The Tiny Vampire From Outer Space That’s Bitey XIV: Vampire Vacation
Marcus and Shadow finally take their vampire vacation, but it isn't to a luxury vampire resort. They haven't purchased that yet, but Marcus' sire is working on it. Instead, they travel back to the Jungle of the Vampire and the Pyramid City where they first met the Jungle Food. There's only a few things standing in their way, like a sudden tropical storm, some dehydrated vampires, Area 51 and the Space Agency.
Chapter 1 - The Umbra
Shadow looked out the uncovered RV windows. Outside, there was an inky, hazy blackness. She thought it might be a lot like standing in the middle of Earth's new purple clouds if they were darker and black. She turned to Marcus. “You said we shouldn't go in without an exit, or we'll get trapped.”
“I said you shouldn't go in without an exit. I didn't want you to get trapped. It can take a long time to find someone down here if you don't know where they landed,” Marcus said.
“Do you know how to get us out of here?” Shadow asked.
“I do,” Marcus said. “So long as we don't move the RV.”
“I'm not sure that makes me feel better,” Shadow said. “What happens if we move the RV?”
“I'll still open a portal, but we may land further down the road or anywhere on Earth,” Marcus said.
“What about landing on another planet?” Shadow asked.
“I've never heard of that happening,” Marcus said.
“Why is this even here?” Shadow motioned to the outside. “I thought this was exclusive to Umbra.”
“We have the ability to move through the darkness,” Marcus said. “It would make sense that there would be something on the other side of that darkness. Regardless of the planet. Our abilities were the same on Chivitas too, but I have no idea if these are connected. Even if they are, I'm not sure what age vampire could actually jump through a portal to another planet. They'd have to be older than me. I doubt even Jaq could do it.”
“But what else is out there?” Shadow asked.
“I don't know,” Marcus said. “Did you want to take a walk?”
“How would we find our way back?” Shadow asked.
“The wrist device has a local mapping feature. I'll just set it to this location,” Marcus said.
“Do we know that it works down here?” Shadow asked.
Marcus looked at his wrist device. He set the home location to where he was standing. “Let me walk outside.”
“Do you want some real clothes first?” Shadow asked.
Marcus looked down at his sweatpants and t-shirt. “Maybe some shoes.” He grabbed a pair of socks and athletic shoes from his suitcase and put them on.
Shadow put on a pair of sweatpants and her socks and shoes. Then, she followed Marcus to the side door of the RV.
“Wait here,” Marcus said as he opened the door.
Shadow watched as he stepped out and walked a few feet from the RV. She was surprised at how clearly she could see him. She'd expected him to disappear in the fog-like haze that seemed to always permeate the Umbra.
Marcus walked about fifty feet from the RV. He could still see it when he turned around. In fact, the visibility was quite good. He looked down at his wrist device to make sure it was tracking his course. It was. “It's working. Come on. Don't forget to close the door.”
Shadow hopped out of the RV. She closed the door and walked over to Marcus. “Are you sure it's working?”
Marcus showed her. “But just in case.” He took Shadow's wrist and set her device to track their location with her current spot as the 'home'. “Yours is now set too.”
“Okay,” Shadow said.
Marcus took a hold of her hand and led her further away from the RV. “It is an interesting landscape.”
“Rocky,” Shadow said.
“It's almost like steps,” Marcus said as they walked. “I see something up here.”
“Is that a house?” Shadow asked.
“Looks like a castle,” Marcus said. “Or a palace.”
“Is that possible down here?” Shadow asked.
“Maybe. Let's take a closer look.” Marcus led her down what looked like a path to the front door. It was lined with black trees that had dark purple leaves. Darker than Marcus had ever seen.
“Could anyone be living in that?” Shadow asked.
“No idea,” Marcus said. “But if we run into anyone and they're not friendly, I'll deal with it.”
“How?” Shadow asked.
Marcus released Shadow's hand and stepped back a few feet from her. He let out his vampire. “Because I look like this down here.”
Shadow screamed and jumped backward. Marcus was nine feet tall with twelve-foot wings with horns and claws that made him look even bigger.
Marcus grabbed Shadow with a tendril before she fell into a tree and scuffed herself. “Guess you didn't see the mutto.”
Shadow laughed as she steadied herself. “No, I saw the fangs and horns first.” She looked lower. “Whoa. That's a mutto.”
Marcus reverted back to his normal form. “I'm guessing you don't want that one.”
“I think that's too big,” Shadow said. “Also, that's absolutely terrifying.”
“Which is why I'm not worried about whatever might be in here,” Marcus said as he took her hand and led her the rest of the way to the building.
“How did they make this?” Shadow asked.
“Probably used tendrils to move the stones,” Marcus said. “Probably took more than one vampire too.”
“Like fifty,” Shadow said.
Marcus climbed the stairs with Shadow. He turned around and looked back the way they came. He could just barely see the RV in the distance. “At least ten.”
“Do we knock?” Shadow asked.
Marcus turned and looked at the doors. They were fifty feet tall, and the knockers were halfway up the door. “I guess so.” He created two tendrils and used them to lift the knockers.
When he dropped them, the sound echoed.
“Those doors are heavy and so are the knockers,” Marcus said.
“How heavy?” Shadow asked.
“Heavier than every spaceship we've been on put together,” Marcus said.
“I hear something,” Shadow said.
Marcus stepped back and pulled Shadow with him. “They're opening.”
“No one is on the other side,” Shadow said.
“They didn't vibrate open.” Marcus looked beyond the doors into the foyer. There was a massive staircase at the far end.
“It's not dusty,” Shadow said.
“It's immaculately clean,” Marcus said.
He stepped to the edge of the doorway to get a closer look at the interior.
“I don't think anyone's home,” Shadow said.
“I don't think so either,” Marcus said.
“Are we going in?” Shadow asked.
“I haven't decided,” Marcus said. “I don't know what opened those doors, and I'm not sure what opens them once we get inside if they close.”
“I don't want to get trapped in there,” Shadow said.
“Neither do I,” Marcus said as he stepped back and scanned the exterior of the building. There were windows, but they looked like they were all sealed with some type of glass. He looked higher up the building. It did look like it had walkways on the roof, and there were probably stairways that led up there.
“What do you think?” Shadow asked.
“I'm not sure,” Marcus said. “Do you want to explore it?”
“We are stuck here for a few hours, and it's the most interesting thing I've ever seen down here.”
“Well, let's see what it is and if there's anything left from whoever built it,” Marcus said.
Shadow walked into the massive foyer with Marcus. “Smells good.”
“Smells like Umbra and food,” Marcus said. “Though, I can't tell which direction either smell is coming from.”
“Do you want to go up, down, left, right or straight ahead?” Shadow asked.
“Straight ahead. Let's see if there's a backyard,” Marcus said.
Shadow walked past and under the massive black stone staircase. A set of glass paneled doors resided behind the staircase. “Whoa.”
“That's an incredible backyard.” Marcus pushed the door open. He looked down and saw a stopper. Marcus flipped it down with his foot. “That'll keep the door open.”
Shadow stepped into the backyard. It was full of purple and red-leaved trees and all kinds of flowers. “Someone really spent a lot of time on this.”
“Someone brought seeds down from a planet,” Marcus said. “Though, I wasn't aware the ground here could grow anything.”
“I wonder what they're watering it with...”
Marcus looked around the enclosed backyard. It seemed the house wrapped entirely around it. “No idea. Whatever's feeding it isn't visible.”
“There's a hammock and a gazebo,” Shadow said.
“It's large enough to be a family estate,” Marcus said.
“Seems empty now,” Shadow said.
“It's possible this thing has been here for thousands of years,” Marcus said. “They may have eventually left to live on Earth.”
“Could Lord Blackwell have lived here?” Shadow asked.
“It's possible,” Marcus said. “And he is on Earth now.”
“Didn't you hide him?” Shadow asked.
“He's in a hidden room in the basement,” Marcus said. “We covered it with a tapestry to stop the childer from trying to open the door. We don't want them to accidentally spill an Umbra One on him.”
“Oh, yeah,” Shadow said. “Knowing Sabina, she'd drop a bloodpudding on him.”
“She probably would,” Marcus said as he looked around. “I don't think there's much else to see out here. This is just a private garden.”
“No, but it gives me ideas for our property,” Shadow said as she turned to walk back into the massive house.
Marcus walked back into the house with her. “Let's see if we can find the kitchen. I want to know what they were eating.”
They turned right and walked into another large room off the entrance room.
“Gallery?” Shadow asked.
“It would seem so,” Marcus said. “I think this is actually a large… Very large hallway.” He motioned to the doors on either side.
Shadow walked down the corridor to a large door at the far end. She opened it. “This is a kitchen.”
Marcus stepped into the kitchen and looked around. “Looks like a living creature kitchen.”
Shadow opened the refrigerator. “It's empty.”
Marcus looked. Then, he opened a few cabinets. “Also empty.”
“They couldn't have stayed here if there was no food,” Shadow said.
“It could be that they took it with them when they left,” Marcus said. “Let's look at the bedrooms.”
Shadow followed Marcus out of the kitchen to the foyer and up the stairs to the second floor. The front door was still open when they passed it.
Marcus opened the first door on the second-floor hallway. “Bedroom.”
“Master?” Shadow looked.
“No,” Marcus said.
“Nice bed though,” Shadow said. “It'd be even nicer if it had blankets.”
“Doesn't look like anyone has ever used that room.” Marcus checked the next room. “Never used.”
Shadow opened the third door. “This one is made.”
“That looks like a master bedroom, but it's not at the end of the hall,” Marcus said.
Shadow hopped into the room. She took off her shoes and climbed onto the bed. “It's soft!”
Marcus laughed when she splatted into the pillows and blankets. When she crawled under them, Marcus set his wrist device's alarm to go off in three hours. The bed in this room was twice as big as the one in the RV, and he was just as exhausted as Shadow.
By the time he had his shoes off, Shadow was asleep. Marcus joined her.
His wrist device sounded sometime later. Marcus turned it off then opened his eyes. The room was just as it was before they decided to take a nap with one exception. There was someone standing in the doorway.
Marcus slid out of the bed, careful not to disturb Shadow. He turned his gaze toward the creature and realized it was another vampire.
“Do you live here?” Marcus asked.
“Sometimes,” the vampire said. “I'm Seneca.”
“I'm Marcus. This is Shadow.” He motioned to the pile in the bed. “How long have you been down here?”
“What year is it?” Seneca asked.
Marcus told him. “That's the year on Umbra.”
“Ten-thousand years,” Seneca said.
“That's a long time,” Marcus said. “A lot has changed on every planet in that time.”
“I know. I leave here sometimes,” Seneca said. “When I arrived on Earth, the living creatures dwelled in caves.”
“They have homes now. Some advanced technology,” Marcus said.
“I know. I was there tonight,” Seneca said.
“I guess you missed the storm,” Marcus said.
“I didn't see a storm. It was cool though,” Seneca said.
“The weather is cold right now,” Marcus said. He sat down on the bed and put on his shoes.
Shadow inhaled and sat up. She turned her head. “Oh...”
“This is Seneca. This is his house,” Marcus said.
“Nice bed.” Shadow slid to the edge.
Marcus picked up Shadow's shoes and put them on her feet.
Seneca grinned. “She has red hair. Where did you find that one?”
“In a food line,” Marcus said.
“Are they still disagreeable?” he asked.
“Very much so,” Marcus said as he stood. “How did you get here?”
“On Earth?” Seneca asked.
“Yes,” Marcus said.
“I went into the Umbra for a walk,” Seneca said.
“Must have been a long walk,” Marcus said.
“You could say that,” Seneca said.
Marcus eyed the vampire. He didn't entirely believe him. Marcus had just finished telling Shadow that accomplishing that type of feat would be nearly impossible, and Marcus still believed that. He wasn't sure being over ten-thousand years old was old enough to undertake the challenge Seneca was suggesting that he accomplished.
“You don't believe me,” Seneca said.
“You would have been walking for half your unlife,” Marcus said.
“Well, not quite that long,” Seneca said. “I made stops along the way. Saw Chivitas.”
“What's between here and Chivitas?” Marcus asked.
“Sanguis,” Seneca said.
“Not the Planet of the Rings,” Marcus said.
“Planeta Anulorum,” Seneca said. “No. I've never been there. I've heard of it, though.”
Marcus nodded. “What was on Sanguis?”
“Same as on Umbra and Chivitas. Vampires,” Seneca said.
“Anything special about them?” Marcus asked.
'Not particularly,” Seneca said. “Being from Umbra, you'd likely have the same opinion of them as I did. They were a subspecies. No remarkable telepathy. No shadow manipulation. They did have the ability to control living things if the living thing happened to look them in the eye. They could also change shape. Mist. Bats. Wolves.”
“You're right. That's not terribly remarkable,” Marcus said.
Shadow slid off the bed and stretched.
“Well, I suppose we shouldn't linger in the bedroom,” Seneca said then motioned for Marcus and Shadow to follow.
Marcus picked Shadow up and carried her downstairs to a large parlor.
“It is a remarkable house,” Marcus said. “Have you thought about rejoining the population of any of the planets?”
“I think about it sometimes, but I doubt I'd have much in common with the new vampires,” Seneca said. “Please, have a seat.”
Marcus sat down in a large stuffed chair. He kept Shadow in his lap. “It is remarkably quiet in this area.”
“It is. I guess that you’ve noticed on other trips that you can hear screaming and see moving creatures,” Seneca said.
“Correct,” Marcus said.
“You can catch those,” Seneca said. “If you're in your demon form. They're food.”
“I haven't heard that before,” Marcus said.
“It's a lost knowledge,” Seneca said.
“Very lost. I've never heard of any vampire doing that,” Marcus said.
“Well, they're not in this area because I'm in this area, and I caught everything,” Seneca said. “Or most of everything. Obviously, some escaped to warn the others not to come here.” He paused. “Speaking of that… Would you like something to eat?”
“No, thank you,” Marcus said. “We actually can't stay very long. We were just escaping the storm on our planet.”
“Of course. Well, I suppose I should let you get on your way,” Seneca said. “Come back. Anytime.”
Marcus stood. He set Shadow on her feet. “Of course. Thank you for your hospitality.”
He led Shadow out of the castle.
[He was weird,] Shadow said to Marcus.
[Very. Did you notice the color of his skin?] Marcus asked.
[He was gray and kinda black,] Shadow said.
[Probably from draining those creatures,] Marcus said.
[Or his age,] Shadow said.
[He’s old enough to be a meat-eating vampire,] Marcus said as they approached the RV.
Shadow waited for Marcus to open the door. Then, she stepped inside.
Marcus stepped inside and closed and locked the door.
“Do you think the storm is over?” Shadow asked.
“It should be about over. We've been down here about four or five hours,” Marcus said.
Shadow sprawled across the couch. “Why didn't you come down here for the war, instead of sleeping through it?”
“It didn't occur to me,” Marcus said. “If it had, I probably would have.”
He walked up to the front of the RV and sat down in the driver's seat. He started the engine and opened a portal about five feet in front of the RV. “Ready?”
“I'm ready,” Shadow said.
Marcus put the RV in drive and drove forward through the portal.
They landed on the road in a heavy rainstorm.
“I think the storm is still here,” Shadow said.
“It is, but at least it's dark,” Marcus said.
“Where's the jungle?” Shadow asked.
“Up ahead. We're actually several miles further inland,” Marcus said. “Come up here and sit. Bring some Umbra Ones.”
Shadow made some Umbra ones and walked up to the front of the RV. She sat down in the passenger's seat and handed Marcus his food.