Author's note: Hello dearest readers… This short story is not actually a story in the usual sense of the word… It's more of an introspection of Van Helsing's soul and mind… And it's a really dark and sad narration by Van Helsing. It is inspired by the album "Blackwater Park" by Opeth, and especially by the song "Harvest". If you know of it you may recognize some lyrics weaved into the story. Since I first listened to this album I wanted to write something, and the time has at last come. Also, the title of the story is a homonymous song by Sentenced (album: Amok). So, if you like this kind of stories, read on, and please let me know what you think of it!

Transylvania, many years after Anna's death. Van Helsing narrating.

Nepenthe

Thoughts… so many thoughts in my head… unpleasant thoughts, incoherent thoughts… And they are always here, torturing me, all these years… all these endless years… You are still haunting me. You have never gone away. You're always here, in my mind, in my heart, in my every breath…

Back in your place I am, wandering around with no purpose. Long ago I stopped caring about the Order and God. I am a shadow of myself. The notorious hunter is no more. The only thing that keeps me alive, the only thing that will not let me die is your remembrance…

Into the cemetery I walk, peering way past the gates. I can't explain why my steps always lead me here. Again, and again, and again. Maybe it's my hide. Maybe it's my sanctuary. Maybe it's where I seek oblivion, and yet again memories return so vivid, each and every time… Back then, I had known your soul. You opened yourself to me. You melted my inside. Your voice broke with pain. I fell in love with you. The cemetery… It will always be here. I will always go there. Like this time.

Winter entered once again. It had never left my soul. Lost are the days of spring, gone away with my warmth. It died with your death, that fateful night. You sighted and let me in, you thought you could keep the beast inside, bound and shackled… Screaming out, too late. Rage… I lost to it. I was weak. I still am.

Oh… I would willingly give away my life if only you could stay with me a while! When you died, when I killed you, I prayed with all my heart to have you forever… never to leave me be… And, as if you pledged yourself to me, your presence has never abandoned me. It was soothing in the early years. Then it became painful. And then haunting. I am haunted by you. You will never let go… I will never let go…

The burden is so heavy… The burden of the past, the burden of ignorance, the burden of knowledge… The burden of my pointless life. It is pointless without you. Every hope, every joy has turned pale, has died… I cannot confide in anything without you. You made my life mean something, you made my heart beat, you made it all look worthy. And I destroyed it all. No excuse I can ever accept. No excuse I can ever let ease my pain. Because I find no excuse for what I did. There are no comforting words for my suffering. And the burden is so heavy…

The silence of your seclusion is killing me, day by day. A slow, painful death, that refuses to be completed. And I'm still here, wandering like a ghost, dragging my chains… Day and night success one another, and I'm still here. Night used to be my ally in the long-forgotten days of hunting. Now it's all different. I'm counting nocturnal hours, drowned visions in haunted sleep. Never resting. But it's not the same as when I met you. It's not those nightmares that steal away my sleep. It's you. Because you are there even in my dreams, and nightmares… And I always wake up to my sound, and lapse into the ways of misery…

Come, look upon me, I beg you now like every time. My life is yours for the taking, I tell you, but you won't hear me. You are just standing there, embraced by the veils of my mind, cold and sad. Drained by the coldest caress of death you are, drained by the coldest caress of your dead body against my naked one I am. I relive these final moments every day, and I can't take it anymore. If only I could escape! If only I could escape you… and myself. I beg you, name my final rest. Torture me no more… Let my life turn into a wilted scene, let me drown into the depths of oblivion…

But you will not grant my wish, I know. You never do. You always come back to torment me, but you are deaf to my soul's pleas. I have lost you for eternity, I know…The halo of death crowns your dark curls for years now… I can never forget. How ironic! I was the one who had no memories, and now I beg to forget, and I cannot. And I can never have you again. But I never really had you. Our love withered before it even bloomed, like a rose bud that was chilled by the cruel winter. Now all I see is departure… Nothing is left alive. Nothing is left alive inside me. It's only you that keeps me breathing. Please… release your grip, let me go into the night… Mourner's lament, but it's me who's the martyr…

Author's note: Just in case you were wondering about the title, here's some explanation: Nepenthe is a drug of forgetfulness mentioned in Greek mythology, depicted as originating in Egypt. The word "Nepenthe" first appears in the fourth book (vv. 220-221) of the Odyssey of Homer. Literally, it means "the one that chases away sorrow" (ne not, penthos grief, sorrow). In the Odyssey, "Nepenthes pharmakon" (i.e. a drug that chases away sorrow) is a magical potion given to Helen by an Egyptian queen. It quells all sorrows with forgetfulness. (by Wikipedia)