Words on Wednesday - an assignment

Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 by Travis Cody in

So here’s the weird thing. I have these vampire characters and a few actions, but no plot and no real ideas for a story. I’m using various exercises to write stuff with some of my characters. And maybe at some point I’ll figure out a story for them.

For the moment, I’m using one of Stewart’s assignments to introduce Lorac. It’s a first sentence assignment, designed to practice word choice. So Stewart suggests that we select 10 words and find replacements that enhance the story. You’ll notice the word I replaced in parenthesis next to the word I selected.

Check out House of Sternberg to see what others have done with this first sentence and a trusty thesaurus.

This character goes with the character Erik, introduced here in a Manic Monday post called Spike. It’s a quick read if you want to check it out.

I see things in darkness that no one should see by light of day. So I rise early, clinging to those things of comfort I recall from when I walked in the light.

You’d think that after 400 years I’d have gotten over my life.

But this is not a night for frivolous (foolish) remembrance. I lost a son last night and I’m upset. There’s a hollow place in my mind where his thoughts lately fit. I don’t know why this happened. But I know his last moments.

I know how he suffered.

The mortal (human) who caused this ache must answer.


I found the alley easily enough. Erik’s essence still lingered. For a moment my spirits lifted…but no. He was well and truly gone.

I was drawn to the spot where he died, gasping out his life as his 200 years were visited upon him at once. The agony (anguish) he felt would be with me for a long time.

But how had it happened? How had a glorious feeding become death to my child and life to his victim? My blood told me that the mortal had walked from this alley, and something about Erik’s immortality had made it possible.

I will solve this riddle.

The alley resonated with Erik’s death. I centered my thoughts and focused my power, feeling about the air for the remnants of my son’s aura. There wasn’t much left to work with, but this tragedy (event) was seared in my memory. Being in this place was enough to bring Erik’s final moments forth, and I saw his victim in my mind’s eye.

With this image as a focus, I extended my senses, questing in ever widening concentric circles, searching for the visage of Erik’s victim.

And found him.


My instinct was to wrest him from the crowd, rise to the rooftops, drain every last ounce of blood from him, and drop his empty carcass to the pavement (street) below. Yet I resisted. Erik had died after feeding from this young man. I would gain no justice for my child by meeting my own death as he had.

I had this troublesome riddle to solve.

So I observed (watched).

He was a young mortal, hale and handsome, with fair features framed by a shoulder length shock of auburn hair. He was still human; not transformed as I would expect if he had traded (shared) any blood with Erik. I was attracted to him. Erik’s scent was on him, confusing and enraging me. My desire (need) to kill nearly overwhelmed me.

I was perplexed as I followed the young mortal down a brightly lit street. I clung to the shadows, shielding my eyes as best I could from the neon brilliance. He was well known here, greeting men and women both with exuberant embraces and passionate kisses. Less than 24 hours before, Erik had him in a similar embrace as he drank his fill and left the body on the cold alley pavement.

I shuddered. Erik’s memory of the feeding hit me like a convulsive fever. The seduction…drawing him away from friends to the alley…mesmerizing him…pulling him close…reveling in his gradual awareness of danger…his mounting terror…and finally his struggle to escape. Then the ecstasy of feeding…

…had gone horribly wrong.

I began to weave the same spell, enticing the young man to come to me. I became the subtle predator, reaching across the distance, whispering in his mind to slowly (gradually) cull him from the bright lights and the safety of his friends. I was careful in case he was on guard against such an intrusion. Would he remember what had happened? Would he understand, and know what manner of creature had attacked him? Would he even know that he should not have survived?

Did he watch my child die?

My concentration wavered. He was aware of my probe. He saw me.

And he smiled.

He let me read it from his mind. He was aware of what I was. Indeed, he knew who I was! He answered my spell, greeting me with my own name.

He had sought a creature like us; had lured Erik…hunted him! He had been afraid, but resolved to do what he must.

No! How is this possible? A mortal couldn’t know me. No mortal had ever known me that hadn’t either become my victim or my child.

Suddenly I was frightened in a way I hadn’t been in 400 years.

Before I could read more, his mind was closed to me. His thoughts faded and went dark. A human could never guard himself so effectively from me without supernatural help.

I cast around me quickly. I was in grave danger. There was power greater than mine nearby.

There! Across the street, in the shadow of an awning.

McAmis! My father of old.

“Hello Lorac,” his thought gently caressed (probed) my mind.

I hissed. And then I fled.


  1. Comedy + says:

    Wow, this is deep and can't wait for the next installment. What killed his son? How? Great story here Travis. Have a great day. :)

  1. Travis says:

    Comedy: Would you believe I still don't know why the other vampire died? This one is just a few characters and two scenes. I have no idea what the story is yet.

  1. Angell says:

    Just looked at Spike - nice job. ;D And this one is getting better. I'm loving this, and eagerly anticipate more - when it so chooses to show itself.

  1. BeckEye says:

    I've always dug vampires.

    I've been trying to cook up some short story ideas myself. I was never really into it before, but I think it might be kind of fun.

  1. TopChamp says:

    ooh.... intriguing.

  1. Bond says:

    Ah ... the I am writing but I have no idea where it is going storyline! My FAV! LOL

    Liking this Travis...

  1. julie says:

    What a cool assignment..to grab 10 words and make it better. This in itself should help you find your groove Travis.

    I like the whole vampire thing too....the unknown, the eerie and you do it very well!

  1. SQT says:

    I liked this a lot. I found myself really wanting to know how the first vampire died. The pacing was good and it kept me interested. Good job.

  1. JohnH985 says:

    Very interesting. Keep working up the scenes as they come to you and I'm sure a story will find itself among them. I always think the most important is the characters. I am eagerly awaiting to know more of these characters.

  1. Travis says:

    Angell: I'm hopeful that if I keep working with character, that eventualy I'll figure out what the story is.

    Beck: You should give it a try.

    TC: Thanks.

    V: Yup. It just sort of ambles about and goes nowhere.

    Julie: It was a good exercise to figure out which words I could replace with words that were better for the story.

    Sqt: Thanks. I'm also curious how the first vampire died!

    John: I think these are very interesting characters and I'm looking forward to figuring out what's next.

  1. HopScotch says:

    I love vampires! Can't wait for the book!

  1. Nice work, Travis. I particularly liked the descriptions of people and places - very detailed, and very real.

  1. lisa says:

    excellent continuation of the spike story. keeps me wanting more!

  1. There is an entire subgenre of vampire fiction (it has evolved into something called urban fantasy). I blame the likes of Anne Rice and Josh Whedon (Buffy) for this. Right now it's most beloved authors are Laurell K. Hamilton and Charlene Harris.

    This reads like a beginning, or rather like an author tinkering, thinking out loud, imaginging and creating. It's always fun to watch the germination of something.

  1. Comedy + says:

    Okay, I'll wait until to put together the next part. It was a cliff-hanger for me. :)

  1. Jon says:

    Well written and a fine tone for this genre.
    I kept thinking through out that the victim/killer must have been some kind of undiscovered super-vampire...a mutant of the mutants? Anyway, I liked it a lot.

    (Note to Stewart: You know, there are websites you can go to and watch germanation live. Also in Tiajuana.)

  1. Pauline says:

    I really enjoyed reading this.

  1. Travis says:

    Hopscotch: I better get busy and come up with a story!

    Donkey: Thanks. I enjoy crafting the environment.

    Lisa: I will do my best to make more!

    Stewart: When it's done well, it can be good. I enjoy what PN Elrod has done with it, as well as Jim Butcher. And you've described it very well - I'm tinkering with it until inspiration hits.

    Comedy: Once I know why the vampire died, I'll be rolling.

    Jon: Thanks. Now that's certainly a possibility - a mutant super vampire. Hmmmmm.

    Pauline: It was my pleasure.

  1. This is a wonderful vision, beautifully written! The exercise is a great one and will use it. Thank you for sharing - LC

  1. gugon says:

    I don't usually go for the vampire genre but this had me hooked. I wanted to keep reading it! I wanted to know more about what, exactly, killed his son.

    Nice job - keep writing!