» When The Lamb And The Lion Met - Dark Stories
- An October/2003 Special Feature -
by Susan Belmont
The mortal man stopped in his tracks and attentively he listened to the sounds of the night. It was a softly warm spring night in Belfast, but thick clouds hovered in the sky, announcing that rain would start to fall at any moment.
This man was totally indifferent to the weather, as his worries were focused on his objective only, the one he has devoted the last 30 years of his life to: exterminating from the world the furtive menace of the blood drinker race.
Through all those long years, he had been trained by a secret brotherhood, whose origins date back to a clandestine semi-religious order made of Hospitaller knights who had had unpleasant encounters with the members of that accursed race.
This man wasn't a psychic. He was half a scientist, half a scholar and half a warrior. He had been trained through all those years to recognize traces of immortality in the features of common looking humans, to be able to keep his mind shut and not be overwhelmed by the immortals' attempts at dominating him, to fight not only using unbreakable swords made of an old combination of alloys, but also using only his body.
Although the blood drinkers were extremely fast and strong, their abilities weren't really that greater than those of strong and agile mortals, and his training made sure that he would have speed and strength to match those of the immortals.
But he wasn't completely a common man. He had been carefully selected from among the populace, because of his great intelligence and because he had practiced athletics since his 5 years of age.
He had met with danger many times before, he had fought and won over those human leeches several times, and he had lost a few times too, managing to survive somehow.
Tonight he was going to get one of the eldest of them, who had been persecuted and ambushed many times before, but always, had managed to escape.
This mortal man decided that this was the night when he would have this immortal's life or he would die trying. And he was convinced of his victory.
Although he was alone, he had an ace in his sleeve, or better in his thick belt's buckle. He looked downwards and pushing two tiny buttons on the top of the buckle he programmed it to do its function in a few minutes.
His attentive ears got a shuffling sound coming from the other side of the street and when he looked to that direction, he saw the vampire walking almost soundlessly, except for the sound of the wind on his black leather overcoat.
In the darkness of the alley, the vampire seemed to vanish...
He was in his hunting night too, and he was heading for a dark alley in which a drunken beggar was sleeping. Too predictable, the hunter thought to himself. Although he had decided to wait there because the vampire had the custom of passing by that street on his way to his lair, he was wondering if the immortal didn't already know of his presence nearby and decided to trick him.
He didn't really care, as he was set in getting him and he was confident that he would turn the trick against the accursed immortal.
In the darkness of the alley, the vampire seemed to vanish and slowly the hunter started to walk, controlling his breath and heartbeat, as he was taught to do, so that these sounds would mix with the environment's ones, he crossed the street.
His long silvery sword was ready in his right hand, and in his left, he held a long dagger. Inside his boots he had two other daggers, and across his back he had another thick belt with a small sword held in a sheath. The weight of these weapons meant nothing to him.
The blood drinker didn't notice the hunter's approach, as he was lost in the pleasure of drinking his prey's blood. When he finished and threw the body on the cardboard bed made on the floor, his head was light and he was feeling a little dizzy from the alcohol that was so concentrated in the mortal's blood.
The hunter raised his sword above his head ready to strike, and only in that moment the vampire noticed that he had been watched again.
He turned around and bent down in the instant the sword was about to slash at his neck and moved to the side, having his way to the street barred by the mortal, who held his two weapons crossed in an "x" in front of him.
The blood drinker tried to leap above the mortal's head, but the hunter jumped as fast as he did and slashed at his belly making him fall on the ground with a grunt.
Quickly the mortal went towards the vampire and swung his sword towards him, but the vampire was faster and rolled to the side, the strong sword's blade making sparks fly when it struck the cobblestone.
"...How I would love to have the blood of such a lamb!"
The blood drinker stood up, resolved to fight for his life and get rid of that annoying mortal that wanted to exterminate him. In the shadows he smiled openly looking at the hunter, noticing that he could see his fangs and his sparkling eyes clearly in spite of the gloom.
"Come for me, child. Tonight the lion will challenge the lamb for daring to defeat him!" - he whispered in a velvet tenor and laughed.
The hunter didn't say a word and advanced to the blood drinker, controlling his excited heartbeat, breathing the slower he could, so that he wouldn't get tired so fast.
The vampire waited for his attack with open arms and hands, ready to strike, and in a fraction of a second the mortal's left arm was twisted, forcing him to let his dagger fall.
The mortal only had the opportunity to hack again at the immortal, this time on his hand, so that he would free his arm before the other would break it.
Even so his shoulder was dislocated and with a wince he moved it in a rough circle, making a loud and painful crack when his arm got back in place. The vampire smiled, holding the mortal's dagger in his left hand.
In a circle they moved, staring at each other's eyes with clear hatred and despise. Suddenly the vampire spun in the air and slashed at the mortal's shoulder, and then turning around just one second later, he slashed at the mortal's back.
The hunter grunted and almost fell on the ground but took a deep breath and turned back, with his sword raised to bar another thrust of the vampire's dagger.
The blades threw sparks when they scratched on each other and when they touched once again. The immortal forced the mortal to approach him, by pressuring the dagger's blade against the sword's one and they stared at each other for an instant, both with vicious smiles on their sweating and tense faces.
"Very good, child. Your determination pleases me. But all this fighting is making me hungry again. How I would love to have the blood of such a lamb!"
"If your will to have my blood is proved greater than my will to listen to your desperate cries as I burn you to Kingdom Come, then you shall have your desire granted!" - the mortal answered between his teeth.
"Granted it shall be!" - the vampire whispered before he pulled the mortal away from him and spun in the air, aiming at the mortal's head.
The hunter moved to the side, feeling the blade slashing at his right arm. He then took his other sword from the sheath that was held across his back, and with the two weapons he parried the other's fencing on and on.
As he had to pay attention to the quickness of the immortal's moves, he was unaware that he was being pulled back against the end of the alley, towards a stonewall.
The vampire used all his skill, speed and strength to thrust one more time on the mortal, as he saw that he was cornered. The mortal managed to raise his swords, barring the immortal's blade and used all his strength to hold the blow, as the vampire put more and more pressure on it.
As the immortal was with a free hand, he wrapped it around the mortal's neck and started to pressure it. That was when the suffocating mortal tried to remember how much time had passed since he turned his secret weapon on.
Suddenly a small blast of fire came out from the hunter's buckle, forcing the vampire back and instantly setting him afire. The vampire turned in circles screaming and when he started to head for the street, the hunter went in his direction and thrust his sword right into the other's back in the height of the heart.
The blood drinker started to choke and fell on the ground, looking now like a corpse covered in flames.
Someone in the nearby apartments called the firemen, and denounced the smell of fire that came from that alley, but when the firemen arrived, just 3 minutes later, there were only greasy ashes on the ground and no person or weapons around.
The hunter was walking not far from that place, lighting a cigarette and limping a little, his clothes in rags, his body covered in sweat and bruises, aching terribly. Ireland had been rid of its last vampire inhabitant, now he was thinking only on getting his luggage from a nearby hotel room and heading to England.
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Copyright © 2003 Susan Belmont