Because the Night….

A Vampire Phantasm fan-fic

By

Taliesin_ttlg
(AKA Andrew M. Boylan)


based on characters created by
Sarah Nelson

Prologue

    “Now,” asked the old man, his face care-worn and lined by age, “What is this all about?”
    The seven year old child looked up at him with an angry, petulant stare, “Jay was in my way and there was no room…”
    “So you pushed him?”
    “There was no room!” The voice had taken a shriller tone.
    “Come here,” the man said kindly.
    Jono walked over to him, the fight with his sibling forgotten as the old man swept him up onto his knee.
    “There was a time,” the old man began, “When we didn’t know of the vampires and men lived everywhere. There were cities…”
    “What’s a cities?”
    “A city is like a town, only a million times bigger than Guttenberg,” he explained, “Yet, ‘though they were so big, there were so many people that everyone had less room than we have here.”
    “What happened to the cities?”
    “The vampires came…” For a second the old man’s voice faltered, but he quickly regained his composure and fixed his kindly smile firmly in place.
“They say,” he whispered conspiratorially, “That not all the cities are gone. That some are still free from the vampires. But we live in Guttenberg, and the vampires are all around us. Yet we are safe here, you can live free and the price for that is that it might be a little cramped, you understand?”
    Jono nodded his head resolutely.
    “Good, because the only way we will stay safe is if we are all friends, and help each other, understand?”
    Another nod.
    “That’s a good lad, no more pushing and fighting with your brother. Now, we have to get ready.”
    “What for?”
    The old man smiled, “It’s the Captain’s wedding day, and all of Guttenberg will be there. You know who that Captain is don’t you?”
    Jono smiled broadly, “He protects us from the vampires.”
    “That’s right,” the old man confirmed, “He swore a solemn oath to protect us and now it is his happy day, so run along and get your good shirt.”
    The youngster slipped from his knee yet, despite his joy at seeing the youngster free and with no more concern than the actions of his little brother, he could not stop a shadow of sadness slipping across his heart. He was getting to the end of his years, with luck he would die peacefully and naturally, but for Jono, well he had a life of nightmares stretching before him. The old man shook his head, trying to shake the melancholy thought away. It was a day for celebration and not for an old man’s maudlin thoughts.

Chapter One

“We should strike at them again!” The fledgling who spoke was filled with arrogance, self-assurance dripped like venom from his fangs. His words were punctuated by his fist, which slammed onto the oaken table with such passion that a slight crack erupted along the grain of the wood. Small splinters, liberated from the abused furniture, embedded themselves into his undead flesh, whilst he remained ignorant of their presence. His long, unkempt hair that cascaded over his violet, wild eyes gave him a feral look that matched the intensity of his words.
“Easily said, Jax,” replied the demure vampire opposite. Sapphire was as calm in herself as Jax was intense. Her slight figure belied the Herculean strength her vampire nature lent her supple body. “However, if you had been paying attention, the last raiding party we sent to Guttenberg was slaughtered. They might only be human, but they are well organised and armed.”
The argument continued. The township of Guttenberg had become a source of consternation for the vampires, a thorn that twisted deeply in their pride. As the world fell before the emerging vampire hordes, this town refused to accept the vampiric rule, refused to admit to the human condition – that of domestic animal and food source. The town had become an armed camp, human guards scoured the night for the undead and effective weapons spat true death towards the vampires that tried to restore the township to its correct place upon the food chain. A bullet through the arm might only annoy a vampire, perhaps slow his or her progress, but ripping a heart asunder with hot lead was as an effective way of destroying it as any and a head blown apart by a high calibre round was as lost as though it had been cut from the body.
Watching the arguments, aloof and seemingly uninterested, was Orlock. The township sat on the very edge of his domain and, as such, was deemed to be a source of embarrassment for him. He, however, had viewed it quite differently. It was a useful testing ground for the fledglings, a place to separate the wheat from the chaff. Those that survived an assault against Guttenberg were either resilient or cowards, and Orlock always new which.
He looked at the two vampires who argued, scanning over both of them with unblinking, venomous eyes. He admired Jax’s spirit, his inherent violent passion. Yet ultimately he knew that Jax was no more than chaff, he would be cut down and his blood sown in the earth. Sapphire, on the other hand, was cautious, some might have said timid but Orlock knew that to be untrue. She was calm, controlled and would ultimately survive and rise within the vampire nation.
Unfortunately, as useful as Guttenberg had been, the time had come to deal with the township. News of its existence was spreading. The mortals were seeing the township as a beacon of hope and Orlock knew that it could never do to give them even the slightest hope. The moment had come that he himself would have to become involved and, as the hands of time moved on, so Guttenberg’s time ran out. Orlock himself would deal with the township.
Yet he did not speak his intention, content to let the fledglings argue amongst themselves, amused at the factions that grew amongst the young undead. A strand of long, silver hair fell softly over his face. Not the silver of an aged mortal, but pure silver like strands of moonlight cascading over his fiercely red eye. He let it sit for a moment, his body as still as a statue, and then gently flicked it back, with long, cruel fingers. His eyes no longer focused upon the room, though he continued to listen to the argument with a casualness that bordered on apathy. He had no reason to look upon the room, the dark granite blocks that made up the walls, occasionally daubed in blood murals, which seemed to develop their own animated life in the flickering torchlight, were all too familiar to him. He knew intimately the large oak table, around which they sat, the ornate chairs that seemed drab and small in comparison to his own. He was all too aware of the chattering fools that surrounded him. Instead he watched with silent glee as his mind played over the suffering that he would visit upon Guttenberg. As the vista of destruction played out across the canvass of his mind a trail of spittle leaked out from the corner of his mouth and flowed slowly down his chin, if he noticed at all he showed no outward signs
Suddenly his reverie was broken as words drifted across his consciousness.
“…and I still say an aerial assault…”
Gira, the pompous fool. He was one of the older vampires that sat at Orlock’s table, though how he had kept his head and heart for so long was a mystery even to Orlock. Every vampire around the table was all too aware that they had tried aerial assaults in the past, the vampires swooping through the black night of the new moon, resembling dark angels. They also knew that Guttenberg had battery guns that had lit up the night with tracer rounds, heavy calibre ammunition cutting through their graceful flights, and proving much more devastating than the automatic rifles the defenders held.
Orlock’s unblinking eyes fired into life and the table trailed into silence as he held Gira’s gaze. Words, almost silently, tumbled from Orlock’s lips.
Gira’s hands clutched ineffectually at his face as blood poured from his eyes, his nose and mouth, the flow so thick and fast that the precious liquid quickly seeped through his fingers, spilling onto the table. A gurgled yelp bubbled from his lips and Swann, Gira’s drone, lurched out of the far shadows towards the table. As Orlock stood and, without a word, strode towards the door, Gira’s head fell heavily into the pool of his own vital fluid, his body motionless as his heart exploded silently within his chest and true death gripped him. Orlock stepped nimbly across Swann’s prone body, barely cognizant of the corpse’s existence, yet his feet agilely avoided the putrid green blood that flooded out of the quickly rotting corpse, the fetid liquid pouring from the dead drone’s every orifice.Chapter Two

    Tobias walked the wall of the free township of Guttenberg. He couldn’t remember how they had come up with the name for the town, though somewhere in his memory he knew there had once been a town of the same name, in the world long gone.
    The wall completely surrounded the dilapidated buildings, no more than huts thrown up by the survivors who lived within its protective embrace. Daylight shelter, no more. The wall itself was a hodgepodge of material. Wood and metal nailed and fused, razor wire running its edges. Along the wall, at close intervals, sat members of the Guttenberg militia. Military greens, night vision goggles and hard gripped weaponry made identifying the individuals nigh on impossible, gender lost within the standard uniform. Anyone able to fight was trained and took shifts in the long, dangerous nights, their eyes forever trained at the land surrounding the township. He picked his way along the uneven allure, not keeping his head below the level of the parapet. During a raid it was necessary, some of the undead relied on old-world weaponry, but the night was clear and calm. It was a lovely respite. The last full-scale assault had been more than a week previously, when the vampires had tried again to take the township. It had been a hard fought victory; several good men and women had died in Guttenberg’s defence. The town still stood and refugees came daily. There were probably one or two refugees out there now; hidden in the distant trees, unable to approach the town until the sun had risen. Anything approaching the town at night was a target but, if they survived the night, they would be welcomed.
    Positioned at each corner of the wall stood the batteries, so useful when the vampires assaulted from the air. The thought of them made Tobias shudder, they were running perilously low on ammunition for the giant guns. If the vampires ever suspected that, then their end might come swiftly but, with luck, the guns had already proven their worth. The vampires had encountered their devastating firepower and all recent assaults had been on foot rather than by air. With luck one of the foraging teams would find new ammunition before the vampires attempted another aerial assault. Luckily, however, their stocks of ammunition for their personal weapons were plentiful.
    Tonight, thought Tobias, was a good night to be mortal. Tonight, after he had walked the walls and checked upon his troops, he would descend into the real Guttenberg, he would collect Marie, his new bride, and they would dance and drink and love. Yet new bride waiting for him or not, as Captain of the militia he had his duties and he took them seriously. How could he not, a lapse in judgement could mean the extermination of Guttenberg. He believed in leading by example, each and every figure huddled in the dark was essential to their survival and he knew that each one took their duty as seriously as he. Each had sworn the same oath to protect the township as he had.
    His wall walk finished, he descended the rickety stairs that led down to the township, his hands gripping onto the rail lest he slip. The town was nothing but darkness, cast in an eerie green of night vision. The empty buildings, the lack of life would have seemed ghostly at one time, he mused, some of the older ones still talked of mortal civilisation stretching across the globe when vampires were nothing but the stuff of myth; but humanity had monsters running against the wall nowadays. The lack of people in the town was comforting now, it meant they were safely below.
    The captain was unaware of the creature that followed him, that had trailed him around the walls. Black as night, invisible to the goggles, its spider like legs carried the tiny thing silently as it scurried behind its unwitting guide. Blood red eyes had assessed all it saw, and behind those eyes, looking through them, Orlock. He had now measured the strength of the township’s defence and yet continued to have his servant follow the mortal. The ancient vampire was bemused by the lack of population, he wanted to know all of Guttenberg’s secrets before he visited the town. Unlike the fledglings who had crashed unsuccessfully against the walls of the township, the ancient would be successful and Guttenberg would fall.
    Tobias walked confidently through the darkness, to the centre of the town. In the centre was a rod of metal, a control pad upon it. He removed his glove, unaware of the thing that climbed lightly up his fatigues and perched silently upon his shoulder. Far away Orlock watched as the mortal’s fingers keyed in a code, consigning it to memory. The servant dropped lightly to the floor as the sound of machinery rumbled through the night. Metal doors, plush in the dirt floor slid open as a lift rose to take Tobias and his uninvited guest deep into the heart of Guttenberg.
    As the lift descended, Tobias removed his goggles, in preparation for the light that flooded him as the doors of Guttenberg opened. The tiny servant scurried back into a shadow, remaining hidden from view.
    Tobias stepped into the subterranean base. People milled, around, and the sounds of laughter and music assailed his ears. Before the “Coming of the Night” it had been a military base, now it was a town, full of refugees from the vampire plague. It had been discovered intact. A place that was safe from the vampires, a place that contained weapons and equipment.  Whilst the militia defended the walls of the ghost town above, those off duty as well as the very young, the old and the infirm lived in safety below. Giant generators, with fuel enough to keep the township alive for generations, gave light and power and during the safe daylight the townsfolk could rise to the surface and live beneath the sun.
    Far away Orlock could not suppress a brief peel of laughter. Clever little mortals, he thought.
    In Guttenberg, Tobias strode off to find Marie, whilst Orlock’s servant scurried through the shadows, assessing the strength of defence.

Chapter Three

    His approach to the township had been utterly undetected. He had walked the barren earth between tree line and wall, an area the fledglings had dubbed the killing ground, slowly. His body had been totally smothered by his servants, rendering him completely invisible to the guard’s night vision goggles.
    By the time he had reached the walls, the nightly perimeter walk by Tobias had been long ended. He had scaled the wall, between the position of two guards and silently passed between them. Then slowly, meticulously, he had walked behind their vigilant gazes. His hands had dealt swift, silent death. Probably more than they deserved and definitely more than his bloodlust screamed for, however he knew he would have his fun within the subterranean stronghold, there would be blood enough to sate his own appetites.
    The servants had dropped from him as he had made his own perimeter walk, knowing that their presence over his body would hinder his progress. They streamed behind him like a black wake, demonic instincts making them crave the destruction he weaved, but obedience keeping them firmly in line.
    He left the bodies were they fell, leaving their equipment for later retrieval and leapt down from the wall into the shantytown below. In his mind’s eye he pictured himself, his cape billowing around his frame, a picture of magnificence. A pity there was no-one to see him, bar the servants, and he cared nothing for their opinion, only their endless obedience.
    His stride took him quickly to the elevator and his fingers deftly copied the key code he had observed the night before. There was a moment of doubt, infinitesimally small, a brief flicker in his heart as the thought that the code might be changed nightly flickered across his subconscious. That worry was so fleeting that it never actually ascended to his conscious mind, chased away by the sound of grinding gears below springing into life.
    When the elevator door opened into Guttenberg, if anyone looked, nothing but darkness could be seen. Orlock’s servants had formed a curtain across the elevator, hiding their master until he chose to emerge. Then he came, gliding through the partition of preternatural flesh, sliding out like a shadow. Then he became as the wolf amongst the sheep.
    Orlock moved faster than a mortal would believe possible, most had seen the vampires and had despaired at their strength and speed, but none had been in the presence of one so ancient as the creature that fell upon them. He carried no weaponry; the visceral feel of the kill, the joy as bodies were torn asunder by tooth and nail was as bread and wine to him.
    He only targeted those who might pose a threat, knowing that his servants barred the only means of escape. He could feel their disquiet, he could feel their instinctive desire to participate in the slaughter, but their obedience was absolute. Let those mortals unable to fight cower at their blocked escape; they would be collected later, new cattle for his stores.
    A young man lunged at him with a cruel looking knife. He neatly sidestepped the blade and his sharp nails pierced the mortal’s throat. One quick tug and his hand was bathed in even more gore, the mortal falling dead.
    Another mortal leapt at the vampires back. Orlock twisted gracefully and the young man stopped midair as cruel nails ripped into his midriff and tore him in two.
    Guns barked loudly in the subterranean cavern, echoing their battle cry and harmonised by the screams of the dying and the grief-stricken wails of those still alive. Punctuating the gunfire and the screams were eerie peels of laughter that spilled from Orlock’s blood stained lips. Not a single shot found its target. The vampire twisted and turned, avoiding all the burning lead, quickly dispatching shooter after shooter.
    A young defender fired a submachine gun. The spray of bullets ripped through a skull, yet in the confusion he had missed the vampire and it was a young girl who collapsed, almost in slow motion, as her brains exploded across the cavern floor. The shooter dropped his gun, the weapon tumbling uselessly from his shaking hands, horrified at his mistake, unheeding as the vampire swooped down upon him.
    Then the defenders were dead, all bar Tobias and his bride.
    Orlock flowed across the cavern, his limbs fluid in their movement, his face and hands thick with viscera. Chunks of flesh that had been torn rather than pierced peppered his scarlet soaked chin and lips and his clothes were soaked in gore. Then, shockingly, one of Tobias’ shots burned into his shoulder. Enraged his speed increased, a hand shot outwards, catching Tobias under his chin with a force the vampire had not planned upon. The mortal flew across the cavern and crumpled to the floor in a heap. Orlock cast a brief glance towards the fallen Captain. He hoped that he had not killed the mortal, that would spoil the entertainment he had planned.
    His attention now turned to Marie, the Captain’s young bride. She stood before him defiant, her long hair cascading down onto the white vest, her khaki clad legs astride as she aimed a revolver at the vampire. Her shots were as poor and untrained as her stance was bold. Not a single shot threatened the ancient vampire as he bore down upon her. The gun was slapped from her grip and then she was in his arms, her neck exposed and pierced by his wicked fangs. As her blood flowed into him, the round that Tobias had put into his shoulder was expelled from his snow-white flesh, falling impotently to the ground, the flesh knitting neatly behind it. Marie’s body became as lead and Orlock ripped at his own wrist with his teeth.
    Tobias managed to rise briefly to consciousness, his body heavy with injury and his vision blurred. He saw the dim outline of his sweet Marie as she suckled feverishly at the vampire’s wrist and then blackness mercifully took him once more.

Chapter Four

    Tobias awoke, confused at first by the fact that the obviously dark room he was in was so clear to his eyes. Then came the pain in his arms, held in heavy chains above his head. Then there was nothing but the burning hunger that spread through his body like wildfire. Subconsciously his tongue flicked out, trying to moisten his parched lips, and ran across his unusually sharp eye-teeth, scratching his tongue and causing a sluggish trickle of blood to well in his mouth. It tasted wonderful, liquid fire in his mouth.
    The realisation dawned quickly that he was now one of them, that vampire had changed him. No sooner had he thought that than Orlock flowed into the room.
    “Ah, you are awake, my pet,” The vampire’s voice had almost a musical quality, “Better for you if you had excepted your place in the world and bowed before my kind.”
    Orlock’s hand traced gently down Tobias’ naked torso, his nails lightly playing upon the sensitive skin. Tobias tried to kick out at the ancient, but the flesh felt like lead and his muscles were sluggish.
    “Still so defiant, little one?” Orlock’s words were soaked in mocking laughter. “Let me see if I can wash away your defiance a little.”
    As he spoke the door opened and Marie glided into the room.
    Tobias wanted to close his eyes, he wanted to block her from his sight, yet despite what she had become she was magnificent. His eyes rode upon her nubile body, clasped sensuously in a tight fitting satin dress of the deepest black, over the soft round of her breasts to her beautiful face. The hint of fang depressing her lower lip did nothing to detract from her beauty and he found his body responding as a husband should.
    It was only when he reached her eyes, transformed from the palest of green to the most dark of blues, vibrant and yet so cruel, that he was able to detach, if only a little, himself from his instinctive feelings and recognise her as a stranger. Yet his heart still yearned for his wife.
    She sidled over to the ancient and ran her hand brazenly along his chest. Orlock found himself overwhelmed by his absolute victory. All had gone as he had planned. Guttenberg was no more, his larders had been filled with those too weak to fight, the weapons had been taken from the ruined township and were now in his possession. More delightfully he had not only turned the defiant young Captain into one of his own, all the better to stretch his punishment out over time, but Tobias’ young wife had come over to him with unrepentant speed, utterly seduced by her new powers and her blood sire.
    “May I play with him?” She purred. “You promised I could.”
    For a moment Tobias’ heart leapt. Surely Marie would help him escape, surely she was simply playing along with the vampire until they could get away. Yet when he looked up at her deep, vicious eyes he knew that she was no longer his wife and that all the cruelty that had tarnished her soul was now turned towards her erstwhile mate.
    As she approached him a scream, called from the deepest depths of his heart, tore from his throat and as it echoed within the cell Orlock could do naught but laugh.
    That first night she tortured him for hours and, when she became bored and left, an old man was brought to him, his neck offered to the grievously injured captive. Tobias could not help himself, he sank his fangs deep into the offered neck and drank the thin, vinegary blood in hungry gulps. It was only afterwards that he looked properly upon his victim’s face and realised that the man he had devoured had once been one he had sworn to protect.
    They did that every night. Marie would play with him in the most sadistic and painful of ways and then an old one would be brought, one whose blood could not fully satisfy his wrecked body, merely heal him enough so that the torture could continue the next night.
    How long it continued he could not say, easily long enough for him to devour all of the worst blood that had once been the citizens of Guttenberg. Long enough for him to forget that Marie had ever been his wife and replace any feeling he had for her with nothing but cold, festering hatred. Through it all there was Orlock. He didn’t come to the cell every night and, towards the end, the ancient vampire barely attended at all. When he was there he was always a voyeur of Tobias’ torment, never an active participant, but, in truth, Tobias’ knew that Orlock was the root and cause.
Epilogue

    Marie inched over the bed, drawing closer and closer to the Master. He had been away for awhile and somehow the torture of the pitiful thing, that had once been her husband, was not so sweet when he was not there to watch. She hoped that Orlock’s recent absence from the castle would have piqued his hunger for the play.
    She leaned up to his face, and looked at his open, staring eyes and then, suddenly, her mouth darted forward and she pressed her lips to his.
    “Will you come to the cell with me?” She asked after she broke the kiss.
    For a moment he did not answer, until his hand came up and stroked her face, his nails scoring thin red welts along her cheek. Each welt was like a barb of fire that made her squirm passionately, her heart and body hungry for her Master.
    “I think not,” he finally declared with a soft, lazy voice, “Indeed neither of us will.”
    She looked quizzically at him, not daring to question his word but confused by the change in her routine that he had announced.
    “We have,” he eventually explained to her unspoken question, “A new plaything. A young fledgling named Jack. I sense darkness deep within him that I feel I must coax to the surface. Now, what should we do with your Tobias?”
    She looked away for a moment, her mind whirling through possibilities, eventually she turned back and asked, “Can we put him outside, chained and waiting for the sun?”
    Orlock nodded, his face impassive, but his heart was filled with joyous laughter and in the depths of his mind it was as though he could already detect the aroma of charred vampiric flesh.


The End