*Part 01: Vampire in the National Park
I am a writer and painter devoted to the subject of myths, dreams, terror, superstition and the strange. I am currently working on a series of papers that focus on the gruesome events that occurred in (Redacted) National Park, Alberta, Canada.
This first series of papers will delve into the mythology that has persisted through the eons.
-Here be Dragons-
You are asked to imagine massive snow-capped mountain ranges that sweep the breathtaking landscape in every which way you happen to look; visualize a high altitude wind swept steppe interspersed with turquoise lakes. This is the roof of the world, the Tibetan Plateau. Now imagine for a moment that it is a breezy and overcast spring afternoon. There is a child wrapped in double-layered robes who is stomping through melting snow. That rambunctious kid is me. The year was 1988 and this is where my lifelong obsession would begin. An obsession with things that should not exist, things that stand defiant in our understanding of the world, things that invoke mind-blasting terror on those who would gaze upon it with naive eyes.
My foot caught in a small opening in the ground, my forward momentum causing me to land on my hands and knees. I corrected myself, wiped off the snow and dirt off my clothing and peered into the hole. Something grabbed my attention: stuck in the permafrost was an oddly shaped rock. Fishing out my pocket knife, I removed it from the frozen soil. The object was not a rock but rather a bronze amulet. The amulet depicted the head and face of a creature that resembled a man, but there was something distinctly inhuman about it. It was ghoulish and malevolent. I got the impression that this object was very old. A tremendous gust of wind nearly knocked me over backwards onto the ground; I quickly pocketed the amulet and made my way back to the monastery.
My journey was in haste as the wind continued to accost me with its cold and bitterness. But it was the slowly increasing sense of dread that seemingly came out of nowhere. I felt as though I was being watched by someone. I stopped in my tracks and glanced at my surroundings, not a soul was in sight. Soon pictures began to form in my brain, images of ancient ruins from some unknown point in time. In a recess, I glimpsed something that caused my heart to nearly leap from my chest. A draped form standing in the shadows. I could make out a face that was partially concealed by a hood that hung down at the brow. What I could see was skin that was pale like freshly fallen snow with thin-cracked lips that curled back to reveal sharp teeth. And just as soon as the images blinked into my imagination, they vanished like any other fleeting thought.
It wasn't until later that night I would bare witness to a grisly and nightmarish sight. I recall tossing and turning in my sleep, I kept hearing strange noises on the wind that never let up. I was jealous and frustrated that the others were sleeping so peacefully. I was feeling very thirsty so I decided to go get some water; just as I began to sit up, a tall and lanky shape emerged from the shadows. It was an emaciated thing in tattered robes whose face was concealed by a hood. I spotted two glimmering pinpoints of red lights in its sunken black eyes. I was frozen in my bed hoping that the thing didn't spot me.
I detected a strange low ringing noise in my ears, like tinnitus, and I swear to you I could hear whispering. It was like a coffin chorus for the damned. A voice broke through.
"I know you're awake."
It was fully aware that it had an audience of one. I was frozen in place, petrified like a scared animal. It began feeding on the children. One by one it clamped its jaws onto their necks, carnivorous teeth plunging through tissue and drawing up blood. The grotesque sound of its feeding, the sudden opening of the victims eyes, confused and terrified at what was happening. And after it was done, it proceeded to swiftly break each of their necks. Their heads were rotated completely around with sickening cracks. Tears were rolling down my cheeks, and the sudden realization that I was the last one hit me like a storm. I wanted to scream, I wanted to race out of the monastery, I wanted to escape.
It raised a bony finger to its lips.
The looming shape approached and knelt down right next to me, moving its head towards me. I became conscious of a distinctive metallic odor, mold and soil. The red shimmering pinpoints in its eyes dilated like an eclipse. It stretched out a pale hand and opened its palm.
A grave and disembodied voice commanded me.
"You have something of mine. Give it back to me, little one."
With trembling hands, I reached under my pillow and withdrew the bronze amulet and placed it onto its waiting palm. The thing closed its fingers around it and stood up; it vanished in the blink of an eye. Leaving me alone in the dark with my dead friends.
Vampires. They are everywhere you look. In movies and television, literature and art, even video games and Halloween costumes. All around the world there is a belief in vampires; ever since the dawn of time, humans have believed in such things. There are so many ancient legends, so many variations of the vampire creature. Some are shambling ghouls who dig themselves up from the ground to feed on the living, others are glamorous sex symbols who charm their victims. Some can even turn into bats or other animals!
Legend would tell you that they burst into flames when exposed to the sun, staking them through the heart is a surefire way of eliminating them, and that they dislike silver and garlic. We are to believe that they cower in fright from religious icons and prayers. Or to prevent the recently deceased from returning, rocks were crudely shoved into their mouth before burial. None of these are accurate or correct. Even if you were able to destroy such a creature, their essence would be carried on the wind only to find another host to inhabit.
Quantum vampires are an outside alien consciousness that can inhabit a physical form and use it as a vehicle for its own purposes. Feeding off of living things to sustain its hold in this existence. But it is impossible to understand the motives of creatures from the spaces between and what they truly want. From my research I have found that there are thirteen that exist in this world scattered across the planet.
There is no secret vampire society or underground cult; if anything, they're isolated and highly territorial. While it is true that there are people out there who worship and venerate them as if they were deities, there is no alliance. We are like cattle to them. They want to draw our blood like a crimson lotus and lap it up with their tongues.
-Lore of The Land-
Just imagine for a moment that you are a time traveler. A visitor through time and space.
Prairie bedrock built of layers of sediment accumulated over a period of tens of millions of years; at one point, they lay submerged beneath an enormous, shallow sea. Speaking in geologic terms, a recent cataclysm, the Rocky Mountains of the west pushed upwards to the sky like otherworldly monoliths. Eventually, land would emerge, a tropical land where the mighty Tyrannosaurus and other massive beasts existed. However, there would come a time where things changed, that was when the ice would arrive.
In the past billion years, there have been at least three ice ages, each one roughly lasting 100,000 years. The ice would advance and retreat. In the last ice age, giant sheets of ice would carry massive rocks and debris to the north and the Rocky Mountains. Eroding and smothering the land. You would hardly see the land, instead a vast ocean of ice and snow would greet you.
Then about 12,000 years ago, the ice began to melt. The land was carved by raging glacial waters creating lakes and rivers. In present time, the beautiful prairies are the result of such a lengthy process. A landscape that consists of gorgeous forests, grasslands, hills and valleys, canyons and wind smoothed hoodoos, and colorful cliffs that reveal different sediment layers. One can see the mighty buffalo grazing on luscious grass, powerful grizzly and black bears journeying through the wilds, coyotes and wolves running about in packs, and stealthy mountain lions stalking the dense brush. It is a primitive landscape that can haunt your imagination with its elegance.
It is known that First Nations people have lived in what is now Canada for at least 15,000 years, although there is evidence that suggests they may have arrived even earlier. For thousands of years, nomadic hunting people followed big animals for food in their desperate struggle to survive. Many groups of these wanderers coalesced into tribes with their own ways of life, their own cultures and beliefs.
This of course serves as a backdrop to something which defies mankind's understanding of the natural world. There is something that exists within the Rocky Mountains and Foothills of Alberta, something that has existed for an unfathomable period of time.
There is an oral tradition that tells the legend of two tribes who were at war with one another over sacred land. One day, the aggressor tribe attacked the keepers of the sacred land. Big Bear the tribal chief of the keepers and his mighty warriors were able to drive off the attackers. But many of his people were killed in the attack, his wife and his son were among the dead. Over time Big Bear became a diminished man who was heartbroken for the loss of his loved ones. He approached a shaman called Stands Alone who wanted to end the war once and for all. Stands Alone knew of an ancient and forbidden ritual that would bring an end to their desperate situation.
On a crisp winter night Big Bear retrieved the body of his deceased son, Little Crow, and with Stands Alone they journey into the foothills where a circle of standing stones have stood since the time of the mist. Little Crow was placed into the soil at the center of the stones, soon green spirit lights began dancing in the sky so high above. The two of them made their way out of the foothills; Stands Alone explained to Big Bear that one of the Great Old Ones would descend from the heavens and inhabit the body of Little Crow, bringing him back to life and to end the war. Afterwards, the Great Old One would return to the sky and Little Crow would be returned.
Several days would go by, Big Bear's tribe continued to be attacked by their enemies losing more of their people. The tribal chief began to lose faith in Stands Alone, believing that the war would never end and his son would never return. One day, the attacks stopped, there was no more desecration of their sacred land, no more loss of his tribe. The tribal chief and the shaman ventured into enemy territory. What they discovered was the sight of forbidden horror. Men, women, old and young, were all found dead. The look of terror was frozen on their faces, there were bite marks on all of their bodies, the blood drained from them, and their heads twisted around.
Only one stood in the falling snow among the dead: it was Little Crow. A great joy overtook his father's heart and he stepped towards the boy. Stands Alone stopped Big Bear; the shaman was concerned. They looked at the little boy who stood in silence watching them with what appeared to be restrained hostility.
Big Bear shouted for his son.
Something was wrong with the child. His eyes were black like the night sky with red starlight in them, his skin was unusually pale, the boys stomach was bulging and bloated, sloshing with its contents. The boy tilted his head and stared directly at his father and grinned, his teeth were sharp like arrow tips.
The boy spoke, but it was not his voice.
"Little Crow is in here, but it is not he who responds."
Stands Alone got in between father and son, he knew something was wrong. Their enemies were slain, the war as over, the task completed, the Great Old One should have released the boy.
"In the name of our ancestors I command you to leave the boy. You must return him to his father and you must go back."
Little Crow snarled and clenched his blood soaked hands.
"I am older than men. I am older than the mountains and rivers. I am older than your world. I am eternal. Do not call things into your realm that you cannot send back!"
Little Crow pounced onto the shaman and bit down on his neck, drinking his very life and snapping the old man's neck. Big Bear attempted to restrain the boy but Little Crow threw him down into the snow.
"I am the infinite thirst. I am the darkness from beyond the stars. I will return to your tribe and satiate my hunger. And you will watch!"
And so Little Crow returned to the tribe later that night, dragging his screaming father by his feet. The boy, who was being driven by the Great Old One began attacking everyone. Unbeknownst to Little Crow, there was another shaman who foresaw this. A box was constructed from granite and wood, it was then filled with soil from the standing stones. Soon the song of beating drums and chanting men calling for their ancestors to aid in their time of need filled the air. Just as the sun began rising in the morning sky, Little Crow was blinded by it and forced into his prison of stone and wood and sealed within. It was hidden in a dark cave at the base of a mountain and sealed away.
Three hundred years ago, a group of French alchemists who were obsessed with immortality, heard the legend of Little Crow and began seeking out his burial site. They made a black pilgrimage into the Rocky Mountains. During their journey they performed a hymn. They discovered the sarcophagus that was hidden away for thousands of years and loosed him onto the world. Little Crow was free once more, the Great Old One now haunts the wilderness always questing for new horrors.
It's interesting to note that several fascinating finds were discovered throughout (Redacted) National Park in the year 1985. A mass grave containing vast amounts of human remains was unearthed. There was also a strange coffin made of stone slabs and wood found within the mountains. A curious archaeological discovery indeed. Unfortunately, there were several bizarre deaths that happened shortly after the discovery. The site of the coffin was in a cave where the soil was teeming with an unknown species of protozoa that had ill effects on the people who first entered the cavern.
-Swift Runner and the Mountain Lion-
The never-ending flow of time would continue and man would cross paths once more with eldritch evil. It was December 1874 when Swift Runner and a frontiersman named Boone were tracking down a man-eating mountain lion responsible for several deadly attacks at a nearby outpost. It was a grey overcast day with a light snowfall. Armed with flintlock rifles the two men followed a trail of bloody footprints into the forest. Hours went by and the sun was starting to set. They found a clearing in the trees. In the middle of this snow covered field they found the mountain cat perched atop a large quartzite rock.
The mountain lion was staring down at them with its yellow eyes; it was watching them with predatory curiosity one might expect from such an animal. The wind suddenly picked up in strength causing the snow to drift. Swift Runner and Boone shouldered their rifles and took aim. Just as they were about to open fire they were both distracted by a low ringing noise in their ears followed by disembodied whispering coming from the surrounding trees. The ringing noise increased in volume and intensity causing both men to fall to their knees.
The cougar seemingly took advantage of the situation and clambered off the rock and tackled Boone and locked its powerful jaws onto Boone's face and began wrenching his head back and forth violently. The mans smothered screams echoed through the snowy forest. The world began going dark for Swift Runner who was crying in agony from the ringing noise in his ears; soon the fading world began to return into view. The ringing in his ears subsided and the whispering stopped.
Boone was gone, and so was the big cat. All that remained was blood and the rifle in the snow. The snowfall became even more heavy now, visibility was becoming worse, and the biting wind increased with savage gusts. A moving shape appeared in the distance, moving towards him like a terrifying apparition. Swift Runner was not alone in this secluded field. It was child-sized. It was gaunt with skin pulled tightly over its frame. Like a frozen and mummified corpse.
The malignant thing spoke to him.
"My pet has developed a taste for the flesh of humans. It is going to be a long winter after all."
Swift Runner trembled from the cold and the terror that stood before him.
"Do you know what I am?"
Swift Runner stared at the creature, his heart and mind racing, desperately holding onto his sanity.
"You are the Wendigo. The spirit who feeds on men," Swift Runner responded. He broke his gaze and stared down at the snow covered ground.
"Perhaps I am. What I do know is that I am forever bound to this land. The mountains and valleys, even the very soil we are standing on. I must return to my site of origin. It is that time again where certain stars are visible and a ritual of utmost importance must be completed. If you wish to continue your existence, you will help me cross the nearby river. The currents cause this vessel to foam at the mouth among other discomforts. Quite an irritant."
Swift Runner would eventually return to the outpost, a man that would forever be changed. A few years later during a particularly cold and miserable winter, he murdered his wife and children. He cooked and ate their flesh. Eventually, he would be arrested and brought to trial. He claimed that he was possessed by the spirit of the Wendigo and was compelled to commit these horrible acts. He insisted on his story being true right to the moment he was executed.
Written by Celephais1985