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Letter from William, a Vampire
I am William Cuyler Thorne, and I have been a vampire for five centuries or so. For most of that time, I’ve had what you moderns would call a death wish.
You may well ask why I’ve yearned for death. Why would an immortal creature, forever young and strong, with a vast fortune at his disposal and an endless supply of beautiful women to fulfill his every carnal need, wish to end his existence?
My fascination with my own extinction was born on the night I was made. The night I became a blood drinker I witnessed the slaughter of my wife and child, whom I loved more than life itself. The pain of that memory has seared me like a firebrand for half a millennium. I longed for a final death to snuff out the agony, even though it meant damnation for all eternity, since my soul had been taken when I was turned.
I cannot honestly say how I have managed to stem the desire to bring on my own demise. I suppose the semblance of family that I have managed to cobble together over the centuries has helped me more than I know. A royal line of strong, beautiful women—descended from Lalee, the greatest voodoo priestess ever to grace the shores of the New World—have been my daughters. My immortal offspring is one Jack McShane, whom I made into a vampire as he lay dying on a Civil War battlefield. The rest of my household consists of two loyal retainers in the form of twin half-canine/half-human bodyguards, Reyha and Deylaud.
And now there is Eleanor. My beautiful, raven-haired madam seductress whom I made into a blood drinker so that she could serve as my companion for the rest of my nights on earth. Her devotion, not to mention her ravenous sexual hunger for me, had finally eased the pain of my hellish memories and made me want to live to be with her.
And then the impossible happened. My mortal wife, Diana, my goddess, returned to me as a vampire. She whom I had thought dead and buried for the last five hundred years came to me—along with the son she had borne me.
My joy was tempered with anger, for she arrived in the company of another man, a powerful blood drinker whose life and bed she had shared for these centuries. My son, now a vampire created by this same evil monster who had taken my wife, did not even know of me—and still to this day does not know I am his mortal father. With that, my anger turned to rage.
A pox of the undead, an awful, rotting scourge, overtook my son in Savannah. The only treatment proved to be the voodoo blood that I carry inside myself. A drink from my own veins strengthened him, but the cure could only come from a purer form of voodoo blood. That is, blood taken from the descendants of Maman Lalee. From the daughters of my heart.
Hugo and the others took the smallest and most vulnerable of them, my precious little Renee, for her life’s blood. And with her fled the sanity of her mother, Melaphia, my treasure, now left with a broken heart and shattered mind.
I gave Melaphia my most solemn vow that I would move hell and earth to get her daughter back. I left her and my beloved city—Savannah—in the tender care of my trusted offspring, Jack, who, for all his erstwhile humanity, is a very fearsome creature indeed.
But not as fearsome as I, a vampire betrayed in the cruelest way imaginable, left distraught by the two women that he has loved most in his life and in his death. Eleanor led Diana to Renee, and together they kidnapped her.
My rage rises within me, as powerful as the tide. As I pursue these women I can smell the blood of those who stole from me as the wolf can smell the hare. When I find them they will wish they had never drawn breath as humans, much less drawn blood as vampires.
As my dear Jack would say, payback is a bitch.
Beware the vampire betrayed—for his kiss is death.
Letter from Jack, a Vampire
You know those country songs about some down-and-out bastard whose woman just ran off with his best friend and his double-wide? Somebody who just lost his job and his dog done up and died, he’s out of money and liquor, and his TV flamed out right before the Daytona 500 came on?
I feel like that guy. Only worse.
Things were perking along real fine for me until a few months back. Yes, I had about everything a vampire could want—my own auto repair business, a handful of loyal human and not-quite-human pals, a cozy place to park my coffin, and a budding romance with a hot Latin lady cop. And, last but not least, I had my sire, William Thorne, the baddest vampire on the continent, to watch my back.
Me and William didn’t always get along, I admit. He bossed me around for the hundred and fifty years since he made me, and it seemed like we were at each other’s throats a lot. But we always needed each other. Mostly we worked together to keep the undead and otherwise unhuman inhabitants in the city in line and under the radar of the police and the public. But the tension between us was always there.
Lately, though, we came to what you might call an understanding, and he started treating me almost like an equal.
That was about the time all hell broke loose.
See, William’s own sire—a nasty piece of work named Reedrek—came to town to settle some old scores with his offspring. First he murdered one of William’s best friends and then he murdered one of mine.
That really pissed me off. Me and William took care of him, locking him away in the cornerstone of a hospital wing under construction. Just when we were starting to relax, even more horse hockey hit the fan. William’s long-lost wife and kid showed up with an evil vampire named Hugo.
It was like Peyton Place for bloodsuckers around here, what with the catfights between William’s wife and girlfriend, William taking on Hugo, and me mixing it up with Junior, a punk with a foul attitude to go with his fangs.
If that wasn’t bad enough, a vampire-rotting plague broke out, I accidentally raised my murdered buddy from the dead as a zombie, and my by-the-book cop girlfriend, Connie, found out I was a bloodsucking fiend.
Talk about a bad week.
And then the most awful thing happened. The new vamps left town in a hurry—pulled up stakes if you’ll pardon the expression—and took our beloved nine-year-old Renee with them. I say “our” Renee because William and I had helped raise her as we’d raised her mother and her mother’s mother and so on.
When Renee was taken, a piece of my heart went with her. And the rest of my heart broke when I looked into the eyes of her mother, my beautiful Melaphia, and realized that her daughter’s disappearance had driven her to madness. She is like a wild thing made of loss and sorrow.
William has gone off alone to bring Renee back or die trying, leaving me to take care of Melaphia and keep Savannah’s denizens of the dark from making the city into some demon’s feeding ground.
How long do you think it will take for an upstart bloodsucker or opportunistic shape-shifter or three to try and take me on once word gets out that William is out of town indefinitely? Pretty much any time now, I figure.
But what the hell. William may be the baddest dude on the continent but good old Smilin’ Jack ain’t too far behind. Besides, maybe a good rumble would take my mind off my troubles.
All I’ve got to say is…bring it on.