Crimson Shadow: Noir
The darkness seemed to stretch on forever. It encased and bled into Xander, making him blind even to his own thoughts. As he tried to focus, he became aware of a distant sound, followed by another, and then again by another—each time becoming louder. Ahead of him the darkness rippled as a figure emerged, and the red fabric of Depok’s robe became visible as he stepped into an invisible source of clarity. The darkness unveiled Depok’s smiling face and Xander couldn’t help but return the smile as he hurried towards him; the clan leader’s arms opened to him.
He continued forth, beginning to feel at last like he belonged, when suddenly a portion of Depok’s face peeled off and fluttered to his feet. Watching in shock, more bits of the still smiling—still waiting—vampire fell away, until Xander finally recognized the strips as paper; pages from the library’s dusty books! He looked up, horrified, at Depok moments before he suddenly burst in flames.
Startled, Xander fell back and watched as the clan leader’s face—still wearing the same caring, welcoming smile—melted away and exposed a grinning, chattering skull. His arms were still held open in an invitation as more and more sheets of burning paper fell. Xander rose to his feet to flee, and, before turning away, caught sight of the vampire elder’s dwindling arms as they snapped and fell from his body.
As he hurried away from the all-consuming fire, Xander could suddenly hear the blood chilling screams.
The darkness went on forever! No matter how far he ran there was nothing but infinite blackness surrounding him. And the screams followed! They closed in on him no matter how fast he ran, until finally they caught up to him, knocking him off his feet and drowning him in a thick, red noise that turned sticky and warm and seeped into him.
He tossed and shook, trying to free his body from the weight of the tragedy that was creeping into him. When he saw there was no salvation from the cries he looked up at the source—into the void above him—and saw them.
And there, in the abyss, Xander saw his mother.
All of them were crying; weeping bloody tears that fell onto his face and dripped into his open, horrified mouth.
And then he felt the hunger.
It was agonizing! He’d never felt so empty; so devoid of nutrition. Desperately he began thrashing within the suffocating darkness. There had to be a way out, had to be some way to find something—someone—to eat.
Xander? The voice in his head seemed distantly familiar.
Something skittered and made a noise by his ear.
He ignored it.
He had to eat! Had to find a way out! A way to escape the haunting nightmare! Damn it, he could still hear their screams!
His searching hands found something in the darkness; something long and smooth. He was about to throw it until he smelled the sweetness. Such sweetness. He pulled the prize to his nostrils and inhaled. The sweetness was contained within it; inside the cylinder. Blindly examining with his fingers he found a lid on one side and eagerly twisted it off and poured the contents into his mouth.
The taste of blood was not foreign to him.
Whether it was an innocent drop on his tongue after prying a loose tooth free or something more violent, he was more than used to the sickening, metallic taste. But this time was different. This time it was more than just the taste. His entire body seized as he emptied the contents of the cylinder into his mouth. Invigorated, he swallowed the small mouthful, the blood traveling down his throat and pushing a groan from his esophagus. As the rich substance sank into him, a jolt of life flooded over him.
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Crimson Shadow: Noir
Xander Stryker wants to die.
Ever since witnessing his mother's murder at the hands of his abusive stepfather when he was a boy, he has spent every day trying to reach that goal. But every night he's denied the death he craves.
As his eighteenth birthday approaches, a chance for change is offered when his life is plunged into a supernatural world of vampires and other creatures of darkness. Caught in the depths of this new reality, mysteries of his vampiric lineage begin to unravel and he’s offered the ultimate choice: Continue on with his wretched human life or begin a new one as the vampire prodigy he was always meant to be.
Unfortunately, the supernatural world can be just as unforgiving and brutal as any other and Xander's choice is met with disastrous consequences. Now, with a little support and even less hope, the chaos of his new world collides with his torturous past and threatens to crush him once and for all.
Will Xander be able to use his new strength to conquer his fears, or will he succumb to his own darkness. . .
. . . and allow it to finally destroy him.
Nathan Squiers (The Literary Dark Emperor and the author formally known as “Prince”) is a resident of Upstate New York. Living with his loving fiancé/fellow author, Megan J. Parker, and two incredibly demanding and out-of-control demon-cats, Nathan lives day-by-day on a steady diet of potentially lethal doses of caffeine. When he isn’t immersed in his writing, he often escapes reality through horror and/or action movie marathons, comic books & graphic novels, Japanese anime & manga, and gnarly tunes. While out-and-about, The Literary Dark Emperor can be found in the chair of a piercing studio/tattoo parlor or simply loving life with friends & loved ones.
Find Nathan's work on Amazon HERE and on SmashWords HERE.
Follow Nathan on Twitter: @LitDark_Emperor