They are Descending
Upon those who are Defending
Pray for those you Love
For you fly Above
Mother tucked me into bed as she sung my lullaby. She has sung it to me as long as I could remember. I loved falling asleep to the familiar lyrics and soothing notes of my mother's singing. I felt her kiss my forehead as I drifted off to sleep. Hours later I was woken suddenly by my mother. In the haze of my sleep, I could hear my brothers and my father moving in the next room. Mother pulled me from underneath the heavy covers and held me tightly against her. She smoothed my hair tenderly as she walked into the main room.
All the furniture in the main room had been moved and where our dining table and carpet used to be a trap door was open. Father took me from Mother as my brothers lowered her into the dark room. When Mother was finally lowered all the way down, Father kissed my forehead and passed me to Mother. I whimpered as they closed the trap door. Mother hushed me. Cracks of light illuminated my mother's worried face in the darkness. They disappeared as the carpet was placed over them.
In the small space of the room, Mother walked back and forth with me in her arms. She would rock me and softly sing to me. I'm not sure how long she did that. It was quiet upstairs. Then suddenly we heard something bang against the door upstairs. Mother stopped walking and tightened her on hold me.
There was a scrambling of feet as Father and my brothers moved to barricade the door. It didn't seem to stop Them. Heavy footsteps moved fast and shoved the furniture away from the trap door. As They tore the carpet away, the cracks of light reappeared. I could see Their faces. I cringed and hid my face in Mother's neck.
Father pushed them away and started to fight them. After a few minutes it grew quiet. A heavy weight fell onto the trap door. It was Father. Mother gasped. His eyes were open and through the cracks they seemed to stare straight at me. Blood started to drip down through cracks as well. A couple of drops landed on my face. I blinked with each one that landed.
Mother had clamped a hand over her mouth as she started to cry. She backed up into a corner and sat down on the dirt floor. She seemed to try to curl in on herself with me in her arms. As she continued to cry, I started to cry. She did her best to shush me.
They moved Father's body away from the trap door and opened it. Before either my mother and I knew, one of Them jumped down and tore me from her embrace. I struggled as the one holding me jumped back up into the main room and ran out of the house. I was able to glimpse the unconscious bodies of my brothers strewn about. As They carried me off into the night, my mother's screams were the last thing I heard.
Others were taken as well. I knew none of the other children. Right away they began the testing. They shaved my hair off; the golden curls that many had envied in my village. They told us to forget we had ever known. I missed Mother, Father, and my brothers. I would sit in a corner and curl into a ball and sing my lullaby to myself. It was so cold in there. They separated all the children. I don't know what happened them. All I knew was that They did things to me. They poked and prodded me in places They shouldn't have even been seeing. The pain They inflicted was so overwhelming. I thought I would die from it, but somehow I lived through it. Soon, I didn't notice the pain anymore. It was a constant companion. It's amazing what the human body can get used to.
At times, when I would sit in my cell with its white walls, I came up with all sorts of ways to end my suffering. But why give Them the satisfaction? They hadn't won yet. There was one area They were winning. Try as I might, I couldn't conjure up the faces of my family, but I could recall small things such as my name and my lullaby. Soon, that's all I had left; a name and a song.
I struggled each time They came for me. I bit and scratched at any exposed skin. They learned their lesson. After my first taste of blood, I craved more. I hungered for it. The idea the I could actually hurt Them excited me. I realized that I was becoming stronger. With each treatment, it took more of them to hold me down. I knew I was becoming an animal, but I didn't care.
The first time it happened, it was an accident. I had bitten down too hard on one of their necks. I realized its heart was no longer beating. I had killed one of Them. After that first time, I had felt a slight burning on my right cheek just underneath my eye. I lifted my hand to my face but I didn't find any kind of wound or any blood. I soon forgot about it.
It was not the last time I killed one of Them. It became a habit for me. I felt the burning came after each time I killed. By now, I was more than an animal. My physical appearance changed dramatically. My nails grew at an alarming rate, and they were almost impossible to break. They always had a hard time trimming them. At least once a day they had too. My teeth lengthened to become fangs.
I once saw my reflection in one of the few windows the complex had, and I was shocked, not at how I looked but of the color of my eyes and of what was on my right cheek. My eyes had once been the color of the sky but now they were a deep crimson. Underneath my right eye, were red teardrop shaped marks. I rubbed at them but they didn't come off. There were several of them. I wasn't sure how many there were because I couldn't count. I couldn't bear to look at my reflection for long. That was the last time I looked at my reflection.
They were starting to fear me. I blamed Them for their own fear for They made me into what I was. When They thought I wasn't listening, They whispered a word, vampyre; that demonic word. I couldn't remember what it meant but I knew I was not one. They were the monsters, the vampyres. All the days flowed together so time was all but a blur to me. My hair grew back in tangles. I killed more. I wanted Them to feel the same pain that had been inflicted upon me. Revenge was the only thing that kept me going in that place. I struck at anything and anyone that dared to come near me. I felt the burning sensation on my cheek more and I knew more of those crimson tears had appeared.
I never spoke. I hadn't in years. They thought since They had taken me so young that I had forgotten the power of speech. I could still understand every single word They spoke to each other. I hadn't sung my lullaby out loud for a long time, but I would recite the lyrics in my head.
One day nobody came. The treatments stopped. I knew They didn't forget about me for I was still being fed. Boredom was threatening to be the death of me. Then a loud explosion shook my cell. A click drew my attention to my prison door. I realized the security system had been knocked out. I didn't waste any time. I quickly pushed the door open to see if the coast was clear. No one was around. Taking a left, I came upon a hallway where the roof had collapsed, next to the rubble was a huddled mass of something. Stepping closer, I realized the mass was actually a small child, a girl.
When she looked up, I could tell she was surprised to see me. Her eyes widened and she gasped. Her eyes … they were a lighter shade of the color of my eyes, the color of blood. She was younger than me. Brown hair hung limply past her thin shoulders. I could almost her ribs through the thin material of the shift she was wearing. It appeared They had starved her. We just stared at each other.
"Mommy?" she asked uncertain. Mommy … it sounded faintly familiar. I shook off the feeling. I didn't want her calling me that. "Maggie," I corrected her. Maggie was short for Magdalena, but I wasn't going to tell her that. That was the first time I had spoken in years. My voice came out raspy. She seemed to weigh Maggie in comparison in with Mommy. I knelt down in front of her.
"Maggie," she concluded with a nod of her head. I nodded back at her. All of a sudden, she lifted her arms out to me. I jumped back. I hadn't expected her to move so quickly. It was obvious she wanted me to something but what? A memory floated up from the darkest recesses of my mind. I had done the same thing when I had wanted someone to pick me up.
Putting my hands under where her arms met her shoulders, I lifted her up to stand on her own feet. She barely made it to my shoulder. When I moved to walk away, she grabbed my right hand. I looked down at her unsure. "Martha," she declared pointing at herself. I continued on with Martha holding my hand. All the halls appeared the same to me. One thing puzzled me. Martha was the only person I had come across so far. Usually the halls were filled with Them in white coats.
Movement out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. I turned around. We had been followed. I didn't see anything but just to be safe I lowered Martha down near the wall. She whimpered when I wrenched my hand from her grasp. One look from me quieted her. Silently, I backtracked down the debris-laden hallway. Not too far down a figure was crouched in the shadows. I pounced, and the person didn't see me in time.
Using my body weight, I held the person down as they desperately struggled. Next thing I knew, Martha was trying to heave me up off the suspicious person. I sat up and leaned back on my heels. The person turned out to be a boy about Martha's age. When he sat up, black bangs fell into his eyes and he flicked them away with a hand. Red eyes glared me defiantly. Hair covered his ears and the nape of his neck. He seemed to be just as pale and scrawny as Martha.
Martha squealed with delight and barreled into the boy. She knocked him backwards onto the floor, again. This time the boy was actually able to push his attacker off. Martha fell to the side. When she saw the look on my face she motioned with her hands towards the boy and said, "Lazarus."
Lazarus was still glaring at me. Martha looked expectantly at me. I sighed. "Maggie," I gave in and told him. I stood as I said this signaling to Martha that we had to leave. She wasn't giving up that easily. As she stood, she took Lazarus's hand and pulled him up with her. He didn't appreciate it. As I led the way, Martha's arms was hooked in with the boy's. He had no escape.
Somehow I was able to find a way out of there. It led into a densely-wooded area. Martha looked on the verge of collapsing. I knew if she collapsed she would take Lazarus down with her. Luckily, the air was warm and the skies were clear. I stopped in a clearing and we settled down. I lay on my side in the at grass. Martha sat down next to me and leaned her back against mine staring up at the stars. Lazarus grudgingly lay down by my legs. Soon, I could hear the slight snore and even breathing of the one by my legs but Martha was content to stargaze. I fell into a deep sleep. I didn't know that that would be the last time I would sleep.
I woke to the sound of whimpering. I sat up and looked around. Martha was curled up beside me with her thumb in her mouth. I removed it, and she unconsciously tried to curl into my lap. Sometime in the night Lazarus had rolled away from me. I listened for a few minutes and realized the whimpering was coming from him. I gently pushed Martha away and slowly crawled over to him.
His whimpering steadily grew louder as I neared him. I laid my hand on his shoulder and drew him into my arms. I knew what was happening He was having a nightmare. I started to rock slowly back and forth. His hands gripped the thin material of my shift and again I remembered. This time I remembered a woman who used to sing to me when I was scared. I sang the only song I knew. I kept singing the same verse over and over again because it was the only verse of the song I remembered.
After a while Lazarus quieted down and sank back down into a peaceful sleep. I picked him up as if he weighed nothing and lay back down by Martha. I put Lazarus in between us and Martha put her arms around him as if she was hugging him. I looked up at the stars and waited for morning to come.
That night I had escaped the horrible place that had held me captive for so long. I swore that never again would I be imprisoned by anything or anyone. I thought about what to do with these two little ones. They didn't have anyone else but me and I them. I knew our escape didn't go unnoticed. Those monsters were going to come for us, but They weren't getting any of us back. I made up my mind to protect them. Nothing was ever going to separate us. We were in it together and nothing was going to challenge that.
I watched silently from the roof of the building unto the village square that was below me. A group of children was playing around the fountain. They kicked a rubber ball back and forth. The little girls squealed with laughter when they accidentally ran into each other. Martha squealed with them, her face shown with a healthy glow. No one knew what she was. To any stranger that saw her, she appeared to be an ordinary child having fun in the sun. If they looked closely they might have noticed her eyes, but in the light they looked brown. That's why I never let her play with the other children when it was cloudy. Her eyes were more noticeable then.
Though I barely worried about her anymore, I still kept watch when she went out to play. I enjoyed hearing her laugh. All those years of being confined hadn't dimmed her personality, possibly only made it stronger. Out of the three of us, Martha was the most sociable. At first I was apprehensive about letting her out of my sight, but I knew she looked at the other children with longing. She wished she was out there with them. Who was I to deny her the one thing she wanted most?
Lazarus was skulking about the city. He was content by himself. When I watched over Martha he sometimes sat with me. He listened very well never questioning when I asked him to do something. I knew that if I was any other person, I would use that to my advantage, but I wasn't about to betray his trust. I heard the wind, and I knew Lazarus had jumped and landed on the roof. In a few moments he was sitting next to me. Lazarus hadn't changed much since we had escaped. His hair had grown longer and he had grown an inch or two. His eyes had dimmed with the passing years. He stilled looked like a child.
It had been a few years since we had escaped. I didn't keep track of the exact amount of time. Martha and Lazarus's appearances changed a little; it showed that they were different from me. My appearance hadn't changed at all. I would probably be mistaken for a young girl just entering high school. My nails were still really long. I had to be careful whenever I was touching Martha or Lazarus. My hair hadn't grown at all. Martha informed me that my eyes were still the crimson they had always been and that the crimson tears were still underneath my right eye. I would sometimes catch Lazarus looking at them. He seemed to be fascinated by them. Once when he was especially fascinated, I knelt down in front of him, took his hand and ran it gently over the area of the area underneath my right eye.
As I did, he looked me in the eye and asked softly, "Did they hurt?"
"A little, but it was worth it." He smiled at me and I hugged him.
Martha was the only one of us who interacted regularly with humans. She could blend in. I knew Lazarus could as well if he ever wanted to. I would draw too much unwanted attention. So I sat and watched. The citizens of this city had no idea we were here. I prayed to whatever higher power there was that it would stay that way. My life was in a stand still now. I didn't eat, I didn't sleep; all I did was protect them, my family. Lazarus and Martha would grow old with time, but me, I would stay this very image for as long as I walked this earth. As long as they were here, my life had meaning. They are my loved ones, without them I was nothing.
I was happy for them especially for Martha. She was much more a child than Lazarus was. Such small things made her smile like finding a dandelion growing between the cracks of a sidewalk. She never plucks it as you'd assume other children would. I once asked her why she didn't.
"Because it tried so hard to find a place in this world all by itself. I would never forgive myself for taking away its chance to see what this world has to off. I'm glad I took a chance." When she was finished, she looked up at me with her red eyes filled with tears and wrapped her arms around me. I returned her hug. Many times like that I knew that Martha was more than what she appeared. On the surface, she was a happy child full of innocence and laughter, but underneath she was weeping. Her soul was far too gently for what it had gone through, even if she had come out alive.
A lot of times, I felt like the world was going to collapse on top of me, I often worried about where I would find their next meal and they would sleep. There wasn't much communication between those two, but I knew they relied and loved one another as much as family could. Never did I see them less than what they were, my family. They were there for me when I needed them and I hoped I could be there for them when they needed me. My only wish was to continue on being there for them.
Decades went by. Lazarus and Martha were looking older than me. They had grown up into fine adults. Martha was beautiful with locks of brown hair and a slim built body. The soft glow of her pale complexion only added to her beauty. If she and I stood side by side, she was much taller, a fact she was proud of. Her thirst for high society had drawn us out of that town a long time ago. Now we were residing in the capital city of some county.
Lazarus was much the same except for his black hair which he wore below his jaw. Martha had given him the idea of growing it out. Once he had, he liked it and kept it that way. I have to admit it only increased his appeal to the female population even more. He had been taller than Martha for awhile. He had to bend down to give me a hug. He was still quiet and thoughtful. Now that Lazarus was older he realized he could learn all kinds of things if he went out with Martha to interact with the humans. Martha often told me of the trouble she had with girls who wanted to ask Lazarus out.
They would come out of nowhere and try to start talking to him. Some even thought that Martha and Lazarus were a couple but then Martha would explain that they were brother and sister. The girls didn't always believe her because though they had the same color eyes and the same complexion they looked nothing alike. They just say that they're were adopted which wasn't too far from the truth. Lazarus never took up any of the girls who asked him on a date. I never did find out why. I was still the exactly the same.
Time saw more of us emerge, many pale-skinned people with red eyes. I was amazed at the shear number of them. Once in awhile, I would see one who looked much like me with claws and fangs. I could only stare at them. At first, the world shunned us for our differences but soon they grew accustomed to us. It was natural to see someone like us walking down the street. Humans were soon able to distinguish between the different types. Lazarus and Martha were known as the Vermeil for the color of their eyes and I was known as a member of the Cerise. I was the only one with strange teardrops on my face. Some referred to us as vampyres, but many refused to use that term when speaking of us. It was also inaccurate for though we may have been born in blood, we did not dwell in it. I hadn't tasted a drop of it for a long time and I realized that I did not miss the metallic taste.
I watched as Lazarus and Martha grew up even more. I met more like us as they came of hiding. I heard their stories and realized they were very much the same as ours. From our stories, the humans could conclude around the each of us were changed and possible how old we were. As I told my story, the humans couldn't believe me. From the few memories I had of my life before the change, they supposed that I could be one of the first.
With the humans' acceptance of us came the chance of an education, and both my siblings loved the idea of going to school. They graduated from college with honors, and I was proud of them. Soon afterwards, Martha started a family. She had met, fallen in love with and married a Vermeil by the name of Kemp. There was a great celebration at the birth of her first child. That was another way I was different from my siblings; Martha could create life within her. I had known for a long time that I couldn't bear children. When she let me hold the little bundle, I was in awe. This tiny thing would grow up to become a person who could feel love and joy. One day this being would be up running and jumping. I know the child couldn't have found a better mother than Martha.
Burgundy eyes blinked up at me curiously. I stared back. The world focused on me and the child I held in my arms. The small pudgy nose started to twitch, and out of nowhere a sneeze landed on my face. I was frozen in shock for a few seconds. I looked up and found that the sneeze had drawn the attention of most of the guests. "Just a sneeze," I remarked and smiled. Lazarus came up silently and handed me a handkerchief. Thanking him, I took it and gently wiped the remnants of the sneeze from my face.
Martha hurried over and held out her arms. That movement brought back memories of a scrawny girl with ragged brown hair with her arms out in the exact gesture. How different the scene was now. I tenderly placed the child back in Martha's arms where he belonged. She thanked me. Small arms reached for her, drawing her attention away from me, and directing it to the one who needed her. Martha sat down in the rocking chair and started to sing softly to the blanket-wrapped baby. As I turned to talk to Lazarus, I could just barely hear the song Martha was singing to her son.
"It's now his lullaby," Lazarus said quietly as we turned to watch our sister with her son. Martha's husband, Kemp, came to her and cooed nonsense to their son as Martha continued to rock her baby. My brother and I watched this scene, and I knew then that I had something to look forward to in the coming years. I knew that this baby would not be Martha's last and Lazarus would start a family as well. I smiled at thought of the house filled with nieces and nephews. There was a bad feeling in the back of my mind that wouldn't leave me alone. I knew that this peace we felt wouldn't last forever for sooner or later They were going to come but for now I wasn't going to worry about that. This day was for celebrations.
I was blessed with a brother and a sister who loved me, and now, I was an aunt. God must be truly looking out for me to have taken me from that place of pain and giving me all this, a life that was filled with family, love, and the promise of new life.
AN: I had this story up a few years ago but I took it down. This is the improved version. It's not the end of Maggie's story but only the beginning. Expect more.