Make sure you read the first parts of the story (links below) to get the full effect of the Void. Enjoy the amazing J.F. Lewis and make sure you wish list his books or put them in your basket. Other Void addicts should make sure to add Crossed to their pre-order lists.
Even vampires can enjoy Halloween. They may be out for blood instead of candy, but it's still Halloween. Amber has been nice enough to offer up an entry on her blog for my wacky Halloween experiment, a serialized story set in the Void City universe and posted with minimal editing as I write it. I suppose you could read this installment out of order, but then you'd miss some of the fun.
Go trick or treat, but... not for candy. Here’s where the goodies are:
“A Void City Halloween” begins over at Paranormal Haven
Then jumps to Pocket After Dark
Then on to The League of Reluctant Adults
Part 4 is at Bitten By Books
And then, Part 5… here on Amberkatze's :
A Void City Halloween - Part 5
©J. F. Lewis
I've just split my eighth pumpkin when I see a lightning bolt hit a giant frick'n bat. I know it must be Greta even before I feel her pain. A sire is linked to all his offspring and I'm linked to Greta more closely than most. I feel her pain like a migraine spike behind my eyes and for the first time tonight, I'm not just put out, I'm furious. I turn in the air, trying to see where it came from, but the Great Pumpkin wannabes are swarming me- which is a good thing for the kids I'm trying to save, but pretty lousy for visibility.
When the hell did their number spike again? I swear there must be a two dozen of the damn things now.
"Greta?" I shout as I swat another pumpkin aside.
Greta’s flaming bat form thunks into the pavement below me, but between the waves of nefarious gourds and the pyrotechnics being generated,, I can't see well enough to tell if she's regenerating. At least when I'm uber vamped, I'm hard to burn. I'm not a bad flyer, but I work better when I'm smaller, dealing with wingbeat cycles as a bat rather than massive sweeping flaps of giant ubervamp leathery wings. The uber vamp flies more like a raven than a bat. I prefer bats.
The sound of pumpkins surrendering their structural integrity is all around me. Each wing flap takes out at least one or two and their innards are beginning to coat my wings, arms, and torso. Where the hell are they all coming from?
"Greta?" I shout her named again, focusing my hearing on the sound of her voice. Instead, behind the thrum of the dance music from the surrounding clubs and amused cries of the onlookers, I hear Talbot say the words "Sexy Big Bird" and Captain Stacey talking to someone from the Mage Guild, asking them to get down here. Then I realize I don't hear screams. Flaming Pumpkins are falling from the sky and hitting cars and occasionally people, but they aren't panicking, running, or taking cover. The Veil of Scrythax wouldn't stop that it. If a person is in danger, the ward doesn't hide the danger... it makes the danger seem mundane, but people still know to run. The people below are still trying to party, and they aren't helping the ones who get hurt.
"Great, now I'm dealing with some bippity boppity butt fuck." I call Greta's name a third time and then I stop flapping.
Note to self: The ground is frick'n hard.
If I'd hit it in my human form, I'd have broken bones, but as the uber vamp, I'm just brought to my knees atop a medium-sized crater. Out the corner of my eye, I see a green candle floating through the air, but I'm focused on Greta. I find her next to a pumpkin splattered Prius and quickly slash my wrist with my long black talons. The blood that comes out looks normal, but when I put it to the lips of "Bat Greta" her healing accelerates so quickly for a moment, I suspect her of faking the severity of her injury so I'd have to come to her rescue. Surely she wouldn't do something like that... Nah.
"He was on the roof!" Greta says. She's naked, my blood dripping from her lips, and she's drawing the attention of the crowd. Fine. They want to play with my daughter? They want to ogle her? Not okay with me.
"Talbot," I yell. "Time Out!"
"Time out!" he shouts back.
I point to the drunks in their various costumes, realize some of the people are staring at my equipment more than hers, and say two words that will bring a smile to my daughter's lips. "Get dressed."
She spies her costume a little ways away, covered in pumpkin gore. "But they're all gooey."
"Take your pick," I say still pointing at the people.
I see the implication set in even as the swarm of pumpkins hits me from above.
"Your clothes," Greta says in her best Schwarzenegger impression, "Give them to me. Now!"
I hear "Ring of Fire" playing on Fang's radio before I hear his engine. He's got it right, the pumpkin's have given up on getting close and are bathing me with fire from all directions. It's all I can see or feel. Wave after wave of heat and light and...
"Eric!" Tabitha is shouting to be heard over the whooshing sounds of pumpkins breathing jets of flame. "Magbidion says he's on his way, but it may be a little while."
"Well, call him back and light a fire under his ass or I'm going to rip one of the green candles out of one of these damn pumpkins and shove it right up his ass just as..." like one of those damn police procedurals on television, images pop into my head between words, a green candle with a little flame on top, "soon..." the flame going out,"as..." a smashed pumpkin on the ground, "he..." a green candle flying through the air, "gets here.” Green candles. "Shit!"
I fly straight up, grabbing blindly for a pumpkin, but when I smash it, I feel around inside. For a split second, I'm free of the waves of fire and sure enough, the candle in my hand is green, just like the one I've seen in every smashed pumpkin. Just like the one I spotted flying through the air. The pumpkins aren't magic... but the fricking candles are. You probably picked up on that already, but you'll have to pardon me. I've been embalmed. You go get embalmed and then we'll see how well you add up the clues under fire.
Great. Now that I have a green candle, what should I do with the stupid thing? With my luck, breaking would just... to test the theory, I break the candle in half and watch as the wax goes melty and each of the two pieces, bubbles up, expanding into two full-sized candles. "Shazbot!" Then then pumpkin swarm is on me again, but this time I have... well, I wouldn't call it a plan... an idea maybe. A hope?
I spread my wings, using the heat from the flames to rise higher and faster until I've pulled away and I can't help but think how much more fun this would be to watch on television than it is to actually live through. An anime would be good. Studio Pierrot maybe? Flapping in ernest, I dive. This works in movies all the time. Fang is heading toward me. Tabitha seems to realize I'm actually headed for them at the last minute.
"Fang! Sit!" I shout the command as I throw the two candles I'm holding at the ground in front of him. Technically Fang is a part of me, so it's no surprise that he's figured out what I'm doing. His rear bumper hits the ground with the shriek of metal on asphalt and a horde of evil jack-o-lanterns in hot pursuit slam into his undercarriage as Fang's front wheels rise into the air. Twisting my body like a pole-vaulter trying to clear a hurdle, I try to go up and over... and fail, clipping the front fender and in effect managing to hit myself with my own damn car.
He doesn't get all of them, but more than half the flying orange bastards slam into the metal undercarriage of my classic Mustang, flatten, and vanish, sinking into the metal with same sort of flesh-peeling-off-on-hot-plastic sound Fang emits when he eats people. My shoulder aches and I can feel the bones trying to pull themselves back into shape.
The last dozen or so jack-o-lanterns seem angry. They rise, mouths gaping wider, preparing to vomit fiery death on my Mustang and on my fiancé, who is still riding in the front seat. Greta comes out of nowhere and I can't help but think how much better she is at pulling off the whole Slave Leia thing than that fat thrall outside the Demon Heart. The fire extinguisher is a truly inspired touch.
Foam and fury rule the day as Greta, Tabitha, and I rush in amongst the sputtering nightmare pumpkins and hurl them under my patiently "sitting" car.
"Too bad the damn magician probably got..." and then I hear clapping, "away."
Tabitha, Greta, and I turn in unison. And there he is, dressed in hobo chic, hands blazing with lambent purple light and eyes ablaze with madness: the mage. He smiles, exposing stained teeth, and spewing rancid breath that I can smell from where I'm standing because it's tinged with blood. "Trick," he says, "or Treat."
Fangs switches songs to Stroke 9's "Kick Some Ass". Like the singer in the song, I totally want to kick some. Unlike the singer, I'm really not a sensitive artist.
To be concluded on Halloween over on writethefantastic.blogspot.com in "A Void City Halloween - Part 6" in which there might even be at least one Sexy Big Bird. See you there. :)
First Interview with J.F. Lewis
Second Interview with J.F. Lewis
Zombies Under my Back Porch - J.F. Lewis visited on Halloween 2008!
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