Authors: Ryan Hunt
Text copyright 2013 by Ryan Hunt. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or altered without consent of the author and publisher.
New Blood: Dark Canticle
It was an old book, centuries old. To the untrained eye, the old book was just that, an old book. But Elizabeth was sure the book was an incunable. It was printed before the 1500s making it somewhat valuable; but the ancient age of the book was not the only thing that aroused her curiosity. The ragged leather cover bore no title but instead a brown red crucifix smeared upside down in what looked to be dry blood.
She had read almost every book in the small library but not that one. She was sure that it didn’t even belong to the library. There was no call number on the side of it.
“Sir,” she whispered at the man who had returned the book without knowing why she was whispering. No one else was in the library.
No one was ever in the small library.
He made his way to the door, not bothering to turn around.
Did he hear me?
Sir!” she chased after him; he stopped just short of the door.
What?” he asked, looking over his shoulder, his face hidden by a black fedora that he wore pulled down at an angle.
Your book. You forgot your book,” she said. She held it with an out stretched arm as she walked towards him. “I think you returned it by ...” Elizabeth's words got caught in her throat and choked her as the man faced her and removed his fedora. Her legs leaden in place, and her hazel eyes grew almost bigger than their sockets. She managed to swallow down the words that were choking her in an audible gulp.
His blue eyes beamed at her like two morning stars flaunting their splendor in the dawn sky. His blonde hair like golden waves cascaded softly onto his shoulders where it contrasted with the black collar of his expensive frock jacket. From his jacket's pocket, a dainty white pocket square protruded out ever so carefully, like a timid lily. His jaw was as sculpted as the Statue of David, chiseled to supernatural perfection as if it was crafted by the very hand of God. His looks were so beautiful it was as if they were fake, artificial.
“Keep it,” he said and smiled. His baritone words seemed to have come from his chest rather than his mouth.
I ... um ... I.” Elizabeth struggled to speak, inarticulate with emotion, and not knowing which one. Her heart danced a jig within her chest, a two-step of love and fear.
Why am I afraid?
She stared at his warm rosy smile, it was innocent, and then she looked to his eyes.
There was something about his agate blue eyes. They were not as innocent as his thin lips and his pearly white smile. He could not hide what lay beneath his eyes. They beamed in a mingled confusion of joy and pain, serenity and wrath, eternal pride and eternal humility. Staring into his horrid but beautiful eyes was akin to sipping an exquisite poison; it tasted bitter sweet, but tore, ripped, and burned at the body and soul.
But beneath it all she saw something in his eyes of opal that was not an emotion. She could not place her finger on it until the word slid between her rose petal lips in a whisper not even an owl could hear, “Evil.”
Excuse me?” he asked.
I ... um ... I.”
Look madame, I must be going. I have business to attend to.” He placed his black fedora back onto his golden head. “You see, I am a traveling magician, that there is a magic book, the very first one I happened upon during a tour in France. I have no need for it now, and I simply would like to donate it to the library,” he said.
He took a couple of steps towards Elizabeth. She wished to flee, but her legs felt like they weighed a thousand pounds, leaden in place with fear. She held her breath while his exquisite dress shoes tapped on the oak floor. He pulled his dainty pocket square from its resting place, and with a delicate snap of his wrist, it transformed into a white lily.
“A lily for a lily,” he said. He held it to her face so that she may take it. “Don't ask how. It's magic. A good magician never reveals his secrets.” He smiled his most innocent smile, but his eyes betrayed his deceitful lips.
She managed a simple thank you and accepted it. She watched him sauntered to the front door and finally exhaled with relief. She held her breath again when he stopped.
“Oh and by the way Elizabeth, it's a good book. You're a librarian, I bet it gets lonely in here and at home; no one wants to be lonely. But good thing you have your books to keep you company. I think you would appreciate and really understand the book,” he said. He bowed a courteous farewell, and exited the building.
Elizabeth stood there still clenching the book and the lily. Once she realized the damned things were still in her hands she dropped them to the floor.
A magician huh?
She ran to the front door wishing to see the horse drawn carriage of her strange visitor. If he was a magician surely he would be traveling with a circus of some kind, a carnival perhaps. She pulled the door open and was perplexed at what she found ... absolutely nothing.
She ran her hands through her hair.
How could a man vanish into thin air?
Tremulous trees danced in the brisk autumn breeze in a colorful ballet of red, orange, and brown, dropping their once beloved leaves to the sordid earth. The sweet perfume of dog roses and bellflowers pranced through the air; there was something else in the air also. Something foul.
Her eyes burned as if she was staring into an open furnace and salty tears started to brim within their lids. A worm of nausea crawled through her stomach as the vile stench crawled up her nose. The odor of rotten eggs, of sulfur, of brimstone overwhelmed her. It was as if the gates of hell had been left ajar. She yanked a handkerchief from her pocket and nearly threw it to her face as she fled back into the library.
Elizabeth inhaled a breath of the library's stale air, it seemed fresh compared to what she had just smelled. She held the air in her lungs as if it was something to be savored, and her nausea started to subside. She rested her back against the door, her head thrown back in relief, her eyelids clenched shut as her mind tried to make sense of it all. They flung open like a spring loaded trap.
“How did he know my name? I didn't tell it to him,” she said.
Elizabeth looked at the white lily on the cold floor and then at the book. A warm shiver ran through her body, and fear ballooned in her heart. She opened the door with her back still to it, her eyes still on the nefarious gifts lying across the room. She slid out the cracked door and bolted for her home.
Elizabeth burst into her home and slammed the door shut. Her lungs drew in breaths of fire, her hands rested on her thighs and kept her from keeling over on the floor. Her feet were inflamed as if she was standing on hot coal. They were raw and sore from the run home. Her pitiful cheap shoes were talking, the soles peeling away.
I'm home, my sanctuary. He can't get me here, who or whatever he is.
She looked at the crucifix hanging above the door that led to the kitchen while air left her lungs as quick as it was drawn in. She looked at the portrait of the Virgin Mary above the mantle of the fireplace. The Holy Mother stared back with placid and divine compassion.
For the first time since she had encountered the strange man at the library, Elizabeth felt safe. Even so she dropped to the floor and thrust the palms of her hands together so hard they shook in front of her face as she prayed.
But even that wasn't enough. She cleared her throat and sang Ave Maria by Schubert, her favorite composer, while she held her hands up to the heavens. She sang it in her most perfect German, doing the best she could. It was a strange dialect to sing for a Romanian tongue.
Finally after her fear had subsided from a raging tsunami back to a calm sea, her soul consoled by her Lord, Elizabeth sunk into her dingy couch and looked around her pitiful home. There were no children playing in the living room. She didn't hear joyful cries of “Momma” when she got home. She had no masculine arms to run into for safety, no one to tell about the strange man.
There was never anyone, but that was okay, she only needed the Lord. Elizabeth pulled herself from her dingy couch, and thought she'd call it a night. She would feel better after precious sleep.
She lit a kerosene lamp, and her tiny bedroom, in all of its wretched loneliness, illuminated in dim rosy light. Her pitiful excuse for a bed, a simple mattress in the corner, looked like sweet heaven and dismal hell. She would go to bed alone like she had done the night before and the night before that.
The bitter cold of the autumn night crawled into the room through the rat holes that littered the walls. Elizabeth lit the wood heater and then began her evening ritual. She stripped clothes off until she was bare naked. With timid trepidation, the same trepidation she had the night before and the night before that; the same trepidation she had had for fifteen years when she first started the ritual at twenty four, she stepped in front of the mirror of her chintzy dresser.
Her breath quivered from her trembling lips, materializing in a gray fog in front of her. The warmth of the wood heater had not yet claimed the room for itself, and her pale bare body danced in vain trying to find warmth. Her shivering, her breathing, was all that filled the quiet void. The only conversation she would hear. No husband to share a bed with or even a simple talk.
She stared at the pale face gazing back at her with a mingled look of wonder and confusion in its eyes, as if her own reflection did not know her. She stared at the crows feet that gripped at her eyes. At the tangled unmanageable brunette mess that fell onto her pasty shoulders.
She stared into her listless hazel eyes. Had they always been that dull? Dull and dreary, wary of the unforgiving world and wretched life? She remembered staring into the eyes of the stranger at the library. She remembered the emotion that burned within his soft, yet hard opals. There was no such emotion beneath her eyes. They were beady and dreadful, accurately portraying the dreadful soul that lied beneath them.
But alas they did come alive; she saw a bit of emotion in them. She could see a faint shimmer in her eyes, made barely visible by the dim rosy glow of the kerosene lamp. They always came alive when it rained. Salty tears flowed down her skinny cheeks and trickled onto her breast.
Her feet took a couple of steps back, the rotten oak floor was like a sheet of ice beneath them. She could see herself from the thigh up now in the mirror. Oh, her unsightly thighs with their raised keloid scars, jutting from her skin like purple tribal tattoos.
She had been such a stupid teen. Cutting herself with her father's stiletto had been comforting at the time; pain was comforting. She remembered watching her blood ooze from the wounds, almost in awe, and poured down her leg like a slow moving stream; the crimson fluid contrasted with her pale legs making candy canes of them.
Elizabeth had felt like an artist. Each evening she would paint her bath water crimson with her father's serrated brush. But now, so many years later, she regretted it. The raised scars made her even uglier.
Who will ever love you? What man will ever marry you,” she whispered to the woman in the mirror. “Not a virgin ... and yet you never even had a lover. Raped by your own father.”
With those words Elizabeth's ritual was complete. The wood stove had won the long bout against the cold, and she got dressed in
to her night gown. She buried herself under a mountain of quilts, and precious sleep soon found her, putting her soul at peace. What a life to live ... a life with peace only in sleep.
Elizabeth didn't know what she was doing. The pentagram of candles on the oak floor illuminated her living room in an eerie glow.
Should I go through with this?
Adrenaline coursed through Elizabeth's veins manifesting itself into extreme nervousness. She held the open incunable, that the stranger gave her, in trembling hands.
Her breathing was rapid. Her heart danced like a butterfly in the wind as she stared at the dark canticle written in Latin.
Elizabeth wondered why in hell she hadn't thrown the book away. It was evil, she could feel it, but she couldn't part with it for reasons she didn't understand. The book had enthralled and captivated her from the moment she worked up the courage to open it. It was indeed a book on magic, as the stranger had said, but it was not filled with cheap parlor tricks, or slight of hand illusions, but actual spells, witchcraft, and sorcery.
She remembered the words of the stranger. “I bet it gets lonely in here and at home; no one wants to be lonely.” She was tired of being lonely, fed up with it. Tired of performing her uncouth ritual before bed.
Elizabeth decided to summon an incubus.
According to the book, an incubus was a male demon that visited women in their sleep to have intercourse with them; you could even summon such a creature. Elizabeth thought she would try it for laughs, at least that's what she told herself, but deep down she wished it was true.
Elizabeth had done exactly as the spell said, and placed several candles in the shape of an upside down pentagram on the floor. She was hesitant to do so at first. Elizabeth had read somewhere before that it was the Star of David upside down, and that it was a satanic symbol. She was a devout Christian and had second thoughts, but she had pressed on nevertheless and lit the candles one by one.
The book trembled in shaking hands as the dark canticle slipped from her lips. She finished the Satanic ballad and the dim flame of the candles wavered for a moment, dancing slightly as if a gentle breeze had passed through the living room. The candles flickered one last time. They blew out.
Elizabeth's heart to leapt into her throat.
Darkness rushed to fill the void the light of the candles had left for the taking. A shiver sprinted through Elizabeth's entire body, goose bumps erected themselves across every inch of her pale skin, and she thought she heard an unintelligible whisper in her ear. That was it, nothing more happened.
Must have been the wind or a draft,” she said and lit a lamp. But there were no windows open in the house.
How did the candles blow out?
was puzzled and disappointed at the same time. She tossed the book on her coffee table, and thought she'd call it night. She went to bed alone and lonely like the night before, and the night before that, only this time she had a strange dream
A strange man appeared bare naked seemly out of thin air. He had a chiseled jaw, eyes as grey as lightning and just as electric, dark curly hair, and abdominal muscles that looked hard as rock. He floated down from the ceiling slowly as if he was a falling feather, and landed ever so delicately on the mattress beside her. He didn't say a word, but instead helped Elizabeth out of her gown. Her heart two-stepped and danced a jig of joy and nervousness.
Elizabeth's bosom rose in the air as she took a deep breath out of astonishment. Her heart raced and pounded against her breast as if it wanted out of her chest, as if it wanted this gorgeous being all to itself. It fluttered like the wings of a butterfly when he kissed her. She could not believe what was happening.
He thrust his tongue into her mouth and fondled her clit. His tongue felt extremely odd in her mouth, but she didn't care. She kissed him back passionately, her hand running down his abs savoring the touch of another human being. Her soft hand found his throbbing dick; it felt gigantic in her feminine clutch. She stroked it while he worked his fingers inside of her, and they explored the inside of each others mouths with their tongues.
Her heart danced like dandelion seeds in the wind
when his fingers found her soft spongy G spot. He stroked her spot gently; he was obviously well experienced. She kissed him even more passionately as she became wetter. He ran his hands through her hair as he laid her back against her pillow, and positioned himself on top of her. She grimaced as he slid himself inside. He was big.
His pelvis slid against her clit as he thrust back and forward. He gently kissed her neck, and sucked it delicately as if it was a piece of candy that was meant to be savored. Her vagina contracted, griping his stone hard erection, and she moaned in exquisite bliss, savoring her orgasm. She felt him throbbing inside of her as he ejaculated; she closed her hazel eyes, and clenched his chiseled body in blissful ecstasy as they climaxed together.
His thrust became faster and harder; his pelvis crashed against hers. She gritted her teeth and sunk her nails into his back. It felt as if her insides were being ripped and torn asunder.
Elizabeth shook her head furiously, her hair dancing and swaying.
“Stop, please stop it! You're hurting me!” she shouted and clenched her eyes shut. She gripped the bed sheets in overwhelming pain.
Elizabeth felt his strange tongue on her face and opened her eyes. She screamed in horror.
He was no longer a handsome man, but some sort of beast. He was a chimera of some kind. He looked human, yet he had outstretched bat wings that spanned from wall to wall. From his mouth wagged the tongue of a serpent, and two small goat horns protruded from his forehead. She closed her eyes and sobbed in terror as his serpent tongue, dripping with saliva, glided alone her cheek.
Elizabeth awaken in a pool of her own sweat; her petite body shook and trembled beneath the quilts. She looked around the dark room in a dazed stupor, confused for a moment, trying to get her bearings. It was just a dream, a nightmare. She never had a wet nightmare before; she wondered if it had anything to do with the book and the incubus summoning canticle she had recited.
Was the spell real,
shaking hands Elizabeth struggled to strike a match and finally managed to light the kerosene lamp on the floor next to her mattress. The room went from eerie darkness to calm comforting light, and she told herself everything was fine. Elizabeth pulled the covers back to get up and get some water.
She screamed at the sight of her stomach.
Her silk night gown bulged out as if she was hiding a basketball underneath it. She slowly lifted her gown with pale tremulous hands, and a black rose of terror bloomed within her heart.
She was pregnant and in her final trimester. B
ut how, but how
? She thought. Elizabeth clenched her belly, and grimaced as her water broke. A clear liquid flowed from the bottom of her gown, soaking the quilts. Her vagina contracted over and over.
I'm in labor, I'm in labor!
raced through her mind.
The pain of birthing a child grappled Elizabeth's body and slammed her back down into the mattress. She clutched the quilts so tight that her knuckles grew pallid; it felt as if she was being split in half as the baby's body made its way through her birth canal. She gritted her teeth and screamed through them as the baby's head started to crown. Every muscle in her body flexed in agonizing pain.
Her frail body trembled in an ocean of sweat, and she sucked the air slowly trying to calm herself, relieved that it was over. The baby lay crying between her legs. She tried to swallow but found it was too difficult.
A worm of fear burrowed through her intestines.
What did I just give birth to; is it a monster like the one that raped me?
struggled up in bed on her boney elbows to have a look at it. “A baby boy. A beautiful baby boy,” she managed to whisper in a frail voice, not knowing if she should be terrified or overcome with elated joy.
She closed her eyes with an overwhelming sense of comfort. Elizabeth had never felt this way before; she felt strangely at peace with herself and with the world. She smiled as she slipped into darkness. Giving birth had killed her.
As Elizabeth lay dead, the demonic baby stopped whining. Its body grew and transformed slowly. It was a toddler for a moment, the next it was in adolescence. It grew until it was a full grown young adult, a man in his early twenties. He looked at Elizabeth with a placid look devoid of any emotion and dug his nails into his wrist, piercing a vein.
Drink mother,” he said.
Droplets of blood plopped onto her pallid lifeless cheek and then into her open mouth. Her eyelids flung open immediately, and she followed the stream of blood with an opened mouth up to the demon’s wrist. She kissed his wrist with her delicate lips and fed. An odd memory flooded into her mind. She could see his memory, a child growing into a man. He had decided to save her, but why?
That's enough,” he told her and drew back. “I'm growing weak.”
Who are you?” she asked as she wiped crimson blood from her lips.
I have no name,” he said.
Why did you save me?”
Because you’re my mother.”
At first she felt terrified, but her fear was quickly replaced with joy. She had a son! She wasn’t lonely anymore! Elizabeth didn’t care how it had happened, that he was a monster, all she knew
is he had saved her life.
My beautiful baby boy; I shall call you Alucard. My father’s name spelled backwards,” she said and placed her slim feminine hand onto his chiseled jaw. “You shall be a better man than he ever was. But my son …”
Yes mother?” he asked.
I'm thirsty for more.”
Then lets feed.”
He took her hand like a loving child and helped her out of bed. He led her out of her home into the backyard. He was bare naked, but the midnight chill did not affect him, nor Elizabeth, even though all she wore was a silk night gown. They both looked to the night sky. It was speckled with a myriad of magnificent stars flaunting their glory to all the world.
Elizabeth strangely knew what to do. Her body became lighter; it felt as if she was made of the very air that caressed her. The ground became further away and gravity became an option rather than a law. They slowly ascended into the black heavens like a pair of dark angels and flew off towards the inner city to quench their thirst.
The view from the heavens was breath taking, it seemed so surreal to be above it all. Elizabeth always wished she could fly, to fly away from al
l of her troubles, and from the cruel unforgiving world she had become so well acquainted with. Feeling the wind rush by her body as she and her demonic son surfed the clouds was exhilarating; she never felt so alive. It was funny to her. In her entire life she had never felt alive until she was undead.
She looked at her son, Alucard. His shoulder length hair was as black as the wings of a raven, and swayed violently in the wind. Moonlight shimmered and reflected off his supple bare body as if he was made of water rather than flesh. He was as handsome as the stranger that gave her the book, and she felt proud that she had created such a being, her beautiful boy.
Her entire life Elizabeth had been a devout Christian, she had been the perfect woman, yet her God would not answer her prayers. She often prayed for a child of her own. To her astonishment it was an incubus, a devil who answered her prayers, not God.
There mother in the alleyway,”
Alucard said, only it came from his mind rather than his luscious lips. They were flying too fast to communicate verbally.
“You see the prostitute and her client?”
Elizabeth said using telepathy, although she wasn't sure how she knew how to do it; she really didn't know how she was flying for that matter. It seemed to be hardwired into her being. What was even more surprising was her hawk like vision. She could see their prey even though they were miles up in the night sky.
Which one do you want?”
Alucard asked as they descended towards the small city.
I'll take her.”
They landed gently on the pavement of the dark alleyway as gently as two nightingales returning to their nest without making a sound. Even if they had, Elizabeth was pretty sure their prey would not have notice. The prostitute, a young pretty blonde, who looked like she still had her mother's breast milk on her breath, was busy serving her client, her head bobbing back and forth in front of his pelvis. Her client, a man who looked old enough to be the prostitute’s grandfather was enjoying himself too much to have noticed Elizabeth and Alucard.
Elizabeth could smell their blood, could hear their racing hearts drumming its rhythmic beat within their chests. She and Alucard stalked through the thick veil of night towards their prey like two lions in the bush slowing advancing on gazelles, anticipating the kill, and somewhat savoring the moment.
Sensing the perfect moment, Elizabeth dashed forward through the night at such a speed the trash that littered the alleyway blew up into the surrounding air. Her hands grappled the prostitute's blonde locks, and startled the poor girl so bad she bit her client's penis.