|"The thought of our dark forces finally coming away victorious against the Belmonts brings warm feelings to my heart. I've always wondered which one of Dracula's thousands of demons it'd be that would finally play out its role (you know--actually do its job) in destroying the Belmont threat so that my Lord might live. From eons of watching on, I can tell you that it's obviously easier said than done. Sam Mills brings you a tale where we look at this plight through the eyes of one such demon, a merman called Jeb. What would happen if not all of these demons were as loyal as it seemed? Or perhaps the task of fighting the mighty vampire killers isn't an envious task after all. What will Jeb do? Read on."|
By Sam Mills
The merman called himself Jeb. He was remembering the day a century ago that he had searched for a place to hide. It wasn't from just the world that he had to hide from, with his strange body and odd qualities. What he was afraid of most of all was that he would be recaptured and vanquished from existence from his master from whom he'd escaped from.
It had been about a century ago that Dracula was finally defeated by Simon Belmont. Jeb remembered the man very vividly. Jeb had seen the brave warrior make his way through his masters castle, killing Jebs brothers with one stroke of his whip. It was at that moment that the evil fled from Jebs soul, and when he realized that evil was weak compared to the passion of virtue.
When it came time for Jeb to jump from the water and attempt to kill the Belmont, he did not. Instead, he waited for the Belmont to pass, snuck out of the water, and ran from the castle! He remembered vividly watching the castle fall after the destruction his his master, Lord Dracula.
Though the evil left the land, he was surprised to see that he was freed from the curse. The curse was no longer upon him, and he was free to roam the world. He knew he could never be part of human society, so he made his way to the ocean, and dove into the sea.
What he found down below was a surprise, and it was a place he'd made his home at for the past century. The sunken ship must have been there for at least a century, down below the waters, lost and forgotten. Though any bodies must have been eaten or decayed, there was still plenty of artifacts left on the ship at his disposal.
One of his favorite items was a music box. It must have belonged to a little girl, with pink paint, and a faded picture of the countryside. Though it didn't work down below these waters, he used his imagination to hear the music it must have played.
Other items on the ship included books with washed away ink, watches, peasant clothes, and other small artifacts. Nothing on the ship indicated wealth among these people. It was a large passenger ship, but surely not for anyone of great importance.
The side of the large ship had a large hole, and it made him wonder what could have caused such a huge wound. Surely not a shark or a whale. It had to of been something much larger, but what, he couldn't say.
Through out the century, Jeb led a very simple existence. He watched the sea life without becoming a part of it. He found he didn't need to eat, and he didn't need to sleep. Surely the sea was more chaotic than he. Jeb watched sharks eat whole schools of fish, and he watched families of whales hunted down by the people up above. He watched the violence of the sea, and realized that he truly was free from all of it.
Jeb was afraid of the forces of Dracula that for now, had to be deeply buried. But as the time came closer for his master to rise again, he was starting to get scared. As the senses of his evil were to begin waking, he knew that perhaps his forces may decide to claim him once again. Who knew if Dracula would come looking for a soul as meager as his? All he remembered was the creed Dracula held dear: no one escapes, and those who do, are punished.
That thought was on Jebs mind quite a bit lately. He wasn't sure of the exact age, but it seemed as if nearly 100 years had passed. He'd found himself one room in the ship to call his quiet place, a room not much bigger than himself. It was a place for him to float in the darkness, and let his mind wonder into dream-like thoughts, and also try to sense what was deep inside himself.
One night, a giant storm up above was creating flashes of light in the water. The lightning was frequent and strong, and he knew that it had to be a hurricane. He decided to escape from the chaos and go into his hiding place. While there, he was fine for a moment. But he knew there was something different about tonight.
After a few moments, he began to hear a loud rumble outside of the ship. He didn't know what it was at first. It almost sounded like a giant fire, something he hadn't heard in such a long time. He was so out of it that it took a moment to realize how absurd the idea was. There was no way it could be a fire. Underwater?
Jeb left his room and went through the ship to where the giant hole was on the side. When he looked out, he gasped at what he saw. Impossible as it seemed, there was a giant wreath of fire circling around the ship! He knew immediately that it had to be the power of Dracula, and that they were finally coming to get him!
Jeb swam out, and was trying to get away, but the wreath expanded into a sphere that surrounded the ship! Now against a wall of fire, he knew he was trapped. He turned and swam back into the ship, and went back to his room to hide. Jeb knew it probably did no good trying to hide, but there was nothing more he could do.
The rumble of the fire started to grow louder, and he knew it was coming closer to him. There had to be something he could do to get away, but he didn't know what. "I am going to die," I told himself.
The rumble came increasingly close, until it was right outside the door. At that moment, the water became very warm, and he watched as the flame melted the door down! As it collapsed, there was a fire before him, and vicious display of power, and it was making him feel very hot.
The flames then took the shape of a flaming man, looking very close to the form of his master, Dracula. "Merman! No one escapes from me! I give you one moment to explain yourself!"
Jeb was frozen in fear. He knew that no matter what he said, Dracula was going to destroy him for sure. "Lord Dracula, I did not want to die at the hands of the Belmont."
"What you want is of no concern. Death comes to all who is created to do my bidding!" Dracula said. "Your soul is weak, and means nothing to me."
Jeb didn't understand. If this was true, then why was Dracula talking with him? Why not just kill him right then and there? "Then what are you waiting for?" Jeb asked.
Dracula took a moment, then answered him carefully. "Let's just say that you have created a little problem for me. You see, your spirit is a combined soul with my other minions. You have introduced a kind of illness among the others."
From what Jeb could understand, his master was saying that he'd somehow passed something on to the rest of Dracula's slaves, something that Dracula didn't want them to have. Could it be he brought some kind of liberation to them? "What is this illness you refer to, Master?"
"They have developed feelings, and now they do not want to serve me any longer! I need you to change so that they will change too! You are the source of this, so only through you can it be undone!" Dracula explained.
Jeb knew now that he had an advantage over his master. Though Dracula control Jebs existence, he didn't control his mind. A kind of power came over him, as he realized that for once, Dracula was at his mercy. "What is it you plan to do with me? My thoughts are my own!"
At that moment, Dracula was able to take them to someplace else. Jeb found himself standing inside a castle room, a fire roaring brightly in the fireplace. The room was beautiful, decorated with such pleasures as drapes and gold. As he looked around, he saw Dracula is his true form standing before him. "What do you think? Is this to your liking?"
Jeb didn't know what to say. It was odd not being in the water. Though there was a strange sensation about being so grounded, it was a very pleasant place he'd just been taken. "How about some music?" Dracula asked. From the shadows came a gentle sound of light, beautiful music. It was the music Jeb had only dreamed of with his music box. "I will make your dreams come true."
"What for? To tempt me? How will this get you what you want?" Jeb asked.
"Tell me about your name you have taken. You call yourself Jeb?" Dracula said.
"How do you know this?"
Dracula smiled. He knew things about Jeb without having to ask. "I know you, and I feel that perhaps you might enjoy life better if your dreams were not just in your head."
Jeb remembered why he'd called himself that. When he'd first escaped, he remembered seeing a young boy and his mother, walking on the beach and enjoying life, just before he'd gone into the sea. The boy's name was Jeb. From that moment on, he knew that name represented innocence and freedom. "You know what I really want, don't you?"
"I'll give it to you now, if you like," Dracula said.
Without another word from Jeb, Dracula transformed him into a little boy. Surprised beyond belief, Jeb looked at his fingers and little body. "How did you..." his young voice spoke. It was truly amazing! He felt at that moment as if freedom could truly be his. "Then you know it is freedom I want."
"Yes, of course. Freedom is what all my slaves want. But you are lucky. You happen to have something I want very much. And letting you go freely is perhaps the only way to get it. Take my gift, live here forever in this body, in this place. When you are free of the chain, my other slaves can go back to normal," Dracula said.
At first, Jeb was prepared to refuse his master's offer. There was no way he could do this. It was too good to be true. Surely his death was not a cure for Dracula's troubles. But what could it mean for him to take advantage of this temptation?
But then again, what did it matter? If he were free of Dracula, what did it matter what was to become of the other? They were of no consequence. Dracula has so much power, it was not going to hurt his master to accept this. All these idea's came down to one thought: Betray the others to live for himself. "Yes, I accept your offer."
At that moment, Jeb found himself a merman again, and he was under the water once again. "What is this?" he said out loud.
He heard the voice of Dracula in his head. "You are denied what I have promised! It only took one thought, one evil idea, and I was able to harness that to spread to my empire! Now you will do my bidding, and enjoy it!"
Jeb found he was no longer in control of his actions. He looked around, and realized that he was not in the ocean, he was in a pool in Dracula's castle. Then, his body jumped up, and he dreaded the sight before him. It was a Belmont, whip in hand, coming closer to him. His body spit, and without being able to run, Jeb was lashed by the whip of the warrior.
The last seconds of Jebs existence seemed to last for an eternity. His body because to burn away as he was being wiped out of existence. One last thought came into his head before he had no more thoughts to behold: no matter what it is you face, he should have been true to himself.