Monday, May 30, 2016

The Thirteenth Lord - Chapter 4

The Thirteenth Lord

M.T. Murphy
Copyright 2015


Chapter 4 - The Untouchable


Powerful, well-trained vampires patrolled the grounds. In the darkness, they were invisible to human eyes.
Lucifera stood motionless at the foot of the hill. A cool breeze shifted her hair and tattered dress. She made no physical effort to mask her location, but the vampires continued upon their set paths, oblivious to her presence.

You do not see me.” The vampires could not hear her command, but they followed it the same. They may have been seasoned fighters, but Lucifera marveled at how unprepared they had been for one with her mental abilities.

She had been one of the strongest vampires in existence. Master Aldo Novafeltria stole her power with the help of a brainwashed priest and a cursed artifact, leaving her as weak as a newly turned vampire. Lucifera overcame Novafeltria, but most of her power died with him.

One gift he could not take from her was her mental ability. In life, she could read the thoughts of others and use that knowledge to influence them. As a vampire, she could plant thoughts and suggestions in the minds of humans and other vampires.

A black-clad vampire stopped a few paces from her and strained his eyes in her direction. This one seemed to have more mental toughness than the others.

Lucifera stepped closer to him. In a single motion, she drew her Japanese short sword and struck for his neck. He saw her when the blade passed through his flesh. His hand was still reaching for his machete when his head hit the ground.

The sound of the head bouncing on the grass was enough to shatter her spell. The remaining eleven vampires rushed toward her with blades drawn. She did something they did not expect: she smiled and rushed to the center of their group.

She stopped with her feet planted and sword held high above her head with both hands. The first vampire reached her and struck a powerful blow at her neck with his machete. She dodged his blow, using his own momentum to drive him off balance and then decapitated him.

The next vampire followed with a thrust toward her chest. She sidestepped his strike and drove her blade into his throat, twisting it, then ripping it through the top of his head. She continued the blow, swinging it over her head and decapitating the next vampire that attacked, cutting his silver machete in half.

The next two attackers rushed her from opposite directions. She leapt and drove the heel of her shoe into the eye socket of the one in front of her, then drove her sword into the heart of the one behind her. Ripping her shoe free, she landed on her feet between the two. The impaled vampire struggled but could not free himself from her blade. The half blinded vampire clumsily waved his machete.

She snatched the weapon from his hand and hit him with the blunt side of the machete’s blade on the throat, dragging him toward her as he covered his bloody eye. She bit into the side of his throat and devoured his blood.

The other advancing vampires stopped in their tracks.

“Is she feeding from him?” one asked.

“I thought only the masters did that when they took over another’s territory,” said another.

Lucifera ignored them and sucked down the last of the blood from her victim. She then released him and severed his head with his own machete. The other vampire struggled to remove her sword from his heart, but was too weak.

She turned to him and ripped into his throat. In seconds, she sucked him dry and twisted the blade of her sword, coring the heart from his chest and sending it raining to the ground in pieces.

The power Lucifera had taken from her victims’ blood coursed through her veins. The remaining five vampires regrouped several yards away.

Lucifera held her two blood-covered blades by her sides and stood straight and proper.

“I am one and you are five. It would seem the odds favor you,” she said.

The vampires exchanged glances and devised an unspoken strategy.  Three of them rushed forward and attacked her from three different directions. The final two leapt through the air and struck at her from opposite sides.

Had the vampires been paying attention, they would have seen a smile cross her face. Instead, they saw her disappear. Twisting their perception was simple once she made eye contact with them and wormed her way inside their minds.

It was too late for them to stop their attacks. The three on the ground hit each other at the same time. An arm was severed. A vampire took a machete through the face. The third ground attacker was on the business end of a machete right in between his eyes.

The two vampires that attacked from above slammed into each other in midair. Lucifera stepped in and decapitated both of them with two quick blows. She grabbed the vampire with the severed arm and latched on to his bleeding appendage. He tried to fight her off, but his strength faded with each gulp as she devoured his blood.

The other two vampires removed their machetes from each other’s faces and tried in vain to follow her movements. Lucifera moved behind them and drained their blood. With all three writhing on the ground in blood-deprived weakness, she removed their heads with three quick blows of her sword and machete.
As much as she enjoyed the battle, Lucifera knew that she would have been able to kill them all before they discovered her if she still had her former power. A bleeding gash on her right shoulder and a fresh collection of bruises were painful reminders that she was far from invincible.

She strolled around the outside of the lavish mansion. Her wolf awaited her by the front door. He looked up and smiled as she rounded the corner.

She allowed herself a brief glimmer of hope. Perhaps his mind was healing. A glance up at the night sky killed that thought. The moon was hidden behind a thick layer of clouds. Otherwise, he might have been trying to tear out her heart.

“Took your sweet time, I see,” he said.

“When one feeds, it is impolite to do so hastily,” she replied.

He shrugged and stood, ignoring the muted gurgles coming from the injured vampire at his feet. “Did these guys seem kind of weak to you for a vampire lord’s servants?”

“They were here for appearance alone. Agnes the Untouchable has little need for servants to fight her battles.” She motioned toward the front door. “We should greet her properly.”

He nodded, then kicked the door. It crashed inward, falling off the hinges.

“Why do they call her the Untouchable?”

“Because she has mastered each of the three states achievable by only the most powerful of vampires: shadow, mist, and smoke. She cannot be touched, but she can and will attack.”

Mickey stepped inside the house. The front door opened to a huge foyer in the middle of which stood a long, mahogany stairway that extended to the third floor and a single door.

“Smoke, huh?” he said. “I only saw you turn into shadow back when…” He did not finish the thought, but he didn’t have to.

Lucifera knew.

Back when she was powerful. Back when she wasn’t weak. Back when she was his better.

“Smoke and mist are rather vulgar,” she replied as though the sentiment hadn’t stung. “I prefer the shadow form. It is graceful and elegant.”

“Okay. She turns into wispy elegant shadows and stinky, vulgar smoke and mist and attacks us but we can’t hit her back.”

“That is accurate.”

“Figures.” Mickey closed his eyes and sniffed the air. “There’s only one other vampire in this place, and she’s up those stairs.” He took a step toward the staircase, but Lucifera placed a hand on his arm.

His gaze fixed on her hand. She wanted him to look her in the eye, but she knew he couldn’t. Not after what had happened.

“Mickey, you need to shift for this fight. It will take your full power to defeat Agnes.”

“You must be confused. I’m the crazy one, not you. Don’t you remember what happened the last time I shifted around you? I almost—”

“But you did not. I live.”

“Barely,” he growled.

“Clouds obscure the moon tonight. You will have more control. Direct your rage at our enemy.”

“You got a plan on how to fight a vampire lord we can’t even touch?”

“I do.”

“Care to share it?”

She smiled. “No.”

For an instant, his eyes met hers and a smile flashed across his face. He grabbed her hand and hastily kissed it. He released her hand and leapt up the first ten steps of the long staircase.

“Stay behind me until I see her.” His words were already deep and guttural and mixed with the snarl of the beast.

Black fur shot down his bare arms. His shoulders swelled and contorted as bones broke and remade themselves longer and thicker. He kicked the stairs as his feet morphed into massive clawed paws. With a roar, he ripped away the remnants of his tattered pants, revealing a bushy black tail. The werewolf stood to its full seven and a half foot height and howled.

Lucifera waited at the bottom of the stairs with sword in hand.

The monster slowly turned its head back to look at her. There was no recognition in the two glowing crimson eyes.

She gripped the sword a little tighter.

The beast sniffed and cocked its head to the side. Then it turned back and climbed the stairs. Lucifera knew it lusted for battle, and the more powerful opponent was waiting for them behind the door.

Lucifera rushed after him. Though she had lost much of her strength, she still had her supernatural speed. When the beast crashed through the door, she was right behind him.

The door exploded into the night air. A lush green garden with white marble columns and exotic plants covered the top of the house. It had been invisible from the grounds below.

A tall, thin woman stood at the edge gazing at the clouded skies. Her black trench coat and black leather attire had no place in the Chihuahua Dessert.

“I knew you’d come for me first, Lucifera.” She kept looking out over the balcony as she spoke.

“Did you?”

She turned to Lucifera, revealing the face of a woman barely out of her teens. “Yes. You are so very predictable.”

“Perhaps you are right, Agnes. Let us ask him.” Lucifera turned to the snarling werewolf. “Do you find me predictable?”

The monster ignored the question, instead stepping forward to roar a challenge at the youthful-looking master vampire, Agnes.

She turned away and frowned. “Oh God. They said you had a werewolf, but hearsay and seeing it with one’s own eyes are two different things. That is so very revolting.”

Mickey leapt toward her, his massive claws reaching for her thin neck. Instead of dodging the oncoming attack, Agnes stepped toward the werewolf.

The werewolf let out a satisfied growl as his momentum carried him into her. Claws pushed into her throat. Then they pushed through the other side. The werewolf’s face passed directly through Agnes’s face. Every part of her he touched became a dark mist.

The werewolf passed through her and landed on the ground in a crouch. Behind him, the dark mist gathered and reformed into Agnes.

“That was so very pathetic,” she chided. “Allow me to show you how a true vampire lord fights.” Throughout the entire exchange, Agnes kept her hands hidden at her sides. Now, she held them up for all to see. An unnatural, four-inch-long black talon protruded from the top of each finger.

Her form shook, then exploded into a dark gray mass of smoke. The mass enveloped the werewolf, who slashed repeatedly at the substance to no effect.

Agnes cackled with delight in between the werewolf’s savage strikes. Her own claws took form and slashed at the monster’s throat and chest. The slashes continued as the werewolf’s berserk attacks grew even more unfocused and wild. Blood from the various wounds dripped down his body. She kept up the vicious attack for a full minute.

Her smoky form swirled around the werewolf and her disappearing and reappearing hands struck him from every angle. As she prepared to land another blow on the werewolf, a bloody hand caught her intangible wrist and held her in place.

Agnes’s body reformed into its original shape and she glared at her arm. A smiling Lucifera gripped her wrist.

“Do you still find me predictable?” Lucifera asked.
Agnes screamed in fury.

The werewolf raked claws covered with his own blood down Agnes’s back, tearing four thick gashes through her coat and the flesh beneath.

She screamed again, this time in pain, and ripped her arm free from Lucifera’s grasp. “I am untouchable!”

“Are you?” Lucifera asked.

The werewolf lunged at her again. This time, Agnes was prepared. She grasped one of his outstretched hands and used her supernatural strength and his own momentum to throw him over the edge of the balcony and into the rocks three stories below. 

“They say fighting the mighty Lucifera and her werewolf together is a sure death sentence. I won’t make that mistake twice.”

Lucifera smiled and offered no reply.

Agnes became a swirling cloud of black smoke and moved toward Lucifera. “I don’t know how you were able to touch me, but it won’t happen again. I will kill you now.”

Lucifera delivered a lightning fast punch to the center of the swirling cloud. Agnes reformed and landed on her back clutching her bloodied face.

She scrambled backward on the floor as Lucifera stalked toward her.  “How?”

Lucifera held up her left hand. It was covered in Mickey’s blood.

Fear crept into Agnes’s face as Lucifera approached.

“When was the last time you were struck, Agnes?”

“You know damned well, you bitch. Before I took the first seat.”

“And who was it that delivered the blow?”

“You,” she whispered. Then she dissipated into smoke and drifted to the edge of the roof.

Lucifera wiped her bloody hand on the blade of her sword and thrust it into the smoke.

Agnes reformed and looked down at her chest to find Lucifera’s blade protruding from her heart.
“I take back what I said,” she gasped, “about you being predictable.”  

Lucifera twisted the sword and jerked it to the right, cutting Agnes’s heart into three pieces.

She fell to her knees, paralyzed but still conscious. Lucifera left the sword embedded in her back and knelt behind her, brushing the blonde hair off the side of her neck.

“I am far more valuable to you alive,” Agnes groaned. “I know what awaits you. Ruprecht is coming. He knows what lies in your vault.”

“I am aware that your maker follows the breadcrumb trail I have left behind. You have, however, piqued my interest. How would Ruprecht know of the contents of my vault?”

Lucifera bit into her throat with white, razor sharp fangs. Agnes may have been the weakest of the vampire lords, but Lucifera grew drunk from the power in her blood. She put her arms around Agnes, embracing her as she drank.

The vampire’s memories poured into her. She observed with mild interest the training she had received from Ruprecht the Horror in the art of becoming shadow, smoke, and mist. The faces of countless victims passed by. Her quick ascension to lord status followed suit. Just before Lucifera finished draining her blood, a familiar face appeared.

Lucifera released Agnes from the embrace and removed her sword, shoving her to the floor. “Stanislaus?”

Agnes struggled to push herself up, but she lacked the strength and collapsed onto her back. “You can’t be angry about that. It has been centuries.”

Green fire burned in her eyes as Lucifera swung her sword and lopped Agnes’s head off.
The door to the roof crashed open again. A bloody, furious werewolf burst forth.

“Wolf,” she said, “it is over.”

The werewolf stalked over and sniffed the decapitated body. The beast stood and held its nose high, sniffing the night air. Its eyes turned to Lucifera’s sword. It sniffed again. Then it growled.

“Yes, your blood is on the blade, but it was Agnes’s talons that wounded you. Shift back, my wolf. We have a long journey ahead of us and we need to speak before we go.”

It took a step toward her and crouched down with claws and fangs bared.

Lucifera looked up. The moon was visible through a break in the clouds. “Most inconvenient,” she said.

The werewolf leapt toward her with claws outstretched.

She grasped one of its claws and pressed the blade of the sword under its jaw line as it slammed her against the wall.

“Wolf,” she said, “it is finished. Come back to me.”

The werewolf snarled and snapped its jaws an inch from her face. Its strength was too much for her.

“Mickey … please.”

At that instant, the moon returned behind the cover of clouds and some of the red fire in the werewolf’s eyes faded. It looked down and saw its left claws buried in the flesh of her arm. The monster whined and stepped back, releasing the vampire.

He let out a howl as his form shrank. Fur receded. Bones cracked and muscle ripped as he returned to his human shape.

He stood naked before her with his eyes wide and hand outstretched toward her injured arm. “Lucifera,” he said.

“I am fine, wolf.”

“I would have killed you.”

“Do you really believe I am so easy to kill?”

He reached up and stroked the side of her cheek. Lucifera closed her eyes for a moment. It was the first time he had touched her like that in weeks.

He withdrew his hand and headed down the stairs. “I gotta find some clothes.”

Lucifera looked down and picked up Agnes’s head. She considered coring out her eyes with the sword for good measure but decided against it. There was no need to be petty. She tossed the head over the side of the roof and followed Mickey down the stairs.

Mickey found a pair of jeans his size and a new pair of boots. He tossed on a tank top and retrieved his ancient leather jacket from the coffin he had left outside the front gate.

“Do you still have your cell phone?” she asked.

“Yeah.”

“I want you to call your old friend, Richaud. Tell him we need a favor.”

Mickey grimaced. “Richaud? I already owe him too much. Do you know what he does when someone owes him and doesn’t pay their debt right away? He has me repay a little bit of my debt by ripping them to tiny pieces.” The werewolf stroked a sideburn, deep in thought. “I wonder who he calls when I’m not around?”

“There will be no issues with Richaud,” Lucifera said. “Tell him we require transportation to Los Angeles. Also, he will go to the Romana Tower and assist Nash. The other lords will make a move against it soon. Then, he is to consider all your debts forgiven. If he will do these things, tell him his debt to me is repaid and he can have what he desires from my vault.”

“He owes you?”

“Yes.”

Mickey shrugged and dialed the number for Richaud.

He stepped away from Lucifera and pressed the phone against his ear. “Hey, Richaud. What’s shaking?”

The voice on the other end was barely audible, but Lucifera heard him laugh before reminding Mickey of his obligations.

“Yeah, about that. I got a counter offer for you. Send somebody to pick me and Lucy up in Espada, Mexico and give us a ride to LA. You take your happy French ass to the Romana Tower and help a vampire named Nash defend the place until we get there. Wipe my slate clean. In return,” Mickey took a deep breath, “Lucy says your debt to her is repaid and you can have, uh, that thing you want from her vault.”

The voice spoke two more sentences and hung up. Mickey turned back to Lucifera looking more confused than usual. “He said it’s a deal. Someone will find us tomorrow afternoon in Espada.”

“Good,” Lucifera said. “Nash will still need assistance. Perhaps you should also call your cousin Lily. I like her.”

“The feeling ain’t mutual. Why would Lily help you?”

“For the same reason the vampire lords will move against my tower. Lily wishes to prevent anyone from finding and using the tomb of Dracula. In my vault on the thirteenth floor, I possess the journal of Dracula. She is welcome to it.”

“Wait, does that mean you lied all that time when everybody thought they found the tomb a while back?”

“There was no need to lie. No one asked me if I knew where Dracula was.” Her smile grew. “I do.”

* * * * *

Two hours later, Ruprecht the horror strode into Agnes’s estate like Odysseus returning from his journey. The house had been his gift to her.

Two dozen dead vampires littered the grounds. Ruprecht had never seen the use in having guards. They caused more bother when they died, leaving a mess to be cleaned up.

Agnes’s head had been sitting in the grass when he arrived. He had hoped his creation would survive, but these things happened. What he found troubling was that there was no sign how Lucifera had done it.

A few paces away on the front porch, a lone survivor twitched and bled with a broken neck. Ruprecht knelt down by the vampire.

“Do you know who I am?” he asked.

Carlos stared wide-eyed at him, unable to speak or move from his injuries.

“I am Ruprecht, soon to be the thirteenth vampire lord. I am Agnes’s maker. Her minions did you the disservice of incomplete vampirization.” He shook his head. “Dreadful. It’s like they wanted you to die at the first hint of trouble. That or they were too weak to turn you properly.”

Ruprecht snapped his fingers. A trickle of blood trailed down his hand. He held his dripping index finger over Carlos’s mouth. A few drops of blood landed on his lips.

Carlos licked away the blood and Ruprecht replaced it with three more drops.

The young vampire’s broken jaw reset with a wet pop and his neck returned to a natural angle with an even louder pop.

“Jesus H., man,” he gasped. “You’ve got to give me more.”

“In good time, my son. For now, keep your lips closed tight and let me pontificate.” Ruprecht stood and glanced around the front of the house. “From the stench coming from inside the house, I wager that the werewolf shifted in there.”

“I—” Before Carlos could complete the thought, a glare from Ruprecht silenced him.

“Lucifera’s handiwork is all over the area out back. If one is of a weak mind or has had the misfortune to lose some of his blood to her, she will play with their thoughts, then destroy their body.”

He picked up Agnes’s head and caressed her cheek. “I knew she might defeat my Agnes, but I did not think she would kill her. It’s possible that I am wrong about her intentions.” He kissed the head on the lips, then tossed it aside. “You know what distresses me, Carlos?”

Carlos shook his head.

“What distresses me is that I cannot tell how she did it. I figured Lucifera would use holy water to fight Agnes, but she didn’t. She didn’t use fire to force her to become corporeal either.” He turned back to Carlos. “I don’t suppose you saw anything did you?”

The vampire shook his head again. “No, man. I heard that werewolf roar from the roof. There was a struggle, then it landed on the ground over there. While it was heading back up to the roof, I felt Agnes die.”

“Curiouser and curiouser. So the beast did not do it either. Lucifera found a way. She’s always been annoying like that.”

Carlos stood and flexed his arms and legs with a smile. “Shit. I feel like a million bucks.”

“I know. Play your cards right and I might make you a vampire lord yourself when this is over, my son.”

“Whoa. You can do that?”

“If things go the way I expect, then I can and will do just that, as it will be within my power and authority.”
Ruprecht closed his eyes and reached out with his mind, searching for Lucifera. He felt her power a few miles to the east. He reeled in his own power so she did not sense him.

“They are close, but there is no need to rush this. Lucifera must be allowed to play her part. I don’t want to move prematurely.” He patted Carlos on the shoulder. “Come on, then. Let me show you to the master crypt. We’ll need a good day’s sleep before we set out.”

Carlos followed him through the broken front door. “Hey, Ruprecht, I gotta ask, why do they call you the horror?”

Ruprecht spun around with a smile and outstretched his arms. “Good show, my son. I thought you’d never ask.” He rose from the floor and a thick black seam appeared in the air behind him. “Tell me, Carlos: What do you fear the most?”
Ruprecht spun around with a smile and outstretched his arms. “Good show, my son. I thought you’d never ask.” He rose from the floor and a thick black seam appeared in the air behind him. “Tell me, Carlos: What do you fear the most?”

The Thirteenth Lord - Chapter 3

The Thirteenth Lord

M.T. Murphy
Copyright 2015


Chapter 3 - Precautions


“Is all this really necessary?” Carlos had been a vampire for less than a week and as far as he knew, his kind was immortal. The precautions being taken seemed ridiculous.

“We’re doing what we have to do, given the circumstances.” Oswald was one of the oldest vampires in the coven. His demeanor was even more sour than usual.

“What do you mean? I thought we were untouchable or whatever.”

Oswald let out an exasperated sigh. “No, fool. Our mistress is the vampire lord, Agnes, the Untouchable—so called because of her power.”

“Don’t get all pissy. And why is she called ‘lord’ and not ‘lady’?”

“You try my patience, fool,” Oswald replied.

“Okay, okay.” He scanned the vast, rocky area in the front of the house. Twelve powerful vampires lurked somewhere out there, undetected even by Carlos’s supernatural eyes.

“Just stay alert,” Oswald said. “You have the gun. Be ready to use it.”

“Yeah. About that…” He lifted shotgun from its resting place against the front door.

“What now?”

“I thought guns were useless against vampires?”

Oswald’s eyes darted toward a sound. A dry leaf tumbled across the ground, propelled by a dusty wind. Oswald turned back to Carlos. “There is only one vampire we are guarding against, and the gun is not for her. It is for her monster.”

Carlos hissed, still getting used to the elongated fangs. “Just for fun, pretend like I became a vampire last week and tell me what the hell is going on already, asshole.”

The older vampire locked his hand around Carlos’s neck and slammed him against the wall. “Do not think that your presence here is wanted or required, whelp. We turned you so you might be of use to us. The sole reason you still exist is to serve Agnes.”

“If I understand what’s coming,” he gasped, “I can do a better job of that.”
Oswald turned his head to check another sound, releasing Carlos as he did so. “Lucifera Romana,” he said. 

“One of the oldest and most powerful vampires. Master Felipe de Amor of Mexico City alerted us to her actions. She killed four master vampires and declared war on the elders and lords.”

Carlos coughed and rubbed his bruised neck. “She’s not a vampire lord, though, right?”

“They say the elders offered her the title of lord many times, but she declined. She has a problem with authority.”

Carlos laughed.

Oswald glared at him with glowing yellow eyes. The younger vampire stifled his laugh. “Sorry, man. I thought you were joking.”

“It is said she keeps a werewolf as a pet.” Oswald hissed and spit into the dirt in front of the deck.

“So? Werewolves are bad?”

“Yes.”

“Care to elaborate?”

“No. That shotgun has six silver fragment filled cartridges. If there is a werewolf, wait until it gets as close as possible, then shoot it in between the eyes. When it falls, shoot it again. Keep shooting it until one of us cuts its head off.”

“How are you going to do that?”

Oswald answered by unsheathing a three-foot long, silver bladed machete.

“Aw man. That’s badass. When do I get one of those?”

Oswald replaced the weapon in its case. “You don’t.”

Before Carlos could reply, an earthy, canine scent assailed him. “What the hell is that smell?”

“Guard this door. If you move from this spot, I will kill you myself.” Oswald rushed into the darkness. 

Carlos tried to follow his movements, but he disappeared behind the rocks and trees. Carlos comforted himself by gripping the shotgun and resting his finger on the trigger. Nothing could survive a shotgun blast to the face. Silver shards or regular old lead pellets wouldn’t matter.

There was a half-mile of rocky terrain down the side of the mountain between the house and the electrified wall, and a full mile in the back. Oswald was just paranoid. There were thirty vampires patrolling the grounds. If anybody tried to pay them a visit, they’d never make it ten feet past the wall.

A scream pierced the darkness. Carlos backed up against the door. He recognized the voice. It was George. He was even older than Oswald.

Another scream rang out, this one coming from down the mountain behind the house.

Carlos strained his eyes to see what was going on in the front. He saw the blur of movement that could be three or more of his coven mates converging on the first scream. They disappeared behind the massive boulder that sat about a hundred yards from the house.

Three successive shrieks sounded from behind the rock. This time, a low, guttural growl accompanied the screams. Silence followed.

Carlos realized he had been holding his breath for the past three minutes. He let the air out of his dead lungs and wished he hadn’t. The feral animal scent had grown even stronger.

A figure emerged from behind the boulder. Carlos expected to see Oswald brandishing the head of the intruder. Instead, a shirtless, shoeless, shaggy-haired man in a pair of torn old trousers clumsily trotted up the path. “Hello up there,” the man said.

 There was something very wrong. Carlos’s vampire comrades gave off a bluish glow to his eyes because of their low body temperature, but the man down the hill seemed to glow red. He had to be running a temperature far higher than a normal person.

Carlos let the man take three steps, then he raised the shotgun and fired two quick shots.
The silver shards struck the ground harmlessly, well short of the man.

“Say, friend,” the man shouted, “if I might make a suggestion, you should save those until I get closer. My burning nose holes tell me you’re packing silver pellets. You’d be lucky to hit the side of a barn from this far away.”

Carlos cursed under his breath. The man was right. Judging from where they landed, he would have been better off throwing the cartridges down the hill.

The man sauntered up the rocky path. “Since we are talking, how many of them silver shells you got anyway? You probably don’t have very many. In fact, I bet you’re already out.”

“I got enough to solve all your problems, man.” Carlos knew he had replied a little too quickly. Where the hell were all the other vampires?

“Relax, friend. I’m just playing with you. I heard that silver bullets are hard to come by. My cousin, Lily, casts her own. Most of them that used to work with silver are dead.”

“Is that right?”

“Yep.”

“How do you know that?”

“I suppose it’s because I killed them.” The stranger looked down and then lifted up a dark object.  “I think this belonged to one of your mates.” He lobbed the thing toward Carlos. It soared high through the air and landed at Carlos’s feet. 

The vampire knelt down to examine the object. It was Oswald’s bloody, severed head. “Shit!” He jumped back and slammed his back against the front door. He raised the shotgun and fired off three quick shots at the slowly advancing man.

The man sidestepped, easily avoiding the spray of silver pellets.

“Careful. If you manage to wing me with one of those pellets, all it will do is piss me off. I ain’t planning to kill you. You’re too weak. Don’t make me change my mind.”

Carlos lowered the gun but kept a tight grip on it. He wanted to shoot at the man, but from thirty yards he might be able to dodge it again. He’d have to wait for a point blank shot.

“I guess I killed about a dozen of your buddies.” He held up his bloody, clawed hands. “I figured they’d be tougher, what since they serve Abigail the Unmentionable or whatever.”

“It’s Agnes the Untouchable: vampire lord of the first seat.” Announcing his master’s name and station returned a little courage to Carlos.

The sadistic smile on the stranger’s face drove it right back out again.

“Sounds fancy. I’m sure you are a fine vampire lackey. My name’s Mickey by the way.” The so-called werewolf stopped ten paces away. 

Carlos raised the shotgun and planted it firmly against his shoulder, sighting in on the stranger’s blood-stained, jagged canine teeth. “How the hell did you get past a dozen vampires and live?”

“I’m a werewolf. That means that any vampire who ain’t at least a thousand year old master is going to die if they run into me.”

“You’re a cocky cock, aren’t you?”

“Maybe, but that don’t make it untrue.”

Carlos’s instincts told him to run, but he kept his faith in the shotgun. He began to slowly tighten his finger against the trigger.  “If you’re a werewolf, why aren’t you all furry and howling?”

“Your friends were so weak that it was a waste to go full furry for them.” He pointed up at the dark clouds covering the moon. “This is a light version of my wolfman shape. My full-on werewolf shape would probably make you shit yourself.” The man looked confused. “Do vampires shit? Never mind. Don’t answer that. As I was saying, these days the moon just about sends me over the edge. When she comes out, I wolf out and kill everything in sight.”

Carlos wanted to pull the trigger, but the werewolf had made it too easy. He had to have something up his sleeve.

“Oi, vampire guy. I can’t tell if you’re constipated or if you’re trying to decide whether or not to shoot me, so I’ll ask you a question. If your vampire master is a female, why is she called ‘lord’ and not ‘lady’?”

“I don’t know, man. I think they are all called lords. Even the females.”

The werewolf stroked a sideburn and gazed up at the sky. “Weird. I wonder if it’s because—”

Carlos blew the air out of his lungs and pulled the trigger. The werewolf’s smile grew a little bigger the instant before the shot rang out.

He had heard his breath.

The stranger rolled to the side and the last silver shards flew harmlessly past him into the night. He advanced toward Carlos, sniffing the air as he went. “So, that was your last one eh?”

“You think so?” Carlos kept the empty gun sighted on his head.

Mickey tapped the side of his nose. “The nose knows. Get it? It’s a pun. Puns are fun.” He laughed maniacally as the clouds that had covered the moon slowly began to dissipate. “I know the stench of silver and it’s all down the hill behind me. This is going to hurt you. A lot.”

Before Carlos could react, the stranger rushed toward him and punched him in the side of the head with a savage right. Carlos’s head twisted to the side to with a deep crunch. He slammed against the side of the house, then fell to the floor, paralyzed.

Mickey knelt down and turned Carlos’s head so he could look at his face. The vampire groaned in agony.

“Let’s see what we’ve got here. Yep. Looks like I broke your jaw and crushed your left sinus cavity. Pay attention to where those teeth landed. If you can gather them up later, you might be able to put them back in. Oh yeah, most importantly, I just broke your neck. Don’t worry, I left your head attached, so you aren’t completely dead yet. You might heal up enough to move in a few hours. I may need you alive, but I ain’t sure yet. I’ll get back to you later.”

Carlos tried to speak, but blood filled his open mouth and his dislocated jaw creaked. The werewolf’s smiling face faded into the darkness as he lost consciousness.

tried to speak, but blood filled his open mouth and his dislocated jaw creaked. The werewolf’s smiling face faded into the darkness as he lost conscious

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Thirteenth Lord - Chapter 2

The Thirteenth Lord

M.T. Murphy
Copyright 2015


Chapter 2 - Ruprecht


“Crazy looking sideburns?” Joseph knew he was hesitating way more than he should. “No. Doesn’t ring a bell, mister. Sorry.”

The customer, who said his name was Ruprecht, smiled and shrugged. “It was worth a shot.”

Joseph held his breath. The man Ruprecht was looking for was unforgettable. The red-eyed freak left a hundred dollar bill as a tip with the explicit instruction not to mention him to anyone. Ever.
Ruprecht seemed like an honest guy. A nice guy. He was fortyish, with sandy brown hair that was stylishly arranged, but almost due for a trim. Not dashingly handsome, but not homely either. His distinguishing feature was a British accent, which instantly made him stand out like James Bond in the downtown El Paso restaurant.

“Help me out, here, Joseph. I rarely smoke cigars, but I’m in a victorious mood this eve. What’s good?”

Joseph pointed to the Davidoff Aniversario specials on the cigar menu. “If you only smoke one cigar, I’d go with this one. It’s our most expensive cigar, but it’s worth it.”

Ruprecht leaned forward, handing the menu over. “Would you steer me wrong, my son?”

Joseph laughed. “I guarantee it will be the best cigar you smoke all year.”

Ruprecht nodded. “All right then. I trust you. Bring me one.”

He retrieved the cigar from the humidor in the back and helped Ruprecht trim the end and light it.

The man let out a coughing laugh. “That is good. How much do I owe you?”

“Twenty seven after tax.”

Ruprecht placed the twenty seven dollars on the table.

Joseph gathered up the cash. “Thank you, sir.”

“Wait a moment.” Ruprecht placed a hundred dollar bill on the table and took a slow drag off the cigar. “I have a question for you, my son.”

Joseph’s eyes locked onto the bill. “I’m listening.”

“Do you remember,” Ruprecht placed another hundred on the table, “the man with ridiculous sideburns,” and another, “red eyes that almost seem to glow,” and another, “and jagged, pointy teeth?” A fifth hundred joined the stack. “Please, take your time if you need to.” The man rested his hand on top of the money.

Joseph let out the breath he’d been holding. He placed his fingertips on the edge of the stack of bills. “Maybe I was mistaken when I said I hadn’t seen him.”

Ruprecht smiled and removed his hand.

Joseph snatched up the cash and stuffed it into his pocket. “Look, I didn’t want to say anything, but that guy was crazy. He smoked half a box of Rembrandts Irish cigarillos and drank us out of Irish whiskey and Scotch. When I told him we were out, I swear it looked like his eyes were glowing red and his teeth got a little longer. I think he would have killed me if we’d been out back in the alley or something.”

Ruprecht nodded. “Was there a woman with him? Concentrate. She will have made it difficult for you remember her.”

“I don’t think so.” Joseph gasped as the memory popped back into his head. “Wait a minute. Yeah. There was a woman. Gorgeous one. Pale, with black hair. Jesus. How did I forget her?”

“It’s all right. She has that effect on people.”

“But how did she do that?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“But—”

“Joseph!” Ruprecht snapped. His own eyes flashed with golden light, but returned to normal an instant later. He calmed himself and spoke again. “Joseph, I need you to concentrate.” 

“Who the hell are they?” Joseph asked, his voice growing weak.

Ruprecht leaned forward and Joseph also moved in closer. “The less you know, the better, but unless I catch up to them soon, people will die.”

“Shit.”

“Where are they going?”

“I don’t know. They didn’t say.”

“She bit you, I see.”

“What?”

Ruprecht grasped his forearm, stroking two barely visible marks with his thumb. “I doubt you remember yet, but I see the mark. It heals remarkably fast when they let you live. She left an image in your mind for me.”

Joseph closed his eyes and his world shook like he was on a ship in the middle of a storm. A memory of a house in the desert came to him. It was a house he had never been to or seen.  He opened his eyes and found Ruprecht with his eyes closed, resting his face on the two marks on his arm. He snatched his arm away. “I don’t know what’s going on, but I think you need to leave.” 

Ruprecht smiled. “My apologies, Joseph. You have done a good thing, my son. Your sacrifice will be well worth it.”

Joseph stood up straight. “Sacrifice?”

Ruprecht waved his hand as if to brush away the word. “Forget I said that.”

Joseph’s eyes glazed over for a moment, then he replied. “Okay.”

“Good. Joseph, I feel like you and I have become old chums in the time we have spent together, tonight. Can I ask you a personal question?”

“I guess.”

“What do you fear the most?”

Joseph opened his mouth, but no words came forth. His eyes met Ruprecht’s and his will to speak disappeared. The two fiery discs stole his will. A presence violated his mind, turning over memories and pilfering every thought he held sacred. He wanted to scream, but his body was paralyzed. Instead, his mind screamed for him: “I don’t want to be alone.”

Then it was over. He blinked and looked around. The restaurant crowd laughed and ate. If anything out of the ordinary had happened, they hadn’t seen it. Ruprecht finished his cigar and placed the cash for his untouched drinks on the table.

Joseph felt like he had been talking to Ruprecht for quite some time, but he couldn’t recall a single word.

“Um…how was everything?”

“Excellent,” Ruprecht replied with a smile. “Take care of yourself, Joseph.”

“You too. See you next time.” Deep inside, a voice was screaming in Joseph’s head. He was not sorry to see the man go.

Ruprecht crushed out the cigar and left.

Joseph refilled the drinks for one table full of guests, then recited the evening’s specials for a newly seated group.

Ruprecht stood in the darkness next to a dumpster behind the restaurant. He reached his arms out to the side, forming a lazy “T” shape. “You deserve better than this, Joseph. I’d have rather you lived, but I can’t have any loose ends.” His form became transparent as he rose a few inches off the ground.
A black seam split down the air behind him. The seam widened, becoming a circular door. Dark, scaly tendrils reached through, dancing like smoke in the darkness.

Ruprecht pointed into the air around the restaurant.  Floating holes opened at the entrance and at each window.  For a moment, there was only silence. Then, a faint sound started. It was like the trickle of a small stream. The sound grew louder. Tentacles burst out of each opening, crashing through doors and windows.

Ruprecht ignored the screaming and confusion. His prize would come soon enough.  In seconds, his patience was rewarded as the fear and horror of the dead and dying washed over him. He feasted on it as the nightmarish tentacles ripped and broke the flesh of those trapped inside.

In less than a minute, no living soul was left in the restaurant. A fire broke out in the kitchen. Soon it would spread and destroy most of the evidence before anyone realized something was wrong.   

“That is enough,” Ruprecht said.

The dark gates narrowed. Tentacles quickly slithered back into their dark hell, dragging pieces of their grisly meal with them. Once the portals had closed, Ruprecht drifted back to the ground and became solid again.

He frowned at the blackish-red stains on the street outside the burning building. His pets had been sloppy.

Ruprecht was quite pleased to have received two very valuable things: one delicious meal of terror and a destination.

“Lucifera, I cannot wait to see you again,” he said to the empty alley. “And I must leave this dreadful town. It simply reeks of werewolf.”

The vampire lord known as Ruprecht the Horror strolled away to the west on the newfound trail of his targets. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Thirteenth Lord - Chapter 1

In the past month, I have received many emails, comments, and messages asking about book 3 of my Villainous series.  I am both surprised and touched that so many of you actually care about what happens next for my anti-heroic vampire/werewolf duo and their dysfunctional family. I am still eyeballs deep in editing, but you all deserve better. Therefore, I present to you the entire first chapter of The Thirteenth Lord.  Thank you all for your continued interest and patience.

The Thirteenth Lord
M.T. Murphy
Copyright - 2015

CHAPTER ONE – What’s in the box?

Manny and Carl stood at the dead man’s feet.

“He looks like hobo Elvis,” Manny said.

The sun was directly overhead, keeping their shadows from touching the corpse. Hobo Elvis’s hair stopped just short of his shoulders, but his sideburns threatened to take over his jaw. He wore only jeans and boots, with a dress shirt tucked into the side pocket of his jeans.

“Don’t you think he looks like Elvis? Maybe if the King fell on hard times right after the ’68 comeback special. You remember that?” Manny lit a cigarette, not really interested in Carl’s reply.

“I wasn’t even born in that decade, gramps.”

“Of course you weren’t. Rub it in.” Manny knelt down to get a better look at Hobo Elvis. “That was a damn fine shot. Right in the heart.”

“I’ve been practicing.” Carl stroked his chest-length beard while twirling his 9mm pistol old west shooting show style. Then he dropped the gun into the dry Mexico sand.

“Keep practicing,” Manny said. He kicked the body just to be sure. “What the hell was he pulling?”

Carl shrugged. “Looks like one of those old timey wooden coffins you see in the movies.”

Manny walked around the corpse and tapped on the top of the coffin. “It’s wood but it feels like there’s iron underneath.” He picked up the thick chain Hobo Elvis had been pulling and gave it a tug. “Jesus. That thing weighs a ton. Give me a hand.”

Carl took hold of the chain. They both planted their feet in the sand and pulled. After much straining and profanity, the coffin had moved less than a foot.

Manny slammed the chain onto the coffin. “You saw what I saw, right? Elvis was dragging this thing like it was nothing.”

“Yeah,” Carl replied. “He just kept walking like he was in a trance or something. I told him to stop unless he wanted a bullet in the chest. Bastard winked at me. So, I shot him.” He tried to pull open the lid, but it would not budge. “It’s locked up tight. Seems like it’s sealed from the inside. How did they manage that?”

“Look,” Manny pointed into the distance. A four foot wide trench stretched across the desert and into the horizon behind the corpse.

“Elvis must have been on a whole cocktail of drugs or serious steroids.”

“Don’t matter now. ‘Roids didn’t stop the bullet. That box must have valuable cargo to be wrapped up so tight. Let’s pull the truck around and hook it up. We’ll drag it to town and open it there.”

They headed toward their truck.

“What do you think is in there?” Carl asked.

“Lucy,” a raspy voice replied.

Manny grabbed Carl’s arm. “What did you say?”

Carl held his pistol up. “I didn’t say that.”

They looked down at the corpse. The eyes were still closed, but his chest rose and fell with shallow breaths.

“Lucy’s in the box,” he whispered.

Manny slapped Carl on the back of the head. Then he let out a relieved sigh. “That scared the crap out of me. Shoot him again.”

Carl nodded and took careful aim, firing off two more shots into the stranger’s chest.

The man groaned and clutched his chest. “Cut that out, you arse,” he growled.

“Keep shooting till he’s dead,” Manny said.

Carl held up his empty gun. “I’m out. Practice takes bullets, man. We never see nobody out here. How was I to know I’d need more than three?”

“Fine,” Manny said, taking out the foot-long bowie knife that had earned him the nickname of “Manny the Blade.”  “If I get blood on my boots, you’re buying me a new pair.”

Manny knelt down by the writhing stranger. Either the damage to his organs would kill him or he would bleed out in less than a minute. Manny waited, but the man kept breathing. With a resigned sigh, he stepped around and knelt down behind the man’s head, thrusting the knife toward his throat.

A hand shot up and engulfed the blade, stopping it an inch from its target.

Manny was no novice to fighting and killing, but the speed of the man’s movement startled him. He tried to pull the knife away, but the stranger tightened his grip, digging the blade deep into his own palm until it scraped bone.   

The shaggy-haired man stopped groaning and clutching his gunshot wounds. He sat up and turned to face Manny. “I tried to be nice,” the man snarled with more than a hint of an Irish brogue.
Manny punched him in the face as hard as he could.

The man recoiled with the blow, then spoke as though he hadn’t even felt it. “I let ZZ Top over there shoot me once. That was a freebee. Then, he shot me two more Goddamn times. I still might have let you live. I would have let you drag the coffin for a bit if you were going the right direction and then taken it from you later. But you,” he pointed a sharp nailed finger at Manny, “were going to slit my throat.” He shook his head in disgust. “That’s sloppy and unprofessional.”

Manny let go of the knife and sprinted for the old pickup truck. Carl joined in, racing for the passenger side.

Manny grabbed the door handle. At that instant, the knife flew, end-over-end, impaling Manny’s hand into the rusty metal body of the truck. He screamed and pulled on the handle but the blade wouldn’t move.

Carl tried to run but the shaggy-haired man moved faster than a human being should have been able to move and blocked his path.

“That’s a lovely beard you’ve got there,” the stranger said, “but it ain’t going to save you.”
Carl pulled his own knife and held it up in front of the stranger’s face. “Back off” he said.

“No,” the stranger replied.

Carl stabbed the man, pushing the knife’s blade into the side of his chest just below his heart.
The stranger did not flinch. Ignoring the knife, he reached out and grabbed Carl’s head with both hands and twisted it, breaking his neck with a sickening pop.

Manny fought back nausea and pulled on the knife with all his might. He heard Carl’s body hit the sand. Then he heard the stranger’s footsteps drawing closer.

The blade broke free from the truck. Manny groaned as it cut his flesh upon removal. He spun to face the stranger.

The man calmly pulled Carl’s knife out of the side of his chest and dropped it.

Manny brandished his knife again, pointing it at the stranger’s eye. “What the hell are you?” he asked.

The stranger raised a hand and pointed his index finger to the sky. An already jagged fingernail grew into an inch-long talon.

The stranger’s lips pulled back into a smile, displaying massive canine fangs. He peered at Manny with eyes of glowing crimson. “What am I? Nothing special,” he replied. “Just a werewolf.”

“Well, you are crazy, I’ll give you that,” Manny said.

The stranger chuckled.

Manny slashed at the stranger’s throat.

The shaggy-haired man waved his finger toward Manny at the same time. The talon on his finger ripped through Manny’s throat, cutting short his swing.

Manny fell to his knees as his life drained down his chest. As darkness overtook his vision, he watched the shaggy-haired man lick the blood from his nail, pick up the heavy chain, and resume his trek to the east.

Manny died, silently cursing himself for not tripping Carl and escaping in the truck when he had the chance.  

* * * * *
Moments before sundown, the shaggy-haired man arrived at his destination with the coffin in tow. A palatial mansion sat atop a plateau in the middle of Mexico’s Chihuahua Desert. A fifteen foot tall electrified fence separated the mansion grounds from the rest of the desert.

He sat down next to the coffin and gently patted the lid.

“Here we are, Lucy. One compound in the middle of fucking nowhere, just as you requested. It would be nice to know why the hell we’re doing this.”

The coffin was as silent as it had been during the rest of the fifty mile journey from El Infierno. She would awaken soon. He longed for the moment almost as much as he dreaded it.

The waxing gibbous moon taunted him, making its presence known in the eastern sky long before true sunset.

His attackers had helped stave off the craving. The urge to hunt and kill was less intense, but that wouldn’t last. When the moon was high that night, he knew the beast would want worthy prey. It had little interest in weaklings.

That was the problem. The vampire in the box was one of the most feared on the planet. The beast wanted very much to fight and kill her.  What a glorious battle it would be. The beast did not care that this vampire had kept it from going insane over the centuries like most other packless werewolves. 

“No,” he said aloud. “There is no ‘me and the beast.’ I am the beast. And I am in control.” He said it in a forceful tone as if to convince someone, but the only ears around were his own.

The sun fell lower against the horizon. Night was about to arrive.

“Lucy,” he said. “It’s getting worse. I can’t control meself during a half moon. What will happen when she’s full?”

Only a sliver of the fiery sun remained visible. The man ran his fingers through dark, shaggy hair and kept his eyes closed. He did not want to see the end of the light that kept his shining tormentor in check.

The sun disappeared and his brief respite of lucidity slipped away.

The coffin opened with a soft click. An alabaster hand grasped the edge from the inside. A pale form poured out of the box and rose next to the trembling werewolf. She wore her black hair pulled up so it cascaded around her face much as it had in her human life in ancient Rome. The dress was pure modern day Hollywood: a tight, black, sleeveless affair with a slit that began at the middle of her left thigh. Her form was too athletic to be mistaken for Hollywood starlet, but she was far too beautiful to care.

Lucifera Romana, the nineteen century old master vampire of Los Angeles, arrived in the waning twilight the same way she arrived anywhere else: like she was the queen of all she surveyed.

Her beauty stirred up memories in the werewolf. For two and a half centuries they existed as the most feared pair of monsters on the planet, due as much to their own power as their forbidden pairing of werewolf and vampire. Two months earlier, a rival stole most of her power. She prevailed, but her newfound weakness revealed the flaw in their pairing. Their happiness had been based on her lust for his blood and vampire ability to suppress the natural deterioration of his mind from man to beast. She could no longer heal his mind.

From over her shoulder, her companion glimpsed the shining moon. Memories washed away, leaving him consumed by the desire to hunt and kill. The prey no longer mattered. The vampiress before him was as good a choice as any.

“Did you say something, wolf?” she asked.

Her melodious voice strengthened his resolve just enough to keep the beast caged.

“No,” he growled. Then, he pointed toward the mansion. “Let’s go. We’re here to kill vampires, ain’t we?”

She smiled and reached out for his face. He turned away. In the corner of his eye, he saw her smile fade.

“If any oppose us, we kill them, but we are not here for ordinary vampires,” she said. “We are here for a vampire lord.”

Friday, June 19, 2015

Spiders Are Jerks

There are two things you need to know.  First, I built a pirate ship in the backyard. The why is not important.  Consider it a promise kept.

The second:  I am deathly afraid of spiders. As in, screaming like Bruce Campbell in the windmill in Army of Darkness level phobia.

The sky is clear and it’s a breezy eighty degrees, so tonight seemed like a good night to sit out on the old pirate ship, drink cheap rum, and look at the stars. I started on the rum ahead of time and headed out to the ship when it was nice and dark.

The stars were nice and bright. Crickets chirped. A bat buzzed by overhead, which was pretty cool.

I strolled up the gangplank of the ship and paused. Something wasn’t right. Flicking on the flashlight, I saw the first one and my blood ran cold.

A little gray bastard lounged in a beautiful spiral web of death, right across the entrance to the ship. I tried to swipe away the edge of the web so it would blow away, but he had secured it well and it didn’t budge.

The tiny beast smelled my fear and laughed at me.

“Fine,” I said, moving around to the other side of the ship. “I’ll hop up over here and head up to the poop deck.”

“Heh, heh. Poop deck,” the spider said.

“It’s the second level where the steering wheel is you jerk,” I said.

He kept laughing and pointed to the spot where I was about to climb up on the ship.

I shined the light up to see the spider’s partner six inches from my face in an even bigger web.
“Bastards,” I cried, stepping back. 

The spiders nodded knowingly at each other and began ignoring me.

My hand found the hardened wooden fighting escrima I’d tucked into my belt. Not sure why I brought it. I took lessons in stick fighting years ago and it just seems right to carry a weapon when you enter a pirate ship.  The rum may have played a role.

No. That’s not it. Somehow I knew the spiders would be waiting.

Two swings of the stick is all it would take. Then I could enjoy my cheap rum and cranberry concoction in peace.

I shined the light to aim my strike.  That’s when I saw them:  A menagerie of mosquitoes and gnats trapped in the web and waiting to be devoured. 

Something else occurred to me. I had not been bitten by a mosquito during my rum-laden spider confrontation. Not once. The little monsters were actually doing something productive.

I shined the light back to spider #2.  He covered his eight condescending eyes and gave me the finger. The effort this required was not lost on me as spiders do not actually have fingers.

“Fine,” I said, then downed my drink. I stood outside the ship in the sea of green and watched the stars for a while. 

I raised my empty glass to the spiders. “Tonight I let you live, but tomorrow you die.”

The spider spit a fly leg at me. “You’re lucky you’re too big to digest.”

“Your mother was a hamster,” spider #1 said.

“Don’t you quote Monty Python at me,” I replied.

They were still reciting the French castle scene from Holy Grail as I made it into the house.
I sat down on the couch and switched from cheap rum to expensive Scotch.


Spiders aren’t jerks.  They are assholes.  But, sometimes they serve a purpose.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ramblings on the Batman

Just finished watching The Dark Knight again.  Still haven't watched Dark Knight Rises because I don't need to. This movie is perfect. The Joker is perfect.

But ... our kids can't watch this movie until they are a lot older and that makes me sad. It is just too dark. Too scary. Too ... adult.

As a kid, I grew up watching Batman and Robin on the Superfriends and reruns of Adam West's Batman. They, too, were perfect at the time.

1989 brought Beetlejuice as the Batman everyone deserved. And it was perfect. Our kiddos have seen that one and the sequels -- even the god awful ones -- and loved them all.

I haven't watched Man of Steel. I am one of the three people on the planet who isn't frothing at the mouth for Batman v Superman.

You know what movie I'm looking forward to?  Ant-Man. You want to know why?  Because the kids saw the trailer before Avengers 2 and decided they want to see it.

It's a comic book movie that doesn't alienate the kids comic books used to be made for.  Thanks, Marvel.

Maybe one day there will be a new Superman or Batman movie our kids can enjoy. By then, they will probably be taking their kids to it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Book 3 is on its way!

*****EDIT -- No longer looking for beta readers.  Thanks to all who provided feedback! I will let you know when the book is ready. *****



For those of you who remember my dastardly duo of Lucifera and Mickey, I have some news.  The third book in my Villainous series, The Thirteenth Lord, is nearing completion!  The first draft is done and getting eyeballed by a select group of masochists kind enough to volunteer their services as beta readers.

For that matter, if you ... yes, YOU ... would like to beta read book 3 and help me iron out the story line kinks, comment on this post or send me an email at authormikemurphy (at) gmail (dot) com. 

If you haven't read the first two books but still want to beta read for book 3, I will provide digital copies of all three because I am such a nice guy.

That's not true.  It's really because being an unpaid beta reader is not as glamorous as it sounds and I greatly appreciate anyone who is willing to do that.  

Book 3 will mark the end of this trilogy, but not the end for the Villainous universe or the characters who inhabit it.  Well ... those who survive Book 3 at least.

Thank you to everyone who has read my books, long-neglected blog, twitter, and facebook ramblings!

More to come.

Mike