Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Bark is Worse than His/Her Bite (10/17/13)
TITLE: Nervil's Accidental Revenge
By Nancy Bucca
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Unlike his long-deceased father, this orphan had no thirst for blood and no desire to hurt anything, even a fly. If he so much as swatted a mosquito, it would bother him for weeks. He avoided humans whenever possible, lest he be tempted to harm them, and cringed in the presence of other vampires, who vexed him with cruel names like "mutt gut" and "hound dog head." They hated him not only for his kindness but for his "weirdo" lineage, passed on by his werewolf mother. You could see it in his long, thin nose and jutting mouth, which, combined, resembled a wolf's snout. Day and night he wore it as a constant badge, except for those times when he shape-shifted into a bat. Ironically, he couldn't shift into a wolf, which is why werewolves labeled him a "veek" (short for "vampire freak"). But Nervil didn't fit that category either.
He didn't fit in anywhere, and he knew it wasn't fair. "Why did God make me a monster? Does he hate me?"
Eventually the taunts drove him insane. They fried his brain and caused him to withdraw from all company, both inhuman or inhumane. He spend most mornings, afternoons, and evenings huddled in a hidden hollow by the sea and dined on whatever debris drifted his way. Tortured by thoughts of worthlessness, he ground his canines on empty clam shells and gnashed his fangs to nubbins in sharp rocks, with which he also scraped himself. Over time he forgot how to speak. Bitter howls and vicious growls comprised his lone mode of expression.
One day Nervil's suicidal leanings got the better of him. He headed to Vampire Headquarters (VH), a tall fortress surrounded by a high voltage fence, with which he planned to electrocute himself. Before he could touch it, something caught his eye. It was a utility pole, a tall wooden beam strung with wires. The cross bars near the top looked like listening ears, perfect for venting his frustration.
Nervil looked up and tried to yell, "Just kill me, I won't bother anybody anymore!"
His words came out as a piercing "Yip, yip, yap!"
Then everything happened very fast. Electrical sparks lit up the wires. Then, to Nervil's horror, the pole erupted in flames. A few minutes later, the VH was burning up. Shrieks filled the air.
Waves of guilt crashed over Nervil as he watched the fire spread - the fire caused by his own negatively charged vocal vibrations. What had he done? He never meant to hurt them.
Nervil couldn't talk, but he could bark for mercy, and that's exactly what he did.
To his amazement, a glowing being dressed in white appeared within the fire. Pure, wholesome light flowed from his hands and feet. He stepped forward and then he spoke - not audibly, but with words that bypassed Nervil's skewed bat radar and resonated with his soul.
"Do you want life?" he asked. "Do you want hope? Do you want to be normal? You need to understand that I did not make you a monster. Vampires and werewolves are man's invention, curses brought on by rebellion against my holy commands. But if you trust in me, I'll set you free to be the gentle human I created you to be."
Nervil leapt for joy, and with all his heart he answered. "Yes!" In that moment all his anger left. Years of rejection melted away. Nervil's sanity and speech returned, all vestiges of his vampire/werewolf heritage passed away, and he became a new creation.
As for the fire he had started, it continued to burn. By the time the trucks arrived, the VH was history. The adjoining grove had become a wasteland of charred logs, ash, and cinders.
The news of Nervil's accidental deed sent shockwaves throughout the vampire and werewolf communities. No one died as a result of his unintentional arson, but some were injured, and many were warned, by a mysterious message scrawled into the charcoal skin of a singed tree stump.
"See the vengeance Nervil's bark has wrought and beware: Unless you change your bite, you're sure to perish."
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