Authors: Jessica McBrayer
|Hell Hounds Are for Suckers|
|Vampires of San Francisco |
|Mess of Geckos Publishing (2012)|
Vampire, Hannah’s best friend has coupled up and Hannah is feeling alone and lonely. One night on a stroll through her favorite grave-yard she is be-hounded by a small growling fur ball. The puppy refuses to leave and reluctantly she takes him in. She soon needs expert advice because the puppy won’t eat any of the expensive dog chow she buys and burps fire.
Hannah consults her vampire friends and a friendly jinni and finds out she’s got herself a hell hound. And more, the jinni warns, there is sure to be an owner in the background somewhere. When a gorgeous demon shows up pounding on her door wanting his dog back, Hannah is suddenly in the middle of a humorous predicament. This between-quell, the second episode of the Vampires of San Francisco series, is a novella of 60 pages.
Copyright © 2012 by Jessica McBrayer
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form whatsoever, without prior written permission by the author. No part of this book may be reproduced, decompiled, reversed engineered, or stored, or introduced into any information storage system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without express written permission of the author. If you pirate this work, I will come after you.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used facetiously. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or to events or locations, is entirely coincidental.
Published by Mess of Geckos Publishing
810 Seaview Drive
El Cerrito, CA 94530
Books Also By This Author
San Francisco Vampires Series:
Sucking in San Francisco
This book was inspired by a very special person that is no longer with me. It was both sad and joyful to write. While mourning her I also was able to bring her back a little bit.
Marik Berghs had a lot to do with this book. Many of her edits found their way verbatim into the book as she knew Hannah from birth. She also did the cover art, which is amazing as usual. Thank you.
Thank you to Reina Williams for her feedback and edits. As always you are the best cheerleader.
I hope you enjoy the book as much as I loved writing it.
For more information about me, check me out at:
Follow me on Twitter @jessimcbrayer
Email me @ [email protected]
It was a dark and foggy night. No, really, it was. I was walking through the Mountain View Cemetery at the end of Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. I’ve been feeling melancholy lately and this particular cemetery is a beautiful place to walk, especially on nights like tonight with a full moon peeking through the fog at intervals. Seeing in the dark isn’t an issue so the moonlight gives a nice ambiance. Mountain View is peaceful place for the departed to rest in—the truly departed and those of us who are stuck here with stately avenues and winding pathways. Its stately avenues and winding pathways were the creation of the same man that designed New York City’s Central Park. I come here often to reflect and meditate. here—or anywhere else. Lately, it seems that everyone I know has someone to share their life with.
They’re living their happily ever after. Not that I go for that crap, but you get the picture. There aren’t many vampires around here, but even the ones I’ve met and dated have never worked out. There’s the small fact that I’ve never met a male vampire that attracted me. Too arrogant, self-impressed or nasty, to trip my trigger.
But then I met Lily’s friend Sebastian. I would have loved to share his time, or anything else he wanted. When we were first introduced and I was openly drooling over his charm, and gorgeousness not to mention the way he looked, oh I guess I already have, Lily warned me about what a huge player he was. It only took a couple of days to see that was an understatement and I’m not into one-night stands. Then he straightens up and what does he do but fall tongue over tonsils in love with Lily. I have to admit I’m envious. Not of Lily but of their commitment.
Even Aidan, a djinn friend, another drool-worthy male and the odd man out like me, is in a relationship in his own dysfunctional way with Lily. He’s still hanging on to her. I know they have some kind of weird thing going on. I love Lily but if she could bottle whatever it is she’s putting out I’d beg, steal or sell anything I had to get me some. The undead do not manufacture pheromones, so no help there. She is beautiful, so you’ve got that, sweet and sassy but she has some major anti-bacteria and handi-wipe habits.
You’d think with the old Vamp aura I’d be all set up with a nice little human. Humans are nice to know but I just can’t take the heartbreak. A few years and you can watch the aging process before your eyes. I still considered it a couple of times but I couldn’t go the full distance, pulled my unbeating heart away just in time. I’d lost everyone I’d loved before, at some point you just have to get a clue. Human dude=dead man walking. Better alone than facing that again and again.
I don’t know how I’ve reached this point in my life. Alone, with no direction. Just existing. For a vampire it is a dangerous place to be. I’ve known vampires with no focus to go mad, insane and get violent. Violence fills the void. I’ve been in that place before and I don’t want to go there again. It happened after I first turned, which was during the Civil War. My maker turned me and then set me loose in the world without any mentoring. I wandered the states draining my victims and fighting other vampires for their territory. Eventually, about a century later, I wound up on the West Coast and stumbled into the free love movement. I tasted my first hippie blood and it mellowed me. Not long after that I met Lily and she made it her mission to become my friend. She saved me. Helena, Julian and Sebastian, her best friends, old, old, vampires, took me under their wings. Helena is a witch, think Glinda, not the green one. She and her lover Julian have a humane philosophy and they all practice no-harm, no-foul, in their hunting. I’m so thankful for their love. But there’s still a void. A few weeks ago I helped them fight off some evil witches and a warlock and my need to tear flesh worried me. Since then my dark mood deepened. I felt restless and unsettled.
As I walked analyzing my life I heard a low growling. The fog can distort sound, even my supernatural bat-like hearing was confused. I wasn’t sure where it is coming from. When my vampire hearing kicked in, I was sure I could track it down. My adrenaline spiked and the hunt excited me. The growling got louder near the Gothic Chapel and I pulled up my thigh high stockings and stomped down my combat boots, getting ready to kick some ass.
I edged around the chapel searching for the source. Moving the creeping ivy and brushing past the flowers I rubbed up against the cold façade of the building. The fog cleared and the moon shone down on the small, furry black package making all the noise.
“Hey little guy, I’m Hannah. What’s your name?” I cooed searching for a collar.
Before I could touch the puppy, it leapt into my arms and started licking my face. It turned back towards the headstones and let out a blood-curdling growl. Much louder than anything its size should have been able to make — but then what did I know about dogs. Gah! Dog drool all over my face. I scrambled to put the dog down confirming he didn’t have a collar or anything to identify his owner. I couldn’t hear anything in the vicinity that would make him nervous so I wiped off the offending saliva. He whimpered as soon as his huge feet hit the ground.
“Sorry guy, but I’m just not that into dogs.”
He sat there panting, unimpressed with my vampire scariness, and let more drool drip to the ground. Long canines and a lolling tongue. His eyes were sharp and followed every move I made. When I turned to walk away he followed me.
“You stay there, boy. Shoo. Good doggy.”
He panted and trotted after me. I could tell he had no intention of staying put as he shadowed me back to my vintage Volkswagen beetle. When I opened my door he jumped inside before I could stop him.
“Okay fur ball, out! Get out of the car! You’re sliming all over the faux-leather interior!” I could afford real leather, but hey, I’m green.
He didn’t move. An inch. He sat there in the passenger seat and looked at me. With the overhead light on I could see those big puppy dog eyes he flashed me were a brilliant green. I made to grab for him but he wiggled out of my grasp. He thought dodging me was a game. After several minutes of using vampire speed and coming up empty handed, I finally gave up. I was too disgusted about the drool flung all over my seats to care.
“I suppose you expect me to feed you? Just don’t get any wise ideas that if I do, it means I’ll keep you.”
And with that comment hanging in the air, I rolled down his window so he could hang his muzzle out and we cruised down through Oakland to Berkeley onto Telegraph Avenue and Ashby to a chain pet store that was still open.
Fur ball and I strolled into the store. The night clerk started to give me a hard time about the woofmeister not being on a leash but I flicked a little glamour his way and we were good to go. I browsed.
“What do you like to eat, fur ball? You’re still a puppy so it says here that you should have the baby food.” He gave me a soft yip so I figured I was on the right track. I picked up a large bag and walked down the treat aisle.
I never imagined there could be so many choices. Pig ears, cow femurs, liver treats, dental chews, organic treats, just to name a few. I grabbed several and made my way to the toys. I knew from a friend that if I didn’t have something for him to chew on, my combat boots would be in danger. I let him pick out his own toys and he chose four, surprising me with a realistic stuffed bunny rabbit that squeaked. He decided to carry that one while we went to the collar and leash aisle. I picked a green collar to match his eyes. One hundred and seventeen dollars later and I had myself a dog. Until I could find a home for him. I wasn’t cruel. I wouldn’t just throw him onto the streets. I’d already tried that and he’d found his way back to my car. Goddess knows I couldn’t take him to the pound and have who knows what happen to him. I can’t bear to see anything in a cage. I would just have to find his owner or find a new one for him.
Six blocks later, I pulled up to my small bungalow in Berkeley and parked in the garage. Unloading the dog paraphernalia and unlocking the door was somewhat of a challenge as the fur ball was under my feet, bouncing back and forth, trying to get inside. I dumped everything on the oak table in the kitchen, tossing the overgrown puppy the bunny squeaker toy. He jumped to get it and ran off to explore. I unpacked and washed the dishes before setting them out with food and water.
. In all my one hundred and seventy-one years, I never thought I would allow an animal to live in the house with me. I whipped my head in the direction of the living room as I heard the familiar unearthly growling. In vampire speed, I was next to fur ball to see what was wrong.
He looked out the front window at a late night jogger. I groaned. He was guarding his territory like he already thought he was home! I reached down and patted him on the head. After all in his doggy brain he was just doing his job. He didn’t waste any time rolling over expecting a belly rub. I found myself laughing for the first time since I moved into my house fifty-seven years ago. He got his belly rub and I got down on the floor to play with him. He licked my face. The laughter was so over when I realized I was now covered in dog slime. I might have mumbled something about leaving him on a farm in the country as I made my way to the bathroom and started getting ready for bed. I intended on reading until dawn, which is the sleepy time for young vamps. My original plans for partying had been abandoned because of fur ball.
I brushed my teeth and washed my makeup off, climbed into some pajama pants and a tee shirt. It sucked that I still needed to sleep eight hours a day. I was approaching the two hundred mark and supposedly I wouldn’t need to sleep anymore – at least Julian had said I would probably outgrow the need to sleep. I can’t wait. The minute I hit my brass bed the fur ball jumped up and snuggled next to me. He was warm. It was nice to curl up to since being cold-blooded is well – cold. I wrapped my fingers into his soft fur and fell asleep.