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Old October 24th, 2007, 6:19 pm
true_heir_of_slyth  Female.gif true_heir_of_slyth is offline
Sixth Year
 
Join Date: 27th May 2003
Location: Gazing on a Waterloo sunset
Age: 32
Posts: 1,301
Re: Voyages With Vampires: The New Bestseller by Gilderoy Lockhart

A note from Gilderoy:

Ladies and gentlemen, loyal readers all, many apologies for the delay in posting this update. Regretfully, commitments in other areas of my work made it almost impossible to write. But fear not! my Muse has returned, and is duly working overtime to make up for my absence.

A note from Slythy

Sorry that it's taken so long to post (and sorry for my earlier confusion ^^ - that's what happens when I try to post having had 3 hours sleep ... since Monday ) - this one's extra long to make up for it I'm all settled in at uni now though, so (hopefully) updates should be a bit more regular again now.

Many thanks to Nana for beta-ing this for me!


On with the update...

* * *

CHAPTER FIVE

I spent the rest of the day in preparation. My plan was foolhardy, perhaps, and certainly risky, but I knew that if I were to back down now, to leave these poor villagers to their plight, then I would never be able to look myself in the eye in the mirror again.

Sunset began to fall on Oojikavik, blood red and menacing. The villagers set about their nightly task of nailing closed the shutters on their windows, and fastening doors with anything from huge wooden bolts and heavy iron locks to piles of furniture. Fresh garlands of garlic were strung up; crucifixes were polished.

No such talismans did I carry that evening. As the sun began its gradual descent over the rooftops of the village, I, with only a cloak thrown about my robes for warmth and my wand for protection, climbed to the top of the bronze statue in the town square, and there awaited nightfall.

When I had announced my plan to the astounded townspeople that morning, that of offering myself as human bait in order to entice the vampires down from the mountains, a murmur of horror had rippled through the crowd. That I, seemingly the last hope of Oojikavik, was willing to throw my life away and fall victim to the vampires as countless others had before me, was disastrous to their ears.

‘Please!’ I cried above the hubbub. ‘This is the only way, my friends … if I am to strike any fear at all into the cold, undead hearts of these – these monstrosities, then I have to show them that I mean business!’

‘But – Mr. Lockhart!’ one of the villagers almost sobbed. ‘No one can survive the vampires’ attacks! No one!’

‘Mr. Lockhart can.’ A different voice, calmer than the rest, called out from the back of the group. The crowd parted slightly, and there, gazing up at me in a kind of quiet awe, was the young man I had released from the Babbling Curse. ‘I believe in you, Mr. Lockhart.’

And so, with just those simple words of support as my comfort, I clung to the top of the statue. The last few shutters banged shut, and all was still.

The sun set. The darkness that followed was so sudden, so oppressive, that had it not been for the moon, hanging like a silver orb in the sky, I would have been convinced that I had lost the power of sight. A chilly wind rose up, catching the edge of my cloak and making it ripple and snap like a flag. As my hands grew ever more weary and my face grew numb with the cold, I wondered whether I was wasting my time.

And then a cloud passed over the moon.

I had barely time to draw my wand as the air filled with hundreds, maybe thousands, of bats, the town square echoing with the sound of their shrieks and the leathery scratching of their wings. As though caught in a wind they rose in a column together, whirling around and around eachother: and then, as suddenly as they had appeared, they were gone. Hanging in the air in their place, his cloak spread out like wings either side of him, was a creature not so different from you and I in likeness and form, but lacking even a vestige of that which makes us human.

The vampire’s cruel eyes fixed on mine, and his teeth glinted in the darkness as he opened his mouth in what I can only describe as a smile.

‘The famous Mr. Lockhart,’ he hissed, inflecting the word ‘famous’ in a way I did not like one bit.

‘Charmed to make your acquaintance,’ I replied, for I have never been the sort of man to be uncivil without due reason. ‘But I am afraid you have one-up on me, sir - you know my name, but who am I addressing?’

‘My name is unimportant,’ sneered the vampire.

‘Oh? And why is that?’ I asked.

‘Because, Mr. Lockhart, you will not be alive long enough to use it.’

‘I see,’ I said, gripping my wand. ‘I am afraid, my mysterious friend, that I shall have to disagree with you on that point.’

The town square lit up in a blaze of red as I sent a well-aimed Stunning spell into the vampire’s chest: but instead of crumpling and falling to the ground, as I had expected, he shook it off as easily as if it were an irritant fly. His laughter sent chills through my very bones.

‘Foolish, Mr. Lockhart. Very foolish. You did not seriously think that you could defeat me so simply?’

‘I must confess that up until that point, yes, I did,’ I replied, attempting to keep him talking while I weighed up my few remaining options. To kill the vampire outright was, of course, a last resort: I had no intention of doing that until I was certain that there could be no salvation for him.

‘Foolish,’ repeated the vampire with scorn. ‘And, like the others, so arrogant … now, Mr. Lockhart, like them you shall understand why your kind will always be second to vampires.’

Without warning he dove at me, his mouth open wide now, ready to end this with a bite: with reflexes honed by years of adventure I grabbed the monster by his waistcoat, and together we tumbled to the ground, my wand falling out of my hands and clattering somewhere on the cobbles below.

I landed awkwardly, but staggered to my feet, the very breath knocked out of me. I looked around wildly, my head bursting and my vision blurring with the pain, but could see no sign of the vampire: the villain had disappeared.

‘Looking for something, Mr. Lockhart?’

I spun to find him standing directly behind me, apparently entirely unharmed by our fall, and holding my wand in his hand. He looked at it quizzically, studying it in the moonlight.

‘So simple…’ he murmured. I lunged at him, attempting to wrest it from his grip, but as suddenly as he had appeared, he disappeared again, and I found myself stumbling through empty air.

A quiet cracking noise, carrying easily across the silent square, reached my ears. I turned again, and the sight made my blood run cold.

‘Oops,’ smiled the vampire, holding in each hand one half of my snapped wand. He tossed them aside, and advanced on me, his mouth curling into that same cold smile.

‘And now … it is just you and I, Mr. Lockhart.’

The next few seconds passed for me as though they had been stretched out and slowed down. I saw the vampire leave the ground; saw his cloak billow out behind him as he soared towards me, arm outstretched; I saw once again the flash of those teeth: but in a moment of clarity I knew exactly what it was I had to do. As the beast closed on me, I spun around, grabbing a handful of the garlic strung up around the doorway of the shop behind me. He was almost upon me, but I sidestepped, jamming the bulb into his mouth.

The vampire’s eyes opened wide in horror: his arms flailed and he lost control, slamming into the wall of the shop. It was his turn now to stagger back upright from the cobbles, and he stumbled towards me again, scrabbling desperately at thin air as I stepped back. His roar of anger was so muffled by the vegetable that it came out as little more than a yelp. He threw his arms out wide: there was a sound akin to a crack of thunder, and I covered my head to protect myself as thousands of bats flew straight at me. They rose into the air, dispersing in the night sky.

What happened next I know not. Exhausted by my efforts, and bruised and battered from the fight, I collapsed and fell to the ground.


(After a day spent scrubbing the camp latrines, Lockhart decided to run the risk of being remembered and stomped over to the town inn. Through some inventive use of sign language, he managed to order a Firewhiskey at the bar, and then wove his way through the heaving tavern, glass in hand, trying to find an empty seat. He was so intent on not spilling his drink that he did not notice the very tall man until he had walked straight into him.

‘Look what you’ve done!’ snarled the man in Romanian, spinning round to face him. Lockhart didn’t have to be able to speak the language to understand that he was very angry about the fact that he had spilt his drink all over his jacket. He backed away, stammering useless apologies, but the man followed him out into the street, shouting incoherently at him. Now that they were out in the light, Lockhart could see why he was angry: it
was a very nice jacket … come to think of it, it was a tailcoat. And … good grief, why was the man wearing a cravat and waistcoat in a place like this?

Blanching, Lockhart looked up into the face of his aggressor and noticed for the first time what shiny, white, pointed teeth he had.

Dropping any pretence of dignity, Lockhart turned and bolted, the vampire in hot pursuit. A group of locals stood around and watched idly as he scrambled for a foothold on the statue in the town square, clambering desperately to the top. Back on the ground, the vampire – and, to Lockhart’s great consternation, the gathered villagers – roared with laughter. After a while, their amusement seemed to die down and, bored of the entertainment, they headed back into the pub, chuckling amongst themselves, the vampire turning to shake his fist at Lockhart in mock menace as he did so.

Lockhart was too scared to come back down until the following morning.)


* * *

Fan mail and feedback, the staple diet of Muses, is always greatly appreciated


__________________

The New Bestseller - Available Now at Flourish and Blotts!
(for fan mail, feedback, hair-care tips and marriage proposals, please click here)

One of the COS Authorteers - Barbara Kennedy, emikkime, Guardian Angel, Miri, thethirdman, leenielou, Kate Johnson, Prosperine, Lady DeMimsy and Amina, along with Potter_fan, Jessie and Captain Pookers.

Last edited by true_heir_of_slyth; October 25th, 2007 at 12:18 am.
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