Monday, July 17, 2017

Guest Blog- Revenant: Blood Justice by Leslie J Linder

There are a lot of vampire stories out there, and it’s become quite a trick to come up with a fresh take on the trope. Nowadays we have vamps who sparkle, vamps who are space aliens, vamps with bars and rock bands—where can the aspiring author turn? When faced with this quandary, I decided to turn back the clock. One of the most ancient vampire stories is that of the Egyptian goddess, Sekhmet.

The story is one of the oldest vampire tales in the world. As it begins, humanity is really irritating the Egyptian father god, Ra. Our kind have forgotten who’s in charge. Not only are humans disrespecting Ra, but they are threatening to wreck Egypt. He decides to send his particularly badass daughter, Sekhmet, to cull the humans of their worst element. 

As mentioned, Sekhmet is no joke. She often takes the form of a large, supernatural lioness. She is a deity of battle. The scorching winds of the Egyptian desert are thought of as her breath. She is a matriarchal retribution deity, like the Furies of Greek lore. And once she gets started killing humans, she has trouble stopping. Apparently, no one can eat just one.

Before Ra knows it, he’s almost fresh out of humans. He must do some fast thinking or it’s back to the drawing board on the whole homo sapiens thing. Being a party guy at heart, Ra spikes some beer with red ochre and tricks Sekhmet into drinking herself into oblivion. Once she wakes up (and gets over her hangover), she’s off her blood binge.

Close call, right? The problem is that humans never learn. Pretty soon, more retribution is needed. But Sekhmet has learned her lesson. When justice is called for again, she decides to delegate. As an underworld deity with powers over the undead, she decides to send these spectral beings (sometimes called daemons in the Greco-Roman interpretations of the story) to do the job. 

From then on, the ancient Egyptians were careful to tow Sekhmet’s line. You can tell how nervous they were about getting on her bad side by the number of statues and temples that were built in her honor. The city of Itjtawy, one of hers, had thousands of these types of tributes. Just one funerary temple in that town had over 700 statues of her. That’s some serious appeasement, right there.

As the Queen of the Undead, Sekhmet has long been associated with vampires. Her rapacity in the pursuit of human blood is a factor as well. In “Revenant: Blood Justice,” I put two and two together. My vampires are justice daemons created by Sekhmet, and charged with keeping human evil in check. Who better to carry on the goddess’ work than undead, bloodthirsty revenants who were created from amidst the very species they have been sent to judge? 

“Revenant: Blood Justice” follows one such vampire, named Enid. She’s a particularly old-fashioned girl who patrols modern day New York, eating bad guys like it’s going out of style. Unfortunately, it kind of is. Many vamps have blown off the old justice gig. It’s been centuries since Sekhmet has appeared on the earth. Even her other daemons, like the old ones who supervise the revenants, don’t seem to get around much anymore. 

Most of the vamps Enid knows pick their prey based on preferences that have nothing to do with justice. Some, like Enid’s sister, think hunting is maladaptive and get their blood from the red cross. Enid is starting to feel like there’s nothing for an undead justice daemon to live for (so to speak). Just about then, things start to get a little tastier.

The Big Apple is always bustling with things that go bump in the night. But, it starts to feel like a revenant reunion when some of Enid’s old acquaintances pop up in her city. First comes her dreaded ex—dreaded because she never got over him. But, someone even more complicated is lurking around. Countess Erzsabet Bathory is back in town. She and Enid give the concept of a blood feud a whole new meaning. When the two of them get into it, the rules vampires are bound to get bent to the point of breaking. Will Sekhmet take sides? Check out “Revenant: Blood Justice” to get all the gory details.

Revenant: Blood Justice
Leslie J Linder

Genre: Horror

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Date of Publication: May 26, 2017

ISBN:  1612968759

Number of pages:  283
Word Count: about 93,000

Cover Artist: Layton Washburn

Tagline:  Justice is always on the menu.

Book Description:

You have probably heard a lot about vampires. The bloodthirsty prowling, the rapacious sex—the bats, mist, and mind control. Enid has heard it all too. And since she is an actual vampire, she could tell you which rumors are true. But the first thing that Enid would want you to know is that you humans really have it all wrong. To her, being a Chosen One is all about the distribution of justice. And right now, trouble is brewing.

Any vamp who has been undead for longer than a heartbeat can tell you, when Countess Erzsabet Bathory is in town, things are going to get messy. Enid knows what she would do to a human predator, but has never fought another vampire before.

It is against the old laws. But when the blood starts to boil and their feud breaks wide open, there may literally be hell to pay.

Amazon      BN     Black Rose Writing      



It was a dark and stormy night. That’s how these things are supposed to start, right? Well, you can forget that shit. This isn’t your average monster story.
Humans use monsters to help them understand what is monstrous within them. For instance, they clutch crosses and run home at sunset, in fear of vampires. They say vamps are former humans who traded their souls for the immortal power to become rapists, killers and child-stealers. But the real rapists, killers and child-stealers are usually waiting for them around their kitchen tables.     
They tell themselves disturbing tales about normal, innocent humans who are bitten by infected animals and cursed to become nocturnal, amnesiac killers. Then in real life whatever or whoever they do when they get black-out drunk seems vanilla by comparison.
Sometimes bad things happen to good people, is how it goes. Sometimes those good people turn into something even worse than anything lurking in the shadows. This can’t be helped. Evil is something that happens to humans, not something that humans do. Talk about a fairy tale.
The roster of monsters, as humans understand them, goes on and on. It scintillates as well as terrifies. It’s a cabinet of curiosities in which to keep those predatory desires. Human vices become something outside the human realm, as well as outside the individual ability to control. Convenient, right?
This is how humans see monsters. But how do monsters see humans? How do monsters see themselves?
These are foolish questions, you may say. Monsters aren’t real. They are a human invention; an entertainment, a release. You wish.
Listen, how humans understand things is not necessarily the truth. The planet Earth isn’t a rec-room. Trees aren’t fences. Pigs aren’t bacon. Rats aren’t a Petri dish meant for studying infections, or testing shampoo. Similarly, monsters are not archetypes for humans to use as sexual and predatory catharsis.
Pay attention to this bit—especially if you are human. What I’m telling you is that monsters are real.
You knew it when you were a child. You still know it when the lights go off, the moon waxes full, or someone you fear moves into the house next door.
Like a deer that catches the scent of a lion, you know it in your bones. Your technology, your bombs, your medicine don’t matter. You still aren’t the top of the food chain. There is no top, because life and death are a circle. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.
I know this shit may scare you. That’s a good thing. That fear is the birthplace of stories, and you need stories. They were meant to protect you. Even if most stories are wrong.
But hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Your stories have their place.
The boogie man teaches children to obey their parents. The werewolf teaches parents to keep those children close and protected. The vampire teaches men and women to keep on the paths of righteousness, and to always safeguard their souls.
Knowledge is power. This is how a species endures. Understanding the beasts of the world can be the key to survival.
But there’s an important detail to remember. Stories tend to be diluted over time. True monsters may be missed while you focus on mere prejudice. What was once encoded with arcane information may now be nothing but soft porn. Especially if you’ve seen it on cable.
Pay attention to this part. It’s important. It’s the moral of the story you are about to read.
Understanding the true nature of vampires can mean the difference between life and death. Knowledge is power, because no one is off the menu.

About the Author:

Leslie Joan Linder, M.Div. lives and works in Downeast Maine. Her nonfiction work has appeared in Circle Sanctuary Magazine, SageWoman Magazine, and the Project Intersect Journal. Her poetry has appeared in publications like Wicked Banshee, Forage Poetry, and Rat’s Ass Review.

Leslie is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association, Horror Writers of Maine, and New England Horror Writers. Recent horror publications include the short story, “Catharine Hill,” in the “Northern Frights” anthology at Grinning Skull Press. Leslie’s debut horror novel, “Revenant: Blood Justice,” is available from Black Rose Writing.

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