|Posted on May 12, 2019 at 11:00 AM||comments ()|
“Heads up!” Olivia raised her chin toward an approaching group of people. Several longhaired men in Gothic attire flanked two women, both wearing short skirts, dyed hair, and fishnet stockings. They watched the Hunters with interest. One of the men looked at the others and laughed, showing elongated canine teeth.
“Alright fuckers,” Leonard growled. He lunged forward, his blue eyes blazing with electricity, his jaws opening wide, dagger-like demon teeth showing. One hand opened with 6-inch claws and the other held one of the drumstick stakes. “WE FUCKING WARNED YOU!” he bellowed, and then let out a roar like a pissed off grizzly bear that echoed through the park. He readied a death charge!
One of the vampire girls shrieked a terrified, high-pitched scream. The other fainted and fell face first on the grass. One of the longhaired men screamed like a girl and sprinted away like Usain Bolt. The other two dropped into frightened defensive crouches.
“Oh God!” one cried, his voice cracking. “Don’t hurt us, man, please!”
The other male vampire held the girl, who acted as if she was going to claw her way through him to escape. “Nononono! We don’t want any trouble, OK? We will just leave!”
Leonard tilted his head, breathing heavily, foam dripping from the corner of his mouth.
“Dude,” Olivia tugged on his duster. He looked down at her. She pointed at the frightened teenagers. “Dude!” she repeated.
Leonard pulled himself back together so that he looked like a big, scary human instead of a big, scary demon person. “Shit,” he said sheepishly. “Sorry, We thought you were someone else. Uh, carry on.”
“It’s OK,” Olivia stepped forward, her hands up. The teens flinched. Both girls and one of the boys were crying. The one who ran was nowhere around.
Qarinah was sitting on the ground, her breath in gasps and her face flushed. She was laughing so hard, it did not even sound like a laugh anymore. It sounded like she was choking.
“Mom?” Leonard looked at her.
“I...” she gasped. “I...can’t...” Qarinah was in tears.
The vampire kids stumbled away into the night.
“My hero,” Olivia smacked Leonard in the chest.
“Sorry,” Leonard was laughing now. “I saw fangs...”
“You saw fangs and went into turbo murder mode,” Olivia cackled.
|Posted on April 15, 2019 at 9:55 PM||comments ()|
Qarinah stood on the centerline of the highway, long arms by her sides and her beautiful face pensive. Before her, two rumbling machines made their way up to the line. The red El Camino chirped its big back tires with a growl of its 454 and a puff of white smoke. The driver pushed back his sandy blonde hair, eyed Qarinah’s tight shorts and bikini top, and then focused on the road.
Leonard feathered the clutch and tapped the gas and Wendy’s 300s spun and smoked, drifting the nose of the black Challenger up to the line. There was nothing but calm behind his Wayfarers as he felt the rhythm of the supercharged 426 and Rammstein thumping through the Kicker system. He caught Qarinah’s eyes and nodded his head.
The sight at the end of the quarter mile stretch was unmistakable. Azrael, the Angel of Death, sat upon his great pale steed in front of the smoking Hell mouth.
Leonard did not look across at his opponent in the El Camino, but he could feel the stare back. He could feel the nerves, the fear, and the adrenaline drifting across to him. All Leonard felt was 3...2...1...
Qarinah raised both of her arms high and then dropped them, flexing at the hips and knees.
Leonard could hear tires scream beside him. He let out the clutch and eased on the gas and gravity threw his heart into the back seat. His shoulders pinned back to the seat and it felt like someone chained him to a Tomahawk missile as the tires hooked up with the asphalt. He was hardly conscious of the revs when he hit the sweet spot and shifted out of first. Second came and went so fast, it was barely a memory. His sight was a long tunnel, and he pushed and shifted like Michelangelo’s soul possessed his hand and painted its way through the gears. The roar that filled his ears became his heartbeat. The howl of the supercharger was his war song!
It was not until he saw Olivia jump high into the air as he flew past her, that he knew it was over. She waved a red bandana like a checkered flag and he could barely hear her screaming as he passed by. Leonard lay on the brakes and the Brembos howled and chattered in protest. He looked at the display. 9.66 seconds and 140 mph.
“That’s my Wendy,” Leonard smiled. “Thank you, baby!” He patted the dash with a gloved hand.
Leonard stepped out of the Challenger to greet his opponent. The stocky blonde man rose from the El Camino in his sleeveless flannel and dirty jeans.
“That’s a Hell of a fast car,” said the man. “I can’t believe I ran a 10.0 and there you were still ahead of me!”
“Yeah,” Leonard nodded. “That El Camino had me worried for a bit. I could hear that engine screaming the whole time. It was a good race!”
“Fair race!” the man nodded. He put out his hand and Leonard took it and shook, just as they had before the race, when they made the deal.
“IT IS TIME,” said Azrael’s hollow voice.
“We had a deal,” said the man. “I’ll go peaceful, you just lead the way.”
“Good luck,” said Leonard.
The man just nodded.
Azrael turned his horse and rode into the Hell mouth. The man walked behind him, his back straight and his head held up high. Leonard took off his flat-brimmed black cowboy hat and held it to his chest as he watched them go. Soon the Hell mouth closed up and they were no more. Leonard felt a small body slip underneath his duster and an arm curl around his waist. He leaned down and kissed Olivia behind her ear.
“Don’t ever do that again, lover,” said Olivia.
“Do what?” Leonard smiled.
“You bet your soul on a race!” Olivia glared at him. “That could have been you, being led down there!”
“No I didn’t,” he said.
“The Hell you didn’t!” Olivia was annoyed. “I saw you-“
“That wasn’t a bet,” he said. “It was a boon. I knew he was going to lose and so did he.”
“Then why did you do it?” Olivia narrowed her eye at her fiancée.
“Every time we meet these fugitives, they are cowards,” said Leonard. “They go out pleading and crying at the end of Azrael’s chain. This one wanted to go out like a man, with his head held high. I decided give him a shot, to let him be a man instead of a screaming little worm, like Howe was.”
“Well it still scared the shit out of me,” growled Olivia, but she pulled Leonard tighter. “Don’t do that anymore!”
“I won’t,” said Leonard. “I promise.”
“Good,” she gave two pulls on the lapel of his duster, which meant, “bend down and kiss me.”
Leonard lowered his head and closed his eyes. He felt her hands on his face, then her nose and finally her lips pressed against his. He opened his mouth a little and he felt her tongue slip between his lips and search for his. He touched her tongue with his and she made a contented sound.
“Good race, son,” Leonard felt Qarinah’s hand on his back. He looked up from his kiss. “We have work to do,” she said.
“Of course,” said Leonard. “New Orleans.”
|Posted on April 6, 2019 at 11:00 AM||comments ()|
“Turn around and go home, Chief,” said Cliff. I don’t want any trouble.”
“So keep your hands away from that shotgun,” said Chief Kowalski, “and there won’t be any.”
Cliff glowered at the two interlopers.
“Tell your friend to lower his rifle and come out,” said Chief. “I’m not here to arrest you. We just want to talk.”
“Think about it,” said Father Frank. “If he wanted to arrest you, why would he bring a priest?”
“I’m also about a thousand miles out of my jurisdiction,” said Chief.
Cliff looked at the tall, silver haired Chief and then at the younger, redheaded priest.
“Hey Harper, come on out.” A tall, lanky man came out of the cabin’s doorway. He stood a head taller than Cliff and had long brown hair. His face showed scars similar to his friend. He looked nervous. “Fuck it,” said Cliff. “You guys want a beer or something? You came a long way.” His sarcasm was palpable.
“Do you have any coffee?” asked Frank.
“Sure,” said Cliff. “Hey Nicole?”
A young, heavyset girl with mouse brown hair peeped around the doorway of the cabin. She looked barely old enough to be out of college. “Is everything OK?”
“Yeah,” said Cliff. “Can you put some coffee on for our guests?”
Nicole came out and looked at the cop and the priest. “I’m Nicole,” she said. “This is my place.”
“We know,” said Kowalski. The Chief reached into his motorcycle jacket and pulled out a book. “Father Frank and I just read a really interesting bit of fiction. It was so realistic, that we decided to come up here and see if the author would sign our copy.” Kowalski displayed the book’s front cover. The title read, the Acolytes by Nicole N. Volta, and the cover art depicted a hooded face with a burning building in the background.
Nicole’s hands began to tremble slightly. Cliff noticed and took one of them, guiding it to his shoulder, holding it there.
“It’s OK, babe,” Cliff said. “Just get them some coffee.”
“Black, please,” said Chief.
“Likewise,” said Frank.
Nicole quickly disappeared back into the cabin. “So that’s how you found us?” Cliff directed his attention back to the priest and the Chief.
“If you want to stay hidden,” said Chief, “you should make sure all the personnel records are destroyed before you leave. We identified most of the bodies; including ones, we found in common graves. You two just seemed to fall off the face of the planet. Then by chance, I see an ad for this bestselling book,” Chief turned the novel in his hands. “The theme struck me as familiar. You see, I was there.”
Cliff’s partial remaining eyebrow went up.
“I saw what was left of the place after the fight," said Chief. "You and your friend here were very lucky.”
“Not lucky,” said Cliff. “Smart.”
“So you know it was really werewolves?” Harper interjected.
“It was werewolves,” nodded Father Frank, “and a vampire, and a trio of demons you really don’t want on your bad side. Your so-called prophet messed with something he didn’t understand.”
“You really believe it!” Harper exclaimed. “You know the Pr- uh, Howe really came back from the dead!”
“I do,” said Frank. “I also got up close and personal with the ones who sent him back.”
Nicole brought out two cups of coffee and handed them to Frank and the Chief. Both nodded their thanks.
“So while I’m going through this book,” Chief smiled. “Father Frank here gets a phone call from a preacher friend in Flathead telling him that some people went missing. They found partially eaten remains and one living person who was acting bat shit insane! ”
Cliff and Harper looked at each other and back at Chief. Despite the disfigurement, Father Frank saw nervousness reflect on their faces.
“So I go online and look up Ms. Volta’s author bio,” Chief continued, “and sure enough!” Chief opened his arms to their surroundings.
Nicole began to cry and buried her head into Cliff’s shoulder. “I’m sorry,” she sobbed.
Cliff shushed her, “It’s OK,” he said, glaring at Chief Kowalski. “It’s not your fault. It was gonna happen at some point. I just wasn’t expecting it so soon.”
“Don’t worry,” Father Frank said to Nicole. “We aren’t here to hurt you.”
“We needed to make sure your friends here,” Chief, indicated Cliff, and Harper “aren’t up here trying to start SDS Chapter two.”
Father Frank shot a glare at Chief. Damn it, Chief! This was not supposed to be an interrogation! He thought.
“Oh holy fuck!” Cliff growled, slamming his beer down on the table. “Are you kidding me? Harp and I came up here to get away from that shit! We wanted to be as far away from ‘prophets’, demons, werewolves, and all that other shit as we could! We wrote the fucking book because our faces look like modern art masterpieces and getting a damned job in customer service is pretty much a no-go!”
“Yeah, man,” Harper nodded, his eyes far away as if watching a distant movie. “We saw those...things come over the wall. It was the most terrifying shit I ever saw! We are glad Victor Howe got sent back to Hell! We want nothing to do with any of that! We would never go back to that life!”
“Then I have some bad news,” said Father Frank. “You don’t have to go back to it. It’s coming here.”
Cliff and Harper’s faces went pale.
|Posted on March 19, 2019 at 8:15 PM||comments ()|
“What the Hell just happened?” Leonard looked up from the stone floor. He sat in the middle of a large copper circle. About the circle burned white candles. He noticed blood on the copper.
“We have been summoned,” sighed Qarinah. She, too, sat in a circle like Leonard’s, marked with similar candles.
“Silence, Demon!” A tall young man stepped forward. He wore greasy black-dyed hair and a leather jacket. “We have summoned you to do our bidding!”
Several other people in their late teens to early twenties appeared out of the darkness of the basement. There was another boy, taller and skinnier, with glasses, and two girls. One of the girls, a blonde with pigtails, and a black spider web dress slinked up to the one who spoke, and snaked her arm around him. She had a lollipop in her mouth. The other, an overweight brunette in a black trench coat stood alone.
“Where are we,” asked Leonard. “Your mom’s basement?” He stepped forward in defiance, but ran into something solid. “Ow!”
“I am Eric!” said the first boy in a commanding voice. You will be silent and do what I say!”
“Shh!” Qarinah cut him off. “They have summoned us,” she said in a soft voice. She looked around. “And it appears they have done a fairly good job. That is a very good summoning circle!”
Leonard cocked his head. Mom has a point, he thought, No way in hell these mall-Goths came up with this on their own. This whole thing stinks on ice.
“They got our sigils right,” Qarinah continued, “and look! Libations!”
Leonard looked down on the floor. There was a toy car and a pack of Prince Albert pipe tobacco. He picked up the toy car. It was a Mustang. Worst of all, it was red.
“D-minus on the libations, kiddo.” Leonard threw the toy car. It bounced off the force field of the summoning circle and clattered to the floor. “MOPAR or no car.”
Qarinah picked up a glass of amber liquid and smelled it. She made a sour face and dumped it on the floor. Leonard never saw his mom actually make a stank face before. He chuckled a little.
“Blended Scotch is for peasants,” said Qarinah flatly. “We aren’t helping you, Eric, if you are going to insult us.”
“Don’t put up with her shit!” the blonde with the pigtails hissed. Eric ignored her.
“What is it you desire, demon?” Eric asked.
“Call me Qarinah,” said the succubus with a smile. “We do have names, as you well know. This is Leonard.”
“Lord Leonard, Master of Nocturnal Orgies,” said Leonard. “That is my official title now, thanks to Olivia. Speaking of whom, when she finds us, and she will; she is going to hand you your asses.”
“Leonard, be nice,” said Qarinah. “They are just inexperienced.”
Leonard was about to ask his mother if she felt ill, because Qarinah was usually the last one to tell people to be nice. Then he realized what she was doing. He looked at her and nodded.
“I want that,” Qarinah pointed to the blonde girl.
“You want Stephanie?” Eric seemed perplexed.
“No,” said Qarinah. “The candy. It’s a Blow Pop, yes?”
Stephanie popped the lolly out of her mouth. It was indeed a red Blow Pop. “I’m not-”
Eric took it from her.
“Hey!” she glared angrily at Eric.
“It’s OK, Steph,” said Eric. “Think of what they can do for us. Don’t you want the infernal power?”
“True,” said the geek with glasses. “If all she wants is candy, why not?”
“That’s right,” said Qarinah, staring into Eric’s eyes. “Think of what I can teach you. All I want is something sweet in my mouth.” She licked her lips seductively.
Leonard sat Indian style on the floor and packed his pipe with the Prince Albert. He wished he had added popcorn to his list of libations. He saw the overweight girl look at him. She was actually quite pretty. Who says a chubby girl can’t rock the vampire look? He thought. He winked at her as he lit the pipe. She smiled at him.
Eric walked over to Qarinah, Blow Pop in hand.
“Wait!” the chubby girl stepped forward.
"What, Janice?” Eric growled.
“If you give her the Blow Pop, it will break the circle and she can attack you!”
Eric’s face became pensive. Qarinah shot an annoyed glance at Janice.
“I promise I won’t attack,” said Qarinah. “
“She’s lying!” shouted Stephanie.
“I do not lie!” Qarinah scowled at Stephanie.
“She’s right,” Leonard blew out a smoke ring. “If our kind makes a promise, we have to abide by it. Otherwise, bad stuff happens to us.”
“Yes,” said Glasses. “I read this in one of my occult books. “They have to honor all of their obligations. It’s like, a rule, or something.”
“OK then,” said Eric. “Promise me, Qarinah, that you won’t attack and you won’t escape from the circle!”
“Of course,” Qarinah smiled, batting her long eyelashes at Eric. “I promise I will not attack you, nor will I try to leave when you open the circle to give me the candy.”
Eric looked at his friends. Janice and Glasses nodded. Stephanie scowled. Leonard puffed his pipe and tried not to smile too much. He focused on Janice and blew her a kiss. She bit her lip and blushed.Eric carefully approached Qarinah. He used an Athame to draw a doorway in the force field surrounding the succubus, and offered the Blow Pop, extending his arm. Qarinah took it gently and extended her long tongue. She gave the lollipop a long lick and sealed her full, pretty lips around it.
“Thank you, Eric,” she crooned, staring into his eyes. His eyes went glassy. Qarinah ran her fingernails down his chest. “You have done so well, my beautiful boy. Let me do something for you.” She opened his leather jacket, took him around the waist, and pulled him to her, inside the circle. She took the Blow Pop out of her mouth with a popping sound and placed it between his lips. “I want something else in my mouth,” she smiled. Her hand caressed his erection through his pants. He shivered and placed his hands on her soft shoulders. She slowly settled down to her knees. Qarinah looked around him at Stephanie. She licked her lips and winked, keeping eye contact with the blonde as she unzipped Eric’s pants.
Stephanie completely lost her shit. She charged the circle screaming and seized her boyfriend by the shoulders, yanking him backward. Qarinah hung on and as Eric fell back, he dragged her out of the circle. Eric fell to the floor, flat on his back. The only thing standing was his hard dick protruding from his open zipper. Stephanie ran at Qarinah, who immediately brought herself to her full 6 foot height. Stephanie leveled several punches but Qarinah avoided them all, twisting her body in a graceful dance. Qarinah slapped Stephanie with a backhand and sent the blonde sprawling.
“YOU LIED!” screamed Stephanie.
“No,” said Qarinah. “I kept my promise; I said I would not attack Eric. I did not. Quite the opposite. I said I would not try to leave. I did not. It was you who dragged me from the circle, child.”
“Mom,” Leonard looked at Qarinah.
“Oh yes,” Qarinah walked over to the circle, which held Leonard. She kicked over the candles and kicked dirt over the blood. The force field dissipated and Leonard stepped out, pipe clenched in his teeth. He looked, and all of the young ones crouched and pinned themselves to the walls.
“Alright, kids,” said Leonard, a serious look on his tattooed face. “What did we learn today?”
No one spoke.
“I ASKED YOU A FUCKING QUESTION!” Leonard bellowed, drawing Spike in a flourish of bone and steel. He pointed the massive revolver at Eric.
Janice raised her hand, as if in class.
“Yes, darlin’,” Leonard grinned, his teeth looked like 16 penny nails.
“Never summon demons?”
“A-plus!” said Leonard. “You get to live. Next question. Who taught you to do this and had you summon us? Not a damn one of you even knows who the Sisters of Mercy are, much less how to summon a demon. Who told you Hot Topic shopping motherfuckers to do this?”
“Other demons,” said Glasses, “twins.”
“Cloaks, armor, ugly?” asked Leonard, “They carry hammers with them?”
They all nodded.
“Shit,” said Leonard. “I knew it. Now listen, kids. Those assholes killed my best friend and got another one of our friends all shot up. Now they are going after my fiancée. I do not think I need to explain how pissed off I am going to be if they hurt the love of my life! Now who has a Goddamn car?”
Eric held up a set of keys.
“Barn door’s open,” Leonard took the keys. Eric stuffed his limp dick back in his pants.
“How romantic,” Janice stared after Leonard with a dreamy expression.
Qarinah and Leonard walked out of the basement, said hi to Eric’s mom in the kitchen, and Leonard took a Hot Pocket from a baking sheet. They walked out of the house.
“You gotta be shittin’ me,” said Leonard.
They squeezed into the raggedy, blue and primer colored Volkswagen beetle and peeled out of the driveway. Leonard drove with one knee on the dash. Qarinah sat in the passenger seat with both knees touching the dashboard.
“This is the most uncomfortable car in which I have ever ridden,” said Qarinah.
“Not made for a couple of 6-footers,” said Leonard. “I can think of someone who would love it though.”
|Posted on February 19, 2019 at 9:25 PM||comments ()|
Good news! The first draft of my latest novel, The Hunters of Gehenna is complete! I have the front cover finished as well. As soon as it clears my beta readers and my own arduous editing process, It will ba available for preorder.
It sits right now at over 100,000 words, which would be almost 400 pages. I will be cutting it down, hopefully to closer to 80,000 words to make it easier for my readers to digest. Fear not, however. All of the cut scenes will be made available as exclusive content for my patreon supporters!