Sample Sunday – High Stakes

Because Leslie R. Lee posted a five-star review of it on Amazon this week, I want to do another sample from LONNIE, ME AND THE HOUND OF HELL. In honor of yesterday’s Kentucky Derby (“the greatest two minutes in horse racing”), I’ll give you a sample of “High Stakes”.

First, the review, for which much thanks:

“Lonnie, Me and the Hound of Hell by Marian Allen is a fun and interesting series of short stories. Some are set in the present day, some in some other world. All have great characters and compelling plots. Many of the protagonists have interesting points of view. I bought it to read on my iPhone saving each story for when I needed something interesting to read. It was difficult not to rush through each story in one sitting. If I did that though, I’d be without reading material. I recommend this great read. Check out her novel, Eel’s Reverence.”

Leslie R. Lee

Written in as close as I can come to the style of Damon Runyon, “High Stakes” is from the point of view of Miss Garnet Satin, a vampire ordered by Vlad the Roumanian to go to Kentucky and find out why his winning horses have suddenly started losing.

I open the folder and find a round-trip plane ticket to Lafayetteville, Kentucky, the date on them being two days away, and the return date being one week after.

“The Fall Meet—” he says, “—the set of races in which my horses are now running—is over in a week and two days. If you finish sooner than this, enjoy a little vacation at my expense.”

“And if this Jasper Caufmann and I cannot solve the problem?”

“Cash in the ticket and consider it a small start on a new life—a new and very brief life. But this is speculation.” Vlad the Roumanian puts one of his claw-like hands over my wrist. He does not tighten his grip. He does not need to; I cannot move. “I have great faith in you, Garnet. I see you in that film about the Wiccan that figures out who offs the nun. I know you cannot play this part so well if you do not really have the know-how to detect.” I try to explain about the acting process, but he says, very firmly, “Do not disappoint me.”

He snaps his fingers again, and his other bodyguard hands me an envelope containing a hotel confirmation and five thousand dollars in cash.

“Buy some nice clothes,” says Vlad the Roumanian, with a scornful look at my bell-bottom blue-jeans and tie-died tank top. (I become One of Us in 1935, and keep up with the fashions until the sixties, when I get tired of it and stop where I am.) “Remember,” says my new employer, “you may have to go out during the day, and the sun is supposed to shine bright down there.”

“I will go up like a strip of magnesium in a cheesy magician’s act!” I protest.

“Take care.” He turns and walks out.

LONNIE, ME AND THE HOUND OF HELL is $1.49 – cheap at the price – and is available at the Amazon Kindle store, at B&N’s Nook store and at Smashwords in various electronic formats. Click here to read excerpts from all the stories.

WRITING PROMPT: Who could intimidate your main character? If the answer is “nobody”, invent somebody who would.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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