Monthly Archives: January 2021

Talking to the vampire police.(Journal Entry #11)

I was sleeping when the police force came to interview me about what happened. 

Kellis’s boss—and I suspect her lover a few years ago, but I’ve never asked her—wanted to talk to me. I was ok with that. I know Kierce, slightly. I’ve seen him in Theo’s office tons of times. And Kellis invited him for dinner a few times. I’m comfortable with him. 

I dressed quickly and tried to do something with my hair. The curls were always really irritating. My hair couldn’t be sleek and shiny and easy to deal with like most of my sisters’—only Kellis has the same hair affliction—and the tangles are always tiresome. 

But that doesn’t matter. I was just using them as a way to distract myself from what happened—what was about to happen now.

What mattered was talking to the police now.

I quickly pulled my hair into a low ponytail, made sure my face was clean, and stepped into our living room.

Kierce and one of his cousins dwarfed our home. Our home is full of six females and a little girl, and that is reflected in the decorations and the furniture. The scent.

We aren’t used to having two big males in our space. Ever.

I finally looked up at the two males—and nearly swallowed my tongue. If my throat wasn’t already so sore, I just might have.

I hadn’t looked too closely at the Adrastos cousin slightly behind Kierce when I entered. I should have. Then maybe I wouldn’t be standing here staring like an idiot.

The second male Adrastos warrior in my living room is the same male from my history of families class!

I was mortified. I was practically dressed in my pajamas! “H-hello.”

My stutter was back. It only gets worse when I get nervous. I hated this. Hated having to stop and think about what I wanted to say just so I didn’t mess up my words again. 

Sixty-something years, I’ve struggled with this. Only to have it come back time and time again. Always at the worst possible time, too. This…was a worst possible time, most definitely.

“Jume, how are you feeling?” Kierce asked in his big rumbly voice. He and Kellis seemed to be together a lot a few years ago. Not so much anymore, but Kellis is more relaxed with him than she is with other males.

Probably because they’ve had an affair. (Good thing this blog is still set to private, and only my digital media instructor will ever read it, or Kellis would kill me!)

The other male stepped closer. His name is Makulan, but in class they call him Mak. There is concern in his golden eyes. Concern for me.

“I’m ok.”

“We need to talk to you about something,” Kierce said. 

“You won’t pressure her or rush her, Kierce,” Kellis said firmly. “Jume, sit. I’ll get you some lemon tea. See if that helps the throat.”

I just nodded. I have never had my throat nearly crushed before. I wasn’t exactly certain what I was supposed to do or think this morning.

But having these two males in my living room was something I was just not prepared for. 

Especially Mak. Why did he have to see me at almost my lowest? 

I’m still reeling…(Journal Entry # 10)

I’m sorry; I needed a moment to get myself back together. It’s time I told you what happened to me yesterday and why I didn’t make it to class, after all.

I worked late. It was dark when I clocked out and headed across the parking lot to my little car. 

That’s when he was there. Olietus.Out of nowhere. His hands were hot and hard when he grabbed me. 

I screamed. I fought and kicked, just like Ambrea and Kellis have taught me. I guess he wasn’t thinking that I would fight back. Not that it mattered all that much. 

He is a typical male of our Kind. Large and solid, muscled and mean. He was hurting me. No matter how I fought.

His hands went around my throat. Crushing.

I couldn’t breathe. 

He kept squeezing until I felt something crack. Inside my neck. If I had been human, he would have killed me, easily.

I knew that wouldn’t kill me—only massive blood loss, hypothermia, infection or losing one’s mate can kill a Dardaptoan female, after all—but he wanted to subdue me. To hurt me completely.

I kicked and fought—and it just wasn’t enough.

Then Theo and his brother Thadd were there. 

They fought him off. Theo nearly beat him unconscious, right there in the resort parking garage. Theo was furious, angrier than I have ever seen him. 

Thadd scooped me up close in his arms. My cousin carried me back into the building to the Healers’ Hall. 

Kindara, the chief healer, was there. She told me I’d be ok. That I’d had a real scare, but I would be fine in a few days. 

My throat is sore, every muscle in my body aches—but I’m alive. 

And he didn’t succeed in what he wanted. Whatever that was. But I can imagine. Damn him.

Thank the goddess, Theo and Thadd had come outside in that exact moment. 

I’m at home now. Ambrea and Alaun are fussing over me, making certain I rest and take care of myself. 

I just have to rest and let my body heal. Kindara healed what she could, but… 

I wish our Kind had some sort of painkillers, at least.

I still hurt. It makes sleeping difficult. 

I’m not telling my sisters that, though. I don’t want them to worry. It seems like they are always worrying about me. About me and Riv and Julea especially. 

We’re just not as tough as they are. 

I know I’m not. I don’t feel strong at all. Not anymore. 

I’m not certain that I ever did.

Oh my goddess! (Journal Entry #9)

I can’t stop shaking. 

Olietus Black, he…came after me. To hurt me.

I’m not sure why it happened or even how he figured out where to find me. I worked all day today. Theo had a lot on his mind, and he asked me to stay over. He said there was something he wanted to run by me. I didn’t think anything of it; it’s happened so many times before.

Things have been crazy around here, anyway. 

Kellis and Alaun were both upset yesterday. Unsettled.

Everyone was unsettled.

Alaun’s research/personal assistant they hired a year ago—when I went from fifteen hours a week at the resort to thirty-eight and couldn’t do it any longer—disappeared on her way down to meet with Alaun for the first time.

It took Kellis hours to find out what had happened to Landrey. Landrey’s just a kid, a year younger than Julea. A Nellana Druid who is all alone except for her younger foster sister. She and her sister are barely of age!

Far too young to be alone out there like that.

Kellis was beyond worried. She and Alaun were discussing finding Landrey and her sister and letting them stay with us for a while, if needed. Until she knew they were both safe.

Kellis found Landrey with her boss’s brother, Fox. Mated to him. Landrey’s sister was in trouble, too. She has been fated for Kierce’s cousin, Baul. Baul is a very scary ancient creature far older than the Lupoiux wolves. He is Lupoi, not Lupoiux–there is a difference, you know.

Lupoiux werewolves had been going after both of the young females.

I’m so glad they are safe. I’ve spoken with Landrey before, when she’d call with questions for Alaun. The idea that Lupoiux werewolves could have killed them both is terrifying.

Lupoiux are utter beasts. They attack our Kind all the time. Maybe you don’t know about that, though. Theo often discusses it with the rest of the dahr’s advisors. That might be privileged information. So we probably better not say too much about it.

That’s another reason why my sisters and I never leave the city. 

It just isn’t safe.

It isn’t safe around the city anymore, either. In it. 

Today just proves that…

AUTHOR’S NOTE FROM C.J.: Jume references two stories. Landrey/Fox and Baul/Jaeme. They can be read for free by clicking on their names here!

I’m fated to die alone…(Journal Entry #8)

The dreams…they come every night now. Maybe if someone is there with me at night, I’ll feel safe enough to sleep the whole night through? 

The last one I had, there was someone else there. He terrified me.

Someone with evil eyes. All I could see were the eyes. 

I felt a strong male chest beneath my hands this time. But I am almost certain it wasn’t a Dardaptoan. Silly, right?

When I woke, my fingers were curled in the fabric of my pillow as if I was clinging to him.

Even though I’m not sure who the him actually is. Or what he is, for that matter.

Maybe the nightmares are my subconscious self fighting the idea that I don’t have a Rajni? 

No doubt, it’s because Maryin Sebastos was in the office yesterday. Maryin is the epitome of the word bitch.

She has regular meetings with Theo; most of the office staff avoid her when she comes in. I was filing at the time. She looked at me and smirked. She always smirks at me. 

Like she’s so superior.

I know what she sees when she looks at me. I was in the gray of my uniform—all who work as servants or support staff in the resort wear gray—and my hasha scarf was one of my older ones, handed down from my mother more than twenty years ago. 

It wasn’t fancy or silk or adorned with anything. It was just a regular cotton Woald yellow hasha. One you can pick up anywhere in the city. Or make from yellow cotton purchased anywhere.

My mother made it when she was a girl. It isn’t perfect. There are missed stitches everywhere. She was not the seamstress two of my sisters are. But I don’t care. 

It was my mother’s, and that is all that matters. 

I was feeling particularly low yesterday morning after the nightmare kept me up most of the night. I’d needed to wear the scarf that had been my mother’s, despite how worn it was.

But Maryin is always so well put together. She doesn’t wear white—she isn’t royalty, just as close a cousin on Theo’s father’s side as I am to him on his mother’s—but her vestis and pardus are always of the highest quality. 

Unlike mine.

I always make a point of changing out of my servant’s clothes before I head to class. I have told them I work at the resort, but not that I am a servant.

I am not ashamed of the work I do. I’m far too old for that, and I’ve made my peace with my life. 

I just like my privacy. 

I work for the greatest seer of our Kind. I don’t want people trying to use me to get to my cousin. 

Maryin made a snide comment as she left about me needing to find a way to make my very existence worthwhile. Since I’ll never have a real family.

Considering my particular plight. I took it to mean my lack of Rajni. Do you realize how much of Dardaptoan society circles around mated pairs? It’s ridiculous. Especially considering that we often don’t find our mates into well into our hundreds. Mated pairs are in the minority! 

I’ve seen the census numbers; I know this for a fact. Our society really needs to wake up and move into modern times.

Theo didn’t hear her, of course. He was still in his office on the phone with Cormac Jareth. 

I knew what she meant. 

What I don’t understand is why exactly she has to rub it in? What pleasure can she get from it? Just stabbing the knife in and twisting cruelly? 

I’m not going to let her get to me. I have too much going on now to worry about Maryin Sebastos. Period.

But…the knowledge that I’ll never have what our society aspires to, the longings in every females’ heart…it hurts. On the deepest level possible. And sometimes I want to scream out to the goddess, and demand to know why. 

Why am fated to die alone? What have I done to deserve this?

Does Anyone See Me? (Journal Entry # 7)

Things are getting better. Olietus hasn’t been in class this week. I’m actually starting to make a few friends, too. Though they are all younger than I am. Some of them only came of age in the last year or so. Even though they are juniors and seniors. 

I feel so out of place, sometimes. 

I know this isn’t going to be easy. At least, I’m not in my hundreds like a few others in the class. I tend to stick with those students instead of the younger ones. 

There’s this one demon hunter who wears Adrastos turquoise named Mak.

Elzie (one of the females in my history class only half my age) said she thought he was five hundred or something. He’s a legendary warrior or something. 

He’s a beautiful male. Arrogant, like most Adrastos males are (not to be insulting, if any Adrastos are actually reading this! Which they probably won’t. I may just make it a private blog, once this class is finished. I am enjoying getting my thoughts out.). 

He seems highly intelligent. It’s hard not to listen when he talks. His voice is all rumbly and deep.

Mak doesn’t laugh or smirk when I speak, either. That matters. There are a few of Olietus’s friends in the class who do just that. 

If I ever finally have an affair, I hope it’s with a male like him. One who is kind. Who I feel safe with.

Not like that will ever happen. Pitiful. I’ll go to my grave a virgin, no doubt. Too shy to even speak to a beautiful male. 

Riv, Ambrea, and Kellis have all had at least one affair. Julea, Alaun, and I haven’t been bold enough yet to think about it. 

Dardaptoans know that there are fated mates out there waiting for us; we all know that. Some females think that means we’re supposed to go to them pure or chaste. Well, my mother laughed her head off when she heard me and Riv questioning that idea when we were young.

Just because we have mates out there (or so I thought at the time!) doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to enjoy companionship when it becomes possible. Hundreds of years are a long time to be alone, my mother had said. 

I’m not sure there is a Dardaptoan over fifty or so who doesn’t agree with me. With her.

I miss my mother so much. Each and every day. 

I’ll never know a mate intimately. I’m starting to come to terms with that, I think. 

But I am so tired of feeling so alone. Especially at night. Do you ever feel alone? How do you handle it?

I have my own room in our house. Somehow, we all do. It’s a small house, but my father built it with his own two hands and added on to it each time another daughter was born. It’s a unique house out on the outskirts of Dardanos. 

Our rooms aren’t large, most are eight by ten, but they are our space. I’ve spent my entire life sleeping in this room. I know every crack in the plaster, every creaky board in the floor. I love it. 

With my sisters surrounding me, I shouldn’t feel alone. But lately, that’s exactly how I feel. As if the world has changed around me and I am standing still. 

I’m just afraid I’ll always be standing still. Invisible. No one will know my name. Silly, isn’t it? There are six beautiful females right here who know my name. 

That should be all that matters. 

I just don’t know what’s wrong with me lately…

He won’t leave me alone… (Journal Entry #6)

Olietus is going to keep causing trouble. For some reason, he’s still focusing on me rather than all the other females in class—most who are around his own age. 

He didn’t like it that I moved seats. For some reason, he seems to think I want his attention. That’s the last thing I want. I just want to go to class and be left alone. That’s all. 

I’m going to have to find a way to deal with him. I’m too old for childish, schoolyard bullying. 

He mocked me after I had to speak in class. 

I know I stutter. 

I always have. 

My mother took me to a healer once. I’m one of the few Dardaptoans with a genetic deformity. It’s in the muscles of my mouth. Unfortunately for me, it causes me to have difficulties articulating sometimes. It’s mild. Barely noticeable anymore. 

Mostly when I’m nervous or afraid.

I’m used to it. But it is one reason I don’t often speak up in a group. I felt embarrassed about how I spoke for the first time in three decades. He’d laughed at me. 

Fortunately, others in the class gave him a fierce set-down that he fully deserved. But he glared at me for the rest of the class. I felt horrible, needing the rest of the class to defend me. I should have been able to handle him myself, but I was just so shocked that he would act that way that I couldn’t even think to say something in return.

But the way he was glaring at me—that was what frightened me the most.

I’m not stupid. 

I called Kierce, the police chief who happens to be a good friend of my sister Kellis, and asked if Kellis could stop by on her route to give me a ride home. That I had had a bit of trouble and just needed a ride home.

It helped that Kellis drove a patrol car. Everyone knew about Kierce’s police force and what they were capable of. They are some of the best warriors and protectors of our Kind, after all.

I told her exactly what happened, calmed her down—Kellis can be a bit overprotective. She wanted to find him and deal with him for me. But…I’m almost seventy. I’m not helpless.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m twelve instead of sixty-eight. Maybe I have isolated myself from the real world more than I should have? Sometimes I don’t think I know who “I” am at all.

Olietus Black. (Journal Entry # 5)

There is a male in my history of families class. He’s all of twenty-three, cocky, and a jerk. He stated—in front of everyone in class—that he’s open to having an affair with me. Of all the females in the class, he singled out me. 

And smirked at me.

Like I’d be privileged to sleep with him.

Um, no, thanks. I’m not against the idea of an affair someday. It’s not like I have a mate waiting for me, though I will never tell anyone that secret. I want to experience being held in someone’s arms someday. I would like that very much; I’ve just never been brave enough to find a male to have an affair with. 

In sixty-eight years. Pitiful, aren’t I? 

Still, Ambrea says not every female wants affairs. She assumes I have a mate out there; she said it was more than ok to wait for him to find me someday.

She also says it’s ok to be held in a male’s arms, too. 

Just not this male’s. My skin crawls even thinking about it.

He’s from the House of Black, and he seems lazy. He always wants someone else to tell him the answers. To do the work for him. He is of a wealthy family, and it is obvious he’s never worked for anything a day in his life.

I think I’m going to switch seats, move across the room from him. Something about him makes me seriously uneasy. 

All in all, I’m enjoying my classes. I’m taking three classes now. Digital Media for Dardaptoans, Intro to Family/House History, and Current Dardaptoan Literature. 

I thrilled Alaun when I showed her the section on popular literature. My sister’s name and photograph were featured in an actual classroom textbook. There is an entire section devoted to popular romance novels for Dardaptoans! She’s the largest name in the book, bolded and everything. She looked gorgeous in the photograph. I’m so proud of her; I know how hard she’s worked to get to this point.

She’s going to end up being the most famous Woald of us all! 

She let me read a snippet of her next romance. It’s about a demon warrior. (I really want to see a demon some day! Alaun and Ambrea have both seen one before, but not me. I’m going to have to ask them how/where that was sometime whenever I remember.) 

This character is a prince of the high demon realm or something. Alaun’s created a wonderful world with her demons. 

She based it on the actual world of demons, though she’s never been there. I think she wants to go. But she doesn’t ever say it. 

Alaun never says much at all, especially about her goals or dreams. 

She just works. Puts herself in front of her computer—she bought one with royalties five years ago after she’d published her third novel—and works. 

It was Alaun who taught me how to finally use a computer when I asked. Now, I use one at work, every day. I’m slowly getting Theo trained on how to use one, but he’s a bit reticent to changing technology.

He’s reticent on a lot of things lately. He told me last week—some things will be changing. And soon. He had a horribly sad look on his face. 

Anyway, I’m rambling. 

Funny. I never say much in real life. I’ve never tried to keep a journal or a diary before. Definitely not a blog. The idea of a written record of my life—for anyone to find—is terrifying. What if a Lupoiux wolf finds it or something?

There are some Kinds out there that feed on us, remember? That’s one reason I don’t ever leave the city.

Better to stick to safety, right? 

My parents took me to another Dardaptoan city when I was twelve. To visit a cousin of my mother’s there. It is in Wyoming, up near the northwest border. There were only around five thousand people in the town. It was a fun trip, but I was glad to get home.

Dardanos is familiar. I prefer the familiar. 

I guess I’m just a homebody at heart. I’m not the kind of female who likes adventure. Far from it. Give me a good book—like the ones my sister writes!—and I am all set. That’s all the adventure I can handle. 

I’m such a big wimp. 

But just to be on the safe side, I’m staying away from Olietus Black. He means trouble. Anyone can see that.

We are Woalds. (Journal Entry # 4)

I’ll be the first to finish college in my family in fifty years. Ambrea got her degree almost ninety years ago. Back when the college was new. None of us has made it back to college since, other than the writing classes Alaun occasionally audits under an assumed name to protect her privacy.

Everyone always wants to ask her about demons. And if she’d ever fed an Incubi.

Perverts.

My sister writes books; that doesn’t mean people can invade her privacy, asking those sorts of questions. 

I…after my graduation from high school, I enrolled. Made it to my junior year on a part-time schedule while I worked in the laundry department at the resort. Woalds are not afraid to work. And we work hard. 

I had to quit after a few years—my job hours conflicted with school, and to be frank, my family needed the money at the time. I quit college and picked up a second job for a while. 

Well, for a few decades, actually. I got in the routine of working, of living paycheck to paycheck mostly, while I waited for what my future held. At the time I started working, I assumed like most of us that I would one day find my mate, and then the two of us would evaluate our lives together and what we wanted to do next. After I learned I didn’t have a mate, I just focused on earning a living and trying to forget for a while. 

That’s when I turned to my pottery. It helped distract me.

My parents died the day Alleah was born. Everything changed then. Ambrea took guardianship; I started working even longer hours to help out. 

Kellis joined the town police force—and got massively laughed at—eventually becoming one of the few females on the force, mostly so that they had someone to deal with human females if the time came. Riv went to work at the library forty years ago. She’s been a clerk ever since. We’re not like humans—there isn’t a lot of job turnover in Dardanos. Jobs—especially for unmated females—can be difficult to find. 

We Woald are destined to be servants or clerks or administrative assistants. We work hard, though.

Julea was in her last year of high school when my parents died. She still had five years until she was of age. I took guardianship of her then. Legally. It was mostly just a technicality. She wasn’t going anywhere anyway. But I made sure she knew I wasn’t going anywhere either. I wasn’t going to leave her, no matter what.

We all stick together here. We’ve always been close. 

We all agreed she was going to finish high school, no matter what. As soon as she did, she found a job as a clerk in a second-cousin’s grocery store, and helped Ambrea with her seamstress work when it was needed. Julea is very creative with fabric and thread; she’ll go far one day with her creations. 

We all pitched in to take care of the babe. Diapers and formula for orphaned babes are extremely expensive. We ended up eventually using cloth.

Alaun and I pitched in and bought the cloth diapers we needed.

We Woalds know how to make things happen. 

We made it through. I saved some money over the last eight years, and now here I am.

Hopefully, I won’t screw this up. It’s starting to mean too much for me to do that.

Dream, dream, dream… (Journal Entry # 3)

I had the dream again. The dream where I’m in the dark and I just know something bad is about to happen.

It rained today, another omen of bad things, I think. I was walking on campus, and it just started pouring. I hate the rain, hate the cold. I’ve been shivering ever since. 

First, I want to say that unlike Ambrea and Julea, I do not have visions. I just…these dreams have been coming to me since my twenty-second birthday. Since I came of age. I thought about talking to Theo about them, but I don’t want to bother him. Even if he is the greatest seer of all times.

He’s my cousin, but we’re not close. Sometimes, I think he almost forgets we’re family. Oh, he’s never mean or cruel or anything. He just…I’m here to provide a service to him, and that’s what he focuses on. The male has been preoccupied for at least the last sixteen years. Something…something has been bothering him greatly.

I don’t want to make trouble. 

But I want the dreams to stop, somehow.

They are always the same at first. Me, in a dark world, alone. And then he finds me. The unknown male. I don’t think he’s Dardaptoan at all. 

He’s far more…sinister.

What he does next with me changes every time. Until I wake, terrified. Because I never know what it is exactly that he wants from me. 

I know he’s not my Rajni. Maryin Sebastos—Theo’s cousin, too—made a point of telling me when I was forty-four and she was in a foul mood not to get my hopes up. 

I do not have a destined mate. I was born without a destined mate. 

I still grieve for that.

I have figured out what that means. It means I’m going to die without finding my Rajni. 

I’m not sure when that will happen or how long I have on this earth. I do know that I’m going to love every single day I have. With my family.

I love my sisters. They are my world, my everything.

They are the reason I’m sitting here in this class. They pushed me—Kellis downright ordered me—to finally do this.

I hadn’t even realized they knew what my secret hope was. 

I just want to know that I can do it. Me, the quiet, shy, backward little Jume, who sometimes struggles to even talk right. Me…

Jume, Go Fetch. (Journal Entry # 2)

I’m not exactly sure what it is I’m supposed to write for this blog. Even for the assignments. I know they’re open-ended, but that’s never quite worked for me.

I like order. A clear list of to-dos makes my day complete, even if it drives most of my sisters bonkers. I’ve been worrying over these blog posts all week.

Alaun says to just sit down and start typing. Like it’s that easy.

Well, I suppose to her, it is. She’s written three million words now or something. (Although some of her earlier books were horrible, but don’t tell her I said that! They’ll never see the light of day—I hope!)

But exposing myself like this makes me nervous. Even if no one ever reads it. 

I’m a bit of a hermit. Like Alaun and Julea. 

Kellis, Riv, and Ambrea are always on my case about getting out and meeting other Dardaptoans, building friendships, but, to be honest, that has never been easy for me. I have a few cousins I’m reasonably close to around my age, but that’s about it.

I probably never will be that great at putting myself out there. The thought of talking to multiple people terrifies me. 

I am not looking forward to the speech class I’m required to take for my degree—that’s for sure.

I just want my degree. Ambrea has a bachelor’s degree. She was the administrative assistant for the head of our House until they had to fire her because money got too tight. That was about the same time our parents died. Now, she stays home and takes care of Alleah, taking in sewing work when she can while Alleah is in school. 

Alaun has taken all of the writing classes this college has to offer—when she can around her work schedule.

Alaun is famous. She’s not rich or anything, but she makes enough money that the seven of us have a home that is mortgage-free as of three years after our parents’ deaths and (most) of what we need. The rest of us do what we can. I pay my own way, contribute to the household expenses, and help with whatever Alleah—and Ambrea, who takes care of the house and stuff—need. With what’s left, I save.

I’ve been saving for these classes for eight years. 

I really don’t want to screw this up. 

I’m hoping to gain the skills I need to do something online. Something that will make it easier for me to stay home, but still pay my own way. At least until I get my pottery business established.

Right now, I work for a cousin at the main resort. 

I’m just a servant. I work with a first cousin, Theo, as his personal secretary, mostly. He’s the equa of the Sebastos House.

His mother was a Woald. My father’s sister. 

I just…fetch for him when he needs it, and keep his calendar. Those kinds of things. About twenty-five hours a week. With no degree, that or a custodial job were all I was able to get when I first started working. I’ve been with Theo ever since. 

It’s not what I want to do with my life. It gets me the money I need to pay my share of everything, and have enough to put a little back each week. It’s good enough. My needs are met. I have time to do other things. I just need to get up the courage to do that.

I have two years of classes to figure things out in. 

I’m sixty-eight. I don’t want to be Theo’s fetcher forever…