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99 Coffins: A Historical Vampire Taleby David Wellington
Synopses & Reviews
Fifty thousand men had died or been wounded on this broad valley, Montrose told himself. It must have been a scene out of hell--the injured lying sprawled across the corpses, the cannon still firing from the top of one hill at the top of another. The horses screaming, the smoke, the utter desperation. This was where the country could have fallen apart--instead, this place had saved it from utter ruin.
Of course, that had been a century and a half ago. Now as he stared out over the dewy Gettysburg battlefield all he saw were the trees shimmering in the wind that swept down between two ridges and stirred the long green grass. The blood had dried up long ago and the bodies all had been taken away to be buried. Off in one corner of the field he could just make out the scrupulously period-authentic tents of a band of reenactors, but it looked like even they were sleeping in.
He rubbed his face to try to wake himself up, forgetting for the third time that morning that he still had kohl daubed around his eyes from the previous night's clubbing. Jeff Montrose was not a morning person. He preferred to think of himself as a creature of the night.
Of course, when Professor John Geistdoerfer called you at six a.m. on a Sunday morning and asked if you'd supervise a student dig until he could arrive, you made your voice as chipper as possible and you got dressed in a hurry. The professor was the hottest thing going in the field of Civil War Era Studies, one of the most influential people at Gettysburg College. Staying on his good side was mandatory for a grad student like Montrose, if he ever wanted to have a career of his own someday.
And when the student dig turned out to be something special--well, even the most hard-core night owl could make an exception. Montrose ran down through the trees to the road and waved at the professor's Buick as it nosed its way toward him. The car pulled onto the side of the road where Montrose indicated.
Geistdoerfer was a tall man with a shock of silver hair and a neatly combed mustache. He climbed out of the car and started up the track, not waiting to hear what his student had to say.
I called you the second we found it, Montrose tried to explain, chasing after the professor. Nobody's gone down inside yet--I made sure of it.
Geistdoerfer nodded but said nothing as the two of them hurried toward the site. His eyes tracked back and forth across the main trench, a ragged opening in the earth made by inexpert hands. At the bottom, still mostly buried in dark earth, was a floor of decayed wooden planking. The undergrads who excavated it had come only for extra credit and none of them were CWES majors. They stood around the trench now in their bright clothes, looking either bored or scared, holding their trowels and shovels at their sides. Geistdoerfer was a popular teacher, but he could be a harsh grader, and none of them wanted to incur his wrath.
The site had been chosen for student work because it was supposed to be of only passing interest to history. Once it had been a powder magazine, a narrow pit dug in the earth where the Confederates had stored barrels of black gunpowder. At the end of the battle, when the soldiers had beat a hasty retreat, they had blown up the magazine to keep it out of the hands of the victorious Union troops. Geistdoerfer hadn't expected to find anything in the dig other than maybe so
Six months have passed since Laura Caxton nearly died at the hands of a pack of vicious vampires. Now, shes being called to a recently unearthed tomb holding the skeletons of 99 vampires--and one coffin that is ominously empty--when she realizes theres no rest for the weary.
DAVID WELLINGTON is the author of 13 Bullets and the Monster Island trilogy.
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