“Request denied!” I snarl at the vampire, dressed in his cheap brown suit, kneeling on my office floor. “And do not return with such ridiculousness again, or I will take your head!”
I rap my fingertips on the arms of my leather exec chair. Being vampire king is a demanding role, but it is great to be back in Cincinnati, working in a proper office, living in my well-appointed home, and surrounded by my fine collection of first-edition books. My books. Clean books. No more of those vile, filthy library things I was forced to touch back in Arizona.
Blech! Libraries! Sharing is so unnatural.
That hot-and-miserable episode all began over five long years ago, when my maker was allegedly murdered during a trip to Phoenix. The next thing I knew, I was there looking for his killer and embroiled in a plot so dark and ridiculous that vampires for generations to come will be speaking of it: the Uprising. Thwarted by yours truly.
All right, fine. I suppose the librarian helped, too.
No. Do not think of her. Do not say her name.
I turn the channel in my mind away from thoughts of her, her library, and that other thing. Those days are over. No more sleuthing. No assistant librarian-ing. No more messing around. I care only for vampire laws and enforcing them.
But let us not get ahead of ourselves. Soulless, ruthless vampire or not, I am still a gentleman, and a gentleman always makes proper introductions.
My name is Michael Vanderhorst. And I am a four-hundred-year-old vampire who does not look a day over twenty. And though I have worn many hats throughout the history of my kind, I am best known for three things: One, being a legendary assassin, who delivered a smashing victory for our side during the Great War some three hundred years ago. Two, my looks—six-one, thick dark hair, and classically handsome features, if I do say so myself. And three, I am king. And I have big plans for the future of our kind.
Team Uprising wanted vampires to return to their caves and days of savagery, but I mean to take things in a different direction. I care for my people and their future.
Which is why they have put me on the throne. I am the lawmaker, judge, jury, and executioner. My word is absolute. No one defies me and lives to tell about it. As it should be.
“Sir?” My new guard, Freddy, who’s dressed in a plain black dress shirt and slacks, enters my office as my visitor bows repeatedly and shrinks backward out my office door in vampire headquarters. We are situated in a nondescript, five-story office building near downtown Cincinnati.
I look across the fine mahogany desk I acquired in the 1800s and note the worry in Freddy’s dark eyes.
“Great. What is it now?” I grumble.
He remains standing near the door some twenty feet away. It must be very bad news, and he fears I will kill the messenger because I have developed a reputation for ruling with a heavy hand. It is true, actually. Simply put, there is no other way to maintain vampire world order among our five hundred and eighty-two societies (our modern term for “coven”). Just this morning, after several lengthy trials, I executed two hundred vampires with my own hands. Well, hand, really. I only used one. I could not be bothered to put down my coffee—a fine Tanzania Peaberry.
Ahh…coffee. No morning is complete without it.
Now, if you are wondering what a vampire is doing drinking coffee, it means you are among the billions of humans who have been successfully duped by movies, books, and those ridiculous TV shows where all the vampires are constantly running around crying and having all those soppy, goopy feeeeeelings.
We are not pussies.
Fine, fine. Damon from season one of The Vampire Diaries was fairly on point with all his indiscriminate killing, so I will give him that; however, these shows are wholly inaccurate, and you will get no complaints from me. Human ignorance is our cloak. Keeps us flying under the radar.
No, no. We do not fly. We also do not live exclusively on human blood, though we do require it to stay alive. I myself prefer spicy vegan dishes. Lately, I’ve been on a veggie pad Thai kick. With extra ghost peppers. Delicious.
Another fact that may interest you is that vampires can walk in the sun. Yes, you heard it here, directly from me. We day walk. Vampires simply prefer not to. (A) It is hot; and (B) it weakens us. Nevertheless, I do it all the time. Just need to add a little extra “vitamin B” to my diet.
What is factual from these myth-based vampire shows is that we are stronger and faster than humans. Generally, the older one is, the more superior his or her strength. It is why it behooves a vampire to become a skilled fighter. As we grow older, our blood becomes a sought-after power pill by younger vampires.
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