Aphelion Issue 278, Volume 26
November 2022
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Soul Mates

by D.C. Plump

Downtown St. Louis

He couldn't stop looking at her. He was looking down at the love of his life lying naked in his arms. They were both curled up together in bed in their loft. The moonlight was shining through the window, as if it was acknowledging their love. His name was Roman. Her name was Julia. The irony of the two names still made him chuckle sometimes, even after all of these centuries.

They were Redeemers. There were about eight of them that lived in St. Louis, and many others that lived in other areas of the world. However, they were the only two that were living together.

The two of them looked to be in their late teens, but in reality they were actually 2,000 years old since they were "reborn". Or in other words, the day that the demons were given a second chance in life, and in turn are able to earn their way into heaven.

He still remembered that day, even if was centuries ago. He and Julia had actually been part of the heavenly host of angels that had originally occupied Heaven. But then, Lucifer had convinced them to side with him to take over Heaven.

Unfortunately, when Lucifer had been defeated by God and was thrown into Hell, all of his followers were sent as well, including Roman and Julia. For what seemed like millennia, they were tortured in every way possible, only to go through the same torture again. Every day, Roman had regretted the decision that he had made by siding with Lucifer. And then He came. Jesus Christ. The Son of God.

Everyone had heard of him, from his birth to his crucifixion three decades later. Everyone in Hell had heard of his many sermons and miracles. They knew about his impending death before it happened. They even knew that after his death he was destined to go to Hell. It made sense though considering that he had taken on all of the sins of the world when he died.

During the three days that he was down there he preached to all of the demons and tortured souls. He preached about God's love, forgiveness, and the pleasures of Heaven. It made Roman nostalgic for the time that he had spent in Heaven. On the third day before his resurrection, Roman had remembered Jesus' offer for a second chance. He had offered them a chance at a new life. If the demons accepted his offer, then they would be responsible for taking on all of the supernatural evils of the world. As a reward, upon their death they would gain entrance into Heaven.

Leaping at the opportunity, Roman, Julia, and about a half of Hell's population took his offer. For centuries he and Julia traveled across the world fighting evil and moving to other locations when people started to suspect that the two "teenagers" didn't age.

About a year ago they finally settled in St. Louis and found a loft downtown to live in. Where they would move to after this he didn't know. Maybe Chicago or Atlanta. Hell, they might go back to Paris. It's been at least forty or fifty years since they had been there.

He would worry about that later. Right now he was too busy gazing at the love of his life. And for these two, that was very literal. Earlier that night they had killed two demons and a trio of vampires that had tried to eat a couple of homeless people. The adrenaline rush of their kills had affected both of them and they rushed home to make fierce love. Afterwards, they lay in the bed, bodies curled together as close as they possibly could, Roman's arms wrapped around Julia's as she slept, but he didn't join her. Instead he watched as her full pouty lips slightly opened when she snored so delicately.

God, he loved her. He loved the way that she laughed when he would tell her a joke, even if they were lame and not funny at all. He loved how her tanned skin blended so perfectly with her long brown hair. He loved how whenever they would watch The Titanic together, she would always stop the movie right before the ship hit the iceberg because it ruined the romantic effect of the movie. He loved how she could cuddle little puppies in her delicate hands and then decapitate a demon with those same hands. He loved everything about her, and he thanked God every day for her. He knew that he would go to Heaven after he died, but for him, holding Julia in his arms was his own personal piece of paradise.

He felt her moving in his arms and her head moved from his chest to look up at him. Her sky blue eyes looked into his dark brown ones and she smiled.

"Hey," she said.

"Hey yourself."

"Did you get any sleep?"

"Nope. I was too busy looking at my angel."

Laughing, she said, "Well then you must be talking about someone else, because I'm certainly no angel."

"You're my angel," he said as he pulled her up until she was sitting on his lap. "Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

Running her hands through his dark hair she said, "You're so good to me. I couldn't imagine my life without you."

He kissed her and said, "Ditto."

"So what do you want to do tonight? Do you wanna go out or stay in?" she asked him.

"It doesn't matter to me. I'm kind of in the mood to watch a good action flick."

She said, "As if we didn't get enough of that earlier with those demons. I'm kind of in the mood to go to a club and dance the night away."

"Well whatever we do, how do you feel about a round two first?"

With that sexy grin of hers she was about to concur with his suggestion, but they were interrupted by Julia's cell phone ringing. The ringtone for "Thriller" blasted through the phone, indicating that the local seer was calling them about demonic trouble.

Roman cursed under his breath.

"Sorry baby. Duty first," she said as she slid off of the bed to get the phone. She sashayed her rear so that Roman could appreciate her naked backside.

"What's up?" Julia asked into the phone.

Not wasting time, the woman on the other end said, "Just had a vision. Two vampires are on their way to kill someone."

Each city of Redeemers had a seer that would get visions of attacks that would happen. Sometimes they were on time to save the victims, sometimes they weren't. This city's seer was named Amanda Hirsch. She attended college at the local university but had always been aware of her calling since the day that she was born.

"Where is the attack supposed to take place?" Julia asked her.

"Off of South Grand and Arsenal. I'll text you guys the address of the house."

"Thanks Amanda."

"No prob. But I got to go. I got an English midterm tomorrow. Oh, and don't forget that you and I got to go shopping next weekend. I'm in desperate need of some new boots."

Laughing, Julia said, "I wouldn't miss it for the world. I'll see you then."

"Cool. Tell Roman I said hey. Bye."


After she hung up she told Roman about the assignment.

"Well we're in luck. You get to go out and I get some action," Roman said with a grin.

"Really funny. Come on, we don't have much time."

By the time that they had finished getting dressed, the phone started to beep, meaning that they had gotten the text with the address in it.

"You ready, baby?" Julia asked.

Looking at the two of them, you would never have thought that these two were a couple. They were as different as night and day. Julia was wearing a midriff white top that showed off her diamond studded belly ring. She had on a black mini skirt that barely went to her thighs. She had on black stilettos that traveled up her knees. She wore a black leather jacket that was so short, it was the same length as her top. Besides her belly ring, she had on gold hoop earrings and a silver cross that nestled against her breasts.

Julia's weapons consisted of a sword that she wore in a sheath behind her back. She also had a wooden stake that she kept in a small holster on her side.

Roman was as pale as they came. He was skinny but every muscle on his body was well defined. His black hair was put in spikes from all of the gel that he had put in it. He was wearing a black sleeveless best that zipped up the front. He wore leather pants and black combat boots. On his hands were black, fingerless gloves. He had on a black duster over his outfit. He had a silver hoop through his right nostril. In both of his ears he had earrings that covered his entire lobes.

Roman's weapons included a silver axe that he kept on his side and he also carried a stake in one of the duster pockets. He had a dagger sheath on each wrist.

She looked like the local cheerleader and he looked like the local emo. They gave each other a passionate kiss and then walked out hand in hand to go slay the monsters.

* * *

Kingshighway and Arsenal

His name was Brandon. He was about five nine with coffee colored skin and a low fade with a swimmer's build. Tonight he was wearing all black. Black long sleeved shirt, jeans, and boots. His eyes were blood red and slitted like a cat's. His fangs were extended long enough to be small daggers. He was a vampire, and he was out to kill.

It had literally been a week ago that he was turned. The previous week-while he had been human--he had discovered that he had contracted HIV.

Devastated and not knowing what to do, Brandon went to the park across the street ready to kill himself when a figure appeared out of nowhere. He revealed to Brandon that his name was Simeon and that he was a vampire. He'd proven to Brandon that he wasn't crazy by demonstrating to him his immense strength and speed. After realizing that he had nothing left to lose, Brandon let Simeon turn him.

For the past week Simeon had showed Brandon the ways of a vampire. He showed him how to choose his victims, how to drink blood straight from the vein, and how to use his eyes to hypnotize people. During this time Brandon started to feel an intense connection with Simeon. Simeon had told him that many vampire feel a sexual connection to their sires because they were the ones that had given them a new life. Not knowing if it was love or just lust, Brandon chose to ignore it so that he could focus on the task at hand.

After the week had passed and Brandon had become accustomed to being a vampire, he expressed to Simeon about what had happened before he was turned and what Rashaun had done to him. Becoming furious, Simeon concurred to Brandon's idea of revenge and that night they walked together towards Rashaun's house where he had recently kicked Brandon out after he had tried to confront him.

When Brandon had went to Rashaun's house to let him know about his visit to the clinic, instead of sitting down and talking about it, Rashaun had taken a gun out and pointed it at Brandon's head. Rashaun had told Brandon that if he ever came over there again he would shoot him down. Afterwards he had slammed the door in his face. Brandon couldn't wait to sink his fangs into Rashaun's jugular.

Simeon walked beside Brandon as they got closer and closer to the house. Even though he revealed to Brandon that he was over a thousand years old, Simeon looked to be in his late 20s. His facial features seemed to be a mixture of Asian and African. His hair was pure black and trailed to the middle of his back in long braids. His skin was like soft toffee. He wore a grey silk suit that was looked very expensive. Over the suit was a long overcoat that looked just as expensive as the suit. He wore black loafers.

If Brandon's heart could still beat he knew that it would be pumping rapidly in anticipation at that second. He walked up the stairs and gently knocked on the door. A small snarl came from Brandon's mouth when the door opened and he looked into Rashaun's surprised face.

Just looking at Rashaun made Brandon want to kill him. The memory of what happened the last time they were face to face made him anticipate this kill even more. Simeon waited across the street at the park while Brandon waited at the front door.

"What the hell do you want?" Rashaun said. He was six feet even with dark skin and wavy short hair. Right now he was only wearing gym shorts and a tank top.

"We need to talk," Brandon replied. He tried to keep his eyes on Rashaun and not his neck but his anger was making the vein in his neck pulse rapidly, which made Brandon want to sink his fangs in his throat even more.

"I ain't got nothing to say to you," he said.

"But I do. Please invite me in."

Unfortunately, many of the legends were true about vampires: sunlight burns them, stakes kill them, they have no reflection, and they can't go into a house uninvited.

"Screw you man. Get off my property."

"Just let me in, please. I promise I'll be in and out in five minutes."

The way that Brandon's hunger was acting, it wouldn't even take five minutes for him to drain Rashaun dry.

"Aiight dude. Come in," he said, opening the door.

He walked into the room and let Rashaun close the door.

"Alright man, what do you wanna talk about?" he asked.

Brandon didn't say a word. He let his hatred do all of the talking. He knew that his eyes had turned from brown to blood red and his fangs lengthened to sharpened perfection. The fear that poured out of Rashaun's face from his appearance made Brandon hard.

"What the hell?" he yelled out.

Brandon leaped at him and fastened his teeth on his throat, sucking on his blood as soon as he made contact.

Pure. Carnal. Bliss.

A scream behind Brandon made him pause. He turned around and saw a half dressed and very handsome-looking guy. Another one of Rashaun's victims. With Brandon's yellow eyes, fangs, and blood coating his face, it made the guy pee in his pants. A part of him wanted to drink him too, but the other part of him almost felt sorry for him. Months ago Brandon was in the same position that the boy was in, and it was that part of him that snarled one word to him.


And like that he ran out of the house, leaving the door open as he left. Not caring, Brandon fastened his fangs back on Rashaun's throat and enjoyed his revenge, every drop of blood at a time.

* * *

Dee couldn't believe what he had seen. He wondered if anyone had poured anything in his drink at the club, because it must've been drugs that made him see what he had seen. Vampires couldn't be real, they just couldn't be. But what other explanation was there?

He knew that going to that guy's house was a bad idea, but Rashaun was really sexy and cute. Next time he would definitely listen to his instincts, but first he had to find a phone to call the police. In his rush to get out of the house he had forgotten his cell phone, which was still in the bedroom.

Dee ran across the street to the park, noticing someone standing against a tree by the sidewalk. The man looked to be mixed with black and Asian descent. The man saw the fear on Dee's face and ran up to him.

"Is everything all right?" he asked.

Trying to talk while crying at the same time, Dee finally said, "Someone's getting attacked by some kind of monster. Right across the street," he said as he pointed across the street at Rashaun's house.

"Don't worry, I saw a cop patrolling the park just now. If we find him we can get some help."

"Thanks man."

"Come on," he said while waving Dee to follow.

They walked for about two minutes Dee walked ahead.

"I don't see any cop. I think we're the only ones here," Dee said.


That voice didn't sound right coming from the man. He turned around and saw the man's eyes turn golden yellow. His canines started to grow to a sharp point. He looked just like the thing that had attacked Rashaun.

Dee tried to run but the man grabbed his arm and turned him around to face him again. In a flash the man sunk his fangs into Dee's neck. With every pull of his blood leaving his body, Dee felt himself going numb.

He looked over the man's head and saw a pale guy with spiky hair running towards them. Out of his long duster the man took out a small dagger and threw it at the monster's shoulder, making him drop Dee to the ground. All Dee could do was lie on the grass as he started to lose consciousness.

* * *

Roman prayed the entire time on the way to the house that they hadn't been too late to save the innocents. Looking at the young man on the ground, he wasn't sure.

Roman turned to look at the vampire that was busy digging the knife from his shoulder. Roman recognized this one. He was Simeon. He was one of the oldest and most deadly vampires walking around. Roman promised himself that tonight Simeon would die.

Finally able to pull the knife all of the way out, Simeon tossed it to the ground and snarled at Roman. He ran at him and the fight began. Simeon charged Roman and tackled him to the ground like a football player. Getting the wind knocked out of him, Roman was dazed for only a couple of seconds, giving Simeon time to land a couple of punches in Roman's face. After the third punch, Roman was able to kick Simeon away from him, making him stumble into a tree. Roman flipped up from the ground and moved into a fighter's stance.

Roman glanced behind him to check on the unconscious victim. Luckily Julia had made it and was checking his pulse.

"He's alive. I already called the ambulance," she said.

"Good," he said as he delivered a spinning kick to Simeon. The two of them continued to trade blows with each other as Julia looked around the park.

"Where's the second vampire?" Julia asked.

"He's in the house," a slurred voice said behind her.

She turned around to see that Dee had regained consciousness but was still not able to get up.

"Don't worry, I called the ambulance. You'll be okay," Julia said.

Turning to Roman-who was still tussling with Simeon-she said, "I'm going after the other one. Are you going to be okay?"

"I'll be fine," Roman said right before Simeon punched him in the jaw. Roman retaliated by throwing an uppercut to Simeon's chin. "Just be careful.

"I will baby. I promise."

And with that, Julia ran towards the house as fast as she could. As she ran, she prayed to God that she wasn't too late to save the other victim. Over the centuries she had saved many people, but unfortunately they had lost many victims as well. She hoped this person wasn't one of the latter.

As she ran up the steps to the house and crossed the threshold, she knew that she was too late. All she saw at first in the darkness was blood. It led a narrow trail from the front door. She looked up to see where the trail led. That's when she saw the two bodies. One was obviously dead. His dead eyes looked vacantly at Julia. The other one was mauling savagely at the victim's neck.

Julia was enraged. This would be the last victim that this vampire would take. She would make sure of it. As silently as she could, she withdrew her stake from its sheath. But with the vampire's superior hearing he was able to hear even that.

He turned around and growled at her. Julia gasped. He didn't seem to look any older then her--at least not any older then her human form. If it wasn't for the blood that was coating his lower face, he would've looked like he could've went to school with Amanda.

Putting her pity aside, she yelled a warrior's cry and charged at the vampire, her stake raised above her. The vampire dropped the body and met her head on. Unfortunately the vampire didn't realize that there was a window right behind him. As soon as Julia tackled him, they both crashed through the window and fell to the grass. They rolled away from each other and got back on their feet to face each other.

Julia took a fighting stance while the vampire's claws and fangs lengthened as he prepared for battle. With a look of hatred on both of their faces and the knowledge of knowing that only one person was going to leave this fight alive. The fight began.

* * *

Man, this vampire was tough. Roman had forgotten that Simeon had been around for a couple of centuries, so he had various types of martial arts training. The good thing was Roman had as well, but the bad thing was that they were well-matched in their fighting skills. Most of their punches and kicks were blocked. However, both of them were still able to get a couple of hits in.

Roman's left eye was swollen shut and his lip was split open. Simeon's arm was sliced open from when Roman had cut him with his dagger. He also had a slight limp in his right leg when Roman had kicked him in his kneecap. Nevertheless, neither one was going to give up.

Roman spun and threw his foot into Simeon's jaw, followed by a kick to his gut and a sucker punch to his jaw again. Roman prepared to throw another blow to his face, but before he could connect, Simeon grabbed his arm, and twisted him around so that Roman's back slammed against Simeon's chest and put his arm around Roman, putting him in a chokehold.

Before Simeon could sink his fangs into Roman's neck, Roman took the dagger from his right wrist sheath and plunged it into Simeon's eye. Automatically letting him go, Simeon howled in agony and attempted to pull the knife out of his eye, giving Roman only seconds to take his axe out of its holster. As soon as Simeon took the knife out and looked up, Roman swung his axe as hard as he could with both hands, and with one strike, he removed Simeon's head from the rest of his body.

Seconds later, his body turned into ash. Roman took a deep breath and then ran towards the house, leaving Simeon's ashes to blow away in the wind.

* * *

This bitch was really setting Brandon off. He had her bleeding from her face and from a wound on her side from his long claws, but she still kept coming for more. She had managed to slice his chest open with that big ass sword of hers. He had to admit, she may look like the sluts that he had went to high school with, but she was all Amazon. This girl may be his mortal enemy, but that didn't stop him from having mad respect for her.

Before Brandon could charge her again, he felt a pounding pain in his head. The pain was so intense that he had to hold is hands to his head and crumbled to the ground. He couldn't stop screaming because the pain was so intense. Suddenly, Brandon caught flashes of Simeon. His laugh. His smile. His touch. And his ultimate death by the Redeemer named Roman, Julia's mate.

Simeon had told Brandon that when vampires die, their fledglings feel the exact moment of their death. And in that instant he knew that Simeon was dead. The pain of death had subsided, but that still didn't stop the pain from his heart. He realized that he had loved Simeon. He was the only man in his life that had treated him right. And he was gone.

Seconds later the sorrow left Brandon's body, leaving him filled with nothing but anger and hatred. He knew for certain one sure thing. This bitch and her mate were going to die, and he was going to be the one to do it.

He took a swipe at her stomach, ripping out her button ring and staining her stomach with blood. She screamed in pain and held her stomach. He took another swing at her, but she blocked his arm with hers and pushed it away. Swiftly she punched him in the jaw, followed by a backhand on the other side of his jaw. She flipped up and kicked him in the face on her way back down, sending him crashing to the grass.

Brandon staggered to stand back up. Even while she was bleeding out, she was tough. She struggled to pick up her sword from the ground. He could tell that she was struggling to stay conscious due to all of the blood loss, but no matter what, the vampire could tell that she was going to stay in this until the end.

The rustle of leaves and the crack of branches made both of them pause the fight and look up. In the trees there were at least twenty vampires crouched and hidden in the shadows, the only thing visible were their yellow eyes.

Brandon smiled with malicious joy. The vampires were all Simeon's children that were sired by him. They must've come when they sensed his death, and from the look on their faces, they wanted to slaughter Julia.

As one, they all jumped from the trees and pounced on her at once. Without hesitation, Julia swiped at two of them with her sword and turned to another vampire before the two heads rolled to the ground and turned to dust. She swung her sword at another one but he blocked her arm before she could cut him. With a quickness that even Julia didn't see coming he snapped her wrist, automatically making Julia drop her sword.

Biting her scream down with her teeth, she held her arm to her side and head butted vampire that had broken her wrist. Before she could get another hit in, a female vampire pulled Julia's hair from behind and pulled her to the ground. Julia landed on her broken wrist and nearly passed out from the pain. Before she could get up, all of the vampires started to beat her. They laughed maliciously with each kick and punch to her body. The more blood that flew from her open wounds, the more that Brandon's stomach started to growl from hunger.

When what had felt like an eternity had passed, one the vampires rose and looked at Julia's broken and battered body on the ground. He spread his hand to Julia and said to Brandon, "For you little brother. Come and taste what Redeemer's blood tastes like and I promise you, nothing will ever compare."

He slowly walked towards her and crouched by her. She could do nothing but grimace in pain. All of the determination and bravery had left her body, only to be replaced with pain and fear. He pushed her hair to the side and bared her neck. His stomach clenched in anticipation as he began to lower his fangs.

The first drop of Julia's blood hit him like a locomotive the instant that he pierced her jugular. Her blood was unlike anything else that he had ever drank. Simeon never told him what Redeemer's blood tasted like. It was powerful. Potent. Electrifying. It made his whole body feel completely alive again. The other vampires just stood there and laughed as the youngest member of their coven continued to enjoy his meal. Suddenly, one of the vampires stopped laughing as an arrow pierced his heart and he looked up in the distance before he crumbled into ash.

With the exception of Brandon, the other vampires looked in surprise and saw ten figures dressed in black, covered in weapons and running towards them. Redeemers.

Like Roman and Julia, they all looked to be in their mid to late teens and were carrying swords, daggers, and crossbows. They gave a fierce battle cry as they ran towards the vampires.

The vampires gave a huge roar and met the Redeemers head on. The battle only lasted a couple of minutes, but felt much longer. Casualties were met on both sides. A Redeemer cut off a vampire's head while another vampire cut down another Redeemer with his fangs and claws. The sound of swords meeting flesh, heads rolling, and the screams of fallen Redeemer's saturated the park. When the battle was over, seven Redeemer's stood and the dust of the vampires coated the grass.

Brandon continued to cradle her body to his chest like a lover and continued to drink the sweet honey that was her blood as the battle started to die down. He felt her life leaking away with every second. He could hear her heartbeat start to slow down. A scream that was filled with pain and hatred interrupted his feeding.

He looked up to see Julia's mate-Roman-running towards them. Tears were pouring out of his eyes and his face was fixed into a visage that promised death. It was obvious that he had witnessed his mate's death. Perfect.

He dropped her to the ground and ran off into the park. He knew that he wouldn't follow. He would be too concerned about his mate, but afterwards, he knew that the Reedeemer would be coming for Brandon, and he would be waiting. One down, one to go.

* * *

Oh God, no. Not her. Not now. He couldn't lose her. She was his light, his reason for living. Roman ran to Julia's side and pressed her head to his lap gently.

"Roman, we tried to get here as soon as we could. One of our oracles told us what was going to happen tonight," a Redeemer named Zach said. "We tried to go after the vampire that killed Julia but he was too fast for us. We will continue looking."

"No," Roman said quietly. "He's mine. Please just leave me be."

"Are you sure?" a Redeemer named Shay asked.

Roman just nodded and continued to cry while holding Julia's limp body.

"We are so sorry, Roman," Shay said as she put her hand on his shoulder as she passed by him. All of the Redeemers did the same as they all left the park.

She started to open her eyes a little.

"Hey," she said faintly.

"Baby, I'm so sorry. I should've been here in time," Roman said as tears continued to run down his face.

"Please don't be sorry. You were doing your job, just like I was. None of this was your fault."

She started to cry, knowing that she was about to leave this earth.

"I love you, Julia," Roman sobbed.

"I love you too, Roman. With all of my heart."

"I can't live without you."

"Yes you can. Continue to protect innocents and fight the evil that we have been dedicated to stopping. Keep doing this because you're a good man, the man that I've loved for my entire existence. Don't worry. We'll see each other again on the other side."

Roman took her hand and held it to this chest. He bent down and gave her one last kiss that he wished would last for eternity. Seconds later, Julia's body disintegrated into a bright ball of light and ascended up into the heavens.

Roman hung his head in sorrow. Remembering what Julia said, he raised his head, wiped his eyes, and composed himself. There would be plenty of time to mourn. But first he had to go kill the evil thing that took away the love of his life. He turned towards the direction that the vampire had ran off to and headed deeper into the park.

It didn't take him far to find the vampire. There wasn't any wind activity going on that night, but when Roman walked under a tree, he heard movement from a branch directly above him. He looked up and saw the vampire crouched on a low branch, as if he was waiting on him to come. In the shadows of the tree, all Roman could see of the vampire was the shoes that he wore, and his evil, demonic eyes.

"Come down and face me, coward," Roman yelled to him.

Without hesitation the vampire jumped from the tree and landed on his feet, merely inches away from Roman. The two of them just looked at each other with hatred in both of their eyes. Both golden and brown eyes stared at each other with promises of vengeance and death.

"You killed my master," the vampire said, killing the silence in the park.

"And you killed my soul mate," Roman said in return.

Shrugging, the vampire said, "What can I say? She had it coming."

"You're not walking out of this park tonight," Roman said.

"That's funny. How are you going to do that if you're dead? Because I'm surely going to kill you."

"Even if you do kill me, I promise you that I'm taking you with me."

"Brave words. Shall we put them to the test?"

The vampire's fangs lengthened and his nails grew to sharpened points as he prepared to battle the Redeemer. Roman took his axe out of its sheath and threw it to the side. He also took off his long leather duster and threw it beside his axe. He pressed the hook on both his wrist sheathes that opened up to show two long daggers.

The vampire let out a yell like a banshee and ran towards Roman, his claws at his side ready to slice and dice. Roman sidestepped the vampire's charge and swiped one of his daggers down the vampire's back, leaving a bleeding gash that trailed through his shirt.

The vampire didn't even show any sign of pain. He whirled around and backhanded Roman. Before Roman could retaliate, the vampire got in another swipe that left five bloody lines on Roman's cheek. Roman kicked his foot out and connected with the vampire's gut. Before the vampire could straighten back up, Roman threw a spinning kick to his face, followed by a punch to his jaw.

The vampire threw a kick to Roman's leg, making Roman drop to one knee on the ground. The vampire swiped his claws across Roman's face, making blood run across his eyes, momentarily blinding him. That was all the time the vampire needed. He ran to pick up Roman's axe and pounced back to Roman's side in seconds flat.

The vampire raised the axe up and swung it down towards Roman's neck. Before the axe connected, Roman ducked just in time. The momentum of the swing caused the axe to be buried deep in the grass. The vampire was so focused on getting the axe out of the ground that he didn't realize that Roman was creeping up behind, his swords held out as he prepared to swing. The snap of a twig made the vampire turn around, but not in time. Roman swung both swords at the vampire's neck, beheading him with one swipe.

Roman took a deep breath and exhaled as he watched the vampire's head roll in the grass and start to decay into dust, along with the rest of his body.

The exhaustion and stress of the night had finally taken its toll, and Roman collapsed against the nearest tree, his knees slowly collapsing, so that he crouched at the foot of the tree. Moments later, everything came back to him. All of the bloodshed, the death of the innocents, as well as of Julia. Roman screamed out all of the pain and heartache until his throat became hoarse and sore. He held his face in his hands and continued to cry as the wind carried away the vampire's ashes.


2013 D.C. Plump

Bio: D.C. Plump has written two short stories in the genres of African American Fiction and Fantasy, and is currently in the middle of his first novel.

E-mail: D.C. Plump

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