Okay, before I can even begin this tale, I have to admit that the title
of this work is a terrible pun. However, the pun is relevant, and I’m
certain my vampire readers have already recognized the subtlety and
irony of it. You stupid human readers probably not. By the end, all will
make sense even to the dimmest of you.
In a few of my works, some readers have commented that I seem to obsess
on room arrangements and the clothing of the various people filling my
narratives. I engage in such descriptions to allow even the most stupid
of people—humans, I’m talking to you—to be able to picture the
A circle of light illuminated a pile of ash next to a metal folding
chair on a linoleum floor. Off-camera, a voice said, “Here’s one.”
The circle of light moved along the floor to another pile of ash.
Back near the chairs, the light surrounded another pile of ash. “And
another.” The voice sighed as the light expanded to take in the rows
of chairs, many knocked over, an upright folding table covered with
carafes, shot glasses with stains of blood, a few empty styrofoam cups,
and a plate of chocolate chip cookies. Among the chairs, both those
standing and those fallen, and beyond, sat the occasional pile of ash.
Along a wall lay a human body, bloodied but still holding a sword.
“This was a regular VATE chapter meeting,” said the voice belonging
to the vampire surveying the damage. “They were meeting…well, to do
what you do at a chapter meeting. The vampire hunters found them and
killed them. And suffered only one casualty.”
I turned off the video on my cell phone. That’s not supposed to
happen. We’re vampires, and they’re hunters. Either brute force or
mind control should have solved this situation. Neither did. And the
VATE chapter of Peoria, Illinois is no more.
My name is Samuel Johnson and I’m a vampire.
I was sitting in my car in a church parking lot in Des Moines, Iowa.
Recently, I’d returned from the Aspen Retreat Center in Colorado. That
wasn’t supposed to happen either. Because in the past, when I’d
known VATE agents to go to Colorado, they hadn’t returned. My fellow
VATE agents and I believed those going to Colorado had ended up as dead
as those at the chapter meeting I’d just seen the aftermath of.
By the way, VATE stands for Vampires Against The Evil. We fight ferals,
vampires who are subhuman and who, similarly to animals, feed on and
kill humans; Evil Ones, vampires who live among humans like average
citizens but also feed on and kill humans; and aliens who morph into
human form and attempt to corrupt and destroy human organizations.
“Supposedly bungling” a VATE assignment got me sent to Colorado for
“rehabilitation,” but my time there was so much more than that. As I
write this narrative, I’ll reveal as much as I deem wise.
My readers may be asking why I’m writing about another one of my
cases, the first after my experience in Colorado. Due to the nature of
the case, which will be revealed in the upcoming pages, both my advisors
in Colorado and my boss and higher-ups in VATE thought explaining the
following events might be a good exercise for me. Yeah, right. Well,
I’m writing it. And to make matters worse, I have to spell everything
out in a simplistic way that even humans could understand if humans were
ever to be my audience. More on the stupidity of humans later.
I exited my car and stepped into the parking lot of St. Bartholomew’s
Church. The parking lot extended in back of the church and around behind
an apartment complex. A long drive ran along the side of the church from
the parking lot to the nearby street. In the parking lot, I recognized
Beryl’s black van in which he kept the blood he doled out at every
chapter meeting, the Orloff brothers’ red pickup, the Sudanese
couple’s small Toyota Yaris (a bit ironic since they were some of the
tallest of our members but had one of the smallest vehicles among us),
Sharon’s blue Lexus sedan, Bald Guy’s Cadillac sedan, and two other
vehicles I didn’t recognize. Of course, the chapter probably has added
new members since I was last here.
I entered the church through the back door that was unlocked for our
meeting tonight. At the entrance, two halls branched away: one to the
west and the other to the north. The lights were off in the hall to the
west, and since we never went that way anyway, I didn’t care what lay
in the direction. I took the hall north, a hall that had a coat rack,
currently with many hangers but not any coats, on its west side.
The hall opened to a large open area with a sitting room equipped with
couches, chairs, and tables to the west, the double doors to the
sanctuary to the east and to the north to a staircase. The staircase to
my right descended to a landing and to a double set of doors leading out
of the church, toward the street on which this church sat, or so I
thought, and acted as a landing before another staircase that went down
to the basement. The staircase to my left led up to a landing and to
another staircase to the second floor. In front of the lower staircase
was a sign on a folding easel that read “Society of the Creatively
Challenged Upstairs.” An arrow on the sign pointed up.
And so I went. By the way, the “Society of the Creatively
Challenged” is the alias for our group. Beryl couldn’t really tell
the church that a group of vampires wanted to rent their large room on
the second floor once every month, so at some point in his time as
chapter leader, he’d devised this name.
Supposedly, we meet to participate in activities to encourage our
creativity such as brainstorming, drawing, writing poems, telling tales,
and doing a variety of acting exercises not the least of which was
improvising in given bizarre situations. Our website professes as much.
The pastor and a few church members took an interest in these activities
and wanted to join. Beryl had to do a fair amount of mind control to
keep that from happening.
In any case, up the stairs I went. To the first landing. To the second
floor where a second sign on an easel read “Society of the Creatively
Challenged Inside.” A light was on in the room beyond the double
Excerpted from "My Daze as a Vampire Hunter: A Samuel the Vampire Novel" by James T Carpenter. Copyright © 2017 by James T Carpenter. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.