The Tiny Vampire From Outer Space That’s Bitey XV: Beach City Election
Marcus and Shadow have returned from their Beach City Vacation. Now, it's time to help Julian with his Beach City Mayor election campaign. Marcus sees it as a large step in the correct direction when it comes to taking over Beach city in the name of the vampires.
Chapter 1 – Hunting Grounds
Marcus woke to his wrist device dinging. He looked at it. The construction crew had finally emailed him the plans for the hunting grounds. The timestamp said they’d emailed it an hour before dawn.
“Long night.” Marcus had long since stopped trying to work that late into the night, and most nights, he had his watch set to silent from the hours of 4 in the morning to 9 at night. That last hour was meant for him and Shadow so he could get them both fed, showered and in bed and possibly watch a movie until the sun rose.
Marcus slid out of the bed. He leaned back over the bed and tucked Shadow in before grabbing a pair of sweatpants out of his dresser and putting them on.
He looked around the room. No Shari with food and hugs and no Mia. Marcus made a contemplative sound, then turned his head when he heard a knock on the doorframe.
“My apologies,” Mia said. “I’m running a little late tonight.”
“Shadow’s not usually up for another forty minutes or so,” Marcus said.
“I have blood and bloodchocolates. The bloodcakes didn’t turn out. That’s why I’m late. I have a new batch curing in the oven,” Mia said.
“What was the problem with the bloodcakes?” Marcus asked as Mia set the food on the vanity.
“I’m not used to modern ovens. I had the heat too hot. They turned into bricks,” Mia said.
“Alera can probably help you with the oven,” Marcus said.
“She actually stopped by to see how I was doing just as I took the first batch out,” Mia said. “She worked on the oven temperature while I described how we usually make them.”
“Good,” Marcus said.
“Bloodcakes?” Shadow sat up in the bed and looked around. “I smell bloodcakes.”
“Not yet. Not even you would have been able to bite through the first batch,” Mia said. “I have a new batch baking though.”
“I’ll get Shadow fed and dressed if you want to monitor those bloodcakes,” Marcus said.
“Thank you,” Mia said.
“Is it cold out?” Shadow said from inside her closet.
“It’s snowing,” Mia said as she started to walk out of the master bedroom.
“Snow,” Marcus said. “I thought we were too far south on this planet for that.”
“There’s white stuff on the ground,” Mia said. “And it’s cold out. I don’t know why it snowed.”
“I’ll have to watch the news when I get downstairs,” Marcus said then turned to Shadow. “Wear your fleece.”
Shadow put on some fleece leggings, thick socks and a long-sleeved t-shirt.
Marcus grabbed the jugs of blood off the side table. When Shadow emerged from the closet, he handed her one. “It’s open.”
Shadow drained the jug while Marcus drained his. “I think that was an extra-large blood.”
Marcus finished his. “That is good. That puts my blooddolls to shame.”
Shadow laughed. “We’re not selling these are we?”
“No,” Marcus said. “The jungle food is for us or whoever books a stay at our jungle resort.”
Shadow grabbed a couple bloodchocolates and ate them. “They’re warm.”
Marcus grabbed one and ate it. “She did manage to heat those a little bit. I think they’re even better.” He grabbed a few more and ate them. He reached for another one and realized there was only one left. “Did you want this one?”
“Go ahead. I’m waiting for bloodcakes,” Shadow said.
Marcus ate it. “Let’s see what’s downstairs.” He picked up Shadow and carried her down to the kitchen. “The bedroom ran out of bloodchocolates.”
“I have more,” Mia said. She motioned to a bowl on the table. “Fresh from the stove.”
Marcus set Shadow on her feet and walked over to the bowl. He sampled one. “How’d you heat these?” He grabbed two more and ate them.
“Really carefully. They have to be cooked to firm, but if you leave them in just a little longer, they end up staying warm for a few minutes,” Mia said.
“These are great.” Marcus ate a couple more. And then another one. “I’m done.”
“Shadow wanted to know when the bloodcakes are going to be finished,” Marcus said.
Mia looked at the timer. “Twenty minutes.”
“We can scan the news while we wait,” Marcus said.
Shadow followed Marcus into the back parlor.
Marcus turned on the TV to the news. He hadn’t had a reason to watch the news since the riots. He wasn’t entirely sure what was going on in Beach City other than the election, which he was fairly certain Julian would win.
The first newscast was a blurry shot of the spaceship that left the pyramid city.
“They don’t know anything,” Shadow said.
Marcus listened to the reporter then laughed. All the man could say was that it was presumably some off-worlders that decided to go home. That was true enough.
The second news program was of the election. It showed a picture of Julian and the current mayor. It briefly announced their platforms and showed the candidates answering questions. The mayor was first. He claimed he would treat off-worlders better and make Earth a more welcoming planet. Marcus heard many members of the audience laugh and a few gasp.
“There’s no way that’s true,” Marcus said.
“He unintentionally let everyone know that there are off-worlders here,” Shadow said.
“I’m not sure he was believed,” Marcus said. “But I didn’t think that they made that news official either.”
“There’s Julian. How’d they do that?” Shadow asked as she pointed to the TV.
Marcus looked. Julian was on the screen. “Maybe…” He started to say maybe the same way they got him in the commercials, but Marcus didn’t think that was possible. “I have no idea.”
“Is that Julian’s commercial?” Oliver asked as he stepped into the doorway.
“It’s a speech of his, but I don’t know how he’s appearing on the TV,” Marcus said.
“Special suit,” Oliver said. “And some pretty fantastic software.”
“I’m sorry I missed the development of that,” Marcus said then paused his words as Julian started talking.
A man asked Julian how he’d clean up the city. Marcus wasn’t surprised when Julian gave a no-nonsense answer that amounted to increasing the police budget, especially for the overnight hours.
Then, he was asked how he could increase employment for those who could only work at night. Marcus wasn’t surprised when Julian had to think about that question. Finally, the answer amounted to increased safety will help businesses extend their hours.
“Not bad answers,” Marcus said.
“I thought they were okay,” Oliver said. “He’s not a politician yet, so he doesn’t quite sound like one.”
“I think that might be to his benefit. A lot of the mayor’s answers seemed cliché,” Marcus said. “When was this done?”
“I think a night or two after you left. This is one of Julian’s commercials. Though, they took out the before and after in this version to make it look more like a news story,” Oliver said. “It’s been running for a couple nights.”
“When’s the election?” Marcus asked.
“A week,” Oliver said. “Well, technically the election cycle is two weeks. The week before and the week of the election.”
“Fast campaign season,” Marcus said.
“It doesn’t run on for years,” Oliver said. “They try and get it done quickly.”
“How’s Julian looking in the polls?” Marcus asked.
“We’ll have that answer later tonight. Julian is leaving to meet with them in a few minutes,” Oliver said.
“Does he need me to go with him?” Marcus asked.
“Let me ask. Alera was helping him with his suit,” Oliver said.
“He said he’d love it if you could come tonight,” Oliver said.
“I better put some better clothes on,” Marcus said.
“What am I doing tonight?” Shadow asked.
“I’ll call my sire. You can go with her to Ocean City if she hasn’t left yet.” Marcus dialed his sire on his wrist device.
“Marcus, what can I do for you?” Lucia asked.
“Are you still bringing the boys by?” Marcus asked.
“I should be at your house in five minutes,” Lucia said.
“Shadow would like to go with you to Ocean City,” Marcus said as he walked out of the parlor and into the kitchen.
Shadow followed Marcus.
“Of course. I can pick her up when I drop the boys off,” Lucia said.
“Thank you. We’ll see you in a minute,” Marcus said. He ended the call. “She’s coming up the driveway.”
“I’ll pack you both some snacks for the road,” Mia said.
Marcus watched as Mia replicated two bags then proceeded to fill them with jars of blood and bloodchocolates. “Did you learn to use the replicator?”
“Alera showed me again when she helped me with the bloodcakes.” She paused. “Oh, the bloodcakes.” Mia opened the oven.
Marcus handed her a padded glove.
Mia put on the glove and took the tray out of the oven. “These look better.” She set them on the stove. “They just need a minute to cool.”
Marcus wrapped his arms entirely around Shadow when she reached for one. “Not yet.”
Shadow squeaked and huffed.
Mia turned around. “Oh.”
“You have to watch her like a hawk sometimes,” Marcus said. “She has been known to grab things out of hot pans.”
“Oh, little vampire. Don’t do that,” Mia said. “You’ll get burned.” She tested the bloodcake at the edge of the tray. “It’s going to be a couple minutes yet.”
“Come upstairs with me. You can help me pick out a suit,” Marcus said. He picked Shadow up and carried her upstairs to the master bedroom.
Marcus opened his closet and turned on the light.
Shadow hopped inside. “Professional suit?”
“Something nice,” Marcus said.
Shadow sifted through Marcus’ suits. “I didn’t know you had this many.” She grabbed a dark gray suit and a dark purple shirt with purple gold cufflinks. Shadow walked out of the closet.
“Are you trying to tell me something?” Marcus asked as he took the suit from her.
Shadow looked at the suit then laughed when she realized the color combination she had picked out. “I wasn’t.”
Marcus chuckled as he dressed in the suit. “I know what’s on your mind. We’ll try and get some private time when we get back.”
“We could get some private time real quick right now,” Shadow said.
“I’d have to wear a mutto shield,” Marcus said.
Shadow grumbled. “I’m not in the mood to feel fake real mutto.”
Marcus looked at his wrist device. “The full moon is tomorrow. We’d make a mess otherwise.”
“Nevermind,” Shadow said.
“I thought you might change your mind.” Marcus led Shadow downstairs. “Is my sire here?”
“She’s getting the boys settled in the cabin,” Oliver said. “I think Julian is ready.”
“You’re snack bags,” Mia said. “I put bloodcakes in both.”
Marcus grabbed his and handed Shadow hers.
“And here’s a bloodcake for the walk.” Mia handed Shadow a bloodcake in a napkin.
Shadow took a bite of it. “Thank you.”
Marcus led Shadow out of the stone house to the cabin.
They entered through the back door.
“Are we late?” Marcus asked.
“Nope. Right on time,” Alera said as she walked into the kitchen.
“Have Marc or Shari made an appearance tonight?” Marcus asked.
“I haven’t seen them,” Alera said.
“Has anyone else woken up?” Marcus asked.
“We think we have two that might be up later tonight or tomorrow,” Alera said.
“What are their names?” Marcus asked.
“Marcus the third and Agnes,” Alera said.
“Agnes?” Marcus asked.
“It means sacred. Sabina liked it,” Alera said. “We sat around trying to think of a good name for her the other night.”
“Agnes is fine,” Marcus said. “We may want to give Marcus the third a gans.”
“We could. We didn’t think of one,” Alera said.
“I don’t want us to start getting them confused,” Marcus said.
“We could just rename him,” Shadow said. “He’s not awake yet. He doesn’t know his name.”
“Good point,” Marcus said.
“We could name him Maro,” Shadow said.
“That’s not bad,” Marcus said.
“Maro Carboni,” Alera said. “That has a nice ring.”
“Do you think it’s too close to bone marrow,” Marcus asked.
“Oh, it might be,” Alera said.
“What about Cris?” Shadow said.
Marcus chuckled. “Are we trying for joke names?”
“That would be short for crisis in English,” Alera said when Shadow looked confused.
“Let’s keep that on the burner,” Marcus said. “Have the childer do some more brainstorming.”
“I can do that,” Alera said.
Lucia stepped into the kitchen. “I have the boys settled. They’re playing with the other childer. Are you ready, Shadow?”
Shadow finished her bloodcake. “I’m ready.”
“Did you remember a bag of snacks?” Lucia asked. “We may be gone a few hours.”
Shadow held up the sack. “I have my snacks.”
“She’s ready with snacks,” Marcus said.
“Great. The food is still limited in Ocean City,” Lucia said.
“We haven’t set up a shelter there yet,” Marcus said.
“Actually, there in the process of getting one ready. I ran into Sadie the other night,” Lucia said.
“Oh, that’s right. I did tell her to open one,” Marcus said.
“She’s got the building. They’re moving equipment and supplies in,” Lucia said.
“I should probably check my email. I bet all that information is in there,” Marcus said.
“It probably is,” Lucia said. “She was very busy and tired the night I spoke to her. I suppose she also thought I’d tell you. She probably gave me too many details about the project.”
“Well, I trust my family, so that’s fine, and if she tells one of you, it’ll get back to me,” Marcus said. “However, I should get out there sometime in the next couple nights and see how it’s going.”
“It’s right downtown,” Lucia said. “You’d love the location.”
“I may try and get over there tomorrow night,” Marcus said. “Maybe later tonight. It depends on how long this meeting is with Julian.”
Lucia nodded. “Let’s go, Shadow. I’m running late.”
Shadow walked out of the cabin with Lucia and stepped into the passenger’s side of the van. She closed her door.
Lucia got in on the driver’s side. She closed her door, started the engine and turned the van around so they could leave the property.
“Was Marcus not doing anything interesting?” Lucia asked.
“It’s not interesting to me,” Shadow said. “He’s going with Julian to a campaign meeting.”
“Oh, you wouldn’t like that,” Lucia said. “It’s a whole lot of talk about speeches and strategies when it comes to winning political campaigns.”
“That sounds more boring than I thought it would be,” Shadow said.
“You’ll like this better. You can pick out some outfits while I check out the store. Then, we’ll stop by that hotel I might buy, and I’ll take you over to the new shelter,” Lucia said.
“That’s a much better night,” Shadow said.
“What was your other option?” Lucia asked.
“Entertaining myself or studying with the childer,” Shadow said.
“This was definitely the best option,” Lucia said. “Plus, we never get to spend any time together. I see all the other grandchilder all the time but never you.”
“I’m usually busy with Marcus,” Shadow said.
“Well, let’s have some fun tonight while we do a little business.”
Shadow watched the road while Lucia drove. “Isn’t this where Marcus’ old boss lives?”
“It is,” Lucia said. “But he’s not the same vampire he was. I’ve ran into a few more vampires that worked for him since I tried to drop off Ortho. They have all said that when they worked for him, he was the best employer they ever had. Generous. Understanding. He’s none of that now.”
“That’s too bad. Marcus liked him,” Shadow said.
“He’s a greedy, uncaring son of a bitch now,” Lucia said as she glanced at the clock on the dash. “Do you want to take a shortcut?”
“What kind of shortcut?” Shadow asked.
“This kind of shortcut.” Lucia opened a portal and drove the van through it.
“We’re running really late,” Lucia said as they drove in a straight line through the Umbra.”
“This is a little more excitement than I wanted,” Shadow said as she hung onto the armrests. The Umbra wasn’t known for its smooth ground.
“You’re okay. We’ll be leaving in a second.” Lucia opened a second portal.
They landed on the road with the Ocean City sign twenty feet in front of them.
“What was that?” Lucia asked.
“What was what?” Shadow asked.
“Did you see a castle in the Umbra?” Lucia asked.
“Oh yeah. Marcus and I visited it during the storm. Some vampire named Seneca owns it,” Shadow said.
“I need to look him up. That name sounds familiar,” Lucia said.
“Do you have Umbra history books?” Shadow asked.
“I have them for both Umbra and Chivitas,” Lucia said. “I found them the other night when I was unpacking in the new house.”
“Marcus might be interested in those,” Shadow said. “Actually, both Marcuses.”
“I’m going to look up Seneca when I get home,” Lucia said.
“Marcus didn’t know who he was. He said he was ten thousand years old.”
“He might be if it’s the Seneca I’m thinking of. Hell, he might be older than that,” Lucia said as she drove into Ocean City.
“Is he older than Jaq?” Shadow asked.
Lucia glanced at Shadow. “Don’t ever say that name in front of Marcus. But, I think he’s older than Jaq. Maybe not by much, but I do think he’s older.”
“This is making me feel like one of my childer,” Shadow said. “Everything is older than me.”
“At two thousand, you’ll stop counting,” Lucia said.
“What happens at two thousand?” Shadow asked.
“Well, a lot. You’ll see twenty-five generations of living creatures. You’ll see entire governments form, grow and collapse. Your entire way of life will change about ten times. You’ve already lost a planet. You may see that again. Although, we hope not.”
“Does anything good happen?” Shadow asked.
“Oh, of course,” Lucia said. “You’ll get to see all your childer grow up and get their own lives. Or in our case, expand the clan. You’ll get rich then richer.”
“Was Marcus rich?” Shadow asked.
“His lifestyle, from what he’s told me, was much the same as it was centuries ago, but I don’t think he was hurting for money, and I think he had quite a bit put back.”
“So, he didn’t have to work,” Shadow said.
“I don’t think he did, but I do think it gave him a sense of purpose, and it kept him up to date, which was why he did it. Now, he’s working to rebuild that fortune and provide for you, your childer and all of us, but you should have seen all that when you bonded.”
“Not really. His lifestyle was never extravagant, and the bonding doesn’t really show you the motivation. Although, you can feel strong emotions.”
“Interesting,” Lucia said as she drove. “We’re almost to the hotel.”