.”

Harvey led Laura to the sofa and sat down. After all this time, he was still amazed at how clean she kept her house. Most people in her position would let depression drag them down and let things go, but not Laura. She was a special kind of woman. “So, you’re still stuck in the middle?”

“Yes,” she sighed. “I can’t seem to get over this hump!”

Her laptop was resting on the coffee table before them, so Harvey reached over for a quick look. Not wanting to be rude, he asked, “Do you mind if I have a peek?”

“Not at all,” beamed Laura. “Please, just tell me what’s wrong with it.”

Laura listened in silence as Harvey read the last few pages she had written. She valued his expertise, but more importantly, she trusted him. Laura learned early on that writing can be a vulnerable thing, so she needed someone like him. His attention to detail was next to none, and he enjoyed describing how things looked. He could paint the perfect picture of a vampire, which was a tremendous help for her new novel.  

With a deep sigh, Harvey rejoiced, “This is fantastic! I’m completely blown away.”

“Thank you, but can you see why I’m stuck? I mean, I don’t know how to pull the story forward in a meaningful way.”

He mushed his lips into a thin line and nodded. “Well, you have a solid beginning, and I know you already have the ending plotted out, so the only thing you need to do is jump.”

“Jump?!” The statement threw Laura off her game. “What do you mean, jump?”

Harvey smiled, wishing she could see him. He grabbed her hands and placed them on his face. “What do you feel?”

Laura felt his smooth skin, rigid forehead, and wide chin. He was smiling like a little kid, and she had goosebumps. He was teasing her. “You jerk! Stop playing and tell me what you mean!”

“Just jump,” he grunted. “You’re right there, so all you have to do is trust your instincts to guide you along the way. Jump!”

Laura laughed. She knew he had a good point. Was it really that easy?

It was. It was…

Harvey took Laura’s hand, and she could feel him shaking. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

“Oh, nothing,” he gushed. “I…”

She squeezed his hand a little tighter. “Go on, you’ve always been there for me, and I’m here for you too. Tell me what’s on your mind.”

He took a deep shuddering breath, and Laura could sense his apprehension. This wasn’t like him at all. In all their years together, she had known Harvey to be a confident man who knew what he wanted. It was one of the many things she admired about him.

“I feel almost embarrassed to say this, but I’ve been keeping something from you.”

“What is it?”

Harvey released his palmy hands from her grasp and stood. After wiping the sweat beads from his brow, he uttered, “I-I have the power to make you see again.”

His statement was like a bird crashing into a window, but the shatter never came.

“What the hell are you playing at?!”

“Laura, I’m serious! You don’t understand what I am. I can heal you!”

There it was. Harvey wasn’t joking or fooling around. He was serious. Laura stood and stumbled backwards for the first time in ages.

“Please, listen to me,” Harvey begged, raising his hands. He knew she couldn’t see him, but old habits die hard. “If you let me, I can heal you!”

“What makes you think I want to be healed!”

Harvey took a step closer and grabbed Laura. “I know it sounds crazy, but if you could see things like I do, you might finally love me!”   

“Let go of me!” she fired. “Get the hell out of my house. I never want to see you again!”

“Oh… but you WILL!!” he growled.  

Laura’s scream was muffled when he pulled her into his grasp and bit down into the soft flesh of her neck. The warm blood filled his soul with delight, and as Harvey lusted on his delicacy, something strange happened. Laura’s sight returned like a mighty phoenix being reborn.

The room spun like a ferocious tornado, and the sound of wolves howling in the distance gave her strength. With a mighty push, Laura tossed Harvey into the coffee table. She could see for the first time in her life and was speechless.

Lying before her was a pale man with long fangs drenched in her blood. A complete monster. Harvey wasn’t lying, but this was so absurd. How could it be true?

Harvey gazed into her eyes, and for the first time, Laura stared back. She could actually see him. It was a wonderful bliss he couldn’t describe. It was better than he could have ever imagined.

“You see,” he gasped, “I wasn’t lying.”

“What the fuck are you?” Laura snapped.

He tried to get up to face her like a man, but he wasn’t a man. He was something else. Laura slammed her foot down across his chest and kept him pinned down. “It doesn’t matter what you are!”

“Listen to me,” Harvey begged. “When I met you, I lusted for your blood, but over time, I fell in love with you. I couldn’t take your life. I just wanted you to see me so that maybe, you could love me too!”

Laura tasted bile on the tip of her tongue and spat it on Harvey’s face. “I could never love a monster like you!”

She grabbed her laptop and stormed out of her mother’s house with newfound sight and clarity. Laura now had the answer to the question that plagued her thoughts:

Why would the blood suckers want to carry on despite centuries of struggle and hiding from mankind?  

Love. 

June 23, 2023 06:13

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35 comments

John Werner
01:44 Jun 27, 2023

Nice swerve! I especially liked that Laura was not in need of being "healed". I think that's a powerful truth. That Harvey took that away from her is criminal.

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Daniel R. Hayes
06:06 Jun 28, 2023

I'm so glad you got that point. I didn't want to explain that to the reader. I'm so happy you enjoyed the story and I really appreciate the read :)

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Martin Ross
13:17 Jun 26, 2023

Wonderful take on the vampire tale — the physical and metaphorical perspective on the concepts of “monster” and “vampirism,” and the stunning climax. This would make a great springboard for a novel.

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Daniel R. Hayes
16:22 Jun 26, 2023

Thank you so much! When I write a story, it starts with a simple idea and then I just write and let the story go where it goes. I do think there is a big world to explore with this one, so thanks again!

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Mirage Kinsey
18:38 Oct 09, 2023

I like how you made a person who happened to blind rather than a blind character. The twist on how Harvey is really a vampire really caught me off guard, especially when he said "I could heal you" then bit down on Laura's neck, I genuinely thought it was some sort of unknown godly ritual of healing, but this just makes it more amazing to me. Too bad they had to end their relationship like that, seemed like they were close. Alas, good things never last forever, so cherish them while they still do. Overall, great story!

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Daniel R. Hayes
21:44 Oct 09, 2023

Thank you so much!! I'm really glad you liked it. I always try to write fun stories with a twist and the one in this story just organically happened. Those are always fun when they come to mind. :)

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Graham Kinross
03:57 Jun 30, 2023

He was two kinds of predator, someone using her blindness to trick her and also the kind that feels anyone different needs ‘fixed’ when he should have realised she was happy with her life. Is she a daywalker. Had the sun not come up yet? She’s not going to run into Blade having just been reborn is she?

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:49 Jun 30, 2023

Those are good questions. I think good stories make the reader think and I know there is a bigger world to explore with this story and the characters. I might write a follow up down the road where more details will be revealed ;)

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Graham Kinross
06:07 Jun 30, 2023

I’m also wondering what she would do as a vampire, the rules of vampirism in that world. Maybe being bitten just heals her but doesn’t make her a full vampire? Maybe he just has some weird disease that causes irregular bone growth, pale skin and triggers sight regeneration in people with her particular condition.

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Daniel R. Hayes
06:13 Jun 30, 2023

I like your thinking! I believe the rules for vampires in general have been overused and beating to death. Why can't we change those rules? Well, we're writers and we can create anything we want...lol. Those were all good insights!

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Graham Kinross
06:55 Jun 30, 2023

Or he suffers from delusional schizophrenia, believes he’s a vampire and she was a psychosomatic disorder that meant she believed she was blind. They’re both in an asylum high on drugs to keep them quiet and it’s all just inspiration for the guy who man’s the cctv who’s been slipping lsd into their medicine for inspiration for his book.

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Daniel R. Hayes
18:30 Jun 30, 2023

That's an awesome idea!!! So many roads to explore with this one :)

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Sarah Saleem
17:39 Jun 29, 2023

Brilliant story!, loved the suspense and that ending!

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:56 Jun 30, 2023

Hi Sarah! I just read one of your stories and I loved it. Keep up the great work and thanks so much for taking the time to read this one :)

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Kimberly Walker
11:29 Jun 29, 2023

Wow...

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:57 Jun 30, 2023

Thank you!!!!! :)

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Frank Lester
15:48 Jun 28, 2023

Nice twist at the end of your story. You used third person omniscient in places, then switched to Laura's POV, then Harvey's POV, and back to Laura's. I think you should stick with one POV throughout the story, especially a short story, to avoid confusing the reader. I also noticed you relied heavily on passive voice in several places. Be judicious in its use because it tends to slow the pace. Lastly, dialogue tags. He said, she said, with a few exceptions, is sufficient. For example, “Not at all,” beamed Laura. "Said" is a verb, an action. ...

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Daniel R. Hayes
06:00 Jun 30, 2023

Hi Frank, thank you for all your wonderful feedback. I really appreciate it!

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Frank Lester
16:46 Jun 30, 2023

You're very welcome.

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Russell Mickler
05:19 Jun 27, 2023

Hi Daniel! I like how it starts, the alliteration of "beautiful, beaming" and the realization of another morning come to pass through warmth. Great lead-in with a blind character. Laura has great tastes in music and swag :) I like the enabled Laura, having written a dozen best-selling books with voice recog tech. Vampires? Laura Watson, Laura Hamilton? Woh, didn't see Harvey's power coming. Yikes! Woh, no wonder he's good at describing vampires, it's almost like looking into a mirror, heh heh. Fun twist ... I thought the piece was engaging,...

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Daniel R. Hayes
06:10 Jun 28, 2023

Hi Russell! Thanks so much for those wonderful comments and for taking the time to read this one. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and I always try to write stories that are entertaining in some way ;)

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Colleen Ireland
01:00 Jun 27, 2023

While Laura has dark hair, I pictured her as Sooki from the True Blood series and Henry as a wimpier version of Bill. This could really get interesting, I hope you continue the story, what a great read!

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Daniel R. Hayes
06:03 Jun 28, 2023

Believe it or not, I haven't watched True Blood, so I need to get on that...lol. Thanks for the great compliment!! I always appreciate feedback :)

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Colleen Ireland
11:57 Jun 28, 2023

YW! I actually liked the books better, campy, fun characters without all the heavy gore HBO threw in to attract viewers. Cheers!

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Lily Finch
03:18 Jun 26, 2023

Daniel, I enjoyed this one. I figured that he was a vamp but man that girl has an attitude and "Tsk tsk" such language. Great last line. Says much. LF6

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:23 Jun 26, 2023

Hi Lily! Thanks so much. I had no idea he was going to be a vampire until I got to the end...lol.

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Lily Finch
12:23 Jun 26, 2023

Perfectly ended. For sure. LF6

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Miguel P
19:39 Jun 25, 2023

Nice curveball with Harvey being a Vampire. The story had a nice flow to it and kept me engaged. Good job!

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:21 Jun 26, 2023

I'm really glad you liked it. Thanks so much for taking the time to read it :)

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Kendall Defoe
14:21 Jun 25, 2023

Okay, you got me. No way I could have seen how this would end. And there is a sequel in the wings, I think... 😃

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:18 Jun 26, 2023

Thank you so much! There could be a sequel...lol. I guess we'll have to see what the prompts have to say. I think there's a whole lot more I could explore with that world, so hopefully :)

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Kevin Logue
13:34 Jun 25, 2023

Engaging throughout. Was not expecting the turn, and well paced too. Good job Daniel. And I could really feel for her being stuck in the middle of her novel, ha. Currently right there.

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:16 Jun 26, 2023

I'm glad you liked the story! Thanks so much for your wonderful comments. Also, I hope you get through that novel. It can be a challenge, but it's worth it :)

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Kevin Logue
06:10 Jun 26, 2023

Oh I will finish it. I even know what I did wrong, I inadvertently pivoted the plot from the opening "promises" and changed the conflict. Just letting it sit now for a month until I get my summer holidays from the factory then I'll decide to rework or restart 🤔 It's all learning.

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Daniel R. Hayes
16:18 Jun 26, 2023

I have no doubt that you'll finish it and it'll be great! I know with my first novel, I thought I knew what I was getting into, but that quickly changed. It is a learning process both with writing the book and then getting it published. I have no regrets with the hard work I put in and I'm quite proud of it. Wishing you all the best with your project. Let me know when you get it finished so I can buy a copy :)

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