They Come By Night

by Tinnean

Imagine an earth just a bit different from ours. It may be 2014, but in this world normals unknowingly share the planet with vampyrs. Most vampyrs rely on bagged blood, supplemented by the blood of sabors—valued individuals whose blood contains an element needed for the survival of the species.

Tyrell Small has always felt different. He doesn’t know he is a sabor, but he has the birthmark to prove it. When his father reveals that he’ll be required to feed vampyrs, Ty decides to run away. Slipping out of his bedroom window, he finds the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen sitting on his roof. Adam Dasani is a vampyr, equerry to the vampyr king, who has given Adam the task of guarding Ty, because the blood of the two most powerful saborese families in the shared history of vampyrs and sabors runs through Ty’s veins. And some vampyrs intend to use him to gain power, something Adam isn’t about to allow. Adam insists that Ty can’t escape his destiny, but they both find that destiny can take unexpected turns… and following those turns may put those Ty loves—including Adam—in danger.

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Excerpt:

Come to Pass

 

I

 

Dr. Vargas came bustling into the delivery room. “And how are we doing?” he asked, a little too cheerfully.

Magdalena Small caught her breath and glared at him. “I don’t know how you’re doing,” she snapped, “but I’m ready to tear off Ben’s testicles and shove them down his throat if he ever comes near me again!”

“Oh… ah… Hah-ha,” Dr. Vargas laughed weakly. He didn’t seem to know if she was making a joke or being serious.

“I’m not joking!”

“I know, sweetheart.” Her husband stood beside her. He was a tall, dark-haired man who was so good-looking the only surprise would have been if she hadn’t gotten pregnant. Ben took her hand and stroked it. “And I promise, I’ll never touch you again.”

She turned her glare on him, about to snarl that he’d better not be making fun of her, when another contraction hit her.

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“All right, Mrs. Small, you can push now.”

She didn’t waste her breath saying it was about damn time. She began to push.

“The head is crowning! Ah, a caul. Let me just make a couple of openings so he can breathe. Your son is going to be very lucky!”

They’d had an ultrasound and knew this baby was a boy. They even had a name all picked out: Tyrell, after a character in one of Ben’s favorite books. She’d decided she could let him have this, since she’d named their other four children, good, solid names from the Bible.

“Stop pushing!” Vargas’s voice suddenly became sharp. “The cord’s wrapped around his throat!”

“Ben!” Magdalena gritted her teeth and then panted through the urge to push.

He slid an arm around her shoulders. “It’s okay, sweetheart.”

“Okay, I’ve got it!” Dr. Vargas exclaimed. He could be excited, the quack; he wasn’t trying to push a basketball through a keyhole. “Now, give me another push.”

And just like that the intolerable pressure eased off as the baby slipped out of her and began wailing his head off.

“Let me just peel off the caul. And… here we go. Do you want us to preserve it for you?”

“No. Yes….” She wasn’t sure what he was talking about.

“I’ll take care of it, Doctor.” Who…? Oh, that must be one of the nurses.

“What a crop of curls! No wonder why you had such morning sickness.” Did he have to sound so happy about it? “Here’s your son, Mrs. Small. He’s a little small for a full term baby. In fact, I expected him to weigh more, considering your gestational diabetes, but he’s a ten on the Apgar scale.”

She angled up on her elbow, squinting to see him more clearly, but he was covered in vernix. And she was so tired it felt as if her eyes were crossing. This had been her longest labor, in spite of the fact that it was her fifth, and subsequent deliveries were supposed to go faster and easier.

This entire pregnancy had been difficult, from morning sickness that wasn’t restricted to mornings and lasted until almost eight months, to gestational diabetes, to the threat of pre-eclampsia. But it was worth it, having this latest edition to their family. It proved she was still a vital, desirable woman, although this was something she’d never reveal to anyone.

The baby boy had stopped crying and seemed to be watching her with his father’s beautiful blue eyes.

“Happy birthday, little boy,” she murmured around a huge yawn.

“You need to rest, Mrs. Small. You can see him after the nurse has taken him to be cleaned up.”

She didn’t hear anything more as she slipped into an exhausted doze.

**

How much time had passed?

Magdalena was still tired. She dug her elbows into the mattress in an effort to raise herself in the bed, wincing as the roughness of the sheet abraded her elbow.

“Here, Mom. Let me help you.” Matthew, their oldest, elevated the head of the bed with the control, and then carefully helped her to a sitting position. He was only eleven, but he was more mature than any of the boys he went to school with, and she was so proud of him.

“Thanks, sweetie. The nurse should be bringing in your new baby brother soon.”

“We saw him in the nursery, but I can’t wait to see him up close. We men finally outnumber the girls in this family.” He gave her a saucy grin, and her heart turned over. Of course she loved all her children. She just loved Matthew a little bit more.

“Are you upset you couldn’t go trick or treating?” Truthfully she was glad they had missed it. Pagan holiday!

“No. We had the party at school, and Dad let me go around for a little while with Andy. Luke went with his friend Tommy. Dad took Sarah and Bethany.”

She really shouldn’t complain. Ben was a heathen, as she’d discovered soon after their marriage, but he didn’t interfere with their children’s religious upbringing, and so she overlooked it, prayed for him, and hoped he’d see the light.

“Where are your brother and sisters?”

“They’re with Dad, down in the gift shop. The flowers are supposed to be from all of us, but this is from me—just from me.” He handed her a small, floppy little bear. “His name is Brownie.”

“He’s lovely, Matthew. Thank you.” Just then her other children burst into the room, followed by their father, holding what looked like a virtual garden. Magdalena looked at the flowers and smiled at Ben.

“How are you feeling, sweetheart?” He crossed to the bed and leaned down to kiss her.

“Fine.” She knew by his expression that he didn’t believe her. “Better.” He still wasn’t buying it, and she capitulated, admitting in spite of herself that it was nice not to have to be strong all the time. “A little sore. Tired.”

“All right, kids.” He put the flowers on the bedside table. “Mom’s tired. Give her a kiss good night and go wait by the nurses station. I’ll be along in a few minutes. And behave! If I hear even a hint that the nurses had to send for security, I’m gonna sell you all to the gypsies!”

“And they’ll feed us squirrels. Sure, Dad.” They laughed at him. He’d been promising forever to sell them to the gypsies if they misbehaved.

Magdalena frowned. She didn’t like when he said things like that where other people might hear. They’d think she and Ben were bad parents, and they weren’t. Her children did as they were told—she was always pleased when people complimented her on how well-behaved they were—and they excelled in school and sports and all the after-school activities they were involved in: dance and Scouting and various crafts.

“I’m glad you’re okay, Mom.” Matthew lingered at the door. “G’night.”

“Good night, Matthew.” She waited until he was gone before turning to Ben. “So they’ve seen the baby. What do they think of him?” Tyrell hadn’t been planned. They were happy with their two boys and two girls and had been certain their family was complete. In fact, they’d given all the baby clothes and furniture to Goodwill. She’d felt so awful through much of this pregnancy that the task of getting new things for the baby had fallen to Ben. Maybe that was why this whole experience seemed so surreal.

“They weren’t too impressed. He was howling his head off.” Ben’s blue eyes crinkled with amusement, and her heart gave a little flip.

She loved him so much that sometimes it scared her. She’d married him against her parents’ wishes—they had wanted her to marry one of her cousins—but Ben’s blue eyes and dark good looks had swayed her to disobey her father for the first time in her life.

In addition, Ben had promised everything would be fine, and it was. He was a good provider and a wonderful husband. And he was so good with the children.

“Was he all right? I don’t remember any of the others doing that.”

“Dr. Margoles said everything is fine.”

She sighed in relief. Dr. Margoles had been the children’s pediatrician since Matthew’s birth.

“Ty’s weight is a little low, and Dr. M. wants to keep him here until he hits six pounds. The minute he does, we can take him home.”

“Will the insurance cover it?” Although she wasn’t really worried. Ben’s union offered excellent benefits.

“Sure, sweetheart.” Ben stroked her hair, and she leaned into him.

A nurse walked in just then, wheeling a bassinet. “Here’s the newest member of your family!”

Ben picked up the tiny bundle with competent hands. He wasn’t like some fathers who were only comfortable with their children once they reached the age of reason. He’d pitch in and help her, walking the floor at night if necessary.

And she could see from the besotted expression on his face that he was already hopelessly in love with their newest son.

Magdalena held out her arms. “Let me have him!”

Tyrell was swaddled from his neck to his feet, and a blue and white cap covered his head. A few wisps of black hair stuck out.

With the baby cradled in her arms, she lowered the front opening of her nightgown and put him to her breast.

“Ouch! He’s a greedy one!” She began to sing softly to him, and he opened his eyes, staring up at her with seeming wonder. She ran a finger over his cheek—it was so soft—and smiled up at her husband. “He has your coloring, Ben, your eyes as well as your hair.”

“Do you think? All babies have blue eyes, don’t they? The others did, but now they all have gray eyes, just like their mom.”

“No, I know this little boy will be the spitting image of his daddy.” She burped him and put him to her other breast. “Ben, the children are going to get restless. You’d better take them home.”

“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay? The nurse won’t be back for a while. I can wait and put him back in his bassinet.”

“No, I think he’ll be eating for a while longer.” Actually, she wanted to have some time alone with this new baby. She would have been told if anything was wrong, but she needed to reassure herself, just as she had with each of the others.

When he’d first asked her to marry him, Ben had assured her that things would work out for them, but a peek wouldn’t hurt. And he didn’t need to know she was worried.

She raised her face for his kiss and relaxed against him for a moment, then smiled at him. “Make sure the children brush their teeth and say their prayers.”

“I will, Maggie. We’ll be back as soon as visiting hours start tomorrow.”

“That’s right, there’s no school tomorrow.” It was All Saints Day.

“Good night, little boy.” Ben brushed a kiss over Tyrell’s cheek. “Good night, sweetheart.” He leaned down for a final kiss.

“Good night, Ben.” She rocked the baby and hummed, and wished he’d hurry and leave.

II

Ben walked out of the room, pausing, as his oldest son had, to gaze back at his wife. God, he loved her.

He’d made her a promise, not knowing if he could keep it. There was something that ran in his family line, and when Maggie’s parents had learned of it, they’d forbidden her to marry him. But he’d loved her and made that promise, and she’d agreed to marry him.

He couldn’t believe how lucky he was to have her, to have their family, to have this wonderful life.

Thank God the kids were all fine. He knew with each birth the odds of that promise being broken grew, but they’d been fortunate and had escaped.

Tyrell hadn’t been planned, and the pregnancy had been a hard one, but already the little boy had Ben wrapped around his tiny, perfect fingers. Taking him out of the bassinet, holding him and breathing in the warm scent of a newborn—that was all it had taken.

This was the end, though. He couldn’t stand the possibility of another pregnancy. As soon as he could, he was making an appointment with a urologist and having a vasectomy. He wasn’t going to tell Maggie. Not that she would mind; they had the family they’d wanted, but there was no need to trouble her with the fine line they’d walked these past thirteen years.

He walked down the hall to the nurses’ station. Matt was keeping an eye on Sarah and Beth, his sisters, as they hopped from one floor tile to another, playing their own version of hopscotch. The boy was too responsible. Ben knew that made Maggie proud, but it worried him. An eleven-year-old shouldn’t be that mature. He should laugh and hang out with his friends and have fun, not worry about what other people thought of his antics.

Oh, well, there was still time for him to do all those things.

Luke, his second born, was hanging over the counter. “Do you really keep dead bodies in a fridge in the basement?” he asked the ward clerk. Luke was going through a stage where anything related to death fascinated him.

“Yep,” the clerk answered laconically.

“But aren’t you afraid they might come out and try to get you?”

“Nope.”

“Why not?”

“Because they’re dead.”

“But suppose they really aren’t?”

“They really are. We make them sign a paper before we take them down to the basement.”

Luke’s eyes widened. “Whoa! That’s so wicked! But....”

Ben hid a smile. “All right, Luke, that’s enough. It’s time to—”

Screams cut off the rest of his words, and blood drained from his face as he realized they were coming from the direction of Maggie’s room.

He ran down the corridor. Please don’t let it be Maggie! She was alone in that room, even though it was a semi-private.

Ben burst in, and was horrified to see Maggie throwing their baby away from her.

“Maggie, no!” He caught the baby just as he was about to drop to the floor.

Get that monster away from me!” 

His heart sank. Monster. Abomination. Thing. Those were the words that had been screamed over and over again.

“Sweetheart—”

“Don’t you call me that! You lied to me! You swore none of our children would have that curse!”

“It’s not a curse, Magdalena.” The baby’s blanket was undone and his tiny undershirt had been removed. The birthmark on the side of his throat was clearly visible. “It is in my family, and you knew it! It’s got the birthmark! Did you think I wouldn’t recognize it? That you could get away with deceiving me like that? You promised me—” A nurse came running in, followed by an aide and a physician assistant. “My parents were right, you couldn’t be trusted! Get out of my sight and take your monster with you!”

“Mrs. Small, what’s wrong?”

“Don’t ever call me by that name again!”

“Excuse me?” The P.A. exchanged glances with the nurse and hurried out of the room.

“Maggie, calm down! The children….”

“They’re my children. By the grace of God, they’ve been spared the horror of this… this… I want you to get away from me and never to see them again!”

He didn’t remind her they were his children too. She was too distraught.

“What about the baby?”

“I don’t care what you do with that thing. Throw it in a dumpster. Leave it in a landfill. Sell it to the Martians!” she spat.

“Magdalena, he’s your baby!” Ben could see she wasn’t thinking rationally. He had known the almost rabid fear his wife’s family held of what his own bloodline contained, but for her to deny her own flesh and blood like this, for her to be willing to condemn their tiny son to death….

“Oh, my God!” She tore at her hair. “I nursed it at my breast! It had its mouth on me!” She began scraping her breasts with her nails.

Ben stood there feeling helpless.

“Mr. Small, your wife is clearly upset. I’m going to give her a sedative. Diazepam.” The P.A. had returned with a vial and a syringe. “I’ve put in a call to Dr. Vargas as well. I think it might be best if you leave. She had a very long labor, and I… I’m sure she’ll be better by morning.”

Ben nodded dumbly, and watched as the P.A. administered the sedative via Maggie’s IV line. Within seconds her words became slurred, until finally they stopped altogether.

“Mr. Small.” The nurse touched his shoulder. “Let me take the baby.”

He handed Ty to her. She redressed the baby with smooth, competent movements, and then hurried away to the nursery. Ty hadn’t uttered a single cry, although his eyes had been opened wide and his little body trembled. It broke Ben’s heart.

Shaking himself, he walked back to the nurses’ station.

“Daddy?” Matt stared up at him, his eyes huge. On each side was a sister, clinging tight to him. Sarah was crying silently, and Bethany, her head on her older sister’s shoulder, had her thumb stuck in her mouth, something she had outgrown when she was two.

Luke launched himself at his father and held on.

“Mom isn’t feeling well. Sometimes after a woman has a baby, she can react that way. She’ll be better tomorrow.”

“You promise, Daddy?”

“I…” The word caught in his throat, but he forced it out. “I promise.” Oh, Maggie, don’t make me have lied to our children! “Let’s go home, okay?”

 

III

 

Matthew had crept down the hall and stood in the doorway of his mother’s hospital room, unnoticed by the adults. Why was Mom so upset?

Was something wrong with their new baby brother?

The nurse’s aide spotted him. “You’d better wait outside, son.”

Matthew stared up at him and nodded jerkily.

He had heard enough to know whatever had happened, Mom blamed Dad. What had Dad done?

He joined Luke and their sisters by the nurses’ station.

“What’s going on, Matt?”

“I… I don’t know. I think….” He didn’t know what to think. Moms and dads were supposed to be in control; that was why they were the parents.

“Beth had an accident,” Sarah whispered, and glanced toward the wet spot on the floor. A big black man was mopping it up.

“I’m sorry!” Beth said in an agonized little voice. She looked like she was going to cry. “I got so scared.”

“It’s all right, Bethie,” Matthew assured her. “Hospitals can be scary places. Oh, look! Here comes Dad!”

Matthew understood why Bethany had wet herself. He was afraid he was going to have an accident himself. Dad was pale and his hands were visibly shaking; he looked like an old man.

In spite of his position as the eldest, Matthew found himself reverting to the childhood name: “Daddy?”

“Mom isn’t feeling well. She’ll be better tomorrow.”

“You promise, Daddy?”

“I…” For a second, Dad looked like he was ready to cry. He gathered Sarah and Bethany into his arms, reached for Luke and himself. “I promise.”

 

**

 

Matthew lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling. Something was very wrong.

Dad was lying.

But what was the matter with Mom? It had sounded like she hated Dad, hated the baby.

And if she did, might she start hating them?

No, he couldn’t believe that. Mom loved them all, but he knew deep down that she loved him best.

He wouldn’t worry about it. He was the oldest; he had to be strong.

But he was only a little kid, he thought resentfully. He shouldn’t have to be the strong one. That was Dad’s job.

This was his fault, his and the baby’s! If the brat hadn’t come, everything would have stayed the same; everything would have been fine.

Matthew slid out from under the covers and knelt beside the bed, his hands folded. “Dear God, please don’t let Mom hate us.” He thought for a moment. “And please make the baby go away.”

He wasn’t completely satisfied with the prayer, but he didn’t know what else he could do.

No, wait a second! There was something else! Mom had told him once, “If anything happens to me, you call your grandfather.”

Dad’s father had always been “grandpa,” and Matthew had known she meant her own father. They’d never seen him, but Mom had told them stories about when she was a little girl, and he sounded like a man who would know what to do.

Mom had given him a piece of paper with a phone number on it and made him promise not to tell Dad. “This is only for emergencies!”

A glance at the clock told him it was 3:05 a.m. Everyone should be asleep. He tiptoed to his door and cracked it open.

Everything was dim and in shadow. The nightlight in the hall was the only source of light. All the bedroom doors were opened a little bit, even Dad’s. Matthew remembered from when Sarah and Bethany were born that Dad did that in case any of them had nightmares while Mom was in the hospital.

He slipped out of his room and down the stairs to the kitchen. Pepper, the shelter dog Dad had brought home one Saturday—and boy, had Mom been unhappy about that!—raised her head from the dog bed.

“Shhh. Go back to sleep.”

She gave a soft woof and lowered her head to her paws.

 

**

 

He felt better once the phone call was made. Grandfather hadn’t minded that he’d called, even though it was a couple of hours earlier than here.

“I’ve been expecting this,” he’d said in a deep, rumbly voice. “You did the right thing by calling me, Matthew. Now you go back to bed. Your uncles and I will be there in the morning, and we’ll take care of everything.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you.”

“Good night, Matthew.”

“Good night, sir.” He didn’t call Grandpa or Dad “sir,” but somehow, with this man, that felt appropriate.

He went back to bed, certain that between God and Grandfather everything would be back to normal.

COLLAPSE

About the Author

Tinnean has been writing since the 3rd grade, where she was inspired to try her hand at epic poetry. Fortunately, that epic poem didn't survive the passage of time; however, her love of writing not only survived but thrived, and in high school she became a member of the magazine staff, where she contributed a number of stories.

 

 

While involved in fandom, she was nominated for both Rerun and Light My Fire Awards. Now she concentrates on her original characters and has been published by Nazca Plains, Dreamspinner, JMS Books, and Wilde City, as well as being self-published. Recent novels have received honorable mention in the 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Rainbow Awards, and two of the 2014 submissions were finalists.

 

A New Yorker at heart, she resides in SW Florida with her husband, two computers, and a Surface 3.


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