TW: Blood, zombies (mentioned), cat death
In the middle of the day isn’t the moment when one would consider best to raise the dead. But the stars were in the right place, and the energy aligned just right, at precisely two fifty-seven in the afternoon. And that’s why I found myself stood before a mausoleum, spellbook and items in my cat leather bag (don’t ask), ignoring the funny looks I was getting from the funeral attendees who’d just laid their loved one to rest.
A loved one who wouldn’t be resting for much longer.
“Do you have any idea how distasteful that is?!” one older woman, we’ll call her Edith, spat at me. I adjusted the hood of my cloak, which hid the gown I wore on the regular. After all, I had to look good for my darling. I hadn’t seen him in years.
“I’m sorry for your loss.” I adjusted the strap of my bag, sighing. “Not for your physical loss. But for your loss of realisation that not everything in the world is designed to offend you, and doesn’t have to go your way.” I smiled at her this time. “Now, you’d better go and spend time with your family. While you still can.”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?!”
“You never know what the future holds.” I flashed her a grin. It wasn’t her fault her granddaughter’s blood smelled so heavenly… My teeth were already quite sharp. And she noticed. And she paled. And then hurried along, like a good little mortal.
I returned to the mausoleum, excited finally as I made a sign with my hand, and the lock sprung open. I stepped inside, ignoring the strained protests of the priest who’d probably long since lost the key to that place. There never had been a key. It had been locked by a spell and kept that way for years. Indestructible, the lock unbreakable, the walls impenetrable. The perfect prison for a monster to recover.
I closed the door behind me and sighed with relief as the lock sprung back into place. The priest would never know what had hit him. He’d seen me come in plain as day.
Inside the mausoleum, it was stuffy and dusty, with no air. No sound, either. Not even a bug could get in here. I lit some candles and turned to the coffins which lined the inside. Six simple wooden ones, unlabelled, three either side of a huge, ornate iron one. I lifted the lid of the iron one. The sight took my breath away. I reached into my bag for a bladder of fresh blood, stolen that morning from a blood drive. Pure. One that smelled the best from all of them. I’d had a snack myself, but I didn’t need to rely on transporting my blood when I could take it directly from source while people slept.
I opened the bladder and, carefully pulling my darling’s lips apart, I dripped it into his open mouth slowly. While it took effect, I set about opening the plain coffins. I doused each young body inside with a sigil of special oil I’d made, and then drew the correct signs in sand on the floor. With a mutterance of the correct words to bring forth the souls that had departed for the time being, I held my breath and waited.
“Hmm.” I tried again, checking my sigils and my energy, the alignment of the coffins…
One was slightly out of alignment. I fixed it, and tried the words again.
Four of them woke up, dazed and confused. But their bindings and gags kept them from moving anywhere. They’d be released when they were needed. Not before.
I did something new with the final two. But still, their souls wouldn’t come back down and inhabit their bodies. They were dead, fully dead. Yet I kept trying, because I’d promised him six good ones when he woke up.
“Come ON…” I murmured. I rooted around in my bag for another bottle of oil, this one infused with the energies of the moon and the sunrise. I dabbed a bit on, and tried again.
As I murmured the words, a soft voice called to me.
“Ava?” I snapped my book shut and moved to the iron coffin. I peered inside, met with the jet black eyes of my other half. My eternal twin flame. I stroked his icy skin, and he took my hand, pressing icy lips to it. “My darling… you came back for me.”
“Of course I did.” I kissed him softly, and then reached back into my bag for another bladder of blood. He took it from me, still weakened by the attack from the Catholic church all those decades ago. “And I’ve been raising an army in your stead… But my spell hasn’t worked on all of them, my love.” He sat up once he’d finished the bladder, his eyes sparkling. He looked revitalised, but a hunt wouldn’t kill him.
Nothing would kill him. He was a vampire, thousands of years old… just like me. Vladimr had changed me in the 16th century, on the anniversary of the day he’d denounced God and had come into his own power. We’d both haunted the world for millennia, and had remained strong in the face of those who would only seek to kill us. But the time had come for us to take back what was rightfully ours, and rule the world.
We would, of course, give the living a chance to be followers, and therefore live as halflings with us, or be food, and we would feast upon them. We had discovered technology that would keep victims frozen at the point of death, until we defrosted them and drank them. But in order to overwhelm the living, we needed an army. And what better following for the Undead King and his Queen, than an army of dead? And my skills worked, apparently, sixty percent of the time.
Vladimr stepped out of his coffin and stretched, pulling me to him in an embrace I had missed. There was once a time when we’d been a beacon of the perfect relationship… but the Catholic church had sent me into hiding. That’s why I’d built Vladimr’s mausoleum on sacred ground, with spells that the church couldn’t and wouldn’t break. Because the church could fuck off.
“You are a vision I have missed. Seeing you in your thoughts has not been enough. Tonight, I’ll have you. And then, we shall take our kingdom.” He kissed me again, and I felt the energy vibrate enticingly in the room.
“While I wait impatiently for that… the energy is ripe for us to raise our army. Come, my love.” He watched from the little throne at the end of the room as I painted a sigil in cat’s blood on the floor, and then drew the rest of the signs around the room as needed. And then, I said the words that brought the souls down from the heavens and up from hell, and reseeded their bodies in whatever form they were in. Some would be mere dust, unable to move… but most were strong enough, imbued with supernatural strength from my words, to break their coffins and rise from the ground. Dracula and I stepped from the mausoleum arm in arm to watch our army rise, the trial few behind us.
“Go forth, my soldiers, and take back the kingdom that belongs to us!” Dracula called, his voice carrying with the wind. He held me close, and I leaned into him, watching as our army of dead spread forth, the screams of innocent humans erupting beautifully.
“Tonight, we shall feast, my love,” I purred, turning to Dracula. He kissed me deeply.
“Blood of my blood… we shall be on top once again…”