Rose Blood
by Alysun Sanders

           The sound of the gunshot echoed across the huge dining room, and he watched her smiling face freeze in a silent panic. She turned her beautiful green eyes slowly towards his, and lifted her hand to touch a spot just above her stomach. When she removed her hand she uncovered a sticky red liquid.
           “Look,” she whispered so softly he could barely hear her. “Blood….” And with that she fell, like a ragged doll, to the floor.
           The man who had sent the murderous bullet was running away, and Nick didn’t care to run after him. All he could think of was Rose, his dear sweet love, lying on the floor, rivers of hot blood spilling from her stomach.
           His mind immediately went back to the day he first saw her. She was exiting the hospital after doing some volunteer work when he laid eyes on her. It was late, and she looked exhausted. Her blonde hair was held back in a messy ponytail, and her freckled face was pale from being so overworked. Still there was a certain beauty about her; a mysterious glow that seemed to surround her entire being.
           Instantly he became overly obsessed with her. A quiet innocence possessed her very soul, and he wanted nothing more than to share that with her. He began following her all over town, and pretty soon he knew all of her quirky habits. For instance, when she was bored she would twirl her hair, or when she was tired she would blink quite a bit. Every single one of them he found wonderful, and he could stay there watching them for hours.
           Rose was smart though, and seemed to sense eyes on her, because after awhile she quit going places alone. It was odd, for the day she began going out with her friends was the day he wanted to talk to her; the day he felt as if he could.
           Finally he caught her away from her gang of girlfriends, and immediately took his chance. She was at the deli down the street from her apartment ordering her usual broccoli cheddar soup and mini Caesar salad. It was this day that he summoned up his courage, and, after waiting for nearly three months, walked up to introduce himself.
           However, he was not expecting to hear her say she knew he was the one that had been watching her, and following her every move. She had a gentle smile on her heart shaped face, and her voice held a secretive laugh. Surprisingly she wasn’t scared or annoyed at all. On the contrary, she seemed to be waiting for him to come out of the shadows.
           It seemed to be love. He was always with her, and it wasn’t too long until he was able to hold her hand. She would play with his fingers, and he loved the way her hand fit perfectly into his. He loved the way she wrapped her arms around his waist as she snuck a hug on him from behind. But, most of all, he loved the way her soft lips felt against his; he loved the way she tasted.
           Even though he could feel himself falling in love, he knew it couldn’t last forever. After all, Rose wasn’t the only one with a mysterious glow. Only, his was real… his was a secret. It was a secret so powerful that he feared to tell her. He feared she wouldn’t love him anymore after she knew.
           So, for three years, he kept his own life and secret to himself. No harm would come out of her not knowing the truth, and she would be much safer that way.
           But, as he got older, his life became more and more complicated, and he would often disappear for days without telling her where he was going. She would get angry at him for this, and upon asking him where he had been, she found that he never had an answer.
           On this particular night she decided to follow him, and sneakily she crept behind for an hour. He didn’t suspect her at all, and she was proud of the fact that she was about to discover his secret by herself.
           Finally she came up to a house, and she was surprised to find it was something out of a horror movie. It was surrounded in nothing but darkness, and moss green vines were climbing up the house like snakes, hiding the dirty white walls from uncaring passerby. The windows were filthy, and she couldn’t see anything through them. Scary, leafless trees were seen billowing creepily in the wind, and at the very top of the house was a Great Horned Owl, its head turned upside down.
           She watched as her boyfriend entered the scary house, and after he had been inside for a few minutes she decided to follow him. The outside of the house told no lies to what the inside held. All the furniture was ancient, and everything seemed to either be black or blood red. Shadows lurked around every corner, causing her to jump in fear at the idea that, not only was she stalking, but she was being stalked.
           Her fears quickly turned into a reality as two ice cold hands grabbed her arms, sending goosebumps up them. A sickening liquid touched her arms as the hands slid up and down them, and she looked down to see blood. Her scream was muffled by the bloody hands as a soft voice whispered into her ear. And it was then that she knew who was holding her. It was Nick.
           He removed his bloody hands off of her mouth, and she was disgusted when she saw him lick the blood off of his open palm. Quickly he led her into the dining room, and she found that he was different for some reason; much stronger and more persistent. It was almost as if he was angry with her.
           She didn’t understand what he was doing, but as she saw shadows moving in corners where there was nothing, she began to realize the truth. It was dangerous, where they were, and she had put herself right in the middle of it all. Immediately her heart began racing, and she felt as if it would fly out of her chest. There were people there, and she felt as if they wanted to kill her. Almost as if they wanted… her blood.
           After being alone in the dining room for a few moments and no one jumping out from the darkness he felt it was safe enough to leave her side and turn on the lights. They wouldn’t touch her if the lights were on… her blood wasn’t going to be quite as good with the “foul” glow of the dining room lights glowing on her very skin. Tonight was the night he would tell her the truth about himself; the secret of his life, and the secret of her life as well. The reason he had been so obsessed with her from the moment he saw her was going to come out, for it was that night that he discovered why she herself seemed to be hiding a secret.
           Rose was the one. She was the one who came about every thirteen years; the one whose blood held the power to keep him and his kind alive. From the day of her birth she was destined to die young, her blood used for his kind to feed off of until they could live in the light again. For the first time everything made sense. Yet he couldn’t see her die that way… he would rather turn to dust when the daylight hit him then drink her blood.
           But just as his fingers hit the light switch he heard the gunshot and quickly turned around. She was frozen in that shocked panic, her hand touching her stomach, which was spilling her beautiful blood. After touching the wound and whispering his own worst fear she fell to the floor, and he quickly ran to her, ignoring the fact that the man who shot her was running away as the light touched his skin. He himself could feel his skin burning, but he didn’t care. At this moment he wanted to die with her.
           She was slowly dying, and he could feel his own cold heart pounding against his chest. He couldn’t let her die, at least not that way. He loved her.
           And then the idea came to him. She wouldn’t have to die if he acted quickly, before she bled to death. If he was fast enough she could be with him forever, and he would be able to tell her all his secrets. So, very reluctantly, he sunk his razor sharp teeth into her soft neck and drank some of the blood he swore he would never drink.
           Within minutes her eyes were open again, and her skin had gone paler than usual. She was cold, yet breathing, and he knew his plan had worked. They would now be together forever, living on the Earth, yet not living at all.
           “Nick?” she whispered, her voice smooth as silk. “Nick, I’m alive?”
           “No,” he replied, stroking her blonde hair and looking into her now black eyes. “You’re not alive, my love. And neither am I.”
           Her eyes widened in shock as everything that had happened within the past hour sunk into her brain. The blood he licked off of his hand, the cause of his hand being so cold to the touch, the reason his eyes were blacker than night itself.
           “I’m… an undead,” he whispered, kissing her gently on her cheek. “And now you are,too."

Congratulations, Alysun!  We enjoyed your story!  Now tell our readers more about your life and your writing.

Hello, my name is Alysun Sanders, and I’ve been writing forever. It’s funny how many times I get asked how long I’ve been writing from my friends and family. It’s even funnier to see their reactions when I tell them I’ve been writing my whole life. At first I don’t think they understand. Who could stand writing forever, right? Especially a seventeen year old senior in high school, who’s busy with so many other things; where does she find time?

I’ve been writing since I was seven, but I’ve been telling stories since I could speak. My mom would read me stories as a baby, and I would chew on the corners of the cardboard books she bought me. When I went to daycare there was one child that needed help with reading, and the woman who watched us (Grandma Shirley), would help him. I loved hearing stories, so I’d just stay in the room and listen until my mom would pick me up at the end of the day. At the age of four I was telling all the kids at the daycare center stories that I would make up myself. They were a huge hit.

My creative mind was always encouraged by teachers and family members, and I always felt so special when teachers would have me stand up in front of the class to tell stories of haunted houses and princesses. I moved from California to Idaho when I was nine and continued my writing whenever I could find time. I spent four and a half years in Journalism and one year in Creative Writing. Other than those two classes, and required English classes for my grade levels, that’s all the training I’ve had. It was never something I had to learn, it was just something that happened.

Now, seventeen years old, I’ve finished with two novels (one is said to debut in the fall), nineteen short stories, over ten poems, four songs, and have eight unfinished novels that I’ll pick up after my series of nine is finished. The third book in my EKTA Series is currently in the process, and I hope to have it finished within the year. Other than my obsession with writing I’m just a normal teenage girl trying to graduate, and after that… well, we’ll have to see.
Contact Alysun.

A.  Alysun, please tell us a bit about your writing.

About myself... well, I’m seventeen, to start. I’m working on a series of nine books called EKTA, and the first, Talli’s Tale, and the second are finished. Talli’s Tale will make its debut later this fall, and after that I’m hoping to get the second one published. I do have a website, and it’s called Silver Writings. It was started at the end of last summer, so it’s going to be a year old soon.

Q. What would you want our readers to know about you?

I’m very secretive. Not so much with my short stories, but with my novels. I have a fear that my ideas are going to get stolen from me. Call it paranoia, but I just couldn’t deal with that. My first book was finished for a year before I finally asked someone about getting it published. None of my friends have read it, and I’ve only sent it off to two people. Even then it took a long time. The only person who I’m never secretive with is my mom.

Q. Do you write in a particular genre?  If so, what genre is it?

Well, most of the time I write teenage romances. EKTA is a fantasy series, but it has romance involved. Most of my short stories are about romance. The only things I write that are rarely about romance are my poems. They go under the category of miscellaneous.

Q.  What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

In my opinion, having believable, relatable characters is the most important element of good writing. Descriptions are always good, too, but when I read a book I get a little annoyed when I find too many of those and not enough information about the characters. The story is about them, right? That’s why when I write I always have notebooks filled with character backgrounds, and sometimes I don’t even use all the information. So I’d say characters are the most important element.

Q.  How do you develop your plots and characters?  Do you use any set formula?

It kind of depends on if it’s a short story or a novel. If it’s a short story, I just find a good song to listen to, put it on repeat, and spend hours on the computer writing until I’m finished. If it’s a novel I try and spend a while working on an outline first. I write the title, then under the title I put chapter names, and under each chapter name I have chapter contents, and sometimes descriptions of chapter contents. So it all depends on what I’m working on at the time.

Q.  What do you do to unwind and relax?

Writing is my way of unwinding and relaxing. I can’t go a day without it, and whenever I’m typing up a story I’m just left alone. Sometimes I’ll go upstairs to my bedroom with a notebook and write up my stories. That, I guess, is most relaxing to me. Having a pen in my hand and writing out the words the old fashioned way. I like the smell of ink and paper, and I like quiet. That’s what’s most relaxing to me.

Q.  What inspires you?  Who inspires you?

Music inspires me, no doubt. I’m crazy for music! It’s hard to catch me without my headphones on (not hard right now, because my headphones are broken at the moment, so I’m trying to cut back… ugh!). Music gives me ideas, or sometimes I’ll have an idea and I’ll hear a song that reminds me of it, so I just play it over and over again until I have that part of my story finished. Also, my family inspires me. When I run out of ideas I’ll lie on the couch in my mom’s lap and talk about it with her. We’ll throw ideas back and forth, and sometimes I’ll figure it out, sometimes I won’t and I’ll be on a break. But they always give me new ideas for stories. So I guess my family for sure, too.

Q.  Are you working on any projects right now?

Well, I just finished my second book, and decided to take a break before starting the third. But, within a day, I was writing the first chapter. No such thing as a break for me. I can’t live without it for too long. So I guess I’m working on the third book in my EKTA Series, although I haven’t gone very far yet. 

Q.  What is most frustrating about writing?  Most rewarding?

Most frustrating would definitely be when I run out of ideas, or I’m stuck in a certain chapter and don’t know what comes next. My outlines help, but I have a habit of going off the outline a bit. So sometimes I have to figure it out myself (which is kind of what’s happening at the moment with the third book). Most rewarding would have to be when I solve a problem and finish a book. I go out and call my brothers and my mom at work, because I can never hold in my excitement for too long.

Q.  If I were sitting down to write my very first story, what would your advice be?

Well, again that kind of depends. If it’s a novel I’d say have a clear knowledge of where you want your story to go. How it should begin, what should happen in the middle, and where it should end. Outlines help, but some people hate those and find them boring. Maybe write a summary of the story first. But you should know where you want it to go. If it’s a short story, just keep with it. Let it flow. That sounds weird, but just let it tell itself. Novels you have to direct, short stories you just let it do its thing.

Q.  What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Don’t let anyone or anything keep you from your story. You do what you want, write what you want, and tell what you want. And if anyone has a problem with it… oh well. Don’t give up just because one person doesn’t like the idea. If you like it, then somebody else will, too. So have fun, and good luck with your stories!

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