The following story is copyright (c) Adam Shiels 2007.
The vampire sat on the beach, his knees drawn up to his chin and his arms wrapped around them. His pale blue eyes stared fixedly out at the sea as it crashed against the shore. He could sit for hours watching this, and indeed today had done, lost in his thoughts.
Without realising that he was doing it, he wriggled his toes in the fine white sand. His bare feet contrasted the rest of him. He was dressed in charcoal grey trousers and a khaki shirt. The trousers weren’t proper dress trousers or anything but were instead smartly casual. His shirt was completely untucked and unbuttoned exposing his pale white, hairless chest.
If any were to pass him then and there, they would assume that he was a tourist recently arrived to the island of Barbados, as surely no one would sit on the beach here dressed like that. Besides, he was too pale to have been here long.
That, however, couldn’t have been further from the truth. He had been here for over six months and had frequently been in the sun during that time, just like this day. He however, would never tan or burn but he did enjoy the intense heat of the mid-day sun.
The colour of the sea further out from the coast was a deep blue, getting lighter as it swept inland, the waves rising out of the water with white surf before hitting the shore with a surprising force.
Throughout the span of his life he had been in nearly every country at one time or another, he had witnessed many things, some fantastic, some horrific, all unforgettable. After all this, here in Barbados in the middle of the Caribbean was where he yearned to be, and indeed he found that over the last few years of his life he had been coming back here more and more often until six months ago, he had decided to return here, with the intention of dying.
Now after six months on the island, all of his affairs were in order, and here he was sitting on the beach watching the sea and thinking about whether he should go through with taking his own life, after all what was there left for him to live for? His family were long dead, his friends too were all dead, and as if that wasn’t enough, he was the last of his kind.
On the surface, he looked like he was only in his late thirties to early forties but looks were very deceiving. He didn’t know how old he was himself, having long ago stopped counting the years but it was literally in the thousands. He had been alive, if you could call it that, since well before the birth of Christ.
At that time, his people had been much larger in numbers; they slept throughout the day and hunted the Humans at night. Drinking the blood of innocent people to survive. No-one knew how they had started or who the first of their kind was, but he was one of the first, he knew that. Human once but turned against his will, he had quickly fallen in love with his new life style. He had loved the power it provided and had quickly asked his mentor why they didn’t just rule over the Humans; after all they were Gods in comparison.
He was told that although he had all these powers, he could still be killed; the Humans could cull them if they ever knew of their existence. Fire, beheading, a stake through the heart. It was known that these would certainly kill them and there could be more that they didn’t know of yet.
The years turned to decades, then to centuries and finally millennia and in all that time the man had grown stronger and more able to control his powers. He was an expert at hunting his prey. He thrived on it; on the moment of the kill when he would sink his fangs into their throat and start to drink their blood. At that stage, all of the memories, truths and lies of the prey would be revealed to him and how he loved it. Knowing that they couldn’t hide anything from him.
Over all the years from time to time the Humans did discover their kind. They were branded as evil, demons, and monsters. The people would fear them and in their fear they would try and destroy them. Sometimes they were successful and sometimes they invited their own destruction as the vampire defended itself.
Sitting on the beach, the man watched as a rain storm began to lash down far out to sea, his keen eye sight making it out as if he were using binoculars. He glanced skywards at the sun far above, felt the heat beating down on him. Smiling, he thought to himself how much he loved this island.
He turned his thoughts back to his past. He remembered when it had all changed for him.
He had been a vampire for more than two thousand years by this point and he was in a foreign country, hunting. This time, he wasn’t just hunting any old person though; he was hunting a supposed miracle worker. Something about this man intrigued him. He wanted to know if the stories were true and he knew that all he had to do was drink the miracle worker’s blood to find out. The man was named Jesus.
He had stalked this Jesus and waited, biding his time until the moment was right. He had done this hundreds of thousands of times and he knew what he was doing.
Finally the moment arrived when he had Jesus alone and he stepped out of the shadows, expecting to see the usual look of fear on his prey’s face. Instead, what he got was a warm greeting and the miracle worker spoke to him in his native language, a language that the vampire hadn’t heard been used for hundreds of years.
The vampire balked slightly and finally replied in the same language.
‘You knew I was there?’ he asked.
‘Of course,’ Jesus replied. ‘I’ve been expecting you.’
‘Yes. You think you’re here to drink my blood and find out if the stories are true .’
‘What do you mean I think?’ the vampire asked.
‘I mean, that you are much more important than that. You have been sent to me.’
‘I wasn’t sent. I’m here on my own.’
‘You don’t think that you were sent, but you were. In time, you’ll come to understand that and of your importance to the future of Mankind.’
Jesus moved towards him, rolling the sleeve of his tunic up and holding his arm out towards the vampire. ‘Drink,’ he said. ‘Drink of my blood.’
The vampire’s eyes narrowed at this. He was suspicious of what was being offered here. ‘You’re offering to let me drink your blood, just like that?’
‘Not all of it,’ came the calm reply. ‘Just enough for you to learn what is needed and what is expected.’
The vampire began to bristle at all of this. He didn’t like that he was losing control of the situation. He’d come here with a very simple purpose and now he felt as if he was the one being put on the spot.
‘What have you to lose?’ Jesus asked quietly. ‘You came to drink of my blood and I’m offering it to you. I’d advise you to take me up on it as I have very little time on this Earth left.’
‘For someone who seems so sure of himself, you’ve just implied that you’re about to die.’
Jesus smiled at the misunderstanding. ‘I don’t mean by your hand,’ he said. ‘Drink of my blood and see everything.’
He further extended his arm towards the vampire. The vampire again hesitated, unable to shake the feeling that there was something going on that he wasn’t aware of or that he couldn’t understand.
Finally, unwilling to back down, to concede defeat, he grasped the outstretched arm of the miracle worker and brought it up to his lips. He bared his fangs and brought them to rest on the inside of the lower arm. Throughout this he had expected Jesus to retract his arm back again, his bluff having been called, but the vampire was surprised when that didn’t happen.
His eyes flicked up to meet those of his target and their gaze locked with one and other.
‘What are waiting for?’ Jesus asked. ‘Do what you came here to do.’
Without waiting any longer, the vampire sunk his teeth into the flesh, easily bursting through and puncturing the veins and arteries. Blood immediately began to fill his mouth and a second later the truth was revealed to him.
The vampire wanted to break free but found that he was paralysed by the images that had started to flood his head, some images made sense, others involved things that he couldn’t even name but instinctively knew to be the future. No, this couldn’t be happening; this couldn’t be what was in store for him and the rest of the planet. The images came faster and faster, pushing further and further into the future.
He had no idea of how far ahead he was going but it was all slotting into place. The way things had to be, the way that things had to stay and the way that things had to end. He saw everything, including his part in the final outcome and finally he saw the end of days and what would happen to every living creature on the planet.
Finally he broke free. Blood streaking down his lower jaw and chin, he staggered backwards and tripped over his own feet, falling to the ground.
‘No,’ he managed to say. For the first time since leaving his Humanity behind, he was starting to feel fear. ‘No, it’s not possible. I don’t know how you did that but it can’t be true .’
Jesus stood over him, a calm and peaceful look on his face. He had begun to roll the sleeve of his tunic back down. Although the vampire wasn’t sure, from the glance that he got, it looked as if the wounds on the other man’s arm had already healed.
‘You don’t believe yet but as each of the events that you have just witnessed comes to pass, you will.’ Jesus said. ‘You will believe and you will eventually come to understand your importance in the scheme of things and what you must do for the good of everyone. You will shortly see the first of the signs that you saw tonight.’
Without saying any more, the man known as Jesus turned and started to continue on his way, leaving the vampire lying in the dirt of the road staring after him.
For months afterwards the vampire refused to believe what he had seen and even if it were true , why would he help the Humans? He wasn’t one of them, why should he care about what they did?
Then, just as Jesus had told him, he saw the first of the images that he had seen in his vision. That of Jesus himself being crucified. He had heard of his arrest and had come back; all the while pleading to himself that what was going to happen wouldn’t come to pass.
Standing in the crowd, he’d watched as the man was tortured for all to see and eventually strung up on a cross. Even as he hung suspended on the cross for all to see, Jesus had turned his gaze towards the crowd and for the briefest of seconds; his eyes met those of the vampire again.
In that second, the vampire knew that everything that he had foreseen, would come to pass.
He felt tears start to well at his eyes at what he was witnessing and about what this would mean. Turning away from the murder of an innocent, the vampire had pushed his way through the crowds; the tears were running freely down his cheeks now.
He ran as fast and as far as he could, before finally finding himself at his lodgings. Once there he began packing what little possessions that he owned with the intention of leaving as soon as he could. He wanted as far away from here as was possible. Less than twelve hours later he was on his way.
Sitting on the beach in Barbados, he smirked at this memory. God does indeed work in mysterious ways, he thought. He had spent so many years hoping and praying that what that what he had seen still wouldn’t come to pass, despite having witnessed the death of Christ and knowing that it had too. For years, he didn’t see anything else that would suggest the visions would come to pass but finally he saw the next one.
As the years turned into decades and centuries, more and more images became reality, and even though he tried to change what was happening; to generate some level of hope that it wasn’t going to end the way that he had witnessed, he always found himself at the event, witnessing examples of Mankind at his best and worst.
As time progressed, the images became more frequent escalating towards the inevitable. By the turn of the twentieth century, there were fewer examples of mankind at his best and more examples of their worst.
He unclasped his hands and removed his arms from around his legs, stretching out onto his back, staring up into the sun. His shirt fell open and his pale white chest was fully exposed to the suns rays but he loved it. It was a common myth that vampires couldn’t survive in the daytime. They traditionally had slept during the day, but that didn’t mean that they couldn’t go out if they wanted. He personally preferred the daytime now, especially here, on this island.
He closed his eyes, enjoying the heat and allowing his thoughts to move back into his past. He now thought of one of the two more striking memories that he had. This wasn’t Man at his best; in fact it couldn’t be further away from it, if they had tried.
He was standing in the shadows with a waterproof grey long coat pulled tight around him to try and keep the chill out of his limbs. Rain was lashing down around him. His black hair was soaked and slicked tight against his skull, droplets of water running down his face blurring his visions so that every so often he had to shake the water from his eyes to remain focused.
Around him, there were several building and vehicles. The ground was literally just water logged mud. About him, soldiers went about their business, rifles over their shoulders. Despite how slippery the ground was, these men marched with practiced precision.
Around the ground perimeter, a large metal fence was erected, topped with barb wire. The entrance of the compound was just opening to allow a large van entry into the camp. The van slowly made its way towards the centre, its tires sliding slightly in the mud, but never the less finding traction.
The vampire watched as the van pulled up and came to a halt. Soldiers had come out of some of the buildings to meet the van and now moved to open up the back of the van to remove the cargo.
He knew what he was going to see but that didn’t stop the vampire from grimacing when people were dragged out from the back of the van. Men, women and children alike. No age discrimination or ethnic discrimination other than the fact that they weren’t part of the master race or their plans.
As the prisoners were herded out of the van and into an inspection line, the vampire could make out a few family units. Children grasping the hands of a mother or father to their side.
They looked battered and defeated. Broken in spirit and resigned to their fate. They just stood there, waiting and hoping that if they followed their instructions they would live through this.
The soldiers finished lining them all up and seconds later an officer appeared. The soldiers raised their hands in salute to their superior.
‘Hail Hitler,’ they called out in unison.
The officer raised his arm in return and replied. ‘Hail Hitler.’
He then turned his attention to his captives, his eyes sweeping over them, counting them and deciding what to do with them. In his eyes it was nothing more than pest control.
The vampire watched as the officer suddenly motioned at the captives and said something, which he couldn’t make out. He didn’t need to hear what was said to understand what was happening however.
The soldiers had moved forwards and were separating the captives into two groups based on the invisible pointer that the officer had made with his finger.
One group was pulled to the left whilst another was pulled to the right. The divider was right down what was obviously a family unit. The officer had done that on purpose, the vampire thought to himself.
A young girl of about ten started to scream and struggle against the soldiers as she was separated from what the vampire felt was safe to assume was her father.
The father too, tried fighting back. All of a sudden the captives, realising the reality of the matter; that good behaviour wasn’t going to get them anywhere started to struggle but quickly the soldiers were moving to contain the situation.
The little girl continued to scream out for her father but was finally silenced when one of the soldiers hit her square in the face with the butt of his rifle. Her nose burst open, spraying her lower face with blood and she collapsed down to the muddy ground.
The father exploded in a rage at this, screaming out to his fallen daughter, his anger and adrenaline giving him an energy surge. He broke free of the soldiers and started to run towards his daughter, calling her name over and over again and again.
He never reached her however as more soldiers lunged for him and overwhelming him, dragged him down to the ground too.
With the two groups of captives now under control the officer stood for a few seconds, replaying over in his mind what he had just seen. Then without warning, he pulled a revolver out of a holster on his belt and moved towards the fallen father.
Kneeling down, he started to whisper something to the man that the vampire even with his increased sense of hearing couldn’t make out. The father began to scream out at him, pleading and begging with him. The vampire felt his stomach turn at what he now guessed was coming.
The officer stood up and made his way towards the still unconscious body of the young child. Her blond hair was now dirtied by the mud and the rain as it continued to crash down around them all.
The officer levelled the revolver at the child’s head and turned back round to face the father. The rest of the captives started shouting out in protest again, begging the officer and the other soldiers to stop this madness, that they didn’t have to do this and the father’s voice was the loudest among them.
The sound of the shot brought a moments silence to the whole camp. The captives stood, stunned, unable to believe what they had just seen. The murder of an innocent and defenceless child. The silence was suddenly broken by the anguished cry of the father.
The officer looked at him briefly before raising his revolver again and putting a single bullet in his head, silencing the cries.
He then gave orders back to the soldiers and the two groups of captives were moved again in opposite directions. One half of them, were to be detained until later and the other half was going to the “showers”.
Even now lying on the beach in the mid-day sun of Barbados, the vampire felt a chill move through his body at how ruthless the Nazis were. Sure he too, had killed hundreds over the years, but he did so out of a need to survive. He needed the blood to live. He had never taken life for the hell of it he’d never killed any children either. Even at the beginning, when he was turned and he felt that they should rule the Humans; his arrogance didn’t come in such an evil manner. He’d thought of the Humans in much the same way that they currently thought of their cats and dogs. Not as pets, but as creatures which although lower than he was, never the less didn’t deserve to be mistreated or tortured.
With his eyes closed he listened to sound of the crashing waves. These last few months had been a blissful break. The calm before the storm, he thought. He badly wished that it didn’t have to be this way, but he knew that it was pointless to hope that Mankind would ever learn from its mistakes without a serious kick up the ass.
The moment that he had finally given up any semblance of hope, had been several years ago. It was the second last image that he had seen and the one which signalled that there could be no turning back from the inevitable outcome.
He was in the city of New York. Staying in hostels as he knew that the next image that he had seen would be here. He hadn’t at the time of the vision but as the years had progressed, he had finally recognised the landmark of the World Trade Center and realised that this was where the second last vision would take place. The problem was that he didn’t know when.
So he remained in New York, living in one hostel after another and hoping and praying that what he had seen in his vision wouldn’t come to play, even though he knew that it must.
In an effort to try and stop events, he had even made an anonymous tip to the authorities but he doubted if he had been believed especially as he didn’t have much more to say than a plane would be used in an attack against the building.
The vision that he had had all those years ago, hadn’t prepared him for what would actually happen however. All the vision had told him was that a plane would be hijacked and flown into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
He remembered being on the ground at 8:46 am local time as the plane passed overhead, knowing what was about to happen but being unable to do anything to stop it.
He felt his stomach lurch as the plane ploughed into the building between the 93rd and 99th floors. Flames and smoke were bellowing out of the building, people were running around screaming and on their mobile phones calling for help.
The vampire had decided that even if he couldn’t stop the vision, that this time, he would at least try and limit the fatalities. He ran towards the tower. Debris was falling down from the burning hole in the building’s side.
The screams and panic that ensued was almost contagious, even for him. He was in sight of the building and could see people evacuating from both towers as he got closer.
He had no idea how long it had been since the plane had hit the building but he was suddenly frozen in his tracks by someone screaming out that there was another plane.
The vampire looked up, surely they must be wrong. He hadn’t seen a second plane in his vision, but right enough, there it was.
‘No,’ he found himself muttering. ‘Please God, no.’
But it was no good. The second plane impacted into the south tower between the 77th and 85th floors. Again, there was an explosion and more screams and panic on the streets.
This was the point where the public suddenly realised that this wasn’t an accident but rather they were under attack.
The black smoke bellowing out of the building continued to rise into the sky. Sirens could be heard as the emergency services continued to try and take control of the situation. Something that they could never do. This was too unexpected and there was no way that they could ever have planned for this.
The vampire felt physically sick as events continued to unfold around him. Even he wasn’t prepared for this second plane. Moving forwards through out the crowd he continued to push his way closer towards the towers. In the upper levels of the buildings he could make out the shapes of men and women leaning out of the windows, trapped, unable to evacuate from their offices as they were in the floors above those that the planes had hit. Through the flames and the black smoke, the vampire could see these people waving at those below, desperate for help and surely knowing in their hearts that there was no way that help could get to them in time. Then he saw one of them jump. Deciding to die quickly rather than the slow death that the fire promised.
The vampire froze in his steps yet again, unable to comprehend the type of fear that these people were feeling, the type of fear that would make jumping from the towers the better option. A few more people decided to follow suit and he could hear their screams even over the sound of the chaos around him.
At the bottom of the towers a steady stream of civilians continued to pour out and fire fighters continued to move inside, determined to get as many trapped people out as they could.
The crowds pushed forwards, only to be pushed back by both emergency services and the inert fear that there might still be danger.
The vampire stood in the crowd watching it all unfold, his senses in overdrive. A small woman beside was weeping freely, uncaring. The tears running down her cheeks. He scanned the crowd moving from face to face and what he saw was shock, horror and an extreme sadness at what was happening, but an underlying determination too.
Suddenly the small woman’s mobile rung and she answered it. The vampire wasn’t really listening but his attention picked when he heard the Pentagon mentioned. Seconds later, the woman was off of the phone and the vampire was at her at once.
He didn’t even need to ask what had happened, she just told him, her face blank, pale and wet from the tears.
‘Another one has just hit the Pentagon,’ she said.
A man in front overheard and turned round to face them. ‘What?’ he asked.
‘Another plane just crashed into the side of the Pentagon,’ she repeated. Within seconds the news was spreading. Not in a manner of gossip, but in an almost reluctant manner. The vampire himself was for the first time in a long, long time at a loss for words or thoughts. The chaos continued about him.
He had no idea how much time had passed since he’d heard the news about the Pentagon (he later learned it was only twenty minutes), but the situation escalated dramatically as the south tower started to collapse upon itself. The crowds screamed and panicked anew, running away as fast as they could and the vampire was swept along with them.
The noise of the crashing building was deafening and the air was filled with dust and concrete particles, covering everyone in a white layer.
The vampire stumbled and fell over to his knees. Coughing in all of the debris dust. He started to drag himself back to his feet, turning back to look at the ruins as he did so. Even though he had seen atrocities before, this left a cold feeling in the pit of his stomach.
How many people had been killed so far in this senseless act of terrorism? How many more were still to be lost? Why was it that Mankind insisted on doing this to his fellow Man?
The vampire had seen enough. There was nothing that he could do to help, and he felt sick to his stomach by everything that he had seen today and indeed throughout his long life.
He was making his way back through the crowd, pushing against the direction that most were going in. It was taking forever to make any progress but he moved as fast as he could. It felt that there as never going to be an end to the crowd as more and more people were pouring out to watch the horror unfold.
Abruptly he heard screams from the heart of the crowd and despite himself, he turned back round. Now it was the turn of the north tower to collapse on itself.
The vampire felt tears run down his own cheeks, at this final act of destruction. This senseless violence and murder.
Turning away, he continued to push himself through the crowd away from the madness.
That had been more than five years ago now and he knew that there was only one more vision that he had been shown by Jesus which hadn’t come to pass and he also knew now that it would be happening soon. This vision would be the beginning of the end. He knew this as instinctively as he knew his own name. He knew how it must end and what was expected of him in the final days.
He just didn’t see why he should do as was expected of him. Sure he didn’t wish the Humans any real harm, but what the hell had they done deserve this outcome. Why should he make the sacrifice to help them when all they seemed to be able to do these days was destroy and hurt.
His people may have been considered evil centuries ago, but it as always an unfair name. They would never have done half of the sins that the ruling race had done and yet his people were all dead now. He was the last of his kind and he was expected to be the deciding factor when the end came.
Why? What had he done to deserve this? To move through the ages watching as the Humans destroyed everything and then have to save them.
So now with the end almost upon him and indeed the rest of the world, the vampire was intending to kill himself. This way the Humans would have to fend for themselves and as far as he was concerned, if they survived then they will have earned it as opposed to him bailing them out.
Part of him protested at this though. He had come all this way, survived all these thousands of years. Surely he wasn’t going to falter now?
The vampire continued to lie on his back enjoying the sun’s warmth, a small pleasure in a world of pain. He intended to stay there wrestling with his thoughts and personal demons until he had reached a decision about whether he would take his own life or make do with what had been expected of him all those thousands of years ago.
The outcome of the Human race was hanging in the balance depending on his decision as no matter which way the vampire choose, the events of the final vision were only weeks away. The fate of the world was in his hands.