The Cold Ones

by Richard Pitaniello © 2003

I never thought I'd come to miss the sunshine, being a vampire and all. I knew I'd miss the moon though. It was so beautiful, especially with vision as good as mine. The grays, the whites, mixing together like monochromic pastels. I miss the stars too. I could see so many more of them than normal people. But they're gone, along with the rest of the universe.

It started ten years ago--at least, that's when we first noticed it. One star missing among the billions. We figured it was the astronomer's fauult. Then a second vanished. Then a third. Then a dozen. That we noticed anyway. How many others have vanished that we don't know about I can't say. We didn't start to worry until we woke up one morning and a galaxy was gone.

Given the number of stars in the universe, the rate at which they vanished was astounding. Which made us wonder: how much longer until it got to us.

Worry turned to fear when the Big Dipper disappeared. Fear turned to panic when all that was left in the sky was nine planets and Proxima Centauri. Rioting began when the second to last star fizzled out, leaving only the sun and the rest of the solar system. Worldwide martial law soon followed. A million died, even before the wars began. The entire world had already mobilized long ago. At the time, we didn't think we'd be using it against ourselves. Disagreements on how to handle the situation broke the world into factions. A few of them went about their business. More commonly, they would try to "unite" everyone by force. Things degenerated.

Three billion died the nuclear fires. Meanwhile, Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus had all vanished right before the missiles launched. Saturn and Jupiter were gone when the United States fell. The asteroid belt ceased to exist shortly afterwards. All that was left was Mars, Venus, and Mercury--and the moon, our beacon in the darkness. Soon Mars had left us. You'd think we would be next, but no. The moon was taken. It was just like an eclipse. It took fifteen minutes. Venus went next, then Mercury. The sun took longer than the moon. There were few left to watch. By now radioactive fallout and nuclear winter were setting in anyway. A handful of humanity was left alive to clutch each other in the pitch, a darkness beyond all they had ever known. They died holding each other, and their bodies soon froze together, statues. The human race was over.

Which left us.

The Cold Ones. Creatures of the night. Vampires, who now need not fear day. Ghosts, banished to the Material Plane, soon to lose their only home. Demoniacs, the possessed, warmed by the fires of Hell. Zombies, wandering aimlessly, left without instruction by the voodoo priests who had raised them from the dead and who had long since died themselves. The Wendigo, the demon of the North who snatches people and runs across the treetops with them. Monsters from the Stygian depths of the now frozen oceans, who bored through the ice and spread themselves out on land for the first time in eons. Our powers keep us from freezing. We could endure the cold of even Dante's Cocytus. We could endure this.

Another of my kind once said, "You cannot make everyone a hunter. Who would be left to hunt?" Who indeed. Many of us are starving. We cannot die from hunger or thirst, but we can feel pain. We are in agony. Some try to feed on each other, but our own flesh cannot sustain us. We need flesh and blood. All of it is sealed inside the frozen bodies of the last of humanity. We asked the demoniacs to use their hellfire to melt the blood, but they refused. They soon left us, the banished, going back to Hell. But not before we were told the truth.

It's ironic that eternal blackness came from the Light. Satan is innocent, for once. The Lamb is to blame. God made himself human thousands of years ago. Just like in those old Conan stories, when ethereal beings make themselves flesh they become subject to the laws of the flesh. But they can't change back.

They can keep their powers, they can be the most powerful creatures in the world, but they are mortal, trapped on the Material Plane. They are bound by the rules that govern all living things. Demons that possess people are exempt because they are formless, like ghosts, and they are not expelled from the Afterlife like ghosts are. People who say God is dead were half right--he is dying. Once asleep, now he has awakened, and he is bound by laws he made for us. Sleep. Fear.


I have no idea how many calories the universe has, but it won't be enough. Infinite power requires infinite energy. What will happen when earth is gone? Will God die once again, this time forever? Will he leave a ghost? Or cease to exist, leaving the universe a void? Leaving the universe to us? We are not subject to laws of the flesh, at least not to all of them, at least not to death. Only God can kill us now. Will he kill us all? Can he still kill us all, having no doubt grown so weak?

I smile.


It would seem that we have finally won the battle between light and dark. God is dying. We alone shall exist to rule . . .

. . . to rule a universe that no longer exists.

I frown.

There is nothing left for us, all of us chained to the Material Plane. All that awaits us is hunger and thirst.

Who really won the battle? I cannot say.

But we are the Cold Ones, and we alone still live.

x x x

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