DARK PRINCE is a gay romance/political thriller set primarily in the US. It is mainstream with gay primary characters. It is not erotica. If you want the erotic version, dig through the Nifty archives for CONFESSIONS OF A VAMPIRE. DARK PRINCE is an extensive rewrite of that (unfortunately, with the setting overrun by reality, I have to rewrite it again, extensively).
DARK PRINCE is fiction. It's copyrighted to me and I permit only Nifty to release it and only electronically. If you are under 16 -- 18 in America -- DA is pretty tame sex-wise. Your preacher will condemn you to Hell for reading it, though -- which will probably set your mum off. Besides, you aren't even supposed to visit Nifty. Perhaps you should go...
If you like this chapter and look forward to reading more, perhaps you can give Nifty a few dollars on your credit card to keep this free service.
I stress again that the following story is in main part a political thriller. It's in the same genre as THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, 7 DAYS IN MAY, and THE DAY OF THE CONDOR are. There are few Bush government's programmes mentioned and few negatives shown except the US economy ruined by 8 years of voodoo economics.
I would appreciate your comments and suggestions, good or bad, at Vichowel (just one L) at aol.com. If you like PRINCE, I'd like to refer you to my unfolding historical thriller FLIGHT AT PEENEMŰNDE in the Beginnings folder.
Doris Shafly smiled as she opened the door of her suite in the Willard Hotel. "I'm glad you could get away, Bob," she said as Reverend Patterson slipped into the sitting room. She closed the door and followed the television evangelist into the sitting room. She sensed his hesitation.
"It's good to see you again, Doris," he said, his craggy face smiling down at her. There was no warmth there. "You know how dangerous it is for us to meet like this," he continued. "Why did you insist on meeting me here?"
Doris felt irritation and hope rise in her equally, struggling for supremacy as they always did when she was near Bob Patterson. She forced them away, forcing herself to concentrate on her duty to Reed Stephens. "The vice president-elect is concerned, Bob, and all I get when I call your office is that you're still in mourning," she answered. "We need some answers."
"How is Reed these days?" he asked.
"He's not happy. He had more time -- more freedom -- to work for the revolution as a Senator than he does now. He feels like he's in a glass house with everyone watching him --like he's a monkey in the zoo. He's close to agreeing with Nance Gardner that the vice presidency isn't worth a bucket of warm spit."
Patterson frowned. "Who is this Gardner person?"
Doris heard the edge that was in the man's voice. "He's a long dead vice president, Bob -- one of Franklin Roosevelt's, I think -- you know how Reed is with history."
Patterson visibly relaxed. "Reed's reading too much -- I want him ready to pick up the reins. We're going to take power soon -- and, when we do, he's going to have to move quickly to turn the country back around."
She slowly crossed the room. "He does hold a doctorate in American history, you know," she said as she sat on the sofa that dominated the sitting room. She straightened her skirt and smiled as she studied the man standing in the centre of the room. Bob Patterson didn't look 79; he didn't look any older than when he'd made love to her and she had believed they would be together forever.
Her smile tightened as she decided that he didn't look like a man still saddened by the death of his wife six months ago, either. She allowed herself to wonder if she could catch him and keep him -- this time. She forced the thought away instantly. Now was not the time to let herself get caught up in that again. The revolution was more important than her happiness.
"Reed is looking at the Congressional elections two years from now, Bob. He thinks they're going to isolate us even more -- our wing of the party. He sees a Republican rout -- and you know the kind of political in-fighting that'll bring to the last two years of the President's term. We'll have torn ourselves apart by 2008, and that's an open invitation to the Democrats to put someone up who has a chance." She sighed. "And he hasn't seen anything happen to advance the revolution since the assassination just before the elections last year."
"Reed's worried, so you sent this message to me through the Christian Center?"
Doris felt the irritation behind the words. She sighed again. "Bob, I've been leaving messages for you in Atlanta since after the convention -- for four months now. With anyone who would take them. It's like you've closed Reed out -- while you put me in deep freeze. Besides, the Center's convention starts downstairs today; it was a sure bet you'd be here."
Patterson moved to the mantle and, leaning against it, smiled at her. "You were right, Doris. I was going to be here, no matter what. The Christian Center is the very voice of our revolution. Through it, we'll cleanse America."
His lips twitched. "I don't want you to think I've put you in some sort of freeze, though." He shook his head slowly. "That's so -- so ... It's almost paranoid, Doris. We had a brief fling years ago -- fifteen wasn't it? That doesn't mean anything -- look at how many positions you've held in the ministry itself as well as our allied organisations since then. It was even my recommendation that put you on Reed's staff when the President asked him to be the Vice President. I haven't frozen you out. You probably know as much as I do about the nuts and bolts of how we're making our revolution."
"No, Bob, I don't." She shook her head hard. "I've made sure I don't. I know just enough to be embarrassing -- maybe. That's all I know. There are a lot of things that have been done or will be that are just too dangerous for me to know."
Patterson glanced at his wristwatch. "It's almost time for the opening gavel, Doris." He smiled apologetically. "I never seem to find time for old friends any more." He stood taller and pulled the hem of his jacket down.
"Look, tell Reed that everything is working according to plan. We know what happens if there's a real vote in 2006 -- and it just won't happen. We'll pull it off this next year. Each group in our organisation is already working on their part of it." He chuckled and crossed the room to stand before her. "Tell Reed to start reading the newspapers instead of those dry, old history books -- there's going to be some real news happening every day from here on out."
"What're you saying, Bob?"
"I'm saying that there won't be Congressional elections in 2006, Doris. Reed will be in the White House and we'll have begun to turn this country around before that. Tell him that." He looked towards the door. "I've got to go now. I'll keep you informed, Doris. At least once a month. That way, you can keep Reed from climbing the walls." He stepped towards the door and opened it.
She watched him step out into the corridor and start for the lifts. He hadn't looked back.
Sighing, she pushed herself off the sofa and crossed the room to close the door. She rested her face against the wood of the door. "Bob Patterson, you are the biggest charlatan I know." She nodded her head against the cool wood, feeling it against her skin. "And I still love you in spite of it, you bastard."
* * *
Emil Paulik was leaving his macro-economics class when I found him the next afternoon in the business school building of the university. I wasn't at all sure of what it was he was studying, but he looked adorable as he stepped from the classroom into the corridor.
"Herr Paulik," I greeted him as he exited the doorway and started deeper into the building. He stopped and turned back to me, his face showing his startlement but no fear or suspicion.
"Yes?" He moved closer to me through the flow of students rushing to class.
I smiled and hoped it seemed endearing in his eyes. "I'd like to speak with you this evening -- if you can make the time."
He thought of his girlfriend with whom he shared his flat and what kind of excuse he would have to make. He also wondered if I would be worth it and how I knew of him. I sensed his appreciation of my appearance as he came close to imagining releasing the reins with which he held himself and doing those things with me that he had never done before.
"It concerns an income of several hundred francs a week," I offered and fought against the smile that threatened my face as his thoughts raced.
"When?" he asked, all thought of the girl gone.
"At eleven -- in your favourite park?"
His face was blank for the merest moment.
"At the Plattpromenade?" I explained.
He nodded, a jerk of his mane of brown, unruly but healthy hair. "Until eleven o'clock then," he muttered and smiled -- and waved as he started to resume his journey towards whatever course followed his class in macroeconomics. He halted and glanced back at me, searching among his memories for something familiar about me. "Your name?" he asked finally, finding nothing.
I told him and watched as he jogged away.
I had a date. Such a strange word. Assignation was a more descriptive word for our coming meeting. This young man certainly understood the context of the park and money; he even thought he knew what would happen. I too understood it; but I would manage what was to happen between us better than he could.
I almost enjoyed the sunlight as I stepped from the building into the square. Computer sciences was next.
Bönner was in his office. He did not act surprised to see me as he opened the door. "I need another five minutes on this," he said, pointing in the direction of his computer monitor. "I think we can eat at the same restaurant as last evening."
"How long is it going to take you to manipulate these records?" I asked, my voice cold.
"A day -- two at most," he answered nonchalantly. "Now, give me five minutes." He turned back to his computer, dismissing me from his thoughts as his fingers again touched the keyboard.
Later, as we walked towards the restaurant, he said: "I'll have your Swiss credentials by this time tomorrow. I think you can give me half of the payment then, my Prince?"
I nodded. "I would want to see those things on paper -- official paper with seals," I amended. I knew little about computers; an official birth certificate in my hands would convince me.
* * *
I sat alone in my living room. On the television screen, a man made his way through a hotel dining room, shaking hands and mumbling things I supposed politicians had always said to supporters. I was watching the German language Time-Life video series of the world at the dawn of the 21st century.
The man working the room on my television screen was the late vice president of the United States of America. Last May, the one remaining super-power was two months away from its political conventions, and the polls had showed the Vice President's party nearly ten percentage points behind. I was watching his assassination begin to unfurl.
He made his way to the dais and, turning back to the dining room and, smiling, raised his hands. Four rapid, almost simultaneous shots rang out. In horror, I stared as the Vice President's forehead disintegrated as a bullet shattered bone and tore skin making its exit wound. I could not pull my gaze away. It was almost as if he were being shot from all sides. His head was almost gone before he even began to slump.
My heart pounded in the fear of the moment as men and women ducked to climb under tables, seeking safety in the face of insanity. More gunshots rang out. Movement touched a curtain behind the dais and the light-coloured material began to change to crimson as the movement became hands clutching the fabric. The hands slid down the fabric as the man behind it collapsed under another hail of bullets. I finally made the conscious decision to blink my eyes.
The announcer's voice was nearly a joyous cry as he informed his viewers that the assassin was dead. Moments later, the voice identified the man and told us that he was a member of the gay radical group, Queer Nation.
I blinked. Homosexuals had done such a thing?
I pressed buttons on the video player's remote and watched the screen become a uniform blue. I had a date and I wanted to wash and look my best for Emil. I did not want to think of political murder.
"Herr von Maribor?" Emil Paulik asked from the darkened path.
"Would you like a coffee?" I asked as I turned towards him. Sergei's mutterings oozed through the corridors of my mind, tantalisingly close now that I was with the student from the university. Close, but still incoherent. I forced them from my consciousness. I had every intention of satisfying one of my hungers with the man before me and did not need a dead lover reminding me of his returned presence as I did so.
I felt his apprehension at being seen near the park with another man at this hour, at the knowledge anyone would have of what we were about. He smiled weakly.
"I think we need to discuss the terms of your proposed contract." He rubbed his hands together in the chill of the park.
"I live quite close," I offered as I mentally eased his suspicion of me. "It's warm there and we can have wine or a whisky while we work out our arrangements?" Nudging his thoughts, I increased both his curiosity and desire as I made the suggestion something he wanted.
"I think..." He shivered and nodded, glancing away from me. "Let's go."
The walk to my building was but eight short blocks and I kept him talking about himself as we journeyed there.
"I couldn't really talk this afternoon," he said as he sat on the sofa and watched me remove my gloves and coat, still wary even with my vampiric reassurances.
"I understood that," I answered and mentally reassured him again. I smiled as he opened his coat and relaxed, his legs spreading beneath the corduroy of his trousers naturally.
Oh, yes, I told myself. My sexual hunger would be well satisfied when next I slept. My eyes roamed leisurely over his body, imagining its every contour beneath his clothing.
"What do you have in mind?" he asked, struggling to keep himself mentally alert and in control of our negotiations.
"I would think five hundred francs a week should help you remain comfortable in the winter ahead." I pulled my wallet from my jacket, retrieved five notes from it, and placed them on the end table beside him. He stared at them, unconsciously licking his lips and calculating.
I felt caution rising in his thoughts. I fielded it as it rose into his consciousness.
"You're not a student?" he asked, looking up at me.
I nodded an affirmative answer to his question.
"I haven't seen you in the neighbourhood before today."
"I've only recently arrived in Zürich," I reassured him. "I have business with an instructor in computer sciences -- but I am essentially a recluse. I know no one here -- especially no one on campus."
He nodded. "And what are you buying with this money, Herr von Maribor?"
I smiled and moved to my bar cabinet. "Pleasant interludes, Herr Paulik -- for both of us."
He studied me as I poured him a brandy. I hesitated before pouring myself a drink. Unlike microbes and viruses, alcohol did move into my blood stream -- directly. Much more immediately than it did with mortals. Intoxicated, I would be hard put to control my urges or my strengths.
"And how do you expect us to play these interludes?" he asked as I handed him his snifter and started towards my chair.
"Play?" I looked over my shoulder to question him.
"Are you into bondage? Or sadism?"
I probably looked shocked. I felt shocked; gentlemen didn't do those sorts of things in my sexual fantasies.
Emil chuckled. "From the way you reacted just then, I assume you're into vanilla sex?"
I shrugged, trying to link the spice to some sexual practice while hiding my ignorance.
"And what would you have me doing during these interludes of ours?"
He had put his curiosity and the fear that accompanied it into words. I could feel the desire to leave in his thoughts, a desire to avoid his own nature. I eased his hesitancy, soothing him as I would a child about to learn a new thing.
"Whatever you feel comfortable doing," I told him, knowing my words were not exactly true as I spoke them. He would do what I wanted him to and what he feared doing. I would, however, ensure he was comfortable doing it.
"Five hundred francs..." he mused to himself, relaxing now that he was reassured. "How many times a week do you expect that to buy these interludes you're suggesting?"
"Once, twice -- as many as you're comfortable with." I shrugged.
My answer satisfied him. He made his decision.
He stood and, raking the notes from the table, slid them into his own wallet. He smiled at me as he slipped his coat off and tossed it casually on the other end of the sofa. Sitting back down, he picked up his snifter and brought it to his lips, now totally relaxed as he anticipated the sexual adventure ahead.
I touched his thoughts, shifting through them. He saw a tall, blond man no older in appearance than he -- a man with a wide chest and narrow hips. A German for sure with a wide forehead and long, thin nose. He liked what he saw and was more than slightly curious at what I had in my basket.
Basket? What a strangely descriptive word.
It took me a moment to find where I had been among his surface thoughts. I quickly heightened his curiosity then as I increased the desire growing in him. I felt his tumescence, stymied at the moment within the confines of his clothing.
"May I show you my bed?" I asked sultrily from my chair, giving him the continuing delusion of control.
Emil rose to his feet, a knowing smile pasted across his face, sexual energy permeable between us. His manhood elongating along his leg beneath his trousers now that it could move.
"Show me the way," he mumbled, lust already making his voice husky.
He unbuttoned his shirt and pulled it from his trousers as I removed my jacket and hung it. He sat on the bed to pull off his boots as I hung my shirt and stepped out of my shoes. I was hanging my trousers as he kicked off the second boot.
I felt him watching me then and glanced back at him over my shoulder.
"What should I call you?" he asked, the whisper of a smile crossing his lips. "I don't think that it'd be right to continue with Herr von Maribor as intimate as we're going to be."
I smiled as I thought of Sergei Alexandrovitch. "Call me Karl, as my lover does."
"You've got a lover?" I felt resistance in his thoughts before I heard it in his voice.
"He's far away, Emil, and I don't even know when I'll see him next." I turned to face him. "And we're here. Together. Now."
I recognised the source of his resistance then. An image flitted momentarily across his thoughts. He and I walking through Zürich together holding hands -- the two of us lovers. His girlfriend forgotten. It had been the dream in that image that had him accepting doing what his nature wanted to do. I reinforced the image of us together, turning the relationship into one of equal friendship, one of mutual admiration. I gave it warmth and feeling.
He relaxed. Sighing, he stood and began to unzip his trousers. The question of his committing himself again relegated to the realm of possibility -- if it felt right when it finally appeared between us. He pushed the corduroys to his ankles and stepped out of them.
I was aroused beneath the cotton undergarment I had taken from the village shop when first I awoke. I crossed the room to stand before him. My hands went to his smooth chest, my fingers trailing its contours.
"Your hands are cold," he mumbled, losing himself to my touch.
"I suspect you'll warm me up, Emi." I used the familiar form of his name consciously. I wanted him past conscious recognition of his prostitution. I wanted him relaxed completely, giving vent to himself to explore our interlude without self-imposed restrictions.
In my arms, his hip pressing against me, he nuzzled my sparsely haired chest, his teeth finding an exposed nipple and holding it as his tongue roughed it. I lay him on the bed and explored his chest with my tongue, consciously reminding myself not to bare my fangs and use them.
I climbed between his legs. I looked up along his body to find him staring down at me, his eyes still dazed. |You want me inside you,| I told him.
"Do it," he mumbled and let his head fall back against the pillows. "Use a condom," he groaned.
I blinked. Condom?
Of course, I knew what one was. But to use it with another man? Why? Pregnancy was no concern between us. I pushed past the fear at the surface of his thoughts, searching for an answer.
AIDS. A disease with no cure. A disease that destroyed a man's immune system until it tired of its struggles and left the man open to a multitude of opportunistic viruses. Until one killed him. A disease caused by a virus and carried in the blood, transmitted by blood to blood. The tiniest wound, the most microscopic tear, was enough to let the virus into a body to begin its work of destruction.
I could bleed from a vein or artery. I could be wounded as any mortal could, but healed within moments. I could tear back skin and meat and open a vein to share my immortality. But could I carry this virus? Transmit it? For thousands of years, my forebears had been feasting on human blood. We feasted on those eaten up with syphilis and cancer -- and remained unaffected.
Could this new virus be sufficiently different from all those in the past that a vampire could carry it and transmit it?
I didn't think so. History was on my side.
I wasn't sure, however. And I wasn't going to take a chance on being wrong. I could not endanger this man with the risk.
But what did I use as a condom? They were not something an intelligent man with what had been known as a Socratic tendency had carried on his person when I learnt of sex or when I fell in love with Sergei Alexandrovitch. This AIDS was an unknown threat when Sergei re-entered my life as Würther and I made love as passionately as an eighty-year-old vampire as I had as a man of twenty-four.
I did not have one of the things.
With greater regret than I had felt since I wore the uniform of an imperial Hussar and watched my country surrender its interest in the German states to the Prussians, I pulled myself from Emil's warmth.
"Tomorrow night, will you come to me, Emi?" I whispered against his ear.
"Tomorrow?" His voice was dreamy and his lips sought mine.
"I'll have condoms then," I mumbled and found his lips with my own.
He sat up and stared at me. "I've got one in my wallet," he told me sheepishly, his mind succumbing to shock as he accepted his willingness to surrender himself.
"Do you want to use it?" I asked, this time forcing him to make his decision without any nudges from me.
He shivered as he slipped off the bed and picked up his trousers. A moment later, he looked from the foiled packet now in his hand to me and back again. He shivered again and tore the packet open. "Be still and let me put it on you."
He stared into my eyes, looking for the soul some say lies behind them. "I don't understand why I'm doing this," he mumbled and climbed back onto the bed with me.
I entered him and he reached up to hold my face, his gaze studying me. "You just have a supply of them here tomorrow," he told me as he ground his buttocks against me experimentally. "You can fuck me, Karl von Maribor; but you've got to protect me when you do."
I was tired as I locked the door behind Emil and felt the threat of the sun just beyond the eastern border of the city. I was tired and hungry.
The hunger would wait until I woke. I hoped sleep would refresh me from my labours of the night before. Emil Paulik had more than made up for his lack of experience with the avidity with which he greeted his newly realised sexual appetites.