The Consortium of the Curious

For those bemused by the bizarre and engrossed in the esoteric.

Tag: vampires

Come Join the Honesty Circle

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Truth time. How many of you out there are voracious readers? Further, how many of you are voracious readers of amateur fiction? My advice for this post may seem a little off, but hear me out.

If you’re not already, I think you should be reading at least a chapter a day of something that hasn’t been published.

I know what you’re thinking, “Man, he’s just trying to con me into reading his crap.” Boy do I wish the answer were that simple. The truth is this post was inspired by a writer friend of mine. I asked him, “What are you reading currently.” To which I got the response: “I don’t have time to read. I’m a writer.”

 

I’ll let you catch your breath.

 

First, one cannot be a writer without being a reader. I don’t care who disagrees. The first person to comment here that’s had a book published and tells me they don’t read anything because they’re a writer wins a prize. Second, writers should not only be writing their own fiction, but they should be helping others discover the power, beauty, and fun of words. Whether that means helping someone learn to read or learn to write is sort of moot. It all blends together.

Now, why am I suggesting you read non-published works? There are a few reasons: (1) If you’ve found someone like my friend, this will teach you how not to write. [Which is actually very important.] (2) You can more readily see where common mistakes are occuring. (3) And most important, you can begin to network with these other writers. No matter what kinds of errors they’re making, they can teach you something, and you can teach them.

 

Folks, it takes a village to write a novel. 

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Chapter 4: The Diary of Amanda Katherine Madison–Entry 1

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So here’s chapter 4. I should be able to start posting regularly again for any of you who have missed me!

 

PDF will be available in just a few minutes.

 

Enjoy!

 

The Diary of Amanda Katherine Madison—Entry 1

September 17

Let me start at the beginning. My name is Amanda Katherine Madison, and my mom and dad just moved me to the middle of nowhere.

Two months ago, I was sitting in my room in a nice suburb of Chicago, and now I’m sitting at a desk in what might as well be the middle of a corn field. When my mom told me that we had to move, I rebelled.

“I’m not going,” I said.

“They’ve got vampires,” she said.

I’ll give her points. I’m a huge fan of the Dusk series. That is to say I’m a huge closet fan. I wouldn’t be caught dead reading one in public, but who doesn’t want to fall in love with a gorgeous guy who’s going to live forever and cater only to your every need? That said I’m not an idiot. I realize vampires aren’t real.

“No matter how much I’d like to believe otherwise vampires aren’t real,” I told her.

“Oh well. You won’t be needing these then,” she said. She laid a paper-clipped packet down on my bed and left without saying anything else.

“I’m still not going!” I yelled, more for effect than any sort of real threat. I’m barely sixteen. I mean I can drive around, but—and I say this with so much regret—there’s no way I could live out of my car.

The packet and I had a standoff for a while, but they won eventually, as my mother knew they would. When I scanned the first page, I laughed a little because they were printouts from a website. My mother, the Betty Crocker who can barely work a cellphone, managed to go online and print information from about six different websites. Color me impressed.

Once I had thrown away all the pages that were just Web ads, I started to read the bulk of the material. Apparently we were moving to a town called Terrace Park. Terrace Park, Indiana. A few of the more detail-oriented pages included a map for those of us who don’t know what Google Earth is. Terrace Park, Indiana, is located in Knox county about twenty minutes from the Illinois border to the west and about an hour and a half from the Kentucky border to the south. And it has a vampire.

Or so the legend goes.

I’ll try and give you the abbreviated version. In the 1800s, a village in southern Indiana had a series of unexplained deaths. Each victim was found completely exsanguinated—drained of blood, definitely had to look that one up. At first wolves got the blame for the attacks, but according to legend, the true answer was more devious. Indiana had a vampire problem. Well, one anyway. The villagers called him Ivaylo—the Wolf. Then in 1843 the legend takes a decidedly literary turn. An earthquake struck. This village, which is now Terrace Park, was decimated. The earthquake’s intensity even caused the White River to split. The village of Terrace Park was now situated in between two branches of the same river. Popular lore states that a vampire cannot cross running water. This was a problem for both the surviving villagers and Ivaylo. The remaining few couldn’t leave; the river was too high. The vampire couldn’t leave. Ever. Apparently a village elder struck a deal with the Wolf and the decision was this: the villagers would feed the vampire if he promised to harm no one who lived in between the rivers. Blah, blah, blah, a hundred and so years later the promise is still kept.

 

So that’s pretty cool. I mean Ivaylo’s no Ambrose Singleton—the vampire from Dusk in case you live under a rock. What are the odds that an old vampire nicknamed the Wolf is going to want to pamper me with poetry and angst? Nil. But my mom still scores points for trying.

 

***

 

Then she lost all of her points.

The events leading up to the move aren’t particularly noteworthy, so I’ll spare you the details. Suffice it to say we made it to Terrace Park in one piece. I figured I’d ride out the next few days before I had to restart school. I asked mom why we couldn’t wait until after Christmas, but I guess my dad was in high demand. How was my dad in high demand in the middle of nowhere, you ask? Corn. Across the river from where I’m now living, they have this grain plant that turns corn into alcohol or something. Basically our dependence on foreign oil is responsible for my life being turned around.

 

But back to just hanging out in my room. That first night, the very first night we’re there, Dad tells me we have to go have dinner with his boss and asks me to please look respectable. I wore the lowest cut top I own. I mean, hey, it looks good, and if I can embarrass my dad in the process, well that might just go a little way toward us being even. Spoiler Alert: This plan backfires.

 

First of all, my dad’s boss’s husband is apparently my new science teacher. First thing he says to me: “Aren’t you cold?”

Coming up with no suitable retort I said, “No, sir,” and continued into the house, my parents making excuses for my behavior already. I kept walking in because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do, and then I run straight into the most gorgeous guy I’ve ever seen in real life. I mean I don’t want to sound like a complete fangirl here, but we’re talking Ambrose Singleton’s werewolf nemesis, Isaac Sable. Aside from the boy standing in front of me not being any part Indiana—and I doubt werewolf either—he looked just like what I imagined Isaac would look like. Tall, dark, athletic, he definitely had it all.

“Oh good. You’re home,” Jane Adams, my father’s new boss, addressed her son. “Amanda—”

“Maddie,” I interrupted.

“Sorry, Maddie, this is my son, Isaac.”

“No shit!” Yes. I cursed right in front of my dad’s new boss. I managed to almost recover, explaining that I had been trying to guess his name before she told me and I got a little overzealous when I found out I was right. And boy does it get worse.

The eating part of dinner went okay, but after we all stopped chowing down, the trouble began.

“So Maddie,” Mr. Adams said, “Your mother tells me you’re a fan of Dusk.

I must have looked mortified, and if I didn’t look mortified then, I did when I saw Isaac looking at me with this grin. (Sure it was a cute grin, but I really, really didn’t want to blush any more.) I just nodded, hoping that I gave a sufficient evil eye to my mother.

“Well, which are you then, Team Ambrose or Team Isaac?” The man just wouldn’t quit.

To my credit, I finally caught a break by saying, “I’d be on board with either of them.” In fact, I got quite a laugh out of that line, and if I wasn’t mistaken, I think I even got a wink from Isaac. Maddie: 1; Awkward Dinner: 50.

Mr. Adams then told me about this group called “The Consortium of the Curious.” (I know, lame name, but bear with me.) He said that if I liked vampires I should go to their next meeting. Apparently they were going after Ivaylo.

“When’s the meeting?” I asked.

“This Friday,” Mr. Adams said.

“But I don’t start school until Monday.”

“They have the meeting in my room. I’ll introduce you.”

Really the only other thing to note about that dinner is that afterward, before I left, Isaac cornered me on the way out and said, “You really shouldn’t go to that thing. It’s just a few nerds. You should come out with me. There’s a party on Friday. I have a feeling you’d rather me introduce you to people than my dad.”

He may have had a point, so I told him I’d think about it.

I guess a hundred years from now if you’re reading this you’d probably want to know a little about me because here I am on the verge of committing social suicide. You’d probably be asking yourself whether or not I actually am a nerd. At my old school, I was a jock. Sort of. I play soccer. But my old school was huge. I was popular; don’t get me wrong, but I still had a small group of friends. Bottom line: I am a nerd, but I like sports too. You can see my dilemma already.

Well, as I told you before, it gets worse.

Because I did decide to go to that meeting and no one showed. There I am in Mr. Adams room, and it’s empty. I panicked for a second because I thought maybe I just had the wrong room. I started to leave when Mr. Adams comes running in. He’s out of breath, and I can tell something is wrong.

“Maddie, there’s been an accident. I completely forgot you were going to come with all the commotion.”

Then he told me that the leader of the group, a boy named Michael, slipped into some kind of coma. He was in the hospital. He offered to drive me over. He said that the whole group—I sort of wish they’d stop calling themselves a group because when one of them is down for the count it’s really just a trio—was over in Michael’s room.

I declined. I mean that’s weird, right? Hey, I’m Maddie. Sorry about your friend.

He changed my mind. “Listen, I know this is a strange position for you to be in,” he said, “but the thing is, they don’t have a lot of friends here at school. I’m not going to twist your arm or anything, but I really think you should go. I’m going to swing by on my way home. You could follow me in your car. I’ll introduce you.” He paused. Thought about something for a moment and said, “To be honest, they could use someone like you.”

Of course I asked what that meant.

“Someone who knows how to be comfortable being who she is,” he said.

And flattery got him everywhere.

***

When we arrived at the hospital, only two people were in Michael’s room. The boy was slightly chubby, but in that football linebacker kinda way; the girl was cute, but you could tell she didn’t notice. And at some point, we’ll have to do something about that skirt. It’s not ugly or anything, but I’ll let her wear it again when she’s forty. I learned that this was Tyler and Karen. Half of the Consortium. Ben, who Karen had said in a defensive but not unfriendly way was her boyfriend, had taken Michael’s parents to the cafeteria. Apparently eating hadn’t been on the agenda.

Mr. Adams made the introductions and left; Karen eyed me suspiciously; and Tyler eyed me. Don’t worry. It was cuter than it was creepy. And at that moment, I had no idea what I was doing there.

In my haste to be polite, and to be perfectly frank ignore the elephant in the room, I hadn’t even looked at the ringleader yet. And maybe I shouldn’t have. Lying there in that hospital bed was Ambrose Singleton or how I imagined him to be—slightly tall, fair-skinned but not in that sickly way, dark brown hair, and skinny, but again the healthy kind. I imagined his blue eyes trapped behind his eyelids, begging to open. This wasn’t love at first sight; I think that takes two, and it wasn’t lust as I’m not sure my hormones are ready for that sort of hyperdrive just yet. This was good old infatuation. I like to think of it as one-sided puppy love at first sight, but that’s a mouthful. My heart sank when I saw the flowers by his bed. I made small talk with the other two, while as stealthfully as possible walking toward them.

I couldn’t tell if the name on the card belonged to a relative or a friend.

“Who’s Japheth?” I asked.

Then Tyler said the words that made my heart sink lower: “His boyfriend.” Karen punched him on the arm. It must have been a secret.

Wouldn’t it figure? Ambrose in the flesh and he’s eternally queer. Not only that, his boyfriend must be the sweetest boy ever because the card had a poem. I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget what it said:

 

Roses are blue.

Violets are red.

I heard you passed out.

I’m glad you’re not dead.

—Japheth

At the moment, “Is he out of the closet?” began to escape my lips, a groan came from the bed. I decided to go with, “I think he’s waking up.”

Tyler got up from the chair and came up to the bed. “Mikey? Mikey? Can you hear me? Karen, go get his mom!”

Karen ran out of the room.

I felt weird just standing there. I felt weirder because this was like some reverse Sleeping Beauty. Once the thought of leaning over and kissing him to complete the wake up process entered my mind I asked Tyler, “Do you think I should leave?”

Before he could say anything Michael had his eyes open. He looked straight at me and said, “Who’s she?”

My heart did one of those verbs that are used to describe bird’s wings. Take your pick. I couldn’t say anything. Tyler answered for me.

 

And then the strangest thing happened. Michael said he needed me, and I couldn’t help but feel that the feeling was mutual.

 

Maddie

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