The Tiny Vampire From Outer Space That’s Bitey XIII: The Uprising
Earth's sky is now purple, and the humans have noticed. It's not a rare sun effect or a trick on the eyes, and rioters demanding answers have appeared on the streets of Beach City. Marcus is less than thrilled and has vowed not to put up with that behavior on another planet.
The Sky Is Still Purple
Marcus walked downstairs in a pair of sweatpants. He turned on the TV in the back parlor to listen to it while he tried to figure out what he wanted to eat and what he wanted to feed Shadow.
Nothing looked good. Marcus would have preferred to hunt tonight.
Marcus closed the refrigerator and turned his head toward the doorway. “Shari, did you bring food?”
“I have two Umbra Ones,” Shari said as she held the containers up. “Is little sire up?”
“She is not,” Marcus said. He took the Umbra One from Shari when she handed it to him. “Is this a special Umbra One?”
“It’s cherry,” Shari said.
Marcus tasted it. “It’s pretty good. Is that what Shadow’s is?”
“It is,” Shari said.
“You can take that to Shadow,” Marcus said.
“Does she need help?” Shari asked.
Marcus looked at her. “Who told you she needs help?”
“Um, no one,” Shari said.
“You’re observant. I guess that’s a good thing,” Marcus said. “I think she needs a shower. If you want to start the water for her.” He started to drain his Umbra One. “Just the water, please. Don’t embarrass her.”
“I won’t.” Shari hopped out of the kitchen.
Marcus drained his Umbra One on the way into the back parlor. He wanted to watch the news for a minute.
He frowned when he saw the images and immediately called Lucia.
“Marcus. I guess you’ve heard,” Lucia said.
“Come here,” Marcus said. “Those protests look serious.”
“They’re all up in arms over the purple sky, demanding the government give them answers and stop trying to tell them it’s an effect of the sun,” Lucia said.
“Are they out front of the apartment building?” Marcus asked.
“No, but the images on the TV make it look that way. They’re closer to the beach than they are here,” Lucia said.
“Is it continent wide?” Marcus asked.
“It’s all over this planet,” Lucia said. “Cities and towns mostly.”
“Well, come out here. It’ll be safer,” Marcus said.
“I’ll pack some bags and get the childer ready. We’ll be out there in a couple hours,” Lucia said. “What do you want to do about the shelter?”
“Are they burning and looting?” Marcus asked.
“Doesn’t seem like it,” Lucia said.
“I may head over there as soon as I get dressed,” Marcus said.
“You’re not dressed yet?”
“I came downstairs to get Shadow some food and watch the news. Shari beat me to the food, so she’s feeding Shadow and helping her. I’m making phone calls.”
“Shari’s a good little helper,” Lucia said. “But what does Shadow need help with?”
“The question is more like what she doesn’t need help with,” Marcus said. “You know how Umbra had everything automated?”
“I do,” Lucia said. “I didn’t have any of that stuff though.”
“Well, Shadow had all of it,” Marcus said.
“Oh crap,” Lucia said. “So, she can’t wash.”
“Can’t wash. She can barely choose her clothes,” Marcus said. “And if it’s got a zipper or hooks or anything like that, she can’t fasten it. Once she’s dressed, she’s good.”
Lucia laughed. “Marcus, it would take you half a night to teach her all that.”
“If I had half a night,” Marcus said.
“Well, maybe I’ll do it,” Lucia said. “Depending on how long I’m there.”
“Usually, I do it,” Marcus said. “We’ve had some conversations about it.”
“And you told her it doesn't matter,” Lucia said.
“I like doing it,” Marcus said.
“There’s no way you have time to wash her and dress her every night,” Lucia said. “You need to teach her or you need to let me teach her. Hell, even Shari could teach her. It’s got to be fixed, Marcus.”
Marcus sighed. “I’ll think about it.”
“I’ll be there in a little more than an hour,” Lucia said.
“I’ll see you when you get here.” Marcus ended the call just as Shadow and Shari hopped into the back parlor. “You two look good… And smell good.”
“I found scented soap,” Shari said.
“Are you all zipped?” Marcus turned Shadow around. “Oh, this is the dress with hooks.”
“One of them. She has several, but I thought this would be nice because it’s thicker and longer,” Shari said. “We got the straps on too for the long socks.”
“Thank you, Shari. I appreciate it,” Marcus said. “Your grandsire will be here in about an hour.”
“Oh great. We can play cards. Is she bringing Octavious and Ortho?”
“She is,” Marcus said.
“Ok. I better hurry then. I still have to do my classes,” Shari said.
“You better hurry,” Marcus said then grinned. He looked at Shadow after Shari left. “Did she embarrass you?”
“No,” Shadow said. “She actually showed me how to wash, so I can do it next time.”
Marcus ran his hands down his face. “I’m sorry, Shadow. I guess I should have shown you. My sire was a little miffed I hadn’t shown you either.”
“I told you you should have taught me,” Shadow said.
“I guess she showed you the zippers and straps too.”
“She did, but she said I’ll never be able to do the hooks,” Shadow said.
“No one would be able to fasten the hooks by themselves,” Marcus said.
“You’re disappointed,” Shadow said.
“I’m disappointed that I didn’t do it when you asked the other night, and one of my childer beat me to it,” Marcus said.
“Well, you can still do it, but you’re getting busier,” Shadow said.
“I know,” Marcus said. “It’s fine.”
“You’re not dressed,” Shadow said. She slid her hands down his chest.
“I’m heading upstairs to shower and dress now.” Marcus leaned down and kissed the top of her head. “I’ll meet you over at the cabin. If they’re doing reading, I want you doing it.”
“Huff all you want, but go do it,” Marcus said.
Shadow grumbled as she walked out of the parlor and out the front door of the stone house. Marcus was in a terrible mood tonight.
She spotted Jacob on her walk to the cabin. “Jacob.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He walked over.
“Can I have a bite?” Shadow asked.
“Big bite or little bite?”
“Little bite,” Shadow said. “It’s a horrible night, and I don’t even know why.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.” He held out his arm. “Right there.”
Shadow sank her fangs into his forearm and drank deeply for a few seconds.
“Better?” he asked.
“Yeah. Thanks,” Shadow said.
She continued on to the cabin and entered through the back door.
“Shadow, are you hungry?” Alera asked.
“I just ate,” Shadow said. “I found Jacob.”
“One of the jungle foods,” Shadow said.
“Oh, you named him,” Alera said.
“I thought it’d be easier than yelling, hey, food,” Shadow said.
Alera laughed. “Where’s Marcus?”
“Showering and dressing. He wants me to read,” Shadow said.
“Ok, I think Shari and Marc are working with Sabina on reading. Let me check.” Alera walked out of the kitchen and into the back parlor. “Are you guys reading?”
“We’re teaching Sabina,” Marc said.
“Can Shadow join?”
“Of course,” Marc and Shari both said.
“Shadow, you can come in,” Alera said.
Shadow walked into the room.
“Here.” Marc handed her a writing book and a pencil.
Shadow sat down on the floor and put her book and pencil on the coffee table.
“Is she a childe?” Sabina asked.
“No,” Shari said. “This is our female sire, but she’s older and only knows Latin.”
“Oh,” Sabina said. “I can’t write either one.”
“We’re going to fix that,” Shari said.
Shadow opened her book. “What’s mother?”
“Mater,” Marc said. “The words are ‘Mater accedit ad copia’, but the English is ‘The mother goes to the store’.”
“Oh, that is a lot of words,” Shadow said.
“English is long,” Marc said. “They spell out every single word.”
“But it’ll show you a picture, and you can write the words and sentences,” Shari said.
“Okay.” Shadow practiced writing the words. She laughed.
“What’s funny?” Sabina asked.
“Mater scribit,” Shadow said. “Or, I guess in English, the mother writes.”
“Looks accurate to me,” Marc said then laughed.
“Is every childe here yours?” Sabina asked.
“Yes,” Shadow said. “Why?”
“We showed her the other childer,” Shari said.
“And then said don’t bother them,” Sabina said.
“They’re still sleeping and growing,” Shadow said.
“Someone said he plans to number the rest,” Marc said.
“Um...” Shadow contemplated. “Well, I don’t know. I guess, to be more specific, we don’t know.”
“What don’t you know?” Marcus asked as he stepped into the doorway of the parlor dressed in a pair of black slacks and a black long-sleeved, button shirt.
“They asked how we were naming the rest of the childer,” Shadow said. “And why we might just give them numbers.”
“Oh. We don’t know,” Marcus said. “It’s an ongoing debate.”
“Why would they not be named?” Shari asked.
“Because these are childer ten through forty,” Marcus said. “They’re not firstborns.”
“Oh,” Shari said. “I didn’t know there was a difference.”
“Neither did Shadow. That’s why we’re still discussing it,” Marcus said.
“Shadow?” Sabina asked.
Marcus motioned. “My Bonded. Please, don’t confuse her for another of your siblings, even though, she needs to learn the same things you do.”
“Why doesn't she know?” Sabina asked.
“Because she was borne on Umbra and didn't have a need to learn new cultures or languages, like I did,” Marcus said.
“Wasn’t the trip here six months?” Sabina asked.
“Sabina,” Marc said. “It’s really not appropriate to keep questioning our sires like this.”
Sabina frowned and looked around.
“It’s fine. Sabina is extremely young. She didn’t hatch with half the knowledge you have, Marc, so we’ll show some leniency in this instance,” Marcus said. “Shadow was working on other skills during that time. Skills I will eventually teach you.”
“Oh, no. I’m behind too!” Sabina said.
“You won’t be for long,” Marcus said. “You’re new siblings will see to that.”
“Speaking of our new siblings,” Marc said. “We can help name them if that’s the problem.”
“It’s part of the problem,” Marcus said.
“Well, we can name them,” Shari said. “Or help you name them.”
Marcus contemplated. “What do you think, Shadow?”
“I think that’s fine,” Shadow said, even though the names were only part of the problem.
“All right. You can name the next one,” Marcus said. He grinned when all the childer ‘yay’d’. “Shadow, are you done with your lesson?”
“Uh, almost,” Shadow said. “I don’t know what this thing is.”
“Let me look.” Marcus walked around the table. He leaned down and looked at the image. “The word is bat, looks like a carved wooden stick to me.”
“Oh yeah,” Marc said. “That one is really hard. We had to look it up.” He picked up his tablet and typed words into the search bar. “Here. Sire. This explains that bat.”
Marcus took the tablet from Marc and read. “Oh. Shadow, it’s for a game. You hit a ball with that bat and then run around a square. The game is called baseball.” Marcus showed her the image of the field.
“Oh. Good grief. How is anyone supposed to know that?” Shadow wrote the word and then wrote a sentence.
Marcus read her sentence and laughed.
“What’d she write?” Marc asked.
“The bat is hitting a ball,” Marcus said. “And she drew a ball next to the bat.”
“That’s not bad,” Marc said. “How’s her spelling?”
“She spelled is with a Z, and there’s only one T and L,” Marcus said. “But this is better than it was.”
“What’s it supposed to be?” Shadow asked.
“Like this.” Marcus took her pencil and wrote the sentence above hers.
“Oh. This is so confusing,” Shadow said.
“You’ll get better at it,” Marcus said. “Let’s try this next one. What’s the picture?”
“Another ball,” Shadow said.
“Okay. Spell ball here.” He motioned then watched. “Now, write a sentence with ball.” Marcus watched and laughed.
“What’d she put?” Sabina asked.
“Ball is hard to spell,” Marcus said.
The childer laughed.
“All right. Shadow and I have things to do,” Marcus said.
“I’ll save the book,” Shari said.
“Thank you. She’ll be back to work some more in it later,” Marcus picked Shadow up and carried her out of the parlor. [That was a more intense conversation than I wanted this early in the evening.]
[They were pretty intense tonight,] Shadow said to Marcus.
Marcus carried her out the back door. “A little privacy might do us some good.”
“Good idea.” Marcus carried her to the treehouse and up the stairs before setting her on her feet.
“What do we need to talk about?” Shadow sprawled across the bed.
“The riots,” Marcus said as he watched her. “Did Shari put boots on you?”
“She did,” Shadow said.
“Did she show you how to fasten them?” Marcus asked as he walked over to the fireplace and lit it.
“She did,” Shadow said.
Marcus turned around once the fireplace was flaming. “Do you know how to take them off?”
Shadow laughed. “Yes.” She sat up and pulled on her boots.
“Don’t get in a hurry. Those won’t slide off like your sandals.” Marcus walked over and unlaced them. “You’ll break your foot.” He tossed the boots on the floor.
Marcus sat on the edge of the bed. “I think half the time it’s not that you don’t know, it’s that you’re lazy. Watch.” He leaned down and unlaced his shoes before removing them. “If I toe these off like you do your sandals, I’d scuff them. Probably pull off the heels too.”
“I thought we were going to talk about the riots,” Shadow said as she slid into his lap.
“We are.” Marcus slid his hands up her sides before kissing her. “But I also have other things on my mind… Which you can’t hear because I dimmed everything the other night because you were getting stressed by it. Do you feel better now?”
“Yes,” Shadow said.
Marcus kissed her again as he opened the Bond to its previous level. He should have done that last night. Their hot tub adventure might have been more pleasurable, not that he could complain.
Shadow laughed at his thoughts. You didn’t like the hot tub?”
“It could have been better,” Marcus said between kisses.
“Marcus, do you have the news on up there?” Oliver yelled from the ground.
Marcus turned his head. “Not yet.”
“You may want to turn that on. Are you still decent?” Oliver asked.
“Unfortunately.” Marcus slid Shadow out of his lap before standing and grabbing the remote for the TV. He turned it on to the news.
Oliver walked through the door of the treehouse. “It’s not my goal to interrupt, but it’s getting worse in town.”
“I see that,” Marcus said. “Lucia and the childer should be here any time.”
“That’s probably a good thing because they’re burning buildings,” Oliver said.
Shadow rolled her eyes. “Oh yeah. Burning the buildings will get the sky to turn back to blue and the government to tell them why it turned purple.”
“Too bad we can’t drink them. It’d be a good opportunity to take the childer hunting. The older ones anyway,” Marcus said as he watched the screen. “That’s too close to the shelter and apartment building. I have to go into town.”
“You could still do a culling,” Oliver said. “You don’t have to drain them to kill them.”
“That is true.” He looked at Shadow as he grabbed his shoes. “Put your shoes on.”
Shadow put her boots on.
Oliver leaned down to make sure they were tied. “Good job.”
“Shari showed her earlier,” Marcus said as he put his shoes on.
“Do you want the other childer?”
“Marc and Shari,” Marcus said as he picked Shadow up.
“I’ll tell Alera to get them ready,” Oliver said. “Are you driving?”
“No,” Marcus said. “We’ll portal in.”
Oliver held the back door open for Shadow and Marcus once they got to the cabin.
“Are they ready?” Marcus asked.
“Almost. I had them change into their jeans,” Alera said.
“Shadow, do you want to change?” Marcus asked.
Shadow looked down at her dress.
“You’ll stand out in that.” Alera walked over to the replicator and programmed a new set of clothes. She handed them to Shadow.
Shadow took the clothes and walked into the hall bath to change.
“You won’t stand out. You’re going to blend into every shadow on the street,” Alera said to Marcus.
“I didn’t plan it that way, but I like these clothes.” Marcus turned his head when Julian walked into the kitchen. “Julian.”
“Sire, I was wondering if I could go,” Julian said.
Marcus looked at Julian. He was wearing black jeans, a long-sleeved black turtleneck and his boots. “Did you change?”
“I did, sire. I was hoping,” Julian said.
“He was in the TV room when I told Shari and Marc,” Alera said.
“Okay. You can come. Was Arrian interested? Or Camille?” Marcus asked.
“I don’t think so,” Julian said. “They were watching bugs bunny.”
Marcus nodded. “You can join. I can handle one more.”
“One more what?” Lucia asked as she walked down the hall into the kitchen.
“Childe on a hunting trip,” Marcus said.
“Are you going into Beach City?” Lucia asked.
“They’re getting too close to the apartment building and shelters,” Marcus said.
“You can’t eat them,” Lucia said.
“That doesn’t stop us from killing them,” Marcus said.
“I guess I’ll go. Help you keep track of the kids,” Lucia said.
“Are you sure? Where’s Ortho and Octavious?” Marcus asked.
“Watching bugs bunny with the girls and enjoying some snacks.” Lucia motioned down the hall.
“All right,” Marcus said. He wasn’t going to argue with his sire. Plus, with three childer and Shadow, he was going to need another set of eyes.
“Sorry that took me so long,” Shari said. “I couldn’t find my black jeans.”
“It’s fine. Your grandsire and Julian are coming too,” Marcus said.
“Great. This’ll be fun!” Shari hopped.
“You can’t drain them, or you’ll get sick,” Lucia said.
“I know,” Shari said.
“The goal is to keep them away from the apartment building and the shelter,” Marcus said. “If they approach our block, they die. It is that simple. I am not going to tolerate this behavior on another planet.”
“Okay,” Marc said.
“I understand,” Shari said.
Marcus opened a portal. “To my office at the shelter. We’ll talk more there.”