Gabriel, commander of the heavenly hosts, we who are unworthy beseech you, by your prayers encompass us beneath the wings of your immaterial glory, and faithfully preserve us who fall down and cry to you: Deliver us from all harm, for you are the commander of the powers on high
-Troparion, Tone 4
There was blood everywhere when he opened his eyes.
It was black blood; putrid and thick, more like oil than the life giving elixir coursing through his own veins. He gagged a little, choking back vomit and bile, but there was none left.
In the dark pool of liquid death beneath his face lay also the acidic former contents of his stomach. The smell was biting, but faded into nothing against the gore covering his arms up to the elbow. It smelled like a corps, even though the only dead body Eric had ever seen was his grandmother at the funeral last fall, and even then he hadn’t smelled anything but lavender. It smelled like a battlefield, but Eric had never been to one of those.
It smelled like death, and that left a sick terror in his gut that made him want to vomit all over again.
He tried to stand, but his strength of will had gone now. What had been only a moment ago an unquenchable rage had seeped out of him like so much wax dripping down a candlestick; at first blazing hot, it cooled now and hardened into cold fear.
He shifted his gaze upwards, looking down the gloom struck ally, slick with rain and echoing the distant thunder that crowned the city in the dark night. Beyond, lamps blossomed with light that rode specks of rain to the streets bellow, gathering in soft pools of orange tungsten.
For a moment, he felt comforted by those lights. The circle of protection that was as much apart of his genetic memory as was the need to eat, to keep warm, to love. The safety of the firelight that kept the night and its horrors at bay, out in their own world of darkness, locked away in their self made prison.
His features softened, his sandy hair dripped too much product into his eyes, and his clean shaven, boyish face let a small smile escape as he moved on hands and knees through the filth of the city towards that protective circle, that safe zone, clawing his way to his genetic home.
He fell over when he saw the corps move.
The frail body that had brought him from the club now twitched and writhed in the dark. Noises that sounded like nothing on earth escaped breathless past her lips. In her-it’s- wailing moan of grief, the dead thing tried to claw at its chest where a long silver tube protruded, and blood flowed in a small stream like water from a feature that Eric had on his desk at work.
The things head lolled, and when the once pretty face found his eyes, it tried to speak something. Dust came out, and it could not get the words past the chocking cough in its throat. Didn’t matter, Eric knew they were full of malice.
Fucked he thought. Eric Stetzer is completely fucked.
Why had he done this? What the fuck had he been thinking?
Survival. A small voice said in the back of his mind. She wanted to kill you, you knew that didn’t you?
Oddly enough, he had known it. Known it clear as the daylight that he hoped he would live to see.
One minute this girl had been smothering him with her lips, smelling like leather and expensive perfume, her long tongue tasting almost sweet. Her breasts fit perfectly in his hands, and she ran her fingers over every part of his body.
Eric was never an aggressive type, but with her the game changed. He pushed her up against the brick wall of the ally as she tore at his shirt, buttons flying and began to lick at his chest and bite his nipples.
When it hurt, he slapped her across the face hard; too hard in fact. When she came up, he saw blood on her lip.
‘Oh God I-’ but he couldn’t finish. She smiled that wicked little smile of hers and shoved him against the opposing side, her hands clawing at his back when she came to him, kissing and biting his lips, drawing blood of his own. It was sheer ecstasy, a feeling he had never experienced before. She moaned when he reached his fingers deep inside of her, and felt himself harden when she wrapped her hand around him. In that ally he had felt something he’d never known; absolute and unbridled passion.
Eric had been with dozens of women in his time and sure, this one was a knockout but honestly, she brought out in him something he didn’t even know he had. She was a whole different beast.
In the end, of course, she had been just that; a whole different beast.
What exactly had happened wasn’t clear. One minute she’s moaning into his mouth, his fingers wet inside of her and he’s nearing climax when something happened; something small and almost imperceptible, and without knowing why Eric had pushed her back again.
See? Said that nagging feeling; long white teeth like a wolf, snapping at him. The once big, anime like eyes that had seen him from across the noisy club and locked him in her gaze were black holes of night where no light escaped and they seemed to suck the hope right out of him.
He cowered, and panic replaced lust in a heartbeat. His jeans were around his ankles by then, and when he tried to step back, he fell on his ass, hard. He wanted to scream, to cry out for help but nothing came, he just looked into that pretty face and felt despair drown him. She – IT was on him then. Still smiling, still so pretty; still stroking his cock.
He couldn’t move, couldn’t resist couldn’t breath. Her long, graceful tongue licked the blood that streamed from his lip and he felt her shudder, like the beginnings of orgasm. She laughed and said something, he didn’t remember what, and then she was kissing and licking at his neck, gently nuzzling him just bellow the ear.
Something had happened. What was it? What made him do -
Then he realized. Unbidden, the memory of the bouncer – was it the bouncer? – Whoever it was, shifted into view; older guy, lean, toned, wearing all black; typical 30 something trying to score with an 18 year old. While the girl led Eric out, he had bumped into him, and shoved something in his back pocket, something long and hard.
‘Always use protection, kiddo.’ He said it off handedly, his voice gruff and gravely in the echo of memory.
Then he was gone, consumed by the heaving mass of nightlife denizens. At the time, Eric had completely blown him off, and when he reached back to grab whatever had been placed in his pocket, that girl had snatched his hand and ushered him on in earnest with her cute little giggle. He forgot all about the whole thing.
Until she was on him.
He mouth widened, and whatever was about to happen really was about to happen. Rage filled him suddenly, white-hot anger that welling up from nowhere. It rumbled louder than the storm, filled his eyes and his heart and in one move, with a speed the young man never knew he possessed, Eric Stetzer grasped whatever was in his back pocket, pushed her off him and trust it into the chest of the girl he thought he was going to fuck.
The next thing he knew; blood, vomit, lamplight.
A door opened suddenly from the nightclub
‘C’mon Sasha when are you- oh fucking Christ.’
Eric stayed perfectly still, on his hands and knees, doing nothing but breathing, as footsteps walked up behind him.
His left side erupted in pain and a savage kick knocked him on his back again, and he was looking in the face of yet another pretty monster. Her hair was jet-black, framing a petite, cute face that screamed irresistible. Her fit, perfectly shaped body was wrapped in the same ‘club slut’ outfit as her friend, and her movements were perfectly timed, drawing the eye of men and women alike to fall off her perfectly shaped curves.
But Eric didn’t see that now. Now, he saw only the hollow look in her eyes. He saw her pale skin and made his own crawl. He watched her perfect movements and they irked him, tugging at his conscious like a bad dream; fear still present for a horror unremembered.
‘What is this? What the fuck are you doing with this?’
She knelt down, and touched a finger to the metal tube in her friend’s chest. It hissed, and a slight smoke erupted from her index finger.
‘Ah.’ Pain sparked in her voice. She jerked her head towards him, and threw him a look of sheer contempt.
Whatever was it was, that metal stake had burned her. The slut keeping it in her chest cavity must be in a world of hurt, he thought.
It made him feel better.
The second women stood, and let her shroud of hatred remain, dripping off her like the rain.
‘Who gave you that?’
Nothing, he still couldn’t speak.
‘I said where did you FUCKING get that!?’
his eyes welled up, tears forming.
Her mouth became a tight line, and she shut her eyes. Her breathing slowed, he noticed and her every muscle seemed to relax. Gently then, like soft cotton touching the skin, she opened them.
His mind fractured instantly; he saw the dog on the side of the road, guts hanging out. He hadn’t meant to throw the ball so far into the road, had he? What was in the dog he had wondered; red and dead alike? He wanted to see.
He saw the girl at the party in high school, passed out on his bed. Eric touched her, licked her, he saw himself jerking off onto her dead form, rivers of blood filling his room. When he came, she woke up screaming. He came again.
The ally flashed back before him. Blurry eyed, he saw the women still standing there, eyes dark pools of hot oil. In his mind, long fingers of terrible reason reached out and grasped his darkest thoughts.
‘Pa-pleeeeeeesssss.’ He tried to form the words but they wouldn’t come out right. Second grade, his father beats him, then rapes a sister he doesn’t have. The subway at 16th street, a homeless man is eating the heart out of a baby. Eric walked by to the train, eyes never leaving the vagrant. He looks up with a red smile. The baby wakes, and cries.
“Stop, stop Gods stop it!!’
His mind is breaking, lust and fear and terror mix and Eric can’t remember who he is, where he is, what he is. He knows only that he wants to see the bouncer who gave him the stake. Think of him, maybe he can help?
His best friends party, 2 years ago. The punch bowl is filled with fire, and he sits on a char of bone. Ribs puncture his flesh and he bleeds. He is naked, and his girlfriend at the time is laughing at him, along with the rest. She comes to him and starts biting his face, ripping the flesh and eating it. She laughs harder.
The bouncer, think of him, find him in there and then just die; just go away forever in a dark box and live there with everything that is nothing and forget.
The shape starts to form, the man wearing black. Military haircut, but longer and unruly now. Black hair smattered with a paintbrush of grey. There he is, take him, have him do what you will and-.
Deep, cold darkness.
End Part I of III