Blood War

…or “The Physically Impossible”
First posted 07/05/10

WARNING: Do not read if you don’t like blood.

Including me, there are four of us and we’ve had run of these woods for centuries even though none of us look older than 14. There’s our leader taken when he was 13, my sister and I taken when we were 9 and 12 respectively, and there’s the fourth taken when he was 14. (To make the next few paragraphs easier, we are Aaron, Mary, myself, and Phillip.) We’ve long forgotten our sires, they moved on to more developed parts of the world. But we like our wood and the small villages nearby. There are even families friendly to us in the area.

But others came. They look older, like adults, but most are newly made. We are older, stronger, and more powerful. They think we boast when we threaten them off our land. They laugh and ignore us. My sister and I kill one each, leaving seven who are now a bit wary but still full of bravado. They won’t be bossed around by “children”.

Phillip rushes at one pair while my sister and I pick out new targets. The oldest among them makes for Aaron – leader seeking leader. With my bare hands I rip the leg off one, she falls and screams. She hasn’t learned to block the pain. I count her as down and move on to another. He is watchful and has seen how I use my smaller size to my advantage, so he keeps his feet ever moving. My sister feints to her opponent’s legs but then leaps into the air. She wraps herself around his head and pushes her feet on his shoulders. With a tug and a twist she separates his head from his body. He falls down dead.

Where the blood touches the ground, the grass dies. When it touches our skin, we lick it off, gaining strength. Phillip is the only one among us to use a weapon, a long knife. With it he has cut his two opponents many times while neither has gotten a hit on him. One eventually falls over, dieing from blood loss. It happens quicker to our kind than to humans.

Soon there are more than we initially realized. Three set upon Aaron, their leader and two lesser ones. But it is enough to bring him down. His legs are ripped off, and one hand. He does not wail like the woman I killed, he knows how to block the pain. Pain is not enough to kill us, not loss of limb. They can be regrown.

Phillip, my sister, and I flee. We are fast, I am the fastest. I outrun everyone and am soon alone in the nearby foothills. I won’t go into the mountains, that is not our territory. The others never come and I realize they must either be dead or captured.

Time passes… many in our villages have been killed by the newcomers. They don’t take into account keeping enough families alive to continue the population. There are enough people here to perpetuate and grow to feed two dozen of our kind, but they have brought that down significantly. Some of the new ones are killed, the villagers know enough about us to try the right things. Fire, decapitation, bled dry – these are the only known ways.

I find out that they’ve kept Aaron alive. They give him enough blood to sustain himself, but not enough for him to regrow his legs. Whenever his legs start to grow out some, they rip off the new growth. He has reached a point where he can no longer block the pain and screams frequently. That is how I know where he is. I sneak by their sentries, they know how to watch for humans but not for me. I bring two heads saturated with blood, these newcomers like to hang their victims upside down but then start drinking from the feet. Most of the blood rushes the the head and stays there, untapped. They are very wasteful. The blood in these two heads will be enough for Aaron’s legs to grow back.

Just before he is strong enough to move, his jailers come to check on him. One has an axe, he lunges forward and chops Aaron’s head off to prevent his escape, Aaron isn’t fast enough. I am.

I break through the roof and head off at a dead run. The leader has two children with him, a boy and a girl. Together they can almost keep up with me. He has been learning more about his ability and knows how I run so fast. I ignore territory this time and head into the mountains. On the other side is a more advanced city with buildings five and more stories high, electricity, running water, and sewer systems. I slide into a hole in the ground and find myself in a maze of water and pipe.

The three are still following me. I try many things to loose them, but they’ve also learned to smell. They can track me even when they don’t know where I’ve gone. I use this to my advantage by doubling back in one place and waiting on the ceiling. When they pass beneath I fall onto the boy and twist his head off. It was Phillip. I realize the girl must be my sister… they were taken captive and have been turned to their side. They must have taught them more about their power. This is how the leader can track me by scent and run almost as fast as I can.

I reach a grate and pull the bars apart. Soon they will figure out what happened to Phillip and will be trying to find my trail again. When I pass through I pull the bars back into place. It won’t stop them, but I will know when they reach that place by the sound of the bars being moved. Then I realize I’ve reached a pipe going down. I can’t see how far it goes, the water is rushing. I’d rather not land in a tight place at the bottom where my sister and the other can corner me. But I see smaller pipes poking above the running water. They lead up.

Each pipe is about three inches across with water slowly coming out of it into the larger flow. I grab one and pull myself up to the next, they’re spaced two feet apart. Before I reach for the next one, I press my heel to the one below and flatten it so that it no longer peeks above the water. They’ll have no way of knowing I could have gone up. My scent will fill the place as the water rushes over me and down. On my way up I keep bending each pipe with my foot to hide it until I reach the top. There is another grate with sunlight coming through – freedom.

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