I’m THIS CLOSE to the release for #iHunt: The Chosen One, the next San Jenaro novel. I want to share with you the first three chapters, to give a feel for this new story.
I’m gonna level with you: I love this book. I’m so excited to get it into your hands, and as many hands as possible. So I’m going to need your help once it’s out. If you’re reading this, you’re the kind of alpha fan that can be an evangelist. So, if you want to see more from the world of San Jenaro, let’s make this book a big thing.
First off, I would love it if you’d preorder it. You can do that right now.
But here’s a chapter. Here’s chapter 2 when you’re finished.
Imagine, if you will, a fist fight against a moving car. I said moving, this isn’t the bonus round in Street Fighter. When the car’s coming at you, you only have one chance to hit it. You punch it, then you die. Win-win, right? Wrong. You hurt your fist, you don’t hurt the car, then you’re dead.
Worst fight ever.
Fighting vampires can be like fighting a car. They’re fast, strong, tough, and if you use your one chance to punch them by, you know, punching them, then you end up dead and it’s the worst fight ever.
Instead of fighting a moving car with your fist, you fight a moving car with a wall. It’s like bull fighting in Looney Tunes. You get it to chase you. You make it think it’s gonna plow into you and kill your ass. Then you dodge out of the way so it smashes into a brick wall.
Do the same with vampires.
Just like Looney Tunes, fighting a vampire has a lot to do with comedic timing.
Except, instead of a brick wall, you’ve got to be clever. Use, say, a picket fence. Get them to jump on a picket fence, and you’ve got all their speed and strength going toward jamming a big piece of wood in their chest. It’s a win-win. You don’t have to hurt your wrist trying to jam a stake through their heart, and you look completely badass if it works. If it doesn’t work, they’re still impaled on a fence post, which is simultaneously a tactical miracle and hilarious.
Impaled vampires will flail for a good twenty seconds before pulling themselves off the post. I’ve timed it.
Long story short, Luke’s a vampire.
Vampires come in three main breeds in San Jenaro. Bats, wolves, and rattlesnakes. Luke’s a wolf. Wolves are very strong. That means not only did he impale himself on the picket fence, unfortunately not hitting his heart, but he pushed the damned thing all the way out his back by almost a foot. It’s gruesome. Vampires don’t really bleed, not the way you think of it. Their blood’s thick and icky and kind of alive. It pulls back to the body like mercury. But when you get them real good, say, by impaling them on a fence post, you’ve got all this blood from all over the place slithering slowly back to the body. It’s really gross. You’re just gonna have to take my word for it.
“I’m gonna kill you!” He growls out, grabbing at his chest, grabbing at the painted white plank in his tummy.
“Oh my god.”
He gnashes his teeth and jerks his head back toward me.
“You guys all say that. Think about that for a second. That’s the first thing that comes to mind?” I imitate his growly accent. “I’m gonna kill you.” I roll my eyes. “You sound like a fucking idiot. Do you think I’ve never been told that? Do you honestly think you’re the strongest or smartest vampire to ever tell me that?”
He looks back at me and blinks. I roll my neck. Proper stretching is important on the hunt. Then, I take my machete out of its sleeve.
“What’s your point, bitch? I’m still gonna kill you.” He’s grabbing at the post, trying to force himself off of it. He’s fighting against his own weight and the traction from the old, ratty wood. It’s all slippery from his weird mercury monster blood.
“Um, no you’re not. The point is, bitch, that you’re not the best vampire to say that to me, and if that’s the case, you’ve got to assume it’s not gonna happen, right?”
He stops fighting and raises an eyebrow. “You’re gonna kill me anyway. Why does it matter?”
“Fucking shit. You’re new at this, aren’t you?” I sigh, and hop up to sit on the small of his back. This pushes him further down on the post.
He screams. I can’t really blame him for that.
“What? Maybe five years? Tops?”
“Seven!” He snaps and tries to bite me in the thigh. But from where I’m sitting, he can’t bend his back far enough.
“Seven fucking years, and you don’t know the value of a good villain monologue?” I sigh, and shake my head.
His face is red, his eyes are red, and his fangs are fully bared. He roars out and starts gnashing the way you might expect an alligator to.
“You practice your villain monologue and make it compelling. You make it new and interesting, that way I’m captivated and impressed and you have a chance to escape. Didn’t anybody ever teach you?”
“KILL ME ALREADY!” He shouts and grunts, glaring at me.
“No can do, buddy.” I shake my head and look down at him. I can tell he’s running down his blood supply. Vampires go through blood when they exert themselves. It’s like me with enchiladas and cheap cocaine. He’s losing self-control. A few more minutes and he’ll be a mindless death zombie who will stop at nothing for blood.
“WHY?” He’s flailing and trying to reach back with his hands. I bat them away with the flat of my machete.
“I saw what you did to that guy back there. You weren’t just feeding. You were torturing him. You take pleasure off that shit. You could have just bitten him and walked away. Fuck, if you had to kill him, you could have just killed him and moved on. But NOOOOO. You had to toy with him. Tease him. Let him know what was coming, then make him feel helpless.”
“So fucking what?” He spits a gout of blood on the ground in spite.
Vampires are so wasteful.
“So fucking what? Um, I’m doing that to you, that’s what. This is poetic justice, and I really don’t think you’re really appreciating the hard work I put in here. I’m giving you a narrative arc that justifies your inclusion in the story. You did a thing. You get punished for the thing. Instead of some jack off nameless vampire, you get to be Luke, the Greek motherfucking tragedy. You should be thanking me.”
He jerks to the side hard enough that I almost fall off. I hear the wood of the fence cracking.
I hop off and the fence shatters. He stands tall and howls out. Then he laughs and turns to face me. He’s got this huge grin, teeth and fangs all covered in blood, with blood dripping down his chin. Very black metal album cover. “Oh I’ll thank you. For the meal!”
I sigh and throw my head back. “For the meal? Jesus Christ. At least say, ‘for the holy communion you’re about to give me’ or some equally pretentious shit. Fucking vampires today. No sense of drama. Besides, you’ve already lost.”
“Me? Lost? I’m free. I’m not gonna fall for your shit again.”
I laugh. “Remember how you killed him? You let him escape for a second? But then he tripped because you broke his toe? That way you could give him the illusion of safety?”
He raises an eyebrow and nods.
Then the cherry bomb I planted in his back pocket goes off with a little gunshot pop.
He jumps, turns, and grabs his ass. I rush forward and jam my shoulder into his side, knocking him to his stomach. I jump and thrust the heel of my shoe into his spine, pinning him to the dirt.
“You empowered him then took it all away. To suit your perverted little power fantasy.”
He snarls back at me.
“So now I’m gonna cut off your fucking head just after you thought you could turn the tables. How does that feel?”
He stares at me in disbelief. “You’re just like me. You’re enjoying this.”
“No. I can see it in your eyes. You like it. You’re having fun. This isn’t about justice. This is about amusing yourself. You’re just as much a monster as we are.”
I shake my head. “I’m worse.” I shove the shoe deeper into his back. “You’re doing it for a meal. I’m doing it for money. I’m doing it because it’s important to evaluate your work-life balance, and understand that when you’re overworking yourself, it’s important to eke out a little fun wherever you can find it.”
His eyes go wide. “Work? This… you’re not the chosen one?”
I laugh. “Sorry bro. No chosen ones here. Just a broke-ass woman you keep calling a bitch, and the $5,000 bounty she’s standing on.”
He tries to say something. But in the end, my millennial internet attention span wins out and I swing my machete down at his neck like a golf club. The head doesn’t come off in a single swipe, but it’s enough to sever the spine. Sometimes the drama doesn’t work out, so you’ve got to settle for functional.
I pose him like a scarecrow on the remains of the fence, with his head dangling down by what little bit’s left of his throat. His body’s quickly decaying, so I snap a couple of pictures. Then I realize my flash is off and I take a couple more.
I post the pictures to the #iHunt app. Then I post them to my private Discord server.
“Got to him first. Sorry everyone. Y’all get the next one.”
I like having a chat server full of hunters. It’s like a water cooler for people who murder murderers for a living. You get to brag a little, you get to pick up jobs when others can’t finish them, and you get human interaction with people you don’t have to lie to when they ask what you do for a living.
The #iHunt client’s already responded. Five stars. They left a comment.
“I think perhaps the dramatics were unnecessary, and unnecessarily violent, but I can’t complain about her results.”
That’s really me to a T, isn’t it?
I’m Lana. I hunt monsters.