Light for the Damned

Light for the damned


“Will you be good?”

She nodded, whimpering.

He squinted his eyes, unconvinced.

He leaned closer.  “Will…you…be…good?”  He spat each word, his rank breathe filling her tiny space with dread.

“Yes, yes, a million times, yes!”  She trembled, sending tremors through the chains.

He straightened himself and nodded.  He turned the key in the lock, releasing the cuffs. “Alright then.  Go.”

She scrambled up the stairs, and then pushed up the cellar door.  As she curled her fingers around the edges of the opening, light touched them, and she sucked in her breath.  She boosted herself up through the door and rushed to the window.  Her shoulder scraped the teeth of the rake, drawing blood, but she didn’t notice.  Instead, she hurried to the window frame, and pushed her face against the glass. The brightness on the other side made her eyes water and burn, but she soaked it in.

She basked in it.

She pressed her palms onto the pane.  Oh, the light, she thought, the wonderful light

“It’s time.”

What?!” His voice cut through her reverie like a jagged, serrated knife.

He walked to her with a slow but deliberate steps.  “There’s blood on my window.”

“What?  No, I didn’t, I was good—“  she protested, but then she saw it.  Blood had dripped down from her shoulder and stained the glass.  Her eyes widened in horror.  “No, please, no!  I was good!  I was being  goo—“

His lips curled upward, revealing yellow, jagged teeth.  He moved in, bringing his face inches from hers.  “You know I don’t like mess, little girl,” he snarled.

Her skin puckered in goose-flesh at his dark declaration, and tears welled in her eyes. “But I just got here!” she shrieked.  “I just got some light!  Please—“

“It’s time.”

“Oh, god, please! Not yet, not again—“

He yanked her by the hair and the chains, and dragged her screaming back into the darkness.




Song of Chains

Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink

Clank, clank, clank, clank, clank


There’s a song inside my head

That I’d like to sing:

‘Bout birds flying free

‘Bout lettin’ freedom ring


Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink

Clank, clank, clank, clank, clank


There’s a song inside my heart

That I’d like to sing:

‘Bout how I once stood tall and straight

When once I was a king


Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink

Clank, clank, clank, clank, clank


There’s a song deep in my soul

That I wish that I could sing!

‘Bout when I was a warrior

Not some property, not some thing


But that clink, clink, clink, clink, clink

And that clank, clank, clank, clank, clank—

That’s the song that’s in my ears:

That’s the sound that them chains make


Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink

Clank, clank, clank, clank, clank


That’s the song that’s all around

That’s the tune they like to sing:

How they’ll keep me here in bondage

‘Til my death when freedom rings




Free Story Preview from Darkness…in a Flash

The Vampires That We Know

“I can’t take it anymore, Chris.”  Though Anna tried to keep her voice even, it quivered nonetheless.

His eyes narrowed to slits.  “What is that you can’t take, Anna? Do tell.”  His tone was cold and dangerous.

“Chris, look, don’t get mad.  It’s just…I mean….maybe we should…”  She hesitated and in that moment, he saw her weakness.  He closed in on it.

“Are you unhappy, Anna?  Is that it?” He spoke in a whisper, and she knew immediately the deed was done.

“No, Chris, wait, that wasn’t what I meant…..I just I feel a little tired, kind of drained, and…”

He hit her then.  The closed fist smashed against her cheek with a force like bricks.  She collapsed to the floor, crying out in shock.  Pain exploded across her cheek and instinctively, she reached up, to protect her head and face, but this left her mid-section was exposed.  His foot, encased in a reinforced steel boot, smashed into her stomach, once, twice, three times. The force of the kicks pushed her back a foot, almost to the wall behind her.   She wanted to scream, but there was no air; so instead she coughed again and again, her body writhing on the floor in pain.  Blood spilled from her mouth with each hacking cough.

At the sight of her blood, Chris stopped his assault.  Squatting next to her, he reached down and trailed his fingers in the blood.  When they were lightly covered, he brought his blood-stained fingers to his mouth and licked them delicately until they were once again clean.  Then he reached down and yanked Anna up by her hair until she was semi-upright and looking him in the eye.  Flinching visibly, she tried to look away, but with his free hand, he took her chin in his hand and studied his handiwork.  The bruise on her cheek had swollen to almost the size of a golf ball, turning the tender flesh an ugly purplish-black and blood spotted her lips and teeth in ugly, heavy patches.

Chris licked his lips again, still reveling in the coppery, metallic taste of her wounds.  “Did you see that?  Did you see what I did?  I just took a taste of your blood.  Do you know what that means?  It means that you are inside me, and you are a part of me.  You and me, we’re one, and we’ll always be together, Anna.  So I don’t ever want to hear you say that you’re feeling tired, or that you’re feeling drained, Anna.  Because if I ever decide to drain you, honey, I’ll slit your neck from ear to ear and then you’ll know what it really means to be empty inside.”   Then, with a sudden vigor, Chris slammed her head downward onto the floor, where it hit the tile so hard that she blacked out.

Chris stood, looked at his wife splayed unconscious on the cold hard tile, and then made a comment that no one heard but him.  “Or maybe you won’t know.  Maybe you’ll just be dead.”


“He’s sucking the life out of you, Anna,” Georgia said.

Anna refused to acknowledge her sister and instead looked out the window to the gray day beyond.

They were in a private room at St. Mary of the Heart Hospital, where Anna lay in a bed, bruised and battered.   For a while, there had been a bustle of activity:  nurses and orderlies in and out, checking her stats, making notes in her file, and of course, the police.  They had come and asked questions, but Anna had declined to cooperate, insisting that she had just had an “accident”.  With a dubious look at Georgia, they had finally left, but had indicated to Anna—and  to Georgia, for that matter, because they could see where this situation was headed—that  if at any time Anna wanted to change her story, she could call.

Georgia knew she wasn’t going to change her story, and now sat, trying to convince her otherwise.

“He’s sucking the life right out of you, and you don’t even see it, Anna,” Georgia persisted.  “He’s like a fuckin’ vampire, taking little pieces of you, a bit at a time, and you’re fading away to nothing.”  Her sister paused, trying to find the words to reach her sister.  With one hand, she clenched Anna’s own listless one, and with the other, she turned her sister’s chin to her, so she could look her directly in the eyes.  Or rather eye, because the other above the damaged cheek was swollen shut.  “He’s gonna kill you if you don’t leave him, Anna.”

Anna’s face betrayed no emotion, and still she would not speak.

Georgia struggled to control her temper, but it was quickly becoming difficult.  “Damnit, Anna, what’s it gonna take?  Do you need to be buried six feet under before you come to your senses?  My god, what kind of man beats his wife, and then…then…”  Her voice broke a little at her next words, but she continued.  “I can’t believe he actually tasted your blood.  What is that about?”  She paused again, shuddering at the thought of her wounded, injured sister lying on a floor while her deranged husband actually stooped to lick her blood.  Maybe he was a vampire, after all.  Certainly, he was a monster.

Finally, Anna turned to her sister, and mumbled a pitiful, pathetic response:  “He doesn’t mean it when he does these things, Georgie.  I just sometimes make him angry–”

Georgia stopped her short and yelled, “Stop it, Anna, just stop it!  Stop making excuses for him.  This isn’t right!  He beats you, for God’s sake, and he is killing you, don’t you see?”

At Georgia’s outburst, Anna shrank back against the hospital bed, flinching, and Georgia instantly regretted her words and tone.  My god, she’s scared of even me now, she thought.  My own sister is scared of me.

“Oh, Anna, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to yell, honey.”  She gently squeezed Anna’s hand in a conciliatory gesture and Anna relaxed a little.  They sat like that for a while in silence, each lost in their own thoughts.

Georgia regarded the small, shell of a woman that had once been her vibrant, full-of-life sister.  She had met Chris right out of high school.  Tall and handsome and full of promise and fun, he had swept Anna off her feet, lavishing her with attention and gifts.  Anna had fallen completely in love, and when, after a few short weeks, he had proposed, Anna had said yes without a thought.

That had been seven years ago.

In that time, Anna had faded like a flower that had seen too little sun, and now was withering away to almost nothing.  The abuse had been subtle in the beginning, mostly verbal.  For a while, Anna had fought back, but somehow, his words had cut her to the core and extinguished the light that was her sister.  She started to believe him and his lies and to submit to his insanity, despite Georgia’s efforts to the contrary.  But Chris had a hold over Anna, and she would always defend him in the end.

And yet, for Chris, this domination over her spirit had not been enough and somewhere along the way, Chris had become violent.  Georgia remembered Anna with sunglasses late at night, and recalled suspicious stories of falls and accidents.  Over time, the incidents of violence of had increased both in intensity and frequency, and even though Georgia begged and pleaded with her sister to leave her husband, it was all to no avail.  Anna kept going back.

He really is kind of like a vampire, Georgia thought to herself as she reflected on the situation.   There’s that little dance, that seduction to lure them in, and then, they start taking.  Taking the blood, taking the soul, taking the life.  And as she looked at her sister, more dear to her than anything else in the world, she understood that Anna had fallen under Chris’ spell.  Maybe it wasn’t a mystical spell, something cast by a demon of the dead, but certainly not any less hypnotic, and definitely just as dangerous.

Anger rose in Georgia, and in that moment, she made a decision.  She rose from her seat, and moved to her sister.  “I’m leaving now, Anna.  I need to see Chris.”

Fear immediately clouded her sister’s one good eye.  “Oh, no, Georgia, don’t.  I told you, he…he…doesn’t mean these things.  He loves me, I swear…..” She paused, haplessly searching for a defense for the vile creature that was her husband.  “He’s….he’s nice to me, Georgie.”

Georgia shook her head at Anna, wondering who this woman was who looked like her sister but wasn’t her.  Her sister had been a fighter, a player, bubbly and vivacious.  This one before her succumbed to darkness, had no self-esteem, and was completely beaten down.  Georgia didn’t know if she could ever bring her sister back from this dark, horrid place she found herself, but she did know that she could take care of the one that put her there.  She leaned forward and kissed Anna gently on the cheek.

“Shhh, get some rest, I’ll be back later.”


When Georgia arrived at her sister’s home, the sun was making its slow descent into the horizon, and in the wake of its fall, the sky began its darkening transformation.

“What’s up, Georgia?”  Chris asked her.

He stood in the doorway, groggy and disheveled.  It was obvious he had just woken up:  his clothes carried the rumpled look of sleep and he yawned and stretched, breathing life into his tired limbs.

“Sleep well?”  Her tone bitter, Georgia stood in disbelief.  Incredibly, while her sister was healing from the beating he had given her, Chris himself had probably spent the entire day sleeping and relaxing in his own bed.  She shoved past him to enter the house, and then turned to regard her brother-in-law with contempt.

He paid her rudeness no mind and instead, Chris shrugged, nonchalant.  “There was a party last night.  Got home a little before dawn.”

They moved to the kitchen.   It was a brightly-lit space, usually warm and homey, but Georgia sorely missed her sister’s presence, and with only Chris in the room, it felt cold and ugly.

Georgia wasted no words.  “I want you out of here, Chris.  Out of this house, out of her life.”

Catching her tone, he became fully awake. Chris sat down casually at the kitchen table, but his eyes glared dangerously.  “This ain’t your business, Georgia.”

“My sister is my business, asshole.  You’ve beat Anna for the last time.”  Georgia flushed with anger.  “You’ve taken everything from her, her money, her spirit, her love. Everything.  You’re a fucking vampire, and you’re squeezing her dry, but sure as I stand here right now, you won’t get all of her.  Not while I’m here.”

Despite her courageous stand and her bravado, she wasn’t ready when Chris leapt from his chair and grabbed her by the neck.  Startled by his attack, she stumbled backward, and smashed into the wooden table, bringing Chris down on top of her top.  The sudden weight on the table caused it to tremble and abruptly break apart, bringing Chris and Georgia crashing down onto the floor.  Through it all, Chris still maintained a tight grip on her neck.

“You fuckin’ bitch! You’ve always been in our fuckin’ business!  Well, not anymore, bitch!  Not anymore!”

Pinned under Chris as she was, Georgia fought for breath, clawing at the hand that held her in a vise-like grip.  Underneath her, she could feel the broken and splintered pieces of wood, the shards scratching and piercing her back and arms.  Struggling for oxygen, she reached out wildly with one hand looking for a something, anything, and then suddenly her hand gripped a piece of wood and with no other thought than to breathe, breathe, breathe, she struck, swinging, waving and then finally, when she was sure her lungs were going to explode, she made one final thrust, and abruptly, she heard Chris scream while at the same time he released his grip on her throat, and fell backward.  Georgia flipped herself over, breathing hungrily for much needed oxygen.

When at last her breathing returned somewhat to normal, she turned to see what happened to Chris.  When she saw Chris, she huffed under her breath.

“Serves you right, motherfucker.”

The dead man with a wooden table leg piercing his chest did not respond.  Blood gushed out of either side of the wound.  Georgia thought of Anna in the hospital and her last pitiful words to Georgia.  Georgia hadn’t responded then, but she did now:  “There are no nice vampires, Anna,” she whispered.  “There never were.”

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Copyright 2012 © Elizabeth Michaud John.  All rights reserved.

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