Monday, March 07, 2011

Love in the Ruins

There were seven bells ringing, three of iron, three of brass—one of silver. Their sound was as chaotic and cold as the wind that blew at Kainja's back, as sharp and dark as the scimitar shapes of the mountain vultures circling above his head in the dimming sky of evening. Those vultures had a purpose here, but it wasn't that they were waiting for him to die. That would have been futile. They were waiting for him to leave so they could settle again to the feast he had interrupted.

Framing the meticulously ordered canvas of the dead that lay before him were a monastery's ruins. Smoke helices lifted over broken walls and orange and black kites fluttered on the ground like raped angels. A row of stone monkeys had lost their heads. Even worse was the water cistern filled with blood, a conspicuous waste. Someone had created a sadistic landscape here. They had done it deliberately, out of some need or passion that Kainja did not understand and which horrified him. And the worst thing of all was that only one person could be responsible, the woman Kainja loved more than anyone else living in the world.
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This is a little piece of a story called “Wanting the Mouth of a Lover.” The vampire Kainja visits the Himalayas and finds an old enemy and an old lover, and for a while it seems they may both be the same person.

There are three Kainja stories in Midnight in Rosary. The other two are “In a Cold of Snow and Ghosts,” and “Vessel for the Holy.” All of them appeared first in Prisoners of the Night, the anthology series edited by the inimitable Alayne Gelfand. There’s a secret about Kainja that is revealed in “Wanting the Mouth of a Lover.” I won’t tell you what it is but someday I hope some of you will tell me! :)



Barnes & Noble
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29 comments:

Sidney said...

I've been tweeting about this!

Charles Gramlich said...

Sidney, thanks, man. I appreciate that. I haven't even got on tweeter yet. Not sure I will. I can't keep up with the tech life as is.

X. Dell said...

Do You realize that once I buy and read Love in the Ruins I'll have read more of your books than I have of Mark Twain?

David J. West said...

I like those titles.

Lana Gramlich said...

I'll never forget the Kainja story that made me cry...

Charles Gramlich said...

x-dell, I'm OK with that man. :) Me and Mark go way back.

Lana, you make me cry with your sweetness and beauty.

David, I love good titles, man.

Deka Black said...

The image of the cistern filled with blood is as all vampire stories should be: Bloody. (I think just made a pun with a swear word, but i'm not sure)

Andabout titles, i'm with david. A good story begins with the title. Is like the eyes of a puppy looking at us saying: "read me, read me!"

Evan Lewis said...

Zow. That's some strong imagery. I'm looking forward to this book.

Charles Gramlich said...

Deka, I like that analogy. Very apt.

Evan, thanks, glad you enjoyed the sample.

AvDB said...

This is amazing writing. I must go buy to find out what happens.

You're a devilish trickster-man, Gramlich.

Deka Black said...

Thanks Charles ^^

Charles Gramlich said...

AvDB, i'm all blushing and stuff. Thanks. :)

Deka, *thumbs up*

Cloudia said...

Do carnivores hunt when sated? I never knew that about their nature...



Aloha from Hawaii


Comfort Spiral

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Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, the various cat species do, although they will certainly expend less effort to do so. if the proper trigger appears their hunting instincts will be engaged.

the walking man said...

Ok I got a Kindle...now maybe I will force myself to find time to read more. Either that or maybe I should just...naw that really isn't an option either, I find time to read more.

pattinase (abbott) said...

That is lovely writing. I remember a book by Walker Percy called LOVE IN THE RUINS. But he left out the vampires.

BernardL said...

Very enticing excerpt.

Charles Gramlich said...

Mark, I read in most spare moments it seems so I do manage to get through stuff, although the rate isnt' fast.

pattinase, lol. Yes, that's where I got this title of course, for the blog post that is. Thanks for the compliment on the writing.

BernardL, thanks, man. I always did enjoy this semi-surrealistic kind of writing.

Mary Witzl said...

I like this: '...it wasn't that they were waiting for him to die. That would have been futile.' So deftly done.

Charles Gramlich said...

Mary, thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed that.

jodi said...

Ok Charles, now you are tempting me...

Ron Scheer said...

Very dream-like. The scene is a bit grisly for my tender sensibilities, but I like what happens when you let yourself dwell on the opening imagery, how the sound of the bells somehow replicates both the wind and the flight of the birds overhead.

You trigger a feeling that can't be described more directly, yet is all the more effective for being both present for me and inexpressible. I'm wondering if that is what you are talking about when you describe how you like certain kinds of evocative description...

If so, I'm on the same page with you.

Rick said...

That does it. I forgot to buy it but after that challenge, I'm buying it now!

Charles Gramlich said...

Jodi, I'm telling you that you might like this. I'll have to post another excerpt.

Ron, it is. It's hard to say exactly how but this passage has strong resonance for me. It sets images running and tripping over each other, and at least to me it triggers emotions.

Rick, Thanks, man. I hope you enjoy.

Erik Donald France said...

"Smoke helices lifted over broken walls and orange and black kites fluttered on the ground like raped angels" -- oh man, that is one hell of a memorable line. Scary. I'm looking forward to reading the whole book~~

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Charles,

This looks fantastic! LOVE the cover! By the way, did you imply those porn stars don't love Charlie Sheen for his pilgrim soul? Ha! I agree, he's looking rough --best to keep the money coming . . .

cs harris said...

Beautiful writing, Charles. Our copy of Midnight and Rosary arrived in the post today. (And I still don't think the cover is bad!)

Travis Cody said...

"Smoke helices lifted over broken walls and orange and black kites fluttered on the ground like raped angels."

Wow.

Charles Gramlich said...

Erik Donald France, thankee. I do like that line myself. there's more than usual poetic prose in this collection, I think.

Michelle, Not having hung out much with porn stars, or Charlie Sheen, I'm not really sure. :)

Candy, cool. thank ya'll for getting it. I appreciate it.

Travis Cody, glad you liked that. I do like it quite a bit myself.