The Dead of Winter
by TS/Fistula
December 20, 2002
('Vampire Hunter D", 'D" copyrighted to their owners.
All other fictional names and places belong solely to the writer of this fiction)


          The snow fell in clumps of glistening ice crystals at the lone dark figure's feet. The chill in the breeze bit at his nose and whipped violently through his long auburn hair. The sun peaked strenuously through the dark grey clouds covering the winter sky.
          The vampire hunter walked slowly at his horse's side. The cyborg horse flinched as the snowflakes landed on his back. The chill and bitter low temperatures affected the cyborg's sensitive circuitry. His red eyes flickered as a sign that the internal systems were passing below a crashing point. The hunter glanced worrisome at his horse. The horse was only half machine, half living breathing animal. The real horse, under the heavy armor and computerized membrane, was already dead.
          In this weather, with no transportation, was a problem in itself.
          "I guess the guy who sold this horse to you forgot to tell you about the 'inclement weather policy", joked the parasite living in his hand. The hunter remained silent. Humor was not keeping his spirits bright and the snowy blizzard made the land blinding white and his eyes burned. He felt as if he were going blind.
          The hunter pulled his scarf up and over his mouth. The bitter cold was taking its toll upon his lips and nose. Thoughts of a warm place and dry surroundings itched through his mind, giving him a lonely feeling of homesickness. Where was home anyway?
          "Home is where the heart is and this is definitely not it. Look, man. If we dont hurry up and get over this damned mountain, we're gonna be frozen porkchops. You get my drift?" cried the parasite.
          "Be quiet, "said the hunter. There was a faint echo in the wind that drove by his sensitive ears. Crying, of some sort. Not the crying of a hurt child but the crying like an angel. Innocense lost in a blind fury. A haunting cry for help.
          "Where?" whispered the hunter under his breath. His eyes darted through the white landscape. Nothing. His eyes began to water but quickly the tears froze to his cheek. He dropped his head putting his hat against the wind. The crying became louder and seemed to flood out the sound of the ripping wind.
          Confused and angry, the hunter pulled his sword from its sheath behind his back and held it out with both hands in front of him. He lifted his head slowly to let his left eye take in the view of the land while his right eye acted as peripherial view. Still nothing, but the white snow was beginning to change colors. Grey to blue, blue to green.
          From behind him, the cyborg horse let out a shrill cry of it's own and toppled over into the snow. The hunter ran to the horse, sat down beside him and held up his head. The red eyes flickered furiously and then went black. The hunter put away his sword, breathing deeply and panting from the wind, taking his breath away.
          "Damnit, " he groaned and stood up facing the wind. The crying wasnt too far. It was almost as if the sound were travelling to him. He waited, watching carefully in front of him.
          A large dark figure weaved in and out of the ice filled wind. The hunter's eyes brightened as the carriage came into full view. It was old, black and not holding up very well against the storm. The wheels grinded and squealed, the mules pulling the carriage snorting and groaning in pain. Pain from pulling the heavy load, pain from even being born.
          The hunter lifted his hand, signaling the carriage to stop. The lanterns on the sides swayed but were still burning brightly. The driver pulled the reins on the mules making them groan louder. The carriage weaved slowly to a stop. It's wooden chassey creaked and squealed like the crying he had heard before.
          "So that's what all the noise was," said the parasite.
          "Quiet," said the hunter impatiently.
          The driver turned his head, his grey coat and scarf covering him from nose down.
          "What you say there, man?"
          "Where are you headed?" asked the hunter.
          "Basilton. You need a ride?
          "I wouldnt mind one."
          "I see your horse crashed on ya."
          The hunter nodded slowly.
          "Well then, I guess you'll have squeeze into the cab. There's a bit of mess but dont mind it. And dont bother the girl."
          The hunter dropped his hat and opened the door. To his surprise the cab was very warm and brightly lit with a lantern in each of it's four corners. Trunks and boxes sat atop one side of the worn leather bench and the floor. To his immediate right, sat a figure covered in woolen blankets from head to toe. The hunter ignored the person and settled into the seat.
          Outside, the driver cracked his whip and yelled at the mules to 'keep moving'. The carriage creaked and groaned across the snow ridden mountain and towards the mysterious town of Basilton.

Chapter 1
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