The Wicked Dead

By: Rick Gualtieri

Prologue: Destiny’s Bitch

How the hell did I end up here?

Not in this actual place, mind you. That one is pretty damn easy. I mean, I live here – not actually in the bathroom, of course. I’m talking here in a metaphysical sense anyway.

See, not too long ago, I died and was resurrected as one of the fiendish ... err ... fiends of the night – the nosferatu, which I’m pretty sure is a movie name and not a scientific classification. In laymen’s terms, I got bitten and woke up as a vampire.

That was fucking weird enough, but it was only the tip of the iceberg. Things snowballed from there, all the way to a problem that sorta concerns the end of the world. Pretty heady stuff for a guy whose typical weekend used to involve little more than getting shitfaced.

Sadly, there’s a supernatural war raging, one fated to lead to an end state not entirely dissimilar to the Biblical Armageddon.

It gets even better. Through actions not entirely my fault, I am afforded the privilege of receiving credit for starting this war. Go me!

But that’s not all. According to a bunch of dusty old scrolls – ones that I’m not even allowed to read – I’m supposed to be a major player in its outcome.

All in all, it’s a nightmare I can’t seem to wake up from.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I’m no hero. I’m just a...

Wait a second. Was I actually about to go off into a whining bitch-fest about never asking for any of this? Ugh. That’s it; I’ve become a fucking movie cliché. I might as well change my last name to Potter and resign myself to the fact that, no matter what I do, the dumbasses in charge will be too fucking stupid to stop anything without my stepping in and winning the Tri-wizard Tournament or some shit like that.

Any of a dozen movie plotlines run through my head, and they’re all more or less the same: reluctant hero must believe in himself because destiny cannot be denied ... blah blah blah. Goddamn, are there no original stories left to tell? Oh well, at least most of them aren’t musicals. According to my sixth-grade band teacher, if I was forced to play for my supper, I’d die a slow death by starvation.

Any way you look at it, I’ve been shoehorned into a role I don’t want – especially right now. If anything, I have plenty of other shit to keep my mind occupied, some pretty good stuff at that.

Hell, two blonde goddesses live just one floor below me – either one of which I would be more than happy to call my girlfriend, lover, or chick who occasionally fucks my brains out but otherwise treats me like shit. One of them is a plucky, mind-scrambled vampire who, if attitude were ice cubes, could sink the fucking Titanic. The other is my former co-worker turned ancient enemy that I am destined to one day battle to the death. Shit, entire romance series have been written about crap like that.

Yet, with all that potential, I’m distracted from what should come naturally. I mean, I’m locked in a bathroom. Under normal circumstances, I’d be more than happy to indulge my imagination so as to take care of business – if you catch my drift.

Instead, I’m standing here looking at myself in the mirror – glancing fleetingly into my own eyes, knowing there might be something else inside of me staring back ... hell, almost daring it to.

Almost, anyway.

I’m still not sure I want to kick that particular nest too hard. It’s one thing to be stung by a honeybee. Sure it hurts, but unless you’re allergic, it’s not the end of the world.

What lurks inside the deep reaches of my mind, though, is more the equivalent of those giant nightmare hornets they have in Japan. Hell, I wouldn’t doubt those things are less insect and more a faction in this war. If I ever found myself standing between an angry Sasquatch and a swarm of those fuckers, I’d...

I shake my head to clear it. Distractions aren’t particularly helpful when it comes to getting anything done, and I’ve always been more susceptible to them than most. Almost makes me wonder if my parents should’ve put my ass on Ritalin back when I was in grade school. Hell, it’s not like I’ve never subscribed to the better living through chemistry trope. Why, I remember this one time Tom and I got so stoned, we...