In “Vampire Conspiracy”, Jack gets a ride to the Vampires’ secret airstrip, in style. The classic Soviet-era-design Zil limousine is the very definition of “imposing”.
Time for me to try something new in the new year.
A character interview, a concept inspired by Joleene Naylor,
but written in my own style.
Spoiler Warning: This interview takes place between the end of “Vampire Syndrome” (book one) and the beginning of “Vampire Conspiracy” (book two).
Welcome, readers of the Vampire Syndrome blog. Today we are proud to feature an interview with Jack Wendell. Currently Jack is between novels one and two, flying in the Council of Thirteen Presidential Jet on his way to Romania to rescue his dear friend Zetania Vinescu from the alien Pure Vampires who kidnapped her in the last chapter of “Vampire Syndrome”. Accompanying Jack in the Gulfstream G550 are Damien Tepesh, Chief Venator of the United States region, and Jack’s new adoptive parents, Ronald and Diane Pepper.
Interviewer: Good evening, Mr. Wendell, I’m (redacted), official record-keeper of the Council Of Thirteen. So nice to meet you. (Interviewer and Jack shake hands)
Jack: Hey, wait a minute, how’d you get on this plane?
I: The same way you did, through the door.
J: How come I didn’t see you?
I: I’m Stacy Burnside’s co-pilot. I was in the cockpit until now.
J: Oh, okay.
I: Now let’s get down to business. Tell the Vampire world about yourself.
J: My name is Jack Wendell and I’m nineteen years old. A few months ago, I became a Vampire cause a girl named Janine Perrino got Vampire rabies and bit me.
I: Not the most pleasant way to become a Vampire… (chuckles)
J: Tell me about it! President Lilith told me most of us become vampires from sex.
I: Yes, indeed, sexual intercourse.
J: That’s how Damien and Lilith turned Coach Ron and Diane into Vampires.
I: Ah, yes, Ron and Diane Pepper. Ron was your Special Olympics coach until his recent recruitment into our community.
J: You call that a recruitment? They didn’t get much choice about it.
I: Well, more like drafted, I must admit. And how do you feel about Damien and Lilith turning the Peppers?
J: Why didn’t they ask me first before they did it?
(Damien interrupts): Lilly never was very good about asking people before she…
I: Uh, excuse me, Chief Venator, sir, I’m interviewing Jack here. For the Council record.
(Damien): My apologies. Carry on.
I: Okay, so Jack, let me re-phrase the question. Ron and Diane, now they’re Vampires: Is this good or bad?
J: Good, cause they’re my new family. I guess Lilith wanted to be my new mom, but it didn’t work out. She said she might not be the best mom for me.
I: Indeed, Damien and Lilith did seem to agree that they might not be the best candidates to be your new parents.
J: I love Coach Ron and Diane, and I’m so happy they’re my Dad and Mom now, but I’m scared we’re all gonna get hurt.
I: The Pures. 😈
J: That’s the bad thing. What if the Pures find out about us?
I: The Pures know about your new parents. They’ve been monitoring the Peppers’ cattle mutilation website with a stolen laptop that we’re monitoring.
J: I meant, when they find out Coach Ron and Diane are Vampires!
I: And working as Council investigators, I might add.
J: That’s not funny.
I: No humor intended, Mr. Wendell. We’re in a tough situation here. And you’re heading right into the eye of the storm.
J: But I’ve gotta rescue Zetania from the Pures!
I: Which will put you in grave danger…
J: I don’t care!
(Damien): Cluj Napoca Team has already surrounded the Pures’ hideout.
(Diane Pepper): Oh my, aren’t we confident, Damien?
(Damien): We’ll hit ’em after sunrise so they can’t come out of their cave chasing after Jack.
I: Excuse me, I’m trying to conduct an interview here!
(Damien and Diane, in unison): Sorry!
J: If I can get Zetania out of there, maybe she won’t declare war on the Pures.
I: Her number one enemy for 122 years? You’re quite an optimist, Jack.
J: I’m gonna talk her out of it.
I: Jack, I hate to play devil’s advocate here, but if the Pures killed Zetania, she wouldn’t be able to declare war on them.
J: But then all the rest of the human Vampires would want to kill the Pures cause they killed Zetania. There’d be a big war anyway.
I: Great point, Jack. I can see why Damien and Lilith accepted you into our community.
J: After Damien tried to kill me a couple of times.
(Interviewer continues): And why are you so willing to risk your life to rescue Zetania, Jack?
J: She would do it for me. I know she would. Maybe if I save her, she won’t want to go to war with the Pures cause she knows how bad she could lose. If I get her out of there, she won’t want to be captured again. See?
I: Yes, actually, I do. If you’re right, that is. If Zetania doesn’t see your rescuing her as a golden opportunity to re-group the Romanian Vampires and…
J: Then I better talk her out of the war harder!
I: I wish you the best of luck with your mission, Jack. You’re gonna need it.
J: Thank you.
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.”
“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.
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