Working on my novel “Desert Vampire,” a horror romance. Here is the prologue…
The fall of October Riyadh Saudi Arabia
In the trembling moments before dawn when darkness had not yet fled from the skies, a chilling scream filled the compound startling the prisoners awake to their dismal confines, to their inescapable fate. The horrifying screams bellowed in tandem with torturous howls evoking fears, superstitions, and the hissing prayers ushered from the lips of the damned in desperate efforts to silence the anomalistic cries. Somewhere among the filthy bowels of those who were forsaken, the frantic pleas of one woman’s suffering mounted the cold miserable airs like an ambitious storm. Female prisoners scurried, huddling together beneath the reign of terror, hands clapping over ears to shut out the chilling sounds, bulging eyes peering out over soiled veils stinging with tears blinking blindly in the dismal blackness enshrouding them. The tormented cries wailing in octaves that suffered no words penetrated the senses of all who heard them. Even the desert dogs flinched at the beastly howls pitched in the darkness before the dawn as each deranged shriek echoed another worsened, intensified. The brutal bellowing sounded like that of a captured animal suffering a slow gutting for the consumption of its captors.
“Leave her be!” warned the old woman clutching Morah’s arm. Her thin wrinkled eyelids rose to reveal a black glare that bore no empathy as she stared at the younger woman. “She will pass before the mu’adhdhin,” she said, rubbing her black gums together like two hands eagerly anticipating the grievous plight of the girl suffering.
“What do you know?” Morah sneered angrily, yanking her arm out of the old woman’s bony grasp. She stared at the girl writhing on the floor reaching for the help of shadows that did not emerge. Her name was Sefrah the youngest amongst them sentenced to death. Morah had suspected she was no more than thirteen years of age when she cast into the cell of criminals a few months earlier. She claimed an angel had ravished her, forcing a child inside her when the family doctor had discovered that she was twelve weeks pregnant. Rumors of her sordid story compelled even the most pious to return to the pages of the past for answers unrevealed, futile were the quests of those faltering in faith searching for some hidden atrocity that might release this child to her parents. It was the court ruling that she had fornicated with a man or boy who she was protecting with her wild tale of spiritual insemination and for such crimes; she would pay the excruciating price of two hundred lashings and face her execution after the birth of her bastard child.
Morah rushed to her side. Kneeling over the girl, she wiped away the bloody tears with the hem of her abaya. “You must stop screaming,” she warned, cupping her hand over Sefrah’s mouth. Knowing that doctors did not visit the condemned, Morah tried to stifle her cries. Another flogging before those lacerations on her back had the chance to heal would perhaps kill the girl whose head struggled from side to side whipping both she and Morah in the face with her long wet tresses. “Settle down!” she said, cradling her stricken contorted face. “It will be alright, Sefrah. Shhhh…” However, even as Morah lulled the young girl in her protective embrace she knew that her desperate words were lies. Blood seeping from between the girl’s legs gushed out onto the cold concrete floor into the drain hole that seemed to guzzle her hemorrhaging womb with an evil thirst. The baby was coming months too soon!
Frantically searching the faces of their cellmates Morah’s eyes began to well. Tears rushed down her cheeks as she realized that no one cared, no one wanted to help. She was alone in her efforts to care for the young girl whose twisted figured flailing about appeared possessed beneath the sudden light of day that poured into the high window like a pillar fallen from heaven. “Is it not enough the kingdom had condemned her that you all must also?” she wept, reaching her palm out towards the other women. It was useless. No one amongst them would dare help the girl or even look her in the eyes for fears and superstitions that they too would become prey to the entity that had assaulted her. “Cowards!” she hissed, pointing her finger at the huddling lot. She knew there were midwives amongst them. Children were born buried beneath the forbidden sands all the time. Only this time, the child of an accused angel was emerging from its womb and every woman was stricken with fear! “Fools!” she accused, suddenly she began laughing and weeping at the same time. It was absurd that they could not see or fathom that the girl was innocent. Obviously, a family friend or member had raped her. Either way, she was going to die for the crime against her! Could not one of them find sympathy in this forsaken hour? She thought hysterically weeping while cradling Sefrah.
A sudden deep-throated growl emerged between her fingers. Sefrah was involuntarily pushing. Quickly Morah set her head down and perched herself between the girls spread legs. Thick piles of blood gushed over her bare feet. “Push harder Sefrah!” she said, reaching towards the crowning head of the child. “Breathe deep and push again!”
“I can’t!” she cried, “It’s stuck!”
“You can! Push hard!” Morah’s hands were on the baby’s head soft downy black hair bloody at her fingertips. She could not grasp enough of the child to pull. Sefrah had to push the child out! Morah reached up placing her hand over the girl’s face blocking her air forcing her to push for every breath.
Grunting, Growling and struggling to breathe each gurgling gesture pushed the infant’s head out. Panting and pleading, Morah instructed her to keep pushing. She could see the girl’s face turning pale her soft complexion losing life with each minute painfully passing. Crying and grunting in unison of one another, at last, the child’s entire head had protruded. Morah reached down and pulled the slippery baby from its mother.
Weeping with relief, she quickly studied the infant. It was a boy; his soft hair blacker than a crow’s feathers, his skin tone as white as a dove and eyes that sparkled of blue sapphire. He was in all perfect form beautiful, angelic! Suddenly a rush of hissing whispers filled the cell in a random instant. The infant was immortal, inhuman, a demon! The accusations swirled in ambitious winds around Morah, Sefrah, and the premature baby. Ignoring the bickering women Morah gazed down baby sweeping her finger over his tiny hand and instantly his miniature fingers clutched around hers. She gasped in awe staring at the newly born child whose eyes blinked with a peculiar awareness, unnatural curiosity. “He lives!” cried Sefrah, weakly reaching for her son. Smiling, Morah placed his small body atop his mother’s young breast watching as his little mouth latched on suckling. It was a miracle that he survived she thought, her tears splashing the cheeks of Sefrah whose eyes stared up at her in grief. “I’m scared.” Her voice trembled, “I don’t want to die,” she whispered, clutching at Morah’s veil. “I am so cold.”
Helplessly Morah watched as the girl’s eyes slowly ebbed farther and farther away from that place where only cold, damp, darkness and danger abided. She knew even as she watched the miracle baby suckling for life that his young mother was quickly expiring. Suddenly her hand loosened its frail grip, her eyes rolled back behind the swollen lids and her heart stopped beating. In that very instant the baby shrieked aloud for the first time, his miniature lungs howled piercing the cold airs wailing for his dead mother. Without hesitation, Morah grabbed the screaming child up into her arms swaddling him with her veil. Before she could scamper off into a corner of the cell, she noticed that Sefrah’s nipple was bleeding. There were two small puncture holes leaking blood. Stunned, she looked down at the tiny boy in her arms. His eyes stared back intensely, his tiny mouth no longer screaming, dripped of blood. She quickly wiped it away, smearing it with her fingertip allowing him to suckle the dirty digit. Making certain that the others had not seen, she covered Sefrah’s body and scurried off to the farthest corner of the cell where she held precious the newborn.
“You should have listened,” the old woman clacked her gums shaking her head as the mu’adhdhin beckoned the call to prayer.”
Copyright © 2018 by Laila M Ireland