Introduction: This chapter was deleted from VAMPIRES OF PORTLANDIA (Parliament House Press, 2020). From the Publisher’s Book Description: "When Marcella Leones relocates her family of aswang vampires from the Philippines to Portland, Oregon, she raises her grandchildren under strict rules so humans will not expose them. Her only wish is to give them a peaceful life, far away from the hunters and the Filipino government that attempted to exterminate them.
Before she dies, she passes on the power to her eldest grandchild, Percival. He vows to uphold the rules set forth by Leones, allowing his family to roam freely without notice. After all, they are aswangs.
However, when the aswang covenant is broken, the murder rate in Portland rises drastically. Who is behind the murders? And who is behind the broken covenant? Along with sensie Penelope Jane, Percival must find the truth.
It's then they discover that there are other breeds of aswangs—werebeasts, witches, ghouls, and viscera—who have been residing in Portland for years.
Based on Filipino folklore (aswang), Vampires of Portlandia is a fantastical tale of different monsters coexisting in the weirdest city in America.
The author on why the excerpt was deleted:
"The chapter was completely nixed due to pacing. I loved this chapter, and much of the information plays into an occurrence later in the story. It was the right thing to do, but it hurt nonetheless."
Chapter excerpt deleted from VAMPIRES OF PORTLANDIA
The teen vampire sat quietly on the Orange Line amongst a group of passengers as the train rounded the corner toward the Willamette River. It was heading to a popular stop that was near the hospital. The train was extra busy with commuters and students (mainly medical professionals); it was one of the few times Roger had actually ridden the mode of public transportation, so he was surprised to see the number of passengers who’d used the train.
It was dark outside, the day was slowly beginning to take shape this early December, and the wind was extra brutal at this early hour. As the train approached the Tilikum Crossing, the pedestrian and train bridge that spanned across the east and west sides of Portland, a passenger brushed by Roger and stood in the space where the train’s sliding doors opened. Roger observed the man—who’d strutted up the aisle, bobbing his head to music coming from his headphones—admiring his confidence and how comfortable he’d been with himself. He doesn’t need any friends, Roger thought.
The teen vampire knew what it was like to be alone in the world, as Percival was always working, and the twins were, well, they were just children. After slightly obsessing over the man, Roger saw a couple other passengers—most of whom were dressed in different color scrubs—follow suit, and position themselves to depart the train.
The Orange Line began to slow, and once it reached its stop, a good number of passengers exited the car, leaving Roger and only a handful of other commuters alone in the nearly empty train. Some were business professionals of some sort, others were students, and one was a gentleman who appeared homeless who’d slept the entire ride’s duration, his body crouched into the seat’s headrest.
Roger stared out the window, looking blankly at the lights that made up the downtown’s skyscrapers and businesses. Headlights on automobiles slowed to stops at lights and crosswalks.
When the vampire became bored with the ride, he exited a few stops north near City Hall.
Allowing a woman to proceed off the train, Roger then descended the staircase and walked the short distance to a near empty parking lot. There was a closed food cart and a couple of cars parked in spaces, but for the most part was empty. There was nothing that would ruin his cover.
Roger scanned the area, and before anyone walking by could see him, he leaped high into the air. When he was out of sight, his wings extrapolated, flapping lazily, and the vampire flew toward the Portland Building.
The building was famous for one reason—the large Portlandia statue, erected many years prior, above the building’s entrance. The statue depicted a woman holding a trident, kneeling, and reaching her free hand down toward the street. If you walked under it, and positioned yourself just right, Portlandia appeared to be smiling down at you, offering a hand to help.
The copper repousse statue was larger than life, and was only second in size to the Statue of Liberty. Portlandia was one of Roger’s favorite structure, possibly his favorite, as it reminded him of another important woman in his life, his Lola. He had missed her deeply, and thought about her often, more so when he was feuding with Percival.
The vampire freefell the remaining yards until he landed safely on the statue’s base. Portlandia’s cheek was an inch away from Roger, and standing that close he could see that her eye was the size of his head. The sight was remarkable.
He sized up Portlandia, who, kneeling, was around thirty-five feet, and exhaled quietly. The sounds of crows blared out in the distance.
There was a public stop across the street, and at this time of morning, several workers on third shift duty were waiting for the next bus, ready to go home to care for their loved ones. They were chatting amongst themselves, oblivious of their surroundings. A man, next to them, wearing a festive sweater and red stocking cap, swayed from side to side, waiting for the bus to arrive. Roger crouched between the base of the trident and the statue’s leg, so no one would see him.
The vampire was careful to stay hidden, descending to the statue’s base in an awkward manner. But instead of sticking the landing, Roger scraped his wrist on the brick-based platform.
“Ouch,” he whispered, shaking his wrist quickly to relieve the sting. His face scrunched together, wincing at the pain that was now burning. When he examined his wrist, Roger noticed that blood was falling to his palm. He took a quick look to the public stop, ensured that he wasn’t drawing attention to himself, and then quickly wiped his wrist and lower arm across the front of his shirt, smearing blood on the fabric.
He held pressure on his wound for several minutes, basking in the presence of the large statue.
The day was starting to become brighter, with more and more residents entering and exited the nearby bus. Fearing that someone would spot him, Roger leaped up into the air, above the building’s peak, high into the sky, and zipped home, where he would find his family getting ready for school.
Jason Tanamor is the critically acclaimed author of the novels Anonymous and Drama Dolls. His new novel Vampires of Portlandia is a NA urban fantasy about Filipino folklore - aswang.
His writings have appeared in more than 250 publications. He's interviewed personalities such as Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins), Pete Rose, and Dane Cook, and has covered U.S. President Barack Obama.
Tanamor currently lives and works in the Portland, Oregon area.