Because the Night….
A Vampire Phantasm fan-fic
(AKA Andrew M. Boylan)
based on characters created by
“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
“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?”
“That’s a good lad, no more pushing and
fighting with your brother. Now, we have to get ready.”
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
“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.
“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
“…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
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
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.
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
Then the defenders were dead, all bar Tobias and his
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
“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.