Slay: Beautiful Monsters by Valjeanne Jeffers


When I first saw the call for submissions to Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire, I was intrigued. This was a call for stories about black vampires – definitely a rarely seen species. Honestly, I can only think of two famous vampires of color: “Blacula” and “Blade.” And I realized that aside from my novel Immortal: Stealer of Souls, I’d never written about vampires, and I’d never written about “traditional” vampires, the kind who drink blood, despite the fact that I love vampires. I decided to try my hand. I was over the moon when I found out Nicole Smith, the editor, had accepted my story for inclusion into this groundbreaking anthology. So, without further adieu, here’s an excerpt from my story, “Beautiful Monsters:”

In the city of Passion, Sanyu perched atop a branch on the edge of town. The slender vampire had skin the color of chocolate, sable-brown eyes, thick lips and braids that brushed her shoulders. She stared down at the barred windows of the Haberdashery Shoppe. She’d been waiting for an hour, and still there was no sign of them. 

The informant was wrong. And daylight is coming.

She heard them. Her preternatural ears picked up the sound of footsteps and, a breath later, a human scent. They came from two different directions and met in front of the Shoppe’s windows. A man who Sanyu recognized as Henry, one of the Sheriff’s police, entered the street on her right. His face was angular, and he had turquoise blue eyes and full lips; his hair fell in soft waves over his forehead. He was dressed in dark trousers and a suitcoat. A red S, outlined in gold, was emblazoned on his breast. The second one, Elise, entered on the left. She was plump and shapely with cropped blond hair and a heart-shaped face. She was dressed in a short skirt, boots, and a belted coat. She stared up at the man with adoring eyes. 

Fool. She’s actually fallen in love with him. 

Elise reached into her coat pocket, pulled out a scrap of folded paper, and handed it to him. “These are all their names.”

“Thank you, Elise,” Henry said. “Your loyalty will be rewarded.” 

Elise inched closer. “I didn’t do it for the money. I did it for you,” she whispered. “I’d do 

anything for you, Henry―anything.”  

Sanyu could hear them as clearly as if she was standing next to them. And she’d heard enough. Her eyes turned gold, the irises split by narrow black bands, and flew down from the branch to land between them. Her movement was only a blur in Elise’s vision. 

But Henry saw her. 

He was too late. Sanyu shoved the silver dagger into his abdomen and his buzzing screams split the silence. He reverted to his true form: an Adze― covered with hair, his head splitting into two antenna to reveal a hooded skull, a mouth with huge fangs and tiny black eyes— and fell writhing to the ground. Elise screamed and whirled about, fleeing down the narrow street.

With a low growl, Sanyu leapt into the sky and touched down in front of Elise to block her path. She stared into Elise’s green eyes, “Quiet!” she commanded in a velvet contralto. The woman fell silent, staring blankly at the vampire. 

Sanyu grabbed the back of Elise’s head and pulled her in a lethal embrace … Clamping her lips onto the woman’s neck, she broke through the soft flesh with her fangs, and drank …

I invite readers to sample this wonderful anthology, surely the first of its kind in the world of nightwalkers.

Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire is available for preorder on Amazon. 

–Valjeanne Jeffers


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