SPG: January, Part 1/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

St. Paul Grimoire is an urban fantasy serial that updates weekly. Each month will cover a self-contained story told over four parts.
It will not be overly edited, and character arcs and plotlines could be adjusted with your feedback! Let me know what you think!

“I have two siblings actually,” Phin explained. “My sister Pete is one year younger, a sophomore. Then there’s Leal, the baby.”

Senora Eyerusalem’s eyes lit up in the way that Phin had noticed all adults did when he mentioned Leal. They loved babies. He liked Leal fine, but not any random baby he came across. Adults always got all excited about every baby they heard about.

“Leal? What a nice name. I don’t think I remember a Pete from my sophomore class, though.”

Senora Eyerusalem was a substitute teacher who had just taken over when Phin’s regular Spanish teacher went on maternity leave. She was tall and lean with dark skin and a close-cut afro.

“She’s in Senor Michaelson’s class. We’re both in Spanish IV because our mom wanted us to learn properly.”

“What a good idea,” said Senora Eyerusalem. “You’ll have to introduce me.”

The bell rang.

“Oh– I’m gonna be late,” Phin realized.

“Let me write you a pass,” Senora Eyerusalem offered.

~*~

Phin spent the rest of the school day with a million other things on his mind.

Unlike Pete, he wasn’t that into sports, but he had a lot of other clubs to keep up with. Lately he’d been spending so much time at Dakotah’s shop he hadn’t been keeping up, hence the need to run over to check in with Senora Eyerusalem about the Latin Club. He was glad things had calmed down at the shop. Winter break had come and gone peacefully. January was going through fits of severe cold, which just motivated him all the more to stay in an buckle down. Halfway through junior year and it was time to start thinking about college applications. He should really see his counselor next…

Dakotah would have to do without him at the shop. The shop was getting more regular customers now, so sometimes Phin ran the register so Dakotah had time to research Guardian stuff. You’d think with the lack of supernatural occurrences (besides the usual visits from goblin accountants or fey houseguests staying the night) would’ve calmed Dakotah down, but he’d taken the opportunity to start learning more about being a Guardian.

Well, he’d have to get Pete to help him again. Phin sat down with his planner to map out the rest of his day.

~*~

“Oh my god!” Val shrieked.

“Sorry, sorry.” The man back quickly away from her, holding up his hands.

Dakotah glanced up at Val’s scream and then immediately went back to his book. “Val, this is Inkar. You’re up early, Ink.”

“THIS is Inkar?” Val asked incredulously.

Inkar arched a brow. He was a short, broad-faced man of Asian descent, though Val knew from Dakotah his original nationality was Kazakh. He looked painfully ill, his skin waxy, hair limp, eyes puffy. But his haughty look brought a little dignity back to his features, making him look more like the vampire he was.

“Yes, I am Inkar,” he said unnecessarily, long eyeteeth showing.

“Sorry,” Val apologized. She closed the grimoire she’d been reading and held out a hand. Inkar shook it delicately.

The vampire went on morosely. “I could not sleep, Guardian. What more have you learned about my situation?”

Val and Dakotah traded a look. Inkar had been around for a few weeks now, and unlike other visitors to the House, he wasn’t in any danger. He didn’t need protection of any kind from Dakotah. What he wanted was information.

“I’ve been trying, man, sorry.”

“I’ve been reading the vampire grimoire,” Val added. “But I don’t think it’s going to tell us anything different.”

Inkar sniffed. “I’ve read it. Grisly thing. The whole book just accepts vampire nature as profoundly backward. Not a word in it to suggest there may be another way.”

Val shot Dakotah a glare for not telling her that Inkar had already read the grimoire.

We still had to read it,” he pointed out. “Inkar can’t tell us everything.”

She pushed the grimoire away. “Why not? Inkar, give me some clues where to look. What exactly do you want from us?”

“It’s simple,” the vampire said stiffly. “We vampires must drink the blood of innocents or die. I want a way to stay alive without having to kill another human.”

“When was the last time you drank blood?”

“Twenty-five years ago.” Inkar gestured to his sickly disposition. “As you can see, the effect is wearing off. My youth is the first thing to decline. Afterward…well, who knows? I’ve never gone more than 25 years without killing someone. But I imagine I have less than ten years left.”

“So we have time,” Val said with a half-laugh.

“It passes in the blink of an eye for a vampire,” Inkar rebuked her.

She grimaced at Dakotah.

“Inkar has already tried animals, plants, non-innocent humans…nothing seems to work,” explained Dakotah. “But I haven’t been able to find anything either. And…”

“I know,” Inkar interrupted. “If there were a vampire who had figured it out, he would still be alive today to tell us about it.”

The three fell silent.

Val tried to think of what Pete would say. One thing was sure, Pete would try to keep things positive. “Dakotah has lots of rules that he has to follow as a Guardian,” she said, not sure if this was the right thing to say. “But we’ve always been able to work it out, and I think we will for you, too.”

Inkar heaved a sigh. “Our powers are curses, are they not? But to be a Guardian is better, for you still own your soul. And I? I cannot even enter a building without invitation.”

~*~

Phin was home alone. Pete had a meet and their dad had taken her out to eat after. His mom was having her big monthly meeting with everyone who worked for her landscaping company, which included Dakotah’s mom.

So it was just him and Leal. Outside, the Minnesota night had already fallen so it was pitch black outside by five PM. It didn’t bother him. He put Leal in the swing and sat at the dinner table to get more work done.

A knock at the door interrupted him. He wiggled his fingers at Leal as he got up.

Upon opening the door, he was surprised to see Senora Eyerusalem on the stoop.

“Phin,” she said. Her broad smile revealed long eyeteeth. “May I come in?”

 

My novel TURQUOISEBLOOD is available now on Amazon! Check it out here!

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