Roman smiled, enjoying Drake’s shock.
Drake saw the shape of his death in Roman’s fangs; saw it augured in his black eyes. From the folds of Roman’s clothing, his wings came, shattering the chair as he stood. Blue veins webbed his skin. His jet-black, shoulder length hair danced-macabre, flowed and swayed as if underwater.
Patiently, he’d held back, fought the call of Drake’s blood and the purity of his evil. It was well worth the wait. His nostrils flared, then gilled, slit open along the septum. He found Drake’s scent succulent, his aroma ambrosial, the taste of his terror tantalizing.
Paralyzed with fear, Drake watched as the creature stepped toward him. A voice boomed like an explosion and erupted within his mind.
This madness shall now come to an end. I am what you wish to be. I am the vampire Roman, a true vampire, an evil you cannot begin to understand. Roman’s eyes glinted, gleamed from flat black to polished onyx, a liquid darkness. Their weight fell on Drake. “What you wish for will kill you.”
“A vampire?” Drake screamed. “My minions must protect me! To arms! To arms!”
Roman grasped Drake’s neck and forced him to his knees, made him face the dead children. “Are these your minions?”
“Rise now and squash this so-called vampire! Rise and protect your king!” Drake roared.
Roman looked at the dead. They did not stir. They remained murdered.
“You’re afraid now, aren’t you?” the child-killer said, a lunatic grin deforming his face. “Look upon my court as they rise against you!”
The only thing that rose was a sob, reminding Roman of the living child. He looked at her. Meeting her gaze filled him with shame. He pitied her quandary and looked away.
He knifed a black-clawed finger into Drake’s jowl and lifted him off his feet. Blood streamed down Roman’s hand. “I see a circle of your foulest deeds. I see a circle of the dead.” He flicked his wrist and flung Drake across the breadth of the room.
Drake hit the wall with a wet crunch and crumpled to the floor. The drapes went down with him. He tried to rise, but Roman was already there. Roman lifted Drake and slammed him back into the wall. He grasped Drake about his neck and dragged him back to the circle, forced him to look at the dead children again, at his depraved labor.
“Perhaps it is time for you to see what I see,” Roman said. His essence flowed into Drake as he reached for a cadaver’s hand; the one Drake had called Roderick.
It’s the eve of Rodney’s eleventh birthday. He’s dreaming deep, of cakes, of presents, of friends, and family, of another year past, of what lies ahead. In his dream, his mother is holding a cake pierced by lit candles sparkling and bright. She’s smiling; he feels its warmth. Her eyes join the smile. They always do. He only wishes his dad were still alive. But the thought passes with the sound of his mother’s voice, singing happy birthday, soft yet clear. She reaches that part of the song where you insert the name of the celebrated. He never gets to hear his name sung. Her flocculent voice turns shrill. That mellifluous magic unravels. High-pitched screams shatter the song and the dream. When he wakes, he still hears the screams, clearer, louder. He’s afraid to open his eyes. He squeezes them shut. The screams stop. He hears a sliding sound followed by a thud, then, footsteps.
“Where’s my new recruit! Where’s my next knight!”
The footsteps draw closer, but Rodney won’t open his eyes.
“There you are, Roderick.” Footfalls stop by the foot of the bed. Then, Rodney feels weight on the mattress, that end is slightly sloping downward. He opens his eyes. There’s a man there, his knees pressing into the mattress. There’s blood on his hands; it drips on the sheets. The man pounces on the bed while reaching for something behind him. There’s a flash of silver when he pulls the hand back.
“I am the vampire Drake, your liberator and king.”
The pipe descends.
“Roderick! Roderick!” Drake said, looking to his right, his profile stretched and grimaced. He saw Rodney sitting in a rotting wooden chair closest to the throne, as he really was, young and dead. “The others will take you.”
Roman heard the doubt in his voice, the fear. Soon Drake’s world would unravel, though not until Drake saw the truth. Roman reached for another corpse.
His name is Peter. He’s naked, bleeding to death, tied to a chair. The scene shifts forward, mere seconds later. Peter’s body is now on the floor, lying on his face. Before the body grows cold, Drake mounts the boy, takes him as he does every other child he has killed.
Molted carpeting washed over marbled tiles. Drake now saw two dead children sitting in their chairs. Moist and sweating, his body shook, spasmodic, each revelation hitting him like a physical blow. Roman grabbed another body.
Her name is Janice. She never makes it past the removal of her eyes.
Three dead children sat in the circle. Their glorious garments were gone. They wore the costumes their killer had clothed them in.
Roman repeated the process eight more times.
The world dissolved around Drake; it was now as Roman saw it. He had Drake’s unitary attention, with nothing to hide behind. All that remained was Drake. All that remained was the child-killer. And for the first time Drake saw the horror of himself.
“As if the excuse of madness was something evil could hide behind,” Roman said. He felt soiled; the foul, slick sheen of Drake’s soul clung-damp.
If Roman wished to see remorse, or hear it in Drake’s voice, he was to be disappointed.
“Are you the punisher of dark deeds?” Drake said, glaring at him. “I found peace in their deaths. I enjoyed their misery and regret nothing.”
The forgotten girl dragged herself to the far corner of the room. She squirmed under one of the drapes and curled into a ball.
Suddenly, Roman felt weak. Sleep hammered his lids. His frame started to stiffen. His wings retracted. He looked to the window. Past the drapes day broke the sky. He had to seek shelter. From Drake’s mind, there was a flash of a cellar. A coffin. The coffin wasn’t required; the cellar’s shade was.
Drake tried to rise; he was met by Roman’s fist. His forehead split and cracked; he was unconscious before his body hit the floor.
Roman walked to the girl’s hiding place and reached for her. She recoiled. Sleep, Roman said, in her mind, not forcing, but suggesting, for he couldn’t make those with benign souls do his bidding. His voice was soothing, tranquil. Sleep, he said again. Her lids fluttered twice and then shut.
As he was leaving her mind, he heard those blaring chimes, accompanied by fragments of that faint majestic melody; the one he’d heard at home.
Time was waning and there wasn’t enough of it to ponder this mystery. His warming blood shouted for shade as he felt the weight of the day pressing down on him. Reluctantly, he exited her mind. He picked her up and cradled her in one arm. He removed her saliva soaked gag and threw it to the floor. There was something strange about her mouth, specifically, her upper lip. It had a smooth philtrum, no intranasal depression. He slipped the tip of his claw under the manacle on her arm and popped it. The remaining three shackles came free just as easily.
He walked over to Drake’s limp form and kicked him toward the winding stairwell. The body vaulted over the railing and out of sight. The sound of its impact brought a smile to Roman’s lips. When he reached Drake on the next landing, he kicked him again, down the final set of stairs leading to the basement.
Sprawled before a cement door, Drake laid, his legs broken at the knees, bent the wrong way. One of his arms was wedged within the cellar door’s steel handles. Bone peeked from his wrist.
Roman shifted the girl to his other arm and opened the door, swept Drake’s attached body across the floor. Legs and torso blocked the threshold. Roman marched on them, pressing down as he went. He enjoyed the crackling sounds of Drake’s breaking bones. A prelude to what was to come.
The walls and ceiling were stone; the floor was dirt. Piles of children’s clothing lay in all four corners of the chamber. Twelve, four-foot tall, wrought iron chamber sticks encircled the room, each crowned with a lit candle. Shadows streamed across the wooden coffin at the room’s center in undulating waves of illumination and darkness.
He carried the girl to the coffin and noticed how much stronger he felt now that he was below ground and away from the sun. The earth called to the dead; the earth soothed them, and Roman was no exception. When he reached the coffin, he noticed that the candles were flickering toward it. A draft. But it wasn’t coming from the open door. It was coming from above. Roman looked up. Vents lined the ceiling. Six along the top of each wall. Perfect for Drake to monitor the sounds of the house. To monitor their suffering.
He shut his eyes and gave in to the vision.
Screams fill the cellar, wails made metallic streaming from the vents. Inside the coffin, Drake lays. In his arms, a boy, two days dead. Both are naked. Dry blood and semen wed their skin.
Roman came out of the vision, metallic screams still echoing in his ears. As they faded, he opened the coffin’s lid. And although he was reluctant to lay her upon the filthy soil, where Drake had slumbered and shed innocent blood, he didn’t know where else to place her while he dealt with Drake. Though he’d swooned her, and she wouldn’t wake until tomorrow night, he wasn’t sure what her subconscious mind might record while she slept. He meant to shelter her from further horrors. And whatever barrier the coffin provided against Drake’s screams would have to do.
“You are a riddle,” he whispered to her. “A parable I plan to solve.”
He returned to Drake and dragged him inside, closed the door and engaged the deadbolt.
The human coughed. He was awake. Good. Roman knelt down beside Drake, drew him near and whispered into his ear. “It is going to be extremely painful for you now.” He paused, then continued, this time in the opposite ear. “You see, I am going to make you suffer as they did, save for the sex.”
“Must it be this way?” Drake whined. A child’s whine.
“How dare you ask for mercy?”
“How dare you judge me? How-”
Roman whipped his hand into Drake’s mouth, wrenched out the tongue, and tossed it across the room. “I wish not to hear you speak.”
Tears streamed down Drake’s face. Blood pumped from his open mouth and sloshed down his chin. Roman stood up and called his essence. He allowed the mortal to see it, to increase his terror, to further his fear. It swirled about Drake whirling white. Yet the earth was unmolested by it. The candles’ flames were undisturbed by it. Drake’s body, however, left the ground. Wisps of white mist whipped into his mouth, seeped into his ears, and plunged up his nostrils.
Roman reached for one of Drake’s hands. He began with the pinky. He yanked it backwards, towards the wrist. It snapped with a brittle pop. Next was the ring finger. It suffered the same fate and joined its palm mate at the back of the hand. Drake’s three remaining fingers followed suit. A kaleidoscope of blue, purple, and black erupted along swelling and ballooning skin.
Without pause, Roman’s hands roamed up Drake’s arms. They moved with an unnatural speed as they shattered every bone they touched. None remained intact. Roman moved to the next hand.
Sweat poured down Drake’s face and Roman smiled. “I can hear your soul scream.” He reached for Drake’s feet. He started at the toes and worked his way up, his hands blurring as they went.
Roman released him. The child killer crashed to the floor, puffed and bloated. With his essence, Roman willed the human to a sitting position, then sat down by him and casually threw his arm around him. “We are not done yet.” He brought a clawed finger to Drake’s eye.
Jesus, stop. Oh God, no! Drake’s mind screamed.
Roman stopped, his clawed finger poised to dig out the orb. “God is not here.” He plunged his claw into Drake’s eye socket and fingered loose the eyeball. “Nor is his son.” The eye dropped onto Drake’s formless lap. It was still attached to its socket by strings of optic nerve fibers. Roman severed the threads with a claw.
“We are almost at the end, dear Drake.” Roman removed the second eye. “I am not going to take your life now, but you will not live to see another night. I am going to drain you, though not completely. You will remain here tongue-less and eyeless. I shall take rest in your coffin. Your mind’s screams will lull me to sleep, as theirs did for you.”
Roman slammed his face to Drake’s neck; his fangs punctured flesh. Minuscule holes on their pointed tips siphoned nourishment like a mosquito’s stinger. His ivory canines flushed pink, filled with blood, and his gums soaked up what blood the fangs missed. Roman’s pale pigmentation darkened and became something closer to human. Blue veins receded into his skin. Now robust lips reddened, swelled, thickened. Black orbs gave way to white. Irises turned blue as they mimicked their host. No blood escaped the lipped seal. No drop was wasted.
Roman felt his dead organ stir as it woke in his chest. The sensation filled him with both sorrow and joy. It reinforced the wretchedness of his existence. In order for him to live, he had to kill. In order for him to survive, someone had to suffer. But now the bloodlust was upon him and the despair faded. Abandoned for ecstasy. Discarded for delight. And what were once gentle laps became frenzied gulps. His throat bulged.
He felt Drake’s heartbeat ebb and pushed him away. His own heart stuttered, then came to a halt, returning to death until the next feed.
He walked to the coffin and gently lifted the girl off the dirt, brushed away the soil clinging to the back of her shirt and released his wings, then wrapped them about her, leaving her head exposed against his chest and crawled inside. Before shutting the lid, he looked at Drake. He’d left him weak. He’d left him broken. Soon Drake would die. Maybe in an hour. Maybe in minutes. Nevertheless, for Drake, a small forever.
Roman opened his mouth and aimed his breath at the candles. The flames froze, fell to the earth and shattered. He shut the coffin’s lid as Drake’s mewling moans led him off to sleep.
Will be blogging Chapter Three from "The Deadtime" titled: "Madness" on Friday December 21.
The Deadtime Chapter Two
The Killer King
Roman soared, a giant bat silhouetted against the sinking moon, seeking his quarry’s spiritual trail. He felt at home slicing through the frigid air. Minuscule hairs along his wings vibrated and emanated sonic pulses. Before the reconnoitering echoes returned, the white aura flared, as if urging him onward. The car was a mere speck traveling along a secluded path beneath canopies of verdant foliage. Yet, neither the distance nor the shrouds of darkness could thwart his echolocation.
Shapes shifted within the forest. Massive furred forms swam within that viridescent sea. Always traveling inland. Away from the roads and highways. Only once did he see them without the camouflage of the forest. Only once did they dare reveal themselves. Creeping from the shelter of the woods. Watching him by its edge. Silently watched or silently stalked? he’d wondered at the time, as he gazed back at them from his window. Whichever the answer, they’d never bothered him since, nor he them.
The driver’s black aura regained his attention. That familiar primal urge bubbled within him. The blood song sang in his veins. This was a death he wanted. A kill that was required.
The car was closing in on a derelict house. Iron gates encircled the property. Roman flew past the vehicle and plunged onward.
Reaching the gates, he descended, and landed on the gate, his clawed feet grasping iron.
The house was a three-story structure that sunk into the ground as if the soil were devouring it. The garden was a cemetery of diseased weeds. Trees in torpor hung over the dwelling, smothering it. Dead branches clawed the home and raked the roof as if eager to tear away this blight upon the earth.
This was a house of death. Roman felt its pull, its dark allure. He felt the weight of every horror that had happened there, its malignant oppression, its festering fear. This was the dark soul’s home.
He shot from the gate and soared to the top floor’s balcony. A thin smile cracked his face. He’d be an uninvited guest awaiting their arrival. If a benevolent mortal, one whose soul leaned toward the good, had owned the dwelling or claimed it for their own, he would have needed an invitation to enter.
Landing on the balcony, his wings receded into his back with a slick moist sound. Skin sealed over the slits that ran from his shoulder blades to his waist; shaped like two crescent moons back to back. In front of rotting French doors, he grasped a decrepit handle in each hand and flung them open. The sound of splintering wood echoed through the dark. A rancid stench of decay and fear hung in the air. The room within was barren with sagging swollen ceilings and peeling plaster. Blackened vines ran along the floor and walls. Across the room was an archway leading to a stairwell.
Stepping over shattered planks, he noticed that there were nails attached to the door’s frame, still holding some wooden remnants. Two windows flanked the doors. They too were nailed shut.
He went through the archway and down the stairs. Streaks of dried blood smeared the walls and banisters, like paint strokes from a mad artist’s hand. He stopped and closed his eyes; the orbs twitched underneath the lids. His mouth quivered, yet no sound escaped his wan lips. The pores along his hand dilated and allowed him to soak in a snippet of horror.
Lidless, empty sockets greet the ceiling.
Above him, there’s another eyeless child; bloody blades duck taped to each tiny fist. She’s still thrusting at the air, mumbling and gibbering; what’s left of her tongue is a mangled stump, quivering in the back of her throat. She slips on the blood drenched steps and falls.
Roman snatched his hand away from the banister and opened his eyes. Their abductor had cut out their eyes and their tongues. He’d taped knives to the girl’s hands. Unable to communicate, unable to see, the terrified girl had unknowingly killed the boy. Roman still felt their agony and fear. It was soaked into every crevice, every fiber of the house. It now dwelled within Roman like a haunting. Hell had happened here. Though he could easily shake these residual emotions, he’d let them linger. This abomination whetted his rage and he’d not have his wrath dulled.
These visions, these images he received, were not something that he could always control. Though more often than not he could will the visions into existence or shield his mind from them, he couldn’t exactly choose what he saw. It depended upon what the souls of the deceased wanted him to see, how intense the horrors were for the victims or how bad the souls wanted their deplorable ends witnessed. But not always, for some souls didn’t want or require a spectator. The same held true when Roman fed. When draining a mortal, he’d sometimes see things as well.
He continued down the stairs, his anger mounting, honing the blade that was his furor.
At the bottom of the stairs, the presence of the dead was strong. He followed its trail, ignored the rooms, and headed straight for the floor’s main deck.
What he saw froze him by the threshold.
Arranged in a circle and seated in wooden chairs were eleven dead children in various forms of decomposition. The skeletal limbs of earlier kills speared and jutted through clothing. Later kills still boasting flesh were bloated or rotting. Flies swarmed around these and maggots festered within the flesh, their squirming seemed to give the corpses a pseudo life.
Innocence destroyed. Atrocities like this were what contributed to Roman’s decision to leave this existence, to abandon a world he found as destitute and deplorable as he.
He stepped across the threshold and made his way to the children. He saw that they were dressed as knights, maidens, squires, princes, princesses, and barons. Their garments weren’t real; they were costumes.
In the midst of this ghastly gathering were two throne-like seats, one several inches smaller than the other. Though they were nothing more than decrepit chairs, their positioning and height inferred dominance over the others. Sovereignty over the rotting corpses. A court of the dead.
Thick drapes of some indeterminate color decked the walls. Though aged and tattered, they loaned a macabre majesty to the room.
Roman stepped into the ring, placed his hand on the closest corpse, and closed his eyes.
The child’s convulsions decrease; he will be dead soon.
The man removes the boy’s clothes with one hand as he strokes his erection with the other. He tosses the soiled garments aside, like he did with the boy’s life.
“You will live again,” the man says, gasping with lust. “I will make it so.”
He brings his wrist to his mouth, tears away a thin layer of flesh from it, and shoves the gouged, leaking limb to the boy’s lips.
The mortal believed that he was a vampire. He was as mad as he was ignorant, for vampires could never feed on such purity.
Roman heard the car park outside. He moved to the window and watched as the driver shut off the ignition and exit, the same man that he’d seen in the vision.
The man was tall and frail, lanky. He was tendons and bones. He wore a wool sweater and jeans; they could have been black, too soiled to tell. The garments looked like they hung on hangers instead of flesh. His knees were so bony they almost cut through the denim. Jutting hipbones held up what his tiny waist couldn’t. His face was sallow and stretched, a sickly, jaundiced translucency that almost matched his brittle blond hair. Shoulders hunched, he headed toward the back of the car.
He leaned on the trunk for a moment and supported himself on the skeletal stalks of his arms, his chest palpitating with both excitement and fatigue. After several ragged gasps, he calmed some, then shifted his weight to one arm, reached the other scrawny limb into his front pocket, and procured a set of keys that jangled in the stillness. He made a fist and silenced their clamor. A single key stabbed between his fingers. He punched it into the lock and popped the trunk, twisting his head away just in time to avoid the springing hatch. He craned his neck like a predator and peered inside.
His chest heaved with giddy gasps. His trembling arms reached within. He struggled with his prize for a moment, then, gained control, and yanked out a twelve-year-old girl, mouth gagged, chained by both hand and foot. She thrashed and kicked. Fading moonlight flashed off her binds and washed over her lengthy auburn hair. Her emerald eyes were wide with fear. She was shivering; all she was wearing was a T-shirt and shorts.
Agitated and growing impatient, her abductor threw her to the floor. “There’s no need to be shy. Everything’s already set up for you, my queen.” The warmth in his voice was chilling and seemed at war with his actions. “They have been waiting so long for you, so long.” He paused as if listening and received nothing more than a gagged response. Yet he retorted as though able to translate her indistinct rebuttal.
“Don’t worry. Thou are the prettiest one of all. You are meant to rule. The blood I shall gift you with, shall make you immortal. You will no longer fear the death of which every mortal is terrified of, an eternity you and I shall make bountiful.”
He pulled her up by a fistful of her hair and brought her trembling lips close to his ear. She stifled a cry as she felt some of the hairs rip free from her scalp. The killer king frowned as he listened to her muffled retort.
“You must take your place before them. Only then will they realize, will they understand, as I do, thy true royalty. They shall place their un-dead lives before thy regaled feet. Do not fret, you shall know soon enough how special you are. How special you are to me.” He let go of her hair and she crashed to the floor.
He let her lie there for a moment, then, took hold of the chain linking the manacles binding her hands and dragged her to the house. He picked a different key from the set, opened the door, and flung her inside.
“Welcome to the House of Drake, my kingdom,” Drake said, bowing. “And I am its ruler, as thou shall be as well, my queen.” He shut and locked the door.
The girl jumped to her feet and, to Drake’s surprise, stumbled toward the closed window, the linking chain secured to her ankle manacles dangling loosely like some sick jump rope. Drake dove after her, and just before she leapt, grabbed hold of the chain and jerked. Her ankle twisted as her face slammed into the wooden floor; a deep gash slit her brow; blood spilled and glued her tresses to her temple.
“Here, let me put thy precious feet to rest.”
Upstairs, Roman heard a vicious splintering crack followed by the girl’s muffled screams. Another blow came. Then more stifled screeches.
“Thou must conserve thy vigor, my matriarch. Allow me to carry you up these stairs. You are above walking. You must command.”
Heavy footfalls mounted the steps. Drake’s laden breaths and her hiccupping sobs attended the march. Between each trudging step, dragging thuds ascended, trailed grotesquely behind the killer’s trek.
Roman secreted his essence and the mist engulfed him. Within its embrace, he was now invisible. Soundlessly, he walked over to the bigger throne and sat, monitoring Drake’s entry.
Drake came into the room, lurching, back-bowed, breathing heavy, sweat sprinkling his brow, holding an iron pipe in his hand while gripping the child in a headlock; she choked for air. The spit soaked gag was cutting into her cheeks. Tears trailed down her face and joined the mucus bubbling from her nostrils. Her bare feet scraped the floor behind her, one of her manacled legs swollen and bent at an odd angle. Her shin had been shattered.
Drake dropped the pipe and released her. She teetered on her good leg, screeched then fell. Surprised, he looked down. “Come now, thou shall not kneel before them. That is what they are here for. To honor you. Rise! Rise, my queen!”
He yanked her to her feet. She screamed into the gag and crumpled to her knees. Her eyes roamed over the morbid court and more tears came.
Roman wasn’t going to let her become part of that vile circle.
Drake grabbed her by the back of her neck and dragged her toward the seated dead. At the thrones, he slammed her into the smaller of the two and staggered, the strain sapping him.
“Before I gift thee my immortal blood, know this: I am the vampire Drake, and I do not give my blood recklessly,” he said, chest heaving.
Roman willed his essence forward. His pores opened and the mist came. To the mortal eye, it was invisible (unless Roman willed otherwise). It streamed towards Drake. When it reached him, the mist entered his pores. With his essence within Drake, Roman saw the world through the child destroyer’s eyes.
Eleven adults had replaced the children. Heads bowed. Mouths agape. Fangs visible. Their skin ashen and pale. Adulating eyes fixed on King and Queen. The costumes they wore as corpses were gone. Ladies now wore trains under gowns, molding, shaping corsets, boned bodices, and kirtles or petticoats. Men wore tunics over doublets, hooded cloaks, appliquéd silk shirts, and belted tabards or surcoats.
Madness, Roman thought, beginning to understand. For the killer, this was a functioning kingdom of vampires.
The room was now a regaled court: Drake wore a crown and his decrepit seat was a jewel-laden throne. The floor was made of marble. Immaculate purple curtains had replaced old, moldy drapes.
Roman withdrew. Drake rubbed his forehead, consciously unaware of the intrusion, though subconsciously sentient of it.
“Rise for your queen! It is time to gift her the blood! My life blood!” Again, Drake paused and listened for something only he could hear. “Good, now that you all have risen, the time has come for introductions.” He addressed the corpse nearest the throne. “This, my dear, is Roderick, captain of the guard.” He reached for the dead child, shoved his hand into an opening he’d made at the base of its skull, and like some sick puppeteer, mimicked the dead’s response. Mere skin and bones, the cadaver lost its jaw. It fell on the girl’s lap. She howled in terror, recoiled and jumped from her seat. She squealed and teetered on her broken leg, staggered, then dropped to her knees. Drake snatched her by the neck and slammed her back into the throne.
Roman had seen enough. He recalled his mist.
Drake felt a sudden chill at his back. He turned and saw that there was someone sitting in his chair. He gasped, for even in his madness, he realized that the being before him wasn’t dead or human. Drake backed away as panic ripped across his face.
This Friday 12/14/2012 , will be blogging Chapter Two of "The Deadtime". Now on sale at Amazon.com.
This begins the weekly blog of my novel. Every Friday i will be posting a chapter from my book "The Deadtime". Now available on Amazon as an ebook. Physical book will be available shortly. If you need a copy of the book in a different format, such as EPUB for Nook or IPad, let me know and i will gladly give you a copy for free. Please rate the book or review it on Amazon.com.
Once an angel fell from grace, then an outcast, shameful face
Discovers his light is truly night, what’s an angel filled with hate?
Demonic core can’t help but notice, an angel’s fall, a diabolical focus.
Princes, barons, knights, to arms, our cry to Heaven marches on.
Heavenly essence departed, oh fallen, oh frail, and weak.
Once foes, now friends, no need to lie and wither in defeat.
Our cause, now yours, the argument rages on.
Angelic limbs, now claws, Heaven’s eyes have shunned.
Feel free, your own, sacrilege and blasphemy your words.
Seeds of wisdom sewn, no longer part of an angelic herd.
The choice is yours, his children sleep,
Our Father assures,
Their souls are not theirs to keep. . .
“You are a religious man, Father, a spiritual man. Tell me, why do mortals fear death? Why do they fear the impermanency of life? Yet they continue to squander and pervert the very things they hold sacred. As if life was ever theirs to begin with.”
There he goes again, Father Purgeon thinks, referring to Roman’s use of the word ‘mortals’, separating himself from everybody else.“To many, death represents an ending. We doubt there’s more to life than what we see. All of our fears come from death. Every one of them. And even though we innately know that there’s more, doubt makes it easier to pervert sanctity, plausible to corrupt what is righteous.”
Roman smirks. “Man is enslaved to his ideas, his cages of concepts, and his tinkering thoughts. Selfish ends that disregarded the whole, to not only the detriment of the human race, but to the planet. There were once enough resources on this planet to accommodate not only every human being, but every living thing as well. Resources squandered for concepts like greed, power, and wealth. This cannot be what was intended.”
Though he catches everything Roman says, Father Purgeon can’t help but notice Roman’s eyes. They were blue last week. He stares at Roman’s green eyes, making sure that he is not mistaken. Feeling he’s taken too long to respond, the priest lets it pass. “Intended, implies that something was meant to be. We’ve been given the tools, Roman, the equipment to complete a task we cannot fully see, or understand. Nothing more. The choice is ours.”
Roman looked up at the sky. Three hours until dawn.
He was perched on the rooftop of the two-story house he called home, staring at the approaching day; a promised beauty whose fruition he could never glimpse, only speculate on. He no longer searched for a sliver of solace in an otherwise desperate existence. Morality owned nothing in this dark enterprise. This living oblivion was a mockery of life, a hell he couldn’t bear anymore, a hell he wouldn’t bear anymore. He’d hunger again. He’d kill again. No matter the regret.
Morning drank away the night, but the dark still held sway. Winter’s breath caressed his face, made him aware of how soothing the night could be. But it was a small comfort and it wasn’t enough to make him change his mind. He’d already made his decision. He mourned the night’s departure, though not his own.
Over the course of a year, (he could recollect nothing prior to that) he’d seen and learned much, and he didn’t know what depressed him more, the mortals who dwelled upon the earth or the parasitical phantom that he was, who pilfered their blood. His observations had shown him that most mortals, excluding the self-delusional, didn’t cherish the lives they led, didn’t cherish themselves, or those they professed to love. Like them, Roman wondered if there was any real meaning to life, to existence. Was it all for nothing?
Without a memory, he had no name. He’d decided to call himself Roman, because naming himself after that fallen empire seemed appropriate. He always felt that he’d fallen from some kind of grace, some unremembered sanctity he’d shamed. And the Fall of Rome was an archetype, for every real and imagined decline, and served as a representation to his and man’s fears.
Though he couldn’t recall a beginning, he was planning an end. If only he could remember. Why was he here? Was there a reason? Did he have a purpose? Or was he arrogant to think that?
At first, hunting and killing evil mortals had given him a reason to continue, made him feel like he was making some sort of a difference. But as the year wore on, what joy he’d received from killing dissipated nightly. Now he only killed to survive. And mere survival wasn’t reason enough to live.
If he’d kept his meeting, his holy friend, his only friend, would have tried to sway him, steer him clear of suicide. He’d miss their conversations. Yet he understood that their talks had to end, for on some level, Roman believed that his association with the priest might endanger his friend. He’d never bring harm to his door, knowingly. This was his hell and he didn’t want to share it.
What would become of him? Would hell have him to hold? If there was even such a place, he was surely destined for it. Or would he disperse into nothingness? He wanted to stop thinking; he wanted to stop feeling, yet he didn’t want these final thoughts to become his epitaph.
The sound of wheels churning on dirt broke his reverie.
Roman stood up. A figure immersed in black. His eyes were black onyx orbs, lifeless like a shark’s. They were as dead as his heart, a heart that only beat when fed stolen blood. Pale parted lips revealed the tips of ivory daggers. Blue veins pulsed beneath starving flesh.
He looked past the slope his house sat on, beyond the pebbled lakeside, where the shore shimmered under the lunar watch and lapping waves licked the bank’s graveled lips. The night breathed cold and whipped the lakeshore’s fog into the forest’s trees and thickets that flanked its borders. He looked beyond all this and spotted a car, half a mile away, traveling down a dirt road, headlights off.
Mortal dwellings in this vicinity were far and few. Unlike Cityside, humans sparsely populated Woodside. The vehicle’s presence was ominous.
Like a beacon, the driver’s aura attracted him; crimson as blood it seethed. The murderous red. An evil mortal. A destitute soul. Though the red was enough to unleash Roman’s blood lust, the rare, black field, girdling both the body and the aura emancipated his wrath, made him want to purge such a soul from the planet. He’d seen that black hue twice before, tasted the purity of its evil. The aura pulled him and begged him for death, stoked a hunger he hadn’t fed in over a week. Knowing he was going to end his existence, he’d purposely starved himself, abstained from the sustenance that would bring him both joy and despair.
All mortals have auras, and with each one, there is a song, notes strung by the soul, melodic or cacophonous, or somewhere in between, depending on the vessel’s moralistic inclinations. The driver’s aura was no exception; from his ebony-encased, red aura, deep, rolling drums of dread beat.
Roman sat back down, ignoring the car, the ache in his veins, and the desire to kill. The only death he wanted tonight was his own.
Then something strange happened. He heard a whisper, coming from the car, whose words hung somewhere on the periphery of his understanding. He looked back at the car and saw the source of the sound, a cerulean glimmer coming from the trunk. It was so faint that he doubted he’d seen anything at all. No, he had seen something. In this existence, his instincts and attributes were all he could rely on.
Again the flicker. Definitely another aura. There were two occupants in the vehicle.
Though the car was some distance away, the blue aura felt much closer, almost as if it were on the rooftop with him, as if it occupied the same space, as if they were one. Roman had never felt anything like it. Never seen anything like it. Not this perfect. Not this pure. A layer of white surrounded the blue aura. He’d no trouble recognizing it or its moralistic predilection. Aura reading was imperative. If misread, fatal consequences ensued. One could not feed on those of the pure. Transfixed by its gleam he couldn’t look away. It throttled with anxiety. A need for release.
It called to Roman. Whispers became words.
Remember, it said. Remember.
Simple words. Complicated request. It was the one thing he couldn’t do.
He focused on the pure aura, on its voice, but his head started to throb with implosive pain. His ears rang with blaring chimes. A faint harmonious melody played behind the pain. He pulled his mind away.
The pain stopped.
He looked to the road and saw the car now a mile away fading into the forest. The blue and white aura blazed bright again, inviting him to follow. Remember. Remember, it chanted. He could feel the desperation behind the words, could feel the fear escalating into terror, laced with a lingering sorrow, a lasting loss.
Dead eyes watched the departing vehicle like a bird of prey.
Never had a soul spoken to him before. Far more than frustration, the enigma bred madness. What had he forgotten? Why couldn’t he remember?
Roman focused on what he knew. An evil mortal was driving a car with a good soul in the trunk. Not just a good soul, a pure one. An abduction? He felt his anger rise. Felt the rage wash over him. He’d not have what was so rare in this world destroyed. He’d not have such light doused.
He could die another day.
Roman leaped from the roof and fell to the rushing earth. From the slits of his black coat sprung leathery wings, moist and glistening. With one powerful flap, he skirted the ground and swept to a soar, off into the dying night.