If waking came as a jolt of life for a vampire, it appeared to Imani as a rush of bodiless voices. They all whispered in her mind: A low series of frequencies that she couldn’t turn off. The all bombarded her at once when she woke; there was no help for it. The loud voices made her ears pound and caused a dull ache to work its way into the back of her head. It helped to pick out the loudest one, unfortunately. This night; it belonged to her next-door neighbor, who was busy with his girlfriend. After she isolated those other waves of thought, Imani threw up mental shields so strong that it blocked out everything.: even the zealous thoughts of lovers. Silence fell down around her. Momentarily, she sat in her big, warm bed, bathing in the feeling of complete and utter calm. It was moments like these that she cherished. When one worked in a kiss of vampires, it was a rare moment indeed to encounter peace, especially if you were a psychic. It was awkward enough knowing that every coworker you had would like nothing more than to gobble you up like a Saturday night snack, but it was entirely different knowing exactly how they’d like to partake of your innards.
The young woman still lazed in bed, curled up in a feeble attempt to keep the warmth of the day in. The previous night had seen her up late into the day trying to finalize plans for the upcoming Summit. There was a heat surrounding this Summit that had been missing from previous ones. Imani couldn’t help but imagine it ending in a flash of fang and a spurt of blood. Tension locked the limbs of her immortal coworkers as they flowed through Hells Gate, as if they knew something that she did not. This, of course was unlikely. Even without her ability, Imani’s place within the kiss was enough to give her insight into the inner workings. This was often times the cause of jealousy in the kiss. And it was only the Queens grace that gave her security from many of the vampires that had a violent thought against her. It wasn’t as if she blamed them: It was in their nature to be violent, and Imani couldn’t very well condemn them for having an appetite.
When she finally got out of bed, Imani shivered against the sudden invasion of night air. She couldn’t control the exhaustion, but for now it would behoove her to push it to the back of her mind. If all went well, the burden that was the White King would be extinguished only mere moments after he set foot into the Summit. Then her Queen would be free of the nuisance and the annoyance that was the silly king and his entourage. As she stretched, Imani winced at the pain from the stiffness in the limbs. Sleep had not been kind to her, she’d been plagued by odd nightmares and the feeling of leaving something unfinished.
Soft thuds resounded off of the walls of her apartment as she made her way toward the bathroom. It was lavish, but nothing too pretentious. As she rushed off to shower and prepare for the nights work, Imani went over everything she had gotten done the night before. Expense reports were checked and filed, the Summit information was all but finalized. She’d gone over payroll concepts, made sure that all the taxes were finalized. Of all the things to forget, it was lucky that Imani had chosen one that was simple to fix. A clothing order had been put in for the kiss’ resident Amazon. The woman was more than daft when it came to choosing clothes that fit this century’s style, and even more annoyed at the fits and cuts that were readily available. Thus, Imani had set her up with a team of designers and the like, and they’d been making her wardrobe for a while now. Every few months or so, a new order would be put in to cater to the Amazon’s changing taste. The young French woman was always the epitome of punctuality, but the latest order had eluded her.
It would be simple enough to run down to the designers loft before she headed to the ferry for work. With that problem sorted out, Imani settled in for a shower. The woman was tall, with wispy bands of muscle in her legs, and just the lightest definition in her arms. With skin the color of chocolate, her African descent was evident; she had a dark, thick tumble of dark brown hair, framing a face that held innocent eyes, and full lips. Nearly every female in her family had the same intensely bright brown eyes. Piercing, was the word that most people used to describe them: As if they could see more than what was on the outside. It was the inherited gift that had attracted the immortal ones to them. Back when the world was much simpler, vampires had held a keener sense for their human counterparts, thus allowing them to pay more attention. This attitude was the reason why no more than a select handful of immortals knew of her ability: The rest simply dismissed her as a pet the Queen kept around.
Imani remembered that first time she’d laid eyes on her Lady Sovereign. At the age of thirteen, she knew well about the dark world that lurked beneath the shadows. In fact she had met a vampire or two but none that required the pomp and circumstance that the Queen demanded. Needless to say, it had been admiration at first sight. Strength literally poured from the Queens being. And when the woman spoke it was with an authority and wisdom that she had no choice but to pay attention to.
It was a short walk from her apartment to the designer’s loft. The woman was dressed smartly in a black dress, with a pair a thick sweater tights, and a tall, yet sensible pair of Christian Louboutin high heels. Lacquered onto the soles of the shoe was the signature ruby red paint. Now Imani was far from a plain-Jane, but she preferred to keep the attention she got to a minimum. Other humans at the kiss went through great lengths to impress the vampires: Some days the office was as much as a fashion show as it was a career. Long, shapely legs stepped lightly into a little shop a few blocks from her apartment. The head designer all but tackled the woman when she walked through the door.
” Imani, belle, comment ętes-vous? Ętes-vous ici pour prendre votre commande?”
”Qui,” she replied in quick French, at the same time she reached into her purse for her checkbook. However, before she could even sort through all the contents of her bag, the designer impatiently slapped a neatly wrapped box into her hands.
”Oh, you silly girl. You’ve got the house account, qui? Besides, all the business you give me, I can stand to give you a little something on the house.”
With no time to spare for chatting, Imani thanked the designer and left. Since she hardly ever spent time away from Hell’s Gate, Imani liked to walk in the city whenever she got the chance. If she were in a rush, there were a plethora of car services available for her use, at the expense of the kiss. But really, why bother with the traffic?
The trip to the ferry and to the entrance of Hells Gate was nothing spectacular. One or two vampires from the kiss noticed her and gave her very little regard. The superiority complexes of some vampires astounded her. The ones that choose to dismiss Imani were usually the fledglings, finding more power in their new life than what was actually warranted. The one flaw she had ever found in vampires was that they seemed to forget that they were human once. Hatred toward something that you had been was utterly foolish: It was lucky that it wasn’t a trend. Some vampires held nothing but pity for humans, other wanted to coddle them like beloved pets. Still, Imani didn’t hold anything but fondness for the most important members of the kiss. They had been kind to her family: Even when the rest of the world was intolerant.
As she walked through the main entrance to Hells Gate, Imani paused only to brush invisible lint from her dress, retouch her lipstick, and brush a few stray speckles of blush from her cheeks. Once she was primped and ready, the woman marched confidently though the kiss to her mistresses’ office. Imani rounded the corner that lead to the Queens office, she came to a sudden halt as she spied Alkaia standing before the door: The very vampire that she had fetched the parcel for. With a kind smile, and a polite nod of her head, she greeted the statuesque vampiress. Over the years, the two had become quite close. With Alkaia being quite confused with the changing world, it was Imani’s job to help her to adapt.
”Good evening, Alkaia. I have the clothing you ordered. Do forgive me for its lateness: I got caught up in preparing for the Summit.” With an apologetic smile, she relinquished the package to its rightful owner. There. One thing to check off the list of today’s things to do. Of course there was the meeting with the Queen to get through. Hopefully today there wouldn’t be anything to rile her into a fit of rage. Ah, Imani hoped that all would remain peaceful.
Translation: "How are you? Have you come to pick up your order?"
This is an excerpt from a vampire novel I was attempting to write with someone, any feedback is appreciated! Please and thank you.