Down Home is a 29,000 word novella featuring Simone Gireaux, from my Blood Justice and Blood on the Water novels. Trapped on a space station, Simone must solve a murder and find a missing notebook describing a weapon that will allow all on the station to return Down Home to Earth.
Around the year 2050 the Earth has been taken over by vampires who can walk in the sun, called Sunvamps. Simone Gireaux, Justine Kroft and two other vampires along with 106 mortals have escaped Earth to an unfinished space station called Haven where they’ve been hiding for fifteen years.
Henry McKay, who escaped to Haven as a teenager, has produced a virus that will kill only Sunvamps. Then he’s murdered and a notebook containing the virus manufacturing procedure is lost. Asked by Ginger, McKay’s beautiful manufactured “Wife,” it falls to Simone, a 400+ year-old vampire to find McKay’s killer and retrieve the notebook.
The success of the virus would allow Simone and Justine to return to Earth and search for Teresa, their long-time friend and partner. She is a powerful sorceress who disappeared while saving most of those who made it to Haven.
But there are some on Haven who don’t want to go home and would kill to keep the virus secret.
Down Home is available for download from –
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TJ4ZA80
Down Home – excerpt –
Looking down at Earth I can’t help but know one thing is true, our new journey down home started with a murder – and now we are on our way to more killing. Whether of a planet full of monsters or ourselves remains to be seen. As does the survival of humanity.
Haven Space Station
A knock on the door woke me from my contemplation of nothing. How long I had been doing that I didn’t know, but as I uncurled from my burrow of a bed and padded three half-awake steps to the door, I wanted nothing but to return to it.
There hadn’t been time or extra materiel to install doorbells. We were lucky to have doors in our improvised cubicles. I did insist on a peephole. After all this time there were still people who might want to kill me, so to speak – just because.
Through the peephole I saw a woman, around thirty, auburn hair down to generous shoulders, green eyes, button nose and even freckles. A first rate job.
I slid the door open. She stood about an inch shorter than my five-ten. Nice figure: not too much, not too little. She seemed nervous. Definitely a good job.
“Simone Gireaux.” Polite. She already knew about me. “I’m Ginger McKay.”
Ginger McKay. We’d met before, though not for some time. Not surprising, as I hadn’t been very social for quite awhile. Those first chaotic years that had added up so fast… the people needed us as much as we needed them. But as the station became self-sufficient and the four of us settled into our roles, mine somewhat nebulous, I welcomed some alone time. Deep depression brought on by hopelessness had nothing to do with it, I’m sure. I didn’t think the population of Haven needed me anymore, and I only needed them for one thing, blood.
As if settling in for a bit of friendly girl talk, we sat across from each other at the little table, covered by a blue scrap of tarp, welded on under the window, with a grand view of one of many circular hydroponic gardens hanging from the central core, dripping with the vegetation that helped keep the population breathing and fed.
I didn’t offer her anything. Only I needed to drink, and Ginger had nothing to offer but hydraulic fluid. Silence filled the small cubicle I called my temporary home, though I more and more feared it would become permanent. I had a good idea why she was there and immediately primed myself to say no. I’d just as soon hide in my quarters, hopeless, depressed, and useless, waiting for… something.
Well, a visit by Ginger was something.
“My husband was Henry McKay,” she said, eyes on the table. “He…
died… three days ago.”
“Suicide, they say.”
“But they can’t say why.”
“If you can’t say why…?” I stared at my barefeet and shook my head at the situation I didn’t want to get involved in. “Why are you telling me this? Why are you here?”
“I want you to find who killed him.”
That’s not what I wanted to do. I wasn’t ready to go out among the mortals. They’d had enough of me and I of them. I’d helped them all I could and then laid down in my coffin and pulled the top over me. McKay was a good guy, but… “That’s Diva’s job. Let him do it.”
Her full lips formed a tight smile. “Are you a Spacer or a Down-Homer?”
Spacer or Down-Homer? The station was equally divided between the two, forty-five percent each and ten percent who didn’t care. Spacers wanted to forget Earth and stay in orbit or head off into space toward one of the earth-like planets, even though the four vampires left onboard would be the only ones with any hope of surviving the voyage. Down-Homers wanted to go back down to Earth and kick Sunvamp ass. Though how two hundred and twenty-two men, women and children ages four weeks to eighty-eight years with no weapons expected to take a planet back from thousands, maybe millions by now, of vampire Sunvamps I hadn’t a clue.
“Why does that matter?”
Ginger shrugged, pursed her lips and shook her head, tiny motions, the faintest whirring no mortal could hear. Perfect. “My husband… Henry discovered a way to defeat the Sunvamps. To kill them all.”
I kept my sarcastic skepticism in check. Ideas on how to take back Earth from the sun-walking vampire sons-of-bitches floated about the long, cylindrical station like dust motes. I’d heard them all before. But this was Dr. Henry McKay, genius, savior, physician, researcher, hero, and nice guy.
He was fifteen years old when he arrived here, one of a hundred and six refugees. By twenty-one he’d learned all he could from the three medical doctors we had, and performed minor surgeries and major research. Eight years later a virus of unknown origin swept through the station. All humans were infected, twenty-six died, including one doctor, before McKay produced a vaccine. Since then, even with our limited resources, his genius knew no boundary: medicine, engineering, computers, and of course robotics. He kept us going. His death was a loss for the station and his friends.
But a way to kill the Sunvamps?
“Eliminating those bastards is a bold claim. Even for him.”
“He’s been working on it for years,” his widow said. “He never told anyone. He didn’t want to get their hopes up.”
“This… weapon was not mentioned in any official reports.”
Ginger managed a cynical smile. “Most of Security are spacers. Henry was a leading down-homer. Security is not shedding any tears that he’s gone. Plus, a notebook is missing. It’s the only written record of the manufacturing process.”
“A real paper notebook?”
“Yes. A woman makes them in Far End from bio waste. Henry didn’t trust electronic storage. Too easy to hack, he said.”
Great. A murdered man, a missing notebook, the fate of the world at stake. Any hope of being able to return down home, gone before we even had it. Teresa, our partner; any chance of finding out if she was still alive, gone. Justine would tear this station up to find that secret. I hoped it wouldn’t come to that. She missed her mortal, magic friend more than I did, but not by much. The three of us had been together a long time. Usually the only ones we could trust. And the only shoulders we had to lean on.
“So nobody else knows how to make this…?”
“A genetic virus that only attacks the particular genes that make a Sunvamp a Sunvamp.”
“He worked on it by himself?”
As Ginger’s kind had a tendency to do when considering a new query, her face blanked for a couple seconds. “He had a lab assistant, Tam Stern.”
Tam Stern, more brainy than pretty, but there weren’t many available twenty-something women on Haven.
I leaned forward. “Could she know how to make this virus?”