The Traveling Vampire And The Farmer's Daughter
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by Joe Vadalma
Description: Her farmer father told her to beware of traveling salesmen, but he didn't say a word about traveling vampires. In this delightful new fantasy novel, that is sure to remind readers of Xanth and Diskworld, Joe Vadalma applies his usual deft touch for satire to recent novels and movies about the undead. If ever a girl yearned to escape the dreary world of farming and small town life, it was Sally. But her stepfather watches over her doings with an eagle eye. Slipping the leash for a night out at the local country and western bar, Sally spies a tall, pale stranger drinking alone, who rides a sexy motorcycle, naturally. Soon the pair are parked somewhere necking passionately. In fact, that's the last thing Sally, remembers when she wakes up in her room the next morning - being nuzzled on the neck! Well, it's true love on both their parts, in the twilight, under the full moon, at breaking dawn, and during an eclipse, and neither can keep their hands or lips off each other. Then Sally discovers he's a vampire - but, what does she care? Karl offers a chance to fly away from the bleak life she knows - even if it means flying on leathern wings. Sadly for Sally, the course of true love never runs true. If the two are ever to embrace in a happily-ever-after clinch for the fade-out, they will have to survive a vampire clan sworn to slay Karl, the ghost of Sally's great-grandmother, a murderer who has struck twice, the mysterious Boris Magyar, and a man waiting in a graveyard holding a gun loaded with a silver bullet. If all this happens in this dizzying comic pastiche, what must lie ahead for our lovelorn heroine and her fashionably-pale beaux in the sequel? And, of course, there will be a sequel! A Hilarious Fantasy Romp!
eBook Publisher: Renaissance E Books/Pageturner,
eBookwise Release Date: August 2011
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [169 KB]
Reading time: 110-155 min.
A SHADOW IN THE NIGHT
It is strange how our fates can change on such small things. Take Sally Johnson. She was an ordinary farm girl, perhaps slightly prettier with a better figure than most, but no supermodel. During the day she worked as waitress in a diner. On Friday evenings, she went to a local bar or bowling alley with her friend Montana O'Brien. On Sundays she attended church with her mother and stepfather. It is likely that if destiny had not taken a hand on that one faithful morning, she would have married a local man and lived out her life in a dull way in the area where she was born. But fate had other plans for Sally. The thing that changed everything started simply as a shadow in the night.
Sally Johnson's clock radio began to play Imma Be by the Black Eyed Peas in her ear. She groaned, smacked the alarm off button and stretched. It was four in the morning on a Monday; time to hook up the milking machine to the cows and check that they had enough to eat and drink. She slipped on her work boots and put on a heavy robe over her nightgown. Although it was mid-June, the nights were still cool in the farmland of southern Illinois.
She padded out the couple hundred feet to the barn. By the time she reached it, the cows were stirring and mooing. They seemed particularly restless that morning. As she connected the milking machine to their udders, she patted them and talked to them, calling each one by name. When she finished, she checked their troughs and added feed and water as required. Before leaving, she faced them and said, "Good morning, ladies. See you later."
Because she was fond of animals, she did not mind this chore. The one thing she hated was having to rise so early in the morning. She sighed. Bob Kopinski, her stepfather, had assigned her this particular task because most of the day she was gone. She was employed at the diner in the village and could not help with farm work during the day. She often wondered why her stepfather doggedly insisting on keeping the farm. It did not pay enough to meet its own expenses. As a result they kept falling deeper and deeper into debt even with her and her mother having outside employment. If she and her mother did not work and her half brother did not send money home from Afghanistan where he was stationed as a Marine, the farm would already be bankruptcy.
Her life had been different eighteen years ago when Sally was four years old. Her biological father had been well off, a cousin of the family that owned the local factory. She vaguely recalled playing in the big mansion that stood on the hill at the end of the village. These days that building stood empty and abandoned; foreclosed with no buyers. After her father had vanished, her mother had lived there for a while on the proceeds from an insurance policy, but after she married Kopinski, all that money plus money from a home equity loan on the mansion went to get Kopinski's farm out of debt. The home equity loan was never paid, and the mansion went into foreclosure. It had stood empty and abandoned ever since. No one wanted to buy such a white elephant..
She often daydreamed of the life she might have had if her father had not deserted them. She always wanted to visit exotic places that she had read about -- Paris, England, India and China. She secretly stashed away a little money from her paycheck into a special bank account and vowed that someday she would use it to travel. When she had saved enough, she would leave the farm, her grumpy sour stepfather and her weak-willed mother and their small town forever. At the moment she stayed only for her mother's sake.
One thing that always puzzled her. Neither Kopinski nor her mother ever spoke of her father. When the subject came up, they evaded answering her questions and changed the topic of conversation. They never told her where he had gone and why. Nonetheless, they cautioned her not to listen to any rumors about him. It was as though their was some deep dark family secret concerning his leaving. She wondered whether he went to live with a mistress.
As she left the barn, the full moon was about to set. Its silvery glow gave everything an odd black and white washed out appearance and cast eerie shadows. Because of its glow, she did not need the flashlight she carried. Halfway to the farmhouse, she had the weird feeling of being watched. The hairs on the back of her neck rose, and she trembled. Moments later she heard a sound by the sheds as though someone had banged it with their hand or fell against it. She froze in her tracks and tried to identify the noise. A hunched over shadow crossed from the back of one shed to the back of another. A prowler, she thought and ran to the farmhouse.
When she stumbled through the door, her mother and stepfather were in the kitchen. Her mother was preparing breakfast, the second most important meal of the day, since Kopinski often did not take lunch while he was out plowing the fields.
Out of breath, she cried haltingly, "An intruder. Someone. Out by the sheds."
Her mother and stepfather looked at her with gaping mouths. "What?" shouted Kopinski. "What're you talking about?"
She took a few deep breaths to get herself under control. In a more calm voice, she said, "I saw someone ... or something moving about behind the sheds."
"Someone or something? Which was it?"
Sally wrinkled her forehead. "I'm pretty sure that it was a person, but-but it could've been an animal now that I think of it."
"Well, we'll see."
Kopinski got up from the table and went to the cabinet where he kept his firearms. He took out a 12-guage shotgun, loaded it with buckshot, tucked it under his arm and strode toward the kitchen door. He waved at Sally to follow him. They went outside. By this time, the sky had turned pink.
"Where did you see whatever you saw?"
She pointed at a spot between two sheds. "If it's animal, please don't shoot it, Bob."