by Rick Darr
She intrigues me, this one.
Her movement, her ability to deceive and most of all her method of hunting prey, it all fascinates me to no end. Is she really
a French freedom fighter? I think not, but she does a marvelous job pretending. Is she a vampire not unlike myself? No, but
just the fact the question needs to be asked speaks volumes. I sense she is not one of my kind, yet she drinks the blood of
humans, sometimes taking just a little and treating them gently, other times killing them in a frenzied lust. There seems
to be neither rhyme nor reason and I find it fascinating.
How rude of me. Allow me to
introduce myself. My name is Amycus. Why are you alive and well, sitting there and reading this? Because I allow it, and probably
because you have not crossed my path. I jest, somewhat. Pardon my sense of humor; I suppose it has become a bit jaded over
the years. This century, along with the woman I am watching, seem to have inspired me. So much in fact that I have decided
to put my current thoughts to paper. Mind you, in years gone by I have written more than my share of recognized works, using
various pseudonyms. This writing refers mostly to the previous four months and marks the first time I have ever used my true
name. Perhaps in the near future I shall write my full autobiography and share my entire life, but not today.
For now, let’s just
say that I am over one thousand years old, have been courted by kings and queens and tasted their blood as well. Yes, I am
a vampire, but I have already let that slip. Sixty years ago, as the industrial age began to rise up and devour the earth
like a great beast, it occurred to me that my time had come. I decided enough was enough and entered these very caverns in
which I now sit, deep beneath the city of Paris. Since this was originally built as a large mausoleum it seemed a fitting
place to take a last long sleep. After unceremoniously removing the current occupant, a merchant I suppose, from one of the
cement coffins and finding he did not mind, I lay down for the last time and faded into oblivion, or so I thought. My powers
had grown to such an extent that I presumed it possible to will myself into non-existence. Apparently I overestimated myself
or underestimated God; either way it was not to be. At first there were dreams, but I willed myself even deeper into the self-induced
coma and from that point on I knew black nothingness.
And then there was something.
I felt pure evil pass over me, laughingly saying hello. I was awake and a dark shroud gripped my entire being. Once before
I had a similar experience, ages ago in the time of that exquisite madman, Napoleon. Back then the thing, the shroud, had
managed to stay just out of my reach, as if it knew of my presence, then it just disappeared. Did it invoke fear within me?
No, the exact opposite in fact: I felt extreme curiosity. You see, in all my years of dominating almost every creature that
has crossed my path there were a few times that I faced what might be called death, but not many.
It took me a few moments to
gather my senses and realize I was still on this plane of existence, and not in some netherworld. Rising from my coffin I
felt the evil essence begin to fade. Whatever it was seemed to be above me, moving slowly to the east. Before I could follow
it something else caught my attention, voices.
“Henri, do we have all
the exits secure?” This and what followed were spoken in French. I offer my translation skills to you, my English reader.
“Yes Pierre, the Nazis
will never find us here. Our groups are scattered throughout these caverns and even if they find some of us, the rest should
be safe.” This one placed some authority in his tone.
“I wish we could get
that pig Hitler before he leaves Paris. If we could kill him now then perhaps our traitorous brothers could be stopped as
“Have no fear Henri,
the Vichy government is a sham. We will tear it down one brick at a time,” replied the leader.
How curious and, yes, quite
confusing as well. I had no clue to tell me what year it was, nor how long I had been asleep. For the next two hours I stood
in the shadows and listened, gathering as much information as possible. The clues came. It turned out the year was 1940 and
the Germans had apparently conquered France under the guidance of someone called Adolph Hitler. This did not surprise me,
as the European continent had fought many wars over the centuries. What did intrigue me was the fact that this Hitler had
passed overhead at the time of my awakening. Was it coincidence?
Listening carefully, I had
neglected to take stock of my own condition. Gazing down now at my hands I was somewhat surprised to see two shriveled appendages.
The urge to feed had been with me since I had awakened, but curiosity had overridden it. It did not take me long to find the
sweet young French woman who strayed too deeply into the tunnel. Even in my debilitated physical condition it was an easy
matter to take her unawares. Slipping my decrepit hand around her mouth I pulled her back to my cement coffin. She struggled
valiantly, at one point almost breaking away from my weakened grasp. Soon enough however, I had her firmly lodged against
the side of the stone casket, the dust of its previous occupant quite thoroughly kicked about by her small feet. Since this
was my first kill in many years she would be savored like a fine wine. My preference has always been for females, dating all
the way back to before I was turned. Usually I would calm them down before drinking their blood, but this time I neglected
to do so– and I must admit I was in such a shocking state that amorous words would not have done. The young girl struggled
therefore all the way to the end. Did I feel remorse? No, I did not. Do not expect such nonsense.
After that kill, I left the
French partisans alone for the most part, not out of any political motive but purely for my own good. At times in the past
I would make a game of being the hunted, but since this place was comfortable to me I saw no reason to risk being exposed.
I buried the lovely and ruined body where no one would find it, and let them guess what might have happened to her.
For the next few months I
hunted on the surface, feeding off anyone unlucky enough to cross my path. The large iron beast-like tanks intrigued me, as
did the flying machines, but soon I felt myself slipping into the same apathy that had caused me to attempt the permanent
sleep. There was one thing that might keep me interested, perhaps, that would be a quest to find whatever had awakened me.
You see evil has always intrigued me; over the many years it has been my most studied subject. It is such an abstract word.
I cannot fathom evil. I kill because I must. Man, on the other hand, kills for pleasure, sport, and various other evil
reasons. One thing was crystal clear: the shadow that had passed over me was pure evil and had something
to do with the man, the Fuhrer, Adolph Hitler.
It did not take me long to
learn the geopolitical goings-on in the world, who was who and what was what. Most of the European continent was under German
control but the allied armies were fighting valiantly. I decided to take a trip to Germany, moving at night of course. Believe
me when I say it was a quick and somewhat boring trip. Only one thing troubled me. Would one of these new bombs destroy me,
or just incapacitate me enough for eternal living hell? The prudent thing was to avoid them and I did so, burying myself deep
in the ground at the most secluded spots available just before sunrise. Trust me: the details of each dig would not interest
you. It took two days to reach Berlin, but to my disappointment neither the thing I was seeking nor the Führer were there.
After delving into the mind of a German colonel I discovered Hitler was at his mountain retreat in Berchtesgaden, so off I
went. Pardon me for skipping the details once again.
Walking out of the woods and
gazing at the lake, I wondered just what type of being might await me. I was sorely disappointed. In front of me stood an
ordinary man wearing some type of uniform and playing with a large brown dog. This could not be the scourge of Europe, could
it? You see, leaders of countries, tyrants, etc., mean nothing to me, as they are mere mortals. It suddenly struck me there
were no guards. How interesting. But I was still at my wits’ end. Where was this creature that had elicited enough of
a feeling to awaken me from my eternal slumber? Not here apparently. The only thing before me was this pathetic little creature.
Should I rip him apart? As I said earlier, it mattered not what title he held. Deciding he was not worth my time, I turned
to leave. Suddenly a force struck me the likes of which I had never experienced. When my senses came back I was kneeling on
all fours, me, the mighty vampire. If memory serves me correctly, I laughed. Perhaps it was because nothing had ever brought
me to my knees before, but looking back perhaps it was closer to the nervous laughter elicited when there is nothing else
one can do. Standing up and turning around to face him it was clear that something had changed. Before me was not the dog-petting
man of seconds ago; suddenly a creature of immense power stood there looking down at me. Physically there was not much
difference, but my senses could feel the energy radiating from him. I was in for another surprise, as he began speaking in
a haunting voice.
“Amycus, it is not your
time. Leave this place immediately.”
“How do you know my
name, and just what type of creature are you?” I asked, feeling less confident than I might have sounded.
“For the last time,
leave here now if you value your existence.” As he spoke, it felt as if whatever force controlled him was increasing
At that moment I did something
unheard of: I walked away from an adversary. Yes, I know earlier I told you about attempting a permanent sleep. If this thing
killed me then what difference would it make? Let me just say death was not a concern. What did chill me was the prospect
of being an eternal servant of that thing. Approaching the woods I turned around for a last look. Hitler was once again
playing with his dog and completely ignoring me. For the first time in many years I felt something akin to…emotion,
a combination of bewilderment and confusion perhaps. I am not sure how else to describe it. During my trek back to the Paris
tunnels I kept running the encounter through my mind, going over it in detail again and again. Perhaps I would confront that
monster in the future, but for now my plan was to stay in France and observe.
Entering the underground tunnels
felt like coming home. It was a simple matter to avoid the traps that had been placed there and quite easy to avoid the humans
as well. You see, if my wish is to avoid contact I can move at a speed the normal eye cannot follow. If the person notices
anything it is only a blur. Ah, and now I have let slip one of the details of my travels. I shall not weary you further with
its like. With my thoughts still on the entity dwelling within Hitler, and lying serenely within my cement coffin, I pondered
my future. Just then I felt something else, not the dark force dwelling within the German leader but something closer to another
vampire. Whatever, or whomever was apparently close by. How grand. Perhaps I was not yet ready for the great slumber. So many
mysteries in such a short span of time. If it were possible I might describe myself as almost…giddy. Rising with new
purpose, I set off with the intent of finding the source of this new intrusion.
From the moment I laid eyes
on her it was clear she was special. Disregard the fact that my senses were drawn to her as to a magnet; there was something
else, something any aware human would note. Call it confidence or bravado, whatever it was she had it. She was also quite
beautiful, her long black hair flowing across her shoulders. Her emanations seemed similar to those of a vampire, yet also
different, as if she were a long lost relative of my own kind. She stiffened a bit and then started looking around the room.
Had she sensed me? Normally it takes little effort on my part to keep my presence hidden from humans, but it took the full
extent of my powers to block her. Like a wolf sniffing the air she stood and examined the room for a few moments, then went
back about her business.
No, I shall not tell you what
business that was. As I retired to my coffin it struck me that I was renewed, the events of meeting the strange Hitler and
this woman had brought back a desire within me to go on. Later I would learn her name was Elea and she would become deeply
entwined in my life, but that is another story. For now, let me give you a piece of advice. Be aware, you never know who or
what is watching you.
Copyright Rick Darr 2004
Rick Darr's career includes twelve years in the information technology
sector where he wrote training manuals and presentations for two major corporations, Westinghouse and Mastech-Emplifi. Currently
he has a short story titled “Tempting Evil” posted on the Guardian Tales website under the ‘special mention’
section, and three more short stories that are searching for a home.
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