Sweet Streams Virulent remnants of my tattered dreams As the night winds carry my tortured screams Beneath the talons of demons my flesh parts at the seams As upon the teat of deaths breast an aborted abomination weans I walked for a million miles upon the soles of pain Skin scoured by the stinging lash of an acid rain Feeling my outer shell sloughing off insane Whilst my glistening bones lie revealed And on the wane I loved the crimson Long before I learnt to drink it Full‐bodied flavor a definite turn‐on Enforced abstinence bringing on a series of fits As I'm left continuously searching for an omnipresent reason Burgeoning through the tracks of your world Beneath harsh neon glare highlighting my paleness That dissuades the inquisitiveness of all but the boldest Who I summarily introduce into my twilight existence most cold For like a fool you’ve exchanged your life for my ever‐hungry world Virulent remnants of your tattered dream The night winds carrying your tortured screams As my age old talons part your flesh at the seams And I drink contentedly from your lifeblood’s sweet streams. The nightmares came with every sundown signaling the beginning of an onslaught by the children of the Old Night, just before they ripped out your jugular and bathed in your blood just for kicks. No one really knew when the vampires stepped boldly from within the closet of myth but there was no doubting the fact that their emergence before the eyes of an unsuspecting world had sent seismic shock waves across the entire planet. Stubborn Incredulity on the part of humanity soon gave way to the red eyed reality of undead cutting a swathe of destruction on a global scale that threatened to decimate the planet and world leaders began to fear that their grip on the planet was slipping away from their grasp as people willingly fed themselves to the seduction of the promise of eternal life offered by some of the more urbane blood
drinkers offering an alternative to the mundane existence of many of the worlds disenfranchised and socially displaced. People like me saw the vampires promise of a new age of freedom for the hollow lie that it was but watched impotently as the nights denizens grew exponentially across a globe that had gradually turned away from the light and was heading inexorably into an endless night. We watched nightly broadcasts from Earth showing scenes of devastation that defied description or comprehension and found ourselves thankful for the advances in technology that had made it possible for humanity to terra‐form Mars and create vast orbital colonies to house the teeming masses of people who’d chosen to leave earth for off world frontiers in the face of a parent planet virtually straining beneath the strain of over population. I was one of the many people who’d relocated to Mars ten years before the vampires’ emergence into the open and I remembered being particularly thankful for the fact that I’d gotten out at the time I did. My credentials as a member of the Royal Marines had made it easier for me to secure work with a private security firm specializing in protecting important dignitaries with business concerns on Mars which even at that time still had a burgeoning business market that grew exponentially even as more natural resources were discovered beneath its surface. I was earning good money and relished the fact that I still got to use some of my old combat skills from time to time. I was also now married and looking forward to starting a family someday so everything was copacetic as far as I was concerned. That was at least up until two years ago when everything went to hell in a hand basket. In the aftermath of the conflict between the human governments and the emergent vampires the earth’s landscape had changed drastically. Governments were falling left and right as many citizens across the globe began to fall under the sway of powerful vampires and their human political advocates who promised the dawning of a new age to rival that which was launched by mans first forays to the stars. Thousands of people weary of battling against the Old Night gave in and willingly gave themselves up to its embrace and as time went on, the balance of power began to inexorably shift in favor of the vampires who as always, had the benefit of time on their side. The thriving off world colonies based on orbital habitats, moons and terra‐formed planets watched in horror as the very fabric of societal fabric of earth changed but it was still a while before anyone started paying attention to beefing border controls and quarantine and it was this oversight that made it possible for the first of the vampires to go boldly where none had gone before. One small step for vampire kind now threatened to become one giant boot print upon the throat of humanity.
I’d lost a lot to the encroaching darkness and in many ways, had been made all the more stronger for it but that didn’t stop me from reliving the horror and betrayal of finding Ayesha, my wife of five years writhing in ecstasy beneath the albino pale figure of a vampire any easier to bear even two years after I’d discovered her infidelity with the damned. I still bore the scars of that particular encounter all along the left side of my body that Ayesha had left me as a parting gift after I took the head of her vampire lover. The memory of her curses as she fled naked into the night still burned bright within my mind. She’d left me for dead amongst the ruins of what used to be our home. I could still remember the agony I’d felt when she’d raked me with nails grown long and deadly as her transformation into one of the damned had begun to take hold. The hatred in my eyes as I lay bleeding out on the basement floor had been the only thing that had sent her scurrying off into the night rather than sticking around to finish me off properly. That and the large hunting knife that I still clutched onto like grim death held out before me like a defiant talisman in the face of her fury. Now five years later, she was just another fading face lost in time as myself and other refugees of this unnatural war, continued to fight back against the children of the Old Night. The vamps had hit Mars hard with a combined charm offensive and all out blitzkrieg of propaganda. They claimed that they were just like the rest of us with all the attendant needs and drives that motivated human and vampire alike expansion, progress and discovery and even though they faced major opposition from politicians in the colonies the rot had already begun to take root in the minds of the more gullible and jaded who lived amongst us. I’d had no idea that my wife was one of those jaded people but the wake up call I received at her betrayal brought me firmly back to terra firma with a vengeance and I swore that I’d keep taking heads until every bloodsucker on Mars had been found and sent back to the maggot essence before I allowed earths fate to befall the red planet. Five years ago, the USS Demeter had arrived at its destination with much anticipation after its lengthy journey from Earth. Docking at the Phobos Space Port the ships occupants comprised of a joint complement of Human and Vampire delegates were met by delegates from the three leading political parties on Mars backed by an elite squadron of the Martian Defense Corp. I was there in my capacity as Conflict Management Specialist with a three man back up team tasked with the protection of Abelard Dawkins who as senior member of the Martian Triumvirate Council was chief amongst the delegates to meet the joint party from Earth and even as I watched him and the other
Martian delegates moving to meet with the visitors from Earth I knew things on Mars would never be the same again. There were five of them in all three humans and two vampires any differences indistinguishable until you got to compare them up close and personal. Little things like the fact that the vamps moved differently to regular people with a kind of grace that was seductive to watch and all the more disturbing for the strength and speed it implied when viewed through the hollow point prism of seasoned combat specialists like myself or anyone else who’d served in a military capacity. They looked human until you got to their eyes which held all the warmth that one would expect from the solid black of a great White Sharks stone cold killer orbs and I saw strange fires of plains unseen deep within the stygian depths of these creatures eyes even as the delegates met and went through all the protocols that politicians had been going through since the dawn of civilization fell upon the earth. The vampires had arrived on Mars with very little fanfare cautiously admitted into the bosom of the red planet without a struggle and soon the nightmares began and never stopped until Mars was screaming in much the same way that Earth had done many years before. The foolish politicians let it happen. Those greedy bastards who’d always looked out for number one to the detriment of the general man had in their myopic stupidity believed the lies pedaled by the vamps and their human collaborationists and gone against established colonial protocols to open our collective borders to Mars and the orbital colonies and that’s how the Old Night swept through like an onrushing tsunami of chaos from mother earth to her children all across the colonies. Now, we were fighting for our homes and lives against an implacable foe who was faster, stronger and a lot more devious than the average in pursuit of that one natural resource that it needed like a drug Blood. The MDL chain of command had been compromised by political by factions within the Triumvirate Government in favor of granting the vampires access to Mars and the orbital colonies precipitated the league going rogue planet wide to start fighting back against the vampires who had a few surprises of their own up their sleeves. It was bad enough that they were unnaturally stronger and faster than normal humans but the fact that they didn’t have to breath and could heal from most almost any injury that would kill an ordinary human made things all the more difficult. But when it was discovered that the vampires had also developed technology to counter some of the few weaknesses that they did have things began to look really grim. The trio of fully armored Deaths head Corps converging on my position had me and my five man team dead center in their crosshairs as they came in with guns blazing and murder on their minds in anticipation of fresh human blood to slake their crimson thirst.
Charlton took three solid slugs to his armored chest piece before dropping to the asphalt in a shattered heap combat suit riddled from stem to stern by the armor piercing rounds the vamp had blasted him with at close range. The vamps combat armor was sleek and lethal in design and configured for maximum carnage in the field of battle and as the whirring sound of the suits armored siphon cycled up before firing I remembered just how dangerous these creatures really were. The vamp pointed its armored gauntlet at Charlton’s twitching form lying on the floor and a long metallic tube shot out from the depths of the gauntlet just before stabbing its way straight through the armor to the cooling meat that lay within. The vamps usually preferred their blood warm and fresh but the occasionally fed on cold (or in this case, rapidly cooling) blood in the midst of battle or if no other options were available at the time. I was amazed at how clinical I’d become in being able to calmly consider facts like this even when caught up in the midst of a furious fire fight but just put it down to being just one of those things one got used to as a soldier. I could hear Sandoval praying over my suits closed circuit communicator as he opened up on the other two armored Corpsmen with his suits heavy ordnance. His shells weren’t causing them as much trouble as theirs were causing us but his fusillade of gunfire coupled with the suppressing fire being laid down by the other surviving members of my squad gave me just the chance I needed to do what I did best. Kill vampires. Close quarter combat is my shit and In the face of all the atrocities the vamps had brought to Mars, I’d really learnt to relish the rare opportunities when I got to indulge in my favorite fetish. The short silver plated blades housed in my combat suits gauntlets fell into place as I danced my way into the midst of the two corpsmen to engage them up close and personal and the servo enhanced speed of my armor ensured that the vamps usual speed advantage wouldn’t really give them too much of an edge over me. I went in. Clinically applied savagery in the pursuit of mankind’s survival and vampire‐free existence was what I was all about and that’s the zone I let myself flow into with practiced ease as my blades stabbed and parried against the blink your eyes and miss counter strikes of my two opponents. All around me, I could hear the sounds of gunfire going off and the screams of my squad serving as a backdrop to the awful symphony of combat but it was a faint sound set against the reality of my harsh breathing and mantra of curses as I fought to break through the nearly impenetrable defenses of the undead fuckers struggling to end my existence.
Feint to the left leading on into a right handed uppercut tipped by my gauntlets blade and the first vamps incredulous scream was cut short nine inches of servo assisted reinforced silver powering through it’s helmets lower groove and straight up into whatever passed for a brain in its diseased head. Death spasms in an undead body never lose their attraction for me but as one of my opponents fell to the floor I felt the stabbing pain of the other vamps blade as it sheared through my left thigh guard and straight into the meat of my thigh. I screamed in time to the vamps vulpine howl of joy as its visor lifted in victory to reveal the ferocious eyes and gaping fanged filled mouth of Ayesha my long lost wife. My life flashed before my eyes as she withdrew her blade from my thigh and punched me to the floor in one seamless movement of blurred motion. I hit the rubble strewn ground with bone jarring impact and bit down on the pain even as she moved with that unearthly grace to straddle me with predatory intent. She ripped my helmet off only to be met by a hate filled visage dark enough to match her own and in that inevitable battle of wills I could see recognition begin to worm its way past her rage… “You!!?” her rasping voice bore little resemblance to the one I remembered from so many years before but there was no mistaking the slight tilt of her head to the left that had always prefaced one of our many arguments back when she used to be as human as I was. “I can’t believe that after all this time you’re still alive and fucking things up for me as usual!” The rage in her face was as palpable as mine and the obsidian awfulness of her dead shark eyes bore into mine even as her razor sharp maw gaped. She was still as beautiful as I remembered her before she betrayed me and mortgaged her humanity but it was a beauty marred by the ancient evil of the Old Night and unlike her, there was no way I was going to succumb to the same seduction that she’d given in to. Almost as if she’d read my mind her rasping voice crooned out to me as I drowned in the depths of her dark eyes. “You can forget about me feeding on you because there’s no way I’m going to give you this gift after all the shit you put me through by killing Norris. I’m just going to rip your heart out with my bare hands just to watch the life fading from your eyes.” “Well it won’t be the first time you’ve done that Ayesha so you’d best be getting down to it rather than wasting anymore of my time with your bullshit.” I replied with as much hate as I could muster. She sat there straddling me for a few more moments as she took in the full impact of my retort and a strange look of regret flitted across her face momentarily. Her eyes softened slightly as the intensity of hated receded and she looked down at me for a few seconds as we both seemed to realize how much we’d lost.
It was an unexpectedly tender moment that would have dragged on for Lord knows how long but for Ayesha’s head suddenly exploding in a gory mess of flesh, bone and brain matter. Her headless body still straddled me as I looked to my left to see Sandoval lowering his Calico 50 Cal handgun still smoking at the barrel. I nodded in silent thanks to my compadre as I realized just how close I’d come to becoming a simp. Damn!