Forsaken Priest-Shaw McAllister Backstory

Boston, Massachusetts

August 21, 1867

 

I have lost it all today; my sanity, my home, even my humanity. The Shawn McAllister everyone knew is gone, he has become something no one would want to be around, and I’m still not sure how it happened. It started out as an ordinary night, no different from any other, but in the blink of an eye that all changed. In mare seconds, I transformed into something inhuman, something I cannot comprehend. As of writing this, I have no idea what will become of me. All I know is that I can never go back, not after what I have done.

The night started out so innocently too. I had just finished up work at the market. Closing my stall I set off for the monthly town meeting at the Old North Church. Stopping in front of a store window, I frowned at my disheveled appearance. Fixing the black ribbon in my slick ponytail and readjusting the rounded spectacles on my face, I scurried for my destination.

 The evening was chilly, as the autumn air started creeping in. In the darkened sky shone a full moon in its haunting blue glow. I stopped to admire it for a bit too long and was running late. Deciding to take a shortcut, I made my way to the docks of the harbor when I heard a woman’s voice calling for help. Not one to leave a damsel in distress, I headed straight for the fishing wharf.

Rounding the corner past the fish market, I came across an unruly sight. A dozen drunken sailors were assaulting a young maiden. Poor girl had to have been only sixteen or so, far too young to pleasure these men of her own free will. The savage ruffians had already torn her skirt and had her bodice partially off. I could not stand idly by and watch such a helpless creature fall victim to these barbarians, so I did the only decent thing a young man in my position could do; I tapped one of the sailors on the shoulders and told him to unhand the girl.

Seemingly, that did not go over the way I had expected. The hoodlum unhanded the girl, and she ran as fast as she could in the opposite direction. However, this meant their drunken rage was focused on me now. The man whose shoulder I tapped pinned down to a stack of wooden crates. As he pulled out a dull fishing knife from the waist of his pants, his friends had surrounded me. I knew there was no way for me to get out of my predicament unharmed.

Politely, I tried to talk my way out of the mess I created. However, trying to reason with men who did not obey the laws of our civilized society proved to be futile. All my pleas and bargaining fell on deaf ears, and one of the sailors landed a blow square on my jaw. His hardened fist connected with a crunch across my cheekbone, sending my head flying to the side. The man who was holding me jabbed the knife into my gut, sending a dull pain into my groin.

I’m not sure if it was the pain of my assault or the situation I had managed to get myself into, but I felt an uncontrollable rage take over me. Suddenly the muscles in my body were on fire, my fingernails felt as if they were being pulled out from their nail beds. I had an explainable headache as my jaw felt like it was being broken and pieced back together by an unskilled doctor. I did not understand what happened to me, but I felt stronger, bigger, wilder. It seemed as if  I had released a long-forgotten beast from captivity.

I remember little of what happened next. I just remember the rage flowing through me, I was incapable of calming down. The drunk sailors were screaming and stumbling about, while it looked as if I was looking down on them from atop a high steeple. The world was strange, many shades of green, and even in the dark, I could see as if it was broad daylight. I let out a fearsome howl as I tilted my head to the moon, and the last thing I saw was red. A burgundy curtain enshrouded me as sounds of flesh being torn apart filled the air.

By the time the madness subsided, the docks of the harbor I was standing on were stained a dark crimson. I was covered in fur from head to toe, my solid mass hovering over the mangled bodies of the sailors. On my hands were elongated, razor-sharp claws that still had warm blood dripping from the tips. From my jaw hung an arm of one of the unfortunate men who had tried to teach the wrong person a lesson. I could taste the sweet, metallic taste of fresh blood as I glanced around at the mess I made.

Around me, parts of the sailors covered the docks. There was not much left of them, just an unrecognizable heap of body parts and stained clothing. I had no idea what I had become, or even how I became afflicted with such a terrible curse. I needed time to think, to process everything that has happened to me, but first I needed to run, and fast. Even before I had calmed myself, I picked up on the faint sound of voices coming from the distance. Undoubtedly these were the men from the church, attracted to my location by my howl and the terrified screams of the men I killed.

In a panic, I looked around for a quick exit or at least a place to hide. If the men found me in this position, they would surely kill me without mercy. Perhaps that is what I deserved for what I had done, but I did not wish to die, I still wanted a chance to live. I continued to spin around in delirium, but the city I had known so well all my life was unrecognizable. No longer had I any idea where I was, or where I should go. The same rage was beginning to simmer again, and I was afraid I would murder everyone in town when a faint sound from the docks caught my attention.

Psst. The sound filled my ears again, I did not imagine this extraordinary stroke of luck. I spun around in the direction it came from. There, by the pier stood a weather-beaten old sea dog, waving me over closer. Inching forward I noticed he was trying to usher me into his small sailing boat, dubbed The Black Rose.

I looked at the old man, awestruck. He bundled up in his worn, blue wool jacket and waved me over again, seemingly unconcerned by what had become of me. His lack of concern made me wary about trusting him, but as the lights grew closer in the distance, I saw no other choice. I leaped and bound for the small boat that was barely large enough for three people, let alone some monstrous creature. As I jumped into its wooden hull, it swayed and bobbed under my weight.

The old salt was right behind me, pushing the boat into the bay and climbing on board. Fixing the cap that sat on his head, he readjusted the sails, and we were on our way, bound for the ocean. As the boat swayed in the rough waters of the harbor, the lights came into view on the docks. My ears picked up on terrified screams and hushed whispers, by morning the whole city would be on the hunt for a mythical beast.

With the wharf safely behind us, I finally had the chance to catch a glimpse of what had become of me in the mirror-like surface of the ocean water. There, under the light of the full moon, I saw what I had turned into as a hideous creature stared back at me from within the waves. Half wolf, half man, and all beast.

The creature looking back at me was half as tall as the mast of the tiny sailing vessel. Its massive body was covered in dark brown fur, much like the color of my own hair. My chest was stained with the burgundy blood of the men I ripped apart, while my canine snout was full of pearly white fangs. The eyes that reflected back at me did not seem as if they were my own, their luminous hazel glow sparkled on the black surface of the water.

 Clutching my head with the razor-sharp talons of my hands I pulled at my ears, trying in desperation to rip them off. The sense of rage which made me turn into this creature was beginning to boil over again, I could feel myself losing control. Swiftly rising to my feet, I arched myself backward and let out a haunting howl that sailed across the quiet harbor. The madness was retaking hold of me, I was desperate to control it, I did not wish to kill again.

The boat captain did not seem phased by me as he quietly stood up and placed his gentle hand on my shoulder. “Take it, easy son. You just had ye first change boy, that’s all, it ain’t permanent.” He said in a hoarse, fatherly voice which seemed to have a calming effect on me. “What be yer name anyhow?”

“McAllister,” I replied while I settled myself back down. “Shawn McAllister.”

“And yer age boy?”

“Eighteen, sir.”

“Ah, well then…” he looked at me solemnly while shaking his head “…hope ye like bein’ eighteen, cause you’ll stay this age for a while.”

I did not dare say a word to him, I looked down on my lap in shame. What he meant by me being eighteen for a while, I did not quite understand. Then again, I did not much understand any of what was happening to me, but something told me I would get my answers soon enough. The man had to be taking me to one of the outer islands, as such a small vessel would not be able to hold up to the rough waters past the harbor. The only question remaining was: which one is he taking me to, and what was he planning to do to me once we got there?

So it was, we sat there in silence, with me not even daring to make eye contact with the old captain, until Thompson Island came into view. The old man rose to his feet and readjusted the sails so the boat could glide to a small wooden dock situated on the east side of the island. There, waiting for us, was a lovely Native woman, no older than forty years old. Nestled in her arms was a bundle of clothing and a wool blanket.

When the boat was secured to the dock, I got off and hid in the shadows, far too embraced of my appearance. Much to my surprise, the woman was not repulsed by what I looked like. Instead, she came over and took me by the hand, holding my giant paw in her dainty palm. She gave me a warm look as she stroked the fur on the back of my hand.

“It’s all right. No need to be afraid.” She spoke gently. “I’m one of you, I can help you regain your human form.”

I recoiled, bewildered by her confession. How could such a lovely woman possibly be the thing I had turned into? And how many more of these creatures were out there, waiting to be found? So many questions I wished could be answered for me, so many things I was yet to understand about this strange new world I have discovered myself in. I intended to ask this woman everything I wanted to know, but first, I wanted to be a man again.

“All right” I nodded my head. “Show me.”

“It is not a matter of showing you but telling you how it is done. You shift into beast form when you give in to your rage, but you can shift into a wolf or human as well. To become a wolf, you focus on what connects you to nature. To turn human, you focus on what connects you to your humanity. This is how our kind has functioned for generations, blending in with the men and beast alike.”

There was nothing I could think of that would get me back to my humanity, such a task had never been presented to me before. I thought long and hard, and I kept coming up with the same image, one of my younger brother. He was ten years younger than me, and I had always felt it was my duty to take care of him. We were as close as we could have been, given our age difference.

Remembering my brother, I recalled he had given me a pendant this morning as a birthday present. It was not much, just an arrowhead tied to a rope, but it was the most thoughtful gift I’ve gotten. I grasped at my neck, and to my relief it still hung there, unaffected by my change. Holding it in my giant paw I began to think of my brother, and my body burned. Collapsing to the ground on my knees, I screamed from the pain, and as suddenly as it had started, it was over.

I knelt on the ground, sans the fur, and completely naked. The woman draped a blanket over my body. The captain came over and handed me a bundle of clothing. Wrapping the warm wool over my shivering frame, I headed for the bushes to change into the attire they had given me. The captain did not question me, why would he, there was no place on this island I could run and hide.

The garb seemed to fit me remarkably well, almost as if it was made for me. Stepping out of the bushed I handed a folded-up blanket to the woman. She and the captain smiled warmly at me and then ushered me to follow along. Compliantly, I trailed behind, all the while wondering what they would have in store for me.

“Yer probably have a lot of questions boy,” the captain was oddly jolly in his remarks, “but don’t ye worry, me wife and I will explain everything.”

Without saying a word, I bobbed my head and followed along. We continued to navigate in the dark through a thicket of trees until a warm light shone in the distance. The soft yellow glow felt like a welcoming beacon in the gloom of night. Slowly, in the remote clearing, a small wood cabin appeared in my sight. Made of carefully stacked weathered logs, it looked like a welcoming refuge from the outside world.

Walking through a small door, a man in a dark cassock greeted me.  A wave of panic washed over me. I thought for sure they brought a priest in to kill me. I was about to jump out the window and run, but the reassuring hand of the captain squeezed my shoulder. Seeing no other alternative, I joined the man at the table to learn of my fate.

 

Hampton, Virginia

October 15, 1897

 

It has been over thirty years since my first change, and consequently since I left for Rome with the aged priest. You would think me to be in my fifties now, but stepping off the boat in Virginia, no person would place me over twenty-one. The inhuman beasts like me are different, we only age a year for every ten human ones. So, while America underwent changes over the years, I barely had any. Not that it mattered any to me now, I’ve come to accept the fate life had dealt me.

I now must keep the world safe from the worm, an ancient god who predates the universe itself. A god who wishes to rule this realm of ours, and he is here now, searching for a woman he loves. This woman was hidden in our world to keep her safe from him, but where she is hidden, and during which time period, no one knows. But the worm will stop at nothing to find her, and it’s up to creatures like me to keep him from getting what it wants.

Strange to think thirty years ago I was unaware of the complexity of my surroundings. I am a different man now, far removed from the naïve young lad of yesteryear. In Italy, I became an ordained priest and studied hard to learn of the creatures hidden within our world. The good, the bad, and everything in-between; living among humans, concealing their true natures, and vying for power. This is the world I find myself in, a world I have grown to love over the last decade.

In my short time, I’ve studied under the priest and learned a lot more about the powers I possess. Now I know how to enchant my clothing, so I will no longer find myself naked in human form. Not only that, but I have learned how to distinguish between the many supernatural creatures found on earth. Each one of us puts out a different aura; werewolves are silver, vampires are crimson, and hunters like the old captain are a deep shade of blue. I try not to harness this skill, not unless I must, but at times, it still hits me out of nowhere.

Walking down the narrow street paralleling the docks, I examine the people walking by. The men tip their hats at me, and the women smile, and all greet me with a dull “Good Day, Father.” I nod politely back at them while wondering how many of them are monsters such as me, lurking among the ignorant people around them. Not that it is fair of me to refer to them as monsters, but one has no clue which ones follow the laws, and which have surrendered their mind to the worm.

 I too hear the beast calling me from the void, tempting me with its offers of things beyond my imagination. But I ignore his pleas. The worm cannot entice those who desire death more than anything. So that’s how it goes, the demon sings me this song, trying to real me in, but I don’t falter, for there things about mortals he can’t understand. Even as I walked he whispered for me, but I pushed on, ignoring the new offers he made me.

I continued to stumble down the narrow streets until an establishment caught my eye. A small rundown place called The Wild Boar Inn & Tavern. There was something about its weather-worn brown façade that looked welcoming. Perhaps it was merely the fact that few people would stay at a place such as this, a good thing for a being such as I, or maybe, it was something else that drew me in. But seeing as I would be just passing through I saw no reason not to stay there. Swinging open the crackled red door, I stepped into the cozy inn.

Inside the dim chamber, behind the cramped old bar, stood a woman in a navy dress with her back faced to me. Her golden locks cascaded down her back, giving the frayed fabric of her gown an almost fairy tale appearance. I half expected a fairy godmother to be lurking around the corner to transform this young lass into a princess. As soon as I cleared my throat to catch her attention, she swung around with a warm smile that instantly lit up the dark, gloomy room. Staring at her eyes as vivid as the waters of the ocean, I felt lost no more.

“Name’s Mary.” She said “This be my place. I take it you be lookin’ for a room, will you?”

A sudden lump formed in my throat, preventing me from speaking, so I smiled and nodded like a fool. I know I said this was only temporary, that I was just passing through, but maybe I’ll stay a bit longer than anticipated.

 

 

Hampton, Virginia

October 26, 1900

 

It has been over a year since I landed on these shores. As predicted, I have stayed far longer than I originally planned. But there was something in Mary’s eyes that night, something that pulled me in and refused to let me go. For what it’s worth, I’m glad I stayed. Waking up to her radiant face each morning makes me feel at peace with myself. In the short time we’ve been together, she has helped me regain the humanity I thought I lost.

There is nothing I don’t love about this woman, everything she does makes my bleak world so much brighter. The way she snorts when she laughs, the way she crinkles her little pug nose when she’s mad, everything she does is utterly adorable. Buy what I love most about Mary is the way she loves me, despite knowing everything I am. That’s right, Mary knows precisely what I am.

Several months ago, I told her what type of monster I was, half expecting her to run off in horror. To my surprise though, she did no such thing. All she said to me is that we all have our demons to contend with, mine were just more apparent. But it’s what Mary told me next that moved me to my core, she said she did not care what I was as long as I was with her.

It was nice to get my secret off my chest, even more, to have someone love me enough to not care about what I was. Enamored by everything Mary did for me, I was thinking about maybe asking her to marry me. I realize it will be a brief union for myself, as my lifetime lasts a lot longer than hers, but even a short while with her by my side is good enough. I intend to ask her on All Hallows Eve, her favorite time of the year. Even went as far as getting her the ring. Not that I could afford a pricey bauble on a priest’s salary, but knowing Mary, this simple ring will be enough.

 

Hampton, Virginia

November 1, 1900

 

 

Last night, something terrible happened. I should have known my happiness would not last long, it never does. My Mary was taken from me, not by illness, but by a terrible curse. Worse yet, I could have prevented it, but I let my caution slide. It’s all my fault, now Mary is gone forever.

Our evening started off as it usually has, with a light dinner and a walk along the pier. Mary loves to go out on All Hallows Eve, something about the spooky ambiance gives her a thrill. I was planning to propose to her on the pier as well. That was before my life was torn out of my grasp by a dastardly assailant.

We were strolling along the boardwalk, a crisp breeze whipped past us as the full moon glistened above. We could hear laughter in the distance, no doubt coming from a local tavern where people were bobbing for apples and dancing the night away. All the while I had an uneasy feeling, the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up from an unseen threat. I thought I sensed a dark aura lurking in the alleyways, but I chalked it up to nerves. A deadly mistake.

As we approached a secluded area overlooking the ocean, I thought it would be a perfect spot to ask. Turning around, Mary stared up at me, her eyes shining under the moon as the sky does under the stars. With my heart pounding in my chest I was about to kneel down and ask the most important question of my life when something darted out of the shadows. A bloodthirsty demon sprang up and pierced my Mary’s neck with his fangs, her blood-curdling scream filled the empty air. The vampire’s icy blue eyes glared at me with their hate-filled glare before it scooped up Mary and whisked her away into the night.

Letting the rage flow over me, I howled in agony as the change came over me. I could feel my body growing for the first time in ages, my limbs stretching as the fur covered my large form. Changing into my beast form, I set my sights on the creature which had my woman, and I set off after it at a sprint. Galloping through the village into the woods, I hoped to catch up to them and rescue Mary, but I lost their scent in the dense forest.

I searched around aimlessly for hours to no avail, until the break of dawn, when it became painfully clear my Mary was gone. Returning to my human state I left the woods with my head hung low in defeat, even the beast was no match for a child of darkness. But I am not about to give up, the chances are good that Mary is still among us. I intend to rescue her, I just need to do more research to see what I am up against.

 

Hampton, Virginia

November 8, 1900

 

Several days of research has yielded some hope. If Mary was, in fact, turned into a vampire as I suspect, there is still hope I can save her. My poor Mary will never have a carefree life again, but that’s of little concern to me. Being a monster myself I can live with what has become of her. The important thing now was to sever her connection to the worm, and for that, I have to figure out who her grand-sire is.

Under normal circumstances, I would have to kill the original founder of her clan to sever her connection to the worm. However, out of the five grand-sires who were initially born here, only three remained. If she were turned by one of the other two clans which no longer have a connection to the worm, I can easily free her. In such a case the only link I must sever is between her and the man who created her.

Yes, my only hope is for the grand-sire to be one of the two who no longer serve their master. This way I can sever her connection by ending the man who turned her. Once the horrid creature who did this is gone, I can reclaim Mary. The problem is, I need to find her first. I keep sitting here, wondering where I would go if I was a vampire, and I keep coming up with only one place, the caves by the ocean.

Legend tells of vengeful sea spirits in the caves who feast on unsuspecting locals, or sailors who were unlucky enough to wash ashore there. Children are advised to stay clear of the caves, and no rational soul dares get close. But I suspect it’s not vengeful sea spirits who grabs people by those caves, but blood-thirsty vampire hiding from the scalding sun.

There is no getting around it, tomorrow night I will venture to the forbidden caves the locals fear so much and try to find Mary. As long as she is there, I can help her, I can bring her back. Then, we can run away together and never look back. We can live the rest of our lives on the run if we have to.  I just want to find her, save her, the rest will fall into place afterward.

 

Hampton, Virginia

November 10, 1900

 

My Mary is gone, and with her goes all my hope. I couldn’t have imagined how terrible last night could go, but it did, in every inconceivable way. It started out so good too, I was sure my plan would work. How could I fail? How did the horrible events of last night come to pass? The whole night is still but a blur to me, an awful dream I can’t seem to wake myself up from.

As the sun started to set last night, I snuck out from the tavern and casually made my way to the caves. No one paid any attention to me, everyone has gotten used to me by now. I figured that if anyone were to ask about Mary, I’d just tell them she has fallen ill. Not that I would be entirely dishonest, she had been taken ill, only not in ways a mare human would understand. But no one asked. Everyone was busy preparing for the winter months, allowing me to walk into the thick forest unseen.

Navigating through the dense undergrowth and thicket of trees I thought I was lost at first, but then I heard the gurgling of water nearby.  Inching my way closer to the sound I could make out the river churning and the waves crashing ashore nearby. As the sounds of water became deafening, I stumbled upon a clearing, no larger than a house. In the dim light, barely visible, stood an opening to the small cave. Its gaping hole was pitch black, threatening to swallow you up if you got too close.

It’s been a long time since I felt a fear like that. It was an irrational, archaic fear, the kind one feels as a child looking at stalking shadows on the walls. There was something ominous about the seemingly endless, dark tunnel. A tingle of apprehension nipped at the back of my neck, a form of foreshadowing now that I look at it. Disregarding all the instincts which were telling me to run, I took an uneasy step forwards and began approaching the tunnel.

Stopping at the mouth of the cave, I hesitated for a moment, but swallowing my fear, I pushed myself to step inside. Fortunately, my beast eyes could see well in the darkness, well enough to notice how narrow my passageway was. A faint metallic scent of blood wafted up from below, intermixed with wet rocks and the fresh scent of moss. The soft, soothing sound of rushing water could be heard in the distance, a small waterfall splashing into an underground river. Seeing no alternative to the passageway before me, I inched forward slowly, taking caution not to alert the creatures below to my presence.

My slick road was not long, and before I knew it, I was standing at the bottom of a small grotto. A shallow river ran before me, cutting the vast space in half. From above, through a tiny crack in the ceiling, a faint light snuck its way in along with a veil of water flowing in. Stalactites hung above my head, clinging to the ceiling like stone icicles. At first, I thought I came to the wrong place, but out of the corner on my eye, I caught a faint flicker of a campfire. There, on the opposite bank of the river was a small encampment, and Mary was curled up by its flame.

Without thinking, I ran straight for her. Trudging through the frigid water soaking through my pants, I stumbled on to the bank by the fire. Startled by the sound of me stumbling on the moist floor, Mary looked up and let out a gasp. I expected her to run towards me and leap into my arms, but to my utter shock and amazement she did the complete opposite, she retreated deeper into the shadows.

“Go home, Shawn.” She yelled at me. “Get out of here before it’s too late.”

Refusing to listen to her, I approached the alcove she was hiding in. Grabbing hold of her wrist, I pulled her out into the light. Looking straight into her now pale blue eyes, I told her I was not going anywhere without her. Mary yanked her hand away, and I caught a glimpse of a small nightshade tattoo branded in her delicate wrist.

 Breathing a sigh of relief, I smiled at her. The Belladonna tribe has been without a grand-sire since the first crusades. I was not sure before, but I was sure now, all I had to do to free her was kill the man who turned her.

“Come with me Mary,” I pleaded with her, “I can help you. I don’t care that you are a vampire, we can run off together and live our lives in peace.”

“You don’t understand Shawn. It will be dawn soon, and if he finds you here, he’ll kill you.”

I was going to protest, assure her I could handle this man, but I never got the chance. Before I uttered a single word, I was soaring headfirst into the stone wall in front of me, my back was on fire from a fierce sting. My skull connected to the stone with a dull thwack, and I crumpled to the dirt ground with my head throbbing as a warm trickle traced its way down the side of my face. Something to the right of me let out an ear-piercing screech, and Mary screamed in horror.

Turning my head, I strained to look through the spots in my vision to see what had happened. There, in the place I was standing in moments ago was a colossal bat creature, its leathery wings spread out as the talons on his fingers dripped with blood. The animals large grey frame towered a good four feet above the height of the average man. He squinted his probing, burgundy eyes to stare at me. The wide, pierced ears on his head twitched as he grimaced in delight.

Suddenly I understood everything. This horrid man has chosen Mary as his mate, and he was willing to kill to keep her. Now, vampires can’t reproduce by natural means, but they do keep mates out of some inbreed desire. The realization of what had transpired made me simmer, I felt the pulse of rage start to take over me. Digging my nails into the dirt, I sprung up to my feet. Arching my back backward, I allowed the hate to fill me.

This time the pain was not agonizing, it was arousing. As the razor claws grew from my delicate flesh and my jawline elongated, I felt a sick sense of euphoria flow through me. At well over eight feet tall, my beast form was the perfect match for the vampire in his. Locking eyes with the creature I could feel his hatred towards me, it was a feeling we shared. Two mortal enemies squaring off against one another, the child of the worm and the child of amphithere were about to come to blows.

I sprang for the monster, taking a swipe across his chest. My claws had met their mark as inky blood splashed on my face, the scent of rotten flesh and feces filled the air. The foul creature had struck me as well, my chest burned, a handful of fur was missing from my skin. Undeterred, I leapt at the man in front of me, knocking him on his back. Alas, the bat was too quick for me. His legs had prevented me from gaining an advantage as their large claws dug deep into my abdomen causing me to howl in pain. With a resounding shrill the beast pushed me off and flew up to the ceiling.

Staggering to my feet through the searing in my body, I spun around trying to spot my opponent in the dark. At first, the bat was nowhere to be seen, but then I noticed it swooping down from the ceiling to the side of me. I was far too late in locating the creatures as it clung to my back, sinking his spiky fangs into my shoulder, tearing at my flesh.  Roaring and howling from the sting of his bite, I flailed around wildly, pawing at my back to try and get him off. Finally, I was able to grab hold of the damned creature. Skewering his leathery flesh with my claws, I ripped it off me, tossing him down to the floor by Mary’s feet.

Seeing the frightened expression in Mary’s lovely eyes empowered me, it gave me the strength I needed to keep going. Not wishing to lose my advantage over the vampire, I pounced on top of him, wrapping my jowls around his scrawny arm, just below the elbow. A cold, putrid taste of stale blood filled my mouth as my teeth crushed the creature’s bones. Mustering my way past the gag reflex, I clamped down harder on the appendage until I felt it give way under my teeth.

Shrieking loud enough to deafen my eardrums, the bat pulled away, leaving its lifeless arm dangling from my jaw. I watched it as it crawled over to the campfire. Reaching under the pillow, the bat pulled a slim, glistening object out before struggling to get back up. Tracing my eyes down to the vampires remaining hand, I saw he was clutching on to a dagger, glaring menacingly in my direction. I grinned in victory, the beast was desperate. Clearly, I had won this battle, soon I would have Mary in my arms again.

Overfilled with confidence, I went for the beast without anticipating that this was precisely what he wanted me to do. Blinded by my arrogance, I fell right into the vampire’s trap, for just as I was about to rip his throat out, the weapon he held pierced me. Instantly I was paralyzed by terrible agony. Every fiber of my body was screaming, it felt as if molten metal was running through my veins and my joints were turning to stone. Collapsing on the ground, I clung to my wound as my blood splashed down into the water below, dissipating like crimson flowers in the mist.

Silver, of course, all vampires carried silver weapons on them as it was the only substance that could kill their mortal enemies, werewolves such as I.  It had been foolish of me to think his dagger was but a harmless trinket, now I was going to pay the ultimate price for my stupidity. Incapable of tolerating the pain any longer I fell to the ground in defeat. Seizing his chance, the beast jumped on my back, burying the dagger deep in my flesh. Each new jab sent a debilitating wave of torment racing through my body.

From the crack in the ceiling, I saw a glimmer of sunlight stream its way into the cavern, illuminating a small portion of the space with a heavenly glow. Dying at the break of dawn after a glorious battle, there was something morbidly romantic about it, a superbly violent glory. I did not regret dying, my only regret was not being able to hold Mary in my arms one last time. Shutting my eyes, I surrendered to my fate, but it never came as suddenly the weight of the bat lifted from me.

I could hear the beast shrieking and struggling. Turning my head to the side, a scene of horror played out before my eyes, with me being unable to stop it. Right in the streak of sunlight lay Mary on top of the beast, their bodies smoking. She must have pushed him off me. Looking directly at me, I could see her mouth a solemn “I’m sorry” as their bodies engulfed in flames. And just like that, in a split second, Mary was gone. The only person I was able to get close to in years had perished, sacrificing herself to save me.

Surrendering to my wounds, I shut my eyes and drifted off, resolved to join my love in the afterlife. But life is cruel, and death never came for me, it seems I was doomed to continue walking this path alone.

 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

November 20, 1900

 

It has been over a week since my last entry. Since the night I failed Mary. For a few days I stayed at the tavern to allow my wounds to heal, but as soon as I was well enough to walk, I left the forsaken village behind. At the outskirts of town, I hopped on a carriage bound north and ended up here. Maybe I’ll stay here for a few months, or perhaps I shall make my way back to Boston, I’m still not sure which I would prefer.

Either way, there is only one thing I am sure of; I no longer wish to get close to people, not if they will end up dying because of me. I’m convinced the vampire only targeted Mary because it knew what I was, a sick punishment on the creature whose ancestors are responsible for the destruction of his tribe. Even if it was a random attack, Mary is still dead because of me. She is gone due to my arrogance and my weakness.

This is why I shall devote my life now to helping people, killing as many vampires as I can in the process. If the worm desires a fight, then that is precisely what I will give him. This was not the life I had chosen for myself, it was selected for me, the best I can do is play the game with the cards which I’ve been dealt. From this day forward, I will not stop fighting until the worm is banished from our word and the great amphithere can reign supreme.