Character Guest Post
Vessel for the Dead. Ghost ship. Spirit cabinet. Crazy.
I’ve been called them all. And the only one that ain’t true—yet—is the crazy tag. But supposedly that’s my fate. The end of the road for all Vessels—insanity and/or a desperate, usually messy, suicide by the time you hit your late teens or early twenties.
Me, I’m twenty-five. And working hard on kicking fate’s ass.
So, hey. Good to meetcha. My name’s Layne Valin and I’m a Vessel for the Dead. (Laughs) And no, this ain’t a Vessels Anonymous meeting. No such thing since this ain’t an addiction—Vessels are born, not made, and death seems to be the only cure.
Most people don’t know that Vessels even exist, not even when trying to wrestle one into a straitjacket. A Vessel looks like anyone else—like you or your little brother or maybe your best friend—no way to spot one, not even when you’re the poor bastard trying to wrestle the tweaker into that goddamned straitjacket.
But to a wandering ghost, lost spirit, or a furious shade, human Vessels are one huge open door with a WELCOME sign winking above in moonlight-gilded neon. A never-ending invitation to the dead from the moment you’re born until the moment you die. A Vessel can’t refuse a ghost. Can’t turn them away. A Vessel has no say, period.
Most Vessels lose control of their bodies whenever a ghost slips inside, becoming little more than bound and gagged stowaways shanghaied by ethereal, uncrossed-over body pirates hoping to say goodbye to loved ones, to seek revenge for their murder, to finish a final task, or simply clinging to flesh out of denial, y’know? That paralyzing fear of the unknown.
You know what’s ironic? A possession’s most dangerous moment happens when the ghost splits the Vessel’s body. When the dead depart sometimes they hook into your memories—accidentally or otherwise—and unravel a few. Forever.
No say in ghosts taking over your body for whatever purpose and for whatever length of time until they cross over. Possible permanent personality meshing. Lost memories. Quite a few straws piling up on that insanity-camel’s back, yeah?
I aim to change all that. Hell, I am changing it. Just look at me. Twenty-five and I ain’t been wrestled into a straitjacket once. (Yeah, yeah. Don’t say it.) I’ve also learned that there is a way to communicate with our ghostly passengers, a way to work together.
I believe we’re born Vessels for a reason. And that reason ain’t insanity and suicide. I hope to pass the shit I’ve learned onto other Vessels, teach them how not only to survive intact, but to make a difference in someone’s life—even if they’re dead.
Sure, I think being born nomad, as well as a Vessel, gives me an edge over non-nomad (otherwise known as in-town squatters. I know sounds judgmental, and trust me, it is) Vessels. For those of you who don’t know, nomads are a pagan cross between Gypsies and outlaw bikers. We travel. We respect nature. We believe in the things most people no longer do: werewolves, vampires, elementals, old and young gods . . . ghosts.
And magic. I also believe that a certain hoodoo apprentice with black hair, café-au-lait skin and tilted violet eyes, fierce and compassionate and brimming with magic, a woman named Kallie Rivière, helps sharpen that edge.
Me, I’m hoping that together, Kallie and me, we can find a way to transform a curse into true destiny and fate into purpose. I’m also hoping for another taste of those soft lips. (Winks) Sure as hell can’t hurt.
Here’s the first chapter of Black Dust Mambo. (Hoodoo Book 1)
And the first two chapters of Black Heart Loa. (Hoodoo Book 2)
(Black Moon Mojo—Hoodoo Book 3 will be out in 2013).
And feel free to check out The Maker’s Song series (A Rush of Wings, In the Blood, Beneath the Skin, Etched in Bone—and at the end of the year, On Midnight Wings). Here’s the first chapter of A Rush of Wings.
You can also find me at:
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Dante's Club Hell Forum
Dante's Club Hell Yahoo Group
Pocket After Dark
Each winner gets to choose any one of Adrian books.