Well, I've been working steadily in my WIP. I've just put 78K words under my belt on Dhampire Legacy. Working right along, and happy in my work. I'll give you a bit of a tease here, in a bit.
How do you like the new header? Nice? I made this myself. I think it will work for me until I get a few more books under my belt.
Here I'd like to introduce you to Phil Green and Dr. Herb Ruben. They're just a couple of your average vampire hunters trying to find the vampire lair. This is from a later chapter, but I thought it was atmospheric. This is in a first draft, so there might be a few miss-spellings and such.
“You sure you know what you're doing?” Herb asked over Phil's shoulder. On his knees, Phil wiggled the pick in the lock.
“It's a little rusty,” Phil said, concentrating.
“How do we know this is the right mausoleum?” Herb asked, gazing out across the cemetery.
“Because, Mrs. Crunch said it was northwest from the mansion. This is the only one in this area that it could be.” Phil switched to a different picking device and shoved it into the lock, and jiggled it around.
“You'd have been better off using a hacksaw,” Herb groused.
“If you'd just quiet down, I might be able to do this!” Phil said through gritted teeth. “Besides, we don't want anyone to know that we've been here.”
“No. I suppose not. They'll just figure out someone's picked the lock when they come to see grandma and grandpa Miller,” Herb said, squinting up at the name chiseled above the door. The door had an iron gate over it. A padlock held it closed to those who might try and get inside to desecrate.
The lock clicked and opened in Phil's large hand. “Got it!” He eased the padlock off the gate and opened the gates and examined the door that closed the mausoleum off from the elements.
He grasped an old latch, it opened under his hand. “We're in.” Herb followed him into a five by twelve space. The walls were lined with vaults. Most were occupied. This he had expected. They looked around.
“What now, Sherlock?” Herb asked.
“I don't know.”
“You mean she didn't tell you how to get into the tunnel?”
“No. I don't think she knew how. She only said that this was one way into the tunnel.”
“Oh, I don't believe this!” Herb said, hand going up and flopping to his side making a soft sound. “You got me all the way here and you have no idea what you're looking for?”
“No.” Phil looked around, noticed a large marble urn with handles and stepped up to it. He eyed it, walked around it and grasped it by the rim and handle. “Won't budge.”
“You mean you think there's some secret way to get inside?” Herb laughed. “You mean like on some silly show where they find a secret leaver, or something you turn?”
“Yeah.” Phil looked at the piece of heavy pottery and now placed his hands on the handles he pushed with one hand and pulled with another. It turned with a slight grinding sound. “Oh, I think—” He grunted and tried to move it further. Herb watched him, dubious.
“C'mon. Help me! You push I'll pull.”
“Alright, just let me put my cane down.” Herb put his cane up against the wall and came back. He pressed on one large handle and pushed, putting his weight into it, while Phil pulled on the other one. The large marble piece turned again a quarter turn.
“That's it! Do it again!” Phil encouraged. They pushed and pulled at the urn's handles until they'd turned it to a half way point. Something behind them made a grinding sound.
They stopped and turned to one of the bronze tomb coverings to find it had moved out five inches or so.
Both men breathing hard, they turned. Herb grabbed his cane and leaned on it, watching his larger friend move for the tomb three tombs up.
“How did you figure out that it would turn?” Herb panted, and daubing his sweaty face with a handkerchief.
“I watched a lot of Wild, Wild West shows. There was one where they went into a mausoleum and a blind girl turned something to open up a secret compartment.”
Herb shook his head, chuckling. “Which proves once again that fact is stranger than fiction.”
“Strange or not. I can't figure out what this is supposed to do,” Phil said, looking all around it, top, bottom, sides. He ran his forefinger over his thick mustache.
“Does it turn?” Herb asked, moving up to inspect it. The tomb was level with Phil's head, but the top went six inches above. He reached up, hands flat to the sides, he curled his fingers around an edge
“No. It's just a box, or tomb. I don't know what the hell it's for.”
Herb chuckled. “Well, you opened it.”
“Yeah, but why? What's it for? It has to be for something.”
“Is there a body in there?”
“I hope not,” Phil said and went up on tip toes. Unable to see inside, he reached around. It was empty, like a box. “Wait a minute.” His hand came in contact with something metallic, a leaver of some sort. He grasped it, pushed and pulled until it moved, suddenly. Quickly he pulled his hand out and stepped back, cautioning Herb to do the same. The stone-on-stone grinding came from the wall.
“This is exciting!” Phil said. “Almost like opening up King Tut's Tomb, or something.”
“Or Aunt Gabrielle's eternal resting place,” Herb said, watching the whole section of wall move slowly out like a thick door.
“Now that's innovative!” Phil said, peering through the darkness of the opening. “Hey, there's some steps!”
“Wonderful,” Herb said. “I'll stay right here, if you don't mind?”
“No, no. That's alright. Let me get my flashlight.” Phil took the small flashlight out of his vest under his coat. “You stay right here, I'm just going to see how far down it goes.”
“I'll be right here, twiddling my thumbs,” Herb said.
“Okay,” Phil said, moving to the entrance and pausing at the top of the old stairs. He turned on his flashlight, aimed the bright light down into the dark mouth of the entrance. Cobwebs hung thick in spots. Dust and dead bugs littered the stone steps. The reek of death rose to meet his nose. “Ish, something died here recently.”
“Mice, probably,” Herb suggested.
“Okay, “I'm going down. You stay there. If I yell for help call 911.”
Phil descended into the darkness, slowly taking each step as though it might go out from beneath him. The walls of stone became brick the further he went down. Finally he reached the bottom.
“Okay, I'm down on level ground, here.” He shown his light around. The tunnel led off, and he would have to bend down to walk through. “It's a really cramped space. But it does lead somewhere.”
“Are you going to investigate it?” Herb asked. “Because it's almost four o'clock and that sun's going to set soon.” There was some argument as to when a vampire is awake. Some said the vampire was asleep like the dead during the day. Other said that the older the vampire, the less sleep he needed, and was able to walk about even during the day time, as long as he was in darkness, protected from the sun.
“Okay, I've got a watch,” he called up. “I'm going to go a little ways in, then I'll come back.”
“If you find King Tut, you know you've gone too far,” Herb joked, looking down into the dark hole. He watched the light Phil held shift back and forth, and then its brightness faded until it disappeared. He turned toward the entrance, noting the shadows were advancing. “Oh, hell. This is not the time to be checking out a vampire's hiding place,” he said to himself, but held back calling to Phil. He'd given him a warning. His heart pounded in his chest. My blood pressure must be up... “I need this like I need a hole in the head,” he muttered to himself. I'm supposed to be retired, and here I am poking into a tomb where a vampire might be hiding. I'm gonna pay for this. I just know it.
Herb glanced at his watch, looked outside through the open door of the mausoleum. “Christ, come on, Phil.” Five minutes, then six ticked by. He checked and noticed it had been seven minutes since Phil said he'd come right back. Herb moved toward the shadowed doorway that led outside. Fresh air filtered in, and he hadn't noticed until pulling it in how dank the place was. It had been closed up, possibly the oxygen levels had been low.
Herb frowned, pulling in fresh air. “Holy cow.” The thought jolted him into action. He hobbled toward the tunnel's entrance and yelled, “PHIL! PHIL! CAN YOU HEAR ME?”
Nothing. Not a sound filtered up to him. “Oh, crap.” Urgency caused him to make his way down five steps, grimacing when pain shot up his spine from his bad hip. He stopped and leaned on the wall with cane in hand until the pain subsided. “PHIL! ANSWER ME!”
“Here I am,” Phil's voice filtered up.
“Well, it's about damned time!” Herb groused, watching Phil take the steps two at a time like a teenager. There was a time when he had been able to dart up stairs like that too. Not any more. He could barely go down them.
“What are you doing down here?” Phil said, stopping to regard him.
“Never mind, just get me back up, will ya?”
Phil took one arm, and helped Herb back up, mindful of his painful hip.
“The sun's going down, and your horsing around in a vampire's lair,” Herb admonished, moving to distance himself from the entrance.
“I just wanted to check this out,” Phil said. “Wait outside, if you want. I've gotta close this up.”
Herb made his way back outside the mausoleum while Phil closed the entrances up. He joined Herb outside and locked the padlock again.
“No way I can make it back through that field,” Herb said.
“I think I can sneak my Jeep over here. You think you can make it to the edge of the cemetery at least?”
“Find me a spot to rest for five minutes, and I'll try,” Herb said.
Phil glanced around and found a fairly flat-topped stone, which had moved and now leaned slightly. “Over here. Come on,” Phil said, moving for the headstone. Herb gingerly walked toward the stone, and settled himself down.
“Go on, get the Jeep. By the time you make it over I'll probably feel better.”
“Okay. Just stay right here,” Phil looked around, and saw that the light was fading from the day. He jogged away, toward the grassy field. It took him half the time they took to walk it. He brought the Jeep down a farmer's drive off the road, and drove straight up to where the cemetery was. While he did another ambulance went by, coming from the mansion. He hoped that the person inside would be okay. He wondered if the police had any idea of what they were up against.