by Rae Lindley
Calm, like the trees she used to watch in Oklahoma as a child. No
sound, only silence. She saw the darkness
change to light. Normally, she would make a crack about going toward the
light. But as it got bigger, she found it
Slowly, she opened her eyes and found herself staring up into the
rectangular white light hanging from the ceiling.
She wasn't cool or warm despite the bright, hot lights hanging over
her. She slowly sat up and froze as she felt a
sting in her brain.
She looked down at the white body suit she wore. "Where was
she?" Her mind flashed back to the cool night
when she saw Jack die before her eyes. And then she was killed. Raven
Quickly, she zipped the front of her body suit down and placed her
hand against her heart. A large scar extended
across the area of her heart.
She swung her feet over and held her head down low.
"What is going on here?"
* * *
Jason Brandis walked through the brightly lit white walls of the Tech
Corporation. Like everyone else in the
building, he was dressed in a dark suit. His brown hair was neatly
combed around his pale, aging face of forty
years. He smiled. He knew behind that door was the future of the
company. He couldn't help but feel content about
the tension between them and humans. He couldn't have planned it
Brandis fixed himself and straightened his suit as he followed his
two advisors to a large room. Inside, a handful
of suited men sat around a conference table. Brandis took his usual seat
at the front of the table.
"Evening gentleman," he began. "Now that we're all
here, we'll get right to business."
He looked up at all the serious faces that sat around him. "The
Tech Corporation has been the first neutral
grounds for mutual business joints and an overall peacemaker for both
races in this world. However, there have
been rumors of many shipments—illegal shipments of human blood that
cause us to wonder about the other side.
Deaths on the streets are up forty percent. Gentleman, it has taken ten
years to join these two together and I'm not
about to let this unification die so quickly. If it dies, then business
Brandis heard the doors open, followed by footsteps but he continued.
"A lot is riding on this. Especially, the idea
of peace remaining on this planet. We've had genetics create a
simulation of blood. We can change chromosomes
or shift them to make either a boy or a girl baby at a parents'
wish. But the one thing we cannot do…is keep these
animals at bay. Now, the offworld mission was and still is the main aim
of this corporation. I want this mission to
be a success and I want it to continue on. Some of these savages are
trying to keep Dracin citizens on their side and
are corrupting my world. Talking to them won't help and neither will
making a deal with them. All they understand
"I believe the offworld mission will solve all of this. As long
as it is kept private."
Brandis looked up at the tall dark haired man that had entered and
stood with his hands clasped one in front of
the other. Tyler Deamond showed no emotion other than to stare down
Brandis who couldn't stand being below
anyone in the room.
Slowly, Brandis made his way to his feet. "If I had asked you
here to this meeting, you wouldn't be coming in 20
minutes late and interrupting my presentation, Mr. Deamond. On the
contrary, I did not send a memo out to you, so
why are you standing here?"
Deamond tried to hide the smile as he noticed a vein popping out of
Brandis' pale, wrinkled forehead had to
admit, the man did not age well.
"I think your other project has just become an answer you would
like to hear about now."
Brandis' thin lips formed in a slight smile. His blue eyes
sparkled at the sound of what Deamond was hinting
toward. "This meeting is adjourned gentleman. We'll continue
Screeching filled the air as the board quickly backed up in their
chairs and gathered the papers in front of them.
One by one they filed out the door that opened and closed behind them.
Deamond closed his jacket and smiled at
Deamond. The two men continued to stare at each other even as Deamond
poured himself a glass of water from
the glass container in the middle of the table.
"You were saying, Vice President?"
Deamond tried not to chuckle at Brandis' condescending tone he
used when he was annoyed. He cleared his
throat. "She's awake."
Brandis slapped the cold steel conference table. "I knew it!
Didn't I say any day now she would come around?"
"She hasn't tried to escape or anything. I think she's
trying to figure out where or when she is."
"She's going to be quite shocked, that's for sure."
Brandis crossed the room. "Are her blood levels still the
"Still the same and skyrocketing. The scientists say the bite she
received from the early prototypes had an affect
on her. Her brain is functioning at an excelled rate and the time
between responses from her brain to her other
nerves are incredible. Her reflexes are like that of a fifty full grown
"Mmm-hmm." Brandis crossed his arms. "And you believe
this will help me how?"
Deamond smiled at the shorter man. His handsome face held a smugness
that lasted only a few seconds before
Brandis began tightening his fists. He loved testing the old man.
"You're trying to get rid of the Dracin crime on
these streets. Does Mariano ring a bell? Carpen, Stamper, Tolkine,
these are only a small amount of names that
come to mind. But with a weapon like you have in that other room
combined with anger and force you can win
back the side of the people's trust. You won't have any Dracins
in your way to continue on this company's power."
Brandis nodded as he listened. "Anger and force."
"Her records show she is a pretty volatile young woman. She can
defend herself to the death, if need be and she
is skilled in various, although haphazard, martial arts techniques.
Furthermore, she was attacked by them to the
point of death. She has no one and nothing in this life to hang onto but
the anger of those creatures that stole her
former life away. We gave her back that life and the ability to seek
revenge on their kind." Deamond smiled. "A
woman's wrath is one thing not to be scorned."
Brandis' smile grew as he heard Deamond's words. He thought
about the possibility of someone like her giving
to his company. To his power. "No one will try to mess with the
mission thereafter," he said partly to himself. "All
right. I'm trusting you with this project, Deamond. Don't let me
down. Your job and your life hangs on this
Deamond kept his smile. "Oh, Mr. Brandis. Believe me, you will
not be disappointed."
* * *
Raven held her eyes closed tightly as she waited for the pain to
pass. She could hear sounds of talking all at once
in the distance. Shoes clapping against the cold metal ground. She felt
the coldness of the room closing in and she
needed some air.
A mirror and sink caught her eyes in the corner of her eye. As she
walked to the sink and bent down to wash her
face she tried to gather her thoughts. This was definitely not a
hospital room. Out of the four bright, white walls no
doors or windows were present. No cameras were placed anywhere in the
corners. Where was she? What had
She stood and looked at her reflection in the mirror. She wiped the
droplets from her face with the back of her
hand and took a deep breath. Her dark skin was iridescent and her black
hair now glowed highlights of a shiny
chestnut color standing up straight, she stopped short.
Visions of the past few days crossed her mind: the two creatures that
killed her were the same that killed Jack.
Her dark eyes looked up at the mirror into her own reflection.
"Jack…" She turned her head to take a look at her neck.
There was no sign of any bite marks anywhere. Pulling
her collar away, she looked again at the large scar line directly across
her heart. Finally, everything began coming
back to her.
The wall moaned to her right as it depressed into a door and opened.
A tall, dark suited handsome fair skinned
man entered buttoning up his jacket. He had dark hair and cold, blue
eyes that lit up once he saw her.
"Good, you're awake," he said. He walked over to the wall
behind Raven's steel twin bed. He reached in and
pulled out a folded chair.
"Please, have a seat," he said, gesturing to her bed.
Raven stood her ground, staring at the man in the chair.
"Where exactly am I?"
"Ah," he laughed. "You get right to the point, don't
you? I like that. I like you already. Please. I can explain
everything if you have a seat right here."
"Yeah, well forgive me if I don't show any enthusiasm,"
Raven said without flinching, "but I'd like some
The man smiled. "My name is Tyler Deamond and you are in the Tech
Corporation facility. How you arrived
here is a mystery." He unfolded the manila folder in his lap.
"We ran a check on you and found your name is Raven
Blackheart. You have a mother who died when you were around five and a
father who disappeared, but not before
giving you over to your aunt, his sister whom you left not too long
before you became bored with college."
"Now try something I don't know."
Deamond peered up at her. "Can I get you something to drink?"
Raven shook her head.
"The year is 2010. You've been asleep for the past ten years.
During that time, there has been a war brewing
between two races."
"You sure you don't want that drink?"
She stood and paced the room. "I don't understand."
"Old folklore calls their kind vampires, but I'm afraid
it's not so easy to categorize them. Although they can
wander the city during the day, are not afraid of garlic or crosses,
they can and do thirst for blood. Their bodies
need it, as our does as well. However, their race is commonly known as
Raven laughed. "2010, a blood sucking race, I mean vampires, er,
Dracins roaming the streets freely? What are
you people on, really?"
"You've encountered one before Raven," Deamond said
She could feel the claws of a creature digging into her skin. The
loud thump if it's feet against the ground. Her
mind shot ahead to the two men who attacked her in the street, killing
Jack. "How do you know that?"
He stood and walked to the sink and pushed a few buttons. The mirror
turned inside out into a food replicator.
"They've lived with us for years now. Only recently have they
decided to come above ground." He handed her a
cup of coffee. "You were one of the victims of their retaliation.
They struck all over the world, as if it was planned.
Thousands of Humans and Dracins died."
Raven threw the coffee down and walked to the opening where she
believed Deamond entered.
"Looking for more coffee?" Deamond called after her.
Her hands ran across the side of the wall where he entered. "Just
tell me one thing," she said softly. "What did
you do to me?"
"We saved you. You were on the brink of death due to the
transformation of the bite. You fell into a coma and
remained unconscious…until now. We watched you, studied you, and
looked at your history. We saved you,
Raven. But not before you could be changed."
She turned to face him as her heart quickened. "Changed?"
"You're a hybrid, Raven. You're an in-between the races.
Everyone who was attacked at the time of the changed
didn't survive. Before their blood could be overtaken, they were
killed on the streets. We gave them a proper burial
in the mountains to the North."
Raven felt her heart beating ten times faster within her chest. Beads
of sweat formed at her face and neck.
"I'm thirsty," she said tiredly. "I'm suddenly
"I know what is causing your thirst," Deamond said. He walked
to the intercom on the wall and punched in a
button. "Bring in the samples."
"I still can't believe all of this."
Deamond straightened out his suit. "I know it's going to be
hard at first, but soon you will understand your
"Why was saved? Why am I here?"
"There has been a changed in the system for the past few years
regarding lifestyles between us and the
bloodsuckers. They've lived with us, walked with us, and have done
business with us for the past ten years."
Raven tried to calm herself down. "So?"
"So, we have companies like this. However, there is a flip side.
Just as there are peace groups, there is a
renegade group trying to stop us from living together in peace. It's
a Dracin group."
Raven managed a laugh through her sweating and short breath.
"None from the human side."
Deamond smiled. "Not that I know of."
"Why are they so intent on keeping the races apart?"
"You of all people should know how people don't like change.
They fear what they don't know or understand.
Fear breeds hate."
"Especially their hunger."
"Oh, but we've taken care of that. We've created a
suitable blood simulation from animals that are fit for the
She shot him a look and she could feel her eyes changing to fiery red
as she looked at him.
The wall next to Raven gave in and two men covered in white suits
entered pushing a tray full of thick, red liquid
"What are those?" Raven said weakly.
"Samples of blood simulation," Deamond said calmly.
Raven smiled. "You're not sticking me with that."
"The thirst you feel right now, Raven, is not a human
The doctors approached her with the syringe poised in their hands.
Raven could see the door slowly closing next
"You'll feel better if you don't resist."
Raven fell to the floor and rolled out of the doorway just as it
closed. She bolted down the white steel hallway
past suited men. She pushed her way through, fueled by rage and a deep
primal strength. She was amazed at how
fast she was running.
"There she is!"
She could hear Deamond's voice behind her and the thumping of
their shiny black boots on the cold, clean floor.
Raven stopped at a glass door and slipped in. She stood, trying to
quiet her heavy breathing. She waited. Then
the ground began to shake.
Raven turned just as the large hanger doors open. A swift, heavy wind
blew. The doors opened and revealed a
tall vast city. She could see building tops as far as the horizon.
Slowly, she walked to the edge. She looked down
and saw cars driving in all directions. An orange filled atmosphere
stretched forever amidst the sky and buildings,
with no ground. What happened in the last 10 years? Before she could
utter a sound, she was grabbed from behind
as two pairs of arms wrapped around her neck and waist. She felt a sharp
instrument in her side. A sea of calm entered
her body. She fell to the hard ground. Raven's vision grew blurry
and the last thing she saw was a man in a suit and
shiny black designer shoes slowly approaching her...
Cimmerian City will be released August 2007 from Mundania Press
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