The Sven Lands

Something so strange has happened to me this night that I simply must make an account of it. The last few hours have changed my life dramatically. After all this time it still astounds me how the course of ones life can be drastically altered by an unexpected event. Sometimes these events are shocking and overwhelming, instantly flinging us onto an alternate path, other times they are subtle, gently leading us into a new chapter of our lives. I’d say what has happened to me tonight was a mixture of the two. My life will never be the same, but I am choosing to alter it in light of recent events.

It started early this evening. I got up in the blackness of October to get ready for work as usual. I was alone, as usual. The old wooden floor of my bedroom creaked and strained as I walked to the window to open the curtains. I knew what I would see outside – nothing but darkness, as usual. However, on opening the curtains a flood of moonlight cascaded in. When the moon is full it is spectacular here in this wilderness, and there were no clouds to dull its magnificent luminescence. But then, on the horizon of the Sven Lands I saw a shape. I couldn’t make out what it was from this distance but after watching it for a considerable time I was sure it was moving. I guessed it was a mellow-sloper or glendolin, or some other such grass-eating creature. I thought about going after it but I wasn’t in need of any such creature tonight, so I made my way to my study for another night of writing. When I started writing my memoirs – Oh, such a long time ago now – I did not realise it would absorb every moment of my time. But then I have been around for quite a while, I’ve seen many things and I would not wish to do them an injustice by skimping on the details. ‘Who will read a memoir now there is no fellow left?’ I hear you cry! Well, my dear friend, why does anyone write their memoirs except to cleanse a soiled soul? I digress.

The study is my favourite room in the house, and also the largest. I have a vast collection of papers and books and I like to have them all around me while I work, sharing my deepest secrets with a piece of parchment. I had been sitting at my Loius XVI desk for about thirty minutes, the words flowing with ease, when I heard a strange noise coming from outside. I know every creak and shift in this house and it wasn’t any of those. I also know every type of howl, bark and grunt made by the simple land creatures in this area and it did not resemble one of those either. If I had to describe it I would say it was a guttural moan, as though from a thing injured. This would be impossible though, given the circumstances. I must admit I was more than a little scared as I took my lantern and headed out of the house to investigate. I have seen many a vile creature rise from the ashes to try and conquer this world and I would be an idiot not to believe this could happen again. It does well to live cautiously.

Stepping outside, the warm, musty air hit me. It’s not as unbearable as the heat of the summer but still muggy. I don’t like how the air in this place feels in my lungs. It is cooler in the house. The wooden decking wraps around the entire building and as I could see nothing out front I decided to take a turn around it, as foolish as that may seem. On the east side of the house is a very large barn. I do use the barn for feeding purposes and I always keep it locked, so no silly, curious creature can go sniffing about in there. To my surprise I could see the huge wooden door was slightly ajar, the lock swinging by a nail, and on the floor next to it was my own hammer that I keep in a small toolbox hidden under the back steps in case of emergencies. My heart was pounding then. This was clearly no dumb animal, it had the knowledge and inclination to break the lock in order to gain shelter. Why it didn’t come straight into the house I don’t know. I walked over to the barn, the grass crunchy under my feet, picked up the hammer and went inside. I searched every corner of the barn but found nothing. All was still in it’s place. Tools and cutting equipment hanging exactly where I left them. At first I felt relieved, but then came the horrible realisation that whatever it was had somehow slipped past me and was now in the house.

I quick-stepped back inside, rushing through the rooms ensuring that all windows and doors were locked. After centuries in an empty place I have become slack about home security. All seemed fine and I returned to my study. But I couldn’t write. I could not shake the feeling that something was in the house with me, something terrifying, something that may have finally come to end me. It occurred to me that since I’ve been shut off in this house, the world empty, I have been waiting for something to come and end it all. Maybe my time was up at last.

The noise came again. A groan, a moan. But this time I knew it was in the house. I shot up out of my cracked leather chair and scanned the room. The noise was so close! There was nowhere to hide in the study though. I’d been all over the house already, where could it be? – Of course! The basement steps are on the other side of the study wall. I had not thought to check there. More sensibly now I decided I needed a weapon and took a poker from the fire grate. You may laugh at the thought of me needing a weapon, considering what I am, but my body has weakened considerably over the decades. I am not the magnificent creation I once was. I was beautiful once, splendid in my elegance and dreadful in my ways. How I miss it.

The basement door was closed. I opened it and held my lantern over the descending steps, fully expecting some creature to appear and rip my heart of my chest. But it didn’t. Slinking down the stairs I heard a rustle. I froze. I was terrified. How the tables turn.

I regained my wits and continued to the bottom of the stairs, turning to light underneath them which is where I thought the noise had come from. In that moment a being almost the same size as me lunged out from the darkness screeching, heading straight for my face. I swung the poker and hit the thing hard. It crumpled to the floor. I still couldn’t make out what it was, it was covered in rags. I used the poker to start pushing the rags out of the way to get a proper look at it, even though I just wanted to run. But to where? Where would you run to on this rotten earth?

Removing some rags I could not believe what I was seeing. There was an arm – a human arm! A human face! It was covered in dirt and skinny but it was human. How can this be possible? Humans are extinct. But here it was, a human being! A young female. I could see that one of its arms was broken and that must be the cause of its pain. Its eyes started opening, I saw realisation hit its face and it scrambled to move, knocking its arm in the process and letting out a sorrowful cry, sinking into a ball on the floor in defeat.

‘Hush’ I soothed it. ‘It’s ok, I will help take care of the pain.’ I reached my arms out to it and it moved, accepting my invitation of comfort. I took it in my arms. I could smell the hot, flowing lifeblood. I could practically see the red liquid sliding through its veins. I must hold back, I needed information. If there is one human, there are more.

‘Where have you come from my friend?’ I asked. The female looked up and began speaking fast, like she was afraid. But I couldn’t understand anything she was saying. It was a new language. That was to be expected after all this time.

‘Hush now. Let me take care of the pain.’ I stroked her cheek and moved her ragged hair out the way. I bent my head as though to look at her arm and I could feel the old fangs pushing through my gums. It has been so long! Fangs do not appear for just any creature. The land animals I have been living on have to be slaughtered. This was glorious! In a movement that was probably too quick for the human to see, I sunk those fangs into its neck, piercing the artery, the blood gushed into my mouth. How can I even begin to describe my joy. I closed my eyes, holding the human tight and filled myself up on the sweet nectar. I could feel it healing me, every cell in my body was expanding, becoming stronger, becoming me again. The old me. I stood up and let out a roar, the body slumped to the floor. I took the basement steps three at a time; I was eager to reach the mirror hanging in the hallway. My reflection was exquisite. Smooth milky skin, not a line to be seen. Red, full lips. The lank grey hair had been replaced with my stunning blonde locks. And my eyes! They were glowing again! I never thought this would be possible. What a gift! And I plan not to waste it.

So I sit here writing the events of this evening about to set out from the house I have lived in for centuries. I will probably miss the old place. But there are humans in the world again and that means there is another chance for me to live rather than exist. Farewell my avid readers, whomever you may be.

The Sven Lands


Author: Jennifer Kennedy

Mother, teacher and writer. I love all my jobs but writing holds a special place in my heart. I hope you enjoy reading my short stories as much as I enjoy writing them!

17 thoughts on “The Sven Lands”

  1. Wow! An amazing story full of suspense, intrigue and surprise.

    As your first short story Jennifer, I’m hooked. You set the scene well and is a great start.
    Will this be the first in a series? I’d like to find out what happens next.


  2. Wow! I’m really glad I stayed to have a nosy around your blog. Your flash fiction was beautiful and this is divine. So eloquent, full of suspense and the steady reveal is so considered. I have a feeling this first draft you mentioned is FAR from terrible 🙂 Can’t wait to read more!! x

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