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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Nightly Ritual

An older Short Story of mine from Darkside of the Planet. Sometimes Horror can be almost poetic.

She walked the street unaware of my presence, for I was but a ghost flitting through the darkness that longed to reveal its gloomy secrets from beyond the sodium light of the halogen street lamps. Though I moved silently, I playfully shuffled a stone or perceptively moved a branch every so often to darken her soul with an urgent fear of self preservation.

Her pace quickened and her heart raced. I reveled in the dark images that ran through her panicked mind. Excitedly, I fed on their colorful richness trying to fill the dark void within my black soul. The spark within her spirit awakened something deep within me, something I had lost touch with in a life long forgotten. I desperately grasped at the scarcely remembered sensation but it was too fleeting even for my heightened perceptiveness.

She rounded a corner and I cut through an "L" shaped courtyard, thick with overgrown ivy and prickly weeds. My dark gift afforded me such stealth that I managed to overtake a mangy cat without the creature noticing my approach. As my slender fingers curled around the surprised animal's neck, talon like fingernails ripped into the pungent smelling hide bleeding life away in one swift move, breaking skin and bone simultaneously. An exquisite warm stickiness ran in heavenly rivulets over the cold flesh of my hands and arms, but I could only allow a moment's indulgence for my real prey lay just a few feet beyond on the other side of a rusted iron gate. I peered around the brick wall and up into the beautifulness I had stalked for weeks.

I had come to know every contour of her face, from the sprig of auburn hair that jutted over her wrinkle-free forehead, to the elegant curve of her lovely neck that fell away milky below her slender slightly cleft chin. My carnivore eyesight saw the artery pulsing beneath the thin soft flesh with the excited pace of her racing heart, and my body tensed as she fumbled with the keys to the heavy wooden door. She longed for the desperate refuge from the fear that was beginning to boil away just under her skin, flushing her cheeks and forehead. Her breath came in heavy, uneven gulps as her frightened fingers refused to locate the appropriate key.

Suddenly, the haunting long lost feeling energized my aching soul as I grappled with the incarnate urge to feed on the sweet blood coursing through those tender veins only a foot away from my salivating fangs. Over eons my hunting skills had become keen and this moment of attack culminated in the frenzied need to satiate my never-ending hunger. It would be over in the blink of an eye. The moment came upon me, my muscles coiled ready to spring as the atmosphere electrified with anticipation.

Then, as had happened every night since I began stalking her, the faintly familiar feeling disarmed me. As she passed beyond the threshold, my entire body felt strained and spent. I knew I would collapse in exhaustion. Then I would dexterously climb the tree outside her bedroom window and watch as she slept on the other side of the glass convinced she was free from harm. I would linger dangerously close to dawn endangering my own existence, thirstily drinking in the sights, smells and emotions of her dreams. My soul yearned to understand the alien sensations emanating from her slumbering soul.

The chase continued almost every night for several years and the odd sensation always stayed my hand at the point of attack. When dusk came I risked hunting while the sky was still a blazing flame so that later in the evening my hunger would not impede the sensations I felt from her hapless soul. I felt no remorse or guilt, for I was unable.

As is the nature with my kind, we move through ages and countless generations unchanged and primal, as the human world evolves around us. The mystique slowly seeps from each age leaving us as it's only tenants, moving unnoticed amongst humankind – lonely souls distracted by petty concerns and lofty ambitions. We have faded into folklore and legend and are only remembered through romantic tales.

Thus, the inevitable day came when the chase lost it's fascination to me just as the human world lost its own enchantment with my kind. As I crouched in the alleyway looking up into a face that once awed me with its beauty, I saw years of age had passed unnoticed. The sprig of auburn hair had turned gray and the forehead was no longer soft with glowing skin. My eyes moved over her face with indifference until I focused upon her once smooth neck. The wrinkled skin was transparent and the artery underneath glowed red, triggering the carnal impulse to pounce without inhibition.

Sharp fangs pierced her neck and hot sweet blood funneled into my eagerly gulping mouth. Within that moment our souls connected and our hearts beat as one. Memories came rushing back and in that instant before her heart stopped beating, I realized what the alien sensation that kept me from feeding on her was.

Love.

My fascination for her beauty had given away to love upon seeing her soul. The primeval monster I had become could not fathom this feeling. A single tear slid down my flushed cheek as her warm blood flowed and cooled. Her lifeless eyes stared into mine as the tear slid off my chin and splashed onto her face, her blood within my veins suddenly became as cold as my soul.

That night, the last ember of my human soul was burned out with the fading light within her eyes. Now I have become the beast I was born to be, killing without remorse, or discrimination. I am the monster of fairy tales and the fear within nightmares. I am the dark soul that slides through the shadows unheard and unseen, striking when least expected.

I am vampire…. I am vampire.