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The Hero and The Horror


This is but a sample of this story.  The complete version is available in my print collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.

            "Order!  We will have order!" the town elder shouted over the din of his panicked townspeople.  They had gathered at the town's hall, an immense room with high echoing ceilings, thick beams, and a thatched roof.  In better times the town and it's people would have been celebrating their idyllic lifestyle, the kind a community of simple dairy farmers could do.  But now, a darkness had descended over them.
            "One at a time, one at a time," he shouted again.
            He pointed to one man, giving him permission to speak, "She's dead already.  Let's just finish it."
            A woman stood up, babe in arms, "But he said he'd kill us if we hurt her!"
            "All of us!"
            "But what do we do?"
            "What can we do?"
            "If we do nothing, this will go on forever and we'll live under his thumb."
            "He'll kill us all, one way or the other."
            "Cowards!" came one young voice.  It was full of steel and resolve and did a better job to silence the crowd than the elder could do.
            All eyes were on him.  The elder narrowed his gaze and invited the boy to explain further.  "And what should we do, young man?"
            "We fight.  We fight him and make a stand.  We fight him while there is still enough of us left to resist him."
            He dodged a piece of fruit thrown at him, "You're the coward!  You only say such things because it's still the day time and it's safe."
            "When the sun goes down, none of us will be safe!"
            The afflicted girls mother sobbed loudly and the hall broke out into shouting once again.  The village elder raised his hands, requesting quiet from the crowd.  A hush fell over the townsfolk as soon as they noticed their leader calling for that quiet.
            Slowly, he lowered his arms, timing the utterance from his lips for maximum dramatic impact, hoping that his words would resonate with his flock like a tuning fork.  "We will hire a vampire hunter."
            A few of the old maids gasped, but by and large, the audience sat in stunned silence.  A few more in the back muttered things like, "We can't," and, "No," and, "It'll be the death of us all!"  But they al knew that the elders word was the law and a hunter would be hired from community funds and it would have to happen quickly.  There were only two nights left before the girls turn would be complete and the villain would be back to collect her.  And now that an aggressive course of action had been decided on, every one lived on the edge of fear.
            It was never wise to draw the ire of a vampire, and the townsfolk didn't know if there were any familiars among their number loyal to the vampire, and they didn't know if they'd even be able to find a vampire hunter, let alone one knowledgeable enough to vanquish an immortal.
            The town spent the next night unable to sleep for fear of attack.  They were still uneasy from the last attack waged against them.  The moon was full and the night was crisp and cool with the approaching autumn.  It began as a low howling and a foul smell on the wind, and the howl turned into a shrill shriek through leafless tree branches.  And on the wind came the sound of leather wings flapping toward them in the night.

The complete version is available in my print collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.
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