Introducing Donovan

June 8, 2009 at 1:02 am (Darkhour Vampires) (, )

Excerpt from Captivity, where Donovan Reed explains to Thom, a newborn vampire, how he became a vampire.

“The Alamo?” Thom questioned.

“Yes. 1836. The Alamo. There was a vampire among the defenders. His name was Charles. I remember him, but I don’t remember being bitten nor did I, or anyone else, know he was a vampire. Sometimes I wonder if he was attracted to the war because of the easy pickings and just became trapped or whether he was really a patriot and when he knew we must suffer certain defeat, he envisioned us rising up from death to take our revenge on the Spanish. Anyway, in the early hours of March sixth, Colonel Travis sent myself and James Allen out as couriers. We went separately, hoping that one of us would make it through. Just before dawn, Santa Ana attacked. The fighting was fierce, and by 6:30 a.m. everyone was dead. I didn’t know that, not until later. I just wanted to deliver my messages and get back. It was late afternoon when I had the misfortune to run into a squad of Spanish soldiers. Their marksman was a good shot. I didn’t realize what had happened to me, that I had changed. I just knew I craved blood and I hated the Spanish. When I made it back to San Antonio, the funeral pyres were still smoldering, after two days. Charles would have probably survived his wounds, but Santa Ana ordered all the bodies burnt and so he died, without ever telling me what I was. I was alone and frightened, but determined to make the Spanish suffer.”

He paused and poured himself a glass a blood. He took a sip. “I followed the
Spanish, haunting their ranks at night, hiding during the day. I drank and I killed. I swam in Spanish blood. The continuing battles helped to hide my atrocities. I have no idea how many I killed, but I became a monster. When it was over and Santa Ana defeated, I returned home. It was then I discovered that everyone assumed I was dead.” Donovan’s voice turned bitter. It was obviously a painful memory. “My father met me and told me it was better that all thought I had died a hero, rather than live as a traitorous coward. Since I died before I could deliver my messages, he refused to believe that Colonel Travis had sent me out as a courier. He turned his back on me. I left, but I decided I would not go alone. There was this girl, a pretty thing, from before the war.”

He became still, staring down into his glass, memories playing across his face, unpleasant memories. After a few minutes, he continued his story. “By that time I had come into my powers, though I didn’t understand them. I went to Sophia and asked her to come away with me. She came. She couldn’t help herself. That night, when we made love, I bit her. In all those days, I had never once learned control. It was drink and kill. When I was through, she was dead. I swore to never touch another human being and fled into the mountains.

“I lived as a hunter and trapper, existing on the blood of animals and shunning human contact. Over time I learned control and no longer needed so much blood. But there was one thing I hungered for and that hunger grew with each passing year. I didn’t know I was a vampire. I thought I was sick. Desperately, I sought a cure. I tried Indian shamans, patent medicine, quack doctors, real doctors. Of course, I had to be careful how I described my problem. One doctor suggested a specialist in Europe, but I had no money for such a long journey. Then gold was discovered in California. If I was rich enough, I could travel to Europe. I could find a cure and once again be like normal men.

“One night in San Francisco, I met Amanda.” Donovan smiled at the memory. “We passed on the street, and she knew I was just like her. If you could have seen Amanda, she was beautiful. Men flocked around her. She ran a very fashionable salon and high-class brothel, where only the wealthiest and most elite came. She taught me everything. It’s called fledgling, when an older, more mature vampire takes a younger one under their wing. She helped me understand what had happened and even helped me track down who my parent was. She became my family.”

“1836–” Thom struggled with the idea that the man before him had been at the Alamo and lived through the California Gold Rush. “You don’t mind my saying you don’t look a day over 100.” Donovan smiled at Thom’s small joke. “Actually,” Thom said, “you don’t look any older than me.”

“I was seventeen when I became a vampire. As I told you, unlike the legends, we aren’t immortal and we don’t remain forever young. We age, but at a much slower rate. The oldest vampire I know of is around five hundred and fifty, and he does look over a hundred.”

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