Hey, what do you make of my Preface??? Enjoy ;-)
Undead & Damned
‘Screaming. That Godforsaken screaming! But where is it coming from? Where are you? Who are you? Stop it, stop it! It hurts my ears. They’re
bleeding. They’re actually bleeding…’
A gasp and full body jolt rudely awoke Jude, as he lay half dangling out of his single, sheet strewn bed.
Calming his breathing, frustration set in as he carefully placed his whole body weight on the floor of his loft-converted bedroom.
The same, repetitive dream had been haunting him for the past six months. Giving in after months of research into reading dreams, he chose to ignore
any meaning to them at all.
Jude’s memory was never a great attribute of his, and the fact that frustrated him the most, were that there were more details, more aspects to
this dream that he could barely remember the next day.
Sighing heavily, Jude heaved his five foot eleven, twelve stone frame off the floor, dragging his feet lazily behind him, and into his en-suit
bathroom. With the instant flick of the wall switch, the light stuttered a little before settling on a dim beam.
A cupboard mirror faced Jude, reflecting an image of what could only be described as looking like an extra from Dawn of the Dead.
‘Definitely need fixing up!’ Jude thought to himself, stripping of his boxer shorts and getting into the shower.
As water rippled down his gently carved body, a thought stopped him in his tracks.
‘Eyes. Those sullen eyes, blackened and bruised. But angry, very, very angry, full of rage…’ Water blurred his vision as it ran down his face.
Struggling to find nozzle to turn the shower off, thoughts ran through his head like a wild animal chasing prey. His mental vision pressed pause, and
for a split second, he could see the eyes that burnt into his minds eye. The irises were soft gold in colour, but the anger that spilt from them
Jumping, and almost stumbling out of the shower, without even drying himself down, he pulled clothes on him hurriedly.
A loud ringing began to disturb his thoughts, seven-thirty in the morning. Hitting the off button on his alarm clock, he failed to notice how he had
managed to wake up a whole ten minutes earlier than his alarm…a personal record.
Skipping the stair case two steps at a time, Jude decided against breakfast, grabbing his wallet and striding out the front door of his parents
23 year old Jude worked at his local record shop, selling LP’s and vinyl, and every so often dealt with exchanging musical instruments. Elongating
his stride, he walked straight past his shop, and into the local stationary shop three doors down.
The shocked store owner, a petite, middle aged woman gasped as he breezed in past her.
“I’m sorry, love, we don’t officially open for another twenty minutes.”
Jude stared at her dumbstruck across the counter at her. Once waving a notepad and pen at her, he slowly set them down.
“I only want a pen and paper.” He said, emotionless and, what appeared to be slightly confused.
She let him off, as he had the correct change. She decided to put it through the till when she was officially on duty.
Jude strode back into Henry’s Vinyl, where, Henry himself had begun to set up the cash registers. He was a funny old man, in his mid fifties,
sporting a rather large bald patch, and rosy cheeks, which gave him a warming presence. The crows’ feet around his eyes crinkled as he frowned.
“You’re early.” He gently crooned his silky voice smooth to the ears. Appearing somewhat interested in Jude’s apparent nervousness, Jude,
unable to keep still, spoke hurriedly of his dream. Yes, the same dream that time and time again, Henry had tried to decipher previously, but with no
luck. But this time, Jude had expanded on the explanation of the eyes.
‘It must be a symbol’, Henry thought to himself, gently stroking his chin, pondering to what meaning this could be.
“The thing is,” Jude carried on, “this is more vivid that it has ever been. There… there is a smell, a faint smell I can’t remember,” he
rambled, trying to jot down everything he could possibly think of, and slowly but surely, more fine tuned points would pop up. “And there is another
sound. A growl, I think it was. Too low, its depth was too low, almost inhumane.” His ramble finally slowed to a halt, as he stared into a blank
mental canvas. Nothing.
“At least this time you have it all written down to remind you, young Jude.” Henry gave a sympathetic smile to his work colleague. “You can
refer back to your notes, do some research.”
The day went as slowly as all the days in Henry’s Vinyl did. The same flutter of the regular customers, and sometimes a new body would walk in,
admiring the album art posted about all around the walls, flicking gently through memorabilia, or stopping by for a coffee with Henry himself.
Henry happened to be a bit of a legend in the small Town of Salem’s Peak. Everybody knew him, the friendliest person you could ever meet, always
interested in what people had to say, and loved to talk endlessly. Even though he didn’t officially sell coffee, he had converted a corner of the
shop into a small café, a couple of tables and chairs and books to the side.
The day was spent dazing into nothingness for Jude, as he replayed the dream over and over in his head, going through the motions of serving
customers, not really paying attention. He’d been daydreaming so hard that he had actually short changed two customers. Twice.
“Try not to think about it too much, Jude, I may have to end up sending you home! Now, how about some lunch? Marie made extra, home made
cannelloni last night…”
‘Good old Marie!’ Jude thought. This lovely lady happened to be Henry’s wife. A lovely woman who knew how to take your mind off such pressing
issues like these. Usually with her amazing food.
Jude grabbed the shop door keys and locked the pair of the men in, once all the customers had left, and proceeded to the staffroom, a fully fitted
kitchen with luxurious armchairs. Henry had already put the cannelloni in the oven half an hour previously, so it was ready for when they had their
“Jude, I’d like to throw a spanner in the works, theoretically,” Henry started, as he began to dish up lunch. “I just wondered if you had
considered that you may have been having premonitions. I can’t explain the growling or the eye colour, per se, but maybe you have a psychic streak
It certainly did seem weird he had been thinking about it in this light; however it would be the most reasonable answer. Excluding the content of
the dream itself.
Jude stifled a yawn as he thought back over dreams past. Sure, he’d had some sort of premonitions before; everybody has experienced déjà vu in
some form of another, but nothing of major interest. As the rest of the day passed in a mere blur, his subconscious mind dictated the pace of the
Mentally, time itself had slowed right down, leaving Jude wondering when four-thirty would hit.
After an eternity had passed, the second hand had finally hit the twelve marker, a slightly agitated Henry sped to the door to lock up. No customers
had been in since one o’clock, even with the local weatherman who had predicted rain. Needless to say, he was wrong. This time it was only
Henry happened to be in the process of telling Jude to grab his wallet and get going, while he locked up at the same time. As soon as he had
finished bolting the front door, he turned around to see Jude’s tall frame amplify how short he was in comparison.
“That’s the fastest you’ve moved since you’ve worked here!” He teased, eyeing him up and down suspiciously. “Go on, go home,” he
shooed Jude gently towards the back door, standing tall and full of confidence.
Henry’s gut instinct told him that his suspicions would be right.
‘Jude won’t be at work tomorrow.’
Clutching his notepad and pen, Jude opted to take the scenic route, enabling his regular five minute shuffle to become a fifteen minute shuffle.
The Woodland walk allowed him to gather his thoughts. Although he only had one thought to gather in the first instance.
The more he thought of the golden pair of eyes, the less he felt scared. Sitting himself upon a low, deranged branch of an old Oak tree, he leant
back and closed his eyes, letting the image burn into his retinas. The more he could soak up the vision, the better. He felt more compelled, more
compassionate, wanting to know more of what he had seen the night before.
What was once an active Woodland area, now became an uncannily peace of calm. No birds singing, no crickets humming. Not even an owl hooting.
This is what he usually liked about December evenings. Dark evenings and even darker mornings.
However, the Woodland song stopped like a record on pause. It was a deathly silent, and the only noise he could hear was his heartbeat speeding up,
and a shallow rasping from his chest.
Dread had set in. For the split second he felt like he had a looming presence nearby, he had never felt more alone. Him and the darkness, face to
Jude was often one to embrace nothingness, closing the curtains at night to be encompassed by a vast void. A feeling he used to once enjoy were now
a feeling of helplessness.
Beads of sweat broke out from the pores of his body, an involuntary spasm of muscles followed, as he shook all over.
‘Why do I feel this way?’
There was no answer to his question, as his quivering frame rooted itself solidly to the ground, as if he were part of the tree itself – his
nerves digging further into the ground, making him unable to run, even if he wanted to.
The snapping of broken branches on the ground slowing moved around him. Jude’s eyes tried to focus on something moving towards him, only yards
away, however he felt like someone had just shone a bright torch in his face.
Closer and closer this thing came towards him, though all the while, Jude was still blind to its presence. It wasn’t until it were staring him in
the eyes, imprinting itself on Jude’s irises, millimetres away from him, when a short, sudden gasp escaped from Jude’s chest. The golden eyes, the
sudden growl, and then everything went blank…
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Natasha had just finished College, and her tutor had asked for her to go to her nearest natural source to gather samples of tree, plants, leaves…
She hadn’t long started her Agricultural course, but really basic pieces of ‘homework’ had started to annoy her. Sure, they needed to grasp the
basics, but they had been going over the simplicities since her course started in October.
With handfuls of leaves, bark, twigs, small plant life and the likes in her hands, she turned back towards the direction of her rucksack. Quarter to
five and it were as black as night. Getting a move on, she placed all the specimens in separate clear bags and put them back into her rucksack. A
sudden noise broke her concentration. Whipping her head up in shock, she couldn’t see a thing. Hearing branches snapping, getting further away with
each break, she pulled out her torch and shone it into the distance.
“Hello?” She called. Repeating herself a few times, to receive no answer, she guessed it must have been local wildlife. With that as her
definite answer, she calmed down, relaxing a little. The snapping of twigs and branches underfoot carried on into the distance. Becoming curious, she
slowly followed whatever animal had captured her imagination.
Closing in on the sound, the beam from her torch gently landed on a figure planted against a tree.
It was a young man. For a brief minute he appeared to be having a fit. His muscles were tensed and bunched up, holding onto him for dear life.
Although his jaw was clamped shut, he had begun to froth at the mouth. With her torch still on his face, Natasha edged closer, her eyes mirrored his.
Their pupils, they were as wide as saucers and unblinking.
Natasha’s phone had no signal. She knew this from previous experience in this Woodland. Unsure of what to do, her instinct dragged her closer to
the man. Kneeling so close to him, feeling his erratic breath flaring out his nose and onto her face, they were eye to eye, staring at each other. She
held the torch still, high, but still on his face. Her free hand squeezed his shoulder, when she saw it.
It only lasted a second or two, but she was certain of what she saw. His eyes. The irises around his pupils were glowing a deep, deep gold. It was
long enough for him to unlock his jaw, wide open, and lunging for the throbbing veins in her shoulder.
As his teeth pierced her skin, he proceeded to suck harshly on her succulent body. Unable to rip at her flesh with his teeth, he continually bit
her, over and over, drowning out her lame attempts of screaming with his spade like hands, forcing her face into the dirt underneath them.
He bit her breasts, her chest, her arms, her thighs. Anywhere he could fix his jaws around. The final resting place his mouth would find was her
neck. Blood was pouring out from every wound. Main arteries were severed, as bright red, oxygenated blood rose high up in an arc, the pressure forcing
it out from the body. Veins oozing darker, redder blood, dripping gently onto the Woodland floor.
Slipping in and out of consciousness, her body jerked a little, and a pitiful moan escaped from her lips.
This would be her final resting place.
Jude’s teeth, slowly, gently, pierced the skin in her neck, as he suckled like a newborn. His heavy body slumped on top of hers, as he drank her
dry. Consciously, his body reacted in a way he would never have done. He wasn’t in control. He tried to stop himself, but his mind was taken over
with rage. The golden irises dimmed, to a faint, golden brown.
He rolled off the lifeless body, slipping into a comatose state. Before he slipped into darkness yet again, he had one final thought.
‘I am not a beast.’