Well now, whoever saw that coming? It was kind of touching in a way. Jonathan killed his lover and remained with him. It would have been – if I had them – really rather emotional. It could almost be enough to roust a cold, dead, and unbeating heart from its slumber. But it can’t, and it won’t. I am not that soppy. Ha!
So, Jonathan joins Colin on our stage of shame. You can see him over there; I have given him a rather large shadow; that is his inner voice. It is all rather fun this, isn’t it! Do you have any clue as to who I made kill? The hints are all there, I think. Tucked away, Peeking from under the duvet of storytelling.
Forwards we march, onwards my demonic brethren! Hup-two-three-four! Hup-two! We must move, or we shall forever stay still. This next one was a request! A request? I hear you say! But Satan, how can that be so? Aren’t you telling us about humans who may have been doing your deeds? Maybe I am lying? Maybe this is a request from someone who knows the truth? Maybe I am just full of shite? This is for you to decide!
The Witch and the Vampire.
Sariella was a vampire, so she would sleep during the day and hunt and play at night. And, Sariella liked to play. Oh, she so loved to play. It can take many decades to mature as a vampire. You wake – as it were – when you have been changed with a hunger, a wanting need unlike anything you would have ever felt before. This is not just starvation; this is as if you had lived twenty years of your life and never had eaten before. This hunger would make the rugby team on Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 look like they just had a mild case of the munchies. Neo in The Matrix didn’t know hunger like this when he was first reborn. Many vampires get caught in the early decades, some get killed in the first years, and the very unlucky only last weeks. Everyone in these modern times was a Van Helsing or a Buffy. Other Vampires, like Sariella, can live for centuries. Sariella was bright and would not be caught and killed until she decided the time was right. It is a choice that many vampires will make in the end. Life, unlife, becomes unbearable. You can be around for too long. You can be dead for an overbearing age.
Dotty, the spite witch, was never one for originality. Many people and creatures of the underworld have vivid and magical imaginations. Dotty was not one of them. She stirred her cauldron and looked inside at the milky black liquid that bubbled and steamed. She watched a flying monkey in the brew – as I’ve said, no originality – as the monkey swooped in and descended upon its target.
Sariella had a feeling that was biting at her brain. It was not unusual for vampires to develop a sixth sense, of sorts, as the brain evolves much like the body. The mind learns to do tricks and unlocks things that many humans would deem impossible. This thought that Sariella had was of approaching, specifically for her. The feeling was nibbling at the neurons, and it crept around her cerebrum, slamming mental doors and stamping its feet.
The monkey flew and surveyed the area. It knew what it was looking for was here; it just had to look a little harder… And, there it was. The monkey spied an old brick shack and then knew it was where it needed to be. The aged grey stonework bricks twinkled in the falling autumn sunlight. The ageing straw thatching on the roof rippled with the slight breeze in the air. It was late afternoon, and this had to be done now. Nobody, not Dotty, or the monkey, would be stupid enough to attack Sariella after dark. Nobody should attack any vampire after dark, especially not a vampire who has lived for as long as she.
The monkey landed upon the roof, and with its hands and claws, it started to shred the thinning thatch. It was like a thick combover above the shack’s head, which needed replacing, so that was to the monkey’s advantage. The thin straw was brushed and pulled aside, and soon the monkey had the room to squeeze through the bald spot and into the shack. It tucked in its wings and dived through the hole. The inside of the shack was sparse, the lighting equally so. It scuffled in its harness as it looked for the stake it had been given. The stake that would be used to kill the vamp for its mistress.
Sariella’s eyes flicked open. Like a brain fart that parps into your mind at three in the morning, she now had the most powerful and intense sense that things were wrong. She looked around as best she could in the velvet cushioned coffin and saw nothing to explain the feeling. She felt down her body, clothes check, legs check, arms, duh, check. Everything was fine, but she still could not shake the sensation. She shifted her head slightly to the left, and her body twisted along with it. There was no reason for this. It just felt right; it was wilp, maybe. A fate, a push of destiny, to shove you into harm’s way, or maybe, out of harm’s way.
Sariella held her hands up and slightly pushed on the dark red velvet lid. She was feeling for something, anything, that could be wrong. Something that was out of place. The lid felt as tight as it ever was. It was then that it happened. The tiny point of the stake that the monkey held, pierced the lid at speed. She knew she should have got a metal coffin, but she was a traditionalist and liked the old ways. The tip of the wooden triangle had fractured the coffin top and descended towards where her heart should have been. By moving to one side, just slightly, she had been saved. As a bonus, her hands were also up in front of her chest. Wilp had stepped forward and stopped her from being killed.
Wilp also has a way of making you pay for the favours it grants, and this would be something Sariella would consider later. Because, at that moment, the stake was being pushed down and through her hand. The wood of the stake forced the bones to one side as it plummeted through the skin. “Fucking bastard cocking fucker!” Sariella screamed in the most unladylike manner. She pushed her hands upwards, which drove the stake downwards, but she needed to get out of the coffin. She blanked the pain from her mind as she pushed.
The coffin lid flew from the box as Sariella rammed her hands forward. It flipped from the coffin like the lid of a super-wound-up jack-in-the-box, turning in the air and taking the monkey and stake with it. It pinged and popped from the box, and the lid crashed into the far wall. The monkey was crushed and squished between the wall and the lid. The coffin lid fell to the floor, the stake just behind it, and the monkey flopped on the wall before falling like a child’s sticky jelly toy flapping down a window. Sariella roused herself from her befuddled, half awake, half asleep and all confuddled state. Confused by what had happened, she lifted herself from the coffin and looked around the small room. Her gaze moved from the lid, then to the stake, and finally to the mushed mess that once was a flying monkey that now lay on the floor.
“Dotty,” Sariella cursed as she walked toward the monkey. “Screw you Dotty,” she continued as she lifted the monkey from the floor by one of its legs. Her hand beat and throbbed with the dullness of pain, blood dripped and leaked from the hole the stake had made, and she lifted the monkey to her mouth and fed. She’d had worse over the years. The still warm blood flowed through her mouth, her veins, and her dead heart. When she looked down and saw the bloodstain on her long dark skirt, she swore revenge.
Dotty had also sworn revenge many years before. Watching her monkey die as the lid smashed into the wall, that vengeance intensified. Marvin had been the last of her monkeys, and although she would not mourn him, who now would bring her morning coffee? She stamped across the room in a rage. It was not unusual for her to be angry, but this had pushed her from mildly angry into ‘who left the toilet seat up and pissed on the floor’ anger. What had caused this thirst for revenge, this voyage of vengeance? Sariella had stolen Dotty’s shoes.
Sariella emerged from the shack as dusk fell across the field. She had changed and was now wearing a different black skirt – she always wore black – and her wounded hand was wrapped with black bandages. They were not, of course, bandages – where would you get black ones? – they were the old skirt ripped into strips and wrapped around her now healing hand. She cursed at the wrapped straps, cussed the moon, and as the ruby red heels that she wore marched forwards and twinkled in the freshly risen moonlight, she swore at Dotty once again.
Dotty’s old grey, sagging skin wobbled like a jelly on a washing machine as she waddled through the woods. She would have to seek out the creatures of the other, the trolls, the dark fey, and the jokers. It was not something that she would do lightly. Dotty looked like the remnants of a once human being, but she was younger than her haggard age suggested. In the five decades she had wandered the earth, she had made enemies of almost everyone. Dotty was not well-liked; in fact, she was despised by most creatures, either living or dead.
The door crashed open and hit the opposing wall with a thud. Sariella stood in the doorway. “Dotty, you old mad witch bitch, I know you are in here,” she called out to the empty rooms. She raced from room to room, hunting with her teeth exposed, but found nothing. Dotty was nowhere to be seen. The house was as empty as Sariellas heart. It was nothing but a dusty, old shell. She looked around the front room, and as an idea formed, so did a smile. She walked to the bookcase that held tomes of old magicks, and then she pushed it over. She grabbed the candle from the table and lit it with the old lighter she carried. She threw the candle into the piles of books that had fallen when she had pushed the shelf and walked from the house.
The fire had started to rage when Sariella pulled the front door closed. The door squealed as it was pulled, but it held firm on its hinges. She reached up with her right hand’s index and middle finger and drew a circle on the door. Many over the years used dust to see what they were drawing, but Sariella did not need the visual aid. She fingered from the circle’s centre to the right edge and then from the centre to the top, moving outside the circle. Once she had quartered the top right of the circle, she said, “Shankar Ankrag,” and reopened the door.
Sariella stepped through the door, and the door now opened elsewhere. The sigil she had drawn, and her words, opened the way to the nowhere. The nowhere was just what it sounded like. It was a place between worlds and could be dangerous. This particular nowhere, though, was fine. There were trees and a rather large brick wall in this particular nowhere. A door was in the centre of the wall, and next to the door was a discoloured brick. A discoloured brick with a face crudely drawn upon it. She walked through the door and into the nothing. She then turned around and looked at the now closed door and brick. A minute passed, and then she sighed, and finally, she poked the brick with a finger.
“I am not interested in what you want,” the brick said. Sariella knew this would happen. Bricky was known throughout the worlds as being the grumpiest being imaginable. “Do you know where Dotty went or not?” Sariella asked in a huff.
“I knew you would come. And then you are going to nag at me. Dotty told me not to tell you. Honestly, I don’t see why I should be a part of your argument,” the brick moaned.
“Was she the last person to come through here?” Sariella asked.
“I know exactly what you are trying to do, and I won’t tell you,” the brick replied stubbornly. Sariella knew that she had a choice. Bricky was the most ancient known being in all the worlds, and she could stand and argue with it all day long. If it did not want to tell, then she would get nowhere. The bastardly brick was well known for being an arsehole. She could either go back and find another way, with a limited chance of success or just open the door and step through. The door would open a portal to the last place it was opened. It could have been anywhere. “Okay, open up,” Sariella said, finally and firmly.
“You won’t like it,” the brick replied.
“Oh, will you just open up please.”
The door opened, and Sariella stepped through. The brick was right; he usually was; she did not like it. “Oh, fucking fey,” she said as she saw the world. She hated the fey, detested the trolls and the jokers? Well, they could just fuck right off; she despised them. There was one good side to all of this: she knew she was in the right place. If there was one group that would help Dotty, it would be the bastard fey. She trudged forwards and away from the door that had opened for her and into the trees. The door closed itself as she walked away and opened as a female troll walked out from their shack. The troll was totally oblivious to what their door had been used for. They looked and saw the woman being swallowed by the lush woodland and wildflowers.
“Stop,” a harsh rocky voice said. Sariella rolled her eyes. She knew what was coming, bloody things, she thought. “You won’t stop me,” she said with defiance. “Oh, but we must,” a second voice said. Sariella squinted and squeezed her eyes shut as the tree to her right slipped and shifted. Like a watercolour that has got wet and started running, the colours and textures of the tree altered. A shape started to form from the running colours. The skin and bones figure stepped from the sliding image. A face was long and distorted like Munch’s The Scream or Scream’s Ghostface mask. A hollow black for a mouth had uttered the second message. “Oh for fucks sake,” Sariella groaned, “not you jokers as well.”
“Us jokers as well,” the stick-like scream figure replied. Its joints snapped into and out of place as it moved. It sounded like twigs snapping. “Oh, will you stop that? You will not scare or intimidate me,” Sariella said, and stamped her red shoe to the ground. The joker moved forward, this time without a sound. The troll followed behind it, scraping its feet like a schoolchild on the way to school. It scuffed and huffed as it moved. Its heavy grey frame with tight skin gripping the bones and muscle. “And you?” Sariella asked, “what do you plan to do?”
“We have to stop you,” the troll said in a grumbling mumble. “She asked us to stop you.”
Sariella looked at them as if she had swallowed a particularly sour fly. Her face contorted and bent into shapes that she had only performed when once trying the blood of a man undergoing cancer treatment. “Urgh,” she grimaced through her tightly closed lips. “I can’t believe I will say this.” She shrivelled her nose and threw her head backwards. Her top lip raised, and her teeth were exposed as she rolled her eyes so far back she could have seen the inside back of her skull. She groaned before saying, “Take me to your leader.”
“Why?” The joker asked.
“Why? Why?” Sariella moaned, “I want this shit to be over. I need to sleep during the day, and I want to feed without looking over one shoulder. I want to shag without worrying that something will come in through the window. And, frankly, I want to get out of this damned place.” Breathless, Sariella finished, her arms slumped to her side. “We’ll have to tie you up, and no funny business,” the joker said.
“Yeah, nothing funny,” the troll added. Sariella was tied and bound, and the troll then carried her to the village. The joker followed behind, sometimes snapping his limbs and other times not. Sariella enjoyed the ride, often smiling at the trees as they passed.
The village buzzed, and not just with the fey. The trees swayed the dance of the fairies, the grass seemed to groove to the tempo of the trolls, and the flowers jived to the beat of the jokers. The village was rocking, and because of this, it was the perfect place for each of its inhabitants. Except for Dotty, the daisies drooped like a swing dress with a flat petticoat because of her. Dotty had a way of draining even the most enthusiastic event. She would suck the sex from the sexiest of succubus, and she could have absorbed the energy of the most empathic empaths. She was poison, and they all knew it. The only reason they would even allow her there was that they hated Sariella more.
They hated Sariella because of a betrayal. The fey, who controlled the forest, had once been betrayed by her. Fey, as we all know, can hold a grudge. In fact, the only thing keeping Sariella alive was Dotty. The fey folk believed in the yin and yang of the world. Good and evil, dark and light. They would like nothing more for Sariella and Dotty to have a good old fight and finish each other off. They would have enjoyed that. Sariella knew it, but that was not why she smiled as she was carried to the village.
The wind picked up in the village as Dotty spoke; she barked her orders at the jokers and trolls. “Bring her here.” Dotty beckoned as they came closer. “Here, my pretties, here.” The troll carried Sariella over to Dotty and placed her on the ground. Dotty pounced onto Sariella and kneeled as she mounted her. “Hahaha, I’ve got you now. Why, my dear Sariella, my little party’s just beginning!” she cackled as she pulled the stake from her bag. Sariella started to laugh along with her. The wind picked up, and the trees started to lean rather than sway. Sariella’s laughter soon was louder than that of the witch. The fairy folk, jokers, and trolls watched as the scene unravelled. She bowed her back and lifted her chest toward the pointed wood as the laughter spewed from her mouth. Dotty raised the stake but then hesitated as a clap of thunder filled the air. “What is wrong? Why are you laughing?” she asked, confused.
Sariella stopped laughing in an instant. A flash of lightning smashed down some distance away, followed by another clap of thunder as the storm drew closer. She turned her head to look straight at the witch, closed her eyes and whispered something inaudible. The witch leaned in closer; she held the neck of the vampire down with her left hand, stake in her right, as she moved in. Flash, bang, the storm had moved at incredible speed, and now the gap between light and bang was just milliseconds. She turned her head to the side, careful to not release any pressure upon the vampire’s neck as she listened. Sariella did two things at once and did them both quickly. She clipped her heels together three times and said the words, “There is no place like home.”
The spiral of wind took them in the blink of a second. The storm surfaced from nothing and then vanished into nothing. The witch and vampire were gone along with it. The fey and fairy folk just shrugged it off; they had seen many things over the years. The vampire and witch were no longer their concern. It took the witch a second to realise what was going on, but as she did, she muttered the words, “Curses, curses.” They were both thrown into the air. The stake ripped from the witch’s hand, and the two were blown away from each other. Taken by the tornado, taken and thrown into the chaotic vortex. The witch deposited along with a bike, rocking chair, and trees that had been swept up over time. Items that had been grabbed and held like the house nearly a century ago. Sariella just lay back and let the twister carry her home. Her eyes opened, and she woke. She prised herself from the coffin, and the only evidence of the previous night’s adventures was the monkey she had left lying on the floor. She would have to move, but what fun she’d had. She really must, she thought, do it again sometimes. She stepped over the monkey, opened the door and made her way into the local town. She needed to feed, and she wanted to buy herself a ‘No place like home’ plaque.
Buy the complete set.