Maelstrom – A Look Back at My Writing

I’ve decided that this week I’m going to return to a piece I wrote around 2011. During 2010 I had a lot of spare time because I had open contempt for my VET IT course (It wasn’t what I expected and in terms of knowledge base it was either too basic or too advanced). Anyway, during that time I wrote a work of fiction that in some way a response to Twilight. It began life as a script but quickly morphed into a novella length story and at 30,000 words is still the longest thing I have written. I finished the work in 2011 and rather enjoyed it. However, on reflection, the main goal of the text (to satirise the Twilight scenario by making the Edward character intensely unlikeable by every metric) somewhat failed whereas the interesting plot threads still hang on to me to this day. There were many subplots that rather interested me and might be worth returning to. So, without further ado, here are the two pieces of writing separated by five years.

Original Piece circa 2011

Alyssa sat under the single white bulb hanging from the ceiling. Her arms were tied tightly behind her back. Alyssa blew her red dyed fringe out of her face. The rest of her short black hair fell around her face. Her fringe always annoyed her. She was wearing a white singlet and her suit pants. In the distance, a shadow flitted in and out of view circling her. She looked straight ahead and paid little attention to the shadow.

“Come on Alyssa. It’s no fun if you don’t play along” said a smug voice from the shadows. It was deep and smooth. She knew the voice well. It has tricked and seduced her many times before.

“Did you really think that after all this time I would still fear you Maelstrom? I don’t think so” she said calmly. Maelstrom didn’t frighten her these days. He was cocky and clever but he was still human, sort of.

Maelstrom stepped into the light revealing his pale complexion and blue striking eyes. Eyes that, like his name, threatened to suck you and not let go until you were in pieces. He laughed a deep throaty laugh. At that point, the light hit his elongated canines and all illusion was shattered. Maelstrom was a vampire pure and simple, he told it differently but that’s what he was. Fangs, black Edwardian attire, long jet-black hair, pale complexion. He was a vampire through and through. Before she knew it his hands were on her neck caressing it slowly as one would when about to make love. He pressed his fangs gently against her pulsing veins. He breathed heavily on her neck and when she was about to give in and kiss him he pulled away. He laughed his deep laugh again.

“You humans are so easy to manipulate. I could smell your pheromones a mile off. I know you want me. Every inch of your body is telling me you do. You just can’t accept it” he said, almost laughing with each word. He strutted like the battle was all over and he had won. He sort of had.

Alyssa had charged into his home with her stake gun at the ready. She moved slowly into the bedroom where Maelstrom slept. The sun was just setting so Maelstrom wouldn’t have been up for hours. But he was. She shot the lumps in the blanket and they exploded in a flutter of feathers. Before she had time to think Maelstrom’s hand was around her mouth and she blacked out. Then she found herself here. Wearing nothing but her singlet and her suit pants. Bastard. He probably enjoyed stripping her down to her singlet and pants. Her pendant hung around her neck. It was the symbol of every Watcher. The Watcher’s were practically vampire slayers. The symbol was Omega. The Greek symbol for W and a sign that came to mean the end. It hung around her swinging as she moved uncomfortably in her chair. The cave stretched on for miles around them with all sorts of stone pillars littered around the large cavern they were in. Alyssa had no idea where the tunnels led but she knew they led outside because she could see moonlight pouring through them.

“You should probably just give up now. Escape is almost impossible” Maelstrom taunted, throwing his head back cockily.

“Almost impossible? So you doubt yourself Maelstrom?” Alyssa responded, almost teasing her escape plan out of him.

“No doubt. Just wise. Never deal in absolutes because you’re bound to be proven wrong eventually” Maelstrom admitted.

“So you’re not keeping me her forever?” she asked, legitimately afraid now.

“No, that would never work. I’m just waiting till your apprentice tries to rescue you” he said with a strange whisper of conniving behind his usual cocky tone.

“You leave Apollo out of this!” Alyssa spat at him.

He made a sound that was somewhere between a whistle and a grunt.

“Touched a nerve there did I? Don’t worry I won’t kill the boy, at least not in the way you view death,then” he told her.

Then he laughed. The laugh was different now. It boomed around the cave that they now found themselves in. She looked around. The stone was illuminated in a dull blue light that threw half the room into light. The other half into shadow. Maelstrom moved swiftly through the light and darkness.

“What do you want with him?” she asked, more interest than worried now.

“The boy is interesting. Little life experience but plenty of fighting experience. A blank canvas really. What do you say we give him a little paint?” Maelstrom said again, laughing when he finished.

Maelstrom was pacing now. Losing all grace. She looked at him in a new light. He looked afraid. He’d never looked afraid before. Not even on the day when he left her for dead two years ago.

“You’re thinking about me again. About what happened between us that night” he told her matter-of-factually.

His normally blue eyes flashed purple and went back to their steely blue. His purple eyes were a sign of his power over the mind. He flashed some images into her head. It was her parents. They looked happy. Then she saw a shadow behind them. Then Maelstrom was behind her mother with his teeth around her neck. Then he was at her father’s throat. Then the two of them started growing fangs. She blocked it out.

“That didn’t happen!” Alyssa shouted at him.

Suddenly, there was a noise upstairs. Men came charging down the stairs. Omegas on their lapels. At the head were two agents a few years older than herself, 23 maybe. After them was Apollo Wright her apprentice or Watcher-in-Training. He was 16. Apollo had blond bleached hair that he kept sticking up. It was messy, but it was crafted messy. Behind them were two more agents. The oldest at 30 approximately. The first two shot at Maelstrom half a dozen times with their stake guns. He staggered a bit and looked like he was about to fall over. Apollo rushed to her and untied the rope that was holding her. She couldn’t see Maelstrom. Suddenly in a blur, Apollo was knocked to the ground. Maelstrom had knocked Apollo to the ground and was going for his neck. Maelstrom’s fangs were out and his nails had grown to a fine point. Apollo batted Maelstrom off but was holding off against him too well. Maelstrom had about a dozen stakes in his chest. Alyssa lunged at Maelstrom and ripped him off Apollo. She took him and they ran up the old steel stairs that creaked worryingly as they walked. The other four agents pinned Maelstrom against a rock with steel stakes before making their exit. Alyssa made her way to the exit of the massive house. She looked at Apollo.

“I’ll kill that bastard!” he swore.

“Apollo relax, you can’t kill a vampire. That’s the first thing they teach us in training. Remember that. All you can do is restrain them” she told him like an old wizened school teacher.

“I will Alyssa. If he ever tries anything like that again” he cursed again.

“He won’t. Maelstrom’s cocky but he’s not stupid. He was seeing how the Watchers would react if he took me and clearly he underestimated us” she told him.

“For both our sakes I hope you’re right” he answered.

 

Current piece – 23/11/2016

 

“You’re drunk,” Jet said bluntly, pouring water over Maelstrom’s limp body.

The room was cloaked in shadow. Black sheets hung on every window with barely enough light passing through to give one more than just a sense of the room. Maelstrom was laid out blood red chaise lounge. The first batch of water had done nothing. Jet went to the kitchen, poured more water and splashed Maelstrom again. The pale figure jolted up, his dark hair flopping around his face. He looked bewildered. Like a cat moved from its favourite position.

“I only had a few drinks last night. One pint, two max.” Maelstrom said defensively.

Jet looked to the pale corpse on the ground. Black lace dress and pure black hair. Not the first girl Maelstrom had brought back to the lair who had looked like this.

“You’ve drained the poor girl, Maelstrom” Jet chastised.

The young girl was bone white and seemed to have all her blood drained. As Jet suspected, Maelstrom had drained her entirely. Six pints of blood was sure to make even the strongest vampire act like a drunken child. Maelstrom was hundreds of years old, yet his blood hunts had been growing more drastic of late. Jet had even heard that the local police had their top detective on Maelstrom’s case. Didn’t help that Maelstrom had a modus operandi. Cute girl, long black hair, teeth marks in the neck. Maelstrom rose from the chaise and lithely stepped through the open doors of their well-to-do house and towards the kitchen sink. Maelstrom threw up in the sink, some of the regurgitated blood trickling down his face. Jet then noticed that Maelstrom’s black attire had dried blood spots all over. He had not cleaned it in weeks apparently.

“You’re disgusting, Maelstrom. You haven’t cleaned yourself up in weeks. You keep dragging home these lily-white girls with long black hair. You’ve developed a type.” Jet lectured.

Maelstrom shot Jet a dirty look but didn’t utter a word. Perhaps a silent admittance of guilt. Maelstrom wiped the blood from his mouth with his coat sleeve. Maelstrom wandered back to the lounge and collapsed. Jet walked back to the lounge and stood over him.

“Do you mind? I’m wallowing” Maelstrom groaned.

“You’re pathetic. I can’t believe I once respected you. The great Maelstrom! Destroyer of armies! They named you for a storm, and now you sit and sulk. All because of that girl. The great Maelstrom thwarted by a woman! Our dear Alyssa!” Jet roared.

Maelstrom’s eyes opened at the sound of his old love’s name. His usually grey eyes began to burn red. He lunged at Jet, reaching for his throat. Maelstrom used his other hand to scratch at Jet’s face with his extended claws. Maelstrom cut deep across Jet’s cheek leaving a deep cut. The only thing that could scar a vampire is another supernatural creature. Maelstrom pinned Jet to a nearby wall. He spoke in a voice that echoed and crackled as if coming from the darkest places of the earth.

“Don’t presume to know my feelings Jethro! That’s right, I remember your name. Time has erased my name but yours remains. You chose Jet because you used to be a fighter pilot. Little did you know how apt the name would be. Jet, thrall to Maelstrom. A spurt of water against a raging storm.” Maelstrom raged.

All of a sudden, Jet silenced Maelstrom with a shush.

“Did you hear that?” Jet asked.

Maelstrom listened. The sound of cars pulling up. The calm smoothness of engines that could only be those of the rich or the government backed. The thud of car doors, heavy, like SUVs. The crunch of business shoes on the gravel of the walkway.

“Watchers” Maelstrom breathed with contempt. “Take the girl into the caverns. I’ll hold off the suits.”

Jet leapt into action, grabbing the body of the girl from last night and running lightly down the hall to the door for the basement. He entered the code for the re-enforced security door. 2802. The date Alyssa left Maelstrom. Sentimental bastard. Jet ran into the basement, typical but antiquated. He ran across the room and into the elevator. The elevator looked one hundred years old. Jet threw the corpse into the elevator and began the slow descent to the caverns below.

 

Maelstrom waited in the corner of the room. He used the shadows to his advantage, bending them to his whim to give the appearance of bat wings around his arms. He used the shadows to turn off the lights to use the environment to his advantage. The suits knocked on the door. No response. They waited. Had to have a reason for entering after all. Then they burst down the door. Maelstrom saw their silver W tie pins, representing their organisation, the Watchers. The silver was supposed to be the last defence for each soldier in their private army. Too bad silver didn’t work against vampires. Any stories of that kind were probably just luck on someone’s part or lies by an already existing vampire.

The agents spotted Maelstrom. He charged at the first. Young, barely 21. He scrapped the boy’s chest lightly as a warning. He disappeared into shadow and reappeared behind another agent. He bit into the agent’s neck, ripping out the jugular vein. The agent fell convulsing on the floor, his blood staining the Persian rug. Maelstrom lamented the stains on the rug and the tragic waste of blood before clawing the face of the next agent into an unrecognisable mess. That was the last of the front door suits. Maelstrom approached the young agent he had scratched. The child was raising his gun to Maelstrom. The Watchers were equipped with guns that shot metal stakes rather than bullets. The child agent fired at Maelstrom in the knee as he backed away. Pain shot through Maelstrom, then anger.

“I spared you, boy. Don’t make me regret that” Maelstrom warned.

“I know who you are Maelstrom, I …” the boy sputtered.

“Congratulations, you and every other Watcher in this back-water country. You don’t get to do what I do without getting some recognition” Maelstrom bragged.

“I mean more than that. I’ve heard about your personal life. Someone has been talking about what a simpering fool you are when confronted by a pretty woman. I trust you know Alyssa” the boy taunted.

Maelstrom grabbed the boy by his new finely pressed suit.

“Where did you hear that name!”

Then he heard a new sound. A helicopter, just above him. Must have rushed in and arrived just behind the convoy. He heard ropes. Boots landing on the roof. Someone fiddling with something made of cloth, plastic, and metal. Explosives. Maelstrom used the shadows to throw himself away from the exploding roof, carrying the young agent with him. The bomb blew a hole in Maelstrom’s roof and men in SWAT uniforms descended from the ceiling, the silver W of the Watchers emblazoned on their chest plates. They began firing assault rifles. Thousands of tiny shards of metal flew at Maelstrom, nailing his arms and legs to the wall behind him, damaging his ancient tapestries. Then one SWAT member took a step forward and fired particularly maliciously into his chest and recovering the boy agent from his grasp. Another SWAT member then spoke into his comm.

“Target restrained. You’re cleared for entry, sir.”

Then a figure descended from the ropes on the roof and walked up to Maelstrom. The man’s face was old and bulbous, pocked with scars. He was a plump gentleman and wore a suit made of fine silks. He had a greying moustache, several hairs growing over onto his lip. His grey hair slicked back. Maelstrom knew this man. Hector Howard, head of the Watcher’s Australian division.

“Hello Maelstrom,” Hector said.

“Hello, Hector. How are those scars I gave you?” Maelstrom taunted.

“Completely healed. You should have dug deeper.” Hector rebutted. “I want you to meet a mutual acquaintance of ours”

He indicated to the particularly vicious SWAT member who then removed their mask. The first thing Maelstrom noted was the hair. Short, and bright red. Cut and dyed in open rebellion. Then he looked at her face. It was her. His Alyssa. His Alyssa had abandoned him for the Watchers. He couldn’t decide what was more painful. His body riddled with stakes, or the betrayal.

“Hello Maelstrom” she greeted, with cool contempt.

“I assume you have a reason for trashing my home. Hector and I have an agreement in place. That’s why I chose Australia as my home. The Watchers here are partial to some form of exchange.” Maelstrom stated coolly.

“You have failed to turn over any vampires in the past twelve months. Our deal may expire if you don’t surrender one of your kind to us in the next two weeks.” Hector explained.

“Has it been that long?” Maelstrom asked.

“Yes, Maelstrom. Paris was over a year ago.” Alyssa told him, before firing a stake right into his brain.

Maelstrom blacked out.

 

Maelstrom awoke to find his home in ruins. Watcher corpses littered the living room, charred. Jet stood above him. He examined the corpses. Only grunts. No Hector. No Alyssa.

“Scorched Earth protocol, sir. Just like you instructed” Jet said.

“Well done Jet. You did well. Hector escaped though.” Maelstrom noted.

“Yeah, saw him escaping with …” Jet stopped.

“Alyssa. I saw her. Who do you think put a stake between my eyes?” he told Jet.

“Ouch.”

“Let’s move, Jet. Eddie Skye will fix me up with a new den. I’m thinking high rise apartment this time.” Maelstrom explained. “Eddie owes me a few favours. We’ll head to the Mosquito tonight”

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