Meet Trudeau and Clayburn, the last of a dying breed....
|As The World Burns
In 2318 the world was coming to an end. The Sun that once enabled life to flourish upon Earth was now rapidly expanding. Everyone was already dead or dying . . . but what of the vampires?
“So, what’s up with you? You didn’t get enough to drink last night?”
“No, that’s not it! I was still able to find some live ones, but they’re going fast.”
Trudeau ran his hands through his long black hair. “Can't you see what's happening, Clayburn? It stays light longer now. The night is all but gone!” Trudeau stared off into nothing, thinking of how the end would surely come.
“Hell, Trudeau, lighten-up! We’ll be consumed by hunger long before the sun ever destroys us.” Clayburn smiled at the little joke he had made.
“You think this is funny? We're on the verge of extinction, and you want to be a comedian?” Trudeau stood up and walked toward his coffin. “You don’t get it, do you? We’re the last of a dying breed.”
Clayburn laughed at him. “Hello? Earth to Trudeau. We’re already dead!”
Trudeau waved his hand in disgust. “Go ahead, make your jokes! They will not help you when the sunlight burns your flesh into dust.”
“Geez, what’s eating you? You’re acting like you got hold of some bad blood or something. Get a life, Trudeau!”
Trudeau slammed his fist down on his coffin lid. “I’m done with you, Clayburn! I want you out of here!”
“Oh yeah, right! And just where the hell am I suppose to go . . . to the Hilton Hotel?”
“I don’t care where you go you son-of-a-bitch, just as long as you leave me alone!” Trudeau opened his coffin and climbed in. The sun was definitely coming up sooner than it did yesterday, which meant it was growing larger. It wouldn’t be long now.
“Ah, come on, Trudeau! You wanna face the end of the world by yourself? Give me a break, will you? Just because I don’t see things as you do, doesn’t mean I’m not aware of what’s in store for us. I simply choose to go out laughing, rather than whimpering like a dog. We each have our own style, Trudeau. Mine is flamboyant, while yours has always been dark and sinister.”
Trudeau softened. As bad as Clayburn was, he still found it amusing to have him around. Trudeau had to admit it was true; he did not want to die alone.
“You are of the new breed, Clayburn. I, on the other hand, have lived many lifetimes and have embraced all the old ways. I do not intend to just let it all end.” He lay down and the coffin lid closed over him.
“Yeah, well what are you gonna do about it, save all of humanity from a severe sunburn? Ah, to hell with ya!” Clayburn slipped inside his own funerary box and rested while the sun outside killed thousands.
When Trudeau opened his eyes, it was late, but he could still sense the sun in the sky, growing larger and larger. He felt ravenous, but could not go out and hunt until nightfall. Pushing open the lid to his resting place, he sat up.
There was no answer, and then he heard a shuffling noise on the steps that led outside the mausoleum.
Faster than a human eye could register, Trudeau was out of his coffin and standing at the foot of the steps. Something was wrong.
His friend lay in a heap at the top of the stairs, his skin so severely burned, it oozed fluids. He was still breathing.
“Clayburn! What have you done?”
The charred face on the hairless head looked at him. “Do not come out, Trudeau. The sun is brighter than it has ever been. Even now, I feel it boiling my blood.”
“Why, Clayburn, why did you go out there?”
“I was hungry and heard a dog nosing around. I thought I could get him real quick, but I guess I was wrong. Damn dog got me all burned up . . . " he coughed then as if he'd swallowed a mouth full of sand. "How do I look? You wanna kiss me?” Then he let out a laugh that was cut off by another spasm of coughing. “I got my hot dog though.” He lifted a small terrier that hung lifeless from his hand. Then he tumbled down the steps, landing in a crumbled heap at Trudeau's feet.
Trudeau rushed to his side, and picking him up in his arms, carried his smoking body to its resting place.
“Thanks, my friend. Getting caught outside really burns me up.” He tried to smile again, but the look in his eyes revealed how much he suffered.
“Ah, Clayburn . . . lie still and rest; you still might be able to regenerate. If only there was more time.”
“No time left, I’m afraid. I saw the sun approaching on a smoky cloud, just like in Revelations. Everything is in flames. The night is gone forever, Trudeau. This is the end.”
“The world is round. Darkness will come . . . eventually.”
“Even if it does, there’ll be no food. Everything is dead. Can’t you feel it?”
“We’re still here!”
“You, maybe, but not me. I’m done for . . . well done.” He tried to laugh again, but the pain prevented it. “Trudeau, finish me, please. Release me now. This is unbearable, my friend.”
Trudeau looked into the eyes of his friend, then upon his burnt and charred body. Slowly, he nodded his head.
“Wait . . . " Clayburn whispered, "drink first. I still have blood in these veins. It will sustain you for a bit longer. Drink, and then kill me.”
“But . . . my friend. I cannot do it.”
“You’re a survivor, Trudeau," he gasped. "There are no others . . . drink.”
Trudeau lowered his head to the burnt neck of his friend, and then smashed his face into his stinking flesh and drank deeply. The blood was hot and nourishing.
“Now finish it! Do it now, quickly.”
Trudeau, smashed the coffin lid with one hand. He then took a long splinter of wood and placed the point over Clayburn’s heart.
“Do it, you pompous old fool. What are you waiting for?”
“Goodbye, my clever friend. I’ll miss you."
And with that Trudeau shoved the wooden spike through his comrade’s heart.
Clayburn’s body began to spasm. He struggled to get away from the piece of wood jutting from his chest. Trudeau held him until the throes of death had ceased. Then he backed away from the body, visibly shaken. Clayburn looked peaceful. Trudeau could see a smile on his face. “Until we meet again, Clayburn.” He kissed his friend's forehead.
His thoughts were interrupted by a loud explosion. He ran to the steps that led to the outside world. It was night. He was free. He hurried topside.
The trees were exploding. The heat was so severe that they were bursting into flames. He saw a small group of people running for their lives. He motioned to them. They saw him and came running over.
“This way!” he said. “There is safety below! Hurry, before it’s too late!”
There were three men, two women and a child. Some were using wet blankets and towels over their heads to keep from getting burned. They rushed down the steps of the mausoleum, desperately trying to get away from the intense heat.
“Thank you,” said one of the men. “You saved us from a fate worse than death.”
He recalled what his old friend Clayburn used to say, “There’s always room for a little snack before bedtime.”
Trudeau smiled as he followed his new friends below.
He slid the heavy concrete slab across the entrance, sealing them all in forever.