~Vampires Of London~
by ~Sebastian Blackwell~
The priest addressed Unas with these words: "O Unas, you have not departed dead, you have departed alive to sit upon the throne of the underworld."
Pyramid Text South wall.
So you have come across my letter - I placed it here for you! - Is this fate you may ask? - Take a seat, make yourself comfortable, and read my tale, but let us wait a while to talk of such things as fate.
Since the death of my only living relative, my beloved grandmother; who cared for and nourished me up until the age of eighteen; whose heart contained only love and kindness; and who was pursued relentlessly to her death by that hellhound consumption. I had fallen on the hardest of times, such that the last few years had been quiet wretched to me, leaving me homeless and utterly destitute. Only by begging was I able to acquire the money for food, and at nightfall I slept wherever I could find shelter.
I was damp, cold and desperately in need of a place to stay on that late October evening in Deptford, a place of great age that carries on its body all the tell tale scars and scabs of squalor and depravation. The more time I spent looking for a place to stay the damper and more chilled I was becoming; Rainwater tumbled down the cobbled streets, overpowering the capacity of the drains, where the water bubbled, heaved and swirled, into mini maelstroms. I tramped the cobbled twisting lanes around the back streets, through and around puddles I staggered, lurching from one side to the other like a drunk, as random guttering sprayed forth water in great fountains; I felt I was witness to the great flood itself, and imagined Deptford struck down below the ocean like Atlantis. My overcoat was soaking through to my skin, and the holes in my shoes into which previously I had placed cardboard in a vain attempt to stem the flood; had now let in the cold rainwater, saturating my feet and leaving them numb. So as not to add further complication to my situation, by adding sickness of body to my already fragile state of mind, I concluded that it had become quiet urgent, as daylight was drawing to a close to find a place to stay, where I could get warm and dry. After much weary trudging through desperate areas I found myself within Norway Street overlooking Deptford Creek, where ships once unloaded wares brought from around the world down the artery of the Thames. Buildings in this street were mostly of impressive grandeur, merchant properties that appeared to have elbowed their way out from amongst the surrounding hovels.
One Building stood massive with its frontage jutting forward like the prow of some great dark ship, I imagined that once fine wares from the four corners of the world would have passing through its great oak doors " but alas no more, this place had long been passed over and forgotten - boarded up like so many others, as trade passing down the Thames turned from a broad healthy flow into a meandering sickly trickle; then becoming as the Creek itself, disused, silted up and hemmed in. The faÃade of this dark place was bristling with rotting ornamentation. Marble phoenix like birds whose wings spanned the bay of each window appeared caught by their feet mid flight in what appeared to be their frantic attempt at escaping from the rotting edifice. The building had a thick set mausoleum like quality to its exterior, with the front of the house being covered in red and black marble; stars, lozenges and squares ran around the building, and all was executed in a hotchpotch style, with bits and pieces that seemed washed up from various parts of the world. The marble was shot through with ragged streaks giving me the impression that at one stage this place had displeased some deity and had been duly struck with a punishing bolt of lightning. Great black granite steps marked out the entrance, where a porch with stained glass marked out the words Osiris House.
No entrance was available from the front as planks of wood and cages of metalwork covered the front door and windows .so I took the first turning around the side of the house, and made my way around the back along a narrow dirt path trapped between the exterior wall and a dense thicket. The path was uneven and had me sliding on mud, as wild and dirty branches and twigs scraped my face and tore at my clothes, a high wall topped with ornate iron fencing provided an impenetrable barrier, but part of the way around subsidence had claimed a small section of the wall, that enabled me to get into what once may have been described as a garden.
Compared to the green and vibrant thicket that grew outside of the wall, within the enclosure, an all consuming blanket of dead scrub suffocated the court to its very extremity. The excess hinted at a once vigorous, wild and unkempt growth, but now everything appeared damp, moulding and lifeless; ancient stone antiquities haunted the scene in vine entangled poses, some displaying only a limb here a head there through the mass of dead foliage. The whole scene appeared darkly enchanted as if once living creatures had been strangled by briars, turned to stone and there entombed.
There was a muddy and well-worn path forming a tunnel through the briars leading to an entrance at the side of the house. The door was old and lay misshapen and half drunk in its frame; it was only the fall of the door which kept it shut, so with nothing more than a gentle pull, I found myself within a narrow damp service passage below ground. Ahead of me a small flight of irregular steps had me stumbling in the dark; they climbed steeply opened up into what appeared to be the main hallway landing. The whole affair was lit from the world outside, with garish coloured light that pierced through the dirty stained glass of the front door. The colours were not fresh but gave the hallway a sickly look with unearthly highlights upon an interior of stagnant decrepitude. A dismal vision came upon me filling me with angst, triggered by the sickly sweet dank smell of the hallway, and the appalling light cast like that of a funerary chapel. I tried to pull my thoughts away but this place cast my thoughts dark and brooding, I was transported for a few nauseating moments to the sick room of my beloved dying grandmothers bed chamber; where I paid witness to her final agonies of death, which by the "mercy" of god gave to her no quarter.Such was the atmosphere and condition of this house, driven to live on beyond what was seemly or kind ,and as a consequence had become stricken with some form of creeping paralysis and putrefaction ,that was causing it to fall apart and rot in slow motion.
Pictures still hung in the hallway but were now overgrown with black slime mould; they appeared as though struck by some awful pestilence, turning what once may have been pleasant portraits into a ghastly gallery of ghouls. I leaned forward so as to gain a better view of one of the portraits, only to be assaulted by the stifling vapours of mould and decay. I choked out a cough, and the sound echoed through all the dark and dismal passageways and rooms that made up this place; my minds eye flew with the reverberation, conjuring images of rot and abandon; I felt my flesh creep, for I felt I had inadvertently announced to the entire house " Awaken! Something living moves within you! The main hallway extended at some considerable distance away from the front door, off into the dark, where chinks of light from some external source, pierced through the blackness, casting jaundiced sulphurous pools upon the floor. As I walked the dim passageway, the floor felt quiet uneven and mushy in texture, the containment of the corridor providing no vent for the fearful putrefying slurry that carpeted the area; bringing to my mind the vision of a lead lined coffin sluiced with black and festering liquor most often found within. As my eyes adjusted to the lighting I was able to make out at the end of the hallway a large room to the right, and on the left stairs rose off into the tar like blackness, my nerves would not let me explore upstairs as further exploration might see me plummeting to my death through some unseen hole in the floor, such was the condition of the house.
Within the poorly lit room I could make out some oddments of furniture and a fireplace, the room seemed dry and habitable so I set about breaking up some of the smaller pieces of furniture to use as kindling for the fire. And so with the assistance of some dry paper from my tobacco tin, I soon had a little fire going; it's surprising how a fire can lift ones spirits even in the most pitiable of circumstance. As the fire took hold I was able to survey the room in slightly more detail, light being thrown up high onto the walls and ceiling. The ceiling was very high and cavernous, with ornate plaster work around its edge; framing a spectacular oval painting at its centre. The painting as far as I could make out was a well executed painting of an ancient Egyptian theme, unfortunately large chunks of plaster had fallen away, the Jackal headed god Anubis and Osiris were still there, but most of the other detail had long since gone to dust. By one of the walls there was a large Egyptian style cot bed in filthy condition, and by the fireplace a large high backed chair which looked reasonably habitable. The fireplace was exquisitely carved of the blackest of basalt, two great basalt cats sat proud on either side supporting a massive mantelpiece, upon which ghosts of long departed objects crowded the scene with their dusty outlines. The fire crackled and burned, loosening pieces of sack, which tumbled down the chimney and into the fireplace; pulsating light from the flames played upon the heavily plastered walls giving their decoration of intertwined vines, life and movement .The old chair was dry and I was soon suitably comfortable, I even managed to make some toast with a little bit of bread I had been carrying on me.
Then from behind I heard the unnerving sound of shuffling footsteps in the passageway, I peered around the side arm of the chair and saw a shabbily dressed old man standing in the doorway, he stared blankly at me and then at the fire, he said nothing but I felt he sought permission, I nodded acceptance and he made his way over to the cot bed, he sat there for a while, taking a crushed pasty from his pocket, he gestured an offer, which I politely declined. After a while he lay down and arranged himself amongst the rags on the bed, and seemed to go to sleep. How cruel is life I thought, that lays waste to its most vulnerable. As the fire took hold and burned fiercely ,the room was bathed in a golden light ,under normal circumstance this would have been a great pleasure for me , but thoughts of the old man and other sufferings of this world , left me drunk with a dismal melancholy that pervaded my spirits .My eye was drawn upward to the ceiling, to those painted gods , how smugly confident they appeared to me, resplendent in their divine order ,so that I soon became filled with feelings of envy for the bold confidence of those ancient Egyptians, and their apparent surety in the existence and order of the divine. The fire soon died down to glowing red embers, and I was warm and tired from the day's endless walk, so that I soon slipped into a deep if fretful sleep - my own "little piece of death", intertwined in my dreams with their grand design.
I was dragged into semi-consciousness by the ghastly sounds of sucking and grunting - My eyes strained in the darkness, mad and wide, dark shapes jerked in the corner of the room like some monstrous shadow puppets; through gaps in the boarded up windows, the waxen moon cast a beam of light across my eyes and onto the floor around me. I was experiencing the same paralysis of body that a sleeper feels when suddenly awoken from a night terror. Even when I could feel part of my face was clearly illuminated; I dared not move a muscle, for just as child feels a gossamer bed sheet can provide impenetrable protection against unseen demons, I felt if I did not move I would not be seen. My mouth and throat felt as dry as a desert, I must swallow - I must swallow - but by the action of closing my mouth and gulping, I had broken the spell, and from within the blackness the sound of shuffling from that nameless hideous thing held me paralyzed with fear. My heart fit to burst pounded within at my ribs, as an outstretched arm flopped in front of me upon the floor, caught in the ray of light from the window. Grasping and clawing at the air, as if the body at the end of that arm was drowning. It writhed and convulsed; the body in silent and unseen agonies; stretching - reaching - pleading for this coward's grasp. For a moment I thought it might be the hand of the old man? - Or was it that other fearful thing! - Too late! - For back into the shadows that arm was pulled by something other than its owner. This shadowed thing filled me with a precipitous sense of nausea, as one would get by standing on a high cliff, teetering upon the edge of a chasm; fever like mists of panic flooded my eyes. Clouds shifted, and moonlight passing through a high window displaying a portion of this tragedy as upon a stage, and I alone was trapped within this tomb of a house, a prisoner of this grotesque act being played out. My mouth frozen into a silent scream, that seemed to last and eternity. I could not draw my eyes away as the awful carnage unfolded, awful " awful - my heart as if clamped in a vice, the sound of a great rushing of water in my ears, and the tortuous thumping pressure of blood in my temples and behind my eyes.
Imagine a corpse alive but no mortal corpse that I have ever seen or ever imagined. Transmogrified with an aspect most hideous, could this thing have once been human, for it appeared human only by vague design, its deformed features more kindred with the beasts of hell than to creatures of this world. The skin of the face appeared sallow and shrunken like that of a dried corpse, pulling the mouth into a hideous gape. Its limbs and torso were gaunt and angular in the extreme casting shadows of dark purpose around and across the body of the old man. As it saw me it let out a low tortured cry filled with the deepest of melancholy, and I saw within its face a ragged hole of a mouth filled with ghastly teeth, and gazed with horror into its sunken eyes eclipsed by black. My throat closed up, and I choked on the smell of damp earth and rotted wet wood, bits and pieces from what ever fearful place this creature had crawled from. For some unknown wrong doing, the fates had taken me up and cast me headlong into the open jaws of hell. The creature halted in its stagger towards me, as if caught short mid stride by some invisible barrier, an age seemed to pass, strange as it may seem all terrors were lifted and in turn replaced inexplicably by a nervous excited delirium. The creature seemed to be avoiding the light that cut past me - but no!The shaft of light that cut past me marked out upon the floor an unearthly phosphorescent glow, which marked out a segment of a great mandala I appeared to be seated within; the creature made no attempt to come any closer than its outer edge.
The creature stood very close, and I was drawn to the edge, by what power I know not, as I was unaware of having moved; my thoughts became addled; a queer drugged swirling of the senses, I gazed into the creatures face that was now obscured by shadow, all the surrounding pools of light became slowly eclipsed - all the light of this world - extinguished. And my mind became possessed by images and thoughts not my own, and I appeared to see into the future and into the past, and into the places only the angels of heaven and hell should look. And by close proximity to Unas, I have become privy to these scenes. For yes! - I know the creature's name! - As if by some strange magick, his name is Unas!
And then within my fevered vision I stood before a statue within a darkened tomb, whose vast form rose off into the blackness, and from between the feet of this great statue appeared a solitary jackal, which spoke to me and said".
"I curse with rot and eternal pestilence defilers of my grave, who dare to steal graven offerings, and gaze upon the face of this once living god. Know my name and despair - for I am Unas the devourer of souls, and the drinker of blood!"
My world dropped away - and I fell deep into his abyss of nothing, my head swam in the vertiginous spiralling descent of my fall - down - down - turned I was, as though a leaf caught within a wind sprite. Down I plunged into a decent of unimaginable ferocity and overcome by a feeling of absolute loneliness and desolation followed mercifully by oblivion"..
I awoke in the morning prostrate upon the floor; and overcome by an immense fatigue, all was quiet, and the orb of the rising sun cast a warm glow into the room. My mind struggled to invent reasons for my night of torment, a dream perhaps brought on by the vapours of decay or fever from damp, but alas no! From the corner of my eye I saw an outstretched hand upon the floor in my direction, its claw like twisted grasp frozen in the agony of its owner's demise. Sick in the pit of my stomach, I could not bear to look upon his face, but I saw it none the less, in my minds eye, and in the quietness of that room, I heard those gurgled cries again! I cast my eyes low upon the ground, and summoned all my strength, to pull the ragged bedding across the corpse as a shroud.
And of that hideous thing there was none, I was alone, safe and filled with a perverse sense of fevered excitement. I wished to cry out - to laugh. I was victorious over death, I had looked upon the Gorgon and survived; How foolish!, and how too soon I was overcome with feelings of self loathing and remorse, for what an ignoble act to sing the joys of my own salvation in the presence of someone so cruelly undone.
My eye was drawn to the chair in which I had been seated and then onto those strange markings on the floor. I could clearly see that the drawing was made with nothing more complicated than a piece of chalk. This magick circle was round in construction, chalk rays flew out from the centre marking each segment, and I quickly set about drawing each and all of the markings, which my feet had unfortunately scuffed. Strange pictures and symbols filled each of the segments but easily recognisable within was the figure of Anubis; I then folded the paper and placed it in my pocket for safekeeping. For I instinctively knew that it was by some power of drawing Unas had been halted in his projected assault upon my living flesh.
From that moment on for at least one month I was visited nightly, for it was a journey into the underworld I must make when Unas called, and it was only by power of that talisman of Anubis that my body was saved from consumption. The mandala became my only sanctuary from his hunger for life giving blood. But feed he did! - Upon my living soul!
For In each place I stayed, death stalked the night, and none except I was safe from destruction .For I had become as a slave, and this slave has but one master " Unas. I saw my doom played out before me, my soul removed bit by bit and what was left packed with dust; part of me was already gone and the part left filled with an awful creeping desolation. Proximity to my master has possessed me with unworldly powers; I have an acute awareness of events yet to happen, that flooded my senses with a living dread. Call it Foresight or clairvoyance, but times arrow no longer runs straight and true. Sometimes future events are played out before my eyes as in a dream, and the banality of every day existence has become possessed of phantoms.
By what dark magick is a man placed before his doom, he may be in the bloom of life then cruelly struck down, a change of tack from birth should place him safe elsewhere, and if not, a mans life is nothing but a vile game, then if this be so, I say to god I'm not afraid" play on!
Bravado " such foolish bravado " for below the mask lies a soul stricken with a desperate panic; filled with the terrors reserved for a soul partially devoured!
Time, as it must moves on. So too has my miserable situation, so that after the first few visitations by Unas my blood became spoiled, the master turned from my flesh ,but it is me now who craves his company , so when he calls I must go, for it is I who seek him out ,and upon my soul he feeds, and of my body he rejects. I can feel the great cogs of eternity grinding out each second as I wait to be called ;for during the anticipation of his call my existence is unspeakable I often find myself in the highest of agitations, brimming with hysterical excitement, or thrown into a downward spiral of deep despair. In frustration I often pace, tear at my clothes, or at my flesh. I survive each night with the most inhuman of torments. For when he beckons no earthly force can stop me, for only in his presence is my soul at peace.
As the mischief was worked on my soul it has become expressed in material manifestation. Over time I have come to notice subtle changes in my appearance and sensitivities that have now become more striking, my skin has taken on a ghastly sallow pallor, all but the dimmest lights assault my eyes, my body is wasted of flesh, nails grow long hair falls out and is thinning, gums shrink back exposing the roots of my teeth, and a scurvy of leprous white patches defiles my skin. My daydreams of late have become constantly assailed by hellish visions, that play upon my senses confusing them and melding things real or imagined into one. Even when driven to distraction by hunger I cannot bring myself to eat of anything other than of the living, for it now goes against my nature, the smell of dead meat filling me with a vile disgust, a physical warning that by its very ingestion I would be surely be undone. Only the blood and the souls of small living things sustain me, and how the mind deceives itself, a mouse, a rat, a cat a dog, how the deception moves on, Onwards and Upwards! " Did a living god not once say eat of my body, drink of my blood, for a new and everlasting Covenant! - Such was his promise of everlasting life.
The mayfly is born, lives and dies all within the space of one day, its little life seems almost trivial in comparison to yours, and to the mayfly yours seems to almost span eternity, and I in my turn have seen and an endless stream of human mayflies come and go, all things perish and even the immortals in time fade to nothing.
So let us now talk of fate and how our paths have become crossed, our two lines were drawn up long ago upon the manuscript of eternity, they were set to cross from the moment that divine pen first ever made mark - such is our fate, and such is our doom!
Oh! - How many endless years have I tormented myself in trying to fathom gods plan for us, how could a god of love curse us foredoomed? - Countless times I have cast my eyes aloft and begged forgiveness for some unknown wrong doing - Only to find heavens have remained unmoved. -Why this cruel charade of a destiny self made? - did god give Judas a choice in his betrayal? - Ill tell you now before all creation of heaven and hell - There was none!
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During the reading of this tale the day is done, look! - See! - The sun has set and night is upon us! - See how the mandala about your feet glows! - for at nightfall my soul becomes a desolate place and I am bereft of any reason or humanity , consigned to forever commit dark deeds - , most terrible is the hunger that I have for your soul, and in equal measure terrible is the hunger that I have for your blood!
For if it be your soul I will call to you as I am called, and there feed upon you ,and you too will dwell in the shadows , And undergo unspeakable torments in anticipation of my call .Oh! " how you will yearn and suffer for my company until times end. And I will fill the dusty hole that I have in my soul with yours, so when I am called by Unas he will take of you, but not of me!
For I am with you now in this very room, in the corner - Yes! - In the dark with you! Come a little closer and pay witness to the things no mortal eyes may see, but hasten not outside the mandala's edge, for the spirits that drive my hunger for blood are unquenchable. To the edge of the mandala you are drawn, frozen as a mouse before the yawning jaws of a cat. And there you behold the darkness as though a mirror, upon which is played out before you the end of time, from above you hear a great blast of trumpets, the blackness is rent asunder, crypts are split in two, coffin lids are thrown open, and countless souls fly upwards to heaven; and then you see a vast multitude of angels resplendent in a golden light cast from heaven, and then with a great roar the heavens close, and all light is extinguished. And all that are left below turn in, and fall upon one another ;And with each in the fury and the agony of their demise, the little of what remains of their soul cries out in despair up into the billowing clouds of black that hang low dark and impenetrable.
Transfixed in horror you see yourself in torment within the great multitude of the dammed ".You cry out - "No! - That cannot be! - I have a choice! - To Step outside of the mandala! - To perish!"
The heavens are now closed upon this place like the lid of some great coffin, and the vile atmosphere is leaden with a great tumult of suffering, thunder sounds out as the nails of eternity seem hammered home, as all are henceforth consigned to the abyss.
And in that darkened room as you stand there aghast, you see me open my arms wide as if addressing a vast assembly - "Come about dark creatures, come about! - For here before us stands a "desolate one" - abandoned by god long before they was ever born!"
This story is copyright Â of Sebastian Blackwell~