My name is Jacky Dahlhaus and I live in the beautiful countryside of north-eastern Scotland. I was born in Australia and have lived in The Netherlands, England, and France before I called Scotland home. I love the change of seasons here, although I still don’t experience white Christmases.
I began writing in 2015. I dreamed about a girl bumping into a vampire and falling instantly in love. I told my dream to my children and they told me to write it down. I then didn’t leave my computer for a fortnight and wrote 55.000 words! ‘Living Like A Vampire’ is my first new adult novel, which was soon followed by ‘Raising A Vampire’ (which is under revision at the moment, but due to being republished in August). I decided to make it a trilogy, the Suckers Trilogy, and the third book, ‘Killing A Vampire,’ will be written soon. I hope to have it ready by Christmas. All three stories are set in Maine, US. I just love the countryside there and would love to visit it one day.
Morgan invited me to write a short story about characters of my books meeting up in a different setting. Although my books are the story of Kate, a young science teacher who gets wrapped up in an outbreak of a virus that makes people have vampire-like habits (and are hence called ‘suckers’), I chose to write my story about two supporting characters, Charlie and Sasha.
Charlie (who happens to be the spitting image of Peter Dinklage, aka Tyrion from Game of Thrones) used to be a silversmith before re-schooling to become an Arts teacher (that’s how he met Kate). In book 1, Sasha is introduced when she’s already a sucker, but before that she was a fashion model, trying to escape her past and suppressors. In this short story, Charlie meets Sasha at a fair before the virus outbreak, not knowing who the other person is and how much effect they will have on each other’s futures.
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Charlie meets Sasha for the first time
Charlie climbed on his chair and faced the crowd. His dwarf-legs dangled behind the market stall’s black velvet tablecloth. He had just finished laying out his silver jewelry and waited for the people to come and inspect his handy work. And hopefully, buy some.
The morning was very slow. The rain helped little to tempt people to attend the open-air fair. By lunchtime though, the sun had come out and the number of fair-goers had grown. There was now an even stream of people passing the stalls. Charlie even had had some customers. The money he had earned so far would at least pay for the stall. Anything he sold from now on would mean he could buy himself dinner.
“Pjotr, look! Come have a look at this jewelry,” said a voice with a thick Russian accent.
Charlie turned to see who the voice belonged to and saw a tall, slim figure. The hair was dark and short, the face flawless. He couldn’t tell whether it was a man or a woman. There was no make-up, no curved chest to see through the long, black jacket, and the voice also didn’t give anything away toward the sex of the figure. It mystified Charlie and he couldn’t keep his eyes from the face. It wasn’t a particularly pretty face, yet it had something that caught your attention he couldn’t put his finger on.
“This is beautiful stuff!” the person exclaimed, eyeing Charlie’s rings, earrings, necklaces, and belly buttons which were aesthetically displayed on his table.
Charlie thought the voice too low to be female yet the facial features too feminine to be male.
The man called Pjotr, who was tall, heavy-set, and wore a thick overcoat, followed the tall figure. They both elbowed their way to the center of the stall, but instead of looking at Charlie’s jewelry, Pjotr kept his body turned sideways and looked around into the crowd. He gave the impression he was trying to find someone, he was on the lookout for danger, or he’d rather be somewhere else. Charlie couldn’t make up his mind which one of the three it was.
“Pjotr, just look. I’ve got to try some of these on.”
The figure took three necklaces from the table. As Pjotr turned his head to look at the necklaces, Charlie saw a tattoo of a spider’s web sticking out from the man’s collar. A spider was trying to walk off the web into the man’s ear. Charlie now looked eagle-eyed at the two of them for any signs they were going to run off with his goods. You just never knew with customers these days. When Pjotr helped to put one of the necklaces around the figure’s neck, Charlie threw a quick glance sideways to the woman manning the stall next to him, pointing two fingers to the floor with his hand close to his side. The longhaired woman, Sylvia, sold leather ware and was a friend of Charlie. They often met at fairs selling their wares and, as they got along well, often organized to have their stalls next to each other. They would cover the other’s stall when the other had to go get lunch, use the toilet, or chase thieves. Sylvia nodded almost imperceptibly at Charlie.
“Do you have a mirror?” the figure asked.
“Sure,” said Charlie, and pointed at the hand mirror lying at the far corner of the table. The figure leaned over in front of other customers and grabbed the mirror. The arm stretching out from the sleeve was thin, almost underfed, and had dark, circular scars.
The figure admired the mirror image. “This would go well with the Fiorucci dress, don’t you think?” she said.
Charlie had figured it out. She was a fashion model. Hence the skinniness and the vague signs of femininity. He wondered who gave her the cigarette burns and how she covered them up during a show. The woman held the other ones up to admire in the mirror as well.
Charlie studied Pjotr for his reaction to the woman’s cries of ecstasy about the necklaces.The man didn’t seem to care less.
“You have a cigarette?” Charlie asked Pjotr.
The large man looked down upon the small man behind the table. Charlie didn’t waver his stare into the cold eyes of Pjotr.
“Sure do,” Pjotr said after a while and produced a packet of cigarettes from the inside pocket of his coat. Charlie wasn’t surprised Pjotr also had a thick Russian accent. He also didn’t fail to notice the holster stuck under the man’s armpit. “You need a light?” Pjotr asked.
“No, thanks,” Charlie said as he pocketed the cigarette.
“You’re not going to light it?” Pjotr asked with raised, heavy eyebrows.
Charlie patted his pocket. “Not in the presence of a customer,” he answered.
Pjotr shrugged and turned around again, as uninterested in the whole scene as before.
Charlie turned his attention back to the woman. “Which one are you going to buy?”
“I don’t know, they’re all so pretty,” she said. “I can’t make up my mind.”
Charlie smelled opportunity now. “I’ll tell you what,” he said. “You can have all three for the price of two.” He smiled an extra wide smile. ‘Better a small profit than no profit at all,’ he thought.
Charlie’s smile had been genuine. He felt sorry for the woman. She was being treated very badly by somebody. He wanted to show her that not all men were animals.
“Are you sure? That is wonderful! Thank you so very much!” the woman said. There was a smile on her face that not quite reached her eyes. She grabbed Pjotr’s hand and almost threw the two necklaces in it. “Pay him,” she said and walked off.
Without further ado, Pjotr took a wallet from his inside pocket and paid Charlie for the necklaces.
Charlie’s mouth had dropped open and was still open as he watched Pjotr follow the woman like a dog. How could he have been so wrong? He closed his mouth, squinted his eyes, and thought of another scenario. One that was much worse. He took out the cigarette from his pocket and crushed it. He let the remains fall on the ground and wiped his hand clean on his trousers. He had never smoked and wasn’t going to start now. ‘At least there’s one cigarette less to torture you with on command of your master,’ Charlie thought as he saw the woman disappear into the crowd.
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