Legends speak of different ways of killing a vampire, from a stake to the heart… to the gaze of a silver cross dipped in holy water… or even garlic? Or poppies? According to the Slavic vampire hunters back in the day, to kill a vamp: one must bury a vampire deep in the ground amongst a heap of rocks making sure they were put in head first. Poppy seeds were thrown into the coffin along with a sickle to slice its head off if it ever awoke. Humans had strange ways to destroy a being of the undead, whether they worked or not, they were never alive long enough to tell the tales.
Do you ever wonder why the blood moon arises? Why does its eerie glow bring some sort of chill to your spine? Is it magic? Is it science? Who knows the real answer to that looming question. But one thing is for certain, the red potency of the moon wanes in anyone's eyes that gaze upon the red shadow…boring into their soul…feeding off the fear.
Back in the times when men did not understand what it meant to be a healer, Maeve had kept her skills and talents to a downlow, a single sniff of suspicion and she would be taken to the stake to burn. Some women could be trusted, though she still did not reveal all of her secrets. She was a bright young lady, wanting to learn more ways to help others with her healing abilities… reading books on different herbs and its properties or studying each rock by the riverbed to see if it held anything magical. But it wasn't the herbs she was worried about the others finding out… It was her magic. For Maeve was not just a healer… She was a magical healer. A young witch her age could make the crops grow even in the hardest of winters, keeping them fresh and thriving and yet.. She would receive no thanks for the narrow dark mind of men would always conquer the ability to understand a woman, let alone a witch.
One usual dark dismal day on a lonely Wednesday, Maeve was picking berries and leaves for her medicines. Diving down deep into the bushes her hand did not come across a berry, but something soft and thin, she nimbly pulled it out, staring at what she saw before her, eyes widened in surprise. It was a page from a grimoire; a magical book of spells for witches. If anyone were to see this, she would surely be doomed. She hesitated for a second, debating in her mind whether to leave it or to take it. Her body answered for her and slipped the page into her pocket. She put her hood up and ran home to her dainty little hut at the edge of the village - a straw roof and stone walls, she lived the simple life while the inside was cozy and warm, full of life and the smell of lavender filled the air as she opened the door.
A few days passed and she continued her routines, tending to the plants and helping the women who came by with their wounds and blisters from the hard work they're forced to do while their husbands run off to brothels and grope other women that aren't theirs. She was about to leave when a bearded man came barging through the doors, sweating and stinking of three day wine. He stumbled in but before he could say what he wanted to, Maeve put her cloak on and opened the door to leave… until she turned around and saw the man hold a familiar piece of paper… it was the grimoire page…the color drained from her face and her heart leapt out of her mouth. She stuttered an explanation but it was too late, he saw everything he needed to see. Maeve was frozen on the spot, not noticing him run past her and into the village shouting the words she knew was inevitably her death. Everything became a blur, she was internally screaming, this was the end…
Her tears blinded her as she felt herself being beaten and screamed at, nothing but loudness echoing in her ears. Her whole body ached from being dragged in the mud, her hands red from the rope cutting into her…she was yanked onto a wooden pillar and tied to it with another thick rope, struggling to breathe as it wrapped around her chest and stomach.
Her eyes locked onto a tall figure in the crowd, moving himself forward proudly like a champion, a mustache on his face was busy and firm, curled at the end like a strongman from the circus. She snarled under her breath as she recognized him: The Inquisitor. Known to be a ‘Holy man’ he was known around the big cities to eradicate women known to be witches - whether they were innocent or not, he would burn or drown them without trial either way. Rumor had it that he was the one who would plant certain items in their homes just for the money, he was not an innocent man and deep down, everyone knew that.
Maeve's heart sank as the realization came to her. She was most definitely doomed. She watched as the sweaty men around her began to light their torches as The Inquisitor gave a speech about how she was wicked and heart corrupted by the devil; the usual nonsense he was known to spout out during the burning of witches. She just didn't realize that her death would come so soon, she was always so careful…
The Inquisitor turned his ugly face towards her and chanted the latin exorcism from his bible. He raised and lowered his voice for dramatic effect while the others circled around, each one lowering their torches onto the straw behind the pyre. It took no time for Maeve to be consumed in smoke and flames, her tears glistening on her face as she closed her eyes, feeling her feet begin to get hotter and hotter. She bit her tongue, refusing to let them know her pain, but as the flames licked her chest and bit into her flesh, searing
away at her, she let out a blood curdling scream into the air. Her last thoughts as she fell into darkness was seeing the faces of those who tied her up and The Inquisitor's smirk etched in her mind… she fell deeper and deeper into the abyss, her mind completely blank now.
Her body wasn’t taken down until the next night arrived, the villagers were scared that if they touched her, they would be cursed, so they waited a full day to unbind her charred body off the pyre. They dragged her to the middle of a field, they would let the crows feast on her body.. Or what was left of it. As they threw her on the ground, the full moon rose to its highest. The men looked up as the white light shone down onto her body… then the light turned red… the ground beneath her body rumbled as green stalks sprouted out and wrapped around her body flowering into small red flowers: poppies.
What felt like an eternity, her mind burst into colors…like a rollercoaster, her mind began to turn and twist, electricity shooting through her body with occasional flashes of white. She felt warm inside, like life was being breathed into her. She could feel her body moving, her hands clenched in and out, her toes wiggled before her legs stretched out and moved. She inhaled deeply before forcing her eyes open, being met with a terrible sight.
Her body trembled as she looked at her hands, supple and white yet stained with blood, the ground was soaked in a dark color, grass glistening a crimson glint on each blade. She looked around herself and noticed the bodies, torn apart and ripped to shreds, their remains scattered across the field like a savage animal had taken them. Was this her doing? She felt both her heart's pumping with adrenaline… thudding at each other like the beat of a drum during a war.
She felt powerful, stronger and invincible like never before. She heard every tree branch break in the distance, every flap of the wings of the birds that took off in the night. Her eyes sharpened to the sky, witnessing its red deadly glow of the moon. The blood moon waned above her, slowly resuming its white glow, so the red blood on the ground became more apparent. Maeve licked her lips in a sudden hunger, tasting the blood in her mouth… Was that hers or someone else's? She turned to see a familiar head on the ground, with nobody… It was The Inquisitor. The top hat was still attached to his bloodied face, the shock still etched on him. Her ears twitched at the sound of someone groaning: her head snapped to the side and noticed one of the villagers getting up and attempting to run away. Her body moved before her mind decided what to do. Her hands shot up to the man's neck and plunged her mouth into his flesh, piercing the skin with ease, she began to suck the delicious liquid from within him. Her nails grew longer and sharper, digging into him to prevent him from escaping, she wanted to drain him dry, she wanted his death. He deserved to die.
Her eyes snapped open in disbelief, tossing the man to the side and choked with horror at her actions. It shouldn't taste this good… what was happening to her? Instant panic rose in her body and she did the one thing that entered her mind. She ran… she ran for her life.
Shadows were what made most of her days and nights after that tragic night. Hundreds of years passed by in solitude, keeping herself away from all forms of contact, refusing to accept herself for so long… this monster that she has become. But as the years passed by, she felt this agonizing hunger… human food no longer would sustain her, she didn't want to kill so she fed off the blood of animals that had just died from either natural causes or hunters in the area. Her features had become torn and dry, her skeleton showing against her pale skin… she was ready to accept death at this point but of course being a creature of the undead, that was very hard to achieve.
One night she was curled up on a stone slab in the middle of a forest, her ears perked up at the sound of shouting and chanting - loud horrible curse words. She groaned and picked herself up against a tree and looked ahead of her: she saw fire… that awful sight brought back memories all those years ago… she saw a young girl begging for her life as tears ran down her face, bleeding from one of her eyes as a large man whipped her body left and right. Her mouth drooled at the delicious scent that she yearned so much, but the feeling of compassion overruled her urge to feed for the time being, watching in horror as this woman was being tied to a pyre. Maeve growled under her breath, she would not let someone else die by the hands of these corrupted men.
She screamed loudly, high pitched like a banshee calling out to their deaths: she may not have been as strong as she could be, but she was still much more powerful than the men that surrounded her. She leapt up into the air and raised her sharp nails, slashing the males left and right. One with a sword came towards her but she merely sidestepped out of the way and shot her skinny arm right through his heart and smiled. For the first time in a long time, she smiled…her speed was incredible, like dashes of darkness she was on top of them one by one in seconds. Ripping them apart and feeding on their blood, draining each one of them dry before tossing them aside like rag dolls. Feeding off the last man, she let out a relaxed sigh, feeling her body regain energy at an alarming rate. Her muscles returned, no longer the skeleton, her lips became plump and soft and her hair a luscious fiery red once again…
She turned to the woman who was beyond hysterics begging for her life. But she did not feel the urge to drink her blood anymore… She easily struck down on the rope that bound the poor girl and released her. The woman being in a state of shock merely fell to the ground in horror. Maeve looked at her with her bright eyes, glistening with realization.
This was her purpose… she would kill those who hurt others… She would help those who were too weak to help themselves whether it be human or not. She was going to find a place where anyone who needed help could come and stay and destroy those who wished her or anyone harm.
Question is… will you be deemed worthy by Maeve? Would you survive her bloodied judgment?
Are you afraid of the dark?....