This week I’m picking back up on the series I started a few weeks ago. While this is only the third installment, I already feel like it’s overdue for a name.
But I’ve got nothing, so I’ll just have to wait for inspiration.
Or Vye. Probably Vye.
There’s no prompt this time. If you haven’t read the first two parts, you should check out “Trust Issues” and “Still Here” before diving into this one. It’ll kind of make sense without the rest of the story, but you’ll be missing some key info.
As I said in the intro to the first part of this series, this is backstory for a character that appears in a book I’m working on. Or middle story. Her first appearance is before these events, and every other planned appearance will be after.
I have strong feelings toward a lot of my own characters. This one in particular really stands out. She’s a trooper. Brave, strong, smart and absolutely unwilling to lay down and die.
She kicks ass.
So my job is to make sure I tell this story in a way that makes that obvious to you, dear reader. Feel free to let me know how I’m doing so far in the comments.
And don’t you dare pull punches. If something sucks, you let me know.
dubious in dumas
We were in Dumas, Texas.
You’ve probably never been there, but you’ve been to cities like it. Or you’ve been through cities like it. There aren’t many people who actually live in places like Dumas.
It’s small. Small and located in what could justifiably be called ‘the middle of nowhere’. It’s the kind of place that begs the question, “Why is a town even here?”
Like so many small towns in Texas, the answer is a two-for-one: railroads and oil. Hell, the town even survived an honest to God grasshopper plague in the 1890’s.
I swear I’m not making that up. Google it if you don’t believe me.
Right about now you’re asking yourself why I know so much about Dumas. Two reasons. One, I was in Dumas, which means I was bored off my ass. Dumas is small and decidedly uneventful. I have a smart phone, so I read up on the place.
But, two, I was looking for anything in the history of the town that would explain why it attracts vampires. This particular visit was my third, each time hot on the heels of a blood sucker. Gordon said he’d been through Dumas before, too.
Dumas is in the panhandle. It’s a major thoroughfare for folks on their way to New Mexico and Colorado. Vamps might end up there due to nothing more than proximity, but I was dubious.
I learned that from my dad. Look for the patterns.
So far, I was coming up empty. I couldn’t pinpoint anything in the town’s history to indicate even peripheral association with any established vampiric entity. But there’s a reason for everything, and I mean every goddam thing, so I kept looking.
By the time of the morning in question, I probably knew more about Dumas than their mayor.
Gordon and I met at this crappy little diner for breakfast. It was the kind of place that served more biscuits and gravy than anything else, regardless of time of day.
Gordon was fine with that. He’s not exactly a health nut. I was miserable. I tried explaining the concept of an egg white omelet on our first morning in town and was met with a blank stare that was equal parts confusion and horror.
I sighed and ordered my eggs scrambled.
“I think this is the last of them,” Gordon said.
He was probably right. We’d tracked and staked every vampire in the Muerte cult who was north of the border.
And, yes, ‘muerte’ is Spanish for ‘death’. It’s not the cult’s actual name. I don’t think anyone knows their real name. It’s just what we hunters call them.
In Mexico, they’re a real force to be reckoned with. Imagine a full-blown drug cartel with money, secure hide-outs, inside influence over government officials, guns, and…what else? Oh yeah. Immortality.
But state-side they’ve never really thrived. All you red-white-and-bluers probably want to pat yourselves on the back and chalk that up to border control. You’d be wrong. US officials haven’t done much to stop Mexican vampires from crossing the border.
American vampires, on the other hand, have been all over it. They’re a bit on the territorial side. And, of course, there are people like Gordon and me.
“I hope so,” I said.
We believed the last half dozen were somewhere in town, laying low. But three days into our luxurious stay at the Dumas La Quinta and we still hadn’t found them.
“Are you sure about this tracking magic?” I asked.
Gordon was using some kind of tracer spell. He claimed he could track their location within a 5 mile radius. That still left us with a lot of ground to cover, but it was a helluva lot less than the entire state of Texas.
“Oh, absolutely,” he said with a mouthful of carbs. “I’ve been using this spell for years. It’s never backfired.”
“Is that a thing in magic? Spells can backfire?”
He nodded, gulping down the sludge we were assured was coffee.
“You bet. A few years ago there was a noob in New England who tried to hex someone higher up the food chain. Either his target had kick-ass protection or he just got the incantation wrong. Either way, splat.”
“Quite literally. He got turned inside out.”
“That’ll spoil your weekend.”
“It was a pain in the ass. I was on the clean-up crew. Had to scrub down his entire apartment and wipe the memories of every neighbor.”
“The smell?” I asked.
“And the sound. The transformation was…violent.”
I know, I know. It’s not the kind of conversation people should have while eating. But think about what we do. We hunt monsters. You can tell yourself staking a vampire is noble all you want. It’s messy, too.
We were so used to being up to our knees and elbows in blood that the thought of an inside-out human didn’t even stop Gordon from spreading a generous portion of strawberry jam on his toast.
Our agenda for the day was hunt and peck. There were only so many places a small cluster of vamps could hide out during daylight hours. If Gordon’s tracer spell was working, they were still in town, which meant they’d found a damn good place.
We just had to find them.
We finished breakfast, paid the tab, and headed out into the dusty streets of Dumas looking for six Mexican vampires who I believed did not want to be found.
Boy, was I wrong.