Original Rain Drops


              Vali studies a brown bear’s facial structure in his Bære Anatomi school,library book.  From the snout to the eye sockets, he examines the bone structure, blood vessels, and muscles.  He flips the page with a finger, but stops midway.  He allows the page to fall back down as he looks towards the teacher at the front of the classroom. 

              “Thank you for rejoining us, Vali.”  The greying teaching remarks.  He stares Vali down as he says, “Now, I’ll repeat myself for you.  Tell us about the word Germanic.”

              “Of course,” Vali responds as he stands at his desk.  He brushes his blond hair from his face and looks at the teacher.  With his ice blue eyes, he returns the challenging gaze.  “Germanic is a Roman word meaning ‘Spear Man.’  They used this term to categorize all of the differing tribes in Scandinavia.  These tribes, however, had their own customs, politics, and styles of fighting.”

              “Yes, thank you, Vali.”  The greying teacher responds, allowing his student to seat himself.  The teacher turns away from Vali and, after muttering something about fifteen year olds to himself, address the entire class.  “Scandinavian countries include our home country of Denmark, Swe-”

              Vali fights to maintain his focus on the lecture, but glances out the window.  He strains his eyes towards the edge of his home town, Virklund, where he sees the trees of his country’s few remaining forests.  The anticipation welling from inside him brings a grin to his face as he returns to leafing through his library book.

              Vali closes his Bære Levested schoollibrary book and stores it in his bag amongst other books with bears on the cover.  With his last class of the day about to end, Vali mimics his classmates and begins storing the rest of his belongings.  Although keeping a neutral face, his quick movements betray his zeal to leave.  The final bell rings and Vali bolts from the classroom.  He ignores everyone in his eagerness as he leaves the school and makes his way to the forest.

              Sight of the Avnsø lake slows Vali to a walk.  As he stops at the water’s edge, he discovers he’s on the peninsula jutting into the lake.  While searching the opposing bank, he mumbles “Now where could she be?”  Vali narrows his eyes as he looks to the left. 

              “She was somewhere over there…”  Vali trails off as he walks along the shore.  As soon as Vali reaches a narrow strait of water between the peninsula and the opposing bank, a childish grin spreads across his face.  He takes off with a run towards the water and leaps, easily clearing thirty feet.

              Landing with a squat, Vali’s feet sink a few inches into the mud.  Not getting up, Vali stretches out his hand and feels the paw print before him.  “Found you,” he whispers, his eyes shining underneath the setting sun. 

              Val looks to the direction the trail leads as he stands.  With a deep breath, he calms his excitement and follows the prints onto the green grass and into the woods.  As he steps under the branches of the trees, he shifts his bag onto a single shoulder so he can dispose of it if needed.  Vali looks around, and continues walking.

              The loud, chain-saw like, roar sends the nearby birds scattering into the air.  Vali’s skin stands on its ends from his accelerated blood rush.  He turns, allowing his bag to drop onto the leaf covered ground.  As he greets the large, dark brown bear with his eyes, he bends his knees to ready his stance.

              The bear growls at Vali, flashing its fangs.  With Vali refusing to break eye contact, the bear charges.  The bear instantly closes the distance and swipes with one of its dark claws.

              Vali kicks at the swinging forearm.  Stopping the swipe, he punches the bear’s snout.  Although the bear’s head momentarily rolls to the side, it thrusts forward once more.  With all its weight, the bear pounces on Vali.

              The bear’s head and neck are kept away by Vali’s hands as he’s forced to roll onto his back.  Using the momentum, Vali kicks the six hundred some pound bear over his self.  With the bear tumbling away, Vali takes the opportunity to jump onto his feet. 

              Vali, despite himself, laughs out as he rushes the bear.  As the distance closes, the bear lunges forward with its mouth wide open.  Smirking, Vali stops himself with a side step and muzzles the bear’s mouth with his hands.  Vali continues the motion and drops down onto a knee, using the bears momentum to force her onto the ground. 

              Vali wrestles to keep the bear pinned.  Without even lasting seven seconds, the bear repels Vali and rises.  With his balance distorted, Vali gets swiped onto the ground.  Vali lands on his left shoulder and grimaces at the nerve splitting, crack.  As the bears drops down to finish Vali, Vali reaches out to a felled branch.  Barely able to grasp his fingers halfway around the stick, he swings.  The branch shatters upon striking the bear’s face.

              The bear stumbles to the side, roaring out in pain as blood drips along its snout.  Although Vali tries, he fails at sitting up and lands on his back.  Gasping for air, he watches as the bear’s splintered face grow closer and larger. 

              A gun shot echoes and a rubber bullet bounces off Vali’s forehead.  A few more bursts ring out and the bear runs away.

              “Are you all right there, young man?” a loud, mirthful voice calls out from the brush.  As some leaves get pushed aside, a pale face comes into view.  The lack of color greatly contrasts with the receding black hairline and dusk sky.  “Truly, fortune has smiled upon us both tonight.”   

              “Thanks,” Vali calls out, once more attempting to rise.

              The man emerges from the brush and reveals to be a camper of sorts from his large, bulky, dirt covered backpack.  He knees over Vali and keeps him from moving by pressing down with an unexpected, firm strength.  “Hold still, now.  As I said, fortune smile upon us both for I am also well vested in medicine.” 

              Although the man proceeds to lightly check Vali’s body with hands, Vali tells him, “Don’t bother.  I’ll be fine in a few days.”

              “Truly?  The vitality of our proud ancestor’s blood flows greatly within you!”  The man responds, his voice full of admiration.  “But alas, until those days pass, your left humerus shall remain broken along with some ribs.  Furthermore, you shall be unable to walk for that bear has crushed your right femur.  The left fairs much better with only a fracture.  So, as to not leave one such as yourself stranded, allow me to avail myself on aiding you home.” 

              “Thanks…”  Vali resigns himself into accepting the stranger’s help. 

              “Vlad, please.” the man introduces himself as he helps Vali off the ground.  “And think nothing of it.  Did I not say, fortune smiles upon us both here.”

              Vali gets right his arm around Vlad’s shoulder and leans against his bag.  The bag, Vali finds, is filthy enough that Vlad might as well be carrying dirt inside of it. 

              As they take a few steps, Vlad comments, “Please, if you would, which way is your city?  I am a mere hiker and have currently lost my way.” 

              With Vali’s directions, the duo make their way back to the city.  As they pass under trees and around bushes, Vali occasionally feels a small box like thing rub against his side.  Vlad notices Vali’s curious gazes towards the object and laughs.  “To walk through the wilds of Europe unprotected sounds foolish, no?”

              The two continue through the woods without encountering any trouble.  Once they enter the city, they receive some stares from a few strangers, but no one stops to question them.  Other than for Vali’s directions, the duo reach an old two story house in complete silence.

              “Shall I help you inside as well?”  Vlad asks Vali as they approach the house.

              “That would… be… great, thanks.”  Vali pants the words from his ragged face as he searches for his house key in his pocket.  Upon pulling the key out, he thrusts at his door knob a few times until getting it into the lock.  With the door open, Vlad enters the living room and helps Vali lie down on a sofa.

              Vlad looks around, pausing at an old, yet well maintained, sword hanging over the fire place to mumble “A family heirloom?” then glancing to the kitchen past a door way, and towards the stairs.  “Is no else one home ye-?”

              “Vali, is that you?”  a young girl’s interruption breaks the still air.  A forceful opening of a door is heard from above with light, rapid foot steps accompanying it.  A young woman leaps from the stairs, her blond hair flying forward to cover her face.  With a hand, she brushes the hair aside, leaving a whiff of wild flowers in the room.  A face two or three three years older than Vali’s quickly assesses the situation.  With her blue eyes, she presses Vali while taking in his injuries.  She shouts, “What did you do this time, wrestle an alligator?”

              Vali groans.  On the sofa, he turns away from his elder sister while mumbling, “A bear, Jytta.”

              Vlad laughs at the sight.  “Well then, I leave you in the good hands of your sister.  Vali, I wish you good health.”  He pushes open the door and walks out the room.

              “Who was that?”  Jytta questions, staring at the door.

              “Vlad…”  Vali forces the word.  He breaths in deeply and continues, “he helped… scare the bear away, an-”

                “Okay, that’s enough.  This time you went against a bear…”  Jytta runs her hand through her hair as Vali tries to suppress a groan of pain.  “Look, I’ll call and report the bear, but then I’ve got to get to work.  Mom and Aaliyah will be back soon.  Until then, just sta-”

              Jytta sighs mid-sentence upon finding her brother trying to sleep.  “Of course, just go on and ignore me.”


              A cry in the middle of the night has Vali spring from his bed.  Forcing his legs to keep him standing, he rushes towards his younger sister’s room.

              “Aaliyah!”  Vali shouts, slamming open the bedroom door of his younger sister.  “What’s wrong?”

              “Someone grabbed me!”  Cries a young girl of around ten.  Shielding herself with a blanket, a mess of blond hair points at the stormy window. 

              Vali scoffs seeing a tree branch rubbing against the window through the mist.  Irritably, he limps towards the window.

              “Wha happened?”  Jytta yawns from the door way.  Rubbing her forehead with a palm, she continues sleepily, “Rything all right?

              “Aaliyah had a nightmare,” Vali mumbles through grit teeth as he tries to peer past the fog. 

              “I did not.”  Aaliyah pouts. 

              “Can you blame her?  This freak weather just came out of nowhere.”  Jytta sighs, ignoring her sister.  She cracks her neck and continues, “Look, let’s get back to sleep before we wake up mom and dad.  They’re going to have another long day at work tomorrow.  Come on Vali, you shouldn’t even be walking.”

              “Yeah, yeah.”  Vali replies.  He slowly follows Jytta out the room and she closes the door behind him.  The two walk a few steps down the hall when Aaliyah bursts from her room.  Covered in her blanket and holding a pillow, she rushes past her older siblings and into Vali’s room. 

              Jytta and Vali reach the room and groan, shaking their heads.  Inside they find Aaliyah preparing the sleeping bag from Vali’s closet.  As she settlings in next to Vali’s bed, she gives her siblings an offended look.  “What?  It’s safer here.”

              “Whatever,” Vali shrugs as he limps back to his bed.  “Good night you two.”

              “Look Aaliyah, don’t give Vali too much trouble.  He still needs some time to finish healing.”  Jytta reprimands as she squats down beside her sister.

              “Don’t worry.  If he needs anything, I’ll be right here.”  Aaliyah gives a resolute reply.

              “Good night.”  Vali repeats himself more forcefully.

              Jytta giggles as she rises to leave.  “Goodnight,” she says, flicking off the lights. 

              Vali rolls his eyes as Aaliyah replies to her older sister who’s shutting the door.  As Jytta’s light footsteps grow fainter, Vali rolls on his bed to face away from his sister.  “Don’t you think you’re getting too old for this?  Honor students shouldn’t get so worked up over a dream.”

              “I’m telling you, this man with sharp teeth really grabbed my leg.  He seriously entered and left through-” Aaliyah jumps, hearing Jytta knocking something into the ground.  Not hearing anything else, she resumes saying, “through the window.” 

              “Right,” Vali gives a disinterested reply.  “Well, if he tries to come in here, I’ll kick him out.”

              The two eventually fall asleep.  The following morning, they proceed down the stairs to the kitchen for breakfast.

              “Morning Jyt-” Aaliyah cuts her greeting.  Her blue eyes widen as she stares at her older sister who’s swaying as she enters the kitchen.  To Aaliyah’s shock, her sister’s complexion paled overnight and now supports herself by leaning against the wall.  Aaliyah drops her wienerbrød onto the plate with her other bread rolls and jumps from her seat.  She rushes up to Jytta and attempts to force her onto a chair. 

              “I’m fine, I’m fine.”  Jytta forces out her protests as she’s forced into Aaliyah’s former chair.  She straightens the collar on her uniform while saying, “I just had a bad night’s sleep, that’s all.”

              “You look worse than I do.”  Vali comments between bites of his bread. 

              “Coming from the maniac who’d rather be dead than live in a world with no one to fight, I don’t want to hear it.”  Jytta reaches for one of her younger sister’s wienerbrød as Vali replies, “A world like that would be boring.”

              Jytta shakes her head at the remark.  Deciding no longer to continue the topic, she gives her younger sister a smile, “I’ll be fine, don’t worry about it.” 

              The days pass with Jytta’s complexion growing worse on each one.  While her skin grows paler and colder, her eyes develop a yellowness to them.  Each morning, she awakens felling exhausted.  Simple tasks such as tossing something in the garbage can leave her breathless.  After fainting in class, Jytta take a leave of absence from school.

              “Here are your text books.”  Vali enters Jytta’s room.  He places the books on the bedside table and looks to his sister who’s curled into a ball, clutching her chest.  The silent expression of pain on Jytta’s face leads Vali to clench his fist.

              “Vali?”  Aaliyah’s voice comes from the hallway as her footsteps approach the room. 

              Vali relaxes himself and turns to meet his younger sister at the door.  Using his body to keep Aaliyah from peering inside, Vali says, “Sorry, Jytta’s sleeping right now.” 

              “Really?  She doesn’t sound like it.”  Aaliyah replies as Vali guides her away from the room.

              Vali uses his recently clenched hand to shut the door behind them and leaves a bloody hand print on the knob as he lets go.  “She’s just having a nightmare.  Relax, we’re taking Jytta to the hospital tomorrow.  Everything will be fine.”  Vali gives his sister a smile.

              “If you say so…”  Aaliyah trails off as Vali leads her down to the kitchen.

              “I’m telling you, she’ll be fine.”  Vali insists.  “Just like the weather.  Up until yesterday, it was horrible.  But now it’s finally starting to get sunny.  You’ll see.”


              “Vali!  Vali!”  Vali drops his glass of milk upon hearing Aaliyah’s cries of fear.  He curses himself for having left his room as he rushes out of the kitchen.  Vali grabs the sword hanging over the fire place and leaps up the staircase in a single bound. 

              His room is deserted.  The wind carries Aaliyah’s voice in through the open window.  Vali ignores his parents, awoken by the commotion, and jumps from the window.  With only Aaliyah’s voice as a guide, Vali pursues his enemy into the night. 

              Aaliyah’s shrieks of terror weaken into meager sobs as the night wears on.  Yet to Vali, her voice comes so clear that they may as well be in the same room.  With his mind only on his sister’s safety, he continues his unrelenting chase through the open fields of Denmark. 

             The sun’s early morning rays gradually silhouette the land.  No longer needing to rely on stars and moon to illuminate his path, Vali closes the gap between himself and his target.  The person’s long, fluttering hair prevents Vali from properly examining his enemy.  All he can gather is the person has an impossibly slender build, and carries a scent of wild flowers.  Regardless, knowing Aaliyah is slung over the person’s left shoulder is enough.

              Roaring, Vali lunges, swinging at the person’s side with his sword.  The person turns back and stares at him with her hollow eyes of death.

              The roar gets caught in Vali’s throat as fear and denial flash across his face.  Unable to stop, Vali continues his swing with a shattered form.  The fluid twist of the body stiffens into a locked swing of the arm.  The grip on his sword slackens, threatening to fly from his hand.

              Jytta smiles, baring her ghostly pale, sharp fang.


              Vali slowly opens his eyes to see a car seat lying diagonally before him.  He blinks a few times.  Reorienting himself, he realizes he’s lying on his side.  From the steady hum of wheels rolling over asphalt, Vali concludes someone is taking him somewhere.

              “He’s awake.”  A deep voice speaks out in English.  From the accent, Vali recognizes the person isn’t a native speaker.

              Vali pushes himself up.  Narrowing his eyes, he examines the two men in the front seat.

              “Finally awake?”  The Caucasian man asks with a carefree laugh.  Not receiving a reply, the man adds, “Hey, we’re not dangerous.  If anything, we’re more like your allies.  Or, maybe you don’t speak English…”

              “If you’re wondering about your sword, it’s in the back.”  He mentions as though he’s stating an afterthought.

              “Sorry,” Vali gives an empty apology.  Not once does he remove his apprehensive stare away from the man in the co-pilot seat.  “People from Africa don’t usually come this far north.”

              The man in the co-pilot seat juts up his chin as he turns to glare back at Vali.  Before he can speak, the driver reaches out and places a hand on the man’s shoulder.  “Apollo,” The man says, giving the driver a look of disgust.

              “Easy, Shango.”  Apollo attempts to pacify the situation.  “It’s wrong, but at the moment, he has the right to be suspicious of us.”

              Apollo turns the wheel and brings the car to a stop alongside a highway road.  With an arm slung over the seat, he turns to face Vali.  Not bothering to remove his sunglasses, Apollo begins the introductions, “As you heard, I’m Apollo and he is Shango.  As for why you’re here, I was down in western Africa meeting Shango when I saw you losing to that vampire in my proph-”

              Vali lunges forward, grabbing Apollo by the neck.  “That’s my sister!”

              Shango moves to attack Vali, but is stopped by Apollo’s arm.  “Li-listen, we a-aren’t your enemies.  W-we can he-lp you.”  Apollo struggles to force out the words, yet doesn’t bother defending himself.  He looks into Vali’s eyes through his sunglasses while allowing himself to be choked.

              Vali grits his teeth and thrusts Apollo away.  “Fine then, tell me who you are and what you know!”  He demands as Apollo coughs while catching his breath.

              “I-I told you, we’re Apollo and Shan-”

              “Quit messing with me!”

              With Apollo taken aback, Shango answers, “You should already know what we mean.  Although different from yours, these are the true names we were born with.”

              “My name is Vali, nothing else!”

              Shango narrows his eyes and gives Vali a hard stare.  Unable to find any doubt within Vali’s words, he turns to Apollo.  “You are sure he’s one of us?”

              Apollo remains silent.  While considering what to say, he removes his sunglasses and stares at Vali with his light brown eyes.  Quickly and quietly, he explains, “When I was young, I realized that I was… different from everyone else.”

              The seriousness in Apollo’s words lead Vali to the man’s eyes.  Eyes of a person who holds back.  Eyes of a person can’t stand under the same sun as everyone else.  Familiar eyes he sees whenever he gazes into a mirror.  Feeling the needles of deja vu prickling his sides, Vali feels himself drawn in by Apollo’s words.

              “It was weird.”  Apollo continues.  He lifts his head and takes a breath as though reliving a memory.  “No matter the instrument, I could play it like an expert even though it was my first time.  But more than that, sometimes… sometime I would see prophesies.” 

              Vali releases his held breath.  Apollo’s words resonate with a feeling he’s had ever since he first played with the family sword.  Ever since little and even though he couldn’t prove it, Vali has had the instinctual feeling he could wield almost any ancient weapon.

               “But more than anything, ever since I was baby,” Apollo’s words return Vali from his thoughts.  “I knew the name Apollo.  You’re the same, right?”

              “No,” Vali denies Apollo’s assumption.  At Apollos and Shangos’ confusion, he sticks out his chest and continues, “I have always been Vali.  In hopes that I’d grow strong, my parents gave me this name.  But… there is another name.”

              Vali trails off as a touch of maliciousness enters his tone.  Uncertain on whether he should disclose this secret, he purses his lips.  Apollo, noticing Vali’s dilemma, lifts his hand in respectful understanding.

              Shango disrupts the settling silence with a harking laugh.  To Vali and Apollo who look at him, he declares, “It’s obvious.  Your name and true name are the same.”

              Vali remains speechless for but a moment.  “Probably,” he shrugs, accepting the possibility without much thought.

              “Now then…”  Apollo pauses.  He pauses either to reset the mood or consider how to proceed.  “About my prophecy.  All I saw was you loosing against… ‘your sister.’  What happened?”

              Vali glances to the floor as he sorts through his memories.  “I’m not sure.  All week, Jytta had been getting worse and now she runs off with Aaliyah.”  Vali pounds his leg with a fist in frustration.

              “Vampirism,” Apollo quietly cuts in.

              “There’s no such thing.”

               “Vampires are a plague to humanity.”  Apollo continues, ignoring Vali’s interruption.  “You see, Origen wasn’t exactly accurate in his theory.  Although Cain’s descendants were destroyed by the flood, by that point, some had ceased to be human.  Yes, they can be destroyed, but as soulless spirits, they’ll continue to escape Hell and return to our realm, the human realm.  Once they possess a host, they’ll continue to spawn more of their kind.  Your sister, for one.”

              “Ok, let’s say I believe you.”  Vali speaks up.  Although he tries to remain calm, he fails from keeping the irritation out of his voice.  “Why would they choose Jytta, and how do you know this?”

              “Vampires are perverse.  They don’t discriminate.  They’ll bring anyone into their fold.  Although they can pass as normal humans, they’re monsters.  Your sister must have met one by chance and invited it inside.  Once an invitation is extended to a vampire, they can come and go as they ple-” 

              Vali blanks from the of torrent of memories flooding his mind.  No longer listening to Apollo, he recalls his encounter with Vlad. 

              “They control animals…”  Vali speaks out.  Apollo, taken aback and ends his explanation, grows silent.  Not receiving a response, Vali repeats himself, “Can they control animals?”

              “The true descendants can.  But only them, nothing they spawn has the ability.”  Apollo admits, giving Vali a careful stare.  “It’s as Dr. Harker documented.  Vampires have the strength of about 20 people, can control the weather, enter threw the smallest of cracks, and hypnot-”

              “Fine,” Vali growls, while silently cursing himself.  “I believe you.  Now what?”

              “Tell us your half.”  Shango demands.

              Vali glares at Shango as Apollo starts the car.  With his attention on the road, Apollo says, “Shango’s right.  We need to know.”

            With a scowl, Vali says, “Jytta took our little sister and ran out of the house last night.  I chased her and now I’m here.”

              “Any idea why?”

              “She’s gifted and talented, but she’s only ten.”

              “Age doesn’t matter to them.”  Apollo calls back, accelerating the car.  “There’s food in the cooler.  Eat some and rest up, I’ve just seen where they’re going.”


              “Wha-what’s happening?”  Vali cries out as the jumping of the car jolts him awake.  He grabs onto a door to steady himself and realizes they’ve merely just driven off the road.  He looks to Apollo and asks, “Are we there?”

              “Almost,” Apollo replies, bringing the car to a stop.  He steps outside, saying, “We’ll have to walk the rest of the way.”

              Vali steps out of the car and stretches, cracking his neck.  From the dimness of the sky, he guesses the time is around six or seven.  “Here,” Apollo says to him, passing Vali his sword, “and remember, decapitation or a stake through the heart.  Short of fully destroying the body, it’s the only way.”  Vali takes the sword and advice, and at Apollo’s gesture, follows him into the woods.  Upon seeing the quiver of arrows and bow slung over Apollo’s shoulder, Vali grows curious and glances to Shango.  To his surprise, Shango picks up a rock and places it into a pouch at his side.  In silence, the trio continue through the forest.

              “An abandoned castle?”  Vali questions upon reaching a clearing. 

              “You can find them here and there across Europe.”  Apollo comments.

              “How do you know they’re here?”

              “Don’t question Apollo’s prophecies.”  Shango criticizes while walking past the two.  From his pouch, he pulls out a few rocks and clenches them within a fist.  He punches forward and out fly fireballs that strike the castle walls. 

              An eerie wail breaks the air from all directions.  Shango steps back a few paces in an attempt to get closer to Apollo And Vali.  Apollo notches a tip-less arrow to his bow as he looks left and right.  Vali takes a few steps forward to ready himself for any sudden appearances.  The wail ceases and silence fills the air.  The three remain on guard, waiting for the assault to come.  The seconds become minutes with still nothing happening.  As they begin to lower their weapons, figures flock from the windows.  Dozens fall from the air as death.               

              Apollo growls, “We may as well attack a village.” as he loosens arrow after arrow into their hearts. 

              “That would be too easy.”  Vali shouts back as a vampire rushes him.  With a roar, he cuts into a vampire’s shoulder.  Unable to help himself, he grins from blood lust and he rams into his enemy to knock it away.  As he turns to swing at a vampire approaching from the side, a deafening explosion of thunder blows him away. 

              Still gripping the sword, Vali pushes himself up with his free arm and sees lightning being called from the sky towards the stones Shango throws.  “That idi-” Vali pushes out his sword.  With one hand on the grip and the other palm against the opposing flat side, he keeps a vampire smelling of wildflowers from biting into his neck.

              “Just one bite, little brother.”  A decayed version of Jytta’s voice comes from the vampire.  The thing’s decaying, hot breath smothers Vali’s face as she struggles against his sword.  As strands of the corpse’s blond hair caress Vali’s face, she continues, “Let’s be a family again.”

              “Jy-tta,” Vali forces the words from his mouth as he thrusts his sister away.  He jumps onto his feet and grits his teeth.  Despite what stands before him, Vali’s only sees the memories he Jytta shared.  As the words, ‘Of course, just go on and ignore me’ replay themselves in his ears, Vali roars, shutting his eyes as he lunges forward.

              A pair of slender arms wrap themselves around Vali, forcing him to drop his sword.  Despite his strength, Vali is unable to break free as Jytta speaks into his ear.  “This will all be over so-”  Jytta gasps, her word stuck in her throat.  Vali uses her moment of weakness to break free and kick his sister onto the ground. 

              “Va-Vali,” Jytta calls, extending an arm towards her brother.

              Vali remains apprehensive, holding out his weapon in case Jytta attacks again.  Jytta, seeing Vali remain vigilant, sneers.  She rolls over, revealing an arrow in her side, and supports herself on her elbows.  “Even if I fall, the ma-master still has your Va-Valkyrie.”

              As Jytta haggardly laughs, a hand places itself on Vali’s back and leads him away.  As though saying a mantra, Vali mutters, “This is my fault, all my fault, my fault, my fault, all my fau-”

              “Vali!  Get a hold of yourself!”  The hand gives Vali a shove.  His sword gets impaled into the ground before him and Apollo’s voice continues.  “Weren’t you listening?  He still has your younger sister!”

              Vali stares at the sword.

              “Vali!  What was the point of coming here?  Remember why you’re here!”

              Vali’s face cringes, but he continues to stare at the sword.  Murmuring the word, “Aaliyah,” Vali reaches towards the sword.  Grasping the hilt, he pulls it from the ground and begins for the castle.  The wind takes away the tears rolling down his face.


              Vali rams the large, round doors to force them open.  Inside the fire place lite room, he sees Vlad sitting on a sofa reading a book.  Across from him, Aaliyah sleeps on a different sofa.

              “Ah, Vali!  Are you the only one who could arrive?  Please, do come in,”  Vlad rises from the sofa, opening his arms as though to embrace his guest.  With a smile, he gestures to Aaliyah,  “but try not to be too loud.  I have just seen her to sleep.”

              “Monster!”  Vali shouts, seeing tinges of crimson on Vlad’s teeth.  He charges, wielding his sword up near his shoulder.

              Vlad leans back and allows the sword to swing millimeters before his neck.  Although Vali continues to swing and thrust, Vlad dodges and allows them to pass just before him.  As Vlad evades Vali’s relentless attack, he gets closer and lunges for Vali’s carotid artery.  Unable to do anything, Vali watches Vlad get closer. 

              As Vlad is about to bite, he stiffens, stumbling into Vali.  Vlad pushes the teen away and turns to find Apollo still aiming his bow at him from the door.  As Vlad motions to charge, his head flies off, bounces on the ground and rolls away leaving a trail of blood behind it. 

              “That was too close.”  Vali sighs, dropping onto the floor.  Leaving his weapon on the ground, he gets up and walks to his younger sister.  Vali kneels before her, and strokes her hair.  “It’s over now, right?  She’s not going to wake up like… one of them?”

              “No, not with only one bite and him gone.”  Apollo responds as he walks up next to Vali.

              “How strange,” Shango interrupts.  He stares at Vlad’s head and say, “he seems almost relieved.”

              “He is,” Apollo calls out.  “The true descendants are only soulless spirits.  Upon escaping from Hell it must possess a dying body.  Doing so binds the soul to itself and returns the body to life.  Once defeated, the spirit is forced out of the body and returns to Hell.  With the soul no longer being bound, it too moves on, leaving the body to rest in peace.”

              “Gift of prophecy?”  Vali asks, giving Apollo an empty look.

              “It’s a curse, really.”

A/N: Another story in my hard drive that I don’t want to just leave. Also a bit cringy, but I kinda like it. Hopefully, you all do to??

~Gandire Alea