I love vampires to pieces. I did a big researched article about them a few months ago, called “Will Vampires Never Die?” when I was trying to figure out just why so many other readers couldn’t get enough of ‘em either.
We figured out that at their core, the reason so many of us love to love the fanged ones was:
– They’re frightening, yet vulnerable
– Their blood-drinking habits are sexually oriented.
– They usually have extraordinary strength and speed
– They can usually be reformed
– They’re the Ultimate Bad Boy
– They’re usually immortal
I’ve been thinking about that last one for a while now, though. The dictionary defines “immortality” as “perpetual life after death.” Yet most vampire stories spend a lot of wordage explaining how to go about killing vampires. One of the most famous and popular series even features a pint-sized vampire executioner.
The most common methods for vampire assassination include beheading, staking, cutting out the heart, draining them of blood and exposing them to sunlight. You can also stuff them full of garlic and press crucifixes against their hearts, depending upon the author and the story world you’re in.
In my story world, particularly in Carson’s Night, the one toxin in the world that is lethal to vampires is gargoyle venom, and one of the heroes is injected by a concentrated dose of the toxin…but I digress.
There are other, more esoteric methods for killing a vampire that you can find in other stories besides mine, including impaling a vampire with silver through the heart and stopping it from beating, chaining them with silver so they’re prevented from feeding and so forth. Some of the methods become quite creative and some of them downright cruel.
The point I’m trying to make is that all of them work. They all achieve their aim of killing the vampire.
If vampires can be killed, then they can’t be immortal. Long lived, certainly. Basically, they go endlessly onwards, unchanged, until someone changes their condition of undead to properly dead using one of the more extreme methods needed to kill a vampire.
Because one thing is certain: Vampires may not be immortal, but they are tough cookies to kill. And after centuries of living, they are slick, fast and very smart at staying alive…er…undead.
There’s more than a few reasons I love writing about vampires. Their sheer relentlessness and endurance is just part of their fascination for me. What about you?
Seen any really cool, slick or plain gross ways an author has invented to kill vampires? Or really bravo! ways vampires have outsmarted killing rampages?
Carson’s Night by Teal Ceagh
It’s August 1977 in New York City and the weird sculptor Moss Alex Meinhardt lies dead at the foot of an ugly gargoyle he’s half-completed. Natalia Grey’s demon hunter father is also dead, and his new partner, the astonishingly sexy Carson Connors, can’t remember how it happened.
Carson isn’t sure what role he has played in Natalia’s father’s death, but after one look at Natalia, he does know that guilty or not, he’s doomed.
Natalia must take up her father’s sword and her heritage as a demon hunter and figure out what happened this night, for the gargoyles Meinhardt carved have life they should not have without the help of dark forces she and Carson must defeat—once the gargoyles have risen, of course. But the night is hours away yet…
August 1977, New York City
Tally moved from sleeping to waking in one breath. With the next, she eased her hand under her pillow and gripped the handle of her knife as she pretended to sigh and roll onto her side in her sleep.
Iron fingers clamped onto her wrist. “It’s me, Tally. Nick.”
She opened her eyes. The dark shape in the room looked like him. “Turn on the light,” she said.
He reached for the light without hesitation, proving he knew his way around her bedroom. She stared at the person who eased himself down onto the chair beside her bed. He looked haggard and ill-used and that frightened her enough to sit up in her bed despite wearing only her Pink Floyd tee shirt and panties. She brought the knife with her. It was an automatic move, a trained move, triggered by the alarmed created by Nick’s appearance.
Nicholas Sherwood should not look tired. He was a vampire and did not need sleep or rest. Yet he blinked at her now like a man who had seen too much of the night.
She glanced at her bedside clock. The hands hovered over the two and the three. Just after three in the morning—it would be dawn in about three hours. “Nick?” she coaxed, her heart hammering.
“I need you to get dressed and come with me, Natalia,” he said softly. He reached down beside him and picked up something. He raised it and placed it vertically between his knees and rested both hands around the long hilt.
It was her father’s Japanese sword. His katana.
Nicholas looked at her over the top of the hilt. “I’m sorry, Tally. Your father died tonight. You must take his place now.”
Tally was too numb to cry, which was just as well, for the cab driver was normal human and they had to guard their tongues. Nick paid off the driver. In the predawn hush the vampire looked up at the flat face of the old dockside warehouse, his expression grim. “Ready?” he asked, settling the light coat around his shoulders better. He was very tall, about six foot two and the sword made the coat hang awkwardly.
She shook her head.
He gripped her shoulder. “Neither am I,” he confessed. “But we must do this now.” He led her with gentle firmness over to a dark doorway. It stood open, a black maw she was wildly reluctant to step through. Inside was misery and death.
“Where was my father’s partner? The new one?” she asked. “Why wasn’t he watching out for him? Why didn’t he stop this?”
“Inside,” Nick told her in a murmur.
“Why were you here, anyway, Nick? You don’t usually work with my father.”
“Just wait until we get inside, Tally.”
“Why? What’s in there?” She tried to turn to look at him but Nick’s grip on her arm was too firm. He was a vampire, after all. He could rip her apart like humans can shred paper, she knew that. Still she tried to resist.
But he didn’t use his strength against her. He let her halt and face him.
“What’s inside, Nick?” she asked.
“It’s easier if you just go in and see for yourself.” He tried to smile. “It’s nothing dangerous, for now. I won’t let anything hurt you.”
She felt tears sting her eyes. “Too late, Nick.”
He made a helpless gesture. “I wasn’t here when it happened. I don’t know how he died. I need you to help me figure it out.”
“Because you’re your father’s daughter and I trained you. I know what you can do.”
She sniffed, trying hard to halt the tears rolling down her cheeks. “What does that mean?”
Nick swore softly, then reached over and wiped her face. “Damn, I wish you wouldn’t do that. It’s a completely unfair tactic, especially when you look the way you do, with those big green eyes of yours.”
“I thought I was just a lousy human female,” she reminded him.
“You’re a pathetic human female,” he corrected her. “But that doesn’t mean I’m completely invulnerable to your charms. And I know exactly what you are, Natalia Grey. You are one of the most powerful demon hunters of this age. You just haven’t realized it yet. I want you to see what is inside that warehouse. I think you just might be able to help me.”
“But you’re not going to tell me anything that will bias my thinking, right?”
This time his smile was unforced. “Right.”
She found she was able to approach the warehouse with less reluctance and step inside without hesitation.
It was dark inside except for the glow of a pressure lantern at the far end. Nick slid the sword out from under his coat and handed it to her. It felt too long and heavy but she hefted it and let the blade settle on her shoulder, which was a good ready position as she had no scabbard for it. She headed in the direction of the glow of the lantern, the flares of her jeans swishing softly in the silent cavern of the warehouse. It was empty and chilly.
“Tally,” came a soft murmur as she drew closer. “You grow more beautiful with each passing day.”
Damian. Nicholas’ lover. She felt the vampire’s hand on her shoulder. His lips on her temple. She looked up into Damian’s black eyes, illuminated in the soft glow of the lantern. His high cheekbones and olive skin and strong jawline were unchanging but they were touched with sadness now. His long fingers stroked her cheek.
“We’ll mourn him, Tally.”
She could feel more tears building. Vampires mourning the death of a human was a rare acknowledgment.
“Not until I find the one who did this,” she ground out, struggling to keep her voice even. “Where is he?”
Damian nodded. “I’ll turn the light up. Brace yourself, Tally.” He walked over to the lamp, bent over and turned up the gas feed on it. The light spread and brightened and more of the warehouse appeared.
And she saw her father’s body. Tally moved over to where Peter James Grey lay in a contorted, undignified and bloodied huddle, his guts ripped out, his fingers curled in pain. Tally swallowed back her revulsion and studied the remains as clinically as she could, aware in a distant way that she was shaking violently. She used the sword to prop herself up.
“G…gargoyle,” she pronounced, wiping at her eyes.
“Yes,” Nick agreed coolly, next to her. “And your father was hunting one tonight.”
“How do you know that?”
“His partner told us.”
“Where is the toad? I want to talk to him.”
“In a minute. There’s something else you should see.” Nick nodded at Damian, who picked up the lantern. They stepped to either side of her and warmth and regard flooded her. Despite the subterranean keening sounding inside her at the loss of her father, she knew that she would never truly be alone while Nick and Damian trod the earth.
They led her through the darkness, past huge wooden packing crates, into another cavernous, seemingly empty room with a concrete floor. This one was just as cool as the last. They stopped at a huge block of raw stone, something that looked like it had been blasted out of the side of a mountain and dumped on the floor, after having the bottom of it shaved smooth and flat.
At the foot of the rock lay another body. Tally crouched down next to the man. This time the cause of death was a bit harder to establish and when she found it, she grew uneasy. She stood up. “My father must have killed him. With this.” She dropped the sword so the point rested on the concrete. “But why? Who is he?”
“You don’t recognize him at all?” Nick asked.
“You don’t know him?” Tally asked. “He looks vaguely familiar to me but…” She frowned. “Is there an office around here somewhere? Something with paperwork in it? Does he have a wallet on him? A driver’s license?” She squatted again and patted the man’s pockets and found a wallet in his hip pocket. “Can one of you roll him so I can get the wallet out?”
Damian lifted the body for her and that was when they found the top of the pentacle painted on the floor beneath it.
With Damian and Nicholas’ combined strength to move the stone, they discovered the pentacle ran beneath the stone in all directions. A twenty minute search discovered other painted pentacles of the same size on the floor of the warehouse, six in all, with powerful beckoning symbols in the center of each.
The wallet told them the name of the man at the foot of the stone was Moss Alex Meinhardt, which meant nothing to either Nick or Damian. Tally knew the name but could not explain why she knew it.
After thirty minutes, she called a halt to the search. “There’s nothing here. I was hoping for an office and paperwork that might explain more but this is just a warehouse. It’s dawn. We have to give up for tonight and clean this up so the authorities have a human explanation they can draw for events.” She looked at Nick. “I want to talk to the partner now.”
Nick nodded and picked up the lantern. “Damian, you take care of the bodies. I’ll take her to Connors.” He led her back through to the other side of the warehouse, to the far end, away from the door where she had come in.
To buy Carson’s Night, click here.
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