The Lost Soul

I searched through the darkness

Stumbling across the ground

The fear filtering through me

For you could not be found

The wind pushed and pulled me

And rain soaked through my hair

As night spread across the sky

I knew somehow you’d be there

Rocks clustered on the hillside

Scattering under my feet

Cold breath frosted on the air

Searching for your lost heat

They came and took you from me

Whilst we slept in peace

Side by side in our graves

They’d stolen our release

The land stretched out behind me

That had been our resting place

I sprinted on towards the crest

Still draped in my wedding lace

Strange how I did not bleed

No pain from the cuts and falls

My strength stayed and grew

As in the distance I heard the calls

My dress billowed around me

As I stopped still to listen

A gentle calling could be felt

Whilst watching the moon glisten

The voices came soft and gentle

Just like a delicate caress

Entranced I wanted to be trapped

Until once again I saw my dress

You! It was you I needed

You who I was searching for

You who’d been taken from me

You who I’d always adore

I turned to the wind once more

And carried on my search

There before me on the hill

Was a beautiful old lonely church

I pushed open the doors

I ventured on inside

I hoped you’d be in there

With your arms open wide

Instead there stood a priest

Who stepped back in shock

He held up a warning hand

Asking me not to mock

I looked at him in confusion

Not understanding his fear

It was you who I searched for

To be with you standing near

I cried out your name

Dropping to the floor

Begging them to bring you back

Without you I was no more

The priest shrieked hurting my ears

He demanded I tell no lies

Asking me what I was

As he pointed to my eyes

There should have been many tears

Running down my cheeks

Instead rich red blood

Ran down in ghastly streaks

I turned my head, gently, to the side

As the confusion began to clear

This church was familiar now

And those voices I could hear

This was where we married

The priest had been there too

For all time you and I

Should be starting our path anew

Then I saw the end begin

Our lives ripped apart

We had been taken

As the memory broke my heart

A creature had found us

On our wedding night

Drank from both our bodies

And then had taken flight

Together we were buried

To rest for evermore

But now alone here I was

Crouched on the cold stone floor

The voices crowded in my head

Begging for their release

I knew what they were saying now

Come and let the hunger cease

I lunged forward to the priest

I grabbed him in my hands

My fingers stretched out like claws

As I made my simple demands

You have to tell me where he is

Why have they taken him?

What have they done to us?

Please save me from this sin

He recoiled back from my face

And tried to pull away

I felt something in my mouth

As my knees again gave way

The lure was too strong now

I knew what I had become

I needed to drink his blood

This curse could not be undone

The priest slipped from my arms

His life now all gone

I turned back to the night

To find my only one

The souls of many sang to me

Telling me I was theirs

But deep inside I felt another

The one who really cares

The mist swirled around the hillside as a lonely figure emerged from the small church. A glow of light spilled out from the doorway, showing a flash of red that stained her dress at the sleeves and down the centre of her chest. Then she was gone, a creature of the night. Now all that he needed to do was make her his. She would be his to share the passing of time, to enjoy the gifts their kind were blessed with, to satisfy his hunger that would never go away. How could the world think him soulless when he desired her this much? He craved her more than the lost rays of the sun. He must find a way to turn her heart to him.

It was his hunger that had first drawn him to the wedding party, the warmth of the people gathered together had been like a shining beacon inviting him to quench his thirst. He could have happily slaughtered every single person in the village that night, and none would have been able to stop him. As he drew closer he could hear them all singing and laughing, with the children playing fearlessly in the field as the adults danced the night away. The maidens all wore flowers in their hair, as was their custom, to try and entrance the teenage boys to make them the next bride. He could smell the sweetness of the wine coursing through their veins, elderflower was the speciality of this area. The sour smell of spilt ale tinged with the sweat of the men as they whirled their women around in displays of affection and ownership.

The elders sat in a circle around the revellers clapping and tapping their feet to the music, goading the men to spin their partners faster. A carefree celebration of life itself. It was then that he saw her, the bride, a vision of beauty in a simple laced dress that flowed from her body. She had a crown of flowers and braids that showed a simple charm, she needed nothing more to display her beauty. Her groom stood before her, they were holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes as the rest of the world spun and twirled around them. The groom drew her towards him in a loving embrace before suddenly sweeping her from her feet to join the dance.

They twirled and spun as her head tipped back in laughter before she nestled into his neck. He whispered something in her ear which made her eyes light up. Never had the monster watching from the shadows seen such vitality. The young couple’s fate was being rewritten as doom silently approached them. Their hopes, dreams and whispered promises would never be fulfilled.

The newlyweds stepped away from the other dancers. They hoped to steal a few moments for themselves whilst the revellers continued in their celebrations. He followed them with his eyes, greedily drinking in the sight of her, fuelling his desire of what was to come. He watched their hopeful retreat and called the shadows to him. He would turn them both, he would taste the love they held for one another and make it his own.

It took the party several hours to realise that the guests of honour were no longer with them. The dogs were the first to find them as fear crept on the breeze kissing the fringes of the people as they drew the children closer to them. A sense of foreboding descended upon them, the uneasiness mounting when at first the lovers could not be found. It was not unusual for young lovers to sneak away to find time for themselves, but they always returned for the last dance.

The dogs barked relentlessly in the field, calling their owners to come, the women and children hurried to the safety of their homes and locked the doors to the night. In the copse that lay at the end of the village the couple were finally found, side by side in each other’s arms with what could have been mistaken for serenity. Their hands were clasped tightly together to show they would never be parted. They looked perfect, except for they were devoid of all life.

The villagers were inconsolable in their grief, for the loss of the young couple had no explanation, there was no sign near them of what had been the cause of their downfall. The bodies seemed unharmed apart from two small marks on the side of their necks, and they were paler than anything they had ever seen, but the people thought this was just a sign of winters kiss approaching from the hills.

The couple were buried side by side in their wedding clothes after an emotional service from the priest, that had only a day earlier bound them in eternal love. If they had but waited a few more days before the burial, they would have seen the bruises forming on her groom. Great finger marks were wrapped around his neck where the creature from the shadows had struggled to control his victim so as not to draw any suspicion from their death. He needed them to be buried in the ground so they summoned to their new life, rising again, reborn. If the villagers had suspected his touch the bodies would have been burned in an instant, and he would have lost them forever.

Not a single mark was to be found on his bride’s body. She was too perfect to be harmed, a lulling of her senses and a drawing of her mind was all that was needed, as he had sung his charm to her. Besides, the shock of seeing her love feasted upon was enough to make her withdraw from the reality as her eyes glazed and her heart screamed. The groom’s blood had been angry, cursing the monster with his last breath, vowing revenge and promising his love that he would find her in the next life so they could be together again. How sweet she had tasted, how rich the blood that flowed from her, how divine her soul as it fled from her body begging for mercy and salvation.

For the first time in a millennium the monster had felt a moment of panic. He had believed the words hurled at him, a dying soul’s last torment is one to never be ignored. The creature felt the intensity of the soul’s curse as it slipped away to another place, leaving him with a sense of foreboding as the bodies lay limp in his arms. The monster knew only one way to control his fear, and that was to gather the darkness to him, to make it become him. He would turn them both, he would devour his beloved reborn bride and make her groom watch on, powerless to stop them. The groom would be indebted to him for the gift bestowed upon him, thankful for his very existence, living in his shadow and doing as the monster bade.

His fangs pulsed with the memory of her taking. Never had he felt such warmth when taking another’s life. He had stumbled across something very special in this woman and he intended to enjoy her for a very long time. She would worship him as her maker, her saviour, as her God. She would be his to taste, to enjoy and to cherish whenever he desired. He knew she could hear him calling to her, he felt her resistance. He also knew that she had now taken her first blood. Her nature could not be denied, she would turn to him soon, and if she did not he would make her. Neave would stare into his eyes with the same passion she had shown her groom, she would want him with her whole being and beg for him to desire her too.

A small irritation flickered in his mind as he searched again for her groom. He too was one of his own creations, he should be able to find him effortlessly, but he was gone. Silence remained as he called to him and ordered him to his side. The great Nerezni had fathered many creatures throughout his existence and never had they remained silent from him. Certainly, some were harder to hear than others, distance could play a part in the clarity of thought. Some of his creations were destined never to survive the turning, and others still lost their minds entirely. These were the children he slew quickly and without remorse. There could be no tolerance for these poor creations, the risk of discovery of his kind was too great when crazed mindless drinkers were unleashed upon the world.

Silence was new. Silence was unsettling. Whilst he was unseen he could not be manipulated and used to bring Naeve to him. What to do first, seduce Neave or find her errant lover? Perhaps one would lead to the other.

The chains rattled pitifully as the thing at his side continued its weeping. It was unusual for him to keep a human alive in this way, normally they were drained and tossed aside within seconds, but she held a deep allure that he couldn’t resist and he needed every weapon he could get in the battle to bring Neave to his side. Perhaps it was a need for a challenge that had brought him to this point in the first place. The young couple had been so in love that he had desired to feel the same intensity for himself.

The young girl at his side was Neave’s sister. She shared the same physical presence as her sister but not the intensity of life. Perhaps it was because she was still young and desire had not yet been awoken within her. He had returned to the village to claim her after the burials in a moment of doubt. What if Neave did not submit to him? He would need this girl to force her compliance. Until then he could use her to snack on, the taste of her was sweet and reminded him of his first awakening from the maidens centuries ago. He may even turn her eventually when her human usefulness had passed, it wasn’t his custom to pray on young girls but he wouldn’t waste an opportunity if it was his for the taking. For now he must leave the village, before they found him. The shadows would not hide him forever. The church must be burned before the priest was discovered. His young made an awful mess until their thirst was under control.

The shadows crept up the hillside with a faint jangling of chains that could be heard if the ear was strained. The church burst into flames and the villagers believed it was God’s way of punishing the priest for not caring for his children. When they discovered Neave’s sister was missing, they suspected that she had acted out Gods will for herself, burning the church and then running away in fear of retribution. No one noticed the cattle that disappeared, or saw the shadows move under the moonlight, or feared for their safety as they tucked themselves up into bed. He night rolled on. The monster lingered still.

Her arms wrapped around her body

Her dress a flowing melody

Her face a beauty within the dark

Completely flawless and without a mark

The wind it swirled caressing her hair

Whispering its love for one so fair

Tonight the world will show it cared

As the wind gained in strength

The others saw it as their cue

Why they had come would soon be told

Why they were promised they’d never grow old

Only the prettiest had been chosen

To have their youth forever frozen

Tonight the world would show it cared

Tonight the way would be prepared

The standing stones began to hum

The moon glowed just like the sun

They did not know what pulled them so

Or even how the words would flow

But still they began to dance and sing

Moving faster and faster within their ring

Tonight the world would show it cared

Tonight the way would be prepared

Tonight the maidens would open the door

Still the wind grew and blew

Around the stones the girls flew

In a whirl they were lost to the night

So fast it seemed they’d take flight

Their heads thrown back in pure delight

The power created leading to new heights

Tonight the world would show it cared

Tonight the way would be prepared

Tonight the maidens would open the door

Tonight the power would be hers once more

The power slashed through the air like a knife

A door exploded into being and came to life

The maidens stopped their dance to stare

At what now was there and not simply air

A sense of fear at what had arrived

Their dance bringing this thing to life

Tonight the world would show it cared

Tonight the way would be prepared

Tonight the maidens would open the door

Tonight the power would be hers once more

Tonight eternal life would be in her hands

Across the circle came a low growling

A dark dismal beast that began howling

The maidens felt their blood run cold

As the horror of it all began to unfold

To sustain his life he had a need

Upon them for eternity he would feed

Tonight the world would show it cared

Tonight the way would be prepared

Tonight the maidens would open the door

Tonight the power would be hers once more

Tonight eternal life would be in her hands

Tonight she would rule across all the land.

Nerezni awoke from his day’s death and embraced the frozen night sky. The girl in chains had awoken memories from his past and he longed for his thirst to be quenched. He greedily drank from her as though the memories could be washed away, barely releasing her in time before her soul was claimed by the Gods. He dropped her carelessly to the floor before instantly regretting his actions. This maiden was not the power-hungry sorceress that had summoned him from his eternal sleep, she could not be punished for another’s sin.

He vowed to take more care of her in the future as he stalked off into the night, leaving her in the shadows of the cave to recover after covering her with a bear skin that would keep her warm. For him there could be no fire. This rare moment of regret bothered him more than the silence that returned his calls to his lost creation. He was Nerezni, he should have no regrets. Perhaps the blood he had taken from the couple had changed him, perhaps they were making him feel. Perhaps he had a soul after all. Perhaps the dreams were making him lose his mind, after all, that’s why he needed this new challenge. The eternal sleep was calling him and he had no desire to answer it yet.

He went back to the village to find food for the girl, he should stop using her to drink from if he was to seduce his Neave. He’d also free her from her chains, she would never leave him now, they were bound for eternity, however long that may be.