A waitress with a name tag that read “Rose” came over to serve them. She looked friendly with her bright-red hair and snapping gum. She took their order and then asked if she could assist them with anything else.
Linda decided to come straight out with what they wanted to know. She began by explaining their situation. “Two of our friends disappeared from a party given at End House this past Friday night. We suspect that the people who reside on the hill are the ones responsible. Do you know anything about them that can help us?”
Rose called over two men. “Hey! Rob and Joe! We need help here!” Linda and Shana, becoming frightened, began to stand up. Then they noticed that the two old men, who were coming over to them, had big smiles on their wrinkled faces. They joined them at their booth.
Rose said to the men, “These women were at that party and they think that the hill people had something to do with the disappearances.”
The one called Joe, who had a full head of white hair and a long white beard, nodded his head in agreement. “We have always suspected that those people were evil. Tourists disappear every year and nothing is ever done about it. The sheriff seems to be in cahoots with them. Parties are given on the hill on the same two nights each year. On these nights, shadows can be seen creeping around the deserted streets of town.”
Rob, who wore very thick glasses and had curly grey hair, added, “The parties look like secret meetings of some society. Everything is always done after dark.”
Rose spoke up. “We never see these people until the sun goes down. They don’t bother talking to us. I’ve been living here thirty years and I’ve spoken to only a few of them.”
“Our town doesn’t go out after dark; we steer clear of the hill people. There have been many legends, but we don’t know if any are true,” Joe said.
Shana asked, “What are some of the legends?”
“One legend describes the hill people as vampires in hiding. They meet with the rest of the vampires in the world twice a year. These meetings are planning sessions on how to keep their species alive,” Joe said.
“Another legend has the hill people as good vampires that are trying to rid the world of The Dead, a sect of evil vampires who enjoy killing people—just for fun. The Dead have greater powers than regular vampires and are led by a strong and malicious head vampire. The good vampires meet twice a year to plan the defense of their slowly diminishing group,” Rob explained.
“How can you remain living here if you believe the worst of the people in town?” Linda asked. She didn’t believe in vampires, but if these people thought so poorly of the townspeople, then why didn’t they just leave?
Rose answered for them, “We don’t know if the legends are true. We’ve been living here unhurt all these years. Maybe the tourists disappearing are just coincidences. We can’t pack up our whole village and leave. We need the income from the ocean: the fishing has been very profitable.”
“Maybe they want you to remain living here for some sinister purpose,” Shana said.
“If you find out anything, please let us know,” said Rose, with concern beginning to dawn in her eyes.
“Don’t worry. We’ll let you know of any new developments. We’ll figure this out and find our friends,” Linda replied, trying to downplay Shana’s dire warning.
The village looked lovely and peaceful on the surface, but Linda was afraid that there was much more brewing beneath the surface. As she ate her lunch, she tried to be as cheerful as possible so that Shana wouldn’t notice her rising fears and suspicions.
The Dead Game by Susanne Leist
Row of Trees (1915) by Jan Mankes (Dutch, 1889—1920).
WALK IN SHADOW
Who waits in the dark?
Stalking its victims.
Blending with the night.
Walking in shadow.
Lighter than air.
One with the mist.
Leaving death behind.
Traces of evil.
Evil wrought on the town.
Who are you?
Come out in the light.
I know you can’t.
I know what you are.
Creature of the night.
Come to me.
And your time on earth will end.
For I protect the town.
I protect the innocent.
Come out of the shadow.
And face me.
All will know who you are.
The leader of The Dead.
Your time is at end.
THE DEAD GAME
The battle between good and evil rages on.
The sky and water have turned blood red.
Red as wine flowing down the side of a cup.
Red as blood oozing from the a deep gash.
The Dead hold the world in their hands.
Our world of people, hope, and humanity.
Their world lies below civilization.
Below the depths of humanity.
They have to come to our shores.
They have come to Oasis, Florida.
To exert their claim over humanity.
To rule with a cold heart and an evil mind.
The Watchers and good vampires band together.
They must search and destroy the evil ones.
They must find the leader hiding behind his disguise.
A disguise to fool some but not me.
Wolf cannot hide long in his protective shell.
His evil will come to the surface to show all.
He might be a charmer with women falling at his feet.
But I will not succumb to his charms a second time.
The sky shudders and bleeds its pain.
Thunder brings with it daggers of hail.
Lightning casts flashes of light upon the hidden.
Upon the dark shadows roaming the streets.
The wind calls my name, “Linda, come to me.”
It is soothing like a warm blanket on a winter’s night.
It holds promises of passion and endless love.
But I will hold strong and not weaken.
OUR GAMES HAVE JUST BEGUN
THE DEAD GAME
vintagegal: Dracula (1931)
Who was the original vampire?
Most say it was Count Dracula,
Who had unlimited power and charm.
Enough charm to lure followers
All the way to hell and beyond.
He had one descendant.
Where can he be found today?
Is he one of The Dead in Oasis, Florida?
Come and find out.
THE DEAD GAME
DEAD BY MORNING
He comes in the night
With a show of might.
He comes for the few.
He’ll make them anew.
They’ll be ready to fight
Each and every night.
They’ll take on more men.
They need more than ten.
The Dead will gather strong.
And I still might be wrong.
But they’re surely here for you and me.
We’ll be buried in the bright blue sea.
THE DEAD GAME
GOING IN CIRCLES
Caught in a vicious cycle.
No control over your own life.
Day in and day out.
Round and round you go.
Does it ever stop?
Can you get off?
Yes, you can.
If you step outside the circle.
And dare to be different.
When Abe returned to his house, he opened his hand to reveal the small folded-up piece of paper that Father John had slipped into his palm. The Father had brushed past him just before he’d disappeared. Abe sat on his bed in the darkened room, slowly unfolding the note.
Written inside were the few words “Meet me at midnight at the church.”
He wasn’t too eager to visit the church so late. But he had no choice.
Later, when everyone was asleep, Abe left the house and walked to town. He approached the church and saw for the first time the utter devastation the last storm had bestowed on the beautiful building. The once-white church was now darkened to almost black. All of its windows had been blown out and its roof had caved in. The tall bell tower was no longer visible; it must be lying somewhere amidst the rubble of the building’s interior.
He didn’t see the priest anywhere outside, so he walked through doorway or what had been the doorway. He climbed over large pieces of wood that must have been the front doors.
Inside, nothing remained standing. Statues lay smashed on the ground. The pews had been crushed flat by the fallen roof. Even the stained-glass windows had been shattered to pieces. As he was lamenting over this terrible loss, he heard a shuffling noise behind him. He turned around to find the Father walking toward him.
“I don’t have good news for you,” the priest said.
“Of course,” Abe said.
“I have much to explain. Please sit down beside me on the one pew that has been left standing.”
They walked down the center aisle to the small pew at the front right corner of the room. After they sat down, Father John said, “The Dead had been created by Wolf, not only because of his everlasting need for domination, but because he wanted to destroy the whole town, including vampires, human vampires, and humans….”
“We already knew that.”
“But what you didn’t know was that this destruction was an essential component of Wolf’s master plan. The total destruction to be brought forth by The Dead had been designed to bring man and vampire together: you and me. Only then would Wolf be able to release his family from the spell that had trapped them for centuries in the dungeons beneath End House. My ancestors’ book spoke about a powerful witch, her spell, and even the way to break the spell.”
“But Wolf was already dead when End House was destroyed. Who had followed through with his plan?”
“Wait. Let me finish the story,” the priest said. “Over two hundred years ago, a witch unleashed a spell on Wolf’s family because of their complete debauchery and cruelty against humanity. She trapped them below End House to roam the dark dungeons for all eternity. That is, until End House was destroyed by us. Our chanting released the demons from their dark hold and let them loose once more. They are now free to leave the dungeons to set forth on the world an evil that hasn’t been seen for over two hundred years.”
“Back to my earlier question: who followed through with this ingenious plan?” Abe asked.
The Father continued, “Everyone—human and vampire alike—has wrongly assumed that peace is now attainable: that the evil demon presence is finally gone from Oasis. But no one has guessed at the awful truth. Beneath the pretty field of flowers growing on End House property exists an evil so great and powerful that even the elders can’t fight it on their own.
“And to answer your question, Wolf is still alive and present in town. He has just taken on a different form.”
Abe rolled his eyes. “Even Wolf can’t reincarnate himself.”
“I’m terribly sorry to prove you wrong. When Wolf was dying in the alligator pool, I witnessed his evil spirit alight from his body and pass over our group. He is now living in one of us, one of us who had been present at Wolf’s annihilation. Wolf’s body has been destroyed but the soul of one of our own has been taken over by him. One day soon, this evil one will finally lead his family out of the dungeons to finish their mission. They will rise up to destroy mankind on their demented journey to rule the world.”
Abe put his hands over his eyes. After a few moments, he looked up at Father John and asked, “What can we do?”
“First, we must keep a close eye on the humans in town. Vampires can’t enter another vampire’s body; they can take control only of a human or a human vampire. So Wolf is residing in one of the human vampires, or in one of the humans from town. I think it is more likely that one of the humans has absorbed Wolf’s entity into their own. As soon as we spot unusual activity in town, we should be ready to enter the dungeons of End House to seek out and destroy Wolf’s family. I believe you should alert your whole family. I will inform Hayden and the elders of this new threat. The most important thing for us to do now is to make sure that we are ready. We have to be prepared for everything and anything.”
At the front steps of the church, the vampire leader and the religious leader shook hands and parted ways: each on his own mission to free Oasis from the deadly grip of the evil demons.