Dark Soul

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Cain rested back in his chair and fixed Marcus with a hard stare before speaking

“My kind have roamed this earth for hundreds of millennia and saw the rise of your species. We even managed to hunt some of your kindred to extinction but your species is so pervasive it proved almost impossible to kill you all.”

“Are you claiming your kind is responsible for the extinction of the Neanderthals?” Marcus raised an eyebrow as he spoke.

“Yes they were slower and chewier than your species but easier to hunt and your kind still spent a lot of time climbing the trees from whence you came making hunting problematic at times.” Cain pressed his fingers together and leaned forward slightly in the chair he was sat before he carried on speaking

“In many ways you caused us to evolve into becoming the perfect predators. You see we lived in packs; many hundreds of us roaming freely across the land. Dire Wolves we were known as then by your history books and we were the mightiest of our four legged kindred and all others humbled themselves in our presence.”

Marcus watched Cain as he listened to him carry on talking and waited for his gaze to fall on the window and away from him as he carried on his dialogue

“Therianthropy is what my brethren and I call our gift and it allowed us to evolve and dominate all around us until the fools who believed we were wrong to live in dominion over all other species emerged from within our own clans.” Cain gazed out the window before him as he spoke staring up into the night sky.

Marcus slowly inserted a small key into the draw hidden from sight on his desk and slowly turned it; all the while his eyes fixed on Cain trying to ascertain if his covert action had been discovered but it was clear that Cain was still lost in his memories and was paying little attention to the professor. “We were able to transform at will and walk upright which allowed us to carry on the hunt. Our powerful claws allowed us to climb the trees that had once given your kind such sanctuary and once more we feasted on the flesh of your ancestors; but as our numbers grew yours of course dwindled and there were those who argued that over hunting of your kind would lead to our own inevitable extinction too as our food sources across the planet became scarcer and scarcer.” Cain’s lip curled slightly as if he was recalling an unpleasant memory but his vision remained fixed upon the night sky before him.

Marcus slowly slid the draw out from his desk and his hand carefully felt for the object he was looking for; all the while keeping a careful eye upon his intruder sat opposite him.

“Divisions formed within our ranks and the more weak minded extolling the virtues of your kind. They would preach about livestock and crops providing all with a sustainable future. As if our kind should have ever lowered itself to such things! We were the master race and all served beneath us.” Cain’s voice almost snarled as he uttered those words before he visibly calmed himself and carried on speaking in a low even tone.

“Finally the separatists slowly became able to mimic your form and began to live amongst you. It was they that whilst living amongst your kind as one of you tamed the wilder of our cousins the wolf packs that roamed across the land. Teaching them to hunt and live among mankind finally becoming the domestic dog as you know it now.” Cain glanced at Marcus and paused for a moment as if waiting for the professor to say something in reply but when nothing was forth coming he returned to his story and fixed his gaze upon the window once more.

Marcus watched Cain turn his attention back to the night sky then slowly slipped the object from his hand and placed it carefully upon his lap before finally reaching out for his cup of tea and slowly sipping it as he calmly studied Cain.

“The final insult came when we discovered that they had begun to live and breed with your species!” Cain’s lips drew back in derision at the thought of this act of union.

“Our packs came together from all over the earth in a show of force to end the abominations that had begun to spread. What is now known as modern day California at those accursed La Brea Tar Pits was the scene of the final reckoning between my kind and the half breed animals living with your ilk.” Cain’s eyes narrowed and his brow furrowed as he recalled an uncomfortable memory.

Marcus placed his tea cup back upon the study desk he was sat behind and seemingly accidentally knocked the Newton’s Cradle that was sat upon the desk causing the small silver spheres to begin clacking together. This drew Cain’s ire and he swiftly fixed his gaze upon the source of irritation coming from the professor desk

“Please Professor I am trying to enlighten you so do sit still and quieten that infernal clacking.” He chided the professor with the tone one might use when speaking to a young child or a student.

Marcus closed both his hands around the cradle and with a deft unseen movement one of the small spheres dropped into his palm which he then slowly placed in his lap next to the object that he had removed moments ago from the desk. “Thank you Professor. Now where was I?” Cain asked more to himself as he spoke aloud than as a question to Marcus.

“What could your weak kind do to prevent its annihilation by us? After all they had barely come down from the trees and had pointed sticks and crudely fashioned bows to defend themselves.” Cain’s tone was mocking and yet tinged with regret.

Marcus was surprised to see that Cain appeared to look sorrowful at his last statement.

“Trickery and deceit is what your species are good at I suppose and it served them well that day. In the fading light of day as the sun began to dip in the sky and the heat haze fanned across the land obscuring our keen vision we tracked the last of the half breed tribes to La Brea” Cain’s whole body tensed up and his hands curled around the arms of the chair he sat in; with a long sigh he relaxed himself before carrying on with his tale.

“The half breeds knew we would not be able to see the trap they had set and let us follow their scent just enough to lead us to where they wanted without arousing suspicion. Row upon row of your kind stood in front of us brandishing crude spears and clubs but what could they do against us? We numbered in the thousands and we hunted them for sport.” Cain’s voice dripped with arrogance but still carried that undertone of deep regret to it.

Marcus wrapped his right hand around the object he had removed from his desk and slowly tilted it back all the while keeping a keen eye on the man sat before him.

“The Alpha amongst us let out a howl signalling the attack and upon mass we surged forward anticipating the easy kill and taste of flesh and the feast that would soon follow but too late we realised our folly as we raced across the slowly cracking soft layered earth of the Tar Pits beneath us.” Cain slammed his fist down upon the chair he sat in startling Marcus causing him to almost drop the small silver sphere he was slowly and carefully sliding between his fingers.

“Cast a tiny pebble in the water and watch the ripples wash out across the pool” Cain’s eyes blazed with fury as he uttered this odd statement before carrying on with his story. “The leader of the half breeds stepped forward from amongst your ranks and hurled a mighty rock down upon the fragile crust that covered the pits. Like an explosion the ground cracked beneath us everywhere almost at once sending my brethren plunging into the immobilising tar beneath us.” Cain slumped back into his seat and drew his hands back up the arms of the chair as if he was reliving a moment of defeat.

“The strongest amongst us transformed and managed to struggle free at first but then lights appeared upon the ridgeline above. Those terrible burning lights from arrows bound in the same pitch we struggled to free ourselves from; fired from crude bows rained down all upon us.” His voice trailed off with the final few words he spoke.

As Marcus studied Cain he saw him visibly wince as if he was recalling the moment of an old injury.

“All around me I could hear the screams of my brothers and sisters as they burnt alive writhing in agony covered in the sticky tar now molten hot as it burnt flesh from bones. Worse still pockets of natural gas began to explode with the force of bombs ripping us limb from limb. The air was filled with the screams and howls of the dying and the sickly sweet smell of burning flesh.” Cain slumped further into his chair and with a shuddering sigh almost vanished into the darkness to pervaded that corner of the study.

Marcus found himself compelled to ask a question at this point despite his obvious disdain for his present company. It in turn distracted him from completing what he was trying to do before Cain could finish his tale but his overly curios mind got the better of him.

“Tell me this then Ian. How is it that you can recall these events with such clarity? I am fairly certain that no written records would exist from that time and yet you speak as if you were actually there.” Marcus raised his eyebrow slightly in a quizzical manner as he questioned Cain.

“All creatures that walk this earth have a genetic memory professor as you well know but my kind have the clarity to see past ages as if we were actually there and experience the events as though we were seeing them ourselves through the eyes of our ancestors such is the bond in our blood.” Cain leaned forward and peered at Marcus for a moment almost as if he was daring the impudent man to ask another question but satisfied he a silenced the professor he carried on with his story.

“When the day was over so was the dominance of our pure blooded species and the descendants of the separatists, the half breeds, went on to live amongst the native tribes of what is called in modern times North America. The more gifted of the half breeds being called Shaman and still possessing the ability to shape shift.” Cain gazed absently out the window as his voice took on a remorseful tone.

Marcus carefully slipped the small silver sphere from his fingers into the tube like apparatus that formed part of the object he cradled in his lap.

“For many generations the half breeds continued to dilute our noble blood with your kind until the arrival of the Norsemen in their lands. My ancestors took to journeying with Norsemen and bonds were formed that eventually saw my lineage spread across the great ocean back to Scandinavia. Legends abound of Viking Berserkers transforming into giant wolves or bears and slaying all before them.” Cain paused once more as his gaze drifted to the moon that shone through window and his mind reached back into the past reliving the imagined glorious deeds of his ancestors.

“Eventually my clan came to settle in Scotland on the western shores of Britain.” Cain finished speaking with his final words carrying a wistful note to them.

Yet again this piqued the interest of Marcus and he couldn’t help but pose another question.

“Wait. Then that makes you one of the half breeds as you call them. Why are you killing people then? You yourself said that your ancestors learned to live amongst humans in harmony.” Marcus said in earnest.

Cain sneered at this questioning remark and stood from his chair waving his hand dismissively at the Professor before he began to speak again in a condescending tone.

“They were weak fools who turned from our true glorious noble heritage to live amongst filth like you. No my dear professor I was born to two half breed parents who knew their union was forbidden but could not help themselves all the same and the blood that flows within me is more pure than the world has seen in generations!” Cain clenched his fist and walked towards the window before him, it was a tall wide imposing window that dominated that side of the study, the same window he had been gazing out of during the telling of his tale.

“When my children’s children breed they will finally be free of the cursed taint that your kind has pervaded amongst us. I will rekindle our pure bloodlines” Cain looked up at the night sky and smiled as his gaze fell upon the moon.

“You’re breeding?”Marcus looked aghast as he spoke.

“Yes, Marcus, it was here in London that I tracked down others of my kind who felt the same desires as I and we have been secretly these many years perfecting our selection process. The four children I have at my house now are almost as pure blood as I could hope for this generation.” Cain smiled as he delivered this statement.

It was with those final words from Cain that Marcus suddenly focused his thoughts upon his dear friend John once more. He had been content enough to sit here and listen to Cain prattle on and waste time with the knowledge that John would soon be arriving at his address and an armed police team not far away once John knew something was amiss but with this revelation a sudden bead of sweat appeared upon the professors brow.

“Ah…….” Cain’s voice trailed off and he turned to look at Marcus once more; his form silhouetted by the moonlight flooding through the window he stood in front of.

“You were expecting John to come to your rescue were you not Professor?” Cain smiled; that smug crooked smile that he often wore.

“I’m afraid to tell you that John will not be joining us this evening as he has taken it upon himself to be dining with my children tonight.” Cain’s sickly laughter emanated around the study again as he fixed Marcus with a feral stare before uttering in a guttural bestial voice.

“Time to die professor”

Cain began to transform before Marcus; his flesh pulsating and his bones elongating they shifted into unnatural angles throughout his body as hair sprouted all across him. Long dagger like claws began to protrude from the tips of his now bestial hands and powerful arms hung down from a broad muscular chest. Marcus found himself transfixed; watching in horror as Cain’s transformation completed in front of him. The creature stood as tall as the seven foot full length window in the professor’s study and its feral gaze was now fixed firmly on Marcus; its long canine teeth hung like glistening knives in the moonlight from its elongated muzzle. With his mind and heart now racing Marcus tried to control the terror building in him at the sight which stood there before him. It was too late to flee and John would not be coming to save him he quickly thought. Cain flexed his arms out wide and opened his clawed hands whilst stepping towards Marcus in anticipation of sinking them into the professors flesh; his mouth beginning to salivate at the thought of devouring human flesh once more.

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