Time has become meaningless. I can sense the rise and fall and the wax and wean of the moon, but I’ve long past the point where it matters. I am a forgotten relic.

They used to watch over me, wary of any changes and They have remained vigilant for many lifetimes—passing down, from father to son, the responsibility of guardian and the knowledge with which to prepare themselves for corrective action should change take place. But of course, time devalues all things. Each generation of vigil grew more indifferent than his predecessor until, eventually, no one came or cared.

The world lived on without me, just as They had intended.

And so, I reside here, in this unmarked grave, for longer than I can recall. My motionless body, a dried husk in the earth, imprisoning my mind, waits for… for what? The end of eternity, I suppose. I don’t have much say in the matter. I’m a slave to time and fate, and fate has firm control of my reigns.

When last was I in control? My final night of freedom?

It was a blood bath.

– – –

I was drunk with power, glutting myself on the life-force of men distracted by war. I cared little about the reasons or results of the conflict. The Polish and Lithuanian’s uprising against Teutonic rule—paltry bickering of feeble men and I was no longer one of them. My strengths and abilities were developing far faster than the world around me. I believed myself nigh invincible.

War raged through the land and I gladly accepted its invitation for indulgence—deaths were expected, blood spilled in abundance, and no one questioned wounds or hunted for missing bodies. I could feed freely without all the games and subterfuge. Yet, despite this reprieve from scrutiny, one still needs to retain a sense of caution.

Temptation got the best of me.

Feeding at the battle’s fringe, I pulled men off their feet and into the shadows along the cliff basin. I drained nine men—six too many—before I was forced to purge. With my vision blurred and my legs weak, I fell to my knees. Consumed blood vacated my body like the violent purge of water through a broken dam. The crimson pool was massive.

A small band of men saw the lake of death oozing from the shadows and were compelled to investigate. I spat the last bit of bloody bile and stood in time to see four Knights arrive. They stopped at the pool’s edge and stared with jaws agape. I wiped my mouth with a long drag of my sleeve and stared back.

It didn’t take long for them to see me as a threat to the religious purity of their world. I witnessed the realization change their expressions from wide-eyed pallor to tight-lipped scowls with hooded eyes.

“Go back to Hell where you belong, Demon.” The lead knight said, pointing his sword at my throat. His silver armor glistened in the vibrant moon light. His dark green eyes stabbed from behind a sharp angular nose. His shield and helmet trappings spoke of nobility.

My senses stabilized. Hunger returned, gurgling and aching in my empty stomach. Overconfident again, I smiled. My sharp, two-inch-long fangs glimmered like their armor. “Hell? What do you self-righteous soldiers know of Hell?”

“Enough to know that you are a blight upon God’s earth and we must see to your destruction.” To his credit the Nobleman held firm, unwavering despite the sight of my razor-blade smile.

“Choose your next actions wisely Nobleman! Your mistakes might come to haunt your descendants.”

“You’ll not pester anyone from the bottom of your grave,” he said and swung two fingers through the air.

I leaned forward, preparing to lunge, when a flurry of flaming arrows pelted my chest. I stumbled back against the cliff wall, batting at the flames.

“Bleed him out and let him burn.” The lead knight looked me in the eyes as he ordered my execution. The others rushed in, swords drawn, and stabbed me repeatedly. I tried to fight back, but without sustenance and my own life-force draining away, it accomplished little. Then the nobleman stepped in and slit my throat.

I crumbled to the ground with my flesh crisping in the flames and my blood soaking into the soil. Consciousness faded from me as I caught his final orders for my disposal.

“Cover the demon in leaches and tar, then bury him in the forest.”

– – –

Many generations later, I lay buried and bored, deep in the Bialowiea forests of Warmia. The blur of time, relentlessly marching, has silenced my inner obsessions over the how’s and should-of’s, the dreams of retribution and plots of revenge. Chalk it up to the erosion of hope, if you like. I prefer to label it as patience.

Tonight the moon is high, full of promise, and it seems I have guests.

Two hikers veer from the path and stop above me.

Through the dense earth between us, I could sense their steps, their weight, and their heartbeats. Muffled voices filter down to my sensitive, dried-out ears. They’re a youthful male and a female couple, talking and laughing. Then a flurry of movement, mostly from the heavier male, before each thumped to the ground. Sitting?

Maybe he set up camp for the night. No, it was a moonlit picnic, the odors of bread, cheese, and grapes… correction, wine, wormed into my sinuses like a wraith through cemetery soil. My empty stomach turned.

They ate and drank amid short bursts of conversation. I could hear the wine in its work to lighten their tongues and heavy their limbs. Their hearts beat faster. Their blood flowed more freely through their veins. It was an agonizing tease, an unnecessary torture before the inevitable return to solitude.

Of course, when the refreshments were gone, their appetites shifted toward each other. Fumbling, chaotic thumps and knocks against the earth soon found rhythm. The percussion of love worked toward a crescendo, accompanied by moans and whispered pleas. My stomach turned again, but a sudden shift drew my full attention.

The air pressure changed. I could feel a greater density like a charge that precedes a lightning strike. Their hearts fell out of sync. Their rhythm slowed, becoming disjointed.

She whispered a question in a voice still overwhelmed by passion.

He answered with action.

Thrusting, he stabbed deep into her, over and over, but not with his member—he used a weapon of a different kind. The woman’s gasps and coughs played to me like a symphony. The sensation of surprise was exquisite.

Her gurgling breaths told of punctured lungs and severed arteries. I could feel his hatred for her, pulsing from his heart in shock waves that tickled my bones and weighed against my chest. He shouted obscenities, punctuating each with another blow from his knife.

“Whore! You had to sleep with him. You tainted your chance at salvation. And now you’ve ruined mine. Damn you! Slut!”

The pungent scent of her blood birthed my hopes anew. My bones quivered in anticipation.

Pumping away more and more of her life-force, her heartbeat slowed to a stop. Her killer flopped back and fell still, whimpering in the night air.

Blood trickled down through the soil. The first drop hit my sternum. With the leaches and tar bindings long withered to dust, the drop absorbed uninhibited. It felt like ice against skin baked in the desert sun, a burning cold that takes your breath away.

More claret drops reached me, soaking into my brittle flesh, and reactivated my cells. The drips grew into steady streams, painting my corpse crimson. Tendons stretched and fused to bone. Muscle fibers rehydrated. Organs swelled and pulsed. My body burned under the fires of rejuvenation—the pain was both unbearable and exhilarating.

I sucked down my first breath and clawed for the surface.

Finally free from my grave, I stood tall, brushing dirt from my shoulders. With a deep breath I took in the night sky—at last, one again with the lunar pull.

The man’s whimpers turned to screams as my eyes found his. He fumbled to his feet and tried to run, but I grabbed his shoulders and lifted him in front of me. Face to face, I took in his dark green eyes pleading from behind a sharp angular nose. I smiled at fate’s ironic sense of humor.

“How’s your family, boy?”

~ Tyr Kieran

© Copyright 2012 Tyr Kieran. All Rights Reserved.

Diagnosis: FEAR

“Dr. Anton Strah M.D. August 12th, 2011, 8:46 am. Patient #34, Mrs. Johnson, will arrive shortly for her appointment. This will be our 9th session. Mrs. Johnson has shown significant signs of debilitating fear and phobia. She is scared of her future, fearing for her well being in the days to come.”

The man placed his recording device gingerly on a polished end table. He sat in a tall leather chair, his right leg draped over his left at the knees, exposing a few inches of pale, imperfect skin above the sock. His age was starting to show in new colorations across his body, but his lean face still clung to a somewhat youthful complexion and his gray hair projected experience and intelligence rather than an air of depreciation.

Leaning against the right armrest and pursing his lips with effort, the doctor burrowed into his pants pocket for a tobacco pipe and matchbox. He lit the Revyagin and, waving the exhausted matchstick through the air, he sat back with a sigh. His posture eased as he puffed. A few moments later, still staring reflectively at the far wall, he continued speaking to the empty room.

“In paranoia, Mrs. Johnson has closed herself off from the world, keeping communication to an absolute minimum. She has begun to lash out violently at the people around her. Over our few sessions, she’s regressed to more instinctual behaviors. There is much more to unearth here, but current findings and theories are as follows:

“Mrs. Johnson’s fear, along with all previous patients, follows a natural progression that begins with anxiety. This first stage is quite common. Anxiety is a wide-spread occurrence in society. It is one of several emotional manifestations of what I’ve come to call the Fear Index: Anxiety – Fear – Horror – Terror.

“Experienced emotions progress sequentially—one building upon the other. There are many variables that affect the speed of progression along the Index, some examples of which are re occurrence, personality traits, life experiences, and sobriety levels, but the sequence always remains intact.

“In some cases—let’s call upon Mrs. Johnson’s reactions of horror during session 2, for example—it seems the initial emotional reaction is from the top end of the Index, but with close examination the theory still holds. The stages are indeed experienced consecutively, simply at an accelerated pace. After all, one cannot experience horror without anxiety, nor terror without fear. The logic behind the Index becomes clear when each stage is defined.

  • Anxiety = Stress caused by minor and/or subliminal worries or problems.
  • Fear = Amplified anxiety from unknown dangers, real or imagined.
  • Horror = Fear coupled with knowledge; knowing what dangers will or are happening.
  • Terror = Horror with understanding, realization of helplessness and lack of control; the danger is imminent and inevitable.

“Physical variances within my patient group seem to have had no affect on the uniformity of their reactions. The noted physical characteristics are as follows: gender, nationality, age, height, weight, and physical deformities/limitations. Unpredictable variances have occurred, however, from psychological characteristics, which are, of course, more difficult to identify and catalog without more extensive analysis. Therefore, I have decided to allocate more time in that area.

“Taking Mrs. Johnson, again, as an example, she has displayed a fascinating speed variance in her Fear Indexian manifestations based on Motherhood. Her own distress yielded more subdued reactions than in the situations which focused on her offspring.

“This variance has also occurred in other patients and their array of relationships, indicating a solid pattern of behavior. Even in documented studies where the direct distress was greater than that on the familial connection, the pattern persisted.”

Dr. Strah fell silent for a moment. Puffs of smoke danced and whirled before his calm blue eyes like ethereal projections of the gears working in his mind.

“It never ceases to amaze me, this contradiction that all humans have in fear and violence. We try like Hell to avoid problems and stress. We run from confrontations and shelter ourselves with paranoia and antisocial tendencies. We scoff at the military. We shake our heads at the news. But we watch. Oh yes, we watch. And they continue to feed us violence and fear, because it’s what we want. It’s what we crave: rubbernecking at car crashes, dangerous sports, bloody horror movies, stunt videos gone wrong, snuff films, war after war after war. It’s clear we can’t live without fear and violence… our lives would lose value and become utterly meaningless.

“Ah, but I’ve run off track. So… today’s session with Mrs. Johnson will pick up where session 8 ended. I anticipate the three days between sessions has served as a period of recuperation for her, and a catalyst for amplifying the direct link to her phobias through reflection.

“I also anticipate that it will take little prodding to send her up the Fear Index. Once at top of the Index, her comprehension will be documented and discussed in the hopes of seeing improvement in her current destructive and rebellious behaviors—the road to acceptance.”

A buzzer cut through the doctor’s thoughts, humming sharply on the phone next to his recorder. With calm slowness, he tapped the embers from his pipe and propped the sculptured briar against an ashtray. Depressing the illuminated button on his phone, he answered the call. “Hello, Edward? Allow me a moment in preparation then please bring her in.”

“Of course, Doctor.”


Dr. Strah, with recorder in hand, walked around the leather chair and back to a massive desk. The path beneath his shiny Oxford shoes changed from carpet to tile with a sudden clacking rhythm. A nearby coat rack supplied him with a white clinical jacket. Depositing the digital recorder on the desktop, he opened the upper-most side drawer and tugged twice on the latex glove box, as if pulling tissues from a dispenser. With sounds of stretching rubber, he pulled on the gloves and laced his fingers for a snug fit. Then, he pocketed a vial of clear liquid and a syringe before closing the drawer.

The double doors behind him opened as Edward wheeled Mrs. Johnson into the room and positioned her at the center of the tiled flooring. He was impeccably dressed and groomed in a manner identical to the doctor; black and white semi-formal attire topped with an earth-toned sweater and lab coat, slicked back hair, short beard, even the rubber gloves. He was the spitting image of a young Dr. Strah, if one could only ignore the thick scars that ran down his cheeks like streaming tears and the vivid oddity of his hetero chromatic eyes—bright blue in his right and vibrant green in his left.

Edward walked around her gurney, locking the wheels and checking the straps. Satisfied, he placed a gentle hand on her shoulder and leaned in to offer her a warm smile before going about his work throughout the room.

A bright light kicked on as the doctor stepped over to the gurney. He held up the syringe, filling it with liquid from the vial. “Mrs. Johnson,” he said, leaning close. “It’s good to see you again.” She squeezed her eyes shut. He pumped the hammer on the syringe, shooting a stream of morphine into the air. “Let’s begin, shall we.”

Bringing the needle down in a swift, sure arc he injected himself—eyelids fluttering as the cold tingling rush coursed through his veins. He moved his eyes across the room in a slow sweep of fascination and wonder. Eventually, they settled back on the woman and he smiled in a wide jackal’s grin. “Much better.”

Edward wheeled over a cart brandishing an array of metal tools that shot a band of reflected light across Dr. Strah’s face.

Mrs. Johnson’s quick breaths neared hyperventilating levels. Tears ran down, collecting in the curves of her ears. Her gag only allowing muffled vowels and whimpers.

Selecting a scalpel from the tray, Dr. Strah spoke with a calm passion.  “As always, please depress the appropriate button to indicate your emotional level. And remember, this is for posterity, so please… be honest.”

~ Tyr Kieran

© Copyright 2012 Tyr Kieran. All Rights Reserved.