A naked corpse slowly shuffled into view. In the dim light cast by the slit window above them it was hideous. Pockmarks covered its entire body. The little unmarked skin it had was gray. Pieces of skin and flesh hung scattered across its body. Once it might have been a man. Alfred couldn’t be sure. The creature paused at the edge of the light. Its eyes slowly drifted up and down examining him then its gaze moved to Edel. What might have been a smile, exposed sharpened canines.
“Innocents” came the whisper.
Focused on Edel it took a step toward her. She shuddered, there was nowhere to flee.
“We will have such fun. You and I” It spoke to Edel. “Been ages since I’ve had an innocent. And now there are two.” With a turn of its head in looked at Alfred.
“I am Biruce, who did not die.” He paused and green saliva drooled through a tear in his lower lip. “Let me turn you, girl. Share your body with me. Stay fair forever. I know the secret.”
The creature leered at Edel and took a step closer to her. Alfred swung the torch between them. It stepped back.
He glared at Alfred. Then spoke to Edel. “Help me take his innocence. The pleasure is unimaginable.” Alfred poked at it with his torch. Biruce’ s right hand reached through the flame. The smell of his burning flesh made Alfred almost retch. With a jerk the monster pulled the torch from Alfred and threw it behind him. When it hit the damp floor it went out.
A blow from its left hand sent Alfred flying across the small room. He hit the wall and slumped to the floor.
Edel had her sword drawn when the creature’s attention once more turned to her. As he approached, she stabbed at him.
“I was damaged when I took the cure. The cure does not remove damage.” It whispered. “You will be a young pretty forever. Pity your hair won’t grow out. I always liked long blond hair.”
Edel stabbed at him. Its hand closed over hers. A smirk played across its face. “The sword appears to have a silver coating. I’ve proof against such” Then slowly it pulled Edel and her sword closer. The sword pierced its chest. Edel struggled to free her hand from it. Panic crossed Edel’s face as the creature’s free hand played up her chest. It tugged at the top of her blouse. Trying to loosen it. The first button pulled free and then the second and third exposing a hint of her bosom. It towered over her. A string of saliva hung from its mouth. She struck it then with her left hand. It released her hand and as she fell back her blouse tore open. She landed on her rump with only her chemise covering her.
“It would be easier if you cooperate” came the whisper. “I’ll have my way regardless.”
Alfred’s head hurt. His eyes didn’t want to focus. When they did there was Edel on the floor her blouse open exposing her to the creature. He roused himself. His blade lay next to him, so he picked it up. He touched the back of his head where it ached. Blood covered his hand when he looked at it. He stood slowly afraid he would faint. He took a stance. Where the knowledge of its form came from, he didn’t know but he knew this was the one to use. Three quick steps and a thrust which he leaned into. His blade slid between the creature’s ribs and though where its heart should be. If it had one.
Edel watched as a sword came out the front of the creature’s chest. A confused look passed over its face. Then rage lit its eyes and it turned on Alfred.
His sword was torn from his hand. The thing turned on him. He back stepped until his back was against the wall.
“You spoil my pleasure, child. I was going to let you watch our tryst. I’ll take your innocence first then.” What passed for the creature’s face was just inches from Alfred’s face. The stench of death was carried by its breath. “And only your dead eyes will watch what I do with the girl.”
The blade of the sword was still lodged in its chest. As the creature leaned on Alfred it cut through the fabric of his shirt and drew Alfred’s blood. The creature’s slimy tongue licked his neck, ran up his chin, over his mouth and nose. A hand pinched his buttock.
Edel watched horrified as the thing assaulted Alfred. She could see Alfred’s blood drip to the floor. their swords hadn’t harmed the thing. What could she do? She had to do something. Alfred’s and her life depended on her doing something. Then she remembered they each carried a wooden stake that had been soaked in holy water. Her hand found it still in its sheath. She pulled it out. Such a short piece of wood. Not a very sharp point.
She ran and plunged the foot-long stake into the creatures back.
Suddenly the creature moved closer pushing the sword point deeper into Alfred’s chest. The creature pulled away from him and quickly turned. The blade point cut across Alfred’s chest. He screamed and once more slid to the floor. As he watched the creature reach for Edel. It turned and looked at him. Its head cocked. It judged Alfred’s bleeding form no threat because it turned to advanced up on Edel.
Alfred saw that a wooden stake now protruded from its back. The handle of his sword was there as well. It hurt to move. But what the creature planned for them was too much.
Alfred with a grimace stood. Reached for his blade and with a jerk pulled. The creature screeched and went to its knees.
“Cursed innocent blood” wheezed from it.
His blood caused it pain! Alfred rubbed his blade across where he was bleeding. Gasping at the pain. He plunged his blade in again. The creature once more screeched. Alfred pulled the blade free once more. Then he stepped around and swung his blade down toward the neck of the thing. If he cut its head off maybe that would stop it.
As Alfred’s blade began to cut the creature’s neck his left foot was grabbed and pulled out from under him. The blade clattered to the floor. It had cut its neck but not severed it.
“You’re too much trouble,” it wheezed. Its hand closed on Alfred’s neck. Alfred grabbed with both hands and tried to pull it away from his throat. But its grip tightened. Alfred couldn’t breathe.
He saw Edel standing behind it a sword raised above her head. Then its fingers loosened a bit as its head bounced off his chest and onto the floor. Edel kicked the headless body away from Alfred. Its fingers left marks on his neck as the hand pulled free. The head lying beside him blinked its eyes and its mouth moved. With another kick, Edel sent the head down into the dark hall.
Four hours later the Count and his remaining men found them huddled together still weeping.