“The Devil’s Night” — David Jacobs

[amtap book:isbn=0425178609]

They only come out at night

Cloth tear­ing, she spread-eagled her arms and legs, taut­ening the leath­ery folds of swelling batwings. The wings were part of arms, grow­ing out of the shoul­ders, attached to the long thin­ning skele­tal arms and legs with scal­loped leath­ery black bat membranes. 

Batwings beat the air fran­ti­cal­ly, try­ing to stop or at least slow the fall. 

Among the Undead, only the most pow­er­ful vam­pires can muster the occult force need­ed for shapeshift­ing, to become a giant bat, a wolf, or mist that can drift through sol­id walls. 

Such a queen vam­pire was Marya Zaleska. 

Count­ess Marya Zales­ka, Drac­u­la’s Daughter. 

The Uni­ver­sal Mon­sters: Drac­u­la, Franken­stein’s Mon­ster, the Wolf­man, Drac­u­la’s Daugh­ter. All return­ing, just as they returned in so many Uni­ver­sal hor­ror movies, this time in fic­tion­al form. 

The focus of this sto­ry is Drac­u­la’s Daugh­ter, Count­ess Zales­ka, who plots to use the pow­ers of the were­wolf to aid in her quest for pow­er. But not just any were­wolf, not even the cursed lLar­ry Tal­bot, but instead the descen­dant of the infa­mous Were­wolf of Lon­don, who was bit­ten by a were­wolf in Tibet and who passed the curse on to his descen­dants. With his unwit­ting or unwill­ing help, she plans to revive the Bride of Franken­stein as her ser­vant, the new Eve of a super­hu­man sub­ject race. 

Marya said, “They will obey for the same rea­son that the down­trod­den human mass­es allow them­selves to slave for those who rule over them. Why do the many not revolt against the tyran­ny o the few? Because they’ve been trained not to do so, manip­u­lat­ed, mind-con­trolled, and so pro­grammed from birth to death that the very idea of revolt to them is unthinkable. 

“The same shall be done to the Bride and her human prog­e­ny. With hyp­not­ic mind con­trol and all the arts and sci­ences of gov­ernence and con­trol, they will be imprint­ed to love their mas­ters, and to obey us a god­like lords of creation.” 

But that’s not all that’s hap­pen­ing: Count Drac­u­la, pos­ing as Baron Latos in a small Car­ribean island coun­try, has tried to take con­trol of Franken­stein’s Mon­ster through the art of Voodoo, albeit most unsuc­cess­ful­ly: the con­flict has buried them both deep with­in an ancient fortress, but mor­tal men are com­mand­ed by the Count­ess to recov­er them both and return them to her, that she elim­i­nate them both, the great­est threats to her pow­er, and assume true pow­er in her own right. 

But oth­er forces are at play, oth­er inter­ests at work. 

Com­men­tary: Of course, as a vam­pire, and not only the daugh­ter of a pow­er­ful vam­pire but pow­er­ful her­self, Count­ess Zales­ka pos­sess­es a con­sid­er­able mes­mer­ic power. 

Marya did­n’t use much make­up. When she was charged up at her full vam­pir­ic pow­er, she need­ed no cos­met­ic enhance­ment, pos­sess­ing the vam­pire’s seduc­tive glam­our. When she was not at her best, as for exam­ple when going too long between feed­ings, she relied on her pow­ers of hyp­not­ic fas­ci­na­tion to beguile and deceive the eyes of the mor­tals who sur­round­ed her. 

There is one scene where she uses that pow­er explicitly: 

Marya spoke her name, a whis­per, more felt than heard. A vel­vet stroke. 

“Denise.”

The girl looked away. 

Marya spoke her name, again. Some of those work­ers near­by looked up, sud­den­ly. They’d felt some of the resid­ual effects of Marya’s com­pelling pow­er. Even though the mes­sage was­n’t for them, they still picked up enough of it to feels its pas­sage. One of them shuddered. 

Lam­bert heard the whis­per, too. He watched, fas­ci­nat­ed, avid­ly star­ing at Marya’s ripe sub­tly smil­ing mouth. He was look­ing for fangs, but he did­n’t see any; they were too well hid­den by her lips. 

“Denise!!”

The call fell on the girls’ brain with a soft, stun­ning effect, a vel­vet-wrapped iron bar. Denise stiff­ened. Marya made a slight ges­ture, seem­ing­ly with­out mean­ing. It was a hyp­not­ic hand pass. 

Denise’s eyes closed, lids stretched taut­ly across bulging orbs, body rigid, her full-breast­ed chest ris­ing and falling with deep, heavy breath­ing. But at least she had stopped struggling. 

Look­ing up, Marya saw Lam­bert watch­ing her. In her eyes were twin red points, and in the instant that she met his gaze, he felt their impact, an elec­tric spark, a shock, rac­ing across his sud­den­ly taut­ened nerves, caus­ing his heart to skip a beat. He could­n’t breathe, until she broke eye con­tact. Then he col­ored, look­ing away. There were bet­ter rea­sons than mere sub­servience for not meet­ing the gaze of one’s patron, espe­cial­ly when that patron was Marya Zaleska. 

Rec­om­men­da­tion: Def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend­ed for any fans of the old Uni­ver­sal Hor­ror movies and monsters.

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