1.9 - MORTAL COIL
The cellar was cold, damp and dark. It possessed all the necessary elements which constituted a tenebrous environment for such a creature. Desolation, solitude, sorrow - the furnishings of such an abode.
For all the vampire had fed well - four, he had found - he paced the cold stone, agitated. Taloned fingers flexed, biting the skin of his palms. The only sounds as he wheeled round to execute another circuit of the room was his long coat whipping against his legs and the soft footfalls rising from the dank floor.
"What ails you?” the voice of his torturer asked.
He could not bring himself to utter the words for lest it made them concrete.
"There is no use in attempting to thwart the obvious.”
He stopped abruptly. “I know not of what you speak,” he responded, low, strained.
Laughter bounced around the confines of his skull. "Truly? Something - or should I say - someone - has added to your many conflicts.”
He resumed his tour of the room. “No!” Denial. Long black hair flicked back and forth as he vehemently shook his head.
"Oh, but I do declare they have. And in so doing, I am - perhaps - at risk of becoming redundant."
He sank to his knees. Like a stain of despair, inky puddles soaked into the fabric of his trousers. He cupped his face in his hands; blood from the self-inflicted wounds pooling instinctively to his lips. “I will not succumb,” he moaned.
Again, the laughter swam around his head. ”Yet you did once, Cain.” The voice moved around the room and stopped in front of the wretched creature, judging. “Your mephitic existence must end and I do not mean by that which cannot be undone.”
“Stop! I will hear no more!” Cain pushed himself upright and backed away from the source of his torment.
The voice would not relent. ”Desist with this mortal coil you nurture. ’Tis but folly! You are a god!"
“No! Do not dare blaspheme!” Cain’s eyes burned, fury rising at such defamation of his Maker.
"Hypocrite! You mock Him every time you take a life; and all to sustain your own. It was nothing more than a Divine Sin which He carried out in sentencing you as he did, and His punishment is one you shall bear for eternity. Nothing can change that which was ordained by the Almighty. But...” The voice paused then resumed, softly, almost tenderly. “He hath not forbidden you... company. Truth be told, he expected you to procreate, as it were.”
Cain turned away from his conflict. “I will not! I cannot endure that agony again. My dear, sweet, Melantha...” A desolate sob broke from his throat.
"But, this new one calls to you, doesn’t she? You have been painfully aware of her presence all evening. Her melancholy attracted you, did it not? You can almost ‘feel’ it! She will surrender, I am sure."
Cain fought the temptation being laid at his feet. “No! They are deluded. They think of it as a Gift. I have heard them.”
A small reprieve was given, before the voice continued. “Those ‘pretenders’ in their costumes out there, for aeons they have considered Life as a Gift. But, when it turns out to be not what they thought, or hoped for or dreamed of, it loses its appeal and status. Then they hunger for an end. You can give them that. Would that not be considered compassion?”
Beads of blood perspired on Cain’s brow. Was there no relief from this battle? “No! Life is the Gift for the righteous,” he moaned aloud. “It is the true miracle of our Blessed Maker!” He leaned against a wooden support, mourning that which he no longer possessed.
The voice barked a retort. “Our Maker! I grow weary of your abstinence from the truth. A benign God, indeed! He is simply too cowardly to mete out justice himself and so appoints soldiers to do it for Him. Yes Cain! He giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other!”
The vampire clasped his hands to his ears, trying to block out the words but, the voice would not cease.
"His legion of Justice, the Angels, fail to deliver time after time for they oft take the innocent, hating that He favours His little talking monkeys. So, He created YOU by blessing you with the Gift of Death. You have been chosen to be His puppet, to eradicate the cursed; and so dost thou obey.”
Cain sank to the ground once more, pulling himself into a ball. He whimpered non-committal denials. His existence was a hell from which he saw no release.
“You are more his image than any other. And with the power bestowed upon thee, mistaketh not - you are a god.”