We’ve learned to trust the vampire but as Cat has said more than once, “rogues do exist amongst us.” So what happens if a vampire turns rogue? I recently caught up with DC Sean Ryan in Glasgow for this exclusive interview. Born in Australia, May 1950, he was turned at the age of twenty four and looks to be in his mid to late twenties. One of the Unwilling Turnees, Sean was willing to talk about his experiences as a newborn, his current job with Glasgow CID and what happens to rogue vampires.
You described yourself prior to this meeting as one of the Unwilling Turnees, what do you mean by that?
Sean: An unwilling Turnee is a modern term for an unwilling vampire. Basically, one who has been either turned by accident or after being infected by a rogue vampire and turned in order to save their life. I was infected by a rogue vampire in Wales back in 1975 and turned that same night by one of the Grey Ravens.
So what age were you then?
Sean: I was twenty four, it was a month before my twenty fifth birthday. Happy birthday to me.
Are you able to talk about the attack?
Sean: There’s not much to say to be honest. I’d gotten married less than a week before and my wife and I were on our honeymoon. We went to the Isle of Man for a few days and then came back through North Wales. We were staying in a village for a night when I went walking. I was attacked along the way by a rogue who’d been tracking us on the ferry. Unbeknownst to me he’d killed my wife at the cottage and then came after me. He bit me and then let me go so the poison had time to infect me. A lot of rogues hunt like that because you’ve got about two to three hours before your heart gives out. They’ll shadow you until you’re too disoriented to go on, and then move in for the kill, the heart palpitations are what they’re waiting for. However before this rogue could finish me off, a vampire killed him and then gave me the choice of a quick death or living forever.
Sean: (laughs) I suppose that’s one way of putting it. I was just too confused to make sense of anything. The woman who killed the rogue struck me as being remarkably composed and almost businesslike. I guess because of my combat experience in Vietnam, I found it easy to believe that what she was telling me had an element of truth in it somewhere. The whole vampire thing sounded too far fetched until she bit me, after that I recall nothing until I tasted blood, her blood and felt as if my body was on fire.
Who was she?
Sean: (smiles) If I told you that I’d have to kill you, but seriously it doesn’t matter who turned me. The fact is I was turned to save my life and the woman who did it also took responsibility for my education, she introduced me some of the other members of Clan Grey Raven as well as vampires from other clans. She taught me the protocols and procedures, vampire ethics and basically how to survive as a vampire without turning rogue.
She was obviously a great teacher then.
Sean: Oh she was and still is but at the time I was really struggling with my vampirism, half of me wanted to kill every vampire I met and the other part of me wanted to feast on human blood. The danger of being an Unwilling Turnee is you’re in more danger of turning rogue and I came close after five years when I rebelled and left her. At the time I felt like I just needed to get away from the apron strings and find my own feet.
And did you? Find your own feet?
Sean: I found that no man is an island and if you don’t make friends within the vampire world then you’ll never survive. The essence of the rogue vampire is isolation, which leads to hunger, at first for companionship and then for something else. I lasted six months before I found myself knocking on a guild hall in Kensington begging to be let in and shut away. I was in a bad way and about all I had going for me was the fact I hadn’t infected anyone yet. I spent three months in that place and wanted only to live there for as long as possible. Thankfully I met Gerry and he took me under his wing and we drove north to his old stamping grounds in Glasgow. My mentor taught me the vampire customs and ethics, but Gerry showed me how to enjoy myself again. For that kindness I owe him a debt of gratitude I can never repay. I was reunited with my mentor in late 1981 and we took a cruise to New York where I met Cat again.
Cat, as in Doctor MacGregor?
Sean: Yeah but she wasn’t a MacGregor then, she was just Catriona MacKay. She was in retirement and living in Greenwich Village. I’d met her years before in a West Australian hospital but back then I had no idea she was a vampire.
Fascinating, so you two had met met before.
Sean: As I just said, we’d met at the hospital. She was a nurse and my mum was in palliative care at this hospital. Cat was using the name Cathy in 1972. I’d see her outside with the other nurses on their breaks and we’d talked in passing when I ducked out for a break. What immediately impressed me was the fact she actually spoke to me at all. My mother was one quarter Aboriginal and while I’ve got some dark colouring, I was much lighter than her. The white nurses tended to be a little too businesslike when talking to me or my mother. Cat on the other hand was quite interested in me and not for what I at first thought. Mum was dying from lung cancer and towards the end of that six week period she was needing more and more morphine but because of her mixed blood, the doctor refused to give her more. Cat had me stand guard at the pharmacy while she removed some morphine and afterwards showed me how to administer it for her. It was that act of rebellion that struck me as being so refreshingly different. Had she been caught she would have been fired and quite possibly charged.
She would probably have been charged these days.
Sean: Oh definitely but it eased my mother’s passing. Cat was the only person at the funeral besides me and after the graveside ceremony she handed me an envelope of cash and told me to do something with it besides pissing it against a wall. I booked a flight to London a week later but when I asked if she wanted to come too she refused and said something about needing to stay on for a few more years. That was the last I saw of her until 1981 when I was shown into her apartment in Greenwich Village.
It must have been quite a reunion.
Sean: Yeah it certainly was. Once I got over the shock of finding out she was a vampire like me we had a few beers at a bar and got well and truly pissed. She’s been a friend ever since and now and again we go out for a few pints and talk about the old days before I was turned. She introduced me to the elders of my clan and she put me forward as a roadie when the Raven Queens became a serious touring outfit. After that I became an enforcer for a few years and that introduced me to a side of the vampire world that might be more recognisable to the general public.
What does an enforcer do?
Sean: We keep the peace. The vampire world has its own police force, which has a paramilitary arm as well. Our job was to keep the peace at guilds and safe houses, track down rogue vampires and either bring them back to the guild or eliminate them, and of course we kept an eye out for the Frat boys. With the Frat boys we would stake out their hideouts and strike at a time when the chances of ordinary human witnesses and casualties was minimal. When you’re acting outside the law as we were, then you need to be extra careful. Humans tend to notice when a crew of armed gunmen start shooting. In the last few years we’ve seen something of a global ceasefire that tends to be broken sporadically on a local level. Many of the older Frat boys are dead or too old to be fighting and the younger members are more interested in acquiring vampire blood to sell on the underground sex market.
So you’ve killed men.
Sean: Well that’s what tends to happen when you carry a gun with lethal intent. When I was in Vietnam we carried guns and it wasn’t for show either, we shot to kill. When you go up against a Frat crew you have to realise you’re at war against vampire hunters who are sworn to eliminate the entire vampire race. If it comes to an all out confrontation we try our best to make sure there are no witnesses and make it seem as if it’s a drug thing. Sprinkle enough white powder around and most detectives will assume it’s a drug deal gone wrong.
And yet you’re a cop.
Sean: And you’re wondering how a former enforcer can be a cop?
Sean: You’d be right by saying I’m a former enforcer. As a detective, I can’t get involved in any enforcing unless there’s no way out. We’re in a war with the Fraternity of Light and until we can come out and be accepted by the general public we’ll see more Fraternity and enforcer killings. The enforcers are a necessary part of the vampire world and without them I’ve no doubt that we’d be seen in a very different light. They defend us against the Frat boys and hunt down the rogues before they draw too much attention to them and us. With the light of day it may very well be that the role of enforcer might change but we’re not there yet and to be honest may never be there.
Moving on from that. Describe a typical day for you now.
Sean: When I’m working or having a day off?
Start with a working day perhaps.
Sean: I get out of bed, have a shower and breakfast, which for a vampire of my vintage means I take a pint of blood with my food. Because shifts can be extended at short notice, I have a supplier on call who’ll meet and give me a quick fix. I was a detective in Melbourne for a couple of years before I moved here and at first I found it strange not to be carrying a gun. I felt naked without one, even now I find myself touching my hip in high risk situations and get a mild sense of panic because I think I’ve left my gun somewhere. Police work from a vampire point of view is actually very different thanks to my enhanced senses, I can pick up a racing heartbeat in an interview and change my questions accordingly. A few months ago we were looking for a lost child in a block of flats, the uniforms had been right through the block and were searching nearby back yards. We were inside the block doing a bit of follow up work just in case someone had remembered something. I heard this faint heartbeat from a hall cupboard and when I opened it the little boy was lying on the floor fast asleep. (he smiles) One of our better days.
And when you get home?
Sean: I’ve got a Netflix subscription and one of those Smart TVs. I like watching movies or surfing the Internet and chatting with friends. Other times I’ll go visit Cat, Tabitha or Jana, go to a pub or just jump in the car and go fishing. Sian recently talked me into getting my British gun licence because she wants someone to keep the deer population at bay around Wolfcraig. So in a few months time once I’ve got some time off I’ll go shooting. Once a month I help Cat out with a charity for sick kids and we take them out to a farm or to the seaside. I look forward to those outings because it gives me a healthy perspective on life. Seeing some of the kids and then not seeing them a month or two later because they’ve died reminds me that being a vampire isn’t the worse thing to happen to me. I’ve arranged outings in police cars with some of the kids as well as visits to fire stations and of course you’ve got to turn on the siren for them. I’m also into restoring old cars. Gerry and I bought an old Capri recently and we’re restoring it to its former glory.
What, if anything do you want people to take away from this interview.
Sean: I guess without putting too fine a point on it, stop thinking of vamps as being creatures with sharp pointy teeth and think of us as being humans who just don’t die. Being turned didn’t take away my humanity, it just modified my outlook on life and I admit that being one of the Grey Ravens gave me an advantage due to their unique traditions. I have girlfriends and I’ve been married once since I was turned. I’ve done a heap of things I’d have never attempted had I not been turned. I’ve learned six languages, can play a guitar, not as well as Cat, but I can string a tune together. I got my pilot’s licence years ago, drove trucks, worked on a trawler and I’ve travelled all over the world meeting interesting people, and along the way you learn that there’s more to unite humanity than there is to divide it. We all have the same hopes, dreams and fears, we’ve just got different ideas on how to attain happiness and peace. To be honest I’m not sure what you’ll take out of this interview and couldn’t really give a stuff. I am what I am. By day I’m a detective with Police Scotland in Glasgow, by night I’m off duty and just a normal, productive member of society. I’m not going to bite your neck, stalk you or turn you. We can sit down and have a few beers together and talk about whatever springs to mind. Just don’t go and commit an armed robbery or murder someone because as much as I like you, I’d have to give you a set of silver bracelets.
I’ll keep that in mind, thank you very much.
Sean: Good, fancy a beer?
When my stepmom’s plane went down a part of me died, Cat was my world. In her place she left us to her friends, the Grey Ravens. Over the years I slowly came to realise her death was a mere facade. When we were reunited I learned the truth about Clan Grey Raven and her remarkable history. Some people will always love. Some people never lose hope. Some people never die…Smashwords Amazon.com Amazon UK