|"It seems only natural that as time passes and the Belmont-Dracula battles unfold in future times that all available mediums will be taken advantage of at evil's behest. Why, it's not too hard to imagine that someone as smart as my Dark Lord would exploit, say, the Internet in order to better preach his message to those who live far away, to recruit and rally the web's many introverts into supporting his cause. Sam Mills brings you a tale that may very well be an exhibition of the aforementioned thought. Maybe it's evil's test as to the validity of such a medium? Maybe it's an act of fate? I leave it to you."|
The Dark Enigma
By Sam Mills
Tyler was working late on the computer that warm summer night. Though he was very tired, he was unable to sleep. It was the third night this week that sleeping was becoming increasingly difficult. What was most disturbing to him is that he had never had so much trouble sleeping in his life. "Perhaps it comes with turning thirty," he thought.
His birthday was only a week ago. Turning thirty was not a big deal to him. He didn't feel as if he'd crossed some threshold, or changed into something special. But something in him must have been changing. Life was starting to feel blurry, and his feelings were not as they were. It was like he was living in a dream.
Maybe that was why he couldn't sleep. "People in dreams never sleep, do they?" he said to himself. "We never sleep, because even in dreams we are awake." It seemed profound in his mental state for a moment, then he realized how dumb it sounded. All he knew is that he was tired, and sleep was not on the verge of coming.
The internet was getting boring. He went to so many sights that it was getting boring. From movie sites to porn sights, it was all starting to become a mix of images he couldn't understand. It was all looking the same. Tyler knew he had to get away from this computer!
He was just about to get up and walk around when he got an instant message: DO YOU LIKE VAMPIRES? It had been sent from firstname.lastname@example.org. What kind of question was that? At first, he didn't think much of it, but he replied: YEAH, I SUPPOSE.
email@example.com: GOOD, BECAUSE I DO TOO! DRACULA IS IN MY DREAMS
What in the hell was this? Someone with too much time on their hands. But that wasn't unlike Tyler, so he figured he would play along: I CAN'T DREAM. I CAN'T EVEN SLEEP!
firstname.lastname@example.org: DURING THIS FULL MOON, NO ONE CAN SLEEP UNLESS THEY WISH TO DREAM OF DRACULA.
Tyler wrote back: B.S. I AM 2 TIRED 2 B TOYED WITH.
email@example.com: FINE. IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME, THINK OF DRACULA BEFORE YOU GO TO BED, AND YOU WILL SLEEP......DO NOT TELL ANYONE YOU TALKED TO ME.
At that point, they logged off. Tyler was annoyed. He still wanted to play some more, but he realized he was not thinking straight. Being rude was something that was easy to do right now. Whoever they were, they at least gave his mind some material to think about. "Vampires, eh? Yeah, they're pretty cool. But Dracula is a dork. Overused and over killed. Whatever."
A few minutes later, Tyler decided to lay on his bed and read a book. With thoughts of his strange encounter in his head, he recalled what they told him:...THINK OF DRACULA BEFORE YOU GO TO BED. With that in mind, he started making up images of the count, his majestic cape wrapped around a strong body. "It's too hot for...too hot for...a cape..." he said as he started to doze off. Then, he was in a dream.
His dreams were of Dracula. His visions were random, mostly of ancient warriors battling him with whips. He saw Dracula become giant creatures, he saw Dracula zapping in and out of place. He saw Dracula dying, resurrecting, yelling, screaming...it was all so chaotic and confusing. But it was so real.
Tyler woke up several hours later. The clock said it was 10:35, but it was still dark outside. At first he wondered if he'd slept through the whole day. There was no way it was morning. He turned on the T.V. to see what was on that could indicate the time. But there was no signals of any kind. Just static on every channel. "What is this?"
He got out of bed, and immediately noticed how awake and rejuvenated he felt. "Wow, what a good sleep," he said to himself, despite the crazy dreams. He went out into the hall of his apartment building. All the lights were off, which was unusual. There were no lights coming from beneath any door. He walked across the hall and knocked on his neighbors door. A moment later, Mr. Paddle answered in his robe. "Tyler?"
"Hello, sir. I have a strange question for you. Is it night or day?" Tyler asked.
Mr. Paddle looked at him funny. "Neither!" he said, then slammed the door. Startled, Tyler wondered what that was supposed to mean? He figured a dumb question gets a dumb answer.
After that, Tyler went to a few more doors, but no one answered anywhere. "What is up with this? What in the hell is going on?" He went back to Mr. Paddle's place, but after a few minutes of insistent knocking, there was no answer. "This is getting a little freaky," Tyler thought.
Tyler went back to get dressed. When he tried to turn on the lights, he found they didn't work. It was probably a power outage, but it was strange timing. After getting dressed, Tyler went downstairs and out of the building. The whole city seemed to be empty. It was so dark, and only a full moon allowed him too see the buildings around him. Where was every one? He'd seen things like this in the movies, but this was real.
He got into his car and drove around town looking. There was no sign of what was going on. The place was simply dark and empty. There was no sign as to what had happened.
Then he came across a really strange sight. He came across a man in a cape standing on the curb. He had his thumb extended, as if he were hitching for a ride. Tyler pulled over, and man asked him," Can I get in?" Tyler thought about it for a moment, but there was something not right here. He couldn't see the mans face in the dark. Again, the man asked, "Can I get in?"
Tyler shuttered as he looked at the caped figure. This man was calm, but there was an aura about him that was sinister beyond belief. "No, sorry friend. You can't get in." He put his foot to the petal, and sped off, leaving the man behind. As he drove, he saw what looked like two red eyes shining brightly.
A few minutes later, he found someone else, standing at a street corner under the only working streetlight in the city. As he pulled up, he could only see the guys back. He seemed to be holding a whip in their hands. As Tyler pulled up to the curb, the man turned around. Tyler rolled down the window and asked him, "Do you have any idea what is going on here?"
The man looked fairly young, probably the same age as Tyler. He had a goatee and a very stern look. "The question is, do you?"
Tyler shook his head, "Well, if I did, I wouldn't be asking, would I?" What kind of a jerk was this? He was probably just as frustrated as he was. The man came towards the car. As he did, the streetlight went out.
He kneeled by the window. "Turn on you interior lights so I can see your face." Tyler did as he asked, and the man studied him carefully. He grabbed Tyler's face, and looked into his eyes before pulling his mouth open. Tyler was getting annoyed. "No fangs? Good, you are not a vampire," the man said.
"Why in the hell would I be?" Tyler said. "A vampire? Are you crazy?!"
"I am a Belmont. Have you heard of us?" the man asked.
"No. Is there any reason why I should?" Tyler asked.
"You shouldn't be here, unless you know something about my family or Dracula. Either you are with him, or strongly against him. You have to know more than you are telling me," the Belmont said. "Did you perhaps talk to someone, or did you see something strange?"
Tyler remembered the chat he's had online. He was about to mention it, but remembered the warning he got. He wasn't supposed to tell anyone he'd spoken to them. Given his doubt of the situation, he figured he shouldn't mention it for now. "All I had was a strange dreams last night. Dreams about a vampire being killed by men with whips. Like that one, in fact," Tyler said.
The Belmont looked at him, hinting with his expression that he had a doubt of what he was being told. "Do you know what I am waiting for?" he asked Tyler. Tyler shook his head. "Think carefully now, for something is about to appear in a few moments. It's something that has been coming more often than it should be. Someone hasn't gotten their facts straight, or someone is not letting nature run it's course."
Tyler didn't have a clue of what this man was talking about. He shook his head, and waited for the answer. The Belmont told him, "A castle, one that is supposed to rise once every century. It has already come, but it is coming again. Do you know who's castle it is?"
It was something he felt dumb saying, but Tyler guessed, "Dracula?"
The Belmont smiled. "You know more than you are telling me, my friend. Believe me when I tell you that I am rash and quick, and I will kill you if you are not as you say you are. By the way, who are you anyway?"
"Tyler. I am just an ordinary guy, nothing more." Tyler decided he'd tell the man about the chat he'd had online. "I haven't been able to sleep in days. Someone contacted me, and said to think of Dracula if I wanted to sleep. It was rather silly, but it worked!"
The Belmont didn't say anymore. He turned his back and walked back to the corner. Immediately the street light came back on. Tyler got out of the car an approached him. "Now can you tell me what is going on here?"
"You've been touched by evil, my friend," the Belmont said. "Tell me about the dreams. Was Dracula victorious in this dream?" Tyler told him about how Dracula was defeated again and again by several different men. "Then you have dreamed of victory. I suppose I can trust you."
At that moment, the two men watched as the moon seemed to move down towards the horizon, then appear significantly in size. In front of the big moon, the image of a castle began to appear. Tyler was shocked by what he was seeing. The shadowy figure became more and more clear. Several yellow dots appeared, clearly windows. And up above in the tallest balcony was a bright red glow. "There he is," the Belmont said.
"What are you going to do?" Tyler asked.
"I'm going to do what we always do in my family. I'm going to go to the top of the castle and kill him."
The Belmont took off running down the street, leaving Tyler in the dark. Tyler ran back to his car, and chased after the man. When he caught up with him running down the street, Tyler was surprised to see the street lights go on and off as the Belmont ran by them. "Hey, I want to know why I saw this! What is going on?"
The Belmont stopped and came up to him. "Listen, you may have slipped into this plain, but you shouldn't be here! When you wake up in the morning, you won't remember a thing! That is, if I can defeat Dracula. If not, then there will be nothing to wake up to."
"How do I get out of here?" Tyler asked.
The Belmont put his hands on Tyler's head, and said, "With the power of my blood, send this man back to where he belongs..."
Tyler found himself laying in his bed, with the sun shining through the window. He looked around his room, and saw he'd left his computer on last night. When he went up to is, he could see he had a message there. it was from firstname.lastname@example.org. It said: OUR MASTER WAS DEFEATED! BUT HE WILL BE BACK!
Tyler wrote back: YOU ARE SPEAKING OF DRACULA?
email@example.com: WHY DIDN'T YOU LET THE POOR SOUL IN THAT ASKED YOU TO LET HIM IN? YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE LEFT HIM THERE ALONE! WHAT KIND OF MAN LEAVES THE NEEDY TO FEND FOR THEMSELVES?
What were they talking about? What would that have done? Tyler began to remember everything. The Belmont had told him he wouldn't, but he did. But if Dracula was defeated by the Belmont, why did he remember what happened last night? He wrote back: I KNOW WHO I AM, BUT WHO WAS THAT AT THE CORNER?
firstname.lastname@example.org: IN THE MIST OF LIFE, NEVER FORGET WHO YOU ARE...
Tyler wrote back: WHO IS IT YOU THINK I AM?
All that email@example.com was: A REPRESENTATIVE...BUT WE WERE WRONG.
They logged off, and Tyler sat there, wondering what it was supposed to mean. It seemed pretty simple to him. Almost too simple. It lead him on a search for answers on the internet, inquiring on chat sights, asking about the name Belmont, but there was no clues to explain what he'd seen.
Three weeks later, he got a letter in the mail. It was a simple letter, with just a few lines:
I thought you would have forgotten after I defeated Dracula. But I didn't know who you were.Dracula is trying to take over a human. He choose you this time, but you are strong, and resisted him. I only hope the next one he tries to take over is as strong as you.
Tyler knew there was a lot more to this than he could ever hope to realize. Why would Dracula have chosen him? But he knew that sometimes we are chosen, and sometimes we are not chosen at all. For sometimes the roll of a dice is the only way that fate can choose among the masses.