Today's story takes us back to the Myth and Science Universe again. I know I've been a bit heavy on that universe lately. I promise we'll have at least three weeks before we have another one.
"Conflict of Instinct" is set a few decades after "Making the List" and a few kingdoms over in the Fae realm.
You don't have to have read any of the other stories set in the universe to understand what's happening though.
As always, you can also listen to the audio version here.
“He’s nothing but food,” I whispered. “Merely a human.”
You’d think working as a keeper at the preserve would be a dream, but it’s torture. Spending each day amongst humans, smelling the tang of their blood so close you can feel the heat of it radiating off of them, but being unable to strike is pure agony. You’d also think that would make becoming attached to any of them impossible, but again you’d be wrong.
Maybe it’s because we vampires are a parasitic race, no matter how much some want to deny the fact, but our very existence is tied to and dependent upon humanity. From our beginnings, we’ve depended upon their species not only as food but as our only means of reproduction, so it’s only logical our instincts regarding the species can become complicated and confused, especially in those of us who spend large amounts of time with them.
I’ve gone beyond the usual age for the first siring by a handful of decades, so I blame my biological clock for the mistake of getting attached.
My pen hovered over the paper. Olson’s marks were perfect, and there lay the problem. Master Ivan’s policies regarding human husbandry were absolute and built upon one universal truth all vampires understood. In humans, the genius and the profoundly stupid have one trait in common. They’re unpredictable, which makes them difficult to control. Ever since the founding of Ivan’s first human preserve, those few at either extreme were eaten young.
If I marked the test true to score, I’d never see Olson again. He’d be taken from the preserve and become someone’s dinner within the week.
It’s such a waste! He has a sweet temperament combined with a quick wit and a mind for science like none I’ve ever seen before. To think what one like him could do with a vampire’s gift for numbers and lengthened lifespan!
I dropped the pen and pushed away from the desk with a frustrated growl. Stalking out into the college’s abandoned hallways, I flexed and retracted my fangs several times.
The solution seemed so simple, but with the collapse of humanity, siring was outlawed. There were already too many mouths to feed and not enough humans to go around. Breaking that rule carried a sentence of death, not only for the sire but the fledgling as well.
“He’s just a human!” I mumbled aloud, but that contrary voice in the back of my mind argued, “So were you once.”
That right there is the problem with being a vampire. We feel superior to humans because they’re our food, but at the same time, we’re beholden to them because we’re born from them as well. This system can’t hold forever. Either way, both of our species are doomed.
The future stretched before me as realization hit. Countless centuries of teaching and evaluating intelligent cattle until I withered and died wasn’t appealing. Another possibility presented itself. It was far shorter and ended bloody, but oh the thrill of it while it lasted!
My fangs itched, and I flexed them before letting them retract once more as I sprinted for the dormitory.
Each story in this series is 700 words or less and is prompted by a first line taken either from a random first prompt like this one or reader suggestions like "Don't Forget Me" and "Culture Shock." I much prefer working from reader suggestions over generators, but to do that, I need to hear from you.
If you have a prompt you'd like to see done, comment below, send it to my Tumblr asks, Tweet it at me, or leave a comment on any of the audio stories from this series. I'll screen shot it, write it, and post it for you.
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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