I once heard it said that it’s not who you are that defines you but
what you do. What if who we are defines what we do, and what we do
defines who we are? So, no matter what we do we can’t escape who we
are or the other way around. If our whole existence is defined by what
we do, no matter how hard we try we can’t change who we are fated to
be. Good or bad, we are all fated to something in life. But we must not
be defined by our fate because fate and destiny are not the same.
Destiny is a path we set forth on by our own actions. It may be governed
by the fate that has been set before us, but we guide it ourselves. But
then, what that of love? Is love governed by fate or destiny? Do the
same rules apply to love? Love must collide with fate and destiny,
somehow. Or can we throw out every sense of what governs us and see for
ourselves a new reality in spite of our fate? Is that probable,
possible? Or is it impossible? Can love be possible if it is impossible?
Perhaps, love can be defined outside the boundaries of fate when we
determine our own destiny. Can two people, who are fated to be enemies
and defined by their actions, love each other regardless of those
actions? Can they see beyond what others see? Can they love one another
if fate has made it an impossibility, yet, they have destined it to be a
This is that story. A story of two people defined by what they do, but
with a love that exists outside of that definition. A story of a love so
great that the universe destined it to happen. Even though it would
change the course of nature, probability, and life as we know it, the
universe willed it to be. Like a force of nature, it drew them together.
By a force so great, they were pulled together as though two opposite
ends of the universe were trying to collide, or the north pole was
pulling south, or negative charge with negative. It can’t happen,
shouldn’t happen, but it did. It was two people who changed life as we
know it. This is their story. Two people, both polar opposites, fated to
be enemies, destined to be lovers, and both more than human. It is
impossible, not possible, but it was their destiny.
Chapter 1- Grundy Hill
My name is Abigail Taylor. I've grown up in the small town of Grundy
Hill, West Virginia. It's nothing to speak of, really. A town of 2,094.
Most people don't even know it exists. Many days, I wish I didn't.
Pretty much, no one ever moves in, and no one ever moves out. I've been
here my whole life and have known the same people, for the most part.
From childhood to now, I have had the same friends and have lived in the
same house. I've had the same bedroom, in which only the furniture has
changed. In Grundy Hill, as far as scenery goes, we have Mill’s Creek
where everyone goes fishing, or swimming when it’s hot. There are a
lot of hills and a lot of coal mining. There is, also, a lot of milling.
Most days, the weather is only tolerable. A girl gets used to it. It’s
never too sunny, never too rainy, usually just in the middle, cloudy.
There is a town diner, The Grundy Shack, but the locals call it The
Shack. We also have a bar, Suds 'N Spit, but we call it Suds. As far as
authority goes, we have a mayor, Gary Fulton, who is also my best
friend’s father. The Sheriff is a young, attractive man, Jack Lacombe,
whom I have known since we were kids. He has always been interested in
me, and there were times that I enjoyed his attentions. I find him
attractive, to say the least. He is tall, at a striking 6'0”, well
built, and has blond hair that falls in waves past his ears, which most
of the time he combs to the side. He has sparkling blue eyes that
glisten like the ocean when I look in them. His features are soft in
contrast to his height, and he usually has a short beard, to which
I’ve never grown a liking, but he is handsome. I have spent many days
with the Sheriff over the years. We grew up together, and he is my
neighbor. We used to take walks down to the creek when we were kids and
catch fish just to throw them back. He knows who I really am, sort of.
He knows what I do, but he doesn’t know my heart. I can’t let him,
too dangerous for him, for me, for everyone. As we grew up, our
relationship started to develop into something more than friends, and I
had to distance myself from him. I knew it could never be more than what
it should be. He once told me he loves me. I did not return the
sentiment. I suppose if things were different, but they're not. I am
what I am- more than human.
I can't help what I do. I’ve been this way for as far back as I can
remember. I have what you might call “powers”. Call it an
abnormality, if you must, but it is not normal. It makes me stand out.
In all of my memories, I have never been able to touch another person
without it happening. Any type of skin-to-skin contact leaves them
breathless. In every person I have ever touched, I leave them to the
point of death, clinging for life. I can't hug them, hold their hand, or
kiss them. Just a simple handshake will leave them on the ground with no
heartbeat and no breath. When I touch them, I steal their energy. I can
feel their heartbeat get weaker and slower. Their breathing labors, and
they continue to weaken until their life force just stops. Eventually,
they die. That is, unless I let go. Once I let go, their body will
recuperate, hopefully. Some don't. The longer I hold them, the harder it
is for that person to regain their energy, their life. The more often I
touch them, the less likely they are ever to regain their energy, their
life. I learned that the hard way with my mother and my Gram. Mom
can’t even touch me, anymore. I don't know how or why this happens to
me. We don't know when it began. I was not born this way. Something
caused this, but we don't know what. My mother does not remember when it
began, so she claims. She only says, "When you were a child." I wish I
had answers. I want to know. I'm lonely, complicated, sad. Most days, I
try not to think about it. I go on with life as if I were any other
person, almost. I just don't touch anyone, and I am careful not to let
them touch me. I’m in control. I suppose I could experiment with hugs
on the outside of clothing, no skin-to-skin contact, but I'm too afraid.
It hurts my mother the most.
It's just me and my mom, now. My dad left us when I was just a little
girl. I was five. He decided that a wife and a child were too much to
handle, and he went, "In search of better opportunities". His words.
That’s when we moved in with my Gram. My dad sold his house and left
us no trace of the money. I don’t understand why he didn’t care for
her better than he did. I remembered him loving her, at least I
thought… But that’s in the past.
I’ve always wondered if it's because of who I am and he knows
something about it. My mother never talks about it as if she knows the
truth. Perhaps she thinks she is sparing me of sadness or heart ache.
However, I feel it would be better to know the truth. Maybe not. He
shows up every few years for special occasions, but it’s been a while.
My father has always been eccentric. His name is Arlington. It’s an
odd name. My mother always called him by his middle name, Patrick. I
have my mother’s last name. My father’s last name is Domitius
(Dome-each-E-us). My mother didn’t like that name, so she didn’t
take it and didn’t want me to have it. I don’t blame her. Abigail
Janette Domitius? No way. I don’t know anything about my father’s
family. I don’t know his parents or siblings. But I have cousins on my
mother’s side. I visit them regularly. We are close. They live in
Chicago, well, near it. It’s practically Chicago, a suburb.
I had always thought my parents loved each other. But then, one day,
they just didn’t. However, I’ve never seen a woman love a man more
than my mother loved my father. I think my father loved my mom too… I
think. He is just so strange. He kind of reminds me of a Jedi master.
Not dressing like a normal person or having normal hair. He always had
wavy hair down to his shoulders that was unkempt, and he usually wore
this long robe-like, dress looking thing, and if one didn’t know any
better, he could be mistaken for a serial killer. But we did know
better. We just knew my father was bizarre. What my mother saw in him I
will never know.
She could have done better, but he branded her for life. He freaked
people out with his behavior. When someone pissed him off he would
respond with, “Curse you” or “You’ll regret that” or “I
won’t let you forget that.” Things like that. My father scared me,
sometimes. Such as the time when we were eating at The Shack to
celebrate one of my birthdays and he threatened the cook that messed up
his order and said that there would be a curse for a thousand years on
his family. I didn’t understand why he said those things. However, I
didn’t see that cook at The Shack after that. Come to think of it, I
haven’t seen him around town either. Perhaps he moved? My father is so
odd. Could he curse people? Not sure. Did I want to know? Not sure. Yet,
other times he was a good father, when he was here. He made me feel safe
and protected. His tall stature brought me comfort. He is confident in
himself, and I feel secure. He is the opposite of my mother, who is weak
and insecure. He brought me nice gifts, like my car when I turned 18. I
don’t see much of him these days, but I hope he is happy and has
stopped cursing people who messes up his order in restaurants.
I'm 26 years old and haven’t really done much with myself. Many of my
friends from school are married. Some are having children. My life, in
comparison, is very pathetic. Though, last week I did manage to wash my
car and learn a new recipe. Not much really happens to me. Other than my
whacked up, crazy family, I’m a very boring person. I have a cousin
who broke into the country music scene in Nashville. Her name is Louisa,
but we call her Lissy. I have a few other cousins, but other than that,
there’s no one else. I, once, had suspicions that my grandmother was a
witch because I thought I saw her making potions in her bedroom and
doing some sort of chant. But I never found evidence for that. My mother
said I was crazy. I suppose I am. I’m still convinced that my dad is a
Jedi, even if my grandmother was not a witch. Hey, a girl could only
hope. I was only hoping so she could fix me. I just want to be able to
touch someone, someday.
I suppose I should move out on my own, but I can't bear the thought of
leaving my mother on her own. She's never been known in the town for
having her act together, and I don't want to be the daughter who
abandoned the pathetic mother. She’s already been abandoned by her
husband. I couldn’t do it to her again. It’s been hard for us all
these years without my dad. I suppose it's for the best. Mom has jumped
from guy to guy searching for the right one. She's always been in search
for love again. She loved my dad. In fact, I think she still does.
She’s had her share of dates. She's always calling and saying she’s
going out with a new guy. She would call in after her shift and tell me
that she was going over to stay with a “friend”, but I knew what
that meant. It's not that she isn't pretty and isn't a good catch
because she is. She just never recovered from losing my dad. He broke
her heart. She no longer trusts men. That's why I can't leave. Up until
recently, she never held a steady job; she was a heavy drinker; she
never paid the bills; her life was chaos. We lived with her mother, my
Gram. But, then my Gram died, and things had to change. She left the
house to us, and things had to be different. Now I make sure the bills
are paid; my mother stays sober, keeps her job, stays out of jail, and
eats. So, I stay with her to make sure things stay on track and secure.
Well, and she is good company when she's home. She's a waitress at The
Shack now, so she works long hours almost every day. She makes decent
money because the men like her, too much money for a waitress it seems.
She always brings home good tips. More than what seems to be tip money.
I’ve been wondering what she’s doing on the side, but I don’t
question her. She still doesn't know what she wants in a relationship,
but she is beautiful. We have similar features. I'm petite with long
caramel brown hair that falls just beyond my mid back. I have deep brown
eyes that I get from my dad. He has also given me a long, pointed nose
of which I’ve always been self-conscious. But fortunately, my mother
gave me her lips, and I feel confident in those. I'm not as beautiful as
my mother because Arlington has given me a lot of his genes, but I'm
confident enough with my appearance to know that I am attractive to the
opposite sex. I'm not skinny because I love ice cream and pizza too
much, and I don’t exercise on purpose because sweat is not my best
look, but I have gotten enough attention from men over the years to be
considered to have a good figure. My mother is much like me, except
taller. She’s also starting to develop lines on her face from all her
years of dealing with me and Arlington, of course.
I was a relatively quiet child, well, all except for my, uh, power. I
figured with all I was putting her through I shouldn’t be a problem
child, as well. I did my homework, always on time. I got good grades. I
always behaved, mostly, except for some occurrences with the problem I
have. That has caused her some grief. There was an incident in school
where I let my guard down, and I hugged someone. I pulled away, but he
ended up on the floor. Dead. That was, really, the moment when the town
found out about me. Up until that point, I had been pretty good at
keeping my power hidden from everyone except my mom, Gram, and my best
friend, Lacy. Jack knew about me, too. We did a lot of playing together
in our younger years, and he tried to kiss me once and ended up on the
ground with me screaming for his father. Ever since then, law
enforcement has been very cautious of me, but they kept it quiet. They
were confused about what was going on with me, and they didn’t want
the town in a fuss. They were able to cover it up. I suppose it was good
that they witnessed my phenomenon firsthand to see that it was out of my
control. After all, the Lacombe family is the law in Grundy. But as for
me and Jack, we were never the same.
There were other instances that distanced me from the town. My slip ups
made it known to almost everyone that I am different, abnormal, a danger
to them. Jack and his father could not cover those up. I was revealed. I
did the mistake of falling for a boy in school who showed me a lot of
attention. He was handsome enough and relatively sweet. I should've
known it could never happen, but I was young and naive. I gave in to my
teenage impulses, one day, and I hugged him, too. We only had the
smallest skin-to-skin contact where my cheek touched his. But in a few
seconds, I nearly drained him of all his energy, and I left him
breathless on the floor.
I can feel what happens when I drain them. It’s the most wretched, but
exhilarating experience at the same time. It’s wretched because I feel
their life being drained from them. It's like all of their life exits
them and enters me. But at the same time, it’s exhilarating, because
it's like a burst of energy shoots into me at the same time it's
draining them. I hate to say it, but I almost enjoy it. It’s
rejuvenating, like taking a breath of the freshest air a person could
ever imagine. Yet, it’s wretched.
When this incident happened, more people became aware of my phenomenon.
Everyone thought I was some kind of science experiment. I was poked at
and prodded in a hospital with policemen outside, and they ran more
tests than I care to remember. They diagnosed me with schizophrenia and
said I tried to murder him. Then they took that back when the
psychiatrist said I was not mentally ill. Then they said I had epilepsy
and had a seizure and strangled him during it. They took that back, too,
when they realized he hadn't been strangled, and I had not had a
seizure. They kept us both locked up for weeks trying to figure out what
had happened. They never found out anything wrong with me, except for
the obvious, because no one could touch me or it kept happening. They
wanted to lock me away for good, but my Grandmother hired a mystery
lawyer and fought hard against that one. My dad showed up and kept
“cursing” everyone. Typical Arlington. Dr. James, the local coroner
and the most famous local practitioner, was there too and gave some
alternative diagnosis that I never saw. Arlington and Dr. James took
care of it all. The so-called “law” showed up demanding answers. But
thanks to my so-called “heroes”, if that’s what they were, the
only thing they could find out is that Scott Wellesley had been drained
of any semblance of a heartbeat and brain activity and his lungs had
been collapsed. It was deemed, “accidental causes”. He was the last
boy in which I ever allowed myself to feel something. I became numb to
the world. It was easier that way. He has never spoken to me since. I
was 17 years old. I have guarded my heart since. That is, until the
beginning of my destiny... It is my fate which led me to my destiny.
Chapter 2-Fate meets Destiny
I had never known that other more-than-human creatures even existed,
outside of myself. I had my suspicions about some, but they were never
confirmed… I had to keep myself busy somehow. But on that particular
Wednesday, in October, my whole world was turned inside out. I was the
evening manager at a boutique in Bentson Ridge called What's it to You.
I had been working there for the past 5 years, and I always closed at
night. I got the job after a few failed attempts shortly after high
school. Some might say it’s dangerous for me to have that job, given
the location, but I know the owner, and she had been kind enough to give
me a job as a manager in the late hours. I stay until midnight, count
the money, finish the store logs, register receipts, put out the
stock… things like that. I close up for the night. I needed a job
where I could stay away from close contact with people. My previous jobs
had not worked out because of accidental mishaps with customers. Once as
a waitress, when I had accidentally touched them, or when a rowdy
drunken guy at the bar decided to get too hands on. Then there was one
time as an office assistant, because my boss couldn't keep his hands to
himself. He almost lost his life. I decided it was time to hide out. At
this job, I don't make much, but being with my mom at my Gram's house, I
don't need much. Plus, I found peace. I feel free, almost. It’s a give
and take in my situation. In this job, I don't have the constant
embarrassment to fumble around trying not to touch someone. It’s
different. I’m left to do my work alone. It can be lonely, but I
didn’t get to choose who I am. Call it fate or whatever, but I am
trying to look at life like, maybe all things happen for a purpose. This
too. So, I do my work in peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle
thinking that, someday, there will be a purpose to who I am. I work from
about 6 to12 tending to the store and the register receipts, then to the
money and sales books for the owner so she has someone for a second
look. It's not the best job, but it’s a winner to me, especially after
that particular day- the day that changed my life.
That night, as I clocked out, I heard a startling noise coming from the
back alley. The alley leads to the parking area where I park my 2-door,
blue, 2008 Ford Focus- a gift from my dad. I'm used to strange noises
coming from that alley. It's usually very noisy back there. There is a
bar two doors down, Bottoms Up, which is known for its drunken brawls.
It creates a lot of yelling and fighting, but there was something
different about what was going on that night. It was unlike any fighting
that I had, previously, heard from Bottoms up, and they have created
plenty of fights over the past 5 years, some of which I have walked
right in on. I have had to call the cops on them a few times,
previously. That night, though, there was no yelling, no swearing, just
banging. I could hear the fight continuing, and I felt intimidated, but
I had to exit out the back.
"Oh well," I shrugged.
I have walked into bar fights before. If they come at me, I just touch
the men fighting, and it freaks them out so they run off, or I leave
them for dead. I tried to play off that this fight would be no
different. But this night was different. I looked out the back-alley
door. It was brutal, intense, loud. The bodies were banging off the
dumpster, walls, and doors, bouncing back and forth, faster than I could
keep track of them. One of the men let out a loud snarl that made me
jump, and then that was it. The fight was over, but I couldn't take
anymore. I was afraid. My heart sped up, and I turned to go back inside.
But before I could, I was stopped. The door slammed shut. The man said
to me in a low, fierce growl, "Don't be afraid. I'm not here for you."
Then he was gone faster than I could follow. It drew my interest. I was
so curious. What did he mean, "I'm not here for you", and how was he
able to move so quickly? What did he do with that other man? I locked
the door and walked out into the alley. The other man was gone. The only
signs of the fight were the dents left in the dumpster, the door across
the alley, and the missing bricks on the walls. There was something
wrong with this scene. All that fighting and not any trace of blood.
Where was the blood? In all the fights I had witnessed in that alley,
there was usually blood everywhere. How odd…
As I walked to my car, I heard something stirring behind me just behind
the dumpster. It was the other man. I could not make out the extent of
his injuries from where I was, so I walked closer. I looked down at him
and realized he would probably not be alive until an ambulance arrived.
Even still, I wanted to help him. I looked into the behemoth of a bag I
carry everywhere and began to search for my cell phone. That’s when I
felt him. He had reached up and grabbed ahold of my leg, and he
struggled to say, "Vampire… Run…". I saw two marks on the side of
his neck where it looked like he had been bitten. My eyes widened, and I
gasped. I knew I had to get out of there. I stumbled, struggling to
maneuver my leg out of his grasp. I found my cell and dialed 911. I told
them there was a man in the alley and that he needed assistance. I left
it at that. I struggled some more trying to snatch my leg out of his
hand and ran to my car. I looked around one more time to see if the
other man was still around. I did not see him. I heard the ambulance
pulling around the corner, so I got in my car and drove away.
Vampire? Could this be possible? Surely not. That man had to be
delusional. Must be from the loss of blood. Loss of blood? I saw no
blood. Did the vampire drain him and then toss him around for fun? It
couldn’t be; vampires are just a myth. Then look at me. I'm not
possible either. I'm a walking impossibility. I drove home and tried to
reason it out. Why was the vampire in that alley? Would he return
another day? Why had I never seen him before? Maybe I could meet him.
Meet him?! What's the matter with you Abbi? This is a vampire you are
talking about! He wants nothing more than to drain you of all your
blood. Look at what he did to that poor man tonight! Though, maybe that
man deserved it. Many of the men who go into that alley deserve what
they get. Abbi! Listen to yourself! You know full well that this vampire
wants to rip you to shreds! Stay far away! If he is even a vampire at
Excerpted from "More Than Human: Tamed" by MK Loveless. Copyright © 2017 by MK Loveless. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.