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Friday, July 16, 2010


I am shortly going into madness.

53 hours of nearly straight work with perhaps 3 hours a night sleep. 24 hour blood drives to replenish our dangerously depleted supply are necessary ...

and near murderous (for me.) So I am posting early for a promised appearance in my friend's, Tessa's, blogfest.

It is finally time for Tessa's BLOGFEST OF DEATH

This comes from FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE. Some have noticed that Samuel doesn't kill often. There is a reason. And now, you'll see it for yourself.

{Sam is in the mirror world with his mysterious Apache blood-brother, Elu. His brother has just berated Sam for not ... feeding.

He is now showing Sam how the mayor of New Orleans is in danger from his aides who are actually members of the Russian mob} :

Elu shook his head.

"When is the last time you fed your hunger, Dyami?"

"It's ... been awhile. I haven't met anyone bad enough to leech from."

His right eyebrow shot up. "The rapists and murderers in the Convention Center were not dark-souled enough for you?"

"They were children. Rabid children. But children."

Elu scowled. "You must explain your maze of rules to me one day."

"As soon as I've figured them out myself, you'll be the first to know."

Elu gestured gracefully again, and a scene of mist wavered to life before the two of us. "I think I have found three souls dark and aged enough even for you, Dyami. But beware. Cossacks taste bad."

The filmy window to my world showed a scene of one of the best suites in the Hyatt hotel in New Orleans that I owned.

It was on the 27th floor as I recalled. Nagin would gag if he knew it was me that offered it to him when he had made it plain he planned to stay out the hurricane. I owned a good bit of my city through dummy corporations.

Nagin was pacing about like a caged tiger, his eyes shining from lack of sleep and fatique. I knew the feeling. He was surrounded by aides.

Most were soft-bellied bottom-feeders. But I spotted the three members of the Russian Mob, though their clothes were similar to the toadies.

The Russian Mob or Bratva, Russian slang for "brotherhood."

It was a brutal organization.

Since 1991 and the fall of the Soviet Union, it had gained considerable power and influence.

I might have been more impressed if I hadn't known they were unknowing catspawns for the European Revenant Empire. The ERE as I called it. I refused to call it what its empress Theodora called it, even in my head.

Revenants. Vampires.

Neither name really did justice to the horror they were. I had crossed trails with them off and on since 1853, when aboard the Demeter, I had scared pure hell out of them by revealing I could kill them through acupuncture.

But back to the Russian Mob.

It was easier for Theodora to control since it was made up of diverse criminal syndicates, not one global entity. She could play one off the other, keep them off-balanced and easier to manipulate. I had thought she and I had an agreement.

America was off-limits. The rest of the world was her playground. Maybe I didn't understand how she thought.

Now, KGB agents, them I understood.

One of the three Russian mobsters playing undercover aides to Nagin I recognized as KGB. I didn't know his real name. He probably had forgetten it as well since he had used so many false ones in the past.

And that he would join something called Vory v zakone or "thieves in law" was almost funny. Almost. But after the fall of the Soviet Union, KGB agents had found themselves unemployed and had taken their skills to where they were welcomed.

I wonder where his tattoos were hidden?

Probably had gold stars on his knees, symbolizing he would kneel to no man. The Russian Mob was a lot like the rest of the world when it came to symbols. To them, the tattoo was a precious symbol, so prized that ultimately it became the reality.

No room for miracles and the divine gift of compassion. I didn't begrudge economic and educational progress. But was it really progress? And at what price and in what coin? More questions. And not an answer in sight.

The other two mobsters weren't hard to spot.

The Gulag changes you, the way you hold yourself, compact and ready, and the deadness in the eyes, mute testimony to the murder of the soul within. They were probably posing as security. An oxymoron if there ever was one.

If Elu wanted me here, they were working for Nagin to be in the perfect position to kill him. And now, during the chaos of Katrina was the perfect time.

Nagin was pacing, listening to the voice he most loved to hear : his own.

"The people of our city are holding on by a thread. Time has run out. Can we survive another night? God knows. And who can we depend on?"

The KGB agent clamped a hand on Nagin's broad shoulder. "You can depend on me."

"I know I can, Peter."

Nagin shook his bald head. "But who else? We are going to lose a sizable portion of our population."

I made a face. Lose? He meant the dead. Was he worried about the votes or the lives? I was hoping he was concerned about the lives.

A toady on the edge of his chair seat urged in a tinny voice, "Mr. Mayor, we need a decision."

Nagin scowled, "You guys are pushing me in an area that I don't want to go. I don't want to lose another person."

He bit his lower lip. "This is a sad day in the city of New Orleans when you want a hero to make a decision such as this."

Now, I was the one doing the frowning. What was he talking about? I stopped worrying about trifles. Peter was slipping his right hand under his jacket. Crap. It was happening now.

He preached to the captive congregation. "I mean doesn't it strike you that God is mad at America? He's sending hurricane after hurricane at us."

He was worked up now, ignoring the fact that the three Russian mobsters were white. "It's time for us blacks to come together, to stop killing one another. I don't care what people are saying Uptown or wherever they are. By the end of the day, New Orleans will be a chocolate city the way God wants it to be."

Peter stood up slowly. Nagin looked at him, his face frowning like a prune. Peter slipped his hand completely under his jacket. Crap. He was going to kill him now.

Peter dropped his cultured pose, speaking his words heavily tinged in an Russian accent. "I have always preferred bitter chocolate myself."

The automatic with the long silencer was held steady, aimed right between Nagin's startled eyes, and Elu wryly smiled, "Time to save the 'hero,' Dyami."

He shoved me hard into the misty scene, while ripping my right glove off. "And feed that hunger of yours."

Damn Elu. Not in front of the mayor. I appeared seemingly out of nowhere to those in the suite right beside a slack-jawed Peter. I wrapped what passed for the fingers of my right hand around the Russian's throat.

"I dunno, Peter. I've always been partial to white chocolate. How about you, Nagin?"

He stepped away from me, his trembling fingers to his open mouth. "Oh, God. Oh, God."

My right palm felt like I had plunged it into acid, and I arched in agony.

Flashes of the memories of Kirill {his real name, ironically meaning "lord"} stabbed into my repulsed mind.

Not just memories, but the smells, sounds, and sensations of those images sizzled into me.

Gutting his first victim with a linoleum knife. Kissing the young girl that would later become his wife. Strangling her twenty years later. Bouncing his little boy on his knee. Pouring acid into another boy's face of the same age in front of the screaming father. Getting drunk the night Russia fell.

A thousand thousand unwanted sensations and images seared into me. I staggered.

His two fellow Russians drew their weapons.

To my heightened senses it seemed that they moved under water, slow and strangely graceful. My world on fire, I took Kirill's automatic from his withering fingers. I shot the two of them through both eyes.

That way they would endlessly wander through the Spirit World, blindly seeking the peace that would be denied them. Or at least that was what Elu used to believe. Like me, he had come to doubt much of the lore attached to the Great Mystery.

The soft-belied aide closest to me wet his pants. "Sweet Jesus. Sweet Jesus. Mother Mary help me."

I looked down at him. "Seeing as how you sold yourself to the world a long time ago, pilgrim, I think you're a mite late."

As I dropped the completely withered corpse of Kirill, Nagin looked at me, his face gone pasty. "What the hell are you, McCord?"

I forced down my self-revulsion and smiled like a wolf. "Full."

And there you have it. Samuel McCord has become what the Apache call a Gahe ... drainer of the souls of men ... and hater of his own. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Sam's personal nightmare.


  1. This was awesome, Roland. I like the end line the best, "Full." Also enjoyed the scenes in the Russian's head. You're very creative.

    My one critique is I think you could easily cut some of the expository information, either completely or work it in elsewhere. Your story is beautiful and I don't think the reader needs to be slowed down with information.

    Hope you find that to be useful feedback, and thanks so much for letting us read more of your work. Don't give up!

    Scribbler to Scribe

  2. Great stuff! Loved the last line too:)

    And this one, the walking through water, conjured up the picture perfectly:

    "To my heightened senses it seemed that they moved under water, slow and strangely graceful. My world on fire, I took Kirill's automatic from his withering fingers. I shot the two of them through both eyes."

  3. I agree . . . that last line was perfect! And the memory stuff was awesome. Great visuals.

  4. Ah, no wonder Sam doesn't kill often. He probably feels polluted from the inside out. He breaks my heart, as any good hero does. They do the right thing at great personal cost, while being reviled by the very people they are trying to protect or save. Loved the quotes, btw. I really hope you're able to get some uninterrupted rest. Be careful out there. I'm not asking. (That's what I say to the kids in my class when they need to stop misbehaving and listen before someone gets hurt).

  5. Ooo, Sam is one bad dude. I have a question, what happens if he doesn't feed every now and then?? I agree (once again) with what Words Crafter said about Sam. Nagin is disgusting, yet Sam is sworn to protect. How awful.

    Great entry, thank you for sharing it with us.

    And I LOVED the quotes. Especially the one about substituting 'damn' for 'very'.

    Stay safe, that rebel, Olivia

  6. Delectable!

    Thanks for showing Sam's hands, and why he wears the gloves. I've always been curious about that. Sam's internal struggles comes through in this.

    Looks like you took Hemingways advice (from the last post) and focused on short, vivid sentences. You have a unique style Roland. Thanks for sharing your death scene.


  7. Drippingly dark and devious!! :-)

    Lovely prose, great ending! I do like my bad boy heroes!

    Take care

  8. ...despite your current state of exhaustion,(we've chatted on this, I've been there,) I applaud you for continuing to allow us a look-see into the tenuous world of mystery surrounding Sam.

    I hope the finger's mending well. Take care, Roland.

  9. good morning thanks for leaving a comment on my blog re my husband,Eddie. wow! your writing is fantastic. I'm amazed that with little sleep you can think. hope you get some need rest.have a good weekend

  10. You're such a trooper to be so exhausted and still post for your friend's Blogfest! Awesome story. Get some sleep now!

  11. I swear I posted a comment just a few moments ago @#$&*# computer!

    It is funny how I was reading your entry while you posted on mine. ;-)

    Now, your entry could easily be a very dark and fast action movie. I love MC's with their own twisted moral codes and a dash of self loathing. I love how you use modern day events in your 'other world' story. And Sam answering "full" at the end was the cherry on top. As always, a blast to read. Thank you for sharing more of Sam's world.

    BTW, I remember double shifts and midnights. Sleep will make you take it when you don't want it, so....GET SOME SLEEP!!! Don't care how you get it, just do it.

  12. And I love the quotes. I will add a few to my list.

  13. Roland, you're writing has me transfixed. Your talent is awesome.
    Thank you for the lovely comment. I'm delighted to have found your blog.

  14. The are so many talented writers all around, and here you are, one of them too.;)
    Thank you so much for your very kind recent comment, I am truly sorry to hear about your injuries, I hope will recover soon.
    Have a wonderful Sunday,

  15. Good to see Sam in action.
    Would like to see a little more focus in the scene but it works.
    Nice job!

  16. Love the tension and the clueless mayor on a diatribe. The memories were both startling and disturbing, what I would expect of a man like that. Great job!

  17. I love how you opened this post. At first I thought it was your blogfest entry. So great hook! The rest was great, too. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Hehe. Man, you're the king of one-liners, bro.

    - Eric

  19. Great Death Scene! Thank you for taking part in my 'fest.

    I can see how Sam might have issues with this 'feeding' of his, keeping it to a minimum. An eater of souls...yikes. I love the way you set up scenes, although perhaps this one could do with a little less exposition on the mafia (I like knowing that, but it does go on for a while).

    I also love the way you let Kirill's life flash before Sam's eyes, and the contrasting scenes he sees. It's great to get this glimpse into Sam's 'personal nightmare', as you say!

    Can't wait for the next time you treat us to a Sam Scene,


  20. Hey Roland. Loved seeing Sam's morality. And I loved the end!!!!

  21. Awesome last line, and I really enjoyed the insight into Sam. What makes Sam such a compelling character is his moral choice to feed off only the evil. With the prospect of feeding, there's always going to be that underlying question: what is evil? (As when he mentions not feeding off the children at the convention center). My only suggestion is to tighten the exposition re: the Bratva and KGB backstory, and include only what's necessary for this scene. For me, it was too much information and pulled me out of moment.

  22. VR : Thanks for the suggestion. Writing for a blog post is different than writing for a novel. In a novel, but in a blog more, less is more. I hope you get a chance to read my "written just for my blog" 24 HOURS type experiment for Monday and for a few more days.

    RaShelle : I'm glad you liked Sam's morality. It's dinged and battered but firm.

    Tessa : Thanks for the great idea for a blogfest. I needed to weed out the exposition for this post. It's needed for the entrance of Empress Theodora into Nagin's suite following this scene. But not necessary for this posting.

    Eric : I have another neat one-liner at the end of Monday's post. I hope you get to read it.

    Tara : Glad you liked my entry. You are welcome to visit as often as you like.

    Raquel : Yeah, Mayor Nagin is certainly unique. Sadly, most of those words were direct quotes.

    Andrew : Your view is accurate as always. The focus was indeed off for a blog post. You did a great job on your entry.

    Zuzana : Your blog is always lovely to visit .. and healing, too. As are my eye and finger. Have a beautiful week.

    Vintage Vixen : I'm glad to have found your blog as well. That you are impressed with my writing means a lot to me.

    Nicole : I've slept 14 hours straight so my head's nearly clear. Nearly. Thanks for liking my snippet of Sam's world. I hope you get a chance to read my own adventure in it this Monday.

  23. Nice job at world-building!!! Completely sucked me in! :D