Book: The First - Part: Two - Chapter: 1 - Installment: ii

        “Did you give him the suite number? I did say it when we got to the door.”
        “I think…  Did I repeat it back to you?” The chirp in her ear filled her head with the voice of her QB.
        “Shit, Jake.”
        I’ll have to go find him for good measure.
        Sylvette turned back towards the door of the apartment and was met square between her breasts with a sledgehammer-like blow that would have likely killed a normal human being. As her body went through the window she let herself fall into hyper-time, just in time to confirm that it was her quarry, largely healed from the volley of bullets she had put through his rib-cage, who had thrown her through the glass.
        That was sloppy. She thought as she plummeted towards the street. Now Simon is going to be up there alone.
        She looked down to the pavement. Four floors. This is going to hurt.
        In her ear the chirp was transmitting to her the first slow cry of surprise from Jacob. He sounded like the dull drone of a tape playback slowed down to a fraction of it’s recorded speed. Communicating with people outside of hyper-time wasn’t impossible, but it was usually more trouble than it was worth. Sylvette was confident that Jacob’s first words would be something like “What the fuck!?” Followed soon by “Is everything okay?” though somewhere in that second sentence he would register her falling body on his spatial tracker. Before he really had a chance to respond to that new information, she would be in the street. 
Three floors now. She twisted to see if there was anything she might do to soften her landing before she hit bottom. Why was it that Buster Keaton would conveniently have half a dozen awnings along the way, but she never did. She wasn’t even close enough to the building to grab them if they had been there.
Two floors. There was a car parked below her. She’d cleared the sidewalk – which was best if there had been pedestrians, but there were none in sight. The car’s bonnet would give in and break her fall, but if it had an alarm it would be far from discrete. Flattening a car roof in itself was hardly discrete but it didn’t tend to draw immediate attention after initial impact.
One floor. She glanced back up at the window and confirmed that she wasn’t being followed by the nosferatu whose night she had ruined by turning the tables on him. She then stretched her arms out before her at an angle to the car-roof to begin the transfer of momentum from downwards to horizontal. As her knuckles touched the roof, she tucked in her head and pulled her hips towards her shoulders. The roof folded underneath her weight, and as she rolled down the safety-glass windshield it cracked into thousands of pieces around her. Her legs came down solidly on the hood of the car, which buckled under the whipping action caused by her roll.
Not bad. I’ll feel it in the morning. She thought as she turned her attention to the droning sound in her ear. She slipped out of hyper-time just long enough to fill Jacob in.
“…ngokay?” He finished asking.
“This one is tougher than we expected. Definitely not a class three. Simon is going to need some help.”
With that she slipped back into hyper-time, and rolled off the car. No alarm. She took two steps across the sidewalk and firmly gripped the brickwork of the apartment building. In just a few seconds of real-time she was beside the window she’d just been thrown from, looking in. No nos’ in sight. He was quite possibly expecting her return. Best to re-enter fast and wary. She’d lost her biggest advantage. Surprise was no longer on her side.
Swinging through the window, she landed in a crouch, whipping her head around in a flash, taking in the entire room in a fraction of a second. No vampire in sight.
They’d called him ‘the Ripper.’ He didn’t have a habit of leaving mutilated corpses behind. By definition the vampire was a serial killer, but there was a disconnect that prevented them from categorizing one – even this one – as such. All vampires killed at one point or another. This one lived to kill. By acting in the shadow of a serial killer, his one equated himself with the same. It had been forgotten who said it first, but it had stuck, one of the Lazarus – a researcher, a tech, a QB, someone – had referenced the most famous serial killer in history and the name remained.
Unlike the killer he operated in the shadow of, or his namesake, the Ripper didn’t single-mindedly target sex-workers. But vulnerable women were clearly his MO. It had taken years and innumerable attempts to place a hunter in his path. It was to no-one’s surprise that it was Sylvette who finally set the hook. She had played an excellent game of leading him on – continuing to appear as an easy target, yet never presenting the Ripper with an opportunity to attack with impunity.
One step would lead to the next, gradually forcing him to take her to the one place where he would know for certain that he was safe to pounce – his lair.
‘Lair.’ It seemed a funny term. Out-dated. It implied a domain tucked away in some dark corner of the world – underground or in a stone fortress in a dense forest. It was, out of necessity, a dark place – nosferatu were creatures of the night, that portion of the folklore held true. But vampires were drawn to civilization. They needed actual people to feed upon. Some latter day folklorists perpetuated the myth that animal blood would suffice to sustain a vampire. It was true to an extent, but no nos’ could live at it’s full capacity without a regular source of human blood. Therefore virtually all nosferatu made their homes in the heart of the city.
Destroying a vampire was always the primary objective on any hunt. But, if possible, locating the lair was a secondary goal.  Occasionally a co-habitating blood-sucker would share the same lair, but more importantly, if the hunt should fail, pin-pointing the vampire’s lair would force them to abandon it, which in turn would put the nos’ off it’s game. Force it into new habits which would make it more vulnerable as it made choices that it was unfamiliar with. It could put the vampire in a position where it was unable to get sufficient blood – possibly turn to inferior animal blood for sustenance – which in turn made it weaker, and in either case would make it more desperate. With desperation came mistakes. Vampires were no smarter than they had been in life. Only the oldest ones bore the benefit of cunning that came from years of experience – and younger ones often over-estimated the power they gained as the undead. Arrogant and foolhardy, they took chances that made them easy targets – putting them on the run, often made them sitting ducks to someone who knew how to put them on the defensive. On occasion, all it took to destroy a vampire was to compromise its’ lair. Young vampires – class one nosferatu – could not bear daylight at all. Cloudy days and shadows were bare sanctuary, even tungsten glow was unpleasant. Deprive a young vampire of a familiar place to hide from the sun and as often as not it would never be seen again, burned to dust by the light of day.

     Installment iii


AUTHOR'S NOTE - A small change

Somehow it seems appropriate to me that there has been an up-tick in readership over the past week as I've come to the end of part one and move into part two.

Hello to you if you are new!  You won't actually be noticing the change really if you are new, so perhaps I should just keep my mouth shut!

Before I move into the change, I just want to take a moment to send out a thank you.  There are a small handful of you that have taken my "You are the Editor" premise to heart.  Thank you all, but I want to specifically single out a gentleman I went to high-school with, Andy Binning.  I have always thought of Andy as a smart and kind soul, and his input into Necropolis continues to reflect that image.  He has provided me we a lot of feedback.  I took almost all of his typographical input.  His more subjective input I have taken in pieces.  Sentences that he had trouble parsing being the primary example. He had some broader thoughts which have yet to be evidenced in the book, but many of them are still banging away in my head, influencing me in subtle ways.  Thanks to you, Andy.  Thanks to everyone who has pointed out any errors.  And thanks to everyone - it is still a fairly small number - who are reading along.

Now... what is changing?

Well it's pretty minor, actually.  You can expect installments to come a little further apart for a few months.
There!  That's it!

You may know this already as many of you are friends and acquaintances.  I am a film-maker.  I've spent most of the last five years working on my first feature film.  We shot it in the summer of 2007; we screened it for cast and crew in January of 2010; that summer we had some cool experiences winning a few awards at a number of festivals (which technically is still going on - this very weekend it is screening in Tel Aviv!); and then everything came to a crashing halt.  I won't bore you with a break down of our breakdown, but it went on for months - just sitting in the doldrums between festival release and distribution.

Then, one day back in late February we got an email from our sales agent.  Super Channel wanted our film - we had five weeks to get it to them.  No problem, our film was done, right?  Well, no.  I'm skipping a lot here, but suffice to say that there was a mountain of legal work that needed to be done to satisfy the insurance company that was providing our E&O (Errors and Omissions) insurance.  If we weren't first timers on a very limited budget there could have been a lot we could have done to simplify the process and avoid hassles - ones we had basically created with our own ignorance.  It was a mind-boggling recursive process that was nothing less than Kafkaesque.  Indeed, on St. Patrick's Day morning I didn't want to face the day (for the first time in my life) as I was virtually certain we were done and that the film would never see the light of day.  Remarkably, by that afternoon the clouds had cleared and we equally virtually certain that we would see our film on television.  Long story short, there was a week or so of intense (but not so challenging) technical stuff to work out and we were done.  On April 6th of this year I officially became a broadcast film-maker.  If you are in Canada you can see the film on Super Channel - their license continues 'til October of 2012, so in theory you can see it until then.  We are currently in pretty high rotation.

Following all of this, we have jumped into DVD preparations - not two days ago I was in Victoria recording a very cool audio commentary with our star, David Nykl; our science advisor, Stan Orchard; and the editor of Junior Skeptic Magazine, Daniel Loxton.  We are also working on a small theatrical tour of the film.  In other words, I am STILL very busy.

Before the proverbial shit hit the fan I was well ahead on Necropolis.  I had chapters and chapters "in the bank" ready to post.  Well, that buffer is getting eaten up at a voracious pace, and I don't see where I'm going to have enough time to keep ahead if I don't space out installments a bit.  Most installments have been (not counting various authors notes and other communications) four days apart up until now.  From now until at least the end of June I am going to extend that by 50% to six days.  The way I see it, either I do that or I risk having a BIG window of no posts when I "catch up" to my current writing and have no time to build upon what already exists.

Additionally, I think having a buffer of written but yet to be released material actually improves the writing.  It gives me more opportunity to go back and make changes which don't confuse the reader - and thus far it seems that the things I most need to change are those that fall into the buffer of "written but yet to be released material."

So, I believe that this is for the best.  I will endeavour to pick up the pace again as soon as possible.  I am still writting new material, I just don't get to write as much as regularly as I would like right now.

Meantime, if you get a chance, either check out The Beast of Bottomless Lake on Super Channel, or pre-order a DVD!


INSIGHT - Inspiration and Resources

When I first started down this road I knew very little about vampire literature.

It all began with a viewing of John Carpenter's Vampires which, apart from some pretty creative ways of killing the vamps, was pretty meh.

This led to a discussion with my friend Meghan about how vampire movies tended to fail because they didn't have much if any room to develop the rules of their particular vampire universe, so they were largely stuck with having to colour within the lines of the most well understood tropes of vampire lore.  From there we began imagining our own set of vampire parameters, and eventually those conversations turned into the bedrock upon which I have built Necropolis.

In the intervening years I have read and watched a decent sized scoop of the pop-culture vampire offerings the world has to offer.  There is plenty I haven't bothered with. 
A summary of the first Twilight novel from my girlfriend as she read it was more than enough for me to determine that I would rather suck a 12-gauge popsicle than read any of those novels myself.  Ditto for watching the movies... may they fall into obscurity before my daughter becomes old enough for them. 
True Blood was fun for a season, but I got bored with it pretty quickly as they started cramming more and more supernatural types into the tale. 
Vampire Diaries I haven't got around to, and I suspect I wouldn't make it far, but I suppose I should at least give it a fair shake. 
A friend of mine wrote for Blood Ties.  I watched it while he was involved, and I always intended to keep watching, but when it was cancelled I couldn't have been bothered to get back to it. 
Buffy and Angel.  While I never liked the idea of vampires bursting into a cloud of dust, I was willing to let it go.  The character work on those shows was so rich that once I got through the inferior first season of Buffy I was on board for the whole 12 seasons (between two series).  I still read the comic book, and I really haven't been a comic book guy since Barry Allen died.
Of course I've read the Bram Stoker and some Anne Rice (who remains my favourite of the written options).

All of it has been in the service of learning what has been done before (and while I don't think I could ever read all that is out there, so I can still fall into that trap) so that I can either avoid doing it again, or at least find my way into a new approach.

To this point, the most significant change in my plans has come from Buffy.  Both The Initiative and Buffy's Slayer Army (from the comic books) have influenced the structure of The Lazarus Group in ways that have already manifested if you have read up to this point and in ways yet to be seen.


Book: The First - Part: Two - Chapter: 1 - Installment: i

        They healed faster. That was their biggest advantage. Some were faster and stronger, but all healed faster. To counter that, surprise was essential.
        There were a number of ways to kill a vampire. The classic cliché – a wooden stake through the heart? Highly over-rated.
        A magazine full of bullets through the chest was much more effective – particularly silver-tips, though again the advantages of silver were greatly exaggerated. Even with silver, she still needed to act quickly, the wound was already closing.
        It often struck her as strange that so many vampires let fire so close to their lives. Fireplaces and candles in particular. Must have had something to do with the romantic tie to the past which vampires ancient and freshly undead all seemed to share. People – humans – don’t burn, or more precisely, they aren’t flammable except at tremendous temperatures. Not so vampires. Hair and fabric burn people. Not their own skin. Vampire skin burns as its own fuel. Fire, Sylvette had learned early on, was often the most immediate way to keep a vampire down permanently.
        There have got to be candles – matches – around here somewhere. None in sight.
        “How close are you?” She said to the room.
        The chirp in her ear crackled.
        “Right outside. Three floors.”
        The blinds were heavy – not a big surprise. She pulled one back and looked down into the dark street. The QB-Van was across the street, not the least bit discretely, double-parked.
        “Anyone got a light?”
        “Well, if you can live without a cigarette for a few minutes, send Simon up. Time for a practical lesson.”
        A moment later, the back door to the van cracked open and her latest lover stepped out onto the luminescent wet street.
        She wondered if it turned him on, her flirtatious charade with the half-destroyed vampire on the floor.
        The Lazarus Group had been aware of this one for some time now. Years in fact. There was something inherently psychopathic about the nosferatu. Sylvette was sure that if cows had the cognizance to appreciate that they were herded, slaughtered and feasted upon by mankind that they would have the same opinion of humans. But this particular nos’ was an extreme example. Fiendishly clever and as disgustingly vile as they came. Where most vampires were content to feed in small amounts on usually unsuspecting victims, rarely actually killing their prey, this one had left a trail of desiccated corpses and missing persons in it’s crimson wake.
        Vampire activity had spiked twice in Vancouver. It had previously been too small a city to have borne much, so the Lazarus had not concerned themselves with it. The first spike was what had brought Sylvette and her father to the city. Over the course of a few short years in the late eighties Vancouver had quite suddenly become the home of the biggest unfettered vampire activity in North America. 
Nosferatu loved the ‘New World.’ It had a false innocence that made it prime hunting ground. Europe and Asia in particular were tainted by ancient rumour. Anything that could be attributed to vampires, was by someone or another – and on occasion it was true. North Americans thought themselves above such folkloric superstition. For the nosferatu, it was a free pass.
As any smuggler of opiates from Asia would tell you, Vancouver was North America’s front door. Where South American drug lords struggled constantly with the ever tightening situation in Florida, Vancouver was the easiest port on the entire continent to get through. The evidence was on the streets. Canada’s poorest postal code and its richest were two SkyTrain stops apart. The victims of the cheapest crack and heroin in North America, lived a twenty minute walk from those who capitalized on it.
The warm climate made street life as easy as it got in Canada, so there were plenty of itinerants. Drug users were low on the list of vampire’s choicest targets, but there was nothing better for avoiding the sloppy dangers of desperation than someone who would never be missed. Some vampires – ‘younger’ ones, mostly – found it far easier to fit in amongst the chaotic denizens of the Downtown Eastside. The human citizens were harder to keep track of, so fledgling nosferatu would find themselves easier to hide as they learned the finer points of living lifeless amongst the living.
        Canada’s ‘Terminal City’ had blossomed after the World Exposition of 1986. The fair’s motto had been ‘Invite the World.’ The world had never left. Neither had the vampires.
        The second spike in Vampire activity had been a smaller one. It had been quite easy to deduce the cause. The pattern was quite simple. The Lazarus Group was quite certain that it was attributable to a single monster when the number of attributable deaths quite suddenly began to climb. Either a new vampire had arrived who had no compunctions against killing, or an existing resident had changed their habits. Things had been blurred by the concurrent existence of a serial killer – in fact it may have been the serial killer that gave the vampire the notion to kill wantonly. But the serial killer had stalked prostitutes – and when the killer was caught the vampire related deaths kept going and going. And now they had finally cornered him.

     Installment ii


AUTHOR'S NOTE: My Pledge to You

Before we move into Part Two, I have a few promises to make...

No sparkly vampires.

No werewolves, psychics, witches, or demons. This is about vampires, not vampires and their super-natural buddies.

While there will be love, there won't be any sap. (Sorry, if that's the kind of vampire novel you like - this defiantly isn't it.)

No magic. Sort of... Obviously vampires aren't science, but in my world there is no magic, there is only science. Also, while I am not a dualist, the details of this tale necessitate the existence of a soul or at least the possibility of one - more on that within later chapters. In any case everything in this world should adhere to a consistent internal logic that doesn't rely heavily on magic.

Wherever possible I will evade cliches of the genre. There will of course be exceptions. There are tropes of the genre which simply have to be present or this wouldn't be recognizable as a vampire tale.

And while we're on the subject of tropes... any writer who delves into this genre has to answer a number of questions for themselves, most of which can be summed up with the larger question "which of the accepted canon of vampire qualities are relevant in this world?" By now I have answered most of these questions for myself. I'm not going to get into the details here as it would involve some spoiling, but over the course of the three books I will acknowledge virtually any and all of the accepted options in one fashion or another. Either they are functional parts of my vampire universe; they are myths that have developed from a related functional part of my universe; or they are something that make my vampires laugh in disdane at... sparkly vampires, I am looking at you.


AUTHOR'S NOTE: Why another book of THIS genre?

I have asked myself the same question.  And as it turns out the answer is quite simple.

Now that I've finally gotten to the first big reveal of the book - that much of what the story revolves around is the idea that vampires walk among us - I can talk about the inevitable sentiment; "Why write another damned vampire book when there's clearly a glut of them out there?"

When I initially began imagining this story I wrestled with the same thought. But that was quite a few years ago. Back then Anne Rice was still selling like cheese in Wisconsin, I knew fringy people who played Vampire the Masquerade, and people were just beginning to notice the voice of Joss Whedon.

Somewhere in there a friend who I mentioned the book to quipped "A vampire story? Yeah - like there aren't already enough of those around!" I'm a little ashamed to admit that that comment alone delayed any serious work I might have put into this series by years.

But as time wore on the story wouldn't go away and kept growing in my imagination. It was clearly something my subconscious wasn't going to let go of. So I started thinking about it more actively. In the process of doing so I had to address that bugbear - Why another vampire novel - in terms that extended past "it's the story I seem hellbent upon writing." I needed to address the glut.

By now the ongoing tale of Buffy and her myriad compadres only exists in comic book form, I no longer know anyone who plays The Masquerade (though apparently it persists), and Anne Rice can't make up her mind as to what brand of crazy she is. Yet the vampire genre is not only alive, but bigger than ever. Without even opening a search engine I can name Blood Ties (extinct), True Blood (boring after season one), Vampire Diaries (which sounds completely unlike anything I'd be interested in) and of course the mighty (and mightily appalling) Twilight movies. All of which are based on predecessing books.

The vampire genre is alive and well. It comes in waves - and I think we are currently peaking and will soon be in the trough, but it never goes away entirely.

I could try to justify my past evasion from writing this story by declaring that there was a demonstrable wave of popularity in effect back then and that I was putting it off so as to hit the swell of the next wave. (That would be more than just a little bit of retrodicting the circumstances, but bear with me.) If you accept that premise, it is clear that I failed. I got back on board far too late to truly capitalize. The essential lesson being that trying to predict when the next wave will hit, or how big it will be or how long it will last is simply foolish.

It keeps coming back to the same thing. This is the book I am compelled to write, and I am ready to write it now, so I shall. I'm not going to bother myself with the literary trends of the day. I will write better if I am simply following my creative drive than if I try to cynically pursue any trend. If it was really about following a trend I should have started writing this much sooner - by a year and a half or more.

I'll be following this author's note up shortly with another wherein I'll make a few promises to you, the reader, as to what I intend this tale to be and how that distinguishes it from all else that is out there.


Book: The First - Part: One - Chapter: 17 - Installment: vii

Hearing the crash behind her, Vala turned from her new charge. There had been another. She had seemed so insignificant. Small. Vala had let her slip her mind. But the little thing was best dealt with.
Vala was weak from her torpor. She was fortunate. It often took many centuries for an injured vampire to regain enough blood to be restored. Anything could happen in that time. Many vampires would be destroyed before their chance to rise again came. She had been fortunate that her feeble escape had escaped the attention of the diligent. She had been fortunate that her time of hibernation and renewal had been mere decades. She was fortunate that the so much blood had been able to be absorbed so quickly by her body. She was fortunate that she could feed so fully upon rising. The better part of three bodies, plus the animal that had initiated her rise. But still she was weak. It took so much energy to appear so strong, when in fact she needed nothing more than to convalesce and repair her long maimed body. Vala had little left for pursuit.
Kevin. There is one more. Pursue her. I will follow.”


The house’s yard was, in practical terms, a wide, shallow ravine. In order to get anywhere, Sarah first would have to scramble up the hill. It was dark. Little light came from the house. She could see the city’s glow at the crest of the hill ahead, and she knew the driveway lay to her right, but she could not see it. To get past the fence, she would have to get to where the driveway met the wall.
Sarah ran up the hill, allowing herself to drift to the right. She wanted to stick to the grass in her bare feet, but the feel of the gravel driveway beneath her would be a welcome sign that she was on the right track.
The wall rose up in front of her out of the peak of the grass hill. She could see it silhouetted against the sky. Far to her right she could see where the break in the wall was. Her rightward progress had not been aggressive enough. Opening the angle of her run, she cut across the face of the hill, the cold November night cutting into her naked flesh.
She heard Kevin’s voice call out right behind her. She hadn’t heard him approach, and now he was here, practically on top of her. She whirled ‘round, bringing the knife to her chest. As she came about she saw the feeble light of a line of candles in the house wink out – eclipsing - in rapid succession, Kevin was upon her. His figure blocking her line of sight to the house was her only clue as to where his shadowed body was.
She felt his hands upon her shoulders as he pushed her off her feet. Only minutes before they had been in a similar embrace with entirely different intention. Then he was to take her virginity, now he was taking her life. He threw himself upon her as he gnashed at her neck. Sarah thumped onto the ground in a patch of light from the full moon, and Kevin landed on top of her, the knife in her hands piercing his chest. His eyes widened and his teeth retracted. He gasped as if for air and went limp on top of her as the knife sunk to the hilt, his weight pressing her down into the cold grass.
He had called her ‘Buff.’ His words echoed in her head. “I am a vampire and you slay me.”  How prophetic.
It wasn’t so much that Kevin was heavy as that Sarah was frail. Trapped beneath him. She hadn’t forgotten that there was another vampire at large. She had to get out from underneath him if she were to have a hope of escaping the second vampire. She knew the likelihood was slim. She had seen the female vampire kill four people with terrifying economy. But Sarah was still alive, and despite the unlikely odds, she had killed Kevin, the knife as a stake, right into the heart, just like the myths – the realities, she realized – had dictated. She needed to get out from under Kevin and retrieve the knife.
She wriggled her arms out from between them and wedged them between the ground and Kevin’s shoulders. Taking a deep breath, she heaved as hard as she could against his weight. To her surprise, his body gave way as if floating away weightless. To her total dismay, it then drifted sideways revealing the female vampire behind him. She had done the real lifting, not Sarah.
“Stake through the heart,” said the vampire with German accented mock admiration, “Effective, if not very original.”
Sarah’s legs scurried as she desperately tried to crab-walk to where she could get to her feet, but her bare feet slid on the frosty grass. Her hunter tossed Kevin to the ground and was upon her in a flash, lifting Sarah to her monstrous bared fangs. Sarah closed her eyes, awaiting the painful sting of her last moment on earth. In a sense it was an exciting relief. She had always anticipated a slow agonizing death, not a violent – even adventurous one.
But nothing happened. There was no bite. She could hear the vampire sniffing. As suddenly as she had been upon her, Sarah’s attacker let her go. Sarah hit the grass and opened her eyes in surprise, not knowing what to expect.
There was nothing but blackness. The moon shone through the trees in tiny scattered pools, but beyond that, nothing. She sat up. There was no vampire. No Kevin. All was quiet.

     Part Two


Book: The First - Part: One - Chapter: 17 - Installment: vi

Hathandra stepped forward bravely to the scarred and burned looking monster before her.
“Take me. Be my Mistress. Give me the gift you possess.”
“It was you who provided me with the animal’s essence that gave me the strength to return?”
“Yes. I sacrificed the beast.”
“What is your name, child?”
“How quaint. That name has come back in to use in… what century is it?”
“The Twenty-First, Mistress.”
“So, not so long has passed as I might have expected. Funny, no one used that name in the Twentieth Century.”
“No. It is merely my vampire name, Mistress.”
“Oh, stop that. What is your real name, child?”
“I don’t take to liars, human. Has this been your only lie in the brief time we’ve been acquainted?”
“There was a half-lie.”
“Come clean now, I won’t take another transgression.”
“I killed the beast. It was he, who spilled the blood.” Jennifer pointed to Ruthven sitting on the floor in his own shit.
“That’s a pity. He looks like an utter fool.” Said the vampire with bored disdain.
Sarah and Ruthven sat together in the corner, frozen in the rapt fascination of fear.
The monster continued, “But reward must be apportioned according to merit.” 
She snatched Jennifer from her knees in one fluid motion, lifting her clear from the ground.
The fangs entered Jennifer’s throat, cutting off her last anguished cry in mid syllable.
Sarah watched as the hideous woman took her time sucking the life out of Jennifer. Ruthven and she were cornered. And even if they weren’t, between the entangling cloak and the vampire’s great speed, there was no way she could hope to escape.
Letting Jennifer’s drained body crumple to the floor, the vampire took in the two blinded students. Sarah had forgotten entirely about them. They were both clearly in extreme agony, and neither could see. She couldn’t know how much of Jennifer’s conversation with their assailant they had heard over their own wailing, but they seemed to be attempting a feeble escape, crawling randomly across the floor. One was headed towards the fireplace, and would likely soon realize he was headed in the wrong direction when he felt the heat. The other had made the door to the dining room, but was progressing without confidence and would not make it far once their attacker decided to come after him.
Turning, the vampire focused on Ruthven. Sarah noticed that the skin on their captor appeared more intact than it had when she had first appeared from between the joists.
“What is your name?"
The vampire raised her eyebrows contemptuously.
Kevin. My real name is Kevin.”
“And so will be your vampire name.”
She stood over Ruthven’s barely clothed form. She reached down, seemingly not allowing Sarah the tiniest sliver of her attention, though mere inches from her. She pulled Ruthven to his feet, looking him over.
“You,” she paused for effect, “are a disaster. But it ought to be worth some amusement.”
“Please, I don’t want…” Ruthven managed to stammer before she sunk her teeth into his clavicle. He gasped in agony as she pressed his body against hers until he quit fighting and fell limp.
She killed him too. Thought Sarah. She was toying with him.
Then the hideous woman stuck her tongue between her own fangs and chomped down with obvious pain and a sickening crunch of resisting flesh. Blood dripped from her mouth as she forced open Kevin’s dead mouth. She let the blood drip in one continuous saliva-mixed string into Kevin’s open maw.
After several moments, Kevin’s body heaved in one complete head-to-toe spasm. He coughed and sputtered, suddenly breathing again and gasping for air.
“Drink.” She gurgled through her own blood as it continued to flow between them.
Kevin struggled, resisting. She shook him, and shouted “Drink!” again.
This was finally too much for Sarah. She heard the cry escape from her throat entirely unbidden by her. Neither Kevin, nor the vampire took notice as he writhed in apparent agony. The flow of blood thinned like a water-tap easing shut, dwindling to a drip. She dropped Kevin to the floor, where he continued to writhe. The vampire knelt beside him, whispering to him.
“It’s the change, Kevin. Let it flow. You can’t stop it now. Become. It is all you will ever be again. Trust me, it’s a pleasure to die.”
Sarah looked on with growing horror as her boyfriend transformed into something that mere minutes before she had imagined as merely fantasy. She didn’t want to die, but she didn’t think she liked the idea of being a vampire either. She definitely didn’t want to suffer what Ruthven – Kevin – was, doubled fully in half, and shaking. His eyes had rolled back into his head, and his lips were drawn with a fierce aspect. But more disturbing was watching his veins rise to his skin, each bulging like pencils under the surface while ripples traveled along them like there were pellets running up and down their length.
As the shaking subsided, Kevin began an unholy sounding, shuddering moan as his skin lost much of its colour.
The vampire stroked Kevin like a pet and continued to talk him through his metamorphosis. “It’s okay, Kevin. It’s just your soul, you’ll find it’s quite superfluous.”
Finally Kevin stopped his moaning and settled into a rough breathing as though he were catching his breath from a long and fevered run.
“Alright, Kevin. Pull on your clothes, my dear.”
Kevin absently stood and pulled up his pants, before suddenly stopping as if realizing he’d forgotten his keys at home.
“You feel it. The first hunger. Go on, Kevin, feed.” She turned to the blinded students. One still tried to find his way out of the living room, the other had found the archway to the dining room and pulled his way to his feet. He pawed around the paneled walls desperately looking for an exit. “They’re yours, Kevin. Take them.”
Kevin looked around the room as if seeing it for the first time.
“Oh… oh.” Was all Kevin could manage to voice, as he looked at his hands as though they had never been a part of his body before. Baring his teeth, he flared his lips and Sarah watched as his incisors extended as she watched. The teeth retracted again and Kevin snorted like a wild horse and the teeth extended again. The magnitude of his transformation manifested for Sarah in the revelation of those deadly teeth. Still wrapped in the cloak, Sarah pulled her head inside like a turtle.
I need to escape. She thought, meaning emotionally, she had to extract herself from the world immediately outside of the cloak. No. I MUST escape. This time she was thinking pragmatically.
Sarah heard the vampire’s voice from out in the room-proper. “Follow your instincts, Kevin. Feed. He will make you strong.” Sarah heard the brief cry of one of the students. “Drink my child.” She heard the body fall to the floor. Kevin had become a monster in body and action. “And now, the next.”
Sarah popped her head out of the cloak, fearing that she might in fact be next. She watched as Kevin entered the dining room in pursuit of the second student, who had found his way to the kitchen. The vampire followed him into the dining room, turning her back to Sarah. If she were to have a chance, any chance of surviving, she had to capitalize now.
She looked around, surveying the room, though she knew that she was trapped.  There was one door to the room, and it was blocked by the female vampire. The remaining props from the ceremony lay about the room, though little was within reach and she knew she’d have precious little time to act – the woman vampire simply moved too fast. The dead goat sat at her feet. The knife that had ended its life still stuck out from between its ribs. Sarah rocked forward, grasped the handle and pulled it free. She tried to determine where would be her best position to defend herself from when she saw what she had missed the first time around. Above her head where she was sitting was a hand-rolled glass window. It’s panels lined by lead calmes. Seeing this, she redefined her notion of her best chance.
Girding her resolve, she stood, pulled the cloak around her face and body as tight as she could and dove blind through the glass, praying the ground would come fast.
It did. It hurt. She landed shoulder first and rolled to a stop, her thin body had spared her fragile skeleton and serious trauma. Untangling herself from the cloak she became aware again of her nakedness for the first time since Ruthven had lay poised to take her virginity. She didn’t have time to put modesty over survival. She grabbed the knife and ran.

     Installment vii


Book: The First - Part: One - Chapter: 17 - Installment: v

Ruthven scrambled to his feet, now looking ridiculous with his clothes half on and the enormous footwear making each step awkward, the pants shackling his ankles.
Sarah rolled over for a better look as up from between the joists in the floor rose what appeared to be a woman. She was thin and her skin barely seemed to hold on to her body. Tattered scraps of clothing hung from her, sticking to the bloodied flesh so as to blur the line between what was human and what was cloth. Someone had trumped them all in this game of fantastical theatrics, the costuming and make-up would stand up in the best of horror cinema.
Newcomer swiftly reached out to an Adjuvant and pulled him in close. Her lips pulled back, revealing perfectly formed custom fangs. Several of the haematophages Sarah knew had spent ridiculous amounts of money on similar artificial dentition. The newcomer buried her face in the Adjuvant’s neck. Blood squirted past her lips like the blood from the goat’s pierced artery. For his part, the Adjuvant made the most of it, with a spine-chilling mortal scream.
Sarah looked on, amazed. How had that effect been created? Could the jet have actually come from a blood pack hidden in the woman’s mouth, behind her fangs?
The tattered woman held tight to the Adjuvant’s neck as he gave up the fight and fell limp. She then reached for another and as she reeled him in he protested, finally breaking character more completely than anyone else in the room. Someone had finally given in to the escalating charade.
“Okay, that’s enough for me!” He said following it up with a nervous laugh.
But the newcomer didn’t stop. She lunged at his neck, not letting the game abate. As she made oral contact, the Adjuvant cried out. “What thaaaahh…!” The cry took on a new character. One that seemed a bit too real.
The mood in the room turned from uncertain excitement to stunned horror.
Ruthven reflexively back-peddled, but with his feet caught up in his pants he quickly lost his balance and landed in a heap behind the daybed.
Sarah sat up, suddenly very aware of her nakedness in the presence of this violent stranger.
One of the remaining Adjuvants dropped his hood and rushed at the woman. Two others leapt to his side as soon as they recognized his intent. They spread out around the woman, circling to ensure that one would always have the advantage of being behind her.
The newcomer dropped the limp body of her second victim to the ground as Sarah pulled the edge of Ruthven’s cloak up around her. The stranger’s arm’s reached out so quickly that they seemed to stretch out in two directions at once, sharply nailed fingers plunged into sockets of four eyes nearly simultaneously. Before the screams could begin, the third Adjuvant’s head had been turned 270 degrees. His lifeless body slumped to the ground as the newcomer turned with proud menace to face the remaining students in the room. She stood, arms outstretched, taking in the room.
The keening wail of the two blinded students seemed to recede into background noise as the terrifying stranger spoke for the first time.
“Who has restored me?”  She spoke with a subtle but unmistakable German accent.
Sarah pulled the cloak tighter around herself and tried to get her feet to the floor, but the cloak was too long, she could not get them free, and soon found herself tumbling to the boards beside Ruthven.
He looked at her. Sarah was scared, but Ruthven was genuinely terrified. Perhaps facing the threat of impending death for your entire life had its advantages. Smeared on the floor beneath him was the evidence of his terror. She looked back into his shamed face and recognized that he had come to the same conclusion that she had. Their theatrical game of pretend was over, they were now faced with a very real vampire.

     Installment vi


Book: The First - Part: One - Chapter: 17 - Installment: iv

As the goblet was passed from Adjutant to Adjutant, Sarah stepped over where the goat’s blood had poured onto the floor. Most of it had seeped between the loose floorboards, and only a slippery patina remained. She took the goat by its bound pair of fore-legs and used them as leverage as she rolled it off the daybed onto the floor. As it hit with a resounding ‘whump!’ Ruthven turned to her, confused. This was not part of the planned ceremony. Sarah stepped behind him and pulled the cloak from his shoulders.
“What are you doing?” He hissed a whisper at her.
“Adding the cherry to the cake.” Sarah smiled slyly as she spread the thick cape out over the daybed.
Stepping back from the bed, so everyone could see her she reached up to the neck of her dark dress and pulled at the laced ties.
“To complete the circle of renewal. The High Priest will take the vestal virgin.”
She let her dress fall to the floor, and she stood naked before them all.
I thought I was living wild before.
Ruthven looked at her. Her skinny body for once was her ally. Her seeming pre-pubescent form added weight to her declaration of virginal status. The tables had turned. Not back to Hathandra, but upon Ruthven. Sarah was now calling his bluff. If he wanted to get through the ceremony with his status intact, he had no choice but to make love to her right there.
Live sex. The assembled ‘vampires’ in the room were shaken. Quiet mutterings of excitement fluttered back and forth between them. A sacrifice had challenged many of them. The ritual de-flowering they now faced brought the remaining stalwarts to the surface of their assumed identities. They had quit being in character ‘vampires’ and become mere students waiting to see if any amongst them would allow their regression to their mundane realities to show at surface level. Sarah, for herself, knew she was committed. She had to be now that she had literally and figuratively put herself out there in front of them all. She had an advantage though, she was not pretending to be someone she was not. For her, this was real. She was really offering herself to the orchestrator of the ritual, for all to witness. She was already well into the deep end.
She stepped to Ruthven and forced him to act. She began unbuttoning his shirt, imagining in her head that it was in some way ritualistic, hoping the intention would translate to those watching. Ruthven looked her in the face. Sarah could see that she had shaken him. He was not prepared for this – how could he have been? She had not suggested it to him, though it had occurred to her. She was now thankful for that. She was getting the feeling that if she had that he would have nixed it, and with that intention of his in mind she would not have had the courage to proceed even this far. Now he couldn’t afford to say ‘no’ and neither could she.
Hesitatingly he pulled off his shirt, while she pulled down his pants – there was no way of getting them past the Kothernai, but for all practical purposes he too was now bare before them. Clearly, no matter how taken off-guard or uncertain he was, he was excited by the promise of what was now presented to him. As she stood she gave his member a teasing stroke, as if to greet it, the first – quite possibly the only – one she would ever have. It was inherently beautiful to her. She had no basis for comparison, so she decided for herself that it was big. Not too big. But big. Perfect for pleasuring her.
She stood on her toes and whispered in his ear.
“Just do it. We’ll ‘make love’ later.”
She lay back on the cloak.
“I give myself willingly through you to the dark power of Anpu.”
Perhaps ‘dark power’ was a bit much.
She closed her eyes and waited.
She heard the awkward clunk of Ruthven shuffling forward in his tall boots, hobbled by the pants stuck at his ankles. She felt his weight press into the mattress around her, his legs brushing up hers. She had thought she was too shy to do this. She had thought she had wanted her first experience to be gentle and intimate, but right now all she wanted was to feel his cock slide between the moist lips of her virgin cunt. She wanted to be taken – hard. She pulled his hips towards hers, felt his chest press down upon hers as his mouth brushed past her cheek.
“We’re going to need a condom.”
Had it been a matter of good form, she imagined she would have cast the need aside. She was ready to take the risk of pregnancy or the slight chance of contracting an STD from him, but there was no doubt of her status. She was a clear and positive lethal risk to him. She had already stopped him once, and there was no way she would let him risk himself… not that he seemed as if he was eager to. There were condoms here in the house, but this was going to be awkward.
Okay, where is my backpack? Her mind raced.
Her fleeting concentration was broken almost immediately when with the sound of splitting wood, the daybed lurched. Her first thought was that the leg they had repaired had given way under their combined weight, but that was soon dispelled when a second crack followed the first, answered by a collective gasp of surprise by all others in the room.
Sarah opened her eyes and turned her head as the daybed seemed to leap to the side of its own volition. Ruthven, looking down past the edge of the mattress, pulled himself up off of her.
“Holy shit.” He murmured under his breath.
The floorboards snapped apart as Hathandra blurted, now completely breaking character, “Wow!”

     Installment V
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Necropolis by Kennedy Goodkey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at necropolisnovels.blogspot.com.