Eddie Vukovic

Shadows of the Soul

The night was alive. He watched as revellers brushed past him. He watched the lights as they shone blue and red, gold and green. He watched as streamers cascaded from the sky, twirling rhythmically along the air currents. His eyes were drawn to the limitless possibilities of the city. Moving steadily through the shadows, he tried not to think of it. Tried not to allow its hold on him to strengthen. A hard task. He quickened his step, the pain swelling. His head, a cacophonous arrangement of thumping drums, tortured squeals and lowly growls, throbbed in accompaniment. He needed to… Needed to what? Escape? From what exactly? And why? Many questions, no answers. Thud…

The pavement looked up at him. He looked back at it, tasted its harshness on his hands. felt its hatred toward him. He surveyed his condition. A minor mishap, nothing broken, nothing missing, no blood. He felt the breeze upon his brow as he looked up. The skyline no longer dazzled with colour, no longer awash with celebration. No people adorned the streets, like Christmas decorations on a tree. No glitter, no music, no anything. He stared at the sky as it leered at him, the occasional flashes of silver bolts illuminating the street below. He could feel a change in the air. Could feel a bristling sense of expectation or omnipresent foreboding. Again he felt the pain.

He staggered across the path and ventured out into the street. No cars to watch out for though. The world around him void of life. The air crackled, electric. He stumbled over the curb. Another meeting with the pavement. It showed no quarter this time. A warm sensation trickled over his face. Cursing his stupidity, he lurched to his feet, hand clasping his head. Staggered steps taking him to a wooden bench, to a place of rest. Eyes closed, head throbbing, hands trembling, he sat. He could feel sleep’s friendly hand upon him and waited for it to drag him under.

But tonight it recoiled, not wanting to grace him with its beautiful presence. Not wanting him to join in its sweet, sweet intercourse. No not tonight, but something else invited him in. Pain. He felt it gripping him. Squeezing him tight, refusing to let go. Slumping forward, he could feel it pulsating within. Could feel it wreaking havoc as it ascended through him. Then, release. As suddenly as it arose, it was gone. Relieved, he looked at the green, yellow and red puddle on the pavement. The lightning glistening in the quagmire of sickness. He leaned back against the seat marvelling at the hostile sky.

He watched as the lightning danced before him. Watched as each bolt scattered itself across the black expanse. It comforted him somehow. He leapt to his feet and drank in the howling wind that had suddenly arisen. The cries of thousands upon its wings. He howled with it. With them. Felt their pain, their joy, their every desire. The lightning continued its tirade upon the Earth. His tongue flicked across his lips, searching. His eyes fierce, burning with hatred. His muscles alive, his dick aching. Hungry. He gave in to the night, letting it take control.

Watching. Waiting. The figure steps out into the street. It glances toward him, but sees nothing. How quickly he has learnt. It moves out into the dim light of the overhead lamp, checks through its pockets, then crosses the road. He continues his vigil, watching from the shadows, watching the youth. He can smell his delicate aroma, a dizzying cocktail of innocence and perfection. His senses coming alive, anxious for pleasure. He follows. The youth, oblivious, stops and peers into a shop window. He smiles, and waits, waits for the moment. The boy turns, and continues homeward.

Again the sky lights up. And again he feels it. Feels it burning, writhing, struggling to get out. He moves swiftly, the wind his guide, his companion. It howls as he nears. The boy turns. Tired eyes see the wind approaching. Screams echo in his ears. A vision. A cold, malevolent face, inhuman eyes, screeching mouth, blood red fangs. Thunder bellows as the fear tightens. A flash. Cold hands wrap around his neck. Searing heat ripping through his very soul. Tearing through him like a scythe through satin. Darkness…

The figure hangs limp in his arms. His head rocks back, a thunderous roar erupts from within. He can feel the boy’s life drain. Can feel the energy course through his hands, rush through him like a drug. His senses finally appeased. His hunger sated. High on the rush he lets the boy fall to the ground and sniffs his hand. He relishes the scent, the taste, the power. He turns from the corpse and looks into its lifeless eyes, reliving the penetration. Reliving the thrill. And the wind has ceased. The city is silent. The sky no longer in turmoil. Smiling, he drifts into the shadows. There is still much to be done.

Thrusting. Deeper, faster. Sweat dripping, blurred vision, stinging. Harder, harder. Practised movements, a gentle caress. Faster, faster. Feel the flesh, taste it. Deeper, harder. Can feel it building. Faster, harder. Soft squealing, heavy breathing. Harder, faster. Can feel it coursing, a raging river. Faster, harder, harder faster. Feel the power. Release.

She watches him as he lays still. Examining his entire being. Still unsure of what had transpired. Unsure of how she came to be here. He turns to face her, a strange smile on his lips. She opens her mouth to speak, but he raises his finger to her lips. Shhhh! She looks into his eyes and sees herself. A gaunt face, colourless, frightening. It was like looking through an icy window at night. She turns to move, but he holds her back. His cold hand clasping her shoulder. She can feel his slender fingers digging into her flesh. Can feel those heartless eyes fixed upon her. Her fear grows, as another hand clamps down on her.

He wrenches her towards him, her eyes locking onto his. Grinning wildly, he wraps his hands around her neck. His fingers crawl about the base of her skull, a droplet of spit oozing from his lips. Her eyes, alive with terror, watch it as it drops onto her naked breast, then return their gaze to his face. She feels his fingers boring through her flesh, writhing like worms deep underground. Glinting eyes look upon her, hers unable to look away. The pain is so great. Her heart feels ready to explode. Her pulsating veins twitching like dismembered snakes. A silent scream escapes her as her back arches violently. Her spine splintering, the fragments shredding her within. Her heart, dead

He can feel it again. Much stronger this time. Can feel her strength withering, her life draining with each moment. Feels satisfied as her energy becomes his. He savours the feeling, the rush, the high. His body shudders as he consumes her, as he bleeds her dry. She slumps to the floor, a scarlet puddle forming round her as he withdraws. Bringing his hands to his mouth, he licks his fingers. His tongue darting over them, scavenging what’s left. He looks through the window, still savouring the taste. Daylight approaches. Turning away, he lets out a sigh and falling upon the bed, immerses himself in sleep.

„Hello?“

„He is here“

„Here, really?

„Yes, and growing stronger each day“

„What do we do Ellis?“

„I’m not sure. I’ll need to think about it, but believe me, if we don’t do something quickly…“

„I see.“

„But don’t worry my dear friend, we will find a way to stop him“

„You’re sure about this?“

„Positive. For our sake, I must be“

„I hope you’re right. I dare not think what might happen if…“

„I know, Nigel, I know. I must be off, there is much work to be done. I’ll be in contact.“ Click.

That smell. The smell of flesh, of sex, of blood. The smell of the night. He stares out from the window, watching over the city. Watching the mindless minions of God as they trudge drearily through their lives, unaware of the limitless possibilities he could bestow upon them. Unaware of the true meaning of life and death. Unaware of the night. He opens the window, the cold air caressing his cheek. He steps out onto the balcony, the night enveloping him, complimenting him. Sniffing the air, he perches himself on the railing. Time to feed.

„Ellis?“

„Yes. Nigel, it’s time.“

„You mean…“

„Yes Nigel. We must put an end to it.“

„But Ellis, how?“

„Never mind Nigel, just meet me at the Middleton Park in ten minutes, I’ll explain all then. Oh, and Nigel. Be careful.“ Click.

The shadows are perfect, hiding him from view. Hiding him from the world. Until he wants to be seen. He absorbs the essence of the night. His soul is as dark, his heart as cold, his hunger as great. He smiles as the stars above disappear. The storm clouds have gathered. He feels the electricity in the air, revels in it, exhilarated by its power. The wind has risen, bringing with it the familiar symphony of the damned. Each cry bringing joy. He floats through the dark, his eyes piercing the very night itself, searching for their prey. He can feel it building. His body trembles as he grows nearer. A gleeful gasp escapes his throat as each overhead light extinguishes itself, and he listens intently to the chorus of beautiful pops of shattering glass. His smile widens as the park becomes as it should always be. Dark.

„I’m sorry Ellis. I got here as quick as I could“

„I’m glad you made it Nigel. I was getting worried. He’s out there, I know it. We haven’t much time.“

Finally he sees it. His next victim. His next meal. And not a moment too soon either, for the hunger is overwhelming. He moves behind a tree and watches the young man sitting on the bench. The hunger insatiable. He watches the man as he moves closer, a perfect shadow in the darkness of the soul. Closer and closer. He can sense the growing anxiety in the air. The man appears apprehensive. He watches as his prey looks uneasily into the darkness, at what he doesn’t know. And neither does he care. A flash of light overhead. He grins knowingly. He creeps through the darkness, the guttural rumbling of the sky widens his smile.

Smelling the fear, he sinks to the ground, tapping the bench as he does so. The stranger looks around, his eyes wide, brow glistening, lips trembling.

„Wh, who’s there?“ a quivering voice questions the night.

No one important he thinks to himself. Just someone looking for a bite to eat. He circles the man and lies in wait before him, a silhouette in shadow. Lightning crashes as he rises before his prey, frantic eyes, burning with hunger. A screech echoes in the air as the man stumbles backward over the bench. He leaps onto it as the man cowers before him, crawling desperately on his belly, eyes a window to a frightened soul. He growls murderously, the thunder echoing his call.

„NOW, NIGEL, NOW!“

Angered he propels himself toward his prey, his hunger inexorable. The man rolls onto his back, his hands darting into his coat. AAAHHH! A light, brighter than a million suns, shines into his eyes. He crashes to the ground, hands flailing in a fruitless endeavour to cover his eyes. Nigel leaps to his feet and thrusts the lamp into his face vehemently. A triumphant holler fills the night as Ellis steps out from the shadows.

Brandishing a silver and gold rifle he moves towards the beast. „Vile fiend. I have waited long for this day and I regret the day that I ever laid eyes upon your hideous form. Finally the world will be rid of you. Begone!“ A brilliant blue and white flash erupts from the weapon as he squeezes the trigger. A deadly stream cuts through the night impaling the beast.

The pain grabs at him, tearing at him from within. Clawing, biting, ripping him apart. He can feel the energy stream draining him as he would others. His eyes dart desperately around him, but see nothing. His hunger grows stronger each second the beam is lodged in his chest, but there will be no appeasing tonight. The realisation has arrived. He cannot contemplate it, but must. Still fighting the pain, he lurches to his feet, clutches at his chest and howls indignantly at the night. And then, silence. He falls softly to the ground, his body withering, melting like ice cream in the sun. His killers stand over him, the light still shining serenely. Finally he can enjoy it. He no longer needs the dark. No longer feels the pain. Is no longer a slave to the hunger. He is free. And as death’s welcoming hand grasps his, he feels one last thing. Release.

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