Tag Archives: Horror

The Secrets of Castle Drakon blog hop. Featuring Satan’s Band by Paul Rudd. Read it, and all the stories for free.

The Secrets of Castle Drakon is a magnificent collection of 11 stories in the Thorstruck Press Anthology. With our publisher’s blessing we’re holding a blog-hop whereby if you follow my blog and go to the next blog due tomorrow, you will find the next short story. Only readers who follow every blog will get to read the whole thing for free.

Oh, before you start reading, I’ve referenced a few songs in Satan’s Band. Here’s a playlist in order of the story, just to get you in the mood! Not a bad little soundtrack! So, grab a beer, a smoke, some chips and dips, a few friends, a horny fang banger, or whatever floats your boat and get ready to rock and roll, and slay some s*** with Satan’s Band.

story 7

By Paul Rudd

Castle Drakon

The Alps

France

1995

Who decides to get married in the middle of a blizzard?

My friend Kevin is responsible for my predicament. His fiancée Tina is divine, and they’re the perfect match. And Castle Drakon is the chosen setting for their gothic fantasy wedding, if not for the fact the weather forecast predicted snow for weeks. The invite said: join us on a winter break. Maybe do some skiing or snowboarding; fill your boots.

Now let me get this straight. The venue is in the middle of nowhere, and cut off from the outside world. We have no transport until the weather clears. No telephone, and if the weather keeps throwing snow at us like confetti, no doubt the electricity will go down too.

“It will be fun,” they said.

“You might even enjoy it,” they said.

Sure sounds like a typical horror movie scenario to me!

In horror movies you normally see a few tits, and right before someone gets their throat slashed, or entrails ripped out. It’s been awhile, and I’m beginning to forget what it look likes. The tits that is, not how to kill someone by shoving my hand down their throat and, you know what I mean.

My sanctuary for a few days sure as hell looked like a horror movie when we pulled onto the driveway. I say drive. It was more like a tree laden highway leading to the asylum. When the door cranked open I expected Dr. Frank-N-furter to greet us, while belting out a rendition of The Time Warp.

Guests were advised to arrive a few days beforehand, just so we can all make the most of it!

Friends! What can you do?

Perhaps the occasion will encourage me take a step forwards, rather than two giant leaps back. Who knows, maybe I’ll fall madly in love. Shit, I’m more likely to stare death in the face.

Before I die, I should tell you that I’m in a band but I’m not your average musician. Sure, I love to party and play the drums, but I’ve got an eye for a spectacular setting, and today’s setting is so cold my nuts are shrivelling to the size of pumpkin seeds.

I watch from the bay window as the last set of taillights extinguish within the snow flurry. “Well, that’s Rob arriving with the last of our equipment. Now it’s just us and the sexy female hotel staff. Did we stumble upon a beauty pageant? Do you think we have to pay extra?” I gesture over my shoulder in the direction of the main building.

“And you’re complaining, why?” Tony, one of my band-mates, is rummaging through my suitcase.

I met the bass guitarist at a Guns ‘n Roses concert in ’92. We met mud-sliding down the dunes of the Milton Keynes bowl during the intervals between the bands.

“I think we should dry hump the happy couple for introducing us to the sanctuary of desire!” He looks up and smiles back, in his madcap way, “It makes it nice and simple! We crank out some tunes, party hard with the people we know, and at the end of the night we get lucky with the beauty queens.”

“Luck is for fruits!”

“Dude, you didn’t see the owner? I swear she got all juicy in her panties when I said I was with the band. In fact, I reckon she wasn’t wearing any, and that makes me as horny as hell.”

“Ease down, stud. I bet her face was a picture when you called us Satan’s Band.”

“Who knows, I was too busy staring at her tits. They’re like…”

“Let me see tits! I’m sure I’ll be just as enamoured when I finally meet her.”

Today we’re both twenty years old and our cycle of life is only just beginning. My role in the band is to turn a good old fashioned eight beat into a blast beat. I’m good at it. My parents used to say I was born to rock and roll. I’ve adhered to the sacred path laid out by Chad Smith, Matt Cameron, and Lars Ulrich.

It’s simple. To be the best, you learn from the best.

The ambience of a remote setting is disturbed by my favourite song, No More Tears. Ozzy Osbourne’s finest is a union of sublime riffs and sharply edged vocals. The monster of rock manages to engage your soul like a drug and guide you on the mother of all trips. The artist is hard edged, dynamic, and a living legend.

One day that’s what they will say about me! I just need to get off the mundane highway.

There are two other members of the band. Rob is the singer, and takes care of all the equipment. The lead guitarist is Nervous. Not literally. His name is Martin, he just gets a little anxious, and tends to chuck up a week’s worth of food before we go on stage. It’s a ritual and probably the reason why he never puts on any weight.

“She wanted it, big time!” Tony is already plotting a life of sin and he is barely out of his teens.

“Who?”

“The owner. Did I mention her tits and her lack of panties?” His grin is frightening.

“Do you always have to smile like that? It gives me the creeps.”

“What!” still smiling, his buck teeth making him look like Mick Foley’s love child. It doesn’t help that his eyes are layered in black eyeliner, his face as white as a blank canvas.

He’s the only Goth in the band, thank Christ. I’m a Grunger, and I conform to the culture of the Seattle music scene. I dress, not to impress. Offer me ripped jeans and a Guns ‘n Roses t-shirt, over a shirt and trousers. Who dresses like that anyway? It’s the 90’s, so live a little.

I leave Tony to rifle through my belongings and head out of the room into a passageway with cold stone walls, lined by Lanterns with a candle encased in a metal frame of thin horns, and the hammer beamed ceiling, barely visible in the vapourous cloud. My nervous streak urges me to stroke my treasured drumsticks sitting comfortably in my back pocket. Rob calls them American Express, because I never leave home without them. My first set, from my first gig, and they’ll probably be my last.

Tonight, to make sure there are no glitches, the hosts are allowing us the chance to use the equipment before tomorrow’s wedding. I just hope the main hall has a little more panache than the rest of the joint, for the guests sake.

Castle Drakon is gloomy, quiet, and as eerie as a date in hell.

I like it! No, I love it! Only I’m not the one getting married here. My friends told me the resort was in winter shut down, with a skeleton staff on hand to meet all of our needs. That must be why nobody has complained about the music.

The corridor is empty except for Zakk Wylde, gracing the strings and prolonging the guitar solo. Then Ozzy breaks into the final passage like a reverend of rock, grating my soul with devilish aplomb.

Throwing a look over my shoulder I spot Tony, and he’s still going through my things! What the hell? He’s probably looking for my porn stash. Unlucky sucker, I left it at home. Ha! I’m not sure why I’m happy about it. If I strike out with the chicks I might need it. Did I already say it was cold?

I slip back into the room and grab my leather jacket. Out of habit I bury my nose in the rawhide and detect the essence of my former love.

Bummer!

And there is nowhere to hide. My ex, Sara, is one of the bridesmaids, and one of my closest friends is getting hitched to her best friend. Despite feeling like I should be the lead schmuck in a soppy Rom-Com, I agreed to attend.

What a crapfest.

“Yo!” The greeting from Rob, my best friend since I started junior school, is about as good as it gets. He ambles up the corridor, reeking of cigarettes, his coat shedding snow by the bucket load.

“Smoking again? Will you never learn?”

Rob shakes his head, unloads a golden mane of hair from his hood, and ties it off with a hair tie into a ponytail.

“You must be nuts,” I say. “It’s like minus ten outside.”

“Fuck me. I suppose a thank you for ensuring the delivery of the rest of the equipment is out of the question?”

“Thanks, man.”

“No problem. Jesus, are you still fucking listening to No More Tears?”

“Ozzy blows away the cobwebs.” I smile, hoping he won’t remind me of the fact Sara dumped me less than a month ago, with the ‘it’s not you, it’s me,’ line that seems to be de rigueur when the love of your life has met someone else.

It’s not like I cheated. That’s not me. I’m loyal.

I lost my soulmate, the love of my life, and I’ve been moping about ever since, more so after news broke that she met a new boyfriend. Apparently he’s a jock type, some karate expert. The only karate expert I know is Mr Miyagi from the Karate Kid movies.

Shit! I got dumped for Mr Miyagi. Not that I’d fuck with Mr Miyagi, that guy has some serious moves.

So Miyagi is probably a snake of some kind. Why do other people always bury their fangs in the people you love?

“When it comes to blowing you off,” Rob cracks off a gravelly laugh, the result of his thirty a day habit, “I guess you’d rather she was blowing something else?” He mimics a blowjob by inflating his cheek, and shifting his wrist back and forth.

So the assumption my best friend will forget anything that ever happens to me has pretty much just gone up in smoke! “Dude, do you mind? I’m still in mourning.”

“Get over it.” He leans in closer, “We are surrounded by a harem of beauties. Pick one. Get laid. Hell, pick two!”

Before I can reply Tony appears at my shoulder and hands over a blazing joint. “It’s like the fifth time he’s played Tears already.” He glances at his watch, “Been here half an hour, and even Ozzy’s getting bored of it.”

Rob admires the joint like a well cut diamond, “I thought you left your stash at home?” Not willing to waste a speck of dope, a sustained drag fills his need for the potent weed.

“I did.” Tony takes back the joint and jabs a finger in my direction. He sucks hard enough for his angular cheeks to look even more anorexic. After holding the smoke back for what seems like an eternity, he purposely releases it in my face. “This is his.”

“You took my dope?” No wonder I couldn’t find it. “You should be glad I had enough Francs to buy it from the coach driver.”

“I am,” replies Tony.

“But not at twice the price of our normal dealer. It’s typical of a fucking frog to hike up the prices for a tourist.” Rob takes another drag, and slowly releases the smoke, “Did he not realise we are the band.”

“Clearly not, otherwise we’d have got it for free.” Sarcasm, you’ve gotta love it.

“These country folk are worse than the real dealers, but then again, they deal some good shit.”

I swipe the joint before he can hand it back to Tony. “In that case, I should thank our resident Goth for rolling it.”

“Shall we?” Rob motions along the corridor. “I can hear music and I need a beer.”

“You always need a beer.” I hate to admit it, but so do I, and I don’t feel like stopping any time soon.

“Then it should come as no surprise.” Rob shoves me along the corridor while Tony nips back into the room, hiding the Ozzy cassette in his back pocket.

“Where’s Nervous?” I ask.

Rob emerges from a cloud of smoke, “He’s setting up the equipment and then he was going to meet with the others.”

“What about food?” I ask, my stomach growling.

“Food is for pussies. We need to get wasted.”

Tony nods, his eyes already glazed over, “And don’t forget laid.”

We enter the main hall, situated in the heart of the East Wing.

Now I can see why the bride and groom chose this place. The architecture compliments perfectly the diverse spectrum of colours.

The hall is vast and I feel as if I’ve stepped into a different plane of reality. The attention and care of such magnificence can only come from the devotion of a true artist. Hammer beams support a collection of stone effigies, carved to perfection and clearly ancient. Everywhere I look there is a spectacular sculpture, a mind boggling array of figurines.

Like I said, it’s the perfect setting for a Gothic wedding.

The tunes set the tone for the evening. And at the moment I appear to be the only person who appreciates the antiquated backdrop of medieval surroundings.

Reef, All Place your Hands.

A cheer erupts from the group at the bar. Some bad dancing ensues. Rob starts to sing and slinks off across the room. We follow reluctantly after failing to locate a corner to hide in.

The room is fit to accommodate at least five hundred, and yet it’s bustling with half that amount. Waitresses gracefully roam the wooden floor with trays overloaded with free booze. All of them are stunning. Perfection personified.

For a moment the men forget about the ladies, girlfriends, mistresses, and wives, occupying the tables. The horde of Goth, indie, and rock chicks are too heavily involved in gossip to notice me enter. It’s a relief. I know them all. That’s what makes this a grim task. I’m in a circle of the most remarkable friends anyone could ever wish for, but I just can’t help feeling I’d rather be anywhere else but here. Most of them are hitched and it’s all happy couples, even if they are occupying separate sides of the room.

Rob roves the crowd in search of Leanne, the latest casualty of his five day romances. She’s a cute girl, full of beans, and currently sucking his face off, her legs wrapped around his waist. She’s all bouncy hair and thrilled to see her man; the honeymoon period.

I’m in the path of a waitress, and follow her catwalk-like prowess to the bar. I catch a glimpse of myself in one of the mirrors lining a dance floor, occupied by Rob and Leanne, who are currently spinning in tune to the next track.

Good Times, Jimmy Barnes and INXS.

It’s a great track but I look ready to join the walking dead and decide not to dance. Gaunt cheeks, dark rings, and some sort of hairstyle dating back to the cavemen era. No wonder she dumped me! I’ve lost my mojo and my emphasis on life. The fact that the waitress’s reflection is not in the mirror barely registers, and I blame it on fatigue.

When was the last time I got any sleep? Oh, I haven’t slept more than a few hours a night since we broke up.

I’m hit by a lightning bolt, which injects more despair into my broken heart. I need to snap out of it. Or change the subject.

It’s time to liberate my psyche. I slip a hand in my pocket, take out a tab and place it on the tip of my tongue. After a few seconds I hitch a ride on the heavenly highway.

“Thanks again, for agreeing to double up on the room.”

Tony twists towards me, his irises as wide and as dark as an abyss. His mind’s fried. “Huh?” He’s swooning over a waitress, and on so much dope it’s surprising he can still stand. I pat him on the shoulder and continue to the bar.

The beer is already flowing freely. More music draws some of the headbangers to the dance floor. Faith No More, Epic.

The lucky couple asked the establishment for specialised jukeboxes, to include hundreds of songs. They obliged. I’m not sure why. They hired me and the guys to supply the music. Perhaps they did it out of pity. Or perhaps they thought the depressed drummer wouldn’t make it on time.

The term I used was lucky couple… I can’t help but feel resentment. Beer is needed to quell my morbid mood, and quickly, before I drown in the pit of despair. A few pints are great at making you forget for a few hours. Not so good on the way out!

The ravishing barmaid serves me a pint with a head like the peak of the mountains we passed on the way here. I let her off, just because she looks like a goddess in a tight white blouse and figure hugging leather trousers. I smile and offer her money.

She shakes her head and closes my hand, “It’s a free bar, handsome.”

Damn, that Eastern European accent. If only I could bottle it and sell it, I’d be a rich man! And off she goes. Our meeting barely registers on the plane of existence and is just another nail in my coffin of confidence.

Tony tells me he’s off to the toilet. Cocaine! And I don’t mean Clapton’s song. It’s a sin of the many and the end of any sensible conversation. Maybe I should try it? It might lighten my mood. Beer, a trip and Cocaine, I’ll be asleep for a week! He gestures towards Micky, another of the Coke brigade, and off they go to powder their noses.

My barmaid serves the rowdy bunch at the bar. She shifts her head; toys with a cocktail umbrella. I’m infatuated by her desirable lips and I can’t help but lose my inhibitions as the tip of her tongue teases her crimson lipstick. She catches me staring and my cheeks flare red. She serves the tall dude at the bar and my heart feels like it’s been ripped in two. Is one look, all I get? I must be losing my touch.

To me, Chris was born six-foot-five and stayed that way ever since. His lean silhouette is imposing as he leans over the bar and orders a round. I still can’t believe he gets so many girls. He’s a ginger! Not the a-typical ruddy, more of a strawberry blonde. We call him Shaggs. Someone asked me once, is it because he sleeps with a lot of women? I said no, we named him after Shaggy from the Scooby-Doo cartoons; a fair likeness in my opinion. He shares a joke, and she flirts by flicking her hair and laughing. A joke I told him!

His brother Pete is constantly drunk, so always lively, and consequently he embarks on his one man cause to annoy the shit out of his brother. In less than a second he’s hitting on the barmaid. The conversation falls flat, his slurring expletives ending the moment. Shaggs walks away, shaking his head, and Pete orders another beer. Barely an hour into the festivities and he’s already plastered! I wonder why it took him so long!

The barmaid serves him, and walks by me. I’m about to reveal my irresistible smile when an arm wraps around my neck and I’m dragged towards the group.

“I was beginning to think the band wasn’t going to make it.” Kevin pats my shoulder, and we man hug. My friends and myself do that a lot. ‘No handshaking,’ they say. The more you drink the more my friends man-it out. The Groom is already unsteady on his feet and tonight is his stag party “And cheer up, mate. It might never happen.”

“It already did. You know that.”

“So she used the line. Perhaps it’s an omen? Anyway, what do you think of the place?” says Kevin.

“The décor is seriously warped. The rest of the place is old, cold, and as creepy as hell. I love it, man.”

“I knew you’d appreciate it. I’m not sure about everyone else. They are probably more interested in the hot women!”

“Hey, I’m interested. Seriously, I’ve not seen one ugly bird! I thought the concierge was a babe, now the barmaid. I’m not sure how you did it,” I say.

“It’s open once every six months. I guess you single guys just got lucky.”

“No such thing as luck, my man. Now fate, that’s a different story,” I say.

“Fate, luck, nah, let’s just drink to my marriage. Here!”

He hands me a rocks glass. A shot would work. I sniff it. Tequila! I hate this shit. It only takes one rough night on the booze to put you off a spirit for life. Tequila is my kryptonite. A dozen double shots ended my New Year celebrations early one year. And no matter how hard I try I can never forget it.

Andy says, “One.” Deep down I believe Andy wants to be a nightclub crooner. Always singing, and normally when smashed out of his brains. An Essex boy through and through, tonight could be the night he picks a different song to end the night, rather than it’s a Tiny House.

We all lick the skin between our thumb and forefinger.

Jay follows up with, “Two.” The east London lad is lanky, wiry, a football fanatic, and the prankster of the pack. He winks at me as I fret with the glass.

I sprinkle salt on my moist skin and look to Jay’s right. Always smiling and rarely without a new story to tell, every group of Essex boys should have a friend north of the Watford gap. Gerrard, or Gez, is from Birmingham, and he finishes off the countdown with, “Three.”

We each take a slice of lime from a wooden chopping board.

Alongside me is Martin, or Caveman. He’s all beard and brutish. A guy you’d want on your side in a fight, or in a high speed car chase. And Rolf, a six-four German thoroughbred, and built like he moves mountains for a living.

I wait for the rest of the group to stun the glasses on the counter. I lick the salt, tip my head back, and toss the devil’s piss over my shoulder. Then I suck the lime just for the hell of it.

Another round is quickly ordered and a hand clamps on my shoulder in anger, fingers grinding into my flesh, “What the fuck did ye de tha’ fer?”

Not recognising the male voice I turn leisurely and face my worst nightmare. My beautiful ex-girlfriend Sara is standing next to a guy the size of Hercules. Her face soaked by my tequila.

“I asked ye a question,” he growls, just to intimidate me a little more. Not that he needs to. His shadow does enough on its own.

“He didn’t do it on purpose,” Sara pleads my case, and I imagine her in a horsehair wig and gown, before a jury of one, and my sentence already given. Guilty as fuck!

My expression depicts regret, but I’m fronted by a wall of silence. “Believe it or not, but I don’t have eyes in the back of my head. I’m not Superman!” Even though Tequila is my Kryptonite.

I’ve never visited the city of Tequila but once again the beverage made from the blue agave plant forces me to face up to a bad situation. She doesn’t even acknowledge me.

Three years and then she runs off with a scottish lad on steroids. He’s the complete opposite of me. Perhaps that’s the attraction. It certainly isn’t a clash of intelligence. In my experience, athletic jocks and brains don’t go together. I doubt this dude is any different. Due to my assumption, I label him a jockstrap. All of a sudden tears are streaming down her cheeks. The new D&G dress all but ruined.

“Look, I’m sorry.”

She won’t look at me. She turns away, hiding her grief.

Jesus, it’s only a dress!

Somehow Jockstrap invaded my train of thought. His torpedo sized finger jabs me in the gut, almost nailing me to the bar. “Sorry’s ney good enough.”

The music is still blaring from the oversized speakers, the strobe lighting giving off a trail back effect. Great, my tab just kicked in, and Jockstrap appears to be moving like a robot.

In the background, Killer by Seal and Adamski, an apt tune, considering my predicament.

“Would you rather I bend over? I said sorry.” I’m too short to be considered a threat. I’m a pacifist. And besides, I need to be standing on a tower block just to make eye contact with this ogre.

His hand clamps on my shoulder. Jesus, he’s strong. I’m routed to the spot. Rolf and Caveman appear at my shoulder. The towers of muscle pale in comparison to this brute. I glance at them and shake my head. No need for anyone else to get a pasting. Jockstrap glares and laughs.

Never before have I witnessed such an expression of malice and hatred. I’m not sure I’ll forget it anytime soon. I’m still contemplating it when a meteor launches from above me and blots out the light. It’s heading straight for my face. It’s funny how a drug can have the adverse effect on a situation. For the first time since I arrived, I’m actually happy. Armageddon has come a calling for me and all it took was an acid trip, kryptonite, and a Jockstrap!

Hallelujah.

The damp cloth on my cheek rejuvenates my bruised ego, until I envisage a stray dog licking my face down a seedy backstreet.

Opening my eyes reveals I’m alive, and in a storeroom, stockpiled with crates of beer and kegs. Wooden wine racks containing hundreds of empty but pristine wine bottles, just waiting to be filled. And a sweet scented perfume.

Sara! Has she forgiven me?

And why am I thinking of tequila and a Jockstrap?

Damn Kryptonite!

And then a meteor!

Screw it.

“Hello? Is anyone there?” Feet shuffle towards me, so I sit up.

“Are you okay?”

She has the voice of an angel.

An eternity passes by in a heartbeat once the captivating goddess materialises. I dare not close my eyes in case it’s a dream. The vision from paradise, her tucks and curves in all the right places, leans forward, slender hands gently caressing my head and turning it to the side for inspection. By the time I focus, she is kneeling before me.

I’m bewitched by two emerald gems, as breathtaking as the Amazon. I want to reach out and grasp the impeccable hand cupping the cloth, now dabbing at my brow. My chest tightens. I can barely breathe as my nerves twist my insides into knots.

My guard melts as she smiles, and her accent elevates me to a sanctuary of love, lust and ecstasy, “I won’t bite.”

Is it possible to fall in love so quickly? Is this what’s happening? Holy crap it is. Only, this happens in the movies, not in reality. Either way, you met the girl of your dreams and you’re contemplating why, rather than taking charge.

I dare not move my head in case it falls off my shoulders. Instead, I start to ramble. “What happened? Where am I? Who are you? Where’s the party? Why does my head feel like it got struck by a wrecking ball?” That’s good, ask a lot of questions. That’ll impress her! And yet she is thawing my steely soul by expressing concern.

“The party ended hours ago. Your stag and hen parties moved to other chambers. The rest of the guests are sleeping. I told your friends I would stay with you until you awoke.” The accent is faultless.

Jesus, dude. Get a grip. Talk about rebound central!

“In answer to one of your many questions, my name is Algina. I’m a hostess.”
“You served me a drink. Right before…” I glance down, “You probably know more about what happened than I do. Does it look bad?”

Two fingers gently fondle her chin while she studies the room. She finds a piece of broken glass to use as a mirror, and blows away the dust. I must look worried, otherwise why else is she holding it against her chest, “Your face. It’s not a pretty sight.”

“You’re not the first girl to say that to me. And you probably won’t be the last.”

Her laugh eases my pain. She turns the makeshift mirror towards me. I squint at it hard, brush the surface with a cuff and, “Holy shit!” I snatch it from her hand, as if moving it closer to my eye will make things clearer! Then I start pawing at the swollen eye socket. Now I can see it I understand why my head is throbbing like a cartoon thumb drilled by a hammer. “Holy, fucking, shit!”

“It’s not that bad. And no more swearing!”

Expletives are the least of my concerns but I say sorry anyway. “Not that bad? Why didn’t you warn me I look like Rocky?”

“Who is Rocky?”

“Rocky Balboa, the Italian Stallion.”

“Is that the man who hit you?”

“What? No. He’s from the movie.” She looks baffled. “Yo Adrian!” Why do the impression? Nice going! What a way to impress.

She shakes her head. I must be dreaming. It’s all in a stunning super slow-mo. Her hair settles a few seconds afterwards in the ultimate trail back. Am I still high?

And there I go again, staring like a stalker! Change the subject, move, do something other than ogle. “I think I might try and stand.”

She sits upright, looking concerned. “Perhaps you should lie down instead?”

“I can do that. Lying down is good.” I slump back, my head bouncing off the leaden keg. I spring forwards and stand, knocking my head on a solid oak shelf. “Christ…!” I quickly turn and rifle a boot into a slab of concrete, my toes throbbing instantly. “Jesus…!” I bolt upright, rebound off the shelf and slump hard on the bench. It tips and I plummet towards the keg, my head rebounding off it, again. My frustration boils, so she reaches out, grabbing my wrist. A single touch drains the frustration like a river.

Her smile radiates an aura, soul snatching me from my moment of calamity. “I like you. You make me laugh.”

“That wasn’t my intention, trust me. Although, I do like your smile, it’s kind of softening.”

Softening! Smooth, you arsehole!

I manage to evacuate the constricted space and she lets go of my arm and stands tall. Long legs go on for miles, and her skin is so smooth you could smother it in cream and lick it all off.

Perhaps she’ll let me.

Our eyes meet again.

Can she read my thoughts too?

She looks a little disgusted and urges me towards a door at the rear of the room.

“Is it something I said?” Of course it is. Dumb ass!

She shakes her head, her gaze drifting beyond me and towards the shelves of empty wine bottles.

In between the racks lantern light fractures the gloom and exposes a sultry Amazonian princess, wearing a revealing ruby dress. She sports knee high leather boots and stamps her foot in disgust. Succulent breasts pitch with rage as she fires off words in a language I care very little about.

This must be the owner. Tony was right. It’s hard for a kid not to become aroused by the temptress.

They argue. The slutty mistress eyes me like a piece of candy and on the way out slams the door hard enough for the racks of bottles to quake.

Algina leads me to the exit. “You must go now.”

“Is everything okay?”

“You need to find your friends, quickly.”

“I guess I can catch up with the party. Can you point me in the right direction?”

She tells me the party is still in the East Wing. My attention waned after two left turns. My body turned to Jack Frost and I melted in her presence. I can’t believe all the feelings I’m having for someone I just met.

She thrusts something hard in my palm. “Keep this close.”

It’s a wooden stake, engraved with dozens of weird hieroglyphics. What the hell? “Wait, are there vampires here or something?” I laugh to lighten the mood, and notice she isn’t smiling.

“If you need to use it, turn it over, twist the handle.”

“Why? What the hell is this?”

Her expression eases, “Please, trust me.”

I do as she says and release a beam of light. I feel like a dork. “It’s a torch!”

She nods, “The electricity is out. The blizzard is causing havoc with the power lines. We are running on back-up generators. The corridors are very dark, and they all look the same. I thought the torch might help you.”

Don’t look at her,.“So no vampires?” I try and cover my tracks and fail to raise a glimmer of a smile. “Was it the power outage you and your friend argued about?”

“No. Xenia is Mother.”

“That was your mum?”

“Is something wrong?” she asks.

“She looks so young.”

Aligina’s aura returns, like a beacon leading me to shore, “It is in my family’s genes. My bloodline is forever beautiful and young.”

“No need to tell me that.” She bursts out laughing. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. “What did I say?”

“I make joke! This is Xenia’s castle. She is Mother and in charge, and doesn’t like the guests taking advantage of her staff. She was warning me about you.”

“Me?”

“Yes, she worries about her youngest.”

“I wasn’t going to do… I wouldn’t do any… I mean. I would but, not here… or now.”

“It’s okay,” she grips my hand in hers and sparks ignite. I felt it, she did too. Her gaze jumped from her hand to me. I laugh it off, and she lets go quickly as if burnt

“So there are no vampires?”

“Why would you think that?” She studies her hand, flexing her fingers.

“Maybe I’ve watched too many movies. Movies are kind of my thing.”

Her hand brushes my arm as she opens the door, and waits for me to step into the corridor. I feel the connection again, this time we stare deep into each other’s soul, “Keep the torch close. You might –”

“I might need it. Gotcha,” I flip it in the air and snatch it mid-flight. What do you know! I caught it! “It’s just a torch! Well, thanks for looking after me. I really appreciate it.”

“The pleasure was mine.” She leans in.

To do what, kiss?

Closing my eyes, her silken skin brushes my cheek. “Be safe,” she whispers. A friendly peck on the cheek ignites my spellbinding love, written about in poems and romance novels.

“Perhaps we can meet tomorrow, after the ceremony?” Opening my eyes, I long for more, and the door slams shut, an inch from my nose.

Everyone hates goodbyes. So what makes this one so special? I just know I’m never going to see that beautiful woman ever again. And if I do, she’ll probably not remember me.

My indecisiveness fails to halt the feelings of my heart crumbling inside. I take another tab and hope it kicks in before I reach the stag party. Making my way through the corridors, I’m a dejected specimen, and toying with my torch. Flashing light beams into every dark space, as if re-enacting an X-Files episode is all I can do to stop thinking about Algina.

It felt like a year before I came across some vibrant music. A classical track with a techno beat. It changes to a hypnotic bass, getting faster and faster.

I’m stalking a corridor with a high beamed ceiling. Wooden flooring vibrates, and my head bobs to the escalating beat. I pass by closed doors; all locked, but there’s some light at the end of the tunnel sneaking from a doorway. I peak inside, hoping to see my friends.

What the…! Jockstrap is naked, and getting his nuts shined by Xenia, Algina’s mum. The ruby dress is ripped open, releasing colossal breasts. The hem of her skirt is yanked above the thigh, one of her knee high boots planted on a stone table, while he thrusts between her legs like a rampant Duracell bunny.

The room smells of sex and sweat. A naked woman is blindfolded, writhing on a king-size bed, her modesty in full view.

Sara? I recognise the vine tattoo wrapped around her leg.

Algina’s mum is focused on me, tweaking erect nipples and grinding her hips into her lover. Her orgasm is brutal, almost beastly in comparison to my experiences, her nails gouging flesh from his back.

She’s looking right at me as Jockstrap fires off his load. Shit!

My mind is experiencing one of those moments when I wonder, what the fuck, but it’s impossible not to feel drawn to the enchantress. All I want to do is let her ride me to hell and back!

Jockstrap is still recovering when she holds him at arms-length, “Now it’s my turn to suck you!” In one motion, her head tilts back. I see a glint of fang and then she strikes like a Cobra. Claret sprays up her face, smothering her stunning features. Jockstrap moans with pleasure as she sucks ferociously.

With the need to feed fulfilled, she tosses him aside and strides towards me. His body lands on a pile of rugs, blood spewing from a ruptured throat, his body convulsing.

Panicking, I tear along the corridor, shooting a glance over my shoulder. This is one fucked up version of the Lost Boys!

Another movie quip, and at a time like this! My friends are right. I am a geek.

By the time I glance again, Xenia’s dress is clinging to her voluptuous figure. There is no hiding the fact a night’s worth of sex oozes down her inner thighs and yet she still wants more.

A slender finger claws at my psyche, beckoning me into her realm. I’m not tempted until Sara appears at her shoulder wearing only a stoned expression. Her hands slowly caress Xenia’s waist, slide up her abdomen and gently massage a pair of perfect mounds. In a flash Xenia is pressed against the wall. Sara’s tongue toys with an erect nipple the size of a cigar butt.

Xenia snatches a wrist and guides a slender hand down, over her stomach and between her legs. Two fingers search inside her, moistening the forbidden fruit, all the while she is staring at me.

My legs refuse to co-operate with the brain in my head. My other brain is calling the shots and pleading to furnish the forbidden void with a gallon of my seed.

I must. I will.

I’m not sure when I broke thought. Perhaps it was the strong hand clamp on my shoulder forcing me to turn.

“What the hell are you doing?” It’s Andy, drunk and unstable.

I’m still in the corridor, the torch in my hand. She’s gone.

“Did you see that?” I shoot another glance at the end of the corridor. My body feels drained of energy, my limbs aching.

The light is off, the music gone, the door closed.

Andy waddles by me, eyeing the darkness with drunken concern. “I can’t see shit!” He laughs and drags me to the main corridor, “I’m fucked! You’ve missed one hell of a party. There was so much drink, fanny and West Ham!” He breaks out into song. The words are being sung but they’re not registering.

Maybe I hit my head too hard. That had to be it. “I need some sleep.”

Andy is ricocheting off the walls and still singing I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles. I’ve just witnessed god knows what and he’s singing about West Ham?

He stops abruptly, “By the way, the guy that hit you. Where did he go? One minute he was there, the next…? Not that I care. We’ll sort him out tomorrow.” And then he breaks into another song; a tiny house, right on cue.

Moonlight dominates the row of stretched windowpanes leading up to my room. I feel like packing my things and leaving, but outside the blizzard is still raging.

By the time I reach my room I decide to keep what I witnessed to myself. I can’t explain it, so no use trying. And yet I can’t get the vision out of my head.

Xenia and Sara getting it on! What an epic threesome it would be, but I can’t help thinking I hallucinated it all.

My bed looks so inviting with me on it, my body writhing under the sheets, with Algina straddling me… What the fuck!

I switch on the light. My bed’s empty, so is Tony’s.

What the hell is wrong with me? Change the subject. I pick up my Walkman, slip on the headphones, and press play. Cry Little Sister, by Gerard McMahon, is a mellow tune for a screwed up situation. Sitting on the edge of my bed, I gaze over at Tony’s unruffled bed sheets.

Perhaps he got lucky after all. I only hope it’s not with Xenia.

Despite recent events suggesting she could be a blood sucking vampire, I start to fantasise about her body. My hands slide inside her ruby dress, massaging the sheen of melon sized breasts, and I taste the delicacy of the pert nipples nestled between my lips. She spreads her legs, forcing my hand to moistness, as my fingers slip inside.

Orgasmic release is music to my ears. Only it’s not Xenia I’m pleasing, but Algina. The barmaid’s head tilts back. I notice the same glint of ivory. I know what’s coming but her hands are rampant, pawing at my clothes. Fingers slide inside my jeans, latching on to my throbbing…!

My eyes spring open, the scrambled ballad crushing my moment. A cassette is tangled in my Walkman, so I replace it with another and fall back on the mattress, almost in defeat.

I need to get laid!

To lose my mind, I slip on my headphones and enter the painful domain of The Crow Soundtrack. My mind is infiltrated by the damned and feelings of vengeance and sorrow. It’s just a normal night for a moody musician.

The music takes my mind away from anything remotely erotic. I leave the solemn tunes for background noise and sink into the bedding, burying my face in the pillows. It’s not long before I crash out, still wearing my clothes.

Dreams came and went. Mostly erotic ones, leaving me even more screwed up. After one, I’m being woken up by two figures carrying Tony into the room.

“He’s wasted,” said a woman.

I don’t move. I stay still, not wishing to see or speak to anyone. I’ll have enough of that tomorrow morning at breakfast.

Why the hell did I come here?

The door slams.

Solitude, except for Tony’s snoring and farting; like when you thump a fist into tub of slime goo.

At least he’s back, and in one piece.

Without even realising it I’m still clutching the wooden torch; my defence against the damned.

Get a grip!

“How’s ye eye?” Only the fifteenth time I’ve been asked this morning. The person responsible is sipping coffee, and smirking.

“It’s fine, can’t you tell? How’s your fist? You didn’t break it I hope.”

“So where’s ye gimp friend?” Jockstrap blurts it out. He means Tony.

I look up from my breakfast plate and stab at the tough bacon grind. I feel even more drained, if that’s possible. I can barely lift the fork. “The gimp’s sleeping.” I asked him about breakfast and lunch, and he just mumbled, flapping a hand at me, which basically meant GO AWAY! Hopefully he’ll be fine for the main gig tonight. I can’t have a band without a bass player.

Jockstrap smirks. He looks as good as new. No sign of a bite.

“How was your night?” I ask. It’s daylight, he’s positioned in a beam of light. If he was a Vampire he’d be bursting into flames right now. Or he’s doing it to make me think otherwise?

Sara is sitting alongside douchebag, her arm entwined in his. The actions of the loving couple making me want to hurl.

“You dinnae wanna know,” he replies. “But I’m surprised you didnae hear us!”

Sara playfully hits his shoulder, her cheeks flushed.

Once a douche, always a douche.

My mojo kindles as Xenia glides across the dining hall while greeting guests. A glance towards my table, and she’s looking right at me. I’m trembling, my hands all sweaty, and my groin reacting to what I think I witnessed last night.

Think of something cold … frozen peas! That’ll do it!

She hovers behind me, the subdued temptress hitting all the right notes, and snaring every male and female in her seductive demeanour. She holds the guests in the palm of her hands. Only, one of them is gripping the back of my seat. I can barely contain the urge to turn and gaze upon her, but if I do, I’m not sure I will have any control over my actions. After a few minutes she’s on her way to another table.

A solitary finger trails along my shoulder blade, sprouting goosebumps all over my body. I’m sweating due to all the erotic thoughts suddenly flooding my mind. I need to get out of here.

I stand, and I’m immediately yanked back to my seat. For some reason, everyone seated at the breakfast table is waiting for me to speak. “What?” I ask.

“Well,” Pete still looks drunk, his hair matted to his face by sweat.

“He went back to his room to watch some porn!” My northern friend, Gerrard, pipes up from the next table, and more laughing ensues.

“Did I miss something?”

My friends huddle at the table. “So, did you?”

I look down at my breakfast, and then at the low level cigarette smoke putting me off eating it. I’m not sure who asked me the question, or why. I’m still tingling from the slightest touch of Xenia’s finger.

Jockstrap speaks up on cue, “I’ll ask ye in layman’s terms. After I knocked ye oot, did ye bang ye barmaid friend?”

I laugh, my jaw still aching from the punch, “Only in my dreams!” I wish it wasn’t true but I can’t get Algina out of my head.

“Someone saw her go into your room,” said one of the girls.

“You’re mistaken. Nothing happened, okay. Now, if you all don’t mind…!” Has it really come to a point in my life that they’re making stuff up about me?

Suddenly I feel hungry and snatch a piece of charred bacon.

This wedding is still a crapfest!

After breakfast I head back to my room, and my preferred environment of darkness and solitude.

Some people believe it to be an act. A drummer must be dark and mysterious on the outside. Or some crazy pill head. When in reality, I’m not putting on a front. The darker my mood, the better I feel inside.

Sometimes you can turn it on and off like a light switch. Sure it’s a little glum, but hey, it’s me! The door handle turns full cycle, without the need for me to use the room key.

Tony is still in dreamland, so I leave the curtains closed. I sit on the edge of the bed and kick off my leather boots. The torch is on the dresser. Algina!

Holding it close to my chest, I think back to Gollum from the Lord of the Rings book I read when I was a kid, clutching his precious. I collapse on the bed and stroke the on and off switch. The beam is incredibly bright, unlike my mood! And the lens must be smudged. The light is distorted at the centre when it reaches the ceiling.

Maybe she wants it back? Maybe she gave it to me so I can find her again. Is she thinking about me? Will I see her again? Jesus, get a grip!

My eyes shut for no more than a second, but when I open them my watch reads 3 p.m. I’ve been asleep for four hours and the wedding is already underway.

Shit! I’m a dead man.

My wedding suit and shirt are still in the carry-case. My gaze diverts to the smudge in the circle of light above me. The torch was on the entire time. Before I turn it off I study the lens, and point it back at the ceiling.

It’s not smudged. It’s a word.

“What the fuck does NUR mean?”

A cold breeze on my neck sends a shiver down my spine. Not a breeze but panting, and the hairs on my neck are stretching so hard to escape the chill my skin is starting to tear.

The person next to me utters the word, “RUN!”

There is a soulless deviant by my side. Biding its time for me to awaken and fulfil its desires while its prey senses complete terror. If I’m right, to a vampire, a beating heart, pumping blood whilst in the throes of terror, must be like experiencing the world’s greatest guitar solo.

Seconds after I scramble from the bed, haggard claws hack the quilt. Tony bounds through the deluge of feathers, spindly claws seizing my throat. Adrenaline is sapped from my limbs the moment I’m hurled against the wall. Tony’s pupils, now full of desire, study the pulsing veins on my neck, ivory fangs inches from penetrating soft flesh.

Use harsh words! “You’re a shit sucking vampire!” In a split second I revert to my recollection of vampire movies; stakes, sunlight, UV light, garlic, holy water, and death by stereo.

“I am more than a vampire. I’m now a protector of Mother, the lady of the realm.” His voice reaches the gravel pits associated with thrash metal gods. “Her harem drank my blood, while my meat stake impaled areas you can only dream of. We fucked till my seed was spent and their bodies wracked by my perverted desires.”

“You’re telling me about your fucking meat stake! That’s wonderful and all, but I –”

Crushing my oesophagus, an index finger presses against my lips, the pincer nail grey, old and already reeking of the dead. “Shush, insect. You are about to die a horrible death.”

The claw around my throat squeezes tighter. His head tilts back with the telltale sign, fangs protruding from his gaping maw.

“You first…!” The sharp point of the stake torch ruptures his chest, and an oily substance cascades from the wound. Tony’s shriek shatters my eardrums.

The grip on my neck loosens.

I’m falling to the floor amid an eruption of blood that almost knocks me over. My knees hit the deck at the same time as Tony’s viscera, and the stake falls from my blood soaked hand. I glance at the weapon. She knew.

Algina knew about the vampires but is she one of them?

I shower quickly and slip into black jeans, leather boots and a black t-shirt. Tony’s leftovers are still festering in the corner, stinking up the place.

My hearing hasn’t returned properly and I fail to hear the knocking on the door. Rob bursts in, all suited and booted. Blond hair tied back and smoking a Marlboro. “You’re the usher and you’re late. Kev is going ape shit. Why aren’t you dressed? And what the fuck is that smell?”

“Wait…,” It’s too late.

“Did you shower? You ever heard of daylight you morbid son of a bitch.” Rob pulls back the curtain and loses his footing on the pool of gore, his hand braced by soiled sheets.

Daylight exposes a bed drowning in viscera, and a room decorated in tones of vampire, most of it still dripping from the ceiling.

“What the fuck…?” Andy wipes the blood from his jacket and ducks into the bathroom, just as a lump of flesh splatters on Tony’s bedding. He gags at the sight of it.

Nervous, Caveman, Rolf and Shaggs, are a few steps into my room only for the smell to overwhelm Shaggs, who vomits over Rolf’s boots.

“What the hell did you do?” Nervous’ trepidation is shared by my friends.

Rolf is in shock. He slumps on Tony’s bed and regrets it immediately.

“So much blood,” Shaggs clings to the wall and points at my right hand. “What’s that?”

I’m still gripping the stake. “It’s not what you think.” My friends back away, eyeing me from the corridor. “I can explain.” They look at me as if I’m a serial killer. “Wait!” I yell, but they are already out of sight.

Great, it’s the wedding and I’m about to gate-crash it, and with the guilt of killing my friend as my plus one on my invitation. On the way out I snatch Tony’s full length leather coat, and slip the stake inside.

By the time I reach the chapel the ceremony is already underway.

The oak door is locked from the inside. And with no indication of panic, my friends clearly didn’t make it in time. It’s freezing outside, my hands are already turning blue as I search for another way inside.

The perimeter is stonewalled except for a timber doorway, leading to a set of winding stairs. Two flights up is the organ sanctuary, overlooking the aisles of benches. A female choir’s rendition of Cry Little Sister is chilling. Over a hundred people are inside; family, friends, and even kids. The song has them in a trance. It almost hooks me but my ears are still ringing.

The hall is decorated like a fairy-tale. Kevin and Tina look resplendent at the altar in dark colours, mixed with the expressive talents of their wedding planner, Xenia. They also looked stoned, expressionless. The temptress clasps an old book to her chest and snarls at the bride and groom.

The song upholds the trance. One woman strides from the choir and continues to sing alone, while pacing up the aisle towards Kevin and Tina. It’s Algina, and the lyrics are wrong.

“I defy, my mother…” Her tone is immaculate.

“Though shall not feed…”

“I don’t lie, mother…”

“Though shall not follow…”

She’s carrying a pillow. My heart races as I watch her take one intricate step after another. The opaque white gown leaves her almost nude to the naked eye. Vivid images hit me like a hammer.

Now is not the time.

I turn away and try to refocus.

The entire congregation is still spellbound. The choir’s volume increases, challenging Algina’s breakaway. She continues to defy with her own choice of words.

“I shall not feed…”

“Loneliness, my mother…”

“My life, my mother…”

It’s a challenge, or an initiation. When I look back, Algina offers the pillow to Xenia, who turns her head as if rejecting her daughter. Kevin’s best man, Jay, takes the pillow, and she heads to the rear of the church and leaves via another exit. Jay is oblivious to the danger, his eyes glazed over. He holds up the amulet and Xenia turns away.

Suddenly, Xenia grips Kevin and Tina by the throat and hauls them in the air. The song continues, this time the original lyrics, nobody notices except me. I stand, grip the railing and search for a way down.

The evil bitch chants in a diverse language and the choir of thirty women splinter into groups of two. The gorgeous womenfolk take to the aisles, the guests still mesmerised by the melancholy sound rather than the translucent frocks, revealing nuances of hair and flesh.

Xenia is still chanting.

Her clan faces up to their master. In sync, fangs sprout from twisted expressions. Attractiveness is replaced by a malevolent presence. And they strike at exposed flesh.

“No!” I’m too late. My interruption wakes a few of the guests. Jay shakes away the stupor.

The vampire horde feasts in a banquet of human blood. I’m helpless. People I’ve known since birth are ripped apart before my eyes, the vampires indulging at will.

Jay races to his wife and kids. He stumbles into Gerrard, who wakes suddenly and protects his wife and three children, only to see them tossed between vampires like toys. Blood rains down upon him. He flees and the vampires track his escape through the aisles with the stealth of lethal assassins.

At the front of it all, Xenia takes it in turns to tear flesh from Kevin and Tina’s throats. Blood sprays across her face, running from her chin, as her brood leap from man to woman, woman to child, until their appetites are sated.

With his family slain, Jay evades a pair of blood suckers and races towards the door used by Algina. It’s bolted tight, his fists fruitlessly hammering against oak.

Her thirst quenched, Xenia throws the limp bodies of Kevin and Tina to the floor and points towards the organ parapet. With her minions under her control, she turns towards Jay, and strides towards him with supernatural haste.

“You’re dead, you fucking bitch!” Jay picks up a chair and breaks it across her chest. Xenia takes it in her stride and fires off a backhanded slap. Neck bones crank and snap, his head flaccid, and the last thing I see is the vampire burying her fangs in his neck.

By the time I came to my senses, the head of each vampire bitch feasting on Gerrard is twisted in my direction, fangs oozing plasma and white gowns desecrated by entrails.

I take to the stairs, clearing four at a time, and ram a shoulder into the wooden door, jarring it open. The cold front slams into me, hindering my escape as I charge across the courtyard, hotly pursued by shrieking vampires.

“This way,” order the voices to my right. The area is concealed by the constant blizzard, but it’s my only hope of survival.

My throat needles but I daren’t break stride, not while the howls of the damned resonate across the courtyard.

Steel toed boots pound the snow as I bear right, sprinting beneath an archway and what appears to be a storeroom. A door slams shut behind me. I turn quickly, raise the torch, and relief forces me to tears. My inner self urges to hold back the grief, but I can’t. The beam bounces from Rolf, to Caveman, Andy next, Nervous, until Rob and finally Shaggs.

Rolf and Caveman wedge a wooden beam across the locking mechanism, just before the screaming horde reach the door. In a different time and place, the high noon standoff would be comical.

With the stake in my right hand, I raise it high enough for them to notice the dried blood on the tip. “You know what I did to Tony. If any of you are vamps, and want to end up as a pile of guts, be my guest.”

“We’re not vampires, but we know they are,” says Nervous.

“There is no way in,” says Rolf. “It should hold.”

“It better,” Caveman steps away just in case. “We watched Xenia tear apart Kevin and Tina.”

Despite all the bloodshed, my first concern is for Sara. I don’t remember seeing her inside the chapel, or Jockstrap. “Did you see Sara?”

“No. We tried to warn everyone, but it was too late.” Rolf lights up a cigarette, his hand trembling, “We couldn’t get inside.”

Andy thumps a fist in his open palm, “That queen bitch must have locked the door.” Realisation strikes a second later, “Where’s Jay?”

A shake of my head is enough. Andy slumps against the wall and weeps. It’s not every day you discover your best friend was killed by a vampire.

“Why didn’t you say something?” Shaggs consoles Andy, and is clearly over his bout of projectile vomiting. “Did you know before you splattered Tony all over your room?”

“Does it matter? It’s too late now,” I say, catching my breath. “I’ve witnessed a lot of messed up shit since we arrived, but it’s all immaterial. Everybody inside the chapel is either dead, or about to be dead. Friends, family, loved ones… everybody.”

“You say it out loud and I still can’t get my head around it,” says Rob.

Rolf asks, “Are we all that’s left?”

I nod, “And we’re next unless we figure a way of this shithole.”

Andy stands, wiping away the tears with his sleeve, “I’d say we need to get out of here, but I want some payback.”

“One fucking problem,” a flickering flame lights up Rob’s pained expression. Cigarette smoke loiters until it spirals from his nostrils. “To kill a vampire we need weapons. And the last time I checked, we haven’t fucking got any. Unless we can consider Shaggs’ vomit toxic to the undead?”

I pat down my pockets and swipe out my drumsticks. “I’ve got these!”

“A lot of good those will do us.” Shaggs starts rummaging in the dark.

“And this,” my torch, that is actually a stake.

“So we’ve got drumsticks, one stake, and my harsh language!” Rob chuckles, “It sounds a lot like one of our barbeques.”

“You’re laughing about this. Making jokes!” Shaggs shakes his head, “We’re all dead.”

Rob stamps on his cigarette. “What are we waiting for? Let’s go stake some vamps.”

Time ticked by slowly.

We constructed makeshift stakes out of used wooden crates. They aren’t as sharp as the pointy end of my torch, but they should be capable of piercing enough flesh to force bloody carnage on an unsuspecting member of the undead. If not, then it’s Adios muchachos.

Thankfully, by the time my torch light started to fade, Shaggs discovered a rusted vent, behind a pile of wooden boxes. Nobody mentioned they looked like coffins. With the combined strength of Caveman and Rolf we break it off.

Tension hit a new level of uncomfortable when the vampire chicks returned. The solid oak door thwarted another bid to enter. Even so, we headed inside the confines of the shaft.

Being the leanest I took point, with Nervous, Andy, Rob, Shaggs, Rolf and Caveman following behind.

The first fifty feet was a tight squeeze, only when we turned into a wider tunnel did we manage to make inroads. For the next thirty minutes we crawled through some sort of slimy residue. At one point I thought I felt bone, maybe part of a skull.

A dumping ground for body parts? The smell took my breath away, and Shaggs vomited. Before we entered the shaft, we agreed not to speak unnecessarily. And whatever we come across when we get out, we will deal with, no matter what. After hearing the expletives, I guess someone crawled through his puke.

Finally, the tunnel leads us to a chamber, and by the sounds of it we’ve ventured into some form of carnal nirvana. The rapture, as a woman reaches countless multiple orgasms, allows me the chance to use the tip of the stake to burrow enough rotten stone and dirt to wedge it open and move it aside. Having spent enough time creeping, I can’t wait to get out of the mire.

After exiting the shaft, I’m beneath a bed and slide on my stomach to the far side of the king size mattress. The robust frame is being tested to the limit. A slip of a window allows scant illumination, and the shadows of two people combined in the throes of passion, but at warp speed.

Every few seconds the two female forms change position. In a dream it would be arousing, right now, I just want to stake the bitches. I grip the iron frame, easing my body out from under the bed. I crouch, with the stake in my hand, and peek at the two lovers. One vampire is in its altered state of a slate colour, breasts bouncing rapidly, as another is deep between her widespread legs, burrowing a tongue deep into her humidity. They are so wrapped up in the moment they fail to sense human blood.

The altered vampire erupts with a chronic orgasm, and clamps a claw over the back of her lover’s head and forces her to prolong the moment. The ecstasy is deafening, but it’s enough for me to make my move.

Six other forms join me as I swiftly stand, my stake at the ready. In one movement I drive it through the chest of the vampire, mid-orgasm. The body erupts and splatters everything within a twenty foot radius.

Vampire two twists towards me, love juices and blood slopping from her tongue and fangs. She hesitates, cries out, and erupts in a cataclysm of crimson and entrails.

Two bitches down and it’s round one to Satan’s Band.

I’m still wiping off the gore when Caveman opens the bedroom door and ventures into the hallway. It’s hard to tell if I’m covered in the bitch’s blood, or whatever we crawled through.

We follow him, creeping along the unlit corridor, not knowing which way to go. Daylight has withdrawn, replaced by everlasting night and the constant snow flurry. We must be in the sleeping quarters, only there’s not much sleeping going on.

Euphoria is rampant. Whoever, or whatever, is behind the quartet of doors, is enduring an even higher orgasm; if that’s even possible. The doors shake. One vampire shrieks a dozen times and keeps going. The looks being shared means we are going to wipe the bitches out why they are fucking.

“Let’s do this.” Caveman is already throwing open door number one, and stakes a vamp as she is penetrated from behind by some archaic sex toy. He motions to Andy and Nervous, who dart inside door two and splatter the décor with another two vamps.

We break down the door and enter a torture chamber, the walls saturated by blood. One vamp is chained by her wrists and ankles, the silver burning flesh, her face twisted in pain and ecstasy. Hundreds of lash marks littering her naked body are already healing.

The twin torturers swivel in our direction, branding snug bondage shorts, thigh high leather boots and gripping blood drenched whips.

One vampire drops her torture device, leaps off a wall and snags Rob’s hair. A shoulder throw drills him into the stone flooring. Her tirade of abuse is cut short the moment he spears her heart with a stake. A deluge of blood rains down but it fails to halt his acrobatic flip to his feet. He charges at the chained vamp who is trying to release her wrists and ankles, while resembling the creature from the blood lagoon.

Vamp two snags my wrist with a whip and tugs me off balance. I clatter into a twisted contraption, used for god knows what. In a flash she is upon me, slashing open my chest with barbed claws. Her fangs are primed to strike. I look away, praying for a swift end, only for the weight to lift off my chest.

The bondage queen is tumbling across the room, a stake buried in her chest, her altered form obliterating right before my eyes.

A hand reaches down. I expect to see one of my friends.

Algina!

She hauls me up, and just in time. Rob has already claimed the chained vampire as his next victim and is gearing up to maim my true love.

Only when I jump in between them, and he slams into me, do I realise I said true love. We clatter to the floor, our stakes sliding across the globulous remains.

“What the fuck are you doing? She’s one of them,” he climbs to his feet and throws a punch. She catches it, twists his wrist, and throws him across the room.

“That’s quite enough of that!” she cries. “I’m here to help you.” She offers me her hand again. I stand, flesh touches flesh and she keeps the link for as long as possible, as if charging my nodes.

“It’s true. She didn’t kill anyone inside the chapel.”

“How do you know?” Rob snarls, and continues searching for his stake.

“Did you forget that I watched it all happen?”

“A vampire is a vampire. That’s pure and simple my friend. And now she’s your true love!”

“I am not a vampire,” Algina opens her arms wide. “Stake me, and find out.”

“Once I find my stake, I will.” Rob shakes the pain from his wrist and picks up his weapon. ”Shall we dance?”

“Leave it, man,” I say, and face Algina, “Why did you help me?”

“My people were the guardians of the castle, until Xenia rose to power. And unlike my sisters, who are only interested in the fleshly perversions presented by their mistress. I merely want to aide you in your escape.” She motions to an oak beam. “Can you see it?”

“See what?” Rob runs a hand through his hair and the clots of blood.

I flip a crate full of nipple clamps, electric chords and metal stirrups, and stand on it to reach the device. It comes away easy enough, the wire infiltrating the stonework. “It’s a camera!”

“She has one installed in every room. From her tower she observes the vampires fornicate, until deciding who to join.” Algina faces me. Tears tease the corner of her emerald eyes. “I have been subjected to horrendous acts,” she glances at the twisted torture contraption. “The scars of my ordeals are still fresh in my mind.”

“In that case, you can’t stay here.”

Rob laughs, “Are you falling for this shit? She’s a vampire, pure and simple. They screw with your mind and use doubt to bend a human to do their bidding.”

“You’ve watched too many movies!”

“That’s rich coming from you.”

“I am no vampire!” Algina expels a cyclone of rage, encapsulating anything not tied down. It lasts for a few seconds, until dissipating. “Do vampires expel energy in such a way?” She drops to the floor and I rush to her aide.

“Are you okay?”
“My powers are fading. Please, help me.” She clasps my hand and I help her stand.

Our supernatural union is lessening.

By the time we leave the room, Shaggs and Rolf cleared room number four. Rolf wipes his bloody stake on his shirt, and Shaggs stinks up the place by puking further along the hallway.

My band of slayers gathers in the hallway, minus one.

“Where’s Caveman?” queries Rob.

The room he cleared is empty, the only evidence left behind, his shoe prints at the heart of a pool of blood.

“She has secret passageways, hidden throughout the castle,” Algina motions to an entrance, concealed in stone. “I fear one of my brethren must have taken him to her.”

“And who the hell is this?” Andy’s grip on his stake tightens as the seconds tick by.

“She’s with us –” I’m interrupted mid-sentence by Rob.

“Don’t you mean with you?” He turns to the rest of the group. “She just happened to rescue him, right before one of her fuck sisters cut him into pieces.”

Peeling away my t-shirt reveals the fresh claw marks. “I’m kind of thankful she did.”

“I used a secret passageway.” Algina turns on Rob, and I witness the first sign of malice. “I actually thought you’d be thankful for my help.”

“Why?” Rolf circles Algina, stake at the ready, “It was your kind that killed everyone in the chapel.”

“And lady, we don’t know you,” snarls Shaggs.

“It’s not her kind, and there isn’t time to explain.” This is ridiculous. “You need to trust me. Once we get out of here, then you can be judge and jury, but until then, we could do with all the help we can get. And besides, Caveman is missing. Or did you suddenly just start thinking about yourselves?”

Rob moves to the front of the group, his gaze fixed on me, his finger jabbing at Algina. “Fine, but she makes the slightest move and I won’t hesitate to spear her lifeless heart.”

I ignore the threat. “Where would Xenia take him?”

“Probably the bleeding chambers. It’s where her kind relinquishes humans of their life force.” Algina heads towards the concealed inlet and flips a metal rod, made to look like a candleholder. She takes a step inside, “We need to hurry. Your friend does not have long.”

The shaft leads us to the basement. We advance from chamber to chamber and uncover the grisly fate of the guests who endured the chapel bloodbath, only to face a far worse fate.

Humans are hooked up to barbaric devices; a milking station, but for immortals. Egg shaped contraptions are locked down tight. Algina is too weak to release the steel locks. Bodies are in foetal positions, tubes speared into flesh and ferrying blood into empty wine bottles; the same bottles I discovered in the storage room where I first met Algina.

It’s not long before we come across Shaggs’ brother, Pete. He’s crucified, the tubes embedded in his hands and feet. Xenia’s own two fingered salute to religion! Death’s door is wide open, his blood all but drained and his body pruning.

Consoling Shaggs is useless, he demands vengeance and kicks down the next door, and the next, until reaching the last chamber.

Caveman is inside, cursing and firing off expletives as if they are soon to be extinct. My team of slayers race inside, only for rigid grating to bar our progress.

Xenia’s back is turned. Our friend is shackled to a slab hanging from the ceiling; tubes ready to drain his life. One side of the room is occupied by timeworn contraptions, with cogs and pistons.

With a swift turn towards us, she fires off a grin, and imbeds a needle in his forehead. “Are you lost?”

Shaggs grips the grating and tries to rip it in two. “You butchered my brother, my sister, my nieces, and nephews! And now you’re dead, bitch!”

“Aren’t all vampires dead, you inbred mortal?” Xenia is upon the grating in a flash, seizing Shaggs by the throat. With a deft flick of her wrist she snaps his neck.

His limp body hits the concrete with a dull thud.

Algina grips my arm, the connection of body and spirit barely registering, “You must leave this place. She has called forth the rest of the pack.”

“Run,” orders Caveman, “Let this bitch take my blood. I hope she drowns in it.”

“Well, as you insist!” Xenia flips a switch and the centrifuge speeds up, and Caveman’s anguish echoes throughout Castle Drakon.

Xenia’s device triggered the purge machines. Rescuing anyone is fruitless. Bodies are pruning as we attempt to break the locks.

We leave the stench of death in our wake and enter the maze of identical corridors. Algina leads us to the main hall, the decorations fit for the most lavish of gothic wedding receptions.

Rob hauls Algina to one side, “Isn’t this all a little convenient? You guide us here so we are out in the open.”

“There is nowhere else to run,” she retorts. “Would you rather fight in the corridors, with no room to manoeuvre? The conditions are suited for the swiftness of vampires.”

“We made it this far,” says Andy. “What’s stopping us from making it to the outside?”

“She let you live. It’s a game. To a vampire, your blood tastes so much sweeter when charged by adrenaline and fear. You wouldn’t make it to the outside. At least here you can see them coming.”

“I’m fed up with running. It’s time to make a stand.” Rolf heads to the bar where I first laid eyes on Algina, and starts handing out bottles of liquor.

Andy is the first to ask what everyone else is thinking, “We can drink this, right? It’s not poisoned?”

Algina sighs. “Getting drunk will not help your predicament.”

“Who said anything about drinking it?” Nervous glances at his bottle and throws it against a door frame. “Vampires hate fire. So let’s light this place up.”

While my friends douse each entrance in liquor, I tear off a few strips from my t-shirt and secure some stakes to my drumsticks, for an extended reach.

“Now all we need to do is make sure they are all in here when we light it up,” states Andy.

“Why don’t we use the instruments? And then offer our hosts some pain by frying the fuckers!” I take to the stage and switch the sound equipment to the maximum outlay. In the high reaches of the chamber the speakers purr with the expectancy of being honoured with the most awesome display, from the world’s greatest band. It’s a crock of shit, I’m thinking. This could be the last time I ever sit behind the drums, so why not honour the melodious spirit that will aide us in our descent to the devil’s cauldron with our best display yet.

Spotlights able to produce various spectrums are also in the rafters. I change the range to UV and slip the remote control into my pocket. Straddling my stool, my modified stake drumsticks in hand, I turn to Algina. “Is there a way off this stage?”

“There is a tunnel at the rear. It leads to the banquet hall.”

“That’s our exit strategy.”

“What are you going to do?” she asks.

She told me her powers are waning. I’m not sure how a non-vampire regenerates. It certainly isn’t through feeding on human blood. Perhaps once it’s all over, she’ll tell me. Right now I’ve got more important things to deal with. “We came to play a gig. What you are about to witness will blow your mind. We are Satan’s band, the right hand of the devil himself. And we crack the whip for Satanism and offer weapons in the form of words.”

“Is all that true?” Rolf asks Andy.

“Nah, it’s the crap they spout before each gig.”

I continue, “It’s time for us to spread the word and let these vamps know they are about to get rolled by Satan himself.”

Rob coughs, “Have you finished with the theatrics? Rolf, Andy, head to high ground. And stay out of sight.”

“And what shall I do?” Algina faces me, but aims the question at Rob.

A snarl precedes his response, “You can go and plough your pussy with one of those sex toys your kind seems to like so much.”

“Jesus, dude. She’s here to help.” I motion to Algina for calm, and she leaps to the high beams above. Andy and Rolf scale the walls and take their seats in the web of joists.

Rob takes his place at the front of the stage, his long hair now released from the ponytail and reaching beyond his shoulders. “Time to let these vampires hear us in full force. Ready, on three. One, two, fight till the death, hit it guys.” He chokes the microphone stand and releases his demons via vocal carnage.

I start scratching the surface of the drum with a quick rhythm. Nervous tweaks his guitar strings and Rob’s vocals reach beyond the main hall and raid the sound waves of every blood sucker in the castle.

“Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh.”

The guitar and drums contain the words in a cocoon, until our vocalist strains to break free; a desolate outlook being portrayed before the real shit gets going.

We used this song to bring down the house at our last gig in a warehouse in Hackney. It’s a song based on the last few people standing, and taking a fight to the enemy. Fighting to the death, with every last ounce of breath.

With no seating the crowd took to the floor and erupted into one massive moshpit. We rocked the house to its core. NME said it was the best ending by an upcoming band they had ever witnessed. We took the praise in our stride.

Not bad for a bunch of scruffy kids, who started out as a band called Disabled Lettuce. Our first song was Hey, Hey, We’re The Junkies! Imagine the Monkeys, Hey, Hey, We’re The Monkey’s, and throw in a few random drug types, and you’ve got a number one hit!

We live to rock and the music binds our souls!

“We will converge at the threshold, man versus the demon, a sight to behold.”

Nervous manipulates chords as the theme is prolonged.

“The world will burn tonight. Behold the brave few, who stand and fight…”

Rob reaches the first chorus, and I increase the beat, faster and faster.

“We will make things right. We will fight to survive. We fight with all the might, and until the blood runs, from the hate in your eyes.”

The volume is deafening, even without a bass guitarist.

I glance up. The shadows are coming alive thanks to the strobe lighting.

“You will not take us alive. We will fight for our right to survive.”

Our ploy worked. The female vampires arrive en force, baying for our blood. We carry on despite the fact the bitches are edging nearer. The adrenaline and sweat coursing through our bodies is drawing them towards us like dogs on heat. To define our stand I rattle off a solo, resonating like a trip hammer on steel.

Petrol lighters are dropped from the joists.

The two doorways light up, balls of flame baring any escape, and Rob erupts into the final verse. It’s an epic moment, and one needed to be filmed, to ensure the members of Satan’s Band didn’t go down without a fight. My drums are being taken to the next level, but not before I fire up the UV bulbs.

Ultraviolet light forces the vampires towards the flames. One leaps on stage. Rob slams the base of the microphone stand in her face, pinning her to the deck. Nervous is still tripping on a guitar solo, as he thrusts the tip of his guitar into the heart of the struggling blood sucker, his stake now tied to the neck of the guitar.

Death by guitar! It’s an awesome way to die.

With the UV light labelling the dance floor a no-go zone, the toasty vampires make it to the stage. By the time I’ve finished the solo Andy and Rolf are alongside us, armed with stakes. Algina is by my side, armed and ready to fight with us in the final battle. She grips my hand, and the spark reignites.

Legend portrays vampires as swift, and brutal, and this horde is no different. We hit them head on. Stakes are driven into hearts, claws are sunk into flesh, and bloody jets spray into the air.

The strength of enemy numbers splits the group. Andy is overwhelmed, his limbs torn from his cadaver. He fights ’til the end, even when wallowing in puddles of his own blood. With one hand still gripping a stake, he buries it in the heart of a vampire. Seconds later, the rest of his body is torn apart.

Nervous takes down the ones responsible with Andy’s death, by using his guitar stake. We try to assist, but are cut off by the fire, which is now spreading across the stage. He is dragged into the fire and swings the guitar, driving them bac, as the UV lights scald vampire flesh. The belly of the blaze is a tornado of heat. His clothes catch alight, screams tearing into the night as the flames wrap around his body like a cloak.

By the time his lungs exhale his dying breath he steers two of the evil bitches towards the fires of hell. Sheer numbers force us into a retreat from the stage. The passageway is tight but leads us to the banquet hall. Algina flings the doors wide and we filter inside. The table is set with metal goblets and bottles of red wine. No, not wine, blood; human blood. Ready for the banquet of blood and lust in Xenia’s honour.

Our escape route is laden with smoke, and on the cusp the relentless vampires hound our every step.

Rolf fights like a Viking Berserker. He holds off the vampires at the entrance to the banquet hall, affording us time to search for another exit. The archway of a wooden doorway greets the rafters. Bolted shut, Rob, Algina and myself turn and watch Rolf’s body topple like a slain giant.

He took all of the bitches down; except for one.

Xenia stands over his body, “Bravo, Satan’s Band, for such an incredible performance.” The applause is slow and deliberate.

She strides delicately across the tabletop, so not to disrupt the place settings. It’s hard to follow her movements with all of the smoke bellowing through the door behind her. “It’s just a shame it was your last.”

Without warning she lands before us, and effortlessly hurls Algina across the room.

“No!” I thrash a right hook across her jaw.

A scornful laugh grates my spine. Her heads snaps back instantly, fangs poised. One shove and I’m soaring through the air and blitzing a panelled wall.

Rob swings his stake. She swipes his wrist and holds him at least six feet off the floor. “I liked your performance the best. You have such a distinct voice. Tell me, will you wail that hard when I rip out your heart? ”

“Do it and see, you lifeless sack of whore shit!” Rob spits in her face, and she snaps his arm.

Xenia rips open his shirt and sinks the tips of her claws into his exposed chest, like a needle through cream. He struggles throughout, kicking and punching, “You’re a feisty one. This could take a while. Why don’t I sing you my favourite song?”

“Eat my shit and die, you puke sucking rug muncher!”

“No, I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of that one!” She squeezes harder to halt any further interruption. “So, how about this one. Come and meet my vamp. She’s a sexual hound. She’s about six feet four, from her fangs to the ground. Come and meet my vamp. She’ll be ready to fuck alllll night. She’ll make you cum real good. She’ll make you scream and shout. And her name is X…, E…, N…, IIIIIII, X.E.N.I.A. Xxxxxenia, X.E.N.I.A. Xxxxxenia. She’ll drain you all of the night. Xxxxxenia. You won’t put up a fight. Xxxxxenia. She’s the queen of the night.”

I climb to my feet, wondering what the fuck I’m listening to. Xenia is spinning on her heels and singing Gloria by Van Morrison, but with her own screwed up lyrics. Rob’s still six feet off the floor, and almost purple.

Reaching into my rear pocket, I race towards her. Thankfully she stops singing and releases Rob’s neck. He’s still suspended by the claw burrowing into his chest. I stop mid-stride, and stare down the singing vampire. Now there’s a moment I never thought I’d experience! She lashes out with her free hand. I duck, and stab up, at her heart. A backhand follows up and cracks across my jaw. I skid across the banquet table and plunge from the end. “You missed, insect.”

Standing at the far end of the table, I wipe the blood from my lips, “How about death by drumstick, bitch!”

Xenia squints, and is still laughing as her body parts coat the room in essence of night walker.

Rob stands and nonchalantly glimpses at his chest. Her fingers are still embedded, and twitching. Vampires explode, there should be no body parts remaining?

“Are you okay?” I ask, yanking them out one by one and stamping them into pulp.

He taps the side of his pack of Marlboros, and takes a cigarette. “Apart from the surreal musical interlude, I’m just peachy! And you?” After lighting up, he rummages through the bloody remains and retrieves my drumsticks. “Here,” he hands them over. “After all this time you actually found a use for them!” He smiles, the cigarette falls from his lips and he crumples to the floor at my feet.

His pulse is faint, almost non-existent.

Nothing I can do for him here.

The room is beset by smoke. The roof is ready to capitulate and snow has breached. And at the top of the pile, my thoughts dwell on the fact the entire wedding party is dead and I’m all alone.

“You still have me,” says Algina, as if reading my mind. She leans down, runs a hand through Xenia’s remains, and removes a keychain. “And as you agreed, we shall be together, forever.”

“What do you mean?” I ask, almost pleading with the gods of rock that this beautiful woman be a human, and not some cross-breed demon, nymphomaniac, blood sucker, that I’m starting to believe she is.

A soft hand caresses my cheek. “My love, you have saved me from Mother and her inbred vampire pack. Now my castle is mine again. Xenia and I were equal beings on the spiritual plane, until she took on the power of this sector. She invaded my realm and turned all of my kind by using vampire blood, and brainwashed them for her own perverted needs.”

“What are you and your kind?”

“We are Succubus; seductresses, goddesses, supernatural entities and demons. Vampires satisfy their lascivious needs by mating with my kin. Our birthright derives from ancient lore. My kind feed off sexual activity and the domination of the male species. The dreamscape is our realm. Our energy and power comes from the erotic fantasies of men. Your dreams feed us, power us, and immortality awaits any who enter my sanctuary. It is time for you to take your place alongside me. And enter.”

The night before the wedding…

My dream state lasts a measly half hour. A blast of cold air, from an open window, wakes me suddenly. Cowering beneath the sheets, my naked body shivers.

I study the room, trying to find who opened the window. Switching on the bedside lamp reveals Tony is still out for the count. When I sit up, that’s when I notice her, Algina, partly concealed behind the curtain in a flowing nightdress. A leg slides from the split in her gown. The cut of the silk underlay writhing up the instep, flashing a smooth thigh. One hand toys with the curtain, until it falls gracefully from her fingers.

The spark of desire ignites when she finally looks at me with her emerald eyes. There is a hunger in her heart. I can sense it. I don’t understand how but ever since we first touched, I just know.

“Am I dreaming again?” I ask, not sure what plane of existence I’m currently travelling on. All I care about is that I don’t wake up until this night is over.

“I’m sorry if I frightened you,” the voice of an angel draws me from beneath the sheets.

“No, no,” for some reason the cold no longer matters. My body heat is maxing out. “In fact, I’m glad you’re here. I didn’t really get a chance to say thank you, for looking after me tonight.”

“It was my pleasure.” Algina steps out of the shadows. “Can we talk?”

“Aren’t we talking now?”

Her smile lights up the room.

“Of course we can,” I sit, offering her one side of the bed.

“Not here.” She motions to the window, “Outside.”

“Cool,” I stand, and she blushes, her eyes focusing on my groin.

“I think you might need some clothes, before you poke someone’s eye out.”

There is no need to look down. My body heat is concentrated in just the one place. “I’m naked, aren’t I?”

And with a raging boner!

After dressing she takes my hand, and we stand on the windowsill, overlooking the vast landscape. Hundreds of spires pierce the mist. Before I even realise it, we are floating on a cloud and moving gradually across the landscape.

If this isn’t a dream then why am I not worried about falling to my death? “This castle is huge.”

Her grip tightens, “And it will soon be ours.”

“After what I witnessed tonight, this castle can do one. Xenia is one messed up chick!”

“My kind has a way of manipulating minds. You gaze upon what we want you to see. Xenia snares people with seduction.”

“So she wanted me to watch her and Sara, you know?”

Algina nods. “Yes, I am sorry. If I had known, I wouldn’t have left you alone.”

“No need to be sorry. I just thought it’s a little fucked up. And the bloody demise of Sara’s boyfriend was a great act. They probably laughed for hours after I left.”

“Unfortunately this castle is now her toy, a haven for the wicked.”

“Why not leave?”

“Ever since she invaded my realm, my allegiance is to her. It will only end when either I am dead or her time ends, and I can escape her clutches. Xenia is one of the most powerful vampires I have ever come across.”

“Vampire! So it wasn’t an act. She actually bit Jockstrap?”

“She turned all of my kin to her will, and ever since I have been trapped here she has them brainwashed. They seek to turn me into one of them, a vampire cross-breed. Every day I am finding it harder to resist the scent of blood. My powers of resistance are dwindling and Xenia knows it. Your friends, like those before you, will be slaughtered unless we act fast.”

“So there have been people before? How old are you, exactly?”

“I’m over three thousand years old.”

I try to not act surprised; it doesn’t work, “Did anyone ever tell you, you look good for your age?”

The cloud hovers near a window. One glance inside and I am bound by a mystical twine. We step from the supernatural carriage and enter a chamber with the most lavish king size bed I have ever laid eyes upon. The steel bath foams at the seams.

One of her hands elegantly strums the chords of sensuality, as her eyes bore into my soul and demand that we make love. The scented candles invoke the type of eroticism only ever witnessed in movies. She hands me a diamond cut glass. The strong wine reignites my mojo, and Algina guides me to the bed.

We make love, drink wine, and explore each other’s bodies for hours. We bathe and entwine our naked forms in the rich salts that take my erotic encounter to another level.

The evening is perfect, so it must be a dream.

I watch as her beautiful naked form glides across the chamber and tops up our glasses with more wine. “You are the one I have been searching for.” She hands over my glass and I down it in one. “Do you sense our spiritual connection?”

“Do I? It’s like a lightning rod invading my heart every time we touch. Even the slightest brush and all I can think about is you.”

“If Xenia turns me, it will be for nothing. You must help me. When she is gone, my curse will be broken and we will be together, forever.”

This girl clearly needs some help. Otherwise why try and seduce me? Try, ha. I was like putty in her hands. Not that I’m complaining. “I’ll help you, but how? I’m no vampire slayer. And I’m not sure that I really believe in all that crap.”

She slides on the bed, her hands cupping my cheeks, lips teasing mine as she nestles on the silk sheets beside me. “You will.” We combine in a vigourous lustful embrace that sucks the energy from me. And my body starts to realise it hasn’t rested for about a week.

With our bodies bathed in sweat, I gaze into her jade eyes, “Sleep now my love, sleep. Everything will be much clearer in the morning.”

My eyes droop and I fade into an erotic dream state, even more stimulating then the last few hours. Her voice enters my mind, coercing me. You will remember nothing when you awake, except your love for me.

Right here, right now…

“Do you not remember our time together?” Algina clutches my hand and holds it against her chest. Her heartbeat is racing, “Remember! Remember everything, from the lust, to the desire, and the promises.”

Just one touch is all it takes for the night in her room to flood back. I’m almost relieved that the part of me that thought it was a dream can now rest assured. “It wasn’t a dream?”

She shakes her head. “Follow me to paradise. Like you agreed?” Algina unbolts the entrance and opens the doors wide. “Behold, my garden of Eden. This is where I shall feed off your life force by lying with you while you sleep. Afterwards, we shall replenish your energy by making love all day long. Your ultimate fantasies will become reality.”

Inside, there is a fairy tale setting. Cottage, blossoming trees, a lake, and sunlight. “It looks like a little piece of heaven.”

“I am thrilled you like my home, my love. We will become one.”

“What about the fire?”

“My home is protected. As long as one of my species is inside, it will always be protected by a shield of energy.” She holds out a hand, and I am drawn again by those emerald eyes, “Come inside. And join us.”

“Whoa. Us?”

Algina motions to the garden and the two naked forms making love by a lake, and under the shade of a fully bloomed willow tree. “Behold, your ex-lover, Sara. After we touched, I could sense your longing. Here she is, warming herself for you, by replenishing her energy with a man’s seed.”

“The night I woke up. That orgy, I just happened to stumble across. It was you with Jockstrap and Sara, not Xenia?”

“It was. After I felt your desire for Sara, how could I not sample her succulent form? I wanted you to witness what will be yours, once you step across the threshold. Your lover drank from my moist chamber and it altered her physiology. She is now Succubus! You can share us. Or have us both at the same time. We will live as lovers, and fuck like gods!”

“You did what?”

“Everything was for you, my love. We are one. Your seed replenishes my soul like no other man before you. Now come, step over the boundary and be as one.”

Algina holds out a hand and then glances down. A tip of a stake rips open her top. Jets of blood spray across my face, and the entrance to Eden slams shut, with Sara and Jockstrap locked inside.

She collapses into my arms, her eyes filled with tears, “My love, what have you done? You are my soulmate.”

Her aura fades, her body shrivelling into an old hag. A shrivelled hand reaches up and then falls to her side.

Three thousand year old chicks ain’t a pretty sight!

“Holy whores nipple clamps! You didn’t fuck that, did you?” Rob smiles and shoves her body with his boot.

My expression speaks for itself.

“That’s fucked up dude!” Rob pats me on the back and hands me a joint. “Here, I’ve saved it for a special occasion!”

He lights it and I inhale, “Thanks, man. Special?”

“You just banged the oldest person on the planet. I see that as special! And we just survived the night of hell. And there’s nothing like some dope to help you look at things clearly.” Algina’s body crumbles to ash. Rob shudders and snatches back the joint, “I never did like that bitch! There was something fishy about her.” Strapping the guitar to his back, he lights another cigarette, and tag teams with his joint. “It must have been the stench of her ancient fanny!”

“You’re never going to let this one go, are you?”

“That’s golddust man. I’ll dine on that fuckfest for, say, three thousand years! Ha. What now?”

“I guess we find a way out of this crapfest.”

Rob shuffles a couple of feet. His knees give way, so I wrap his arm around my neck, and we glance towards Eden. “Shall we?”

He looks at me like I’m on something. “Are you fucking serious?”

“Nah, I’m just messing wid ya.”

“Good, I’d rather roast my bollocks over the fire.”

“How about over there?” We make it to another doorway. I turn the handle and the shadows unravel into a raking corridor. Lanterns illuminate one by one until mere spots in the distance.

“How big is this place exactly?” asks Rob.

“At a guess, I’d say about as big as your ego. And the fire has totally eradicated the East Wing.”

“Huh, and are you sure there was only vampires and your crazy nymph bitch in this castle?”

“Uh-huh.”

We duck into the hallway, as the roof caves in and a blizzard whips at our heels. “Looks like we’ve only got one way to go. And that’s outside.”

“The last time I checked outside, the castle was balls deep in snow. We wouldn’t make a hundred metres before we froze to death.” Already, my heart is starting to heal. Algina is beginning to fade away and be replaced by instincts of survival and preservation.

“This castle opens every six months, they said.” Rob stamps on his cigarette butt, and lights another Marlboro.

“At least now we know why. They invite people in. Bleed them dry. Fill the bottles with blood. And then screw for six months, or until the snow melts.”

“That reminds me. What happened to Sara and her gimp?”

“Are you really bringing that up now?”

We take a couple of tentative steps into the corridor.

A monstrous roar erupts along the corridor. Images of werewolves, ogres, dragons and zombies begin to invade my psyche. For some reason Tusk by Fleetwood Mac enters my mind; my comfort blanket. I respond by tapping my toe.

“What in God’s rancid ball sack was that?” Typically, Rob’s persistent use of profanity is the least of my worries.

“Normally I’d say your mum.”

“That’s funny, I was about to say the same thing!”

“Dude, we’re starring in our own horror movie. And in the movies, the victims normally get to squeeze a few tits before they die. And the last time I looked, neither of us has any tits!”

Another volley of roars tears along the immeasurable corridor.

Rob fondles his chest and shrugs, “So unless I change into a chick in the next few seconds what happens next?”

“I think we’re about to find out what it feels like to have our entrails ripped out via our throat.”

“Well there’s a statement you don’t hear every day.”

THE END…?

So that’s it folks. In case you missed it, yesterday’s story was Brotherly Love by the fantastic Jillian Ward.

Read it for free here… Brotherly Love

Tomorrow’s excellent story is called The Director’s Cut by the extremely talented Suzanna Burke.

You can read it for free here… The Director’s Cut & don’t mind the dog with the gun, he’s a real pussy cat.

You can also buy the whole she-bang on Amazon (& I promise it’s got nothing to do with the Ricky Martin song).

Anthology 1 cover med

Contributors: Jeff Blackmer, Richard Rhys Jones, Jillian Ward, Bev Allen, Elaina J Davidson, Suzanna Burke, Paul Rudd, Hannah Warren, Joanne Sexton, Tee Geering, and Poppet.

Castle Drakon is a mysterious place. A portal to offworld, a haven for the ancients, a receptacle for nightmares, and a residence where the weird and bizarre are the norm. In this anthology of eleven short stories you will experience a smorgasbord of phenomenal tales that will entertain and leave a lingering mulling over the profound and macabre.

Welcome to Castle Drakon, enter the sacrosanct halls at your own peril.

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