It their hunt to track down the mystery of "The Cowboy," a rival vampire, the crew take a trip to Texas and wind up in the oil patch south of Odessa. There "The Cowboy" is hosting a vampire cage match as a sort of audition to join his clan. Miles and Sky go undercover, after a fashion, and enter to see if they can get closer to the mysterious "Cowboy." The trouble is, you need an entrance fee...one mortal. So Lucy winds up as the part of the prize-money in a winner-takes-all fight to the death. If Sky and Miles lose, well...you get the picture.
At one point however, I introduce a minor, but NASTY vampire for Schuyler to fight. A real piece of work and I just couldn't come up with a scary name for him. So I decided, heck, why not have some fun with my fans?!
That's right, I'm holding a NAME THAT VAMPIRE CONTEST. I will post a description of this nasty vampire and ask for submissions. I will personally judge the submissions and narrow it down to the final three. Then I'll let the fans vote on the name they like the best. The winning pick not only gets to be the name of this vampire in the book, I will send an autographed copy of the new book to the winner once the print edition comes out.
So get working on those names and I'll have the description up tonight.
So it took me a day to clean this up, but here it is. This is a vampire that will turn into a minor recurring character in later books. My initial placeholder name was "Varka" but it wasn't doing it for me. Looking for something mean, ugly and intimidating. So get to it! I'll cut off submissions by the end of August.
A low rattling breathing sound rasped out from behind the metal door. A wave of silence fell over the tittering crowd. Then, from behind the metal wall was animal-like grunting that sounding like something chortling through a throat full of blood. Instantly Hissing and spitting laughter erupted from the vampires. They were teeming with near ecstatic anticipation and barely constrained glee. They knew what was coming through that door, something big, something terrifying, but Lucy couldn’t imagine what could be more horrible than what they had already seen.
Lucy’s hands tightened on the bars of her cage and she swallowed hard. The other Renfields, the entrance fees and future victims and prize winnings of this vampire fight to the finish were pressing in behind her to get a better look themselves. Lucy put out her arm behind her searching for Nephys, but her eyes never left the ring. Nephys grabbed it, and she pulled him in tight beside her. He buried his head into her arm but still peeked out anxiously. Heart pounding Lucy looked sideways. Mordeth was pressed against the bars herself and instead of puffing her cigarette she began chewing it back until it was all in her mouth, where she chewed it for a moment before coughing and spitting it out.
In the ring, Sky looked towards the banging metal door opposite him and tried to stand up straight and face it head on despite the lacerations on his back and the swollen mess that was his left eye. He stiffened his spine and tried to shrug off the ache of the last battle as if coming off a workout, before trying to pose like he was in a photoshoot. Lucy sniffed. Even in this battered state, Lucy had to admit he was a wonder. He still tried to carry himself like he was a prince or an underwear model. It was hard to tell which.The pounding on the metal ceased. Whatever was on the other side seemed to have finally managed the locks. The crowd fell silent in expectation. They saw the handle turning slowly until finally, the tiny metal door swung open with a rusty grating sound and the whole doorframe was filled with a grey-white mass bigger than the whole door. All that could still breathe drew in a breath. The thing was so big it practically had to get on all fours to get through the doorway. It had to tilt one shoulder this way, and then the other way to manage it. At last it pushed through and stood up. Instantly the heartbeats of the still living behind her, which were already beating at near impossible levels of anxiety shot up another three octaves in pitch. The horror of being prize meat for the winner was bad enough. The thought of being eaten by what stepped out of that door was another.
It was massive, almost comically so, or it would have been comic had it not been so horrifying. It was all out of human proportion. Sky was over six feet but this thing towered over him and was nearly as wide at the shoulders as it was tall, and its arms hung past it’s knees like a gorilla’s. Other than black pants, it had no shoes or shirt or clothes of any kind, its horribly muscled physique was on full display. It was narrow waisted with comparatively skinny legs, but above that it was a just a giant tumor of muscle.Its flesh was ghastly grey weight and riddled with blue-black veins; its massively muscled form, like a body-builder that had been abusing steroids for far too long. But it was far worse than that, because its muscles were not like any natural muscles, organized in any coherent way but ran all over his body like snakes or tumors in random ripples. Wrapped around his biceps, abdomen, throat and chest were miles of barbed wire, strung so tight the wire was digging into his flesh. Tiny trickles of black blood were streaming down wherever the barbs pricked the skin. It was hard to tell if the wire was there as decoration of to hold his muscles together. They were so large and bulging it was as if they might explode at any moment without it. Looking more closely it was clear that the thing had been through a lot of fights itself, with large gashes across its back and chest. Lucy guessed the wire was there as ad hoc stitches, used to hold the wounds closed so that it could keep fighting. Its feet and hands were huge and ended in long toes and fingers with long black claws, but the most terrifying thing about it was its face.It was mostly bald except for a long black streak of greasy hair at the back of its head. It had large pointed ears like a bat and a flat face with beady eyes and monstrous fangs. Either its nose had been smashed flat during the fights or it had no nose to begin with, but a long black stain of gore trickled down from its nose and mouth and onto its chest.“[NAME THIS VAMPIRE CONTEST!!]!” One female vampire with wild blood-matted red hair shouted out pointing to the hulking figure. “[NAME THIS VAMPIRE CONTEST!!]!” So that was the thing’s name. The crowd exploded into wild cheers and screams, chanting “[NAME THIS VAMPIRE CONTEST!!]! [NAME THIS VAMPIRE CONTEST!!]! [NAME THIS VAMPIRE CONTEST!!]!!” Lucy looked around at the manic crowd, flailing, teeth-gnashing. The events of the night had changed them. They were no longer the sleek and pretty things that had filed in hours earlier. Splattered in the black gore of the victims, they were little more than animals now, consumed by bloodlust, pounding the makeshift metal bleachers on the old oil tank arena so hard Lucy thought that it might fall down. She let go of the bars to press her hands against her ears, it was so loud.[NAME THIS VAMPIRE CONTEST!!] [NAME THIS VAMPIRE CONTEST!!]. They kept chanting, stomping on the metal seats thunderously, cheering this new champion. It...it was just so...inhuman. A cross between a man and something...something else, she couldn’t exactly guess what, a bat or wolf maybe, but it was far worse than anything they had seen so far. How could Sky ever hope to fight that?!