Behind the Magic
The Tarheel Writer
"From Light to Dark"
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"I know you don't want to, but I really do think dad is right about contacting the regional governors," Will said as he sat down on the couch beside his friend. Tom looked up and reluctantly nodded in agreement. "Actually, we should make a personal appearance and fill out all the necessary paperwork. You know how they can be." Tom forced another nod of agreement. Will pulled his wand from his sleeve and after a quick flick, both boys were at the regional governors' offices.
"Tom. Will. Good to see you both."
"Uh, hi, Governor Downing," said Will. The overweight, slightly balding man, cinched up his trousers and walked over to the boys.
"We've heard of Daniel's disappearance and were wondering when we'd see you, Tom."
"You've been wondering?" Tom said sharply. "While Daniel is God knows where, you've been sitting around on your arse wondering when I would come begging for your help?" Governor Downing blinked his eyes in amazement and a moment later flashed them in anger at the arrogance of the young wizard in front of him.
"Please forgive Daniel, Governor. He's under a great deal of stress," Will offered as an explanation while giving Tom a sharp look himself. The governor looked at Will, then turned to Tom.
"You have a very good friend, Tom. While I certainly understand why you're upset, there is no reason to assume the other governors and I have been unsympathetic. Even now, we have our best law enforcement officials working to locate Daniel. After all, he is the current focus of the wizarding world. Not to slight you, but he does command the spotlight." Tom rolled his eyes.
"I could care less where the spotlight shines. All I want is to find Daniel."
"Admirable sentiment. There's some paperwork to fill out. Just routine stuff, but perhaps it will give some insight as to where Daniel could be." The governor reached out and put his hand on Tom's shoulder. "Rest assured, Tom. We want to find him just as badly as you do." Tom forced a smile and a nod. "That's a good lad. Come on with me and we'll get the proper paperwork filled out. Then you two can go home and leave the searching to us professionals."
"This guy's a prat," Tom whispered to Will as they followed the governor's huge arse down the hall.
"Despite what you might think, there really are some good people here. Just tell them what you know. It certainly can't hurt anything."
"Maybe not, but I feel like we're wasting a lot of time. We could be out looking for Daniel."
"I know. I know. But you'll have to agree that the more people we have looking, the better our chances are of finding Daniel."
"That's true, but this fat arsed bastard is probably planning his next coffee break." The governor stopped, turned and leered at Tom.
"What did you say?"
"I said you're probably planning the best search you can make." The huge man paused a moment and then grinned.
"You bet. Let's get a cup of coffee and all the necessary forms. Then you can tell me exactly what happened. Have you two eaten? I'm famished. Let me just grab a quick snack. You two can wait in here," he said gesturing to the office to his right. The boys nodded and walked inside.
"I'm a little confused on the whole vampire thing. What exactly do you mean by vampire?" asked Daniel as he sat up straight in bed. Ceenta sighed deeply. He turned, grabbed a chair and pulled it up to Daniel's bedside.
"When you were brought here you had lost a lot of blood. So much blood, that you're life was teetering on the edge. I, ah, bit you and gave you some of my blood. That saved your life and at the same time ended your life. I saved your existence, Daniel."
"Y-you bit me?" Daniel stammered. Ceenta nodded. Daniel's hand involuntarily reached up and rubbed his neck. "And you bit me again, just a minute ago?" Ceenta nodded again. "Oh God."
"There are many pluses to being a vampire, Daniel."
"Don't give me that shit! I've heard all the pluses! I'm doomed to drink blood for eternity! Well, I have news for you! I like my steak medium. No pink! No blood!" Daniel threw the covers back and stood up. The fact that he was naked never entered his mind as he continued his tirade. "Who do you think you are? What gives you the right to choose between life and death? If it wasn't for you and that blood thirsty arsehole you sent to fetch me, we wouldn't even be having this conversation! Oh, excuse me, I forgot, you fuckers like blood! And now I'm supposed to like blood. And what about the one person who matters the most? What's Tom supposed to think about this? Oh, hey baby. Here, give us a bite!"
"Don't Daniel me, you prick!" Ceenta was suddenly thrust against the wall with enough force to shatter the chair he was sitting in. Daniel stopped suddenly and looked. "Did I do that?"
"Yeah, you did," Ceenta said grinning as he slowly stood up. The door suddenly burst open. Don didn't hesitate as he pointed his finger at Daniel. The force picked the young actor up off the floor and threw him against the far wall. He slumped to the floor in a heap, unconscious.
"Now why'd you have to go and do that?" asked Ceenta. Don looked at him incredulously. "We were having a good conversation."
"It sounded a lot different from the other side of the door. Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. Let's check on Daniel." The two men moved quickly. Together, they picked Daniel up and put him back in bed. Don examined the young wizard and sighed.
"He's fine. Just knocked out."
"Good. Get a cool wash cloth and let's see if we can bring him around." Don went into the bathroom. A moment later he returned with a wash cloth. Ceenta took it and gently wiped Daniel's face. The cooling effect of the cloth slowly brought Daniel back to consciousness. He opened his eyes and looked up into two worried faces.
"W-what happened?" he stammered.
"I got a little over protective," said Don.
"A little?" Daniel said as he rubbed the back of his head.
"Sorry about that, but when it comes to Ceenta, I tend to act first and ask questions later." Daniel took the wash cloth from Ceenta and wiped his own face vigorously.
"So I'm a vampire," he finally stated.
"Yes, you are. As I was explaining before, there are many pluses."
"And quite a few negatives," Daniel said glumly.
"If you want to dwell on the negatives, I suppose there are a few drawbacks," admitted Ceenta. "But, there are many, many pluses."
"I'm three hundred and fifty years old."
"Three hundred and twenty-six," Don corrected. Ceenta looked at him and smiled.
"Ok, three hundred and twenty-six." Daniel's jaw fell open.
"You don't look a day over twenty-five."
"One of the pluses of being a vampire and there are many more. I'm sure you've noticed a heightened sense of hearing?" Daniel nodded. "You should also be able to sense your surroundings. I call it a heightened sense of awareness." Once again, Daniel nodded. "That's just the beginning of many, ah, enhancements that you will notice. After your first feeding, you'll notice even more."
"Feeding?" Ceenta looked at the floor, drew a deep breath and looked back up.
"You'll start to get, ah, hungry. It's more of a craving, but it will come soon. Your body needs live blood to keep itself alive." Daniel opened his mouth and felt his teeth with his fingers. Ceenta chuckled. "Your fangs will appear with the craving. After you've fed a few times, you'll be able to control them."
"No more sunshine?"
"No more garlic?
"Still another myth. You watch too many movies, Daniel."
"What about mirrors and crosses and bats and coffins?"
"All myths," chucked Ceenta.
"The only part I don't like is the feeding," added Don.
"You're a vampire too?" Don nodded.
"We go into town about once a month to feed. Don't let all the images from the movies cloud your mind, Daniel. Yes, we do bite people. We have to in order to survive. But we don't kill. We only take a pint or so from each person."
"How many people do you bite?"
"Usually only two. Our bodies use the blood much like humans use food. When our blood runs low, we have to feed. And that usually happens when our blood level is down a couple of pints."
"Surely people don't just let you bite them?"
"No they don't. But vampires are very strong, both physically and mentally. After we feed, we carefully erase the memory from the human. They're left feeling a bit tired from the loss of blood, but other than that, they're fine."
"You erase their memories?"
"Yes," Ceenta said telepathically to Daniel. Daniel's eyes widened.
"How did you do that?"
"Don't talk to me, Daniel. Think to me," Ceenta said once again telepathically.
"Ah, hello," Daniel thought.
"Very good," Ceenta answered.
"I'll let you two play," said Don. "I'm going to check on dinner, which should be ready in about thirty minutes. Why don't you let the boy take a shower and give him some clothes. He's got a cute body and all, but I'd rather see him with clothes on." Daniel blushed and pulled the sheet up.
A decrepit old man walked slowly down the hall of his villa in the northern part of the Czech Republic. He stopped at a closed door and took a deep breath. Turning the knob, he walked inside.
"There you are. We were beginning to wonder. What's this all about, Malin?" The old man smiled slightly and sat down at the table joining the four Arabic men.
"I have a plan that will require your assistance," he said.
"Your plans seem to backfire and get my people killed." Malin's expression turned from somber to angry. He slowly raised his gnarled hand and pointed it at the man. The man's face immediately turned red. Perspiration broke out on his forehead. His hands slowly moved to his neck and encircled it. While everyone watched in horror, the man began choking himself. His knuckles turned white as he squeezed off his airway. Small choking sounds could be heard. The other three men sat and watched, unable to move from the fear that coursed through their veins. Malin smiled and lowered his hand. Suddenly, the man's hands dropped to the table and he gasped for air.
"As I was saying, I have a plan that requires your assistance. Once this plan is complete, I have another one that will put millions of dollars in your pockets. But I want the first plan completed before we move on to the one with money." The men around the table cautiously nodded in agreement. "Good. I have this thorn in my arse that needs to be plucked from existence. His name is Ceenta. He'll be an easy target for a group of trained and well armed mercenaries. And, I'll fund everything. All you need to do is hand pick about fifty of your best men. Then we'll take him out."
Ceenta joined Don on the veranda. The two young men embraced and held each other. Don enjoyed the warmth and closeness. Ceenta reveled in the reassuring physical closeness. His conversation with Daniel left him feeling emotionally drained. As the breeze rustled through the trees, the two men turned to look out over their vast estate. They stood together for several minutes before either one talked.
"He's a remarkable young man." Ceenta turned and looked at his lover.
"Tom's very lucky. We'll have to send him home soon, probably tomorrow."
"I still need to have the talk about protecting our world." Don sighed and moved his arm up to Ceenta's shoulder. He squeezed it lovingly.
"Let the boy recover. It's not everyday you wake up a vampire."
"That's true, but we still need to have the talk. After all, that's why I brought him here in the first place. Besides, he seems to be accepting and even embracing his new found powers and abilities."
"That'll change when he needs to feed," said Don. "I still remember my first time." Ceenta laughed.
"You drained that dude in like three minutes."
"I didn't mean to kill him, but the feeling that overwhelmed me was so powerful."
"You mean, so sexual," said Ceenta with a grin.
"Yeah, that too. But it was more powerful than that."
"I don't know. I couldn't walk straight for a week. You just couldn't get enough."
"Well you are a sexy man." The two men embraced and kissed passionately. The sound of someone clearing their throat ended the moment.
"Excuse me, master. Young Daniel has finished his shower. I laid out some clothes for him and he should be ready shortly. Would you like dinner on the veranda?"
"Ah, Sarduri, thank you," he said to his personal attendant. "That would be nice. Show Daniel out here when he's ready. And break out a bottle of wine. A good Beaujolais would be excellent with Don's roast Duck. Perhaps a bottle of Morgan."
"Excellent choice, master," Sarduri said. He bowed deeply and left the veranda.
"So what's up with Starr?" asked Ceenta.
"He's still at the flat we rented for him in London," said Don as he turned to sit down on a lounge chair.
"School?" Ceenta asked as he joined Don on the lounge chair.
"Oh yes, and he's continuing his acting courses at night."
"Let's go visit. I haven't seen him in a month."
"I talk with him every day. He's doing great and I think a visit from you would lift his spirits. Sarduri's brother is watching over him and tending to his needs. They get along well, even though Starr complains that Abbas makes him do his homework." Ceenta laughed.
"At least he doesn't have to deal with that ass of a father Malin anymore."
"Has he gotten over losing the lead in the movie to Daniel?"
"I think so. You know, it might be a good idea if the two met."
"And it might be a good idea if they didn't," mused Ceenta.
"Let's ask him when we visit."
"I still can't get over Malin. The man gets pissed when Starr admits he's gay and then he throws the kid to the street when he doesn't get the part."
"No one will ever understand Malin."
A sudden burst of gunfire ripped through the peaceful countryside. Bullets riddled the veranda. When the hideous sound finally stopped, Don surveyed his surroundings. He looked in amazement. Flower pots had exploded in the assault. Their remnants littered the extravagant hand hewn stones of the veranda. But that wasn't the only thing that ruined the lavish setting. Blood spattered the stones. Realization hit Don like a ton of bricks. He quickly looked at the love of his life. The expression on Ceenta's face was one of wonder, horror and pain all mixed together. Don looked at Ceenta's blood spattered shirt. The metal projectiles of death had found their mark. Ceenta's white shirt was covered in blood. Don could make out the multiple entry points with the deep red life force liquid flowing freely and staining the linen fabric. As his lover fell back on to the floor, Don felt weak and slumped back on to the lounge chair. It was then that he saw his own blood covered shirt. Memories of the wonderful loving times he spent with Ceenta filled his head as his eyes grew heavy. The desire to wrap his arms around Ceenta in a loving embrace were overtaken by the ever increasing buzz of darkness. His vision narrowed and the world he knew slowly went black.
My thanks to my editors in Florida for without their help there would be so many typos you couldn't even read!
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