WEP Challenge June 2019: Caged Bird

Image by Mary Gorobchenko from Pixabay

When Bernie came to, he found himself in a five-foot by five-foot windowless metal cell. He tried to stop his claustrophobia from kicking in and throwing him into a panic, but the fear of being trapped in a confined space quickly overtook him. The young vampire screamed in terror and threw himself against the door of the cell until he was completely exhausted. He crawled into a corner of the box, weeping brokenly.
“Please, please, you can’t do this!” Bernie begged. “I’ll need to feed. I don’t need a person, I don’t want an animal, I’m pretty much a vegetarian. You can get me a blood bag, a nice sterile blood bag, like from a blood bank or something. Whatever you need, just let me out of here and I’ll cooperate with you. Let Ahmose go. He shouldn’t have to go through this. He was already a prisoner once. Please…OH GOD, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH AHMOSE???”
Bernie collapsed to the floor, sobbing brokenly. He thought of what Ahmose had said before their captors had separated them. Bernie watched, astounded, as the treacherous vampire sorceress Paraji prostrated herself before cold-hearted Captain Abigail Botterill, the head of the Alien and Supernatural Search Squadron and kissed Captain Botterill’s red-painted toes in deference.
“Never got the foot thing, myself,” Ahmose had imparted telepathically to Bernie. “Feet aren’t pretty, and mine, at any rate, are ticklish. I do appreciate a good foot massage, however.”
“I’ll give you a good all-over massage when we’ve been sprung from this trap,” Bernie thought, giving Ahmose a swift smile and a quick wink.
Moments later, Paraji’s Djinn guards had separated the captives, dragging them each into examination rooms. Bernie remembered fighting as technicians wearing protective suits attempted to strap him to a gurney, and then everything went black.
“Not quite so sure of ourselves now, are we, Bernard?”
Captain Botterill’s mocking voice piped through a speaker in a corner of the cell’s ceiling. Bernie looked up to see a camera beside the speaker, which didn’t surprise him.
“Captain Botterill, please, I’ll cooperate with your tests,” Bernie begged. “Just please, let me out of here, and let the others go. You can do anything you want with me. I promise I won’t try to escape again. It’s just that I don’t like being immobilized. It freaks me out. If you let me out, I’ll be good and quiet, docile like a lamb. You won’t hear a peep out of me.”
“I’m glad to see that you’ve learned a lesson, Bernie, but I’m still not sure I can trust you and your terrible sharp teethies near my luscious, swan-like neck,” Captain Botterill chuckled. Bernie could hear mocking laughter in the background, and his temper flared.
“Katou, you goddamn traitor!” Bernie snarled. “If I ever get out of here, the first thing I’m going to do is wring your cold, Undead neck! You’re no better than the goddamn hen who sells her sisters to the fucking fox!”
“Oh, Bernie, I’m awfully frightened,” the treacherous vampire Mondo Katou jeered. “But in case you don’t recall, it was me who came close to wringing your cold, Undead neck. You may be able to convince some easy marks that you’re a big, bad vampire now because you can bench-press your own weight of—oh, what would you say, Captain, 120 pounds?”
“Yes, Katou, I imagine you’re about on the mark,” Captain Botterill snickered.
“But in case you forget, Vamp Ingenue, you have been a vampire for a little over six months. I was turned seventy-five years ago. I could tear your heart from your chest, rip your head from your neck, burn you to ashes, and scatter you to the four winds. Do not test me.”
“Ahmose is gone in any case, Bernie,” Captain Botterill continued. “We made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. He very quickly forgot your wretched existence when we returned his beloved Gregory to him hale and hardy. The two of them are probably off in a luxurious motel somewhere having a passionate roll between satin sheets, sharing blood like wine, catching up on old times. He was tremendously swift to forget about you, I daresay. Why even I considered the cold-hearted way he tossed you aside without a second thought utterly brutal.”
“It isn’t true!” Bernie cried. “Gregory fell in love with Theodoric Elms back in Manzanar. Even if Ahmose wanted to get back together with Gregory, he wouldn’t abandon me. He’s coming back for me! He’s fucking coming back for me, you liars, you goddamn rotten liars!”
Bernie curled into a fetal position. Bloody tears soaked through the fabric of his hospital gown and ran down his legs. He wept until he could weep no more, and then he fell asleep and dreamed of the Halloween party where he had met Ahmose.
Bernie couldn’t believe that the gorgeous slim but muscular Asian goth guy in the tight leather pants and vest was checking his geeky ginger self out with obvious admiration. Bernie would never have had the guts to talk to a guy like that, but Ahmose was, fortunately, more self-assured. As the night went on, Bernie learned more about his sexy and mysterious admirer, including the fact that Ahmose was a vampire.
Being the lover of a brilliant, sweet, and smoking hot creature of the night was the sort of thing that Bernie assumed would only happen in the erotic fantasies he wrote on late nights spent in his own company, but come the morning, Bernie had been turned, and his heart belonged to his maker.
“Ahmose, you couldn’t,” Bernie sobbed as he woke, remembering Captain Botterill’s revelation which pierced his heart like ice. “After all we’ve been to each other, how could you?”
“Bernie!” Ahmose wailed, struggling to no avail as the silver shackles seared his flesh and the laughter of Captain Abigail Botterill and his old enemy, Mondo Katou, echoed in his ears. “Please don’t listen to them! It’s you for me, now and forever.”

~Cie & Lil~


Note:
This is the first chapter in Team Netherworld's WIP, Carnal Invasion XIII: Caged Birds. You lucky ducks (and whatever other waterfowl may be reading this post) may be used to our Weekend Writing Warriors snippets. Well, this time you've got an entire chapter to feast on!

48 comments:

  1. Treachery. Why, oh why do traitors so often land on their feet...
    And yes, my greedy reading self DOES want to read more.
    My WEP piece will probably go up next Friday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I look forward to your piece. :-)
      I've got so many writing projects going on at the moment that I'm seeing myself coming and going. Maybe one day I'll stumble on a way to actually make a living out of it!

      Delete
  2. Found you. Bernie is certainly weak. I can see you churning him inside and out. An interesting story.
    Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, fooled you! I'm slick that way! ;-)
      Truth is, I hadn't read the instructions and thought we were doing it the way we always had and the live link would be added later!
      I actually wouldn't say Bernie is weak. He has a lot of self-doubt. He's a lover, not a fighter, but he has his moments!

      Delete
  3. A treacherous story of broken hearts, and betrayal. Well done

    ReplyDelete
  4. I read this in a very hesitant way as I do not like reading stories with vampires in them.

    it's not bad but it's kind of hard to know who is who with names being thrown here and there. but you said this is a first chapter so I suppose we'll get to know more about the characters in the next chapter.

    so is bernie a teenager? he sounds a bit like one.

    you might want to put breaks between paragraphs. I found it a bit hard to read without paragraph breaks.

    have a lovely day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Lissa, I am entirely puzzled about what you mean about there being no breaks between the paragraphs. There most certainly are. If you were reading on a mobile device, that might affect the way it looks. I honestly don't know how to address this, because from my end, the paragraphs are very clearly visible.
      Teenagers aren't the only people who can be insecure. I fucked up every relationship I was ever in (at least the ones where I wasn't victimized first) because I am incredibly insecure and jealous and it tends to come out in my relationships--which is why I don't do relationships anymore. I think it's an erroneous assumption to feel that only teenagers feel insecurity and when you turn 20, suddenly, magically, all your insecurities disappear. Nice if it happens, but it certainly wasn't my experience.
      Further, I find myself puzzled as to why you would read a piece about vampires if you don't like stories about vampires. I tend not to read about subjects I find unpalatable.
      I'm glad you've judged my writing "not bad." Your comment wasn't bad, except that I would recommend capitalizing the first letters of your sentences.

      Delete
    3. There are breaks, just no spaces in between. If you look at my comment and compare to yours, there’s no space between each paragraph.

      Since I’m joining in the wep challenge, I thought I should read all the entries, that’s all, I honestly didn’t even know I was reading about vampires until that word came up. I thought that is a requirement of joining the challenge - read other people's work and leave a comment?

      Yeah, sorry, I don’t capitalize much, I find it a bit hard to do sometimes. I know it's a bad habit but I've never heard anyone saying something about it. Does it bother you I don’t capitalize? I did for this comment.

      Have a lovely day.

      Delete
    4. I see what you mean now about the paragraphs. It's a valid criticism, and I will endeavor to put a space between the paragraphs in the future. It does so automatically in Word (which is where I wrote the original document) but doesn't always translate when I paste it into Blogger. I haven't thought about it previously.

      I honestly don't care if you capitalize the first letter of your sentences or not. No skin off my nose, really. However, I would criticize it if it appeared in a story I was reviewing and wasn't a deliberate, stylistic tactic. One of my favorite books uses no capitalization whatsoever. It was written by a man who was a former drug addict.

      I'm just at the point in my life where I don't see much sense to reading things you don't like. If I don't care for something, I'm not going to invest much of my time in it. May be part and parcel of having a bunch of health problems. I have little patience for things that make me miserable.

      Delete
  5. Poor Bernie - he should have faith in Amhose!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think so myself, but, after all, I'm a Knower of Things which Bernie isn't privy to. ;-)
      Thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  6. I don't read vampire fiction so my opinion is unsound - as always. I liked parts of the story but felt there were too many characters for me to get my dim head around. I'm sure other comments are more accurate - sorry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not your thing, that's all right. I tried to cram a lot into 1000 words and it is part of a serial.

      Delete
  7. A great read, especially from someone who writes about vampires, albeit classic ones. You've captured the brutal world of the vampire. And Bernie is definitely a lover, not a fighter. And he certainly is a caged bird! Well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you kindly. I enjoy reading about classic vampires myself. Dracula never gets old!

      Delete
    2. That's for sure. I love reading about vampires, but the modern-day office type sort of annoy me. But all reading is sooo subjective.

      Delete
  8. Oh, vampire love! Always a winner. I don't read vampire fiction, so I can't really appreciate your story, but the emotions of betrayal and love and fear are universal and well written. Poor guys. Vampire or not, I started caring for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you.
      These guys (other than Mondo Katou) are nice guys. They don't go around biting random people. They're more the "bribe the guard at the blood bank for a bag" type.

      Delete
  9. I have to admit that I am also one of those people that don't read stories about vampires. However, I do agree with Denise that you have captured the brutality and I would say the selfishness of the vampire world. A world that I know very little about.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pat,
      My vampires are rather human. They tend to be a lot like me--fatally flawed.

      Delete
  10. Poor Bernie! I feel so terrible for him! I understand how it feels to be so insecure, and his captor certainly knows how to turn that insecurity against him. I also feel for Ahmose who must feel so helpless given the circumstances.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Interesting beginning! I agree with you that Bernie has some complexities. To me he seems not so much weak as horribly young and naive. And I'd call the claustrophobia something other than weakness--I'm thinking it's the thing he's going to have to learn either to overcome or to work around to get out of this jam.

    I do agree with the comments that there are too many characters for a flash--but if this is the opening of a longer story, I'll reserve judgement. Still, even in that case, you might want to think about not overwhelming the reader in the first few pages.

    I'm not a vampire person either, but I still enjoyed the story :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agh! Okay, you people win! I suck! I admit to my suckage! I am a really shitty writer who probably should never write again!
      This is the first chapter of the thirteenth book in a series. The other twelve are already out there sucking like an industrial strength vacuum extractor.
      I still like the story anyway.
      As far as learning to overcome claustrophobia, I'm 54 years old and have never been able to talk myself out of either claustrophobia or panic attacks. I have to be sedated if I need to receive an MRI. I wish I could just tell myself "now, now, everything's all right" but my idiot lizard brain (the same part of my brain that thinks I'm a "writer") doesn't listen.

      Delete
    2. Cie, I'm sorry I didn't check back sooner, because your reaction tells me I didn't communicate well. You clarify a lot by telling us this is the opening of a book well along in a series--of course it makes more sense, knowing that. I'm sorry you took such a negative feeling away from my comment :(

      As far as overcoming claustrophobia, that was a stupid thing to say. I know you don't "cure yourself" of something like that. But he may be able to learn some way to cope--I saw that as a significant part of the conflict of the story.

      Again, I apologize if I seemed excessively critical. I certainly didn't intend to be, only to offer what insights I could. And don't underestimate the importance of my last sentence. I really don't like vampire stories, and you made me read it, and like it. That's not a small thing.

      Delete
  12. Hi Cie - I too don't read vampire stories - yet the blogging fraternity opens us ideas for us all ... I'd hate to be in Bernie's shoes though ... take care - and have a good weekend - Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Hillary. I've definitely learned the hard way that vampire stories are 100% not welcome in this particular challenge! I won't make that same mistake twice. I think they need to change their rule to say "no erotica and no vampire stories."

      Delete
    2. They are welcome (Denise posts them) but not to everyone's taste. Which is true of most genres.

      Delete
    3. Real Cie, don't be put off. There's a lot of people out there who love our vampire stories. Post away and ignore that part of the comment. There's a few genres I don't get, but I don't actually say it in comments as I don't think that's helpful. A story is a story is a story and every story in this group has value. I'd hate it if you didn't post any more from this WIP.

      Delete
  13. That finished much too soon. Can't wait to read more. Gripping and well written.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Fun post, in a sad and desperate way. Poor Bernie, a Vampire who's more lover than fighter. At least it seems that Ahmose didn't betray him.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Bernie comes across as a bit naive, but then he is being toyed with and used to his captor's will, what they prey on. Vampires and all.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Let's clear up the misconception that vampire stories are not welcome at WEP - all genres except erotica get the same treatment. You are very welcome to post vampire and horror flashes. Our October challenge is dedicated purely to horror.

    We are expected to read everyone's entry and provide feedback regardless of whether it is a genre we normally read or not. WEP also has a system whereby we indicate the level of feedback we want - from FCA (Full Critique Acceptable) to NCCO (No Critiques, Comments Only) so that writers can choose the level they are comfortable with and put it up after their flash.

    I too am not a regular reader of vampire stories. However, that does not mean I can't appreciate one. I enjoyed this flash and the tongue-in-cheek humour very much. 'I’m pretty much a vegetarian. You can get me a blood bag, a nice sterile blood bag, like from a blood bank or something.' LOL. Nicely done!

    I don't quite follow the fuss about too many characters - there are five - Paraji, Ahmose, Bernie, the Captain and the Katou chap. Most flashes anyways have three to four.

    You kept my interest through out and by the end I could feel Bernie's torment and was hoping their telepathic connection would work and Ahmose would get through and be able to reassure him.

    The only suggestion I can offer here is that of inserting section breaks - maybe that would help create the sense of space that some of the readers have mentioned above?

    All the best for developing this further and look forward to reading future installments. Thank you for sharing this flash at WEP.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nila for expressing my thoughts exactly. I've left an earlier comment saying too that vampire stories are welcome. Makes me want to go away and deliberately write one for August, LOL. But an erotic vampire story -- not so much.

      Delete
    2. That would be great if you, Denise, did a vampire flash for Aug! :) I hope that Cie and Lil will continue this one for August too and share it at WEP. Definitely want to read what happens to Bernie.

      I just wanted to clarify that when I said 'I am not a regular reader of vampire stories' what it actually means is I don't regularly seek out and buy vampire books, because there are other genres - poetry and history and historical fiction for instance - that take up all my budget. But I do read horror/paranormal on the net - Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite authors. As you said, a story is a story.

      Delete
  17. Ah, the intricacies of a love triangle! This sounds sexy and villainous.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Interesting vampires! I got a little confused with the number of characters in this short piece, but it's certainly intriguing. You'd think being immortal might give these guys a little more confidence.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Joining in with those who don't 'do' vampire stories (although I have been known to enjoy a vampire musical before it got ruined). But the thing of WEP is reading all the entries. It was interesting, but a lot of characters for a first chapter.
    Keep up the good work and good luck with the book!

    ReplyDelete
  20. It felt like established characters. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jamie. They are established characters. I tend to be inspired to write chapters for my WIPs (of which there are many) with this challenge, and that may not be the best idea!

      Delete
  21. I want to thank everyone for their recent comments and I will try and make sure that I visit all of the blogs on the list. I have had an extremely bad month. I don't take criticism well in any case. I am one of those people who never reads reviews of my work because I can get nine positive reviews and one bad one, and the bad one is the one that sticks with me. I then become intolerable to live with. It's better for my family that I don't read my reviews.
    Nobody who has responded to this piece has been unnecessarily cruel or even harsh. I just feel like maybe for this particular competition, vampires are a subject which is really polarizing. I was kind of surprised because I tend to write about the paranormal, and the last piece I wrote featured a ghost/angel and it didn't raise anyone's hackles nearly as much as this one.
    I know I'm not a great writer. I'm not even setting out with the intent to be a great writer. I like to write cheesy, over-the-top stories about the supernatural. My biggest influences are authors such as Ambrose Bierce, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King. I was also strongly influenced by the original Twilight Zone series.
    I don't always respond this badly to "constructive criticism." I do have rapid cycling type 2 bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, so I tend to be more sensitive than the average bear.
    Marsha Linehan, an American psychologist and author uses a great analogy to describe what Borderline Personality Disorder.

    ”People with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90 percent of their body. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement”.

    There is an excellent post about the "burn of borderline personality disorder" here.
    https://beautyandtheborderline.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/the-burn-of-borderline-personality-disorder/
    There is a misconception that people with borderline personality disorder all act out in very overt ways, which isn't true. I'm an extremely introverted person and if I wasn't a large person with a mop of very thick and vivid hair on my head, no-one would ever notice me. The truth is that most people living with psychiatric issues suffer in silence. Most of us don't want to cause any trouble because we're tired of being stigmatized and victimized.
    There are those who would say that people like me simply shouldn't participate in activities like this. I say that isn't true.
    Sometimes my emotional skin is a little thicker than it's been this month. This has been a rather difficult year so far.

    ReplyDelete
  22. That's quite a few characters to keep track of and to try to connect with in such a short space. But it's certainly an interesting scene with lots of action. And it definitely fits the prompt!

    ReplyDelete
  23. An interesting take on the prompt. Though was wondering why Ahmose wasn't able to telepathically tell Bernie that they were lying (do they need to be only together to communicate? Not too sure of how it works.)

    ReplyDelete
  24. You got a lot of action packed into a short piece. I still dip into vampires on occasion, so I enjoyed the read.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are moderated for two reasons. One, to let us know we have a new comment, and two, to weed out the dead wood. If you are a spammer or a troll, you are hereby cordially invited to drink a hot steaming cup of STFU and board the next rocket ship bound for the center of the sun.

Carpe Diem Love Month: The Day After Valentine's Day: Aftermath Most Despised

copyright Viktor Forbacs on the day after a terrible thing was born broken from the start it should have been tossed away why ...