The Guest & The Change - By M. D. Bowden

CHAPTER 1

Jo stepped out the front door. He found himself momentarily dazzled by a bright violet sky as the sun appeared from behind fuzzy clouds. Glimpsing a flash of dark, he turned towards it, his heart racing. He was met by a searing pain as fangs sank into his exposed neck.

Jo passed out.

When he awoke he found himself lying on his living room floor, on the pink spotted rug Sarah had bought for his girls. The curtains were drawn; a little light peaked through casting shadows across the room. Jo’s head spun as he pulled himself up onto the black leather sofa and reached for the reading light. He wasn’t scared, he was confused. What the hell just happened? As he clicked the light switch the room illuminated. Nothing looked odd; it was the same room he and his family had lived in for 5 years. Toys over flowed from the toy box, books and DVDs were crammed onto bookshelves.

Looking towards the clock he saw it was 7 ‘o’ clock, time to go to his sisters. She had called earlier and invited him over for dinner. Jo’s wife and kids were out visiting the parents in law, so he had the house to himself.

Jo reached for his neck. It felt fine. Tentatively standing up, he walked across the room to the large ornate mirror above the fireplace. His neck looked normal. No bite marks. - Just the beginnings of stubble around his jaw. Jo inspected his appearance more closely. He did look a little haggard. His short, dark hair was messy, probably from lying on the floor. His eyes, normally deep brown and clear, looked bloodshot and were shadowed. He took a deep breath and put his fingers on the mantel piece as he looked into tired eyes.

He remembered bright light dazzling him. The sun must have been about to set behind the scruffy conifers lining the horizon. He remembered seeing movement. Something undefined had approached him. Fast. He hadn’t even seen what it was. But he had felt two dangerously sharp points pierce his neck. And, at the time, he had known they were fangs. Vampire fangs. That would explain why he hadn’t seen anything clearly. Vampires are fast. He was dazzled. But if he’d stepped out the front door and been bitten by a vampire, what was he now doing on the living room floor? Why was he ok, or pretty much ok? Why were there no bite marks? More to the point, why was he not dead?

Jo had heard of vampires. He had read about them. Everybody had read about them. He knew people said they were real. He had even heard reports of killings in the area. There had been speculation. There was always speculation. But he had never seen a vampire. Neither had anyone else he knew. Plus, there was no actual evidence for vampires.

He continued to peer at himself in the mirror. Did I get bitten by a vampire? And if I did, how did I end up unconscious on the floor? Is it possible the vampire bit me, then healed me?

Jo had heard this was possible. But why would a vampire do this, and why wouldn’t it take away his memory of the bite? If he had been healed by vampire blood it would mean that, if he died now, he himself would turn into a vampire. He shuddered. He felt a sickening feeling creeping up his body, into his throat.

Of course, there was no reason for him to die now. It seemed pretty unlikely. He would probably be fine. But then, if he had been bitten by a vampire, and been healed, could he unknowingly be part of some bigger plan? What if the vampire planned for him to die? Shit, what if he was already dead? Jo’s breathing quickened, what was wrong with him? He was getting so carried away. Taking a deep breath he tried to pull himself together. Ok, think logically, he told himself. It’s ridiculous to think that I was bitten by a vampire. I wasn’t. There must be another explanation. I was on the living room floor. I remember I was going to my sisters. She’s going to be pretty annoyed when I’m late. I wouldn’t have taken a nap on the floor. I wasn’t tired. I would remember. I must have passed out.

There must be something wrong with me, that’s why I look so pasty and drawn out. Maybe I should be headed for the hospital right

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