Rainer The Martyr

The excited girl, Katja, had run off in prepreation for our departure. I looked down at my opponent, lying crumpled under one of the room's many tables. I felt powerful standing overtop of the gray-eyed man; I could easily kill him or drain him of his vital fluids. I looked around the cellar, at the mutilated corpses tied to the metal tables. There was no doubt in my mind; the unconscious man on the floor was evil, and I was hungry.

"Rainer! Come on!" Katja yelled from the top of the stairwell, distracting me from my cuisine.

"Give me a moment!" I yelled back, licking my lips and opening my mouth wide to chomp down on the man's neck.

"Vhat are you . . ., Rainer!" I heard the girl cry out a moment before an apple collided with my head.

"Don't," Katja shook her head, a look of doubt once again in her eyes. I was so sick of those disapproving eyes. Why did she not understand my need for nourishment?

"You don't need blood, Rainer," she said, causing me to look away in shame.

"What do I eat then?" I whined, suddenly feeling like a nine-year old.

Katja laughed at me, her alto voice sending a shiver up my spine. "You eat food, silly," she said holding out one of the knapsacks filled with apples and bread. "Now come on, before the professor vakes!"

Then my master ran down the steps, scooping up the green handled gun dropped by her professor before running back up the stairs. I obediently followed.

We ran off into the night, though Katja was unable to keep up the pace for long. I easily shrugged on the heavier of the two bags, giving her a reprieve from the effort of carrying the extra weight.

"Anhalten!" Katja ordered me to stop, changing the red bandage about her arm. "Vhat about your vounds?" she asked, and I subsequently frowned.

"Why aren't yours healed?" I asked, puzzled.

"Vhat happened to your vounds?" she asked, confused.

I shrugged in response. I was starting to get this feeling that Katja and I were nothing alike, possibly not even the same species!

"Vell, no vorries, I just need to find a büch on Wampires sometime," she said, beginning a slow, walking pace.

"Why didn't we take the wagon?" I suddenly asked, noticing Katja had forgotten several things that would make our trip easier.

"Ve're not thieves!" she explained, though I could sense anxiety from her.

"Why do we only have two canteens?"

"Because ve can refill them!" she half-heartily reasoned.

"What about ammunition for the gun," I pointed out rather than asked, raising a coal-colored eyebrow her way.

"Vell, vhy the hell didn't you help me get the stuff!" she accused me, causing me to laugh at her reaction.

"Because you're the master, I figured it was your duty to make a list of the necessary supplies."

"Vell I vas in a hurry!" she turned away, frowning.

We walked in silence for several hours. She was too angry at her own stupidity to talk, and I was enjoying the cool night air. It made me feel alive.

Suddenly Katja stopped again, sitting down on top of a rock and taking a draw on her canteen.

"Why are you stopping?" I asked, confused once more by her sub-vampiric habits.

"Because I'm tired, aren't you?" she asked, screwing the canteen's cap back on and reaching for an apple from her bag.

"No," I said, still feeling the hunger in my belly. I resolved to try some of Katja's weird food. I picked up one of the red spheres, which I somehow knew the name of. That was one of the most frustrating puzzles. I knew certain things, like water would be rare in this sparse vegetation environment; yet, I could not figure out why Katja's wounds would not heal or why she became fatigued so quickly.

I extended my fangs and bit into the apple, sucking out the fluids. My eyes widened as the poison slid down my throat. It was not natural! I had to get it out! My mind screamed as I hunched over and released the vile Katja food across the sandy earth.

The girl stopped munching on her own fruit, busily staring at me spill my guts on the ground. "Are you ok?" she asked

"You're trying to kill me tonight, aren't you?" I inquired, not realizing the irony of my statement.

"Nein! It ist du! Vhy can't you do anything normal?" she asked, more of her unusual speech slipping into her talk.

"It is you who is not normal! Where are your fangs? Why are your wounds so slow in healing? I don't understand!" I yelled, knees buckling at the thought that perhaps it was me who was the unusual one. I covered my eyes with my hands, choking back the tears that threatened to come out from my frustration.

"It's ok, it's ok," Katja said soothingly, walking over and draping an arm about me. Somehow her touch was comforting, and I lifted up my head to look at her. Her eyes widened for a moment, but then she merely pulled out a handkerchief and wiped at my eyes, staining her cloth red. I looked at my hands and realized they were colored the same. I cried with blood, another quality that labeled me "freak."

"Come on, let's go ower to those bushes and rest. I vhant to get a few hours of sleep before ve start off again," Katja explained, helping me onto my feet. She gathered some blankets and laid me down to rest in the shrubbery, though I felt more hungry than tired.

I found myself mesmerized as the sky lightened, and something large appeared to be peeking over the horizon. My mind managed to conjure the name of this creature, no, this object, the sun. It was something to be welcomed, something to warm the skin. I stretched out in preparation for the soothing rays.

Then it happened: blinding pain lined my exposed arms and face, and even the clothed parts of my skin felt ablaze. The accursed sun had betrayed me. It burned instead of soothed. I shrieked as my skin began glowing red. I grabbed at the wool blanket and wrapped it about my body in what I thought to be a vain attempt of hiding from the sun.

I breathed easier as my skin cooled. The heavy cloth was significant to block me from the yellow orb. I calmed myself before worry for my friend set in. "Katja!" I yelled, not knowing if she had survived the sun's rays.

I yelled several more times before I heard an answer. "Vhat!" she yelled, trying to pull the blanket off my head, but I stubbornly held on.

"Is the sun gone?" I asked hopefully.

"Vhy do you ask?" she inquired suspiciously.

"Because it burns me," I grumbled. "The blanket seems to protect me."

"Vell, ve'll haff to vait until night to move again. Do you need anything under there?"

"No, thank you, I'm done with drinking poison," I angrily snapped at her, pulling my knees to my chest, content with hiding in my wool fortress until the sun was gone.

Katja's footsteps told me she was frustrated too, her heels connecting sharply with the earth.

Resigned to wait, I curled up in my blanket and waited until I could come out without fear of igniting.

I finally tossed off the blanket to find Katja sitting on top of hers, twirling her braided hair. "Ready?" she asked me.

I merely stuffed my blanket into my backpack in response.

The German girl narrowed her eyes my way before slinging her pack onto her shoulders.

We walked along, and I found myself eyeing her neck. I was famished; yet, I knew I was unable to eat. I began to hope Katja was developing doubts about my character and would soon release me from her service. Then I could feed and carry on as I wished.

I played with this thought for several hours before guilt set in. If it were not for my tormentor, I would still be locked away, buried underneath the earth. And that did not appeal to me as a desirable fate.

By the time the sun began rising an idea on how to combat its effects had developed in my mind. "Katja, if I had enough clothes, I could probably walk during daytime," I offered.

"It's ok, Rainer. If you haff to adapt to my lifestyle, then I haff to adapt to yours," she assured me.

And so this arrangement continued for several days with me hiding during the hours of light and walking during the night. However, another worry entered my mind on night three of our excursion.

"Katja, where are we going?" I asked, dreading her response.

The girl stopped in mid-step, despair crossing her face as she realized there was no answer to my question.

"Mist kopf," I swore using Katja's native tongue.

"So ein mist. Crap head ist best reserved for people," she corrected with a sigh. "Our prowisions von't last that much longer," she stated, looking at her already almost empty backpack.

"Then it's a good thing I don't need provisions. You can have mine," I offered. "Do you know where we are?"

"Nein," Katja responded, shaking her head. "I think ve should keep going south. Ve ewentually haff to find a town!"

Though I knew her plan would get us into trouble, nothing better had entered my mind and so we walked on for another two days without sight of any intelligent creature.

I found Katja on night five, wiping tears from her eyes and cradling her second canteen, which I gathered was empty, in her arms. "I should never have left home," she muttered.

"I didn't make you," I said, not particularly caring that she was about to enter a similar fate to mine, dehydration. "At least now you'll begin to suffer like me," I said, poking at one of my exposed ribs.

She looked back at me with tear-filled eyes. "I'm sorry, Rainer. I just thought it vould be exciting to go out and be adwenturous. I didn't think about the problems you wampires have or starwation or any of that stuff."

I did not respond. I was content to let my master stew in her own stupidity. Perhaps that would teach her to use her brain for more than a convenient place to support her glasses.

While Katja cried her eyes out I was concerned with more important things, like the incoming wagon. "Hey, there's somebody coming," I informed her.

Katja lifted her head up and looked out, ceasing her whimpering upon spying a bobbing lantern in the distance.

"Hopefully it's not bandits," I suggested unhelpfully.

She ignored my comment and stated that we would wait to see who the driver was.

An evil thought entered my mind as the wagon came closer. Unable to control myself, I crept forward in order to scare the driver.

"ARGH!" I yelled, jumping through the linen wagon cover. However, the man on the other side was ready and promptly grabbed me by the hand and swung me right out of the other side of the cart.

"Oh dear, there goes another one," the driver said, pulling back on the reigns and bringing his team of oxen to a halt.

"Guten nacht, father," I heard Katja greet the driver while I pulled my face out of the dust covered ground.

"I'm terribly sorry about your friend, but you see he's already the third vampire this week to try that." I quickly swung my head about and saw Katja standing in front of a black clothed man.

"Are you ok?" the stranger asked. "You seem surprised about something."

"I didn't know that others knew vhat a wampire vas," Katja confessed.

"Well . . ., I will admit that they're not as common out this way as they are in the cities, but pagans are always cursing creatures to live again and what other nonsense. Though I must say the fellow over there is quite young to be one of their foul ilk."

"Hey, who are you calling foul?" I demanded, walking over to the pair, shielding my eyes from the lantern's light.

"Why you, of course. That's how I knew you were going to pounce. I could smell that beyond-the-grave stench from a mile away," I noticed the man wore a cross about his neck and had a white color. Somehow I knew these were symbols of an enemy.

I jumped back, raising my hands in defense against my opponent and his horrible deity.

"He certainly is a jumpy little fellow, isn't he?" the preacher observed, turning unworried back to Katja. "Why are you so far away from home by yourself?"

"What am I, chopped liver!" I yelled.

"No, you're dead," the priest corrected. "Do you need a ride?" he asked Katja who nodded in reply.

"Do you know vhere the nearest town is? Ve're low on supplies," she asked.

"That would be an understatement," I added.

"No matter, no matter, I have plenty of room for both of you. And food and water for the misses too." On his way back to the wagon he snapped his fingers, turned about and introduced himself. "By the way, my name is David."

"I am Katja, und this is Rainer," my master informed him, picking up our bags and tossing them onto the wagon.

While Katja sat up front with the preacher, I perched on the back of the wagon—armed with the knowledge that at least I was not alone in the world. There were others out there like me, with the same problems, but hopefully not with a master. I looked back at Katja. "Oh, how I abhor thee and yet admire thee, too," I muttered, no longer knowing what to hate and what to love.