Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I posted this teaser back in April, and thought that I would go ahead and post it once again. The e-book version was published in February and the paperback is tentatively set for Halloween, 2010. The sequel is set for release either late 2010 or early 2011. What follows is the opening of the novel: Dance on Fire. It is a Christian/horror crossover. I hope you like it.
May 4, 2008
The great beast paused in the dark and sniffed the cool spring air as if welcoming in the fragrant bouquet from a glass of fine wine held below his nostrils. Hands casually held inside the pockets of a brown leather coat, long single strands of his dark hair leaping and dancing in the light breeze, head held slightly elevated, he breathed deeply so as not to miss a single delectable whiff.
After all of these many years, he was close now. Before, he simply had a sense of it; perhaps one might call it a fool’s hope. Now he could smell it, taste it.
He was very close indeed.
The breath within it now spent, devoid of any flavor; the beast released it and stole another.
Cold, penetrating eyes pierced the moonless night as he was on the move again strolling languidly, almost if in a hypnotic trance eastward through the peach orchard. Had he already become intoxicated by the scent? Perhaps not the blood that led him, but what the blood was speaking to him. His eyes swept across his field of vision obscured as it was by the trees’ thick canopies. With each additional step, more of the approaching town was revealed: multi-colored light, the spectrum of sounds, the differing shapes of buildings. Looking was unnecessary, however. At this moment, he was as finely tuned to the world around him as he had ever been before. Ahead where the small town the clues had led him to met the open country, a coyote prowled cautiously, desperately searching for a morsel. To his far left was laughter. Actually, it was more like giggling: the squeals of drunken hyenas, intoxicated with the blood and flesh of their kill. Although in the case of these young men, much too young to drink, it was Budweisers that they were killing. He could actually detect the faint sound of the beer sloshing within the long-neck bottles held in the hands of these who probably thought themselves safely undetected among the rows of the raisin vineyard. This night, at long last, after much searching, longing, nothing could escape the beast’s notice.
He paused yet again, this time kneeling low to the earth that lay below his heavy riding boots. Though quite minimal, the scent of blood was now sweet and heavy in his flaring nostrils and parched throat, awakening a deeper hunger within him, as if that could be possible. The sensation seemed so new to him. It felt so virginal: like that first bumbling attempt at lovemaking; that first night away from home; that first bloodletting.
Yet, it was none of these. It was the sweet taste of revenge. The beast would have to salve that hunger with something else tonight, he knew, and perhaps tomorrow as well, but not for very much longer.
Claw-like fingers dug slowly and confidently at the ground until a tiny leg emerged. It was followed by another, and then a shriveled face. They stopped digging and wrapped themselves around the tiny head, where nails all too similar had recently gripped and snapped away the last of the cats’ life. Without a thought, the beast pulled the corpse from the shallow grave. He did not need to search for the wound that had drained the last of the creature’s life, but he did. He longed to see the wound. How could he not? Was this not what had been driving him, filling his days? And now, he would do nothing but enjoy it to the fullest.
He bent the pathetic little neck back until there was an awful crack. His expression showed little knowledge of the sound of it. When he found the matted place where cold lips such as his had drank, when he could see the bite that had drawn the blood, he brought it quickly to his mouth and blew away the dirt with a sharp blast of dank air. Now he did the unthinkable. He licked the wound, long and slow like a lover would the breast of his beloved. Then the great beast smiled a horrible thin smile as he looked up from it.
“At last,” he whispered, nonchalantly dropping the dead cat and gazing up toward the small town before him. He spoke as if to the entire population. “Nathaniel,” he declared, gritting his perfect white teeth as he did. “I have you at last. And when I am through with you the insignificant souls of this place shall gladly hand you over to me!”
The vampire immediately headed off into town, setting events into motion.
Kingsburg, California. It is a rural agricultural community in the heart of the San Joaquin valley, the richest agricultural valley in the world, so states the city’s official website. It was incorporated May 11, 1908. It has a population of over 11,000 and lies twenty miles south of Fresno, and nearly halfway between San Francisco and the city of angels.
It is the home of Sun-Maid: the largest and most well-known raisin plant in the world. The gold medal Olympian Rafer Johnson was raised here. The actor Slim Pickens, who rode a nuclear warhead in the film, “Doctor Strangelove”, was born here.
The Swedish Village, the signs read and the police cars and police badges proudly proclaim. The style of the buildings’ architecture, the baby blue and yellow colors of Sweden, as well as the frequent sighting of the traditional dress from one or another of the downtown business owners further testify to this. Signs at various points along the city limits greet strangers with the Swedish Word: Valkommen. It means exactly as it sounds which is “welcome”.
Every third weekend in May thousands of people converge on Kingsburg for the Swedish Festival. It is a time where nearly the entire town puts on its traditional dress and a show for the weekend, with the highlights being a dance around the May Pole on Friday night and a pancake breakfast and parade on Saturday. This year marks the 43rd annual celebration and the town’s centennial anniversary.
The festivities were set to begin in ten days.