BIRTH OF A NIGHTMARE

Today is my birthday. It’s not just a celebration of my birthday; I am actually being born at this very moment. It’s kind of weird watching yourself be born into the world. And since I’m most likely the first one to ever do it, that makes it very special to me at the same time.

You must be asking yourself how this is possible. Well, I’m going to tell you. I’ll try to give you the shortest version I can; I could never cover 20,000 years of history. You wouldn’t believe the fact and fiction in history books. You also couldn't begin to comprehend all of the knowledge I possess; however, that’s not what I want to talk about. I’m going to be selfish and talk about the three most important people I know: me, myself and I.

Let’s see, today is October 30, 1976. It's Devil’s Night. I could start my story with my birth, but I don’t think I should. I think I’ll start it about twenty-five years from now.

It was September 4, 2001, the first day of my last year of University. I had been working on my teaching degree, majoring in world religions with a minor in Latin. That particular semester I was doing my thesis on the occult. My main focus was on a certain sect of the Scandinavian Vikings. This particular sect was from the Iceland area in the thirteenth century. They weren’t your normal group of Odin and Thor-fearing Vikings. They were mystics that believed in becoming more than just human. They believed they could become gods just like the ones that ruled in Valhalla.

I had been doing a fair amount of research over the summer to get a head start on my thesis. I had been uncertain about what my thesis would be about, until I had stumbled across a journal by a catholic monk who had visited Iceland in the late fifteenth century. I had been taking Latin as my minor because that’s the language the monks wrote in at the time.

The journal this monk had written was broken in two parts. The first part was his story of trying to convert these, as he called them, "savages." The second part was a conversion of the sacred text of the Viking sect. The conversion part had been written in the manner of folklore, and was not complete.

In the monk’s personal portion of the journal, he stated that he had taken one of the two copies the Viking had at the time, for his own private studies. The Viking copy had been passed on to some monks that were heading for the new world. The monk had written that the last known whereabouts of the Viking copy was in, what is now called, New York.

So, I started there and then followed the trail to Detroit. Once I made it to Detroit, the path had grown cold. The last traceable spot had been a church on the river. By 1874, all evidence of the church had disappeared. There was no record of where it went; only that it had left. On a long shot, I decided to cross the river into Canada where there was a church that was about two hundred years old.

There was no record of the book being there, but one of the priests offered to let me search through the cellar to see if I could find it, so I did. Most of the cellar had been cleared and renovated over the years, but there was one section, tucked away behind a door in the back, that hadn’t been touched in years. Letting my curiosity get the best of me, I entered the crypt-like room. It was like stepping back into the nineteenth century. There was no lighting apart from four torches, one on each wall, and the books. There must have been six hundred or more books crowded into the room.

I had gone to the priest and asked him if he would be interested in selling these books to me. Of course I had lied, saying that I was a teacher's aid to a history professor at Queen's University, and that he would really like the books for the historical content. The priest, having no idea of how many books were down there, or what was in them, agreed to sell them to me. Now granted, it was a catholic priest, so the books cost me a pretty penny, but it was well worth every cent.

I hadn’t found the Viking book, but I had found out where it had gone. I also found a book that was almost as good. It was a complete word-for-word Latin translation of the Viking book. There were also three other books of interest. One was a book of Pagan rituals; another was a book of satanic worship. Both were written in Latin, and like the Viking book, were most likely word-for-word translations. The third book was a collection of the priest's notes on the Pagan and Satanic books.

I had spent the rest of the summer reading them and using the priest's book as a reference. I had come to one basic conclusion that even the priest would have understood, had he compared it to the Viking book. The three books had one major link: a passage about becoming a god, or more specifically immortal. The priest’s book does make a small mention of it at the very end.

Each of the three books had the exact same incantation in them. It was supposed to indirectly make you a god with all the powers a god has. So, silly me decided that I would try it out. Then I stopped. Not yet. I first wanted to find out what had happened to the priest that had been doing the comparisons.

When I called the church, they told me they would get back to me in a few days with the information. I spent those days preparing to attempt the incantation. I noticed something I think the priest had missed because he was only studying the books. The markings that the notes said to put on the wall make a doorway. The exact instructions are as follows: make two horizontal lines, one at knee level and the other at shoulder level; then connect those lines with two vertical lines that are as far apart as the tips of your fingers with your hands fully stretched out; in the centre of the box, draw a circle the size of your fist, and put two horizontal lines spaced the width of your thumb apart through the middle.

I had followed the instructions exactly, and the only part of the incantation left for me to do was recite the passage. I had decided to hold off on this part until I had heard back from the church. They got back to me two days after I had originally called them. Their records indicated that the priest had disappeared without any sign. I knew at that point what had happened. It was a door, and he had gone through it. Now it was my turn, but I was not going to go unprepared. I was planning on coming back.

I went to an army surplus store and purchased a load of supplies. I bought one of those huge duffel bags; a Mag-Lite with about twenty packs of batteries to go with it; a military issue jacket and pants; a machete and a sleeping bag. When the store clerk asked me what I needed all these things for, I told him the truth. I told him I was offered a chance to go on an expedition, and since it was my first one I wanted to be prepared. He left it at that and didn’t ask me anything else.

I only needed to get two more things before I could go. I wasn’t going without a gun or a camera. Since Canadian laws make it so hard to buy a gun, I figured I would go and see one of my friends. He liked hunting deer, so I knew he would have a rifle at least. I just hoped he had some ammunition as well. To my surprise he had a lot. Even better was the fact that he also had two handguns and more bullets than I could shake a stick at.

After I handed him a bullshit story about being stalked, he gave me a 9mm. It really wasn’t the type of gun you would use to kill, but it would stop whatever was coming at you.

The camera was easy to cover. I just stole one from the journalism department at the University. It was one of those fancy jobs with multiple lenses, and it was totally automatic. I felt bad for taking it, but I was going to get the pictures of a lifetime.

I loaded everything into the duffel bag, including the book for the return trip home. Little did I know it didn’t work that way. I was now ready to go into the great unknown. I stood in front of the doorway, with the duffel bag on my shoulder, and recited the passage. The exact words, more or less, sound like gibberish, but loosely translated they roughly go like this:

Approximating man becomes divinity,
In the vein of proceeds into the void,
Reminiscent of evermore develops into never,
Be partial to stillness being converted into harmony.
I pass through of my individual bidding,
I progress unbound in voyage,
Fetch me wherever I without hesitation proceed,
Fetch me wherever I exist proficient of.

Well, that did the trick. The wall opened up forming a doorway. I stepped inside. The next part seemed to last an eternity. I was sucked into a vortex that was multiple shades of swirling greens. I floated straight down the middle and didn’t rotate at all. It wasn’t even like I was being pulled. It was more like drifting slowly down in a parachute.

In reality, as soon as I stepped in I was stepping out of the other side. The vortex had put me into an alien world. This world had a red sky, pink plants and yellow hillsides. At first I saw no sign of life, but then this giant bat-like thing came swooping at me out of the sky. I managed to drop to the ground and avoid it at the last moment.

I pulled the gun out of my jacket and started firing at it, but as far as I could tell I missed. The gunshots scared it off though. The gunfire had also attracted the attention of a group of six individuals about half a mile away. They started heading towards me as I was unknowingly heading towards them.

It had been ten minutes before we ran into each other, and let me tell you I had never been so freaked out in my life. Two of them were clearly human. One looked like a werewolf. Another one was, I believe the term is weretiger (like a werewolf, but a tiger instead), and the other two were lizard men. I was scared shitless, but the humans managed to calm me down just enough so that I wouldn‘t try to shoot the others.

It was getting close to nighttime and they decided to stop early to make camp and tell me their stories. They had all ended up there the same way as me, but none of them had been as prepared as I was. Also, the supplies they had brought had run out a long time ago. It was the core of their story that blew my mind.

They told me that they had been travelling for close to three years. They were trying to reach an ancient city they called Aspiration. This city had a library that contained every mystical book known of in the galaxy, and they hoped that one of these books would have the doorway back to their homes. What really scared me was the reason why they wanted to leave. The reason things on this world became god-like was because almost everything on the world was a vampire.

Now, we all know the story of Dracula and Lestat (the one from Interview with a Vampire), but those stories have nothing on these real vampires. Now granted, not all of them are the big, evil vampire types, but most of them are.

Then Minitintefy, the tiger/human-looking thing, told me about the rules that govern these vampires. They had learned these rules from talking to the “good” vampires, or they had found out on their own.

For starters, simply being bit by a vampire will make any type of creature into a vampire. This is so because the serum that’s in their teeth gets injected into the blood stream of their victim. The only exception to this is if they completely drain the body of blood. In that case the body dies. Becoming a vampire does not automatically make you evil. All vampires choose to live the way they want. The only reason most become evil is because they are under the control of the vampire who made them. Only when that vampire is killed is the control broken.

Any type of supernatural power a vampire might have is either passed down from its creator or learned over time. Flight is a good example of this. If a creature is bitten by a bat, they won’t know how to fly without wings. However, if they are bitten by a person that knows how to levitate, they will automatically know how to levitate as well.

Different worlds also affect powers. In some worlds it is always night, so a vampire always has the ability to use all of his powers. On other worlds it’s always day, and the vampires can’t use their powers at all, which also means that sun light can’t kill them. It basically only slows them down and hinders their powers.

As for the whole drinking blood to survive story, well, it is true, but not to the extent that Hollywood makes it out to be. A vampire only needs blood once every twenty-eight Earth days or so. It can also be any type of blood: human, cow, cat, dog, or whatever is available. Vampires can also eat real food, but in their earlier years it’s harder for them to digest. As they get older they get stronger, and with that, so does their digestive systems.

Hurting a vampire is easy. Anything that can hurt a living creature can hurt a vampire, whether it's a bullet, sharp objects, or explosions. Even the odd religious incantations hurt them. Forget the whole crucifix and holy water bullshit. They aren’t demonic creatures like movies make them out to be. Killing a vampire is a different story altogether.

If you put anything through their heart or head, and it gets lodged in there, it will knock them out for as long as it’s in there. The vampire body does have a high immune system though, so it can heal a wound quickly. Vampires can also remove things like bullets or other smaller objects from their body. However, the one thing Hollywood did get half right was the stake through the heart. That is the best way to stun vampires because they can’t seem to remove objects like that on their own. I think it’s because it goes through the whole body, so there is no way for the heart to push it out.

The only way to flat out kill a vampire is to make sure it can’t rebuild itself at all. In other words, burn it to nothing but ashes and then scatter the ashes into the wind. Sure, there are some other ways as well, but that method seems to be the easiest.

Now, I have created vampires that follow the Hollywood rules, but I'm not going to talk about that right now. I'm going to tell you about how I came to be a vampire. It's an interesting story, but I even have a hard time believing it myself.

Over the next fourteen days, I travelled with them until we made it to Aspiration. The town was empty when we arrived, but it was also the middle of the day. It took us a few hours to find the library, and by then it was sundown. So, we all went in and barricaded the door.

It took us two days to find what we had been looking for, but it had only taken the vampires two days to figure out that we were there. That night, they attacked by coming in through the roof. We did the best we could to stop them, but it wasn't enough.

The two animal-like people were the first ones to go. The vampires didn't even bother to try and convert them. They just tore them limb from limb, and then drank their blood. The other humans didn't fair much better either, but the lizard men put up one hell of a fight.

I watched the two of them take down at least a dozen vampires before they had even broken a sweat. I was trying my best to hold the vampires off as well, but every time I had to reload my gun one of those blood sucking bastards would get that much closer to me. In the end the vampires got the lizard people and myself, but not without taking heavy casualties of their own.

The only reason I wasn't killed was because one single man saved me. His name was Raven. He came into the library with a blowtorch and lit anything that moved on fire. He grabbed me and pulled me out with the book as the building burned. Sadly, he was stricken down during the battle. Well, that might not be the right term. He was bitten from behind.

I had at that point regained my wits and was able to start fighting back again. I guess that Raven had killed whatever vampire it was that had bit me because I was under my own control.

The blood bath ended just after sunrise, and the only two still standing were Raven and myself. The library had caught fire and burned to the ground, taking any vampires inside with it.

We spent the next day or so keeping the fire going just to be on the safe side. By the end of the second day, there wasn't anything left of the library. All that we were burning at that point came from elsewhere.

I spent two weeks reading the book and preparing the incantation to return home. Raven kept guard during that time, and when I was ready we both went through the vortex I created.

Now, I wasn't the most knowledgeable in this field at the time, and the particular incantation I used was more complex than the one I used to get to the vampire home world. It had half a dozen different parts to it that I managed to get almost perfect, but I did make one mistake. I sent Raven and myself back to Earth at the wrong time.

We ended up on Earth around 10,000 BC, and I had no way to fix it at that time. So, I had twelve centuries to kill before I would get back to where I was before I left. And let me tell you, it was a very long time.

Raven and I talked for some time when we first arrived, and we shared many stories. He was the one who gave me my name. I had told him that my nickname on the rugby team I played for was Blake "The Haze" Ashbrook. He said that I should just shorten it to Blaze.

It blew my mind when I found out that Raven was his real name. Apparently, his mother was a fan of Edgar Allen Poe and named him after the poem. He said, "I love my name. It's just kind of out there, instead of being way out there like my stoner father was." He also told me about how he ended up at the library when he did.

After a few centuries had gone by, we parted ways and went to explore the world on our own. I ended up in Egypt around the time the pyramids were being built. When I was there, I had uncovered a few different stories of travellers from other worlds. I studied them, and found out ways to travel from world to world. I also discovered a way to control the universe, but the information was incomplete.

There is one funny story about the pyramids that I like. The first ones were built to house god-like creatures, not pharaohs that died. Also, a Jewish man, who was really stoned on opium, created the sphinx. Granted, when I first saw the sphinx it did have a nose, and let me tell you, it looks better without it.

It was hard to stay out of history's way though. Raven and I had made a pact to meet up with each other at certain points in time. One of which was when Jesus started his preaching, but that is a different story altogether.

We also made a deal that we would only make one vampire each, but only after we had got the hang of being one ourselves. I broke that rule later, but I swear I made up for it.

The last time I ran into Raven was in England, during the Jack the Ripper murders. Let me tell you, that was quite the experience. We both knew everything about the murders, like the times and places, but even we couldn't find the person causing them. We did later on though, and you wouldn't believe who it was.

More importantly, when we met up at that time Raven had found the one he wanted to become a vampire, and so did I. I had also found the sect of Vikings, and was able to read one of the original books. There was one important incantation in them. It was one that allowed greater gods (vampires) to give freedom to lesser gods.

I used it on our new companions, and they are now members of the band I formed. I formed it in 1964, in New York. We went by the name Blaze's CJ Style. CJ and Styles are the names of the other two vampires. CJ is a piano player, and Styles is a drummer. The name won't change until the 1980's. Tonight, we are going to play our last show and then take a break for a few years. Tonight, we're also playing a very special song called “Birth of a Nightmare.”

That's why I came here, to watch myself be born. It sets the mood for singing about my life. It has been a wild ride, and I can't wait to see where it goes next. Some people are scared by a nightmare. I'm not one of them.

The one thing that has always been hard about being in a band was staying off any major labels. I did get to open for some of my favourite bands, and hang out with some great musicians. By the way, drugs aren't as much fun for vampires, they wear off really fast. Because of that, I can say that I'm the only musician to ever do more drugs than Keith Richards and live.

I can also say that I've had more then my fair share of chicks over the years. The only thing that sucked about that was that I also caught more than my share of sexually transmitted diseases. Thank god for my vampire immune system. Most people would have to get shots; I only had to wait it out for a day.

Well, I must go. I have a sound check in twenty minutes. Maybe I'll have you for dinner one night. You seem like you'd be great.

copyright © 2006 Christian J. Eschbach