Dec 14, 2014
Half a Prayer (The Tome of Bill, part 6): Teaser 1
The Tome of Bill, part6
Terror lurks below and it’s about to surface.
The end of the world is rapidly approaching, but Bill Ryder - gamer, geek, and legendary vampire - finds himself with more pressing matters to worry about: the women in his life. Sidelined from action, he’s forced to reevaluate his feelings. Sadly for him, it’s a luxury he can ill afford.
An unstoppable terror from the dawn of time has awoken deep beneath the Earth and is headed his way. To make matter worse, he’s been deemed a traitor by those he thought to be his allies. Now he finds himself fighting off enemies from all sides while warring with his emotions. Talk about sucky timing for introspection.
As the world crumbles to pieces around him, Bill must muster his courage, master his powers, and rise to the destiny he’s been trying so long to deny - because if he doesn’t, his love life will be the least of his worries..
"So what does it taste like?" Miranda asked as I took another swig from the canteen to shore up my enhanced abilities.
"Huh?" We'd taken a short break, and I'd stepped away from the group to recharge and double check we were still on the right path. I hadn't realized she'd followed me.
"The blood. I know you need it to survive, but do you actually like it?"
It had been rare for anyone outside of my roommates to ask that, and they'd mostly just made fun of me for it. Dave had inquired on a few occasions, but it was more in a clinical sort of way - like I was a lab rat.
"The truth is," I said, "it's hard to describe. Think of your favorite food."
"Oh, that's easy. There was this little roadside stand right outside of St. George that used to make these incredible fried brain sandwiches served with fresh okra. They were..."
"You ate fried brains?"
"Whenever I could get out there."
"That's fucking disgusting," I said, horrified.
"You drink blood."
"I know, and I still find that vile."
"You don't know what you're missing."
"And for that I am thankful." Ugh. My stomach churned at the very thought. I had figured nobody outside of that crazy Andrew Zimmern dude would stuff shit like that down their gullet. Man, people were just fucking weird. "Anyway, imagine that every single one of your senses was now attuned to...brain, I suppose, especially your taste buds. Think of how that sandwich would taste magnified a hundred-fold. That's pretty much how it is with blood."
"But even something that tastes that good doesn't explain why."
"Why some of you are such animals."
I chose to ignore the implied insult. "Actually, I think it does. If something is so insanely good, it's gonna be almost like a drug."
"So what you're saying is that you're all addicts?"
"I'm not ready to call myself a crackhead quite yet, although I've gotta have some rocks in my head to be in this place."
"About that, why are you down here? I'd heard the official story upstairs, that it was a rescue mission, but there's gotta be more to it."
"No, not really."
"But this guy..."
"Fine, Ed. He's just a human," Miranda said skeptically.
I decided to hold my tongue on that just a human part. Ed was something else nowadays, something that had apparently not been seen before. Even so, at the end of the day, he was still my friend, and that was what counted. I voiced as much.
I blinked for a moment. "What do you mean, ‘that's it'? Isn't that enough?"
"I didn't mean it that way. It's just that..."
"Most vampires you've met wouldn't step across the street to help out a human?"
"I know what you mean. Of the vamps I've met, I'd say the vast majority of them have been total assholes."
"But you're different?"
"No, he's still an asshole," Sally called from where she and the others were checking their ammo.
Goddamned vampire super hearing. "Will you stop fucking eavesdropping?" I lowered my voice to a bare whisper and added, "Bitch."
"I heard that."
"You were meant to," I snapped before turning back to Miranda. "Here's the deal. I've been a vamp for less than two years." Her eyes opened wide in surprise. "It's true. Before that...well, okay, during most of it too, Ed was my roommate. He and my other roommate, Tom, are my friends. I'd do anything for them."
"And they're not thralls?"
"Would I risk my ass to save a thrall?"
Miranda appeared to consider that. Finally, she nodded, satisfied with my answer. She glanced back toward the group where Sally was busy spray-painting a marker on the wall to note our passage, as she'd been doing every couple hundred yards since we'd started this journey. When it was time to bug out, chances were we wouldn't have the luxury of waiting for me to smell our way back to the surface. Finally, she stopped and put the can away in her pack.
It was time to move again.
Before we stepped to rejoin them, Miranda said, "Your friend is lucky to have you."
"Us," I corrected. "Sally didn't have to come along. This was her choice too."
"Are you and she..."
"In his dreams," Sally replied from her position a couple of yards away.
I sneered in her direction. "Only the ones that take place near a free clinic."