Kikuchi Hideyuki is the author of the Vampire Hunter D novels.
Some material in this fanfic was gathered from the VHD novel reviews by Kevin Leahy at: www.altvampyres.net/vhd/textpref.html
Ruume and Karinn are my original characters.
This fanfic doesn't follow any established VHD timelines, nor do I attempt to. I've decided to create my own vision of D's world.
Unbearable Darkness of Being
A VHD-based fanfictional short story by Kemurikat
The day arrived when humanity was nearly annihilated in a cataclysmic nuclear war. The magnificent structures and citadels that had occupied most of the once overpopulated surface were reduced to dust. Gone were all the conveniences and luxuries that marked humanity's lifestyle at the height of their civilization.
Surviving generations of humans were forced to rediscover basic survival instincts: the sturdy construction of shelter against the elements, cultivating the land to grow crops, or hunting and preparing wild animals for food. People that were born with horrible mutations were mercilessly exiled, condemning them to a barbaric way of life.
Hundreds of years had past since that war, and perhaps the biggest change, amid the ravaged land, was that humanity no longer remained the dominant species. Humans had become livestock for a new race that emerged from the darkest depths of existence: Vampires.
Another day arrived when humanity, weary of enslavement, began another war, this time against the Nobles, for their freedom. Maniacal determination fueled by such a worthy cause soon gave humanity an inevitable victory over their vampire oppressors. More destruction scourged the landscape, as many sought to eradicate anything the Nobility created.
Once more, a new age dawned upon the world. The human population reluctantly co-existed with various creatures: surviving vampires, mutants, and monsters, whether natural or artificial. However, what the majority feared the most was the rise of what they called Abomination.
The luminescent moon loomed full this night, revealing a traveler that dared to wander alone. The light became a soft halo around a man and his cyber-stallion, reflecting off the animal's metallic skin.
The cyber-stallion had served its rider infallibly for the last two years. It was an impressive animal, menacing red eyes, a body entirely black from head to hoof with a long silky mane and tail, a product of the few surviving technologies retained out of necessity.
A customized, elite of its class, biomechanical horse, the sturdiest and most expensive investment the man had ever made. For his line of work, a reliable animal was crucial. Fortunately, the mechanic he'd hired to construct it held no customer preferences.
Usually, cyber-stallions lasted him no longer than six to eight months, for he rode them mercilessly hard, but this one had passed all forms of hardships he'd put it through. He then found himself growing unusually fond of this particular animal, for it seemed to exhibit an intelligence that surprised him. He even went as far as giving it a name: Nightmare.
The man simply called himself "D". A bounty hunter by trade, he stalked the new masters of this ragged world, protecting defenseless humans whose blood the Nobility forever hungered for. Ironically, D himself was half vampire. It was a fact humans knew and feared through stories of his notoriety, but to the one's he hunted, he was seen as the most horrible of traitors. He was a creature not fully vampire nor wholly human, an outcast, condemned by both.
He clenched his left fist involuntarily.
"Hey, you're killing me here," cried a grating voice in muffled protest.
Attached to D on his left palm was a sentient lifeform, manifesting a face that was old and eyeless. It was a mysterious creature
"I wasn't even thinking out loud!" it continued. "You wanted peace and quiet, I haven't said a single word in the last two hours and this is the thanks I get!" It stopped, noting a change in the air. "Where the hell are we going anyway?"
"To meet an old friend," was D's even-toned reply.
"Didn't know you had any," it said, laughing. "Business as usual, huh? Heck, hell would be frozen ten times over the day you decide to actually have a little fun."
D ignored the parasite's banter and gazed up at the moon. It was one of the few things in his lonely existence that still gave him pleasure. Beautiful and steadfast in the night sky, it was the only constant fixture in all his centuries of hunting. D closed his eyes as a breeze passed through his wavy, ebony hair that generously flowed down his back to his waist. A moment like this, the simple enjoyment of the night with its sounds and smells, was rare.
His horse nickered softly and shook its head. The hunter's defenses immediately surfaced as he coaxed Nightmare into a fast canter, his inhuman senses searching his surroundings for potential attackers.
The parasite in his left palm confirmed his suspicions. "There's five of them," it said flatly. "They're in the shadows behind large boulders to your right. One's a mutant, most likely their tracker. Feels like the same gang we ditched a couple of weeks ago. Seems that price on your head just hit the roof."
On cue, Nightmare ran full tilt. D disliked confrontations of this kind and avoided them when he could. Battling mutants and vampires was one thing, but killing stupid, greedy humans was another.
"He's getting away!" screamed one of his pursuers.
D's body hovered over the saddle, his weight supported by his strong legs as he firmly gripped the reins, and leaned forward. Nightmare jumped past a high thorn patch and disappeared, leaving the motley gang of men in a thick cloud of dust.
The sun rose slowly above the horizon, painting the sky in several shades of yellow and red. The springtime grass was greener than ever, wildflowers crisscrossing in sporadic patterns all over the prairie. The scents of the valley were just like he remembered them fifty years ago.
The sky was now clear and blue, perfect weather for a human, but for a dhampire like D, it meant sunlight syndrome. It was a handicap D detested, sometimes refusing the steady warning he received from his left palm.
"You're not gonna get me started, are you? I know you hate my nagging, so just find some shelter before noon," spoke the parasite.
"You worry too much," D replied. He allowed himself a tiny smile when the parasite huffed and mumbled expletives.
Nightmare slowed to a stop and lifted its head to scan the area. D patted the horse's neck in assurance. They weren't in hostile territory. The dhampire dismounted and allowed his cybet-stallion to wander to a nearby stream to take a drink. The animal didn't thirst for water, it merely needed to cool its internal components from time to time, especially after a hard run.
A few paces ahead along the dirt road, stood a small cottage that eerily resembled the home made of sweets discovered by Hansel and Gretel, one of the many ancient bedtime stories D had read as a child. He had his vampire father's massive library to thank for his vast knowledge of facts and trivia.
"Ah, yes. It's just like you to curl up by a window reading a book. You're such a bore," his left hand chortled out.
"Hello, there!" called out a young woman in a pale pink-patterned summer dress, waving a white, gloved hand. She carried a large basket of prairie flowers. "Hunter, come and rest a while!"
D tensed. He didn't know this young lady. His unannounced visit for a nice, quiet afternoon engaged in pleasant conversation with an old human friend slowly faded. Letting out a disappointed sigh, he prepared himself for the inevitable introductions.
"Is that the man you've been telling me about?" the young woman whispered as she squinted, trying to get a better look at his shadowed face through the colorful house's large bay window. She had just turned nineteen, and proudly wore a pair of jeweled ribbons in her shoulder-length curly brown hair.
"Yes, Larinn. That's the same vampire hunter that saved your parents. Had he not been there that night, I would never have known my grandchild!"
The old man's voice was heavy with gratitude. It delighted him to lay eyes on the dhampire again. Although fifty years had further weathered his wrinkled face, his eyes still sparkled with intensity.
"Please, prepare him this drink. Let's make him comfortable."
The young woman nodded and vanished into the kitchen.
D ducked his head carefully as he entered quaint surroundings. The soft earthen colors contrasted the bright pastels outside the home. Carefully crafted tablecloths, porcelain pottery, and flowered crystal vases filled the house, all neatly arranged in fairytale fashion.
"Well, D, I'm flattered to see you again." The old man extended his hand for a friendly shake, which the hunter took without hesitation. D never trusted lightly, and something about this old man had always intrigued him.
"This crusty old coot! Why didn't you tell me we were visiting HIM?"
"Nice to see you again, Left-hand. I see you're as refined as ever," the old man said amusingly. "As much as I'd enjoy continuing our last conversation, I think that's not why D is here."
"Always D! Why does everything revolve around D?" If the creature had eyes, they'd be rolling.
"Let's go into the living room where it's cooler."
Sneaking a peek from the kitchen, Larinn stared in disbelief as the vampire hunter slowly assisted her grandfather to his favorite chair. She also noted how comical it was for the somber man in black to have to sit on a couch decorated with lavender-laced, frilly doilies.
"May I take your hat and cloak?" the young woman offered, as she appeared, carrying an ornately carved metal tray loaded with tea and biscuits.
The hunter hadn't planned on staying very long, now that there was foreign company, but a glance from the old man's enigmatic eyes compelled him to stay.
"Thank you," he replied while unhooking his longsword and leaning it against the wall in a corner beside the couch, unclasped his long black cloak and neatly folded it. He hesitated momentarily before removing his wide brimmed black hat, laying it atop his cloak. Larinn's eyes widened slightly and she prayed a blush hadn't reddened her face as she shyly took the items, placing them on a table behind her grandfather's chair. She then sat on another chair beside him.
"Oh, what a lovely scene
"Is it always that difficult?" the young woman questioned calmly.
D was truly startled. How had she
"I apologize, D. May I introduce my granddaughter Larinn. I keep no secrets from her, and I did promise you a safe haven in my home for generations to come. However, Left-hand IS being quite testy today," the old man scolded.
"I'm sorry. I have no control over his
The old man waved a hand in the air. "Nonsense, D, you needn't apologize to me for anything."
"If I hear one more apology, I swear, I'll scream
The girl suppressed a laugh. "My grandfather taught me to make this for you," she presented him with a familiar cup. "I hope it meets your approval."
D stared at the cup. Ruume had selected it for him when they first met, from dozens the old man had in his collection. It was larger and deeper than most, with a smooth black porcelain finish. The handle was a very detailed black dragon with its mouth biting the rim, the rest of its body snaked in an arc, with the tip of its tail disappearing underneath.
He took the cup timidly and tasted its contents. The complex flavor of the Silver Needle Pu-erh leaf and a few drops of blood, flooded his palate. But the blood, it was different this time. It had always been rabbit's blood. The dark liquid rippled as he replaced the cup on its saucer.
"The tea's very good, thank you." He looked at the young woman, who shifted uneasily in her seat. "But the blood has
Larinn blushed deeply this time. Ruume cocked a brow at his granddaughter questioningly.
"Forgive me, I
The old man's brows were still cocked as he looked at the dhampire, finding only faint confusion. Though D had visited him only a few times after their first encounter, he felt he had a fair gauge of the man's disposition.
Ruume suddenly bellowed with hearty laughter, clutching his stomach as he did. His outburst surprised everyone in the room.
"He's crazier than that decrepit Balbaroy midget on his unicycle!" bellowed the parasite. "He's starting to give me the creeps. Can we go now, D? Huh? Can we?"
Left-hand's statement made the old man laugh even more.
"Without it, he'd have the whole female population chasing after him! He's too beetle-headed to admit it though," Left-hand added.
Larinn got up, a slight frown on her face, and prepared to leave.
"Wait," D started. He was at a loss for what to say next.
"What D's trying to say is," Left-hand interjected. "Loosely translated, of course," as it loudly cleared its 'throat' then continued in a remarkable recreation of D's voice and said, "Larinn, my dear, please
D glared at his left hand as the old man and his granddaughter laughed helplessly.
The rest of the day progressed with D discovering that he enjoyed the company of Ruume's granddaughter. She was nervous at first, which attributed to much of the awkwardness of her actions. Now that the young woman was more relaxed, and D a little as well, they all had rounds of rousing conversation, which included
"Oh, my." Larinn said tightly, holding a hand to cover her grinning mouth.
D, blushing furiously, clenched his left fist in indignation. "That's quite enough distorted storytelling from you."
"Settle down, D." chuckled Ruume. "I admit, as abrasive as that creature naturally is, it means well. I for one, enjoy his blunt sense of humor."
"See, D? Not everyone hates me," the parasite said triumphantly.
"Larinn, would you kindly make us another pot of tea?"
"Happily, grandfather," she replied, gathering up the ornate metal tray with its contents and retreated to the kitchen.
The dhampire sat silently, watching as the old man lit up a beautifully decorated wooden pipe.
"Ah. Much better. Nothing like the taste of my good home-grown tobacco," said Ruume, reclining deeply into the pillows of his chair.
"A plant of rare quality. I can see it's added to your fortune."
"The trade has allowed me to live comfortably. But I care not for useless luxury." He took a deep breath and blew out a series of perfectly shaped smoke rings. "I heard you've dispatched the she-devil, Carmilla."
The dhampire's muscles went rigid. "Yes. Just over a year ago. I believe she was one of the last of a handful of powerful Nobles still inhabiting this part of the world."
"I see." Ruume puffed slowly on his pipe, deep in thought. He smiled as Larinn entered the living room with her ornate metal tray restocked with tea and small cakes, and patted her hand as she sat in a chair beside him.
The old man sighed, as he stared introspectively at D through a haze of pipe smoke. "What will you do next, hunter, when the last Noble falls?"
Distraught, the dhampire could no longer hold the old man's penetrating gaze. His eyes drifted to Larinn, who amazingly mirrored the same stern expression.
"That, old man, is something I've been wondering for years." Left-hand said sadly.
"Flat out refusing to face that fact, actually. Now that he's so dangerously close to achieving his goal
"Hush, my dear," said Ruume, squeezing his granddaughter's hand in reassurance. "Now, both of you," the old man turned to address his dhampire guest and his parasitic sidekick. "There will be no more talk of suicidal nonsense. That a being of several millennia would even dare think such rubbish
The old man's face visibly softened, and he cleared his throat.
"I'm sorry, D. I detest people who don't see the value of their own existence, especially one as unique as yours."
The dhampire sat in melancholy silence, almost wishing that he felt the same way about himself as the old man so fervently revealed.
"D. Lighten up. Have a cake. You're depressing these nice people," said the parasite irritably.
Closing his eyes momentarily, D focused on the worried faces of his gracious hosts and managed a rare, pleasant smile. "I admit I've spent too much time without friendly company." He paused and warmly added, "Ruume, Larinn, I'm forever grateful for your kindness." He slowly stood up, and added, "I believe I've imposed upon you both long enough, and I'd like to thank you for your generous hospitality."
"You're welcome here anytime you wish. Which means Larinn here needs to quickly find herself a good husband and fill this house with grandchildren to greet you at the door," Ruume teased, earning an audible tap on the shoulder from his flustered granddaughter.
"Don't I get an invite? Just because I'm attached to a useless appendage doesn't give you the right to be rude." whined the parasite.
Ruume grinned. "You're right, Lefthand. I didn't mean leave you out. You made me laugh today, and for that I thank you."
As Larinn stood up to retrieve the dhampire's hat and coat, the old man walked to a nearby display cabinet and removed a black velvet pouch, tied securely at the neck by a braided silver cord.
"Consider this a humble parting gift from an old man who owes you much," Ruume said knowingly. "Please, open it when you're well on your way to your next adventure."
"Good journey and good fortune to you, D," Larinn said shyly. "Please accept this small food pack. I've included many of grandfather's healing herbs and ointments, as well as a cake of the Silver Needle Pu-erh tea you're so fond of."
"Ah. The thoughtfulness of young females is so touching, isn't it?" the parasite whispered in the dhampire's mind sarcastically.
The tall, regal dhampire bowed respectfully, clutched the food pack under one arm while securing the velvet pouch to his hip belt, and turned to leave.
The sun was low on the horizon, giving D three hours left of good light to travel under, with no danger from sunlight syndrome. The valley was quite isolated from any major town, the nearest being at least five hours ride.
The dhampire placed his newly acquired provisions in a hidden compartment under his saddle, and mounted the fidgeting cyber-stallion. Looking back fleetingly over his shoulder at the two humans waving to him by the doorway of their colorful home, D gave a subtle signal that commanded the stallion into a fast gallop.
"Goodbye, D. May your travels finally lead you to the peace you so desperately seek," the old man said cryptically, smiling at the departing figure of the black-clad dhampire.