|Don't look now, Michelle...|
but there appears to be a large owl on your arm >_<
It’s day #3 of the Blogger Book Fair, and I’m truly thrilled to be joining the wonderful Michelle Birbeck in a VAMPIRE CRYPT!! (Yea, exciting stuff!!):
The Literary Dark Emperor:
“Thanks for joining us today, Michelle, I have to imagine your life is hectic and we appreciate you taking the time out to talk to us. For starters, can you tell us why you chose this setting in particular to meet?”
“Hectic is about right! I seem to be forgetting what it's like to have a day off! I chose the Egyptian catacombs because it is where one of my favourite characters from The Last Keeper, Poppy Baruti. Before she gave up her place being the queen of the vampires, she lived here, deep in the earth of Egypt, surrounded by the bones of all the vampires she'd killed. These days she stays as far away from the place as possible, but I have a thing for the way she used all the bones and skulls to decorate the place. Also, we're in the middle of a heat wave that resembles summer here in the UK, and caves buried in the ground are much cooler than my back garden at present!”
Nathan pauses to look around at the setting with new admiration, “I see. So there's a bunch of dead vampires down here…?” he bites his lip, trying to hide his excitement, “I can certainly appreciate avoiding the harsh Egyptian heat, but are we in any danger down here? I mean, vampires do have a nasty habit of coming back to life. Maybe you can tell me more about these things... y'know, put my mind at ease.”
“Oh, no! No danger from the already dead vampires. It's the live ones we want to be worried about, but they're all elsewhere at the moment. At least, they should all be elsewhere at the moment!
“As for the skulls, they're part of the punishment dished out to vampires who don't follow the rules. But here in the Egyptian catacombs, they are also the decorations. So let's start at the beginning!
“Poppy, when she ruled as queen, invented something called an audience. Some vampire does something wrong, like killing in public, and they get called in to their nearest catacombs for an audience. They turn up, and beg for a quick death. If they turn up, that's what they get, a quick death. Occasionally someone will be spared so that the mercy of the rulers can be bandied about, but most are killed and burned. Or burned and killed.
“Now, if someone fails to turn up for their audience, Poppy suggested that they be hunted down and made an example out of. which would generally mean a long, slow death, followed by their bones being mounted on the walls of the catacombs. Because as vampires, they can only cross over to the other side if every part of them is burned. One bone doesn't get burned, and they don't cross over, forcing them to live eternally in limbo.
“And Poppy being Poppy has a flare for the extravagant, and so began decorating her home here with the bones. Which is why the chandelier isn't finished yet; they keep adding bones to it.”
The Literary Dark Emperor looks around at all the bones, “So all the vampires that these bones belonged to are trapped in Limbo?” He moves to run his hand over one of the skulls, “Sort of a trippy thought… Can they—y’know—see us from there? I mean, are they aware of their situation?”
“They can't see us, but they are aware. From what I understand, the place that they are in is not nice. Think hell crossed with your worst nightmare combined with the everlasting torment of eternity.
“However, I would suggest avoiding the bedrooms. Tau is still in residence here, and he has a taste for torture. Given how strong vampires are, his favourite torment is removing the legs and chaining them to a wall. The lack of feeding sends them insane and they will go for any beating heart within crawling distance.”
Blinking a few times at this, Nathan pulls his hand away from the skull, “Well, at least they're merciful, right?” He chuckles, “Yeesh! Well then... I daresay I'm ready for a coffee! You like Starbucks? I LOVE Starbucks! How 'bout some Starbucks, huh? Yea! Let's go ahead and--yea, y'know--get outta here and go get us some Starbucks!” Nathan turns away and starts to hurry down the corridor, “Just finish this interview at Starbucks, y'know!”
“Yes, I think getting out of here might be a good idea. Though, do they do things that are non-coffee at Starbucks? I'm apparently a weird person in the world of literature, because I don't like coffee. It is very rare that I drink the stuff. Actually, it's very rare I drink anything with caffeine in it. I am, however, a very big fan of wine and cider.”
“Oh yea!” Nathan nods quickly, trying to hurry Michelle to follow, “Starbucks has cider and stuff like that--though you're certainly right in saying you're a bit of an oddball for not liking coffee; especially since you're an author.” Chuckling, Nathan starts to relax and shrugs, “Still, I had a college professor who always joked that there are two types of authors in the world: those addicted to caffeine and those addicted to booze.”
“Ha! Yes, I would be in the second lot, though not as often as I'd like! I do occasionally drink coffee, but not very often, and generally only if I'm really tired or have a stupidly long day ahead of me. Anyway, getting out of here. We might get lost a little on the way. The Catacombs aren't renown for being easy to get out of. Sometimes the vampires like to play with their victims. they'll let them go, they go running off through the tunnels, inevitably get lost, and the vampires will hunt them down.
“But don't worry, there is a trick to it... I just need to keep an eye out for the markings,” Michelle pauses and glances around, “And we might want to hurry, before we end up as that thing's lunch.”
As the two make their way across the room and begin the labored task of opening the large, heavy door, there’s a rustle of movement to The Literary Dark Emperor’s left. Turning to face the source, Nathan finds the corner empty and begins to nervously turn back to the door. Suddenly, an iron grip clamps his ankle and, as a startled yelp is issued, drags him to the ground. Michelle, eyes wide, jumps away from the scene as a heaving, legless vampire—scurrying over Nathan’s flailing form on wiry, sinewy arms—bares its fangs as it utters a low, guttural groan and blasting The Literary Dark Emperor with its stale, death-laced breath. As he fights to throw the monster from him, Nathan cries out as his left arm is taken hostage in the unforgiving grip and ripped from his body. With Nathan’s cries of pain growing, the vampire chortles with glee and begins to tear his stomach open with its free hand moments before sinking its fangs into his throat, throwing the room into silence...
About Michelle Birbeck:
Michelle has been writing and reading her whole life. Her earliest memory of books was when she was five and decided to try and teach her fish how to read, by putting her Beatrix Potter books in the fish tank with them. Since then her love of books has grown, and now she is writing her own, and looking forward to seeing them on her shelves, though they won’t be going anywhere near the fish tank.
The Last Keeper
Serenity Cardea's race has been hunted to near extinction. She's a Keeper, with the ability to influence others, including those immortal beings who want dominance over the world. Ray Synclair is a history professor in training with a passion for times past. Fascinated by Serenity, he has no idea that the world is filled with immortals, most of whom want him dead. Because the only way to kill a Keeper is to kill their partner...
Where to find Michelle