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Night Crawlers : A Historical Horror Story

Chris McAuley

Putrid green vomit spewed from the twisted dark grey mouth of the decaying nobleman. He had been infected only a few days ago and his shambling carcass was animated with only a hint of life. The forest at night had become eerily silent, as if it knew of the tragedy about to befall the village it surrounded. Behind the retching figure a dozen undead warriors approached. These were formally of the Princeps’ retinue and, like him, they now served a much darker and dread master.

The infection began as the Princeps enjoyed his customary nightly flagon of beer, this had, allegedly been procured from the prestigious Egyptian brewers’ resident in the city. Others who tasted the fermented beverage would swear it was from the issue of the rat population instead. The beer was of course, tainted. Mixed with the ale was the excrement of a freshly risen corpse. The effect was sickness, death and a hasty resurrection.

As the population of Nida slept, the undead troop edged closer. The Nightwatchmen, who had not dealt with any hostile incursions since the Germanic tribes had been quelled a few years earlier. Did not see the sloughing figures creep through the dense tree line. Instead, Quintus Marius, the town guard, dreamed of wealth, fame and finally winning the affection of the town beauty Larissa.

As the hours passed and the midnight blue hues of nightfall developed into the intense darkness of small hours, screaming could be heard. The undead forces had crept to the left side of the village and, through a gap in the aging wooden fences broken through. The rotting army was in the process of smashing through the homes of the merchants and citizens residing there as Quintus roused himself from his blissful reverie.<