TAIL OF THE DEVIL by Danielle DeVor
If Mathias thought being homeless sucked, being a vampire is worse. The vampires who transformed him believe he is the reincarnation of an ancient king. They expect him to quit swearing, use a napkin, and play by their weird, ancient rules. Screw that.
But after the reigning queen assaults Mathias, he has visions of a past life in which he was that king. Turns out the current queen killed him then, and wants to kill him again. He’d better grow up fast, because if he doesn’t his second life may be shorter than his first.
You know you’ve been on the streets too long when the sound of an old man peeing in an alley reminds you of falling rain. Mathias stood, stretched his back, and walked out of the alley to escape the stench. He beat his hands against his jeans to knock away some of the grime, but it didn’t help much. Then, he scratched his head and ran his fingers through his dirty brown hair.
“Don’t think. Just move.” Mathias raised his head and looked past the tops of the buildings toward the sky. The sun was bright, a little too bright, but then it always seemed that way.
The early morning mist still crept its way around the feet of the buildings. It was a weightless sludge that looked like it was drifting from the river, but Mathias had never been too sure if that was where the mist was really coming from. It showed the city for what it really was: old, dirty, and worn. He felt old. Older than he was, older than he should be, and the way things were going, he’d be dead before long anyway. If he was lucky, he’d make it another year, but the way things were going, it didn’t seem likely.
His stomach growled. “Fuck.” He patted his hands against his pockets, hoping to hear the jingle of change, but the only sound was the slight rustle of fabric against fabric. “Great, just fucking great.” Mathias grabbed his bag and ran out into the early morning throng.
Dawn in New York was like nowhere else on Earth. It was the one time of day when the city felt a little calm. In a few hours, that calm would disappear- replaced by a din that seemed as if it could swallow the earth if it chose to do so.
Mathias ran down the street, narrowly avoiding a wad of fresh gum on the sidewalk. When he could smell the salt in the air, he knew he didn’t have much farther to go. The docks stretched for miles. He walked past the fishmongers that were busy loading the day’s catch into crates. The smell made his stomach growl.
Standing a ways from the crew stood a man in a plaid shirt holding a clipboard.
Thank God. “Hey Mac!” Mathias yelled.
Mac was generally a decent guy. Kind of grumpy, but tall, and big. He wore an old red plaid shirt and a pair of blue jeans that had seen better days. He kind of looked like a lumberjack, just not as strong.
“Whaddya want, kid?”
“You got any work for me today?”
Mathias watched Mac rub his chin with ink stained fingers. “Not today, kid. Sorry.” He turned toward Mathias. “The order was light.”
Mathias’ shoulders slumped a bit. “Dammit, man. I could really use a job.” He shifted his weight to the other foot.
Mac nodded. “Tell ya what. Jimmy the Fish is supposed to be getting a big order sometime this week. Maybe he can help ya.”
Mathias nodded. “Okay man, thanks.”
Mac shook his head.
Mathias walked further along the docks. Go work for Jimmy the Fish. Yeah, right. Man’d sell his toenails if he thought he’d get anything for ‘em. It wasn’t like he had a choice. When you were well-fed, you had choices. When you weren’t…
Just before he reached Jimmy’s place, he ducked behind a crate. Dammit. He hoped they hadn’t seen him, or heard him for that matter. What he did know was that a black Mercedes and a man in an Armani suit holding a gun was bad news. Shit! His heart throbbed in his chest. Too close. Too fucking close. He knew trouble when it glared him in the face.
“Where’s my money, Jimmy?” Mathias heard a man say.
Oh, shit. Mathias tried to breathe, but it wasn’t easy.
“Tony, I’m sorry. I tried. I really did, but sales just ain’t been good lately,” Jimmy said.
Mathias could hear the fear dripping from Jimmy’s voice.
“So what you gonna do about it?” Tony asked.
Mathias could hear Jimmy begin to whimper. “I swear. I’ll… I’ll have it tomorrow.”
Mathias heard a couple of thumps followed by a howl.
“Yeah, you’ll swear all right, Jimmy. Nobody stiffs Mr. Plague. Nobody!”
Pop! Pop! Pop! A car door slammed. Then, with the squeal of tires and a rush of wind, he was gone.
Mathias couldn’t think. He couldn’t breathe. Suppressing a shudder, he distracted himself, randomly picking at a dirty hole in the knee of his jeans.
Come on. You can do this. He raised himself up on his knees and peeked around the crate. “Fuck.” Blood was on the ground like a dark pool. He scuttled back and tried to calm himself. Sweat formed on his upper lip. “Goddammit. I can’t move. Not now.”
He had no idea if there had been only one man, or if they were sending a so-called cleanup crew. All he knew was that he was witness to something he didn’t need to be a witness of, and that put him in a very bad position. The only thing he could do was wait and see if and when it would be safe to get away.
He raised the bottom of his filthy t-shirt and wiped the sweat from his lip. His legs began to cramp. He looked up at the sky. Where the clouds had been earlier, there was nothing but blue sky. “Why is it always this damn hot in August?” He mumbled as he stretched his legs.
The glaring sun beat down on the back of his neck. He didn’t think it could get any hotter, but he also really didn’t want to wait around to find out.
Somehow his stomach didn’t get the message about being quiet because it let loose a growl that was so loud, Mathias was sure that someone had heard it. And yet, nothing happened.
Interview with Danielle DeVor:
Gen: What is a one line synopsis for your book?
Danielle: Not quite one line, but one sentence.
Fifteen-year-old Mathias Drvar, homeless-teen-turned-vampire, must fight for his right to stay alive when the reigning queen demands a duel because she considers him a threat to her rule.
Gen: Why did you choose to write about vampires?
Danielle: I’ve always been obsessed with vampires. I started studying them when I was three by making my father read to me a book I’d found called Meet the Vampire, by Georgess McHargue.
Gen: Do you have plans to expand Tail of the Devil into a series?
Danielle: Right now, TotD is a duology. I may write more of Mathias in the future, but he will no longer be a teen, so it will no longer be a Young Adult story.
Gen: Which character is your favorite to write and why?
Danielle: Nossy is really a lot of fun. He does these wacky things just because he likes to irritate the other characters.
Gen: If you had to pick an ice cream flavor to describe your favorite character what would that be and why?
Danielle: Pomegranate. He’s obsessed with them.
Gen: You have another book coming out this fall, Sorrow’s Point. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Danielle: It’s about a defrocked priest who ends up doing an exorcism on a six-year-old girl.
Gen: Can you share a bit about what you are working on next?
Danielle: Right now, I’m in the middle of writing the second Tail of the Devil book. After that, I will be writing the third book in the Sorrow’s Point series.
Gen: Now some personal questions, What was your favorite part of living in Baton Rouge? Did it infuse your writing any?
Danielle: I liked being able to head down to New Orleans about every weekend. It’s only about an hour away from Baton Rouge. When I was down there, Anne Rice had already sold her house in the garden district, but I got engrossed in studying how the voudou religion works. There is some of that knowledge in Sorrow’s Point.
Gen: What is the biggest time drain in your life that takes you away from writing?
Danielle: Life in general. It is always kind of crazy at my house. I can be writing, and then there will be some sort of catastrophe that has to be fixed NOW! And then, of course, by the time I can get back to writing, my concentration is blown. 🙂
Gen: What is your favorite genre to read, or do you have one?
Danielle: It’s a toss-up between horror and fantasy. I also like murder mysteries.
Gen: Recently I visited Lucy Pireel’s website and she ended the interview with this: just blather on about whatever. I thought that was fantastic so I’m doing it here. Go on and tell us whatever you want in this space, a rant, a self-promo, blathering nonsense, whatever:
Danielle: I love MMA- Mixed Martial Arts. So far, I’ve only gotten to go to one UFC fight. My favorite fighters are Eddie Alvarez, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, and Chuck Liddell. There’s something about two fighters going head to head using various techniques to take down their opponent. (It’s no longer a men’s only sport. Rhonda Rousey is an amazing athlete, and currently the UFC women’s champ.)
I have written a YA Thriller about a boy learning MMA who encounters a serial killer. So, I’m actually putting my fight knowledge to use. 🙂
Gen: Danielle, thank you so much for visiting my blog and telling us a bit about your books!
That’s it for today everyone!
Please check out Danielle’s links:
Danielle DeVor spent her early years fantasizing about vampires and watching “Salem’s Lot” way too many times. After living briefly in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she moved back to her hometown to write. When not writing and reading about weird things, you will find her hanging out at the nearest coffee shop, enjoying a mocha frappuccino.
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