The End

I never believed in the things that go bump in the night. Until I became one of them.

It all began with a day not much unlike the others during the Italian springtime. Full sun with a gentle breeze, salty yet calming, blowing in from the sea. The smell of grape vineyards mingled and played with the other scents in the air, such as freesia and magnolia, lily and laurel. Ah, spring fever strikes again. I was walking down the small dirt lane to the house left to me and my sister by my parents and the leaves on the trees were waving in the breeze. I waved back, shifting the bucket of grapes that were ready to be processed onto one arm to free the other. My white shirt witht the string-up neckline was undone, exposing my olive-toned chest and the glistening sweat thereon. I huffed and repositioned the barrel to both hands and continued walking.

As I neared my house, my little sister, eighteen and ready to leave home to marry, came bounding out the door to me gushing with joy. I looked behind her and instantly knew why she was so exuberant. Robert, my soon-to-be brother-in-law, came sauntering to the door. He laughed and grinned and waved. I dropped the barrel, gently of course, and picked up my little sister, Angela, and spun her in a wide circle. She laughed and poked me in the chest.

"Who will make you smile when I am gone, Steven?" She grinned and I laughed, hugging her fiercely.

"Ah, little Angie, my little sister, off to be wed. Who indeed? Maybe the raven by the brook will give me some light-hearted silliness when he leaves a trail of seeds right to his nest, eh?" I laughed, remembering the time I had been trying to find and kill said raven for eating the early crop. I had followed a trail of seeds with my bow, and she followed behind me silently. As I came up to a tree and saw the little monster, I raised my bow and prepared to take the shot. Angie pushed my arm down and pointed at the tiny nest filled with raven-lets and she had said it would do no good to kill the provider of a family. I, being the big softie I was for my sister, had acquiesced and let the bugger live. Every year since then, a few rows of grapes would be ravaged and left bare by the birds, and we let them. To make up for it, we purchased a large tract of land east of the house, from which I had just recently returned with a bountiful harvest. We no longer used the smaller bird plot, and for good reason. My parents died there.

Angie picked up a grape and popped it up in the air and caught it in her mouth. I laughed and she looked at me, her eyes crinkling at the edges and bright. She covered her mouth as she spoke, so as not to spray me with grape juice.

"This lot will make a wonderful Merlot! Or even a Chardonnay." She swallowed and snagged a bundle of grapes, running away before I could stop her. I just chuckled and let her go.

I picked the basket back up and walked to the porch. Robert was there, watching Angie frolic with the dogs, a slight grin picking at the corners of his English mouth. He turned his green eyes towards me as I set the basket down.

"She's amazing, your little sister. I promise nothing will befall her." He sat down on one of the upside-down water buckets and continued staring after her. I pulled up another makeshift stool and sighed as my knees finally got the lift they needed from walking miles upon miles with a load of grapes.

"I know. I trust you, Robert. Your word is your life. It's just that I'm worried. I have heard of that blasted Black Death in London, and I fear for her. If you could just stay here while it blows over..."

Robert silenced me with small wave of his hand. "Steven, we have argued this before. I have patients that need me." He was a doctor of medicine and worked with the English government on the recent outbreak of this new virus they called the Bubonic Plague.

"I understand your situation, brother. I just wish it weren't so. I don't want to lose the only connection to my mother and father. She's all I've left of them."

"I, too, understand that. The fire was horrible, Angela has told me all about it. She says you blame yourself. Why is this?"

Ah, a wound only a few years old. My parents died in a field fire in our old plot. Some kid getting his revenge.

"Because if I had just left the old lady there, being beaten to a pulp by that ignorant fuck, he would not have set the fires."

I had rescued this old lady from a bunch of street urchins and the leader knew me. He swore revenge as he ran away.

"But there was nothing you could do about it. Your parents were trying to put it out and then... Well, Angie hasn't told me what happened then," Robert said.

I breathed a deep sigh. "They were throwing water on the vines and I was returning with more when that bastardo threw something akin to the ancient Greek fire into the mix. My parents were soaked and they died because I had to play hero." He met his end at the tip of my rapier, the little fucker.

Robert was stunned, at a loss for words, if you will. "My lord. I thought it was just a fire helped along by the wind. I'm sorry, my brother. If you want, I can stay here with Angie until it all ends."

I smiled up at him. "Ah, but your patients depend on you, Good Doctor Robert. Who am I to say what you, a fully grown man, will or will not do. I give you my blessing, as the last male heir to the Reyelitzey lineage, to escort my dear sister where you may. Just do your best to keep her safe."

Robert smiled and shook the hand I proffered. "You have entrusted me with a life dear to us both. I will do my best. Thank you, my brother."

That night, after a supper of roast pig, the freshest ready wine, and a salad, I hugged and kissed my sister one last time before she was spirited away in a rolling carriage with the man she loved.

As I watched the caravan disappear, the silence grew more and more pronounced, and it was soon a deafening roar of the absence of sound in my ears, taunting me with the fact that I was alone now. A single, solitary tear sloughed down my face. I lit the old fire and went to work crushing the grapes at the outside mill.

I laboured long into the night, sometimes by fire light, other times by the ambient light of the full moon. I rested about an hour into the fourth two hour stretch next to the fire, letting my mind numb, still missing the giggling and laughing silly girl that was my sister. Usually when I worked late into the night, she would help, or play with the dogs, mostly the latter. She would create such a mix of playful yapping and laughing that often I would sit and watch my last connection to the past simply enjoy herself. It made me feel good to provide for her.

But now, in the still darkness, even the poor dogs seemed to be lethargic and depressed at her absence. One even brought me the old stick he used for fetch, and we played a half-hearted game of it, only to realize that this was a fruitless attempt to keep happy. The dog whined and cried at the night, wanting his playmate back. Poor guy was in as bad, if not worse, a state as I was. All I had left to do with myself was work.

Now, relaxing on the ground, thinking of my sister and how happy she was right now, the first waves of anguish ripped through my weakened body, shattering the floodgates of my eyelids and gushing into the dirt. Useless self-pity, that's what it was. I gave myself over to it, letting the cries of agony scream from my raw and rough throat.

After a while, my sobs subsided and I lapsed in and out of the space between sleep and waking. Finally, when the fire had died and I was thoroughly disgusted at my own weakness, I shoved myself off the dirt and back to the grindstone.

The mindless circling and pushing of the large stone wheel lessened the ache in my heart, and I lost myself so completely in it, that I never saw the figure emerge from the woods. So lost, that I didn't see her approach me. So dazed and numb, that I barely knew she was there until her hand lighted on my sweaty shoulder and sent a jolt of shock through me. I jumped and spun, not only because she had startled me, but to my skin, heated as it may have been, her hand was like ice on a fire. It hurt somewhat.

As I finished the spin, I crouched instinctively and rolled to my sword. I stopped the roll and came up, sword en gardeready to fight. As my eyes adjusted to the dark anew, I searched for the presence that had set me off, and was pleasently surprised by what I saw.

The girl... No, the woman, for no mere girl could be as shapely as she, was beyond Venus by so many leagues. Gorgeous to a painful degree with bright mahogany hair that shimmered, even in the moonlight. Her skin was bleached pure white by the ambiance. Her eyes seemed to radiate a slight red glow, like rubies. Her silhouette, one that I can only say was designed to attract, seemed to shift in and out of focus, causing me to blink and constantly refocus my eyes.

"I heard your tormented cries. What is the matter, young man?" Her silky smooth voice flowed over me, exciting and calming at the same time. A strange mixture of Italiana and English seemed to caress my mind, soothing it and fogging my thought process. I didn't know what she was doing.

"I just... I... My God," I said, almost whispering as my thoughts collapsed in on each other. All I could think of was her and her and her. "You are so beautiful..." My voice trailed off as my legs moved me, of their own accord seemingly, towards her. She smiled and a wicked glint entered her eyes. She held out one supple hand and curled her fingers, inviting me back into my house. I followed, inert as putty, unable to do anything else. As she led me to my room, she slowed down and slipped seductively out of the blue silk dress she wore, revealing her undergarments and smooth skin.

She used a finger to beckon me forward, into my room. My legs were stiff, as I was trying to resist. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not break away. She had me, hook line and sinker, under her entrancing gaze. As she sasheyed over to me, swinging her hips from one side to the other in an arousing manner, she extended a hand and ran it over my sweat-covered cheek.

"You will do this. You want this. You cannot resist the lust building inside of you."

Almost in reply to her words, my member jerked upright and she glanced hungrily down. She lifted the shirt from my body and ran her icy hands over my chest, dancing around me, brushing my body just so to cause the fog in my brain to intensify. As she shoved me gently down onto the bed and proceeded to remove my trousers and her underwear, my resistance slowly slipped further into oblivion. My concern for my little sister seemed to have been erased from my mind, or at least been shoved into a remote area of my mind.

The woman, whose name I did not know, lowered herself onto my erect digit and my resistance snapped. As she pulled herself up and down, moaning and crying out, I rutted in unison to her cries. She swallowed me so completely, her icy body gliding against the fresh sweat that covered me from head to toe. Her chest swayed with each movement, her hair swung this way and that as we rolled, trying to gain control of top and bottom. Finally, I gave up and let her do the work.

She bounded up and down, crying out with each movement, slowing down and speeding up just so as to keep me from releasing to soon. As the minutes turned to hours, she never seemed to get tired. I couldn't have, because her spell made me have just enough stamina to endure the all night sex she seemed to have planned. As she slammed into me again, her eyes rolled back forward and I internally shrank from the pure evil hunger that radiated from her eyes, which were now thoroughly coal-black with red streaks like smoke swirling at their depths.

She rutted harder and she squeezed her hips tight around mine, forcing me even deeper. My body responded to her will, but in the back of my mind, where she had trapped me, I screamed and fought in fear. Her mouth opened and I saw the wickedly sharp, serrated, and long canines sprout like roots from her upper jaw. She rutted faster, her rhythm increasing in tempo as her bloodlust grew. I couldn't scream. Her wetness had me completely soaked, and her soft lips pressed into my throat like a kiss. Then they separated and her tongue ran the length of my jugular, sending my already tripping heart into convulsions.

She arched backwards, and I almost released, yet her snare preveted it. She threw herself forward and she sank her teeth deep into my jugular, sawing away at the vein with the jagged sides to rip it open futher. As my blood coursed down my neck and onto the white linen sheets, dying them crimson, she drank deep, still fucking me as I died. As my vision blurred and tunneled, she rode me harder and harder. My body trembled and twitched under her, as she drank and screwed me. Finally, just before everything went black and blissfully pain-free, I released inside of her, exploding like Vesuvius.

This is how I died. A sex-fest fueled by a lust for both flesh and blood. I awoke ten days later, alone and thirsty.

The fucking whore left me as a creature cursed with a life of bloodshed and sex. Cursed to never see daylight unless I wished to die slowly and painfully. I hunted her throughout Italy and caught up with her in Rome. There, in front of a crowd of several hundred, I ripped her throat out and drank her dry. No sex necessary. I wasn't satisfied by her second-hand nourishment, and I was in frenzy, ruled by thirst.

I grabbed the nearest warm being and drained him, and two more followed him. Finally, a pressure on my neck released me from my carnage-reaping. A sword was trying to sever my head from my body, but the only effect it had was to dull and bend itself. I flashed up and grabbed the pitiful human, carrying him over my shoulder after snapping his scrawny neck with a satisfying crunch with a squeeze of my hand as I ran to the Alps and into a new world and a new life.

My end was my beginning. What am I going to do with this new life? Let's just say I'm more compassionate than the average bloodsucker, but just as hungry for your flesh and blood.