The freezing hard rain splattered against the thick, insulated storm windows with a clear ringing, pit pat pit pat. The grandfather clock, in the corner of the cave-like foyer bonged six o’ clock, and in perfect unison the wild hounds roaming the surrounding forest howled their indignant anger to the new moon. A ravenous, pale creature crept down the old creaking mahogany stairs towards the door. Each groan the old hardwood made resounded through the haunted mansion like a gong in ancient Chinese courts. The old creatures form finally took shape when it reached the bottom of the stairwell. Hunched over, hiding its true size from the darkness, you could see, between twisted locks of ebony hair, shining golden eyes, laced with pine needle green, and deep blood maroon. Now, as it stepped into the soft glow of the candles lining the foyer, you could see its spindling fingers reaching out and plucking each light, suffocating them from the needed oxygen for spreading hope of a new dawn. With him around, dawn dare not show its face. The light of day no longer rained down bright rays of sun. The clouds he’d brought with him from faraway lands smothered the brightness he so loathed, and made this new habitat somewhat bearable. The creature rotated its spine, and neck, grotesquely, as a series of cracks ran up the long line of vertebrate. He grunted softly, and turned his piercing eyes to the wall at his left. A row of faded black and white faces, mocked him with their own version of immortality. He glared at each frame for what seemed an eternity, before finally he strode over to the last one. He brushed back his muddied cape, and hood with a sudden swoosh, and gazed at this particular photo. A moment’s time passed, and then an hour’s, each precious second spent studying the face, her face. He engrained her soft, dulling features into his memory for the night. Long, bouncing, thick black locks caressed her porcelain visage, which was permanently molded into a thin smile. A sudden wave of emotion rushed over him. A surge of pain, and longing forced his hand up to feel the glass holding her away from him. If only these memoirs preserved the lives they held mirrors to. He brought his hand back to his side, a course of energy running through him, now. With one swift movement his pulled up his hood, his cape over his shoulders and was out the window, soaring into the night. The rain was no longer rain, but now soft feathery snowflakes that lighted on his dark figure and caked to his already icy skin. The air his rippled through was as crisp as the ice sickles already forming on soaked leaves. Soon the snow that was falling around him would collect and crunch softly under his light weight frame. One of his favorite sounds was silence, and snow. Finally he had a small reason to smile. His face lifted, and the thin line that was his lips shifted into a graceful upturn. Then, for that still passage of time, his features glowed, and his subtle enjoyment of the night released his tension for the hunt.
The stench of cattle blood floated on the light breeze, reaching him before he even got close to the outskirts of town. He suddenly became very lightheaded, and stumbled into a near-by tree. The musky reek of sweat, cow hide, and sour blood pumping through veins was overwhelming, but not satisfying. In fact, it sickened him to his core. He steadied himself with one clammy palm against the harsh, scratchy bark of a towering pine. The snow gathered at its base, contrasting sharply with the wet, black trunk. His nimble frame began to tremble, then shake violently, sending him plummeting to the ground, clacking knees suddenly giving out. A pain-filled, frustrated, moan tumbled from his slightly parted mouth. He wheezed, breathing ragged and raspy. He thumped his head against the swaying pine, staring up at the pitch sky, snowflakes landing on his long black lashes, like dreams would on a dream catcher. He filled his lungs with the frigid air, breathing out heavily. A rage, a need, boiled inside him, originating from deep down, in the pit of his black soul, bubbling like a witch’s cauldron to the surface. This concoction forming from the very stuff he was made from was too strong to be ignored. It pulsed through him like blood; it was the urge that kept him alive. There was no suppressing it tonight. Yet even still, like the picture he’d left at home, the memory of a night, much like this one danced in the front of his mind. Suddenly, a piercing scream rang out through the forest, and jolted him like a bolt of lightning. It ricocheted off the trees, finding him, in this weakness, at the base of a thin pillar of hibernating life. Then the scream became a screech, scaring his ears permanently. A thick, black mist, heavy settled around him, clouding his bright eyes. He rubbed them, and waved his pale, still quaking hands haphazardly in front of his face, trying in vain to shoo away the intruding unnatural fog. The vapor whirled about him like smoke, until it enveloped him entirely. The air around him transformed, now heavy, and muggy, to the point of almost suffocating his already labored gulps of air. A breeze began to blow lightly, and the haze began swirl in little whips and ringlets, again. This time, however, the fuzzy thickness began to take subtle shape, creating a scene before him. He could make out certain shapes, people, a crowd, and then a tall platform. A large clump of smoke hovered above the towering platform. The shapes sharpened and gained vivid colors, streaking in aimless directions at first, then coming together to give each person in the crowd a different appearance.
He could make out the platform clearly now. It was new, the wood still held a clean white tint to it, clean, and misplaced here in the forest. The people pictured surrounded it closely, chattering expectantly away, about what, he could not make out. The scene before him was like a pantomime, the forests silence still rained over this supernatural vision. Then through the crowd, came a struggling lump of black haze. He strained his eyes, a wave of familiarity washing over him. His chest tightened, muscles clenching, breathe hitching in his throat.
The lump’s form begins to take clearer shape, colors swirling rapidly in the black murk. After a moment, the vision was a complete hallucination. Suddenly he felt a rip through his chest, realizing what was playing out before him. There, on the platform, struggling to be free from her captors was that beautiful porcelain face, with the soft black curls, being fixed to a tall wooden post. He wanted to scream, thoughts flying through his head like bats disturbed from their hollow abode. Why was he being forced to watch this, again? Reeling, he leaned back against the tree. The haze above the platform began to clear, and a visible ball of yellow shadows hung straight above her frail, bound body. Unable to take it, he cried out, blood tears streaming from his pale, widened eyes. Looking away, he sheltered his ears from the wail that ripped through his memories. The silence of the forest could not cover the noises inside his guilty conscious. Her scream ricocheted from every corner of his mind as the vivid delirium began to fade. Panting, he steadied his trembling knees. He turned back to the illusion, now beginning to shimmer and fade, only to have the memory of her charred body imprinted on his mind for the second time. He buried his head into his hands and screamed, twice as loud as his memory had pealed. He shook his head, trying to do away with the vision completely. He released his clamp on the tree bark and stumbled forwards. The omen that had played before him would not serve the purpose intended. His instinct, hunger and need drove him on, again. He rose to his feet a moment later, his mind wretchedly trying to fight the wrathful demand for his survival screaming from his undead corpse. He squeezed his eyes shut tight, taking one lumbering step forward, and then another, and then more, until they became effortless again. Then he began to run.