VAMPOCALYPSE

Vampires have infiltrated the highest offices of the United States government. Secretly working with top scientists in the CDC and the nation’s most prestigious universities, this clandestine network creates the ultimate weapon for the undead: a particle bomb that, once detonated, transforms any humans within the blast radius into vampires.

The world’s human leaders deploy nuclear weapons in a desperate attempt to quell the out-of-control vampire infestation. In their quest for global domination, the vampires propel the world into the greatest of all wars. A nuclear winter envelops the planet, which provides a haven for the vampires to rise up and fully realize their domination over humankind.

Prater Saxon, a half-human/half-vampire survivor in the post-apocalyptic aftermath of the war, lives alone in a world in ruins. Despite his efforts to maintain his solitude as he makes his way through the desolate wastelands, Prater finds himself drawn into a new war brewing between the humans and vampires.

For millennia, humans ruled the Earth. Their rule…may have finally come to an end.

VAMPOCALYPSE introduces the characters that make up both the pre-war and post-apocalyptic world. The tale is told like a serial adventure, bringing the reader into the lives of both the vampires in power, as well as the humans who fight to live each day in a world in which they don’t belong.

VAMPOCALYPSE. The latest novel from author E.S.Brown. AVAILABLE NOW from Line by Lion Publications! Click on the STORE link above for details!

Enjoy this excerpt!

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PRATER

I fucking hate vampires.

They’re vile, disgusting creatures. And they’re everywhere.

I see what the world has become. My gray eyes take in the world around me as I walk among death. The never-changing monochrome skies – the result of the ensuing war that took place after the Great Turn – blanket each day with a gloomy hue. I wear sunglasses to filter out the sickening tone, to put a damper on the dead sunrays that have been all but dispelled through the damaged atmosphere.

True sunlight no longer touches the earth. And the world is all the worse for it. Without the sun to shine through, the vampires no longer just rule the night; they rule the day, as well.

A putrid odor permeates the air, saturating everything. Some may grow immune to the smell, but not me. I remain acutely aware of what has become of our world. Adaptation is for the weak, for those whose only means of survival is conformity.

The roads are long, the land desolate. I spend much of my time wandering. There are cities and towns, but I try to avoid them. I occasionally come across other wanderers. Some travel alone, others in groups. Or if they’re vampires, they’re usually – though not always – in packs.

Those in charge of this…new world…play a dangerous game no better or worse than when humans ruled. A precarious existence has developed between vampires and humans, though there’s no mistaking the vampires are in control. Human or not, you never truly know who to trust. For most that’s a problem. For me it’s easy.

I trust no one.

Not even the boy – I lowered my sunglasses to get a better look…he had to be maybe five years old? – who limped toward me that afternoon. He approached from one of the long, dust covered driveways that led to the occasional house branching off the barren road I roamed. I kept my eye on him as he drew closer. He was pale and a bit unnaturally thin, with a slight hunch forward as he walked.

I noticed a “Stop” sign on my right. Someone had scrawled BEWARE! VAMPIRES! on it. Whether it was written in paint or dried blood, I couldn’t tell. Either way it was an effort in futility. I quickly surveyed the area around me. From where I stood I saw half a dozen scattered homes with no one else around besides the boy. Rolling hills blurry in a fog of dust-filled air painted the horizon off one side of the straight road. The other side was bleak and flat, just like pretty much everyplace else. I wasn’t exactly sure what part of the country I was in, but it wouldn’t have mattered. Outside of the cities, from what I had seen, the entire United States was one giant, dry dust bowl.

I stood at the end of the driveway and stared at the boy who was now just about twenty feet away. I pushed my sunglasses back up.

“Stop.”

The boy stopped. We stood there for a few moments, neither of us saying anything, as I slowly raised my hand behind my head…and grasped the hilt of one of the two swords strapped in an “X” across my back.

The boy stretched a hand out toward me.

“Mister?”

He started to move forward.

“Stay right there,” I warned.

He stopped again.

“What do you want?”

The boy swallowed hard. Even at that distance I could see his lips were heavily chapped.

“I’m hungry, mister. Do you have anything to eat?”

“No. I don’t.”

The boy cocked his head to one side. “I’m so hungry and I haven’t eaten in days.”

The boy started walking forward again.

Dammit. I didn’t want this to turn into something it wasn’t. But I had the feeling I wasn’t going to get my way. I shifted my stance and redistributed my weight as I pulled the sword partway out of its sheath.

Trust no one.

The boy pointed at the satchel hanging at my left side as he continued to limp toward me.

“You got some food in there? Just…a bite? Anything, Sir, please…”

I drew the sword completely and held it with both hands in front of me.

“I don’t know you, boy. I’m telling you to stay back.”

The boy stopped, again, about ten feet away. He gave me a curious look then stood up straight as if his physical ailments were suddenly gone. A crooked boy no more. I held my sword steady.

The boy raised his arms as he sneered at me. His fingertips transformed into sharp talons and his snarl exposed a mouthful of razors.

I knew it. A fucking vampire.

The boy – he, it – leapt high into the air towards me. My blade sliced empty air as the boy-creature twisted then dropped abruptly. His feet landed squarely in my groin. Sonofabitch.

I keeled forward, the pain reverberating through me. The boy scrambled around and onto my back, knocking off my sunglasses as he grabbed my head. I tried to stab the sword blindly over my head. Despite his small size the boy’s grip was strong and he started twisting my head sideways as I continued my random jabs. Pain shot through my neck as it felt like it was about to be twisted off.

One of my stabs finally nicked the boy on top of his head. He screeched and loosened his grip. I reached back with a free hand, grabbed him and flung him forward.

The boy twisted in the air, landing in a three-point stance facing me. Saliva dripped from his fangs as he bared them. I displayed my sword high, ready to strike.

“Stop now, boy, while you have your life.”

The boy-creature ran at me on all fours, snapping and snarling like some sort of feral animal. My blade would have struck true but the boy jumped over me, bounced when he landed, went up and over me again, and bounced again. Over and over this went, faster and faster creating such a blur that it seemed as if there was more than one of him. Sometimes he landed close enough for me to strike, and I would swing and slash but always missed.

I grew increasingly frustrated. Most vampires I’d faced were relatively easy to dispose of…but once in awhile I would come across one of exceptional speed and agility that provided me a life-or-death workout I appreciated but never enjoyed.

At one point the boy cartwheeled in the air over me, close enough to where he dug the claws of one of his hands into my face as he went overhead. His razor-like fingers scratched from my right cheek, over my eye, and partway up my forehead. Warm blood flowed into my eyes.

The boy landed on the other side of me and hissed. I wiped the blood away and rushed at him. Every thrust, stab, and slice of my sword was evaded through a complex series of inhuman twists and turns. It didn’t help that he was much smaller than me. Good against an adult was one thing…good against a child with speed and agility of an adult in their prime was something else. And I didn’t know how old this “boy” actually was. He could have been decades or centuries old for all I knew…an aging soul forever trapped in the body of a child.

The boy dropped low under my blade and swiped at my feet with one of his legs. I fell flat on my back and the wind was knocked out of me. I luckily maintained grip of my sword.

I brought my sword up just as the boy jumped on me and bore his claws down at my face. He grabbed the blade with his hands. I pushed up as hard as I could, trying to get the blade’s edge closer to the boy’s face, but he seemed to have the strength of five men. He gripped the blade tighter. The sword began to cut into his palms and blood dripped from his hands and onto my face.

For a moment I tasted the cold, dead vampire blood.

With a final push, I thrust the sword up. The flat side of the blade smacked against the bridge of the boy-creature’s nose. His head recoiled back. I took advantage of the moment and shoved him off me.

I rolled up onto my feet and raised my sword for the final blow. I swung down hard and fast…but the boy matched my pace and a well-placed swift kick sent the sword flying out of my hands.

To the boy’s surprise I continued my downward motion, grabbing him by one arm and one leg. I lifted him up and spun around twice while he writhed and screeched. With a final grunt I released him high into the air with all my might.

The boy soared up and away from me. That is, until he twisted around into an upright position…flight. Damn. Thankfully, not all vampires are capable of flight. But it’s worse when they are.

The boy’s arms were outstretched at his sides, and he glared down at me with a combination of hatred and exasperation. I could only imagine that I had that same look towards him.

The boy dove at me, claws first. I stooped low, reached back and grabbed the other sword strapped to my back and swung it. Finally, the mark was made. The clean blade smoothly cleaved through the boy and an arc of blood made a crimson line in the gray backdrop of the sky. The boy’s body fell to one side of me…while his head fell to the other.

With the adrenaline in me receding I realized how heavy I was breathing. I shook off any loose blood and replaced the blade into its sheath on my back.

I slumped down onto my knees next to the body and brought my breathing under control. I put my hand to my mouth and carefully removed the set of false teeth I wore and placed them in my satchel. My body tensed in anticipation of what was to come. Even though I’d dealt with this for thirty years, it never got any easier.

The sharp points of my real teeth broke through my gums and extended out about half an inch before stopping. At least my gums didn’t bleed anymore whenever this happened.

I looked at the lifeless body lying in front of me. The pain in my body began to ease, perhaps in anticipation… I didn’t even pause as I dropped on top of the boy-creature and sunk my teeth into the open flesh of the headless neck – sucking and taking in his blood. Human blood was good, but vampire blood was always better. My body felt reenergized as the nectar began to course through me…

I wished there was another way, especially when it came to children. But this was what the world had become. Survival of the fittest. Dog eat dog.

Or, more accurately, vampire eat vampire.

‘cause, you know, we all gotta eat.

Just because I don’t like what I am doesn’t mean I don’t deny what I am.

Just because you are what you hate doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to hate. I didn’t choose to be this way. I was born this way.

After I finished feeding, I retrieved my other sword and put it away. I then headed back to the street where our fight started.

And there they were. My sunglasses. I picked them up and – dammit – the earpieces were bent. Again. I hate it when that happens. I gingerly straightened them back out. I’ve done that way too much. Only a matter of time before they finally…

SNAP!

One of the earpieces broke off.

 I fucking hate vampires.

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