Prompt:  The story must be influenced by music in some way
Genre:  Open
Word Count:  750 words
Deadline: Wednesday, 14 September 2011 – 8 PM EST

(Author’s note:  My story is influenced by music –  THE HOST OF SERAPHIM by Lisa Gerrard of DEAD CAN DANCE – that I recently used in a video that I created for a friend.  The music has been stuck in my head for several days, refusing to leave.  The following story is set against that song; for those unfamiliar with the song, you might listen to a bit of it on YouTube and then read the story?  This story also provides some more back story to my vampyre character, Erin.  Thank you.  VMLS) 


By Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw

After eight years of dark bloody war, the tide had turned… the enemy pushed back against their own borders… their defeat now a foregone conclusion.  My unit is finally going home.  Morale is high.


The attack came while our company was still a day and a half out from my village.  Word reached us through the underground wireless… we double-timed the last thirty kilometers.


Against my captain’s wishes, I take point… a thousand meters ahead of the rest.  Half a kilometer out from the village, a sudden shift in the wind brings the stench of death and destruction to my nostrils.  A silent scream echoes inside my head as I sprint the final distance.

Rounding the last bend in the road, the village comes into view… and I come to a skidding halt… assaulted by the scene in front of me… a sledgehammer blow to my senses… I reel back.

Winter wheat was harvested a fortnight ago… the field on the left side of the road leading into the village lies fallow… empty… save for the poles littering the open space… upright in the dark soil… obscene scarecrows.

In a scene straight from Hell… the women of my village… heads and arms hanging limply from the poles… the wood wet and dark with blood… naked bodies impaled… the one nearest the roadside… my mother…

My rifle slips from nerveless fingers… I fall to my knees in the middle of the road… a low wailing sound rises up from my chest… I lift my eyes to the field… doubling over as my insides clench… a raw gag is torn from my throat… heaving… the morning meal splatters the roadbed.

Another spasm… and then… another… yet another…


Dimly aware of the sound of boot heels pounding up behind me… a strong hand on my shoulder.  I try to straighten… my stomach clenches again.

“Steady soldier… just… what the hell… breathe, soldier… breathe…!”

I push myself upright… the hand relaxes its grip… turning, I face my captain.

“I’m alright, sir…”  I push the image of the violated body of the woman I knew as my mother back… for the moment.  Reaching down, I retrieve my rifle… clicking off the safety.  Turning back toward the village… dreading what lies ahead… I start up the road.

“Stand down, sergeant!”  I turn to my captain.


“Take Radic and Batista… I want you three to set up a .50 ….”  I turn and walk away.

“That was an order, sergeant!”  The captain’s voice is unnaturally loud in the quiet of death’s aftermath.  I step back in front of him.

“Sir… this is my village… my family… my sisters…”  I choke back a sob, setting my mouth in a hard line… staring up into my captain’s grey eyes.

“Sir… permission to…” Swallowing hard the rising lump in my throat… “… permission to reconnoiter the village… sir!”

Our eyes meet… grim determination… controlled rage… I feel the red rise in my irises… my captain flinches.

“Erin… ” he stops… sensing the futility of his words.

“Va multumesc, domnule!” 


We make our way slowly up the main street, stepping over debris… around the craters left by mortar strikes.  On either side of the road, the low, stone houses lie in rubble… portions of the outer walls still standing, held up only by the charred frames of doorways.

The smell of death… the rich, coppery reek of fetid blood heavy in the air… close, but not… charcoaled bits of furniture smoulder in the ruins… the smoky tang mingling with the stench of burnt mortar and plaster.

Every house we come to… a mortar-torn ruin… charred remains of casements and furniture… but, no bodies.  With mounting dread, I approach my mother’s house.

The apotropaic figure hangs crooked over the burnt-out doorway.  Senka used to tease me that I “could not really be a vampyre, my sister, because…” the unbidden memory tears a sob from my throat.  We cross the threshold.  Again, no bodies… my dread rises… a looming tide.

Reaching the town square… the church looms in the stench and smoke-laden air.  We enter the church… and find the children… their lifeless bodies… strewn carelessly across the pews… lips black with poison.

My peoples’ future…



One hour later… the company is on the road again, marching north.  Icy calm on the face of each man and woman… underneath… a black, smouldering rage… building with each step forward.

A silent vow is made to loved ones.

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About VeronicaThePajamaThief

Bio: Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw Born in Lisboa, Portugal to parents of Portuguese/Russian descent, Veronica Marie and her wife, Christina Anne, call the Pacific Northwest home, where the couple are “still very much on honeymoon!” When not teaching and finishing her own studies for a Masters in Sociology, Veronica writes fiction, primarily noir - "I love dark!". Her long fascination with noir fiction prompted Veronica to try her own hand at writing fiction several years ago. She has been published in Pulp Metal Magazine, The Lost Children: A Charity Anthology, the horror anthology 100 Horrors, from Cruentus Libri Press, Nightfalls: an End of the World anthology, Drunk On The Moon 2: A Roman Dalton anthology and Gloves Off: Near To the Knuckle's debut anthology. Veronica has also appeared in the inaugural issue of Literary Orphans magazine and her horror/urban fantasy short story SOUL TAKER was recently chosen for inclusion in Lily Childs' february femmes fatales, an urban fantasy/horror anthology. Veronica counts among her mentors - Carole A Parker, Lily Childs, Paul D Brazill, Richard Godwin, Joyce Juzwik and Vicki Abelson. She is currently working on the third draft of her first novel – a memoir – as well the second draft of her first fiction novel, a fantasy novel and the publication of a collection of her flash fiction and short stories. Lily's The Feardom and Vicki Abelson's Women Who Write Facebook writing group have both been a tremendous source of support and inspiration for Veronica. Veronica’s writings can be found athttp://veronicathepajamathief.blogspot.com/ andhttp://veronicathepajamathiefwritespoetry.blogspot.com/, andhttps://veronicathepajamathief.wordpress.com/
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  1. Tag says:

    First; was the video on Youtube what you created for Dead Can Dance? That was so powerful, the music and the images as well. Then I had it playing in my head as I went on to finish your story. I want to read more. I want to know where in the back story this vignette take place and what is a vampyre doing as a soldier? In other words I’m intrigued by this entire idea and I hope it leads you onward.Thanks Veronica.

  2. Thank you so much for reading my story. No, the video that I made was a private commission for a friend. Should she choose to post it on YouTube, will be at her discretion. I went back and edited my intro… grammatically, it gives one the impression that I made the YouTube video I am referring to. That was not my intention… a grammatical ‘faux pas’ on my part. My regrets.

    I am very pleased that you are intrigued to the point of wanting to read more of my vampyre character.

    Erin is from a very, very old East European family… her roots go back centuries. This story takes place in the early 20th century. Erin returned to her homeland from France upon hearing of the outbreak of war at home. While she may be a vampyre, she is also a person of honor and to do nothing while her peoples were being killed is simply unthinkable. That is how a vampyre came to fight among humans.

    Once Erin and her comrades avenged the slaughter of their village, there was nothing left for Erin, so she returned to Paris for a period of time (vampyres, having a tendency not to age must move around frequently) before leaving the Continent for America.

    The other two stories I have written with Erin take place in New York City and Paris, in the early 21st century. Here are the links if you would like to read them – http://veronicathepajamathief.blogspot.com/2011/05/flash-fiction-friday-f3-cycle-29.html and


    I have wanted for some time to write a longer story with Erin, but that may be a while… probably not before 2012. I have several projects going on write now and I really need to sit down and start my zombie apocalypse… I have been doing little ‘slices’ of it over on Lily Child’d FEARDOM blog for her Friday Prediction challenge.

    Thank you again for reading my stories. I very much appreciate your comments. Please feel free to critique anything I have written. Thank you.

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