This story is by Jamie L Biggs and was part of our 2022 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Logan Hardy settles himself behind his desk as he begins his nightly ritual. He places a red pen to the right of his mouse and adjusts his keyboard just so. Habits die hard. He fires his printer and spits out formatted pages from yet another eager writer wanting to be published by the small press publishing company he owns. It may be more efficient to review soft copies of manuscripts on his desktop, but Logan enjoys the scratching sound of his pen against the paper as he bloodies it. He still finds pleasure in doing it because it is the only color he sees.
No longer able to enjoy beauty in the world, everything has become black and white for him. Logan has a reputation for finding diamonds in the rough. A master when making unknown writers famous and wealthy; taking the obscure writer, twisting and molding them into something brilliant. Regardless of his success, he grows tired of the colorless world he has lived in for the past 300 years.
He taps the stack of paper in front of him and begins his review, expecting to toss it into the trash. Sloan St. Clare is next to join the tens of thousands of unremarkable writers to grace Logan’s desk. “Another vampire story. If they only knew.”
Logan moves through chapter one. His fingers flash across the keyboard, causing the printer to produce chapter two. And then again, chapter three. Before realizing it, the night is fading into day as he finishes Sloan St. Clare’s manuscript.
“She knows.” He whispers to himself.
The writer is knowledgeable about the supernatural world. Is it possible she has privileged information about his kind? Sharing with a human would be criminal. Yes, some of her ideas are fictional. But there are too many similarities. The story is captivating, but only because it parallels the truth of the otherworldly.
A romance writer is telling the story of fated mates finding one another. This idea is nothing new. Thousands of misguided middle-aged women write about falling in love with the bad boy vampire. Sloan St. Clare, however, seems to have a better understanding of what it means to find your mate. Someone created by the fates to be a perfect match.
It is every vampire’s responsibility to protect their secret from the world. The knowledge of vampires or any other supernatural creature such as shifters, faeries, or witches would upset the natural balance of this world. Before he alerts the tribunal, he needs evidence that someone committed a crime against his kind. Logan wonders who would divulge a truth kept in secrecy for thousands of years. A slow smile curls his lips, yet doesn’t quite make its way up to his glacial blue eyes. He has something new to amuse himself. His long tapered fingers flash across the keyboard as he fires off an email to his target.
Dear Ms. St. Clare,
Thank you for your recent submission to Dark Night Press. I am rarely, drawn to romance stories, but found your manuscript to be most intriguing. Your submission is a fresh take on the fated mate’s trope. I want to schedule a time with you to discuss a working arrangement. Your manuscript may be a good fit for Dark Night Press.
I have scheduled a video chat with you at the end of the week. The time and link are below. Please respond and confirm your interest and ability to meet with me at the designated time mentioned.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Dark Night Press
After proofing his email, he hits the send button and waits for Ms. St. Clare’s response. It is only a matter of time. He will find the culprit who has endangered his species by disclosing their existence to this unknown writer.
His long life has become nothing more than a cumbersome repeat of the day before. There was a time in Logan’s life when he hoped to find his true mate. Someone who would give his life color again. Meaning. Love. But he lost faith it would ever happen. Why go out of his way now? Logan still has hope for the rest of the vampire race. His friends will have color and a reason to continue to exist. If he cannot find happiness, perhaps he will ensure his supernatural family can see it. He is not cynical enough to believe a happily ever-after isn’t possible for someone else.
Logan grows tired and decides it is time to call it a night. Pushing himself up from his executive leather chair, he straightens his desk. Pen placed in its spot, keyboard straightened. He moves his chair into the nook of his desk and leaves his office, knowing that when he returns the next night, he will find a response from Ms. St. Clare confirming their appointment.
Perhaps once he establishes who the culprit is and has reported to the tribunal, he will consider fulfilling his need to see the sun one last time. He has heard stories from ancient vampires about others who came before him, growing weary of this colorless existence and following the sun into the final-death. Logan once believed it was a defeatist attitude from those lacking the will to live. However, his advancing age has caused him to reflect and wonder if it is all still worth it.
Over the next two days, Logan prepares to meet with Sloan St. Clare. He must take care of his interview with her, not giving away his true intent to find the traitor of his kind. After doing in-depth research on the writer, Logan creates a list of well-crafted questions he will ask the woman, hoping to unravel the mystery.
The day has arrived, and it is almost time for the appointment. The evening begins with the nightly ritual of placing a red pen to the right of his mouse and adjusting his keyboard. Logging into the video chat room, he waits for Ms. St. Clare. His eyes drift over the monitor, noting the different shades of gray in the room. He will not miss this achromatic existence. Will there be an afterlife for him? An alert pings letting him know she has arrived.
“Hello, Ms. St. Clare. My name is Logan Hardy. It is a pleasure to meet you.” He responds with faux politeness.
“Hello! I’m thrilled to meet you. Please, call me Sloan.”
Startled by her enthusiastic voice, Logan returns his gaze back to the monitor, making eye contact with the beautiful brunette. Her chocolate brown eyes sparkle with excitement as she pulls on her bright green blouse sleeve. Ms. St. Clare sits in a blue velvet chair, creating a stunning technicolor contrast with her outfit.
“I’ve been looking forward to speaking to you since I received your email. It was all I could think about. Do you think my story has potential? The idea for the story came to me in a dream…”
Logan’s mouth drops open. He has found nothing pleasurable or colorful in over a century, and yet the vision before him causes disbelief. Sloan St. Clare is the loveliest creature he has ever laid eyes upon.
“Mr. Hardy, are you alright?” Sloan’s cheeks blush a bright pink. “I’m sorry. Sometimes my excitement gets the best of me, and I get ahead of myself. I am just so thrilled to get to meet you and discuss this opportunity with your publishing company. You are a legend!” She stops again and takes a deep breath.
“Please. Forgive me. I didn’t want to come across so star-struck. Maybe you’ve changed your mind about me?” She closes her eyes.
Color stings Logan’s eyes for the first time in centuries. The rebirth of his existence, of his world, sits on the monitor before him. The monotony of his days has forever changed in the blink of an eye. He shakes off his inability to speak to answer her.
“Yes, Sloan. I believe I have changed my mind about many things.” It is clear to Logan there was no crime committed against his kind. The fates have given him a second chance at life by placing his mate in front of him. A very long and happy life with this woman. An eternity waits for them. “And let me be clear. I have no intention of ever letting go of you. Please, call me Logan.”
“Oh good! Thank you, Logan.” she grins with a perfect smile.
“No. Thank you, Sloan.” He returns her enthusiasm. “Now, let’s discuss our future together. I have a feeling we will spend a lot of time with each other. Tell me everything about you.” Logan leans forward, knocking his pen on the ground and pushing his keyboard out of the way as he listens to the voice of his fated mate.