Who was the real Dracula?

“It ends tonight Count.”

Van Helsing held the crossbow in steady hands, the string taught. The pale moonlight glinted off of the silver bolt. The wind whipped against him as he stood at the entrance to the roof, the torches of the stairwell illuminating him from behind. They were totally alone, not a single person for miles in any direction.

His prey was in the shadow of the far tower, only the hem of his cape creeping into the light. Van Helsing took a step forward, the full force of the gale hitting him. In the fraction of a second his aim wavered, the Count rushed towards him.

He had heard the tales. Listened to the stories. But nothing prepared him for the speed with which he found himself face to face with the source of the terrors. The creature stood seven feet tall, it’s face lost in the deep maroon hood. Long fingers snatched out at him, gripping the stirrup of his crossbow.

“They are monsters.”

The voice was deep, a rumbling that set Van Helsing’s hairs on edge. It leaned in closer, it’s breath colder than the air around them, and repeated its words.

“I see only one monster here,” Van Helsing replied.

It shrieked, an inhuman sound, flinging the wooden bow away and sending Van Helsing crashing to the ground. He stood quickly, pulling a long dagger from a scabbard across his back. The creature drew closer again, but he held out his arm as a warning.

“You do not see,” it said, circling at a safe distance. “You are blind to the horror of your own making.”

“I’ve seen what you do. I’ve seen the bodies, the whores and brawlers you fed from like casks of cheap ale.”

“They were necessary.”

“And what of the others? Those whose souls have fled the flesh, but the body remains to torment the families. I have killed your kind from Rome to Constantinople, and I tell you now, it will end with you.”

“My children.”

The creature fell to it’s knees, the cape whipping from its thin frame in the cold wind. Van Helsing inched closer, his blade still held ready. The beast held its head in its hands, wailing into the night. The bald skull showed a lifetime of scars, the pale flesh criss-crossed with red marks.

“You have taken all from me,” it said, lowering its taloned hands.

Van Helsing recoiled in disgust. He had fought the wakened victims, their eyes black and skin sallow, but never had he seen the mould from which they had been cast. The face lacked a nose, only a thin slit between two sunken eyes. The mouth, at first a thin slit, grew impossibly large to reveal teeth that not even the largest bear could contend with.

It was indeed the face of evil.

“Then I shall grant you a quick death,” Van Helsing said, moving towards the kill.

“Do it.”

In his employment, Van Helsing had quelled many demons. And to a one, they had fought until their bodies lay still on the cold ground. And yet now, facing his greatest foe, Van Helsing found himself facing the unexpected. The impossible.

“I am the last. The fire of your kind has finally beaten back the night.”

“What do you mean?”

The creature looked at Van Helsing, the black orbs motionless and yet he sensed it’s gaze piercing through him.

“My kind. We are the first born, when the creator had made only darkness and only my progenitors to help him fulfil his plan. And then he created Adam. And from him, Eve. And from all the wickedness did your kind spring forth.

“Millennia ago, we existed to keep the balance. To watch over those foolhardy enough to enter the shadows, and purge those who passed the umbra into night. Such was our sacred duty. And when Prometheus stole the light, he entered our realm and we were powerless to stop him. As we fought to keep the balance, desperate to ensure the creator’s plan remained intact, we lost our souls.

“All to preserve your own.”

Stepping back, Van Helsing shook his head. “Lies, heresy. You are an abomination, no god would conceive of something so vile.”

The creature ran a clawed finger over the bridge of where it’s nose should have been.

“We were a beautiful race once. Pure and light, with wings of white feather and rings of shimmering gold.”

It looked up, pointing towards him.

“Everything we were. Everything we lost. All for you and yours.”

“No,” Van Helsing said, stepping back towards the flames of the torches.

“As our numbers dwindled, you grew bolder. The creator had tried purging your kind once before, but so great were you now, he could not do so again. And in his desperation, in his shame that his greatest creation should return to squalor, he told us to take your kind as surrogates and win back the world by slaughtering all those within it who did not deserve his gift. The worst sin of our kind, and we did it gladly. We gave up everything while you raced towards the night and you have the temerity to call us monsters?”

We are what you made us.”

“No god above would do this.”

“You killed our father a long time ago.”

Van Helsing rushed forwards, a ragged scream as he sunk the blade deep into the heart of the beast. He felt the hilt crash agains the breastplate, his entire weight resting agains the chest of his foe.

“Thank you,” it said, wrapping it’s arms around him and holding their heads together.

“Father, I’m coming home.”

And as the beast was released, a blinding shaft of light reaching towards the heavens, Van Helsing fell back on the hard stone of the roof. In the distance he could hear the screams and shouts of the villages. In the morning twilight, he found himself afraid of the light.

Prompt originally posted by Redmablo on reddit and received 3 upvotes.

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