A Burnt Child Dreads the Fire

You must come, O dread Impaler, confound them to your care.
Split them in two partitions, here the fools, the rascals there;
Shove them into two enclosures from the broad daylight enisle ’em,
Then set fire to the prison and the lunatic asylum.

Mihai Eminescu: The Third Letter

 

The house of the Dragon had seen better days. Much better days, truly. It had now fallen into disrepair and Vlad had no one to blame but himself. Wasn’t that always the case, however? Yes. Yes, that was always the case: the onus of it all was on him alone. That burdensome knowledge, that it all started with him…

How long ago was it? How long, exactly, since Mina had left with her Jonathan Harker? Too long. Entirely too long for him to continue dwelling on the pain of her departure, and yet there he was, pining, longing, wallowing in a mire of misery.

He had so much practice at this that he should have already turned self-pity into an art form. Ah, but for all of his talents, this was not one of them! What ever happened to the strapping, bold warrior who’d once brought the Ottoman empire low? Where was the Impaler, the Wallachian Dragon? Gone to soil, it would seem.

For one so old and experienced, he seemed to be none the wiser on matters of the heart. He knew dawn was fast approaching, so the question, once more, was if he would be able to do it. So many times he had stood on the roof of this god forsaken mansion, contemplating the thought of giving himself up to the morning sun and seeing about testing the feud with a divinity silent save for the curse it brought upon him.

It was tempting, certainly. Was he that weary? Perhaps he should seek the company of mortals once more. Yes. That or a flaming death. Both, in tandem, would be a fitting end to his long reign, would they not?

He almost felt a spark of euphoria at the thought of moving among the mortal flock anew, like a reaper on a golden field of barley. Perhaps there would be time to visit his old castle and scare up a storm in there. Make one last, triumphant appearance for old time’s sake. That should get the old dead heart flaring, for once.

He had let himself be beaten too many times already. It was time to fight and give no quarter. The old Vlad was stirring.

Go out with a bang, old Vlad, he told himself. With. A. Bang.

 

News Report: In a shocking turn of events, Bran Castle, in Romania, better known as Dracula’s Castle, has gone up in flames. Firefighters and emergency responders are at the scene trying to put out the conflagration, but reports indicate that the fire may have already caused irreparable damage.

Bran Castle has been a tourist attraction and Romanian national landmark…

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The Last Dance

One more. Just one more. C’mon, old man, you can do it. Just. One. More.

 

His wounds were bad. Real bad. Locke wasn’t going to make it, he knew, but that was fine. That was just fine, as long as he could do this one last hunt. Just one fix, right? Like an addict. This was different, however. This was his last fix, the last one, the ultimate goal… His nemesis was somewhere in the small town and Locke could feel it. He had been hunting him for so long. The vampire that had taken it all away from him one night so far away it may as well have happened to someone else.

 

The crossbow bolt fired from his right hand, it traveled true and found its mark. Another vermin down, pitted to the wooden house’s wall by the bolt through its head. Locke loaded the crossbow again, deftly with his left hand locking the mechanism while still holding a short blade.

 

One more. Almost there. One. More.

 

Another with the bolt striking true and through. Out of bolts. No matter. His right hand went to his left hip and produced and dagger. Time to get even bloodier. His stomach was bleeding, as were his arms, profusely, from the tattered and torn remains of his tanned leather jacket.

 

The chapel, there… There is where he would be, his nemesis. Locke made his way, beginning to limp. His vision was becoming a bit hazy and his head swam. It didn’t matter. Nothing did. He would avenge his son.

 

One. More. Hunt.

 

He kicked down the flimsy doors of the chapel and stormed in. The vermin huddled in the pews and around the altar where his nemesis awaited. They were cowering. They understood that their end was near, and Locke obliged them dutifully.

 

There must have been over thirty of them, until finally he caught up with the greatest vermin of all. He looked the once-man in the eyes, full of tears of rage he, full of fear and doom the vermin. Then he cut its head off.

 

He walked off a few feet and succumbed to blood loss, losing consciousness.

 

He dreamt of his son’s face, beaming, so young and full of life. He dreamt of the sun becoming dark and bleeding, and his son told him that he, Locke, had done that. You did it, father. It was you.

 

He jerked away and saw the bodies all around him. They looked… normal. They looked human. Dawning realization suffused him as he struggled to stand up. His blood was still fresh, and the bleeding hadn’t really stopped. He saw the priest’s body, head lopped off, blood spatter staining the pulpit. He looked off to the left and saw the priest’s head.

 

As darkness encroached on Locke’s vision and he began to fade from this mortal coil, he could only feel a strange sense of regret eat its way out of the elation he had felt before. What had he become?

No Fury Like

“If light be the brightest light, wherefore doth it shadows cast?

  • Theater of Tragedy’s Velvet Darkness They Fear

It was a sandy hell, this stretch of desert that seemed to, well, stretch forever. She walked in the cold of the night though she did not feel it. Not that cold, in any case.

She had been dead a long time, or rather undead. It had been centuries since… Since her once-master had slid into her chambers, uninvited, stealthy as a shadow, and given her the dark gift whether she would have wanted it or not.

There was much to be said about the impetuous audacity of the creature that had basically raped her into unlife, the modern romantic novel bedamned. All of it was rubbish. The notion of a male forcibly subduing a woman, objectified to such a degree, spoke so unkindly of her own kind – well, was she still female despite her state of undeath? – that Mina would have vomited had it been possible to do so for her.

Sand hell. Ha! It was, though, was it not? All of Earth was hell. She knew this, now, better than anyone else alive or unalive, she would wager. It was hell, and somehow, she was only capable of feeling the kind of anger that she could only describe as… petulant! She, hundreds of years old, petulant. And yet, that was what she felt. Petulant anger, like some irrational child.

She trudged on, treading sand that shifted under her porcelain white feet. She may as well be porcelain for all that she had been able to feel physically in the past hundred years. Sensation was a thing so far away in some stratospheric layer of the map of her senses – what an unapt word! Sensation. Senses.

There it was, the grand ruse, the great and secret trick, the prestige. God was dead. Not in a metaphorical or allegorical sense. No. God. Was. Dead. The Earth – the Earth! – was Her tomb, Her grave. And God had been female! Of course! It had to be so!

For decades her once-master and she had searched, nay, scoured the planet for hints, for any puzzle or indication that would lead to finding God. It was, after all, some strange divine punishment, her once-master’s condition and, by proxy, hers. This was too much, she thought. Too rich by a mile!

She couldn’t help but laugh heartily, a laughter that peeled like bell, from deep in her chest. She did so as she recalled her once-master’s face, the expression on it, of disbelief, of sexist pride crumbling away in offended shock. And all this time he had thought himself cursed by some male deity, when all he really was, was the product of strange chemical processes as yet not comprehended by science. How had she fooled herself into following him for so long?

In any case, she had taken only a few minutes to digest it all, while her useless once-master wallowed in his ridiculous wounded pride. How typically male.

Said wallowing allowed her to investigate further into the ruins of what had, at some point, housed divine flesh – divine flesh, if you can imagine that! How must such flesh look? How must it feel? She perused the stone tablets and the carved walls of the tomb of a being that had ostensibly birthed the universe, yet was somehow not as large as one would imagine, given the dimensions of the cosmos. It made sense, however. The big bang. And to borrow a rather vulgar colloquial term, had she actually, well, banged. There was no indication of it, or an absentee father – again, how typically male – that would have provided the little tiny spermatozoa for the majestic ova. No, the universe had been somehow born a diminutive super-condensed, super heavy, ultra-massive ball of matter and energy. Once out of the divine womb, it had expanded, and it was thought that it continues to do so.

What had set Mina off, what had made her finally throw off the shackles of her own tacit slavery, was that apparently Men had killed God. Yes, Men. Not mankind, though women did nothing and were therefore, in part, responsible by allowing it. Meeeeeeeen.

It took Mina all of two minutes to go down a path of reasoning so lethal her once-master had found himself impaled on a stone obelisk by the time she had reached its logical end. Fitting, Mina had thought afterward, while admiring his limp body transfixed by ancient stone. A phallus serving as the death of one that epitomized the worst in Man.

Mina’s conclusion: Men had killed their mother, God, and had made one huge mess of things. Well, she didn’t know how to fix it, or even if she could. It did put the universe under a light that made more sense, Her being dead. All the chaos, all the disarray, all the needless destruction… No woman would allow that. Right.

Well, she thought, now that I’m the oldest of the undead, I’ll make sure things go differently. The universe was turning to shit, but she would make it smell less shitty in the interim, that was for certain.