Holier Than Thou (The Tome of Bill)

BOOK: Holier Than Thou (The Tome of Bill)
7.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Table of Contents


Part 1

Hungry, Almost Like the Wolf

The Games that Children Play

Back to the Grind

Love Nest

Burning Down the House

Like Falling Asleep in a Giant Blender

Now You See It...

Hocus Pocus

Rallying the Troops

The Conference Call of Cthulhu

Without Bad Luck, I’d have No Luck at All

Party Crashers

Planning the Offensive

Crank Call

Gate Crashers

A Typical Day at the Office

A Trip into Town

The God Squad

Preying for Forgiveness

All the Guests Have Arrived

The Great Icon Hunt

Double Agents of Chaos

Part 2

Iconic Encounter

Hitting the Fan

Love Triangle

Irresistible Force Meets Immoveable Object

The Long Ride Home

Home Not-so Alone

Witch Way to Go

Alone Time

Destiny is a Bitch

Snack Run

Hormonal Imbalance

No Escape from New York

Such Wondrous Places You Take Me

Under New Management

Free For All

Destiny’s Red-Headed Stepchild

Top Of The World, Ma

And Now for a Slightly Different Epilogue

About the Author

Bonus Chapter

Holier Than Thou


The Tome of Bill

Part IV


Rick Gualtieri


Wayman Publishing


P. O. Box 160693

Clearfield, UT 84016

Holier Than Thou

Copyright© 2013 Rick Gualtieri

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author. Your support of author’s rights is appreciated.

All characters in this novel are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living, dead, or undead, is purely coincidental. The use of any real company and/or product names is for literary effect only. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

The views herein are the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the position of Wayman Publishing.

Edited by Megan Harris at


Cover by Mallory Rock at


Visit the author’s blog at:



For those few who had a little faith in me when I started down this crazy path.


Special thanks to: Alissa, Sheila, Solace, Jenn, Jessica, Justine, Melissa, Michael, Matt, Chris, and Jack; for helping me refine my craft and reminding me that there’s no such thing as a
Eagle...although it would be mighty tasty if there was.




Welcome, friends, to another installment in the ongoing saga of a foul-mouthed, undead geek named Bill Ryder. I find myself nearly flabbergasted in writing this introduction, in that I can’t believe how quickly things change. When I wrote the opening words for
The Mourning Woods
, Bill’s third adventure, I was speaking to an audience of perhaps a couple dozen at most. Now, well, I suspect that number may have grown ever so slightly. To say it blows my mind would be an understatement. I am absolutely humbled by the awesome people who have decided to take a chance on a monkey-clicking hack from New Jersey.

So... is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?

My stage fright issues aside, each new book in this series brings with it fresh challenges. This one is no exception. As Bill and his friends become further immersed in the dangerous world of the undead, I find myself facing a dilemma of sorts: How to marry the character’s growth (and maturity) while keeping these books fun. Even ignoring that roadblock, it can be an uphill battle. Everyone’s tastes in humor are different. I laugh at things my wife finds about as funny as a train wreck and vice versa. The larger the audience the greater chance one is going to bomb for at least a few. No pressure there.

Needless to say, Bill’s world has been becoming quite a bit darker as of late and the challenge for me has been to find that balance between keeping his perceptions quirky and realizing that there are some situations that he would have to be either insane or cataclysmically stupid to laugh off. In other words: to find a way to make people smile yet not be discouraged into thinking Bill is a hopeless dipshit.

But oh well, that’s part of the fun for me. It keeps me on my toes and hopefully you on the edge of your seat wondering what he’ll do or say next. Whether I have succeeded in my quest, I leave in your capable hands, dear reader.

Either way, writing these stories brings me great enjoyment. I sincerely hope you feel the same reading them.

Rick G.


Part 1



Hungry, Almost Like the Wolf


They say that man is the ultimate predator. Should he not also make the ultimate prey? It’s a thrilling concept. Imagine taking that to the next level...hunting a predator that’s even higher on the food chain. There’s a fitting reason it’s called the most dangerous game.

Running through the thick forest, I felt truly alive. The woods were pitch-black, but that wasn’t enough to slow me down. My supernaturally attuned eyes cut through all but the darkest gloom as I sought out my target. She thought she could evade me, perhaps even turn the tables and win. She would soon find out how wrong she was.

As I pursued her through the forest primordial, a small voice reminded me to be cautious. She was far more dangerous than the others. I indulged myself in memories of the ones already dispatched - two humans, frail and weak. In another life they had meant something, but not out here. The one called Ed had been the first to fall. She had seen to that. Tom was next, by my own hand. I had sensed his impending betrayal and been the first to act. He had begged for mercy, but received none - such is the way of my kind.

I stopped and got my bearings. Sounds, sights, and scents filled my very being. It was tempting to throw back my head and howl primal defiance at the moon, but that would be foolish. She might be listening. Though I felt no fear at facing her, I had no intention of giving her any edge.

There...a scent,
. It was intoxicating - awakening a deep need - but I pushed those thoughts away. I was here to hunt and would not be distracted quite so easily. Her smell played out across my hyper-sensitive nostrils for a moment before I bounded off into the darkness once more.

I savored the feel of the weapon in my hand. It would do nicely. She would never see it coming. It would be quick and clean...if I wanted it to be. But I didn’t. She needed to know who had hunted her down. The look upon her face as she realized who had vanquished her would be too much of a prize to turn down. I smiled in anticipation and quickened my pace.

Victory was mine for the taking, as was fitting. Even amongst predators, I am at the very apex. My name is Bill Ryder and I’m a vampire, an immortal beast of the night - but that’s not all. I am the legendary Freewill of vampire lore. The others speak of me and my coming in hushed tones. A great destiny has been foretold for me. Much honor and glory shall be laid at my feet one day.

Feh! Let them keep their prophecies. I do not exist for them or the future they proclaim for me. No, I live only in the here and now...and right now I was closing in on my prey.

* * *

There! A lesser being might have missed it, but not me. The fabric of her jacket peeked through the foliage. She was lying in wait, hoping for an ambush. She was a smart girl, but sadly not smart enough.

I circled her position, keeping outside of her range. None, save perhaps another of my kind, would have been able to sense my presence. Therein lay the challenge. Though not of my lofty status, she had skill and power of her own. She might well be able to sense that I was advancing upon her.

I bent low, picked up a few pebbles from the ground, and held my breath as I counted to ten. The ruse would only fool her for seconds at best, so it would have to be fast.

Pebbles rained down from the sky, disturbing the area where I had been only moments earlier. Before the last of them had hit the ground, I was once again on the move. Bringing all of my speed to bear, I raised my weapon and advanced upon her hiding spot.

She never saw me coming. There was no movement from the bushes, so intent was she on waiting for me to fall into her trap.

“It’s over, Sally.”

I pulled the trigger.

* * *

My aim was true, but something was wrong. Through I struck her with multiple rounds, there was no movement at all. I stepped forward and cursed. It was her jacket, all right. It practically reeked of her perfume. But she herself was nowhere to be seen.

A quiet whisper floated from behind me out of the darkness.


My body stiffened as shot after shot peppered me. It was over. I, the mighty Freewill, had been vanquished after all.


The Games that Children Play


“That was just sad, Bill.”

“Did you have to shoot me so many times?”

“Stop whining.”

“Those paint pellets sting.”

“Good,” Tom cut in. “Serves you right for shooting me in the back, asshole.”

“What part about it being called a
did you not understand?” I replied, my tone extra condescending.

“Was still a dick thing to do! We were supposed to be partners.”

“There can be only one,” I replied blithely.

“Yeah,” said Sally, “and you’re not it.”

“I almost had you,” I replied, climbing into the back of the Dodge Durango she had procured for the trip. We had all known better than to ask where she had gotten it. Best case scenario was that it was stolen. Worst case...well, Sally wasn’t known to be shy when it came to bumping off those who stood in her way.

“Horseshoes and hand grenades,” she answered as she climbed in next to me. “Besides, you tried a move that wouldn’t have fooled a grunt in basic training. I mean seriously, throwing rocks? I don’t think that even works in the movies.”

“Hey, at least I was trying to be tactical. Wasn’t that what you said I needed?”

Sally rolled her eyes in my direction. “When I said you needed some training, I didn’t mean an outing to play paintball.”

“I’m easing into it.”

“I’m with Bill,” Ed, my other roommate, said from the driver’s seat. “Besides, you have to admit it was fun.”

“No,” she shot back. “The only thing I’ll admit is that I can feel my social status dropping several notches. This is not how I prefer to spend my weekends.”

“Sorry,” I muttered, “next time we’ll bring along a stripper pole so you feel more at home.”

Tom started to chuckle, but immediately clamped a hand over his mouth. No doubt he remembered she sat directly behind him and was more than capable of tearing his spine out through the front seat if the mood so came over her.

“I get it,” she said to me, ignoring him. “You need a break, something to take your mind off of things...”

“Don’t start, Sally.”

“But this really isn’t doing anything to prepare you.”

“Sally...” I warned through gritted teeth.

“It’s been a full month since things went down in Canada. That’s a long time to have your head in the sand when all-out war could erupt at any moment.”

BOOK: Holier Than Thou (The Tome of Bill)
7.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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