Well, the other day I was rooting around upstairs in our 1906 farm house where I've stored a lot of things I don't use any more--like old typewriters, and some computers, and bins and boxes with my writing in it. I opened one box and found something I'd forgotten about. From all indications it was written in 2000. It was meant to be a sequel to another ambitious work called "Vampire Legacy". I had tried so hard to get that published, even thought one agent was interested, but she fled after I couldn't get it just right for her (and said that vampire fiction doesn't sell very well--huh!).
Anyway, this is called "Lucy's Diary" (working title), and when I read the first four pages I thought it wasn't too terrible, but for a few places. And I could see, if I could marry this beginning with the aforementioned piece, I'd have a YA paranormal novel. It goes on to describe what happened at the end of last book, but I stopped at a point where I thought I might see if I couldn't tell the story from that point using the novel I'd written called "Vampire Legacy"--and maybe change the title, or something. I've been wanting to mess with it. Originally I'd written a form of this book in 1982-'83, but it was far different from what I had re-written in the '90's.
So, any way, I brought this partially written mss. down, along with another piece I'd written back when, and read through a little more of it. Aside from a few corrections and some additions, it's basically unchanged. I give you the first pages of "Lucy's Diary":
July 5, 2000
I just picked up this notebook today. I mean, my dad did. I couldn't go into the store. Or rather, I couldn't go out of the camper. Not into the sunlight. It would kill me.
This is weird. I don't feel different, except that I don't have a pulse. My dad tells me I don't look different, except that I'm really pale and that my eyes seem to have an odd glow to them, but that's all. I still have the same large brown eyes, long black hair and cute pouty lips. I had my doubts, so I tried looking into the mirror—you know, to see if the myth was true that a vampire casts no reflection. Yeah, something was looking right back at me in the mirror, but it wasn't me. It was too frightening. So much so I slashed out and broke the mirror. I looked nothing like me, Lucy Vladislav. It looking nothing like a human at all, but looked demonic. It freaked me out so that I worried about what I did look like. I mean, when I touch my face there isn't an ugly snout, or when I look at my arms and such, my skin isn't mottled green with red veins worming beneath the surface. (Yuck!) No, my skin looks as white as milk, and somewhat translucent, maybe. And only when I drink blood can I see the veins beneath the skin. It grosses me out so I try not to look.
Maybe it's what I'm supposed to think. What if the mirror has stolen my true identity—my soul, or whatever—and what I see is a cruel joke created by unseen forces from the spirit world? Forces which I sense more now than when I was alive. Now that I've become a supernatural being I'm aware of the other worlds swimming around me. Spheres,I think they're called. People, like my Grandmum Marci, who are mediums, are able to communicate with those spirits in the unseen worlds. She can tap into them and learn things that we, (well, I can't include myself any more), as humans could never know.
I've learned that this was how my father came to realize what was going on in our town, Vernon Oaks. People were disappearing without a trace. What do you know? A vampier was living in the old Berke Mansion, at the end of town. His name was Adriev Zaylik. He was turning the whole town into a bedlam of horror. People who supposedly disappeared had actually become vampires. And I'm one of them. I guess I got this diary so that I might write things down—how things happened—before I forget. If only to get it all straight in my head. So much happened!
I would never have dreamed that I'd wake up one night and learn that I had been changed into a vampire. It doesn't seem possible. I mean, I didn't believe in such things, not really. But come to find out, Gypsies do believe in such things, very deeply. I think my dad has always tried to shield me from out true heritage. Well, for one thing we certainly don't live like Gypsies. That's what I am. Plus one-sixteenth Cherokee Indian. That comes from my Grandmother Marci.
The story of why we don't live with my father's clan, on the road, is a long story—and one I'm not really well informed about. I only know that my dad was shunned by them when he was just a teenager. Not only was he shunned, but his mother, and dad, and merely because of the color of his eyes. They're gold. Sort of reminds me of the gem called tiger's eye. I suppose, if you weren't used to them, you'd be a little spooked by them because they have a strange animalish look to them. I only know this much by talking with my grandmother. She told me that Gypsies shun anything that's different, or might alude to bad spritis, and vampires are one of those things. Blue eyes are okay, because lots of people have blue eyes. But our people usually have dark skin, black hair and dark eyes. Sometimes they are nearly black. Yelow eyes are just too different. I read once that Gypsies originated from somewhere in India, a long time ago. Anyway, I guess they thought he could either put a curse on them—with his eyes—or bring a curse on them because of it. So, they banish him and us. Now we live like Gaje—that's Gypsy for regular people—ever since. I've never known anything else. I think I was still a baby when they banished him. But there are a lot of things I want to know more about, too.
Like my mother's death. It's been a mystery all my life. I only know things from Grandmum. I wasn't yet one year old when my mom was killed by a stray bullet in the crossfire from gang members in a bad neighborhood. I've never found out the details. Marci wouldn't tell me all of the story. She said that my dad would tell me these things when he felt I was ready. When would that be? When I'm thirty? I'm 15 now.
Seems I'm dwlling on the negative, here. Maybe I am. In health class, last year, our teacher stressed that we shouldn't dwell on the negative side of things. Try to find the positive in everything and everyone.
Okay. Positives. I feel—what? More alive than ever. If that isn't the craziest thing for me to say. But it's true. I certainly don't feel dead! I suppose this is why we're called “undead”? (I can't believe I just wrote that!)
I also feel very powerful, like I could go through a brick wall without breaking a nail. Hey! That's a positive. I never could grow my nails before. They always used to be brittle and break off if I tried to grow them to look nice. Now they're so long I could butter my toast with them. Just kidding.
Okay. Moving on. I'm only 15 and will remain that age in looks, at least.
I'm also very strong and fast, and can see in the dark really well.
I can't think of any more positives.
I guess I should put down that my dad and I are on the run. Have been since two nights ago. That's when we killed Zaylik and his whole nest of vampires. I can't get the image of my father that night out of my mind. His long, black hair flowing loosely beneath the wildly colorful scarf (?) tied around his head. The bright orange silk shirt he wore had become torn and soiled from our venture down into the dark, creepy tunnel beneath Zaylik's mansion.
But maybe I should start from the beginning. This whole story is sort of scrambled up in my brain, right now. My head has barely stopped spinning, because this all happened just days ago. Maybe writing it down will help me keep it all straight.
For the record, my father is—or was—a detective with the Vernon Oaks Police Department. That's before our sort of burning down an historical building, and maybe a little blowing up of things.
Have you ever gone back to read old manuscripts you have and wonder if you couldn't work on it some and get a novel out of it?