In honor of my first novel I, Darcy being released, here’s the first chapter for you to enjoy below.
Order your copy here.
Written by T.C. Harrison
“unbeing dead isn’t alive.”
― e.e. cummings
“Dammit.” I whispered, looking at the digital clock on my wall, which read 6 a.m. I cursed the clock and got out of bed. Sleep’s one of the few joys I in my life, and I never had enough of it. I glanced up at my Sailor Moon Crystal calendar that hung from my bathroom door and groaned. Three more weeks remained before Thanksgiving break, plus today’s Monday which meant Vamp Day. I groaned again as I entered the bathroom and began to get ready for school.
Every Monday, our local ETF police-the Eidolon Task Force -made unannounced visits to the homes of eidolon residents. They take blood samples from us and our human relatives, hence why we prefer to call them vamps. The official reason quoted was to “watch and prevent further spread of infection,” but it’s a way to keep eidola in line. You either ‘volunteered’ or risked being taken away for weeks or months at time and that depended on who performed the checkup.
Many vamps were okay and treated us eidolon folks well enough, others… not so much. A lot of times, people in authority aren’t responsible with the power given to them… but such is life. My mother gave birth to me and I do everything like a living person, yet I’m still treated as a monster.
A lot of times I’m embarrassed of who I am, of what I am, and I know I shouldn’t be. Every time a human eye looks at my discolored brown skin, I’m reminded I’m what they fear the most. I’m a mistake, a look-alike-of the human form who wasn’t the real thing. According to society, we eidola are disposable. To them I Darcy Mary Elizabeth Munroe am the monster that they see on TV shows, books, and films brought to life.
Finally dressed, I gazed at the mirror and sighed. Today I wore my favorite tattered Warhol Lewis “Bites Back” shirt over my short black and silver puffy Lolita dress with my black platform boots. Only my thick curly black hair needed to styling so I ran my comb through it and rolled it up into a bun with a silver band. I gave one more glance into the mirror and sighed, thinking to myself:
But if I’m a monster, why don’t I terrorize them the same way that they terrorize me on a daily basis? Why don’t I make inhuman noises as I walk? Why don’t I rip their flesh apart and eat them?
“Darcy, breakfast is ready!”
My mother’s voice jolted me from my thoughts. “I’ll be right there!” As I headed downstairs I thought to myself: Just because they say you’re a monster doesn’t make it so.
When I entered the kitchen, my Step-Dad Eric greeted me. He took a mug from the top cabinet above him and said, “Morning Darcy, how are you?”
“Fine.” I pulled out a chair and took my seat to eat. “Where’s Mom?”
Please ignore the shirt.
“She’s at the bus stop with the twins.” Eric nonchalantly poured coffee into his mug, his back turned towards me. Trying to keep him from noticing my shirt, I gulped down my food. “Are you ready for school?”
“Yup.” I sped ate what remained on my plate.
Don’t look at the shirt.
I didn’t want to argue. Mondays weren’t a good occasion for that. But on weekends I can leave the house for a while and return right before curfew starts. But I knew one was coming as soon as I placed my dirty dishes in the sink. I made feeble try to exit the kitchen and avoided eye contact with Eric who zeroed in on me. But before I could even step into the living room, he stopped me.
“Hold up Darce.”
I froze in my tracks.
“You’re not wearing that shirt.”
Hesitant, I turned halfway towards Eric. “Why?”
“You know why.” Eric didn’t approve of me wearing clothes made by Warhol Lewis. A renowned and controversial fashion designer and artist, Lewis got infected in an accident and became an eidolon reanimate. Nicknamed the ‘Ghost of Magneto’ for his views, Lewis wasn’t a purist. Unlike them, Lewis didn’t want eidola to use humans as a food source. Like purists, he wanted eidolons to use any method necessary to get our equal rights, including resorting to violence. I didn’t agree with everything Lewis did or said, but his words resonated with many of our kind and he became an influential ally.
When he was alive, my Dad-an eidolon reanimate-thought Lewis was a hero, while Eric didn’t. When he died, Daddy bequeathed many of his belongings to me, including the shirt I was wearing. As I grew up and heard my Dad’s beliefs, I adopted many of them, which didn’t sit well with my parents.
Turning to face Eric, I felt defensive as I spoke. “What’s the issue?”
Flabbergasted Eric answered, “It’s not something you should wear.”
“Why shouldn’t I-”
“Because he promotes violence.” Eric became frustrated as he tried to stay calm while I became even more annoyed. I looked towards the living room hoping for Mom to come in and end this.
“No, he doesn’t.”
“Yes, he does.”
“Can you understand that he speaks out how I’m treated?”
Eric sighed. “I’m trying to hon, honest. I’m worried for your safety and that of the twins… can’t you understand where I’m coming from on this?”
He always made it about himself, and his attempts to understand were half-assed, I was so sick of it. Getting angrier by the minute and determined to leave home wearing my shirt, I countered. “Yeah, I can see you’re more worried what your parents and the people who fear me think.”
Before our disagreement could continue, the front door slammed shut announcing Mom’s return. Relieved, Eric gestured at her, “I’m sure your mother will agree with me on this.”
Mom strolled into the kitchen wearing a yellow shirt with grey jogging pants, her black curly hair rolled into a bun. She got a mug from the cabinet above Eric. She looked frustrated as she did so, and didn’t notice the standoff between her husband and child.
“The bus driver was late again. Aside from traffic which rarely happens around here, he has no reason to be late.” Both Eric and I remained tense as Mom poured herself a cup of Joe and continued. “He’s got a problem with eidolon families. Every morning he says something snarky to the kids. I’m going to report him.”
Mom sorted through a stack of coupons as she sipped her coffee while the face-off remained at a standstill. “Are you ready Darcy? How bout I drive you ther-” Mom turned towards me, glanced at my shirt, and disapproval filled her face.
“I told her it’s inappropriate.”
Mom nodded her head in agreement at Eric’s comment, “You need to find something else to wear Darcy.”
I looked at my parents in shock and noticed Eric had his “I told you so” look planted on his face. It consisted of a smirk that proclaimed he was victorious. Of all the things, she sided with him on this wasn’t one of them. She knew how important Daddy’s belongings were to me. Eric had finally gotten to her.
“Why?” I persisted.
Concerned, Mom answered, “It’ll cause trouble and I don’t want you to get hurt.” She’s so bloody overprotective.
Angry and defiant, I shouted “I won’t get hurt, it’s a statement and I want to wear my shirt. I will wear it.” Eric didn’t take my reply too well as he’s so used to me accepting defeat.
Not today Satan, not today.
He shouted back, “You will not be disrespectful to your mother or me. You’re not going to school with that horrible shirt on and that’s final.”
Extremely pissed, I shouted back at my parents who were in pure shock at that point. “IT WAS…MY FATHER’S! YOU DON’T…UNDERSTAND ME! YOU DON’T WANT TO!