Editing Services for Horror Fiction Books
Dustin Palmer is back with his Chronicles of the Vampire Hunters series. Next up is judgment. Now that Jake is almost grown up he makes a decision to join the Hunter’s Coalition. And the Hunter’s Coalition needs every Hunter they can get and that includes Jake and a group of young recruits. Jake is trained by the elite the government has to offer, and with the training and new bonds he develops he believes he is ready to make the leap to becoming a Hunter and carrying on his family’s legacy.
I have had the allowance and great esteem to work with Mr. Palmer twice now. He continues to mature as a writer and I believe he will be a great success as an author. His books just get better and better. IF you LOVE Vampire stories you’ll really enjoy this one. If love history there’s a special treat in here for you as well. I know I fell in love with the vampire all over again after reading this one. Mr. Palmer, your wife was right, you have something wonder here. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of it.
With Mr. Palmer’s permission I give you an excerpt of Chronicles of a Vampire Hunter: Judgment…
The Bishop Residence, Lubbock TX.
May 30, 1997 4:09am
“Jake, whatever you do, whatever you hear, do not come out of this room!” Jake’s dad’s hands shoved him forcefully into his Grandpa Cort’s safe room. “No matter what.”
The pounding on the barred front door grew louder by the second. The windows in Cort’s room shattered and the ceiling shook violently and cracked as something heavy crashed into it repeatedly. Jake knew the rebar reinforcing the ceiling and the iron bars protecting the doors and windows would only hold them at bay for so long, any minute now they would be inside.
“Come on you dirty bloodsucking sons of bitches!” his Grandpa Cort screamed from the living room. “Come suck on this!” The Cleaner, a ten gauge shotgun handed down from Jake’s great-grandfather, blasted away in the older Bishop’s hands. “John! Make it quick son! They’re almost inside!”
John grabbed a pump action 12 gauge off the wall and a box of shells and tossed them to Jake. Then he yanked a razor sharp machete down and laid it on the floor at Jake’s feet. “Load the gun. Hold it tight to your shoulder, remember to squeeze the trigger don’t pull it. If anything manages to get through this door you keep blasting until it’s not moving then you cut its head off. You have to take its head to kill it. Do you understand?”
“But Dad . . . I can help you!” Jake pleaded, fumbling to get the shells into the shotgun. “Just give me a chance and I can help you! I know I can help you!”
“Not this time kid.” John ruffled his shaggy brown hair. “It’s nothing personal but you’d just get in the way. Pop and I have got everything under control.”
“If you won’t let me help then come in here with me! You and Grandpa both, we can all fit! We’ll just wait until the sun comes up.”
“This is our home, son.” John said solemnly. “They’re not taking this from us. Not again.”
An even louder crash sounded in the living room. “Johnny!” Cort yelled then fired a three round burst. “Dammit boy! It’s game time and you’re late for the kickoff!”
John grabbed two .357 revolvers off the wall and tucked them into his waistband, another machete, and two boxes of ammo. He smiled at his son then slammed the heavy steel door closed and locked it behind him.
Jake angrily pounded his fist against it. “No! Dad! No!” he yelled in anger. “I can help you!”
The door was at least six inches thick but Jake could still hear the muffled sounds of continuous gunfire. Terror gripped tightly at his chest. ‘Please God! Please let them be okay!’ He prayed. ‘Please!’
Something heavy slammed into the door hard enough to dent it inward. Jake fell backwards over an ammo box and fired his shotgun into the steel door. He landed hard hitting his head on a steel shelf. Buckshot ricocheted around the room missing him by mere inches. His ears rang as darkness crept around the edges of his vision. With his left hand, he touched the back of his head and felt blood in his hair. He tried to sit up but the room started spinning violently.
With another thud, the heavy steel door bent further inward as some monstrous foe struck it. Taloned claws wrapped around the top right edge and peeled it back a full three feet. With one hard pull, the door crashed outward and the crimson red eyes of a Maker stared down at Jake. He was dressed in a strange punk rock getup, fishnet stockings covered his legs and leather biker gloves his hands. His stringy purple hair hung down nearly to his waist. “You’re mine now, you little snot!”
Silent as a ghost, another figure, dressed entirely in black, suddenly dropped behind the first Maker. Punk Rock Maker took two steps closer into the vault his smile faltering when he noticed Jake was staring behind him. He turned just as the figure clad in black reached out with his hands and wrapped them tightly around the Punk Rock Maker’s neck.
He extended his razor sharp talons into the pale white skin then jerked his hands apart. Surprise and terror filled the Punk Rock Maker’s eyes before his head ripped from his body, sending an eruption of black blood onto the ceiling and walls.
The Maker in black stared at Jake. He stood right less than six feet tall, had short brown hair, and couldn’t have been more than seventeen or eighteen years old. At least that’s how old he had been when he had last been human.
He stared at Jake, his eyes turning from blood red to a familiar green. It was then that Jake realized he’d seen this Maker once before. Years ago, at his grandpa Riker’s, it had been the same Maker that had spared his life when the giant monster named Macro had come looking for him.
‘Michael! Macro called him, Michael.’ “Why?” Jake mumbled softly as the blood pooled around the back of his head.
He started to answer then frowned, as the gunshots from the living room grew closer. He turned and grabbing up the Punk Rock Maker’s body in one hand, his head in the other leapt through the hole in the ceiling.
Jake’s head throbbed painfully; he slumped to his side, closed his eyes and dreamed. Dreams of his mother’s loving, green eyes.
His Grandpa Cort’s familiar voice finally broke into his sleep. “Jake? Jake? Come on kid wake up.” The old man’s weathered hand gently slapped his cheek. Jake’s eyes popped open and looked right into the eyes of a blood covered Cort Bishop.
“What happened?” Jake muttered groggily.
“You hit your head.” His father’s voice said. Jake turned his head several inches and again the room started spinning.
“Easy now kid,” John said squeezing his hand. “Take it slow and try not to move too much. You might have a concussion.”
“What? What happened? How did I get in the safe room?” Jake muttered looking around at the dozens of guns hanging on the wall.
“What’s the last thing you remember?” John asked.
“Uhhh . . .” Jake had to think very hard for several long seconds. “I remember someone beating on the front door. You got me out of bed . . . Grandpa yelling something about football . . . then I saw . . . Mom’s eyes . . . those green eyes.”
“Great,” John said to Cort. “He’s definitely got a concussion. It was vampires, son. Six grunts. And from the look of it, one of them got in here with you. From the look of the blood on the walls you must have gotten a piece of him.”
“What!” Jake exclaimed trying to sit up.
“Easy, easy.” John gently pushed him back down. “Pam Williams is on her way here to check you out. Just lie still till then, okay? I don’t want to move you until she says it’s okay.”
“But, but the vampires!” Jake yelled.
“It’s okay.” Cort grunted, climbing back to his feet, his knees giving a very audible pop. “It took some doing and the house is trashed, but we killed them all.”
“Holy shit.” Jake muttered looking around the room in confusion.
“You’re out of it right now, so I’ll over look that.” John smiled at Cort.
A tall African American woman with short black hair and dark circles under her eyes placed a hand on Cort’s shoulder then stepped past him into the tiny space. “Hey now fellas? How are we doing?”
“We’re doing okay, Pam. A little shook up with a few cuts and bruises, but I think we’re okay.” John smiled giving her arm a gentle squeeze. “I think Jake might have a concussion though.”
“Is that so?” Pam said kneeling down and giving Jake a good once over. “John, Cort, go in the other room and have Holloway take a look at your wounds. I’ll be in, in a few minutes, once I’ve checked Jake out.”
John nodded noticing for the first time the big gash running across his forearm. “I’ll be in the next room if you need me, son.”
“Hello, Jake.” She smiled. “Can you tell me where you are?” she asked checking his pupils with a small penlight.
“Uh . . .” Jake grumbled. “I’m in Grandpa’s gun vault.”
“Uh huh, and who is the President of the United States?”
John stepped into the living room where three of Mike Holloway’s guys were keeping guard. Mike, a heavyset cowboy, complete with a big straw hat and pair of cowboy boots stepped back in from outside where he had been talking to the police.
“So what’s the damage, Mike?” John asked grabbing a towel from the kitchen and wrapping it tightly around his arm.
“I’ve got an old friend in the Sheriff’s Department that used to be a hunter. He’s covering things with the PD. Though there were more than a few that wanted to come in and have a look around. I heard a couple of them saying something about a standoff involving Cort?” He looked from John to Cort. “Cort, you old coot, do I even want to know?”
“Big misunderstanding.” Cort grumbled.
“Well anyway, lucky for you my man convinced them to look the other way. How’s the boy doing?”
“He’s doing alright.” John nodded. “Pam is checking on him now. It’s a damn good thing you guys were still in town when these bloodsuckers hit. Thanks again for coming so fast, Mike.”
“No problem at all, Hoss.” Mike grinned a crooked smile. “My pleasure. It’s just a damn shame you two killed them all before we could get here.”
“Well, what can I say? When you’re good, you’re goo . . .” Cort said plopping down in his old leather recliner. The chair immediately broke apart, dropping him flat on his back.
“Son of a bitch,” he cursed, lying flat on his back. “Well don’t just stand there looking ugly! Somebody give me a hand!”
John and Holloway both gave each other a half smile before reaching down and pulling Cort to his feet. “Son of a bitch.” He repeated looking down at his ruined chair. “I loved that chair.” He shook his head in anger biting his bottom lip. “Son-of-a-bitch!”
John placed a hand on his shoulder trying to calm him, “It’s just a chair, Pop.”
Cort angrily shrugged it off, “Just a chair my ass! Look at this place.” He said motioning around the room. Bullet holes riddled every wall; almost all of the furniture was covered in black vampire blood. The windows were shattered, the front door hung off its hinges and the ceiling had collapsed where one of the grunts had managed to punch his way through. The big iron-gate that had protected the door was nowhere in sight. “The house is completely destroyed!”
“It’s just a house, Pop.” John said in a tone suggesting it was much more than that. “Just a house . . .” He had spent almost his entire childhood in that house.
“How the hell did they find us?” John said picking a broken picture of his old friend Terry Williams up off the floor. “You’ve lived here for what Pop? Forty years?”
“I’ll tell you how they found you.” Holloway said heatedly. “It’s that goddamn Coalition!”
“Mike . . .” John started to say.
“I warned you John! I warned you and Billy that everyone knowing everyone else’s business was a bad idea. When you’re dealing with the government there are just too many damn leaks! You boys should have left well enough alone. Just keep everything independent like it’s always been.”
“Mike, damn it, not now.” Cort said angrily.
“I’m just saying . . .”
“Mike. For the love of God, man, my house just got destroyed! My grandson is laying in there dying!”
“He’s not dying, Pop.” John rolled his eyes.
“Shut up boy! He’s lying in there, severely wounded, so I don’t need this whole oooohh the Coalition is so evil and we’re all so stupid for supporting it, speech right now!”
“Alright, alright.” Mike said holding his hands up in defeat. “Excuse the hell out of me. Man he’s cranky.” He whispered loudly to John.
“Yeah well, you’d be cranky too if a bunch of vampires decided to kick your door in smack in the middle of the night and crash through the ceiling.” Cort said giving his chair a hard kick for good measure. “Ruining perfectly good chairs . . .” he trailed off.
“I’ll buy you a new damn chair!” Mike said throwing his arms up in the air.
“I don’t want a new chair!” Cort roared. “I want that chair! I’ve worn my ass imprint into it just right. Do you have any idea how long that took?”
“I’m guessing forty years.” Mike said sarcastically.
“You’re goddamn right it took forty years! Forty of the most comfortable sitting years of my life! Why I watched Super Bowl number one in that damn chair! Billy and I bought the pair of them when John was still just a boy!”
“I’m going to go check on Jake.” John said excusing himself. ‘Man Pop is upset about Jake.’ He thought to himself. He knew the older Bishop was just using the chair as an excuse to vent his frustrations. He had always been like that. John supposed it was easier for him to do that than face what was really eating at him.
John stepped into the tiny room barely bigger than a closet, to find Pam checking Jake’s pulse. “How is he doc?” He asked leaning against the dented door.
“He’s going to be fine.” She smiled weakly. “Just a concussion. Looks like he hit his head pretty good so you guys will need to keep an eye on him for a few days.”
“Yeah I think something came through the door, spooked him and he fired off a round then tripped over some boxes. There’s some vamp blood on the door, walls, and ceiling, so he must have hit what he was aiming at. Poor kid.” He said looking down at his only child. “I’m betting he was scared out of his mind.”
“Here, let’s get him on his feet and get him to his room.”
“Ummm, might not be such a good idea.” John said sourly. “His room has a few of our, ‘guests’ in it. Well, what’s left of them.”
“Oh. Okay then, where can we lay him?
“Let’s get him into the backseat of my truck. I’m taking him and Pop to a hotel. We need to get in at least a few hours sleep before we have to come clean up the place. I’m sure Mike and his guys will keep an eye on things until we get back. Raid the fridge, drink all of our beer.” He chuckled.
“How’s Jake doing?” Cort said poking his head around the corner.
“He’s okay, Pop. It’s just a bad concussion. We’ll need to keep an eye on him for a few days.”
“Damn.” Cort cursed. “The boy should have been ready. He’s more than old enough.”
“He’s only fourteen, Pop.” John said.
“That’s a year older than you were when you started training.” Cort ran his hands through his long gray hair. “Johnny, he could have been killed tonight.”
“I sure could go for some Pop-Tarts.” Jake said groggily. “Cherry Pop-Tarts. They’re the best . . . or blueberry pancakes! Remember when Mom used to make blueberry pancakes? Man that was the best . . . Mom?” he said his eyes tearing up.
“Shhh, Jake.” Pam said touching his forehead. “Just take it easy. I know things are confusing right now, but everything will be better in a few days.”
“Yes Mom.” He muttered. “Mom? Mom! Where have you been? I’ve missed you so much.”
John sighed then lowered his head to his chest. “You’re right, Pop. I hate to say it but it’s time. I’ll call Billy and get the boy signed up for the training next year. If he’s going to do it, he might as well do it with the best.”
“The best? Shit.” Cort said. “I doubt a bunch of government punks can teach my grandson how to hunt like I could.”
“Not to rain on your macho vampire killer parade, but why don’t you guys just get out of here? Move to New York City or Miami or just about anywhere east of the Mississippi. Didn’t you say that vampires won’t cross the river?”
“I’m not running again, Pam.” John said coldly. “I tried that once. It didn’t work.”
“I know that, John.” Pam argued. “But Julia wouldn’t want this for her son. You know she wouldn’t.”
“Pam. Enough. This is our life. You chose to stay out of it, we didn’t.”
Pam sighed. “There is just no arguing with you people.” She said angrily. “You’re just as stubborn as Billy. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Look. I don’t need this. I’m coming off an eighteen-hour shift at the ER! I went home to get a couple of hours of sleep and had just dozed off when you two called me! Oh and guess what else? I’ve got to be back at work in two hours! Two hours! So I tell you what, next time one of you get hurt, don’t bother calling me.” She picked up her bag pulled out two bottles of antibiotics and tossed them at John then headed for the door. “If Jake gets any worse take him to the ER.”
She stopped right outside the door. “You two . . .” she poked her fingers into John’s massive chest then pointed at Cort. “Get your wounds stitched up and get on those antibiotics before you both get sick and die. You know how poisonous those scratches are. What am I saying? Of course, you know! You’ve both been scratched at least a hundred times by those monsters!” she stormed out still ranting.
“Well . . . that was awkward.” John said reaching down to help Jake to his feet.
“You’re telling me,” Cort said peeking around the corner of the broken steel door. “What the hell did she mean by you people?”
“Pop . . .” John shook his head laughing. “Go pack a bag. We’re going to a hotel.”
“Hotel? I’m not paying to stay at some damn hotel.”
“I’m paying, Pop.”
“Yeah? Hell then, let’s get going,” He said heading down the hallway to his room.
10 miles South of San Angelo, TX.
Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1998
Jake tucked his head tightly into his chest and thrust his shivering hands deeper into his coat pockets as he watched John scrape the accumulated ice off the windshield of their ‘86 Ford F-250. They had been on the road for over six hours and the icy hell storm was only getting worse. The truck’s heater/defrost had gone out only twenty miles outside of Lubbock making matters a hundred times worse. This had been their fourth deicing stop in the past hour.
“Burrr!” John exclaimed climbing back into the driver’s seat. He tossed the red ice scraper back into the glove box, snapped it closed, then blew into his hands trying to get some feeling back into his frozen digits. “Damn it’s cold!” He brushed the snow from his coat then pulled back his hood.
“It’s not much better in here,” Jake said through chattering teeth. “Tell me, why we couldn’t just take Grandpa’s Bronco again? It’s just been sitting in the driveway since you bought him that brand new Chevy Silverado.”
“Pop doesn’t let anyone drive the Bronco but him,” John said, slowly pulling the truck back onto the icy highway. “Might have something to do with me driving his ’57 Chevy into Buffalo Springs Lake when I was about . . . fourteen, I think it was.” John laughed heartily at the memory. “Man he loved that car! Only one he ever bought that wasn’t used. And boy let me tell you, he tanned my hide good for that one!”
Jake pulled the zipper up tighter to his chin. “Gee, thanks, Dad. Now I get to freeze to death because you wanted to take a joy ride, what? Fifty years ago?”
“Hey I’m not that old! Besides, it wasn’t my fault. Well, not entirely. Wes Turner bet me twenty dollars I didn’t have the guts to take it out without Pop’s permission. True, using it as a submarine wasn’t part of the bet,” he chuckled. “Still, I won twenty bucks out of the deal.”
“Terrific,” Jake pulled down on both sides of his far too small wool cap, trying in vain to get it to cover his ears. “Thanks for that, Dad. Now my children and grandchildren will know the pride of their grandfather winning a bet with Bloody Wes Turner! That is if I survive this trip to have any children.”
“Hey now,” John said, his voice going deadly serious. “Don’t ever call him that. If Wes heard, you say that, he’d be furious. He hates that nickname.”
‘If the shoe fits . . .’ Jake thought. “Yeah, I forgot.” He turned his head looking out the window, so John wouldn’t see him roll his eyes.
Jake had never met Wes Turner. In fact, he had only heard secondhand stories that his grandpa Cort had told him. From that alone, he could tell that Turner was more than a few cards shy of a full deck. Which was saying a lot in an environment full of people that hunted vampires for a living.
“I only called him that because that’s what Grandpa calls him.”
“Yeah well, when you get to be as old and as mean as he is, you can call people whatever you want too. Till then, show some respect to your elders? Okay kid?”
“You know what else Grandpa says?” Jake said, voicing his thoughts.
John picked up his red handkerchief and wiped at the already fogged up windshield. The frozen windshield wipers scraped noisily against the glass. “Pop says a lot of things. He’s a very opinionated guy. That doesn’t mean everything he says is true.”
“He was right about Riker.” Jake said thinking back to his other grandfather that had kidnapped him when he was only eleven years old. “He said he was a real mean son of a bitch, and boy was he right. I’d been there barely two days when he decided to trade me to vampires for a chance at immortality.”
“Boy,” John said sternly. “Stop cussing. You’ve been spending too much time around your Grandpa.”
“Maybe I have,” Jake admitted. “But he was right about Riker, so maybe he’s right about Bloody Wes . . . I mean Mr. Turner.”
John gave him a hard look mumbling something under his breath about “teenagers” then turned to wipe the windshield again. “What exactly did he say about Wes?”
“He said he did a lot worse than kill vampires. That he tortured them. Butchered them while they were still alive. That he ran with a bunch of murdering, raping, lunatics that no other real Hunter would associate with. That some people say he even killed civilians that got in his way. Is it true?”
John remained completely quiet. The only sound in the truck was the constant violent scratching of the frozen wipers, which suddenly became stuck in the middle of the windshield. “Damn it to hell!” John exclaimed pulling the truck to the shoulder. He grabbed the ice scraper from the glove compartment then climbed out leaving Jake’s question unanswered.
‘Not this time, Dad.’ Jake thought. ‘I love you, but it’s time you finally answered a few questions about the time you were away.’
“Well?” Jake declared when John had climbed back into the cab.
“Well what?” John said exasperatedly. This time he didn’t even bother putting the scraper back in the glove compartment but tossed it onto the dash.
“Tell me Grandpa is wrong. About Mr. Turner. Tell me he didn’t earn his nickname by slaughtering vampires in ways that would make Jeffrey Dahmer sick to his stomach. Tell me I’m wrong and I’ll never call him ‘Bloody’ again. Please Dad, just tell me the truth.”
“You want to know the truth, Jake?” he turned in his seat so that they were now facing each other. “Do you really want to know?”
Jake was completely taken aback by his father’s sudden intense look. He nodded dumbly that he did.
“The truth is that I’ve earned that nickname just as much as he has.” John answered coldly. “I was trying to find your mother. So I did whatever it took to get the information I needed.” John looked back to the highway and carefully pulled back onto the icy road.
“We’re in a violent business, Jake.” He said when the truck was back at its top speed of forty miles per hour. “You know that just as well as I do. You’ve seen what those monsters can do. Do you think they would think twice about torturing you if given the chance?”
“But killing civilians?”
“Pah!” John said angrily. “That’s some bullshit rumor some idiot Wes beat in poker started spreading! Not a bit of truth to it.”
After a few minutes of silence Jake finally asked the question he’d wanted to ask for three years, “What happened out there, Dad? Like . . . how did you get that . . . wicked looking scar on your face? You were gone a year and you’ve never once talked about any of it.”
John cleared his throat then absentmindedly rubbed at the long scar running from his eye to the corner of his mouth. “If you ask me to tell you, Jake, I will. We made a deal after my secrets led to your mother . . . after . . .” he cleared his throat again. “I’ll tell you everything if that’s what you want. But if I do . . . you will never look at me the same way again.” Jake started to speak but John held up his hand stopping him. “Please, kid. I’m begging you, as a favor to me. Don’t make me tell you. I did things that no man should ever have to do. Things that no son should know about his father.” …….
You can find Dustin Palmer at his blog here.
To purchase Chronicles of the Vampire Hunters:Creation, click here.
To purchase Chronicles of the Vampire Hunters:Judgment, click here.