There I lay within a void of all encompassing darkness.
Or at least it felt as though I was lying.
My eyes opened, but there was only darkness.
It was as though I had suddenly passed from life into a state of absolute
desolation from which even my dreams could not escape.
The ashen embrace of this shadowed realm was so empty that my own
thoughts dissolved within its ebon grasp.
Fear soon followed this realization, and within brief moments the numblike wonder had completely shifted to bleak terror. I screamed, but no sound rushed forth. There was only a muffled murmuring. My eyes were open. They darted to and fro with the frenzy of a hummingbird’s wings, but they only saw blackness.
“Where am I?” I thought. “Had I been such a terrible man? Was I deserving of such a horrid fate? Is this a nightmare?” It all seemed so grimly real, and yet so freakish, that I prayed that I had gone mad.
would have been a relief...at least there could be peace in death.
Or would there be?
My mind reeled in its murky confusion. How had I gotten here? Had I been knocked unconscious? Then the answer boiled to the surface of my turbulent thoughts. I had suffered another cataleptic fit. This condition was a malady by which I was plagued since my youth, leaving me helpless and unaware for as much as days at a time. How could I have been so careless?
Soon I noticed that I was breathing. My heart was pounding with such a fury that I could feel it echo within my skull, deadening any sound that was around me. The air was hot and stagnant, but I knew now that I was at least alive.
There was a motion around me, vibrating through me like a wave crashing against the rocks of the eternal shore. I was in something; I knew that then. But what? Then the rocking stopped, and all seemed quiet and level.
Then there was a voice. It was deep and calm like the angel Gabriel’s. The sound was faint, but as I concentrated on it intensely I could understand the words. It was in Latin. The words that were being spoken were a funeral rite. Was I dead, and I just didn’t know it? “Is this the afterlife?” my mind screamed before I broke into a panicked chaos yet again.
With my arms and legs I kicked and pounded against the cask around me. My limbs were stiff and sore, but hardly dead. I pounded with such frenzy that one would have thought that I was at the Gates of Heaven with the Hellhounds closing up behind me. There were deep echoes as my fists and feet crashed against the rough pinewood. This was my coffin.
Soon I heard muffled screams. Then there was a cracking sound as the lid of the coffin was pried free. As the wooden lid was quickly lifted away daylight flooded my charnel box. I squinted my eyes and raised my hands to block the rays of the burning sun.
The Priest yelled, “Vampire!” I tried to speak, but no words left my lips. It was then that I knew that my mouth had been sown shut with leather cord. Two men grabbed me, pulling my arms away from my chest.
strained against my captors, but there was no escape.
I was helpless as the Priest came to me carrying the wooden stake and a
hammer, ready to cast me away into some unknown eternity as if so much flotsam.
“I am not a vampire!” screamed through my thoughts, but the words would not come. I shook my head furiously trying in desperation to sway his hand. It was worth little. Bastards.
So blind to the truth that they could only see the lies.
then spoke the rites of exorcism. At
first the words were in Latin, but my struggling form unnerved him.
Slipping into English he said, “We
drive you from us, whoever you may be, unclean spirits, all satanic powers, all
infernal invaders, all wicked legions, assemblies and sects of Lucifer.
In the Name and by the power of Our Lord Jesus Christ, may you be
snatched away, driven from the Church of God and from the souls made in the
image and likeness of God, and redeemed by the sacred blood of the Holy Lamb.”
I could tell that he feared me. Even
in death I seemed to have some uncanny power that struck blank terror in the
hearts of man. The more that I strained and struggled to be free the more that
the holy man’s strength wavered. His
voice began to break like an old man’s, until at last he could say no more.
He placed the stake just slightly left of the center of my chest, trying to destroy a heart which he was sure that I could not have. Then the Priest said, “With this blow I set thee free in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.” The hammer swung down hard, the stake pierced my flesh, and the pain rushed through every inch of my body like a wave rippling to the edges of the sea. But still I was not dead. He had missed the heart, but the wound was still a mortal one. The Priest raised the hammer and brought it down upon the stake a second time, driving it even deeper into my chest.
The stake tore through my ribs, puncturing my left lung as a flood of blood gushed from the open wound. Bone grinded against wood as muscles contracted, and tore even more. The pain was excruciating. Soon I felt lightheaded, but the great pain persisted without lessening. At last my eyes were closed. It was over.
The silent Hell was over.
In those painful moments there were only the dreams of retaliation to quench the aching agony that wrecked my shattered form. Those last, lost dreams brought me some resolution. It was only a matter of time, and an eternity in which to accomplish my fevered thoughts of blackened vengeance most foul and absolute. The cold touch of death is a dream with darkness absolute, and undeniable. Hell is but a heartbeat away. That was the promise I had for them—Hell, undeniable and absolute.
Then there was only the darkness and I, embracing and enveloping me. It was cold, so cold. The brief moments that passed thereafter were bleak, but brought me a strength renewed and absolute. For in those moments the darkness became one with me, and I became the darkness. I was now free. The fate of those who had wronged me was sealed with my dying breath, and I am reborn. I am the night.