Novel Excerpt – Blood Shots and White Nails

I just finished the first draft of the novel I’d been working on for NaNoWriMo in 2014, which is tentatively titled Blood Shots and White Nails.

Arthur Morris, son of a vampire hunter who was just stiffed, comes under the guardianship of the Van Helsing family, the greatest vampire hunters there are.  But Arthur is treated to horrible surprises as he finds out that the Vampire Lord, Vlad Dracula, actually lives in the Van Helsing’s basement, and has befriended the young daughter of the Van Helsings.  Arthur tries to keep his sanity as he learns that not all vampires are “evil” and as Vlad trains him to be a great hunter.  He doesn’t believe he’ll survive much longer.

I actually did start out with a different idea for this story which I wrote about two years ago, but that one ended up being an almost teen romance and I was disgusted with it.  Well, not disgusted so much as just I wouldn’t show it to anyone else.  I’ll call it my guilty pleasure novel.  But this new version of it I’m far happier with.  It’s pure comedy (up to a point) and it was just so fun to write (up to a point), but I’m glad it’s over at last.

It ended up with a rushed ending with probably a bunch of plot holes, but hey, first drafts are allowed to be bad.  That’s where you make all your mistakes so you can figure out how to make it better in the next version.  Though as I’ve been pondering this, it may end up being a series of a bunch of novels with a slowly unfolding plot, rather than one giant novel where the plot doesn’t come in until halfway through (like this one did).

Well, in any case, here’s an excerpt from chapter 12 to show you a little of what I’ve been working on.  Please enjoy.  Content warning: Violence and gore.

Vlad pulled Mina behind him and grabbed Arthur, placing the boy in front of him. “It’s your hunt, you go kill him.”

Wait, what?” Arthur looked wildly at Vlad. “You just said this one wasn’t a small fry, though!”

Why should that change anything for you? Get going.” He shoved Arthur forward, making him stumble a few feet. Arthur swore under his breath and glanced toward the vampire that was slowly stalking toward them, bent over like some sort of brutish animal. The vampire began to chuckle.

Oh, I see, so they sent a boy to kill me? How delightful, I’ll make short work of you!” The vampire sprang forward, claws and fangs bared to slash into Arthur. Arthur gasped and dodged to the side just before the vampire struck, pulling out his revolver and firing.

The vampire hissed, having been hit in the shoulder, but that was only enough to slow it down momentarily. It swung around and rushed Arthur again, but he fired his remaining bullets, the projectiles pounding into the hellish creature. Dark red blood spilled to the ground, but the vampire hardly seemed hurt by it. It only became angrier and angrier.

Arthur, try something new!” Vlad called out from where he was hanging back with Mina. Arthur swore again, angered that Vlad was just sitting back and watching while he, who was still technically a child, had to do all the work.

This is what you wanted though, right? a voice in his head said. You were simply dying to start hunting, so now this is your chance to prove yourself! “This was a stupid idea,” Arthur muttered under his breath.

He pulled two wooden stakes from his belt and rushed toward the vampire as it came barreling at him. He couldn’t let it get the upper hand on him. It swung its claws out toward him, but he dodged under them, circling around the creature and stabbing both stakes into its back. It howled in pain and thrashed, trying to pull the stakes out. Arthur took this opportunity to reload his revolver, going as fast as he could, though as he didn’t have much practice at it, it wasn’t nearly fast enough.

Just as he loaded the last round in, the vampire was upon him, knocking him to the ground. He kept a firm grip on the revolver and as the vampire moved in to take a bite out of him, he stuck the barrel in its mouth and fired. The sound was deafening and blood splattered over his hands and face. The vampire dropped to the ground with a thud, leaving Arthur lying there gasping for breath.

D-did I win?” he said in a quiet voice, his eyes wide.

Not yet!” Vlad called out, still staying where he had been before. “You gotta destroy its head or its heart.”

I thought I just blew its brains out, though!” Arthur screamed hoarsely. He tried to shake off the initial shock of what happened and pushed himself to his knees, though he was trembling all over. He glanced down at the vampire’s body and found that it was twitching. “Ugh, disgusting…”

I could say the same of you, boy,” the vampire rasped making Arthur jump. He pointed the revolver at it again, gritting his teeth. There was nothing human about this creature. Sure, it was humanoid, but its face was distorted, especially after being shot. This was an animal; no, it was a monster.

You’re a demon,” Arthur hissed, taking careful aim for the creature’s chest. “You shouldn’t exist!” He fired one shot after another until he had ran out of bullets. The vampire roared, an unearthly noise. It still wasn’t dead. Arthur pulled out an iron stake and strode toward the creature, kicking it hard in the face to drop it onto its back, then he drove the stake down as hard as he could into its chest.

Blood soaked Arthur’s hands as he pressed it deeper and deeper into the creature. It roared and flailed, slashing its claws at Arthur, making long cuts and gashes across his arms, neck, and face, but he didn’t stop. He kept pressing down until the monster had quit moving.

When it finally lay still, he stumbled away, breathing shallowly and shaking from head to foot. He became very aware of the pain caused from his wounds and hissed, falling to his knees. Vlad walked toward him slowly, patting him on the shoulder. “You did good, boy. Not bad at all.”

Thanks,” Arthur breathed, feeling like he was going to keel over. Vlad turned his attention to the vampire’s body, narrowing his eyes. He pulled a long blade from his belt and slashed it across the vampire’s throat, decapitating it. Then he pulled out a match and struck it, throwing it onto the body. It went up in flames and burned to ashes.

Can’t be too careful when dealing with this type,” Vlad said as he sheathed his knife once more. Mina gazed at the burning body in awe, the firelight dancing in her eyes.

So,” Arthur said slowly, wincing at the stinging pain of his wounds. “If the car exploded…”

It did,” Vlad said with a nod.

How did it explode?” Mina asked, still gazing at the flames as if hypnotized.

C4,” Vlad said, pulling out a plastic explosive. “Found it in his coat. Must’ve been waiting for us. I do wonder where he got this, though.”

Um, so how are we going to get back, now?” Arthur asked.

Vlad was silent for a moment. He slid the C4 back into his coat then pulled out a cellphone and dialed a number, pressing it to his ear. “Laura, we have a bit of a complication here. The car blew up. No, everyone’s fine, though Arthur’s a little beat up. He killed the target, though. We just need a ride back. Uh-huh. Fine.” He slid the phone back into his coat and turned toward the children. “Someone’s on their way right now.”

Is it Mama?” Mina asked, finally looking away from the fire, which was starting to burn out now.

No, it’s a couple of other hunters. They just finished up their own contract and are close by, so she’s sending them over. They can take us back.”

Arthur felt a brief flair of excitement at the prospect of getting to meet other hunters. He had never gotten to meet any others even when he was working with his father, though his father preferred working alone except when he couldn’t handle it.

So, what do we until they get here?” Mina asked. Vlad just shrugged his shoulders.

You got a med kit or something?” Arthur asked, gritting his teeth against the pain. “This is getting unbearable.”

Well, I did,” Vlad said, crossing his arms. “But it was in the car.”

Oh, wonderful.” He glanced toward the pile of ashes, no trace of flames left, and reached out to grab the iron stake that was left in them. He pulled his sleeve over his hand to touch the hot metal and slid it back into his belt. He holstered his gun again and then laid on the ground, groaning in pain.

There is a way I could heal you,” Vlad said, a thoughtful look on his face. “But I don’t really think you’d like it.”

Arthur glanced up at him, raising an eyebrow. “And what’s that?”

Vlad grinned. “Well, I could lick your wounds and they would heal faster. Vampire magic.” He wiggled his fingers a little.

I think I’d rather bleed out than let you lick me,” Arthur said with a scowl.

Just a suggestion,” Vlad said with a shrug. “I didn’t think you’d be up for it.”

Hey, is that them?” Mina asked, pointing to a large jeep that just pulled up at the other side of the street.

Yeah, that’s them,” Vlad said. “On your feet, boy.”

Arthur slowly pushed himself back to his feet, grunting and biting back the pain. Two people were approaching them from the jeep: a man and a woman, both wearing long trench coats of which Arthur was rather envious. Vlad raised his hand in greeting.

Miss Graceland,” he said to the woman with a nod. “Lagatto,” he directed toward the man.

Grandfather,” the man said with a faint nod.

Arthur blinked. “Wait… you’re?

Yes, Arthur, this is my grandson.”

Arthur gazed at the tall man in the black trench coat. His skin was pale, his eyes a deep red, and his hair, oddly, was navy blue. There was a dull look in his eyes, as if he were annoyed to have to be here. By contrast, the woman looked thrilled to have come.

So, this is the boy that the Van Helsings have taken in, is it?” she said, looking Arthur up and down. “And he killed that vampire all by himself?”

He did,” Vlad said with a nod. “I was pleasantly surprised. This is the first hunt we’ve taken him on, though he said he had gone on several with his father before.”

Ah, yeah, I remember him. Wallace Morris, right? Odd fellow.”

Ahem.” Arthur cleared his throat loudly, glaring at the woman.

Oh, yes, sorry!” she said with a guilty smile. “Didn’t mean to sound rude. By the way, I’m Hope Graceland.”

You don’t happen to have a medical kit, do you?” Arthur asked in as dull a tone as he could muster.

We do,” Lagatto said. “Come with me.”

For a moment, he didn’t feel so good about going there with this man – this vampire – he knew nothing about, but he decided to put aside his distrust after the pain in his wounds flared up again. He limped off with Lagatto to the jeep, glancing over his shoulder to see Hope and Vlad talking, Mina holding onto Vlad’s hand.

Lagatto led Arthur back to the jeep and pulled out a first-aid kit from the trunk. He opened it up and pulled out disinfectant spray, turning to Arthur. “It didn’t bite you, did it?” he asked, his voice a quiet monotone.

Uh, no, just scratched me,” Arthur said as Lagatto began spraying his wounds. He hissed at the stinging sensation, turning his face away. Lagatto dabbed away the blood and then started wrapping Arthur’s wounds in gauze and bandages.

You should be fine, then,” Lagatto said, dropping the bloodied cotton swabs into a bag to dispose of.

I thought vampires couldn’t turn you just from biting you,” Arthur said, inspecting the bandages.

They can’t, but they do still have venomous bites which can kill you a lot faster than normal. It’s especially prevalent in those bestial ones like you just killed.”

Oh.” Arthur blinked, thinking that he didn’t know nearly enough about vampires as he should. Maybe he could convince Vlad to teach him more about vampires as opposed to combat training on occasion. It seemed like it’d be important for hunters to know all they could about their prey.

Hope!” Lagatto called out across the park. “We’re leaving, come on!”


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