Golden – Preview

 

I suppose the fact my two elder brothers were squashing me in the back seat was the real turning point in our lives, because they took up most of the room, forcing me close to the window. Not that there was much to see at one in the morning and if there hadn’t been a break in the clouds and there hadn’t been a half-moon to shine through them, then I probably wouldn’t have thought I’d seen what I did.

But perhaps a little history is in order first. It’s not that inspiring, but at least it’ll give you some idea about me and the family I was lucky enough to be a part of.

My name was David Miller, then just turned eighteen by a few days and the youngest of four children. When I was sixteen, Mum and Dad had told me quite frankly that I was actually a bit of a surprise, as Dad supposedly had a vasectomy after Mum fell pregnant with Robbie. However, they assured me that all efforts to lose me, sell me, or just plain give me away had failed dismally and they loved me very much.

Mum and Dad are both doctors - he was in general practice and she was a consulting radiologist. At that time, we had a large rambling place on a few acres in a small village in Essex. The house included Dad’s Surgery and Mum’s Rooms, so we were fortunate enough to be a family unit which didn’t need to break up every day.

My oldest brother Allan worked as Dad’s nurse and secretary. He’s ten years older than I am and the quiet type. He’d never shown the slightest inclination to want to leave home and branch out into a Brave New World, for which I think Dad at least was profoundly grateful.

Anna is the second oldest. She too seemed content to stay at home, but things weren’t always that way. A whirlwind romance with a librarian colleague about two years before, followed by a swift marriage and an even swifter divorce looked to have cured her of men forever. She and Mum got on famously and the house was always full of laughter.

Robbie was my special favourite, with his wicked, irrepressible sense of humour. He’s only about eleven months older than I am, so it’s not really surprising and at that time, he and I were theoretically the same age. He had a girlfriend, a nice lass called Sharon, but I didn’t think the relationship was particularly serious. They just seemed to enjoy each other’s company and as they tended to spend most of their time together with the rest of us, we were usually one up rather than one down.

And what of me? Fairly tall for just eighteen, so Dad said - though he and both my brothers always seemed to me to be a lot taller - and with the family standard brown hair and brown eyes. Robbie did sometimes refer to me as ‘The Handsome One’ - you could hear the capitals when he said it - and I had to admit to being reasonably satisfied as to how I was turning out.

Well … in all departments except one.

About six months before, I’d eventually screwed up the courage to ask Dad about it and he’d calmly instructed me to ‘drop my daks and he’d have a squiz’. He told me to stop worrying about it; that it was really quite big enough for my age and would probably grow a bit bigger later on. I remember hoping then he was right, as it was starting to get a bit embarrassing at certain times, particularly in the Uni gym after soccer, which though I enjoyed it, was definitely not going to be my passport to fame and riches. Neither for that matter was my chosen anthropology degree. I had just completed my first year and was anxiously awaiting the results.

Anyhow; that was then and so much has happened since, I can scarcely believe we are the same people who were driving home that winter’s night. I suppose in our various ways, we aren’t … but that’s getting ahead of things.

I saw something …

At least, I thought I did. It went past in a flicker as we sped across the Downs. I could have ignored it and then what? Our lives would certainly have been very different.

But I didn’t, did I …

 

‘Dad! … Stop the car!’

‘What? … Why?’

‘I thought I saw something on the road! Something big and black.’

‘Probably just a shadow,’ but he was already slowing down. ‘How far back, do you think?’ He half turned around to reverse.

‘Not far - about a hundred yards or so.’

Robbie and Allan were making grumbling noises about ‘wanting to get home to bed’ and Mum and Anna contributed their own similar opinions from the front seat. I didn’t care and sat with my face glued to the window until sure enough, we slowly backed up to what appeared to be a black plastic bundle lying on the opposite verge.

‘Oh Gawd!’ sighed Allan, ‘it’s just somebody’s rubbish!’

But it didn’t look like it to me.

When the car came to a stop, Robbie and I jumped out and raced across the road to examine my find. It was about six feet long or so and wound tightly from one end to the other with some sort of twine. We crouched down to inspect it more closely … and then it moaned!

Dad took charge at once of course and we ended up driving home at a speed he presumably took to be a compromise between careful and urgent. The three of us were now doubly wedged in the back, with our packaged guest lying as comfortably as possible across our knees and getting heavier by the minute, only naked hands and feet betraying the fact that we actually had a person in our laps.

Robbie and I wanted to try and remove the twine which had obviously been tied with the intention of eliminating even the remotest possibility of escape, but Dad firmly forbad any attempt until we got home and into ‘a controlled environment’, as he put it. Anyhow, we had no knives or scissors with us and the stuff had been repeatedly twisted and knotted, resembling a fishing-net more than anything else; even when we did have a knife, it was going to take some removing.

We scrambled our ‘patient’, as Dad was already calling the bundle, into the surgery and Anna and Mum went off to make tea while Dad and Allan concentrated on the task of cutting off the mesh. Dad hadn’t exactly told Robbie and me to go away, so we stayed and watched. I must admit I was both anxious and excited at the same time. What on earth had I found? Images and fantasies raced through my head as the bindings slowly fell away.

Mum and Anna returned with the tea which Robbie and I accepted, but Dad and Allan were intent on releasing the patient without doing any further damage and I don’t think they even noticed.

The black plastic now didn’t appear to be plastic at all, but more like a padded, charcoal-coloured, textured … rubbery leathery stuff. I had no idea what it actually was, but it formed a sort of suit which fitted our guest from the top of the head to the wrists and on down to the ankles, like a washed-out version of Spiderman. Even the eyes and rest of the face were covered, though of course the hands and feet were visible … and from the bulge in the genital area, we now at least knew for absolutely certain what sex the patient was going to be if nothing else. Dad looked up at us with the scalpel poised and gave us one of his stares, while Allan told us to ‘grow up and stop sniggering!’

The suit didn’t show any signs of blood coming through it which no doubt relieved Dad and Allan a great deal, what with Aids and Hep C and so on, but there still could have been some inside so they were understandably cautious.

When at last they’d undone all the string, the guy just lay there, his breathing rapid and shallow while Dad and Allan searched in vain for some way of removing the suit. They couldn’t find any zippers, pop-studs, buttons whatever, until Allan finally pointed out a faint, branching seam running from the top of the head, right down the middle of the body and on down both arms and legs, and suggested it might be some sort of Velcro-type closure.

It was, but they had a hell of time opening it.

Eventually they managed to prise the edges apart in the chest region and once separated, the whole thing suddenly unzipped all by itself and literally fell off the guy.

And oh boy … what a sight he was!

Mum couldn’t help herself. She took one glance at the patient’s sexual equipment and said, ‘Ouch!’ The rest of us were just standing there stunned, I think. This fellow was seriously big!

After the initial ‘Shock of the Uncoiling’ as Robbie later termed it, I began to take in the rest of him. He was around my height and appeared to be about twenty or so, with short, spiky, light blond hair. His chest was deep and broad and he had extremely wide, but sinewy shoulders. He didn’t appear to have any fat on him at all and though he was very well muscled, he was lithe and lean and not at all bulky. His waist was almost impossibly narrow for a man and his hips were not that much wider, though the same long, lean muscles that made up his chest and arms, heavily packed his thighs and calves.

And then of course there was Godzilla, (Robbie again), and his two lemon-sized friends. I realise I’m dwelling on them a bit, but … well, you had to be there.

Dad and Allan meanwhile were tut-tutting and examining away and I realised that whoever he was, someone had beaten him up pretty badly. I half-listened as they muttered quietly to each other, cocking my head to one side to get a better view of him. I found myself critically examining his face and quickly decided that despite his current battered condition, he would prove to be a hell of lot better-looking than I was, once he recovered.

If indeed he did …

I noticed something else too, which I was going to point out but then for some reason decided not to, probably because it was so obvious once you’d noticed it - apart from the hair on his head and his eyebrows, he appeared to be hairless from top to toe.

‘Looks like he’s got a clean break in the right leg,’ said Allan, palpating carefully, ‘but I can’t see anything else.’

 ‘No punctures or abrasions that I can find.’ Dad looked up from examining an armpit. ‘How’s his pulse?’

‘105 and thready.’

‘Hmm,’ said Dad, thoughtfully, ‘… some x-rays, I think.’

And that was when he opened his eyes.

Everybody froze for a second and there wasn’t a sound until Anna’s mug shattered on the tiles, breaking the spell. I’d seen green eyes before; the sort of turquoisy colour that isn’t quite blue but isn’t a proper green either. Not these. These eyes were pure green; not the malachite, dark, glossy type either, but like young leaves or cut limes; bright, sparkling and really big.

‘No … x-ray … please.’ He was gasping and obviously in pain, but again he insisted, ‘no … x-ray … no hospital …rest … please.’

He was almost begging and Dad reluctantly assured him gently that there would be ‘no x-rays or hospitals’, whereupon he closed his eyes again and seemed to relax a little. Dad and Allan discussed what to do, as the patient had clearly refused further aid, while I helped Anna clear up and dispose of the remains of her tea.

When we returned, Robbie and Mum had joined the discussion, everyone agreeing we had no choice but to notify the Police. Not that we had a lot to tell them, as a search of our friend’s suit had produced no pockets and he appeared to have no personal possessions or identification of any kind.

Apart from the broken leg, which Dad and Allan had already realigned and splinted, there appeared to be only the widespread heavy bruising. However, I knew the possibility of internal injuries was worrying Dad, who said he’d have to do more tests in the morning, but meanwhile, we’d let him rest as he wished. Mum then pointed out quite reasonably that we had found him trussed up on a road, waiting to be squished by anonymous traffic and he might well be dangerous, so we agreed to keep him locked up until we knew a bit more about him. Unfortunately for me, the only bedroom in the house that still had a locatable key was mine, so the new occupant was stretchered upstairs and tucked up in my bed, while I was consigned to the smaller junk-filled spare room.

By the time I got back downstairs, Mum and Anna had gone to bed as well and Dad was on the ’phone to the local law. We’ve only got one Bobby stationed in the village and Dad assured him we had matters under control; besides, he said, there wasn’t much that could be done at half past two in the morning, so he’d call into the station later to complete formalities.

Robbie, Allan and I reluctantly agreed to take shifts sitting with the patient and I offered to take the first - he was in my room after all. My brothers thankfully concurred, after which they and Dad stretched and yawned their various ways to bed. I went back to my bedroom to find my charge still asleep, so I settled into the armchair to sit out my watch.

 

I fully intended to stay awake and almost made it, but early in the morning, the patient’s weak cries roused me from a doze. The time was about 6.30, but when I went to open the curtains to get a better look at him, he screamed thinly.

‘Please! No light! … Dark … No light!’

I crouched down by the bed and asked him if he was okay.

‘Please, phone father … Germany … I think I am going to die …’

I got a bit alarmed at that and when he gave me the number, I said I’d better call Dad but he begged me not to.

‘No! Please … nobody … just father…’ His voice was weak and he sounded very frightened.

‘Okay. I’ll … go and ring then,’ and he nodded weakly and flopped back onto the pillow.

I knew I should have woken Dad up and asked his advice, because I was a bit afraid the guy might have internal injuries after all and if he died because I’d done the wrong thing, Dad would forgive me eventually but I sure wouldn’t! Something stopped me though; maybe the frantic insistence that I didn’t tell anyone else convinced me, I don’t know.

So what I actually did was obey his instructions and call the number in Germany. The phone rang for so long, I began to worry I wasn’t going to get an answer that early, but eventually I heard a click, followed by a deep male voice with a thick German accent.

‘Neustein?’

‘Please, do you speak English?’ My school German wasn’t bad, but nowhere near good enough for this conversation.

‘Yes. Who do you wish?’

‘I want to speak to …’

Oh great! … I didn’t even know his name!

I recounted our adventures to the voice as succinctly as I could and despite some obvious excitement going on in the background, he listened without a word until I got to the bit about our guest’s thinking he was dying and asking me to phone his father.

‘His name is Karl. His father is unavailable at this time but you may be sure that I have his full confidence. Please tell Karl that Heinrich will have all under control, and … this is important. Tell him he may reveal, but to you only. Do you understand?’

‘Um … no, not exactly. But I’m to tell Karl that Heinrich is in control and he can reveal, but only to me.’ I was getting more mystified by the second.

‘Correct. What is your address please?’ I gave it and the phone number when he asked for that too.

‘Please return to Karl … what is your name?’

I told him and sensed him hesitate.

‘Much may be required of you, David Miller,’ he said. ‘You have our deepest gratitude for your help … I hope you can find the strength within you to do what Karl may ask.’

‘I … okay.’ His words had made me rather nervous. ‘I’ll go back to him then.’

‘Very good,’ and he rang off abruptly.

I hurried back upstairs to find my patient still alive and breathing, though with some difficulty. I shook his shoulder gently to rouse him and he slowly opened those amazing eyes as I sat gingerly on the edge of the bed.

‘Karl, I’ve spoken to Heinrich. He says to tell you he has everything under control.’

He swallowed and nodded slightly.

‘He also said … you can reveal, but only to me.’ I shrugged apologetically as Karl’s eyes widened. ‘I don’t know what he meant, but that’s what he said.’

‘He … said I can reveal?’

‘Yes, but only to me … I think …’

He said nothing for a while, then he turned his head to gaze into my eyes.

‘Please … what is your name?’

‘David; David Miller.’

He seemed astonished by the ‘Miller’.

‘My name is Karl Mueller.’ He gave a tired little smile as I registered the similarity. ‘David, I must tell you some things.’

‘Heinrich said you would probably ask me for something; to do something?’

He lay back on the pillow and closed his eyes.

‘David …’ He pronounced it as if it was spelt ‘Dayfid’, which I rather liked. ‘… What do you think about me?’

Okay … I’d never willingly lied to anyone in my whole short life and I wasn’t going to start now.

 

~

 

Golden - available in book or download format - Who … or what had David found? What was the ancient legend all about, and exactly who was trying to kill Karl? Buy Golden, and meet a very different kind of vampire … do you think you could survive ‘the Change’?

 

 

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