BOOK EXCERPT: A few pages from “The Curse of La Cosa Nostra, or How I Became a Teenage Mobster Vampire from Nutley, NJ”

“The surest way to make a well-formed and well-adjusted vampire is to stake them up the ass with the ceremonial dagger and store them in a cool, dark place until the following sunset.  Yes, you read that right:  Up the ass with a dagger.  I understand how disgusting that sounds, but I did warn you that there was nothing sexy about a real-life vampire.”

The Curse of La Cosa Nostra, or How I Became a Teenage Mobster Vampire from Nutley, NJ is my second novel, a completed work that reads as a gothic, horror, thriller, mob-story cocktail.  Take one part True Blood and another The Sopranos, add a splash of A Bronx Tale, shake, stir, and serve with a garnish of technothriller.

Giuseppe De Luca is just a college student from Nutley, NJ. He never planned on becoming the IT Director for the mob, nor did he imagine that mobsters are really vampires in hiding, or that real-life vampires are far more disgusting than folklore allows, but he will learn the truth of both shortly after saving his Uncle Tony’s life in a Greenwich Village alley.

The following scene occurs about halfway through the novel, when Guiseppe finally realizes what he is truly dealing with.

**********

The surest way to make a well-formed and well-adjusted vampire is to stake them up the ass with the ceremonial dagger and store them in a cool, dark place until the following sunset.  Yes, you read that right:  Up the ass with a dagger.  I understand how disgusting that sounds, but I did warn you that there was nothing sexy about a real-life vampire.

I’m also aware that some readers might refuse to believe red-blooded Italian men would participate in an act so laced with homosexual overtones.  Perhaps you’ve seen the sad and violent ending suffered by the lonely gay mobster, Vito, in season six of The Sopranos.  However, if you recall correctly, real-life vampires don’t have sex organs or their corresponding desires; an ass is no more or less masculine to them than an eyeball.

Technically speaking, the bunghole itself isn’t even a requirement.  It’s just very convenient, as the dagger’s dull blade needs to be soaked in the future vampire’s blood and surrounded by flesh until the awakening for maximum exposure to the retrovirus. Theoretically, one could pierce the abdomen or some other sufficiently fleshy part, but that might run the risk of popping out overnight and fucking the whole process up.

The staking itself needs to occur when the dagger is wet with the sacrificial blood.  The victims are often staked up the ass themselves, but this isn’t strictly a requirement.  Only a certain amount of blood and death are needed to activate the dark science and magic that drives the change, and a stake up the ass has the added benefit of ensuring the victim is alive for the follow up feast. The wielder of the dagger must be a caposangue, and it’s customary for all of the present vampires to cut themselves across the palm and smear what passes for blood on the hilt as well.

 If the procedure is performed properly, the newly born vampire will awake the following evening as helpless as a human baby that cries for blood instead of milk (well, that and their asshole feeling like it’s on fire, but I understand the pain isn’t as bad as one might think).  After a couple of days, the fledging will recover enough to pass for something sort of human, but it will be several months until they reach anything resembling full vampire strength.

**********

As usual, I knew none of this at the time.  As such, the ceremony unfolded in sequences horrific and surreal, inexplicable and yet obviously and terribly wrong. Disconnected as we were without any video footage of the scene, further divorced from the content by relying on computer generated Italian-to-English translations of the important parts, the actual experience is difficult to describe.

I’d like to believe I didn’t really know, or at least fully understand what was happening.  Or, perhaps, that witnessing it from the safety of my computer imparted an unreal quality, rendering the unthinkable into merely another form of violent entertainment to be mindlessly consumed and even enjoyed.

Certainly, there’s some truth to that.

The quality of the audio feeds wasn’t exactly broadcast; merely making sense of all the words required enough concentration to distract me from the actual substance.  Reading the awkward English phrasing scrolling across the screen from the translation software added even more confusion.  And then there was the wound in my thigh; that seemed to somehow know what was coming next and throb or pulse or tickle in an unmistakable rhythm, a sensation strangely like the feel of a movie’s soundtrack.

But above and beyond everything else, the ceremony possessed an unmistakable inevitability of outcome even if certain particulars or details were lacking. Like one needn’t know how fast they’re falling from a cliff to be well aware of the crushing fate awaiting on the ground, that woman—whoever she was, I never found out—was going to die.

And Brian and I were going to do nothing but watch.  (Well, listen.)

**********

The words themselves were largely meaningless, the usual sacrificial blather of an Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom style cult, and it was all-too-easy to believe Gino might well be about to rip a beating heart from someone’s chest a la Mola Ram.  There was no shortage of references to blood (sangue) and no shortage of swearing undying allegiance to the coven (congrega), but otherwise the dialogue was fit for a B-movie at best and Gino’s soft-spoken, ancient-parchment delivery didn’t help.

The sound effects were far more memorable, however.  No slasher movie ever came close to matching the thoroughly repulsive noise skin makes when pierced and torn, muscle when pointlessly struggling against bonds that will not break; or a dull wooden dagger rammed up two asses in relatively quick succession; the slurp of blood being drawn by half a dozen hungry mouths; the unconscious whimper at a body’s realization that death is imminent.

The woman must’ve awoken when Gino staked her, as anyone probably would while experiencing unwanted anal penetration, bound naked to the floor, face first and with a slight raising of the hips for easy access to the ass.  The staking happened after the attending vampires sliced open their palms—some in silence, some with a whispered salud like they were toasting a marriage—and smeared their bleeding hands on her bare flesh with a barely audible yet no less awful slipping and slapping.

This was followed by a brief pause in the action, a haunting, hungry moment of silence before the woosh of rapid motion and the fleshy thump of penetration.  Her dying moments grew into a quiet thunder, the muffled shriek as the dagger entered her body, the tense sound as she pulled against the ropes that held her tight.

“Siete pronti mio figlio, sangue del mio sangue, fratello di sangue?”

Are you ready my son, blood of my blood, brother in blood?

“Benedicimi padre,” Vito replied in solemn tones:  Bless me father.

The sounds repeated themselves in an unpleasant echo as Gino proceeded to thrust the dagger up Vito’s ass.  Later, when I discovered the specific details of the ritual, I said a quick prayer that there was no video feed and we were spared the indescribably horrific visuals:  A bound and naked woman bleeding profusely from her behind, a naked Vito bent over on top of her ready for his own staking, not to mention Gino doing the dirty work with Tony, Booma, Sonny, Mike, Vinnie, and Donnie lurking in the background.  Their faces were likely contorted in the startling death-rictus that precedes a vampire’s feeding, cheekbones and forehead pushed outward, fangs drawn.

“Ooooowwww!  Aaaaaah,” Vito cried, moaned, gasped, roared, “I nev-uh felt so aliiieee—”

And then promptly collapsed in a dull, wet thud.

“Wow, Gino, ‘dat was a good one. Puh’fect aim.”  Sonny’s voice was all quiet approval, as if Gino had just served up the perfect cannoli.

“Get him outta ‘da way, and let’s eat!”  Booma sounded excited rather than angry for once.

“Fah’ once, I agree!  I call shotgun on her ass!” Vinnie must’ve been smiling from ear to ear.

The woman was still alive at this point, her gagged screams reduced to panting and heaving.  She continued to struggle, but much more intermittently, and that was probably for the best.  The soft sound of clothes rustling belied the ferocity with which the vampires descended, but nothing could suppress the obvious avarice of the feeding frenzy.  There were moans and grunts and slurps, huffing and licking and growling, and—after an argument about who would indeed be the first at the ass—a few choice outbursts:  ‘Dis is delicious!  We should do ‘dis more often!  I can’t get enough of ‘dis bitch!

My thigh was on fire, and I tried to tear myself away from the screens, to do anything but listen, to fill my head with thoughts of anything but this, but I was helpless to resist.  I felt my tongue slip out of my mouth of its own accord and lightly but eagerly lick my lips.  A part of me thought:  But-but-but how could this be happening? I managed a glance at Brian and noted that he had started to cry.  Or, at least, a single long, slow, shining teardrop was wending its way down his cheek.

But all I could see was blood, the clear drop turned crimson in my mind.  I closed my eyes and the image still lingered.  I shook my head and the thought remained, the only tie that bound me to the scene, otherwise I was elsewhere entirely.  The sounds from the mobster’s phones slowly dissolved into a well-sated softness, an almost gentle whisper like the slow breathing after sex, but my heart was pounding harder than ever.  I could feel the blood beating in my skull, and I wanted to scream.  My body was pulsing with pent up energy, wound tighter than any mortal coil, and I wanted to jolt from the chair and pounce on something, someone, anything, anyone.

Apparently, I did exactly that and poor Brian was the only available target.  I have no memory of the attack itself, but I can quite clearly recall his shocked response.

What the fuck are you doing?!!?

***********

One of these days, I will make the full novel available on Amazon Kindle.  In the meantime, you can order my first novel, Far From Home: The City Under the Sea, on Amazon Kindle.

You can also order my latest independent film, Master Pieces, an old school slasher, on Amazon.

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