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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Darker than the shadows of the night - Strigoi: The Blood Bond (Tales of the Strigoi ) by Ron D. Voigts

Cover Artist: Rachel R. Colon

Description: 

On the verge of suicide after his wife leaves him, Alex Regal learns he has inherited property located in a small town deep within the mountains. Putting things on hold, he heads to Glade, hoping for something positive in his life. Getting there is easy but leaving proves to be impossible. A spell exists, keeping everyone captive in this hidden place. 

The town of Glade is run by a Shapeshifter called the Strigoi. The creature needs to drink human blood to survive. In folklore, taking the form of a man or an animal, the Strigoi became the basis of stories about vampires or werewolves. Now Alex must discover a dark secret before he becomes the vampire's next meal. 

GUEST POST
Real Strigoi 
by Ron D. Voigts 
Strigoi translates from Romanian, meaning undead. They are the souls rising from their tombs to transform into animals or phantasmagoric creatures who haunt the countryside, troubling anyone they encounter. In some tales, the Strigoi require human blood to revitalize themselves and keep them alive. 

When a death occurs, family members will keep vigil over the deceased to make sure they don’t rise up from the dead. Garlic is sometime hung to keep the dead from returning. The ultimate method is to pierce the deceased through the heart with a sickle or some other object that is meant for piercing. 

In 2012, Bulgarian archeologist unearthed centuries-old skeletons and found iron stakes had been driven through their chests to pin the dead down and keep them from returning as vampires. Historically cold iron was used to dispel or harm ghosts, faeries, witches and other supernatural beings. 

Much of the Romanian legends lend to the later stories in popular culture of vampires. In Russia the vampire is called Upir and the Greeks have the Vrykolakas. The origin of the modern vampire can be attributed most likely to Bram Stoker in his famous novel Dracula. Romanians also call the vampire Moroi

Romanians believed a Strigoi was reanimated corpse that sucked blood, most times from its family members. A person who was born with a caul, a tail, or an extra nipple was doomed to become a Strigoi. The seventh child, someone with red hair and blue eyes, and a child born out of wedlock could become living Strigoi. An unbaptized child would return as a Strigoi. 

A story is told at the turn of the 20th century about a Romanian family believing a brother had come back as Strigoi, so they exhumed the body. Though dead for many years, they found the body looking fresh and well preserved. Even the cheeks were rosy. A pitch fork was driven through the deceased’s chest; the heart was cut out and burned to prevent the dead relative from returning. 

In writing Strigoi, The Blood Bond, I used much of the legends and added some details of my own. An iron stave was used to stake the vampire. Living Strigoi who died returned as the dead Strigoi. But vampirism transmitted like a disease was my touch. Who knows? Today’s stories may be tomorrow’s folklore.

EXCERPT



Maggie awoke in darkness. She blinked. Inky black filled her vision. She recalled the stag standing in the road, losing control of the car, and the accident.

She tasted salt and metal. Her lower lip felt fat. A dull pain throbbed at the side of her head. She slid her fingers across her scalp and felt a bump.

Her hand shook as she reached out and touched the steering wheel. She ran her fingers along the column and felt the keys dangling in the ignition. The engine no longer ran. Moving farther, she touched the headlight switch and turned it.

The world lit up in front of her. The car had nosed into a tree. The headlight beams didn’t travel too far, absorbed by the brush, nearby trees, and the night. The dash clock read 2:13.

By best estimate, Maggie had been knocked out for about ten hours. Hopefully only that. She didn’t feel too bad except for the pain radiating from the bump on her head.

Now came a decision. Leave the car and head down the road, or stay?

A black shadow passed in front of the car lights. If she’d blinked and she might have missed it. Possibly the night playing a trick on her eyes.

Something hit the car hard. The vehicle rocked for a second and then grew quiet. Maggie held her breath and listened. All was silent like before.

Above her, something moved on the car’s roof. First, the sound came as gentle thumps, like someone walking above her. The noise grew louder. Pounding and scratching. Maggie realized whatever had leaped atop the car meant to claw its way in.

“Stop,” she screamed.

The sound became intense, the action more violent.

She cupped her hands over her ears and screamed, “Please, stop.”

Another boom came from overhead. A silhouette passed in front of the car lights again and vanished into the darkness. Maggie wondered if it had left.

Then the shadow appeared again, she heard a crash, and the left headlight went dark. Maggie thought this could not be happening. Things didn’t happen like this in the real world. Another crash and the right light went out.

The only light in the car came from the dashboard. Whatever was outside could see her by the glow. Her fingers fumbled for the switch, twisted it, and darkness once more wrapped around her.

Her breaths came in short pants. Her heart pounded in her ears. Her eyes opened, her eyes closed—the darkness remained the same. Minutes passed without a sound. The quiet grew unnerving.

What had it been? She’d heard of bears attacking vehicles. Certainly that would explain the agility and size of whatever it had been. But did bears come out at night?

A sickening feeling overwhelmed her—she was not alone. Something still remained outside, perhaps only feet from the car. She had not heard anything for a while now. Reason said it had left, but she knew it hadn’t. Whatever was outside waited for her.

She raised her hand and touched the underside of the car’s roof. Her fingers dragged across the surface of the liner, sweeping in gentle arcs until she found the dome light. Her fingertip slipped over the rocker switch.

A cold feeling washed over her. Her imagination played with her. If she pressed the switch and lit the interior, would something be outside, waiting? Would that be the trigger to provoke it?

When she could no longer stand it, she pushed. Light flooded the inside of the car. Nothing happened. She was alone. The light soothed her and kept the darkness away. The night had no power over her.

Then it hit the windshield. Fur pressed against the glass. A patch of fog wafted from the nostrils of a black nose. Fangs glistened in the light. Two red eyes stared at her.

Maggie pushed on the steering wheel, and the sound of the horn blared.








About the author: 
Originally from the Midwest, Ron D. Voigts now call North Carolina home where he and his wife have a small house off the Neuse River. Ron’s writing credits include the Penelope Mystery Series for middle-grade readers and the dark mystery thriller, Claws of the Griffin. His reading taste is eclectic and depends if the first sentence captures his interest. When not writing and reading, he enjoys watching gritty movies, cooking gourmet food, and playing games on his PC. 


9 comments:

joe hawk said...

Loved the expert was very good.

Piper said...

sounds like a good read. defo sounds like my type of book.

nurmawati djuhawan said...

the video and the blurb is interesting...
thx u for the chance :)

Ron D. Voigts said...

Thanks for hosting my blog tour for Strigoi, The Blood Bond. I appreciate the opportunity to meet your readers and introduce them to my book.

Anonymous said...

Interesting video and blurb.

Katherine Riley said...

I love your stories of Romanian folklore, my cousin is dating a lady from Romania and I have heard many of the same stories.

winemama said...

sounds spooky, thanks for the chance

gemiinii said...

Sounds really interesting!

CCAM said...

It's interesting the fact that, like -for example Noah's Deluge, these creatures are present in one form or another in almost all of the old mythologies or folklore.