Vampire Week – Cat Marsters/Kate Johnson

Today Kate Johnson is with us to share what she loves about Being Human’s John Mitchell……

John Mitchell: Did you just call me deadly furniture?

The other day on Twitter a couple of acquaintances made it known to me that I have somewhat, er, unusual taste in men. Well, in crushes, at any rate. I still don’t think it’s at all peculiar to fancy James Marsters as Spike, but I will admit that John Simm’s The Master isn’t traditional crush material. It’s just, he’s so charming. So much fun, with such a great line in smart quips. So what if he wants to subjugate a whole planet? You’d never have to clean the bathroom again.

So of course, when it came to BBC’s Being Human, it was almost inevitable I’d fancy the pants off Mitchell. That accent. Those eyes. That sense of humour. His befanged, tortured history. His occasional tendency to rip out people’s arteries. “My name is John Mitchell, and I’ve killed more people than you’ve met,” is possibly one of my favourite lines. Well, that and the ‘skinny jeans’ conversation.

I’m no stranger to crushing on vampires, and the more twisted the better. As a teenager it wasn’t Brad Pitt who did it for me in Interview With A Vampire, it was Tom Cruise. “There’s life in the old corpse yet!” Then, of course, came the Buffy years. Was it Angel for me? Hell no. Give me a vampire who kills people with railroad spikes and looks good in eyeliner. I mean, I even named my cat Spike (he’s gorgeous, has white hair, and occasionally kills things. Couldn’t resist).

So then there was Mitchell. What is it about him that’s so appealing? Quite apart from the eyes, accent, et cetera. I suppose he does get his kit off quite a lot, that helps. And you know what, the vampirism isn’t sanitised. There’s no Twilighty longing here. When Mitchell gives into his need for blood, terrible things happen. People die. Horribly. When Mitchell and Lauren feed from each other in that hotel bathroom the whole place is drenched in blood. When Mitchell & Daisy go insane on that train, there are intestines all over the place. It’s not pretty. Being a vampire isn’t pretty.

But of course for Mitchell it’s not all about being a vampire, it’s about, well, being human. He can’t deny the otherness of his nature but he can try to become better. He surrounds himself with normal people and takes a menial job in a hospital. He tries, really hard. And deep down, underneath all that monsteriness, he actually is a good man. He comforts Annie when she’s upset, he befriends a lonely boy who has no male role model, he even gives out fashion advice (“Seriously, George. Skinny jeans?”). He’s the father figure in the house, or at least the big brother.

He has an internal struggle in the way the others don’t. George literally can’t control his inner beast. When it’s full moon, he’s got no choice but to go insane, and worry later about what he’s done. Annie’s conflicts are all about other people. She can’t physically hurt anyone; she can’t even physically touch anyone. Neither of them have to constantly police themselves like Mitchell does. He can control himself…can’t he?

I don’t want to give away any Series 3 spoilers, because it’s aired here in the UK but I don’t think it has in the States. But, oh my God, there are some big things happening. With Mitchell. At the end of S2 he had a bit of a meltdown. Well, he massacred a train carriage full of people. That sort of thing weighs heavy on a man’s conscience. And yet he can still find time to flirt with a ghost or two and make some smart quips about a stinky zombie. Of course, he still hasn’t found time to wash his hair or find out how deodorant works, but hey. He’s a busy vampire.

As Lia, his guide in purgatory—yes, there’s purgatory in S3—says, “What’s got two thumbs and just lucked out? Hello. No, I’ve always been lucky. You should rub me. I’m serious. Rub me.”

Mitchell, you can rub me any day.

And here’s a taste of one of Cat’s own vampiric creations…..

Excerpt: Hardest of Hearts

By Cat Marsters

ISBN: 978-1-60521-119-0

Available 19th March 2010 from Changeling Press

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Emma and Aidan can’t keep their hands off each other. There’s just one little problem: she’s sworn to kill all vampires and he likes the taste of blood a little too much.

Emma’s been raised in the knowledge that all vampires are evil. After all, they’re responsible for the death of her parents. Meeting Aidan shouldn’t change a thing: so he might be the most beautiful man she’s ever seen; he’s still a vampire, and it’s her duty to kill him, not to get him naked. Even if his Irish charm and quiet morality are extremely persuasive.

Aidan’s come back to town to avenge the death of a very old friend. But far from the old zealot he expected, his new enemy is a young redhead with a killer body. She’s determined to wipe out all vampires, and Aidan sees it as his duty to save his own kind.

And if he has to seduce her to do it, so much the better…

Warning: This title contains explicit language and sexual content not suitable for readers under the age of 18.

Excerpt:

I saw my first vampire when I was sixteen. He was incredibly beautiful, a pale, tortured creature haunting the school corridors. An unearthly concoction of glittering skin and soulful eyes, drawing the yearning, desperate love of every girl in school.

I drove a stake through his heart, of course.

So when a vampire walked in through the doors of Oh My Goth one Friday night about ten years later, my fingers twitched for the stake in my bag. Unfortunately, my bag was in the back room, and no part of my outfit would have concealed it. Added to which, my boss would probably complain if I staked a customer in the shop. And I’d get stuck with cleaning up the blood.

The vampire was a looker. It’s a trick of fiction to persuade us that all vampires are hot. They’re not, just as not all humans are gorgeous. The better-looking ones are more successful, however. They attract more prey, which makes them stronger. Simple as that.

This one moved like a predator, the swagger and grace of a creature who won’t ever be challenged. A man who knows no woman can turn him down. A hunter who doesn’t believe he can be beaten.

I watched him move around the shop, graceful and predatory, even as my brain checked and discarded every available item it could think of which might be used as a weapon.

He was tall and lean in dark jeans and a leather jacket, and maybe I could stun him with one of the heavy coffee-table Bible of the Dead books he was slinking past. No, vampire skulls were thicker than that.

He had dark hair, black maybe, curly and tousled and just brushing his collar, and now he was prowling past the crucifix earrings, maybe I could use those. No, probably not—symbols of religious belief only really work if you actually do believe—and in my experience they’re still not terribly effective on anything but the newest vampire.

His skin was pale, like that of most Caucasian vampires. He didn’t gleam with the sheen of the newly-fed, which probably worked in his favor. If he looked like he’d just eaten someone, I’d have to leap over the counter and bludgeon him to death with a coffin-shaped handbag.

He needed a shave, which was somewhat unusual amongst vampires, unless they were very old, before the art of clean shaving had been perfected. Maybe I could offer him one of the ceremonial knives to shave with, and then accidentally cut off his head with it. No. The blades were quite small, and I’d have to do a lot of hacking. Think of the carpet.

His eyes were dark, narrowed slightly as he glanced at the admittedly tacky range of Goth gifts for sale. His lips were shapely, and I could see no sign of fangs. Not that it would have bothered most of our clientele if he’d been displaying them.

The vampire moved past the range of dying flowers on the Valentines display to the Turnbury Murders exhibition, and as he looked up I saw his eyes were a chocolatey shade, with dark lashes. His bone structure was impeccable, with a strong jaw and high cheekbones. His nose might have been broken once or twice, but that only served to make his perfection a little more human.

Except that he wasn’t human, and I was considering stabbing him in the heart with an ornamental fan.

I could follow him outside when he left, perform some of my usual look-at-my-neck moves—the vampire version of the crooked finger—and lure him around to the little yard at the back of the shop. Probably, I could hide his body there until the shop closed, and with any luck he might have disintegrated enough to simply be tossed in the organic recycling bin.

Then the vampire turned to look at me, and my breath caught in my throat. I’d assessed the details, inventoried features, dispassionately noted his good looks—but now he was looking directly at me, and that dark chocolate gaze was reaching right out to me and begging me to succumb. He had come-hither eyes, and I sure as hell wanted to hither and come.

Stake through the heart, I reminded myself as he prowled over to the counter. Poison in a pretty bottle. A gorgeous vampire is still a vampire.

Goddamn, he was pretty though.

“I wonder if you could help me,” he said, a faint smile playing on his lips, and either the bastard was putting on an Irish accent to be charming or he was actually lucky enough to open his mouth and speak like that naturally. I wasn’t sure which would have been the more annoying.

“I’m sure I can try,” I replied, as politely as I could—which is to say, not very polite. Thankfully, people don’t expect someone working in a shop which sells coffin handbags to actually be polite, which suits me to the ground.

“I’m looking for information about the Turnbury Murders,” he said, and my eyes narrowed.

“Well, we have lots of it in our exhibition,” I said, waving at the wall.

He smiled then, a proper smile, a wide grin that lit up his face and made his eyes sparkle. His teeth were decent, which told me that despite his lack of shaving standards, he wasn’t a terribly old vampire. More than a hundred or so years old and the standard of dental hygiene was so dismal a lot of vamps had a mouthful of brown teeth. Only their fangs looked remotely healthy.

But this vampire, Mr. Handsome Irish Charmer, had perfect pearlers. And dark chocolately eyes, and carelessly long hair. And now he’d moved closer I could see the muscle definition beneath his clothes. He had on a couple of layered t-shirts, frayed and faded, and the hand resting on the counter wore a fingerless glove. His leather jacket was worn in several places, and the silver chain vanishing under his shirt was tarnished.

A lot of vampires tended to dress like they were homeless, and I’d still never quite worked out why.

This guy made it look like the height of style.

“I’m interested,” said the vampire, “in Joan Moorcroft, and William Huntley, and Lizzie Bathgate.”

His eyes suddenly became less like chocolate and more like wood, old, hard wood, the kind that’s turned rocklike with age and hard use, and can’t be shattered by anything.

The three people he was asking about had been vampires. And they’d been killed by me.

“There’s not much information up there about them,” the vampire continued. His gaze never left mine.

“Not very much is known about them,” I replied steadily. “It’s not even certain they were murdered. They simply disappeared.”

Those three vampires had been old, old enough that their bodies disintegrated with nauseating speed. Torrence had simply scooped their crumbling bones into a weighted bag and dumped it in the sea.

“And where do you think they disappeared to?” asked the vampire. His nails were short and clean, his fingers elegant.

I held his gaze. “I think they probably went home,” I said. “We have some books on the Turnbury Murders, if you’re interested.”

“I’m just interested in those three.”

“Well, we have very little information on them,” I said. He was lean, but muscular. Probably knew how to use his body in a fight.

He continued to stare at me. “I knew Lizzie Bathgate,” he said, his voice very low.

“Did you? Then I’m very sorry for your loss.”

“Loss? I thought she went home?”

“Well, maybe you should try calling her there.”

“Lizzie was never very good with phones.”

“Wasn’t she.” It wasn’t a question. I’d given up the pretense of being polite.

“They were somewhat before her time.”

I smoothed my hands over a stack of Turnbury Murders leaflets. “How unfortunate.”

“She’d have been more than seventy when they were invented.”

“Is that so.” The nearest wooden object was a pencil far too small to really do any damage with, but I rolled it under my palm in a move I doubt he missed.

“Which would make her nearly two hundred years old.”

“Well, she didn’t look a day over twenty,” I snapped.

There it was. A tiny softening in those hardwood eyes, a tilt of his head, and an utter lack of surprise. The vampire knew who I was.

The three or four other customers in the shop barely turned their heads. Daisy, the only other member of staff present, was helping a girl try on corsets in the changing room. The gloomy Emo music Daisy preferred kept our conversation private.

I was alone with a vampire who knew who I was, and the only weapon I had was a damn pencil.

“You’re Emma Howard,” he said.

“My reputation precedes me,” I said curtly.

“Young vampire hunter with curly red hair and a killer body,” he said, surveying what was visible of said body behind the counter. His eyes caressed me as a lover’s would. “There can’t be many about.”

“Did you want something?” I snarled.

His eyes met mine again, and he smiled, the motion lazy.

“I want plenty,” he said. He reached towards me, and I tensed, prepared to fight him bare-handed if I had to, but all he did was slide a Guide to the Turnbury Murders leaflet from under my palm.

“Thanks for the information,” he said, and one eyelid quirked in what might have been a wink. Rage nearly consumed me.

“Be seeing you,” the vampire said, and sauntered out as casual as anything.

Beneath my hand, the pencil snapped in two.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Selena Illyria
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 10:16:43

    Mitchell just breaks my heart. I can be so mad at him one minute and the next I melt. That whole eternity conversation with Annie, *Sniffles* And he went to freakin’ Purgatory for her. Purgatory! I nearly swooned! Heck, I named a character after him…sort of.

    And can I mention the Kate/Cat is awesome! Such a great writer.

    Reply

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