Diary of a Vampire: Michele
Diary of a Vampire: Michele
Author: Summer Royston

Chapter 1

I love New Orleans. I always have, and I probably always will. There’s something about the city, some indefinable allure, that draws people in like moths to a flame. I’ve come across nowhere else on earth like it…well, maybe Savannah, Georgia comes close; but it’s still no Big Easy.

The pace of the city is somehow slower and faster all at once; it’s almost as if time moves differently there. It’s hard to describe, it’s something you must experience for yourself to truly understand.

The story I’m going to tell you begins in New Orleans, on a warm summer evening, many, many years ago.

The sun had just set, leaving the sky a luminous blue that only tropic skies ever become. There was a warm breeze blowing in off the river – there usually was – but those breezes didn’t typically reach very far into the Quarter. And in Jackson Square the air was humid and heavy; the floral notes of Queen’s Wreath mingling with the scent of the paints used by the numerous artists that set up along the sidewalks.

I could spend hours gazing at the art displayed, studying the different techniques, and getting lost in the colors and the distinct view glimpsed through each artist’s eyes. How I wished I could touch them – the canvases; pick them up and hold them so as to see what the artist saw as they painted…but alas, most of the artist’s had signs up to discourage such a practice.

However, every so often, when they weren’t looking, I would dare to run my fingertips across one, allowing the peculiar talent I seemed to possess to come forth. You see, when I touch something, I get a glimpse of its past – I “see” what it saw, “feel” what it felt or what someone deeply connected to it saw and felt. And artists are always deeply connected to their work.

I was just about to do this to a particular piece I’d been drawn to – a landscape of a swamp at night, done in dark indigoes and veridians, but it was as though the painter had been gazing down from a great height as they created it. Something about it mesmerized me, and I wanted to touch it.

I was reaching out to do just that, when I felt the first prickling sense of unease, the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. I felt watched. At first, I thought maybe the artist himself had nearly caught me, but as I turned, I could see he was busily engaged in a sale. It wasn’t him.

But someone was watching, I was certain. And there was something…else; something…unnatural. I’d been stared at before – haven’t we all? But this was somehow different. It felt…off, slightly.

I scanned the people around me, my green eyes shaded by dark lashes. I searched the crowds -they strolled along, they shopped, they laughed and talked - as I tried to find the source of my discomfort. But I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, and no one seemed to be paying any particular mind to me.


Michael’s voice startled me, as he stepped up beside me. “What’s up? You look a little spooked.”

I scanned the crowds again, before glancing up at him. He was tall and lanky, with dark hair and eyes. He’d moved to New Orleans from our hometown of Natchez several months earlier, and it seemed to me that his skin was a bit tanner than I remembered, his jaw a bit more defined.

“It’s nothing,” I replied. “Just had this feeling like someone was watching me.”

His face curved in a grin. “Well, you better be careful who you make eye contact with; don’t forget what happened last time.” He laughed.

I grinned in return. On a previous trip, I’d accidentally locked eyes with a street performer, completely painted gold, pretending to be a statue. I’d walked away, only to be tapped on the shoulder moments later by the same man, demanding that I pay him $5.00 for watching him.

I had been so caught off guard that I hadn’t been able to come up with a reply. Luckily, Michael had been there then, as well, and had run the guy off while wrapping his arm over my shoulder and leading me away. Of course, we had been dating at the time. It had only lasted a couple of months, and though things were now a bit weird between us, it seemed as if we were still friends.

“Not something I’ll forget anytime soon – promise. No making eye-contact with mimes: Check.” I stated, with a quick nod of my head.

“It’s always the quiet ones you have to worry about.” He replied with a smirk, gently giving a quick tug to my messy blond braid.

I wrinkled my nose at his joke, my lips twitching, as I slipped my fingertips into the back pockets of my jeans. We began to walk further around the Square, and I began to think that maybe I was being a bit paranoid.

I mean, I still felt watched, but it wasn’t necessarily hostile – just un-nerving.

We came upon a caricature artist, busy with black marker and pen, as my best friend Danni and her boyfriend David sat in front of her easel. I watched for a moment as she sketched the happy couple; David with Mardi Gras beads around his neck, Danni in his arms, holding a hurricane glass, both with cheesy grins on their faces.

I gave Danni a thumbs up and a nod before leaving Michael, and I continued further along the sidewalk. The last two people who made up our motley group that night were Ben and Ross, and I found them seated at one of the many fortune teller’s tables. Ben sat off to the side a bit, leaning back in one of the flimsy folding chairs, his 6 foot 4 inch frame pushing it to its limits; his arms were crossed over his broad chest, and the surrounding lights threw purple and red highlights across the planes of his face and waist length blonde hair, which he secured at his neck with a rubber band.

I could tell he was listening intently to what the woman was telling Ross, but I could also see the wheels in his mind whirling as he took her words into account, and immediately found the flaws. He didn’t for one minute believe anything she said, and the knowing smirk on his face told me that he had already figured out how she was obtaining her information.

On the other hand, Ross seemed totally enraptured. His black hair fell across his forehead and his brown eyes were wide and full of interest. Whatever she had been proclaiming to see had him completely hooked. I sauntered over and leaned against Ben, my forearm resting on his shoulder. “So, what’s the verdict?” I asked, nodding towards Ross.

Ben spared me an amused glance. “Mine, or hers?”

I pretended to think a minute. “Yours.”

“Grade-A, 100% bullshit.” He stated, confidently.

“Hmm. How do you know?” I asked, even though, I believed him. Yes, I have my own…abilities, but I don’t claim to be psychic. I never have. It sometimes feels strange to look down upon those who do – but let’s be real: Most of them are fakes, just out to make a buck.

Ben and I were almost always on the same page about things. I called him the “guy version of me”; our brains seemed to be wired so similarly that, more often than not, we could finish each other’s sentences. Probably why we had hit it off immediately upon meeting each other.

Danni was my best friend, but Ben was a very close second.

“Everything she’s said so far is generic; it could apply to anyone,” Ben replied. “She’s simply reading him – I’ve been watching her; she can tell when she hits on something that matters to him. Her eyes widen just a bit and she leans forward, which makes him do the same. Every time she makes a correct guess, it pulls him in farther and makes him try to connect the dots, even if the dots aren’t there.”

I looked at the woman, her multi-hued hair swept back in a scarf, her eyes narrowed as she scanned Ross’s palm. I watched for the signs Ben had seen, and sure enough, they were there. I glanced down at him, just as he glanced up at me – the look on his face said, “See? I told you.”

I patted his shoulder and gave him a wry smile. I was about to say something – I don’t remember what it was now – when that strange, watched feeling swept over me again. I straightened and once again found myself scanning the area around me. Little goosebumps swept over my bare arms, and for a split second, I wished I hadn’t worn a tank top.

I stepped away from Ben, and purposefully looked – really looked – around. At every face, in every doorway, on every balcony, every pathway that led through the grass in the center of the Square – trying to find where this feeling could be coming from. But I couldn’t pinpoint it.

I had this feeling of dread creep over me; a slimy, oily feeling curling itself up my spine, and I shivered. Something was going to happen tonight – I didn’t know what, when, or to who – but I KNEW that something was coming, and I had learned, long ago, not to ignore my intuition. My gut instincts were rarely wrong – and when I ignored them, when I went against the little voice in my head…well, I usually ended up in some kind of trouble.

Yeah, like with Brad…my inner voice said. I gave another tiny shiver. I didn’t like to think about Brad. He’d been a mistake. A big mistake that I was still paying for. The thought that my unease could be connected to him crossed my mind, but I dismissed it; it didn’t feel quite the same. No, something inside told me this wasn’t Brad – this was something else.

I was startled by the snapping of fingers in my face.

“Hey, Shelly? Hey – you alright?” Ben’s deep voice cut through the thoughts in my head, and I quickly looked up to see him standing next to me. I’m not short, I’m actually 5 foot 10, but Ben towered over me, and concern was etched into his features.

“Huh?” I managed, trying to focus.

“Are you ok?” he asked again. “You kinda spaced out there, for a minute.”

“Oh? Yeah, yeah, I’m fine.” I answered quickly. I could have told him about my strange feeling of dread, but I rarely told anyone about these things. I mean, I experienced them first-hand, and yet not moments ago, I was doubting someone else, so what does that say about me? If even I have trouble believing, what makes me think anyone else would?

“Um-hm. Sure,” Ben replied, his tone conveying that he did not, for one second, believe me.

But, before he could say anything else, our friends converged on us. Danni and David’s caricature was done, Ross was apparently satisfied with his future, and everyone was ready to hit Bourbon Street. I followed along with them, as we headed deeper into the French Quarter, only looking back once.

Most of the artisans and vendors had already begun to tear their displays down for the night as the crowds thinned and headed off to the more rowdy areas of the Quarter. The unease was still there, niggling at the back of my mind and begging me to listen, but did I?


I listened to my friend’s laughter and conversations as we walked, and I pushed the sense of dread out of my thoughts as best I could. I mean, really, what could I do about it, anyway? Tonight was supposed to be for having fun, not worrying. Our mission was simple: Drink, be merry, and enjoy ourselves!

So, despite the fact that we were being followed and I knew in the very marrow of my bones that something bad was going to happen, I did the very thing I knew better than to do – I ignored my sixth sense and happily followed my friends into debauchery.

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Your work is amazing, seriously. Do you have any social media for your books I could follow?

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