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Excerpt from "Immortal Rogue"
By Jean Busatti
Copyright 1998 Jean Busatti
From an unpublished vampire Gothic novel, this excerpt opens with Devon, one of the Undead, who is eighteen years old. His father, the Count, takes him to a masquerade ball of vampires in an old palace in Venice, Italy. There, he meets a woman vampire in a princess mask and with a seductive body. Her eyes are wild and inviting. This is from the end of the chapter when dawn is eminent the the Undead must leave to return to the darkness. The lady, Zena, asks Devon a most important question. It takes place in the 16th century.


Three low chimes sounded. There was but a hushed murmur as the guests turned to look forlornly at the clock.
"My s...s... strong young man," Zena hissed. "It is a warning that dawn is coming. We mus...sst leave now to ensure time for the trip home."
Time had passed quickly. Devon wished that they had not arrived late. He rose from the couch and took her soft hand to help her up. She squeezed his hand and hugged him briefly. The curves of her body fit neatly against his muscular frame. She stared at him intently through the holes in the mask. Those eyes! He moaned again, feeling a flush of emotion.
"Will you uh... remove your mask?" he asked weakly. "I must see your beautiful face before I leave."
She hesitated, her eyes narrowing even through the slits. She moved restlessly and bumped one curvy hip playfully against his. "And will you come and see me Tuesday next when the moon is full, whether or not I remove the mask?" She twittered nervously in anticipation of his answer.
Devon paused. If he were to say yes, he would need to keep his word especially to one of his own kind. He looked at her, at the curve of the painted princess smile, and at her wild eyes.
"It is time to go," she whispered. "Will you come to visit Zena, mask or no mask?"
The Count was moving toward them. There was little time to consider the offer. It was unthinkable to say no. She must be quite beautiful, he thought. Yet... I may regret my decision. Why does she ask this of me? He stared hard at her as though he would see through the princess face. Her hands on her slim hips, Zena moved restlessly; she sighed seductively.
"Not much time! Will you do this for Zena?" she asked in a gravely half whisper, and ran long fingers up his arm.
"Yes," he whispered breathlessly.
It took what seemed like a mortal lifetime for her to remove the mask. His heart sank, and he stared at her true self in disbelief. Her nos was beak-like. She appeared older than he had imagined her. A lengthy scar drizzled down one side of her face and her mouth drooped a bit on the same side. In years past she had perhaps been a beauty. But her body was young and tempting, her voice and her touch were seductive. Her eyes were the most startling he had ever seen. His promise was upsetting, but still...
"You are sorry now," she said despondently. "Zena releases you from your promise. She but teased a vulnerable young vampire."
"Hardly," he murmured, surprised by his own reaction and he pulled her toward him even in view of the Count. "I cannot wait to see you."
She reached up to touch his face softly with one shapely hand. "Tuesday next," she whispered. "The Count knows where."
He watched her depart through the scarlet drapes. He joined his father who smiled knowingly.
"So you had a good time after all," he said to his son. "And you will see the lady Zenobia."
Devon flushed partially with the embarrassment of youth, partially with pride at his conquest. He strutted beside his father toward the scarlet hall. The lady was gone; he searched the sea of faces heading in the same direction. She was nowhere.
"She will be good for you. She will teach you many lessons, Devon."
They moved with the others past the flaming braziers and the sonorous chandelier pieces down the long foyer toward the main doors. Not a shadow moved along the wall.
"Are these all our people?" Devon was anxious to change the subject.
"Yes. Did you not know it by the clock that runs in reverse? While mortals foolishly lose hours clockwise, the Undead gain time in like amounts."
Outside the air was chill and the mist still hovered over the city. The sky was full of those who had already taken flight for the journey home. There was hardly a sound, only the soft fluttering of wings, as the Undead changed shape and zoomed up into the haze. Devon soared upward and glanced down through the vapor at the spires of St. Mark's Cathedral. He could not help but think that, for Venetians up early that sultry morning, the departure of the Undead would sound like the divine flapping of angels' wings.