EXCERPT: The Obscurati (Vamp Camp 2)

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from Chapter One

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Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.”

Lord, bless Mårten, for he hath sinned egre­gious­ly again­st Thee,” the priest said.

Why do you both­er with a pri­va­cy screen if you can tell it’s me?”

It’s a con­fes­sion­al, so every­one expects a screen.”

Shouldn’t you pre­tend you don’t know me?”

You want me to lie? You’ve been com­ing to my con­fes­sion­al for nine­ty years. Even if I couldn’t see you, your Tex­as dialect stands out in Ger­many.”

I had sex four times yes­ter­day.”

God has rules about pride and brag­ging.”

Isn’t there some rule about gay sex?”

Jesus said noth­ing about gays,” he said.

Any kind of sex rules?” I asked.

Oh, most assured­ly,” he said with a schol­ar­ly flair. “The rule says ‘Thou Shalt Not Boink’, but it only applies to cas­tratos and col­orat­uras.”

All I could do was study the floor, hop­ing that the stones would mor­ph into some­thing I could under­stand.

Are you sure you’re a priest?” I asked through my teeth as I shook my head. Please let me find wis­dom ris­ing from the grout between the stones of the floor.

Ja, Mårten. Cas­tratos don’t have much sex, so I nev­er under­stood why they were men­tioned in the rule, but we should keep our eyes on the col­orat­uras. They can’t be trust­ed with­out ade­quate super­vi­sion. There’s noth­ing more dis­turbing than a col­orat­u­ra boink-a-thon.”

What? Did you even hear me say that I had sex with Oberon four times yes­ter­day? I don’t care about col­orat­uras.”

Yes, Mårten. You’ve lived with Oberon for almost a hun­dred years. I would wor­ry if you weren’t hav­ing sex.”

Four times,” I said.

That’s nice, dar­ling, but don’t brag. Are you try­ing to make me jeal­ous?”

Not at all, Father Johan­nes. There’s no need to be jeal­ous. You can have sex with Oberon any time you want.”

Shh­hh, I’m not gay,” the priest whis­pered.

Your boyfriend thinks you are, Father Johan­nes.”

Humph. He only wish­es it. Did you kill any­one since your last con­fes­sion?” the priest asked bland­ly.

Nobody,” I said. “Just two vam­pires.”

Ah-ah,” the priest said, tap­ping his knuck­les again­st the pri­va­cy screen. “Vam­pires are fic­tion­al char­ac­ters.”

So your boyfriend sleeps with a fic­tion­al char­ac­ter? He’s going to be shocked.”

Focus, Mårten. This con­fes­sion is about you, not me. Are you sor­ry for killing the vam­pires?”

No, Father. It was busi­ness, and they were vam­pires, so tech­ni­cal­ly they were already dead.”

That’s nice, Mårten. Don’t for­get to pray. Lud­wig and I went to a Chi­ne­se restau­rant last night. When he opened his for­tune cook­ie, the piece of paper was com­plete­ly blank. Do you think that means any­thing? He was in tears, of course. I need to go… you know. It’s Lud­wig.”

And with that, the priest was gone. I was alone in the chapel’s con­fes­sion­al. The layper­son always leaves a con­fes­sion­al first. The priest leaves lat­er, but Father Johan­nes doesn’t under­stand such mun­dane rules. He has to be the strangest priest I’ve ever known. He didn’t tell me to be sor­ry or to promise to do bet­ter or to say Hail Mary’s. He just men­tioned his boyfriend’s for­tune cook­ie and went poof.

I was left to pon­der or shake my head. It sure feels like he is mess­ing with my head, but he is always like that. He gets into my thoughts, slaps me around, scares the day­lights out of me, and then he dis­ap­pears.

I am a vam­pire, but not by choice. A Ger­man pris­on guard dur­ing World War I raped me and turned me. I’m gay and would have agreed to the sex if he had asked, but he didn’t ask. Rape is always wrong. He’s dead now. I killed him. Twice. But that’s a whole oth­er sto­ry.

A hun­dred peo­ple wit­nessed the sec­ond time I killed my rapist and Mak­er. He was a bad vam­pire who need­ed to die. Nobody com­plained (except my rapist, of course).

The vam­pire queen of Europe didn’t even object that I refused her help with the sec­ond killing. She helped the first time, but it didn’t get him com­plete­ly dead. If you want to get things done right… you know.

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 When I killed him the sec­ond time, I ripped his head right off his body and threw it onto a bon­fire and watched as his head burst into flames. I will nev­er for­get the look of total shock on his face when the head hit the flames of the bon­fire. He was stunned. He was so sur­prised by the way I killed him that he hasn’t spo­ken to me since.

There are two ways to kill a vam­pire: rip off his head or burn him. I did both. It was the vam­pire ver­sion of the fat lady singing: rip off the head and burn it, and it’s all over.

That’s what it did: I flew up and pulled the asshole’s head right off, and then I flew to a bon­fire and threw the head onto the fire. Most vam­pires can’t fly, but I can. It is a tal­ent or skill that is the envy of many vam­pires.

Pride is def­i­nite­ly a sin, Mårten.”

Yes, Father, but I’m telling this sto­ry. Don’t you have some altar boys to chase?”

That isn’t fun­ny, Mårten.”

Oh, yes it is, Father.”

The queen’s own chief goon watched me take down the bad vam­pire. Pier­re called my fight­ing the most insane­ly ter­ri­fy­ing thing he had ever seen, and he is sev­er­al hun­dred years old. He made me promise to get some train­ing. The queen had told every­one that I was a Mas­ter Vam­pire after this caper, so I think I could have ignored the promise to get train­ing.

But I didn’t. I tried train­ing.

Thwunk came a blow to my chest that sent me som­er­sault­ing back­wards. My fight­ing teacher and I were about thir­ty meters in the air, just above the top of the tallest tree. Just as soon as I rolled half a turn, I felt a swift kick to the butt: thwunk.

Ham­let!” I screamed. “Are you try­ing to kill me? No sex for you when this is over.”

Ham­let is the most effem­i­nate vam­pire any­body has ever known. I’ve known him since he was about eigh­teen years old. His Mak­er refused to turn him until he was in his mid-twen­ties. I know because I was his Mak­er. Ham­let looks like a frilly queen on the out­side but fights like the tough­est kung fu nin­ja karate black­est-belt-pos­si­ble you can imag­ine.

Ham­let is a mag­net for street thugs who want to roll young gay guys, and he loves it when they try. Think­ing you can get the drop on Ham­let says more about your think­ing than it does about Ham­let. He fights with human bul­lies, and he loves send­ing them fly­ing again­st walls or Dump­sters.

He likes fight­ing with me, although I am tech­ni­cal­ly his stu­dent. We try not to hurt each oth­er too much.

I almost nev­er get mad at Ham­let because anger changes all the rules. I go absolute­ly berserk when I am in a real fight. What you see is an insane burst of ven­om and move­ment. Ham­let could prob­a­bly take me down in a real fight, but I know that I could cause some dam­age.

Caus­ing dam­age wasn’t part of that day’s agen­da. Humil­i­at­ing me in front of a dozen oth­ers was what Ham­let intend­ed. He smacked me, kicked me, and threw me.

Nel­ly frig­gin’ vam­pires.

When I turned, Ham­let was grin­ning and pranc­ing on the ground with one hand on his hip. A vam­pire sashay­ing is a sight like no oth­er, espe­cial­ly after the girly fight­er has wiped the floor with the scrap­py one.

Ouch,” I com­plained loud­ly. I got no sym­pa­thy from the gallery on the ground. They just jeered that a wimpy lit­tle guy like Ham­let could wipe the whole sky with my butt.

I grabbed one of his legs, but he curled his knee quick­ly and sent me crash­ing down to the ground. There was no jus­tice. No dig­ni­ty.

Had enough for the night?” Ham­let asked as he pranced to the house. I saw one mem­ber of the human staff, appar­ent­ly a recent addi­tion, pulling some fold­ed mon­ey out of his pock­et and hand­ing it to a groundskeep­er who had been at the estate for years. The bitch bet again­st me.

Father Johan­nes, is it wrong to wish for the death of anoth­er vam­pire?”

Ham­let again?” he asked.

Ja, Vater. May­be I could just cause some pain.”

Don’t for­get to pray, Mårten.”

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