Home » Creative Writing » Chuck Wendig » Sanguine or no Sanguine?

Sanguine or no Sanguine?


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When I descended into the darkness of that cave, I had no idea what it was. I was hoping to find some mushrooms, since I was as hungry as a horse. I had no clue whether horses eat mushrooms or not, but I didn’t see any problem with the comparison.

“Dude, there’s so dark in here, I thought you’re a black guy!”

It was The Hand talking, my faithful sword. A good cure for loneliness, although painfully nerve-stepping.

“Dude, this cave’s deep!”

“Don’t dude me again, I hate it.”

“And I think I smell weed.”

I was seriously thinking my sword used to belong to a shaman, or was possessed by one.

“Can you tell me what’s around here?”

The Hand was good at finding things my mind-magic couldn’t.

“In fifty meters, turn left.”

I turned left after fifty long steps. The new tunnel was slimmer, and I was barely moving without touching the walls. Suddenly, The Hand starts shouting:

“Watch out, there’s a…”

And then I hit it, the hard wooden surface.

“…door.”

Why in the name of the Almighty Rhododendron would there be a door inside an underground cave?

“The hell…?”

“Does your nose hurt?”

“No, it tickles!”

Sarcasm. Oddly enough, The Hand understood that every time.

“Stupid question.”

“I would say so.”

“Do you want to know how to open it?”

“Eventually…”

“There’s a round rock in the wall to your right. Push it.”

I did that, and remembered once again why I was so in love with this sword. The door began shifting to the left, noisily.

There was light! Finally, something I could deal with. Torches, sideways, burning slowly and showing the way.

“This should be easy” I said, walking at a faster pace than before, since I was actually seeing where I was going.

And then… it suddenly hit me.

The fire was magic. The torches were lit, but they weren’t actually burning at all, they remained whole the entire time. And they were all wood, no cloth and no black oil residue whatsoever.

“Dude, there’s a sorcerer around.”

Yes, I did in fact use the D-word. I was that shocked of my finding.

“What should I do?”

“Ye’re a wizard, Harry!” said The Hand in a funny voice.

Even though my name was most definitely not Harry, The Hand always loved to innovate. One time, a thief tried to steal it, and actually succeeded for a brief moment, trying to run away, before my mind-magic caught up with him and made him get back and give it to me. The Hand was shouting gibberish, for some reason. “Help me, Obi Wan, you’re my only hope!” I actually enjoyed the variety, so I had no problems with that whatsoever.

And The Hand was right: I am a wizard, and a mind bender, to top it off. So unless this guy was really good, this was going to be piece of cake.

But… this guy could keep a hundred fires magically lit from a distance. He wasn’t good. He was a Master.

The tunnel went right, so I did the same. I stepped into a room filled with chains hanging from the walls, on both sides. There were three pairs on either side, making that a total of six pairs.

Out of the six pairs, only three had people attached to them: two on my right and one on my left. They were all men, old, and so very naked.

“These guys are either captive, or they’re into some really kinky stuff.”

The old guy on the left spoke:

“Quick! Help us! He’s holding us here!”

So no chance of kinky stuff happening. All my hopes of seeing a horde of naked women suddenly bursting into the room were ruined the moment he said they were being held against their will. Just my luck, to run into a hostage situation while peacefully going on a wild goose chase! Well… wild mushroom chase, actually.

“Who are you? What are you doing here?”

“I’m Tush. These are my brothers, Mush and Bush. We’re being held captive by a vampire.”

“He’s stocking for the winter, or what?”

“It’s not like that. He’s not a Sanguine Vampire. He’s a Magus Vampire.”

I knew what that was. Although I hoped I would never meet one. The odds were in my favor, since it was only one so-called Mampire ever documented, and he was supposed to be a fairy tale. But that was about to change now.

And it actually explained how he kept the lights on.

“You’re wizards!”

“Yes”, he answered. “We were travelling, when we decided to get some rest in this cave. We never got out.”

“He’s been sucking your magic. You’re spell-blocked.”

I realized this was the reason they couldn’t use magic to escape. And then I panicked, since my magic would also be ineffective against the Mampire.

“Is he the one? That one?”

“Yes. Lord Aramastus. The only one that ever was.”

At least it wasn’t a new one. Who knows what could happen if more specimens would lurk in the darkest corners of our world? It would render us incapable of practicing magic.

I raised The Hand and hit Tush’s chains. They broke.

“Could you be more careful? It hurts!”

“You don’t feel a thing. You’re a sword.”

“It hurts my ego, man! Because of the clumsy way you’re handling me!”

“And I can’t help it. Damn it, Jim, I’m a wizard, not a swordsman!

Apparently I could play the name-game just as well.

“The sword talks?”

“Yes it does”, I said while unchaining the quiet brothers.

I asked them where their clothes were.

“They’re in the other room, with the Mampire. But leave them be, we’ll summon new ones as soon as we’re out.”

“I think ‘soon’ is not the word you’re looking for.”

The voice was deep, and heavy. The huge doors to the backroom were open, and he was standing in the doorway, tall and terrible, with his face as white as seashells in the morning sun.

I was at a loss here. He walked towards me, and my ability to mind control was definitely gone. On top of that, the three naked guys took refuge behind me, and if I know one thing learnt through unpleasant experience, it’s that there’s never a good idea to have three naked guys behind you.

Since I was out of options, I tried the only thing I could think of.

“Hand, how do you feel?”

“Right now, I wish I could play some symphonic music, to give this moment the magnificence it deserves.”

“Forget that. Do you feel good? Do you feel magic?”

“I certainly do. I speak, don’t I?”

Exactly! If the sword could still speak, that meant it still held magic. I lifted it in front of his eyes while he was getting closer to me, and I said:

“Talk to The Hand, buddy!”

The Hand turned bright, while the Mampire screamed, his face decomposing. Then his body did the same. The sound of it was horrific. I wondered how he could scream like that while his lungs and vocal chords were slowly turning to dust.

As soon as he was gone, I almost fell. There was an earthquake starting out of a sudden, so we ran away as fast as we could.

The walls were trembling, the ground was shaking, and I was just wondering how I will deal with the dark beyond the wooden door.

And there I was, holding the solution. The Hand was still glowing! We ran through the tunnel, past the torches, and through the wooden door. The sword glowed in the dark, helping us to get out, while hundreds of rocks were falling behind us, sealing the Mampire’s lair for good.

We were out. The old guys couldn’t believe it.

“What was it with the light?” I asked my sword.

“Well… I can hold sunrays for a period of time.”

“And you’re telling me this now?”

“It didn’t seem relevant…”

“Figures”, I said.

“Hey, how come our magic didn’t work immediately after he died?” asked Tush.

“Because he was not a Mampire.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t think Mampires exist. He was just a regular Vampire. Satisfied his blood thirst magically.”

Tush was just realizing it:

“Sweet mother of baboons! It was the cave, wasn’t it?”

“Indeed”, I said.

“Fed on our magic…”

“And the Vampire used the cave for protection.”

“What kind of magic does your sword use? It was different from ours, since it fooled the cave.”

“Your guess is as good as mine…”

I was tired of his questions, and it was only fair I got to ask him one myself.

“Can you tell me why your brothers never talk?”

He put his hand around my shoulder while we were walking off in the sunset, and slowly whispered to me:

“Can I be honest with you?”

I said yes.

“We’re into some really kinky stuff…”

-THE END-


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