Saturday, 1 November 2014

Halloween Horrors part III- Vampires

Vortifan looked at the scroll in front of him. It was ancient and tattered but the ink was still legible. 
I see. His thoughts rang around his head in a hollow way. Smoke rolled from his mouth as he took the pipe from his lips and continued to read.

Inne the Darke off ye nighte itt commes. Sneeking ande seekinge thee lives ande the bloode off ye slumbersome.

Vortifan paused and in his reading and rubbed at his neck. Three months of searching and hunger, three months of deciphering the erratic spelling of the most famous hunter of vampires the world had known and he had nothing to show for it but headaches. There was nothing about the transformation or any possible cure. Just a lot borderline poetry about how to recognise a vampire and how to deal with it. most of which seemed to involve impaling or beheading. 
Which would work on more or less anything I think. He stood and walked out of the cramped chamber. The royal library was vast and shadowy at this time of the evening. A few scribes scurried from one chamber to another, most were weighed down with parchments and books. 
At the main doors the chief scribe looked up from his ledger and pushed it towards Vortifan. A quote from a scroll he'd read three days before bubbled into his mind.
Vampires prefere soitarie careeres inne whiche theye hyde fore manye yeares, pickinge offe innocentes where theye finde theme.

The cheif scribe was a thin face man with thin bloodless lips and claw-like hands. Vortifan couldn't help but think that this would be the perfect place for a vampire to hide. 
He smiled as he signed himself out.

So, as you've probably gathered I am rounding off my series of monsters with the most famous and most re-imagined creatures out there.

Ok, so you're going to do some vampire bashing. 
Not really, I actually like vampires as a concept! They are the ultimate apex predator. They are horror made flesh and somewhere between a serial killer and a demon. Generally able to lurk unseen in human society and more intelligent than other sorts of parasites.

Oh, I see.
Yup. They have a very valid place in fantasy. They are immortal and kept alive by death, a balanced paradox.

I just want to see more of them and done better.

Yup, its example time!

  • Member of the city watch investigating a series of horrid murders.
  • A panic in the city being made worse by the murders and their gristly nature.
  • The intrepid detective/watchman finds their task is being made harder by the random deaths being caused by the unrest as well as series of copycat killings.
  • The detective/watchman is starting to wonder about the nature of the murders and starts looking for traces of the vampire.
  • Detective/watchman runs into myth and confusion whilst trying to figure things out. 
  • The city descends into greater panic and the detective/watchman hits even more trouble. 
  • A couple of weeks and a couple more murders happen.
  • The detective/watchman eventually traces the vampire down and kills it with little ceremony or magic, just a fleshy thud sort of noise. 
  • Things calm down and go back to normal for a while. 
  • It turns out that the killings were the work of a local lunatic rather than a vampire and the detective/watchman was wrong all along and becomes the next victim.

Ooooh, dark.
Yup, it should be as well. 

I remember reading the original Vampire story, Bram Stoker's Vampire story. The part which got to me the most was the paranoia running throughout the captain's journal. The voyage of Demeter.
It's a captive crew being fed on by something they brought on board. Being picked off one by one by something they don't understand. Imagine the storms and the long, long dark nights of fear. The sweat beading cold on the crew's foreheads as they wonder who is likely to be next...

That is the strength of a good vampire. They turn your mind against it's self and isolate by their very nature. Making you distrust what you know and the people around you, jumping at shadows and suspecting those closest to you...

Vampires are the ultimate bumpers in the dark. Created by inverted/uncompleted/botched exorcisms, cursed by god/s or themselves or tricked by Demons and preyed on by other/older vampires. They live for as long as they can and prey on weak humans with no mercy. The older they get and the longer the world has been around them then the stranger their motivations become. They might start looking for a lost love (Stoker again for you) or start lusting after power and dominion over the world, if only for easier pickings (go and watch the first blade film) or simply because they just can.

However, to really understand what makes vampires as unsettling a thing now as they were back in the days of gas lamps and carriages then you need to watch Nosferatu:
Ethereal, unnerving and frankly flat out weird this 92 year old film in all of its black and white glory will still scare the crap out you. It certainly does me, which is why I watch it every Halloween.

Go forth and shiver.

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