Click to see the Spooky Legends Master List with links to all the previous posts and giveaways
Today’s original Spooky Legend is a take on the Humans Can Lick Too urban legend and based on the BLOODLANDS (available now from Ace Books) series, the first book in a new urban fantasy series by Christine Cody. BLOODLANDS is followed by BLOOD RULES (available August 30th) and IN BLOOD WE TRUST (available September 27th). Thanks to Christine, one of you who comment on this post will win a copy of the first two books! See details below.
“Humans Can Lick, Too,” based on the Bloodlands series: Bloodlands, book one, Blood Rules, book two, and In Blood We Trust, book three, on shelves now, by Christine Cody. (Note: If you haven’t read Bloodlands, SPOILERS abound in this post! Be warned.
After leaving the New Badlands, Mariah Lyander, Gabriel, and the remaining settlers traveled to a new urban hub to find a were-cure. Instead, they ended up infiltrating an asylum, where monsters were stored, and now the different liberated monster factions are struggling for power with each other. Meanwhile, Mariah, who led the asylum charge, is being regarded as somewhat of a leader goddess, thanks also to a blood exchange with a mysterious creature called Subject 562.
I never believed in scary stories until I became a part of one.
My name is Mariah Lyander, and way back in my teenaged days, I lived in what was left of Dallas, where bad guys prowled round with impunity. They never got caught or punished. Most said that was because some bad guys did dirty deeds for the government…or that our sense of justice on the higher levels was so rotted that being a bad guy paid much better than staying inside the walls of your sheltered home, cowering and being good.
Nowadays, it’s real hard to tell the good from the bad, but that’s another story. This one came first.
There’s an old urban legend called “Humans Can Lick, Too.” It’s one of those tales that’s been recycled and retold forever. You know—vulnerable girl is home alone. She has a dog. She hears on the radio that there’s a serial killer loose, so she’s terrified and she takes her dog with her when she goes to her room to sleep. Dog rests under her bed, and every time she gets scared, she reaches down so her pet can give her a reassuring lick. Later that night, she’s awakened by a drip-drip-dripping sound. She’s too damned scared to turn on the light, so she lies there, frozen, reaching down to feel a lick from her faithful friend. (I mean, if there was something wrong, wouldn’t that dog have raised a fuss?) She falls back asleep, knowing she’s protected by Fido, but then…
Morning comes, and she awakens to the sight of her dead, mutilated dog, its blood dripping to the ground. Nearby, on the pale wall, in the dog’s blood are the words, “Humans Can Lick, Too.”
My story is the same in many ways…yet not the same. I was at home with my family, shut in from the bad guys. We didn’t need any radio to tell us there were killers on the loose; it happened every day, but we were foolish enough to believe that my dad’s arsenal was protection enough. I had a dog, too, but you’ll be happy to know that he ended up far better than the pooch in the urban legend. Chaplin is an Intel Dog, after all, and he was too strong and smart to be the easy victim of a bad guy. Besides, these bad guys weren’t after my dog.
The small group of these invaders had their own canine with them and, at first, after they barged into our home, their pet looked like… Well, not a dog. Not exactly a wolf. An “it.” But, then again, my brain is foggy about the entire thing because it happened so fast—them crashing in, the monster-animal going after my mom and brother, my dad running for his weapons, Chaplin trying to fight them off –
At some point, the creature stalked me through the house. My nightgown ripped on nails, tearing, as if trying to hold me back as I ran to the only place I thought to hide—my closet in my room.
Dark, silent…for a stupid moment, I even thought the bad guys wouldn’t look there. All I could hear was my own breathing. I think I even blocked out the screams from my family. And my heartbeat… That took me over, too, until I heard a creak—the hinges on a hidden door in my closet easing open.
Chaplin, I thought. Thank-all, he found me. It’ll all be okay now.
I reached out my hand to him, and he licked me, just as he would’ve done on any other night when you could hear the choppers flying over my home or the yells from the streets beyond the bars covering my house.
His tongue was warm, wet, and I almost cried in relief…
…until he licked me again.
This time, something jerked in my chest. A warning. A yank of fear telling me to run, because this lick wasn’t comforting.
It was wrong in some gut-twisting way. Lascivious, lasting for far too long.
When I heard the low laugh of the creature who wasn’t Chaplin, I screamed, darting toward the closet door. At that strange, awful moment, I remembered the urban legend, the blood on the walls dripping with the words, “Humans Can Lick, Too.”
But this thing wasn’t entirely human. And it bit me, leaving me where I am today—a good guy, but sometimes a bad guy for a few nights every month.
A monster, almost like the thing under the bed in the old story.
Chris Marie Green/Christine Cody has also written the Vampire Babylon series for Ace, which is best described as “noir fantasy-mysteries” featuring a vamp hunter. She used to be an eighth-grade teacher, but she became a full-time author who will have published over forty books under these names as well as the pseudonym Crystal Green.
Want to read more from Chris Marie Green?
This giveaway is provided by Christine Cody
Available on September 27, 2011 from Penguin/Ace Books
About the Book:
They are monsters: Mariah, the reluctant rebel who has become a god to others of her kind, and Gabriel, the vampire, who loves her at his own peril.
They have returned to the Bloodlands, where their story began-to face the horrors of Mariah’s past and the uncertainties of Gabriel’s future- and to make a final stand, for their lives-and their love.
Click HERE to read an excerpt
**Don’t forget to visit All Things Urban Fantasy today for her Spooky Legends guest blog with Inara Scott and a chance to win RADIANT DESIRE**
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