Frank could say many things about the man called Nickolai. He could say that he was ruthless, murderous, relentless and even inhuman, but there was one thing that Frank knew couldn't be said about the young man; it couldn't be said he wasn't a man of his word. Nickolai had told the other four people gathered that they would die and not only would it not take long, but it wouldn't be pretty, and truer words had never been spoken.
After Nickolai's unbelievable bare handed decapitation of the young man called Casey, things got even worse, and quickly. The next to die was the big, muscular youth with the ginger hair named Luke, who after getting over his initial shock of watching his friend lose his head went on the attack. Bellowing with rage, he quickly moved forward to stand in front of Nickolai and without hesitation swung a big, meaty fist at the mysterious young man. It was an impressive right cross that would have easily knocked out even the most seasoned fighter, the sound of flesh being heavily impacted sounding very loudly.
Nickolai took a single step back and his head whipped to the right, but he didn't fall. In fact, once he slowly turned to face the big man again, he had an entertained look on his face, like he had just found a puppy's actions quite funny.
"Not bad, friend," Nickolai said in a deceptively friendly tone. "Not bad at all. However, the first one is the only one you get for free. The next one, I'm afraid, will cost you."
Luke looked absolutely livid, turning a deep shade of red with veins on his neck and forehead throbbing mightily. "You stupid son of a bitch!" he said with a loud growl as he threw a straight punch at his opponent, a blow that looked like it would be knock out worthy. Before it could connect, a grinning Nickolai threw up his left hand and easily caught the big fist approaching him. Luke looked astounded as his fist remained immobile in the smaller man's grasp, and then gasped in pain as his fist began to be crushed, the noise of bones popping sounding very prominent.
Nickolai continued to apply pressure to the struggling man's hand, showing no effort as he did so. "I told you no more freebies, kid. Time to pay up!" he stated, taking his right hand and slamming the palm flat on Luke's broad well defined chest, leaving it there. He then whispered something that Frank could barely hear but knew wasn't English, and all hell broke loose as a black aura surrounded Nickolai's gloved hand.
Without warning, Luke's body went into a series of violent convulsions and started trembling uncontrollably, only Nickolai's grasp holding his body vertical while it jerked around as if live wires had been inserted into it. Suddenly, Luke screamed in agony, the noise sounding like not just one person screaming but a large group of victims in unison. His head whipped back at an incredibly painful looking angle and then beams of ebony colored energy shot straight up out of his mouth and eyes, up into the thick darkness above them. Frank watched in horror as Luke's young, well built body then began to start aging rapidly and deteriorating at an insane rate, until all that was left was a shriveled up, dark gray skinned husk. When the remains of Luke's body finally stopped its awful multi-voiced shrieking, Nickolai finally let him go and dropped him to the sidewalk, the blackened hollowed out shell breaking into frost covered pieces upon impact.
"Oh, Jesus…what did you do to him?" a sobbing Shelly asked fearfully, shaking her head in furious denial at the macabre scene she had just witnessed. "What did you do?"
Nickolai looked at his hand and then down to the remains of Luke, and gave a low whistle. "What, that little trick?" he asked, looking to face her. "Oh, nothing much really. I just opened a small gate into the Void inside his chest." He grinned at her, the tone of surprise and even a little pride in his voice obvious. "I knew something interesting would happen, you know, but that? That was just cool."
"You…you're crazy! You're fucking crazy, man!" the thin, long haired youth with glasses called Kenny stammered. "To hell with this…let me the hell out of here!" He started backing away from Nickolai and the two corpses on the sidewalk, edging closer to the shadowy, shifting barrier surrounding them all. As he approached, the shadows seemed to writhe even more urgently.
"I wouldn't get too close to that, friend." Nickolai called out over his shoulder, not turning around to face the frightened, retreating young man. "If you think I'm scary? You really don't want to know what's in there."
The warning came too late, apparently. Frank watched in stunned silence as a thin, arm with a sharply clawed hand made of the solid shadows that surrounded them reached out and grabbed Kenny by the leg. The monstrous hand tripped him up and caused him to fall face forward to the hard ground with a meaty thud. Within seconds, more dark hands ending in razor sharp talons along with thick inky black tentacles grasped at the now screaming young man, clutching and entwining him. Kenny helplessly clawed at the sidewalk, breaking fingernails and skin with his efforts to resist being pulled into the hungry dark, but to no avail. With one last mighty yank of his unseen captors, he screamed all the way as he was quickly dragged into the wall of absolute blackness, until the scream was abruptly silenced. The only thing left to show Kenny had once been there were his glasses that lay broken on the ground and the bloody trails from his injured fingers where he had tried to claw his way away from whatever had a hold of him.
Nickolai had turned to look at Kenny being claimed by the shadows, and shook his head. "Poor bastard. He's in for it now." he stated, turning to face Frank again. "The suffering I have planned for you? It's nothing compared to what he's going to go through. Your pain will probably end before dawn, but his torments? They'll go on for months, at least. The things that inhabit the Void are what demons tell other demons about to scare them senseless."
Quiet, frightened breathing brought Nickolai's attention back to the last of the four newcomers, the girl called Shelly. With no noise made, he walked over to stand near the petrified young woman, who had sunk to her knees and had her face buried in her hands to prevent her from seeing any more of the horrific sights.
"And then there was one." Nickolai said thoughtfully. "Shelly, I have to admit; I'm kind of torn on what to do with you. I mean, on the one hand I did promise to kill everyone if you didn't run when I told you to, right?" He then dropped to one knee to look closely at the scared woman.
"Please…I...I don't want to die." she whispered, tears flowing but still not looking at him.
"See, that's the thing. You were the only one that had any sense and realized what kind of danger you were in. You knew something bad was going to happen." he continued, reaching out to stroke her hair, even as she recoiled from his cold touch. "So I'm going to offer you a choice. Now look at me." With a gentle but firm tilt of her head, Nickolai forced her to look into his bizarre crimson hued eyes.
"A choice?" she repeated, her voice slightly shaky. "What kind of choice?"
"Well, I could let you live. Let you take me up on my earlier offer and run away."
Shelly looked at him, bewildered at what she had just heard. "What? Do you mean it? Really?"
He nodded under his hood. "Yes, really. If you want, I'll let you go, unharmed." he said, his strange voice attempting to sound comforting. "However, I don't know if you really want that, honestly."
"What? Of course I want to live! Why wouldn't I want to?" she said quickly.
"Think about it, Shelly. If I let you escape and you go on to live, what kind of life would you honestly have?"
"What…what do you mean? I don't understand…"
"With everything you've seen tonight, and knowing that there are things like me out in the world, you know you can't go back to the way your life was." Nickolai reasoned with her. "Every time the sun goes down, you'll jump at any noise, fear every shadow and generally live in terror that I, or something like me, will come out of the dark and get you. And that's every night…for the rest of your life, either until the stress makes you go mad or the fear makes you take your own life. Doesn't sound like much of a life, does it?"
The young woman seemed to think about the man's words, tears starting to stream down her face again. "No," she said in a subdued voice. "But what other choice do I have?"
Nickolai reached up and pulled down the hood, showing his face to Shelly, smirking as she gasped from viewing his ashen appearance. "Funny you should ask. I can tell you were already afraid of a lot of things. You were too afraid to stand up to Casey, too frightened to leave without the others. You're scared and alone now, but maybe I can help you. What if I could make it so you wouldn't be scared of anyone or anything? What if I could make it so you were the thing that people feared?"
"How…how would you do that?"
Nickolai flashed her a razor like smile. "Why ask questions you already know the answer to, Shelly? You'll die, sure…but I promise you that you'll come back, better then ever." he answered. "So what will it be? Run away and keep living a life of fear, or accept my offer and become a vampire like me?"
"Wait…you're a vampire?" Frank asked incredulously.
Turning from the young woman, Nickolai looked at the man with a look of utter disbelief on his face. "Are you serious, Frankie? You're just now realizing I'm a vampire?" he inquired. "What the hell did you think I was?"
"I…I thought you were a fucking demon or something!"
At hearing that, Nickolai howled with his eerie hollow laughter. "Oh God, Frankie…a demon?" he said, trying to speak in-between laughter. "See, now I know I have to kill you. You're way too stupid to let live." After controlling his laughter, he turned back to face the young woman. "So…made up your mind yet? I kind of need your decision now because the damn summer nights are so short and I still have people to kill tonight."
Shelly swallowed hard, and Frank could see she was struggling with the huge life changing, and possibly life ending, decision. After long moments, he saw that she had finally made up her mind. "I don't want to be afraid anymore. I want to be like you." she decided, struggling to keep her voice from quavering.
Grinning, Nickolai turned towards Frank and raised a hand towards him, which caused the injured man to flinch. "Good news, Frankie boy! Thanks to Shelly here, you get a little more time on your clock to keep breathing. I suggest you make the most of it because when I see you next? Souls in hell will consider themselves lucky when compared to the way I will make you suffer." A hole in the deadly barrier of darkness opened up and Frank saw his route of escape, the street that was normally lit up by street lights and natural full moonlight. He quickly made for the pathway, dodging the claws and tentacles that grasped at him and tried to drag him into the dark.
When he was finally free of the unnatural blackness, Frank hobbled down the street towards his house that he estimated was only several blocks away. He still held hope in his heart that if he could just make it home, somehow he would be safe from the vampire Nickolai. As if in a mocking response to his hopes, a loud shrill scream that he recognized as Shelly's pierced the night from behind him before it was suddenly cut short. Frank knew what made her scream like that and knew that unfortunately the same would probably soon be happening to him. That realization made Frank limp home even faster, hoping that he could maybe find a way to live to see dawn.
A/N: So people have been telling me to stop trying to fight it and let Nickolai tell his story, right? So what if my once planned two chapter story is now about five? Just tell the story! OK, fine...I could promise you that next chapter will really and honestly be the end, but I'm getting tired of being wrong, so we'll see, OK? BTW, to the person that said that Nickolai was too evil and wanted to see a more 'humane' side to him (a humane vampire, eh? Oooookay)? Here you go...this is about as 'humane' as he gets. Heh. Enjoy, peoples...Cheers!