Tagged: Undead Chronicles

Bloodstained Sheets, an excerpt from Nothing Zero

Recovering from the loss of Nothing Zero has been  much harder than I imagined. At first I was intent on powering through the difficulties, but doubt set in. I saw problems with the story I hadn’t previously noticed and I kept wrestling with the specter of my previous writing. What I needed was some time away from the book.

So I took it.

Yesterday I sat down and began the process of finishing Nothing Zero. Unlike the last time I saw the book, I enjoyed fixing the broken pieces and sorting out the story problems. With that said, I thought I’d share an excerpt from the novel I particularly enjoyed. This segment hasn’t been properly edited, and is presented exactly as it appears in my current draft. As I finish the book over the coming month, I plan to share others. I hope you enjoy it.

 

From Chapter 1 “A Night Like This”

The sheets were sticky with blood.

Rising from bed, Nothing glanced back at the boys. Vex laid spread out, his head dangled loosely over the edge of the bed. When Nothing tore through his throat, he practically decapitated him. Slumped on the floor, the gaping wound in Raven’s stomach bared his glistening viscera. His throat a crimson gash, his windpipe obscenely exposed.

Nothing left the master bedroom and found his clothes on the floor. He was staying in one of Red Rock’s high roller suites, dubbed the One 80 Suite. With a large terrace, Jacuzzi tub, billiards table and floor-to-ceiling windows providing views of the Vegas Strip and Red Rock Canyon, Nothing had little doubt no expense was spared in making his last night on tour a special one.

Rummaging through the pockets, he retrieved his cell phone and called Krista. “I’m done,” was all he said before he ended the call and dropped his phone.

Admiring the decor—stainless steel, black and brown wood, fine velvet and silk—Nothing was struck by how lonely the darkened suite seemed. He turned the television on and made his way towards the bathroom. Nothing didn’t care what channel the hundred inch plasma screen had been set to. He simply needed some background noise to break the dead silence.

The night wasn’t supposed to be so quiet.

When Echo told him she wanted to attend the concert, Nothing hoped she’d spend the night with him. He told Krista to secure them the best suite the Red Rock had to offer. Price was no object. He wanted his last night in Vegas to be one he would never forget.

Nothing drifted back into the master bedroom.

Still motionless, the boy’s drained corpses were the pale shade of white only death could provide. By sunrise their wounds would heal, and the savagery they endured would grant them rebirth. They wouldn’t have the advantages Nothing enjoyed. They wouldn’t be able to walk in the day, fly through the skies or even grow a set of razor sharp incisors. Instead, they would only receive an everlasting life and a hunger just as endless. Making his way into the bathroom, Nothing hoped the boys would make good vampires.

The cold bathroom marble greeting his feet, Nothing’s hopes gave way to an unerring dark apathetic indifference. Over the past five years he had created hundreds like Raven and Vex. All lost children who’s pain, heartache and suffering was so opaque, they couldn’t see a way through other than the razor sharp bite of a rock star. Krista would come along soon enough. By sunrise Raven and Vex would be in their own room in the Red Rock. When they were finally reborn, she would gently remind them what happened and give them the only rule they had to abide—stay out of the light. The boys would then be on their own.

Climbing into the shower, the hot beat of water washed the dark red streaks of Vex and Raven’s blood away from his porcelain white skin.

When Nothing first started feeding, a bite was enough. The act of draining someone’s life and feeling their memories flash through his head fulfilled the demands of his hunger. But over time, his feeding evolved into something more violent and ugly. Once he realized any damage he inflicted, no matter how extreme, would be healed during the rebirth process, there were no more barriers. The darkest and most base of his cruel desires were completely unchained. In that sense, Nothing was glad Echo had left following the concert. When she was around, there was some measure of pretense he was only feeding to survive. Without her, Nothing was free to be the monster he truly was.

Stepping out of the bathroom, the darkness of the master bathroom welcoming his nude form, Nothing looked Raven and Vex over. While their wounds were starting to heal, the boys were still a gruesome sight. There was a time when he would have tried to act horrified by the sight. He would have tapped into the memory of what it was like to be frightened and disgusted. But just like any emotion, it would fade into the black indifference that filled his day to day.

Nothing made his way to the private patio. Overlooking the Red Rock Canyon, the view was breathtaking. When he was alive, Nothing never dared dream of seeing anything like it. But Nothing would have never dreamed of the carnage lying in the master bedroom, either. The ravaged corpses of Raven and Vex, the blood spattering the walls and the chunks of flesh on the floor. Staring out at the endless western sky, Nothing knew his kingdom had come.

Back from Zero

On January 11th my hard drive died, taking with it a large chunk of Nothing Zero. Unfortunately the flash drive I had backed the book up on decided to eat shit as well, leaving me pretty much out of luck. I found portions of the original NaNoWriMo version back-up elsewhere, but given how the rewrite process was progressing it was pretty much useless.

In the days following my computer’s death, the prospect of starting Nothing Zero over wasn’t terribly appealing. I had written the book once, and was halfway through an incredibly extensive rewrite. Walking away from the burning wreckage would have been understandable. I could easily move on to something new and eventually return to finish the rise and fall of Nothing Zero.

I spent the next week giving considerable thought to my next move.

I’m pleased to say, I’ve just finished the first chapter of Nothing Zero (again). Needless to say, I don’t think I’m going to publish the results in the first quarter of this year. But that doesn’t mean I won’t try.

Looking ahead

Entering 2013 I have big things planned. I hope to publish a number of titles that will take on a variety of formats–novels, short story collections and novella. It’s an ambitious amount of material, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep to my schedule. But even if I manage half of what I intend, I’ll be totally satisfied.

The first book will be Nothing Zero, which should be released during the first quarter. This will be the next installment in the Undead Chronicles. I’m currently in the process of overhauling the first draft, and I’m really excited about it. I’m looking forward to showing how the first two entries piece together, and setting the stage for the next cycle of books.

After Nothing Zero, there will be a short story collection. These stories will feature established characters from the Undead Chronicles. The members of Live Undead will feature quite prominently, as I fill out their various histories. This currently untitled collection should be published in the second quarter and will close out this cycle of the Undead Chronicles. I do to write further books and stories set in the continuity, but simply want to take some time away to create new things.

I’m really excited about where things stand. I have a lot of stories left to tell, and I’m eager to share them. Self-publishing isn’t making me rich, but I’m simply happy to have an outlet for my creative endeavors. I hope to make this coming year better than the last.

Deformography

When you wish upon a star
Don’t let yourself fall, fall in too hard
I fell into you, now I’m on my back
An insect decaying in your little trap
I squirm into you, now I’m in your gut
I fell into you, now I’m in a rut
“I lift you up like the sweetest angel,
I’ll tear you down like a whore.
I will bury your god in my warm spit,
You’ll be deformed in your porn”
Rock star, yeah (you’re such a dirty, dirty)
Rock star, yeah (you’re such a dirty, dirty)
Rock star, yeah (you’re such a dirty, dirty)
Rock star, yeah (dirty, dirty, dirty)
You eat up my heart and all the little parts
Your star is so sharp
It leaves me jagged holes
I make myself sick just to poison you
If I can’t have you then know one will
I will bury your god in my warm spit,
You’ll be deformed in your porn”
Rock star, yeah (you’re such a dirty, dirty)
Rock star, yeah (you’re such a dirty, dirty)
Rock star, yeah (you’re such a dirty, dirty)
Rock star, yeah (dirty, dirty, dirty)
You are the one I want and what I want is so unreal
You are the one I want and what I want is so unreal
You are the one I want and what I want is so unreal
You are the one I want and what I want is so unreal
I love you like a sweetest angel
I take you down like a whore
I’m such a dirty, dirty
Rock star, yeah (dirty, dirty, dirty)
Rock star, yeah (you’re such a dirty, dirty)
Rock star, yeah (dirty, dirty, dirty)
Rock star, yeah (you’re such a dirty, dirty)
Rock star, yeah (dirty, dirty, dirty)
Rock star, yeah (you’re such a dirty, dirty)
I am the one you want and the one you want is so unreal
I am the one you want and the one you want is so unreal
I am the one you want and the one you want is so unreal

Nothing Zero begins

The feedback reaching crescendo, Nothing collapsed.

Microphone cord wrapped tightly around his forearm, he got his knees and screamed. At first his shrieks were atonal wailing, but crawling across the blood slicked stage his sounds gradually began to form words. Rising to his feet, he repeated the phrase. Even after the guitar feedback fell to silence, he gave voice the words that had haunted his every waking moment for the past week. He didn’t understand what they meant, only that they held some deeper meaning beyond an ominous statement to send the crowd home with. “This is the end of everything,” he cried one final time and slammed the microphone down.

Hair tangled in sweaty clumps, body covered with sweat and blood, eyeliner streaking his face, dress torn and stockings hopelessly shredded, Nothing stumbled towards the front of the stage. The Hammerstein Ballroom was sold out. 3400 kids, all deathly pale and dressed in black raised their hands as they chanted his name. Looking out across the crowd, Nothing Zero felt alive.

Unfortunately the feeling was only fleeting.

Feeling the afterglow from his performance starting to slip, Nothing tore the tattered remains of his dress off. There were thousands of videos posted to YouTube of him performing the act. He knew that everyone in the crowd had already watched him strip down to his panties and garters, but that didn’t matter. Every time he did his little strip tease he received the same wave of excited squeals from the crowd.

When he was alive, Nothing would have done anything to hear those screams. He dreamed of performing with a band for thousands of adoring fans, selling millions of records, posing for magazine covers and filming music videos. But as a small town boy, he feared his dreams would never come true. He was afraid he would remain trapped in his small town life, all of his hopes and dreams unfulfilled and his life unnoticed by anyone but the bullies and assholes who lived to abuse him.

But then Nothing died.

Death awoke something dark and terrible inside him. As a Nephilim Nothing was reborn as a creature of great power and endless hunger. But most of all, Nothing has found himself with everything he dared dream of when he was alive. In the middle of a sold out tour promoting his second chart-topping album, Nothing should have been elated. But staring out at the thousands of adoring kids with their Nothing Zero shirts and screaming for him to throw them his dress, Nothing felt nothing at all.

The Undead Chronicles

Sitting down to write my first novel, LIVE UNDEAD, I never thought it would become a gay erotic vampire book. The notion of it becoming the first in a series didn’t even cross my mind. That’s just how it all worked out. I made some creative decisions, and now I’m working on a novelette that bridges the gap to the second novel in THE UNDEAD CHRONICLES.

As I worked on LIVE UNDEAD, I cooked up origins and detailed back-stories for each member of Live Undead members. I tried to work these details into the fabric of the book, but it never felt right. Above all things, I wanted LIVE UNDEAD to be a quick read. There simply wasn’t a place to pause and tell a story about Razor and his time in San Francisco during the 80s. Begrudgingly I started cutting.

One of the main inspirations for LIVE UNDEAD was Poppy Z. Brite’s LOST SOULS. Back when I was reading vampire stuff—specifically splatterpunk vampire novels—that book stood tall for me. Sure, I loved Skipp & Spector’s THE LIGHT AT THE END, Garton’s LIVE GIRLS and Somtow’s VAMPIRE JUNCTION, but LOST SOULS just felt right. It took everything I thought was great about Anne Rice, but gave it a libido. But, beyond the obvious influence Poppy had on Live Undead, he did something else that was sticking in the back of my mind as I excised the band member’s back-stories. He wrote short stories featuring some of the characters from LOST SOULS.

A couple of months after finishing LIVE UNDEAD, I returned to the stories I had excised from it. I decided that I really wanted to talk about Wraith stalking the subways of New York. I think Razor having fallen in love with someone suffering from AIDS is interesting. So I started thinking about what Poppy did with Steve and Ghost, and thought why not? Why can’t I do a batch of short stories as a companion piece to LIVE UNDEAD?

Then something happened.

In the epilogue chapter of LIVE UNDEAD, I briefly touch on someone recognizing Nothing. I decided to flesh that idea out in my first short. The story would focus on a transvestite prostitute named Brian who was obsessed with vampires. Initially planned as being under 5000 words, LOVE BITES, has steadily grown into something I feel can stand on its own. So, I’ll give it that chance in a few weeks.

During the evolution of LOVE BITES, I decided on an idea for a second novel. Now that Nothing was a big rock star, what is going to happen to him? Thanks to his celebrity, he can’t operate in secret like Live Undead had throughout their existence. But beyond that, he can’t feed without creating another reborn. How does the world react to all of this? I’ll deal with all of those ideas in my second novel, tentatively titled NOTHING ZERO.

Someday the stories I cut from LIVE UNDEAD will get their chance. But right now, I have an obsessed transvestite and a psychotic rock star calling my name.