About DeVante's Children
Written by SM Johnson
Kicked out of his house by his father and stepmother so he won't infect anyone with his gayness, Daniel is a little adrift. He has plenty of doubts about the gay life, too, until he meets Roderick, who teaches him that there are a lot stranger things in the world than men who love men. Roderick has designs on Daniel, but they're far from honorable, which Daniel soon figures out to his dismay.
Enter DeVante, Roderick's creator, who's furious about Roderick's treatment of Daniel. Between learning about his new world and a family emergency that pits Daniel against his estranged family, Daniel has a lot to deal with. Finally, Daniel must decide who he is, what he wants, and if he's willing to sacrifice human life to get it.
Kiernan Kelly, author of the In Bear Country books, writes:
Daniel is a young man to whom life has dealt a poor hand. His mother died when he was young, his father is cold and distant, caring only for his "new" family. Adding to his stress is the recent self-revelation that Daniel might be gay. When he comes out to his father, things at home deteriorate, culminating in Daniel destroying his father's prized automobile, and his subsequent eviction from home.
His friends are useless, and he quickly begins a downward spiral into self-destructive behavior. Teetering on the brink, he finds salvation in the hands of a most unlikely creature -- a vampire named Roderick, who himself has problems, most tied to his sire, DeVante, and DeVante's creator, Katarina.
Sheri Johnson has created a dark world of the vampire, creatures plagued by the all-too human emotions of love, jealousy, and hate. Johnson's vampires are predators, make no mistake, but they are also intensely interesting characters, every bit as flawed and battered as those they prey upon. They struggle with choices just as the rest of us do, finding life as joyous, painful, and confusing as the rest of us.
Daniel stared at the wrecked car, thinking maybe his dad should have let him practice driving it once in a while. The car was a '76 Stingray, red with a T-top, and when Daniel took off with it last night, it had been in perfect showroom condition. Today, it was the loser in one round of car-hits-tree. Fucking awesome.
In the light of day, the damage was impressive. In fact, Daniel realized, he was lucky he hadn't gotten hurt. It hadn't even occurred to him when he sized up the tree that he might bash his own head in. Nuts.
The Corvette sat in an impound lot, listing to one side because the left front tire was flat. The headlight sockets were empty of glass, windshield spider-webbed, and the front end was, well… broken. Small pieces of the left quarter panel above the flat tire were missing, leaving fiberglass edges jutting toward the ground like ragged, broken teeth. Where the grill had been was now a black hole.
Daniel stared at it, fascinated and even a little proud. He'd have to draw it, soon. Corvette versus Big Old Oak. He grinned at the car.
Then he heard a door slam and looked up to see his dad stalking down the steps from the office of the wrecker company. Daniel could tell from the look on his face that everything was about to hit the fan.
His dad gestured at the car and spit in Daniel's direction. "Look at it! Just look at what you've done, asshole. It was perfect. Now, it might as well go to the junkyard."
Daniel shrunk a little inside, his cockiness at causing such magnificent damage fading in the face of his father's anger.
His dad shook his head, then scrubbed his face with his hands like he couldn't bear to look at the car again. "Ruined it, you little shit--" He dropped one hand from his face and studied it, then, without warning, the hand flew through the air, catching Daniel's face with a loud snap.
Daniel felt the sting and allowed his head to whip to the side. He kept his mouth shut. This sucked.
"You don't even act ashamed, Daniel. What the hell's wrong with you?"
"It's just a frickin' car," Daniel muttered.
He paced along the fence that separated them from the Corvette, hands now safely tucked into his pockets. "Do you know how long it's going to take me to fix it? I was going to sell this car for your college education -- you can just kiss that goodbye."
Bullshit. He didn't need to sell the car to pay for Daniel's education or anything else. This car was a macho thing, something for his dad to prove, so he could tell people he was building a hot rod like what's his face, Boyd, from the cable show. He could replace the damn car tomorrow if he wanted, if having a perfect Corvette was important to him. Hell, once he got over being mad, he'd be thrilled. He could fix it, shake his head and tell his friends what a pain in the ass it was, fixing the car after Daniel smashed it up. He was so full of shit.
"Yeah, right, Pop. You'd sell me first."
His dad boiled over, arms flailing in the air like he was going to hit Daniel again, and Daniel stepped back. His dad's face went red to the top of his balding head. "That's it. You can get the fuck out of my house. I'm done with you and your cocksure little attitude. You can't respect my things, and you can't respect our family. This was your last chance, and you blew it. When we get home, I expect you to pack your shit. Go stay with your fag friends. Autumn and I don't need these kinds of problems, and Autumn doesn't want you around the baby, anyway."
Okay, so he and his dad had never been best friends, but his dad hadn't ever been just plain mean. So, they'd been working toward this, his dad and Autumn, looking for an excuse to throw him out.
"They're not gay. Jeez, what do you think, everybody's gay now? You think I want it to be this way? I'm sorry I even tried to talk to you." He didn't know what he'd been thinking, coming out to his dad a few weeks ago. Just… just that he did love his father and he missed his mom desperately and he needed help. Direction. He guessed mostly that he wanted to hear that his dad loved him anyway... That Daniel didn't have to be alone in this… this thing, whatever it would be. But no, his dad hadn't followed any of the best-case scenarios Daniel had hoped for. But then, he hadn't followed any of Daniel's imagined worst-case scenarios, either. Well, until now. Getting kicked out of the house was definitely a worst-case scenario.
At the time, though, his dad had only gone tight-lipped and pale, and said, "Don't be ridiculous, Daniel. You're a kid, you can't know that you're gay. You don't know anything about anything yet." End of conversation.
Apparently it wasn't the end of the conversation between his dad and his step-mom. It seemed they'd started figuring out how to get Daniel out of the house. In fact, the significance of the Moorehead University Early Acceptance application Daniel found on his desk last week suddenly slapped him in the face. They'd wanted him to apply for entrance to a college at the far side of the state. He had another year of high school left, for god's sake, and they wanted him to go away. Well, what the fuck? "The baby" was almost three years old -- what did they think he'd do to her, anyway? Thinking he was gay didn't make him a pervert. Did it?