Tides of Sorrow

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1.1 - AWAKE

He woke from another restless sleep. Yet again his subconscious had been plagued by painful memories. The images were slow to fragment in his mind and he waited, trembling, remorseful, as remnants of ancient ghosts gradually vanished into the night.

His breath shuddered. He knew the relentless torment he endured was due to the evil act he’d committed umpteen millennia ago; a crime of envy, bitterness and rage. And there seemed no way to make amends or put it right. He had spent lifetimes trying - all in the vain hope of being granted pardon. But, the battle he now fought was far more brutal than that set by his Maker. Now he fought his own demons - and they were winning.

Even in the cold void of the deserted, mould-filled cellar, he was conscious of the perspiration trickling over his temples. Still lethargic, he drew a lackadaisical hand over his brow. For all he could not feel the dampness on his fingers he was still painfully aware of it. The half dark could not conceal the guilty stain which tainted his skin.

Blood.

Everything about him was blood. He drank it, pissed it, shat it, sweat it - he even cried it.

His Maker had seen fit that every drop he took was excreted and drip-fed one way or the other back into the soil; the very thing he once took pride in tending but had eventually defiled.

Fleetingly, he let his mind see himself as he once was - a simple farmer. He had tilled the land with tireless vigour. He’d loved, cared for, nurtured it, bringing forth resplendent crops from the rich, vibrant earth.

His hands produced an abundance of nature’s gifts; wheat, barley, rye, and millet. These grains grew well in his homeland thanks to the cool winter rains and warm, but manageable summers.

Proud that he could raise such plentiful harvests, he had made a reverent offering to his Maker. That, however, had not gone according to plan.

Shaking his head, Cain banished the memories once more. With a grunt, he gripped the sides of the old wooden crate and heaved himself upright. He stood for a few moments, his legs a little shaky, weak. How long had he slept this time, he wondered. Days? Weeks? Months?

It was impossible to measure accurately. All he knew was he had to feed, so that meant it had been a fair while since last he’d dined. Weak though he was, he could still best even the strongest of men; perhaps two or three, or more - depending. Once he’d fed though, he could defeat an army.

He stepped out of his makeshift bed. It creaked and groaned as his weight shifted. A sign that he needed a new one, not that this one had been new when he’d acquired it. Any box, crate or trough which he could line by scattering some soft soil would do. It was his way of keeping something precious of his past close. In this case, his beloved earth. The irony was, it became saturated with the blood of many and was rendered tainted by their despicable deeds. A cruel mimicry of his own sin. He laughed, but the sound was hollow, desolate.

He sniffed the sleeves of his coat as if to determine whether he was rank. Quite why he bothered, he knew not, his sense of smell had died the day he became the creature he now was. Perhaps it was just another lame attempt at trying to understand some of the more ‘peculiar’ human habits. A sense of blending in, a ruse, blinding his victims to the fact that all which stood over them was death incarnate.

No, he could not inhale simple odours, be they pleasant or otherwise. But, he could smell debauchery, cruelty, the defilement of the innocent and other such despicable acts. It was his ‘job’, after all and they had very distinctive aromas. He could also see it from afar; such things were impossible for the human eye to behold. And reaching it? That was done with what modern man considered super-hero ability; he could move within the shadows with alarming dexterity. Alarming to mortals anyway.

Having finally shirked the nightmare of ages past, he moved over to the rickety steps which led to the exit. Removing the heavy, tarnished chain he had looped around the handles, he pushed open the old iron double doors.

The night air was cool. Music playing from a variety of venues, voices, laughing, singing and chattering, affirmed he had slept but a fortnight. The Goth Weekend was in full swing.

Brushing dirt from his raiment, he grunted. He needed new clothes. Perhaps the hunt tonight would also award him a more acceptable attire. If all else failed, he would rob a shop. He paused a moment then grinned as he remembered one down Silver Street; very in-keeping with the image his ‘kind’ had become associated with and equally befitting the current weekend’s event.

His black eyes flashed silver from the new moon. A breeze rolled in from the sea and wafted up through the historical town. It wended around the narrow streets, old-world avenues and cobbled closes. Of this, he inhaled deeply. It carried with it a promise.

It seemed tonight, he would feed well.

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