Oswald’s Serum

Writing Prompt: You have just been bitten by a vampire. Thankfully you’re a geneticist and found a way to only keep the positive effects of Vampirism.

Oswald had been bitten, and already twelve hours had passed with the venomous cocktail slowly mutating his genetic make-up.

It was the Night Crawlers that had become an ever-growing pest, swarming the underbelly of New York. No one was entirely certain from where the hive had risen, or to whom The Blind were loyal.

The Blind. The lowest rung that resides upon the societal ladder of the Night Crawlers. These creatures accounted for over eighty percent of all who were turned. Gifted with the speed, the dexterity, and the ferocity of their Risen masters, but they would loose their sight, becoming reliant wholly on sonar. This reliance was a learning curve, and a steep one at that. The loss of eyes to the human mind is a terrible thing to endure. Not that these creatures were human any longer.

Abominations would better describe The Blind; with bare-naked wings tearing out from the shoulders, fingers webbed together, skin peeled back to reveal the soft and ever-flexing muscle beneath… these creatures would loose not only their sight, but their eyes too, so that their mouth instead consumed both the bottom and centre most thirds of their face. The nose would retreat back into the nostrils and of hair these creatures would be left with not a single strand. They were grotesque, demonic beasts that fed on the living, driven only by a hunger. A horde whose sole purpose in lifewas to tear cities down to the bone so that their Risen masters might come and reshape them.

In less than three hours Oswald would himself become one of The Blind. Already his sight was starting to blur, his once thick head of hair balding. He found too that his sense of sound was amplified, able almost to hear the faint flapping of a fly’s wings. A sound that grated on the nerves of his gently throbbing mind.

Sweat dripped steadily down Oswald’s brow, and with it a fog collected around the rim of his glasses.

The room in which he resided was in utter darkness, save for the faint flickering of a desk lamp. Already the light had begun to burn at what little was left of his sight, causing too the skin upon his face to break out in irritated hives.

Oswald held in one shaking hand a needle filled with blueish liquid. He placed the needle carefully between his teeth (which were forming into points) and strapped a band around his upper arm, tapping at a rather juicy looking vein. There was a hunger, growing within him and soon he would need to feed.

Letting out a shiver that ran from the tip to the base of his spine, Oswald took up the silver plated cross around his neck. It was a small thing, a simple trinket baring the mark of Saint Christopher. With the cross now in hand he started to pray.

If such as God exists, then hear my prayer. I plead that you’d listen, now more so than ever. Do not shun me, do not turn me from your light. Embrace me. Embrace my Science. Your Earthly paradise is upon the brink of ruin. Hell has Risen and it shows no sign of letting up the reins. I ask you, Almighty that may be, bless me with your grace. May we take together to this darkness, may we fight it… may we win.

Oswald had started visibly shaking, his body turning cold, his shoulders cracking beneath the skin. The serum he’d concocted wouldn’t prevent the change, he was quite certain there was no stopping it, but there was chance, a slithering of hope, that it would improve what changes would come. A chance that he might not be reduced to a servant of the Risen.

Taking a deep breath, needle clasped tight once more between his whiting hand, Oswald plunged the metal point into his vein, and with the slow pressing of the needle’s cap the serum was released into his blood stream.

And now we wait.

There was no joy in the time that passed. No knowing for certain what the outcome might be. Those hours were filled with the agonising screams of breaking bones and tearing flesh. A man’s mind running mad.

Where there had been a desk there now lay only splintered shards of old oak wood. The lamp that had sat atop it was thrown aside, the bulb inside shattered so that glass lay scattered across the floor. A thick tar-like past flooded the walls, seeping down onto the carpet, a carpet that had in places been ripped up revealing claw marks covering the bare boards below. The window had been smashed in a fitful rage, the curtains gently fluttering before the breeze, and from the deepest reaches of shadow, in the far corner of this distraught affair, the sound of whimpering rose up, into a howl…

“What am I?” the figure cried from within the dark, “Not a man of God… barley now a man of Science…” it wandered aimlessly from the shadows on thick feet with long, curling toes that had been bound together. As it came to the window, moonlight flitting through the curtains, the shape of wings came into sight. Thin, skeletal things without a hair or a feather upon them. Great talons lined the jagged tips of the wings, and the skin had been stretched taught enough to seem invisible against the light. “What am I?”

The face that regarded this creature in reflection, painted upon the shattered window pane, was far from human, and yet further still from Blind. Hollow eyes of black blinked back at a hairless skull with sharp hooked nose and pointed ears. The creature tried on a smile, and saw fangs in place of teeth. It shivered. Its skin was covered in an embryonic fluid, the same consistency of that which coated the walls.

“Is that truly me?” the creature lifted its head, reaching out with a hand. Ashamed of what it saw it let out a cry, tears of silver-white rolling down its soft-skinned cheeks. Then a sense of purpose flooded over the being, over Oswald that was. A promise he’d made in prayer, a prayer that had (however misguided) been answered. He was to fight, to seek revenge upon they who had turned him, those who had taken this life from him. But how to start?

Climbing up onto the window ledge, knocking out the lonely glass that remained with webbed fists, Oswald spread his wings against the night. He crouched there for a moment, basking in the moonlight. He felt no burn, no itch or breaking out of hives, something that any Blind creature would have surely been subjected to.

It mattered not if the light was of Moon or of Sun or even Artificial, it all burned in its own way. Sunlight had always been the most lethal, yet Moonlight too caused fever and madness. But Oswald felt no such thing. His mind was clear, of madness at least for now.

With a shrill, guttural shout that rose from deep within his chest Oswald launched himself out of the window, throwing his wings desperately against the air. Tonight he would discover just how well his serum had worked.

Copyright © K R Perry 2019

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