Dec 2, 2012

A Vampiric Christmas Carol (part 1)

An early Happy Holidays to everyone!

As some of you have probably noticed, whenever I'm in the middle of writing a book this blog becomes the equivalent of a red-headed stepchild. This time has been no different, as you can no doubt tell by the rather sparse update schedule I've been keeping.  I figure at the end of the day, it's better to get something new out of the door than wrack my brain for an inane post that nobody is going to give much of a crap about anyway.

That being said, I find myself in quite the fine mood as we enter this holiday season.  A good chunk of that is because of you, the awesome people who have been so supportive of me. Every time I get a tweet, post, or email about one of my books, it's such an incredible feeling I can barely express it.  I really owe you all my deepest gratitude for it.

Because of this, I wanted to give everyone a small token of my thanks. Unfortunately, sending each of you a fruit cake seemed a little daunting.  Thus I decided to dust off my Santa-shaped writing cap and put together a little Christmas story as both thanks and a little holiday cheer to all the people patiently waiting for me to finish book 4 of my Tome of Bill Series, Holier Than Thou.

Here's my twisted take on a holiday classic.  I hope you enjoy it.

A Christmas Carol Bill
Part 1.

Finally, I was almost home!  I hate racing the sunrise to get back to my apartment.  Sometimes the goddamn trains seem like they’re purposely timed to make you miss your connection.  If that N train hadn’t been an express, I’d probably wind up having to spend all day down in the station - a prospect that’s only marginally more pleasant than getting turned into a pile of ash by the rays of the sun.  I swear, Sally must get some perverse amusement in keeping me stuck in Manhattan with her until the wee hours of the morning...

Wait...with her for what?  I skidded to a stop just as I reached the stairs leading up to my building.  What the hell was I even out for?  That’s odd.  For some reason I couldn't remember what I had been doing last night or why it had made me late.  Sure, it was probably some coven related bullshit.  I mean it’s usually coven related crap: forms to fill out, petty fights between the members to settle, determining what's cool and what isn’t when it comes to killing people.  My god, sometimes you’d think I was the babysitter for a bunch of preteen girls instead of the leader of a coven of vampires.  Oh well, what did it matter anyway?  Same shit, different day and all that.  I was probably tired that’s all.  I figured that maybe a good night’s...err day’s...sleep would jog my memory. 

It couldn’t have been too important anyway, I thought, walking up the stairs to the front door. I dug out my key so I could let myself in and then head to the top floor apartment I shared with my human roommates, Tom and Ed.  Whatever it was, it could wait.  Yeah, a pint of blood and then maybe a couple of hours of sleep would do me well. 

I was just about to put my key in the lock when suddenly...HOLY SHIT!  I found myself backing up and then falling ass over teakettle down the stairs.  I landed hard, but thanks to my vampire physiology I pretty much wounded my pride more than anything else.

Either way, I barely felt it.  My mind was suddenly a million miles away.  For a split second there, I saw a face where the doorknob should have been.  Not just any face, mind you, but Jeff’s face.  But that was impossible.  Jeff, AKA Night Razor (double AKA douchebag), was the vampire who had originally turned me - quite against my will I might add - about a year or so back.  He was a big muscle-headed dickhead of a vamp, which was bad enough.  What made it worse, though, was that he had hated my guts from the get go - to the point of wanting to yank them out of my body.

He had come damn close too.  I had gotten luckier on that one than I had any reason to.  Not only had I and my friends managed to kill him, but I had wound up taking over his position as head vampire of a small coven of vampires located in SoHo.

As I said, he was dead...very dead - as in dust in the wind dead.  Even if he hadn’t been, why the fuck would he be doing an impersonation of my doorknob?  Whatever mission had gotten me out of my apartment earlier that night was suddenly the furthest thing from my mind.  I got a hold of myself, best as I could, then raced back up the stairs to find...well, nothing.  The door was there just like it always was. The doorknob was not Jeff's face, much like it typically wasn't.  I must’ve been more tired than I thought.  I seriously considered adding a couple of shots of Jim Beam to that pint of blood once I got inside.

Speaking of which, I was reflecting on a good stiff drink when I suddenly smelled something.  Hmm, it had a bit of a bacony aroma to it.  I was just thinking that someone must be up and cooking breakfast when suddenly the bacon started to burn, and that’s when I realized I was the bacon.  My hallucination had caused me to hesitate just long enough for the first rays of sunshine to start peeking over the rooftops.  Let me just say for the record, having the back of your head spontaneously ignite is not a particularly fun way to start the day.

* * *

The apartment was dark when I got in, smoke still rising off me.  I was amazed I hadn’t set off the building’s fire alarms on the way up.  Maybe the fact that our landlord is such a cheap fuck isn’t always a bad thing.  Anyway, a quick check of things - right after sticking my head in the shower - showed that I was alone.  I had assumed my roomies might still been sleeping, but a walk through the place confirmed that they were out.  I smiled a bit at that.  I don’t have anything against my roommates.  They’re my best buds in this world.  However, Tom’s girlfriend had been sleeping over as of late and that had been starting to tick me off.

It was bad enough that Tom was getting some, while I slept alone just a few yards away in my own bedroom.  Still, I could live with that.  What really bothered the shit out of me was that he was getting some from a witch, one who was also a member of a coven that wanted me dead.  Tom had been dating Christy for a few months now.  She had originally been sent to spy on me by this asshole wizard who happened to be a VP at the company I worked for.  It’s a bit of a long story.  It’s amazing how just a year ago I thought that the closest thing to real vampires were a bunch of dipshits wearing glitter to tween movie premiers. Nowadays, though, it seemed I couldn’t take a shit without running into the supernatural.  Suffice it to say, despite her mission, Christy wound up developing real feelings for Tom and the two had been a couple ever since.  Unfortunately, her coven hadn’t forgotten their original mission of killing me, which meant that things could be a little tense when she was around.

But that was neither here nor there right now.  I had the apartment all to myself.  I opened the fridge to help myself to a pint of chilled blood and allowed myself a moment to enjoy the silence. *Clink* Or relative silence anyway.  *Clink* *Clink* Ok what the fuck?  Were the pipes now rattling in this rundown hovel of an apartment building?

*Clink* It came again and this time sounded like it was in the room with me.

I turned around, not really sure what to expect. I had been thinking maybe something had come loose and fallen off the ceiling. Instead, my eyes popped wide open - the forgotten blood pack dropping to the floor along with my jaw.

“Hello, meat,” said Jeff.

* * *

I tried to form words but the English language suddenly seemed beyond my grasp.  What I was seeing was impossible - and trust me, over the past year I’ve had to raise the bar considerably on what I considered to be impossible.  Apparently I hadn’t raised it far enough.

“Happy to see me again, asshole?” he asked with that same dickhead attitude I remembered from before, a grin spreading across his pale face - and pale he was, even by vampire standards.  It was like he had just been doused with talcum powder.  He was also covered in chains... that was a new look for him. What the fuck was up with that?

"If we're being honest here, not particularly," I replied, still in shock but able to spit out the insult regardless.

"I can assure you, the feeling is mutual."

"You're dead."

"So are you, Dr. Death," he replied mockingly, using my old coven nickname.  I guess he did have a point there, though.

"I meant really dead. I killed you."

"You killed me?"

"Well OK, Sally helped...a little."

"I'm well aware," he spat. "And believe me, as much as I'd like to rip both your fucking faces off for it, that's not why I'm here."

He could have fooled me.  Back when Jeff had been in charge of our coven, I hadn't known him to give me the time of day if it didn't include some attempt at fucking me up. 

"So this is just a social visit?"

"Not quite.  I'm here to tell you that tonight you will be visited by three spirits.  They are here to show you..."

I raised an eyebrow.  Really?  We were going with that old cliche?  "What? You’re going to show me the error of my ways?"

"More like what a fucking little lifeless prick you are."

OK, that was new.

"Listen, Jeff,” I replied, realizing that I was standing here talking to a vampire ghost.  Yep, I must be losing my fucking mind. “I'm tired and..."


"Fine, Night Razor.  Whatever the fuck.  I don’t care. You're obviously just a figment of my imagination anyway.  Maybe I sucked down some expired blood..."

"Think whatever you want, you cockless dweeb.  It doesn't change what's coming.”  He suddenly raised his arms, rattling the chains he wore for effect.  “Beware, Freewill!" he shouted.  "The error of your ways will be laid bare!"

Huh? "Wait, didn't you just say it had nothing to do with the error of my..."

Before I could finish, Jeff became translucent.  A mere moment later he completely faded away, just like...well, a ghost.  Pretty fucking freaky if you ask me.  Then again, I'm a vampire.  Freaky kind of comes with the territory.

I turned toward my bedroom, briefly considering popping a handful of Xanax and chasing it down with a fifth of tequila.  That would be a lethal combo for a human, but all it would probably do to me is knock my ass out for a few hours.  If indeed Jeff was right and I was in for a series of visitations (just like in that Bill Murray movie) how fucking hilarious would it be if they couldn't wake me up?

On the flip side, there was an equal chance that in death Jeff had been as full of shit as he had been in life. That was all assuming he wasn't just a hallucination to begin with, something I wasn’t quite ready to rule out.

Ah fuck it.  What's the worst that could happen?  I had read that book in school and I knew how it went.  Even better, I knew I wasn't some sort of Scrooge.  Sure I might not be the most festive person on the planet come the holiday season, but it's not like I had my own personal Bob Cratchit to kick around.  Hell, if anything, Sally was the one more likely to be the Bah Humbug bitch.

Oh screw it! I decided it wasn’t worth worrying about either way. At the end of the day, I really was too tired to give a shit.  Bed was beckoning and I decided to heed its call...

To be continued...

Click here to read Part 2.


Charles Hutchinson said...

Thanks for that! So awesome!

Rick Gualtieri said...

Thanks for taking the time to read it, Charles! It's appreciated.

Tarynn Silva said...

MORE! Please!

Janie Junebug said...

I give a crap about your inane posts, which really aren't inane at all. And I love your story. I'll be back for more. I have just learned that I must not be human because Xanax and tequila wouldn't knock me out for more than 5 or 6 hours.

Janie, who still wants to be your Wayman editor

Rick Gualtieri said...

I think you're my new hero, Janie.

Janie Junebug said...

Gosh, thanks.


Steve King said...

Just finished reading The Mourning woods. I love this series, can't wait for Holier then Thou.

Rick Gualtieri said...

Thanks, Steve! I appreciate it. Happy to hear you enjoyed it.

gogo said...

Holy crap you spin a good yarn. Back to the loom mister, you had better not even read to the end of this post. Nope, not till the next novel is complete and available on Kindle. (Channeling ED209) You have 20 seconds to comply.

Really good job on the first three novels in the Tome of Bill series. Can't wait till the next installment.

Rick Gualtieri said...

Thanks! And don't worry, no rest for the weary. :)