Affinity for Darkness – Chapter Nine

Here’s the next section from the “novel” I wrote one winter in high school.

afd9aimagesAfter dinner, when the night deepened, we all went and sat around the campfire that Justin had prepared. We awaited our wonderful tale. We were not disappointed. Justin, like Karl, did not stop during his tale.

* * *

Long ago, in Medieval England there lived a vampire named Richard. There had been others, but they had been younger and weaker than Richard and had therefore died in battle. But the same would not happen to Richard. He was six hundred years old, and had drunk the blood of at least seven thousand people. He did not mind killing. Blood gave him strength and agility. He was a master with his sword, the common weapon of the time. He needed no shining armor; his excellent skill, and faster-than-life reflexes allowed him to kill anyone who got in his way.

But Richard was not a knight. He cared not about fighting for any country, but only for feeding his thirst and his lust for power. Richard had no compassion, no love. He could easily kill and not feel a thing. Sometimes the act even pleasured him. Although he loved no one, cared for no one, Richard was longing for companions. He wanted another vampire, two to be exact. Three was the magic number for vampires. Three of them could have more power than any one could ever dream of. When all three were together they were invincible in every way. Nothing could harm them.

There was also, in England, living at the same time, a man named Sir William. He lived with his wife Clara, whom he loved dearly. He was young. He had just been knighted by Elizabeth of York. He was said to be the best warrior—courageous, noble, swift on his horse. But most of all, he was brave. He wasn’t afraid to fight or die for his country. He wasn’t afraid to look the enemy in the eye.

It came to pass one day that Sir William found out about Richard and all the horror he caused. Word was spreading all through the land of this mysterious and evil man. With great conviction William decided he would rid the world of Richard if it was the last thing he did.

Nearby people found out about it and supported William unconditionally. He was their best warrior. If anyone could stop the villain, it was he. By the time the day of the battle arrived there was a large crowd. Yet all the spectators fully understood that the battle was solely between Sir William and Richard.

They fought only at night. Since there were no modern tales of vampires, there were no experts on the subject. The people did not know that the sun weakened them, or that vampires could be killed with a stake through the heart, or by garlic, as legend suggests. It seemed appropriate to fight at night, under the light of the moon. No one questioned it, just accepted it.

The battle went on for days. Surprisingly Sir William had not lost his head yet. He wasn’t completely thrilled though. He suspected trickery. He suspected Richard was deliberately letting him live for some unforeseen reason. He knew that if Richard had wanted him dead, he would have been dead a long time ago. He wondered what Richard wanted him for.

He found out all too soon. Exactly one week after the battle began Sir William awoke to discover that his wife was not sleeping peacefully beside him. Immediately he felt sick and feared she’d been killed by Richard. That only made his conviction deepen. He would stop at nothing to kill Richard now. He quickly put on his armor and sharpened his sword before leaving.

When he arrived at the battlefield Richard wore a devilish grin—a devilish grin for a devilish creature. Then Sir William discovered what Richard was smiling about. To his side stood Clara.

“You must surrender now, Sir William. If you do not your wife will die. It is that simple. You must surrender and agree to be my prisoner,” Richard said upon seeing William.

William had no choice. He truly did love his wife. Her eyes were telling him not to surrender, that Richard would kill her regardless. But William could not do that. “I surrender,” he said softly, ashamed.

Richard cackled an evil laugh. He led William and Clara away. Some of the spectators, angered from the conquering of their hero, began to follow but thought better of it and turned around.

Instead of just killing them, Richard took William and Clara to his castle and into the d≈ungeon. There he chained them to opposite walls.

“You have a choice,” Richard stated. “You can stay down here without food and water until you die of thirst and starvation. Or you can become vampires like me. Whatever your decision, it must be made together.” He was looking to make the magic three.

William considered his options. He could subject his wife and himself to a very painful way to die. Or he could become a creature living only to kill, a creature who would die if he did not kill, a creature that could feel no compassion, no love.

He decided to choose the path of love. He honestly believed that life was not worth living if there was no love. So William, the brave and noble warrior, tried his best to stand upright despite his chains and said defiantly, “I will never become a creature like you. I will do anything rather than that, even if it means I’m to die. There is nothing you can do to change my mind.”

Clara was not so stubb√orn, or strong, but she could see her husband’s point of view. She too did not want to become a cruel being, but starving to death was so unpleasant. Nevertheless, she acquiesced with Sir William. She admired his supreme strength.

“So be it,” Richard said. He flashed them a knowing grin, and his sharp teeth glistened for all to see. He then left them alone.

Three days after they’d been imprisoned they were both in terrible pain. Sir William knew he would die soon. All he wanted was to hold his wife one last time and tell her he loved her before he died. But Clara was chained to the opposite wall and he could not go to her. Nor could he speak, for his throat was desert dry. What made it worse was that he could see she was dying too. Richard sure knew how to push his buttons. Even noble Sir William was beginning to rethink his earlier decision.

Clara, too wanted to be near William one last time. She would have done anything for that. But there was nothing she could do.

More than anything both of them wanted the Hell to end. Both of their bodies were deteriorating from the lack of food and drink. They craved it so badly that they would sell their souls to the devil for a single glass, a single piece of bread. But they had passed up that chance three days ago.

That day, three days after Sir William had surrendered, Richard went down to the dungeon to pay his captives a visit.

“So how are we today, my fair prisoners?” he inquired, without an edge of concern for their well-being.

“Please,” Clara whispered, her throat dry. “Just get it over with.”

Richard stretched his long, pale, white index finger and touched Clara’s chin. “I cannot do that. You know that. But my offer still stands. Would you care to change your decision?”

Clara caught Sir William’s eye. Her eyes were pleading with him. After much deliberation Sir William decided he could no longer bear her desperate gaze. He gave in to the evil monster.

Richard unchained both Clara and William. He was undoubtedly enjoying himself greatly; he cackled his famous laugh all the while. “Three heads are better than one,” he informed them, then added. “It’s true what they say. Three is the magic number.” William grimaced at his words.

They were transformed. They became creatures of evil. But something must have gone wrong, for William could still feel tender emotions. He wasn’t just filled with hunger and thirst for blood, lust for power and strength, contempt for human beings. In fact he only felt more love for humans. And sorrow and shame for what he had become.

Clara felt no such way. Her transformation had gone smoothly. William could see that instantly upon looking at her. Her eyes were cold, uncaring.

Richard taught them the ancient chant that would enhance their power tenfold when repeated. It would also give them incredible thirst. But since quenching their thirst was their way of getting power it was a wonderful vicious cycle. Clara and Richard recited it together but Sir William refused.

For the next month they all lived in Richard’s castle. Richard said that they were new and unexperienced vampires, and were not yet stable enough in their new condition to hunt for themselves. Bad things could happen if they tried. So Richard brought them their human dinner each night. Sir William refused to touch them. Though his body ached for their blood, he never indulged himself. He couldn’t.

A plan began to formulate in William’s head. Yet he knew to accomplish it he would need great strength, great courage, two virtues he supposedly possessed already, in Elizabeth of York’s eyes. He knew what he was planning to do would be more difficult than any battle he had ever fought, even the former one against Richard.

He also figured he would need the coldness, the lack of tender feelings, that Richard and Clara treasured. It would help him go through with what he needed to do. But his reason for his plan was human compassion only. He knew his wish to be emotionless would not be granted. That would have made it so much easier, but William knew he would have to suffer through the emotions. Still, that would not stop him.

Each night, alone in his chamber, William would repeat the ancient chant, increasing his power, his strength.

When he felt his strength adequate he spent an hour sharpening his sword. Once done he went off in search of Richard.

Richard was in one of the castle towers, gazing out at the night landscape. He was completely unarmed and unaware.

“A nice night it is,” Sir William said, greeting Richard and drawing his sword.

Richard spun around. An expression crossed his face that hadn’t done so in nearly 600 years. Fear.

“But you are one of us,” Richard protested as William stepped closer with his sharp sword in hand.

William laughed a lau∞gh that Richard knew all too well. “You think I am one of you. I tell you now I am not. I still have kind feelings. But all I feel for you is sheer hatred.

“Your wife is just as cruel as I,” Richard pointed out.

William looked down at the floor. “I know.” He spoke with pain. But his pain would not sabotage his quest. William spoke again, but this time his voice was hard, “Do you have any last requests?”

“Yes. As a matter of fact I do,” Richard said. A smile touched his lips. “But it’s not exactly a request, more something I wish to say.”

“Go on,” William said, his voice cold and void of feeling, “and make it quick because I’m looking forward to slicing you open.”

“it’s not even just something to say. It’s a curse. You think you will end our race, but you will not. We will come around again when humanity least expects it. And we will multiply. Three really is the magic number.” Richard then began to speak an≤ ancient mantra, a different one than the power chant he’d taught William and Clara. William strongly believed in curses and was understandably disturbed by this. “Quiet, you evil monster!” he roared.

Richard smiled. “One more thing. Next time the vampires will have those crippling emotions you cherish so. But these feelings will make them even harder to destroy.”

William would here no more. He took his sword and sliced Richard’s head off. Black blood spilled everywhere. Richard died with a smile on his face. William did not like that. He stepped on Richard’s face until it was crushed into an unrecognizable mass of goop. Vampire strength can have its good points.

Now for the hard part. William went in search of Clara. He found her in her chamber, enjoying a gruesome dinner. She too was unarmed.

Upon seeing him, her eyes did not fill with fear, only hatred. He had learned his lesson the first time around. He didn’t ask Clara if she had any last requests. But he did hesitate before slitting her throat. There was so much he wanted to tell her. He wished to say that after everything he still loved her. He wanted to say that even though he had gone through so much pain, he felt it was worth it. He felt his entire life was worthwhile because he had gotten the chance to love her. Yet he said none of this. He merely said, “I love you, Clara.” Then he could take it no longer. He went to hug her, to fulfill the dying wish he had had in the dungeon.

Clara pushed him away. “I care not about your human love. I am a creature of evil. I have no heart. It means nothing to me.” There was fire and hatred in her eyes, burning deep into William’s soul. With those words a part of William died. It also gave him the push he needed to be able to do what he dreaded.

He killed her. She didn’t care. She hated him. There was no love in her. William knew that, but still he wept. Her blood, black as the sky of the deep night, mixed with that of her dinner.

The pain William had felt at Clara’s words intensified as he let them settle in his mind. He had loved her more than anything. Before William took his blade to his own throat he promised the world, or cursed the world, that if Richard’s dying prophecies came true, and the curse of vampires lasted through time, so would his love. He declared this aloud in the name of all the goodness that existed on Earth or otherwise. As a final thought, after looking at the mess on the floor, he declared, or maybe even prayed that if the vampires ever came again, their blood would be a scarlet red, instead of that hideous black. He hoped both would help the next vampires survive, or change their way of life.

William killed himself. He knew of no other way to stop the horrible creatures from spreading. If he didn’t die then he would die later from a lack of blood consumption. Starvation, it was a very unpleasant way to die. William had firsthand experience with that. His blood joined the mixture, thus the ingredients were three, the magic number.

Only two months before his death, Sir William had been called the bravest, noblest young warrior, the most courageous in the land. He proved her words true, striving to do anything possible so that humanity would continue and thrive. It does not matter that our history books forget to mention the brave Sir William. The fact that we are here today is a direct result of his greatness.

Sir William fought not just for his country, but for his people, Earth’s people. He fought for the world. He truly was the noblest warrior.

* * *

“That is all,” Justin concluded.

 ~~~

Another installment of Affinity for Darkness, a novel I wrote in the winter of my junior year of high school. To read from the beginning:

Feel free to check out other Samples (including more current work), and Published and more early work.

~Emilia J

Next Up: AfD Chapter Ten

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