“Who the hell are you?”
The Irish voice came from behind us, and we all spun to see the dark-haired guy standing outside the kitchen doorway in his boxers, t-shirt and socks. He had a box of rice krispies in one hand and an upturned beer bottle like it was a weapon in the other.
A mixture of quotes and partial scenes from books 3-6.
Caleb is a bi vampire with unsettling food habits and a reputation for seducing nuns.
From Sean’s diary …
After so many years of carrying my mother’s wish that I find my family, there he was, Caleb Morrigan. I didn’t even need to check that we were related, I just knew. I found myself in his face before I even knew his name. He was a festering pile of bones, well beyond redemption by ordinary means, and halfway to death if the way he looked at me was any indication. He looked at me the way my mother had, like he saw right into my soul and found it warring with itself. To see someone look at me with such pity when their own innards were a spit away from spilling was sobering. I filled the poor lad with brandy, took out all the metal I could, bit and fed him, then strapped him to the bed and hoped for the best.
Ten minutes later, Caleb was in the kitchen, lured by the smell of bacon and eggs.
“I haven’t felt this bad since …” Caleb’s face scrunched up while he tried to remember. “It’s a toss-up between that night with Moonie when I broke my arm falling out of a window, and the time I ended up stuck on a tour bus with that weird Swedish band and their fish vodka.”
I was dishing up Caleb’s food when I heard Albert sing, and I froze because it was so unexpected.
“I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour, but heaven knows I’m miserable now.”
“Oh, shut it,” said Caleb, groaning into his hands.
Albert didn’t shut it. I put a plate in front of Caleb and ruffled his hair.
“Ah, you can’t faze me now,” said Caleb. “I have bacon.”
“Give it here, you horrible shit-witch.”
“You haven’t lived if you can’t own up to watching a human stag wake up in the woods with frilly knickers wrapped around his antlers.”
“That boy’s charms swept through my convent like typhoid.” —Sister Carlotta on Caleb Morrigan.
From Sean’s diary …
He managed to give four of the nuns in the room the idea that they were the object of his desire, and by the time I picked him up, having been held captive by somewhat curious nuns for eight hours, he had another four convinced, all of them set aflutter by a sweet-talking Irishman. And as if that wasn’t enough, half of BOSS would have thrown itself at his feet if Albert hadn’t been there to calm them all down. As it was, three of them were ruined when they threw themselves at him, and even Albert couldn’t stop the last one chasing us down the road.
“And were you going to walk into the village,” said Caleb, pointing to the pinwheels in Leia’s hair, “or simply project yourself as a hologram from a small droid?”
“I’d rather wipe my arse with a brillo pad than sit through another biblical epic.”
“Why is my tongue too big for my mouth? I think … have I been poisoned again? My tongue’s too big.”
“Drunk and stupid,” said Caleb, grinning at Albert. He lurched to his feet, swayed, then sat down again. “You look funny,” he said, pointing at Albert. “And you. And you. And you. And you.” He pointed at Daniel and Rhiannon and two entirely invisible people.
Caleb spun around, his arm outstretched, cucumber in hand. “En garde.”
“Love is a cage.”
“I didn’t seduce your wife,” said Caleb, with a sigh. “She wouldn’t let me.”
“I won’t make excuses for myself. I’ve always been an arsehole.”
“That’s what I do, angel. Everyone knows I’m filth. I drink and I lust.”
“I beg to differ,” said Caleb, lifting a bottle to his lips. “Whiskey is the perfect solution.”
“It was the things I saw. I never knew blood came in so many colours. Or that I’d ever see a man’s face charred black like coal. Or that I’d see my own intestines.”
“I didn’t encourage her on purpose. She caught me looking at her mouth. How was I supposed to not look at her mouth? She looks like she’s been snogging a tub of lard.”
“I’m not a bloody vampire.” Kite jerked a thumb at a laughing Caleb. “He is.”
“No way,” said Noah. “He’s too … laddish.”
“I’m offended,” said Caleb.
“He’s so … so harmless.”
“Still offended,” said Caleb, his face drawing into a frown.
“Is he … some kind of pet?”
“Jesus Christ, Noah,” said Caleb. “I’m going right off you.”
“Sorry, I just don’t understand why anyone would invite a vampire into their house. If you really are a vampire.”
“You want proof?”
Noah nodded, then watched as Caleb clamped down on his own wrist, fangs lengthening and stabbing into his flesh. Blood seeped from the holes, tracking its way around Caleb’s wrist before he pulled his mouth away. Caleb licked up the blood and held out his rapidly healing wrist for Noah’s inspection.
“It could be a trick,” said Noah, leaning away from Caleb.
“I could try it on your wrist.”
“God, no. Don’t tell Leia,” said Caleb. “You do that, and I nominate you to sew my balls back on.”
“What good ever came of creeping about in underground tunnels?” muttered Caleb. “I’ll tell you what kind of good. None kind of good.”
“I’m no fecking angel,” said Caleb, as the ancient nun came into view. “Jesus, she’s got more wrinkles than my—”
“Just before you pulled me into the water,” he said, gasping, “someone shot me in the arse.”
“If we don’t hurry up, someone’s gonna need to amputate my arse.”
“If you laugh at me, woman, I will haunt you.”
“You know what we need?” said Caleb. “A good night out.”
“I’m not going river-dancing with you.”
“You couldn’t keep up, angel. I was thinking bingo might be more your speed.”
“Bingo?” I laughed. “Maybe I could do with a night out. I’ll see if there’s a decent band at the Rabbit Hole this weekend.”
“There you go.”
“I could invite Sister Josephine,” I said. “She knows how to party.”
“Oh god, no.”
“But you love nuns.”
“That is a gross exaggeration,” he said, turning me around to face him. “Don’t forget to invite your favourite Irishman.”
I gasped. “Jedward are in England?”
It was a week before I got out of bed, and that was only because Caleb dragged me out and threw me into the shower in my pyjamas.
“In two days, it’s my birthday. And if you think I’m celebrating while my favourite person is wallowing in her pit like some kind of grieving hippo, you’re sorely mistaken. We,” he pointed between the two of us while the hot water thundered onto my head, “are going to the Rabbit Hole, just like you said. We’re going to get rat-arsed. Well, you are. I’m being a good boy. And we’re going to river-dance, and behave in appropriately inappropriate ways, because it’s not every day a man turns ninety-nine.”
“Ninety-nine?” I said, leaning out of the shower to grab my toothbrush. “You’re ninety-nine?”
“Yes,” he said proudly.
“That’s adorable,” I said, through my foamy mouth.
“That’s disgusting,” said Caleb, when I spat toothpaste down the shower drain.
“Says the butt-scratching king of Ballycastle.”
“And how is ninety-nine adorable?”
“Because everyone else around here is ancient. You’re practically a child.”
“A child? Oh, you’re a cheeky mare. And here I was feeling bad for you.”
“I don’t need your pity,” I said, dropping my sopping wet pyjama bottoms to the floor. “I’m free as a bird.”
“I’ll leave you to it then,” he said. “Before you get any more naked.”
I pulled his head into the shower, giving him a big smooch on the cheek. “Thanks, nun-botherer.”
“You’re welcome,” he said, shaking his head and flicking water everywhere. Then he shouted, “cow” at me as he left the bathroom.
“I can’t open my eyes.” Caleb’s voice was barely a whisper. “And I really want to because it’s redder than Hell’s ring-piece behind my eyelids. And twice as puffy.”
If you want to read more about Violet’s favourite Irishman, a first draft scene from book 5 featuring Caleb can be found here.