Endless Ages excerpt 2: The Becoming

Vampire: The Masquerade

This Halloween we’re celebrating Vampire: The Masquerade’s 25th anniversary with the Endless Ages fiction anthology, with stories covering every era from Vampire’s 1st Edition through to the 20th Anniversary Edition.

We continue our journey with a preview of “The Becoming” from author Nicole Givens Kurtz:

Vampire The Masquerade 1st edition

Grunge. Glitz. Gaming. All three came alive during the 90s, and as a new adult during that exciting time, became immersed in them. Nirvana articulated my alienation, Pearl Jam my pain, Alanis Morrissette expressed my rage, and vampires spoke my language, of blood and forbidden love, longing, and legacy. From these memories, Nanyanika’s story spilled out onto the page. Touched with nostalgia but rooted in those same emotions of alienation, pain, rage, and longing, “The Becoming,” attempts to capture all of what the 90s meant to me, and to others of that era.

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The ears appeared the morning after, a physical manifestation of an eve­ning of black outs, lost memories, and mental fuzziness. Sturdy, but soft, they almost cleared Nanyanika’s mass of thick, black curls.

She touched her earrings, stroked the lobes, her fingers inching up the ear. As she did so, they became more and more furry. With each glide of her fingers along the cartilage and fur, her horror mounted. She hadn’t imagined them! They were really there. Why couldn’t she remember why?

She groaned, and felt them. Definitely cat ears!

With a frustrated scream, Nanyanika crashed to the floor, her feet twisted in the blanket in her haste. The twin bed groaned in a laugh.

Determined to face the mirror and her new appearance, she snatched the covers clear and stood up. Once at the mirror, she pursed her lips, winced, and the touched the sharp edges of her fangs. Puffy and now bleeding, her lips had been injured. But how?

She couldn’t remember. The ears wiggled as she concentrated.

That’s a strange trick, she thought.

So much of last night lay just beyond her mental reach. She touched the corners of her mouth, avoiding her lips, and when she brought her hand away, her fingertips were covered with dark red flakes of dried, something.

Blood? Ketchup? Wine?

She pinched her arm and hopped around at the pain. “No, I’m definitely awake.”

The scent of copper, old sweat, and fur lingered on her clothing. Nanyan­ika stripped in frantic snatches of clothes. She had to get the scent, the stench

off, shoving aside the internal nausea the odors generated. Deep splatters of a similar red had dried all over her pants, stained her hands, and her wrists.

She was covered in it!

“Greta,” Nanyanika said to the pile of blankets that held her roommate. Now she remembered they gone out together.

“Greta!” She walked over to the bed and yanked off the blanket to dis­cover the bed empty.

Nanyanika stood with her arms akimbo.

They’d been together at the Underground, but she couldn’t even recall if they’d returned that way. With her roommate’s absence, she couldn’t ask her for details or clues.

Naniyankia returned to her mirror and tried to recapture the tattered frag­ments of last night. She put her hand over her heart, but nothing happened. No beat. No race.

She shut her eyes and concentrated. Her ears flickered at the muffled sounds emitting from the hallway and neighboring dorm room.

They felt funny when she touched them. Cartilage and fur, they captured more sound then her regular ears. The hell? How? They must be some prank. They didn’t feel like glue and cardboard. She tugged on the right one.

“Ow!”

Greta wouldn’t have glued them on. She knew how much Nanyanika loved her hair. Still, her ears burned from the tugging.

“Oh goddess!” What the hell has happened to her? Since her becoming, she hadn’t imagined this as a remotely possible side effect of being undead.

With a deep breath, she calmed her mind, and suddenly the images came fast, like a hot knife.

There was a security guard. The Atlanta Underground. The hairs on her neck stood up in alarm. Why did this single memory invoke that reaction?

Caitiff ankh

The Endless Ages Anthology is now available from DriveThruFiction!