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I open my eyes to the sound of someone knocking incessantly at the door of my sparsely furnished room. Dragging myself out of bed, I amble over to the door and open it slightly. Peering through the crack, my sight lands on the irritated visage of my “Master”: Mariska. “Wake up when I call for you, Wilhelmina; not on your own time.” She snaps, before turning on her heel and trotting away. B****. Slamming the door, I dress myself and climb down the two flights of stairs to get to the kitchen. Mariska gestures to a chair, and I take my seat. “Over the next five days, I will need you to deal with a matter that is of importance to me.” She began. Great; another menial job. “So vhat do you need me to fetch zis time? Another virgin off ze street for you to feed on? A large sum of valuables? Should I just go out into ze street and start butchering people for you amusement? Vhat say you, Master?” I interject, girding myself for a swift rebuttal. To my surprise the broad lets out a quick bark of laughter before responding. “Oh I would like any one of those things at the moment, but no… what I want you to do is to track down and capture a person named Caleb Hannan and bring him to me. After you do that, I might allow you some time to yourself on the weekends to go where you want; with my approval of course.” No different zan before, she always promises vat, and zen rescinds it at the last minute. Instead I replied: “Do it yourself, I have no interest in ze partaking of a kidnapping.” Rising from my seat, I turn my back on her and begin to walk away. “Yes, just as you have no interest in learning the identities of your parents you illegitimate slave?” She replied tonelessly. Whirling around, I scream “You Hure!” and dive at her, my hands clenched into fists. Laughing, she steps out of the way and catches me by the ankle, before slamming me against the floor. A punch to the face elicits a cry of pain. “Pfft… Utterly pitiful!” She mocks, pinning me to the floor with her foot. Stepping back, she turns and reseats herself, while I pull myself off the floor. “Wilhelmina? Fetch one of the servants. I’m hungry.” She asks. “Do it your –” I begin to say, before being crushed under the indomitable force of her will, as an overriding command enters and fills my mind. I turn stiffly and my feet move on their own towards the doorway that leads to the main hallway, and then to the room where laundry is washed. I can only mutely scream in outrage as my hand closes around the throat of one of the servants, a short young girl who is barely thirteen and I drag her effortlessly out of the laundry room. I can hear her pleas and entreaties for mercy, yet I am unable to respond as my body continues to move against my will. I enter the kitchen and hurl her down at the foot of Mariska’s chair, before trudging backwards into the corner where I am left stand stock still, unable to move. I stand there and watch, as Mariska picks the screaming girl up off the floor effortlessly and sinks her fangs into the girl’s exposed neck. Slowly, the girl’s struggling begins to ebb, and eventually, she goes limp, her arms dangling listlessly by her sides, her jaw slack. Mariska drops the unconscious girl to the floor unceremoniously, and snaps her fingers at me, ordering me to take the girl away. Hunching over, I pick the girl up off the floor, and sling her other my shoulder. Another snap of the fingers sends me walking out of the kitchen, and down the hall towards the servants’ quarters. Stopping in front of the door labeled “Room # 17”, I open the door and set the girl down on the bottom bunk. By this point, the overwhelming compulsions that had been bearing down on my body and mind had lifted, and with a furious shake of my head, I leave the room and shut the door. Following the hallway down to the Rear exit of the building, I take out a key that I had stolen once while Mariska was asleep, and after quickly checking to see if anyone was around, I unlock the door and step outside, being careful to avoid stepping out into direct sunlight. Sitting with my back against the wall of the manse, I wait till dusk has fallen, before I get up and leave down the trail that will lead me to the nearest town. As I go, my mind is begging me to go back, before my absence is discovered, for I know full well that I should only leave when I am permitted to. If I am discovered, my punishment would be severe, yet I brush those fears away and continue down the road, for I have down this multiple times, and have never been caught, or for that matter seen. Entering the town, I make my way hurriedly over to the small inn that is tucked back into a small grove of trees. Knocking on the door I am allowed in by the innkeeper, and taking a turn down a hall meant for the innkeeper himself, I enter a small room, where three young women ages 14 – 17 are hiding. They are some of the few servants who I have managed to sneak out in the middle of the night, a time when Mariska would be preoccupied with hunting or simply traveling up to the mountains that are located a couple miles behind the manse. Shutting the door behind me and locking it, I inform them of what will be going on in the next few days as is customary of me every time I visit. They take the warning that they may have to leave earlier than scheduled well, considering that any servants who are hiding here, normally only leave during periods of inactivity from the manse, and that there is a possibility that Mariska herself could pass by. I turn and say my goodbyes, before leaving the inn. As I start to make my way back towards the road, a shriek shatters the still night air. Following the sound, I head off the road and into a small patch of trees. Making my way through the curtain of branches and trunks, I come upon a young man and a girl, both in their late teens, who are arguing viciously. As I watch, the young man grabs the girl by the throat and lifts her without any visible exertion into the air by the throat. He opens his mouth to shout and his words carry over to me. “Listen to me, Cassie! If I can’t have you then no one else can! If you try to leave me for anyone else, I’ll break your car’s engine and take away your phone. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME!?” He yells, shaking the poor girl. “P – Ple – ase Eric put me down.” Cassie whimpers, clutching at his hand, tears streaming down her cheeks. With that, instead of setting her down on her feet, Eric slams her against the ground, and she shrieks in pain. Eric raises his hand and steps toward her and she cringes away from him, hands outstretched against the oncoming blow. Snatching a smooth rock off the ground, I step out from behind the tree I was hiding behind and let fly. “OY! DUMMKOPF!” The rock strikes him squarely on the side of the skull. “OW! WHO THE FU –” Turning towards me he takes a step back and faces me completely. He is abnormally pale, and relatively tall. His hair is a dirty blonde color and his eyes are yellow, like a cat’s. Heh…So he’s a Leasingnehmer. Baring my teeth, I take a step forward. “You can leave her alone and get out of my goddamned sight now or you can stay and get your f*ing head ripped off.” “Or I can tear off yours for interfering, you damn b****!” He shouts charging at me. “Fool.”
I jump out of the way and strike him in the back as he charges by. The fool then trips over a root and face – plants onto the ground. Getting up, he leaps at me, knocking me over and sending us both rolling onto the ground. A punch there, a slap here, eventually we come to a stop with him pinning me down at the waist. A right hook connects with my face, before I grab him by the face and toss him against a tree. Flipping myself onto my feet, I charge back at him and kick him in the face as he gets to his feet, sending him sprawling onto his back again. He tries to sweep my legs out from under me, yet I jump back out of his reach. Clambering onto his feet he lunges at me and throws a left hook towards my face, following it up with a sucker – punch to the stomach. I duck under the left hook and catch his right arm at the wrist, and with a flick of my own wrist, send him sprawling face – down in the dirt. Lifting my foot, I drive it down onto the back of his neck. Stepping off him, I take a few steps back, and seeing that he isn’t moving, I turn my back to him and start to approach Cassie, who has been sitting up, staring at him with a shocked expression on her face. Standing up, she bolts past me and kneels by his side, shaking him. “Vhat in ze name of ze Vater are you doing!?” I shout in warning. Getting up, she runs over to me and embraces me in a rib cracking hug. “Yes! Thank you, thank you, and thank you! He’s dead! That manipulative jackass, motherf*ing piss – faced coward is dead!” “Eh…I need…to breathe?” I said, regardless of how false that statement was. Pulling away from her, I am greeted by a fist heading towards my face. Recoiling back, I grab her by the collar and pull her out of the way. Shoving her behind me as the punch connects with my face I manage to shout at her to run before I hit the ground. Getting up, I catch Eric’s ankle, tripping him. Wrestling him away from Cassie, I hoist him into the air from behind, with my arms around his torso and slam him onto the packed earth. Grabbing him by the hair I hoist him up and deliver a punch to the stomach, followed by a kick to the groin. He collapses gasping onto the ground, retches, and then begins to crawl away from me as I approach. Striding over to him, I kick him in the ribs and then stomp on his head. Grasping his ankles, I swing him against a tree, a few things break. Dropping him face – first onto the ground, I grasp him at the back of the head, and slam his face into the tree, where I proceed to scrape it against the trunk. After doing this a few times, I toss him against another tree. Walking over to his broken, battered form, I pin him to the trunk with my foot. “So, you filthy excuse for a vampire! How does zis feel you undead maggot – ridden fool! How does it feel to be left to die, lying broken against a tree?” Sticking my face towards his head, I lift his head up so we are glaring each other straight in the eyes. “Tell me, are you afraid of death? Because if you are afraid of death, zen you should have never bothered her in ze first place, you maggot.” “Please don’t kill me, please show mercy to your own kind!” He begs, his eyes beseeching me to let go. “Please, be reasonable! We could make a powerful team, don’t you think? With my brains and your brawn, many would fall before us. I could give you the world; my family has insurmountable wealth…All you have to do is let me go. Just let me go and…You might be able to see your parents again.” Recoiling slightly, I begin to loosen my hold on him. Stopping, I bend down and grab him by the front of the shirt, and pulling him close I ask “Promise me, zat you will leave Cassie alone, if I help you. Do I make myself clear?” “Oh you have my assurances, from this point onward I promise I won’t touch a hair on her head.” He replied. “Fine, it’s settled then, I’ll help you.” I answered. It will give me an excuse to get away from Mariska. Turning, I begin to walk away. “Hey! Where are you going?” He calls out after me. With a disgruntled sigh, I stop walking and turn around. “vhat more do du will?” If you’re going to help me, then you should stay at my place! That way we can always be within earshot of each other.” He replied, a sneering grin spreading across his face. “Forget it zen, I’m not going to remain under ze same roof vith a bunch of freaks like you.” I reply. Again I turn my back to him and start to walk away. “Don’t you turn your back to me!” He shouts as I continue to walk away. “Ficken dich!” I call out in reply, as I pass through the walls of trees and into the street. Footsteps echo off the asphalt behind me, and as I slow to a stop, a fist connects with the back of my head. Staggering forward, I turn around clumsily, stumbling like a circus bear. A second punch collides with the side of my head. Collapsing to the ground, my consciousness slips away as my vision blacks out. I am awakened, by a searing pain in my stomach. Eyes flying open, I try to pull away, yet I find myself bound by the ankles and wrists to a cluster of trees. Looking down, my eyes widen in shock. Why is there a KNIFE in my gut!?
Gritting my teeth against the pain, I slowly test my bonds, tugging at each one by one. Heh, whoever tied these isn’t exactly the best at lashings. Giving the ropes another tug, one begins to fray slightly. Or the best quality either.
Giving my right arm, a violent tug, I tear free; followed by the left arm and the legs. Each movement sends a mall microburst of pain shooting through me. Grasping the hilt, I tear the knife from my stomach, and in doing so, a small yelp of pain slips past my lips.
“OW! Scheiss!” Cursing, I let the knife dangle loosely in my hand by my side. Taking a few uneven steps toward the trees, I turn my eyes skyward. F***! The sun has already started to rise? Quickening my pace, I break out into a jog, and pass through the barrier of trees.
Breaking the tree – line, I slow to a halt, and begin to walk back toward town. After going about fifteen feet, I get the feeling that I am being watched. Standing stock still, I hear the scuffing of shoes against the pavement, and whirling around, I dive to the side as a familiar and unwelcome face passes me by.
Setting off in a brisk run, I chase after my assailant, following him down the winding road, while the sun makes its inexorable march over the horizon. Just a few feet ahead, my target whirls around, drawing a short fixed – bladed knife while doing so and lunges towards me. Bringing my knife to bear, I meet his in a flare of sparks. Grabbing him by the wrist, I swing him in a semicircle, before letting him go. He stumbles and lurches against a tree in an attempt to regain his balance.
Reaching him, I swing my knife towards his neck, but he ducks, and the knife carves a wide gash across his left cheek instead. Catching him by the throat, I hoist him into the air and stab him in the stomach, before twisting the knife around and slicing him open at the waist.
Blood sprays from his torn stomach, splattering my legs, and sliding down his feet and onto the ground; his intestines follow soon after. Dropping him onto the ground, I bend down and grasp him by the hair, tilting his face upward, so that we are looking each other in the eyes.
“Still breathing, dummkopf?”
His yes flicker open, and his face breaks into a strained leer. “Yes…Yes I am.” A sharp pain blossoms an inch or so below my heart, and recoiling back in pain, I stumble and fall backward.
“The blades of both knives…were poisoned…and the Sun is rising…you have…but mere minutes to live.” He coughs, blood leaking from the corners of his mouth and nose.
Picking myself up, my stomach heaves, and I vomit into the brush, the acidic taste of bile mixing with the coppery taste of blood. Raising my hand, I drive it through his chest, and pierce his heart with my fingers. His body goes rigid, and then slackens, the light ebbing from his eyes, as a milky sheen overtakes them.
Delirious with pain, I stumble away, and collapse in the middle of the road. The Sun breaches the treetops, and at that instant, my skin feels as if it is being boiled. My vision clouds with a red haze, and I struggle to drag myself out of the sun. Tears of blood flow from my half closed eyes. Pulling myself forward, onto my elbows, I hack up blood.
My eyes center upon an approaching figure, though whoever it is stops just seven feet from me. Please…don’t let me die here…I…please…help me…I. I strain my hand out towards him, only to collapse uselessly, face down on the hot asphalt, unconsciousness overtaking me, pain driving out any other thought.
Reaching the unconscious girl, I pick her up gently, and pull her into the shade. Her face, though pleasing to the eyes, is covered with grime, and blood; her clothes are in a similar state. She is extremely pale, and is so light that she seems to be weightless. She is of a slight, yet athletic build and is of a height that would put her taller than most of her peers. Her hair is a bright red – orange, and is trimmed rather evenly all around to just above her shoulders.
Passing into the trees, her breathing becomes more even, though it still maintains a haggard edge, and sweat begins to bead on her brow. Carrying her deeper into the woods, I enter the secluded grassy knoll that I have made a small makeshift camp in. Carrying her past the empty fire – pit, I carry her into my tent, and set her down on top of my sleeping bag.
As I set her down, she shifts in my arms, and for the first time, I see the extent of her injuries. She had been stabbed in both the stomach and the diaphragm, and the injuries are fresh. Grabbing my pack, I sift through the stuff inside, and grabbing the metal case that stores my first aid supplies, which I open, and pull out a vial of antiseptic and some gauze bandages.
Kneeling beside her, I lift her shirt away from the wound on her stomach, and opening the vial of antiseptic, I ease out to drops of the strong – smelling substance onto the wound. She winces from the contact of the antiseptic on her damaged flesh, and then lays still, her lips held in a straight line. Measuring out the roll of gauze, I begin to bandage the injury. After wrapping the injury at least three times, I cut and tie up the loose ends of the gauze.
Moving to her other wound, I stop when I realize its location. S***, I’d have to pull her shirt off almost entirely just to treat it. Hmm…choices, choices. I could just go ahead and do it and deal with the consequences later or I could just try to let it heal on its own… Aw, screw it! The injury is probably too deep to be left on its own.
Gritting my teeth in irritation, I lift the shirt away from the other injury, zoning in on it only (However unpleasant that was. Focusing in on a diamond shaped wound caused by a knife isn’t exactly the most appealing. Yet it was either that or being classified as a pervert) Again I applied two drops of antiseptic, before binding up the wound with gauze. (And no my hands did not wander!)
Standing up, I pull a blanket over her prone form, and leave the tent. Picking up two small pieces of cloth, I fold them and dip them in the stream that runs along the West side of camp.
Heading back to the tent, I grab a canteen of water, and bring that along too. With the first rag, I clean the blood, dirt and sweat from her face and arms; with the second, I lay it horizontally against her forehead. Uncapping the canteen, I fill the cap with a trickle of water, and parting her lips slightly, pouring it down slowly so that she has time to swallow.
Placing the canteen beside her, I stand up and exit the tent. On an impulse, I tell her to sleep well as I leave, even though she can’t hear me. Grabbing one of the two fishing poles that I had brought with me, I head over to the stream, and cast my line. Sitting down on the ground of the stream’s bank, I wait for a bite.
After about 45 minutes, I feel a tug on the line, and begin to reel the line it extremely slowly, a powerful jerking of the line indicates that my target has taken the bait, and I reel it in with as much force as I can muster, without breaking the rods reeling mechanism.
Inspecting my catch as it draws closer, I am pleasantly surprised. I have snagged a foot and a half long largemouth bass. Grinning, I free it from the line, and place it in a large mesh bag. Carrying my prize back to the campsite, I place it in a water filled bucket meant for extinguishing fires. Heading back to the tent, I check on the girl.
When I enter the tent, she is thrashing about, her mouth forming words in some unknown tongue, her shoulders heaving, and her arms wind milling. Hustling to her side, I place a hand on her shoulder, and try to keep her still, while with my other hand I stroke hair and speak to her in soothing tones. Eventually, she calms down and again lies still, her only indication of being alive is the slight movement of her chest as she breathes.
Returning to my catch, I place it on a metal plate and strike it hard over the head, stunning it. Pulling out a boot knife, I cut off the tail and the head, which keeps moving even after being removed. Cutting away the offal, I cut out the edible meat near the pectoral fins and along the ribs and spine.
Sticking the edible meat in an aluminum mess – kit plate, I bring the remains to the fire pit and burn it in the fire. While I wait for the fish meat to cook, I begin my daily exercise routine. After about ten minutes, I check up on the fish and take it off the fire.
I bring the meat to my tent and try to feed some to the girl, but she remains asleep. Shrugging, I eat the fish alone. Halfway through, I feel something nudge my mind. Looking up, even if there wasn’t any thing their, I put down my plate and wait to hear if something happens. Nothing happens, so I say.
“Caleb? Are you there?”
Recognizing the voice, my brow furrows.
“Yes, Guardian this is Guard #02: Caleb Hannan speaking”
“Good. You will have to leave earlier than scheduled. I know that you are supposed to be on leave, but as of Friday, I myself will come to find you. Wait for me.”
I blink in response, today is Wednesday, and so in two days, I will have to either wake the girl and leave her here, or take her with me. Wait, why am I even worrying myself over someone I don’t even know, I could have left her on the street to die. Heck…that’s what I should have done. So why did I help her? Why –
“Oh – sorry! You needed something?”
“Yes, also while you are there, be on the lookout for any strange activity, such as sudden deaths, or disappearances. A Shinso vampire of high renown lives a few miles away, and she is on the move.”
The presence in my mind vanished abruptly, and I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts. So a Shinso vampire is on the move. I wish she would give me more information. Guess it can’t be helped that she is always vague.
Looking down at the rest of the fish, I find myself with no appetite for it, so I bring it over to the fire and burn it. Watching the fire burn down, I count the stars out of boredom. Eventually, I put out the smoldering remnants of the fire and return to my tent.
Pulling out a ground cloth, I set it down and closing the tent door, I give the girl another capful of water from the canteen, before falling into an uneasy sleep.
Opening my eyes, I turn slightly and bump into something. Looking over my shoulder, I nearly jump out of my skin in shock. Apparently some time after I had fallen asleep, the girl must have rolled over and mistaken me for something else. Shifting around, I extricate myself from her grasp, and pull my ground cloth over to the far side of the tent. Reaching for my pack, I pull out my old, battered, yet still functional MSI SlateBookTM. Switching it on, I give it time for Windows 7TM to boot up and log myself on. Opening FirefoxTM, I go over to Amazon.com and purchase Duma Key by Stephen King in E – Book format. Reading through chapter one, I close the E – Book, and plugging a pair of speakers into the SlateBook’s headphone jack, play some of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major. Leaving the tent, I keep the music running, and head over to the stream to wash my face and hands, looking up at the sky, I note that it is extremely cloudy, and looks like it will rain later on. Returning to the tent to get a fishing rod, I hear something that is definitely not Beethoven’s Symphonies coming from inside. Instead, some loud, raucous noise is coming from it instead. Poking my head into the tent, I stop, and stand there frozen in surprise. The girl is sitting up, her eyes open, and her head is bobbing to the tempo. As the chorus comes on, she breaks into song. “Herzeleid…herzeleid…herzeleid!” She is…wonderful. “Bravo!” Oh s*** did I really say that out loud? S***! I take a step back, intending to leave before she looks up, but her head snaps up almost immediately, and catches my stare as I retract myself from the tent. “Who…are you?” She asks staring at me, her hand wrapping itself around a penknife. Stepping into the tent, with my arms raised and hands open, to show that I don’t have a weapon, I approach her cautiously. “I am not here to cause you harm. My name is Caleb Hannan, I –” She goes rigid, her shoulders tensed, her eyes showing a flicker of fear, uncertainty. The penknife trembles in her hand. I take another worried step forward. “– found you unconscious and injured on the side of the road, and brought you here. I treated your wounds, and in general have left you alone. You haven’t woken for an entire day.” I take another step forward, and she scuttles back. “Don’t move! You’ll just –” Too late, as she drags herself back into the corner of the tent, a red stain appears on the bandages that bind her stomach. She drops the knife, and her hand automatically flies to her stomach. Catching her by the shoulder, I guide her down gently, and removing her hand, examine the severity of the injury. “You alright? You should remain still, don’t try moving too much, you’ll just make it worse.” “Er…alright, I…understand.” She replies. “Good. Is it all right if I re – treat it?” “Go ahead.” She replies. Kneeling beside her, I slowly unwind the gauze from around her stomach. Taking the vial of antiseptic, I pop the cap and measure out two drops of the liquid. “This will sting a bit.” I warn her. “I can handle pain. Just get it over vith.” Tilting the cap, I apply the drops to the wound. She winces, and her hand clamps around my left wrist with enough force to cut off circulation to my entire hand. Setting aside the antiseptic, I unroll some more of the gauze bandage that I have with me, and rebind the wound. “Danke.” She says after I finish. “Your welcome…I’m sorry, but what is your name?” “Wilhelmina Adelaide. You can call me Mina though.” She replies. “Mina eh? That’s an old name that I haven’t heard in a while. Isn’t it a German name that stands for: “strong – willed warrior”?” “Ja. I am originally from Germany. I vas born and spent my first two years of my life zere before moving here.” “Oh…So were do you live now? Where are your parents?” I ask. “I don’t vant to talk about it…at ze moment.” She says quietly, her face darkening. An awkward silence holds for almost an entire minute, before she sighs, and picks up the SlateBook and with a wan smile, plays another song. The song that begins to play is a quiet, melancholy song; that starts out with a sad, slow keyboard solo. I stand up and turn towards the door of the tent, but she asks me to sit back down.] “Just listen.” Stirb Nicht Vor Mir (Don’t Die Before I do) (Gender – swapped) By RammsteinTM German: Mina English: Caleb Die Nacht offnet ihren SchoB Das Kind heiBt Einsamkeit Es ist kalt und regungslos Ich weine leise in die Zeit Ich weiB nicht wie du HeiBt Doch ich weiB dass es dich gibt Ich weiB dass irgendwann Irgendwer mich liebt She comes to me every night No words are left to say With her hands around my neck I close my eyes and pass away I don’t know who she is In my dreams she does exist Her passion is a kiss And I can not resist Ich warte hier Don’t die before I do Ich warte hier Strib nicht vor mir I don’t know who you are I know that you exist Stirb nicht Sometimes love seems so far Ich warte hier Your love I can’t dismiss Ich warte hier Alle Hauser sind verschneit Und in den Fenstern Kerzenlicht Dort liegen sie zu zweit Und ich Ich warte nur auf dich Ich warte hier Don’t die before I do Ich warte hier Stirb nicht vor mir I don’t know who you are I know that you exist Stirb nicht Sometimes love seems so far Ich warte hier Your love I can’t dismiss Stirb nicht vor mir We stood there in silence for a few seconds, and then broke out in fits of laughter, both of us grasping the others arms for support. “Ah…You not too bad for someone who doesn't seem like ze musical type!” She crows, a wide, tooth – filled grin spreading across her face. “You’re pretty good yourself!” I respond. “Danke. You know vhere I can take a bath? I reek of blood and sweat.” “There is a stream just twenty feet west of here.” I said. Leaning over, she sniffs at my shoulder, and pulls her head back sharply. “You could use one too.” “Eh?” She then grabs me by the collar, and drags me over to the stream. Showing an abnormal level of physical strength, she lobs me head – first into the stream. Spluttering, I force my head above the surface and blink the water from my eyes. “No peeking. I’m coming in.” She calls out from the sandbank. *SPLASH* Turning toward the opposite bank, I stick my head back underwater. Rising above the water, I pull off my shirt, and wring the water out of it. Wading over to the bank, I pull myself up onto the grass, water trickling off my pants and legs. Walking over to the fire pit, I pile some kindling onto the ashes of yesterday’s fire, and going into the tent for a match, I get a small fire started. Letting it build up, I place a few sticks for tinder on it to keep it going. “Oy…Caleb! Do you have a towel I can use?” Mina calls from the stream. “Yeah I have one. I’ll get it for you.” I shout out in reply. “Danke.” Grabbing a towel from my pack, I walk back to the stream. Reaching the stream, I stand there with my eyes closed, so that Mina can get the towel. She takes the towel from my hand, and after about twenty five seconds, I open my eyes. Mina is (thankfully) fully covered by the towel. Hurrying over, I help her gather her belongings, and we return to camp. Reaching camp, I leave her clothes out to dry by the fire, while she stays inside the tent, away from prying eyes. Sitting next to the fire, I pull a short stick out of my pocket, and flicking open a pocket knife, begin whittling it down. As I sit by the fire I gaze into its depths, and let my mind wander. Come on, give in…you know you want to. What would I want to give in to? You know deep down what it is. Come on, act on the temptation. Go to the tent… Why would I? Mina is in there. Exactly…go to the tent, and go in… But that would be…immoral. Immoral? Curse the meaning of the word! Go on take her! You even said she was attractive…beautiful even! And she does trust you…so what reason is there not to? Enter the tent…force her down…and make her yours…when else will this opportunity arise? One should not act on bodily temptations, for if one does, then one is lower than the meanest beast. Fine, be that way…just remember, when you are old and weak, you will be alone, unloved and decrepit. Devoid of friends, family and contentment. Shaking my head from side, I get up and walk over to the tent. Standing at the closed tent door, I ask Mina for my backpack. No response is given. Feeling uneasy, I tell her that I need to get my backpack from inside, and still no response or acknowledgement is heard. Forgive me, Mina. Unzipping the door of the tent, I poke my head in, intending on grabbing my pack and leaving quickly. However, my eyes fall upon Mina, who has fallen asleep. My eyes lock onto her back, and I recoil in revulsion. Her back is a crisscross of scars. Grabbing my pack, I step out of the tent and zip the door shut. Stumbling toward the stream, I kneel down, and vomit in disgust. My disgust is not aimed at her, but at my own thoughts. How could I even think to use her in such a way? I’m so f*ing screwed up in the head. I’m sick, just plain sick. Shaking, I walk back to camp and sit by the fire, head in hands. To my left, I hear the tent door being unzipped. Not even bothering to look up, I listen as Mina approaches the fire. “Your clothes should be dry by now.” I croak. “Danke…vait…vhat’s vrong?” She asks, taking a few steps toward me. “N-Nothing is…wrong.” I reply. Taking a step towards me, she places a hand on my shoulder. Please don’t. I’m not deserving of your respect, or concern. “Come on…tell me, vhat’s vrong? You seem to be bothered by something.” She insists. “I really don’t want to talk about it” I reply. “I’ll probably figure it out eventually, come on let it out. It might help you deal vith it.” She says, giving my shoulder a quick shake, before sitting down beside me. “Shouldn’t you be getting dressed?” I said. “Oh scheiss…Ja, I’ll do that, you can tell me about vhat’s going on vhen I get back.” Standing up, she walks back toward the tent. Jeez…she’s persistent…then again, I can tell her about what’s going to happen tomorrow, that I can do. Anyways who is she going to tell? Raising my head from my hands, I watch as She gets out of the tent and walks toward me. “Alright. Vhat is it zat you are going to tell me?” She asks. “Tomorrow, probably later in the afternoon, I’ll have to leave, most likely immediately. The reason I’m worried, is that well…you don’t have anywhere to go do you?” “Um…not really.” She said, her face becoming guarded. Hm…looks like she has some secrets of her own. “Well…er…if this doesn’t sound too…rude? Would it be possible if you could follow me? Eh…I mean I would feel better about leaving, if you were able to find a safe place to stay for the night, and…um.” I stammer, turning away. “Vell, if you vant me to go vith you vhen you leave, I don’t see ze problem vith it. Heck, I’m preferential to doing zat over going to ze tavern in ze town.” She replies her eyes set in a determined glare. “Oh…okay, that should be fine.” I reply, a knot of uneasiness cording up in my stomach. Looking up at the sky, which is an overcast navy blue, I pull myself onto my feet. Beside me, Mina does the same. “I’m going to sleep, coming?” I ask, walking towards the tent. “I’ll be at the tent in a minute.” She replies, staring out into the trees. Puzzled, I shrug my shoulders and head back towards the tent. Once inside, I push her sleeping bag towards one end of the tent, and my bedroll towards the other.
Standing outside the tent, I gaze out into the line of trees. Grumbling, I kick a loose rock, and watch as it bounces across the grass. He’s hiding something, something that he’s obviously too afraid to tell me about. Maybe if I go inside and ask him now, he might tell me.
Turning around, I unzip the tent, and close it behind me. Looking at the arrangement, I grin at the placement of my sleepy bag. Well it’s not mine, technically, yet it’s good to know that I won’t be sharing a tent with a lech.
Sitting down, I smooth out the creases on the sleepy bag, and listen to the noises of the stream gurgling, and the crickets chirping. So by tomorrow, I’ll have to leave. I’ll have to live as a runaway, living off the charity of others. I’ll be hiding like a rat in a maze, constantly fleeing both Mariska, and innocent people. People like Caleb, fleeing from them, so that they don’t end up in harm’s way. I should leave right now…she’s bound to be already searching for me.
Standing up I turn toward the sleeping form of Caleb, holding him in my gaze for a long time. I’m sorry, that we couldn’t have known each other for longer. If we did, I could have turned you, then you would be protected from harm, but as it is, even though I want to, I can’t deal with putting you in harm’s way for my sake. Good – bye, Caleb Hannan.
Kneeling by his side, I take his head in my hands, and bending down, my lips meet his forehead for a few seconds, before breaking away. I turn and leave the tent, and jogging past the fire pit, I break out into a run. Hitting the street, I keep running, my legs leading me toward the town. Behind me, the walls of trees that hide camp grow smaller every passing stride.
Pounding along the trail, I spot the lights of the town up ahead, yet they have a strange flickering light. As I reach the outskirts of the town, I slow down to a walk, and then stop completely. The Inn, where the runaway servants have been sheltered, was in shambles, flames still smoldering upon broken beams. Near the front of the ruined building, impaled Vlad the Impaler style is the skinned body of the innkeeper. I’m too late.
Walking slowly towards the ruined building, I pass by the impaled corpse and enter the ruined entrance. Stopping, I take a step back, revulsion and horror pulsing through me. Three corpses are hanging by the necks from the lone undamaged beam. The first two are expected. They are two of the servants who I had smuggled out of the manse, in an attempt to grant them their freedom. Their stomachs torn and the intestines dangling from them like bundles of rope. The third is much more shocking. Before me, bruised, bloody and unmistakably dead dangles the same girl whose abusive jerk of a Leasingnehmer boyfriend I had killed.
Walking closer, I see that the girl had been violated after death. They…they…just, no! The poor girl had not even been shown any decency after death. She had been treated like a useless toy, which had been broken and then tossed aside. Her tormentors had even dared to use her as a chalkboard. Harm a member of our kind again, and the bodies will line the streets, whore.
“F***! Scheiss drauf! Damned Leasingnehmers, Scheiss on ze whole lot of them!” I rage uselessly, punching out a window.
“Huh…is someone zere?” I call out.
“Over here” the voice calls out faintly in reply.
Walking toward the voice, I look around, unable to pinpoint the direct source. “Wo bist du?”
“Here…over here.” The voice calls out again.
Spotting a hand waving weakly, from under a fallen beam, I rush over to it, and grabbing the beam, I lift it off the girl. Pulling her away from the wreckage, I cradle her in my arms.
“Vhat happened? Vhat went on here? Answer me, Irene!” I urge, shaking the girl slightly.
*COUGH* “Ma – Mari – Mariska came by when you had left, she passed through the town, it was late at night, and we had just finished our evening vigil. She started to head towards the inn, and the Innkeeper told us to get down under the table, and to pull the chairs in around us. He had kept the lights dim, so that it would seem like only he was home. Mariska asked if she could get a bottle of…Merlot, I guess. *COUGH* While he hurried to get it, She approached the table, and…flipped it over. She had already spotted us, beforehand it seemed. Once discovered, she turned on the innkeeper. She grabbed him, and snapped his neck like a twig. Then she…”
A slight whistling noise started to become noticeable to my left, and Irene’s eyes went wide with fear.
“Vhat? Vhat is it?” I ask.
She opens her mouth to respond, when her entire body convulses, a frightened and pained look appearing on her face. I feel something warm trickling onto my arm, and looking down, I instinctually recoil. Protruding from her stomach is a jagged sliver of oak.
“Irene! Come on! Stirb nicht!” I shout, shaking her. But she has already gone too far down the road. Shoulders slumped; I rest her gently against the ground. Not even one…I couldn’t even save a single life.
“Sad really, it’s always the one who we strive to do the most for that always end up suffering the most. Don’t you agree, Wilhelmina?”
Whirling around, I grab the broken beam that I had lifted off of Irene, and hurl it at her like a javelin. She takes a direct hit from the beam, and slams into the wall, fixed in place by the heavy piece of wood. Taking cautious steps towards her, I stop in front of her, and reaching towards her, I lay a finger on her neck.
She shows no reaction, and I take a step away. Turning my back, I walk back over to Irene’s body, and picking it up, I begin to make my way out of the ruined inn. Reaching the entrance, I hear a whistling noise, coming from behind. Whirling around, I toss myself out of the way, as foot long shards of wood wiz by me, embedding themselves in the ground.
Hovering about four feet off the ground, Is Mariska. Already, she has almost finished regenerating from the hit with the beam. To her right and left, two heavy wooden beams are floating in the air.
“Still interested in resisting? You should know that, after you left, I questioned the remaining servants. Since they refused to tell me anything, I strung them up on the clothesline by their necks. Again, the more we try to help, the worse it is for those who should benefit.”
Freezing in place, my shoulders begin to shake with unfettered, useless rage.
“Damn you…just…damn you Mariska”
“So only your tongue can move, then maybe it should be stilled!” She replies. With a flick of her wrist, one of the beams hurdle towards me, and I dive out of the way. The next beam flies toward me, while I’m still in the air, unable to evade it I’m struck full in the stomach and launched across the room. Crashing into the wall, it crumbles around me, and I find myself pitched onto the empty blackened lawn.
“MINA!” A familiar male voice calls out to me.
“Huh” Lifting my head, I spot Caleb running full pelt towards me. “Vhat…Vhat the hell are you doing here?” I demand.
Kneeling in front of me, he pulls me into a sudden hug, and then letting go, he grabs me by the shoulders.
“What are you doing here? You should be back at camp! Why are you holding a dead body?”
“First off, you don’t run my life! Two, I’ll explain later, right now, we have to leave!” I shout. Getting up, I look around, and spotting Mariska floating from the doorway, I turn and begin to run. Behind me, I hear Caleb scramble onto his feet after me.
“Why are we running?” He yells out to me.
“Look behind you!” I shout in reply, not bothering to slow down.
Clearing the street, we both burst into the woods and out again. Slowing down to a jog, I begin to explain.
“First off, I’m a vampire…not a fully fledged one, not yet at ze very least.” I begin. Raising my hand, I quiet him down and continue.
“It’s too much to explain in full, but to say it simply I have been trying to get away from my Master: Mariska for a while. I have also been smuggling servants out of ze manse zat she lives in, keeping zem hidden in zat inn. Irene, ze person who I’ve been carrying vas one of zem.”
“I don’t know the details about vhat happened tonight, ze only people who do are dead.” I reply, jerking my head towards the body held in my arms.
“Who were you running from?” He asks.
“Mariska…and you. Not because I hate you or anything. I didn’t vant you to be harmed, between something zat involves me and her.” I said, bowing my head in shame.
Feeling a hand on my shoulder, I look up. “Don’t worry about it, I’m happy that you that concerned about the welfare of others, but if anything involves you, I think it should involve me as well.” He said, giving my shoulder a quick shake.
“But…vhat about me being a…” I stammer, struggling to form words.
“Don’t worry about it…you see, I’m not human either, so it doesn’t really bother me.” He replies, a wan smile on his face.
“Zen vhat are you?” I ask, confused.
“I’ll explain later.”
Behind us, the wind begins to pick up. Looking at the trees, I see that they are swaying heavily, their tops waving from side to side.
“Looks like the storm is picking up.” Caleb said, watching the trees.
“Maybe, but…something doesn’t seem right.” I reply.
Then, two redwoods flew straight at us. Lurching forward, I tackle Caleb, knocking him to the ground, as the two trunks soar over our heads. Turning around, I pull him to his feet, and bend down to pick up Irene’s body.
“Mina! We don’t have the time! Come on!” He yells, pulling me away as another tree trunk flies towards us.
“Ve’re trapped.” I reply, standing stock still.
“Then we’ll have to fight our way through.” He replies, face grim.
“Just vhat I’d vant you to say.” I reply.
The trees begin to part, many simply being uprooted where they stand. Raising my fists, I notice a sudden smell of salt and water. Looking over to Caleb, I spot a three pronged spear in his hands. The weapon is made out of some blued metal, with the two outer prongs swept back gracefully. The center prong, is serrated all along its edge, and is much longer than the other two.
“Mina…draw her attention.” He says, eyes never leaving the trees.
The last row of trees blows apart, and I immediately set off on a pitched run. As expected, Mariska launches another tree in my direction, and I dive out of the way. Meanwhile, Caleb is slowly making his way around her. Turning, I run farther away. Instead of a trunk this time, Mariska shatters a tree and launches a barrage of wooden shards in my direction. Again I jump to the side.
“Vhat happened to your aim, Master? I zought you didn’t miss!” I taunt, skipping backward.
“Not normally, in this case, I have driven you to the one spot where I can deal with you both.” She replies, a leer spreading across her lips.
Eyes widening, I run right past her. “CALEB! Look out!” I scream and Mariska unloads a barrage of wooden spikes at him. Doubling my speed, I dive in front of him, shielding him with my own body.
“I must thank you Mina, for you have proven to be a most useful Fledgling…now die, for you have fulfilled your purpose.” Mariska said, as she hovered above us.
“Run…Caleb…run. She is after you not me.” I croak, trying to push him away.
“Run…I’ll survive.” I snap at him. He shakes his head in reply.
“I’ll hold her off long enough for you to get out of here. Once you’re safe, I’ll run. Does that seem reasonable?”
“Fine.” I hiss through gritted teeth.
“Saying your last words, Wilhelmina?” Mariska taunts.
“You’re focus; broad should be on me.” Caleb calls out
“And why is that; Caleb Hannan?” She sneers.
“Because of this.” He responded.
As he finished, the wind picked up greatly, enough to get even Mariska to notice.
“So you caused a little breeze did you? And you expect me to be afraid of it? You sad, sad fool.” She taunts.
“No but I expect you to be afraid of this.” And he snapped his fingers.
A full blown tornado then roared up around Mariska, completely obscuring her from view, anything that was either too heavy to lift, or was tied down, stayed put, while everything else was drawn into the whirling vortex of the tornado. With a quick burst of pain, I feel the shards of wood tear themselves from my body.
The tornado begins to slow, and eventually it dies down. Mariska is no longer hovering, but is still standing, even with a branch though her neck, and shards of wood piercing her at multiple points.
“Heh…impressive Caleb Hannan, very impressive indeed. However this isn’t enough to stop me.” She says, as a pile of torn and split branches rise up from the ground and hover high above her head.
“Good – bye fool.”
The branches soar at him with demonic speed, piercing him through like a hot knife through butter.
Gasping in pain, I collapse onto my knees, branches sticking out from my torso. Before me, Mariska pulls the shards of wood and the branch out of her body, the wounds regenerating at a rapid pace.
“OW…f***!” Wincing, I pull a branch out of my left hand. Looking up, Mariska hand tightens around my throat, and effortlessly lifts my 6’1 frame from the ground.
“Now, before I drain you, I want you to know who sold you out. Mina did it. She ran away, after I had given her orders to seek you out and bring you here. Now I don’t know what happened between that time but you should know that due to you meeting her and her finding me at the inn, you are now mine for the taking.” She crows, tilting my head back.
*SMACK* I feel Mariska’s grasp on my neck loosen, and I fall backward, a fresh wave of pain soaring through me as I hit the ground. Titling my head, I watch Mariska crash into a fallen tree, with Mina on top of her. Trying to sit up, I cannot, and as I watch, bile rises in my throat at what is transpiring.
Mariska has gone from completely in control, to fighting for her life. Mina grasps her by the face, and with her free hand, begins to strike Mariska with enough force to cause her to cry and vomit blood. Mina then throws Mariska to the ground for the second time, before grasping her by her hair and twisting her head from side to side, clearly with the intentions of snapping it.
Oh gods above, Mina…please stop… if she retaliates, you’ll be completely vulnerable! Yet Mariska seems to be unable to retaliate. Mina grasps her head by the upper and lower jaws, and in a show of brutality, tears away Mariska’s lower jaw. Mariska continues to scream, so to silence her, Mina bites off her tongue. Slamming Mariska’s head to the ground, she then moves onto the arms, which she twist and jerks until they tear off, and then using them like clubs, she beats Mariska off the head with them until they snap at the joints.
Dropping the broken limbs, she drives both hands into Mariska’s back. With a horrible cacophony of bursting muscle and tearing skin, Mina tears out most of her spine and her ribcage. Internal organs slide out from between the ribs, like a turtle being ripped from its shell. A kick shatters Mariska’s pelvis, and Mina, apparently not sated, twists and tugs at Mariska’s legs until they tear away.
Then, Mina rolls Mariska’s twitching form over, and tears through her stomach, nearly cleaving her in half. Moving again towards Mariska’s head, I see in revulsion, that Mariska’s eyes are still moving. Mina then tears away most of Mariska’s face, along with her eyes. Then she drives a foot through her master’s skull, shattering it, and sending brain matter splattering over the surrounded brush. Finally, she tears out Mariska’s heart, and hoisting the mutilated body over her head, rips it in half.
Oh god Mina, oh god, what has driven you to this?
“MINA!” Pulling the last branch from my stomach, I push myself to my feet, and jog over to Mina. Tossing my arms around the bloodstained girl, I hold her there, waiting as her breathing becomes more even.
“You’ve done enough, Mina. You’ve done enough. You can stop now.” I soothe, stroking the girl’s short red hair. Standing there, I hold her there for around a minute, before she calms down, and goes limp.
Her head lifts up, and she frees herself from my embrace. Looking around she sees what she has done and turns toward me, tears of blood sliding down her cheeks.
“Vhat…vhat have I done?” She whispers, her eyes wide with fear.
“It’s alright…whatever it is, it’s over now. We should get back to camp.” I reply.
“Oh god…I’m a monster…a plain as night monster!” She wails, hands covering her face.
“You’re not a monster.” I reply, striding over to her to grasp her shoulders. Giving her a quick shake, I pull her into another hug.
“Don’t worry yourself over what has happened. Things like this can’t be controlled. What happened isn’t your fault, don’t dwell on it. People, we included can’t always be perfect, hell…we rarely are. We just need to take things for what they are, and try to make the best of it.”
“You…really believe…zat?” She whispers, her face hopeful.
“I do. We are who we are, and that can’t be changed, just lived with.” I reply, giving her a small smile.
“Caleb?” She says.
“Zank you…for everything.” She responds.
“I’m fine now.” She finishes, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.
“Let’s go…vait! Don’t you need to leave tonight?” She asks, her eyes watching my every move.
“You’re right. I’ll send the person who I’m supposed to be meeting a message. Give me a minute.” I reply.
“Alright, go ahead.”
Guardian? This is Guard #02 Caleb Hannan, requesting your attention.
Eh? Oh, Caleb? What do you want? Also, where the f*** are you?
I’m in…well what used to be a forest, about half a mile from the nearest town.
What the hell are you doing there? You’re supposed to meet me two miles north of the town; from what I can tell you’re half a mile south!
I encountered the vampire you warned me about.
When? And what happened? Answer me you daft fool!
I encountered her about seventeen minutes ago. She’s dead now.
I’m impressed! You actually managed to kill her. Good work.
I wasn’t the one who killed her. Hell, she almost killed me. Her fledgling saved my life.
Why would her fledgling act against her?
Her fledgling hated her. She probably still does.
So what happened exactly?
I managed to catch the vampire in a tornado, where she was struck by loose branches and pieces of wood. She survived though, and stuck me full of sharpened branches. She was going to finish me off, yet her fledgling got the jump on her…and well…tore her into bloody pieces.
Oh, so the fledgling killed her. Did the fledgling become a master vampire? Did the fledgling drink its master’s blood?
No, she hasn’t drunk blood yet.
Alright, since the threat has abated, both for you and for me, I’ll let you have the rest of this week and next for your vacation. After that, though…You’re coming with me.
Thank you Guardian.
Don’t mention it. Remember the rest of this week and the next no more. Good – bye.
“OK, I’m finished Mina, we can go.” I call out.
“Right ahead of you.” She replies, before quickening her pace into a jog.
Entering camp, Caleb and I sit down, listening to the noises of the forest. Turning, I look at him, and try to figure out who he is exactly. Nothing about his appearance would how that he isn’t human. The only real evidence would be his own words, and that sudden show of summoning a spear out of the blue and causing a tornado.
“How are you not human?” I ask.
“Good question. Let me explain, it in the simplest terms possible. I am a guard…no not a bodyguard, or a security guard. You see, I was killed in a drive by shooting, while in Roxbury, Massachusetts. The last thing I remember, while I was still breathing, was someone asking me if I was ready to die. I said no, and then passed away, only to wake up again surrounded by nothing but blackness. After about a minute, the blackness cleared, and then I was back in Roxbury standing above my own dead body, while my parents mourned my apparent death. I couldn’t speak with them, and they didn’t seem to be able to see me. The same voice that asked me if I was ready to die, told me that I no longer existed fully on the same level of existence as my parents. I then left them, and entered Boston. Once I entered Boston, I was able to feel the ground beneath me again, and I was able to touch things with my hands again.”
“So vhat did you do after you regained your senses?”
“Well, I regained my entire body to be exact, and the first thing I did, was steal some clothes.” He replied.
“Because I was stark naked when I came back to the living.” He said, a grin forming on his lips.
Pausing for a moment, I then break out into uncontrolled fits of laughter, slapping my knees in amusement. A few seconds later, Caleb joins in.
“Did anybody see you?” I ask between fits of laughter.
“Um…no…alright, a clerk spotted me in the clothing aisle.” He stammers in reply, a red hue tinting his cheeks. Clutching my sides, I burst into another fit of laughter.
“Now ZAT must have been a sight! I vonder vhat zat clerk zought, seeing a fifteen year old who stands 6’1 running naked through his store!” I cackle.
“In hindsight, it probably was…the clerk probably didn’t know what to think. Thankfully, he didn’t call the police.” He replied, shaking his head ruefully.
“How did you get here? Did you come here immediately afterward?” I ask, tossing some more wood onto the fire.
“No, I met the Guardian, and the other current Guard, Abel Hiram. If you ask me, the Guardian is probably the last person or thing you want to piss off. That and she is a bit…shall we say battle mad? Abel on the other hand is the friendliest and most easygoing person I can remember meeting.” He answered.
“Vhat do they look like?”
“The Guardian, stands about 5’10, and has green eyes, brown hair, and has an athletic physique. She has a scar running across the bridge of her nose and left eye, and one running down the length of her right arm. She probably has other scars, but I really don’t want to know where. Abel has light brown hair and brown eyes. He stands about 5’11, and isn't too muscular, he is pretty much average.”
“So after you met zem, vhat did you do?”
“I trained, and then trained some more. I mostly sparred with either the Guardian, or Abel. This trip was to be both my first mission and my first vacation.” He continued.
“How did you do, when you sparred against Abel and the Guardian?” I asked, curious to know how well he could truly fight, even if it wasn’t of any real importance at the time.
He started to chuckle at this, and shook his head. “Pretty badly. The Guardian either simply crushed either me or Abel, through sheer strength and brute skill, or Abel outsmarted me, and left me stuck to a wall by my clothing.”
“Vant another sparring partner?” I asked, standing up and brushing the dirt off my clothes.
“Who…wait you?” He asks incredulousness etched onto his face.
“Ja, Who else?”
“Come on put ’em up.” I goad, raising my own fists.
“Right now…Shouldn’t we wait?”
“Better now or never.” I reply.
He stood up, and we began to circle each other like a pair of wolves. I make the first strike, Lunging forward, and to the right, I throw a kick towards his ribs. He hops back, his right arm sweeping down to intercept my kick. I pull my leg back, and press forward, aiming for the opening from where his arm would have been.
Adrenaline courses through me, as Caleb barely manages to catch my punch, just a few inches from contact. This is going to be fun! Twisting myself around, I avoid his counter and grasping his wrist, plant a foot against his stomach, and shove him away.
Striding forward, I throw another punch, this time aiming for his head. He catches the punch, and pulls me forward. Not bad Caleb! I turn to my right, and throw an elbow towards him. He blocks it, so I swing my head back, and succeed in catching him by surprise. The back of my skull collides with his forehead and he loosens his hold on my wrist.
Twisting around, I dive towards his legs, dragging him down as I go. He lands next to me, and tries to wrap an arm around my throat. I twist around while he tries that, and land a punch on his stomach. He muscles his way through it though, and tries to pin me down by the arms, yet I try to block his attempts. His third attempt is pushed inside my guard, and instead of pinning my arms, his hands slam into my chest, knocking the air from my lungs.
An awkward silence holds for an entire minute, with me pinning Mina to the ground. I feel my face flaring up, and I withdraw my hands from her chest, fully aware that I will probably be on the receiving end of a punch soon. I am not disappointed, as both of her hands make contact with my nose and jaw, sending me tumbling away from her.
Ow! Ah crap, she is going to be extremely pissed off at me now. Unsurprisingly, she is as mad as a rabid wolf, and again showing an absurd level of strength for someone her size, she snatches me off the ground, and then slams me back down. A cry of pain escapes my lips.
“DUMMKOPF! Pervert! Vhat ze hell vere you trying to do!?” Mina yells, rounding on me. Stooping down, she grabs me by the collar, and lifts me into a sitting position.
Who do you zink you are you vorthless, sniveling, shit eating scheissekopf? WHO ZE HELL DO YOU ZINK YOU ARE!?” She screams at me, shaking me from side to side.
“I’M SORRY! I’M SO SORRY! It was an accident!” I plead, struggling to free myself from her iron grip.
She drops me back onto the ground, and storms off, not bothering to look back. She enters the tent, and tosses my bedroll out the door, before zipping it shut. I’ve been evicted…hmph! Walking over to the fire, I kick dirt onto it, smothering it and putting it out. Grabbing my bedroll, I smooth it out, and curl up on it, waiting for sleep to overtake me.
See what you’ve done? Now she’ll hate you forever.
Shut up…just shut up!
No, you pathetic fool. I will not. You should have taken her when you had the chance.
I wouldn’t dare to.
Oh? You wouldn’t dare to? You had a perfect opportunity back there! Only a few layers of clothing separated you from her!
I wouldn’t do that…I would never do anything that would hurt her.
Fool! You are setting your self up for loneliness! What reason is there for your existence if you don’t make the most of it? A life without pleasure is a bleak one.
A life of depravity is a life of despair.
Fine, make of it what you will, you foolish wanderer.
Standing up, I walk over to the stream, and wash my face, trying to forget what has just occurred within my own mind. I’ll make it up to her somehow…tomorrow; I’ll talk to her, maybe by that time she will have calmed down.
Walking back to the tent, I steel myself for the worst, and unzip the tent door. She looks at me and gives me a loaded glare, before picking up my bag and tossing it to me.
“You’re velcome, Caleb.” She snaps in response, her back turned to me.
“I’m sorry.” Stepping out of the tent, I zip it shut, and walk back to my bedroll. Lying down, I curl up on it and drift off into an uneasy sleep.
Sitting up, I unzip the tent, and cautiously slip by Caleb’s sleeping form. I walk through the columns of trees, and step onto the beaten dirt road. I slowly progress from an ambling stride into a jog, my bare feet pounding against the dirt. I come to a stop, at the place where Caleb and I had fought against Mariska. Shifting aside a few fallen trees, I succeed in freeing Irene’s body. Picking it up, I carry it past the upper half of Mariska’s corpse, which is mostly bones by now, having been left out in the open for animals to find.
As I pass by the remains of Mariska’s bisected body, I spit on it and give it a sharp kick. Continuing along the road, I reach the crumbling remains of the inn, and setting her down on an undamaged table, I reach over to the other victims, and pull them down. Grabbing four tablecloths, I pick up Irene’s body and carry it outside.
Pulling out handfuls of soil, I dig a shallow six foot trench in the ground. Wrapping her in one of the tablecloths, I set her down gently in the trench. Slowly, I begin to refill the trench. I repeat this process with the other two deceased servants.
Approaching the last body, a wave of indignant anger rises in my gut. No one deserves to be mistreated after death so…so…depravedly. Grabbing the last tablecloth, I wrap the body in it and lower it into the last open trench. Sealing it up, I walk back inside, and lift up the fallen beam. Carrying it outside, I stick in the ground above the graves as a headstone.
Pulling a penknife from my pocket, I carve their names into the wood. Under the names, I carve: The world is not enough, for it has failed you all. Good – bye and God bless. Stepping back, I evaluate my handiwork. Shrugging, I turn around and walk back over to the ruined inn. Stepping inside, I pass through the ruined bar, and into the back hallway where the servants had been hiding. Opening the door to their room, I step inside and take a seat on the sofa.
Mariska was correct…the people that I try to help always seem to suffer the most. Just as my recklessness causes others to suffer, it seems that doing good is something that I am incapable of accomplishing. I should just give up; it seems that I will follow in Mariska’s footsteps after all. What…What am I thinking? If I follow in her footsteps, I’ll just be another monster. Help…someone…anyone, please help me.
I am broken out of my reverie by voices coming from outside the inn. Freezing in place, I stand stock still, my ears tuned to catch the slightest sound.
“Someone has buried her.”
“Who cares about who has buried her? Dig out the body and string it up by the neck again! Hurry!” A male voice snaps back.
“If you two haven’t noticed, there are four graves. Which one contains the whore that was going out with Eric?” Another voice, obviously female adds.
I stirred up a flock of Leasingnehmers…Scheisse!
“Who cares? We’ll just dig up all the graves, and leave the other bodies out to rot.” The male voice answers.
Scheiss drauf! I’ll need a weapon.
“Fair enough…let us begin.”
I step out of the room I am in, and sneak across the hall, and enter the innkeeper’s bedroom. There should be a meat cleaver from his days as a meat packing factory worker mounted on the wall. The cleaver is mounted directly above the headboard of the bed taking it down; I feel its heft and swing. Perfect. Now to greet the unwelcomed guests.
Walking out of his room, I jog to the entrance of the inn. Stepping outside, I stand still, the cleaver held loosely by my side. Pursing my lips, I whistle shrilly, causing the three of them to look up quickly.
“Who are you?” The tall male one asks.
“Ze harbinger of your deaths.” (Is there something wrong with wanting to say those lines?)
“Oh look…a hunter!” The fool drawls.
“I’m not a hunter; I’m ze Shinso fledgling zat killed Eric.” I reply, bringing the cleaver to bear, a slasher smile spreading across my lips.
“Get her! She’s the filthy Shinso that we’re looking for!” He barks, drawing away from me. The other two Leasingnehmers hesitate, before charging toward me.
“Now, now children; no roughhousing, or you vill need to be punished.” I duck under them, and grabbing the blond one by her hair, I bisect her with the cleaver, before running her through. Getting away with murder.
The second, a tall brunette, lunges at me, aiming a punch for my head. I pull my head to the side, and plant a boot to her stomach. She doubles up in pain, and I slash out her eyes. It is impossible to never tell the truth.
Blinded and in pain, she stumbles away from me and trips over a root, falling backward onto her rear. Leering at her, I raise the cleaver over my head and bring it down, slicing her clean in half down the middle. I’m addicted to your punishment.
“Next?” I ask, turning away from the two corpses beside me.
“How…how did you…”
“I told you; I’m ze shinso fledgling zat killed Eric…I take ze existence of you freaks as a personal insult. So just leave. Tuck tail and run for your life! Isn’t zat vhat your kind is good for? You sniveling maggot.”
“Vhat? Vhat am I? A freak? A bitch? Or a monster?” I ask approaching him, swinging the cleaver from side to side.
“Monster! You’re a monster!” He shrieks, sweat running down his face in rivulets.
“You have answered correctly! Now leave, your faith has saved you.” I mock, taking another step forward.
“Would you…would you really let me go?” He sobs, hands over his eyes, mouth frothing.
He begins to bawl, and prostrates himself on the ground in front of me, groveling and begging for mercy. Raising the cleaver over my head, I bring it down on his neck, decapitating him. Raising it again, I stab him through the back with it. Pulling it free with a vile squelch, I wipe the blade clean on his pants. Sie sind welches sie sind.
Picking up the bodies, I stack them one on top of the other, and pulling a box of matches out of my pocket, I set them on fire with the help of a can of gasoline taken from inside the inn.
I repair the damage to the graves, and returning to the remains of the inn, I set fire to the structure, letting the memories that accompanied it go up in flames alongside the wooden framework.
I jog back to camp along the road, the cleaver strapped to my back. Entering the camp, I return to the tent, and lie down.
I’ll talk to Caleb tomorrow.