Rise of the Vampires by Andrew Culver - Read Online
Rise of the Vampires
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Summary

Who are those tall, pale guys walking down Sunset Boulevard after dark? What are they doing in the clubs night after night? And why are there more and more of them in Los Angeles every week?

Billy and Mike, two high school friends, are about to find out in this terrifying story of a new kind of monster – one that will not go away.

Billy, whose mom died when he was a year old, is going up to the idyllic town of Sutter Bridge with his dad for summer vacation. But this vacation will be different, because Billy is about to stumble on the nesting ground of a rising population of beasts that have a horrid connection to his own past.

Mike stays in LA to work in a movie theater and notices a new kind of customer showing up for the midnight shows. They are pasty, thin, and hip...and they are everywhere.

By the time Billy gets back to LA, the city he knew is gone and something new has taken its place.

The vampires have risen.

But it’s not too late to fight.

Published: Andrew Culver on
ISBN: 9781476036823
List price: $0.99
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Rise of the Vampires - Andrew Culver

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Chapter One

That night, after the helicopters flew overhead with their searchlights and loudspeakers, Jeffrey and Elliot went to the edge of the cave where their group-mother warned them never to go after sundown. They stood and looked out at the city below.

You know, Elliot said to his friend, they used to call that city Los Angeles.

What do they call it now? Jeffrey asked. I can never remember.

"It’s a really long name. Something like Nucominon."

Jeffrey sat down and drew his knees up to his face, sitting in a ball. The city was an immense bed of lights and towers that stretched farther than the eye could see. The skyscrapers loomed above the metropolis, which had just come alive now that the sun was down. No one was allowed out of the cave until sunrise because patrols were so frequent in these hills.

Why do the vampires speak another language? Jeffrey asked.

I heard that they wanted to separate themselves from the humans and make it easier to tell who was who. So a human couldn’t go under disguise.

Elliot pointed to a giant tower in the middle of the city.

See that? That’s a human prison. They keep people there and breed them for blood, and then they take some of them and turn them into vampires. If they need to.

Really?

Uh-huh.

We should go back. We’re gonna get in trouble.

Walking back down the dark, curved cave they approached a light from deep within, where the labyrinths were. Bedtime was soon.

When Jeffrey got to his room, carved out of granite right next to the detectors, he went in and lay down on his bed, thinking. He looked at his bookshelf where some old books were sitting – books that had been rescued long ago from the remains of the old world. He picked one up off of the shelf – a heavy volume written on some strange kind of paper he had never seen, with horizontal blue lines going across it. On the top was a title scrawled in old, faded marker: Dawn of the Bloodsuckers. His grandfather had given it to him several years ago before he died, and Jeffrey had never wanted to read it. Maybe he just wasn’t curious, or maybe he just didn’t want to think about how the world used to be.

Until now.

He opened the front page and saw his grandfather’s scraggly writing, weak yet full of purpose. Jeffrey began to read. He was ready for the story now.

Dear Jeffrey,

This all happened over a hundred years ago.

Back when there was a United States of America.

It may seem strange to tell you about things that happened so long ago. But you are young now, and perhaps you are wondering how the world got to be the way it is. I know it’s not easy to live the way we do – hiding in caves at night, foraging for food during the day. It wasn’t always this way. There was a time before the vampires took over. It was long ago, before even I was born. 

My job is a dangerous one and I might not be around much longer. The movement we’re in – the resistance movement – has been around for as long as the bloodsuckers have been in control. That is why I must tell you this story. It is about some of the first resistance fighters.

When I was your age my mother used to tell me this story over and over. She even made me memorize it. Then I had to tell it back to her. She wanted to be sure I would pass it down to the next generation. I’ve learned why she did this. If we lose our culture we lose our will to survive. As you will see I’ve added some things of my own just to make it interesting.

Soon you will have to continue the fight against the vampires that hunt us with their police dogs and their searchlights. I know it may seem like a daunting task for an ordinary person. But Billy and his friends were just ordinary people like you and me. You must remember that they were no more special than us. They did what they had to do.

We may be an endangered species right now, but someday humans will take the power back from these beasts. Please read this story, remember it, and tell it to your children.

Love,

 Grandpa

- what r u doing this summer?

- dunno

- we need girlfriends

- yeah right

- I have a plan

- what

Really, Mike? Really?

Mike looked up in surprise from his cell phone, which was hidden behind the textbook in his lap, to see Mr. Hodges standing with the chalk in one hand, staring at him in pure disbelief.

What? Mike had mastered the innocent look just as well as his teachers had mastered their bullshit detectors.

"You’re obviously sending text messages. And the thing – Mike, the thing is, that upsets me so much, is that you’re hiding it so badly. And you know what that is? It’s an insult to my intelligence. It’s an insult to the intelligence of your classmates. Give me the phone."

Come on, Mr. Hodges. I’ll stop. I’m serious. Look, you’re wasting time. These students want to learn and you’re taking up valuable class time.

Hodges walked up to Mike’s desk and stood with his hand out.

Mr. H, do we have to play these games? Why don’t we meet after class and we’ll hug it out. No hard feelings, dude. Let’s move on.

Mike, give it to me!

Hodges wrestled the phone out of Mike’s grasp and Mike let out a shocked yelp, then looked around for support.

You know the rules, Mike. I read your text messages aloud to the class. Now let’s see who the lucky recipient of your insights is. He scrolled through the phone. Billy Morris?

He turned to Billy, a shy, brown-haired kid who sat in the back. "Mr. Morris, I am surprised at this. You are one of my best students. Well, let’s recreate the dialogue for the students who missed out on your exchange. ‘What are you doing this summer?’ Mike asks his friend, he read in a lofty Shakespearean voice. Billy returns, ‘I don’t know.’ To which young Michael asserts, ‘We need girlfriends.’ Billy, ever the skeptic, appears to respond, ‘Yeah right.’ I’m troubled by your lack of confidence, Billy. Mike responds triumphantly, ‘I have a plan!’ Ladies, is anyone interested in dating these young men? Can we solve this problem right here?"

The room was full of laughter. Billy and Mike knew the sound – it was the mockery of the girls who had turned them down as dates for the prom, it was the laughter of the rich guys who were dating those girls, it was the resounding ridicule of the fates that had assigned them to a lifetime of bad luck with girls, unpopularity and boring weekends with their parents.

Gentlemen, you get your girlfriends on the way to Mr. LaPolla’s office, said Mr. Hodges, with his arm extended and his finger pointing at the door. I don’t think Mr. LaPolla will be much help to you though.

God! Mike said, getting up and shoving his oversized book into his overstuffed backpack. Billy, whose face registered nothing, stood up in the back and left silently.

Dude, wait! Mike cried after him. We’re in this together! The room erupted with laughter once again and Mike ran after his friend and caught up with him on the grass in the quad.

Alright, sorry about that.

Billy didn’t look at his friend.

If I get a B in this class because of you, I’m serious…

"Billy, you are not going to get less than an A in a class. It would defy Newton’s fourth law of physics. Okay, so do you want to hear my plan?"

For what? Convincing LaPolla not to call our parents? I would welcome that.

No. I don’t have a plan for that. We have more important problems on our hands. Here, I’ve thought it out like a five-paragraph essay. Here’s my thesis: we deserve attention from girls. There’s no reason we can’t get it. We’re entitled to it, we’re attractive, we’re intelligent, we’re in the prime of our respective manhoods.

Where are your three main paragraphs?

"Here’s the plan. Actually, there are three main bullet points: One – we go to Sam Gersh’s parties this summer. My parents are friends with his parents. It should be no problem. He’s pretty cool, actually. Once you get to know him, he’s not really an asshole at all. Two – at these parties there will be many girls, not only from this school, but most importantly, from St. Anthony, from South Pasadena High, and from Flintridge. And three – those Flintridge girls are rich as hell, too. And they’re starved for male attention at that crazy girl’s school, they won’t realize that we’re not actually cool. That’s the main brilliance of my plan, actually. And once we get in with those girls, they’ll start inviting us to their own parties and we can bypass this school. See, this is the main problem we’ve had: this school is so small and rich that it’s hard for regular, salt of the earth types like us to make headway with girls. But those other schools are different, they’re not so cliquey like this place."

Are you done?

They were standing in front of Mr. LaPolla’s office.

I’m done, Billy. Look, let me handle this. I’ve done this a million times.

Mike knocked on the door. LaPolla’s gruff, New Jersey voice came through the impenetrable three inches of solid oak.

Yeah?

Mike opened the door and peaked in.

Jesus, Chesterton. What this time?

Uh, I was texting in class.

It’s the last day of school. You couldn’t wait for tomorrow?

I just have a lot to say.

Apparently. Who was it? Hodges?

Yeah.

Alright, tell him I called your mom.

Are you going to?

I’ll email her. When is she going to take away your phone?

My dad wants me to keep it in case of an emergency.

Alright, get out of here. I have work to do.

Mike closed the door.

See? You didn’t even get involved. You like that?

Yeah, Mike. Thanks. You know, there’s one problem with your plan.

What, you’re gay? That’s okay. We can still make this work.

No. I’m going up to Sutter Bridge again.

Oh, God. That creepy old town? Aren’t you done with that ridiculous tradition?

No, Billy said. My dad makes me go with him every year. I think it’s ‘cause that’s where he met my mom. He wants me to be connected to her memory.

Sounds depressing. Didn’t she die when you were like a month old?

"Yeah. It is depressing. It should only be for a month though. Then we can do our plan."

Great, Mike sulked.

Chapter Two

The house was bigger than they needed, and it felt bigger every day. Billy’s Nissan slid into the driveway next to the hedges and the lawn and the roses that his dad had never touched. On the weekends Billy would wake up and a Mexican guy with a lawnmower would be outside his window, their faces inches from each other, and the guy would be sweating already at nine o’clock in the morning, and his dad would be up already, writing, or he would have left a note on the kitchen table saying he was hiking.

Today though, Harvey Morris was not hiking. He was writing in his office that faced the doorway. When you entered the house you would immediately see Harvey’s profile at his computer, and behind him on the wall you would see an immense Ansel Adams photograph of Half Dome.

Hey, Bill!

Hey Dad.

He threw his backpack on the couch and noticed that it was stuffy in the house. His dad never left the office when he was on a roll.

What are you writing?

The column. I’m on deadline.

His dad wrote a syndicated nature column and had published several books on the importance of nature. He gave talks on birdwatching around the country. Collectively these endeavors allowed them to live in Pasadena.

Billy stood in the living room and noticed the dusty rays of evening sun coming through the kitchen window. Sepulchral house. It always felt empty.

On the wall, among pictures of Billy as a child, Billy playing t-ball, and Billy with his dad at Yosemite, was a photo of his Dad and Mom when they were first married. His dad had all his hair, was about twenty-seven, and was much thinner. He had a devilish brightness in his blue eyes which Billy also had. In the picture Harvey was standing on the beach by a lake and Billy’s mom was next to him. She was a foot shorter than his dad and had a pretty, mellow face and soft, sleepy eyes. Her hair was long and brown, and she had clearly been some kind of flower child. Billy looked at this picture almost every day before he left the house. His dad’s reedy voice came from the office.

You ready to go to Sutter Bridge?

I guess.

It should be good fishing up there. I talked to Larry, he and the kids are excited to have us up.

His dad came out into the living room and looked at his son with a wild grin on his face. His hair was gray and thinning, he wore glasses and he looked like an altogether respectable and comfortably middle-aged college professor.

Billy knew what the summer would entail: himself and his nerdy cousins Irwin and Isaac, riding bikes and pretending to like each other. Irwin, who couldn't stop talking about dinosaurs and Isaac who wouldn't shut up about astronomy and the Voyager II expedition. A wave of depression washed over Billy as he foresaw the tedious, hot summer stretched ahead of him. There was nothing he could do about it. He had to go. It would break his dad's heart if he stayed home. This was their tradition; it made them a