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I am a demon in a demonís world, and so I live.


The land I wander is a blasted wasteland, a gray mire of fallen cities and rotted forests. The hills that grow from the earth are not hills, but piles of bones and refuse, the leavings of the Change and the people who came after. The clouds are the same twisted gray as the land, a color that shows not death or life, but a kind of useless apathy that stands somewhere in between. Storms often roil these clouds across the sky, dropping acid rain and lightning and leaving behind a strange yellow mist that kills. In the calm that comes after, you can sometimes see the deathly green pallor of the sky itself. It is a horrible sight.


The stories the people tell of how the world became this way vary. Some say it was the act of an angry God, others the result of some nuclear war between all the nations of the world. Some even say that we were all sinners, and now we live for eternity in Hell. I think the first story is closest to the truth, that God become so angry with his creations that he unleashed this sickness of the world to punish us. In this time and in this place, though, such speculation is worse than useless. A single moment of introspection can see your lifeís blood staining the ground.


If such names mean anything now, I was somewhere near what had once been Ohio. A year and years have passed since any institution by that name existed. Government had long since passed out of the world. The only law left was that of survival: kill or be killed.


I was walking between two particularly large junkheaps when I had a sense of being watched. I slowed nearly to a stop, all my senses suddenly on alert for the source of the feeling. I opened my mind as far as I could, and thought I felt the touch of other minds fleeing from my own, but my touch is weak and I could not be sure. Suddenly, I felt sharp four pains slashing horizontally across the front of my body. I stopped walking immediately and looked down and saw two bloody lines on my arms and torso and two cutting across my legs.


Razor wire! If Iíd not slowed down when I noticed my watchers, I would have walked right through the fence of it and been neatly sliced for cooking. As it was, when I took a step back, the wounds burned with horrible pain, and I had to fight my bodyís attempt to double over in agony. I took a deep breath, centered myself, and concentrated. The blood stopped flowing from my wounds, and my skin knitted itself back together. I felt an astonished touch on my mind, and looked to my right.


If I hadnít known they were there, I would never have seen them. The five men were dressed in rags and skins dyed the color of the ground. Each held a weapon of some kind; three had makeshift axes, one had a steel knife, and one had a metal bar with one end sharpened to make a deadly spear. I no sooner saw them than they charged me, Spearman in the lead.


Had they been healthy and well-fed, I would have been killed. As luck would have it, though, all but Spearman looked as if they were dying of a wasting disease, and even he looked half-starved. So as he stabbed at me, I stepped to my left and grabbed his spear, holding it in place so that he ran into the spearís butt. He collapsed to the ground, gasping for breath. I quickly reversed the spear and stabbed it through the belly of the man with the knife. He fell and took the spear with him


The other three stopped charging and began circling warily around me. If I let them surround me, I was as good as dead, so I charged the one in front of me. He set himself and swung his axe, and would have taken my head if I had been there. I jumped over his head instead, landed behind him, and snapped his neck as he turned to face me. I took his axe, and immediately turned to my right as I felt one of the men charge me. I blocked his wild axe blow with the axe. With my other hand, I grabbed him by the neck and flung him through the air into the razor wire trap.


I heard footsteps and realized that the final man was escaping. I couldnít allow that , since I knew he would bring reinforcements. I flung my borrowed axe will all my strength, and it lodged in his back. He fell, the only sound he made a small splash as he fell into a shallow puddle.


I turned my attention to Spearman, still gasping on the ground. He saw me looking at him and dragged himself to his feet, prepared to fight to the death. I put my hands up palm-outward out in the universal sign for peace. I saw his eyes widen, and he walked forward cautiously, putting out one hand to shake mine. My eye was on his other hand, though, and I saw it snake to a knife that I hadnít noticed belted around his waste. Quicker than the human eye can follow, he drew it and lunged toward me. I wasnít there.


I blurred and moved behind the man. Before he even regained his balance, I had broken the hand that held the knife, forcing him to drop it, and trapped his arms behind his back. My human instincts warred for a moment with the instincts of the beast I had become. As usual, my human side lasted less than two seconds. I lowered my mouth to his neck and plunged my teeth into his throat.
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I was born Karl Andrews a long time ago, as a human child, to a human family. I was thirty when the Change came and the world became the way it is today. It killed many people, and made more sick. I was one of the few who survived that sickness, but when I came out of the darkness, I was different. I was faster than any human by several times, and stronger as well. My mind was opened to the presence of others, along with several of the other little powers that make up the touch. I healed quickly, and I found I was nearly impossible to kill through violence. The thing that kills most victims of violence is the shock to their systems rather than any permanent damage done to their bodies. My new fortitude allowed me to survive through the brief moments it took my body to heal whatever damage had been done to it.


However, on the rare days the sun shone through the clouds, I found that I could not go outside for fear of burning alive. And worst of all, I found I had a hunger for blood that could not be satisfied by the blood of animals. I had become a vampire.


------
Some things never change... some things do.


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Comments

The following comments are for "Demon in a Demon's World, Part I"
by TheNewStory

your story
Hello! I did not expect that ending at all, so well done! You have an imaginitive and well-written piece here, which I enjoyed reading. Thanks for sharing it with us all.

( Posted by: AdeleCosgroveBray [Member] On: March 6, 2005 )





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