Hollowed

Alexander Knight is the Strigoi's most treasured and skilled assassin. When Alexander wants to be relieved of his duties to be with the love of his life, his master assigns him one final task that will put love and loyalty to the test.

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1. Chapter 1

I closed my eyes as the cool night air whipped across my face, blowing through the world’s endless abyss. Leaves rustled in the wind but that was all the noise that I could hear tonight. Usually I could hear the dying screams of a poor civilian who had ceased to accomplish his duties. His blood spilling out of his throat as it was ripped apart by one of the savage Strigoi, a breed of vampires that had long over ruled the human world.

 Blood, war and death had spread across our land like a deadly plague and had wiped off over 80 percent of the human population. Starving and famished, men and women fled to other districts, in a desperate search for food and shelter, desperate for protection. They lived in constant fear, constant agony; their lives hanging by a single thread.  Many killed themselves, anxious for a way to escape the hell the Strigoi had brought upon us.

 I could still remember the feeling of fear, worry, agony and pain as if it were yesterday. The images of my parents lying on the bed, their throats ripped open with not a single drop of blood or life left in them. I had not screamed, nor had I cried, I had just sat in the corner, saying nothing nor did I do anything. I have not shed a single tear to this day and that scares me more than anything, this monster I have become; emotionless and cold.

 I can’t help the monster I have become, it’s in me, infecting me; eating me up from inside; out. The disease that ran through my veins was a constant reminder of who I was and it made me sick and disgusted with myself. I was one of them, or at least half of me was. I was a Dhampir, a cross between a human and a vampire. An abomination. I was created to kill and all my life, I have done my job better than any man should ever. There was once a time where I had thought emotions were beneath me, that they hurt me but I long since learned from that.

 All I have left in this hell is my job and my beautiful wife, Evelyn. If she were to die, I would have no purpose to live. But times are hard and no woman wants a man who kills for a living, even if that is the only way to ensure her protection. I am torn between the love of my life and a job that I could not turn my back on. But I loved her, and I am willing to go toe-to-toe with the master for her.

                                                                               

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  “You want to quit?” He barks. I flinch from the stench of his breath; blood, death and decay. I feared for my life but did not show it. If he saw weakness, he’d use it against me.

 “Yes, sire. I want to be relieved of my duties,” I bow my head in respect as he takes a step closer.

 “Do you really think I would let my best knight run off and quit to be with some girl? That is rather absurd, don’t you think?” Spit flies across and lands on my cheek. I resist the urge to wipe the disgusting fluid off my face.

 “Sir, I think it is rather rational after my many years loyal of service,” I said, softly, not wanting him to take it the wrong way and lash out at me.

 “Hmmm, the boy has point,” I turn to the Chancellor. He was a scrawny old man with a beard that went on for centuries and looked in desperate need of a wash.

 The masters’ blood shot eyes narrowed at the Chancellor and back at me. Whatever he was thinking it could be better than nothing. The fact that I could see the wheels turning in his head meant he was at least considering the idea.

 “Listen to me, boy. I have no interest in letting you leave your duties for a girl, especially a lowly farmers daughter but I am quite sure you, being a very honoured and respected knight, will stab me in the back if I do not grant your wishes. I will think about it, child, but for now, you serve, understood?” My heart skipped a beat as I nodded. I was an assassin yet I felt like jumping up and down like a little school girl, how farfetched.

I bow and walk away as two guard follow close behind me. I may be the most respected knight but the master is not foolish enough to let me roam his kingdom, unguarded.

  “She will be the death of you, boy! There will be a hollow hole in you the day you come to your senses, and fear not, that is very soon,” the Chancellor’s voice roars behind me. I freeze but do not turn around. He was infamous for his wild mood swings and this was not the first time he “prophesized” something. I resume walking, refusing to let that old bat get to me.

 

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 I was practically bouncing on my feel as I waited outside the master’s bureau. It could either be a good thing, or a bad thing. Whatever the consequences, I was ready for them.

 I walked in; my head bowed down and waited for him to break the news to me.              

   “I have thought about your proposition and it cannot work,” he said, blandly. My face fell and all hope in me plummeted to the ground. “She is a serf, a peasant. She is nothing to me nor should she be to you.”

   “But, sir-”

   “I was not done yet,” he snapped. I closed my mouth and let him continue. “You will be relived of your duties on one condition. You are to murder the girl and bring her head to me,” Time froze and all became quiet in the room. My heart stopped beating and my lungs refused to take a breath. “She has something that she shouldn’t. she has committed treason!”

  “That is barbaric!” I explode. “She is my wife, I will not kill her.”  The master’s face grew a dark shade of red and I felt the cold, harsh lash of a slap across my face.

 “How might she have committed treason” I snapped, anger taking over me.

  “She preaches about the past, about peace and love. She talks of nonsense, infecting the minds of foolish girls and drunken men. She speaks against what you disgraceful lot have been taught!” He snaps back.

  “She brings them hope! That maybe one day we will live in a proper society!” I bellowed.

 “It is heresy! This conversation is over. You will accomplish your final task, no questions asked,” with that, he strode out, leaving me shaken with fury.

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 It was the day of the execution. That monster was making it into a public execution; one for all to see. He wanted Evelyn and I to be an example, what would happen if you were to have hope, if you were to fall in love. I watched as they brought her up to the stand her face a mask of sorrow and fear. I couldn’t bear to see her face when she sees me, standing over top her, blade ready. I was weak with grief, barely able to pick up my sword.

 The stage was chaos, people throwing stones at her, others protesting against the execution; and then there was her father. Tears fell down his face like a waterfall; he would drown in his own tears before he would see his daughter killed. After a long moment, the crowd settled down and I heard my name called from the overhead. Evelyn’s face turned into a mask of surprise and rage. She barked threats and curses at me but none hit so hard as the last.

  “I curse the day I ever met you Alexander Knight. I curse the days I ever loved you,” I froze and stared down at her. Of course she hated me, I was about to bring her to her death. But there was one thing that she did not know; no one hated me more than I.

 I could feel my arm lift the sword even though I did not want to. The beast was hungry, hungry for blood and death and only Evelyn would cease its hunger. I could hear her heart beat rapidly against her soft, supple skin. Oh, how I longed to caress it, to touch it, to kiss it. The beast ignored my pleas for it to stop, raising the sword higher. The silver hilt gleamed with perfection, the ruby’s glistening happily. The whole world slowed down, not a bird chirped, nor a cricket whispered. With held breaths, the crowd watched in fascination and shock. Sweat dripped down my brow as the beast raged within, beating me from inside out, desperate for escape.

 “DO IT!” Evelyn screamed. “Release me from this pathetic life, this wretched world.” My throat closed up, saliva vanished from my throat, choking me. Slightly turning her face, she looked at me. Hatred called to me from within her eyes, not an ounce of love was left. Her eyes were cold and dead, her voice bitter with loathing and disgust.

 “I would rather die than breathe the same air as you,” With that, she spit in my face, never breaking eye contact.

 “Perdonen mi he pecado,” I whispered. Her eyes widened slightly, her bright blue eyes filling with tears. Swallowing regret and guilt, I continued.

“Perdonen mi yo os he amado. Perdonen mi he esperado. Me perdone.” Closing my eyes, I could feel that time was running out, only seconds till the beast would be released.  Breathing in, the beast took over.

  I could feel the impatience stir within me. With a final glance at the love of my life I close my eyes and drop. Drop the blade. Colors swirled in my vision, none as persistent as the bright red the flashed everywhere. My heart stopped beating, my hand shook but my body was immobilized. The blade fell out of my hand and fell with a loud clatter to the ground. No warmth remained with me, the cold eating away at my body, burning my lungs. I try to claw at my throat, try to breathe but I was stuck, stuck in shock. Never had I ever shed a tear; not till now. I single hot tear rolled down my cheek, leaving disgusting burning warmth in its wake. Not a sob was sounded nor a cry released.

 “What’s wrong with the lot of you? It is over, back to work!” The master yelled. Never turning their backs they slowly departed, stopping to stare at the blood splattered across my clothes, my hands, my face. Staring at the lifeless, decapitated body that remained of her.

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 Hours after, I still stood on the wooden floor of the execution ground. Her body had already been disposed of, god knows where. Never will I ever forget the look in her eyes, the bitter surprise, and the cold anger. Disgusted with myself, I felt another hot tear roll down my cheek. The Chancellor had been right. Love has been the death of me, she killed me. I murdered her with my blade; she murdered me with her death. Nothing but a hollow shell is left of me, forever to roam the world till the end. Forever to remember that a man I am not, but a monster. No better than the ones that once ravaged the streets, eating child in front of a mother. I am the monster under your bed, the monster in the closet. I am me.

 “Forgive me for I have sinned. Forgive me for I have loved. Forgive me for I have hoped. Forgive me,” I whisper into the wind, singing the prayer for the final time. Staring at the blood for the last time, covering every inch of me, I turn around, leaving myself behind. Leaving Alexander Knight behind. Now I am a man that will never love, never hope, never feel. I am a man, hollowed.

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