Kyle slowly opened his eyes. His head spun like a Tilt-A-Whirl. His stomach churned and raged.
He was on the floor of a long-since-abandoned auto garage. Carts with cobwebbed toolboxes lay here and there along with hydraulic lifts that allowed mechanics to see the undersides of vehicles.
A dozen figures stood around him, each of them in red hooded robes, save for the man in the center. He was tall, bronzed, maybe six-six, had long black hair and an equally black trimmed beard. He looked to be in his forties. “So, boy,” he said. “You believe in God?” He looked Middle-Eastern and stood resolute with his arms to the side as he stared down at his victim. His teeth looked sharp, like fangs.
A terrified Kyle realized he was talking to him. Kyle didn’t know what answer the man expected to hear, so he decided to be honest. “Y-Yes.” He then added, “Please don’t hurt me.”
“Oh?” The man stared at him. “Won’t God protect you?”
“Well… yes.” But God hadn’t protected any of the others, had he? For the first time ever, Kyle’s faith—along with his very sanity—was being seriously threatened.
The man continued. “Christians. The people who love the Bible are the people who don’t understand it. It is not a book of love and compassion. It is a book of rage and oppression. ‘For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son.’ But what everyone forgets is the amount of carnage he inflicted on anyone who committed even the slightest mistake in the Old Testament. Chloe!”
A much smaller figure to the man’s left lethargically pulled back their hood to reveal a beautiful albino face. She looked to be no older than Kyle himself. Her white hair and pale complexion stood in stark contrast to the man’s. “Yes, Lord Kyrios,” she said in a voice so quiet Kyle barely heard her. So, the psycho’s name was Kyrios. That would be very useful information if Kyle managed to get away and contact the police. And this Chloe was his accomplice. Still, that was small comfort at the moment.
She handed Kyrios a very familiar book. “Let’s see how loving God really is,” he said and proceeded to read from the Bible. “Exodus 20: 4-6: ‘I, thy Lord your God am a jealous god who punishes children for the sins of their parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me.’
“Exodus 31:13-14: ‘Observe the Sabbath, as it is holy to you. Anyone who defiles it shall be put to death.’
“1 Samuel 6:19: ‘He smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had peered into the ark of the Lord, even he smote the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men.’
“1 Chronicles 13:10: ‘And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and he smote them, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.’
“Ezekiel 24:13: ‘Because I would have cleansed you and you were not cleansed from your filthiness; you shall not be cleansed any more till I have satisfied my fury upon you.’”
On and on this went, with this madman—whom Kyle was now convinced was a cult leader— Listing every negative thing God had ever done. The Heavenly Father killed a bunch of people for questioning Moses. He allowed Satan to torture Job and kill his whole family. He essentially mind-controlled the Pharoah into continually disobeying him so God would have an excuse to wreak havoc on Egypt. He wiped out Sodom and Gomorrah, and even Lot’s wife, in a single night. He inflicted a plague upon Israel, killing 70,000 people. He let King Herod kill all those babies. And the list expanded with every verse Kyrios could find.
These were the things you didn’t think about as a Christian. You brushed them off as God being God, doing what He has to do in order to keep the peace. God is just, Kyle always told himself. But when you were hit with all them like a Biblical machine gun, it was hard to brush off.
“Stop!” Kyle finally yelled. He was in tears now, no vestige of self-control left. “You made your point! Just stop.” God was good. God had to be good, or else there was nothing to live for. Kyle was breathing so hard, probably half the air in the garage was being sucked into his lungs.
“Made my point?” Kyrios shut the book. “No. I haven’t made my point. Not as long as there are still over two billion Christians in the world. In the grand scheme of things, I haven’t even uttered a whisper. Everything I do is on too small a scale. But that will soon change. Chloe.”
She stepped forward holding a syringe full of red liquid. “Hold him,” Kyrios commanded.
Two of the other cult members grabbed Kyle and pulled up the sleeve on his left arm.
Chloe approached. Kyle tried to resist, but these guys had him in the tightest grip he could imagine. It might as well have been a mountain holding him for all he could do against it.
She examined his arm.
“Don’t! Please!” Kyle yelled.
She stuck the needle in. There was a burning sensation as his veins lit up in a white light. A new consciousness assaulted his; someone seemed to be invading his head. He screamed and thrashed his head—the only part he could move. His lips drew back, undoubtedly exposing his teeth while threatening to peel right off his face. It was so horrible, in fact, that he repeatedly bashed his head against the wall behind him to knock himself out.
Chloe casually grabbed his head to stop him from doing that. She stared at him with dead eyes. He puked all over himself. He barely noticed the pain of his teeth growing into fangs as that was inconsequential compared to everything else.
After an indeterminable amount of time passed, the voices in his head—along with the burning—subsided. He continued to suck in ragged breaths. He was too emotionally and physically spent to say anything.
Kyrios explained, “Chloe just injected you with my blood. I’m part of you now.” This revelation cause Kyle to begin uncontrollably dry-heaving. Kyrios then said to his followers, “Unchain him.”
They did so. Kyle knew this was his chance, but what an absolute crappy chance it was. He was in no condition to make a run for it.
Kyrios dropped a dagger at Kyle’s feet. “Pick it up.”
“I need to illustrate a point to you.” This man had not once smiled. His demeanor remained that of icy steel.
Kyle frantically shook his head. “‘Thou shalt not kill.’”
“If you don’t, I’ll kill you here and now.”
A tortured Kyle agonized over his choices. He desperately wanted to avoid becoming a murderer like these people. But this really was his only chance, wasn’t it?
He reached over with a trembling hand and picked up the dagger. His whole body shook uncontrollably while he stood up on shaky legs. He leveled the blade weakly at Kyrios.
“That’s it,” Kyrios said. “Come at me.”
Kyle roared—screamed would probably have been a more accurate term—and lunged at Kyrios. However, he was abruptly overcome by an indescribable terror and dropped the dagger. Kyle fell to his knees and cowered in a fetal position.
Kyrios said, “You understand now. You don’t, but your body does. It recognizes me as a part of itself, like a limb. You can’t kill me without being willing to cut off your own arm.” It was then that Kyle understood: These guys weren’t human. For one thing, they were far too strong physically for people of their average size.
They effortlessly dragged him back and chained him up again. “What are you?” he said in a cracked voice.
“I call us shahid. You call us vampires. In the end, it makes no difference. Your kind has hunted our kind ever since the Crucifixion.”
Vampires weren’t real. They were a fiction created by Bram Stoker. Weren’t they?
As if reading his mind, Kyrios said, “We are much older than 1897.” Neither he nor Chloe looked very old, but then, vampires were ageless, right?
The horrifying truth dawned on Kyle. They had injected him with Kyrios’ blood. That meant he was now a vampire as well. He shook his head as fresh tears streamed forth. “Why?”
“Why do all this, you mean? And why let you live? Simple. I’m building an army of anti-Christian soldiers. If I haven’t already broken your faith, I will soon. You will join our cause, even if you reject us and fight separately.”
The revelation of being manipulated in this way lit something inside Kyle. “God will destroy you.”
Kyrios was unperturbed. “Open your eyes. God allowed me to do all this. We have operated without the slightest resistance from him.”
He worked in mysterious ways. That was the reason, surely. He was biding his time, letting these maniacs get comfortable. And then he would strike. “He let the Devil operate for a while. But even Satan will be defeated in the end. I’ll never join you.”
“Indeed, you shall. Even if don’t participate in the coming war, God will not be able to count you among his followers.
“Rest up, Kyle. Your training begins very soon.”
The cult members all left the garage except for Chloe whose job it was to keep an eye on Kyle and keep him from escaping. She sat on the other side of the room reading a trashy romance novel, the kind with an impossibly-chiseled, shirtless man embracing a fiery redhead.
He decided that maybe he could reason with her. “Listen, you don’t have to help these guys. Just let me go, and I’ll promise I’ll try to get the court to have mercy on you.” She didn’t even look up, so engrossed was she in her book. “Please. You know this is wrong.” Still no response. Kyle was getting frustrated. “Help me!”
“Quiet.” Her voice was almost a whisper.
Still staring at the pages, she said, “Reading. Busy. You’re noisy. Stop.”
“Oh, well, I’m soooooo sorry,” he said, his anger threatening to consume him. “Please forgive me for intruding on your precious reading time.”
“You understand. Good.” She said it matter-of-factly and her expression never changed. Something was very wrong with her mentally or perhaps emotionally. Maybe she was autistic? An autistic vampire? He had never heard of such a thing.
Reasoning wasn’t going to work. His only hope was to get himself out of this. However, he was still chained up. Kyrios had said he was a vampire now, but Kyle didn’t feel any preternatural strength or senses associated with being a member of the undead. He tried pulling on the chains quietly; he was afraid that if he grunted, Chloe might hear him.
But, after about ten minutes of this, he gave up, exhausted.
“Chains won’t break,” Chloe said, still unwilling to take her eyes off her book. “Too soon.” Did that mean it would take time for his strength to increase?
“Any idea of how long that will take?” he asked sarcastically. She didn’t respond.
Suddenly, the steel shutter next to him exploded inwards with a deafening scream. It flew at Chloe, slamming her against the wall. Kyle grimaced at the carnage; surely, no one could have survived that, and the Albino girl had to be paste now.
In strode another cult member who proceeded to rip Kyle’s chains apart like paper. “Let’s go.” It was a woman with a British accent. Why was one of Kyrios’ followers helping him? It didn’t matter, really. He had no choice but to obey considering the circumstances.
She led him outside. Across the street was a building with an LED sign that read “P.S. 76 The Magnet School of Health and Wellness.”
“Where are we?” he said.
She replied, “Queens.” She also had fangs.
Great. They were quite a distance from his hotel. He suddenly realized with a sickening feeling that he didn’t want to go back there under any circumstances.
She led him down the street. It was a lower middle-class neighborhood. He really didn’t know anything about Queens, but he could tell they were not affluent here.
They eventually made it to the corner of 38th Avenue and 11th St. Many of the buildings he had seen had been vandalized with graffiti. “Where are we going?”
“We need to get to Queensbridge Station. From there, we can get to my home.”
“Why are you helping me?”
She said, “Kyrios and I have a difference of opinion. He thinks we should have bloodshed. I think we should have peace.”
“But you killed that girl.”
“Don’t worry about her. It takes a lot more than that to kill one of us.”
They continued southeast on 38th Avenue. “Is it true? Am I really… one of them?”
The answer crushed him like a safe falling on him from the top of the Empire State Building. “Yes. I’m sorry, but it’s true. You are a vampire.”
He was suddenly furious with her. “Why couldn’t you have gotten there sooner? If you had, this wouldn’t have happened!” He knew she was his savior, but that didn’t change the reality of the situation.
They turned right on 21st St and continued walking past a Shell station.
She responded cryptically. “This is an opportunity, Kyle. You will have the chance to shape the future. God’s will be done.”
“And where was God tonight? My friends are dead, I’m a vampire, and…” His voice trailed off. It was too painful to speak anymore.
“You’ll be able to rest soon. I promise.”
They arrived at Queensbridge Station and descended the steps. The mysterious woman took off her cloak and exposed the underside which was black. She folded it and put it under her arm. Now, Kyle got a good look at her.
She was a little taller than him with long chestnut hair. She looked to be in her early forties, though no wrinkles shown on her face. She had piercing emerald eyes. Astonishingly, she wore a pastor’s pulpit gown. He still didn’t know her name, but was too emotionally and physically exhausted to ask any more questions.
They took the subway to Manhattan where they proceeded to walk to Greenwich Street. Kyle was about to drop dead, but his savior said cabs and ridesharing services couldn’t be trusted since some of the drivers worked for Kyrios.
Eventually they came to a rundown church which clearly hadn’t been used in years. It was sandwiched between a delicatessen and a law firm, both of which, unlike the church, were obviously still being used regularly.
She pulled out a key and unlocked the door. They stepped into a dark narthex. Within moments, the lights came on, revealing a nave with two columns of pews. The stained-glass windows depicted various scenes from the life of Jesus: his birth, baptism, Last Supper, crucifixion, etc.
“Welcome to St. Rosemary’s,” the woman said.
Kyle staggered forward and collapsed into a back pew. He had expected it to be filthy, but it wasn’t.
She continued. “We’re near the World Trade Center Memorial. This building was abandoned after sustaining damage on 9/11. I bought it under a fake name and renovated it in secret.”
“And just what is your name?” Kyle responded.
She came up behind him. “My name is Ursula Southeil. I’m not from around here, originally. I was born in Knaresborough in the UK, but that was a long time ago.”
“Yeah, you’re immortal, so I guess it would have to have been.”
“You’re immortal now, too, Kyle.”
He gave a heavy sigh. “I need to call my parents. Let them know I’m, well, not all right, but not dead, at least.”
She shook her head. “That’s a bad idea, Kyle. Kyrios has agents all over the country. He’ll try to use your family to get to you.”
A sudden spike of emotion gave him a burst of energy. “You can’t be serious!”
“I am serious. If you want to keep them safe, you’ll cut off all contact with them. I’m sorry, but that’s the reality of the world you’ve just been dragged into.”
He began sobbing. “This wasn’t supposed to happen! God was supposed to look out for us! We’re his children, aren’t we?”
“Yes, we are. But our Father’s role isn’t to keep us safe at all times. It’s to keep us strong. I know you don’t feel like it now, but you will soon become stronger than you ever thought possible.”
He let out a hysterical laugh. “I need some sleep. I’m losing my mind.”
“I recommend only a few hours of sleep tonight so you won’t be too rested in the morning. Don’t forget: You’re a vampire now. You can’t be up during the day.” He had hoped that part wasn’t true. But his hopes, like everything else in his life, had turned against him tonight.
* * *
Angelica strolled through the terminal at LaGuardia. Her flight had arrived late from Rome only a few minutes ago.
To hide her profession, she simply wore a long, brown, breezy dress and black-rimmed glasses. Her dark-brown hair was pulled into a pony tail which came down to her shoulders. In addition, she carried a heavy steel case with ease.
She walked past a couple of security guards. Her enhanced senses enabled her to hear them whispering. “Hey, take a look at that woman.”
“What about her?”
“She has special clearance. Didn’t have to go through security.”
“She some kind of government agent?”
“Yeah, but not our government. A little farther east.”
She walked out of earshot. She didn’t need to hear the rest. They could talk all they wanted as long as they didn’t impede her mission.
After all, her job was everything to her.
About the author
I'm a science fiction and fantasy author living with Asperger's. I've published 10 novels and a few short stories thus far. I decided to join Vocal in order to share stories that are fiction and non-fiction.