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The Affliction

a guest Jan 21st, 2019 109 Never
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  1. Slowly a young man crawled across the cold castle floor using his right arm, his left trying to cover his neck as vermillion blood ran down. He pushed himself forward until finding himself under a collapsed stone archway, once a part of the ballroom, now it sat in pieces. He checked his bloody palm and cursed under his breath, with his dagger he tore at a piece of his black overcoat. And fashioned a makeshift bandage around his neck and began to go through his pockets.
  2. A medium-sized vial bearing the cross, a small bag of salt, herbs, and garlic, a booklet, an ink vial, a quill; he continued to tear into his pockets until finally coming upon his gun. A flintlock, not enough to kill the creatures he hunted. But if things went from bad to worse, he thought, it would finish me. Taking the booklet out he began to write.
  3. “My name is Samuel Goodsprings. My family is to the southwest of this castle in the small village of Normenville. They live next to Silver’s Cathedral where I worked. I was the priest who…” He stopped for a bit to listen to the silence hanging in the castle’s halls. His hands quivered. Hopefully, nothing will rise again, he thought and continued to write.
  4. “who guided people from the twisted words of the Snake that lived in Eden. He who had destroyed so many lives in both this world and the next. I hope that by finding my last testament, I will be able to tell them and my followers that the deed is done. The undead have been put to rest and the ones who drank the blood of the innocent, who ate the flesh of newborns, and kept their bodies fruitful while their souls rotted; they have been staked and slain. But I fear it is too late for me.” He felt around the edge of the bandage, blood leaked out underneath the cloth.
  5. “For I have been bitten by a vampire and may have to end my own life before I too prey upon my flock.” Having calmed himself a bit, he began to mix the water in the vial with the herbs and salts in the bag. He took a sip. Sweet, that’s a good sign, he thought.
  6. “This all began a month ago, with that young child Isabella. The family had claimed they had seen her walking the streets in stripped cloth and dirt. Her face curled into a gnarled grin like a jackal as she danced in the moonlight. I had let this transgression slip my mind as while I am a man of G-d, I am also rational and could not picture it. For the child had recently passed you see of an illness. She had been buried a week before and when I went to inspect the grave, it was untouched.”
  7. “If I had been more cautious, I would have known to just dig up the grave anyway. As humans we lack the same sense of senses as the divine and so tricks can be played even on the smartest of us. The family kept troubling me about the issue after sermon every day, they claimed she flew into their dreams sucking at their veins and drinking their blood. That the recent squabbles in their house; the adultery of the husband and the gambling of the wife were all caused by her. I ignored this and said for them to simply pray and reverse their evil deeds. This changed when the family caught the same illness the girl did and perished in a few days.” He took another sip of the mixture. Still sweet.
  8. “While reports of the family rising never occurred, the same shadowy figure of Isabella remained a fixture in the town. I decided the only solution was to finally watch the streets with some of the local men and see if it were true. As the sun fell and the night came, we sat there near the streets she roamed. We talked for a while and had our drinks, but soon eventually she came. A pale beauty with flushed red cheeks and raven black hair. We stared at her, I don’t know if the others were looking at her the same way I did though. For I gazed deep into her eyes, they shone yellow like a wolf. Those eyes were starved and waiting to drain another until they were as lean as a rabbit.”
  9. “I yelled at her and commanded the group to seize her. That wasn’t hard, she tried to flee but with our strength we bound her well. We brought her to the church, and I began to ask questions. Who are you? Why are you out at night alone and naked? But all I got was a smirk and an animalistic growl that tried to tempt me into doing unholy things to her. I walked away and into the cold night air trying to compose myself. Then the Lord gave me a splendid idea. I went back inside and took my dagger out and proceeded to slice open her palms. They were bloodless and fused together in a few seconds. The family was correct, this child, no this beast was undead.”
  10. “Knowing this, the men and I overcame our urges with anger. We tied her down and brought out a metal stake and hammered it into her chest. I’m a rational man, but my father had not raised me without telling me the ancient myths and legends of our people. I knew the trick, a stake to the heart shall paralyze them and a slice to the head should end them. Then even if the stake is pulled, the head can never reattach and the soul if let free to receive judgement.”
  11. “Finally, having gazed upon the creature, my thoughts turned to the worst. Who had turned her? The Black Demon of the Forest? Herself? Or, another vampire perhaps? Whatever the case the next day I told those who would listen the truth, that our town had been attacked by a creature of the night. There would be no late-night drinks or celebrations until the infection had been purged. Every grave was to be dug up and staked, their heads sliced off and placed into bags where they would be burned. With support we were finished before the sun set.”
  12. “But more people became sick and perished. No person had been seen walking the streets and yet more people, particularly women, grew ill and passed. But worse still, some of the bodies were removed under the veil of night. After studying by candle light each and every night since that terrible night, I had learned of the cause. Somewhere nearby there was an old myth.” He took another sip; the taste had become bland on his tongue.
  13. “Several decades ago, a young prince had ruled the area. He felt it his right by blood to rule but was also the youngest in the family line. So, he took it upon himself to read and read until he knew the knowledge he wanted. One night he invited his sister to his room under the guise of a simple conversation. He then placed a cloth upon her mouth and then beat her with a club until she was a broken mess. He had pledge himself to Satan and drained the blood from her taking in Satan’s blood as his own. He tore at her flesh taking in the Black Demon’s own flesh. He sexually abused her corpse under the cloak of darkness fully taking on the form of the demon assaulting her soul. When he was done, he ordered his most loyal to dispose of the body in the garden for no one would look there.”
  14. “He continued doing this charming his family into believing the serfs had been rebelling and watched gleefully as their heads rolled down the executioner’s axe. His face grew pale and childlike. His hair and clothes, combed neatly without a sight of imperfection. His eyes yellowed and sought after their next meal and plaything. Finally, only the eldest brother and he remained. Even their parents had been reduced to toys for the prince. Luckily, the eldest brother had been warned by an angel the week before about what the now vampire wanted from him. And so, when he was sent to visit his younger brother he carried, what I now carry on me: a vial of holy water, some herbs and salts, something to write a last will, a stake, hammer, and blade to slice the head along with a symbol of the Lord. He offered his youngest brother a toast, to his new kingship with the water, herbs, and salt mixed in with some wine. The vampire drank greedily and prepared to kill his brother but fell to the floor comatose from the mixture.” He took another sip; the sweetness had left the water. He hardly noticed.
  15. “But like in so many of these tales, the eldest brother could not finish his duty. For in order to convince his brother to drink the wine, he had to drink his own wine as well. Except his was filled with poison, the youngest had slipped in. And so, both were buried here in this castle and the town slowly dispersed without and nobility to recognize.”
  16. “I armed myself the same way, gathered supplies and several men and rode off to where the legendary castle sat. It was in disrepair, dark purple ivy crawled up the towers and the entrance sat open and dark. We moved in cautiously. Our backs to each other as even if we were wrong, there could be bandits here waiting to rob us blind. We moved through the entrance hall, I imagined it once covered in stone tiling and an Arabian rug. Now it was covered in dirt and stone cracks, large beams supported the ceiling. The next room was dark.” He scratched at his bandage and took another sip. The taste was numbing.
  17. “There were no windows and so we couldn’t have seen the vampiress waiting beside the door. Her claws sank into his neck and spilled his blood. We retaliated and beat her with our maces and shields. Her body limply rose each time, until we pressed her down. Her breath stank of wet dirt. I slammed a stake into her and sliced her head off. One down.”
  18. “I did the same for our friend who had perished. His name was James Col. We moved onward using the moonlight from the doorway as our own light. We had entered the ballroom where several of the pillars and archways had crumbled over the years and moved into the kitchen where…by the Lord’s grace may my soul never see what was there again. We moved slowly combing the lower floors, no vampires remained here. We moved up the withering stair case as a she-beast flew down the stairs tackling another one of our men. Her pearly fangs tore out his throat. We dispatched her and his body the same as the last. His name was Thomas Grail. Our party had shrunk down from six to four. We climbed the stairs and made our way to the bedrooms.”
  19. “It was here, down the hall toward the throne room that I saw him. A pale and gaunt figure clothed in black robes. He could have passed for a young man coming of age. If not for the yellowed eyes that sat patiently for its prey to come to it.” He itched his wound again and took another sip ignoring the numbing sensation.
  20. “Around his waist were two more vampiresses, their bare flesh covered in fresh blood. He invited us in with a wave, asking if we wanted a drink. One of our men fled down the stairs. I have no idea what happened to him, well at least where his body is for, I heard him scream. And scream and scream as some beast tore at him below. Even though he was a coward, his name was William Hal. Regardless of my quivering hand and desire to run, I knew I couldn’t do it.”
  21. “I said a small prayer to the Lord, that I needed his strength during this darkest hour. The other two repeated along with me as we walked down the hall and into what may soon be our tomb. I had no plan, only a feeling that the prince would make a mistake. His arms fell to his sides as he let his concubines close the grand door behind us. The three of us, kept ourselves ready as another vampire came out from a side door with a porcelain plate on top was a violet bottle of wine. He congratulated us on coming this far, perhaps we’d like a drink to sate our thirst? We held fast and refused to be charmed. Perhaps, a touch from one of his girls would weaken our knees? One of my remaining men left me to an unknown place here. His name was Robert Goodell. The vampire smirked, he explained how foolish it must be, to challenge someone as he. Sure, he said, we had a god on our side, but he himself was a god. He stood up and took the wine and glasses from the platter and poured a few drinks. A toast he said to our victory.”
  22. “We could do nothing. We were outnumbered, lacked the strength and will to force him back. So, I held my hand out and took the glass of wine. I knew it to be poisoned. I did not care, for I had no choice. My final partner in this crusade, Luke Vanegas, took his own glass and threw it into the vampire’s face. He quickly hurled himself at his foe and attempted to slay him, but the vampire simply laughed. He laughed as he crushed my friend’s throat like a grape and drank his blood. His body was tossed against a wall and forgotten.”
  23. “The vampire greedily commented on needing another glass, I offered him my own and asked for another and was grated one by one of the vampiresses. The vampire stood proud and again said how smart I was to have agreed to toast with him. To a new age, a new dusk. His kingdom eternal under the red skies of Hell. He was so proud, he hardly glanced as I tossed my drink aside and grabbed by dagger and hammer. He would have said something, but soon found himself barely speaking. As he fell to the floor unconscious.”
  24. “While Luke, had died in honor. I had poisoned the drink with holy water, garlic, salt, and herbs. The vampire hardly noticed, too preoccupied with himself. My last stroke of luck came when a lady’s scream could be heard down the hall. The vampiresses flew to attack their new assailant, their lord soon fell after they left. And so too did my stake, I carved it into his chest cavity and hammered with every bit of strength G-d had given to me. When it was done, his complexion had rotted into a ghoul and his luxurious hair had fallen out like strands of rat’s fur. I was about to cut his head off when another shriek came from another entrance. One of the vampiresses had escaped my other compatriot, her mouth was slick with his blood.”
  25. “I had no time to dodge her. I readied myself as she flung her full weight at me. She clawed at my arm and tore at my chest. My overcoat protecting me from the worst wounds. I forced myself onto her and beat at her skull with my hammer. I struck her again and again, hoping for respite. Finally, a lucky hit knocked her down and I staked her the same. I resumed my work and cut both their heads.”
  26. “I was tired and in pain, but there was work to be done.” He began to tear at the bloodless wound around his neck and drank the last bit of the mixture in the vial. It was bitter, like a vegetable grown in tough soil.
  27. “So, I continued downstairs finding vampiresses asleep in their coffins, I staked them and cut their heads off one by one. If I wasn’t so determined, I might have cried. How many young lives lost to this wicked fiend? How many had died because of my foolish rationality? Too many, the only good here in this castle was that I would put an end to their unlives so they may join the Lord in His Kingdom.”
  28. “Then, I was down to two last vampiresses. The one before me had scarlet red hair and snow-kissed skin, she wore a white nightgown. I did not know her name, I did know she’d be free soon. Then I felt warm lips upon my neck, in my haste I had not noticed another raven haired vampiress latch onto me. I felt some warmth grow in my chest and move toward her lips. The cold soon claimed by fingers and hands. I raised my hammer and bashed it against her like I was crushing a mosquito. I wasted no time as I staked her sister and staked her, but I feared it was too late for me.”
  29. He ripped off the bandage and felt no tear or holes around his neck. He glanced at his hands, they shook as he looked at the vial and realized he had drunken it all. He felt frigid, his shirt and overcoat kept letting the wind blow through him. Or perhaps, it was just his soul leaving him. I wasn’t bitten, he thought, there’s no mark, there’s no mark. But he saw his red stained palm. He knew the truth. The silver cross around his neck had begun to burn him.
  30. He took out his pistol and placed it against his still warm heart. May I join my flock in your Kingdom, my God, he thought as he pulled the trigger. Down the corridor in the throne room, the once-prince’s head had a deep grin buried into it. His body lay a few feet away from him and in his palm, burned into his undead flesh were several silver bullets.
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