New Book! New Publisher!

I am very excited to announce my new contemporary romantic comedy, THE TROUBLE WITH SNOWMEN, as well as my new publisher, Soul Mate Publishing.

I have a lot of fun things planned and will be teaming up with a couple of unique artists for some signature items. I will also have giveaways, reveals, and possibly a blog tour. This is all in the beginning stages, so I don’t have a release date yet.

I am starting the celebration with an eBook giveaway! JACLYN’S GHOST will be free Dec 23-25. Go grab your copy.

Amazon US 
Amazon UK

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Dorlana

Short story for Halloween: Hell’s Kitchen

 This is one of my stranger short stories from some years back, and I thought it would be fun to post it for Halloween. It’s a dark, quirky, moody tale of two men who walk a fine line between good/evil, sanity/madness. 

Hell’s Kitchen

By Dorlana Vann

Part I – The Body

I watched as a guy in a dark suit dug up Beatrice Beaumont Virgil, April 5, 1965 – August 19, 1998. Funeral flowers still fresh, dirt still moist, Until we meet again her epitaph.

I stood in the shadows and dared to watch a moment longer before deciding I would just make note of his car license on my way out. If I had to say, I would guess his height as six feet and give him a generous build of medium. And I would only use this information if there were questions. Otherwise, I’d rather my secret after-hours visits stayed my secret.

As I turned to leave, the moody clouds drifted, allowing the full moon to tattle. I limped away as fast as I could, but my bad knee had started acting up again. I could only hope I was far enough to seem a ghost. Just as I began to breathe, I heard the man shout, “Hey you… stop!”

A gun fired; the bullet ricocheted off the tombstone next to me. I stopped.

“Now, get over here,” he said. “Slowly.”

As I approached the grave-site, I could see that he had dug about halfway down into the grave. He held a shovel in his right hand and a gun in his left. “You’re not going to run are you?” he asked. His appearance seemed rather ordinary— until our eyes met. I’m not easily spooked, but his keen stare alarmed the hair on the back of my neck.

“No,” I said.

He tucked the gun into his pants and then threw me the shovel. “Start digging.”

I dropped the shovel down into the thigh-deep hole and grunted as I followed it inside.

“What are you doing out here this time of night?” he said as he sat down and wiped his brow.

“I’m the groundskeeper.”

“That’s strange. I did my homework; there are no employees at night.”

“I’m not supposed to be here either.” The shovel sank into the dirt easily enough, but my muscles complained when I started shoveling it out of the hole.

“Hmm,” he said. “So, what are you doing here?”

“It’s peaceful at night.”

“So you work here… and come here to hang out? Kind of an eerie guy. But I suppose the right kind… if one has to exhume a body.”

I kept digging, and the man kept watching until the shovel caused a clunking noise.

“All right,” he said. He sat with his legs dangling over the side of the hole. “Now start digging on the sides so we can open my treasure chest.”

When I had finished my task, the man jumped in beside me. It took quite a few hard pushes before we finally had the lid all the way open.

I generally have to be content with a mental image of my residents—unless their loved ones are kind enough to leave me a picture—I couldn’t help but comb my hair with my fingers to tidy up a bit before I met her.

Her long blonde hair flowed gracefully over her petite shoulders. Rosy cheeks and ruby lips highlighted powdered fair skin. “Beautiful.”

POW! I felt the deafening discharge from my fingers to my toes. Beatrice received a bullet hole in the middle of her forehead. I had stopped breathing.

“Hmm,” the grave robber said. “Grab her arms.”

“What?”

It took him aiming his weapon at me before I comprehended the instructions.

“Grab her arms. I’ll get her feet.”

Heavier than she looked, the first attempts at getting her out of the grave were grotesque. I wanted to lay her back in her bed, fold her arms back across her body… smooth her hair.

Finally, we had her in a somewhat normal position lying in the grass next to her assumed final resting place.

My dilated eyes absorbed a sudden explosion of light. When I regained my vision, I realized the man was snapping pictures.

I couldn’t withhold my curiosity a moment longer. It had fused together with fear and sympathy for Beatrice and formed a knot in the pit of my stomach. “I do realize that this is none of my business, and I really shouldn’t be asking you anything, but…”

“I don’t off chicks,” he said. His chest heaved in and out, just like mine.

“Excuse me?”

“That’s why I’m doing this. That was your question … right?”

I nodded.

He pulled a flask out of his jacket, put it to his mouth, and took a drink. Surprisingly, he handed it to me. As the unexpected bland taste of the pure water quenched my dry tongue, he spoke, “Some asshole hired me to kill a woman. This is just what I do when I’m put in the situation.”

I swallowed hard. The liquid felt like a tank going down my throat. The man standing beside me murdered people for money. And he’d said I was the creepy one … “So you’re going to pretend that Beatrice is the woman you were supposed to kill?”

“Beatrice,” he said and stared down at her. “They don’t want them at their doorstep. All I need is proof. I did a lot of obituary searching to find her. Same facial features, hair color, age.”

“What about the real girl?”

“She’s on a plane as we move our lips.”

We stood there for a moment: the atmosphere thick with the smell of death and the moonlight animating tree shadows across Beatrice’s face.

“So, why did someone want her dead?” I asked.

“Don’t know … didn’t ask.”

I nodded.

“Let’s get her back down,” he said.

The chore of replacing her didn’t take as long as excavating her had, but I hated our method. We just dropped her in.

We climbed in after and put her back in the casket. Except for the bullet hole and the dirt in her hair, she looked like she did before we disturbed her. I said my goodbyes and shut the lid.

When I looked up at the assassin, his jaw was tense and his eyes and gun were focused on me. He said, “You know, I have to kill you now.”

I stopped to inhale the earthy air, to scratch my nose, and to think about my new home with Beatrice Virgil’s address. Until we meet again, my epitaph. “Yeah,” I said. “I know.”

Part II – The Revenge

John knew the old saying: Revenge is a dish best served cold. But he had to disagree. Because this time, his revenge would be cooked and served sizzling hot.

Being the cook for the Beaumont family had definitely been hell, and it seemed as if he had already worked for them an eternity. When he saw his murderer, standing there on the auction block, another saying seemed right on: What goes around comes around.

New arrivals went straight to the auction house. Both demon and H.S.L. (Human Soul Laborers) bought souls for a variety of reasons—the juicier the more they cost. John’s assassin was already up to a stellar price.

The red demon auctioneer had the whole house animated with energy. He was saying, “This soul here has no moral backbone. He killed over fifty men. He’s a thief, a cheater, and a murderer. Do I hear seventy-five….”

When John held up his auction paddle, his assassin looked him in the eyes. John remembered the last time their eyes met. The next thing he knew, he was in hell, standing exactly where this guy stood now. John had committed minor sins in comparison to murder, so buying him to eat would have been like buying a sickly, skinny cow. Not worth eating.

John had been purchased as an H.S.L. by one of the more prestigious demon families. Some souls were bought for pulling wagons, for building roads, for housewives, for…dinner. He understood how lucky he had been that he knew how to cook. His duties included buying groceries at the auction house.

He didn’t win the bid on his murderer just for pleasure; he would also make a fine meal. The Beaumonts planned to have a dinner party for twenty guests. John purchased two other plump souls as well.

When John arrived back at his kitchen, he put the three men into his tall, refrigerated cage. They needed to be fresh. Much longer out in the heat, and they would have been tough. He himself had developed skin close to the texture of leather. He hadn’t lived in Hell long enough to figure it all out, but he reckoned all the demons started out looking the way the human souls did, but in time they adapted to the atmosphere, causing their crimson, rutted skin.

Once John shut the cage, the hit man said, “Funny meeting you here.”

“So, you do remember me.”

“I never forget a face.”

“Of someone you killed or just in general?” John reached in a drawer and pulled out his knife sharpener. He wanted to give this guy the full treatment. At that moment, if he had ever wondered before, he recognized one of the major reasons for his descent. He kept deep hatred in his heart. Hmmm. He began to grind the knife across the sharpener.

His murderer said, “What are you doing here?”

“I’m about to make dinner.”

“I mean, in the hole. I never characterized you for a sinner.”

“We all have our sins. It’s the people who realize it too late that end up down here.”

At this, the hitman nodded his head. “So, what are you making?”

The two other men in the cage looked downright terrified. John looked down at his knife. No matter what kind of show he put on for his murderer, this wouldn’t be any easier than any other meal.

He inhaled and then nodded his head over to the man standing to the right of the murderer. “Leg of Sam,” he said. He glanced at the next guy, “Barbecued ribs.” He looked directly into the hit man’s eyes. “And roasted pig.”

“You don’t have to be so nasty. Just making conversation.”

“Perhaps we should save the small talk for the guests.” Meals had always just stood in the cage awaiting their fate. Once in awhile one would sing or one would cry, but never did he actually have to talk to one before he prepared it.

“For what it’s worth,” his murderer said. “I apologize. I was just doing my job.”

John thought about this for a moment. He wondered if he would have repented if given more time. If he had not been killed at that moment, would it have caused a different finale? He doubted it. Just doing my job. “All right,” he finally said. “I’ll accept your apology. I have an apology of my own.”

“I suppose you do,” the man said.

John said, “You know, I have to cook you now.”

“Yeah,” the hitman said, “I know.”

The End

Short Story: The Vampire’s New Suit + Free EBook

supernatural fairy tales bannerThe following short story inspired by The Emperor’s New Clothes,  is one of the short stories from my collection: Supernatural Fairy Tales. The Kindle eBook will be Free August 5, 2014. 

Fairy tale inspired paranormal short stories.

fairy tale + paranormal element = supernatural fairy tale.

These 9 Supernatural Fairy Tales are not retellings of the original fairy tales but were inspired by them. They are paranormal themed stories about vampires, ghosts, mermaids, witches, and more, in genres ranging from romance to thriller. And fair warning: they don’t always have a happy ending.

 

The Vampire’s New Suit

by Dorlana Vann

His apartment was on the top floor of a tall apartment building. Everyone knew he was a vampire, so no one would have bothered him even if he had been on the very bottom. That was why he found it strange when he heard the knock. After opening the door, he asked, “May I help you?” but thought: magnificent—take-out delivered to my door.

“Excuse us, Mr. Smith,” said the first young man of two, “for dropping by unannounced, but you’re not listed.”

“There is a reason for this,” the vampire said.

The second young man said, “I’m Mark, and this is my partner, Trey.” He held out his hand graciously and, without a mere tremble, he shook the resident’s hand.

Intrigued, Smith sought to connect with the gentleman’s eyes. When he avoided this with skill, the vampire couldn’t help but grin, something he hadn’t done for centuries. “Perhaps you have happened upon the wrong doorstep,” he said, only because he liked them.

Trey cleared his throat and also avoided Smith’s stare, except with less sincerity. “We’re new to town; however, we do know… who you are.”

Mark said, “We believe we offer a service that may very well interest you and benefit your particular situation.”

“Hmm,” Mr. Smith said. “Is that right? Well, in that case, do come in.” It had been a long time since the vampire had guests—that were alive at any rate—and he found that he was quite enjoying the change of pace. Suddenly the mundane lifestyle that he had become accustomed to became clear: sleep, eat, and watch TV. He had been doing the latter before the interruption and used the remote to click off the early evening news. “Please, have a seat,” he told the boys. “I’m afraid I do not have any refreshments… that you would enjoy.” He couldn’t ignore the sudden sound of Trey’s heart as it pumped a refreshment of its own. He licked his lips, knowing the evening could only get better.

“Mr. Smith,” Mark said, clearly noticing the look of desire in the vampire’s eyes. “Perhaps we should come back another time?”

“Don’t be silly,” the vampire said. “There is no better time. Perhaps you should state your business.”

“Of course,” Mark said, pulling Trey down beside him as he sat on the couch. “Our company, of which Trey here is a new recruit, provides a unique service to, shall I say, our nocturnal clients. We understand and sympathize with the fact that you are a prisoner in your home from sun-up to sundown. We have developed a fabric that is solar and flame resistant but extremely lightweight. We design and produce clothing made of these exclusive materials.” Mark reached inside his bag and pulled out a black swatch. Handing it to the vampire he said, “This is the most popular with our clients, but we do offer many different colors. All we need to get started are your measurements. As you can imagine, this discreet service is not cheap. It’s company policy to receive half…” he stopped when it seemed he had lost his audience.

The vampire had walked into his modest kitchen and turned on the stove. After all, he wasn’t born yesterday. He put the little piece of fabric over the flame. Nothing happened. He was impressed, already imagining the possibilities. The thought of walking outside during the day after so many, many years was very enticing.

The young men took out their tailor tools, a small catalog, and more fabric samples. In no time, Mr. Smith had chosen a dark gray, pinstriped suit with a high collar, black gloves, and a hat complete with ear and neck coverings.

As the weeks passed, the vampire actually became fidgety. He thought about all of the wonderful things he would be able to do during the day. He could even do lunch—if he were to be so bold.

He began to amuse himself as he pondered curious things that didn’t have to do with feeding. He wouldn’t have to hide in shadows. Maybe he would see a matinée. He could walk among the mortals, saying, “Good afternoon.” He picked up the catalog the young men had left behind. He thought that next time, he might even buy khaki. He would almost be… human.

Finally, the knock came at the door.

Mark held up a black garment bag. “I have your new suit,” he said with a smile.

The vampire moved out of the way and let him enter the apartment. “Where is your friend?”

“Trey told me he had a previous engagement,” he said and then winked. “Between us, I think he’s a little afraid that you no longer need us.” After giving the vampire ample time to answer, Mark said, “You know, I am your personal tailor, and the only way to get more of these, is through me.” He put the bag on the couch and unzipped it. He pulled out a handsome, well-tailored suit.

It was just like the one in the catalog. Mr. Smith couldn’t hold back his excitement and snatched it out of Mark’s hands.

Mark winced from the sudden pain the vampire’s nails had caused. The amicable mood immediately transformed into intense as they both looked at his hand, the red blood slowly escaping its safe haven.

For the first time, the vampire caught and held Mark’s stare. It was so unexpected and so challenging that it seduced the vampire into wanting to win. It had been a long time since he had fought such a tough challenger. But of course, the mortal was no match in the end.

The vampire dropped the suit, catching Mark before he hit the carpet and carefully placed him on the couch. He grinned, his fangs hungering for the taste of such a satisfying victory. Nevertheless, he looked down at his new clothes. The young man would be out for a while, plenty of time for him to try out his new suit.

Although the vampire had acquired quite a wardrobe over the centuries, he had never felt the likes of the material that was against his body. It was soft, like silk, yet form-fitting. He wished he could see himself in a mirror. He settled with knowing he would be able to analyze the expressions on people’s faces. Even though the glare of terror so pleased him, he was anxious to see a new look in their eyes; one of awe and admiration. Complete with gloves and hat, he walked out his door.

***

“Wake up sleepy head.”

It took Mark a moment to stop his dream and to realize he was asleep. He opened his eyes, took in a panicked breath, and sat straight up. When he clearly remembered his predicament, he hastily felt his neck.

Trey stood over him with his arms crossed. “You’re clear. Even if I am a rookie, I know the rules. If he had bitten you, you wouldn’t have woken up.”

Mark nodded, feeling truly foolish. In all his years of being a slayer, he had never allowed himself to be hypnotized by one of them. “Mission complete?”

“Poof,” Trey said, his eyes wide with excitement. “You should have seen him. Oh, that’s right; you decided to take a nap. Anyway, it only took him a second to trust the suit before strolling down the sidewalk like a man about town. When I realized you weren’t right behind him, I knew what I had to do. But don’t worry; I waited, like you taught me, until he hit the mark. I was shaking so bad, but I managed to grab the pull tag before he even noticed me. But when he did see me, he knew something was rotten and went for my throat. I ducked and ran like hell. What a rush! When I was far enough away and got the nerve to turn around, I saw him still standing in the same spot with nothing on but a frown. But then a second later…” Trey had his fist up by his face. He popped his hands open wide and whispered, “pooffff.”

“Did you gather the catalog and the rest of the money?”

“Yeah, all right here.” Trey held up a white envelope. “You know, I still don’t understand why we just don’t clean them out.”

“I’m not in this for the money. I only charge what is needed to fund our operation. Otherwise, we could turn into the bloodsuckers.” Mark stood up, still feeling a little woozy. “Speaking of bloodsuckers, who’s next on our list?”

“Female,” Trey said. “What I hear is that she’s really young-looking, smart, and smokin’ hot. Hmm… I don’t know. We may have a problem, seeing as you let this repulsive ancient dude—”

“Funny,” Mark said, snatching the envelope from Trey. “Just give me the details.”

The End

Supernatural Fairy Tales

The Vampire’s New Suit is one of the short stories from my collection: Supernatural Fairy Tales. The Kindle eBook will be Free August 5, 2014. 

Fairy tale inspired paranormal short stories.

fairy tale + paranormal element = supernatural fairy tale.

These 9 Supernatural Fairy Tales are not retellings of the original fairy tales but were inspired by them. They are paranormal themed stories about vampires, ghosts, mermaids, witches, and more, in genres ranging from romance to thriller. And fair warning: they don’t always have a happy ending.

Fairy Tale Inspired Poem: Humanity

 

Humanity

(Inspired by The Fisherman and his Wife)
By
Dorlana Vann

Beneath the dark cover of sky and water
Graciousness causes the enchanted to bleed.
When weakness overpowers logic
Regretful rhymes are spoken through the waves.
When selfishness has replaced contentment
Sinister clouds and winds are summoned.
Lessons are lurid in order to comprehend
Mortal values are ungodly.
Mortal values are ungodly.
Lessons are lurid in order to comprehend.
Sinister clouds and winds are summoned
When selfishness has replaced contentment.
Regretful rhymes are spoken through the waves
When weakness overpowers logic.
Graciousness causes the enchanted to bleed
Beneath the dark cover of sky and water.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,600 other followers

%d bloggers like this: