Monday, 30 April 2007

Ghosts, Vampires and Zombies: Cinema Fiction vs Physics Reality

The link below takes you to a paper by Costas J. Efthimiou and Sohang Gandhi that describes why various monsters don't exist, based on scientific reasoning. It's very tongue-in-cheek and makes for interesting reading.
Direct link to PDF:

Anyone who has seen John Carpenter’s “Vampires” or the movie “Blade” or any of the host of other vampire films is already quite familiar with how the legend goes. The vampires need to feed on human blood. After one has stuck his fangs into your neck and sucked you dry, you turn into a Vampire yourself and carry on the blood sucking legacy. The fact of the matter is, if vampires truly feed with even a tiny fraction of the frequency that they are depicted to in the movies and folklore, then the human race would have been wiped out quite quickly after the first vampire appeared.

I have recently spoken to Costas and I'm very pleased to announce that he's given permission for me to use this paper in the follow-up to Rebirth...

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Sunday, 29 April 2007

Chapter 47: The Most Important Person In The World

Agent Simpson stood outside the door of the medical room, watching the body of Detective Ryder twitch and shake the stretcher he was tightly bound to. The lamps around the room cast oversized shadows on the stone walls, exaggerating his movements and magnifying the pain she felt for him.

He doesn’t deserve this
, Agent Simpson told herself. His smarts and bravery had helped The Brotherhood find the doctor before he knew what he was getting involved in. He had succeeded with considerably fewer resources than Captain Stein had at his disposal.

She had hidden her intentions from him and was starting to question her methods. If she had told him everything when they first met, would he have been better prepared? If he knew about the war with the vampires from the beginning would he be standing next to her rather than lying on a stretcher, convulsing violently in a fit caused by the experimental treatment Doctor Owen had given him?

But how could I have told him anything? He never would have believed me.

If he didn’t pull through, she didn’t think she’d be able to forgive herself.

Captain Stein’s heavy boots stomped down the hall and stopped next to Agent Simpson.

‘Sorry about pulling a gun on you before,’ she said, ‘I know I broke the rules.’

‘You’re right,’ he replied, ‘but you were right about something else. He did help us get to the doctor.’

‘How is the doctor?’ she asked.

‘He’s spent the last twenty-four hours in the company of his wife, then vampires, then us. I think he’s sleeping now, or trying to at least.’

‘Does he know about his wife?’

‘Yes, but he’s just as worried now that the police have her. She’s out in the open now. All it will take to get to her is one infiltrator in the police department. As far as we know, they might already be overrun with bloodsuckers. There’s not much we can do about it tonight though.’

‘Any news on Doctor Forrest? He wasn’t home when we picked up the doctor.’

‘No, there’s no news on him yet. We’re widening the search but if the vampires have him, they’ll be keeping him under closer wraps than they did with the doctor.’

‘Did you call regional headquarters?’

‘Yes. They’re sending a couple of helicopters to pick us up. Like you said, we have to assume we’re going to be targeted tonight so we’ll leave a team behind to take care of them when they arrive.’

Agent Simpson felt slight relief. The helicopters they were sending would undoubtedly be heavily armed and well-manned. They could feel relatively safe on the ride back to regional HQ.

‘What about Tom Ryder?’ she asked.

‘What about him?’ Captain Stein seemed taken aback at the suggestion there was any question in the matter. ‘We’ll patch him up and send him on his way.’

‘We can’t do that,’ said Agent Simpson, raising her voice slightly. One more ignorant comment like that from Captain Stein would tip her over the edge. She had thought she was getting through to him.

‘Why not? If he wakes up human he’ll be okay.’ Captain Stein knew this was an ignorant attitude but he didn’t need or want the hassle of taking a potential vampire with them. It was the last straw for Agent Simpson.

‘That’s not true and you know it!’ she argued, ‘The treatment is still in the experimental stage. Doctor Owen wants to monitor him and suspects any improvement will only be temporary. Tom Ryder is the best chance for the doctor to move on at an unprecedented rate. He may not look it but he’s very excited to have a live specimen to work on.’

Captain Stein’s shoulders slumped. ‘You’re right. We’ve got to take this guy with us.’

‘He’s a very important subject. If he has been infected, this will allow us to experiment with the virus like we never have before. The longer he stays human, the more hope we will have for the future.’

A door behind them opened and Doctor Owen emerged. ‘She’s right, you know. This man is the most important person in the world to us right now. His blood can tell us a hundred times more than we already know and let us take giant leaps in finding a cure.’

Agent Simpson suspected the doctor had been listening to their conversation from behind the door for a while.

‘Yes, well you know how I feel about that,’ said Captain Stein.

‘Yes I do, Mister Stein.’ He opened the door to the medical room.

‘What are you doing?’ asked Captain Stein.

‘He’s been out for exactly three hours. It’s time to take another sample.’

As Doctor Owen sat on the edge of the bed and took his fourth blood sample from Detective Ryder, Agent Simpson thought about the exchange of words between the Captain and the doctor.

‘You don’t think he’s going to find a cure, do you?’ she asked Captain Stein.

‘I think if the doctor works hard enough, he’ll find a treatment for the virus.’ Stein still didn’t seem enthusiastic about this possibility.

‘So what do you have a problem with?’

‘He shouldn’t be looking for a cure. Once someone is reborn they become a member of another species. Pure evil.’

‘You know that no scientist has got any proof of that theory but surely the answer can’t be killing them all off?’

‘Right now it’s the only option we have, Agent Simpson.’

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Friday, 27 April 2007

Chapter 46: Dreams

I was in a terrible place.

Drifting in and out of consciousness, I was struggling to determine what was real and what wasn’t. I wanted to call out for help but couldn’t.

The pain in my neck was spreading all over me, like a swarm of insects crawling into every corner of my body and nibbling at my bones and muscles. I was being overcome by something I had never felt before. Every nerve ending was on fire and my limbs felt like they were expanding and contracting over and over again.

My physical body was out of my control. My jaw was cracking and clicking and my front teeth were shifting in their sockets, like they were trying to escape from my mouth.

I heard voices echoing all around me.

Shoot him in the head now!

His heart is still beating.

Isn’t there anything else we can do?

Nothing at all.

Then came the visions. Bright colours flashing before me followed by complete darkness. It felt like I was falling down a bottomless pit. More images flashed into my head from the past and present.

Officer Myers, driven by bloodlust, leaping from building to building.

The mutilated body of Danny Johnson lying in the morgue with Doctor Schreiber poking around in his wounds.

Sarah, my beautiful wife, lying battered and bruised on our kitchen floor, her limbs twisted into unnatural shapes.

Standing face to face with my wife’s murderer.

Images flashed before my eyes that I didn’t recognise.

Running up a flight of stairs with scores of bloodthirsty vampires in pursuit.

Looking down at a severed head in my hands.

How could this happen to me? Twenty-four hours earlier I was just a regular over-worked cop needing a good night’s sleep. Now I didn’t know if I was going to make it through the night, and if I did, would I be the same person when I woke up?

Am I the same person now?

Will I feel the need to feed on blood every night?

Will I ever wake up?

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Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Chapter 45: Medical Room

The medical room in Hartley House used to be a banquet hall. Statesmen and the local well-to-do would spend many an evening feasting on suckling pig while dozens of servants buzzed around them.

That had been a long time ago. Now all the furniture was piled in the corner, covered by a thick layer of dust and the priceless paintings that hadn’t seen the light of day for years were protected by white sheets. The table that used to seat thirty aristocrats and playboys had been moved to another hall to make room for Doctor Owen’s equipment.

Detective Ryder’s cold, pale body arrived in the medical room tied to a wheeled stretcher pushed by two very uneasy-looking soldiers. Doctor Owen was waiting, already suited up with a surgical mask over his face.

Everywhere Agent Simpson looked she could see soldiers holding rifles, with their fingers hovering over the triggers. They were nervous about having a bite victim at the outpost. Agent Simpson wondered how many of them had actually seen a live vampire before.

An attack had never happened at this outpost but the soldiers had all heard the horror stories about what can happen. Every outpost that had been infiltrated by a vampire had sustained heavy losses within minutes of the attack. They all knew it could happen to them at any time but now they were face to face with their fears.

The man in front of them could turn into a real life vampire at any moment and rip their bodies to pieces with his bare hands. The more recent recruits were all desperately running through their training in their minds, trying to find the tactics that would help them stay alive if this unfortunate half-dead man in front of them suddenly developed the desire to suck their blood.

In the time she had been a member of the Brotherhood, Agent Simpson was aware of only one time in recent history when an outpost was infiltrated by a vampire. Captain Stein had been in charge of the outpost and had lost many good men: thirty-five soldiers were either killed or reborn and he was the only survivor.

He swore he would never let that happen again. Now he was standing over the bed holding a rifle loaded with silver bullets. One squeeze of the trigger would unload them all into Detective Ryder’s body and rid them all of the immediate threat.

‘You’ll have to back off if I’m going to treat him,’ Doctor Owen said as he approached the bed. Captain Stein eyeballed the doctor and reluctantly took a step back.

‘Can you help him?’ asked Agent Simpson.

‘I’m not sure,’ said Doctor Owen, ‘the wound has stopped bleeding but his heart is still beating. You did good work on his neck to stop the flow. He is unconscious, which is common for a bite victim. How long is it since he was bitten?’

‘About twenty minutes’, she said, ‘How long before he turns?’

‘It depends. It can be minutes or hours but he may not even turn. Not every bite victim turns into a vampire. Some get lucky.’

‘You have to work on him under the assumption that he could turn at any minute,’ said Captain Stein.

‘I know, Captain,’ Doctor Owen said.

Doctor Owen unzipped a small case containing ten small syringes, each containing a bright yellow liquid. He took one out of the case, wiped down a spot of Detective Ryder’s right arm with alcohol and injected the liquid into his vein.

‘Now all we can do is wait for him to wake up,’ said Doctor Owen.

‘Is that it?’ asked Agent Simpson, ‘Isn’t there anything else we can do?’

‘Nothing at all. I’d give him a fifty-fifty chance of waking up human. We’ll just have to wait and see.’ Doctor Owen’s words contained no compassion or sympathy. It became clear to Agent Simpson that the doctor had no more feelings for Detective Ryder than he did for the rats in his lab.

Captain Stein turned to the two least nervous-looking soldiers. ‘You two stay here.’

‘And do what sir?’ asked one of them.

Captain Stein rolled his eyes sighed with exasperation. These young recruits were dedicated but some of them were really dumb.

‘If he wakes up and shows any sign of being one of them,’ said Captain Stein, ‘shoot him in the head. That’s the big round thing at the end of his body. Do you want me to draw you a map?’

‘No, sir.’

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Monday, 23 April 2007

Win one of five copies of Rebirth at Silver Moon

My fellow online writer Ben Willcock is kindly giving away five copies of Rebirth at his website

If you head over there and enter the competition, make sure you also check out his online novel Silver Moon, which is six chapters in and is starting to get very interesting...

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Chapter 44: Unwanted Visitors

A loud clang of metal bolts echoed around the entrance hall as the huge wooden doors to the clan’s headquarters were flung open by Luca Salazar. The heat from outside tainted the cool atmosphere from the stone walls inside and the resident vampires were quick to close the doors once Salazar’s squad of five vampires entered the main hall.

Marcus and Roxy emerged from a dark corridor at the opposite end of the hall to meet their visitors. Marcus reluctantly shook hands with Salazar and they nodded to each other, their mutual hatred thinly veiled by an air of civility.

‘Good evening, Luca,’ said Marcus, ‘welcome back to our headquarters.’

It had been a long time since the Deputy Lord Chancellor had visited Marcus Verrico’s clan. The Lord Chancellor himself had never visited. He very rarely visited the clans, primarily for security reasons but also to retain his threatening air of mystery.

‘I bring best wishes from the Lord Chancellor,’ Salazar said, ‘He wishes you and your clan all the best in the timely recovery of Doctor Owen.’

Marcus had only met the Lord Chancellor twice in his undead lifetime but he had been in his service for long enough to know the true meaning of his sentiment.

Find the doctor tonight or your clan is finished. Find him or
you are finished.

‘We know where the doctor is being held,’ said Marcus, ‘We are gathering our forces together and we are poised to launch an attack as soon as I give the word. Please follow me through to our dining hall where we can feast and toast the successful return of Doctor Owen.’

‘Thank you,’ Salazar said, ‘but what makes you think this attack will be more successful than any other? The mortals are well trained and well armed.’

‘With respect sir, I must correct you there; that is only partially correct. They are well trained and well armed for a small attack. They believe there are very few of our brothers and sisters in the local area but tonight we will show them our true potential.’

The serious look on Marcus’ face told the Deputy Lord Chancellor that he meant business.

‘Sounds like you have everything in hand,’ Salazar said, trying not to show he was impressed with the Marcus’ ambition. He waved a hand towards the dining hall, ‘Lead the way, Marcus.’

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Thursday, 19 April 2007

Chapter 43: Disobeying Orders

The last speck of dust flew away into the night’s sky, leaving Detective Ryder alone on the bonnet of the car. Agent Simpson’s hands were shaking as she lowered her gun. She hadn’t been quick enough to save Detective Ryder from being bitten.

As she stepped out of the car, her thoughts turned to the vampire in the car they ran off the road. She saw Officer Benson on the other side of the road, checking over an empty car.

Damn it, we’ve let the other one escape.

With no immediate leads and a dying cop in front of her, she knew she had to do something she swore she would never do. Detective Ryder had passed out but the blood hadn’t stopped pouring from his neck. She took off her jacket and tied it round his neck, keeping as much pressure on the wound as possible without choking him.

Within seconds, her dark grey jacket had turned a deep shade of red. Agent Simpson dragged Detective Ryder’s limp body into the back seat of the car, just as Officer Benson ran across the road to her.

‘Oh my God,’ he said as he saw the body of Detective Ryder, ‘I’ll call for an ambulance.’

‘No,’ she said abruptly, ‘it’s okay, I’ll take him to the hospital. It’s not far from here.’

Without waiting to hear a reply, Officer Simpson hit the accelerator and screeched away in the opposite direction to the hospital.

She headed out of the city and into the countryside. What she was about to do went against her orders: never help a victim and never bring a victim to an outpost of The Brotherhood. It didn’t take long for her to reach her destination: Hartley House.

She drove the pale, blood-soaked body of Detective Ryder up the long drive to the front steps of Hartley House, where Captain Stein and a team of soldiers were waiting with their rifles pointed at the car. She knew the security team would have alerted Captain Stein to her arrival as soon as she was within a mile of the outpost.

‘What the hell are you doing, Agent Simpson?’ Captain Stein demanded, as Agent Simpson dragged Detective Ryder out of the car on to the gravel drive.

‘Get a stretcher. We have to get him inside.’

‘He’s been bitten, hasn’t he? You know the rules: shoot him in the head now.’

‘No! Screw the rules. You wouldn’t have the doctor if it wasn’t for this man. You owe it to him. We all owe it to him!’

‘This is the guy who tried to run us off the road. He was a problem when he was human, now he’s a vampire and you know we have to kill him.’ He flicked the safety catch on his rifle and moved towards Detective Ryder.

In a flash, Agent Simpson jumped up, drew her gun and held it against Captain Stein’s head. The soldiers on the steps immediately changed their aim and Agent Simpson found herself at the wrong end of ten rifles. Her heart was pumping like she’d just run a marathon and she was terrified on the inside but on the outside she was determined to stay as cool and collected as always.

I’m in control here, not them
, she kept repeating over and over to herself.

‘Get the doctor and treat this man,’ she ordered, ‘or I’ll unload in your head.’

‘You know you won’t last much longer than me. As soon as you pull that trigger, you’re dead.’

‘I don’t care. This man can be saved and we have to help him. Get the doctor. That’s an order, soldier.’ She pushed the gun hard against Captain Stein’s head. After a few seconds’ thought, Captain Stein relented.

‘Okay, okay. You win.’ He waved an arm to the soldiers and they lowered their rifles. ‘Get a stretcher and send the doctor to the medical room.’ Two soldiers ran into Hartley House to carry out the orders.

‘You can lower your gun now, Agent Simpson,’ he said. She felt her hand shaking as she did so and cursed herself for showing weakness. ‘They’ll be on their way here right now. They always know where the new bloodsuckers are.’

‘We have to assume they know you’ve got the doctor. They’re already on their way here anyway.’

‘You’re right,’ said Captain Stein, ‘I’ll call regional HQ and tell them to get us out of here tonight.’

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Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Competition: Have A Character Named After You

With the publication of chapter 42 we've reached the first big twist in the tale. We've also got to the end of 'Part One' in the paperback version of the novel. To mark the occasion I've decided to run another competition.

I now have a full plan of the sequel to Rebirth and I'm going to start writing it very soon. However, I am not very good at thinking up names for characters. Those of you who knew me pre-Rebirth will recognise some of the character and place names and I've been contacted by an ex-colleague who was 'pleased' to find out I'd named a stately home after him.

With the new competition I'm offering you the chance to have your name in print in the sequel. I'm offering up two characters to be named after visitors to this blog. I'm not going to say which characters they are but they will play a significant part in the story. It also depends on the gender and winning names of course, but the more evil your name sounds, the more likely it is that a vampire will be named after you!

I'm going to draw names out of a virtual hat again but this time there are more ways of being in with a chance:
1. Every verified email subscription to this blog will be entered - see the subscription box down the left-hand side of this page for details of how to sign up.
2. Tell a friend about the blog - just cc or bcc into the email you send to them and I'll enter you into the draw.
3. Everyone who buys a copy of the novel will be entered as well. If you buy a copy via rather than this site, forward your order confirmation on to and I'll add you into the draw.

This competition will be open until the end of Part Two of the novel, which will take us up to chapter 61.

Good luck!

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Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Chapter 42: Asleep At Last

I thought I’d had it rough that morning. I had been overworked and crying out for a decent night’s sleep.

But compared with what was to come, it was nothing.

Now I was sitting in my car with a vampire hunter having found out there had been a war going on between humans and vampires since the beginning of time. Agent Simpson explained a lot to me but I knew she had only scratched the surface. I would have given anything to go back to this morning and avoid this case.

There wasn’t any time for it all to sink in before we had to hit the road again. The radio fizzed into life.

‘This is unit one-four-three calling for backup. I’m in pursuit of a dark blue Toyota heading past the hospital. The driver is to be considered dangerous and the passenger has attacked two men. Both are in a critical condition.’

I immediately picked it up. ‘Unit one-four-three, this is Detective Ryder. Was the attacker naked?’

‘That’s right, Detective.’

Agent Simpson pointed to a police car speeding down the road past the hospital. ‘Look, that must be him.’

‘We’ve spotted you and we’re on our way. Do not attempt to engage the suspects until we are with you.’

Before long we had caught up with unit one-four-three, which was tailing a dark blue Toyota. I put the portable siren on the roof of my car but Agent Simpson stopped me from turning it on.

‘Wait,’ she said, ‘before you engage them, take this.’ She reached into her jacket and pulled out a gun. A black revolver that looked like it had never been used.

‘I’ve got a gun,’ I said.

‘Your gun’s useless against them, remember? This one’s loaded with silver bullets.’ She passed the gun to me. It was a six-shooter so I told myself I’d better not waste the bullets.

‘Unit one-four-three,’ I said into the radio, ‘you take the right, I’ll take the left. Hit your siren and we’ll try and pull these guys over.’

Unit one-four-three turned his siren on and so did I. We flanked the car in front in an effort to get it to stop. I wasn’t expecting the driver to pull over so I wasn’t surprised when he spun the steering wheel and smashed into the patrol car.

I drew my regular gun and tried to shoot out the tyres with two shots but missed with both. The driver then slammed his car into mine and I gripped the wheel hard with two hands to regain control.

Officer Myers then launched himself through the back windscreen of the car in front. The naked vampire flew through the air and landed on the bonnet of my car with a loud thud. I hit the brakes, hoping that Officer Myers would turn into road kill but he somehow managed to cling on.

I picked up Agent Simpson’s gun, leaned out of the window and fired two shots in the direction of the vampire but missed. The other car slammed into mine again and I nearly dropped the gun.

I fired another shot at the front tyre, knowing I was wasting a silver bullet but I didn’t have time to swap guns. Luckily, this bullet went to good use. The tyre burst and the Toyota swerved and spun to a halt. Now I only had three shots left. I fired another one at Officer Myers but missed again.

A bus pulled out in front of me at an intersection and I had to drop the gun on my lap to hit the brakes and slide the car out of the way. As the car spun across the road, narrowly missing the bus, Officer Myers crawled up the bonnet and punched through the windscreen. The glass shattered onto us and he grabbed me by the neck, pulling me out of my seat.

Agent Simpson pulled on the handbrake. The car came to a halt with me being held in the air on the bonnet. I punched Officer Myers’ head and torso but nothing could stop him pulling me in close and sinking his teeth into my neck.

I screamed in complete agony. The pain was unlike anything I had ever felt before. All I could hear were deafening sucking noises in my left ear as the vampire lapped up the blood that was draining from my body.

I heard a gunshot and the vampire lost its grip. I hit the bonnet and looked up to see dust pouring from a wound in his chest. More and more dust poured onto me as the wound grew larger and larger. Officer Myers’ body was dissolving in front of me and blowing away in the summer breeze.

His body disappeared into the air and I was left lying on the bonnet of my car with the life in me leaking out of a gaping wound in my neck.

For the first time in forty-eight hours, I slipped into unconsciousness.

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Sunday, 15 April 2007

Chapter 41: "I'm Here To Help You"

Officer Benson had already dealt with two drunk and disorderlies since his shift had started four hours earlier. One of them went home with a friend and the other was locked up in a drying-out cell at the police station. That was about normal for this time of night but after the witching hour he knew he’d have to call for backup on every call. Once the people of this city have a few drinks in them they can get very rowdy and after five years on the night shift, Officer Benson had the scars to prove it.

He picked up his third call of the night, which sounded like more of the same. An anonymous call came from the Paparazzi nightclub, saying that two young men had barged their way into the club and proceeded to knock hell out of each other.

Officer Benson suspected this wasn’t the truth. He had dealt with the security staff at Paparazzi before and knew they liked to teach wrongdoers a lesson but the punishment was always a little too harsh for the crime. The police department happily turned a blind eye to this kind of behaviour, as long as no one was seriously injured and the victims learned their lesson.

Officer Benson agreed with this philosophy. There had been endless ‘stop drinking’ campaigns and non-stop propaganda to point out the ills of alcohol consumption but the authorities were starting to realise that all people want to do when they finish their shifts is go out, get drunk and act like idiots.

It’s twenty-first century human nature.

As he turned his patrol car round the corner past the hospital, Officer Benson considered going into the club but thought he’d check the usual dropping off point for people who’ve been ejected: the dumpsters in the alley round the back.

He stopped his car and got out, seeing Josh looking into one of the dumpsters. As he unclipped his handcuffs, Officer Benson shouted to the young man, ‘Are you okay, son? What have you been up to tonight?’

Josh didn’t move an inch. As he approached the dumpster, Officer Benson noticed that the young man looked very scared. He had bruises and scratches on his blood-drained face. No doubt he was coming to terms with the beating he had just received. Officer Benson tried to offer words of encouragement. ‘Don’t worry, son. The bruises will heal. You’ll feel a lot better in the morning.’

Not two seconds later, the blood-soaked naked body of Officer Myers leapt out of the dumpster, grabbed the young man by the neck and threw him against the wall. Josh slumped to the ground, completely still.

Officer Benson drew his gun and pointed it at the naked man. Like everyone else who had seen Officer Myers since his rebirth, he couldn’t believe his eyes.

Blood was pouring down his face, coating his chest.

His eyes looked like they were staring straight through him.

His canine teeth were unnaturally long.

Am I looking at a real life vampire? I can’t be! More importantly, will the bullets in my gun take it down?

Before he had a chance to try and deal with this freak of nature, he heard an engine roaring behind him. He spun round to see a pair of bright lights moving towards him at high speed. He jumped out of the way and hit the ground just as the car stopped where he had been standing. Officer Myers was face to face with a hubcap. He breathed a sigh of relief to be alive.

Looking up, he saw a dog’s head hanging out of the back window, barking like mad. It was all so unreal, everything appeared to happen in slow motion. A tall, very pale man got out of the car and extended a hand to Officer Myers.

‘I’m here to help you. Get in the car and I’ll take you to safety,’ he said in a soft yet purposeful voice.

Very slowly, Officer Myers shuffled towards the tall man, who put an arm round him and guided him into the back seat of the car, next to the dog which had stopped barking.

The tall man got back into the driver’s seat and the car screeched out of the alley. Officer Benson got to his feet and ran to pick up the radio from his patrol car.

I definitely need backup on this call.

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Friday, 13 April 2007

Chapter 40: Fresh Meat

The Paparazzi bar and nightclub is one of the most exclusive nightspots in the city. Even though the place was practically empty inside, a long queue was building on the street outside. It’s one of those places that lets the punters freeze outside for hours to let passers-by know that it’s an exclusive joint and then charge a fortune behind the bar to make up for lost time when they finally let them in.

This night was no exception. A lucky few had managed to get past the bouncers and were enjoying the relative ease of getting served at the bar. Two people had a little more perseverance.

Josh Daniels and Jimmy Foster had a few drinks in Paparazzi after work and didn’t leave, even when the bar was cleared for half an hour so the staff could rearrange the furniture for the night. They didn’t leave because the night staff didn’t think to check the toilets for two young men hiding in the cubicles who had been thrown out the night before. And the night before that.

The nightclub is popular with the city’s celebrities and Josh and Jimmy can’t help themselves when there are local seventeen year-old female soap opera and singing stars drinking in the same venue as them. Needless to say their success rate with these girls was negligible but that didn’t stop them wasting their minimum-wage packets out on the prowl every night.

Unfortunately for them, they were a little too eager on this night and emerged from the toilets before a significant crowd had built up in the bar. It wasn’t long before the security staff found them and escorted them to the back door by their collars, a route that had become all too familiar to them.

The rear entrance of the nightclub can be found down a back alley, well hidden from the crowds both inside and outside. It also has the added bonus of being a mobile phone black spot where no network can provide adequate coverage.

This is where the security staff can comfortably beat up a couple of unpopular clients then throw them in the dumpsters and call the police to come and pick them up without causing any unwanted attention, which is exactly what happened to Josh and Jimmy.

A bag of rubbish burst as Josh’s head hit it at high speed and he found himself face-down in chicken bones and cold baked beans. When Jimmy’s head hit the bags in the second dumpster, they didn’t burst. The cans and broken bottles had already punctured the bags long ago. Blood was already pouring down his face from the cuts around his eyes so the broken bottles didn’t make that much difference to his appearance.

The extra cuts on Jimmy’s face didn’t make much difference to the vampire that used to be called Officer Myers either. He had already locked onto the scent of fresh blood from two streets away and was frantically leaping from rooftop to rooftop in search of the second feed of his new life.

Jimmy was moaning to Josh about their rotten luck with the Nazi doormen when Officer Myers landed in his dumpster with a thud.

‘Hey, what was that?’ he exclaimed as he noticed the naked, blood-soaked body next to him. He didn’t get a chance to utter another audible word because Officer Myers’ razor sharp canine teeth ripped a hole in Jimmy’s neck and removed his larynx in one bite. Officer Myers spat the chunk of flesh out of his mouth and began to feed on Jimmy’s warm blood as it flowed from his body.

Josh heard Jimmy’s scream and realised something was wrong. He clambered out of the dumpster and wobbled over, his legs still not responding properly after the beating he had taken to his head.

Hearing a kind of squelchy-slurping noise from inside, Josh very slowly lifted himself up and peered into the dumpster to see a naked man sucking blood out of his best friend’s neck.

‘What the…’ he started and Officer Myers turned around. His whole body was completely white and his eyes were bloodshot. Blood dripped out of his mouth and down his chin, onto his chest. As he licked his lips, Josh noticed his canine teeth were a lot longer than usual. Sort of like a vampire’s…

‘No way! No fucking way!’

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Thursday, 12 April 2007

Vampire hunting kit

This is completely unrelated to the story but I thought it might be of interest to regular readers:

It's also got me thinking a bit more about the direction the story might take after the end of Rebirth...

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Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Rebirth receives another positive review

Rebirth has received another positive review, this time at The PODler.

"A high-octane action piece... Fast action and fast writing make it tough to put down."

Click the following link to read the whole review:

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Chapter 39: Scouring The Streets

Matthew Duffy was one hundred and forty seven years old. He hadn’t felt the heat of the sun on his face since the early years of the twentieth century and had feasted on thousands of people since his rebirth over one hundred years ago.

He was a member of the scout team who scoured the city streets every night, looking for potential future bothers and sisters or for new brothers and sisters who may have been reborn without the knowledge of the clan. It was important for all vampires to be accounted for and successfully integrated into the community.

The Alsatian sitting on the back seat was his trusty helper, Goldie. Dogs could sniff out a vampire at a hundred paces, even from a moving vehicle.

Goldie had been Matthew’s companion for many years and had saved his undead life so many times he had lost count.

That was why Matthew spoiled him. The dogs were only supposed to feed on the bones of dead humans but every time he made a kill, Matthew would give Goldie a juicy piece of flesh to get his fangs into.

Scout work had been very uneventful over the past few weeks. The clan had been busy preparing for the battle they knew was coming. Once it was all over and they were victorious, they would all hit the streets of this city and many others and their numbers would grow exponentially.

Matthew had heard that there had been some excitement that day at some doctor’s house so there was a possibility that someone had been bitten and reborn at sundown. The scout team had many members so the chance of him being the one to find the new recruit was very slim.

He drove around for a little while without seeing or hearing anything out of the ordinary. When he was about to take a break after driving past the hospital, he heard a scream from outside. His sixth sense told him there was a friend nearby.

Matthew stopped the car and rolled down the window. Almost immediately, Goldie started to bark.

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Monday, 9 April 2007

Chapter 38: Another Strategy

Marcus Verrico was sitting in his office in silence, quietly contemplating the days ahead. Everyone from the vampires to The Brotherhood had been waiting in anticipation for the wheels to be set in motion. Now that everything had begun, there was no stopping either group.

He knew all about the plans of The Brotherhood. They had their men on the inside and The Brotherhood were always so surprised when Marcus and his clan second-guessed them. For hundreds of years Marcus had kept one step ahead and now the first part of his plan was almost complete. He picked up a stack of scientific papers and thumbed through them.

Positive results. Becoming more encouraging as the days passed. It helps to have the best men on your side.

Some of his allies within the other clans had already been in touch to offer their services and offer encouragement. He declined their offers for now but warned them that their help would be needed very soon. Looking at the results again, he knew the next step was only days away.

No more hiding in the shadows. No more balance between the ancient enemies. It is time to take control and I will be the one to lead my brothers and sisters.

There was a problem though. It was only a matter of time before he got in touch and with that thought, the phone on his desk started to ring.

He reluctantly answered it, knowing exactly who the caller would be. The voice on the other end grated on him from the first word.

‘Good evening, Marcus,’ lisped Luca Salazar, the deputy Lord Chancellor, ‘how are you today?’

‘Great thanks,’ Marcus replied. Get to the point, asshole, he thought. ‘What can I do for you, Luca?’

‘I thought I would call in advance to advise you of our imminent arrival.’

Marcus sat upright in his chair. ‘The Lord Chancellor is coming here?’ he asked.

There was a pause for a few seconds before Salazar replied. Marcus could tell that Salazar was enjoying this opportunity to make him sweat. ‘No, I’m going to be visiting later tonight. The Lord Chancellor has asked me to advise you on the tactics for recovering the doctor and his work, and to provide hands-on assistance if necessary.’

He hated pussyfooting around and decided to get right to the point. ‘So you’re coming here to tell me how to run my clan?’ Marcus asked.

‘Like I said, I’ve been asked to provide help wherever I can. It certainly looks like you need the help, unless you’ve already managed to recover the doctor?’

That son of a bitch. He knows we haven’t got the doctor.

‘Not yet, but we’re closing in,’ said Marcus, ‘We know where the doctor is being held and we have already formulated our strategy. There’s really no need for you to come here.’

‘I beg to differ, Marcus,’ said Salazar, ‘If you’ve already formulated your strategy then I’d like to be there when the doctor is returned to us. It is a long time since there was an operation of this importance. I long to see a well-trained squad in action. I shall look forward to seeing you in approximately three hours.’

Marcus didn’t have the chance to protest any further before Salazar hung up on him. He hated that slimy bastard. Salazar knew Marcus was a threat to his deputyship and was doing all he could to undermine his authority.

If they failed to return Doctor Owen to the vampires, it would be the end of him. Unless he came up with a different plan of course.

Marcus Verrico rubbed the short stubble on his chin and started to formulate another strategy.

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Saturday, 7 April 2007

Competition closed

Thanks to everyone who entered the competition - your names are all in the virtual hat. I'll pick the winners out tomorrow and get the books in the post to you on Tuesday.

Also, thank you for your comments. Those of you who have written to me have told me how much you're enjoying reading Rebirth. You'll be glad to know we're not even half way there and there's plenty of twists and turns to come!

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Chapter 37: "Let's Talk"

‘I think you’re being a bit over-dramatic,’ Agent Simpson said in a considerably calmer tone than mine.

Over-dramatic?’ I shouted, even louder this time.

Agent Simpson stayed calm, probably hoping it would rub off on me. ‘This isn’t the place. Let’s talk in the car.’

We got into the car and I slammed the door. It was a pool car, a replacement for my old car that had been impounded as evidence of the battle that afternoon. I’m not sure what point I was trying to prove by slamming the door but I needed to vent somehow. I wasn’t even sure what I was venting. Anger? Shock? A feeling of complete disillusionment and helplessness?

I picked up the radio. ‘Dispatch, this is Detective Ryder. Make sure all units are on the lookout for Officer Myers. He used to be dead but now he’s naked and running round the streets near the hospital, eating homeless guys.’

‘This is Dispatch. Please can you repeat that, Detective Ryder?’

‘You heard,’ I said and threw the radio onto the dashboard. I turned to Agent Simpson. ‘Now let’s talk.’

She sighed. ‘Where do you want to me start?’

‘You’re the vampire expert,’ I exclaimed, ‘tell me everything. Where do they come from? What do they want? How can we kill them?’

She took a deep breath, like she was about to recite a story she had told a hundred times before. ‘As far as we know, vampires have always been a part of the human community. There is documented evidence of their existence going back as far as man has been able to put ink to paper.

‘There have always been two theories for their existence: either the vampires themselves are a species of their own that has mutated from mankind or that their behaviour is caused by a disorder of the blood and they are still human deep down.’

‘So the World Health Organisation have discovered that it’s a blood disorder?’ I asked in a lower tone of voice.

‘No, not exactly. Doctor Owen has been working with samples of vampire blood. He and many scientists before him have discovered that there are certain ways of treating the blood to cause a chemical reaction. Some treatments could eventually be used to remove the symptoms and the other treatments will be used to kill vampires in a more effective way than silver bullets.’

‘It is true that humans can inherit some of a vampire’s attributes when he or she is bitten. The World Health Organisation also suspects there is a core of pure blood vampires who are the direct descendants of the very first vampires, just as we are the direct descendants of the first human beings that evolved from the apes.’

At first I was surprised this was such a big secret. How could there be a worldwide vampire community without it being obvious to everyone?

Then I realised what would happen if this information got out. If the six billion human beings on this Earth suddenly realised they weren’t at the top of the food chain there would be complete panic.

I wanted to ask her why she hadn’t come clean with me from the beginning. Why didn’t she just tell me about all this when we met this morning?

I already knew the answer to that question as well. I wouldn’t have believed her for one second and I would have tried to have her committed.

‘I can understand why you want to keep the existence of vampires secret from everyone but what about the vampire community? Outside of the movies, this is the first I’ve heard about them. How do they keep such a low profile?’

‘Compared with the human race, their community is very small. They have a presence in most major cities in the world but they keep their numbers under control. They need to feed regularly and big cities are easy places to sweep missing people under the carpet. They’re not stupid though. They know that if they were to launch an attack on a large group of humans, it would attract attention, get in the papers and on the news and life would change for everyone.

‘Once people get over the initial panic and get used to their new place in the world, they always come to realise that vampires aren’t actually that hard to kill.’

Now we were getting to the interesting part. ‘How can we kill them?’

‘Forget what you know about garlic and crucifixes, that’s straight out of the movies. Silver and ultraviolet light are the best weapons against them. The blood of a vampire reacts in different ways to external influences than human blood.

‘After an hour or so in direct sunlight without sunscreen, you and I would get pretty bad sunburn. The vampires’ skin is hypersensitive to UV light so they get the same kind of sunburn after just a few minutes or even seconds in some cases.’

‘So vampires are all creatures of the night, like in the movies?’ I asked, trying to relate what I thought I knew.

‘Not at all. As long as they stay out of direct exposure to the sun, they can carry on as normal. Remember, it’s not the light itself that harms them, it’s the UV rays. If you sit in a car in the height of summer, your skin won’t burn because the glass in the windows absorbs most of the UV rays. They use similar techniques to operate in daylight hours. There’s a very good chance you run into vampires in your daily life. They’ve had centuries to practice being incognito.’

It would be very difficult to forget what movies had taught me. These vampires weren’t demons from hell sent here to take our souls; they were unfortunate people that had contracted a terrible disease. Or that was the theory anyway.

Agent Simpson continued. ‘Doctor Owen has discovered that silver reacts with a compound in vampire blood to produce an acid that burns their bodies from the inside. The acid is so strong that it breaks down all tissue and bone. Once a vampire absorbs a silver bullet, it only takes a few seconds for the whole body to decompose.’

‘That’s why there were burns marks on the wall in the house where Officer Myers was killed,’ I concluded, ‘The doctor was being held there by vampires, wasn’t he? The guys who snatched the doctor must have had silver bullets in their guns. Who are they?’

‘They call themselves The Brotherhood. They are a group who devote their lives to the protection of the human race.’

All day long I had known she knew who they were. ‘But they killed policemen today.’

‘They operate outside the law and at times they take extreme action for the good of mankind. The vampires must have picked up Doctor Owen last night. With your help, The Brotherhood tracked him down and rescued him.’

‘With my help? That’s the real reason you’re working with me today, isn’t it? You’re one of them and you wanted the inside scoop.’

She nodded in agreement. ‘I’m afraid so, detective. I wanted to tell you but I feel that the information I am sharing with you is on a need to know basis. Only now do you need to know.’

I thought she was right but I didn’t tell Agent Simpson that I agreed with her.

‘Do you think they have Doctor Forrest as well?’ I asked.

‘We should assume they have him, yes.’

‘So it must have been the vampires that blew up the Mantek lab,’ I said, ‘they discovered Doctor Owen was working on the treatment and took action against him.’

Agent Simpson nodded in agreement.

Another thought occurred to me. ‘But if the vampires destroyed the lab, all of his work and killed his assistant, why didn’t they kill the doctor?’

‘I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to that,’ said Agent Simpson. Given my experience of working with her so far, I didn’t know whether to believe her or not.

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Thursday, 5 April 2007

Chapter 36: Marcus And Roxy

Marcus Verrico was lying in complete darkness, meditating on his position in the world. It was nine o’clock in the evening and the sun had just set. If he had opened the blackout blinds and let the sunlight in earlier in the day, he would have died within a matter of minutes. He suffered from a blood disorder that had several side effects, one of which made his skin hypersensitive to the ultraviolet rays from the sun.

He was a vampire.

In just over five hundred years he had worked his way up to the leader of a clan. Hundreds of his brothers and sisters were under his command and looked to him for guidance in their undead lives. Marcus and the other clan leaders answered to only one man: the Lord Chancellor. It was his ambition to one day assume the role of Lord Chancellor.

Marcus already had the favour of the Lord Chancellor and he knew that by finding Doctor Owen, he would have a good chance of working with him more closely. The Lord Chancellor already had an apprentice though. The apprentice was the deputy Lord Chancellor; the person who would take over leadership of the global vampire community should anything happen to their leader.

The deputy, Luca Salazar, supposedly commanded a large number of clans, including Marcus’ but Marcus refused to consider him a figure of authority. The deputy was a brown-nose who had slimed his way to the top. He had only been a vampire for fifty years but had friends in high places.

One day he’ll get what’s coming to him
, Marcus thought to himself. Maybe that day will be a lot sooner than he thinks.

The door to his room opened and in walked Roxy, his loyal assistant. Dressed from head to toe in black combat gear, she was not a woman to be messed with. As assistant to the leader, she was more heavily armed than other members of the clan. She carried two swords on her back, one with a solid steel blade, the other silver-plated. Roxy was one of the few members of the vampire community with a licence to kill her brothers and sisters.

Marcus and Roxy had worked together for almost three hundred years. They had circled the globe together many times, moving from clan to clan, setting the standards for vampires to live by. They had been instrumental in helping the vampire community gain influence in high places. The seeds of corruption and influence they had sown all those years ago allowed their brothers and sisters to live in the freedom they now enjoyed.

They both owed each other their lives. They had made a pact to stick together forever and swore that whoever was given an opportunity would take the other forward with them. As it turned out, Marcus had moved up the ladder quicker than Roxy but she didn’t care. She respected him and lived to serve her great leader. In her eyes, Marcus was born to lead their brothers and sisters to glory.

Marcus awoke immediately and sat up straight.

‘Forgive me for waking you, my master,’ Roxy said in her calm, soothing voice, ‘but I have important news.’

‘I understand. What is it?’

They have the doctor,’ she said.

‘The Brotherhood?’

‘Yes, sir.’

The doctor had been captured and lost on Marcus’ watch. He had been quick to report back to the deputy Lord Chancellor on the capture but the loss of their precious hostage would have to be dealt with quickly. If they could get him back before the news filtered up to the deputy then Marcus would stay in the favour of the Lord Chancellor.

There were many clan leaders waiting for Marcus to put a foot wrong so they could take the opportunity to side-step him to the top.

‘And what of our brother who was guarding the doctor?’


Marcus closed his eyes for a second and shook his head. ‘Get the doctor back at all costs. Tonight.’

‘Yes sir.’

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Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Chapter 35: The Penny Drops

Agent Simpson and I stood in silence. I opened a can of Coke, no Diet crap for me, took a big gulp and my thoughts turned to work again.

‘We’d better get back in there,’ said Agent Simpson as she looked at her watch, ‘see if the doctor needs any help.’

‘Don’t worry,’ I said, ‘he’ll come out here and tell us as soon as he finds anything.’ Agent Simpson looked like she wanted to protest but sat back down on the wall.

‘What about the work Doctor Owen and Doctor Forrest were doing?’ I asked, ‘Can you tell me more about it? You must know more than you’ve told me so far.’

‘As I said, he was working on the treatment for a disease. He has been working on it for years and years. The World Health Organisation has been funding their research.’

‘Why is this treatment so important? What are the symptoms of the disease?’

‘It’s a blood disorder that consumes the whole body. Once you have the disease, you stop being yourself.’

I’m no doctor, but that explanation sounds deliberately vague even to me.

‘It has a psychological effect?’

‘Yes. Both psychological and physiological.’

It was obvious I would have to work very hard to get specific details from her.

‘Does it have a name?’

Agent Simpson didn’t get the chance to answer my question. Not ten feet away from us, a woman was staring down the alley next to the hospital, screaming at the top of her lungs. She had a look of complete horror on her face.

I drew my gun and ran over to her. She didn’t move or even register my presence. She just kept staring directly ahead. I followed her gaze down the alley and couldn’t believe what I saw.

Surely this isn’t possible? What the hell is going on?

Hiding in the shadows was a naked man, crouched over a homeless man sitting against the wall, surrounded by dirty plastic bags that were now awash with his blood. The homeless man was struggling, waving his hands around and trying to escape the grip of his attacker, who was chewing on his neck.

‘Hey! Let him go or I’ll be forced to shoot you!’ I shouted.

The naked man looked up at me with blood covering his mouth. His eyes were vacant and he looked lost. Then it hit me who this man was.

Officer Myers.

He stood up and started to approach me. I pointed my gun at him and told him not to move but he kept coming.

‘Don’t make me shoot you!’ I shouted. Officer Myers stopped moving and looked up to the top of the high walls of the hospital.

He jumped into the air; higher than I thought was humanly possible. Then he performed gravity-defying leaps from one wall to another and onto the top of the hospital. I ran round the side of the building, hoping to catch a glimpse of him but he had gone.

I walked back to meet Agent Simpson, who didn’t look as shocked as I undoubtedly did. For some reason, I wasn’t surprised.

Then the penny dropped.

Why didn’t I think of this before?

The neck wound, the silver bullets, the blood disorder and Officer Myers coming back to life all added up to one thing. Something terrible that I didn’t want to believe.

I was overcome with a wave of emotion, which felt like the world was shifting around me. This was a dream. A nightmare.

I walked right up to her and shouted in her face. ‘Okay Agent Simpson, it’s time to come clean. What aren’t you telling me about this blood disorder?’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Officer Myers just turned into a fucking vampire! Now tell me what’s going on!’

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Monday, 2 April 2007

Five free copies of Rebirth to give away

To celebrate the publication of my novel, I have five copies of Rebirth to give away.

If you'd like one of the first print copies of your favourite blog novel, send an email to before 12:00 GMT on Saturday 7th April with your name and address. I'll put all the names in a virtual hat and pick out five lucky winners on Sunday 8th April.

Don't worry if you don't live in the UK - everyone around the world has just as much chance as anyone else. I know I've got a few regular visitors in India, Japan, Canada and more than a few from the USA so I wouldn't want to let you down!

Good luck!

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Sunday, 1 April 2007

Chapter 34: Home Time

Doctor Schreiber sighed and put his instruments down. He decided to call it quits for the night. He had searched every inch of Officer Myers’ body and did not find anything of note in addition to the expensive bullet wounds and the ‘animal’ bite.

It was the most unorthodox combination of wounds he had ever seen. Coupled with the bodies from the Mantek attack, it had been a very strange and hectic day.

Someone’s very busy out there. How many more are on the hit list? How many more times will I be standing over a body with Detective Ryder and his new partner in the next few days?

Well, that might not be too bad
, he thought. Agent Simpson was certainly very easy on the eye but she had been asking questions that gave him the feeling that she knew more about the day’s events than she was letting on.

His observations kept leading him towards a conclusion that he was fighting very hard to entertain. He knew it was nonsensical but what other possible explanation could there be?

It can’t be. I’m definitely not going to mention it to Detective Ryder. He’d have me committed.

Doctor Schreiber threw a plastic sheet over the body of Officer Myers and washed his hands in the sink. He packed away his instruments and looked at his watch.

Oh my God, is it really that late?

He had lost track of time. Doctor Schreiber enjoyed his work and minutes could turn into hours very quickly. He knew he should find Detective Ryder and tell him that he hadn’t found anything else but he was now in a rush to get home.

He heard the beep of his mobile phone from his bag in the corner of the room and he knew what the message would say before he checked it. His wife Lucy would not be happy. No doubt she was informing him that his dinner was either cold or in the dog. Brandy, their beloved Chihuahua, was probably the best-fed dog in the whole city.

Doctor Schreiber threw his jacket on and flicked the lights off on his way out of the door. In his haste to leave the lab, he didn’t notice the plastic sheet covering the body of Officer Myers start to twitch.

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