Tag: What Grows From the Dead

Vampire Steve

Vampire Steve is a character in What Grows From the Dead. This was a character guest post as part of that book’s blog tour, originally posted here.

Transcript of Taped Interview: Stephen Janewicz, session #2

Date: November 3, 10:45am

Background on the Drummond case

Interviewer: Det. Gerald Palmer, NCSBI

Palmer:  Mr. Janewicz–

Janewicz: You may call me Steve, mortal.

Palmer: Sorry, Steve. We’ve covered the facts of the case in our conversation earlier this morning, so now I want to turn to what you know about Morris Drummond. I’m trying to get a sense of who the guy is.

Janewicz: To what end?

Palmer: [breath noises] He’s not in trouble. At least, not yet. I’m just trying to corroborate the things he’s said while we unwind what’s going on in Baxter County.

Janewicz: Very well. You may continue.

Palmer: So, you’ve known him a while?

Janewicz: The fleeting lives of your kind do not always impinge upon my memory.

Palmer: Right. But you know Morris better than that?

Janewicz: He has served as my chariot-master these past six moons.

Palmer: The chariot in question being his mom’s Chevy?

Janewicz: [no reply]

Palmer: How often did he drive you?

Janewicz: When the sun was at its height, and at its most dangerous to me, and again when the gloom of night reigned.

Palmer: Can you put that in, er, mortal terms? With hours?

Janewicz: My shop opens at noon and closes at midnight.

Palmer: So he drove you there and back?

Janewicz: And sometimes other places, when I was in need of sustenance.

Palmer: What’s a guy like you eat?

Janewicz: I favor pork rinds. And other foods darker and more mysterious.

Palmer: Right. So, you and Morris are friends?

Janewicz: I sensed there were none closer to him than I during his time of darkness, though others became entangled. I hope his curtain of shadow may yet lift.

Palmer: That was kind of a yes or no question, you know.

Janewicz: [no reply]

Palmer: This curtain of shadow thing. You mean the business with the Baxter County sheriff’s department?

Janewicz: In part. But the pall cast over Morris began well before that. He dwelt in shadow, sucked dry by his employer and then by the loss of one he loved.

Palmer: Who’s that? That he loved?

Janewicz: The one who cast him forth into this sorry world.

Palmer: His mom, you mean?

Janewicz: [no reply]

Palmer: So, he was, what, depressed?

Janewicz: His soul shed tears of blood from a wound that would not close.

Palmer: Right. [Breath noises. Papers shuffling.] Do I have this right that you were in the military?

Janewicz: I served in the ranks of blood and strife, once. It was a time long ago, before I became as I am now. I almost feel that was a different man.

Palmer: [chuckling] I bet. Can’t see you pulling off this, uh, whatever this is, in basic training.

Janewicz: [no reply]

Palmer: Did you ever know Morris to be violent? Use guns?

Janewicz: Morris is a man of peace. Weapons of war and violence were alien to him.

Palmer: How do you know this? Did you talk about it?

Janewicz: He told me he had to watch YouTube videos to even figure out if a gun was loaded.

Palmer: Right.

Janewicz: I must needs depart? My place of business opens anon.

Palmer: Sure, just one more question. When did Morris get agitated about all this… this situation he found himself in?

Janewicz: I think it grew with each new insult to his honor, each new threat to his life and safety.

Palmer: Right. Can you maybe put a date on that?

Janewicz: It was when he found that which his mother preferred buried.


Mindy is a character in What Grows From the Dead. This was a character guest post as part of that book’s blog tour, originally posted here.

An essay about a family member? Are you kidding? That’s soooo sixth grade. No, I don’t think I’m special. No, I don’t want detention. Duh. 


OK, here you go.

Mindy Drummond
AP English 
3rd Period Mr. Jones

My Beloved Father  

(Of course I’m going to give it a stupid title if you make me write a stupid essay)

My dad, Morris, is a college professor. Well, sort of. He’s on a leave of absence now because of the business-ification of higher education administration. That all happened last year. Well, last academic year, in like February. Well, I think some of it was going on before that, but that’s when he told me, during one of our weekly phone calls. He doesn’t usually say much during those calls because I talk so much, but I could tell he was unhappy, so I asked. I think talking about it made him more unhappy, maybe, but it also seemed like he felt better telling somebody. I wish he’d find a girlfriend, but I think he needs to get through this stuff first.

Anyway, it sounds like the college where he works, Riggson, was a bunch of XXXXs (fill in strongest insult that won’t get me detention). Well, the administration, anyway. They closed his department and fired him, even though he has tenure, and even though he’s worked there for years. It sounds really sketch. He said he’s protesting, going through an appeal, and that he can sue them for breach of contract and improper termination. Maybe that will work, I don’t know. Do I look like a lawyer? No, I do not, is the right answer to that question.

That all was hard on him. Like, really hard. I don’t remember too much from when he and Mom divorced, because I was little, but I think it might be like that. Like, he pledged himself to this stupid institution, gave it the best years of his life (well, so far), and then they cheated on him and fired him, and now he’s left feeling hurt and betrayed and angry and sad. I don’t know. It’s not like I’ve been divorced. I’m sixteen. But it seems like that might be what it’s like.

I go out to see him summers, and I convinced Mom to let me stay a little longer last summer. It wasn’t fun, because Grandma (his mom) was sick. Serious sick, stage 4. With dad just terminated from the college and dealing with all that, and Grandma dying, he was pretty much a wreck. I mean, we all were. Grandma physically, him emotionally, and me too, trying to help, even though there wasn’t much to be done. I mean, Dad was cool even with all that going on. He’s funny, and nice, and he really cares about me, unlike certain other supposed father figures who live in Alpharetta I might mention. He’s really dorky too, but in that kind of cool way dads can sometimes be. He also buys me milkshakes all the time, which is nice – the divorce dividend, you know? They destroy your home life and fracture your family and your identity, and you get delicious ice cream.

Anyway, Dad took Grandma’s death even harder than I thought he might. I think it’s because of the job thing, like everything being stripped from him at once. He’s pretty strong, usually, and stays happy, but this was as dark as I’ve seen him go. He put on a brave show at the end of the summer, when I had to go back, and he acts like things are OK when we talk, but I can tell he’s not really holding it all together. I really don’t know what he’s going to do next, and I worry about him.

In conclusion, this is my essay about my dad. More than 500 words, which is what was required. If you find it boring, remember that if you let us do cooler stuff, like multimedia or TikToks, you would have more interesting things to grade than this dead-tree old-school drivel, so it’s kind of your own fault. Get with the 21st century, Mr. Jones. We are the youth of tomorrow, not the youth of 1960 or whenever you went to school.

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