So you can read my books

Saturday, August 18, 2012



New York City. The town of undead dreams and shattered illusions.

My very first agent. The biggest in publishing, mind you.

And here I was -- in his elegant, spacious ... and much too dark office.

At night.

What was up with that?

Actually, I knew. Courtesy of Raymond Chandler. His ghost really.

He had hated agents in life. Now, in undeath, he hated them even more. Bloodsuckers he called them.

Now, was that type casting or what?

Aaron Bael smiled at me. His charm was colder than his eyes, and they were glitttering chips of dry ice.

With his much too long fingers, he patted my manuscript. "Odd term you use in here. 'Revenants' not the more popular, enticing 'Vampires.'"

I nervously toyed with the ball bearing in my left hand and kept from chewing my thick toothpick with an effort of will.

"In my novels, there's nothing sexy, sparkly, or warm about the reanimated dead. How could there be? Humans are their meals not their friends."

Bael nodded. "Just so. And your prose is quite good. Too good not to make large sales."

His smile dropped like a lead weight. "We cannot allow that."

A blur to my left. Fangs at my throat. Fetid breath in my face.

His not-so-lovely assistant. My thumb and forefinger shot the ball bearing into her open, snarling mouth. She hunched over choking.

Living or undead, the gag reflex will not be denied.

I whipped the thick toothpick out of my mouth and jabbed it deep into the back of her left hand still on my shoulder.

She squealed in a wet husk, then thumped bonelessly to the thick carpet like a puppet with the strings cut. She didn't move.

She was as dead as something like her could get.

Popping out of my chair, I backed up, keeping my face to Bael. "Research. Gotta love it."

He flicked an uneasy look to my manuscript. "There really is a lost acupuncture point?"

I nodded. It was the chi in the blood that animated the revenants not the oxygen. Dam the flow of chi in their bodies, and they were short-circuited : dead.

"Yes, and thanks to Tommy's Middle East tour of duty I know it."

His eyes became as flat and soulless as a snake's -- but without as much warmth. "Your precious "League of Five" friend. Well, I have a friend, too."

His canines grew longer. "As I recall, you were quite taken with Miss Lupa, my secretary, and her mini-skirt."

His office door burst open. A snarling she-wolf shambled in, her black business suit hanging from her in tatters.

Reaching slowly into my jacket's inside pocket, I forced a smile. "Honey, your legs were prettier without the fur."

Bael sneered at my hand under my jacket. "You're carrying a gun in New York City?"

I shook my head. "Only criminals get to do that."

I brought out the magnesium flare. "Meet my best-est buddy, Mr. Sunshine-in-a-Stick."

I snapped its end off to bring it to blazing life. Its red glare filled the office. And the same ultraviolet light that burns from the Sun seared the flesh from Bael's screaming, writhing body.

The stench filled the spacious room, making acid bile burn up my throat and into my mouth.

Miss Lupa had seen better days, too.

The ultraviolet light had tricked her body into a "false dawn" dress-down to humanity. But she was caught mid-way, her body changing in spurts to the surges in the flare.

She writhed on the carpet in agony. I couldn't leave her like this.

Thanks to Chandler's ghost, I didn't have to.

I walked gingerly around the still-smoldering Bael and his simply still assistant. I went to the back of the agent's desk to the middle drawer. I pulled it out.

"Only criminals get to do that," I whispered, pulling out the automatic.

Silver bullets in the clip Chandler had assured me. I chambered a round into the barrel.

I walked back to stand over Lupa. She snarled at me, spittle flying from her sharp teeth.

"How many screaming humans have you killed that were helpless to fight back?," I sighed.

"N-Not enough," husked Lupa.

"One was too many," I said low and double-tapped her.

(Unlike politicians, movies sometimes told the truth.)

She stopped wiggling. I looked over to Bael and his assistant. How many dreamers
had they shot down,

not because their work wouldn't sell,

but because it would?

A pounding shook the heavy entrance wooden doors. I went quiet and cold inside.

The zombie security guards Chandler had told me about. I smiled bitterly. No problem.

They only ate brains.

And obviously, no one who opened a can of whup-ass on revenants and ferals simply for being rejected had any of those.
Movie Art from Night of the Living Dead (1968).

Due to a failure to include a copyright notice on the 1968 print, all images from this film are in the public domain.

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