The Darke Lyfe Trilogy consists of three novels: Ascent of Evil, Inherited Evil and Arcanum of Evil (the last is in production). While the central focus of my contemporary horror drama is a global population of vampyres/vampires, one heinous individual stands out: Harrison Van Gilter He’s an intelligent, albeit psychopathic, rogue vampyre, cold, cunning and cruel. But he’s so much more.
Harrison was born March 13, 1763, in Sighisoara, (See ghee swahr’ ah) Romania. His family later moved to, and spent extended time in, Blackpool, England, on the Irish Sea. So who is this dark character of mine, and what’s he up to?
In the first novel, Ascent of Evil, Lieutenant John Willoughby of the Panama City Police Department interviewed a young lady who had socialized with Harrison, just before he murdered one of her best friends. Here is how Lorie Benton described Harrison to the lieutenant.
“…he was tall, at least six foot, maybe slightly taller. He appeared well built but very trim. …probably weighed about 190. He appeared to be in his mid-to-late thirties. He was handsome in a rugged sort of way. He had pronounced bone structure, a strong jaw, good facial features. His nose was perfect for a man with his features… in perfect balance. His eyes were gray, sort of silver gray. His hair was coal black, and it contrasted strikingly with his extremely fair skin. He has light colored skin, almost like a fashion model’s complexion. The only other thing sort of unusual about him was his ears. They appeared slightly…no, definitely, somewhat large.”
Willoughby: “Anything more?”
Benton: “Oh yes. His teeth. They were extremely white and very even. I’d say his teeth were absolutely perfect.”
Later, Lorie described the mesmerizing effect Harrison had upon her. In a federal court proceeding, attorney Milton Darrow asked about Lorie’s feelings when, months earlier, she and Harrison were socializing at a table in a lounge. Darrow asked if Harrison made any direct verbal requests of her.
“No. That’s just the point. He didn’t ask me to do anything. But thoughts kept coming into my mind. …I would have gone anywhere with him. And I would have done anything with him or for him.”
“Would you have had sex with him that night?” Darrow asked.
Lorie hesitated and lowered her head. “Almost immediately…yes.”
When I created Harrison Van Gilter, I wanted a paramount cruel and calculating villain. As he evolved during the writing, I found an underlying, troubling motivation within him: parricide. Deep within Harrison’s psyche, he hates his family and wants to destroy every one of them. This obsession is part of the mystery I’ve attempted to create. The tip of the iceberg emerges near the end of the second book.
But Harrison is not just seductive or deeply hateful. Harrison, in fact, loves “the game.” The game of cat and mouse, teasing the authorities, pushing the envelope, and driving Panama City Mayor Larry Hayes to the mental brink of breakdown. He derives the same joy when confronting Lt. John Willoughby or FBI Special Agent Mark Pierce.
And as we probe deeper into the twisted mind of Harrison Van Gilter, we discover a monumental ego: a desire for fame so hideously huge that if there was a vampyre’s hall of fame, Harrison would like his statute on the pinnacle of the roof, and only his life exhibited within.
Vampyres, the ones I’ve created, are cruel, but organized. The global population is a political, defensive, strategic entity known collectively as the World Order of the Royal Dragon, or WORD. And Harrison poses a constant risk to the Order. He is #1 on their most-wanted list of rogue, outcast vampyres.
And so, Harrison continues his existence – one way or the other – while doing battle with the lowly human prey and the more capable vampyre agents of WORD, who are constantly on his trail.
In summary, Harrison Van Gilter – for all his charm and good looks – is so evil, if it came to it…he’d cut a deal with Satan.
Next week, we’ll take a look at one of the “good guys.” I’ll profile Dr. Steven Atticus, the anthropologist/biochemist who discovered Novgor Borgund, the 1000-year-old Viking Priest laid to rest in a cold Canadian lake and who just happened to be the first vampire!