Lost Souls

Lost Souls

by Poppy Z. Brite

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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Vampires . . . they ache, they love, they thirst for the forbidden. They are your friends and lovers, and your worst fears.

“A major new voice in horror fiction . . . an electric style and no shortage of nerve.”—Booklist

At a club in Missing Mile, N.C., the children of the night gather, dressed in black, look for acceptance. Among them are Ghost, who sees what others do not; Ann, longing for love; and Jason, whose real name is Nothing, newly awakened to an ancient, deathless truth about his father, and himself.

Others are coming to Missing Mile tonight. Three beautiful, hip vagabonds—Molochai, Twig, and the seductive Zillah, whose eyes are as green as limes—are on their own lost journey, slaking their ancient thirst for blood, looking for supple young flesh.

They find it in Nothing and Ann, leading them on a mad, illicit road trip south to New Orleans. Over miles of dark highway, Ghost pursues, his powers guiding him on a journey to reach his destiny, to save Ann from her new companions, to save Nothing from himself. . . . 

“An important and original work . . . a gritty, highly literate blend of brutality and sentiment, hope and despair.”—Science Fiction Chronicle

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440212812
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/28/1993
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 349
Sales rank: 130,334
Product dimensions: 6.88(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Poppy Z. Brite’s first novel, Lost Souls, was nominated for Best First Novel of 1992 by the Horror Writers Association and for a Lambda Literary Award. Her second book, Drawing Blood, was also nominated for a Lambda Literary Award and the Bram Stoker Award. Her short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies. She lives and writes in New Orleans.

Read an Excerpt

The night wind felt wonderful in Steve’s hair.
The Thunderbird was huge. It always drove like a fucking monster, but tonight Steve felt as if he were piloting some great steamboat down a magic river, a river of shimmering asphalt banked by pine forest and thick, rioting expanses of kudzu. They were somewhere far outside Missing Mile, somewhere on the highway that led up to the Roxboro electric power plant and, beyond that, the North Carolina-Virginia border.
Ghost was asleep beside him, his head hung out the window on the passenger side, his pale hair whipping in the wind, his face washed in moonlight. The bottle of whiskey was propped between Ghost’s legs, three-quarters empty, in danger of tipping despite the limp hand that curled around it.
Steve leaned over and grabbed the bottle, took a healthy swig. “The T-bird has been drinking,” he sang into the wind, “yes, the T-bird has been drinking … not me.”
“Um,” said Ghost. “What? What?”
“Forget it,” Steve told him. “Go back to sleep. Have another drink.” He drove faster. He’d wake Ghost on the drive home, to keep him company. Now he wanted Ghost to stay asleep awhile longer; there was bad business ahead. Dangerous business. Or so Steve liked to think of it.
Ghost took the bottle back and stared at the label, trying to focus on it. His pale blue eyes swam, narrowed, sharpened only slightly. “White Horse,” he read. “Look, Steve, it’s White Horse whiskey. Did you know Dylan Thomas was drinking at a pub called the White Horse the night he died?”
“You told me. That’s why we bought it.” Steve crossed his fingers and tried to will Ghost back to sleep.
“He drank eighteen straight whiskeys,” Ghost said, awed.
“You drank eighteen straight whiskeys.”
“No wonder my brain is sailing with the moon. Sing to me, Steve. Sing me back to sleep.”
Just at that moment they crossed a bridge that seemed to bow under the weight of the old brown T-bird, and Steve saw moonlight shimmering on black waters, so he raised his voice in the first song that came to mind: “Silver southern moon … for ten years I thought I was born of you.… Silver moon, I’ll be back someday.…”
“That’s not the way it goes. I should know, I wrote it.” Ghost’s voice was fading. “Oh, silver southern moon … tell me your sweet lies, then let me drown deep in your eyes.…”
“Somedaaay,” Steve joined in. He and the whiskey sang Ghost to sleep, the whiskey with its somnolent amber song, Steve with a voice that cracked when he tried to hit the high notes. Behind them the river passed in silence; the lowest-hanging branches brushed the water, and the leaves rotted on the bough. The moon spread like butter on the black river, and Ghost’s eyes closed; with his head pillowed on the hump between the seats, he began to dream.
They bypassed Roxboro, but Steve saw the power plant on Lake Hyco, lit up all glowing green and white like a weird birthday cake, its million pipes and wires and glass insulators and metal gewgaws reflected in the lake. On the way back, if Ghost was awake, they’d drive up there to a hill Steve knew and look out over the pastures and the lake and all the glittering Milky Way. An hour or so after passing out Ghost was usually raring to go again. His dreams gave him new strength. Or made him laugh or cry, or sometimes scared the shit out of him.
Steve put his hand on Ghost’s head, smoothed back wisps of hair from flickering closed eyes. He wondered what was unfolding beneath his hand, beneath the thin bone, inside the orb of ivory that cradled Ghost’s weird brain. Who was born and murdered and resurrected inside that skull? What walked behind Ghost’s eyelids, what lithe secret phantoms tapped Ghost’s shoulder and made him whimper deep in his throat?
Ghost often dreamed of things that were going to happen, or of things that had already happened that he couldn’t possibly know about. These premonitions could come when he was awake too, but the ones that came to him in dreams seemed to be the most potent. More often than not they were also the most cryptic. He had known when his grandmother was going to die, but then so had she. Though surely painful, the knowledge had given them the time they needed to say goodbye.
Goodbye for a while, anyway. Ghost had inherited his grandmother’s house in Missing Mile, where he and Steve lived now. Steve had spent plenty of time in that house as a kid, watching Miz Deliverance mix herbs or cut out cookies with her heart-shaped cutters, building forts in the backyard, sleeping over in Ghost’s room. Even now, five years after her death, Steve sometimes thought he felt the familiar presence of Miz Deliverance in a room, or just around a corner. He imagined this was something Ghost took for granted.
Suddenly unnerved by the prospect of touching Ghost’s dreams, Steve put his hand back on the wheel.
They drove past a graveyard full of softly rotting monuments and flowers, an abandoned railyard, a barbecue shack whose sign advertised GRAND OPENING EVERY FRI AND SAT NITE. A rabbit darted across the road. Steve braked, and Ghost’s head rolled back and forth on his thin neck—so fragile, so fragile. These days Steve was paranoid about something happening to Ghost. Ghost was spacy, sure, but he could take care of himself. Still, Steve couldn’t help watching out for him, especially now that Ghost was the only person he felt like spending time with.
They had other friends, sure, but those guys mostly wanted to go out drinking and smoke weed and talk about Wolfpack football at the state university over in Raleigh. All of which was okay, even though the Wolfpack was always pretty shitty, but Ghost was different. Ghost didn’t give a flying fuck about football, Ghost could drink everybody else under the table and not get a damn bit weirder, and Ghost understood all the shit that had gone down over the past few months. The shit with Ann. Ghost never asked Steve why he didn’t forget about Ann and get himself a new girlfriend; Ghost understood why Steve didn’t want to see Ann or any other girl, not for months and months, maybe not ever.
Not until he could trust himself, anyway. Right now he did not deserve the company of women. However lonely or horny he got, he had it coming to him for what he had done to Ann.
He played with strands of Ghost’s hair as he drove, winding them around his fingers, marvelling at their fineness, their silvery-gold luster. Just to feel the difference, he ran his hand through his own coarse hair, hair the color of a crow’s wing, hair that stood up in wild loops and cowlicks. His hair was dirty, and he noticed that Ghost’s was too. Steve hadn’t been taking care of himself—he’d gone days without a shower and over a month without washing his clothes; he’d been late for his job at the record store three times last week; he was putting away a twelve-pack of Bud every day or two—but he hoped it wasn’t rubbing off on Ghost. There was such a thing as being too damn sympathetic. Steve’s hand felt greasy. He wiped it on his T-shirt.
They were here. Steve had no idea where, but he saw what he wanted: the faded light of an ancient Pepsi machine sitting outside a fishin’ -and-huntin’ store, casting dim red and blue shadows in the dirt of the parking lot. Steve swung the T-bird in and killed the ignition. Ghost’s head had slipped onto Steve’s knee, and he eased out from under it. There was a little dark spot on the knee of Steve’s jeans. Ghost’s spit, Ghost’s drunken sleeping spit. Steve rubbed it into the cloth, then absently put his finger in his mouth. A faint taste of whiskey and molasses … and what was he doing sucking someone else’s spit off his finger? Didn’t matter. Ghost was lost deep in dreams. Time to go to work.
Steve fished in the backseat. Cassette cases—so that was where Ann’s damn Cocteau Twins tape had ended up. Steve had always hated it anyway, the girl’s feathery voice that was supposed to be so angelic and the ethereal-seasick wall of sound. Empty food bags and a veritable sea of beer cans. Finally he dug out his special tool, a length of coat hanger bent into a hook at one end. He wondered if he ought to pull the T-bird up so it was hiding the front of the Pepsi machine. No, he decided; anybody out driving this time of night is probably on business just as shady as mine.
With a last glance at Ghost, Steve knelt, fed the wire into the coin-return slot of the machine, and wiggled it around until he felt it catch. He tugged gently and seconds later was blessed by a shower of silver. Steve scooped the quarters, dimes, and nickels out of the dirt, shoved them into his pockets, hustled back to the car, and got the hell out of the parking lot.


Excerpted from "Lost Souls"
by .
Copyright © 1993 Poppy Brite.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Harlan Ellison

This talent gives off thermonuclear vibes. I can feel them. The last time I said it, I was talking about Dan Simmons. Now I'm saying it about Poppy Brite.

Customer Reviews

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Lost Souls 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 121 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's so hard to describe in a few words things and ideas that have significantly impacted your life. Well, this is one book that has. It's always derided as being 'nothing more than gay porn,' and that it 'sheds a bad light on the Goth community,' blah, blah, blah... Look BEYOND all of that, I beg you. If you do not, you're missing out on a gem of modern literature. Ghost, Zillah, Nothing and the twins are awesome (and Christian too).
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have recently just finished 'Lost Souls' and I have to say it is the best book I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Normally I get bored with books that are long but this book had me hooked. I read it in a matter of two days. Brite uses such description that you can see the story playing in your head. The characters are easy to relate to and capture your affection from the first page. This book definantly made it to number one before I was even done with it. It is definantly worth reading!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Anyone who loves vampiric horror, teen angst... Anyone who has ever felt different, and didn't know why. Anyone who wanted to be different. Anyone who has ever felt anything should read this. Poppy Z Brite is amazing. This book really touched me. When it comes to the technical writing of the book, the images it created were amazing. I read it in one sitting. And I've gone to my public library to read it over and over. An amazing book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You know, when my friend first recommended the book and let me borrow it, I thought it was going to be a failed attempt at immitating Anne Rice. Oh, how I was surprised! Brite has a nasty, delicious, and perfect gift at creating mind-blowing, awesome images, plots, and characters! They are completely rich and unique! I was JEALOUS of some the characters; that's freaking insane! Even some sex scenes had me getting hot, she's just so good at revealing the dirty thoughts of the readers. So she gave us what we wanted. Read it. It's quite nice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An excellent read, plain and simple. It makes the reader want to crawl inside the psyche of the characters and view life from their drug induced, demented perspective. Plot was very intriguing, the settings to die for, and the mentions of Robert Smith and the Cure make me happy enough to pee in a kitchen sink with a smile on my face.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing, you feel the characters, and completely bond with them! There is no fake aspect to any of them. You feel as if you are in their world, right there with them, another person in their little group of friends. A wonderful wonderful novel!
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the moment I picked this book up, I couldn't put it down. I have never read a book that I had gotten so into, I actually had dreams about being in the story, surrounded by all the characters. The way Poppy Z. Brite writes is so amazing, and so realistic, you feel like you are actually there. Everything is laid out for you and your are given very vivid images. This book was written beautifully, erotically, and very goth-like. I have always been a huge fan of vampire novels, and this book, by far, is the best I've ever read
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best Vampire books since Brams Stocker´s 'Dracula' and 'Enterview with the vampire', you just can´t stop reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Still one of my all time favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one shocking bit of work, if you must read a bright book go with drawing blood.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love her books. This one was my first Poppy book and I've been hooked ever since. As she describes what's going on, the picture slowly paints vividly in my mind. True it's not for everyone. Definitely not for the "normal"
Karolyn Helmsley More than 1 year ago
As a fan of Poe, Wilde and Lovecraft, I was uneasy about delving into such a modern book. I picked it up anyhow when I was a teenager and fell swiftly in love with the richness and beauty with which Brite animates her gloriously gritty view of New Orleans and the chaotic debauchery of Mardi Gras. The story itself will doubtlessly satisfy vampire fans while the writing style does well to put a dark little smile on the faces of those of us who seek a hefty depth to the surroundings of stories we read. And on a fun side note, although it's been about 17 years since my bff and I first read this together, we still giggle at the stale old joke of enthusiastically thanking one another when we say we've gotten each other "Nothing" for Christmas or birthdays. Those who have read it will understand that...
Paradeus More than 1 year ago
I read this book when it was first published. I was amazed at Brite's ability to weave love, atmosphere, sensuality, and horror. This book has rightly won the Bram Stoker award. You will most likely find yourself caring for some of the characters, as I began to care for Ghost. It does contain homoerotic scenes; like Anne Rice, Brite seems intrigued with male homosexuality. It is a fine book and one of the more important works of modern vampiric horror. You will find it all here: nihilism, pansexuality, love, friendship, search for meaning and redemption, stark horror, and much more. I hope to see you in Missing Mile.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont know if i hated this book or liked it. Parts were good, parts were boring and unnecessary. This was a very odd book. Theres a lot of homo-erotic sex in this book, but it doesnt bother me. There was almost so much you start to skip over it. The vampires werent usual vampires, and apparently there were several different species. It was mostly story with bits of suspense, chills, and a few times horror
Kyle Ackerman More than 1 year ago
I read this book over 15
FARIEQUEENE More than 1 year ago
when I first read this as a teenager, it made me dream of the lush setting Brite describes. I have since walked the streets of New Orleans and felt her words rang so true that I was convinced she captured the beauty and grotesque face of the twisted city not only with her descriptions, but her characters.
Catherine Hook More than 1 year ago
Amazing book that led me to be a huge fan of Poppy Z. Brite. If you enjoy a nontraditional vampire novel, then this is for you.
ThePrimeMinister More than 1 year ago
Seriously this book is really good. It starts out a bit slow but around maybe the 7th/8th chapter you get really hooked and you can't put it down. The writing is just beautiful and the tale is thrilling. I recommend it for anybody looking for a horror book. These are real vampires.
CityOfBooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved it! I couldnt put it down, Favorite characters were Nothing and Ghost!
badrabbyt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
i know this is a bold statement, but this is the best vampire novel i've ever read. ever.
alyce413 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly enjoyable new take on an old theme.
stephmclark on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Now this woman knows how to write about vampires.
uselessbeauty on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the better horror fictions I've read.
silversurfer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An excellent book. The characters and plot are complex and very interesting. A cut above the usual Vampire fare.
DarlenesBookNook on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this audiobook for review from Crossroad Press through Audiobook Jukebox's Solid Gold Reviewer Program. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own. I love vampires, and I love audiobooks - so I jumped at the chance to review a vampire audiobook! It was not at all what I expected.Lost Souls is about three androgynous bisexual (although mostly homosexual) vampires: Zillah (the leader) and his two sidekicks (Molochai and Twig). They come to New Orleans to party during Mardi Gras and they come across a bar that is owned by a vampire named Christian. There is an underage human girl (Jessy) at the bar, and she winds up having sex with Zillah while Christian has sex with Molochai and Twig. Jessy discovers that she is pregnant long after Zillah and his cronies have left New Orleans. Knowing that human females tend to not survive vampire childbirths, Christian takes Jessy in and has a sexual relationship with her throughout her pregnancy. She does indeed die during childbirth and has a boy whom Christian names "Nothing." Hoping to spare him of his destiny, Christian leaves Nothing on a doorstep and hopes the couple will love him as their own and that Nothing will never know of his true identity.The book then jumps ahead 15 years when Nothing is a teenager, and he feels that he is totally misunderstood. He decides to run away and find the singers of a band whom he idolizes, and he hitches rides to the town where they live. He turns some tricks here and there, and then is picked up by Zillah, Molochai, and Twig. The vampire trio first intended to drain him, but instead have sex with him. Yes, that's right...Zillah has sex with his son, unbeknownst to him.From here, the book continues on a downward spiral. This was not so much a vampire story, but more a story of getting high, getting drunk, and getting laid. I am a pretty open-minded person, and I wasn't so much bothered by the M/M and M/M/M and even M/M/M/M action - different strokes for different folks and all that. I am not one to judge, and it takes a lot to shock me. But it did really bother me when Zillah and Nothing hooked up. But wait, it gets worse: They do eventually discover that Zillah is Nothing's father, but they still continue having a sexual relationship! And Christian even tries to justify it saying that there are so few of their race left and that, if they can make each other happy, why not? Ok, this is disturbing. Christian also eventually has sex with Nothing, which brings on a whole new level of "ewwwwww" since he had sex with Nothing's mother and is now having sex with her son.Let's recap: This book contains teenage prostitution, incest, sex with minors (statutory rape), and there was even an incident of rape. There was also another occurrence of incest, this time father/daughter, that I won't even go into because it was just too offensive.I did not find this book entertaining. I found it dark and disturbing. It was not at all what I expected, and I will be steering clear of this author in the future!The narrator, Chris Patton, did a fine job with the book. His voice was clear and expressive, and he was probably what kept me listening despite the book's content.MY RATING: 1 star. I did not enjoy it at all. This was not for me.