The Girl With No Name, A short story
Horror Fiction (Dark material)
The war started when I was fifteen years old. I still remember that day, every day, for the past three years. The first death was executed on live television. Mama used to say she hated the news, that the people reporting it sometimes didn’t tell the truth. Surely, they didn’t deserve to die that way. Then again, no one did, and there’d been too many deaths since that day. But the look on the woman’s face as they’d bled her dry would forever be imprinted in my memory. It was too horrific to be a prank, everyone watching knew that.
What still seemed surreal was the existence of vampires.
As a society we’d romanticized them for years, even made movies about them. Told stories about them to children. I sometimes wondered if we were the monsters that created them in the first place. The mind starts to play tricks on you when you’ve been hungry for too long.
Food was scarce. Hope was scarce. Nothing about living in this world made sense anymore. I could see it in people’s eyes, the death that was waiting for them around the corner. Some people longed for it, and so they’d taken to walking the streets alone at night, shouting for them. The vampires. They wanted to die, and these creatures were only too happy to oblige.
And now, I longed for it too.
They’d taken my sister’s life in front of me only hours ago. I kept looking up at the ceiling; I couldn’t bear to look down at what was left of her. My sweet, Jess. Her scent still lingered in the air, mixed with copper.
My heart clenched as I closed my eyes and let the hot tears fall. At least Mama and Steven were still alive. I’d told my little brother I’d be back with food, and the look in his eyes had been savagely hopeful.
“Whatever power is up there,” the elderly man tied up next to me croaked, making me turn to him, “can’t stand,” he wheezed and then coughed up blood. “Things won’t stand this way long.”
They must’ve heard him because only a few seconds later one of them burst into the room and impaled him through the stomach with an already bloody spear. Then the vampire turned to me, his fangs flashing as he pounced.
Sharp teeth ripped through the flesh of my neck, and at that precise moment, my heart broke. I never knew a heart could literally break. I’d always thought that was just a saying used to describe unimaginable pain or loss, but I felt it as my heart split in half.
The veins inside me froze and then snapped like icicles. It was worse than the teeth at my neck. Seconds seemed like hours. And just when I thought I’d die from the excruciating agony of it all, something else happened. My heart stopped and started again. The darkness engulfing the room was no longer terrifying. It was welcoming.
I was like them, immortal, but something else entirely. I was still alive.
The vampire caught on too late when he made ready to throw my body to the ground. His nostrils flared and eyes bulged as my own newborn fangs punctured through his shirt, straight into his arm. I wrapped my body around him like a spiderweb, clung to his form and drained him until nothing was left.
I backed away as his body slumped over and fell. My mouth opened on a scream, blood flying from my lips into the dank air. I was powerful. Even more powerful than them, but just when I’d made up my mind to go a certain way, the blood I’d spat into the air still lingered there. Just hanging there, suspended.
I swiped it away, angered for some unknown reason. The blood landed on my sister’s face, infuriating me further. “No!” I yelled, my dead heart hammering from its high.
I bent down and wiped the offensive blood away, taking in her frail beauty. Even in death her small form was precious. I’d only taken her with me because of her ability to fit into small spaces. We’d needed the food; we’d been starving. My Jess, my beloved sister, she’d been too young to die.
My vision was swimming with grief and rage, but as I stood and made to fling the blood from my hands, I saw one word on my hand, written in blood.
The words “give them life” seemed to echo all around me. I couldn’t believe it, couldn’t stomach it.
No, these monsters didn’t deserve life, this couldn’t be the reason. But I found myself at the vampire’s body all the same. I bit into my wrist, wrenched his head back and forced my blood into his mouth. I watched as his eyes opened, but nothing was so pleasing as his screams.
I never knew a heart could break the way mine did that day, and now I could see their black ones beating like puppets. Read them like an open book. With one drop of my blood I could make their vampire hearts beat again, make them suffer again. While I was alive and immortal, I could turn the vampires human again. We were the monsters, after all. These creatures were once us and every life they’d snuffed out would torment them with every beat of their hearts, for the rest of their days.
It was even better than killing them.