Thursday, 30 June 2011

Lost With Vampires Somewhere Deep in a Cave in Romania

Corporal Michael Morrison groaned as he painfully pulled himself up on his elbow to have a look at how much damage he the stalagmite had done to his leg. It had penetrated his right thigh and was pinning his whole leg to the rocky earth of the cave floor.  There was very little blood and, as yet, very little pain from the wound, but Mike knew that pulling out the stalagmite would set the blood gushing and he would probably die within minutes from blood loss.  He was also grimly aware that he was in shock, and that any wrong movement could be potentially fatal.

His little band of vampires had by now clustered around him and were looking down at him with shock and pity on their gray, wasted faces.  Even in his current dire situation, he had to smile to himself.  Who would have thought that a hardened mercenary like himself would have taken a ragged little band of vampires under his wing, protecting them and even becoming fond of them? When he had first come upon them he was shocked because he had been led to believe that the Romanian vampires were bloodthirsty monsters who were out of control and on the rampage.

But his little crew were all gentle souls, who were pathetically grateful that Mike had helped them and they, in turn, gave him all the help they could to lead him out of the twisting tunnels and caverns.  He was also doing things that he would never have dreamed he could do to keep his vampires alive.  He let them feed on him; just enough to keep them going and not enough to turn him.  They in turn helped him find what meagre food and water there was down in the caves. They found him weird and wonderful fungi, insects and showed him how to find the pools where the blind fish swam. Though he wasn’t entirely sure that he needed to know that there were centipedes that big in these caves!  Even though it was tasty enough when roasted on a stick over a small fire made from the moss that grew on the cave walls!

But it was the story that the vampires told him that had shocked him the most.  He had been told of the wars between the vampires, and been led to believe that the Romanian vampires had brought most of the flak that they were getting on themselves by attacking the local human population and ravaging cattle populations.  But Mike had already started to be puzzled by the absence of these monster vampires in the darkness of these caves and he couldn’t see how anyone would be threatened by his little band of waif-like gray creatures comprising of the male vampires Stigson, Gunderd, and Alaris, the two females Anareid and Dilsun and the little girl Mobie. It was Stigson, the leader of their little group who had told him the bulk of their story.
Mike had listened with horror as Stigson told him that although they couldn’t remember much of their previous lives, they had learned that they had been hunted down and kidnapped from the world of men.  They had heard whispers of some head honcho vampire called Lord Kingsteignton, who had developed an injection process that could drain humans of blood and turn them into vampires, but also contained some drug that did not give them all of the strengths and gifts of normal vampires.  Theses artificially turned vampires did not have the blood lust, the preternatural strength and did not have the ability to dematerialise, shape-shift or fly. They also had their memories blanked, so had little knowledge of their identities and who they had previously been.  The vampire wars in Romania it turned out were no more than elaborate spin fed to the media and Old Kingdom groups by Kingsteignton’s minions, in order to cover up his illegal mining and vampire labour camps.

After the turning had been completed, they were brought to the caves of the Carpathian Mountains so they could work as slaves in Kingsteignton’s mines.  They were made to work long hours in the dark; heavy physical labour that pulled their muscles and made their joints ache.  They were offered no recreation or social life, and slept on pallets on the floor when they became too exhausted to carry on working.  As it was so dark in the depths of the caves, the natural cycle of the vampire was disrupted, and they were flogged into working even when the sun was high in the outside world.  Most disgustingly, they were fed on the blood of pigs that were kept in crowded, squalid pens in the labour camps. The pigs were so undernourished and weakened by the lack of sunshine and fresh air, that their blood offered very few nutrients to the starving vampires.
These worker vampires lived in a state of weary resignation. They had never heard of anyone escaping the mines and had no memories of a time before, so could not conjure up in their minds any idea of a future life that they could lead.  But strange things had started to happen in the camps. A loud laugh had been heard echoing though the caves that seemed to spook the labour camp guards, even though they were hardened vampire mercenaries hired by Kingsteignton. Although they had no memory, this laugh unnerved something deep in the cellular memory of the worker vampires and when the sound of grating stones started, they had become thoroughly unnerved and unsettled.

But Stigson had started to scent an opportunity in the sense of panic that was beginning to settle around the camp. He ordered his work group to start hoarding some of their precious ration of bladders of pigs’ blood, and one day, when the supernatural laughter had been particularly maniacal, they had slipped away down one of the side passages, heading for the surface. The pursuit by the camp’s bloodhounds that they had been dreading had failed to materialise, such was the panic in the camp. So the ragged little band had climbed ever upwards, with their blood supplies getting lower and lower until they had their fateful encounter with Mike.
But now lying pinned to the cave floor by the stalagmite, blood oozing out of the wound, Mike started to shiver and the anxious eyes staring down into his began to blur and waver......

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Will The Real Lord Kingsteignton Please Step Forward?

The little vampire put his head coyly to one side and looked up at Roland through strangely thick, dark lashes.

‘Well, as you know De Cazalrenoux, it’s a brutal world if you are one of the movers and shakers of the Old Kingdom. Vampires are vain creatures, and will usually only sire offspring on fit, good looking humans, but my sire was a perverse creature. He came across a strange looking human child, and thought it would be funny to create a vampire from this unpromising clay. Of course, what he didn’t know was that although the child had physical peculiarities, it was also uniquely intelligent and a cruel, merciless sociopath. The change into a vampire only boosted both the intelligence and the cruelty. As I came into my own as a vampire leader, I decided that I needed to match my mental acuity and leadership skills, with a handsome, attractive outer shell. I commissioned some of the finest artisans of their time to build the outer body that you can see sitting at the table, creating the features and physique that I wanted. Unlike, the Antonescu substitute, my outer persona is far more intricately linked with me. I actually spend most of my time lying in my coffin as I can fully inhabit my shell, see through his eyes, feel the sensations of his body and even taste the blood! The shell also has the advantage of being able to operate in the daylight hours if I want it to, although I have to be careful about not encountering anyone I know, don’t want the whole world to know my secret!’

‘But how?’ asked Vlad, looking confused and revolted at the same time.

‘You really don’t think that I am going to tell you that’ tittered Kingsteignton ‘And if you are thinking that I am vulnerable when I am in my coffin, and that you can attack me there, trust me you will never find it, and if you ever did you would never get to me!’

Roland raised an aristocratic eyebrow.

‘A bit paranoid Kingsteignton, why would we want to attack you? Don’t judge us all by your standards. All I want is to know what you have done with my pack member Kea, and Vladimirescu here, for some reason, just wants the smelly human back. You can keep the Antonescu thing with both our blessings’
‘As I said, still obsessed by irrelevancies De Cazalrenoux, what does one little werewolf matter, when the entire fate of the Old Kingdom hangs in the balance!’

‘Why are you always so dramatic Kingsteignton? The only threat to the Old Kingdom that I can currently see is you; you have a very strange enthusiasm for destroying your own kind and you could easily pull some strings to take the heat off your Romanian cousins. Quite frankly, the welfare of my pack comes first with me, and if one of my clan is lost, I will find them!’

‘I agree that the internal politics of us vampires is none of your concern, De Cazalrenoux, but I assure you that something bigger than all of our petty concerns is stirring, and it threatens not only the Old Kingdom, but the human world which you seem to cherish so much for some unaccountable reason!’

‘Proof, Kingsteignton, proof!’ jeered Roland ‘You’re beginning to sound like a broken record. Strangely enough I don’t trust you, and I already feel that I have been manipulated enough!’

Kingsteignton sighed heavily.

‘Do you remember that time back at the Club when my shell lost the plot, and started behaving in a manner totally unbecoming to the persona that I wish to project to the world? Well for the first time ever I had lost control. Much as it humiliates me to say so, I could no longer see through my eyes on the world and did not have a clue what was going on. Something or someone had interfered and had cut the connection. I used the inbuilt tracking device to follow the shell back to Vladimirescu’s house and retrieved it. Sorry about the gas and the manhandling Vladimirescu, but I knew that you would not have been reasonable about giving the shell back’.

Vlad snorted at this jibe.

‘But when I got the shell back and viewed the memory cells, I unfortunately became aware of exactly who had taken over the shell and my worst suspicions were confirmed. What little blood I have ran even colder and even the basic cells of the shell were terrified, for chrissakes! There have been rumours from the Romanian caves for some time, and the signs have been growing, he is rising, Gentlemen, he is rising and we must stop him, or it will be the end of us all!’

And a hollow laugh echoed through the deepest caves of the Carpathian Mountains. Stalagmites thousands of years old shuddered and cracked, one of which speared Corporal Michael Morrison through the leg, pinning him to the floor of the cave and halting his vampire companions in their tracks in horror.