Biteby Richard Laymon
It's almost midnight. Cat's on the bed, facedown and naked. She's Sam's former girlfriend, the only woman he's ever loved. Sam's in the closet, with a hammer in one hand and a wooden stake in the other. Together they wait as the clock ticks down because the vampire is coming. "If you've missed Laymon, you've missed a treat."--Stephen King. See more details below
It's almost midnight. Cat's on the bed, facedown and naked. She's Sam's former girlfriend, the only woman he's ever loved. Sam's in the closet, with a hammer in one hand and a wooden stake in the other. Together they wait as the clock ticks down because the vampire is coming. "If you've missed Laymon, you've missed a treat."--Stephen King.
Read an Excerpt
Somebody knocked on my door. I opened it, and there stood Cat.
I hadn't seen her in ten years, not since we were both sixteen. But this was Cat, all right. In the flesh. In the flesh and a blue silk bathrobe and apparently nothing else. Her feet were bare. She didn't even carry a purse.
`Cat?' I said.
A corner of her mouth tipped up. `How are you doing, Sammy?'
I was barely able to stay on my feet. That's how I was doing.
`Come on in,' I told her, and staggered out of the way.
She stepped into my apartment, swung the door shut, then leaned back and rested a hand on the knob. `It's been a long time,' she said.
I responded with, `It's great to see you.' Which may have been the understatement of all time. I was shocked. I'd loved Cat Lorimer. Though I hadn't seen her since she'd gone off to live in Seattle with her parents all those years ago, I'd dreamed about her plenty. I'd daydreamed about her plenty. I'd even toyed with fantasies of looking her up going on a Cat Lorimer hunt a pilgrimage in quest of my one-and-only true love.
And here she was.
Right in front of me, appearing out of nowhere in the middle of the night, wearing a royal blue silk robe that matched her eyes.
`You're lookin' good,' she said.
`You, too. You look great.' She also looked tired and a little too thin.
`My God,' she said, `we were just a couple of kids ...'Eyes fixed on me, she did her half-smile again and shook her head. `You recognized me right away, didn't you?'
`You haven't changed much.' She'd changed a lot, but not in ways that made her difficult to recognize. She still had hair like sunlight, the same blue eyes, and the pale slit of a scar like a nick on her right cheekbone. Her face was more defined, more mature in some ways more beautiful but it was still the face that had haunted my life for the past decade. I would've known it anywhere. And cherished it. `You look better than ever,' I said.
`You, too,' she said. `You turned into a man.'
`Yeah.' One of her shoulders hopped up and down, sliding the silk against her breast. `What've you been doing with yourself?' she asked.
`Not much,' I said.
So she had been married. I'd suspected as much. Every guy wants a girl like Cat, so it only made sense that one had gotten her. I despised him.
But apparently he was no longer in the picture, which pleased me.
`Divorced?' I asked.
`He was killed about a year ago.'
`Oh.' I scowled as if troubled by the news. `I'm so sorry.'
`Thanks.' She raised her eyebrows. `You haven't been married at all?'
`Never found the right girl?'
The question slugged me. She seemed to know it, too. Some answers popped into my head. Things like, `I found her, but she got away.' And, `I've never wanted anyone but you, Cat.'
Only a guy doesn't say stuff like that. Not unless he wants to look like a jerk.
All I said was, `Nope. Guess not.'
She made her shoulder hop again. `So you're basically unattached at the moment?'
`So you could ... come with me?'
`Come with you?'
`Over to my house.'
`Are you all right?' she asked.
`Sure. I think so.'
`I think you're in shock.'
`Maybe a little.'
`I'll drive,' she said. `My car's out front. Maybe you should get your toothbrush and whatever else you might need for the night.'
`I'm staying overnight?'
`Is that all right?'
`Sure,' I said.
`Do you have a job, or anything?'
`No. Yeah. But it's summer vacation. I teach. So I'm off till September.'
`Great. This'll work out great. If you'd like, you could pack some things and maybe stay for a few days.'
And just stood there, gaping at her.
Nothing seemed quite real.
But real enough. Even though the past three or four minutes seemed like a wish-fulfillment fantasy, I wasn't dreaming. I was awake. Only a lunatic can't tell the difference.
`What's going on?' I asked, surprising myself that I was able to come up, at last, with a sensible question.
`I need your help,' Cat said.
All I needed to hear.
Hell, I didn't need to hear that. I would've gone with her, no matter what her answer had been.
`You aren't in some sort of danger, are you?' I asked.
`You might say that. I'll tell you about it on the way over.'
`Okay. I'll go get a few things.'
When I left the living room, Cat was still leaning back against my door. My first stop was the bathroom. Instead of just grabbing my toothbrush, I used it. I couldn't avoid the mirror; it was straight in front of my face while I scrubbed my teeth. My hair was shaggy and mussed. I had a two-day growth of whiskers. My T-shirt was coming apart at the seam in front of my left shoulder, and its faded front showed a turkey vulture looking dour. The caption under the vulture read, `Patience, my ass. I'm gonna kill something.'
I looked like a bum.
The last thing I had expected, that night, was a surprise visit from the only girl I'd ever loved.
Sprucing myself up would've taken too long, so I only brushed my teeth. Then I took my toilet kit into my bedroom, dragged an overnight bag out of my closet, and started to throw things in.
`Don't bother to change,' Cat called from the living room. `You're fine the way you are.'
I wasn't so sure about that. But maybe a nasty old vulture T-shirt and ragged blue jeans were appropriate attire for whatever brand of `help' she required. Socks were not, so I put sneakers on over them. Then I pocketed my wallet and keys, and hauled my bag into the living room.
Cat was standing in front of my bookshelves, her back to me. She didn't look around. `I see you're still a reader,' she said.
`I remember that. You never went anywhere without a paperback.' Turning her head, she smiled and gave her right buttock a smack through the clinging robe. `Here in your pocket. Even when you took me out. You wrote such beautiful poetry.'
`I've mostly switched to prose.'
She turned around. `Do you still have that old copy of Dracula?'
`Sure. Somewhere. I never get rid of a book.'
`It got all wrecked by the rain.'
`I still have it,' I said. There was a tightness in my throat. Because she remembered.
`We got soaked, too,' she said. She tilted her head to one side. `Remember?' she asked.
`Sure. The Santa Monica Pier.'
`We ate fried clams.'
`And got caught in a downpour.'
`Drenched.' Head still tilted, she smiled a little sadly. `And then we went under the pier to get out of the rain. Do you remember that?'
`Yeah. I do.'
`It was the first time we ever kissed,' she said. `Standing in the sand under the Santa Monica Pier. It was cold under there. And scary.' Her smile suddenly lost its sadness, and she laughed softly. `You kept telling me the trolls were gonna get us.'
I had to smile, too. `Did I?'
`I guess that's why I'm here.'
Shaking her head slightly from side to side, she walked toward me. `Because I felt Safe with you. I always felt safe with you, Sam. But especially that night under the pier when we were drenched and the rain was coming down and ... the trolls were all around us. And we kissed.'
Stopping just inches in front of me, she stared up into my eyes. She smelled the same as when she was a teenager: like cotton candy and Wrigley's Spearmint Chewing Gum.
`And you had Dracula in your back pocket,' she whispered.
`Yeah,' I said. My heart was thundering. I put my bag down on the floor.
`I want to feel safe again,' she told me.
By the look in her eyes, I thought she wanted me to kiss her. I wondered if her lips would feel the way I remembered them.
They were slightly parted, the lower lip full and pursed out a little.
I was about to kiss them.
But she said, `Take a look at this, okay?'
And fingered open the front of her robe, sliding the glossy blue silk sideways to the left, exposing a sliver of bare skin all the way down to the sash around her waist. Just as her left breast started to show, she cupped it with her right hand to hold the robe in place. Her other hand slid the fabric almost to her shoulder.
She tilted her head to the right, giving me a good, clear view of the left side of her neck.
She had a pair of holes down low where the curve was. As if she'd been stabbed there a day or two ago with an ice pick or a freshly sharpened pencil. Neat little punctures, an inch or so apart. Tiny craters plugged by dark, dried fluids.
`What do you think?' she asked.
`You're not going to tell me a vampire did this,' I said.
Gazing into my eyes, she said, `He comes into my bedroom at night, bites me and sucks my blood. What would you call him?'
Lucky, I answered in my mind. And felt like a jerk for thinking it.
`Let me feel,' I said.
She hoisted an eyebrow. `Go ahead.'
I used the tip of my forefinger. Her skin was slightly puffy around the edges of each hole. I really couldn't feel the punctures; they were too small.
`They're real,' Cat said.
`Yeah. They are.'
Real, but possibly self-inflicted.
A decade had gone by.
At thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and for the small part of her sixteenth year before I'd lost her Cat had been impish, tender-hearted, innocent, full of dreams and game for anything.
How much of the old the young Cat remained?
Had she turned strange, gone mad?
Though her sudden arrival in the middle of the night dressed in nothing but a robe was very odd, she didn't strike me as nuts.
Drawing her robe shut, she said, `I want you to stop him, Sammy. I just can't stand it anymore. I've tried to kill him myself, but he's too strong. I thought maybe you could hide and take him by surprise the next time he comes.'
`You want me to kill him?'
`I don't know,' I said.
`Just come over and be with me, okay? Can you do that?'
Cat's car was parked on the street in front of my apartment building. On the way out to it, we didn't run into anyone. I walked behind her, carrying my bag.
It was a warm July night. A breeze was blowing softly. It came from the ocean, about eight miles away. If you wanted to be wandering outside in nothing but your robe, this was a good night for it.
At the rear of her car, Cat took the keys out of her pocket. She unlocked the trunk. I swung my bag in. The trunk lid made a good, solid thunk when I shut it.
We split up. I walked to the passenger door, and she went around to the driver's side.
`It isn't locked,' she said.
When I opened it, the overhead light came on. We both climbed in. Cat had a difficult time keeping her robe closed. I looked away to avoid embarrassing either of us. We shut our doors and the light went out.
After taking a couple of seconds to straighten her robe, she started the engine. `I should've gotten dressed,' she said.
`It's a nice robe,' I told her.
She put on the headlights and swung away from the curb. `I just wanted to get away as fast as I could. Didn't even know where I was going. I threw on my robe, grabbed my keys and ran. And ended up at your place.'
`You knew where to find me?'
`Sure. I've known for a while.'
`For a while?'
She turned her head. I looked over at her. `Actually,' she said, `I've always known. I've never lost track of you.'
Her words stunned me.
She faced forward again to watch the road.
`You're ... like my safety hatch,' she said. `The one person I figured I could count on, no matter what. So I always had to know where you were living. Just in case.'
`That must've been a pretty good trick.'
`I've stayed in touch with Lynn.'
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Laymon knows how to write an excellent story. Cuts, Darkness tell Us, Body Rides, and Island are just a few of my favorites. However, this book did not excite me the way his other novels have. For one, its called Bite, but the Vampire was there for a minute and then gone. The characters ran into a madman, which is the true premis of the story. For some reason, this book was easy to put down and get back to later, somthing that almosr none of his other novels has done to me. O well, I have a few more books by Laymon to read, and hopefully they will NOT disappoint!
Richard Laymon is not your conventional author. Even when he takes on a conventional theme like vampires, Laymon manages to create a vampire story like none you've read. Can you even imagine how many vampire books are written each year? Hundreds? In the midst of all that literary garbage, a true gem like Bite still manages to shine. Like all of Laymon's books, you will burn through this one cover to cover. There are plenty of scares, twists and surprises to keep you guessing until the very end. This was the first of his books I read and because of it I tracked down all his other thirty-something books and read them too.
This book was definetly good, I enjoyed the way it was set up and it kept me guessing what was going to happen next. I enjoyed this book so much, I could not put it down for a minute, I just had to continue reading to see what was going to happen next. Very suspensful and exciting. It was awesome!!!
A very fun read, not very scary but interesting nevertheless. I really liked the way you have to decide at the end if he really is a vampire or if he is just a physco pretending to be a vampire. This is my first book by Richard Laymon, and I am totally blown away by his writing abillity, characters, plot and plot twists, and the way he puts new light on old horror ideas.
this book was nothing but good from page 1 to the end you are drawn in like a magnet hoping that it will never end.each chapter ends where you have to continue to read the next and the next.I wish that all his books were this good and im now a laymon fan. this was my third book . the first 2 i read darkness tell us and no sanctuary were goood but not as much as bite but i will continue to read everything i can find by him
The first and last 50 pages of this book are the best because thats the parts that something actually happens. This book is a big dissapointment. I'm glad Laymon has awesome books to back this one up. I wish i hadn't bought this book.
Laymon is f*ing off he hook. One Rainy Night was awesome. Like every Laymon book, you can't put Bite down -his writing is like liquid crack. I am among the throngs that finish his books the same day that they leave the bookstore. This book, however, is not one of his best.
I've read this book more than once and everytime i read it, it gets better 'n' better...I recommand this book for anyone seeking to read adventure and so on and so forth...
From page one of this novel, I had the impression that the narrator had been lobotomized. Who in their right mind calmly agrees to follow a woman whom they haven't seen in ten years, who shows up on their doorstep in nothing but a nightgown, to kill a vampire? If you're looking for any kind of depth or character development, look elsewhere. Oddly, the book doesn't feel like it was plotted from the start, which would have been a major mistake anyway. Usually, however, when a book has the feel that the author didn't know how it would end ahead of time (like this one), that author nearly always chews up several pages with background material and character development. I guess that's why this novel has such a 'lobotomized' feel to it. This is the first Richard Laymon novel I've read. I picked it up after reading so many rave reviews about his work, and those reviewers would, more often than not, go on and on about how it is such a travesty that Laymon is not more well-known in the US. Come on, is it really that surprising that Laymon has never risen above cult status in this country? Based on this book, the answer is a resounding NO. How scary is this novel? Most of the time I spent reading it, I had Profanatica or Havohej playing on my stereo. Still, I never found myself feeling nervous or spooked in the least.
I absolutely loved this book! This book is very different from all the other vampire books out there. The characters (especially the lead) are so tragically funny, that at times you don't know whether to laugh at them or feel sorry for them. It's refreshing that a writer like Laymon is out there. A great change from the feel and texture of Koontz and King books. Another great book by Laymon is The Stake, also hilarious and sad at the same time.
This is not a horror novel. It has an interesting premise regarding a body found with a stake in its heart but Laymon drags things along so long before the Stake is removed that I got tremendously bored. This finally happens around page 500 of a 512 page novel. Laymon's writing style is fine but I'm still waiting for him to write something horrifying. I understand that Laymon's books are mostly unavailable in the USA so it could be that Laymon's best novels have yet to be published here. I'm willing to give him another chance to prove to me that he deserves his reputation. Afterall, Stephen King likes him so he must have something going for him.
A very good, book! It really captured me, and took me into its pages. In my opinion Laymon is one of the best writers to date, Im sure if anyone has read his books they will agree with me.Midnight Tour is also great!If you're looking for a scary, yet witty book, either of these two should suit your taste.I may only be 15, but i sure know a good book when i read it.
If you thought that you had read just about every vampire story , out there and that this one would be no different , think again . Laymon sure is creative and original , even when he suspends disbelief. Like most of his work , readers will find that things start off quite ordinary , and then escalate into your worse case scenario , once you start reading it will be hard to stop even when your dead tired and its 2 am in the morning , and ever so often you'll look out the window to make sure that there is no one standing out there looking in at you !!!
Well the book was very well written, but the dialogue and the first person narration simply killed the true meaning behind of things. There was very little insight on the deep feelings of others characters. We just had one guy doing all the narrating. The other characters were mere players and you can never know what goes on inside them or what the driving force behind their actions are. The character, Snow White, was pitted to be this all encompassing evil thing, but you can never understand his true motives except through the opinion of the narrator which is not very insightful. Then we had that narrator and the lead female character. This guy is definitely more than obssessed. He's downright scary. I mean, we know there are high school crushes out there, but I have never seen one as exteme as this one. This book is not a recommended read. It's ok since you can finish it quickly and all, but to go through it all and read it. It's just a waste. I just don't know how big names like King and Koontz wrote a one liner for the cover??? This book belongs on the shelf of a King Soopers supermarket if you ask me.