Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Excerpt: "Invitation." Be careful who invites you for a drink!

"It was in the year 1884, in the middle of September that I set my tale. Naples had been ravaged by cholera. The stench of burning sulphur passed over the place, like death’s noxious twin. Many of the streets were as silent as the grave, which was understandable as death had not yet departed.

The shops, theaters and even the cafes were closed. The cafes I considered to be more annoying than anything, as I do like to sit and watch the world go by, although I tend to refuse most drinks.

One night I found myself quite alone and unduly downhearted; the reason you will see later. So because of my sad mood I happened to take a stroll, feeling it best to do so.

Golden afternoon was already becoming blue dusk when I noticed a man. He was young and looked ill at ease surrounded by so many dead. Oh yes! The dead were all laid out waiting for removal. I mean they kept collecting them as quickly as possible, but the task was almost endless.

Bear in mind it was an epidemic and keeping up with their grim task was difficult, if not impossible, for it seemed as soon as one corpse was collected another took its place.

I had first seen this fellow when he bolted from a hotel—I thought him not quite right in his mind, for his gait was stumbling and unsteady.  However, after following him for a while I discerned that he was merely drunk, poor fellow.

As it was going on toward evening the collection carts were out in force. This was southern Italy and the people are superstitious. They believe the dead must be collected post-haste or all sorts of things might occur. They fear things in the night—they fear particularly the species to which I belong, I am a vampire—proprius lamia.

There, I am glad I have told you. So much better to get things out in the open, don’t you agree?

I did continue to follow this young man, so driven was I to make his acquaintance, but without warning he stopped and challenged me. “No closer!”

I could see he held a dagger, one of the countless gaudy handled kinds sold throughout Italy that are so popular with many of the men there.

I raised both my arms. “Please, I come as a friend, purely that!”


"There is no doubt that she soars above the endless parade of independent horror authors to shine as a true star in the darkness. With the brilliant anthology House of Horrors she proves why she is a perennial favorite. To put it simply, this is a great assembly of tales anyone would be proud to have in their collection"
~Joshua Skye

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