Monday, May 23, 2011

ENCOUNTER IN THE DARK

The noxious vampire beasts made short work of the torn and battered humans, draining every remaining drop of blood from their ruined bodies. Death came as a balm to the pathetic victims. Their flesh ignited, consumed by the familiar, cool, blue flames, as their souls moved toward The World To Come. Kadeema, the brutal woman, did a clumsy dance. Her male companion hugged his knees and rocked from side to side in laughter. They enjoyed the fire and capered around  like trolls in hell. When the grisly fuel was spend and the ghostly flames were gone, they sighed in disappointment and shuffled off.

Sarah spoke first. She whispered -  Those poor people. Why didn't we do anything? How could we just lie here?.......What could we have done? - said Jonathon. They were beyond hope when we got here.......But they must have sensed us. The vampires, I mean. They had to know we were here - she asked........Who knows? Maybe they didn't care - said Jonathon. But he went over to the small, twin piles of greasy ashes, reverently scooped some up and quietly chanted the prayer for the dead. Sarah just cried.

Yet another voice joined in with the prayer, intoning the ancient Hebrew verses right along with him. Should that have scared them? Well, it did not. For they felt the worth of the singer and knew him to be no threat.  Jonathon turned to face the man and saw a middleaged inndividual with a thin, fine face, dressed in the homespun robe of a monk. The noble vampire said - How is it you were able to approach us? I never felt a thing.....The man in the cassock responded - I am no threat. You felt that in your soul and you knew. The woman can come out, for I am certainly no threat to her as well........Sarah got up and went to Jonathon. She took his hand....Who are you? - he asked.......I am Brother Elias. There's a hermitage, not far from here. Come. The dawn breaks early this time of year. I will give you shelter and protection from the daylight. .......You know what we are? - whispered Jonathon...........The monk nodded and embraced them both in turn. Then they followed him down a narrow, barely visible footpath and disappeared into the pitch black shadows 'neath the trees.

You could cross these woods for a lifetime and not find the place. There were two snug stone shelters. We might call them cabins if made from logs. Each had two small, high glassless windows. The doors were thick and stout. One served as chapel and study, a 'day room,' if you will. A tiny fireplace did duty as the kitchen.  A thin cot pushed up against the bare, stone wall was the bedroom. The other structure held carefully preserved foodstuffs, neatly arranged on rough, simple shelves. A heavy trapdoor lead down to the root cellar. Brother Elias opened it and said - You can sleep here, in the dark. He gave them a short, thick candle, mouthed a prayer and sent them down. Jonathon said - Thank you..... The holy man nodded and shut the door..

The room was clean and dry. Bundles of sweet and pungent herbs hung from the rafters. Our two life-eaters snuggled together in a corner, their bodies pressed against the smooth, raw, swept, earth floor.. Sarah smelled cat, not the urine of a litter box, but the warm, sleek smell of a huntress. This realm was well patrolled. No vermin scurried here. So they comforted each other and they slept. Sarah dreamt of cruel, tormenting demons, armed with hot, sharp, flesh-piercing sticks. Jonathon dreamt of other things.............

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