Know Suffering

Suffering is part of the human condition. Here in the besieged farmlands of rural Transylvania this fact is quite evident on the faces of the people who are determined not to be driven off by the cruel blight that infests their homelands. It manifests itself more substantially, however, in the corpses found tucked within the valleys and creeks of the rolling hills and silent stone faces of the cliffs that overlook them.

These simple facts of life punched me in the face after I followed a set of luminous werewolf tracks to their source in the form of an inhuman monster who met his end at the business end of a home-made flamethrower wielded by a man whose flesh appeared to have been seared by his own device more than once. He told me of his hatred for the “societies” and how he was going to make things right again one day by taking them all down. Sounds just fine to me as long as you leave me out of it and – by the way – you’ll need to find a way to permanently kill people who are immortal.

Given that the people in this region have become adept at sticking iron stakes through the hearts and heads of otherwise unkillable vampires, I don’t think that’s going to be much of a problem.

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When the beast had been slashed, bludgeoned, and burned into submission, the grisly facade of its malformed exterior melted away to reveal the blood-crusted corpse of a young boy wearing only a pair of blue shorts. He couldn’t have been more than about eight years old. I had seen some things in my travels, but this still provoked a reaction in me. I thought about what might have been – school, marriage, work. What would he have done with his life? The possibilities brought a solitary tear to my eye which I was told to follow to its source – the wellspring of suffering. The reality is that he might have grown up to be a fat alcoholic gas station attendant, but we would never know that. One weeps for what might have been and, when that is done, we return to the grim reality of the present.

In this case, our reality is that suffering is a daily part of life, especially around here, and that we must learn to cope with it, each in our own way.

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