What Lurks In The Shadows

What Lurks In The Shadows

A Chapter by North Dakota
"

In a world plagued by unholy creatures, is there a hero for humanity?

"



A trembling body slowly traversed the dark city backstreets. On her way home, the young lady had made the grave error of traveling without a companion. For this, she would suffer, for a boyish young man with eyes as red as blood and hair as black as night skulked through the shadows of the alley, keeping her in his sight; a quick, dark flash bolting from one alley to the next in pursuit of his prey. She clutched her hand to her chest, finding it impossible to stop herself from trembling. An unshakable feeling informed her that someone was watching her, but she didn’t dare look back to see them. The lone woman’s pace quickened to a brisk stride as she attempted to lose the pursuer.


Life is a strange thing, isn’t it?


As her own pace increased, so did her pursuer’s. He emerged from the shadows of the alley, plainly following her through the street. Her heart pounded heavily in her chest as she hastily rounded the next corner. She had no idea who could be following her or why, but she just needed to get somewhere--anywhere that wasn’t out in the open with this man. Against her common sense, she quickly tossed a look over her shoulder, and what she saw horrified her to the core.


Why do we live? For what? To reproduce? To join something bigger than ourselves? Maybe we seek to discover the very reason why we were put here in the first place.


Behind her radiated two malicious eyes that shone in the pale moonlight. Her mouth opened, but the scream inside was suffocated by the overwhelming terror that had gripped her. For a few moments, she watched the predator in fear-struck awe, observing him as he approached. The boy’s dark hair blocked the majority of his pale skin from her gaze, but through the tangle of black locks, his crimson eyes pierced through, petrifying her completely. His lengthy tongue protruded from his jagged maw to lick his lips, showing her a quick flash of pearly teeth. With this motion, she turned and bolted, her sneakers loudly pounding against the concrete underneath her. With a grin, the boy followed in suit. Rounding another corner, she noticed the stalker hopping from wall to wall with one foot on each respective wall until he landed a few yards in front of her. A wild look in his eyes made it all too apparent that he was enjoying the game the two were playing. The terrified woman quickly spun around and took to a different alley. As she sprinted down the narrow walkway, the well-lit sidewalk soon came into view, allowing  her to breath a sigh of relief as she darted through.


Though whatever reason they may have, some seek to continue living. Some seek to live forever, no matter what dark means it may require.


Bursting from the cage of the back alleys, she couldn’t help but fall to one knee in a fit of heavy panting. Once she had taken a moment to rest, she turned her attention to the alley she’d just escaped from. She had to strain her eyes and lean slightly forward to see them, but they were clearly there. A pair of beady, red eyes getting brighter and brighter with every passing second. With a wide-eyed stare, she quickly stood and surveyed her surroundings for any possible sanctuary. Her gaze was hooked on a small bar across the street. A neon sign that read: “open” was all the invitation she needed to bolt across the--thankfully empty--road and burst through the door.


These selfish creatures who seek to save themselves from mortality are known as nosferatu, or in other terms, vampires. They have skirted death itself, giving themselves the power to walk this earth until the last hour of the last day, but how? How could any human acquire this power?


After she barreled through the front door and detained the attention of the majority of the establishment, the shaken young lady took a seat at the bar, clutching her hands in her lap. The bartender greeted the newcomer with a warm tone, allowing her to relax slightly as she ordered a drink.  After ordering then drinking about half of her cocktail, she began telling her story. She spoke of someone following--no, chasing her down the street. The bartender showed sympathy, but was skeptic towards her claims of red eyes and jumping off walls. He counted it as another rapist or murderer looking for a victim, but she swore to hell and back that it was something else, something… unholy.


Vampires had been around for longer than human history could clearly remember, and in that time, their origins had become quite muddled. All these works of art and fiction based on these creatures had left humanity to mock and berate the creature, believing it to be far too supernatural to exist in this world. Humanity believes that these creatures are nothing more than works of myth drummed up from fearful minds, but the truth is all too real, and all too dangerous.


After she finished her drink, the woman idled in the bar until closing time, swirling her finger around the mouth of the empty glass. As he began wiping down tables, the bartender noticed that she had no intention of leaving on her own. After awkwardly suggesting she began making her way out, the woman informed him that she didn’t have a car and that her apartment was only a few blocks away. Finishing up his sanitary duties, he decided to do the gentlemanly thing and escort her home after he closed up.


Though with the true origins long forgotten by the populace, some things still remain true. The light of the morning sun is deadly to a vampire, as is blessed steel driven through the flesh and into the heart of the nosferatu. But, even armed with this knowledge, there is no one who can combat against the brute strength and cunning of these creatures...or is there?


The car came to a slow halt as the bartender bid her goodnight and waved her off. She thanked him, waving as the grey blip of his vehicle disappeared down the road they had came from. She passed through the front entrance of her apartment complex and made her way towards the steel door of the elevator. As she waited, she couldn’t help but feel a tingling sense of anxiety. The tapping of her foot became quite sporadic as she imagined the horrible eyes of the man she had seen earlier that night. She threw several quick glances behind her, ensuring the fact that she was alone. She all but jumped into the elevator the moment the large doors slid apart.


She entered the apartment, closing the door behind her with a subdued ‘click’. The girl let out a heavy sigh of relief, placing her keys on the coffee table as she walked past. She flicked on the dim light of her small kitchen, then proceeded to peruse the fridge’s contents. After retrieving a frosty bottle of beer, she closed the door and returned to her living room, only to find a slim figure sitting in her recliner. He supported his head upon his hand as he watched her. That familiar twisted grin stretched across his face, revealing a set of teeth like that of a shark. She froze, dropping the bottle; this was the man who had been following her.

“Hi there...” he chuckled in a light, surprisingly jovial tone. “I didn’t get a chance to talk to you earlier.” the boy spoke with a pout, leaning forward in the chair. She sprinted for the door, but faster than a mortal eye could see, he blocked the path to the exit, displaying the fact that their earlier encounter had, in fact, just been a game to him. Before she could register what had just happened, he roughly gripped her by the face, hands squishing either side of her cheeks.

“Aww, that was rude,” he feigned being hurt by her actions. “we haven’t even had a chance to talk!” He emphasized the last word of his sentence by  throwing her across the room, causing her skull to roughly slam against the far wall. Blood dripped down from the back of her head and into her field of vision. Her head felt heavy; she was slowly passing out. As she sleepily blinked, she saw the intruder approach her. Every footstep of his boots resounded loudly on the hardwood floors as he kneeled down to her level. She attempted to stand, but there was no chance; she couldn’t move. He leaned in, nearly touching their foreheads together.

“How ya holding up?” he spoke, lifting her chin with his finger, then turning his head to look at the wound. “Yeah, yeah, that probably hurts…” he nodded as he dropped her head back down, causing her to wince in pain. “Don’t worry about it, though. I’ll fix it.” he bared his fangs as he pushed her head back up once again to reveal her throat. “I’m gonna make it alllll better.”


But not all hope is lost for the mortals. Unbeknownst to them, they do have a secret protector: seven guardians to battle the evil. Those who carry the knowledge of the paladin and seek to eradicate the unholy creatures of this world, and this one bares the name of…


The door behind the two slowly creaked open. Inside walked a man dressed in black slacks, leather riding boots, and a dark vest over a pristine white shirt.

“Sorry for being late, I’ve been kicking in doors for the last half hour.” He casually spoke as he entered the room. “Not gonna lie, caused, like, three grand in property damage on the way over here.” He ambled into the kitchen and opened the fridge. The two lying on the floor had completely paused to stare at this man who seemed to be in a whole other world.

“Who the hell are you?” The young vampire spoke threateningly as he stood to approach the interloper.

“Me?” He popped his head out of the fridge to speak momentarily, then quickly “borrowed” a beer. “My name is Mordecai Adams, pleasure to meet you.” He offered a handshake, but quickly retracted it once it was returned with a hateful glare. He shrugged, then popped the beer bottle open using the kitchen counter.

“I don’t know if you’ve realized, but this is a private party.” the vampire impishly quipped. Mordecai held a finger up, silently asking him to pause, as he took a swig of the bottle.

“Well then… guess that makes me the bouncer.” he shrugged, then quickly smashed the beer bottle upon the the young creature’s head. Mordecai then followed it up with a swift haymaker, causing the vampire to reel back and nearly fall onto the ground.

“I hate to break up this little date with your girlfriend here, but she has other plans.” Mordecai spoke as he retrieved a modified revolver from his inner vest pocket. “Ones that mainly involve not being eaten.” he said as he cocked the hammer and readied himself to fight. The vampire had recovered by now, and he attempted to lunge at the man, but Mordecai quickly sidestepped him, allowing him to noisily crash into the wall behind him. The monster began to stand, but Mordecai swiftly placed the barrel of the revolver against the back of the rising vampire’s head, causing him to freeze.

“Red light.” Mordecai spoke, then pulled the trigger. The endangered vampire leaped away milliseconds before the trigger was pulled, leaving the bullet to rip a large hole in his left ear then plunge itself into the floor. “Green light!” he jested, then followed the fleeing vampire through the room, revolver trained on him. The creature dodged two more shots, then bolted through the open door.

“S-Sir?” the frightened lady spoke.

“Not now!” he waved her off, then chased the creature down the hall.


The vampire quickly made his way down the stairs then out the door with Mordecai in hot pursuit.

Mordecai stood at the front door of the apartment, watching the vampire sprint down the street. With his target in sight, he took aim.

“Christ… Newman's gonna be really pissed off if I lose another one…” he thought as he took aim. With one eye shut, he took the shot; the bullet soared through the air and into the vampire’s left thigh, sending him tumbling to the ground. “Woohoo! Thank Jesus!” he praised the lord, then chased after his wounded target.


Back in the apartment, the woman had finally gathered the strength to stand. With trembling legs, she rose, then grit her teeth, the pain in the back of her head being all too apparent. She noticed that, lying on the floor, was a small bag in the kitchen. She carefully made her way toward the bag and bent down to grab it, minding her throbbing head. As she opened it, she found that it was filled with speedloaders full of silver bullets. This did not forebode well for Mordecai.


Back at the scene, Mordecai simply followed the trail of dark blood splotched to find his target. It lead him to the end of an alley, where he found his monster trying to scurry up the side of a wall.

“Aaaaaaand that’s Jenga.” he mocked the vampire as he raised his revolver once more. “That burns, doesn’t it?” He gestured to the wound in the man’s leg which was quite literally smoking. “I bet it does.”

“Goddamn you!” he shouted to the hunter.

“Yeah, yeah, save it, could ya? I have places to be.” He raised his revolver and took another shot, but missed. “Oh my god, just lemme kill you!” Mordecai groaned as he continued to fire the remainder of his rounds. The vampire serpentined his way towards Mordecai, who had just fired his last two bullets. Realizing he was dry, Mordecai reached around to his back and groped for the bag that was no longer there. “Oh… s**t.” he murmured as he was tackled to the ground. The vampire attempted to strangle Mordecai, but, using both hands, he held the monster at bay.

“Why….are you….so strong!?” the vampire shouted with genuine, indignant shock in his voice. Mordecai kicked him off and into the side of a dumpster.

“Lots of push ups.” As Mordecai stood, a glowing, silver cross with a green emerald in the center accidentally protruded from inside his shirt and rested on the center of his chest. The vampire, with a bewildered look on his face, pointed to the relic.

“And that?” he calmly questioned. Mordecai looked down to see the cross, then looked back to the creature, then back down to the cross.

“Oh… that. Yeah…” he slowly tucked it back into his shirt, then readied himself for a brawl. Both human and vampire cracked knuckles and rolled shoulders as they continued the battle.


Mordecai swung a right hook; the vampire dodged then retaliated with a hard knee to the stomach. Using this opportunity, Mordecai quickly gripped the boy’s shoulders, and delivered a powerful head butt, nearly breaking his nose. The vampire reeled back, holding his tender nose. Not letting up, Mordecai continued with two jabs to the vampire’s gut, then another solid right hook to the cheek. With a spray of blood and spit, the vampire’s head was roughly spun around by the force of the punch.


With a twisting motion, the monster slammed his shoulder into Mordecai’s gut, causing him to double over. He subsequently delivered a powerful elbow to the center of Mordecai’s back, sending him to the cold alley floor. Just as he raised a leg to stomp Mordecai, the downed hunter quickly rolled to the side and dodged the heavy boot. Curling his body, Mordecai quickly retrieved the silver dagger hidden in his boot. With all the force he could muster from his position, the hunter sweeped the vampire’s legs out from under him, sending him to Mordecai’s level. The moment the monster hit the ground, the hunter dove onto and straddled him. The vampire readied himself to throw a punch, but Mordecai beat him to it, delivering  swift blow to the center of his face, stunning him for a moment. But with the obvious disadvantage, the vampire ultimately continued his resistance. Mordecai delivered two more swift blows, a reluctant look on his face.

“Come on, man. Just stay down...please…” Mordecai weakly pleaded as he threw another punishing punch. Below him, the creature pitifully struggled, having suffered so much damage that he could barely remain conscious. With a deep exhale, Mordecai began raising the dagger. Realizing this, the downed creature flimsily laid his hands on the hunter’s arm in a vain self-preservation effort. With little-to-no effort, Mordecai shook off the feeble attempts at saving himself, then took a final look into the battered monster’s eyes. With one swift motion, Mordecai jabbed the dagger through the boy’s chest and killed him, causing him to let out one final, bloody cough as his head limply fell back, leaving his mouth open and his red eyes wide open in both pain and shock.


With heavy breaths, Mordecai took a moment to rest. He retrieved the blade from the vampire’s chest and carelessly dropped it to his side. Through his years of hunting, through every battle and every kill, this was always the worst part: when they became human again. The crimson in the boy’s eyes quickly vanished, and returned to the sad, pitiful look of a human who had lost everything. Mordecai gazed into those cold, dead, green eyes, remembering that they once belonged to somebody who was more than just a monster. He realized that those eyes once belonged to an innocent child, and that he had just ended that child’s life.

“Why...why would you do this?” He spoke to the corpse. “He gave you this life to live, and you chose to be greedy...” Those sad eyes seemed to stare right back at him, as if they wished to seek forgiveness from him. He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. Mordecai stood, being careful to not kick the body as he did. Making quick work to retrieve both his weapons, he returned to the boy and kneeled down beside him. Mordecai took the deceased boy’s hand in his as he produced a small wooden crucifix from his pocket.

“Come on, kid,” Mordecai placed the cross in the boy’s left hand, then crossed them both across his chest. “He’s waitin’ for ya.”




© 2017 North Dakota



Author's Note

North Dakota
Thank you for reading! Any criticism or comments are greatly appreciated!
*Re-written, hope you like it.

My Review

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Featured Review

I agree with Jay on several points. Primarily the concept of show don't tell.

I get what you want to do here. Introduce via a third party, the woman, so you can get a more entertaining entrance of the protagonist. You want to rush it, but the details you create by showing the reader the world you are creating for them are more important than the action. The story is, in some aspects, less important than how you present it. You could definitely benefit from some more detail, even going so far as to give a little background to even your more cursory characters would definitely color things up a bit.

Secondly, formatting. While formatting doesn't generally have anything to do with the written work, it will greatly benefit how much of your writing people will actually read. While reading (and yes, I did read the full chapter and intend to read a bit more to better judge the work) I found it a bit tricky to stay on point, particularly in the second half. Without proper spacing and alignment a text can be incredibly intimidating and discourage readers.

I understand that you usually use Google drive/docs to type up your writing, and while I hold that drive is a good file backup, this file formatting has the worst compatibility of any word processor. I would highly recommend using Microsoft Word if you can, but if that is out of the option Open Office writer and WPS Office writer are good alternatives.

As for spacing and indentations, this site has fairly poor means of formatting a document. I find it best to make sure my writing is in top shape in a separate processor first before copy pasting it over. Some formatting usually resets to the site standard, so I often find that I have to put the typeface back to Times in 12pt (size 3 I believe).

As for your other complaints, they are hardly necessary. Such intricate details are often overlooked and superfluous in modern writing. They do help, yes, but are not strictly speaking necessary. To those that would say otherwise, I would point to the Divergent series of books. I personally dislike them a good deal, and in my opinion they are utter trash in the storytelling department, but they're best sellers with a movie franchise. The entire original written series is also the result of about a month of writing, and very shoddy writing at that.

Personal complaints:
-You have some wonky wordings throughout the chapter, I would go through it and read it out loud (preferably to someone else) to try and catch these.
-And as a sub point to this, you seem to have some dialect phrases that aren't in the common English "handbook" that I might consider switching up to a more standard phrasing. If it were in character dialogue it would be fine, but as you're narrating in third person a clearer wording is much more favorable as you should want to make sense to your reader.
-The anime influence comes through a lot in your writing... like, really heavily. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but I would hope to encourage a little more independence in your voice as a writer. That, and the Japanese-esq voice is really... awkwardly... "floofy" if that makes sense, its the result of inconsistency between languages and shouldn't really be the goal of someone writing only for language.

Praise:
-I do like the comedic element, very much Hellsing abridged flavor to it.
-Interesting turn from the norm by making your main character (or apparent main character) not a vampire.
-Mid chapter there is an interesting switch every paragraph between "the action" and the voice of the narrator, which is at first a little confusing, but does have this sort of voice over feel that I like, and I feel that it compliments your writing fairly well.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

North Dakota

1 Year Ago

Okay, thank you for the feedback, I'll go ahead and correct it. By the way, yes, this chapter was ma.. read more
Outdated Account

1 Year Ago

I'm not generally one to bash, but there are hardly any boundaries set in this chapter. You actually.. read more
North Dakota

1 Year Ago

Well, it's less of the antagonist's visit, more of an overshadowing of something bigger.



Reviews

I agree with Jay on several points. Primarily the concept of show don't tell.

I get what you want to do here. Introduce via a third party, the woman, so you can get a more entertaining entrance of the protagonist. You want to rush it, but the details you create by showing the reader the world you are creating for them are more important than the action. The story is, in some aspects, less important than how you present it. You could definitely benefit from some more detail, even going so far as to give a little background to even your more cursory characters would definitely color things up a bit.

Secondly, formatting. While formatting doesn't generally have anything to do with the written work, it will greatly benefit how much of your writing people will actually read. While reading (and yes, I did read the full chapter and intend to read a bit more to better judge the work) I found it a bit tricky to stay on point, particularly in the second half. Without proper spacing and alignment a text can be incredibly intimidating and discourage readers.

I understand that you usually use Google drive/docs to type up your writing, and while I hold that drive is a good file backup, this file formatting has the worst compatibility of any word processor. I would highly recommend using Microsoft Word if you can, but if that is out of the option Open Office writer and WPS Office writer are good alternatives.

As for spacing and indentations, this site has fairly poor means of formatting a document. I find it best to make sure my writing is in top shape in a separate processor first before copy pasting it over. Some formatting usually resets to the site standard, so I often find that I have to put the typeface back to Times in 12pt (size 3 I believe).

As for your other complaints, they are hardly necessary. Such intricate details are often overlooked and superfluous in modern writing. They do help, yes, but are not strictly speaking necessary. To those that would say otherwise, I would point to the Divergent series of books. I personally dislike them a good deal, and in my opinion they are utter trash in the storytelling department, but they're best sellers with a movie franchise. The entire original written series is also the result of about a month of writing, and very shoddy writing at that.

Personal complaints:
-You have some wonky wordings throughout the chapter, I would go through it and read it out loud (preferably to someone else) to try and catch these.
-And as a sub point to this, you seem to have some dialect phrases that aren't in the common English "handbook" that I might consider switching up to a more standard phrasing. If it were in character dialogue it would be fine, but as you're narrating in third person a clearer wording is much more favorable as you should want to make sense to your reader.
-The anime influence comes through a lot in your writing... like, really heavily. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but I would hope to encourage a little more independence in your voice as a writer. That, and the Japanese-esq voice is really... awkwardly... "floofy" if that makes sense, its the result of inconsistency between languages and shouldn't really be the goal of someone writing only for language.

Praise:
-I do like the comedic element, very much Hellsing abridged flavor to it.
-Interesting turn from the norm by making your main character (or apparent main character) not a vampire.
-Mid chapter there is an interesting switch every paragraph between "the action" and the voice of the narrator, which is at first a little confusing, but does have this sort of voice over feel that I like, and I feel that it compliments your writing fairly well.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

North Dakota

1 Year Ago

Okay, thank you for the feedback, I'll go ahead and correct it. By the way, yes, this chapter was ma.. read more
Outdated Account

1 Year Ago

I'm not generally one to bash, but there are hardly any boundaries set in this chapter. You actually.. read more
North Dakota

1 Year Ago

Well, it's less of the antagonist's visit, more of an overshadowing of something bigger.
"Show don't tell"...and why have you got the piece right justified?

Posted 1 Year Ago


North Dakota

1 Year Ago

Yes, I felt as if the readers could fairly easily understand that "The girl" and "The lady" were the.. read more
Jaydaut

1 Year Ago

"You wouldn't say your main character's name fifty seven times, would you?"

Alright, .. read more
North Dakota

1 Year Ago

I must say, you have quite the interesting process, but I must say mine is a completely different on.. read more

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Added on February 17, 2016
Last Updated on March 14, 2017


Author

North Dakota
North Dakota

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About
I'm an amateur author who enjoys writing more than anything. I hope to improve my writing style and etiquette through the criticism of others. So, any review or criticism would be greatly appreciated,.. more..

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