Vampire Guts in Nuketown was originally published in 2013. It is available to purchase in full via Kindle or paperback by clicking here.
Guts woke up in the dark. He rolled to his left, immediately regretting it. He moaned aloud. His body ached. His head pounded.
Just another day in paradise, he thought as his eyes adjusted to the nearly pitch black surroundings. He reached up, rubbing his hand across the stubble on his smooth, bald head, letting his hand travel all the way to the back of his neck.
Still disoriented from sleep, he sat up and looked around. He was lying on the floor next to a filthy, piss-soaked bed. If the bed looked like that, he didn’t want to think about what the floor looked like…
Further inspection showed yellowed, cracked wallpaper with graffiti sprayed across the walls, a tiny bathroom door half open, a wrecked TV set stripped of all its copper tubing and metal knobs, and an air conditioning wall unit in much the same condition.
Guts picked himself up off the floor. A motel room. He must have been delirious in the fading light of the afternoon. For the life of him, he couldn’t remember how he got there. At least he’d had the presence of mind to pick a room that still had a functioning door. The days… hell, the weeks blended together anymore. He was starting to crack up, lose his edge. He couldn’t even remember the last time he saw a human. A real one, anyway. Somebody not grotesquely malformed by radiation, or worse, driven totally mad by it.
The loneliness. The loneliness was the worst part. It started playing tricks with your mind. Made things seem real that maybe weren’t and made real things seem… weird.
He’d been on the road too long. How long had it been since he’d spent any meaningful time at a trading post? Twelve months? Fourteen? Sometimes Guts wondered if he’d strayed too close to a spent nuke himself and just hadn’t realized that he’d gone batshit insane. It would certainly explain a lot about this fucked up world…
It was getting steadily worse. The virus. The plague. How long before every last human on earth—what was left of them, anyway—was infected? As if nuclear fallout wasn’t bad enough. If there was a god, he had a fucked up sense of humor. Feral mutant vampires and a planet poisoned by radiation? Talk about getting fucked at both ends.
Fuck it, he thought as he crossed the small room. The more Fangers there are, the more I get to kill.
Naked, Guts stretched his massive back as he stepped into the pitch black bathroom and pissed into the decaying toilet. He was suddenly glad the electricity didn’t work. He could hear the scurrying and clicking of insects frantically trying to escape his stream of urine. He hated the way the new nuked-up cockroaches looked. Their little black faces looked far too human.
He suddenly became concerned that he couldn’t remember how he’d gotten to this particular cesspool of rot and decay. Guts was usually very careful about picking shelter from the Blood Fiends. This motel could be crawling with Vamps as thick in number as the roaches and beetles picking at his toenails.
Stupid. Dumb mistake.
It’s mistakes like this that are gonna get you killed, Guts thought, finishing in the dingy bathroom.
Before he could assess the situation further, a frantic pounding at the motel door jolted him back to reality. Couldn’t be vampires. Judging by the light coming in from the shredded up blinds, dusk was still at least 3 hours off. Had he really slept through the night and the whole day? The pounding continued.
“Is someone there?” It was a high-pitched, frantic voice. A girl?
“Please! Is somebody in there?” Her tone was desperate, near hysterical.
It had been twelve years since The Infestation. Ten since the nukes. “The Infestation” is what survivors called the viral outbreak, the epidemic that ended life on earth as we knew it. The larger cities had been overrun early on. That’s where the biggest concentration of Fangers nested. It was a death sentence to travel through them. Now most people huddled together in little shanty towns where they traded drugs, trinkets, and their bodies in exchange for the relative safety of numbers, even if those numbers were dwindling daily, picked off at night by Fangers clever enough to slip past the few brave men willing to stand watch, or dumb enough to think they stood a chance against the monsters. Guts preferred to take his chances by himself. On the road…
In the early days, Guts saw a lot of activity on the road; survivalists finally living out their fantasy life, small communes of idealistic hippie types thinking the infestation was a sign from God to live more simplistic, back-to-basics lives. Mostly he saw loners like himself. Till all the big animals died, food started to run out and power grids failed. Then the survivalists banded together, forming gangs of roving, desperate savages who would do anything for a can of irradiated green beans. The communes quickly turned into cannibal cults, worshiping new flesh gods, performing unspeakable acts upon the innocent in the hopes that their new gods would reward them with an unsuspecting traveler to roast alive on the ritual altar to keep the vampires away for another night. The only way to truly survive in this new world was to understand that all decency and morality was lost when the thin veil of civilized culture washed away in a sea of bloody violence, fangs, and radiation.
But even in those early days, Guts never met a lone girl…
“I saw you moving around in there. I need your help! Please!”
After another moment’s deliberation, Guts made his decision.
“Who’s with you?” He kept his voice calm, but authoritative.
“It- It’s just me! Let me in, please. I’m scared!”
There was a long pause.
“It’s my brother, sir. He’s sick. He needs help.”
Guts opened the door.
She was young. A teenager. Not a day over nineteen; a fact made obvious by her cherubic features, smooth olive skin, and pouty, rose-colored lips.
Guts was instantly taken aback by her beauty, but there was something else, some air of familiarity that he couldn’t quite place. Where did he know her from? That was a silly question; he couldn’t possibly know her. He didn’t know anyone anymore. He’d been on the road so long, everyone he ever knew from any outpost was long dead. The more he thought about it, the more the back of his neck throbbed…
Her eyes grew wide as she scanned the battle hardened man before her. She hesitated at the twin ram horn tattoos—bizarrely adorned with centipede legs—on the sides of his bald head. Tattoos that made him look like a creature out of old Greek legends. Her vision crept down past Guts’ sculpted chest, past the jagged scar that ran horizontally across his chiseled stomach. Down even lower…
Her face turned red. Her eyes quickly darted away.
Guts had forgotten he was still naked. The situation was made all the more awkward by the fact that his thick member had become slightly engorged by the sight of her; even more so by the second. It’d been too long since he laid eyes on a woman not horribly disfigured by fallout. In fact, he didn’t see any extra limbs, skin disorders, or anything at all wrong with her.
“I-I’m sorry if I interrupted you.” She chanced another quick glance at his penis. “It’s just that I’m really scared for my brother. He’s diabetic. He hasn’t had insulin in a long time. Usually, he can keep it in check, but we haven’t been able to find any food for three days. I-I think he’s going into shock.” She finished, meeting his gaze, tears welling up in her eyes.
Guts felt both lust and pity in equal measure. He stepped aside. “Come in. I’ll get dressed, then we’ll see if there’s anything I can do to help.”
The girl gave a tentative glance back the way she’d come, then followed him inside. Before she could shut the door, Guts was on her. He slammed her hard against the door. His silver blade was against her neck.
She let out a terrified whimper.
He reached up and latched the flimsy motel lock, trapping her inside. His face was inches from hers.
She breathed in sharp, shallow gasps, sweat beading up on her forehead.
He spoke between clenched teeth. “Now, I’ll ask you one more time, while you still have the benefit of speaking with your vocal chords intact. Who else is with you?”
Eyes wide with terror, the young girl shook her head quickly from side to side.“I-I told you, sir! I promise. I’m not lying. It-It’s just me and my big brother!”
Guts pressed the blade harder against her small throat and stared bore holes into her terrified eyes. “I swear to Christ, if you’re lying to me… there are things worse than death waiting for you.”
He relaxed the blade, only then realizing that his full erection was pressed against the girl’s bare stomach. This hadn’t gone unnoticed by her, either. Her breath steadied. Slowly, she pushed back against him. She gently took his member in her hand and looked into his eyes.
“If you help my brother, I’ll take care of you.” She looked down at the floor. “I’m real good.”
Guts pulled away. His cock pulsed. He wanted badly to take her right there in that rotting motel. It was the steady throbbing at the back of his neck matching that of his boner that snapped him out of his lustful haze. He reached up again, massaging the spot.
The girl slid down the door into a seated position, eye level with his hard cock.
Guts turned from her, quickly dressing.
The girl gasped when he pulled his sleeveless vest on over his bare chest. Affixed to the back of its leather was a dried out and stretched vampire face, immune to the affects of the radiation sun due to some arcane chemical treatment. It was awful, Guts knew. A horrific reminder to all bloodsuckers that he was not the man to fuck with, and an equal warning to any human or mutant that might see him as an easy target out on the road.
“What’s your name?” he asked, finally, slipping into his steel-toed combat boots, adorned with rows of silver-tipped spikes.
“You can call me Guts.”
“Guts? That’s a weird name.”
He turned back to her, buckling his pants. “Yeah, well…” he said, tracing the long scar across his belly with a finger. “This world is a weird place.”
Guts opened the door and looked out into the weird pink and green light that made up what people still tried to call daylight in some feeble attempt to hold on to a past that became more and more a distant memory with each passing day. The fallout had caused some fundamental shift in the light spectrum that changed the way sunlight filtered through the upper levels of the atmosphere. That was some brilliant scientist’s way of combating The Infestation. Some geek who’d watched too many Sci-Fi and horror movies as a kid, or something.
The vampires weren’t allergic to normal sunlight. In fact, the infection was closer to Lycanthropy than traditional Vampire folklore. When a person was bitten, they transformed into a giant, bloodthirsty, bat-like monster. Ugly fuckers. Totally mindless aside from the instinct to feed, fuck, and kill. Their resemblance to bats and their tendency toward drinking their victim’s blood is what gave the scientists the idea to irradiate the atmosphere.
It worked… sort of. The Fangers straight up exploded in this new pink and green light, driving them into hiding during daylight hours, supposedly making their containment easier. The President gave an address on the one remaining public TV channel back in those days, urging vigilance and patience in the face of this disaster. He said the infestation that had destroyed our civilization would be controlled and eradicated within twelve months; that the world as we knew it would begin to rebuild itself just as quickly as it had fallen apart. After the station cut the transmission, there were no more presidential addresses. Hell, there was no more TV. Ever.
The thing the late president failed to tell people (maybe a thing the scientists neglected to tell him) was that the new sky didn’t just affect Fangers. Before long, all sorts of grotesque mutations started popping up on the roads: men with babies growing out the sides of their heads, women with eyeballs in the palms of their hands, things too hideous to even call people anymore scuttling in the shadows. The New Light wreaked havoc on our DNA.
People were forced to choose between hiding from the light or hiding from the vampires. They chose to walk in the light; the ones that lived, anyway.
Guts grabbed Shelly and pushed her out the door first.
“Ow. You could be a little more gentle, you know? Jeez!”
“Shut up.” He scanned the parking lot for movement, trying to spot any sort of ambush. He saw nothing. “Where’s your brother?”
“It’s just over there. Room number 17.”
The motel was a real piece of work. It was a long, single story structure set in a C shape, with the office on one end and a storage shed on the far side. Both had been razed long ago. Again, Guts wracked his brain for the memory of finding this dump. Half the rooms had already caved in. Gnarled Technicolor vegetation, mutated into bizarre shapes, crawled across the half that was still standing. It wound its way up the sign next to what was left of the street, threatening to pull it down, too. The name of the motel had long been obscured by the weird vegetation. The vines seemed to writhe threateningly. Not wanting to contend with the hungry plant life, Guts stayed near the middle of the parking lot, which spanned the length of the dilapidated motel. Only three rooms still had doors: his, Shelly’s, and one room in between.
That’s when he saw movement out of the corner of his eye from inside the husk of a burned out car twenty yards away in the middle of the street.
Guts grabbed Shelly in a headlock and spun around, blade to her face. “Come out, or I’ll fucking kill her right now!”
Shelly gasped, clawing at his arm.
“How many are there? Tell me right now or you die.”
She gagged. “I-I have no idea! I told you the truth, I swear to God I did!”
Guts shuffled forward several paces before he saw the head poke out again. He stopped cold. He could see what it was now. He relaxed his grip.
“Pogs,” he said, pushing Shelly behind him.
Pogs were…well, nobody was quite sure exactly what Pogs were. But they were by far the most annoying aspect of this vampire-plagued apocalypse. They weren’t mutated humans, that much was clear. They were called Pogs because their little squat, three foot tall bodies resembled frogs, with huge eyes that sat on top of their big round heads, and wide, disgusting mouths that constantly dripped purple mucus, but their skin was hairless and pink, like pig skin.
The Pogs were scavengers. They picked through the remains of the wasteland that even the most desperate humans found useless. What made them so unsettling to look at (beyond their bizarre bodies and grunting, anxious nature) was their tendency to cut off the faces of the dead human bodies they encountered across the wasteland and wear them like masks to try to blend in with people, as though an overgrown pig-frog, constantly grunting and eating human shit, was ever going to blend in.
They were passive little things. They never tried to hurt anyone. The bones and flesh they scavenged were products of The Infestation; the bodies that the vampires devoured for food and left in too mangled a state to turn into blood-hungry beasts themselves.
The worst part about Pogs, though, was that somewhere along the way, some desperate lunatic had decided to snort a bunch of Pog blood, maybe out of boredom, maybe out of some need to re-create his long dead junkie lifestyle. Regardless of the why, the fact of the matter is, it worked. Pog blood, when snorted, smoked, or shot up, got people high as fuck. It was some kind of hallucinogen that also possessed the same euphoric qualities of a drug like Heroin. In a world this horrific, with death hiding around every bend, people flocked to a drug like that.
Then the rumors started.
Since vampires never attacked Pogs, they must be immune to the virus. If they were immune to the virus, then their blood must make people immune to the virus. Guts had always been skeptical. It sounded to him like desperate junkie bullshit. Just like any other virus, you were either immune to it, or you weren’t. It was as simple as that. There were no scientists working on a cure; all the scientists had become vampires.
Guts had never done Poog, as it was called; mainly because he’d already found out he was immune to the virus after he didn’t change into a ravenous, bloodthirsty monster the first time he was bit, but also because he liked to keep his senses sharp and focused. He’d seen Poogers, high as fuck off of Pog blood, strip naked, pull Pog skin over their heads, and run right out into the night, hollering about being invincible. Those people never came back. Drugs were for the weak.
There were two Pogs in the twisted wreckage. Both wore decaying faces over their gumdrop-shaped heads. Their bulbous eyes stuck out from the tops of the flesh masks. The one in the front seat let out a high-pitched, “Woop!” noise and ducked into the back seat with the other. Pogs were generally skittish around people, what with people’s tendency to skin them and bleed them out for drugs.
Guts turned, pushed Shelly forward. “Come on, they’re not hurting anything.”
The Pogs wooped again. Guts ignored them. When they wooped a third time, Shelly turned back, giving them a nervous glance, then cried out.
Guts spun around. The Pogs were out of the car, charging him from across the parking lot. The one in the lead wore a dead face with blonde hair. It also carried a rancid-looking spine and skull, which it now swung over its head like some grand mace. The one in the rear wore a face with black hair and spun a pair of skeletal arms linked at the hands like nunchucks as it ran.
Pogs weren’t known for their grace. Their bell-shaped, squat little bodies tripped and lurched, their spindly little arms coupled with their over-long fingers and toes made them look almost comical as they closed in on their attack.
The blonde one skidded to a stop in front of Guts. It jumped up and down as it swung its crude weapon in the air, whooping loudly the entire time. More than once its rotten mask-face drooped, threatening to fall from its ugly head. The creature had to stop and readjust the straps before continuing its bizarre dance.
Guts was completely taken aback. He’d never seen Pogs attack people before. Unsheathing his blade, he stepped forward and made short work of the first one, slicing it stem to sternum with one great swing of the knife, spilling golden Pog blood across 4 parking spaces.
The second one bounced to a halt right outside of Guts’ range. It jumped up and down, whooping and grunting, big googly eyes frantic as it waved its bone weapons in Guts’ face, almost like it was trying to communicate something…
In a flash, Guts was on it, stabbing straight through its death mask into its snorty nasal cavity. It bled less than its companion as it died quickly on the end of Guts’ blade, twitching. He yanked the knife out of the dead Pog’s head, letting the thing drop to the ground. He wiped the thick blood on his pants, turning back to Shelly.
“Why would they do that?”
She had no answer as they cleared the remaining paces toward room number 17.
Shelly gave one more furtive glance back toward the mangled bodies of the Pogs, and then reached out to open the door. Guts grabbed her by her short pony tail, jerking her away in one violent motion. She let out a small squeak of surprise and pain before he cupped his other hand around her mouth to stifle any sort of scream, and then kicked the door twice with his boot.
Her breathing came in short gasps for a moment, until she calmed down. Guts pulled his blade back out and waited in a striking position, still covering her mouth with his free hand.
“I told you, sir. He’s really sick. He wasn’t awake when I came over to you.” She struggled in his grasp to free her airway.
Guts let her go. If this was a trap, if she was working him, she was a damn good actress. He put his knife back in his boot. “Open it up. I’ll take a look at him. But if he’s as bad as you say he is… well, you’re gonna need to find some new company to keep.”
She frowned at him, then opened the door.
Her room was identical to the one Guts woke up in, with the exception that, unbelievably, it was even more disheveled. Dust hung in the air, thick as gnats. A lone bare bulb swung dead from a broken fixture above the doorway. A nasty old tarp was haphazardly thrown up against the ruined area to his left in some futile attempt to cover the exposed beams of the blown-out wall. At the far wall, propped against it, lay one of the pair of filthy twin beds, the victim of a past scuffle or violent act long forgotten. The other mattress, pushed against the right wall, contained Shelly’s brother. He lay face down, shirtless, one arm hanging limp off to the side.
Guts entered the small room first. Shelly shut the door behind them. Guts approached the unconscious boy. His mop of shaggy brown hair was a mess. The kid couldn’t have been more than 21-22 years old.
“What’s his name?”
Guts knelt beside the bed, put a hand on Nick’s shoulder. “How long has he been unconscious?” He turned his head to face Shelly, and was met with explosive pain.
Check back next month for the next exciting chapter of Vampire Guts In Nuke Town, or click here to buy the full novel via Kindle or paperback on Amazon.com.