Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Afflictions of Blood and Flesh"

This poem was prompted and sponsored by minor_architect.  The original prompt laid out in some detail a version of vampirism with two modes of transmission, so that it basically went from a communicable disease to a genetic malady.  It reminded me of the difficult decisions that people face when they know they carry something that could make life miserable for their descendants.  The result is this piece of horror-tragedy.

Afflictions of Blood and Flesh

I say to you:
This is the curse that has two forms.

First, there is the affliction of the blood.
When a vampire bites a man, so that he dies,
the victim rises from the grave a vampire himself.
Then someone must hunt him down, find his lair,
and destroy him as soon as possible.
For if he eludes the hunters,
after seven years the curse will recede
and the roaring in his blood fall silent,
leaving him once again a man among men.
Then he may remove himself to another land,
learn another language, take a wife, get children,
and live out his life as all men do.
But this is the end of the curse only for him.

Second, there is the affliction of the flesh.
It is passed from man's seed to woman's womb,
knitted into the child's body as it is formed.
All the descendents of a man who was a vampire will,
upon their deaths, rise as vampires themselves.
For them there is neither rest nor redemption,
and they spread corruption to all who feel their bite.
Even the children born to them before their deaths
will carry the curse, hidden by a thin veneer of life,
until the grave disgorges them into torment.

I have discovered that saying such things
makes the hunting easier, the killing cleaner.
So long as I find them while they are yet sane,
they will listen to one who knows these bitter truths.
They understand that I cannot save them,
I can only save their descendants
by stopping the curse before it turns from blood to flesh.

      Lie down.
      Close your eyes.
      It will be over quickly.

I can only do for them
what I wish someone had done for my grandfather,
what I pray someone will do for me when my time comes.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, horror, poem, poetry, reading, writing
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