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Vampire (1895) by Edvard Munch CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication
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On the ground, too weak to continue, the Black Death had marked me and now it would take what was theirs.
“Please no, not now. My family, they will… they will starve without me. God if you are there, have mercy, let me live please. Please! No!” I called out helplessly though I’m almost certain now it must have been all in my head.
Soon enough I saw a bright blue ethereal light, it was all I could see.
“Are you my saviour or my destroyer? Are you the Plague Maiden come to take me, or a merciful angel sent to deliver me?” I asked the light to no reply.
In the end I survived, whatever it was I saw; whether it was real or not, whether it was indeed a creature of some kind or just light, whether it had good intentions or ill; it didn’t matter. Well survived is a strong word, I died that day cold turkey, in fact I was a cold turkey, the Black Death did in deed take what was theirs, but that day I was shown something, though I don’t think it could truly be called mercy. It was not divine light that came to save me that day, but primordial darkness and I mean that very literally.
My body twitched back into life, a semblance of life at least. A great thirst sat upon me from that moment, a thirst I have felt ever since. I went home, what else would I do? At first, I kept my condition from my family, feeding off animals and draining the last blood of the many corpses that littered the streets but soon my wife and daughter, called Agatha and Christine respectively, realised me for what I was. We were Medieval peasants so we couldn’t afford expensive clothes or have time to make ourselves look beautiful, but I loved them both and they seemed to shine like the sun to me. . We had been lucky really survival rates were low particularly with the Plague so rampant in Europe, me and my wife were in our late twenties at the time and my daughter she was but ten; now it seems so young, but life was so short in days gone by for mere mortals. I became so thirsty around my wife that one day I couldn’t resist anymore, and I attempted to feed on her, I stopped abruptly when I was caught by my daughter.
“Nachzehrer! You brought the plague here!” Agatha shrieked at me.
Nachzehrer was a kind of vampire in folklore associated with disease, to them the man they had loved was dead and was replaced by a monster and in way they were right. Agatha lunged for me and held me down.
“Get the axe Christine! I know its hard but he’s not your father anymore!” Agatha called over to our terrified daughter.
Tears dripped from both their eyes like rainclouds pouring down from the heavens. Its surprising how fear can give people strength they never even knew they had; my natural muscle was not enough to get my terrified wife off me.
“Please Agatha its still me!” I cried out to her.
“You’re not! You can’t be! I did not marry a demon! I have to do this for my daughter, for the daughter of the man you are imitating!”
Christine was shaking, axe in hand, she passed it to her mother. I couldn’t just let her kill me, I dug into myself and was empowered by the darkness that laid within, throwing her to the floor, causing her to drop the axe to her side. She grabbed for it and in my desperation to get her to stop I formed rats from nothing, these feral beasties infected Agatha, the symptoms of which were highly accelerated, soon she had all the marks of the Black Death, the marks I hold when I take down my veil. I tended to her, getting her as comfortable as I was able.
“You are still my father, aren’t you? You look at her with the same look in your eyes you always did.” Christine asked.
I nod at her, not finding appropriate words to reply.
“I know you did not mean to blight her else you would not tend to her so but are you responsible for the plague?” Christine enquired.
“I think I’m of the Black Death in some way, but I am not its source. In a way I think it made me the way I am now.”
“Why did you attempt to eat from mother?”
“It’s all about blood. The thirst I feel is so strong around her and around you, it’s extremely difficult to control.”
“Well if you are of the plague can you do anything to slow it down or cure it?”
“I feel that I can in some way… make her like me but I’m not sure if that’s the right thing to do. I often do not feel blessed by this obviously unnatural extension of life. I would not wish to leave you all alone, but I would not wish this illness on anyone I love.”
“So, you are going to let mother die? Maybe you aren’t the same man after all.”
She stormed off from me.
It was not long before Agatha breathed her last, I am not proud of the fact that when she was gone, I bled her dry. Soon enough though my own daughter became sick as well and our last conversation rang in my mind until I made the decision to save her life. I did not know how; I was not taught but it was instinct. First, I had to let her pass then I tore open the flesh on my wrist and then everything when black for what seemed like hours. I did not see what happened while I was out but when I awoke my daughter was gone.