What would you do if you could make fantasy become reality?
By Stephen A Abell
Number of Words: 5196
The disused warehouse looked like all of the others they had acquired over the last three years, and was just another victim of downsizing, not only the workers were left to die and rot. Inside and out it was dank, dusty, and graffiti covered the filthy walls; the rancid stench of stale urine and rotting faeces hung lightly in the air. One blessing being the area was large enough so the smell could dissipate, a little. Neither, Conner or Doyle, cared about the shabbiness, it would serve its purpose, besides they would only be in the warehouse for one day. They had rented the space for two months, in which time the tech-geeks arrived and, in the first month, wired up over a hundred motion-sensor-activated cameras. These were officially designed for use by government agencies in covert operations. Their smallness made them easy to place surreptitiously throughout the warehouse. All were wireless and would send their images back to the main power-computer, in the fortified office. A team of panic room builders constructed the office out of twelve-inch thick steel structure. They then surrounded it with a further ten inches of reinforced concrete, finally finishing it off with materials to match the build of the warehouse smearing it with dirt, dust and grime, rendering the structure nearly invisible.
A week ago, the techies moved in. This small group, consisting of two boys and one girl, all in their early twenties, would stay here until the end of the ceremonies. They set up the computers and transmitters, then went about their real work.
Spike; in charge of advertising and money taking, had opened over one hundred overseas accounts, through which the viewers money would wash its way, finally dividing into five different amounts, in five different banks. He vetted all of the sponsors for the upcoming event, running in-depth reports on all of them; hacking into police files for background, tax offices and banks, to check their financial balances.
“I am” The Master; set up the internet connections and tested them over a thousand times, routing the signals of myriad IPS connections to disable tracking. He fine-tuned his “foot-stompers” to squish the internet spiders that may latch onto their connection.
Drusilla; ran countless tests on the cameras and the visual software, until she knew every angle from every camera, so the live feed would run smoothly and look professional. Rewriting the program should any bug occur.
Yesterday the two heavy steel caskets turned up. They now stood at either end of the long floor, gleaming in the artificial light. Etched into each side was a different runic symbol, what they stood for nobody quite knew. The difference between the two being a numeric one and a numeric two etched in the centres of the runic symbols. The doors locked with a five-point locking dead-bolt system. The only way to open them was by wireless control from Spike’s laptop. Standing next to them were the weapon racks. Each held various swords, axes and other archaic weapons.
The Ford Sierra that cruised into the murdered industrial estate had been chosen for its looks. When new, it gleamed a bright fire red; now it was a multitude of reds, dirt and grime. Both the front doors had been replaced with burgundy coloured ones and the passenger side door bore a deep and wide dent. Within the dent, paint flaked off to reveal the grey undercoat and silver metal beneath. On the rear windscreen, a crack penetrated the glass from the driver’s side to mid point. The salesman had seemed earnest in his sales patter, stating the garage was to replace the glass in a couple of days. Neither of his audience gave a shit about the windscreen or the car, they politely told him it did not matter. They knew in a couple of days the car would be at the bottom of some ditch or ravine. At this moment, however, the automobile drove past the warehouse, without slowing down, and passed a further four empty properties on the block, turned a corner and stopped under a disused loading bay. The driver’s door opened and Marilyn Manson ripped the silence apart with his rendition of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”. A few rooks took to the wing with a screech of disgust. Sounds of a heavy struggle came from the passenger side as the occupant strove to open the damaged door. The door swung free and deposited its aggressor onto the tarmac. The crumpled form pushed itself upwards with an audible “Fuckin’ thing” and proceeded to dust the road dirt from his leather trousers. From behind the wheel, another leather-clad figure slowly clambered free.
Conner turned off the CD, giving the industrial graveyard its hallowed silence back, and popped the boot while Doyle retrieved the long black leather coats from the ripped back seat. Up above them the heavens growled and began to cry. Conner’s lead black lips smiled as he slid his arms into the coat. “Great day for a fight,” he laughed. His face turned up to the rain, the mascara running in rivers down his cheeks added to his persona.
“Come on, Con.” Doyle replied, “We gotta check the caskets before the ritual.” He opened up a black umbrella covered in a silver spider web pattern, and started off towards the warehouse.
“Yeah, time to bleed, baby.” Conner skipped merrily after him.
“Hey, look who’s arrived to bask in their glory.” Dru’ spoke to the others as she thumbed towards the bank of monitors on the wall. Five of them showed different angles of Conner and Doyle as they strode into the building, stopping to check the preparations.
“Yeah, fuckin’ Beavis & Butthead.” The Master intoned with more than a hint of sarcasm. “We do all the work and they take all the money.”
“To be fair,” Spike put in, “we don’t do all the work. There’s the teams before us.”
“Oh, come on Spike,” Dru’ shot one of her killing looks at him; her piercing blue eyes shot straight through to his heart and left it bleeding, “you know who arranges for the builders and ‘tricians. Mat, does.”
“Less with the first names Dru’; just the handles when we’re workin’”
A soft, sexy, silkiness cascaded from her full blood-red lips, “Yes, Master. No, Master. Three, fuckin’, bags full, Master.”
“That’s better.” He laughed, looking at the new spark that twinkled in her deep-blue-sea eyes. I could drown there, he thought to himself, and I wouldn’t fight, not one little bit. But said, “And you better not forget it,” as he twisted back to view his own monitor. “If the boys are here, we only have a few minutes before the show goes live. Spike what time did you give the punters for the main event?”
“Knowing our two ring-masters, there, I set the time loosely between midday and four. Look its half one, that’s early for them. They usually cut it fine.”
“Yeah, bein’ billionaires can make you loose sight of the smaller things … like time.”
“And friends.” The sadness dripped from Dru’s every word.
“Yeah, babe. Money and power can do that to people. Turn nice Goth boys into complete Goth arseholes. I mean, take a look at the getup their wearin’. What’s with all the shiny leather? They look like an advert for an S and M mag. And that fuckin’ gay ‘brolly, please. And Conner should realise there was only one Crow; Mr Brandon Lee.” The Master smiled as he heard the chuckles coming from his friends.
Conner and Doyle strode through the open fortress doorway. “Say, what’s so funny guys?” Doyle asked.
“Nothin’ D.” Dru said, spinning back to her work.
“Well, ain’t nobody goin’ to say hi and hello to us,” Conner planted his bum on the desktop next to Spike’s laptop, with a creak of leather, “didn’t anyone miss us?”
“Yeah Con’. We missed you, just like you missed us.”
“See you’re still the same sarcastic bastard as always Master.”
“Fuck you.” There was no sarcasm in his voice this time; it was deadly cold. “We all went to the same college. We were all the same kinda losers. Can you remember how we all met?”
“Cause I can. It was the second month and we all went to the Evanescence concert. Doyle and I sat next to you three. We got talking before the warm-up acts, and after the show, we all left together. We shared the train home and the rest is beautiful history.”
“Ah, the pre-resurrection days. Sometimes I long for them. We had some great times, tossing off Uni’, getting drunk and stoned, goin’ to all the gig’s. We didn’t have it so bad, so what’s a little debt, huh? Then you get that letter from your Grandfathers solicitor saying that you’re mentioned in the will. I remember you both joking about “the old fart” and what could he have left you, ‘cause he had nothing. You even expected the senile old fuck to have left you a bunch of comics and some mouldy old Mars bars; because that’s what he bought you on the weekends you visited.
“It took you a full year to tell us exactly what he bequeathed to you. Did we belittle or ridicule you? Well, to be honest we may’ve had a bit of a laugh about it. But, on the whole, no we didn’t. Don’t get me wrong the whole thing sounded ridiculous to me. I didn’t have any experience with either the supernatural or paranormal, like the others. But you opened my eyes, and mind, and made a believer of me. And just as I was getting’ my head around this startling revelation you came up with a marvellous idea to make some mega-cash.
“That was when we stopped being friends and became your drones.”
“You’re not fuckin’ drones,” the hurt tone was clear in Doyle’s voice, “you’re still our friends, tell them Con’.”
Silence was Conner’s reply.
“See,” Drusilla spat, “Conner knows the truth, you have to wake up Doyle.” She hated confrontation but The Master was right. “We never see you now, except for these few hours when you fly in and do your magic trick. Then you’re off again. Neither of you phone us; you seem too entwined in your new luxury lifestyle, to slum it with us.”
“That’s not right,” Doyle replied but the fight and hurt was leaving his voice.
“Don’t get too upset boys. We’re not getting at you. We’re not upset or angry, are we?” The Master swivelled around to look at Spike and Dru’.
“No.” They replied on cue.
“The money’s good and we’re gettin’ to travel and see the world. Who’d ‘ave thunk it, about five English Gothic nerds. First class everywhere, and I do love the looks on them rich folk’s faces when us three “Freaks” walk in.” The smile broke out on his face and brightened the dim metallic room. “But, I can’t go on pretendin’ we’re friends.”
Now Doyle was silent too.
“Did you know, that Dru’ and I are a couple? I proposed to her last week after the Trivium concert and she said yes.”
“Congratulations,” the brothers spoke in unison.
“Spike knew before Dru’ did.” Spike’s head was casually nodding the affirmative. “He’s goin’ to be my best man. If you were any kind of friends, you’d have known by now. We were on the phones for hours telling family and friends. So no, you’re not friends any more.” With a sigh, he looked Conner, then Doyle, straight in the eyes. “Well boss, time to do your magic.”
Conner’s voice held the tone of authority and everybody knew who the real leader was. “Spike, are the images cued up?”
“Sure are and the runes are cast.” On the monitor screen were two images: The first was of Wesley Snipes dressed in his Blade outfit. The resemblance between the image and the brother’s garb was noticeable, the difference being Wesley looked a hundred times better. It was a muscle and attitude thing, the two boys had always been skinny and were happy to remain so. Unfortunately, even in the five-hundred-thousand dollar, hand-made, outfits they just looked like Halloween rejects. For a fair fight, Spike took the liberty of cloning out the sword Blade used, this time he would be weaponless. Dotted over his body were the runic images with the numeric one in the centre. The second image was David Boreanaz as the Victorian Angelis; long dark wavy hair framed the mean and moody features, his body was clothed in a white lace shirt, a deep sumptuous green velvet topcoat and black velvet trousers, and on his feet was the finest hand-made calf leather boots. The runic symbols covering his image held the number two in the middle.
Conner and Doyle walked over to Spike who pulled a switchblade from his pocket and calmly flicked the blade free. Doyle took the knife and traced the blade over the tip of his thumb, parting the flesh and letting the red river run free. He placed the bloody digit on the head of Blade and iridescent redness trickled down the screen. Conner copied the ritual letting and placed his thumb on the head of Angelis. Turning on their heels, they walked swiftly out of the safe room and into the warehouse. Doyle walked to the casket on the right, with Blade’s corresponding rune number inscribed upon it, while Conner walked to the casket on the left. Squeezing their thumbs they daubed each of the four sides with their blood. With that complete, they moved to the halfway position, between the images and the receptacles.
When Gramps passed away, the brothers received a call from his solicitor and their parents. The brothers were stunned to learn they were mentioned in his will. He had been an awkward and domineering man in life, and even though there were gifts when they visited, there were rules too; they were restricted from entering some of the rooms in his house. They later learned that even their parents had been denied access. Gramps had never hugged them, as far as either of them could remember, and the only time there was contact was at Christmas, he would shake their hands and pass over the presents. So, it come as a surprise to everyone, especially the boys, when the rickety, hand-made, wooden casket and the two framed pieces of yellowing paper were handed over, with a note. The one stipulation being the boys should read the note in privacy and the parents would then abide with their decision.
Gramps’ solicitor unlocked the door to one of the restricted rooms and gently ushered them inside, quietly closing the door as he left them to read the note. The note told the boys of magic. The yellowing pages held an incantation, translated in to Latin, that when spoken aloud could bring forth reality from fantasy. It told them they could draw the six runic characters, shown at the top and bottom of the yellowing pages, on any fictional character’s name, from any book, and then place a drop of blood on the writing. Further drops of blood were required on the sides of the box to bring forth the flesh; the top and bottom runes were holding spells and required no anointing. All that was left, was to read out the spell. That character would manifest inside the casket and remain flesh and blood for twelve hours. They laughed at the thought. However, when they looked around the picture-laden study at the photographs of Gramps with numerous beautiful women, some of them were even famous; there was Rachel Welsh, Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly and a dozen others that looked familiar.
For six months, they practised and experimented. It was Doyle’s idea to try a box each, but without the numbers within the runes, the people just merged into one horrible mess. They learned the spell could only be broken by reading it backwards; the characters would then disperse, like whiffs of smoke, into the air.
They now stood at the safe point, halfway between the caskets. They unbuttoned their long coats to reveal their slim toned chests. The tattoos were expertly drawn; skulls, roses, and a large tombstone were inked on their skin. The spell was the tombstones epitaph. Facing each other, they read aloud. As the last word left their mouths, they spun and headed back to the safe room, only to see the door closing. Conner and Doyle ran but the door had already shut with a horrifying thud.
“What the fuck you doin’ Spike?” The Masters voice was load and angry, his eyes blazed into Spike’s “They’re still out there.”
On the monitors behind Dru’s head images of Conner and Doyle could be seen uselessly slamming their fists on the invisible door. Spike’s hand shot out and fixed around The Masters throat. “Why don’t you shut the fuck up, you sycophantic fuck.”
While her fiancé coughed and gagged, Dru’ screamed in the now quiet air. “Let him go Spike, or I’ll …”
Spike’s head twisted around. “Or you’ll what, bitch.” His face was a contorted and twisted caricature. Heavy ridges ran the length of his forehead and sharp teeth pushed back his thin black lips. However, his eyes made her gulp in the air and stagger backward to rest on the tabletop, her legs shaky and on the verge of giving way. Spikes eyes were no longer soft and loving; they now held a steeliness and coldness that she had never seen before. Deep within his soul, she could almost feel his rage, his anger, and his hunger flowing from those dead black irises.
Dru’s voice fell into a shocked silence as Spike pushed the caskets door release button on the laptop. Her attention flicked to the screen and was shocked to notice an image on Spike’s screen was different. Today’s fight was cancelled. Now there would only be a massacre. In place of the dark warrior, Blade, there now shone a softer visage. The picture showed a woman, with flowing blonde hair and she was truly beautiful; even on the monitor screen Dru’ could feel her evil presence. She wore the flowing dress of Victorian ladies; all lace trimmed and immaculately stitched by hand. How could one so soft and delicate be such a monster? Drusilla knew this particular monsters name all too well.
“Darla.” She whispered with a voice shaky with fear.
Spike ripped into the flesh of the Master’s exposed throat and drank deeply of his ebbing life. Dru’ spun around in a whirlwind of a daze, looking for a weapon or a way out of this nightmare. “I only wanted you Amanda.” Spike’s voice was back to normal, she looked up into his crying eyes. The pain racking his body was evident to all. “I love you.” He took a step towards her and she backed up against the wall. “Then that prick told me he wanted to marry you. I couldn’t let you do that.” His head fell dejectedly and he backed away a couple of steps. “Why did you say yes?”
“I love him.” She stammered.
“I know.” He sighed with the greatest sorrow a soul could muster, even a dead one. “That’s why this was my only choice. I lost my friends to this job; I lost you to HIM. What’s left for me? The Beatles were right, money can’t buy you love.” A smile crept upon his face and a Mexican accent to his voice “I don’t need no stinkin’ money,” his voice resumed its own dialect, “neither do they now.” He cocked his head at the monitors.
On the screen, On the screen the doors to the caskets stood wide and their creations stood on the threshold.
“Sit down Amanda,” he beckoned to her swivel chair, “this is going to be the last vampyre games.
“Think! This is a groundbreaking moment in history. This is the first time a human will be killed by one of the undead. But believe me baby it ain’t goin to be the last.” A soft lifeless laugh left his mouth and coldly ran through her body.
On the warehouse floor, Angelis took his position by Darla’s side.
“Oh, my sweet baby boy,” her voice sensually purred, “you look famished.”
“That I am darlin’, and I can smell the hunger upon you.” The fake Irish brogue made Dru’ wince. “And, what strange place is this?
“I don’t know and I’m don’t care, there’ll be enough time to figure things out after we’ve fed. And look over there,” her head flicked towards the fortress’ door and the two men hammering on the wall, “food.”
“Shit, shit no. Let us in.” The boy’s screams were growing with their fear. Doyle’s knuckles were running with rivers of blood that dripped to the cement floor. Smears of darkening red stained the already filthy brick wall.
“What manner of creature is that?” Angelis’ cocky arrogant tone caught Conner’s attention and turned him to face his impending doom. “That one looks like a scared demonic clown. But their blood stinks of human.”
“Yes, my dear, they’re human.” Darla quizzically smiled at him. Dark chemistry danced in the air between the two. “Maybe they’re from the circus? Do you think?”
“I try not to,” Angelis moved with the speed of lightening and the acoustics of a soft breeze, “especially about food,” his hand caught in Conner’s lanky hair and pulled back to reveal his long supple neck and pulsing vein, “I find it spoils my appetite.” It happened so fast that Conner almost missed it; within milliseconds, Angelis’ face twisted from smooth, ruggedly handsome to a contorted and horrifying nightmare shape filled with long sharp teeth. Those teeth ruptured the skin on his neck and pierced the jugular vein. Conner fell limp into the awaiting darkness and Angelis’ hands. He never heard his brother scream.
Darla sauntered over to the crying Goth and ran a sharp fingernail under his bottom eyelid. “Look Angelis this one cry’s tears of blood.” Her hand entwined in Doyle’s hair and held his head steady as she leaned forward and gently licked the red droplet from his cheek. Doyle tried to pull free of the woman’s grasp but her hold was as strong as steel. Tears of salt mixed with the tears of iron.
Angelis let the drained sack of flesh fall heavily to the floor and then walked over him to join Darla in her feast.
“You were always so impetuous when it came to food, my dear boy.”
“Hey, just because I don’t like to play with it before I digest it don’t try laying a guilt trip on me.”
“I’m only trying to teach you that when they’re scared the feast is so much sweeter.” She dragged the nail over one of Doyle’s arms, easily slicing the leather, of his long coat, and the flesh underneath. “Shush!” Darla scolded when he let out a moan of pain. “Try this one darling, and tell me what you think.” She lifted the torn flesh to Angelis’ waiting mouth.
“It tastes the same Darla.” He smiled at Doyle, “I’m sorry mate but she has this thing about torturing her prey. Me, well I’m more of a “what you see is what you get”, kinda guy.”
“Hush up, my boy, let Momma have her play time.” In one fluid movement, Darla dropped her hand to the collar of the coat and quickly spun Doyle around, like a rag doll, and with one quick flick of the wrist the long coat was off and flying across the warehouse.
“You’re, you’re not real,” Doyle’s mouth was running on instinct, “we conjured you.”
“Ah, now listen to that will you,” Angelis’ snide voice clipped through the air, “the boy’s are warlocks.” He danced around to face Doyle and took his head in his hands, “are you Warlocks? Or could ya be Wizards? You do certainly look strange.”
“He’s just a scared young child, let him be.” Darla batted his hands away and Doyle fell, crumpled, to the floor. “You’ve had yours, this one is mine.”
“Well be quick, Darlin’. I don’t like this one bit. It doesn’t smell right.” He looked around the warehouse, “and he may be the reason why we’re in this strange place. There may be more waiting for us.”
“Calm yourself, this is nothing but food; he isn’t anything special, let alone something to be afraid of.”
“Huh, who say’s I’m afraid?” He puffed up his chest with manly bravado, “who say’s I’m a coward? I’m just cautious, is all.”
“Yes, dear boy. I know you are.” Her face shifted and changed. Doyle let out another scream as she lowered her head to his neck and bit deep. Quickly she raised her head and tore the flesh from his throat. A clear jet of crimson arced into the air. “I so love drinking from the fountain of youth,” she laughed and opened her mouth to accept the fount of life. Blood ran in rivers from the corners of her mouth. Angelis moved eagerly behind her and softly caressed the cold marble of her skin. The scent of warm blood turned him into a live wire. Greedily he licked at his fingers and then planted soft kisses on her reddening cheeks, his tongue catching and devouring the little that was left of Doyle’s life.
Back inside the secret room, two scared eyes looked on in horror as her undead friend giggled mirthlessly at the gore.
“The boy’s wanted me to translate the glamour from the papyrus into English.” Spike’s voice was as dead as he was. “Then they had me tattoo it onto each other’s chest.” Drusilla noticed the faraway look in his eyes, as he got lost in the memories and thoughts twirling around in his head.
“Don’t you think it’s funny that even though they both memorised the spell, in Latin and English, the bloody thing wouldn’t work unless it was read from something. It must be like wedding services and exorcisms. I mean the priest always reads from the bible. Why? If he does a hundred weddings in a year, doesn’t he not know it by heart? Is it for show, to the congregation and newly-weds? Or, is it because if it isn’t read from the holy book then it isn’t a “God” sanctioned wedding. They knew my brother owned a tattoo parlour, and that I’d worked there a few summers. So, we broke in one night and I set to work.
“They trusted me not to steal the spell, more fool them. Even at that time, I knew where this was heading so I just copied onto my laptop for future use.
“Two night’s ago I conjured up the count himself. Good old Vlad. I’d put a lot of thought into it and it was between the ancient one from Blade two or Dracula. Even though I hated that fuckin’ film, it did hold more appeal than other vampyres of late. It stuck closely to Stokers original book, if you through away the impaler bullshit and the boring love affair. Drac’ could transform into smoke and other living, excuse the term, creatures.
“It was easy to get him to turn me. I showed him television. Remember he’d already been around for hundreds of years already the adjustment wasn’t too hard. I bribed him with myself. Told him that I’d be his right hand man, another Renfold, I pledged myself to him. At the end of the night I placed him back in the casket I’d had made. I locked myself in the darkest room and slept the day away. When I awakened, maybe I should say, when I was reborn, I opened the casket and the last of Vlad floated into the air and dissipated.
“That night I hunted and killed three prostitutes, who would have thought that blood could be the sweetest most delicious food of all. And, you can tell when people are ill or dying. But it doesn’t mar the taste one bit, you would think it would. The first and third whores were crack addicts and the second was dying from aids.
“Thinking I was drinking tainted blood and that pure life would taste better I transformed into a cat and stole through a cat flap of a large house, thinking that they may have family, and they did. I could hear the family’s pussy hissing at me, though I never saw it; it knew better than to mess with me. I padded into the main bedroom and jumped onto the bed between the prone figures of Mum and Dad. No sooner had the thought crossed my mind; I was back in human form kneeling on their bed. As their eye’s fluttered open and they squinted in the darkness I pushed my hands through their chests, breaking ribs and spraying blood everywhere. My hands grabbed at their beating hearts and ripped them out of their captivity. I never dreamed of such strength. They died without screaming.
“I then slipped into the son’s room. Their only child. And, stood watching him sleep.
“I thought how peaceful he looked, and how beautiful, tucked into his Spiderman duvet.
“I nearly didn’t do it. But nearly never counts, does it?
“I didn’t want him to scream and wake the neighbourhood so I thought of his Mother and the slight image I’d seen of her in the faint moonlight. My body shifted and I hoped it was enough.
“His eyes opened and he spoke “Mom?” he asked me. I gently brushed a loose lock of hair away from his eyes, bent forward, and kissed his forehead. Then quickly moved to his throat. I punctured his jugular and his voice box, he shook for a few seconds and then his body stilled. I felt his heart stopping and retreated to let him die. The blood tasted exactly like the prosies, such sweet nectar.
“Then before the sun rose I came here. This is as far away from that dreaded ball of flame as I could ever get, don’t you think?” The smile that spread on his face was lifeless and chilled her.
“So that leaves me with one small dilemma. Join me Amanda, be mine for eternity.”
“You sick fuck, it’s not real. They’re not real. They’re just fantasy characters.”
“Oh, baby. It’s you that doesn’t see the truth. I can show you, if you let me.”
“Keep the fuck away from me you freak.” Spittle flew with her angry words hitting hit him in the face. He let it run down his cheeks. “I’d rather die than be with you.”
“Well if that’s your wish babe.” His face twisted and the darkness stole him away. “This ain’t fantasy and love doesn’t conquer all.” His teeth found her jugular and sliced into the artery with ease.
As her body fell lifelessly to the steel floor, he spoke to the silence and to the world. “I am the new reality. I am “The Master” now.“