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Authors: Adrienne & Scott Barbeau,Adrienne & Scott Barbeau

Tags: #Romance, #Fantasy, #Fiction

Vampyres of Hollywood

BOOK: Vampyres of Hollywood
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Baileyd

For my Armenian heroines: Aunty Ruby, Aunty Anna,
and Grandma on the Ranch; and to Jocelyn,
the best sister in the whole wide world.—AB

For Claudette, again.—MS

 
Prologue
 

 

It took an X-ray and an autopsy to confirm that Jason Eddings had been killed with the Oscar he’d won for Best Actor just six hours earlier.

He deserved it.

The Oscar, that is.

As for being murdered, well, he probably deserved that, too.

Jason Eddings was a great actor, all five feet, five inches of him. He was also one of the most ignorant, arrogant, and egotistical people I have ever known. And when you’ve been around as long as I have, that’s a big pool to draw from. I’d like to think that good people, deserving people, hardworking people are the ones who succeed in this town but that’s hardly the way it works. Jason Eddings was a prime example of a celebrity asshole who achieved stardom in spite of his nasty nature, or maybe even because of it.

And it shames me to admit it, but I helped him do it.

I’d been the first one to hire him; I’d discovered him, turned him from a bit player into a star. And more.

So I was there, three rows from the stage, during Tinseltown’s annual exercise in self-adulation, when Eddings, eyes shining wetly, raised the Oscar above his head and repeated the threadbare sentiment: “I can’t believe this is happening to me. Not with such incredible actors in this category.”

What generosity.

What graciousness.

What bullshit.

Needless to say, no one believed him. Jason has been called a lot of things, and humble isn’t one of them. Naturally, he didn’t even deign to look in my direction.

I watched him walk offstage holding the Oscar like a sword above his head, trying for an impression of Russell Crowe in
The Gladiator.
That was a mistake. Jason was many things, but Russell Crowe he wasn’t.

And six hours later he was dead.

He was found in the back of his complimentary limousine; the eight-and-a-half-pound statue he’d won for Best Actor stuffed—
Variety
said “rammed”—into the orifice by whose name he was often called.

It was the perfect Hollywood scandal: a superstar murdered at the height of his career—a legend in the making. The press went wild. Marcy Fisher from
Entertainment Tonight
broke her arm trying to climb over
Access Hollywood
’s Annie Lake to see inside the limousine where Jason’s body was found.

The chauffeur, in true Hollywood style, made sure he had a deal in place with the highest bidder for his story before talking to the police. According to the report he gave
Star,
Eddings had been partying behind the limo’s privacy screen with an almost-dressed young woman and a rather striking transvestite. By the time they reached their destination—the Spider Club—and the driver opened the back door to let them out, the girl and the tranny had disappeared and a naked Jason was laid out across the side seat with only the head of the Oscar visible.

The limo, a stretch Hummer naturally, along with the driver’s uniform, is already up for auction on eBay—two separate lots of course—available for delivery as soon as the cops release them. Bidding on the uniform started at $20,000. The death car should reach six figures as long as they don’t clean it. And there’s a rumor that the Oscar will be sold by private auction.

Jason’s death didn’t bother me. My kind rarely cry. But this is Hollywood, land of make-believe: if you look at my picture in
People
magazine, you’ll see a delicate track of tears on my cheek…thanks to my makeup artist and a menthol blower.

I didn’t think too much of Eddings’s death; an asshole like him—and I use the term deliberately—was bound to come to a messy end. But a week later Mai Goulart, the sweetheart who co-starred in my last movie,
Vatican Vampyres,
was found dead in her refrigerator between the hummus and the slaw. Or rather, her head was. The rest of her showed up in various places across the city. Like both breasts in the trash bin behind Du-Par’s.

Jason’s murder I could understand. He had a lot of enemies and his friends weren’t too fond of him, either. But Mai? She was twenty-three. She’d only been in town four years and her career had just started taking off. She still showed up for work on time, still came out of her trailer when the AD called places, still said “please” and “thank you” when a PA brought her water, and greeted the crew by name when she came on set. Mai didn’t have enemies.

Jason and Mai had one thing in common, though, known only to me and a handful of others. I began to think there might be a connection.

Three days after that, Tommy Gordon, the macho star of FOX’s latest Highway Patrol epic,
Cop Jocks,
was found dead in his Jacuzzi. The initial police report said the suction from a faulty drain held him down until he drowned.
In Touch Weekly,
sometimes a more reliable source than the Beverly Hills Police Department, suggested his manhood got caught in the filter. I knew from personal experience there wasn’t much chance of that, unless it was a very, very small filter.

There’s a theory in this town that whenever a star dies, two more follow within days. Those are natural deaths; these were anything but. It was Tommy’s death, the third in less than fourteen days, that convinced me I had a problem.

A serious problem.

The police came to the logical conclusion: someone was picking off the Hollywood A-list. They were thinking deranged fan, celebrity stalker, pissed-off paparazzi. I knew better. Jason, Mai, and Tommy had one thing in common, and it wasn’t their A-list status.

Eddings, Goulart, and Gordon were all vampyres.

Yes, vampyres. Undead, bloodsuckers, call them what you will: they were vampyres.

Most of the above-the-line names in Hollywood are. You see, it was the birth of the cinema that led the Undead to their true calling: movie stardom. The screen magnifies their presence. They’re luminescent on film. You can’t take your eyes off them. And you can forget everything you think is true about vampyres, including the garlic, mirrors, and silver allergies. Because everything you know about the race is informed by movies, and everything you know is wrong, because vampyres control the cinema.

I know.

Because I, too, am vampyre.

I am Ovsanna Hovannes Garabedian, Chatelaine of the Clan Dakhanavar of the First Bloodline. I am full born, not made, pure-blood, able to create others in my image.

But you know me as Ovsanna Moore, writer and star of seventeen blockbuster horror films, several less than successful ones, and a few that went straight to DVD.

I love the irony: The horror movie scream queen is a real vampyre.

BOOK: Vampyres of Hollywood
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