The First Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker
Running and out of breath, Sean Becker barely made it to the Embarcadero Station in time to get on the 6:13 train east. He was just another commuter ending another workday like the hundreds around him. He couldn’t possibly imagine that tonight was the beginning of the end of everything he had ever known and the advent of an eternal nightmare.
He squeezed into the crowded car and found a pole to hang onto as the doors shut and the train started moving. It would take almost an hour to get to the Dublin/Pleasanton Station and another 20 to 30 minutes to drive home. At least he didn’t have to live as far away as Tracy or even further from the City just to afford a home.
The horrible Bay Bridge Toll Booth crash yesterday had made commuting on BART a total mess as people who normally drove were forced to take the rail system. He silently endured, reminding himself to be grateful to Jesus that he had a good job, and that they’d bought their home in Dublin when it was still affordable. God was good. He was good to give him a wonderful wife like Janet and three beautiful children to care for.
But by the time he’d get home, Janet would have probably finished helping seven-year-old Aaron with his homework and have him, five-year-old Jill, and two-and-a-half-year-old Lizzie fed and in their PJs. Sean missed the days when he didn’t have to work so long, when the commute didn’t seem to take forever. He was torn between the happiness he had with his family and the feeling of being trapped in the endless cycle of commute, work, commute, bed, rinse and repeat.
Just for a moment, he also felt trapped by the rest of his life as well.
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
The train slowed down as it reached the other end of the Bay tunnel and his weight shifted, causing him to almost fall onto someone.
“That’s okay. These things happen.”
He looked down. She couldn’t have been more than twenty-five and she was so beautiful. Sean blinked. He couldn’t believe that was the first thing he’d thought of when he saw her.
“Well, excuse me anyway.” He smiled at her. She smiled back but only a little. She had sad light blue eyes, like the color of a shallow tidal pool. Her hair was dark, almost black, shoulder length, silky. Her eyelashes were also dark and full. She didn’t look like she got much sun, but this time of year, who did? She used a little too much lipstick, or were her large, pouting lips naturally a vivid crimson? He looked down at her body but a dark blue overcoat concealed her shape.
Sean felt his face blushing hot and abruptly turned away. He knew he wasn’t perfect. He’d been married for ten years and faithful to his wife all that time, but like most men, he looked on occasion. That’s how he justified it. He looked like most men, a hollow rationale for lust.
This felt different though, terribly different. It wasn’t just that he found her attractive like a lot of women were. He found her seductive, alluring, almost narcotic.
“No! stop it,” he said to himself closing his eyes tight.
The train arrived at the West Oakland Station and this time, she pressed into him as people were maneuvering toward the exit. He could feel her through his coat and hers. She was so cold, like he was being held against supple ice, and huddled so close together he started shivering.
“Are you alright, Ms…”
“I’m fine. Just naturally cold blooded I guess. I’m Dol.”
“Sean. Sean Becker. Dol. That’s an unusual name.”
“It’s short for Dolengen. Named after my grandmother. I’ll never forgive my parents.”
They both chuckled. The train started moving forward again. There still weren’t any available seats so they would be companions for a little bit longer.
He couldn’t think of anything else to say to her and he was grateful for that. Sean couldn’t help the compelling attraction he had toward her, but why? At thirty-seven, he figured he was too early for a mid-life crisis so that wasn’t an excuse. Without meaning or wanting to, he looked back down at her. She was staring into space presumably, and then as if sensing him, she looked up and they made eye contact again.
They kept looking at each other a lot longer than would be considered polite under the circumstances. It bothered him but he also enjoyed the encounter. Was he flirting with her or she with him?
He forced himself to turn away, but knew she was still looking at him.
“God forgive me. I don’t want to feel like this. Please, Jesus.” He desperately hoped his silent prayer would be heard in Heaven.
Somewhere between Fruitvale and San Leandro, he lost track of her. She’d probably gotten off. Just as well. He let his mind wander, periodically looked at his watch. The train was behind schedule. His legs felt tired. He found an empty seat. Sean lay his head against the cold glass of the window next to him and felt hunger argue in his stomach. All he wanted to do was get home to his family.
It was after seven when he stepped out of the train and onto the platform. He texted Janet telling her he’d be home in just a little bit now. As he walked across the parking lot toward his car, he got a reply text, a photo of all three kids in various stages of leaping up and grinning. The message read, “Jumping for joy that Daddy’s coming home.”
He smiled. They so made the rat race worth it.
Sean pulled out his keys as he approached the Subaru and pressed the fob. His car made the expected chirping sound as the doors unlocked. He reached for the door handle and in the window, he saw her reflection, he saw Dol.
She was still staring at him with those hypnotic eyes, smiling with red lips, her teeth were so white, her fangs…
He whirled around.
Sean was alone. He looked back at the driver’s door window. Dol’s reflection had vanished.
He laughed nervously, opened the door, and then got in.
She was standing under a street light on the sidewalk just outside the BART station’s entrance looking at Sean Becker’s car as it pulled out of the parking lot.
“He’s the one I need; the one we need. His blood smells so good.”
She knew the Master would approve. The woman who had once been called the Countess Dolengen of Gratz smiled and just for a moment revealed long gleaming fangs. She would hunt incidental prey tonight to hold the hunger at bay. Tomorrow night, the next, a week from tonight would be another matter entirely.
About fourteen months ago, I started a series of stories about a vampire named Sean Becker. The thing that made him unusual was that he was (and is) a Christian, even after “turning.” I began with a simple little tale called Even Coffee Doesn’t Help and kept on going and going and going.
Eventually, like with almost all of my older series, I lost interest and moved on to other things.
However, earlier today I wrote a story called “Stop Me From Falling,” which I can’t actually publish until Thursday because it’s part of the Simply Marquessa friday fiction challenge for December 7th (which is actually a Thursday). The character of Dol appears in that story and I was so impressed with how everything turned out in that tale, I decided Dol and the world she lives in would be the perfect vehicle for me to relaunch Sean Becker’s saga, this time hopefully strengthening the conflict he feels as he realizes he died and is now an undead vampire.
Right now, I’m taking it slow, establishing Sean as a family man but one who is also restless, though he feels guilty about it, both at work and in his home life, which he loves but which has also become predictable and all too ordinary.
Who is Dol, what does she want from Sean (besides his blood) and who is the mysterious “Master?” I’ll reveal all these things as more stories come to light.
To learn more about Dol and her world, read the “prequel” Stop Me From Falling. Warning: Contains “adult” (erotic) content.
Chapter Two in Sean Becker’s saga is Approaching Advent.
11 thoughts on “The Beginning of the Fall”
Now I really enjoyed this. I wonder if he’ll ever regret looking at Dol.
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Oh most certainly.
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Dear “Grim’s” — Your comment, along with James’ characterization of Sean’s inner struggle, impelled me to offer an observation of my own. It would be inappropriate for a human male, made in God’s image, to regret that certain neural programs had been included within the intrinsic construction of his brain. Those programs have a critically important function to impel mate selection and the continuance of the human species. They are automatic and just as important as the sensory reflexes that tell us to run from danger or to take our hand away from something that would burn us. The reflex that makes a man notice a woman and compare her initial image against a number of internal templates that prequalify potential mates is not yet a form of lust. It is merely a biological reflex. The problems arise if that reflex is not moderated by more complex mental programs which recognize other conditions, such as whether mate selection and mating have already occurred and corresponding family responsibilities have been incurred. The reflex does not switch off, but it does not in itself impel fantasy projections of other potential actions that would ignore and deny the limiting conditions. Such lustful fantasies prepare a path toward such actions and all the misery they may entail; but they may be suppressed and denied. A man may thus acknowledge and even rejoice in his God-given reflexes, but nonetheless he may apply higher principles as the rules which govern his conscious thoughts and his actions, in order to obtain for himself and to share with others the benefits and blessings of righteous attitudes and behavior.
So our character Sean might have reduced somewhat his guilt feelings, and devoted that much more emotional energy to directing the remainder of his thoughts toward better things. But then, of course, James’ story would be missing some of its element of suspense, because the protagonist’s moral inhibitions are actually undermined in some measure by his sense of guilt, producing an emotional undercurrent that causes him to misinterpret it as a sign that he really needs something he supposedly shouldn’t have and leaving him vulnerable to the vampire who exploits those feelings. This will set him off-balance just long enough for the vampire to accomplish her task. So I suppose the answer to your question, about whether he will regret looking, is that he will certainly regret the result of being led into becoming vulnerable enough to be turned into a vampire; but looking is not the same as thinking or fantasizing, which is not the same as following, or touching, or tasting or any of the other subsequent actions that may have led to that horrifying ultimate result which we may be granted to view in a subsequent episode James may write.
Sean is working off of the quote from Matthew 5:28, “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” While it may be natural for men to “appraise” women sexually, he doesn’t believe he should wantonly do so, and he is aware that as a married man, this also represents a subtle form of betrayal.
That said, Dol as a vampire is exercising a certain amount of unnatural control over Sean that he is unaware of and, as a mere human, unable to overcome, at least very easily.
Without giving too much away, part of Sean’s vulnerability to becoming Dol’s victim is his own internal doubts about his life and even his marriage. He’s been married ten years, has three children, and is stuck in a rut, thus he finds himself more easily distracted than he might have been earlier in his life.
As far as regrets, given subsequent events, he’s going to have a lot of them.
Well, while we’re quite in agreement about Sean’s vulnerability and its roots in his insecurities in addition to the unfair preternatural influences that a vampire may impose upon its human victim, Sean’s insecurities here seem to be exacerbated by a common superficial misreading of Mt.5:28 as translated into English. Two key words in the ancient Greek text are represented in English as “looks” and “lust”. The first, “βλέπων” (“Blephon”) can mean a range of options from simple visual detection to extended consideration and contemplation of an object seen. The latter is more likely the intended meaning when used in conjunction with “ἐπιθυμῆσαι” (“epithumisai”), which means “to desire, long for; to lust after or covet”. This is why I offered the distinction between the biologically-programmed instinct or reflex and the unjustified fantasies that may be pursued as extended contemplation.
Sean seems caught somewhat between them, misled into thinking and feeling that he has lost a battle with both, when the instinct should never have been a subject for guilt feelings that should apply only to the latter which he seemed to have been resisting somewhat adequately. A man who thinks the battle already lost finds it harder to muster his energies to keep fighting; thus he becomes more vulnerable and more likely to surrender. Hope of ultimate victory (or even stalemate) may be sufficiently encouraging that the man may summon his strength to outlast his opponent or overcome him. The same principle of external military or personal conflict applies to internal psychological and moral conflict. But Sean, poor lad, feels he is already on the losing side of this conflict and thus will fall prey to his powerfully-attractive victimizer that he is not even yet aware is truly an opponent that might have been resisted and overcome. And thus begins the tale that will follow Sean the vampire as a private investigator.
Characterising Sean as a typical Evangelical, he no doubt embraces that misreading of Mt. 5:28, PL. Thus he feels guilty every time he looks at a woman (other than his wife) and finds her attractive. It’s a much worse feeling for him when he looks at Dol with obsessive attraction and passion, but again, she’s a vampire and she can manipulate his emotions, probably through pheromones and perhaps also using supernatural processes.
I’m not presenting his understanding of the Bible as I believe it is, but as he has been taught to understand it, the common (mis)understanding of many in today’s traditional Church.
As far as re-creating his career as a private investigator, he’s got a much longer road to travel between here and there from the one I previously crafted for him.
Wonderful story James.
Thank you, Bojana. The next two chapters of this story are online: Chapter 2: Approaching Advent and Chapter3: Nightfall. I hope you’ll like them too.
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I read the hole trilogy, thanks for asking. 🙂
I was diligent.
Thanks, Bojana. Sean Becker’s story is just beginning.
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Good to know.