What Is this Darkness?
Against the backdrop of mountainous hills, drying soil and the recent olive harvest where the black olives grew big in the recent winter rains, children ran out to play. The smell of spring and the movement of the Ottoman Turk army away from the area gave them the freedom to laugh and to play. When the ground began to tremble, the younger thought earthquake and froze but the older ones turned the quaking in a jumping game, until one turned a pointed.
Not an earthquake. A recent grave was coming to life.
What is this? Dirt over me? Have I become the seed of an olive tree ready to burst forth into sunlight?
One by one they saw and took a frozen stance. Several of the girls screamed and ran off when a hand jutted up through the soil. The rest of the younger ones followed as the hand became an arm. Only one, the oldest, remained, as the corpse sat up in its grave. With the dirt filled face turn to looked at him, he too ran off.
Are they afraid of me?
Inside a numbed corpse, undead Mikos could feel their fear as his thirst grew, his veins popping as though filled with carbon air. As their screams faded away he heard voices of the demons. They had taken possession of him …
…as though worms have crawled into dead pores, the crawling creep of evil underground grasp the mortal soul and the screaming begins with many mouths from the minds of worms stretching and growing with claws and the thirst of revenge. Mikos desires revenge!
Mikos struggled loosen the rest of his body, covered in rocks and mud.
Althea! He could see and feel their moment of death, the spear that claimed them both, could feel the pain as he fought to pull his legs free. He found his wound, but there was no blood left, not from the body that was Mikos. He was not alive. But he was no longer dead. “Althea!”
…wanting to scream in response but this corpse mouth opened and filled with dirt, swallowing dirt, not feeling, not caring, the passionate wings of thirst beating the skin with hate, forcing the numbed body upward through the mound of dirt.
Mikos tried to tell the children who now watched from a safe distance not to fear him. But he had no voice. He leaned over and puked up the dirt of the grave from his lungs. A thick puddle of mud formed as he purged out the last remnants of the ground in this final stage of awakening.
“I did not ask for undeath!”
Mikos the undead thirsted for revenge, but not from a child. From the pain of death given to Althea, and to him, on the same spear. He knew, too, that the pain was not felt but remembered. He was a corpse. He knew the legends. He had become vrykolakas (vre-KO-lekus) … vampire of the Mediterranean islands, legend of the Cyclades. Filled with demons who would force him to seek revenge.
So says the narrator of these tales, that for over 500 years he has sought someone who could either accept him or help him end this un-existence. His quest led him to compile his tales finally, not too long ago, in a desperate desire to find that human love and acceptance he has sought for so long.
Find it or destroy his corpse.
Fasten tight to your seat. You are on a journey like no other.
Imagine being in Greece in 1503 at the time of his awakening. You live in a modest house with your three children, a place that serves you well to keep the rain off, but you spend most of your time in the outdoors, so your skin is dark and swarthy. You live every day to feel a part of the mountains rocky soil, working in the mines, in the rich oil field, helping with the grain harvest. You stay on the right side of the Ottomans who you work for. One night, while having your dinner of lamb and dumpling, you hear a knock on the door. You open the door and a man stands there, still dirty from his day’s ventures. Your family had been laughing about the day’s events in the rock field—happy, of course, to have life go on as normal after the conquest. You know your history. Life changes, and then it doesn’t.
But all noise and activity ceases because this man just stands there as though he’d been expected and was late and didn’t have an excuse. Only a curse from the gods can make life change, and you do not realize you are facing one of them.
“Please do come in. We have enough to share,” your wife says because in Greece all are treated as friends and made to feel welcome. But you sense something amiss and are uneasy.
The dirty man sits but does not touch the plate he is given. Your family finishes the meal in silence. Even the baby has stopped babbling. As you stand to clear the plates, the man disappears. Vanishes as though he had not been there. Or so you try to tell yourself as you eat from that extra plate.
At the next house, they refuse to let him in. He gets in anyway. And they don’t survive.
Would you let him in? He might knock on your door in today’s world, but now he’s cleaned-up, controlled—a mostly human-appearing man all in black, wearing sunglasses, who stands on your stoop. You peer out the window at him and don’t see the monster covered in dirt from the grave, though he does appear a little unusual. He might on first glance make you feel ill at ease.
To open, or not. If you believe that all things happen for a reason, you open that door. You are at first startled by his pale and thin countenance. He will turn down your offer of food and rest and ask for pleasant conversation. After a spirited conversation about the day’s social movement, he gets up and leaves. Nothing more. Your kindness has been your reward.
This vrykolakas tells his undead stories to be transcribed, but he tells them as though they happened to someone else, as though no more than myth. Perhaps that’s all he is. Perhaps he seeks to hide from the pain of emotion by relating the stories as though they happened to someone else. You will catch on, though, because of the things he relates that he could not know if he did not experience them himself.
In the first tape were five romantic tales of his search for acceptance, or release for his imprisoned soul. The demons who trapped his soul in his corpse seek the blood to keep the corpse from rotting, and the soul’s subconscious is now conscious in undeath, giving him memories so vivid he feels he is reliving them. So he revisited his childhood first to see if he can prevent this from happening to him.
Have you ever wished for immortality? Read on and see if you keep that desire, as Mikos travels back into memories of his lost mortal life to try and change this horrible fate.
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