Chapter One: Of Beer & Beasts
The truth is there
Dig away, dig away
For your soul to keep
Lock it up
To use when needed
Never abuse it
Never disuse it
Love and nourish
Like a newborn infant
Keep it there
Never lose it
You've found it
Now just try to keep it
-The Truth by Hel
The music blared in the background, some loud, thumping beat Nancy didn't recognize. Actually, she didn't recognize any of the new popular songs or the artists that sang them. She was a muse of classical melodies.
Earlier, that afternoon, she had sweetly, a little too sweetly, asked Toni, her partying cousin, to bring her out that evening. Toni had made sure Nancy hadn't gone crazy before she agreed. Toni was one of those druggy, hotshot people who pretended to be all nice and polite to the adult society. She was a co-captain of the hockey cheerleading squad, on the volleyball team, and treasurer of the debate team, your overall drone and clone of society. During the day she was a princess, during the night she was a drinker. Average high school student all around. She shopped at The Gap and Vanity and dated the football and hockey teams and screwed about half of them. Nancy was the complete opposite. She got good grades and teachers liked her only once they got to know her. She was usually black-clad, hated pop-culture, and was what most of her classmates and of course community viewed as a Goth. She loved to read the classics or sci-fi and fantasy. She was exclusive about her friends, she had few and that's all she wanted. Most people went out of their way to walk around her. Toni loved fashion and such and she was only too happy to dress-up her "defective" cousin. That night was the very first and only time the two cousins bonded in any way.
Living in the Midwest, in a small town, brought many teens out into the countryside, like farms and wood clearings, to spend the weekends partying. There usually included a bonfire and a kegger with many people bringing their own choice of beverage; vodka, miller light, even peach flavored wine coolers.
This was not Nancy's usual hangout; she had never been to a drinking party. Her weekends were spent chatting on the Internet with friends or doing something with her small groups of comrades. They liked to go cruising, bowling, or even just chilling out at one of their houses. It's not that they were goody-goodies, far from it, it's just that they had no wish to follow they crowd.
So, as the music raged and fire crackled Nancy realized her bladder desperately needed emptying. There were woods on three sides of the clearing, but she diffidently wasn't going to accidentally wipe her ass with some poison ivy leaves. Even thinking about the embarrassment of such a situation made her head for the vehicles, that were parked by the clearing, a bit off from the rest of things. She drunkenly trudged away from the flames while mumbling, "There's paper in those here cars," in a bad western accent. She grinned, being drunk did affect her thinking somewhat.
"Hey, Nancy!" Toni exclaimed, running, more stumbling, over. She was drunk as Nancy, but her drunkenness put her in a giggly, air-headed mood compared to Nancy's depressant state. The cheerleader's short blonde curls matched her brain size perfectly, Nancy thought sarcastically. Even in her state of mind her personality still shown through. At least my dear cousin won't remember anything in the morning, Nancy couldn't even get drunk properly, and that was such a depressing thought.
"What do you need?" Nancy realized that her words were slurred. Fuck, she scolded herself, her mind stayed intelligent, sort of, but now she talked like a three-year old.
"Have you ever met Angus?" Toni giggled and Nancy noticed the big, beefy guy standing right next to her. He was a football player, but his weed smoking had almost ruined his game. Somehow his complete air-headiness, to match Toni's, attracted a good portion of the female population in their school, it didn't impress Nancy one bit.
"Yah, we have Spanish together," Nancy's voice dripped with her usual sarcasm, but double-fold, the only thing that marred it was that fricken slurring. Angus was eyeing her up and down. Of course, it was Toni's outfit she was wearing. A bright yellow tank top with a low neckline and only strings keeping it in place tied in the back. A bra didn't go with that type of shirt, if you could even call it a shirt. To cover her legs or not cover legs more precisely was a pair of shorts with slits down the sides. Nancy had never felt so scantily clothed.
"Spanish, right," he clearly did not remember her. Of course, she'd never wear an outfit like this usually, but tonight she just didn't care. Tonight was the changing point. Everything she believed in, everything she wanted, needed, didn't matter. Things had gone wrong and this was the best way to fix them. The very best there was.
"Well, I have some business to take care of," Nancy mumbled barely audible and walked away as fast as her drunk-self could. She soon realized that there was a set of eyes roving her tightly, scantily clad ass lustfully. It was a little more then a slightly disturbing feeling and quite disgusting besides.
When she made it to Toni's jeep she found a notebook and used that paper to do her business with. Then she decided to sit in the jeep for a while and clear her head. Even though it was quite cool outside she turned up the air conditioner. This girl liked things chilly. After that was accomplished she turned the air conditioner on the radio to a classical/opera station. The song that was playing was the only opera song she really enjoyed. It was from the movie the Fifth Element. The flute woman's high-pitched voice lulled her mind into a relaxed state. She hadn't felt so calm and peaceful in ages.
Perfect, Nancy's mind drifted into an unnatural heavy sleep compared to usually as she lay comfortably across the front seat. She hadn't meant to fall asleep, but she had. The time was half past midnight. The sleeping Goth didn't wake up until the wee hours in the morning.
Her dreams had been filled with distorted shadows and teeth. Teeth every length, width, color, texture, and some even made sounds and music. There was a terrible odor that somehow Nancy knew as rotting carcasses even in her dream-state. A deep red plagued the back of her eyelids adding to the general nightmare theme.
When Nancy awoke her head was pounding in time to the heavy metal music still blaring in the clearing. There was only about a half dozen people left. They were either passed out or still drinking. It was calm now; most were too far out of it to care about going home just yet. The bonfire had been reduced to cinders.
Damnit Toni, Nancy thought as she hopped out of the passenger side of the jeep. The pretty blonde was sprawled on the ground, passed out. Nancy knew that she had to get her cousin home. The girl's parents were going to freak. She started walking towards the others. Her legs felt like cement structures, dragging along with her. Her mind felt detached from her body like a bubble above herself watching her fleshy body try to move with grace, but stumbling like a nitwit.
A howling of a lone wolf could be heard a bit off in the woods. It was soon followed by an even louder, longer call, which meant that it was just closer. The sound was unfamiliar because Nancy never seen a wolf except at the zoo. Some "save the animals and trees and rocks and ozone layer" group had rallied to bring them back to the area where they once lived and thrived. Nancy hadn't thought the wolf packs had been brought so close to the town. She had always thought that wolves were gorgeous and mysterious creatures of nature and fantasy that deserved every respect that could be mustered from the human race, well, right now they seemed to sound like the terrible beasts of legend. The howls increased and became louder, harsher coming from the east. Another cry come from the west. These noises weren't totally animal, they were human-like, but piercing blind wildness strung through the cries giving Nancy chills from her nape flowing through her spine.
The shadows dancing and twirling at the clearing edges on both sides turned to living breathing creatures of old; a few dozen in all. The wolves entered first, but Nancy soon realized that they were of unbelievable sizes, their claws slashed across the early morning's dying moonlight and their stained red teeth caught the gleam of the beginning of the sunlight. They possessed an aura of strength and cunning that radiated the hair, deadlier then any beast that has ever roamed the parent earth. Their opponents came out the other side, human-like, but completely different then any homo sapient she had ever seen. They were unnaturally pale, almost white with cat-like eyes. Their fingernails were more like claws that tore and swiped at their enemies. Forces of shadow seemed to cling to them even when they were in the light areas that only seemed to make them look gaunt and deadlier then anything besides the wolf creatures. It became obvious the two species were even in this battle. These creatures of myth have two names that are the most common and the most used in this part of the world, vampires and werewolves.
The six teenagers, including Toni and Angus, were in the middle of this battle. While the beasts attacked each other, the gigantic wolves found their guts satisfied on the meat of the helpless humans and the pale humans split open the throats of their victims to feed on their succulent red hemoglobin. Some picked up sticks or tried to throw things at the beings, but they just ended getting brought down. The flesh and bone were torn about as the still breathing, still conscious individuals were quickly, but utterly painfully ripped asunder only to leave a few blood drops that soaked into the sandy soil. Angus was one of the first to go down screaming and sobbing. Toni had woken up and tried to run, but a giant black werewolf brought her down without pity. Before he could delve into her juicy flesh, a silver-haired vampire challenged him for possession of the prey. The two creatures were circling each other, striking out quickly then backing off, testing each other. Toni was whimpering on the ground a way off. She seemed to have lost quite a bit of feeling in her legs because she was using her arms to pull/crawl herself away. Before she even got five feet a combined group of the beasts come up and blocked her path, but they didn't attack. The kill was for whoever won the fight between the black creature and the silver bloodsucker. They had all gathered around to watch the fight to leave their half eaten carcasses and their own interspecies quibbles unfinished. Some of the teens were even still alive and aware, but unable to move from their death spots.
Toni's sweet curls were turned red with blood. It was a nice color on her, but she probably would never know it. Her shirt was torn to shreds and her breasts had just as many scratches, cuts, and bruises on them as the rest of her body. She lay in the dirt, defeated, while the creatures worked out who would end her suffering.
The fight between the two changed to intense. Instead of their testing and teasing they now were fully fighting with claws, teeth, and strength. Evenly matched in every way, neither got the upper hand. Finally they just broke away from each other, both grinning inhuman grins and seemed to agree on one thing, Toni could easily feed them both. It was mere seconds before the once popular, beautiful, sometimes intelligent, cheerleader would cease to exist.
The blood fest began again with even a bigger frenzy taking over the beasts. It was soon an all out bloodbath. Nancy watched in stunned horror at the whole affair. She was still close by the jeep and a stroke of luck had kept her from being noticed by the beasts. She barely felt the small object that fell on her shoulder. On reflex she reached up and was about to pluck it off, but brought it up to her eyes to look at it. It was the first time she had taken her eyes off the massacre. At first she thought it just a fake, her mind really not comprehending the disgusting scene that had taken place before her, it was a ring finger that she immediately recognized as a woman's hand. She realized it due to the class ring still attached with a ruby birthstone on top, the sides adorned with the July zodiac sign, a Crab, on the other side a volleyball all engraved on the small golden plated ring. The perfectly manicured fingernail was painted peach with a glossy white tip. It was speckled with blood and bottom was a mess of hanging skin, veins, and bone pieces. Nancy remembered being forced to buy a birthday card a week ago for a birthday that wasn't for a few months yet, a person she didn't like. Toni, Toni, Toni…
Words sprang in and out of Nancy's head. It finally seemed real, all of it. The beasts were still fighting, but they had no more prey and a few were not full yet. It was then they noticed the still alive one, still standing one. A cold sweat settled over
Nancy. Flight or fight was the most common two things that any sentient being did when they when they were attacked, humans included. Fight, some of the prey had tried that, it hadn't worked. Flight, they had tried that also, but Nancy was farther away and they still weren't sure she was even there yet. Something or someone was cloaking her, casting a shadow of doubt on the beasts. Whatever it was she had better take advantage of it fast or it would not be handy later. Time to go, she told herself, hit the road, Jack, and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more. She couldn't believe that such a lame song that her parents liked and listened to on family trips rung in her brain, but she blamed it on the state of mind she was in.
The mythical creatures started sniffing her way and she took that as a clue to flight, flight, flight. When she started moving some of them caught a glimpse of her before she disappeared behind the other side of the jeep.
Flight, Flight, Flight.
Even though she was hidden, it was obvious they could smell her over the blood stench in the now morning air. Move slowly, she instructed herself. She noticed that the sandals she had been wearing were gone. You idiot, it's no time to look for them, even think of such silly things.
The passenger side of Toni's jeep was still slightly open so all she did was slink in and softly closed the door behind her. She quickly pressed the automatic lock for both doors and slid into the drivers seat.
The two beasts that had murdered her cousins together were now slowly coming her way followed by the rest of their people. The two species walked noticeably apart from each other. The hate and competition was still intact between the factions, the black wolf beast on the right and the human beast on the left. They were still not even sure she was there.
Flight, flight, flight!
Now was not a time to be cautious any longer. Where the fuck was Toni's keys? The thoughts that rang through Nancy's head echoed her frantic search. Did Toni take her keys with her? If that then Nancy was screwed.
The two beasts had finally figured out that she was real. Any cloaking she had before was gone. The beasts crazily pounced on the jeep. Nancy knew she had to stay calm if she was going to make it through this alive.
"Thank-you, whatever force is out there!" She exclaimed as she found the keys on the driver's seat covering. The black werewolf was trying to tear through her hood while the silver-haired vampire was using his sharp claws to get through her front window. Soon they would break through.
"This had not been a good day!" she screamed at no one in particular as she started the engine and slammed her foot down on the pedal. Nothing happened. She quickly realized, as a pale sharp finger nailed hand was shoved through her window shield at last, that she was pressing the break. She moved her foot over to the gas and revved out of there and down the long dirt road to nowhere and everywhere, any place, but here now there.
FLIGHT, FLIGHT, FLIGHT!
The creatures didn't bother following her. The sun had finally left the horizon and their animal instincts wore down for loss of night power. The thought of what just happened sickened all who were there. They sped off into the American forests, slowly turning back to regular form.
The black were-beast and the silver-haired bloodsucker had mirrored thoughts about the first that had gotten away in along time. The first in a long time that they had lost control to even kill. Something was wrong, seriously wrong with the balance.