I was only three days old when the world, as my parents knew it, became the nightmare that I live in; the only place that I have ever known as home. In my world, the humans are no longer the hunters perched comfortably at the top of the food chain. Humans are now the hunted, the prey; vulnerable and scared, just waiting to be consumed. The stories of the creatures that go bump in the night are no longer fiction. The monsters are real and they do want to hurt you. I live in a world where ‘the something’ lurking in the shadow isn’t a figment of an overactive imagination but a real nightmare waiting to attack; a world where I have to lie my way through every minute, just to stay alive.
It was one of the things that I had seen a hundred times before, yet I could not help but watch the beautiful creature lying in bed beside me. His perfect face, that a mere second ago was relaxed in pleasure, was now distorted in pain. I was always fascinated by the shock in their eyes, the way they looked at me when they realized what was happening to them. I almost felt his anguish as he began to burn from the inside out, I rode his pain like a wave of power enjoying every blissful second. There was something energizing about knowing that in a minute, this indestructible being would be reduced to nothing more than a little pile of dust.
I However, this pile of dust had been different than the countless others that so willingly accepted their fate. This one had used his last breath to ask me why I wanted to do this to him; he told me he never asked to be born a monster. I hated when they made me remember that they too had feelings, and I hated even more that this one was right. No one gave him the choice between human and demon, and he was a mixture of both; the deadliest, most powerful breed to ever walk the planet.
Before the last rattled breath slipped out of his chiseled chest, I kissed his cheek and whispered into his ear, “I didn’t ask to be born a monster either, but it’s a dog eat dog world.” This time, I was the more superior race...
It was 2015 when the monsters invaded. There had always been rumors of UFOs and aliens, especially after the big Area 51 cover up. The people that believed in life on other planets were labeled as fanatics and paranoid by most of the population; yet, these people were the ones who were right all along.
April 3, 2015, the spaceships filled the midnight sky. By 2am, the east coast was cut off from the rest of the world. Air waves and satellites all over the planet were zapped, making any communications in or out impossible. Shore by shore, continent by continent, the entire planet was conquered in less than two hours. More than half the human race was killed within this time frame.
The Spaceships brought with them creatures that greatly resembled the supposed fictionalized vampires that graced literature throughout history, beginning with the grandfather of all monsters, Dracula himself. The aliens needed blood to live and could never walk into the sunshine; their strength was 100 times that of the fittest human, and they lived for millions and millions of years.
Later it was found out that the so called Fictionalized novels were really attempts at educating the population sent out by people that knew the truth, these writings were the only safe way to educate people of the upcoming attack, and they did just that. Though there was nothing that could be done to stop the vampires, there were people unknown in the general population that were taking these hints and tips and building a plan of retaliation that would take advantage of every weakness that these beings had.
Survival of the fittest was the law the vampires lived by. All nursing homes, retirement villages, and hospitals were destroyed first; they had no use for the elderly, sick, or newborn babies that would just slow them down. These people were weak and held no intrinsic value or use for the monsters. All the remaining humans were thrown into small designated towns to be observed and assigned to one of the three new social classes. There would no longer be an upper, middle, and a lower class economic structure; they would be replaced by the categories of food, mating, and slaves.
All too soon the remaining humans learned the real reason that Earth was chosen was for the creation of the Dominus. Human females were the closest appearance-wise to the vampires own form, bluntly meaning, the female reproduction organs were compatible; add this to the fact that the chromosomes were nearly the same, and you will understand how the process of selective breeding was possible.
This is where the new highest class of humans came to play. The mating class was comprised of only the most beautiful, smartest, tallest, strongest women. These woman were all still in their late teens or early twenties to ensure exceptional fertility. These women were allowed to live inside the vampires homes and eat the best foods, but that is where the niceties ended. Each night a different vampire would come into these women’s beds and rape them in the hopes of creating the perfect being.
Out of the mating class women, who were all tested for the level of their fertility at the time of takeover, the six that proved to be the most fertile were given to the regent vampire who would sleep with all of them at least once a day till it proved that one was implanted with his seed. The first with child would be saved from a life of humility were she would be forced to sleep with countless vampires, and as her reward for giving birth to the ruler of the new race, she would become his human breeding mate and create the royal family. The other five would be handed over to the lesser vampire royalty to conceive the rest of the royal bloodlines.
Almost nine months to the date, the vampires were successful in their attempts to create a truly immortal race. A blond haired, blue eyed baby boy, appropriately named Akia, meaning first son, was born to the king. Much to the delight of the Regent, the baby was more interested in biting his human mother’s breast with his tiny fang like teeth and suckling the blood that poured from the wound, than he was with her breast milk. Almost every baby that followed Akia’s birth was also blessed with the perfect DNA. Any of the babies that didn’t measure up to the high standards were killed immediately and never spoken of again. The perfect DNA made them impervious to any of the handicaps that threatened the other two races.
The vampires, after several power head meetings, decided that this new creature that they had created should be honored with the name Dominus, which loosely translated, means a supernatural being conceived as perfect; an all knowing ruler of the universe. The Dominus had the vampire’s strength, acute senses, knowledge, and immortality. Thanks to the human attributes, the Dominus had no negative reaction to sunlight, though they needed blood to reach their peak abilities and ensure that they would stay young and strong. They could live off of food and water. Garlic, silver bullets, sunlight, or anything else that destroyed a vampire, had no effect whatsoever on the Dominus. The only three weaknesses they possessed were given to them deliberately by the vampires, so they would never be able to weaken the new superior race and pollute the Dominus bloodlines with a lesser creature. If for any reason a Dominus was to have sex with a human, they would turn to dust soon after their seed was released. The second weakness was used to keep the powers in line; any Dominus that even whispered about the plan to takeover that was in the making since the first rouge Dominus was born, would be dealt with rapidly and in front of everyone. Their deaths were harsh and painful and making everyone watch was the Vampires’ way of teaching any other rogues a lesson. If, for any reason, a Dominus was injected with pure vampire blood, they would perish instantly. The third was simple, crush the windpipe, separate the connection that it provided between the brain and the body and you had one dead immortal. I guess even though they possessed higher numbers, it was these fears that made the more powerful of the two breeds worship the lesser of them.
I am still here because of a quick thinking, paranoid Hematologist that just happened to be doing lab work in the maternity ward on the night of the attack. Doctor Alex Walker was five years out of medical school; his bedside manner was great and he had this wonderful gift of being able to put people right at ease. There wasn’t another doctor in the country that could match the number of lives that he saved, thanks to his knowledge of fixing blood problems. He was widely known throughout the hospital for his bright smile, his brilliant mind, and his gloomy outlook for the future of humanity. He was convinced that the end of the world was near; so convinced that he devoted every penny that he earned into building and stocking an underground, air tight, five room vault. He piled one of the rooms with enough food to feed a large army for about 20 years. Along with all the food, he also took advantage of his position at the hospital and stockpiled every medication that he could take without being noticed.
It was Dr. Walker’s paranoid years of planning and investing money that saved me and the fifteen other babies in the nursery that night. Without his quick thinking, selflessness, and love for humanity, we would have suffered the same untimely deaths as everyone else in that building, including most of our parents. But then again, maybe in truth, the people asleep in the hospital beds were the lucky ones that night. They just sleep peacefully for the rest of eternity; they weren’t like all the others that woke up to find the chaotic nightmare the world had become.
That is where the other babies and I come into the picture. The sixteen babies that Dr. Walker was able to save were eleven girls and five boys. He raised us all by himself in the five room vault, taking the time to nurture us and let us feel like we were a family. I remember when we were little, I asked him why he saved us and all he said was he couldn’t have kids of his own and he knew that we were important and would one day save the world. Not only did he love us and give us all the fatherly advice that we needed, he single-handedly fed us, clothed us, and educated us the best that he could. Though Dr. Walker was a kind and understanding man that tried to give us the most normal loving environment that he could, there was always something in his eyes; a part that you could see behind the laughs and behind the hugs; a part that you could almost hear in every bed time story he read to us. There was no doubt that he cared for us, but he had a very strict game plan and for the most part he stuck to it.
The boys and the girls were raised entirely differently. The boys were brought up as fighters; they were filled with powerful motivation and were taught that they were unstoppable soldiers. Since our playing field was a bit different from other wars, the guys were taught how to seduce the female Dominus by luring them into their beds for an hour of ecstasy followed by an orgasm of death. Since there was no way to get their hands on a Vampire and drain their blood, which was the ultimate weapon, without the risk of detection, sex would have to do. Never once were they allowed to doubt themselves. Doubt would lead to suspicion, and suspicion would undoubtedly lead to death. Their entire childhood was spent learning and memorizing the mannerisms of both the vampires and the Dominus. Eventually, through all of their hard work and time spent trying to assimilate themselves, they became very good at passing as the Dominus, so good that by the time they reached their late teen years they were able to walk among them undetected.
The girls on the other hand, were brought up to become the perfect homemakers. We were taught the proper way to do housework, cooking, cleaning, and of course taking care of the men. We were lead to believe, by Dr. Walker, that it was our job in the war against the monsters to take care of the men, and all of their needs. The most valuable item that we had been taught was not how to read or write; those were less important lessons that we would spend a little bit of time on. If we learned it, that was great; but if not, that was fine too. Our biggest educational experience was learning how to raise a baby in the situation that we were in. While taking care of the men was to be one of our main duties, the sole purpose we would serve the entire time we were on the planet was reproduction. We were to be nothing more than baby factories, constantly pregnant and constantly raising the next batch of soldiers or mothers; whatever the need be. Dr Walker spent a get deal of time working out the reproduction formula to ensure that each baby would have all the right genes required to make them the strongest they could be. Partners were selected for each of us, and under no circumstances was there to be any mating outside of the selected pairs.
Dr. Walker’s plan was very simple. Through the use of the sixteen of us that he saved that night, he would one day have the perfect army. For now, we were only in stage one. The males would sleep with and kill as many female Dominus as they could. The fewer females there were, the less breeding the Dominus could do among themselves. The theory being, without a significant amount of female Dominus, the population of these immortal monsters would slowly but steadily decline through the generations. While they were decreasing as a species, the underground human population would build through us. Dr. Walker was convinced with every baby that was born; we were one step closer in our journey to taking back our planet.
The monsters brought with them technology that humans could never imagine. They had weapons that with one shot could turn entire towns to dust. Nothing that the humans had could even compare. It was like the vampires knew everything that we had and they had a counter weapon to not only match it, but to completely wipe it off the power grid. The humans could not compete, even the top secret government weapons were a joke when compared to even the simplest tools of warfare that the vampires brought with them. Dr. Walker saved all of the technology from the old way of life that he could. Our home was full of books and computers. The books were used to teach us the way that the planet used to be. He said that it was important that we always remembered where we came from. That way, we would know what we were fighting for. Many of the computers were programmed so that he could track the monsters; there was not a Vampire in the world that he had not been able to locate. Knowing the sleeping places of all the night walkers would someday be a key component in his plan to rise and take over.
While the Dominus were scary and unstoppable, their attachment to the beings that created them was a major weakness in Dr. Walker’s eyes. When the time was right, Dr. Walker believed if he managed to take out the night world, than the sun walkers would crumble in on themselves when they were faced with their gods being destroyed, giving the humans a chance to regain control.
Dr. Walker was wise beyond his years; he devoted every second of every day to making his plan foolproof. Every time the computer software that he developed found a new sleeping place for the vampires, he would learn everything that he could about that location. There was nothing that he hadn’t planned for, well almost nothing. Only one thing interrupted Dr. Walker’s well thought out plan, and that one thing was me. I was not happy nor was I satisfied with the life he was forcing upon me. There was no doubt in my mind that he thought he was doing what was best for all of us, but I could not bring myself to accept that the rest of my life I would be nothing but barefoot and pregnant. I didn’t understand why it was fair for him to force that life upon me. If I wanted to live like that, I could live with the rest of my species in their cages; at least then I would know why I was there. I wanted more out of existence than that. I wanted to live, I mean really live. I wanted the chance to truly make a difference. The chance to matter beyond the men I was being forced to take care of and the soon to be babies I was supposed to mother. I wanted to be a foot soldier. I wanted to risk my life everyday alongside of the boys.
I was nothing like the other girls; they were all so content with knowing that they were playing just a small part in a bigger picture for the future. The children that they birthed and raised would one day change the world. The thought was enough to get them through their day. I however, didn’t have that kind of patience; I wanted to make a difference now. I wanted every single Dominus that I could lure into my bed to die, to revenge the family and the friends that I never got to meet. I wanted them, one by one, to pay for the normal life that they stole from me and the others. I wanted nothing more than to look into their eyes and laugh as they turned to dust.
After many failed attempts at converting me into the perfect lady, Dr. Walker finally gave up, and much to his disapproval, he began to train me with the guys, as a warrior. I think as much as he wanted me to realize that I couldn’t do it, he was secretly just as pleased when I proved him wrong. I had no problem at all following the lessons that he was teaching the guys and the hard work he was putting them through; I kept up with the all of them. I trained with them and I learned with them. I knew everything that they did and then some. I worked hard so that I could run the front lines just like they did. As much as I knew that I hurt Dr Walker with my fits and refusal to play nicely with the rest of the girls, I was sure that my determination and dedication would eventually earn his respect.
I was Catalina; the human that had enough characteristics to truly pass for one of them. I had the same ice blue eyes, even the dark blue streaks that shot into the pupils. Eyes that nightmares were made of, eyes of the predator that stalked you in the night. All the guys were forced to have streaked stained film surgically placed over their irises; a very painful surgery that I was lucky to have missed. The guys also had to wear contacts at all times in order to match the color perfectly. Even the women were to wear contacts, even when they were asleep, just in case they were ever spotted. The Dominus eyes with their perfect DNA were way more superior than any human could even dream of; they could see in the night and for miles. We couldn’t mimic that, but at least thanks to the doc, we had the technology to look the same.
My similarities with these creatures didn’t end there. I had the same wavy hair and the same strong build as the females of the species. Weak, frail little sex symbols that the humans use to measure themselves against were something else that was lost in the takeover. The woman of the monster world could take care of themselves and you could tell that by looking at them; they screamed power.
Just looking at me, there would be no reason for anyone to think that I wasn’t one of them, that fact in itself was a little unnerving. The only thing that I had to have added was, of course, the retractable fangs. They were not my own, but when they were drilled into my gums, the deal was sealed. I went from human to monster in no time at all. I was just as convincing as the males and then some, and most of the guys resented me for it. They had to work constantly to make sure that their mannerisms matched the monsters, and for me it was natural, something that I never even had to think about. I was literally born to play this part and there was no way I was going to let Dr. Walker or any of the others take that away from me. Of course, while the guys hated me for the ease of my life, most of the girls hated the fact that I didn’t accept the role of baby factory as easily as they had. I don’t know if it was because they were jealous or because they had been so brainwashed that they thought it was disgusting to play with the big boys, but they never went out of their way to befriend me; in fact, for the most part I was completely avoided. I was truly the black sheep of our little family unit. Of course, in all fairness, the males were raised to see all women as helpless, tiny little frail creatures that lived to serve their every want and need, and the girls were raised to live up to that expectation. I guess I was an enigma to all them.
Other than Dr. Walker, the only other member of our group that actually acknowledged me for the first sixteen years of my life because they wanted to, and not because they felt that they had to, was Darien. Darien was the only one I was close to. He was my best friend, the only person that I have ever trusted; he was the most important person in my life. No matter how hurt I was by being the outsider, he was the only one that was allowed to see it; the only one allowed to see the all mighty Catalina cry. Hell, he was the only one that deserved to see the real me. Darien was a pure heart with a deadly brain, he was as hell bent on revenge and just as fueled by hate as I was; we bonded on that. As we got a little older, some of the others accepted me to the point that they didn’t go out of their way to avoid me, but not all of them. The twins, Jaden and Jewel, thanks to Darien, eventually joined out little group of misfits, and there it is; they are the only three people that I consider friends now, other than them, and of course Dr. Walker, I am completely alone. Sometimes, you have to give up certain things in order to make your life what you want it to be. I had to give up the family bond that Dr. Walker so promptly promised me if I would just fall in line. There comes a time when you just have to be willing to decide what is more important to you and leave behind the things that stand in your way or hold you back from being yourself.
It was nearly seven when Darien’s phone call woke me up, so dusk had already fallen, which meant that I was late as usual and would have to rush around like crazy to get ready. Lucky for me, I work better under pressure. Even luckier for me was the fact that Darien knew me well enough to know that I would not wake up on my own. “You Know Cat, you wouldn’t be able to survive without me.” I could hear the smile on his face.
“You are probably right, but on that note I would probably get to sleep more.”
“Go get ready beautiful and I will see you tonight, and Cat try to stay out of trouble until I get to you.” With that he chuckled and hung up the phone.
Tonight was the biggest Dominus social event of the year. The Midnight Masquerade was the one and only night that the low class Dominus could mingle with the ruling class. Everyone that was anyone would be there along with the nobodies that would give anything to be somebody. It was a night of desperation and imagination. Every year that I attend the event, I find myself thinking how sad it must be to be the rulers of the planet and still want to be something else. I mean they have everything, wealth, power, and the ability to abuse it all on a regular basis, and they still get to go to the dance and be normal once a year, a place where no one will judge them, where no one will fear them, and where no one will go out of their way to avoid them. Some monsters are just so selfish.
Excerpted from "Shattered Skies: Beginning's End (Volume 1)" by Heather Ann Linn. Copyright © 0 by Heather Ann Linn. 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.