When Jordan L. Hawk announced the release of Reaper of Souls, the third book in the SPECTR Series, I asked her if Gray would perhaps agree to an interview. He is the most enigmatic character in the series after all, and, arguably, the one with the most to reveal, yes? Yes.
Jordan, good sport that she is, asked him and much to my surprise, he agreed…probably grudgingly if we know anything about him at all, but Jordan is still among the living and breathing, so I’m guessing he didn’t take too much offense at our questions. In fact, things worked out so well with the baddest drakul of them all that he talked Jordan into offering one lucky commenter the chance to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card!
All you have to do is leave a comment right here before 11:59pm Pacific Time on Sunday, July 7, 2013, and you’ll automatically be entered to win.
Is it any wonder we love him so. <3
I walk up to the front door of the old, brick building, wondering if this was really such a good idea. After all, I’m coming here to interview a Non-Human Entity—a vampire—and doing it in secret. Or at least, behind the backs of the authorities.
I knock on the red door, and it swings open. A tall, thin man stands on the other side. He has pale skin and brown eyes, and is dressed casually in a t-shirt and jeans. Black hair hangs in a soft cloud to his elbows.
“Caleb,” I start.
“Get in here! If John finds out about this…well, you know what a boy scout he is. Everything by the book. He’d freak, and I’d never hear the end of it.”
I follow him inside; the living room is gorgeous. The building is from the eighteenth century, and has seen hurricane, earthquake, and demonic outbreaks. And now a vampire. In the middle of the sedate, stylish furniture sits a huge, hideous orange couch. Since I know what’s been happening on that couch, I pick a chair to sit in. Caleb flops down on the couch and tries to look like he isn’t nervous, but I see his long-fingered hands picking at the loose threads of his jeans.
“So, you’re here for Gray?” he asks. “People actually want to talk to him? Christ, I just wish I could get him to shut up.”
“People are interested in the…unusual,” I reply tactfully.
I needn’t have bothered. “You mean they slow down for car wrecks and freak shows. Fine. It’s your dime.”
He closes his eyes and tips his head back. I’m not a sensitive like one of the SPECTR exorcists, but even I can feel the shift in energy. My ears pop, like the air pressure has suddenly changed, and the scent of rain and sandalwood saturates the room. Static crackles in Caleb’s hair; it twists and lashes on an unseen wind. When he opens his eyes again, they’re black as oil slicks, lit by flickers of light, like lightning seen on a distant horizon.
“Caleb says you will not leave until I answer questions for you,” Gray says. His voice is significantly deeper than Caleb’s, and I feel a vibration in the floor, as from a roll of thunder.
“Um, yes. People want to know about you.”
“Mortal nonsense. Very well, ask your questions, and I will answer.”
Gray, you’ve been exploring humanity through your host: What has been the most pleasurable experience? The most alarming? The most surprising?
The most pleasurable has been sexual intercourse with John. And feeding on demons, of course. The most alarming was the first few moments of our shared existence, when Caleb’s heart began to beat again.
Before, the bodies I possessed always remained dead. It was very alarming to find someone else in here with me.
Surprising…everything about this existence has been surprising. I thought I understood humanity, from the memories I found in the bodies I inhabited. I did not realize how emotion, color, context, and touch change things. Much of what seemed incomprehensible for so long now makes sense.
There is much else which does not, of course. Mortals are puzzling creatures. I do not think I will every truly understand your kind.
When Caleb eats, do you also taste the food? If so, what do you like? And what do you dislike?
Yes, I taste it. It was a surprise to discover mortal food has flavor. I enjoy fresh fruit, and things made simply, because our senses are sharper than those of unpossessed mortals. Artificial sweeteners are horrid. I am glad Caleb does not eat meat, because I did not like the smell of cold blood when John had a steak. Caleb says this makes me a hypocrite.
He also says I should not mention the garlic incident, but I do not see why. He is the one who tried to poison us, after all, not I.
Do you enjoy the music he listens to?
I did not care for the music in the club we went to, because it was too loud. There was a woman playing a guitar we passed in the park, however, and I liked the sound. Caleb did not.
If John is able to exorcise you from Caleb, how would this make you feel? Would you resist, look for another live body, or go back to possessing the dead?
I would…miss being in a living body. There is so much I never knew existed. I do not wish to lose color, and taste, and touch, and other things. I wish to stay here with Caleb and hunt demons and copulate with John.
If, in the unlikely event John could exorcise me, I could not “look” for a live body, and more than I ever “looked” for a dead one. I have no choice; it is simply something which is a part of my existence. As I have was only able to inhabit Caleb because he was dead at the moment, before the other mortal performed CPR, I do not think I would be able to inhabit a live body even if I could try.
Fortunately, I cannot be exorcised. Many have attempted to remove me over the centuries, and none have succeeded. I am released when the body I am in becomes uninhabitable, through decay or destruction, and not otherwise. So there is no reason to consider these questions.
And, can you visit me for a sleepover?
I do not sleep.
Speaking of sleepovers, let’s talk about sex, shall we? In a sentence, tell us what it’s like to experience sexual pleasure with John through Caleb. Can you feel it when John touches Caleb?
I do not understand what this has to do with sleepovers, but I promised I would answer these questions, no matter how strange. It is very good, even better than hunting and eating demons. Yes, I feel it quite clearly. I wish I could manifest instead of simply watch and feel, but Caleb does not think John would react well.
What is the one thing you’ve learned about humanity, good or bad, that has most surprised you?
What it is to be alive, to feel pain and grief and love and fear.
Do you like Caleb? Do you enjoy his company?
I love Caleb; he is my other self. (Here Gray pauses and seems to listen to something for a moment.) Caleb says sometimes it is themselves mortals hate above all else.
I do not understand your kind at all.
Has it been difficult adapting to having someone else’s thoughts, especially those that contradict your own, as a part of your consciousness?
It was very strange at first. I think we have adapted well. We differ mainly on questions of when and where I am allowed to hunt demons, about which Caleb has many foolish notions.
If you could change one thing about Caleb, what would it be?
I would have him less concerned with this “SPECTR” and other mortal nonsense, and focus more on what is truly important: eating demons and having sexual relations with John.
Um, thank you, Gray. I know that wasn’t as pleasurable as demon munching…or John munching for that matter, but we appreciate you being here today. :)