Friday, April 24, 2015

Fear of the Dark – Chapter 1.5 - Afterlife

“When my eyes opened I was in the most horrific pain, I thought I would ever have endured before, or after my death,” Timmy let out a bit of a gasp as he was reading the book aloud and couldn’t skim as he went in this fashion. The reverend let out a bit of a chuckle as he found it amusing that Timmy really had so many issues with the obvious, and Craven, or whomever God actually was seemed to write in a way to take the young reverend off guard and even toy with him. “I was staring straight up into the sun and apparently that is every bit as bad as people had always said it would be, never actually having done it before,” and Timmy took a moment to shake his head.

“Well it didn’t burn him to a cinder or the book would have been a bit shorter, you knucklehead,” the reverend said to Timmy as he poured himself another coffee.

Timmy merely gave him a curt grin and a nod, and then continued, “I closed my eyes and sat up, but my entire body was aching. Simply by the position of the sun I knew that it had to be around noon time, and realized that the sunlight obviously wasn’t all the taboo it had been made out to be. This of course is assuming that what I am is a Vampire, but we are still going to roll with that for this portion of the story, as it is the easiest explanation for my hunger and need for blood,” Timmy looked up and added a sardonic note of his own, “Yeah that would usually be the first sign,” which made the reverend laugh a bit. “I was shaking off the blindness that had come from the sun, while I felt around my body to note that I was no longer of super human size. In all honesty I felt much smaller than I had been in life, but cracking open my eyes in small increments was revealing that it was going to take a while until I could use them. I was actually quite scared being up on this roof, naked from what I had noted with my hands, and just about completely blind, even if it is to be temporary, but I wondered about that at the time as well,” and with that Timmy let out one of those understanding whistles.

Continuing to read, “I could feel things differently, like every sensation on my own skin was amplified, and immediately my mind reverted to the belief that it must have been those special Vampire skills that are always poetically romanticized in the books. My sense of touch must have been super human as my size the night before had been, and with that I made my second huge mistake of this day. I pinched myself, and again the pain was excruciating! Confusion as it was I first thought it was my amazing strength, but as my eyes started to come back into use, it was the effort of standing up that revealed the truth. Every rock or grain of dust on the roof hurt in a maddening sort of way under my hands as I steadied myself to get up. The pain as my knees touched the roof was almost unbearable. My eyes teared up as I got to my feet and realized that my feet hurt just supporting my weight, and glancing down to finally look at my hands revealed that they were shriveled up and almost decayed. I was, as I am whenever the sun is up, less than human. Weak, and pathetic beyond anything that could possibly walk the earth. Smaller and more frail than the oldest woman alive, despite the fact that the Sun did not kill me, it’s appearance in the sky takes everything away from me, and more that the night gives me in return,” Timmy stopped for a moment and looked over at the reverend who was sitting there serenely nodding.

“In total agony, I walked slowly to the edge of the building. My eyes were coming in much better now, and I could see that I was alone on top of this building and aside from someone far off with a pair of binoculars or a telescope, I was higher up than all the buildings around and perhaps completely unseen. My aching head was telling me to check over the side and see what had become of the small boy that I had brutalized the night before, and then perhaps see if throwing myself off the building in this state could end it all. Partially because I didn’t want to have to be like this every day for the rest of my days, and more because I didn’t want to be what I had become for every night of the rest of nights. It was easily the longest fifty or so feet I had ever walked, but through the agony that every foot step was, I did make it to the side of the building and then peered over it. There was absolutely nothing down there. No crime scene, no body, no people, and the car that I had peered at myself in was gone, and replaced by another vehicle that had taken up the parking space. All of the vehicles had changed, but nothing else had whatsoever,” Timmy looked over at the reverend and the dawning of recognition had crossed both of their faces in a grim sort of consternation.

“My hands were nothing more than festering balls of pain as they rested on the roof wall. It is impossible to explain the pain that befalls the very touch of anything to my skin during the day, every bit as much as it is impossible to explain the immense size I had the night before, and total lack of it I had at that time. Anyone who walks among the living could never understand any of it, as the penalty of seeing the transformation is death, and the latter is disgust. The pain is super human in nature as is everything else that would happen. My awareness, and my mental function are identical to what it was before my transformation in either case. My deduction as to why the little boy wasn’t down there, or a hoard of personnel, much less the simple use of a crime scene ribbon. Nothing had happened down there, other than the normal passage of time, in the land of the mortals, so my logic dictated that something super human had probably happened,” Timmy put the book down.

The reverend looked at him and said, “Give me the book, and let me read it to you for a bit,” and then started shaking his head at Timmy’s protest, “I am old and foolish, but I have a more rational basis in what is going on in that book. You seem to be emotionally involved in a way that isn’t that strange. You’ve followed that monster around for so long that you had started to have a reasonably unhealthy appreciation for it, so you act like you are ashamed of yourself as you realize through its own words that it is a monster,” he smiled at that. “I think that you need to force yourself through this and that is where I come in to help. I also have my reading glasses in the drawer and probably would have started dozing off sooner or later.”

Timmy handed the book over to the reverend and his deeper voice started taking over. Perhaps it was even more ominous to Timmy as the reverend’s voice truly sounded like one of the movie promo guys, and made the story a bit more intimidating as he started right from the start. “In my present state I couldn’t do much about what was going on, or not going on down on the street. At the moment I couldn’t even get off the roof, as the door down was chained on the other side, and I was so weak that I could barely open it without the chain. The pain of getting to that door, had me sitting down and resting against the uplift that housed it. My mind was whirling and my body was completely drained as I drifted off to whatever it is I do that resembles sleep,” and with that part the reverend stopped and added his own thought, “See that wasn’t so bad.”

The reverend did a double take when he skimmed a bit and then started reading, “I was awoken the same way I had been awoken every night that the sun finally makes it to the final point of descent. My body started expanding. At first it was so horrifically painful that I started clawing at my own flesh to attempt to rip its excruciating existence from my bones. Bent over in agony the pain started to diminish and well before the transformation into the monster that I am, the pain had totally gone. All feeling had totally gone, and I was the monster I had come to call Craven for the second time of my memory.

“The bloodlust was swarming me and I was immediately filled with terror. I couldn’t do it, shouldn’t do it, but I was completely blinded by my craven need to kill and to feed. I launched myself in a single leap over to the side of the building, landed directly on the retaining wall, and looked down towards the streets to see a veritable buffet of walking lunch platters below. I then, without even thinking about it, launched myself downward falling ungracefully the whole seven stories to the street below, not knowing exactly what would happen as I made my decent, but knowing that my decent was out of my hands at that point,” the reverend started laughing uncontrollably at this point, and Timmy looked at him puzzled. The reverend said over his laughter, “Sorry kid, after years of reading scripture I got good at reading ahead while I read aloud, give me a second,” and he continued to fumble over his laughter for a moment and then went on as best he could, “I landed face down in the most pitiful belly flop in the history of mankind, smack in the middle of the street, and then was run over by a UPS truck. At least I think it was a UPS truck, since the driver never stopped. I couldn’t see the humor in it at all as I am sure that with all of my other senses being gone, I obviously lost my sense of humor as well. I could feel embarrassed, perhaps because I jumped to my feet and started throwing garbage from the gutter at the driver as he sped away,” the reverend paused again to control his laughter.

After getting himself under control properly this time, and with Timmy’s amused reaction over with the reverend started again with the book, but trying hard not to read ahead anymore. “My nakedness started making me feel a bit uncomfortable, but what really fascinated me, although completely without emotion was how all of the people, numbering at least thirty or forty in the general area could simply ignore the whole scenario. People outside of New York probably would be shocked to know that three or four dozen people could completely ignore the six hundred pound man falling from a rooftop, getting run over by a truck, and then shouting obscenities in what was distinctly a lions roar and throwing trash at the driver completely naked. Ah what a city, the devil had unleashed me on, and what a wonderful plague I can be and they should deserve!”

Timmy spoke up at this point to say, “You know, I could see all of that happening here. Back in Boston, there would have been about fifty Irish mothers running out of their stoops to beat the pervert for being around their children,” and then he laughed along with the reverend.

“My bloodlust subsided a bit, only as my mind started justifying its need to feed, but for some reason modesty was still upon me, so I bound towards the nearest dumpster, which coincidentally was the one I had awoken from the night previous. Inside of it I found a large, dirty, and more over shabby tablecloth, which was blue with bright yellow flowers, intermixed in with the stains. I tied it around myself like a twisted it around myself in what I thought would be a loin cloth, but probably looked like hell’s diaper. Somehow I was more in control of my bloodlust and my hatred for humanity again as I poked my head out of the dumpster to look at the situation. I was starting to think about a place to stay, and collect myself. I was always a pretty practical man, and perhaps I was going to be a practical vampire, but I was still new to this. I knew I had about nine hours of darkness to work with, and if I could avoid major problems I could get into the subway system or something with enough supplies to take care of all of this,” the reverend stopped and looked at Timmy who looked a bit less fanatic than he had when he took the book away.

Timmy looked up at the reverend and then said with a grin, “People never prepare properly for the afterlife do they?” and they both shared a bit of a laugh.

The reverend stretched his stiff arms out and started reading again, “I realized as I was in the dumpster looking out that I could hear a small tinkling sound, like metal tapping metal. It might not have been that loud of a noise, but my attention diverted to it immediately. It appears that I hadn’t been completely naked after all but I had been far too obsessed with things to notice it before. The long metal chain that had held my mother’s silver cross was dangling from my neck and was resting on my massive chest. The symbol of God that I had always sworn was the one thing you knew was very bad for a vampire’s health was pressed against my bare skin, and like everything else in this state gave me no feeling whatsoever. Actually it did give me a feeling that I don’t think I was even entitled to as I gently cupped it in my hand and stared at it, and that feeling was hope. I even said it out loud but in the lowest whisper I could muster ‘God hasn’t abandoned me’ but it echoed throughout the alley as if it had been bellowed through a megaphone. The answering cry of ‘that’s great now shut the fuck up’ reinforced my belief that New York is for the self absorbed, and I might have even smiled. It’s hard to tell these days,” and then the reverend stopped and gasped. “It appears that my reading ahead is as hard a habit to break as your reading aloud,” he said gravely and then handed the book to Timmy.

Timmy gave him an exasperated look and wondered if he should even start reading, but the curiosity had him skimming down to wear the reverend had left off, “It’s hard to tell these days, but the knowledge that God hadn’t abandoned me was muffled in the sight that had reached my eyes down at the end of the alleyway. There was a freakish looking creature, about four feet tall but built like a gorilla lunging at a young woman that was trying to get into her car. The woman screamed in agony, and sobbed through it as I saw the creature ripping apart her throat from behind. The creature simply appeared to be a much smaller version of myself, and the woman appeared to be dying through her terrified screaming. I was out of my mind as I leaped from the dumpster and started tearing after the sight I had beheld, and before my speed could get me there the boy creature had thrown the woman to the ground, dead and stared at me with blood dripping from his chin and said, ‘Father’ with a hideous grin on his face.” … To Be Continued