For book/ebook authors, publishers, & self-publishers
Red Paradise: First Father, A Vampire Awakens
By Donald W. Atchison Jr.
Sacramentum (Chapter 1)
“You are the human…” The voice was steeped with authority, and reverberated off the walls of the dark cave.
A small fire provided the only light where an old man sat hunched in bearskin clothing. “And you are not,” he replied with a humorous chuckle.
“This world continues to astonish me,” the other lurked in the darkness, purposely keeping his distance as he contemplated what he would do. Kill- or not.
“Really? I would think one as old and travelled as you, you would have discovered by now that some of the greatest wonders come from some of the simplest things. And places…Yes, this is a simple world, Domm, but there are many wonders on this- planet. You cannot imagine. Not even with all your great experiences because you know too much.”
Domm’s eyes narrowed as he grew slightly closer. At first only the whites of his eyes showed. Soon the naked, chiseled figure of a vampire was in full light. His thick locks nearly touched the ground. The lines in his beautiful face held awesome tales. He inhaled the sweet aroma of the man’s blood that permeated. He was tall! He was majestic. And his face was twisted with controlled fury.
“You speak recklessly in the face of death,” Domm crouched on the opposite side of the fire. He could sense the other’s power. It was a tease. He licked his lips, though they were not dry.
“Is it that you feel I should cower because you can take my life?” he paused, then guffawed with boldness Domm had never encountered in a human. “There is more than just this life, and plenty more even in this life to fear than you, vampire.” The man’s beard was like a wild bush on fire, and seemed to be able to keep him warm all by itself.
“Fear, such as of God?” Domm mocked.
The old man suspired, a bit weary as he stood with a slight groan from stiff joints and aching bones. “Yes, such as of God.”
Domm stared into the flames, clenching and releasing a fist before placing it in the fire. The flesh melted under the heat, but he refused to withdraw his hand. The flames cracked and flared until the white of his bones glimmered. He stood erect, and the flesh returned immediately. The vampire was very tall – very magnificent. “I am God to you, human.”
“And you have come here for what, to prove it to me? To have me worship you, kneel before you?” the old man’s eyes sparkled. “No vampire. You are no more than a being that lives longer by nature, but not forever. You are not omnipotent or omnipresent. You are drunk on yourself.”
Domm leapt over the fire in a single bound landing before the human in between the man’s heartbeat. His locks hung in his face like heavy ropes before they were flung over his shoulders. Domm was expressionless, but poised to strike, yet the old man did not flinch at the danger that towered over him.
“I know you are accustomed to being reverence. That will be your undoing,” the man waved dismissively before turning and shuffling towards the cave entrance. A grin swept over Domm’s face, falling away. He contemplated in silence, impressed, and followed.
At the mouth of the cave the man called home he stood gazing over the expanse the seemed to stretch in all ways forever. The night was vast with shimmering stars, trapped within a deep blue backdrop. A brilliant white moon beckoned with mystery just beyond the touch of a pointed finger or extended palm. None of that compared to the cliffs that rose like waves before them; like great rock stairs that provided a path into the heavens where the moon beckoned and the stars laid infinite paths to adventure or mundane empty space. This vampire and this man stood all alone. Not only in space, but in time, realizing their encounter was bound to happen no matter how big the universe. The two were destined to cross paths.
Domm said, “You are what I expected. You are as I dreamed.”
There was silence. “You are more than I anticipated,” was the response. “Maybe much more than I think I can handle. The burden is not light on either of us.”
“The burden is not yours to carry. It is mine, is it not? Why else would you have made yourself known to me?”
With those words the old man raised a brow. “You would have come to sense me in time. This way was better.” The old man walked to the edge of the cliff. “I am called, Bodhisattva, and I am the last of my kind. You will be my Pratimoska until…” he turned to stare in the vampire’s eyes. They no longer had that humanness. They were black and reflective – ready for a fight.
Domm’s fangs grew. His nose curled. Something was approaching. Something with violent intent that did not fear the King of the Vampires or a Bodhisattva.
“Domm,” the old man raised a hand. “Retreat into the cave, old king. Do not argue, the time will come when there will be blood that will shed, rising the height of a horse’s bridle. But not now.”
The vampire’s eyes swept over the man then to where he knew the trespassers would soon appear. He stepped back into the cave slowly, beyond the fire, deep into the darkness. However, his vampric eyes could see down the tunnel, beyond the flames, and to where the old man waited.
Sharp shrieks announced the arrival of several witches in black shredded robes that fluttered wildly regardless of no wind blowing. Three of them landed before the old man in a triangular formation with regally raised heads, grimacing before the male who stood half-hunched before them.
“A male whom lives so far away from any others of his kind. It’s not like your species. Some of your philosophers have stated that only those whom live away from society are either a beast or god. Which are you?” the leading witch stared at him in mockery and disgust.
“I am neither a beast or a god. I have simply chosen not to accept society’s social contract, and live a quiet life. I enjoy the solitude, the peace, the quietness that comes with living here,” he shrugged.
“You are known by your kind as the Mountain Man.”
“Today,” he nodded, “though I have been called worse.”
The leading witch waved a hand and one of the women with her swept past the Bodhisattva before gliding towards the fire. Her eyes surveyed the cavity of the cave before falling on the tunnel that extended from the opposite side. Domm was clinging upside down from the ceiling on all-fours, ready to spring into action. The arrival of the witches was fairly new to this world. They were few in number, and for the most part kept their presence secret. Why were they here at the cave? He wondered. Was it for a similar reason as him? He doubted. The witches would have killed the Bodhisattva had they even thought he possessed powers similar to theirs. Domm believed the Bodhisattva to be a warlock, regardless of what title he gave himself. A very powerful warlock.
The shriek was intense and surprising. The witch searching the tunnel fanned a palm and flames from the fire leapt down the tunnel carrying the face of a fierce serpent. Her hair flailed forward as if by a burst of air. The look on her face was fierce. “Vampire!” she wailed. “Vampire, vampire.”
The witches before the Bodhisattva wailed in unison thrusting their palms forward and an invisible force sent the old man flying backwards. They sailed in pursuit, shocked to see the Bodhisattva land softly. “A warlock!” they cried.
Domm advanced through the never ending flames attacking the first witch, draining her of life fluids. His skeleton quickly recovered its flesh, and eyes flashed bright red as hunger filled him from her sweat power. His fangs dripped her essence, and he thirst for more. The witches shrieked with lightning splintering from their fingers in an erratic but steady course. Domm was struck and completely unaffected by the bolts– The surprise of it caused one witch to cease casting. To more of their surprise the Bodhisattva simply flicked a finger and bolts arced in the direction of the stone walls blasting craters into the rock.
The witches were petrified with fear. A vampire that could resist lightning and human warlock who parried their spells as if they children’s toys. Before the seriousness of their situation could fully form one witch after the other was drained by Domm – who savored the sweet magical blood in their veins. He flexed as the power flowed through him.
The Bodhisattva blinked and smiled, observing the vampire. “Come King of the Vampires. We have much to speak of before others are sent.”