Today he felt better than he did all week–having cleansed himself in an ocean of blood. The demons were gone–perhaps never to return. That in itself was well worth the effort. He could hear the screams of rancor and derision–spitting on his countenance in a fury of profanity…oh, they were angry.
It brought him a fresh, clean, cloak of release. No more would he carry the rotten scent of evil. But, what if they returned as they had done before? Could he muster enough brutality to overcome them again? He knew he was only deceiving himself, but he hoped there was a way to rid himself of the vile creatures that taunted him, once and for all. He decided to visit the witch again.
It was a full two days journey to the gypsy camp. He arrived at the camp–soon after sunrise–to the sounds of cacophonous laughter, weeping violins and discordant song. They were up all night. He despised gypsies. If not for the witch, he would send his men to burn them to ashes. As he entered the camp, the men parted the way for he wore a menacing grin as he imagined their screams of despair as they watched their filthy children tossed into a blazing fire….
His horse was still. He had no idea how long his horse had stopped in front of her. He could tell by her eyes she had heard his thoughts of cruelty and torture of her gypsies, though, she was not one of them but of a noble house further East where she suffered under the yoke of a sadistic brother. Elizaveta was a woman of sculptured beauty–and the most dangerous. She “knew” things just by looking at him. There was no crystal ball–no reading of cards, tea leaves or his palm. She knew his demons and how he purged them. This day as she cooked them some food, she told him he was losing the battle and that two options were available to him: expunge the evil that left him so bereft of humanness or, embrace the very nature of his demons so he might secure the country from its enemies. The former option required he stay at an ancient monastery, for months–even years. He chose the latter. The Ottoman Empire was closing in on his country. Though his army won battles, the Ottoman Turks were taking the Balkans….
And so, Prince Vlad III Dracula of Walachia embraced the evil–brutally executing the Turks by impaling them–perhaps as much as 100,000 were impaled. He carried the rotten scent of evil, year after year–at first seeking solace from the witch Elizaveta. Finally, Elizaveta poisoned him with a plant that deadened his limbs, preventing all movement. Vlad was alive when she ordered him decapitated. Vlad’s head was preserved in honey and sent to the Ottoman capital of Constantinople as proof that Vlad the Impaler was dead. The head was set atop a stake for all to view. It was reported its eyes followed passers-by.
Flash Fiction Challenge #51 at Thain in Vain
Photo: Poenari Castle
Prompt: A famous unsolved crime
Word Count: 500
Thank you Ms Thain for hosting Flash Fiction Challenge, week after week. May your merry be christmas and bright