We walked through the dark streets of the city, enjoying each other's company and coversation. Everything seemed clean from the rains of a few hours earlier, and the setting moonlight glistened on everything. Oblivious to anything but each other, our conversation lulled and sprang up anew as conversations do. We should have been paying closer attention.
Despite the warm weather, a bone-deep chill made us both take closer stock of where we were. We had wandered into a commercial construction site. The huge steel skeletal frame of the new building loomed above us, stark against the starlit sky. Stakes and string and tools lay about everywhere in preparation for tomorrow's cement pouring. The foreman's office squatted just to our right, and crates here and there made shadowy lumps on the ground. But there was nothing to explain the chill fear that sank immediately into our bones.
Instinctively, I ducked behind a crate, pulling my friend down with me. She looked at me fearfully, and I made a "stay here" gesture.
I slowly peeked my head above the crate to look around, and just on the other side of the crate someone was exactly matching my motion. He looked like the usual prankster, a small grin quirking his lips. But there was something wrong. He feigned small surprise at seeing me, no doubt mimicing the look on my face. But there was still something not right about him. And when he smiled it all came in a rush.
The prankster's grin never touched his eyes. His eyes were cruel as though kindness had never touched them. His skin was too pale, even in the darkness of night and his lips were blood red. As the smile grew, it bared razor sharp teeth with too-long canines.
I tucked and rolled at an angle that would take this creature's attention away from where my friend crouched, and came up with a stake. This creature, what could only be a vampire, moved with speed given it by myth and legend. It stood in front of me as I regained my feet. I gave it no time to think, and the smug look of predator-playing-with-prey immediately became a rictus of pain as I plunged the stake into its heart and jumped back a step.
The vampire shredded the night air with its howl of agony. It clutched at the wood jutting from its chest, and tried weakly to remove it. Blood poured from around the wood, running freely to the ground. The howl finally stopped, and the vampire stood, hand on stake, head lolling back to stare into the sky. It was over.
"Well done," came a soft, infinitely confident voice. A shadow seemed to grow behind the transfixed vampire, and it resolved into a handsome man with proud bearing. His face put his age in his early forties, but his eyes and his bearing suggested he was older than the world. He was wearing a large overcoat of fine cut, jet black. He also wore an aura of blackness that seemed to swallow the light immediately around him. He looked at the still-standing vampire, and cupped his hands under the wound that now oozed nearly black blood. Calmly, he brought his hands to his mouth and drank deep the horrid fluid.
I stared in terrible fascination as the black aura around this creature seemed to deepen in its darkness and grow to swallow the light in a much larger area around him with each swallow. I could feel his evil powers growing incredibly with each swallow.
Finally, the vampire I had slain collapsed into a pile of harmless dust. His master, however, stood before me, wiping his chin, his face showing little more than contempt for a dog. I refused to let the fear overcome me, and I stood waiting for his attack. But it never came.
"I should destroy you, but I think I'll let my children have you," he said as though he were a hunter leaving worthless, wounded prey to his hounds. He stepped aside, that horrible black aura following, and revealed seven more vampires standing in a semi-circle in front of me. Each of them wore a sickly grin, and some were licking their lips in anticipation of the taste of my blood and flesh.
Waiting until they made the decision to move was the hardest thing I had ever done, but I waited. The moment I sensed one of them was about to take a step forward, I lunged straight for the center of the group (I wasn't as well trained as I am now), ignoring the surprise in their eyes. I dove at the feet of the center-most vampire, coming up to my knees with stake in hand, and thrust it into its heart. It fell, leaving me just enough space to maneuver in. I put my hands on the ground for a power base, and kicked out in an arc, catching the closest vampire just above the knee. As it fell, I spiraled my body up with a stake my hand had closed on during the sweep, stabbed the next one in the back through the heart, spiraled back down, and drove another stake through the sternum of the vampire I had swept.
That was all I could remember. The only thought exploding in my head was anger that these creatures would threaten me, and possibly my friend who I hoped was still in hiding. I don't remember how I killed the last four vampires, but before I knew it, they all lay dead or dying at my feet.
I quickly scanned each of the undead bodies to ensure I had pierced each of their hearts, when that infinitely confident voice once again caught my attention.
"Well done again!" I whirled to face the source of the sound, instinctively crouching and coming up with a long, thick dowel, and my heart sank. Emerging from the foreman's shack, the master held my friend in front of him like a human shield. One hand held her arm, and the other held razor sharp talons almost delicately on her throat. "But I think I will rebuild my family starting with this one."
My only option, once again was to act quickly before he could put those vile lips on her neck. With a loud, firm voice, I said, "And she will be an excellent addition to your army." Distantly, I was proud that my voice was strong. It was no surprise, really; disgust, anger and indignation drove my actions now. I caught my friend's eye and said, "I've known her for quite some time, and I know that when she is told to move, she will MOVE!" With the last syllable, I lunged forward, praying she caught my hint. She did, and just above her head, as she instantly dropped into a crouch, a few strands of her hair got caught by the wooden dowel as it pierced the vampire's chest. The force of my charge slammed his back into a wall and drove the dowel into the wall behind him, pinning him there.
"Nooooo!" The demon's scream pierced the night air. He grabbed at the dowel as I grabbed my friend's hands and pulled her away and behind me. The vampire stared at me, his face a mask of feral hatred, as he grabbed the dowel and began trying to pull it out. But it was stuck in the wall behind him. I could not believe that with his heart pierced he did not die like the rest. Surely he would die eventually. But he did not. He fixed his eyes on mine, and began walking forward. Slowly, ever so slowly. Again, my heart sank. Eventually, he would walk the length of the dowel and be free, and I and my friend would be his first victims. I couldn't let this happen!
Frantically, I searched the ground for something I could use. A three foot piece of rebar lay nearby, and, thank goodness, it had a point. I rammed it into the vampire's chest, and heard him scream again. I grabbed a hammer, and began driving the rebar through his chest and into the wall behind him. With each strike of the hammer, a new scream tore the night air, but soon it was done. The ridged rebar was firmly through his chest and stuck into the wood. It was done.
Or so I thought. Again, the creature looked at me with his true face, one twisted with evil and hatred, eyes of eternal rage, and it carried with it the promise of revenge. Impossibly, he began pulling his way down the length of the rebar, just as he had with the dowel! It would take him a long time, but eventually he would be free, and there was nothing I could do about it. Never again would I be able to enjoy a peaceful night without feeling a bit of fear, panic whenever I heard a whisper of sound behind me. I would be forever looking over my shoulder, preparing worthless vampire bane until finally he took me by surprise and killed me. Or worse.
Just as I was about to give in to hysteria and hopelessness, I felt a hand rest lightly on my shoulder. I looked and my friend's eyes met mine. She looked calm and confident. She was trying to comfort me, I knew, and I fought the urge to scream at her that we were both dead--maybe not tonight, and maybe not tomorrow night, be were dead! But she pointed at the horizon behind me, and I followed her gesture. The wispy clouds above the mountains were hundreds of shades of red and pink and blue, promising a beautiful, sunny morning. Without looking back at the vampire, I put my arm around my friend's waist with a smile, and we began walking home.
As I woke, I knew the dream was more than just subconscious wanderings. My dream-self had had an experience that was very real. If the vampires had won, a tiny bit of my true SELF would have been lost. Perhaps more than a bit. I knew then that vampires are very real.
In the temporal sense (for those of you who don't believe in spirit or energy or chi, etc.), there are those that are devoid of love and are out for no other reason than predation; in the spiritual sense, there are those creatures who are so filled with hatred of those with bodies that they will do everything they can to destroy us; in the metaphysical sense, there are those who suck the life energy out of those around them; and there are those who want to be vampires because they can't stand the Light, because they believe serving shadow will give them power. They are all to be pitied, but not to be allowed to work their evil on those who try to serve goodness.
Thus, when I fully woke, I swore a silent oath to fight against all that is evil in whatever way I have power to do so. I train in the martial arts to fight the physical demons. I train in spiritual matters to fight the spirit demons. I train in metaphysics to fight the chi demons. The Shadow will not win. And I will be one who will give my life (lives) to that end. But even so, after I have done all I can do, there is still one true power, far greater than my own, that in the end, I must rely upon to save us all.
All that is necessary for evil to win is for [good people] to do nothing. --(I can't remember)
Where has all the Light gone? Why do they worship Shadow?
Why is hate not love loved, and demons revered and hallowed? --Vampyre Slayre
...into the Shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath to spit in Sightblinder's eye at the Last Day. --The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan