Andre M. Pietroschek
Family Affairs aka My Avenging Vampire
"This story is inspired by a science fantasy tabletop role-playing game. Setting aka background is a near-future, fictional universe, within which cybernetics, magic, and fantasy creatures co-exist, while major corporations, gone tyrants, fight high & mighty, down & dirty. It combines genres of cyberpunk, urban fantasy, and crime, along with occasional elements of conspiracy, horror, and detective fiction." But respecting copyright & trademark forced me to exclude Shadowrun and Cyberpunk material.
Family Affairs, aka My Avenging Vampire. E-stories "Jörg Schwab rulez!" edition, US English, February 2023
Story and original audio adaptation by Andre Michael Pietroschek.
"When forced into battle Fox always fights to kill, not stun or capture." Recited from Shadowrun – Shadows of Magic.
The story begins:
"Thou shall not suffer a witch to be born!". That pseudo prophetic warning weighed upon my mood, like a death omen, or banshee cry, while I woke up. Some brain dregs like that formed the sermon of another, hopelessly outdated, yet supposedly holy book. My problem with it was: The woman, whom I had married, was a witch, and my daughter thereby could be suspected to be a witch as well. Even by the slivers of scientific education, which I care to remember. Suckers.
All she had wanted was to get to that teenage band 'Celtic Soul' concert. Well, we had not forbidden that, just failed to tell her about it in time. So she did what every good daughter does. Rebelliously she made use of the personality traits inherited and learned from her parents. The lil bitch sedated us and sneaked off.
"Next time you tranquilize your elders you might wake up in the cauldron, along with spices, dear." I wished I could tell her, as, for now, she was still missing. When we had finally gathered enough cash and credit both, me and my wife, had decided to proverbially leave running the shadows, and the big city life, behind.
The technology was lightweight and portable, so we did not miss much and did spent our time in an arcology much like those retired rangers often tend to do. Controlled environment, security, and some comfort. Independence, as we could produce our own food and water. Except for me, nearly all others also knew how to brew alcohol. Not Synthanol, but real, handmade-brew alcohol...
When it all started, back in 2043, I had been another urban neo-shaman. Or better said I may have once been supposed to become a proper one. Fox was my totemic quintessence, but the criminal underclasses were my environment. There is no great prudence, which a high caliber bullet into my head could not neutralize instantly. We had our problems from the start. Because I guess Fox knew it, yet decided to leave my choice to me. Even the well-meaning can hurt one brutally, such was not new to me.
I had made my choice. After ten years of running with Fox, and as a fox, I told my totem that we better depart. It was mutual. I did not lose all my magic. I was not killed by some breach of my spirit either and not even the separation finished me off. Without fox, I simply was a proverbial shadow of a man. There was no day in my life I could be fully awake for more than four hours. That was the price to pay. Lifelong imprisonment on the borderline of dreamy slumber. Like a sedated lunatic. I hated Fox even more, yet knew it was not his misdeed. Fox was just one more totemic manifestation, and the fat and bloated man, whom I had become, did not look prudent, nor tricky, at all.
We had done, as what parents typically do when their child goes missing. We had instantly indebted ourselves and hired a private investigator, who had scored some successes in Wayne, earning a reputation, in precisely the city, wherein 'Celtic Soul' were predestined to jump upon the stage. But there is this truism about solutions among street-survivors: "An easy solution is no solution at all!" The bitch named Consequence is not fucked by anyone without dire repercussions to follow. My wife tended to smack me with one of her elbows, whenever I was caught babbling such vulgarism aloud...
The sleuth had returned to us with one of those facial expressions one only wants to see in media entertainment, or as a Spanglish "Oh, Retardo!" kind of telenovela parody. The fact that he visited an arcology at all proved him professional enough to me. He delivered a message from my daughter's pseudo-kidnapper. Kinda: Come, jump into my trap, so I can avenge myself, or your offspring will become my vampire pawn, slave eternal. Signed: K. Damn.
Insanity has only one limit and that is certain death. I should have killed K, straight the first time he had proven himself a false friend. I did not, because I was brainwashed by the laws of old, long-gone democracy, calling it murder. So he had risen in power, and was eager to put the blame onto me once again.
"He'll have you raped, and tortured to death!" My wife commented, with the shimmer of divination magic in her eyes.
"Or worse: He forces me to listen to his self-pity-fuck sermon again! I will not abandon our child to his fangs!" I tried to fake a smile, and to pretend immortality.
K had become the boss of a special gang. Süpür-Khalafi, proudly homosexual, Turkish criminals. Funded by some corporate media friends of him, them hoping that K, who happened to be a vampire since 2048, would gift them immortality! K had played the patience-card. Bluffing about how his rise in power would mean the blood, by which they would soon be created, could be much stronger. Well, it needs a certain denial of what Evil means to trust a vampire anyway, to utter a remark on it. Corpse-lovers and coffin-sleepers are wrong in the head, for sure.
Disease worship was inevitable in the less established social classes, actually pretty common in most cities. And it was the Undead, who were mostly immune to it, not their mortal admirers, who hoped to get transformed by kissing cheeks.
So I ventured into the big city one more time. I needed neither magic nor scouts, to find a K, who wanted to be found. Shortly after midnight, shortly after, because my fat, older me was out of breath, I had entered the gang-hosting mansion of the vampire. Former friends make fierce enemies. A pearl of mutual wisdom.
K was well prepared. Neither my weapons nor my suicide-capsule escaped the vigilance of his guards. I wasn't surprised. So I went into the vampire mansion. Armed with nothing but unstable magick and a father's duty dominating my disregard for personal danger. Once more a black sheep coming home, to the butcher. Ready to face my self-declared judge. It was much, as I had anticipated. K wanted something, which I could not offer. I saw it in his eyes, when he made his melodramatic moves, sneaking around my bound daughter, like a ghoul around a passer-by, who had just died of heart failure.
K believed the brain-crap he was babbling, he did not just play the victim. With all his nocturnal powers, he was still trapped. He had to blame me, for he failed to accept the responsibility for, and consequence of, his own misdeeds. I couldn't end our friendship, for he had always been faster than me. Didn't he realize that much at least?
I ignored K, not that his vampiric powers wouldn't have impressed and intimidated me, but another shock had impacted me much more severe. No, it wasn't God coming to our rescue.
"Kiddo, you should've told me about your boyfriend.", was my resignation comment. But, in truth, my last remaining option had just gone awry. The only ace up my sleeve, undone. Not by K, who sure would have rejoiced, but by life, as teenagers tend to prefer living it. I could save only two, but I could not save three!
K indulged a personal form of amusement, using his own psychic talents, enhanced by the fact that down here, away from the sun, only one of us would not tire and collapse soon. He had managed to ward his tomb against magick, an accomplishment few darklings could boast with.
"Now you miss that capsule, I guess?" K asked, in his triumphant mood. His fangs nearly shining in the semi-darkness.
"Plan B is with Hel: Still, I actually just needed you to be distracted, until the spell works, dear K...", came my reply.
The last memory I ever had was the shock of realization dawning in my child's eyes. My daughter was transported home, as I unleashed old, Norse witchcraft, born in bloody, desperate survival measures. The awakened merely attempting such a spell is torn to shreds within the proverbial moment of his deed. It is a spell made only for females, originally more Hel than Freya or Frigga invoked by it. It saved my daughter and robbed my oldest adversary of his vengeance.
I died, much like the chicken babies thrown into the meat grinders for KFC. I had understood the prophecy, and I came to rescue her, not blow myself to shreds. Naive father's ignorance; I just had not known my daughter to be already pregnant.
Bonus note: So he indeed did not suffer his grandchild, a witch or warlock, being born, dear readers and listeners. This was added, as some readers did not get the cryptic intro quotes like `Thou shall not suffer a witch to be born!´, to be echoes of an incoming future AND homage to the authors, who once inspired me to write. With that specific quote Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian, Solomon Kane - The Witch-Hunter).
My special thanks to:
Julie Hoverson and John Scott Ballentine, the two audio professionals, who made me unafraid of the proverbial long road, when it comes to art and poetry without paying customers. Thanks, for their professionalism, their enthusiasm, a glimpse at their competences & thoroughness. It inspired me to try better and harder again.
Neike Taika-Tessaro, who helped this bummer I became, when I really failed to make it on my own. Thanks for being ve-vis-voozle, also for having my back, whether I deserved it, or not so much. Kudos!
There is a synthetic-voice audio version of this story. Crafted, when I was only another ex-homeless with
one silly and limited Chromebook to work on:
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Andre M. Pietroschek.
Published on e-Stories.org on 02/21/2023.