- Vespera Vampire - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8 -

 

Deal With A Vampire?
Copyright 2012, 2018 by Raymond Johnson. Fourth edition.
Cover art provided by Jesse-lee Lang. (iStock Photo).

To Emily Booth.

“There’s nothing worse than waiting and not knowing what’ll happen to you. Your own imagination can be crueller than any captor.” – Rachel Mead.

In the year 1632 stands a remote village of peace loving folk who live in harmony farming the land and attending church. However the peace they enjoy has been purchased at a cost, and as payment five inhabitants are selected every All Hallow’s Eve to be offered as a sacrifice to the neighbouring vampire sect. All those selected are looked upon with honour for they are giving their lives in order to appease the vampires and protect their community. However, one of those chosen grows suspicious when she realises all those selected have personal traits considered inappropriate to village life and suspects the village elders of orchestrating the entire event.

 

 

Chapter 1 – The Chosen Ones

The full moon lit up the main square of the village as everyone in town gathered round, cheering us, with pride plastered upon their faces. All five of us stood on a raised wooden plinth waving our arms receiving everyone’s gratitude like heroes off to fight a mighty battle. We were no heroes and we knew full well what awaited us, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the attention.

Three men and two women, including myself, wearing nothing but robes of white silk stood proud while basking in the praise of the townspeople. We were chosen as the most suitable candidates based upon our size and weight as well as our capability of coping with the task at hand.

Among the cheering crowd were my parents wearing their Sunday bests. My mother continuously wiped away her tears into a handkerchief, but she was not weeping because of the eventual loss of her beloved daughter, but rather weeping tears of pride. I was in effect going to war with vicious beasts and sacrificing my life for the village. My father even wept a few tears knowing that my name would go down in history as one of the chosen few.

I stood tall, with my legs astride, and my fists resting against my hips. The four others standing on my right also adopted a similar pose reflecting the accolade that everyone felt for us. The village was going to be safe, for another year at least, because of our willing sacrifice. Our names would live on forever in their hearts.

Up until that moment I had led a sorry existence spending most of the day working on the farm and most of the night making merry at the local inn. Some days I never got a wink of sleep while others I found myself waking up in the street. I lived the wasted life of a drunkard. But my past no longer mattered for my destiny had already been chosen, to die a heroine alongside four mighty warriors.

“I’m so nervous,” the girl at my side said to me.

She looked far younger than myself. Her pretty face was contorted with fear that she tried so hard to mask behind her confident pose. I didn’t blame her, for we all felt the same way. Each of us acted brave and full of pride while our guts twisted with terrifying fear. We had fasted for the entire day, supposedly to cleanse our bodies, but we all knew deep down the truth as to why we were not allowed a meal. If we ejected our food either through the mouth or backside then everyone would know how we really felt, and it was imperative to hide our true feelings of the situation. The entire village knew deep down what we were going through but they could never live with themselves if they were forced to realise what they were actually doing to us.

“I feel exactly the same,” I told the girl, “I’m sure all of us do. Just continue to smile and wave at the crowd. It’ll soon be over.”

“Thank you,” she said.

The crowd roared with cheers as we continued to wave our arms. One of the men among us was tall and handsome with a thin waxed moustache. His long black hair cascaded down the back of his robe. He was loving the attention and cheered back at the roaring crowd.

“Yea!” He shouted as he punched the air.

Another of the men was very overweight, with his large robe barely covering him. Just one slip of his silk belt would reveal his full nudity to the spectating crowd. In fact if that did happen they would likely see his huge belly rather than anything more intimate he had hidden down there. I guessed he must have been chosen based upon his large size yet the rest of us were nowhere near as big, and there were lots of other fat people in the village that would have been suitable.

He waved his arms continuously from side to side giving the appearance he was enjoying the attention, but his blank expression revealed his true feelings that he tried with all his might to hide. He did occasionally speak but they were more grunts than actual words.

The other man standing among us was fairly muscular and had a rough unshaven face. He appeared quiet as though trying to comprehend the situation he found himself to be in. I also noticed his left arm was tucked under his belt while occasionally waving to the crowd with his right. It was clearly the wrong way to sling a broken arm so I guessed it must have been paralysed.

“We love you!” Someone screeched from the crowd at the top of their voice addressing us all.

I leant forward and smiled brightly into the direction the sound had come from. There were peasants standing side by side with noblemen, their faces filled with happiness. We were the saviours of our town and everyone, rich and poor, owed us a debt of gratitude.

“Woo!” The moustached man shouted out while kicking and punching at an imaginary object causing the crowd to cheer even louder.

“How old are you?” I asked the girl standing at my side.

“I’ll be 20 next birthday,” she replied.

Her lips grimaced as she felt a sharp emotional pain when she realised what she had just said, for she would never reach her next birthday. Her death was to be that very night along with the rest of us chosen ones.

“I’m 32,” I replied, “Just stay at my side at all times. I’ll look after you.”

Her looked then changed to one of puzzlement.

“Even when we… um,” she said.

“We’ll die together,” I responded, “Side by side, holding hands. It’ll be easier that way.”

She nodded in response.

I strangely felt maternal feelings toward her and wanted her to know that a friend was willing to stay at her side right up until the end, even though it was the first time we had ever met. As I thought about it further I realised it was something all five of us were going to have to do, it would be far easier for us all if we died holding hands.

I started to wonder as to why the girl had been chosen as well as why some of the men were selected too. I secretly suspected I was picked based upon the fact that I was still a spinster and had no interest in finding a husband therefore not able to bear children. Of course that wasn’t what I was told but I knew deep down it was the real reason. I wondered if everyone else selected were of a similar disposition as to myself. In many ways some could see the vampire situation as a convenient way to dispose of undesirables within the community. As of that moment we were seen as heroes and I had to remind myself to keep that thought, not just in order to repress my rage at my own people but also to help cope with the extreme savagery of what was about to be done to us.

I blinked my eyes and took deep repeated breaths in an attempt to rest my mind. I concentrated and reminded myself of the good that would come of all this.

“What’s your name?” The girl at my side suddenly asked interrupting my trail of thought.

I took a moment before responding. It was difficult to discuss anything over the constant loud cheering from the townspeople.

“Clementine!” I replied having to shout.

“That’s a beautiful name!” She yelled back.

“Thank you!” I responded.

“I’m Adra,” she said while leaning closer to me, “It’s very nice to make your acquaintance. Friends are…”

There was an instant hush from the crowd with only a far distant echo from their voices. The contrasting change from cheers to silence caused my ears to feel strange. The people standing near the front of the plinth began to slowly disperse allowing room for the horse drawn carriage that was approaching in the distance. We all listened intensely at the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves.

Adra grabbed my hand tightly while her body trembled.

“Stay brave,” I whispered to her whilst staring ahead.

It wasn’t just for her sake that I made that comment but also for my own while I tried my best to hold back my fear. My parents and the rest of the townspeople needed us to remain strong otherwise they’d be forced to face up to the truth that they were trying their best to repress. They were feeding us to vampires, which was tantamount to murder, in order to save their own sorry lives. I despised the whole situation yet I still fully understood their reasoning.

The silence was interrupted by sobbing from one of the villagers who then tried her best to repress it causing instead to make a strange howling noise. I saw movement toward the back of the crowd as she tried to leave only to be stopped by someone who tried to console her. She then tumbled to the ground letting out a high pitched whine.

The open topped carriage approached and stopped in front of the wooden plinth where us chosen ones waited to be offered. A hooded figure sitting at the front of the carriage simply turned his head to face us indicating that it was time for us to enter.

I stared directly at him trying to get a glimpse of his vampiric features but it was too dark to make them out. If I hadn’t known better I would have assumed he was a normal man, just a usual villager, riding a normal cart with normal horses. But I and everyone else in the village knew full well that he wasn’t. He was a bloodthirsty vampire and we all knew it wouldn’t be long before he sank his fangs into our necks.

I then stared out at the crowd trying to gain sight of my parents to give them one final goodbye, but had lost sight of them among the vast group of people. I waited to see if they would call out but the crowd remained silent. No doubt both my parents were in total shock as were the rest of the village.

I then turned to the people standing at my side and Adra who was still holding my hand. We all remained totally quiet while exchanging glances for the briefest of moments which seemed to last an eternity.

I faced the crowd once more and took a large breath before slowly descending the wooden steps in my bare feet towards the carriage, with Adra still holding my hand, and the others following behind. Each of us in turn clambered into the back then sat in total silence while the two horses in front snorted as if annoyed by our presence.

The hooded figure sitting at the front flicked the horses’ reins causing the cart to jerk forwards before making its way around the village square and back out of town. I sensed the silent gasps of the villagers and the relief they felt for they were now safe for another year.

 

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