Venom of the Gods, page 1
VENOM OF THE GODS
Venom of the Gods is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright 2013 by Sebastian Chase
2nd Edition Update 2015
All rights reserved. Published by Sebastian Chase
Also by Sebastian Chase:
VENOM OF THE GODS
"There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men." Proverbs 30:14
In darkness, I woke with a start and gasped for breath that would not come. My mouth opened and closed, trying to pull in life-giving oxygen. I wanted to scream, hoping to wake my wife, but only a raspy hiss escaped that failed to stir her. I willed my body to move, even just the wiggle of a finger would bring comfort, but it refused to cooperate.
Defeated, I lay there paralyzed; stunned by a silence so intense that I thought I had gone deaf. There was no familiar beating in my chest, and no surge of blood in my ears. Am I dead, I wondered. But if I were dead, then how could I move my eyes? I could see the faint blue light from the bedside clock casting shadows on the wall. I looked around and felt some relief that everything appeared normal. Maybe I was experiencing one of those half-awake dreams that caused sleep paralysis. It had to be. I hoped.
I heard the sound of a car passing by outside, and that gave me a surge of relief. I was not deaf. I tried to move my toes, but I couldn't feel them, although I did feel the bedroom growing hotter. Insanely hot actually. I tried to remember if I had turned the air conditioner on before coming to bed, but then realized that the heat I felt was beyond natural. It grew so hot that I should have been drenched in sweat, but not a drop escaped my pores. At any moment, I was sure that I would burst into flames.
A fire? God, it's a fire and I can't move! Sara! Wake up! Wake up!
Rapidly, the heat grew intolerable but flames failed to emerge. Confused, I tried to pull the blankets off, but still my body would not cooperate. Surrendering to fate, I relaxed, but then a flash of bright light startled me. The flash wasn't in the room, but behind my eyes, in my brain. It came again, and with it, my body twitched.
I'm waking up! Yes!
The flashes started coming fast, like a strobe light. My eyes rolled back in their sockets, and I faded into either unconsciousness or, more likely, some sort of seizure.
I awoke still in darkness. I could have been gone for a few seconds or a few hours, I didn't know. What I did know was that I could now move, but more importantly, I remembered who I was. The realization scared me more than the paralysis had. I rolled over and looked at my still-sleeping wife. So innocent, so unaware of the beast she had shared her bed with for all these years. Things would get complicated. They always did.
I lifted the covers off and eased myself out of bed. Sara appeared lost in a dream, her eyes rapidly moving under their lids. I left the room, closing the door softly, and made my way through the dark hallway and down the stairs. The darkness wasn't a problem, because my eyes were no longer bound by human limitations, nor was my body. I slipped out the backdoor and into the coolness of the night.
My mind reeled with the ramifications of my awakening as I stared up at the dark sky. How could I tell Sara? What would her reaction be? I was kidding myself, because I knew what her reaction would be. Scream and then run. I've seen it so many times before. Then there was our daughter, adopted of course, because I was unable to father children—especially not the human kind.
I had drank my last bottle of amnesia-inducing potion in the 1940s, and now the memories flooded back, but I ignored them because I was growing hungry—so very hungry.
Living as a human, energy use is miniscule, but in my natural form, I must feed daily. If not, I grow weak, ill tempered, and eventually go into a catatonic-like state. This lasts until some unsuspecting victim comes close and my instinctual hunger snaps them up like one of those bug-eating plants. In centuries past, it was common for my kind to feed on close friends or relatives to stave off the catatonia. I swore off relatives a long time ago, and so far haven't broken that resolution. So far, but I knew that I was dangerously starved after decades of animal flesh for sustenance, and fresh human blood slept just a few steps away.
I tried to pull myself together. Pain gnawed at my being that a bag of peanuts would no longer quench. I grabbed the back of a metal porch chair to steady myself, and squeezed my eyes shut hoping to gain control. It was no use. My eyes flew open, and I knew the irises were a catlike golden-yellow with black vertical slits for pupils. The teeth came next, more like a rattlesnake's fangs than traditional doglike canines. I gripped the back of the chair hard and it snapped.
Food! I need food now. Sara is upstairs sleeping, maybe just a little… No! I killed the thought.
I ripped the backdoor open and went straight for the refrigerator. Inside sat a bloody treat of raw steak that I was marinating for the grill. I grabbed the dish, plopped down on the kitchen floor, and tore the plastic wrap off. It wasn't live meat or human blood, but it would be enough to keep me going until I figured things out. I picked up one of the dripping red sirloins and bit into its moist flesh. So damn good. Uncontrollably I feasted, and before I knew it, a second steak was in my hands. I wiped blood and marinade off my chin and dug in once more. Then the lights came on.
"Mike? What are you doing?" Sara asked from the kitchen entrance. I looked over my shoulder and stared at her for a second, my instincts urging attack. Her mouth dropped open.
"Hi, honey," I said, acting like eating bloody steak on the kitchen floor was perfectly normal. She didn't buy it. She screamed and ran for the front door. I flashed past her and arrived first, steak still in hand.
"Get away from me!" she yelled.
"Sara, please. I can explain." She looked at my bloodstained face and then down to the steak in my hand, eyes full of terror.
"You're a monster!" She backed up a few steps, and I walked forward.
"No, it's me. Your husband. I promise I'm not going to hurt you." Unless I'm starving, I reminded myself, which I was close to being. Not thinking, I took a big bite out of the steak. She yelled a profanity and ran for the back door. Again, I was there first.
"Let me leave!" she screamed.
"Sara, remember when Lori fell off her bike and scraped her knee? You wanted to call an ambulance and thought it was the end of the world. This is sort of like that…nothing to panic over." I smiled, exposing blood-covered fangs. She didn't like that. She passed out, but I was quick enough to drop the steak and catch her before she hit the floor.
I realized that I had lost control and let the hunger get the best of me. I put away the fangs, washed up, and laid her on the couch. I sat and waited for her to wake, feeling very nervous about how that would go.
"Dad?" I looked up to see Lori, our fifteen-year-old daughter, come in. She was sleepy-eyed but alert. "I heard screaming. Is Mom okay?" She glanced at Sara on the couch.
"Hi, sweetie. She's fine. I scared her…accidentally of course." My daughter looked down at the rest of the meat lying on the floor, and then looked at me.
"Why is that there?" she asked.
Realizing that I couldn't hide this from her either, I patted the couch. "Come, sit down. I have something to tell you both." My wife stirred as she started to wake. Lori sat down next to me, looking at her mother with concern but not anx
"Your muscles are huge." Lori said, watching her mom come fully awake. "Have you been working out?"
Sara began to sit up, and then remembrance donned on her face. "Get away from him!" she yelled.
"What?" Lori was confused.
"Get away from him! He'll hurt you!"
"Mom, did you have a nightmare?" Lori put an arm around my shoulder and kissed my cheek. I suspected that I had always been her favorite parent, but of course never vocalized such a thought. "It's just Dad." Sara paused and looked hard at me. I smiled, but this time without the bloody fangs.
"You can't trick me. I know what I saw," Sara said, and then glanced to the kitchen. "Ah-ha! The dish is still on the floor. It wasn't a dream!" I scolded myself for not putting the pan in the sink after cleaning myself up.
"Sara," I said in the most soothing voice I could find. "I'm not trying to trick you. I want to tell you the truth. I couldn't hide it if I wanted to."
"You had fangs, and your eyes…you're a vampire!" she stated. Lori rolled her eyes.
"Yes, you could call me that, although it's not the term I prefer." There, the truth was out; let the chips fall where they may.
"I knew it!" Sara exclaimed. Lori picked her head off my shoulder and looked at me.
"Is this some kind of joke, Dad?"
"Show me your fangs then," Lori demanded.
"No!" Sara blurted.
"Come on, Mom. If it is a joke, this will prove it, if not, well…I don't think your husband, my dad, will eat us. Not tonight anyway." She smirked, waiting for the joke to fall apart. My eyes turned and then my fangs popped out not six inches from her face.
"Holy shit," my daughter said. It was the first time I had heard her swear.
"Watch your language, young lady," I reprimanded. She paid my fatherly advice no attention and instead lifted her hand towards my mouth in fascination.
"Lori, don't," Sara said, trying to get up, but much too slow. Lori's finger touched a fang.
"Ouch!" my daughter cried, yanking her hand back and looking at the pricked finger. Blood trickled out, and with each precious drop, a burning hunger tempted me.
Just a lick, just one little lick for Daddy?
"Mike!" Sara yelled.
All I could see was the red finger now going towards Lori's mouth. Here, let me do that for you, darling.
"Mike!" Sara tried to whack me upside the head, but I grabbed her wrist before impact, while still watching the finger enter Lori's mouth.
No, don't waste it. Give it to me.
"It's okay, Mom. He won't hurt me. Will you?" She pulled the finger out. "There, nothing to worry about. Just a pinprick. All better." She tried to sound in control, but I heard the fear in her voice, and smelled it as well.
Just coming out of the equivalent of a human coma, this was too much for me. I knew that if I didn't leave, they could die, and I would just move on to the next victim when the guilt passed. Eventually, it always does. I released my wife's wrist.
"Sara, Lori, I think it would be best if I…"
"No, you can't leave!" Lori interrupted.
"How did you know that's what I was going to say?"
"Because I know you, and you want to protect me. You must stay. You need us more than ever now."
"This isn't a movie, Lori," Sara interjected. "He wanted your blood. I saw the look in his eyes."
"He's just hungry. You're not dangerous. Right?" She looked at me with those big brown eyes that used to get the last cookie out of me, or a later bedtime, or anything she wanted really. Now she wanted me to stay. It would be best not to, but how could I refuse those eyes?
"Of course I'd never hurt you, pumpkin." I stroked her hair while Sara cringed. I looked at my wife. "Nor you either." She didn't look convinced.
"Can you tell us how this happened to you?" Lori asked. "How old are you? How many people have you…killed?"
"It's five in the morning, and your mom doesn't look in the mood for stories," I said, wanting more than anything to get back to a juicy hunk of meat.
"Oh no," Sara said. "I just found out my husband is a murderous, blood-sucking, dead demon. I'd actually love to know how I married something like that." Her sarcasm hurt, but was understandable.
"Okay then, but I must eat more raw meat, and I'm not dead, Sara, just different. More extra-terrestrial than horror monster."
Sara was about to say some more unkind words when Lori spoke up, "I'll set the table for you. We need to work on your manners, though. Eating on the floor? Really?"
My daughter got up and started thawing meats, while Sara's eyes warned me that I didn't have long left in my home. I loved her, but I also wanted to bury my fangs in her. In that sense, our marriage was pretty typical.
"The chicken liver really is a nice touch," I said to Lori. She watched me eat with wonder. The three of us sat at the dining room table and I couldn't help but notice a look of disgust on my wife's face. "I'd offer you some, but I'm sure that wouldn't go over well. Do you want me to get you something else?" I asked her, hoping to break through the wall.
"Watching you makes me never want to eat again. What happens if you get sick from the raw meat?" I cut a piece of bloody steak off with a knife, forked it, and then decided to add some gelatinous chicken liver to the mouthful. "Disgusting," she commented, looking away.
I savored the surprisingly good combination for a moment before responding, "I won't get sick. Nice to see you still have some concern. Actually, that is a good place to start. When's the last time you saw me sick?" I had never been sick, not even so much as an allergy related sneeze.
"I don't know," she paused. "I don't think I've ever even seen you get a cut or go to the doctor for a shot now that I think about it."
I laid my hands on the table, enjoying the blood flowing from the meat in my mouth. Out of nowhere, Sara picked up the steak knife and stabbed me in the hand. I could have stopped her, but she required proof. The blade bent and she cowered back, expecting repercussions.
"Honey, that was a perfectly good knife," I said.
"I'll get another one," Lori offered in a voice that contained both amusement and amazement. She stood and went to the silverware drawer.
"I'm sorry. I just had to see. This is insane."
"Next time you want to stab me, please ask." My daughter came back and handed me the utensil.
"So how old are you?" she asked while taking her seat. "Two hundred? Five hundred?"
"First, to your mom's question about getting sick," I began. "Human diseases don't affect this body because it is mostly comprised of matter alien to Earth."
"You're from another planet?" Lori asked.
"Not exactly, but close." I smiled and saw the look of ewe. I should remember not to smile while feeding. "At one time, hundreds of my kind existed on Earth. We came out of curiosity at first, and saw how beautiful the planet was, but we couldn't enjoy that beauty."
"Our species evolved not on another planet, but in another dimension. We were energy-based beings, not flesh and blood as you are."
"Like spirits?" Lori was curious, but Sara had her arms folded and lips clamped shut, probably thinking, I don't care, just hurry and get the hell out. I continued, despite her.
"Sort of, I guess. You may have heard that the Universe is composed mostly of what your scientists call dark matter and dark energy. Within this environment is a hidden dimension, which is where we evolved. One of our scientists, for lack of a better word, somehow merged dark matter with elements found on Earth. He also infused that combination with modified DNA from a variety of species. The glue that holds this creation together is the dark energy of our true bodies. When living blood contacts what I'm made of, the reaction creates energy hundreds of times greater than what the h
"Yeah. So how old are you? How long ago did you arrive here?" Lori asked.
"Around ten-thousand years ago. I was one of the first."
"What! You're ten-thousand years old?" My daughter's voice had taken on a hushed awe.
"This body is, yes. Give or take a thousand."
"This is ridiculous," Sara said. I looked at her, and made sure to swallow and clean my teeth with my tongue before I spoke.
"Well, the birth process of humans would sound pretty far fetched to me also, if I hadn't seen it for myself. Look, this is hard for me, too. I really did not remember what I was until a little while ago. Please, try to understand. I'm still your husband, not a monster."
"Dad, why didn't you know what you were all these years, and how did you start feeding on blood in the first place?" She pulled her long brown hair behind her shoulders, and then settled in like she had so many years ago in anticipation of an adventurous bedtime story.
"Initially, we helped humans evolve through a good working relationship, and we taught them a lot. Things were good, but then they developed an infatuation with our powers, and many started idolizing us. People like the Mayans, Egyptians, Greeks and others, really went overboard. Many of us became gods to humans, and some of us liked that and even nurtured it. At the same time, the bodies we had created began to evolve on their own, and started requiring extraordinary amounts of living energy. Animal blood and raw meat sufficed in the beginning, but soon the body adapted a taste for more nutrient rich human blood. Before long, only human blood supplied sufficient energy; hence, the bloodletting sacrifices of many ancient cultures. They were not trying to please us, but to appease us."
"You were so smart to create the bodies, why not just fix them?" Lori asked some tough questions.