Meet the vampires of “Vampire Syndrome”

Jack Wendell

down-syndrome1-300x252
Physical and Calendar Age: 19

Former Special Olympics champion sprinter and 400-meter sprint national record holder. Now the world’s fastest running Vampire, able to run at over 100mph for long distances. Retains his sincerity and good will towards others while living and interacting with a Vampire population generally not known for these qualities. Jack gets his first girlfriend in my trilogy’s second novel, “Vampire Conspiracy”. Jack’s heroism and unique abilities gradually become known to the world’s human Vampire population… and others. 😈
Bricks

Damien Tepesh

CBAP
Physical age: 39
Calendar age: 267

Chief Venator (law enforcer) of the United States region. Targets Jack for termination, as Venators traditionally do when they discover a new special-needs Vampire. Jack escapes two of Damien’s assassination attempts, eventually causing Damien to reconsider his position about Jack.  Damien enjoys fast cars and fast women. Damien has been married for over 250 years, and has had several mistresses as well.
Bricks

Lilith Morrigan

Jessica Chastain
Physical Age: 44
Calendar Age: 308

President of the world’s human Vampire Community. Breaks with her own Venator past by protecting Jack from her husband Damien. Feels some maternal instinct for Jack, but Lilith realizes she would not make the best adoptive mother for him. The conflicts over Jack push her relationship with Damien to a breaking point.
Bricks

Zetania Vinescu

fortune_teller

Physical Age: 25
Calendar Age: 135

Chief Venator of Romania. Summoned to Colorado by Damien, to help him hunt Jack. Lilith over-rides her husband and orders Zetania to protect Jack from Damien and the other Venators. Zetania gradually realizes Jack’s incredible potential, and discovers that Jack may be the key to help Zetania and the Romanian Vampires end their dispute with their most feared enemy… one way or another.
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Ronald and Diane Pepper

Ron Diane
Physical and Calender Ages: 40

Ron Pepper, Jack’s former Special Olympics coach, and his wife Diane are the closest that Jack has ever had to a real family. Damien and Lilith come to a rare agreement and choose the Peppers to be Jack’s new adoptive parents. Damien and Lilith turn the Peppers into Vampires and hire them as private investigators. The Peppers’ longtime hobby of investigating cattle mutilations becomes their full-time occupation, as they finally uncover the mystery of who is behind all of those mutilations.

Bricks

Stella Reynolds

StellaKP
Physical Age: 27
Calendar Age: 71

Lilith’s presidential secretary and Damien’s current mistress. Over the last 250 years, Lilith has killed Damien’s previous four mistresses (and several other women who had short-term flings with Damien). The fact that Lilith hired Stella to be her secretary suggests a major change of strategy on her part, in which she plans to heighten her control and influence over Damien.

Bricks

Gl’Ag

Gl'AgPhysical Age: Mature Adult Male
Calendar Age: Over 25,000 years

The human vampires’ worst nightmare. And he realizes Jack’s true potential far more than any human Vampires can.

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Fred Henderson

Fred HPhysical Age: 41
Calendar Age: 266

Chief Mechanic, the MacGyver of Vampires. Owner of Roman Auto Salvage. His kindred’s predilection towards fast cars ensures Fred’s job security. Enjoys customizing pickup trucks and hunting deer. Owns a large collection of vintage film prints, including an original print of “Nosferatu” acquired during his vacation to Germany in 1922.

Bricks

Tivor Sebestyén

Tivor
Physical Age: 25
Calendar Age: 43

Mute autistic Vampire, native to the city of Debrecen, Hungary. Pursued by Hungarian Venators upon his change to human vampire in 1991, reported “missing, presumed dead” that same year. Confirmed sighted by several U.S. Venators in Colorado twenty years later. Possesses a unique superpower that could be dangerous to the human Vampire community.

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Early version of Vampire Syndrome: Sept. 2010 snippet

Here’s a previously unreleased snippet, © September 2010,

from the original version of Vampire Syndrome:

Who’s knocking? I hope it’s not Lilly.
What’s she saying? “Turn on the juice?” C’mon, sweetheart, I’m still half-asleep.
Wait, that’s not Lilly’s voice. It’s Zetania.
She knocks again and yells, “Turn on the news, Damien.”
“Be there in a minute,” I reply
The news? Did the Normals find Jack? Holy shit.
I reach over Stella, grab the remote and turn on the TV. Stella wakes up and asks me in a groggy voice, “What about the news?”
“Next on Eyewitness News,” the anchorman says, “A rancher has reported a mysterious cattle mutilation, north of Fort Morgan.”
Stella whispers, “Uh-oh.” She’s awake now.
Great. A Pure’s out in the sticks. Hopefully just one.
I put on my pajama pants, and rush to the door. Stella’s slips on her pink silk négligée. I let Zetania in, and she places her black duffel bag on my antique wood dresser.
“Hi, you two,” Zetania says.
I glance at the TV. A used car commercial.
“Tell those damn Pures to stay in Romania,” Stella replies.
Zetania unzips her duffel bag, and reaches inside.
“I’ll tell them with my Uzi,” Zetania retorts.
Look at that. The mini-Uzi made for the Romanian Military Police. Zetania didn’t even bother to paint over the “Poliţia Militară” logo.
“Do you need that just to hunt Jack?” Stella asks.
A news reporter comes on. “Last night in north Morgan County, cattle rancher Martin Rodriguez discovered the carcass of one of his cows, Mizzy. Mizzy was last seen alive around 7PM. Martin’s daughter found Mizzy’s carcass the next morning. The eyes, tongue, udder and tail had all been removed with surgical precision. The carcass was entirely drained of blood.”
The cow’s body appears on the screen. Zetania studies the TV picture.
“See how there’s not a drop of blood on the ground?” Martin asks the camera as he points to the grass.
“The Pures may have found out I left home,” Zetania says,”and one of them might be here in Colorado to ‘welcome’ me.”
“Maybe,” I suggest, “that secret airstrip of yours isn’t secret to them anymore.”
“They’ve never attacked it.”
“They’d be smart not to. They can just watch it from a distance. I bet they saw Lilly’s Gulfstream pick you up.”
“We have Security agents all over the area,” Zetania replies. “None of them have reported contact with any Pures.”
You’re focusing on the obvious, Zetania. A Venator needs to be a detective, not just a hunter.
“In Cluj, you all expect Pures to attack you, not evade you. My worry is when they don’t attack. That means they’re up to something. And at least one of your pale white shark-toothed friends made it here.”
“Do they still hide in shipping crates?” asks Stella.
“Yeah,” Zetania and I reply in unison.
They have to. They can’t pass for Normals, and their skin blisters and pops in direct sunlight. One reason why we moved the World Headquarters to Colorado back in 1904. Three hundred days of sunshine a year, average. A Pure’s worst nightmare.
“I’m worried there might be a group of Pures here,” I state. “They might be planning to hit this compound again.”
“No way, Damien,” Zetania snaps, “When Gl’Ag’s raiding party came here in 1904, you and Lilith killed his wife and three other Pures with your Gatling guns. And now you’ve stockpiled enough weapons to arm everyone here. Over five hundred of us.”
“Gl’Ag’s not gonna try and sneak up the main road again,” I say. “He barely made it out back in ’04, and we put a few bullets in him. We chased him as he ran away, but we couldn’t catch him. I’m still amazed that he made it back to your country. Today we have two guards with Miniguns, 24-7, in those same turrets Lilly and I used.”
“Gl’Ag? Didn’t you wreck your STI chasing him last year?” Stella asks Zetania.
“He snuck up on a Roma wagon camp,” Zetania replies. “That’s why I still check up on my distant relatives. They would have been easy prey for him, if I hadn’t been there.”
“Guess what Zetania was doing when Gl’Ag came?” I ask Stella.
“What?” Stella leans head toward me.
“The Gypsies were gathered around the campfire,” I explain, “and Zetania was reading them Vampire Moonlight: Bewareness.”
Stella laughs.
“What’s so funny?” Zetania asks.
“If there was such a thing as an irony meter,” I say, “you would have broken it. A real Vampire, reading a fictional vampire book to Gypsies who tell tales about real Vampires.”
“Better yet,” interjects Stella, “By chasing Gl’Ag away, she accidentally created a new Vampire tale for Roma folklore.”
Lady Dhamphir in the Black Subaru,” Zetania replies, “I’ve overheard it twice.”
Zetania’s so proud of herself. For blowing her cover, no less.
“Lucky you,” I growl. “Gypsies don’t tell their stories to outsiders,”
Zetania smiles and extends her fangs.
“Must be nice to live around Normals who don’t run their mouths,” I continue. “That lady in Grand Junction who backed her TrailBlazer into the ditch probably called the media before she called the tow truck. ‘Oh, I was getting away from a Vampire!’ Good thing no one believed her.”
“Normals don’t know about the hideout in Colorado National Monument,” Stella says, “Damien and I went there the next day, and we had a little talk with the squatters.”
“I told them if I had to come back again,” I state, “I’d bring Lilly with me.”
That sure got those little brats’ attention.