Belly Full of Blood - Chapters 1-4 (not for sharing - Copyright Protected 2020 )

JonnyBush

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Copyright © 2020 Jonathan Bush

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 1999603605

ISBN-13: 978-1-9996036-0


‘Oh, for fucks sake!’ – Wren.



CHAPTER ONE

An audience had gathered, or rather, lambs were

receiving a sermon from none other than a wolf, who

did not even worry enough to take up the guise of a

sheep. Rain fell amongst the crowd, powerful and

steady in its pour, turning the already barren ground

beneath their feet to thick and troublesome pools of

mud, which squelched around the crowd’s boots if

they dared to step.

Burning torches were held high, fighting against


the rain to stay alight, illuminating in a very sombre

way, the crowd in attendance, in their long rain

shawls crafted from hide and their wide, almost

exaggerated hats which looked as if a pilgrim and a

witch had made love.

The damned congregation stood outside a

tavern in the blighted lands of Darkmarsh, doing

their best to keep still beneath the rain and storm,

trying to contain their shaking that the bitter cold and

fear brought them. Most stayed still, while it became

apparent there were those in the back of the crowd

who wanted to shift around a little. Before them,

beneath a rotting wooden canopy, to shelter himself

from the rain, stood their preacher: a vampire.

The undead creature looked like you or me,

aside from the butchered corpses at his feet, the blood

that stained his face and soiled his clothes, his

elongated and blackened nails, and crimson eyes. Oh,

and the fangs, cannot forget the fangs. The vampire

watched his congregation, he could feel his throat


growing dryer by the second and that damned

insatiable hunger tearing away at his guts. Clearly, he

held some power to stand before a mob so fearlessly.

‘Sisters, brothers!’ the vampire’s voice seemed to

boom over his audience, as hot and fresh human

blood dripped from his face and fingers. ‘You have

no power over me! Your attempts are wasted, why

not put those efforts to a greater cause!’ he smiled,

using his vampiric powers of persuasion in attempt

to make this transaction of blood easier.

‘Your kind have plagued our country long

enough! You hear me, you hear me?’ shouted a rain

and dirt covered onlooker, who’s trembling hand

caused his torch to sway in the downpour.

The vampire laughed, exposing his great fangs,

causing the crowd to shudder and tremble.

Someone moved at the back of the crowd,

hidden by the darkness that lack of torchlight

brought.

‘Foolish mortals,’ the vampire continued,


kicking one of the many corpses that lay scattered

around his feet, corpses of children, women, and

men; their throats ripped out as if butchered by some

terrible animal. ‘We are your overlords; we are your

gods! You are merely the oil that keeps our great

machine twisting and grinding! I will drain every one

of you if you do not submit to me!’ he roared, steam

escaping from his jagged lips from the fresh blood

that lay within them.

The crowd held their hands above their faces in

fear, and a few coughed something awful.

‘Please, don’t harm us!’ an onlooker trembled

through streams of tears and snot, ‘I’ve got family, I

have! Think of them! Please, please!’

The vampire seemed enthralled with the pleas of

the onlooker, clearly, he had been a problem to the

town in the weeks before, only now showing himself

to his unworthy congregation.

‘Bow down to me, accept me as your lord!’ the

vampire cackled as he slowly began to levitate from


the ground with his arms outstretched in a pose of

crucifixion.

Someone at the back of the crowd moved again,

seemingly wading through.

‘Your flesh is mine, mortals! The dark sirens of

the eternal night will drown out your cries of agony

in a sundering cacophony! Ageless horrors come to

flay the flesh from your children, and we shall wear

their skin with pride! Your veins will hang from my

fingers, your bones will snap beneath my might!

Your blood will—’

‘Oh, shut the FUCK UP!’ came the course and

exasperated shout of a hooded man that leapt from

the crowd and grabbed the floating monster by the

leg with one arm to pull him down, then with his

other hand gripped the vampire around his mouth.

With one hard and violent slam, the man brought the

vampires head down into the ground with an

almighty smash. Fragments of splintered bone and

soft brain matter were sent outwards around the


man’s hand with a squelch, exploding outwards in a

spray that splattered against the boots of the

onlookers at the front of the crowd.

The hands of the vampire fitted for a moment,

before coming still. The man stood up and flicked his

hands away from himself to displace the mush that

covered his black and clawed gauntlets. He looked to

the crowd and grunted, then turned to walk away,

until a sound escaped from the vampire.

The man turned round, to find the vampire’s

mashed in head, bubbling and spitting out spurts of

blood, as if the fiend still lived and was trying to talk.

‘Oh, for fucks sake!’ the man sighed and turned

back, ‘they can’t just fucking die, can they?’ He

grabbed a torch from an onlooker’s hand as he reapproached

the mangled vampire. ‘Give me that,’ he

snapped as he ripped the torch away, the onlooker

coughed violently into his hand and found blood,

before getting a look at the vampire’s killer.

‘Wren?’ the ailed man coughed. ‘I thought you


were away?’

‘I was, but seems you lot can’t take care of one

fucking vampire, doesn’t it? For fucks sake,’ Wren

grunted, taking his hood down to reveal his dark

brown, almost black hair that had been tied into a low

ponytail, and his beard that now held a little

splattering of vampire blood.

‘Well, he, I,’ the onlooker fumbled with his

words.

‘Don’t even bother,’ sighed Wren as he put his

foot on the vampire’s head. With one slight

movement, Wren turned the creatures head to the

side, to find the bite marks on his neck still bruised

and sore looking. He looked back to the crowd and

held a hand over his brow in disappointment. ‘He’s

still only a fucking fledgling as well! Barely even

three weeks old,’ he sighed. He looked down at the

creature and the amount of bodies around him.

‘Look, you fucking idiots. Fledglings are young

enough that they can recover really fucking quickly


if you don’t kill them properly, and particularly this

one because it has a belly full of blood, which

means…,’ he started, goading the crowd for an

answer with an upturned hand like a teacher.

‘I know this one,’ a woman said from the crowd,

drenched in rain and mud. ‘That it could grow boney

scythe things from its hands!’

‘No,’ sighed Wren, ‘that would be a Harvestman,

completely different breed.’

‘It can vomit up boiling blood?’ asked another

onlooker who also seemed a little ill, wiping

something claret from his mouth.

‘No, that would be a Gorger, good fucking guess

though, but no. Look, you lot really need to brush up

on your—’

Before Wren could finish his sentence, the

vampire on the floor began to fit, and from within the

smashed in, jelly filled cavity of his face, bone and

muscle, tooth and fang slowly began to knit

themselves back together.


‘Oh, fuck this,’ grunted Wren, ‘the belly full of

blood means they can recover at an advanced rate,

remember that!’ he snarled, it’s like a backup supply

of healing!’ Beneath his foot, the vampires face

resembled a smashed in watermelon with clumps of

black hair mushed into it, slowly weaving within

itself to rebuild the facial structure.

‘What are you waiting for?’ asked an onlooker,

who was holding a cat above her head to shield

herself from the rain.

‘The eyes,’ sighed Wren.

‘The eyes?’ repeated the crowd.

‘What is this a fucking pantomime? Yes, the eyes,

I want him to see this next bit, the little shit.’

In a moment, two dark black, fungus looking

spores began to form within the cavity, until thin

veins wove themselves around, and they began to

mold into the shape of eyes, then began their steady

transformation into a dark red eye ball, with an

extremely bright, if not glowing, paler red iris around


a tiny black pupil. Then the eyes, within the fleshy,

mushy hole, turned to look directly into Wren’s eyes.

‘That’ll do it,’ sneered Wren. With one hard

push, he drove the burning torch into the bloody, still

mushy cavity, right between the vampire’s eyes. The

ever-living corpse exploded into an agonizing fit, the

fire began to boil the inside of the vampire’s mangled

skull, causing it to bubble and turn black, its eyes

hardening like boiled eggs. The vampire’s agony

continued, its flesh began to darken and crack, until

splinters of molten fire could be seen within the

fissures on its flesh. Then, like black liquid magma,

the vampire turned to blackened mush, hardening

into a solid form on the ground. Like a massive, black

shit.

‘They’re all susceptible to fire, fledglings can be

killed by normal means if they…’ he said, goading

the crowd once more, gesturing with his hand and

cupping another round his ear.

‘Don’t have a belly full of blood?’ an onlooker


answered, timidly, with his soaking hat between his

hands.

‘Good,’ nodded Wren, ‘you’ve fucking learnt

something today. This may be a fledgling but

fledgling isn’t a breed, it’s a timeframe, this was what

we call a Dawnbrood, they resemble us, and can in

time become masters of blood magic, get rid of them

before they fucking get rid of you,’ grunted Wren.

‘Do you want to wash your gauntlets?’ asked a

rather pale looking onlooker, pointing to the well

beside the tavern, besides the horses stable, admiring

the spiked, clawed, and rather nightmarish looking

pieces of armour

‘No thanks, I like them to smell and taste their

brothers and sisters when I ram my fist down their

throats.’

‘Ok, understandable,’ shrugged the onlooker,

who began to cough, rather violently.

Wren began to walk away, but the coughing

intensified, rather agonizingly. ‘Oh, for fucks sake,’


sighed Wren as he turned around. ‘Are you ok?’

The man began to cough and splutter, retching

on the ground and gasping for air. He wrapped his

arms around his belly, until he vomited up pints

upon pints of bright red blood and rotten chunks of

his own guts, which splattered and poured over his

own muddied boots.

‘Fuck,’ said Wren. ‘Have you been bitten? I

swear if you have and you don’t tell me…’

‘No,’ gargled the man as blood began to flood his

windpipe, making it nearly impossible to speak and

breath. ‘Not…bitten.’

The man collapsed, the entirety of his blood

escaping from his body through every available hole

and pore, until the crimson pool washed against

Wren’s boots.

‘Well, that’s not good, is it?’ said Wren. He

looked to the black skies above him, and felt the rain

wash away the splattering of blood on his skin. He

took a deep breath and tried to remind himself that


he was just like them once; afraid and vulnerable.

‘Everyone step away, it could be a vampiric

curse,’ grunted Wren, then from all around him,

more and more of the citizens began to vomit up their

bodily contents, but not every citizen was affected.

Wren stepped back as the sodden floor became a tide

of blood, hot and steaming in the night and ever

expanding from the rain.

‘Those of you who feel fine, get the fuck away

from here, go to your homes,’ he said, stepping away

from the blood that lapped at his boots like a shore.

‘I’ll look into this in the morning.’ Wren instructed

everyone to return home, sticking the trails within

their muddy town that were canopied by vampire

traps. Once everyone had gone, Wren investigated.

He stripped the corpses naked, men and women,

to find any signs of vampiric interference. No bite

marks, no carved symbology of ownership to suggest

someone might serving as a minion to a vampire

lord, nothing.


‘They can’t just be sick, can they?’ whispered

Wren to himself, wiping some rain away from the tip

of his nose with his padded forearm. ‘Poor fuckers,’

he sighed. As the night passed by, which always

seemed to last an age, Wren burned the corpses

beside the tavern and horse stables in a bonfire, the

stench was grotesque, whatever ailed the recently

deceased gave their flesh an awful pungency.

Perhaps the smell would deter his undead problem

for a night. Probably not, he thought.

The rains continued to fall, and Wren had

finished his work, and an awful thirst grew within

him. He looked to the tavern window, to find a single

candle still lit inside. Please be fucking open, he

thought to himself. He banged his fist hard onto the

rotten door, his spiked gauntlets burrowing small

holes into as he did.

‘Wren is it?’ asked a delicately young serving

girl, whose hair hung low behind her back and curled

playfully around her ears.


‘It is.’

‘Need a beer?’ she asked, with two empty

tankards in her hand, in preparation, and her dress

hung purposefully low below her shoulders,

revealing her soft and freckled skin.

‘Fuck, there’s a few things I need,’ he smiled.


CHAPTER TWO

‘So,’ smiled the serving girl, who at some point during the

night had told Wren her name was Keris, ‘what brought

you back?’ she asked, brushing her thick brown hair

through as the two sat by a fire that now became embers as

the dawn began to warm the ground outside.

Wren sat back in his chair and wiped some beer from

his lips, his large hands making light work of holding the

tankard. He sighed and looked around the tavern, then

smiled slowly back. ‘Just felt it in my bones, something was

off, I guess,’ shrugged Wren, running his thumb around

the lip of his tankard, which gave off a low hum.


‘Do you want another?’ offered Keris, as she stood and

flaunted her still naked body at him while passing by.

With one strong pull, Wren grabbed her close and

pulled her down for kiss. She smiled giddily at the act.

‘Depends what your offering, Ker,’ smiled Wren,

before kissing her again. ‘But yes, some more beers would

be great.’

Keris walked with a giddy step to the ale pumps and

poured another two tankards full, wiping up the excess

that spilt down the side with her finger and sucking it clean.

Dried herbs and garlic hung around the corners of the

homely tavern, almost like festival bunting, but with

another purpose in mind. Keris looked at the hanging

herbs for a moment and let her mind wander.

‘Does it really work?’ asked Keris in her daydream.

‘Does what work?’ answered Wren, turning rather

cumbersomely in his chair to see her.

‘Garlic.’

‘To a degree. Certain breeds hate it more than others.

Fledgling Dawnbroods can’t smell the stuff without


vomiting, but elder Dawnbroods can develop an

immunity to its aroma,’ explained Wren, as he sat admiring

Keris bottom whilst she stood at the bar. She turned to meet

his gaze.

‘Blah blah you’re all talk,’ she giggled, playfully,

raising the tankards high in celebration.

‘You weren’t complaining about my mouth last night,

were you,’ smiled Wren.

‘Not at all,’ she smiled back as she began to wander

back over, and swiftly avoided Wren pulling her close

again. ‘Easy now, you’ll make me spill!’ She placed a fresh

tankard of beer in front of Wren and kissed the top of his

head, then took her seat as well.

‘You know,’ started Keris, ‘you’re not as bad as they

say.’

‘Oh, yeah? What is it they say?’ said Wren, raising his

eyebrows with playful intrigue.

‘That you were born in a vampire nest, that they fed

from you until you found the strength to kill them?’ asked

Keris, with a respectful tone.


‘What else?’

‘That your mother was a vampire.’

‘That part’s wrong, I’m afraid,’ said Wren with a stern

face. ‘She wasn’t a vampire, no, not a vampire, but a witch.’

‘A witch?’ asked Keris.

‘Yeah you know, pointy hat, big fat wart on the end of

her nose?’

‘Really?’ asked Keris full of curiosity.

‘Of course not,’ joked Wren, ‘a witch she was, but she

was beautiful. She fell pregnant; my father was long gone,

and she fell into madness. In the storms she walked,

affected by some delirium, away from her home, away

from the living, it was then they found her.’

Keris held a hand to her mouth, and placed another

on top of Wren’s, lovingly.

‘Something about menstrual blood, and the blood of

the pregnant drives the creatures wild. I suppose it contains

some sort of intensified life essence not found in common

blood. Something was different though, a clan of

Dawnbrood found her, and instead of ripping her to pieces,


they kept her, they fed her and fed from her, throughout her

entire pregnancy, keeping her under some form of

hypnosis.’

‘What happened?’ asked Keris, respectfully, stroking

Wrens’s scarred hands with love.

‘When I was born, they fed from me. My mother must

have had something else in her blood, magic perhaps. Who

the fuck knows? Whatever it was, it clearly passed onto me.

They kept her alive until I was seven, we lived within the

nest; chained, beaten, wishing for a death that was denied

to us. She would say “One day my little bird, my little

Wren, you will fly this coop, you will live. You will see the

light,” and I still hear her voice in my ears when I sleep. I

guess the magic in her blood began to die as she became

weak, and eventually they took her away to be butchered

in one last ceremonial meal.’

Keris pulled Wren’s hand to her mouth and kissed it,

repeatedly. ‘How did you escape?’

‘I felt the pull of magic in my veins,’ said a sorrowful

Wren, who’s nose began to crease in anger. ‘I conserved my


energy, for what I thought was to simply run and escape

the clutches of the nest.’

‘Did you not?’

‘Eventually, I felt something building in me, like

burning ice under my skin, like a loaded fist that needed to

be whipped outwards to relieve the tension. Then it

happened, the release I needed that had been building for

so long. They came to feed on me for the night, my body

was weak, puncture marks traced a map over my body,

and then their teeth sank in. I screamed, I screamed so loud

I felt my throat was going to split, but as I reached that

climax of pain, that fulmination of my fury, a blinding light

pulsated from me.’

‘Magic,’ whispered Keris.

‘Fucking magic,’ agreed Wren. ‘When I came too from

some bout of unconsciousness, around me fell the ash of

vampire corpses, drifting like snow around me, over the

rotten roots and thorn ridden branches of the nest. That use

of magic, however, sets your blood on fire, it imbues it with

something greater than life essence, it is like a drug for


them, and they can smell it a mile away. From all around

me came the screams and cries of the undead hordes:

Dawnbroods, Gorgers, Harvestmen, Ghouls; fucking all of

them could smell the blood in my veins. I ran until dawn. I

ran until the magic in my veins stopped flowing and they

could no longer smell the trail to my flesh.’

Keris squeezed Wren’s hand, and he gently squeezed

hers back.

‘I haven’t used magic since. Hell, I wouldn’t even

know how,’ said Wren.

Keris looked into Wren’s eyes then caressed the side

of his muscular face, with nothing but adoration.

‘I want to find her bones,’ sighed Wren. ‘I want to

bring her home.’

‘Come here, little bird,’ she smiled, pulling him in for

a comforting kiss, and just as their lips would meet, a series

of half-arsed knocks rang at the tavern door.

‘Oh, for fucks sake!’ growled Wren. He gave Keris a

forceful smacker of a kiss then stood, still naked from the

night before and headed to the door, which he near enough


pulled off its rusted iron hinges.

‘Wren, we heard you were back in town, if I could just

have a moment—’ a voice began to ask before the door

was slammed shut in his face.

‘Fuck off,’ grunted Wren, ‘give me a minute.’

A few minutes later the door was opened and the

harsh, if not grey light of day flooded Wren’s senses.

He stood, towering over the small and pompous

looking town guard before him with his arm resting

on the door frame, tankard in hand, and now

wearing trousers.

‘Right, go on then,’ huffed Wren.

The little man looked up, looking over the

muscular curvature of Wren’s battle worn body then

finally met his intimidating stare.

‘You couldn’t handle this, little man,’ joked

Wren with a face as serious as stone.

‘I could,’ came the voice of Keris as she walked

behind Wren towards the bar, now wrapped in a

blanket. Wren let out a guilty smile as he turned to


look at her, and she flashed him her perky breasts

when no longer in view of the door.

‘Fucks sake,’ he chuckled to himself. ‘Right, what

the fuck is it you want then?’

The little guard swallowed hard as a nervous

sweat dripped from his brow. ‘I believe there was a

vampire slain last night?’

‘Correct,’ nodded Wren.

‘Where are the remains?’ asked the guard.

‘See that big pile of shit over there?’

‘Yes?’

‘That’s him.’

‘Oh, right,’ smiled the town guard, ‘particularly

good, thank you.’

‘You really need to learn to fucking kill them,

rather than hide from them, this isn’t my job you

know.’

‘Isn’t it?’

‘A job pays,’ frowned Wren.

The guard shuffled his feet nervously whilst


looking at the floor. There was an awkward silence

as Wren grew impatient.

‘Was there anything else? I’m sort of tied up

here,’ groaned Wren, as he felt Keris behind the door,

playfully teasing him with some ropes, which they

had employed during the night.

The guard looked up and sighed with a nervous

sweat.

‘What about, the others,’ asked the guard.

‘Burnt them,’ said Wren.

‘What happened, people are saying a curse!’

panicked the guard.

‘It’s not a curse. A curse would have taken all of

us, this isn’t magic, this is like poison, a blight

perhaps, something in the water, maybe. I don’t

fucking know, do I?’ shrugged Wren.

‘And their guts…’ began to ask the guard,

trembling.

‘Vomited up through their mouths,’ answered

Wren.


‘And…their blood?’ shook the guard.

‘Out of their ears, eyes, mouth, nose, arseholes,

everywhere. Look, I have some work I really want to

get stuck into back in there, so if there’s nothing else?’

grunted Wren.

‘No, thank you, Doctors are already on their way

to visit with you, they may need to take some

samples from the ground, if you’d be so happy to

oblige?’

‘Fucks sake,’ sighed Wren, giving a sideways

glance to Keris inside. ‘Fine, give me half an hour.’

‘Oh, twice ay?’ came the playfully teasing voice of

Karis somewhere within the darkness of the tavern

who had begun to giggle. Wren smiled, a genuine

smile as he looked back to Keris, something about her

was intoxicating, he had never felt a connection like

that to someone so fast for all his years. He looked

back to the guard who was trying to sneak a peek

inside, but Wren slammed his arm against the door,

blocking the guard’s vision.


‘Fuck off and go and get your doctors. I’ll be

waiting for them.’

The door slammed shut in front of him as Wren

went back inside.

‘Right, come here you!’ chuckled Wren from inside

the tavern as he could be heard chasing Keris.

The town guard let out a long held in breath,

containing all the fear and anxiety he had felt upon

his meeting with Wren.

‘Fuck, he’s massive,’ he exhaled, holding a

handkerchief to his nose to try and dampen the

wretched stench of death. Truth be told that necrotic

aroma was more commonplace here than probably

anywhere else. It marinated the fog that rolled low

and cold along the ground, it tainted the earthy smell

of soil to that of a pungent musk, and it served as a

constant reminder to everyone who lived within the

complexities of Darkmarsh. For as long as the history

books went back, there had been a blight upon this

land, and it came in the form of vampires: blood


sucking, flesh eating, child stealing vampires. They

should just move, I hear your say, full of confidence.

They should, and they would if it were possible. You

see, the continent of Darkmarsh its as is vast as it is

dangerous, filled with dense and black forests,

mountains like upturned claws, and populated by

mortals and vampires alike.

The sea that surrounds Darkmarsh is far too

violent and tumultuous to voyage through, trapping

those that live there with no way out, and no way in

should help ever come its way. There has been

speculation, as to how far it is until the next

continent, or island, but the dense sea fog that rolls in

and out through some elemental lungs has created a

blinding and impenetrable veil.

Those with hearts that beat, do have everything

they need, on purely a survival basis. There are fertile

fields to farm crops and grow livestock, fresh streams

for water and fishing, and herbs and fruits for

medicine; if it weren’t for the hordes of blood thirsty


undead that also made home there, life wouldn’t be

completely awful, aside from the ill weather and

constant grey skies.

Way off, on the other side of Darkmarsh, hidden

beneath even thicker fog, black, thorn riddled forests

and mountains of secrecy, hid the vampires of

Darkmarsh. The undead domain and geography

were not dissimilar to a pyramid scheme. At the very

end of the mortal dominion, the black swamps of

Darkmarsh began to bubble into creation, spanning

tens if not hundreds of miles. The black swamps

swarmed with blood flies within an ever constriction

miasma, that did it is best to hide the terrors within.

The swamps were populated by the lower order

of vampires, the ones that smelt like shit and would

probably eat a pile if they got the chance. Ghouls are

the lowest of the vampiric horde rankings; skeletal,

plague ridden monsters. Some resembled thin and

decaying mortals, with elongated hands and a

mouthful of anywhere from one to a hundred fangs,


each of them rotten and pointing in a different

direction. Ghouls did not care where they found

blood, that sweet, warm, life providing ichor that was

the first and last reason the entirety of the vampire

horde did anything. Dogs, cats, mortals, dead dogs,

dead cats; anything. They were wretched fucking

scumbags, and even the rest of the undead hierarchy

looked down on them. They were dogs to them,

disposable foot soldiers.

As the wretchedness of the swamps reach their

end, thick and creeping roots form into endless,

white forests, known simply as the Labyrinth to those

in the mortal lands. The Labyrinth was just as likely

to kill you if you were lucky enough to avoid the

many breeds of vampires that live within its

protection. Harvestmen: grotesque and disfigured

vampires that at some point were born out of dark

magic, their bodies contorted, and their bones

twisted and reformed to create a visceral beast.

Hunstmen vampires resembled the torso and thighs


of a mortal man or woman, their genitals exposed

and rotten. Their shinbones snapped and reformed

backwards like a dog, and their feet clawed like some

great bird, which they used to run at great speed to

complete a hunt, and hold their prey still as they eat

every available inch of flesh and organs, then drain

them of blood. Where arms should be, the Hunstmen

instead grew appendages that resembled malformed

chicken wings, and at the end grew long and

serrated, fleshy scythes, which protruded sharp and

dangerous fragments of bone. Their heads resembled

an elongated human full that had been twisted out of

shape, bisected through the mouth, and twisted away

from the jaw. Huntsmen were extremely rare to see

close to mortal towns, legend has it they can survive

without a meal for months on end, and sleep in some

nocturnal state of hibernation. When they come to

feed however, they come in packs, and they do not

stop until they are full, or dead.

Untold variations of each vampire breed existed,


each growing their own anomalies and

abnormalities, some that made them even more

dangerous, and some that hindered them. Within the

Labyrinth, a great number of other breeds lived

alongside their damned brethren, some of which had

never even left the safety of their forested home.

At the very back of Darkmarsh, within the

blackened hills and rivers that now flowed with

blood, rather than water, existed the manors and

mansions, castles and keeps or the vampiric

overlords, the Dawnbroods. This race of vampire,

genetically, were nothing special, they look like

mortals, they speak like mortals, and they fuck like

monsters on drugs.

The Dawnbrood are cunning, they are clever,

and retain their mortal knowledge, and are thirsty to

learn more to bolster their reserves of persuasion and

intimidation. The problem with Dawnbroods, is that

they are the race who strive for immortality, whereas

the other repugnant breeds of blood suckers merely


want a full belly, and for the fire beneath their skin

that the thirst brings to be dampened. The

Dawnbroods are capable of learning blood magic,

once they are of a certain age, which makes for a very

problematic fight should they feel the need to employ

such dark and arcane rituals, it is best to kill them off

as quickly as possible from the time they are sired by

their maker.

They are the biggest threat to the mortals below,

for they are just as cunning and malicious as them.


CHAPTER THREE

The heavy splatter of mud beneath horse hoof

miraculously sounded out louder than the rain within that

fell upon Skitabaer, where Wren remained firmly planted

inside the tavern. A horse and cart, with a wobbling and

broken wheel, made its slow and cumbersome way

through the sea of mud that made the towns floor. Fires

were lit everywhere, burning straw and damp wood

within iron braziers, which gave off an awful amount of

smoke and a strange aroma as it blew in the winds and

rolled along the quagmire of the ground.

‘What is that smell, Brother Cuthbert?’ asked Brother


Lyre, as he held, rather nervously, onto the reigns of the

black horse that pulled he and his master through the

sodden streets of Skitabaer, holding their robes to their

noses and mouths as often as possible, to dampen the

stench of death from their senses.

‘Death, Brother Lyre,’ explained Cuthbert, trying to

contain the vomit from pushing its way out of his lips. ‘It is

the smell of a thousand dead mortals, a thousand dead

vampires, and a thousand shits trampled into the ground,’

he said, his cheeks swelling up, filled with sick. He could

not contain it. Brother Cuthbert popped his head over the

side of the horses and expelled the contents of his breakfast

onto the ground below, where a farmer was trying his best

to plant some crops.

‘Are you fucking serious?’ spat the farmer, wiping

some vomit from his eyes.

‘Apologies, brother!’ smiled Brother Cuthbert, waving

like royalty to the farmer as the cart carried on its way.

‘Get fucked!’ the farmer shouted in the distance.

‘Nice chap,’ Cuthbert remarked to Brother Lyre,


who’s uncertain and worried eyes watched the citizens of

Skitabaer.

‘There’s something else,’ said Lyre, sniffing at the

aroma of the town like a hungry dog. ‘What is that?’

Brother Cuthbert took a deep inhalation and gave a

face of understanding.

‘Ah,’ said Cuthbert, ‘Garlic, my boy. I would imagine

it is to ward away the undead,’ he explained.

‘During the day?’

‘Well, it can’t hurt to have everything smelling of the

stuff by the time night falls, can it?’

‘I suppose,’ replied Brother Lyre, holding a cloth to his

nose.

The further the pair headed into the center of

Skitabaer, the more abundantly clear it because that

something was wrong. Huge crowds of people stood

hugging each other and crying upon each other’s

shoulders, mourning the masses of dead that lay in great

piles, completely covered in blood, like a roast chicken

beneath a pour of gravy.


Intestines, lungs, stomachs and all hung out of the

corpses gaping maws, some occasionally coming loose and

dropping down the bodies in a squelch and sudden plop

as they hit the pool of blood and mud at their base.

Those who stood in mourning, crying, and screaming

for their newly dead, also harboured some who coughed

and spluttered.

‘Oh, my lord!’ panted Lyre, holding the reigns of the

horse so tight the skin around his knuckles may well just

rip open. ‘Vampires?’ he panicked, turning to Brother

Cuthbert who looked at the piles of bodies at the roadside.

‘We are not sure, Brother Lyre, this blight has

emerged, seemingly from nowhere, of course the

vampires, however, are the most likely culprits, those

disease-ridden monstrosities!’ spat Cuthbert, before seeing

someone’s bowl fall and rip from their mouth.

‘Oh fuck,’ gurgled Brother Cuthbert yet more vomit

pushed its way out of his mouth, and down over his

vestments which steamed in the cold air of Skitabaer.

‘Cuthbert!’ protested Lyre at his master’s imprecations.


‘Oh, fuck off, Lyre, his guts fell out of his mouth!’

heaved Cuthbert, before wiping some sick on the back of

his arm and wiping it on Lyre when his attention was

away.

‘How long has this been going on?’ asked Lyre as

onwards he steered the horse and cart, the broken wheel

dipping and sliding into every small hole in the ground.

‘The are hundreds of bodies here, why were we not asked

to come sooner?’

‘That’s just it,’ Brother Cuthbert said.

‘What is?’

‘The first death occurred last night, after the vampire

attack, it just happened. One, then another, then another,

now look at it, this is an epidemic!’ said a worried Cuthbert.

‘All of this, from one night?’ spat Brother Lyre, holding

the religious symbol that hung from his neck. ‘There has to

be at least a hundred corpses here!’

‘I know, I know,’ said Cuthbert, swatting away a great

swarm of flies that lingered in their thousands around the

piles of bloodied corpses, laying maggots in their quickly


rotting flesh that pulsated from their eyes.

‘Come, the tavern is up a head, Brother Lyre, perhaps

he will be able to help in some way,’ nodded Cuthbert with

a nervous, inwards smile.

‘Who?’ asked a perplexed Lyre.

An awkward silence fell on the two, as Cuthbert

remained unresponsive, but looking dead ahead at the

tavern at the edge of town.

‘Cuthbert?’ asked Lyre, perturbed by the quiet.

‘Him,’ said, Cuthbert, quietly, nodding forward, then

lowering his head.

The wholehearted, religious, and ever pleasant

Brother Lyre looked a head, as the door opened, a tall and

well-built man, still shirtless, stood within its entrance,

sucking something from his finger.

‘Fuck,’ smiled Lyre.

The horse and cart rolled, or rather wobbled, into the

courtyard of the tavern, which was bordered in a crescent

by hitching posts and horse troughs.

A great pile of burned remained, charred skeletons


beneath a layer of black mulch, sat outside it, the mud

around their base a deep and stagnant scarlet.

Looking to the black and volcanic, solid pile of

something that lay next to it, with a wooden torch stuck

into its centre, Lyre nodded in understanding with a face of

unease.

‘That will be the excommunicated vampire then, I take

it, Cuthbert?’ asked Lyre.

‘I suppose it will,’ nodded Cuthbert.

Cuthbert, carefully making his way down from the

carriage, dropped with a squelch and made his way over

to the tavern door, his boots slipping inwards and

outwards as he tried to navigate the unforgiving ground.

He approached with a hand extended, his exquisitely

crafted leather glove unmarred by blood or scuffs.

‘Brother Cuthbert,’ introduced Cuthbert, with a smile

and an expectant hand.

‘Cuthbert?’ sighed Wren, ‘what kind of fucking name

is that?’ he mocked, then looked to Brother Lyre has he too

hopped down from the carriage.


No sooner had Lyre’s boots hit the mud, had the

slipped onto his back in the mud, sending splatters of it up

into the air and back down onto his face.

‘Fucks sake,’ sighed Wren, rubbing his forehead with

the flat of his palm.

‘Brother Lyre,’ proclaimed Lyre, holding his hand

upwards to the sky from the ground. ‘Pleasure to meet you,

Mr.Wren.’

‘The pleasures all yours,’ said Wren, as he looked

down at Cuthbert’s outstretched hand and remained

stalwart in his refusal to shake it. Cuthbert smiled

nervously in understanding, then went to help Lyre to his

feet. ‘And it’s just Wren,’ he said loudly from the doorway.

‘No last name?’ asked Cuthbert, steading Lyre as he

stood trying to wipe the mud from his face.

‘None that’s any of your fucking business.’

‘Very well,’ said Cuthbert, hand in hand with Lyre as

they traversed the unsteady ground towards the tavern.

‘Well isn’t that cute,’ said Wren as the two came to

stand before him. ‘So, you’re the doctors then?’


‘We are here to inspect the area, mainly, Wren. We will

take some samples and be on our way, I am sure you are a

busy man,’ explained Brother Cuthbert.

The hulking frame of Wren walked into the grey light

of day, and he seemed a tad disgruntled. He stood before

the pair, his eyes shifting between each of them, and

squinting in suspicion.

‘On your way to where?’ grunted Wren.

‘To the monastery,’ answered Lyre, nervously.

‘Where.’

Brother Cuthbert placed his hand on Brother Lyre’s

shoulder and stood between he and Wren, his eyes glazing

over from subdued panic.

‘Tÿrn,’ said Cuthbert.

Wren scowled, his silence asking the question for

more information, so his exhausted tongue, that still tasted

of Keris, did not need to.

‘It arrived in Tÿrn seven days ago,’ said Cuthbert,

solemnly.

‘seven days ago?’ asked Wren.


‘Yes,’ nodded Cuthbert. ‘Exactly the same as here:

blood, guts and bodies.’

Wren scratched his beard.

‘Tÿrn has the best doctors in Darkmarsh, the biggest

healing halls, why is it you’ve bothered coming this far out?

Tÿrn is what, three hundred fucking miles away?’

‘Because it has spread this far in a matter of days,

Wren, what plague have you encountered before that

spreads that fast?’

‘Religion,’ sneered Wren.

‘Wren, please,’ said Cuthbert. ‘May I see the bodies?’

The low, freezing fog rolled around the tavern,

creeping over the charred corpses and through the spaces

between their blackened bones. Wren gestured with his

head.

‘And their clothes?’ asked Brother Cuthbert as he

walked round to the cart he had rode with, pulling black a

large black cloth and removing a wooden box of

examination tools, which he brought back and struggled to

carry whilst maintaining his balance.


‘Clothes are round the back, buried in the dirt,’ said

Wren.

‘Wonderful, thank you,’ smiled Cuthbert, waiting for

Wren to take him.

‘You’ll be needing a shovel then, won’t you,’ smirked

Wren, ‘there’s one round the back, shout me if you need

anything. Time for breakfast.’

With that, Wren slammed the tavern door shut and

left Brother Cuthbert and Brother Lyre to their business,

exhuming the clothes of the plague victims and carrying

out whatever examinations they wanted.

‘Fuck,’ sighed Cuthbert, as the rain began to pour

again and run down his chin, before turning to Lyre. ‘Get

the shovel.’

Back inside the comforts of the tavern, Wren sat

himself down in a chair by the fire, freshly stocked with

logs, and took a deep breath.

‘Hungry?’ smiled Keris, who brought over a large iron

pan to place over the fire, with thick slices of smoked bacon

lined within it.


‘Ravenous,’ smiled Wren, unsure whether the sight of

Keris or the breakfast was making his mouth water.

Keris poured a little oil from a small pot into the pan,

and the bacon began to sizzle and crisp. She cracked four

eggs on the brickwork above the hearth and carefully

poured them into the pan as well.

Wren extended a hand and rubbed the back of her leg,

more lovingly than seductively, she turned and smiled at

him.

‘Thank you,’ said Wren, respectfully, ‘for everything.’

‘Well it’s not every day you get to keep the company

of Wren, the legendary vampire slayer, is it?’ beamed Keris,

before turning to move the bacon around in the pan with a

fork.

‘You’re different, you know that?’ said Wren,

honestly.

‘You’re not so bad yourself,’ she grinned, before

leaning over and kissing Wren on the cheek.

‘And legendary vampire slayer, ay?’ chuckled Wren.

‘I thought it would be legendary drunkard, or legendary


bastard,’ he grinned with a raised eyebrow.

‘Either way,’ said Keris, sprinkling some salt and

pepper into the pan, ‘legendary.’

The two sat and ate a rather civilized breakfast with a

side of footsie under the table as they ate, the hustle and

bustle of the day springing to life outside, as louder the

voices from the street became. Keris sighed.

‘Opening time soon,’ she muttered, placing her fork

down onto her silver plate.

‘I guess so,’ grunted Wren.

‘So, what do you reckon, with the bodies.’

‘Fucked if I know. Somethings not right, those two

fuckwits outside came all the way from Tÿrn, said its there

as well. Speaking of which, I should go and see what

they’re doing.’

Keris nodded in understanding.

Wren stood and grabbed his things. He laced up his

boots, buttoned up his black shirt and padded armour and

grabbed his sword which gleamed in the sunlight that

penetrated the glass of the tavern’s windows.


‘Do you ever use the sword,’ asked Keris, running a

finger around her lips.

‘If I must. If there are more than perhaps two of the

blood suckers. I like to get up close and fucking personal

though, you know?’

‘Oh, I know,’ winked Keris, sucking her finger at

Wren. He smiled in appreciation. ‘Be nice to them out there,

ok?’

‘I’ll be something, all right,’ he nodded.

‘Now come and give me a kiss before you leave.’

The two kissed, and enjoyed the moment, then the

groans and grunts of Brother Cuthbert and Brother Lyre

could be heard from outside.

‘I’ll be back for you,’ groaned Wren.

‘I’ll hold you to that.’

‘Good, because see that wall over there? I’m going to

hold you to that,’ smirked Wren.

‘You better,’ giggled Keris.

Outside the rain fell in a fine mist, collecting on the

leaves of trees until they were heavy enough to drop their


watery load to the mud below. Horses neighed from

beneath their leaking stables, exhaling hot breath through

their great nostrils as they watched to the holy men do their

best to dig through the marshy ground.

‘How deep did he bury them?’ panted Brother Lyre,

wiping the mud and rain from his face, the foggy breath

from his mouth tiny in comparison to the horses behind

them.

‘Deep enough,’ grunted Wren as he approached,

sliding his sword into a scabbard that ran down his back.

‘Give me the fucking shovel.’

Wren dug up the sodden earth as if fatigue nor breath

hindered him, he was an absolute machine of a man. After

a short while, his shovel bashed against something with a

rotten thud. He smiled at his unwanted companions.

‘There you go,’ said Wren, nodding to a grubby chest

beneath the soil.

There was an awkward silence as both Cuthbert and

Lyre continuously looked back and forth between the chest

and the fabled vampire killer, hoping the other Brother or


Wren would offer to haul it from its muddy grave first.

Wren stared at Lyre with an unwavering focus.

‘With all due respect, Mr. Wren,’ started Lyre,

dithering as he tried to explain.

‘It’s just Wren,’ sighed Wren.

‘With all due respect, Wren, I’m not getting in the

hole.’

Wren stared at Brother Lyre, tensing the well chiseled

muscles that caressed his jawbone and furling his brow.

‘Get in the fucking hole.’

‘Ok, I’ll get in the hole,’ panicked a nervous Brother

Lyre, who may or may not have shit his trousers. With

some grunting, holy prayer, and just a pinch of profanity,

Brother Lyre scraped the mud from the side of the chest

and did his best to hold it to the top of the hole. His arms

shook from the weight, and his arms almost gave way

under the strain.

Suddenly the weight was alleviated, as with one

strong pull, Wren gripped the container by its top corners

and pulled it from Brother Lyre, effortlessly.


The container was thrown to the ground in an

expulsion of sludge as it hit the muddy ground, sliding

back a few feet as it slowly turned.

‘Thank you,’ said a thankful Brother Lyre, as Brother

Cuthbert rather clumsily did his best to help him out of the

hole, almost falling in himself.

The two came to Wren and opened the coffer, and

took out the clothes inside, laying them out respectfully

onto the dirt in rows. Brother Cuthbert brought his archaic

tools of inspection to the clothes and began to examine

them, murmuring between themselves as they rummaged

through the belongings of the deceased.

Wren stood back and watched as the day continued

and the clothes were placed into certain groups, and the

contents of their pockets placed within jars. He felt the chill

of the night slowly dragging its way into his senses, and

those senses slowly began to ignite beneath his skin.

‘Wren, a moment, please,’ asked Brother Cuthbert,

respectfully.

Wren obliged, hearing Keris’ request tingle in his ears.


‘What is it, priest?’

‘Why did you keep the clothes?’ asked Brother

Cuthbert.

‘Out of respect, I suppose. People can claim a necklace

or a ring, they can’t claim a plague-ridden corpse that’s

been burnt to a crisp,’ explained Wren, as politely as he

could muster.

‘That’s very thoughtful of you.’

Wren sighed.

‘Come, come and see what myself and Brother Lyre

have found,’ encouraged Cuthbert.

Throughout the course of the day, the clothes were

laid out into groups, each of them retaining a certain

specific aesthetic. Some were obvious to Wren, including

the long leather shawls and pointed hats of Skitabaer. He

could see a few vestments of the people of Fensaling, that

resided near the marshlands: thick fur coats and hats made

form hide that hung long behind their neck. There were

one or two others, which he couldn’t quite place at the time,

but next to Cuthbert and Lyre on the floor, were clothing


from Tÿrn.

Wren glanced to Cuthbert and Lyre, who produced

jars and jars full of trinkets, jewelry, and coins.

‘Found anything?’ asked Wren, scratching his chin.

‘Wren, these jars,’ panicked Cuthbert.

‘What about them?’

‘Every single person had an item from Tÿrn,

somewhere in their clothing.’

‘Meaning.’

‘They had all at some point recently passed through

Tÿrn! These are all seasonal items, crafted and sold only

within the last fortnight!’

‘So, what’s your fucking point?’ grunted Wren.

‘The first deaths in Tÿrn appeared a week ago Wren,

and these people must have passed through our borders

anywhere up to two weeks ago,’ panicked Brother

Cuthbert.

‘So, this thing takes two weeks to grow inside of you?’

‘It would appear so,’ said Cuthbert, rubbing his face to

displace the rain and mud.


‘Like some sort of fucking larvae,’ grunted Wren. ‘Do

we know what’s causing it?’

‘No, Wren,’ sighed Cuthbert. ‘But these people have at

some point been in contact with each other, whether it be

in Tÿrn or once they arrived here in Skitabaer.’

‘Fuck,’ sneered Wren, ‘Skitabaer has communal meals

every evening in their hall. They eat together before

nightfall before returning to their homes. Hundreds of

them will have touched each other in some way.’

‘Fuck,’ whispered Brother Cuthbert, as he gave the

sign of some religious symbol on his chest with his finger.

‘So, we need to keep people apart then?’ asked Wren.

‘For now, I suppose,’ said Cuthbert.

The sky suddenly grew slightly darker, causing Wren

and the priests to turn to the skies.

‘Fuck,’ they all said in unison at the approach of night.

‘We’ll carry on this discussion in the morning, if you’re

still alive,’ grunted Wren, hearing the townsfolk coughing

and spluttering as they left the hall for the night.

A splatter of heavy and sliding footsteps approached,


and Brother Lyre held on to his master’s robes to steady

himself in the rain.

‘Brother Cuthbert, where do we hide?’ panicked Lyre.

‘Wren?’ panicked Cuthbert. ‘In Tÿrn we have the

fortress of King Tollbierd, where we all take shelter for the

night in the mountains. I see nothing like that here?’

‘No,’ explained Wren, looking out into the shitcoloured

Skitabaer. ‘They keep in their homes at night.

Only Dawnbroods come as far as Skitabaer. None of them

are old enough yet to enter a home without invitation,’ said

Wren.

‘Do you have somewhere we can stay? A home, a

shack?’

‘A rat-infested cellar?’ whimpered Lyre as Wren

pulled open the cellar doors that lay beneath a small layer

of wet straw.

‘Get in,’ said Wren. ‘I’ll make sure you’re fed in the

morning. Whatever you do, whatever you hear, even if its

me, do not open this fucking door. Do you understand? If

one door to a building is penetrated, the whole fucking


thing becomes open to the damned. There’s plenty of wine

down there, have fun boys,’ winked Wren.

‘What about food?’ screamed Lyre as Wren pushed

them down into the cellar.

‘Cook a rat, I don’t give a fuck,’ grunted Wren as he

shut the doot with a bang, then placed a large metal spike

through the handles. Not so anything could not get in, but

so the stupid fucks inside couldn’t get out. ‘Night, night!’ he

shouted, banging on the door with his foot.

The chorus of insects began to chirp, and a cold shiver

ran over Wren’s skin, he snarled his scarred face in

understanding their song: Nights approach. Without

wasting any time, scattered a little more of the sodden

straw over the cellar door then made his way inside the

tavern.

‘You’ve been out there all day,’ smiled Keris, who

seemed happy to see Wren, who stood tall and wet from

the rain. ‘You’re dripping.’

‘Makes a change,’ smiled Wren.

‘cheeky,’ blushed Keris, fanning herself with her hand.


Wren approached her and tentatively tucked a loose strand

of hair back behind her ear, then stroked the side of her soft

face with his thumb.

Keri’s hazel eyes looked up to find Wren’s staring into

hers. It was protection, it was adoration, it was respect. Hell,

it could even have been love, but Wren wouldn’t know

what that felt like, he hadn’t felt it in so long. He did,

however, know that there something different about the

serving girl, something that held him firmly in place. It was

unusual for Wren to allow his guard to lowered, but the

girls skin was like soothing balm for the slayer of the

undead. The truly horrifying things he had seen seemed to

become forgotten memories in her presence.

‘Didn’t open the tavern today?’ asked Wren, his low

and gravelly voice sending shivers over her skin, causing

the fine hairs on her arms to stand on end.

‘No, not today. I didn’t want anyone coming in and

coughing their arse hole out of their mouth,’ said Keris,

with a smile.

‘Good,’ said Wren, squeezing her shoulders, gently.


‘The two-choir boy’s think that this thing is spread by

contact. In the morning I need to speak to the town mayor,

see if he can arrange some sort of measures to put in place,

I don’t know.’

‘Contact?’ said Keris, ‘do you think we should keep

our distance? I don’t want any arse holes coming out of

mouth’s in this tavern,’ she panicked.

Wren held her firmly, and leant into her ear, so the

softness of his lips could just about be felt against her, and

his hot breath pulsated into it.

‘I think we’ve already covered arse holes to mouth’s,

darling.’ Smiled Wren before moving.

Keris turned bright red, the hairs on her body standing

so far on end they might have just taken flight.

‘Fetch some ales,’ nodded Wren. ‘I need to get ready,’

he said, as he left the tavern.

‘What for?’ shouted Keris, before Wren reappeared

moments later, brandishing two great wooden cases that

he had left by his horse in the stable, which he threw to the

ground, causing the cases to fly open, exposing with them


a plethora of agonizingly sharp killing devices. Wren

smiled and looked to Keris.

‘For what the night brings.’


CHAPTER FOUR

The freezing fog of Skitabaer rolled along the muddy

ground, which seemingly hardened as night fell, for the

stars brought with them a freezing cold. The pathways

from the centre of town were canopied with tunnels of

wood, covered with outward spikes, which held the

skeletal remains of fledgling, blood-hungry vampires, and

hung with garlic in various stages of rot. Burning torches

were pinned to their walls to keep the walkways lit

throughout the night, and to act as a last resort if a weapon

were needed to defend against a creature of the dead.

The small stone houses of those that lived in the


town were similar in archaic design to their rotting

walkways, covered in spikes, or rusted barbed wire, and

decorated with hanging garlic.

The night moaned throughout the streets of

Skitabaer, it curled and coiled the fog against the signposts

and fences, against the piles of burnt corpses that had

recently expelled the contents of their bodies, blanketing

the ground. From far off into the night, against that black

canvas that stretched further than the eye could see, the

sounds of the damned could be heard in their hordes,

travelling the length and breadth of the dominion they

called home in search of that which sustained them: blood;

warm and fresh.

Keris hung out bunches of garlic around the inside

of the tavern, an unnecessary precaution perhaps, but even

so, it made her feel more comfortable. As she hung the

garlic, she watched Wren equipping some of the items

from his cases, placing within straps on his belt, legs, arms

and jacket. She could see so many, and she was sure he had

more hidden away.


Buttoning up his black and padded jacket, Wren

looked to Keris and nodded.

‘Whatever you do, don’t open that door,’ said

Wren, as softly as his hoarse voice could ask.

‘I know the drill,’ said Keris, who poured an ale

and brought it to Wren, drinking the tankard full before

giving it back. ‘Whatever you do, make sure you come

back. Got it?’

‘Got it,’ smiled Wren, licking the beer from his lips,

some of the foam still stuck to his moustache and beard. He

untied his hair and shook it out, which fell to below his

shoulders.

‘I like it like this,’ said Keris, running her fingers

through his hair, which was surprisingly soft.

‘Maybe I’ll wear it down for you,’ he winked,

before retying his hair tightly to to the top of his head in a

small bun.

‘Why no ponytail?’

‘Gives the bloodsuckers something to grab. Same

reason I don’t wear a cloak,’ he suggested, showing that his


padded armour had attached to it a hood, which was

buttoned to his back and his chest. He inspected his sword

which shined rather aggressively in the lowly lit tavern. He

nodded to himself in satisfaction, then placed it with its

sheath on his back, then walked to the door, placing a

flattened palm against it, softly.

‘Promise me you’ll keep safe, and get some sleep,’

asked Wren, his head against the wooden door.

‘I’ll keep safe, I promise, Wren. As for sleep, well, I

don’t think I’ll be sleeping tonight,’ said Keris, who could

be heard loading a crossbow somewhere within the tavern.

‘Alright,’ smiled Wren.

‘So now what?’ asked Keris.

‘Now,’ said Wren, turning his head to face her.

‘Now I go and kill some fucking vampires!’ grinned Wren,

as from outside in the streets of Skitabaer came the

harrowing screams and guttural cries of the living dead.

‘Keep that body warm for me,’ he said.

Outside, the door to the tavern was kicked open

and out walked Wren, who inhaled and exhaled in the


freezing night air, his breath turning to clouds before him.

The door to the tavern shut closed as it swung backwards,

then was triple locked from the inside.

‘Show time,’ smiled Wren.

Wren walked into the streets of Skitabaer, as the

fog washed around his feet like the shores of a beach, and

the screams of vampires could be heard in the darkness,

flittering around the sky like formless banshees. He smiled

as he tensed his gloved fists, walking into the middle of the

town. Whether Skitabaer was as troubled by vampires in

this number every night was still unclear to Wren, or

perhaps the smell of his blood, in their communal and hive

like nostrils had brought them in great number was still to

be seen. Either way, Wren could not give a fuck.

As he walked into town, the lights in the houses

around town went off, drawing attention away from their

homes as the candles within were extinguished. Whether

Wren could remember how to use magic or not, magic was

still soaked into his flesh, and it was not uncommon for the

strange force to help now and again.


Suddenly, all around him, without figures or

forms that could be seen, the burning torches around the

town were extinguished one by one, causing the town of

Skitabaer to be completely consumed in darkness, apart

from the full moon high in the sky, which suddenly caught

Wren’s attention.

‘Fucks sake,’ grunted Wren, looking at the giant

moon above him. He knew the trouble the full moon

brought with certain breeds of vampire, and how

sometimes they planned feeding patterns to coincide with

the lunar event to benefit from its power.

More of the torches were snuffed out, followed

with maniacal giggling and painful wheezing, as if a crowd

of people were struggling to breathe through punctured

lungs. The lights to the town were fully extinguished, then

the thud, thud, thud of many, many forms could be heard

landing on the roofs of houses and into the ground below.

‘Oh no, the dark, I’m so fucking scared,’ mocked

Wren, miming someone being terrified by flailing his arms.

He focused his eyes, and an unnatural gift came about him,


one which had developed back in the days of his young

captivity. As if on command, Wren’s eyes began to darken,

his eyeballs became black, and his pupils became a shade

of extremely pale blue, and in an instant, the darkness of the

town started to brighten, as if Wren were seeing in daylight

through sapphire tinted spectacles. He looked around and

found to be surrounded.

‘Dawnbroods,’ grunted Wren, snarling at the

undead that swarmed around him. They perched on the

top of houses, in their long, black drapery: a fashion style

the hierarchy of the Dawnbrood covenants had

systematically employed for those of a certain age. These

were the ones to look out for, it was a clear indication of

their age and potentially power.

Wren looked on, as the vampires watched him,

crawling down the sides of houses and down the tall

buildings of Skitabaer, defying nature as they crawled on

all fours like animals down their walls. He saw

Dawnbroods which didn’t wear the telltale vestments, and

who fumbled here and there as they traversed the


architecture of the town.

‘Fledglings,’ smiled Wren, knowing full well these

were the newly dead, unsure of their abilities, reckless in

their tactics and ravenous in their hunger for fresh blood.

‘You pieces of shit,’ he grunted. ‘I see you.’

The monsters crawled down the disheveled

buildings and down onto the ground, some on all fours

while others of noticeably older age chose to hover just

above the dirt, the pompous pricks.

‘Seems like a lot of you ugly cunts for one feed,

doesn’t it?’ shouted Wren as he looked around, noticing the

vampires had him in a complete circle. With every beat of

his heavy heart, Wren’s vision altered. With every forceful

pump of blood around his body, Wren’s nocturnal vision

flashed outowards in a visible explosion only he could see.

A pulse would shoot out across the area, scanning every

nook and cranny, bringing to light form and movement.

This was a strange skill he had developed as he escaped the

vampire nest as a child, and it was a skill the vampires

themselves used, not dissimilar to the echo location skill of


a bat.

He saw them crawling, he saw them standing and

he saw the ones who hid, biding their time to strike.

‘I see every last fucking one of you.’ His echo

location scanned the area, bringing to his attention the

many piles of corpses of the townspeople who had died

from the plague only today, their blood scent still hanging

heavy in the air, possibly a cause to the amount of vampires

who had gathered here.

‘Did their flesh bring you here?’ shouted Wren,

stalwart in the night. ‘Or was it me? The unobtainable prize,

the pot of gold at the end of the blood-red fucking rainbow!’

he growled. He grinned at the horde of vampires that

crawled closer around the borders of the town. ‘Dinner’s

served you fucking mongrels,’ he said as he withdrew his

sword, which reflected the glow of the moon like a

lighthouses beacon, ‘come and take a bite.’

Listening through undead ears, as if some great

flag had been dropped to signal the attack, the vampires

came. Wren kept his ground and tightened the grip around


his sword as a small horde of Dawnbroods descended

upon him, screaming with cocky arrogance as they ran on

all fours. They leapt into the night and came down with

forceful ferocity, their claws outstretched.

Wren ran into the fray, slicing upwards in an arc

and bringing his sword through the dick of an air bourne

vampire. The sword went clean through its groin, up

through its belly and then curved outwards slightly, to

ensure the blade severed the heart in two, a magnetic pull

that always guided Wren’s blade, ensuring a blow as

forceful as that would always strike the heart.

The bisected vampire split off into halves as it fell

to the ground, his guts spilling below him in a steaming

heap which he frantically scraped together in some futile

attempt to rejoin himself, but it was too late, his severed

heart had already begun to do its job. The vampires flesh

began to crack and blacken, with molten fire erupting from

the splinters of broken flesh, until the vampire ignited and

became ash on the wind.

The heart of a fledgling Dawnbrood did not have


to be eviscerated or destroyed to kill the monster, but it was

a surefire technique. Sometimes, if the brutality were

monstrous enough, dismembering the body of a fledgling

Dawnbrood would kill it as well. Still, if you wanted to be

sure, get rid of the fucker’s heart.

‘Scrraaargh!’ screamed a Dawnbrood from behind

Wren, that sundered towards him like a rabid beast and

leapt like dog at its prey. Screaming obscenities through a

blood frenzy.

Wren stepped forwards, without breaking a sweat,

and waited until the creature was a foot from him. Wren

gripped the fiend by its hair as it almost had him and spun

him round before bringing the beast to a stop.

‘First week is it?’ mocked Wren, quickly dragging

the vampire along the floor over to an iron gate that sat at

the front of a garden path. ‘Let me tell you now, never run

at me, it’s the most pointless thing you can do,’ he grunted.

The vampire lashed out with its blackened claws, trying to

tear the flesh from Wren’s arms, but it was no use, his grip

was too strong, and the padded armour around Wren’s


arms made hard work to scratch through. With one strong

pull, Wren hoisted the vampire upwards and snapped its

body down, monstrously hard, upon the iron gate. The

iron spikes that lined the gate burst outwards through the

vampires flesh, sending spurts of bright red blood out into

the air, spurting, and pouring back down over the

monster’s body.

The monster fitted and gargled as blood poured

from its nostrils and mouth. Wren did not seem satisfied.

With a great push, Wren pushed the monster

down further onto the gate, causing a great scream

followed by a waterfall of blood to the stone path below.

‘No, not enough,’ he said, as if trying to perfect a

work of art. Grabbing the vampires arm he raised it up then

impaled it upon the gate as well, then he snapped the

creatures hand, exposing bloodied bone beneath, and

impale the hand too. He did the same for the arm, and also

a leg, leaving a contorted, bleeding and screaming mess on

somebody’s gate. ‘Oh shut the fuck up,’ snarled Wren,

before holding the vampires head back and placing three


fingers within its mouth along its jaw and pulling the lower

half of its face clean off, leaving a bloody and torn tongue

to wag in the cold night air. ‘I know what you’re thinking,’

Wren said quickly before he left, ’that it didn’t kill you?

That’s because it wasn’t meant to. I bet you’re missing a

sunrise real bad, aren’t you?’ he smiled.

The howls and screams of the undead rang out

around him, and he turned to face them in their great

numbers.

‘Must be at least thirty of them,’ he scowled,

looking around, at the small horde of the damned

approaching him on all fours, floating, and walking with

cocky arrogance towards him. ‘Fucks sake,’ he sighed.

Wren gripped his sword and began to run into the

fray, anger and recklessness fueling his battle fever. The

vampires charged too, exposing their long and jagged fags

in the moonlight. ‘Wren’ they groaned in unison, their hive

mind working to control each of their voices.

The forces of darkness charged their singular

target, who seemed undeterred by their threats. Wren


reached into his belt and withdrew some small silver balls,

which he cast outwards into the crowd, and as they landed,

they cracked and exploded, and from within them a

momentary bright and violet light was expelled.

The vampires were stunned, dazed and

momentarily blinded by the light, but they could hear quite

clearly in the confusion, the sound of their kin being

bisected and their rotten guts falling to the ground in

sloppy piles, and some exploding in piles of molten ash.

The vampires rubbed their eyes, snarling and

screaming into the cold night air of Skitabaer, crouching

down low, claws and fangs out in a display of dominance.

They sniffed the air and mourned their dying children at

their feet.

‘Up here you stupid fucking idiots,’ came a

familiar gravelly voice from somewhere up above. The

vampires looked up, but Wren was already on his way

down. His sword came down through the skull of a female

vampire, but it didn’t quite go all the way through, her

body was split down the middle but only to her belly.


The monster screamed and gargled as best her

broken vocal cords could produce, the two sides of her

body flopping away from each other, with sinewy strands

of flesh and congealed blood sticking to either side of her

severed halves like string.

‘Fuck!’ spat Wren, then with two violent hacks,

managed to cut his way through the creatures belly and

groin, leaving her to split completely and drop away from

his sword, she promptly began to blacken and crack and

erupt into a corpse on fire, before blowing away in the

wind.

The vampire horde screamed and ran for him.

‘Fuck,’ sighed Wren. He ran and bounded over the

back of a vampire who sat on the ground trying to figure

out a way to rejoin his severed limb, then made his way to

the houses either side of the town center. He needed a way

up. ‘Fuck, fuck!’ he snapped, looking for a way upwards,

before spotting a wooden frame nailed to the side of a

house, which grew ivy up it.

Grabbing the flimsy wooden support, Wren made


his way to a window ledge, then gripped to the thatched

roof, grabbing the fronds with all his might to pull himself

up. Wren panted, covered in blood, as if he had taken a

bath in the stuff, and wiped his nose to displace a heavy,

bloody drip.

From behind him, he could hear the undead

bastards climbing up the side of the house with

supernatural ease, scrambling like rats in a cellar. They

mounted the roof, snarling and snapping like vicious dogs.

‘Oh, fuck off, will you!’ shouted Wren, slashing his

sword outwards.

‘Come home, Wren,’ the vampires said in unison.

‘The nest misses you,’

‘Get fucked,’ growled Wren.

The vampires launched themselves forwards,

defying gravity as they flew across the roof on all fours. The

first vampire approached as two stayed back, it came toe to

toe with the slayer.

The vampire swiped outwards, his blacked claws

leaving behind a black shimmer in the air as he attacked,


clearly this Dawnbrood was slightly older than fledgling,

its unholy talents had already started to develop, in this

instance, enhanced claws.

‘Get those things away from me, you prick!’

shouted Wren as he ducked and swerved to dodge the

blows. The vampire screamed in frustration and kicked

Wren hard in the chest.

Wren flew backwards, and fell onto his back with

some powerful force, then rolled backwards over his head

and found his feet, he panted and spat some blood onto the

roof.

‘You piece of shit. No one makes me bleed my own

blood!’ spat Wren. He ran towards the creature that leapt

into the air, Wren managed to slide beneath the fiend and

stab it in the belly as it flew over him, slicing its stomach

open in a great flap.

Turning to face the monster, it sat on the floor

vomiting up blood, trying to hold in the contents of its torso

but failing, its intestines and stomach began to spill over its

hands. In the moment of agony, Wren kicked it in the back


of the head, then began to stamp it into the thatched roof,

creating what chefs would refer to, as the perfect

strawberry jam, with bits in it.

The vampire writhed on the ground, its arms

unsure of whether to hold it smashed in head or ripped

open stomach. Wren did not hang around to watch, he

brought his sword down so hard, that it’s guard was flush

against the creatures’ ribs.

In the house below, a terrified father was suddenly

shocked into a sweat, as above his head, a great sword shot

through the roof, and narrowly avoided his head.

Back on the roof, the body exploded into molten

ash, and his attention turned back to the remaining two

vampires on the roof, but that attention was soon stolen. A

cry rang out from somewhere int own, a child screaming.

‘Oh, for fucks sake,’ sighed Wren, looking out into

town to a see a child being backed into a corner by three

Dawnbroods. He looked back to his attackers on the roof.

‘You two stay here, I’ll be back for you in a minute,’ he

grunted before leaping down from the roof and rolling


along the ground as his boots made impact, the vampires

on the roof so too descended and began their chase. Wren

sprinted and vaulted over the iron gate, which still held the

mangled vampire who could not gather the strength to free

himself.

‘I told you to fuck wait!’ shouted Wren as he ran

from the vampires, who leapt into the air above the gate as

if weight nor gravity hindered them. The creatures found

their target and grappled Wren to the ground, causing his

blood-soaked face to now become covered in grit and

gravel as well.

‘Urgh!’ groaned Wren as he slid, with his face, a

good few meter’s forwards, causing a small gash to open

on the side of his forehead. ‘Bastards!’ he snarled into the

dirt. Wren screamed and used all his might to push the

vampires on his back off him, and he rolled away and

found his footing. He gestured with his hand for the

vampires to approach.

They looked at each other and grinned, their dark

crimson eyes glowing with glee at the thought of drinking


Wren’s powerful blood. They pelted towards him, and

Wren was ready. He stabbed his sword into the ground

with ease and reached behind his back, to find yet more

items of mayhem strapped to him. He withdrew two small

rusted iron tubes, rusted from use and constant vampire

blood being coated on it. In the blink of an eye, the tubes a

catch on the tubes were release and from both ends of the

metal devices extended great and sharp iron spikes,

forming two vampire murdering javelins.

Wren unleashed them, the iron spikes of woe as he

liked to call them and launched them through the air; they

found their mark. The two javelins pierced the vampires

mid-flight and brought them crashing down to the ground,

impaling them in horrifying contortions into the cobbled

streets of the town center, occasionally slipping down the

spikes an inch or two, but never quite dropping.

Wren quickly ran over to them and detached two

bulbs of fresh garlic from the back of his belt.

‘Open wide, boys.’ He said, before spitting on each

bulb of garlic, then stuffing it in the vampire’s mouths, so


far into their throats that they could not possibly dislodge

them. Before he left them, Wren severed the arms from the

fledgling vampires, who were continuously vomiting over

themselves as they lay impaled, courtesy of the garlic, so

they could not pull it from them maws. The garlic would

hinder their healing processes.

The child screamed again in the distance.

‘Oh, yeah,’ remembered Wren. ‘Don’t eat all that

garlic at once, ok?’ he said, pointing at the vampires. As he

turned, he said the vampires herding the small child into

an alley between two buildings. He immediately picked up

his sword and sprinted after the helpless kid.

‘Fuck, fuck!’ he grumbled to himself as he ran,

covered in blood and dirt with strands of his hair hanging

down over his face. As he sprinted through the town

centre, dispatching fledgling vampires with strikes of his

sword as he did, he wiped the blood from his eyes and tried

to not let the feeling of his empty lungs hinder him. He

gripped his sword tightly and cautiously entered the

alleyway, his nocturnal eyes scanning the area, bringing to


light the hidden shapes that sat in the darkness. At the end

of the alley, in completely and suffocating darkness, he saw

the child, crying and facing the wall, whimpering for his

parents.

‘Kid?’ said Wren, as he approached.

Wren shook, he shook with a shiver stronger than

the ones he had felt standing before the most hellish of foes.

As he approached the crying child, his mind flashed back

to a four year old version of himself, stood naked and

shivering in the vampire nest, hiding his face away from

the monstrous landscape behind him, wishing death upon

himself before the vampires once came to feed on his

young flesh.

He shook his head to displace the nightmares.

‘Come on, kid, come with me,’ pleaded Wren,

outstretching his hand. ‘Please.’

‘They’ll get you,’ whimpered the child, hiding his

face.

‘They won’t, they’ll never get me again. I mean,

they won’t get us,’ reassured Wren.


The boy sniffed, then began to wheeze in

uneasiness, which quickly became a strangle howl.

‘Kid?’ grunted Wren.

‘They get all of us eventually,’ the child said.

‘What?’

The child turned round, his eyes a dark crimson

with pupils of glowing rose, his small fingers black.

‘A fucking trick,’ snarled Wren as he bounded over

to the child and lifted him with one hand up to eye level.

As much as he saw the atrocities that this vampire child

must have committed, reflected in its eyes, Wren could not

stop the humanity within him from wavering.

Wren held his sword to the child’s throat.

‘Get out of here, you piece of shit. If I see you in

Skitabaer again, I’ll bury you alive,’ snarled Wren with a

tear in green eyes, then released his grip.

The vampire child simply floated before Wren,

cackling, and giggling like some sort of demon before it

simply floated upwards into the darkness of the sky. Then

the many voices of the vampires left in the town cried out.


‘Wren,’ the vampires groaned behind him.

Wren turned, and found the alleyway filled with

the remaining vampires, all of differing ages but mostly

newly awakened fledglings. They were drapery of

peasants and commoners, indictive of their age. Around

their mouths dripped fresh blood, which splattered around

their feet, steaming in the freezing fog of the town.

No matter how many of the monsters he killed, the

country was full of them, and he could only protect one

town at a time, and even then, there would always be the

one or two stupid enough folks who simply could not stay

in their homes at night.

‘The plague will wipe you out,’ the vampires grinned

in unison. ‘It is only a matter of time.’

‘So, you bastards caused this thing?’

There was silence, the vampires chose not to

respond to the mortal’s questions, instead, they returned

their attention to his flesh, and the blood they could smell

flowing beneath it.

‘The time is upon us, kindred, it is time to feed upon the


fabled one. It would appear, Wren, that you are trapped in this

alley with us,’ the vampires laughed, so sure of their

upcoming meal.

Wren, with blood covered hands, pushed them

against his blood covered forehead and retightened his

blood covered bun at the top of his head, then spat a

mouthful of his own onto the ground, which caused the

vampires to salivate and drip saliva at the smell of it.

Wren placed his sword with his sheath and

exhaled a hot breath.

‘It’s a shame,’ snarled Wren, as placed his hands

behind his back, unhooking something from a pack, which

he began to pull, in great lengths, down to his boots.

‘It is?’

‘Yes. You see, I’m not stuck in here with you,’ he

said, as he walked into the moonlight, bringing to light the

great length of barbed razor wire that he held in his hands,

which hung down to the ground like whips, and connected

somewhere within the pack on his back. He looked at the

vampires and grinned. ‘You’re stuck in here with me!’


‘Fuck,’ the vampires said in unison, looking at each

other for someone to take leadership and front the attack.

The vampires began to scream and panic, some scaled the

walls in attempt to escape, and some arched their backs and

flexed their claws. Either way, it would seem, in the politest

way possible to say, they were fucked.

Wren began to stride forwards, whipping his great

whips of barbed razor wire outwards, snapping at the

undead horde in the alleyway. With one almighty crack,

Wren whipped his wire at a vampire on the wall, the wire

constricted around him, boring into its flesh so deep that

the barbs no longer appeared visible. Lines of blood began

to appear on the creature’s skin, pooling out streams of

blood as the wire struck down to the bone and constricting

around it.

‘Suck on this!’ shouted Wren, quickly losing his

energy from the continuous fighting and running. He

pulled his razor wire back, moving it side to side as he did

to absolutely mangle his foes flesh. The creature fell to the

ground, its pale skin flayed into a bloody pile beside it, its


muscle and tendons hanging loosely around its bones on

the floor which steamed violently. The skeletal, muscle

barren arm of the beast raised in agony, its intact heart still

hidden within its enforced rib cage.

‘Let me die! Finish me off!’ the vampire screamed,

pleading for death.

‘Not yet, prick,’ spat Wren. He brought down three

more vampires from the wall, one of them succumbing to

death as the razor wire found its way in between its rib cage

and ripped its heart to mush, igniting it on the spot.

Onward Wren walked, flushing the vampires out

of the alley as they became to scream and run. Wren

whipped his razor wire forwards, wrapping it around four

vampires that ran close together. The barbed wire wrapped

around their entire bodies in some supernatural way, it cut

into their faces and their mouths, exposing bone and

muscle and veins that hung out of open wounds. The more

they ran, the more they struggled, the deeper and more

violently the wire wove it’s way further into their dead

flesh.


‘Graaaargghh!’ groaned Wren as he pulled his

wires back, twisting the vampires into a heap on the

ground, flooding the alley with crimson ichor.

He ran forwards, as a fiend crouched before him in

a display of dominance, but it was too little too late. Wren

leapt over him, release his razor wire with and quickly

pulling another line of it from his pack. As he vaulted over

the monster, he flipped forwards and pushed his razor

wires down, making a noose from it, and garroting it

around his attacker’s throat. He landed on the ground, his

arms backwards with the vampire behind him facing the

opposite way, with its head firmly in the barbed noose.

‘Don’t lose your fucking head, will you?’ spat

Wren, then with one sharp pull, wrenched the razor noose

hard, taking the vampires head clean off.

Wren crouched on one knee, panting heavily, and

spitting more blood from a deep cut in his mouth. ‘I need

to lay off the beers,’ he spat. He looked up, to see one

singular vampire remained from the nighttime assault, and

it stood in the center of town by the fountain.


‘Oh, for fucks sake,’ groaned Wren as he saw the

creature. Standing to his feet, Wren made his way forward,

dragging the eight vampire corpses with him, ensnared in

his net of razor wire, which he dumped to the ground as he

exited the alleyway.

‘I guess it’s just you now, right?’ moaned Wren, as

he wiped his face again. ‘So much fucking blood,’ he

groaned as he looked at the blood on his gloves that had

just been wiped from his face. It was thick and plenty of it.

The vampire stood floating from the ground,

signifying his age, older than a fledgling. His clothes were

black and draped, with blood red, metallic embroidery

running around its trims. He stood with his arms

outstretched and fresh human blood pouring from his

mouth and dripping from his claws, at his feet stood a heap

of freshly dead townspeople.

‘Oh, you shouldn’t have done that,’ snarled Wren.

The vampire was acting strangely, he did not

speak, he simply watched, something seemed wrong, he

seemed disorientated.


‘Well, come on then, you undead fuck!’ shouted

Wren, spitting onto the ground. ‘I’ve killed all your

children, see?’ he said, pointed to the corpses within his

razor net of barbed wires, the vampires impaled on the

ground and the unlucky individual woven into the iron

gate. ‘Just you left now, now you’ve had your fucking fill!’

The vampire watched but didn’t speak, his eyes

shaking slightly in the moonlight.

‘Fuck this,’ snapped Wren, ‘you get the twins.’ On

his back, either side of his sword, sat the twins: Wren’s twin

black gauntlets, lined with thorn like spikes and inscribed

with holy words and sigils. One at a time, Wren placed a

hand over the opposite shoulder and into one of the

gauntlets, then again with the other, until his favourite

weapons were fitted.

There Wren stood, the vampire killer, with his

legendary gauntlets beneath the cold light of the moon. ‘I

prefer getting up close and personal,’ he smiled. Wren ran

and leapt with supernatural ease higher than most mortals

could, straight into the belly of the floating vampire. The


beast fell to the ground with a crash, and he raised his arms.

Wren began to dodge, but noticed the vampire’s

movements were slow, lethargic, and uncalculated. These

were not the movements of an aged vampire; they were the

movements of a drunkard with a head injury.

Older vampires were stronger than their fledgling

kindred, their flesh was harder to crack, but crack it

eventually would. Wren launched his spiked fists into the

monster’s face, swing after swing. The vampire’s head was

knocked side to side, until eventually after a few minutes of

easy punching, I t’s skin began to break, then bloodied bone

began to appear beneath its wounds.

Wren was straddled over the vampire’s belly, his

knees on the floor, his back arched through fatigue.

‘Why aren’t you fighting back? What the fuck is

wrong with you?’ screamed Wren as he released another

onslaught of horrific punches, blow after blow, bloodying

the vampire’s visage into a mangled mess.

Suddenly the vampire began to vomit up its own

blood, buckets full of it, a belly full of it, all over itself and


onto the ground, creating a pool around the two as they

fought. It looked to Wren as the bright, glowing red of its

eyes began to dim. It mustered the energy the speak.

‘Blood,’ the vampire Strained

‘What?’ grunted Wren, holding his spiked gauntlet

high in the sky, ready for another jab.

‘Diseased blood,’ the vampire groaned before it

began to fit, and blood began to flow from its mouth, eyes,

and nose.

‘Fuck,’ shouted Wren, leaping back from the

creature’s body, watching as it began to vomit up its entire

bodily contents. The vampire lay there, in a great and

steaming pool of blood, next to the pile of bleeding corpses

it had drained that very night.

Wren spat on the ground, heaving, and panting

from over exertion. ‘Fuck, it kills them too,’ he groaned.

Wren suddenly noticed the ground becoming

lighter, and he looked to the sky, to find dawn was fast

approaching. He panted a sigh of relief and allowed his

shoulders to drop, hearing the vampires that remained


hidden in the shadows escaping back to their lairs and

nests for the day.

He turned, to gather his razor wire, and his javelins

of woe, and return to the tavern. He’d try and give up the

beer eventually, but not today. Fucking not today.

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