(Fangs of the SS) CHAPTER 28: The First Death Of Rabbi Judah Maccabbee

nazi gasmask

His eyes start to glow. The light dribbling from his eye sockets pulses with the rhythm of his prayers.

He can’t stop her, him and his god. She knows that. But he can be a nuisance. She can’t afford any delays to her ceremony. She knows what she has to do. She doesn’t think about it. She doesn’t pause. She doesn’t do any human things like square her shoulders or take a deep breath.

One second, she is standing behind the priest, as close to glowing circle as she can get. The next instant, with no visible motion, she punches her hand, a claw tipped spear, through his chest. Most of her body remains outside the circle, but her entire arm up to the shoulder crosses the boundary. The arm crisps, burns, turns black, skin and flesh turn to black ash, flake off the bone. Beyond pain, her mind whites out.

It’s worse for Maccabbee. He’s praying, body in moving back and forth in time with the cadence of the words. His consciousness is alight with the growing power of the All Highest. He’s barely aware of his surroundings. The gunfire and sounds of Tipareth fighting with Camilla are distant and irrelevant. The Tree of Life, glowing behind his eyelids, is all that he can see. There are sounds in the energy filling his mind, they might be words. He’s almost able to understand them. They would explain everything. He prays harder and the words are almost intelligible behind the roar of energy channeling down the Tree.

And then it all shuts off.

His eyes slam open in disbelief and incomprehension. The words stop in his mouth. He feels his knees buckle but he remains upright. Not understanding, he looks down at himself.


There’s a skeletal hand, all bones and claw, sticking out of his chest. Now he can feel the forearm stuck through his body. He finds it odd that there’s no pain. Not even any blood. He can see where his ribs have broken outward, gleaming white and the red of meat.

The priest stops chanting. The glowing circle blinks out and becomes just a scrawl of symbols again. Bathory stands there, the priest suspended on her arm. She has time for an instant of triumph. Time for the beginning thought that it wasn’t so bad, she’d expected worse.

And then the priest explodes. Glowing burning white light gouts from his mouth, his eyes, the wounds she made in his chest. His body arcs, still impaled on her arm. But not for long.

The power exploding from the priest lifts her off her feet, snaps the bones in the arm impaling the priest, and throws her across the room.  She’s also on fire. The pain drives her out of her body. She hits the far wall and slides to the floor in a smoking heap.

Mirsky can’t believe what he’s doing. He’s done some crazy shit in the past, dumb shit, distasteful lowdown shit like doing business with actual honest to God Black Hundreds Cossacks back in the Moldavanka neighborhood of Odessa. Like that thing with Izzy Petersen and that room full of dead bodies back in Queens. But this. This is something else entirely. If he had time he’d spit. Or puke. But no time.

“For Leah.” It’s the only prayer he has left.

So instead, he swings around the pillar at the side of this hall in this vampire castle and unloads the automatic in each hand into the vampires who were about to kill a couple of German soldiers. Saving Nazis. Only for Leah would he do something so fucking awful. The vampires go up in flame as the bullets take their skulls apart. Steady hands get the job done.

As he pops the empty clips and slides in fresh ones, fast practiced instinctual motions that he can and has done blind drunk, he takes time to spit. He doesn’t look at the Nazis whose asses he just saved, he can’t bring himself to. He just gestures with his guns to the far end of the room, where the vampires are coming into the hall through a door. “Get into it. Schnell. Schnell, you fuckers!”

He ducks back behind the pillar as some of the vampires realize that guns work better than claws or teeth in a firefight. Bullets spray stone chips. Mirsky looks around the for the golems. He should be fighting besides them, not saving fucking Nazis. But they’re on the other side of the hall, working their way down the side, moving from pillar to pillar like he’s been doing. Slow going, the vampires who can still think are concentrating their fire on them, recognizing them as the greatest threat.

And he sees them both go down. He can’t believe what his eyes show him. They just stumble between one movement and the next, collapse like string cut puppets. He can’t see that they got shot, doesn’t look like it. But that’s just the thing, he can’t see bubkes from across the room where he is.

Quick breath. One. Two. Don’t think. Do. “Fuuuuuuuckkkkk!!”

Spinning out into the open, in the middle of hall. Firing blind up the hall. Long slide under the table. Heavy table. Nice table. Nice table with a lot of fucking bullet holes in it. Rolling to the side of the table, keeping under it. Closer to Binah now.

Now he can see that neither of them are dead, both are twitching, trying to get back onto their feet. Their faces, fuck, their faces. Memory flash. The theater in Odessa had these two masks above the door. One happy. One sad. The golems’ faces look just like the sad mask. Stone statue faces contorted by grief.

“What happened? Are you hit? What happened?” Mirsky can’t keep the fear out his shouting voice. In a way, he doesn’t even need her to answer. He knows.

Binah weakly reaches for her gun. Bullets whine off the stone walls above her, a round knocks a chip off of her left temple. She seems dazed and uncomprehending. She looks at Mirsky and her voice is barely audible over the hammering din of the firefight. “He dead. We’re cut off from the All Highest. The Rabbi’s dead.”

Thoughts, desires, impulses all collide in Mirsky’s brain and he can hardly speak. Revenge. Despair. The fight at hand. Leah. Leah, above all. He’s got to get through this insanity so he can go rescue Leah.  A pity, the Rabbi seemed like a nice guy. Without the golems, his chances are… well, he doesn’t want to think about his chances. “Can you still fight?” The yells tear at his throat. “Are you going to die?”

Binah nods, then shakes her head, definitely confused. “Yes, maybe, soon, I don’t know.”

A stone hand reaches down and effortlessly hauls the statue of the grief stricken goddess to her feet. No trace of sadness on Geburah’s face. Just determination and rage. Flickering red glow comes out of its mouth when it speaks. Somehow its voice resonates around the clamor of the fight. “On your feet, both of you. Lots of killing to do before we drop.” The guns in its spare arms never stop firing as it talks. “Get up, Binah! You are Destruction! Bring to the leeches your revelation!”

The words reach Binah, Mirsky sees it happen. Her face hardens, grief disappears, replaced by determination and fury. Inhuman and implacable. He’s being attacked by blood sucking monsters, but it’s the sight of Binah’s face that sends the cold down Mirsky’s face. Her gun is in her hands, spraying death, and she stands tall and fearless in the rain of bullets that the vampires are sending their way. The two golems implacably advance towards the vampires, relentlessly killing. Mirsky follows in their wake.

The shard of granite, a remnant of an ancient Egyptian temple wall, is several feet long and is very heavy. Camilla effortlessly wields it as a club. It gives her visceral pleasure and release to strike blows against this damned statue that would dare attack her Mistress. The petite blond vampire, practically naked in her tattered Hussar’s uniform, grins with vindictive glee as she feints with the club and then swings it low and fast. Too fast for the slow statue to dodge. The stone club impacts against the creature’s legs and shatters them, dropping it to the floor with a heavy impact. The club breaks apart and she’s left holding a head sized chunk. Enough to finish it. Enough to crush its skull into pebbles. She stands over it and raises the rock.

Behind her, there’s an explosion. Heat sears her back. She spins and the rock drops, forgotten from her hands. Her Mistress! Her beautiful Mistress! What has happened to her?

Tipareth sees his chance and takes it. He’s fucked. Fucked and dying. Legs are shattered, Rabbi’s dead, mission is a bust. Take the shot, wait and see. Leech that just broke his legs is completely distracted by the chief leech getting turned into charcoal. Just maybe he’ll have an opportunity. Gotta happen fast, though. Even just laying here, with his legs busted, not moving, Tipareth can feel the energy that powers him guttering out. With the Rabbi dead, the link to the eternal power of the All Highest is gone. Use it or lose it, he tells himself.

With one arm, he pushes himself upright. Fast as he can. The other arm slams right into the vampire’s back. He feels her spine crack. She goes flying across the room towards Bathory, who’s not moving and still smoking a little. She lands and doesn’t even look back at Tipareth. Just crawls towards Bathory, weeping tears of blood. Tipareth lets himself fall into a heap, crashing onto the floor. He lets the light go out of his eyes, retreats back into himself, does his best impersonation of a heap of rubble. An impersonation, he knows, will become reality sooner rather than later.

Camilla feels the blow in her back. Doesn’t care. Lands awkwardly with no feelings from the middle of her chest down. Doesn’t care. Her claws snap off as she drags herself towards the ruin that used to be the beautiful center of her universe. Doesn’t care. She crawls, dragging her dead legs behind her.

“Pleasepleaseplease Mistress…” Camilla begs, she pleads. Her voice breaks. She tastes the blood of her tears. The center of her world lies sprawled burned smoking against the wall in front of her. All the beauty and terror and cruelty burned away. She smells burned meat. Vampires don’t throw up. They can’t. But if she could, she would have at that smell. “Please take me! I offer myself!” She crawls into her Mistress’s lap. Flesh crumples and slides off burned meat under her weight. Camilla bares her throat and begs.

It opens its eyes. Which is an effort and also somewhat of a surprise. It thought it was dead. What it does can’t be considered thinking. The pain and hunger are too great. It lies there against the wall and just feels. Feels the burning. Feels the monster inside scream for blood.

The sudden weight in its lap is just one more piece of pain, and not a great one. Ignored. Then the noise gets its attention and it looks down. No recognition. No name. Nothing but the bared throat, white and gleaming. The blood just behind that thin barrier of skin. Its lips break and tear as the mouth opens. The fangs gleam white against the black and red burned meat of the mouth. Faster than thought. Pure instinct. The fangs are buried in the offered neck and the feeding begins.

With the blood comes memory. With the blood comes healing. With the blood comes life. With the blood comes death. Bathory looks down at the drained husk in her lap. There is no trace of Camilla, the beautiful petite blonde vampire with the seductive smile and the sadistic sense of humor. Only the tatters of the Hussar’s uniform draped over the skeleton wrapped in brittle skin give a hint of who it used to be. A useful end is the only thought that Bathory spares Camilla, the only epitaph that the young vampire receives.

When Bathory stands, Camilla’s remains clatter to the floor. Bathory, naked, brown skin flawless, restored to complete health, only has eyes for the Hebrew priest who did her so much damage. He lies in a crumpled heap on the floor, half in and out of the protective circle that is now just chalk scrawls on the floor. She is intimately familiar with what dead people look like and this man is dead. No blood and the hole in his back where she thrust her hand through is scorched black. Her skin twitches in remembered pain. She looks around for the living statue that accompanied him. A pile of rocks. She nods to herself. This is what happens to those who oppose her.

And now, the ceremony. Too many attempts to stop her. No more. They are all dead and now she will proceed. Something catches her ear, breaks through her self-absorption and plans. Why is there large amounts of gunfire coming from lower in the castle? What is von Regensberg up to?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *