In the fourth chapter of Vampires of the Scarlet Order, Cajun vampire Marcella DuBois goes west to Mesilla, New Mexico where she encounters both Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, who she knows by the alias Henry McCarthy. Here’s a snippet from that chapter’s crescendo.
I found Pat and his deputies outside Pete Maxwell’s shack shortly after sunset. I didn’t approach them, figuring it was dangerous to go up to a group of nervous, armed men at night. Instead I found a hiding place and watched things for a bit. I wasn’t sure why Pat hadn’t just gone in and asked Maxwell his questions. Being a vampire, I had very good hearing. From their conversation, I was able to make out that there was a man staying with Maxwell. The deputies and Pat were arguing among themselves about who that man was. I decided to take matters into my own hands and find out.
I made my way through the rocks around Maxwell’s shack, staying out of sight of Pat Garrett and his deputies. Behind the shack, I went up to one of the windows and looked inside. Sure enough, sitting on the bed was Henry McCarthy. He was whittling a piece of wood and talking to a man in another bed, apparently trying to go to sleep. I presumed the other man was Pete Maxwell.
Henry looked up from his whittling. I smiled and licked one of my fangs. He gasped, but quickly recovered. “I’m gonna go and get me some meat,” said Henry, hungrily.
“Fine, whatever…” said Maxwell, sounding glad to be rid of Henry.
A few minutes later, Henry came around the corner of the house and stopped cold. “It is you, isn’t it, from the Dobé in Cruces? What are you doing here?”
I smiled and swayed over to him. I was wearing a riding outfit of leather pants and jacket. I knew I looked good—sometimes I wish I still had that outfit. “I heard you’d broken out of jail, and I wanted to say, ‘hi.’”
He eyed me suspiciously and pointed his knife at me. “Stay back.”
“Now, Henry,” I sighed. “What did I tell you about pulling weapons on me?” I leapt forward and took Billy the Kid into my arms. He fought to get the knife into a position where he could stab me while I once again teased his neck with my fangs. Before he could strike with his knife, I bit into his neck. My lips caressed Henry’s neck and I luxuriated in the taste of his blood. I heard Pat’s voice from inside the shack and I briefly allowed myself to be pulled into a fantasy where it was Pat I was drinking from and not obnoxious little Henry McCarthy.
I stopped short of killing Henry—stopped short of even causing him to lose consciousness. I put my revolver in Henry’s hand, and sent him dazedly stumbling in the direction of the shack’s door.
One of my favorite parts of this chapter was exploring the similarities and differences between gunslingers and vampires. Certainly the idea that a vampire would be attracted to the wild west where shootouts were common and blood flowed freely seemed natural enough. However, as a fan of B-movies, I realized that the idea was quite similar to the one promised by the title of the 1966 film Billy the Kid vs. Dracula.
Thing is, I wanted to see the film, but when I wrote the novel, I never had the opportunity. I looked for a DVD or even a video tape, but couldn’t find one. I finally gave up my search.
On a whim, a little over a week ago, I took another look for the movie. This time I found a DVD copy in print at eBay. I snatched it up and finally watched it. Next week, I’ll take a closer look at the movie here at the Scarlet Order Vampire Journal.
In the meantime, if you’d like to read the full story of Marcella’s encounter with Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, you can pick up a copy of Vampires of the Scarlet Order at many fine book retailers including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.