Below are chapters 9 and 10 of my Vampire Novel, which, while being edited, has now grown to 80 chapters. It's a good thing I've kept the chapters short! And I'd like to thank everyone who has been reading my chapters and responding to them. I really appreciate your time and effort. And I absolutely love your reactions, especially the brutally-honest ones.
As I've said before, I'm readying the novel for publication, and, barring some new development, I'll be publishing it via Amazon's Kindle.
Warning: there's R-rated content here.
"You know," Zoey says. "Sammy's Town has an RV park."
"Go there," I tell her. I'm sitting in the dinette booth, leaning my head back with a wet washcloth over my eyes. They sting, scalded with sunlight, and my whole head throbs. Not only that, but from draining the pregnant girl, I'm bloated. Dizzy with blood.
Yesenia is sitting next to me, holding the cloth to my head, making little shushing noises.
With all the light coming through the windshield, the best place for me is in the back, with the divider pulled shut. But I don't feel like moving at all.
After what feels like hours, the camper stops. Zoey gets out, and a few minutes later, comes back.
"We're all set," she says. "Elmore's club card got us an upgrade."
Once we're parked, Zoey wakes up Marcella and tells her to hook everything up. Then Zoey takes me by the arm, and with Yesenia's help, pulls my clothes off. In minutes, the three of us are nestled together, naked, in bed. The girls smell sweaty and their heat is soothing.
Marcella comes in from outside and sees us.
"Shit," she says. "What's with the clothes on the floor?"
"Your turn for laundry," Yesenia tells her. Zoey laughs.
Marcella flips her off and starts peeling her own clothes off.
"Well," she says. "Fuck me, then. But first, I'm taking a shower."
"Suit yourself," Zoey says. "I like the way we smell."
Now naked, Marcella sticks her tongue out at Zoey.
"You're gonna love this," Marcella says, reaching over and flipping on the TV hanging above the bed. She hits a few buttons and suddenly we're watching CNN. Zoey and Yesenia give little whoops of joy.
"How'd you do that?" Zoey asks.
"It comes free," Marcella says. "Just had to plug it in."
While Marcella showers, Yesenia digs out the remote, and soon she and Zoey are bickering over what to watch. Then they find a documentary on vampire movies. It's narrated by a pale, long-haired woman with huge breasts. She's wearing garishly bright lipstick and a tight red gown with a plunging neckline.
Zoey reaches up and slides the divider closed, turning the bed into a little theater.
Yesenia points to the TV, at a scene of Dracula crawling down a wall.
"Can you do that?" she whispers into my ear.
"I'm no spider," I say to her.
Now a clip of Nosferatu comes on, with his long claws and his hooked nose, his oversized head and his ears like a bat’s.
"I see the resemblance," Zoey says.
I laugh, but Yesenia reaches across me to slap Zoey's shoulder.
I laugh at that, too.
Now there's a scene where a gang of teenage vampires is fighting werewolves in the woods. The screen fills with the image of a giant werewolf, roaring and then clasping a vampire in its jaws. Yesenia asks, "Are there such things?"
"No," I tell her. "That's just a cartoon. A children's story."
"You exist," she says.
"I certainly do."
"How many of you are there?" Zoey chimes in.
I think about this.
"I don't know," I tell her. "Not many."
Yesenia puts her chin on my chest, blocking my view of the TV.
"Where you from?" she asks.
I nudge her aside, but now Zoey leans into me.
"I want to know, too," she says.
I lean back and put my arms around the two of them. My head still throbs, but my gut has stopped churning.
"I was a soldier once," I tell them. "From
." South Dakota
"I knew you were a gringo," Yesenia says.
"No shit," says Zoey. "I thought you were British."
"Enough," I say, giving their shoulders a squeeze. "I'm watching this."
I watch Bela Lugosi roll his eyes. I watch a cheerleader do cartwheels while driving stakes through the hearts of attacking vampires. I watch a black-skinned, sunglassed superhero swordfight his way through a room of mutant vampires. I watch the bosomy narrator inhale sharply at the end of each sentence, letting her cleavage assert itself. But nothing connects. I might as well be watching a documentary on ants.
A few minutes later, Marcella pulls the divider back and pokes her head in. She's rubbing her hair with a towel, and she smells like soap.
"Headed to the laundromat," she says. "I'll bring back some snacks. Any requests?"
"Pepsi," Yesenia says.
"Anything," murmurs Zoey. "Just bring me something."
"There's cash in my jeans," I tell her.
"We're running out," Marcella says.
"Leave me Elmore's wallet," I say. "I'll get us more tonight."
Yesenia gets up, taking the towel from Marcella.
"My turn," she tells Marcella, going into the bathroom. I hear the water come on.
"I got next," Zoey says into my ear. "You got last."
Once night falls, I feed on the girls and get dressed in the clothes Marcella left folded on the dinette table. Black jeans, chambray shirt, boots. I leave the TV playing on the news channel, the girls passed out in bed.
The RV park is larger than I expected, and it's about half-full. We're parked most of the way down its main avenue, the casino itself squatting just beyond the park's marquee. SAMMY'S TOWN CASINO & HOTEL RV PARK - THANKS FOR STAYING WITH US!
I think, on the way back, maybe I'll get us a new ride.
The casino floor is jammed with people sitting in front of loud, bright machines. The air is a sour mix of cigarette smoke and sweat and chemical cleansers.
I'm able to get four-hundred dollars out of the ATM with Elmore's card, so I buy chips, head to the poker room and join a ring game. Within an hour, I've almost doubled my stake. By the end of the second hour, I've nearly tripled it.
There are only six tables in this room that overlooks the main gaming pit, and four of them are taken up by the nightly tournament. I'm in the only cash game going, a four-eight no-limit game right next to the entrance. It's a full table, with eight players and a dealer. Onlookers, mainly losers from the tournament waiting their turn at our action, mill around on the casino side of the rail.
I've folded out of a hand, watching it play out, when the air changes. Something cuts across the tang of casino air. Something musky. And it's not just the scent. The tone of the crowd has changed.
I look over my shoulder towards the entrance of the poker room. And I have to fight the urge to run.
A man in a black suit has come in and is talking to the poker room manager. The man is medium-height, with a perfectly-groomed head of salty-grey hair. He looks middle-aged and vigorous, like he should be reading the nightly news into a television camera. He has a wide smile and a smooth baritone voice that carries. Every eye in the place is on him as he chats, but he's staring right at me. And he winks.
Again, the urge to run rises in me like bile.
The only way out of the room is past him. Unless I go over the rail.
"Now, everyone calm down," the man says, projecting his voice. "I'm just here to play a little poker."
Laughter ripples through the poker room, and play resumes at the tables. But I'm locked on him, and he glances at me every second or so as he keeps up the banter, even signing an autograph.
Meanwhile, the hand I've folded out of ends with a player going bust, a young woman wearing mirrored shades and a green tank top. As the girl gets up, the hostess leads the man in the suit over. He shakes the hand of the departing player and then takes her seat, which is directly across from me.
"Hello, everyone," he says, his eyes still on me. "I assume no one minds if I join the fun?"
This seems okay with the other players, except for the guy on my left, a sullen kid in a hoodie.
"Screw that," the kid says. "There was a line for that seat. Why don't you wait your turn?"
"Son," says an old man two seats to my right. "Do you know who you're talking to?"
"I know what's right," the kid answers, looking at the man in the suit, who has kept his eyes on me the whole time. "Jumping the line ain't right."
"First," says the man in the suit, glancing at the kid before looking back at me. "Let me assure you I didn't jump the line. Everyone on the waiting list gave me permission to go ahead. For which they were compensated."
This elicits a burst of affirmation from the rail, a chorus of "That's Right" and some hoots.
"And second," the man in the suit continues. "I should be able to play here whenever I want. After all, I own the place."
The chorus gets a little wild when he says this and includes a large helping of laughter.
"Fuck me," the kid mumbles.
"That's right, boy," says the Filipino woman sitting next to the man in the suit. "This here is Sammy Gunn. And you just better shut your mouth and kick in. You're big blind."
Applause breaks out. Sammy Gunn sticks his hand out across the table, and the kid takes it. Sammy shakes the kid's hand then raises it like a victory salute. More applause. The kid hunkers down and kicks in his blind.
But that's not all. Yes, the man in the suit may be Sammy Gunn, famous casino mogul, the guy who built Sammy's Town and remade the Goldbar. Sure, he may be the guy who created the Desert Oasis and the
But what this crowd doesn't seem to realize is that Sammy Gunn is also a vampire.
Comments? Questions? Criticism?