The following is an excerpt from a new book by Terence Taylor
Rahman developed a fever that night, one that couldn’t be quenched. He felt as if he would die, and did, but felt himself wake again before dawn, ravenous. Rahman smelled food all around him, intoxicating, until he realized it was the scent of living blood in the soldiers. Understanding didn’t stop him. He lost control of his rational mind to hunger. Blood was all that could slake his bottomless thirst and he took it, swept through the camp as Dahia’s avenger, wiped out the entire battalion on his first feeding as they fought back in vain.
When his blood hunger was satisfied, he instinctively hid from the sun as it rose over the sand and understood at last what she’d done, what he’d become. Her death at the well of perfume was no suicide, but a sacrifice; to a god so ancient it had no name. He had become a murderous instrument of Dahia’s justice.
BITE MARKS: A Vampire Testament by Terence Taylor
GOBLINS of COLOR
Terrence Taylor’s creepy ghoulish blood excreting writing takes place in New York, L.A. and are steeped in memories of past lives. Taylor reminds us that vampires feed on life energy and minds. An anthology of horror and suspense by African Americans called “Dark Dreams” by Brandon Massey published in 2004 is a great place to dig deep into the world of “I also wanted to bring the myth into the modern age, and I think living in a big city where people disappear all the time is the easiest and best feeding ground for what is essentially a human predator. How do they live, where do they live, how does it feel to live like a god among men? I didn’t want just write a thriller with a lot of running, screaming and biting — I wanted to really rework the vampire myth for the 21st century and make it as real as possible. So I screw with history a lot in my vampire’s back stories. In doing research into their past lives, I realized just how much of history is only what we all agree happened, and how many holes there are.” says Taylor.
So, my question as a person who is not an aficionado of sci-fi/horror fiction what does an African American add to this narrative voice that white writers have not for years? How does race inflect itself into a alternative reality where one would not necessarily think race would be an issue? Or would it simply be life as we know with it a perverted twist…black folk that are simply stranger the strangest person you know in the hood? Does political and social and economic grounding suck the air out of the genre? Taylor says he looked to his own life as young black kid hanging out and having fun while commenting on the social context of the time. He tells me about the wide cast of people of color, rich history that includes African figures and modern day black writers-all in his world of veils.
“I have Rahman, a 1,000 year old Moorish vampire from North Africa living in the subway under Sheep Meadow with an army of ancient albino vampires, and Marlowe, the 19 year old street kid who works for Adam Caine has a few fans. I think he does what a lot of us would do in his shoes. Steven and Lori, my human heroes, are very real people to me, and I think the degree to which I brought them to life makes it easier for readers to follow them down the rabbit hole. My favorite in Book One is definitely Perenelle, my french vampire, who created Adam Caine, the vampire who kickstarts the story by accidentally creating a baby vampire that escapes. And Claire St. Claire, unleashed in Book Two from her prison has grown on me. The illegitimate daughter of a french hooker living in 1920s Berlin and a passing Japanese businessman, she becomes a vampire when…well, read the book. Hee hee… My vampires are as varied a bunch as my human characters, which makes sense since this is largely their testament. Your readers can check doyoubelieveinvampires.com for excerpts and more details.” bubbles Taylor.
It’s scary, but perversely humorous — you have to know when to loosen your grip on your reader’s throats.” thrills Taylor.
As the Fall turns into winter and your are already a fan of blood suckers and half-human half-beyond supra real humanoids, check out the 36 episode blog Taylor will introduce called “Sustenance” which has black Harlem Renaissance female blazer, Zora Neal Hurston with Taylors vampire, Turner Creed on the eve of WW II. True to Taylor’s bent for grounding his mythology in history his reader can recall (or fact check) in Taylor’s new work Hurston is working on a project for Paramount pictures. Plop some marshmallow in a mug of cocoa and curl up with a whole new set of vampires your daddy could never have imagined!
BITE MARKS: A Vampire Testament, and BLOOD PRESSURE: A Vampire Testament, are available at Hue-Man Bookstore and Cafe, Barnes and Noble, Borders, and online at Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com. You can also read his earlier short fiction in all three of Brandon Massey’s “Dark Dreams” anthologies of horror and suspense stories by African-American writers.
FOR MORE INFO on this book: doyoubelieveinvampires.com
(Tod Roulette is a contributing arts writer for Harlem World and has written for ARude, Men’s Style, Paper, OUT and more publications)
*Photos by Matthew Alexander