- Part Three -
Gordon realized he must have dozed at some point, because when he looked up towards the window his salt-rimmed eyes teared against the light of the pale dawn. He realized that Harley should be back at any minute, and felt an uncontrollable leap in his chest at the thought.
There was a sudden thump and the door burst open. In the concentration of light Gordon could make out the outline of one person. He was just choking out 'Harley…' when the figure came into focus.
The man was Harley's height, but thin and light on his feet. He stalked soundlessly into the room before dropping something that had been slumped over his shoulders. It hit the ground with a sick crunch, and Harley's face looked unseeingly up at Gordon. The young hunter let out a horrified yelp attempting to scramble back even as the hard edge of the post pressed into his back.
Gordon automatically met the vampire's eyes, and shuddered.
'This' – the creature used a careless foot to push Harley's body closer – 'is a warning message from Selene. Your hunter friend came after us and this is what happened to him. Your sister is willing to spare you as long as you don't come after us too.' The vampire bared his teeth in the semblance of a smile. 'Personally, I'd just kill you now.'
He stepped over the body, Harley's body, thought Gordon dazedly, and circled behind the young man. Gordon's heart beat rapidly in his chest, his breath short. This is it; I should have gotten out of here when I had the chance. But the vampire simply bent down and began sawing at the ropes.
'We're moving on,' he informed Gordon. 'Selene and a few others will stay for a while to make sure you don't try to follow us. If you do… well, you're not going to get a second chance.'
With a final stroke of the knife Gordon jerked free, his arms throbbing with renewed circulation. By the time he looked up, panting from pain, the vampire was standing at the door. He flashed Gordon another savage grin before leaving, head bowed against the strengthening sunlight.
Once Gordon could move his arms again without grimacing too much, thanks in part to a handful of painkillers, his mind turned to food. All he could dig up was an empty chip packet under the passenger seat of Harley's car, so reluctantly he decided to find a diner.
Gordon glared at the giant neon sign that seemed determined to burn the word Sandy's into his skull. With a derisive snort he pushed open the door, gave the place a brief, contemptible once-over, and slung himself into a booth at the back, drumming his fingers on the tabletop.
'How can I… uh – are you alright?' The pretty, twenty-something waitress who had approached him was trying to conceal her shock, and Gordon realized for the first time how awful he must look.
He forced a grin. 'It's okay. I was stupid enough to let my friends take me on a bender. I deserve everything I get. A coffee and breakfast would make my morning though.' The lies rolled easily off his tongue.
The waitress looked him up and down, assessing the tense posture and dirty clothes, and seemed to decide that he was telling the truth, because she smiled.
'Okay then. Well, you picked a good corner, away from the neon lights.' She grabbed a coffee jug, warming on a percolator, and a mug, filling it to the brim. 'I'll go and get you the breakfast special,' she said. 'It's perfect for a hangover.'
Gordon's smile this time was backed by gratitude as he wrapped his hands around the warm cup, slouching against the comfortable red leather and chrome seats. While he waited he looked around, taking in the mission brown wood-panelled walls, mostly obscured by old movie posters. In comparison to the floor, which was covered in multi-coloured linoleum that brought to mind the word 'puke', it seemed like a good design choice.
'There you go sugar.'
Gordon drew his eyes away from the strangely mesmerising surroundings to look up at the waitress. She placed a plate loaded with greasy sausages, fried eggs and toast on the table. Gordon thought perhaps he spotted a hash brown buried somewhere in there too.
'Thanks, uh' – he looked for a name badge – 'Lisa.'
'It's my pleasure. Now you promise to let me know if you need anything else.'
'Uh huh.' His mouth was already full of food.
The doorbell chimed and Lisa turned to greet the new customers, who seemed far more inclined to conversation than Gordon. He watched as they sat down, a group of teenagers in college jackets, too engrossed in their own interactions to spare him more than a glance. One of them said something too quietly for him to hear and the others laughed. Gordon wondered at the twinge of longing that shuddered through him.
For the first time in a long time he thought about the friends he'd left behind. He'd never have in-jokes with them anymore, never go the movies or attend parties. They would probably go on to lead nice normal lives, whilst he would live in nightmares. He wondered if he'd ever be able to have ordinary dealings with people again. He had finally let Harley get close to him, and then the man had died. Somehow it seemed easier to stay alone.
So why did he feel like he was Peter Pan standing at the window, watching while everyone else moved on? He put his head down and focused on his food. He already had enough to deal with.
Back at the cabin, Gordon paced, working out the final details of the hunt. He'd need dead man's blood. He paused for a moment, wondering how he'd get it, before striding abruptly over to the door. He stood frozen, looking at the body. He couldn't. He shouldn't. But then what other option did he have? Gordon allowed himself a small smile, acknowledging the poetic justice of his choice.
Gordon gagged as he completed the process of extracting blood form a man whose heart was no longer working to pump it through is body. He watched the jar carefully, and the second it was full he pushed himself away, retreating to a corner of the room to recover. The stench followed him, clinging to his skin and clothes. He concentrated on breathing through his mouth, before forcing himself to return to Harley's body, clapping a brief, gentle hand against the shoulder of the fallen man. Then, in a few quick movements he had capped the jar and piled together all of the equipment that needed to be cleaned.
Once the purplish-red liquid was rinsed down the drain and all the tools were hanging up to dry, Gordon pulled his shirt over his head, dumping it on the bathroom floor. His jeans followed, and he stepped into the steaming shower. As the hot water melted his aching muscles he felt as though he wasn't just washing away the dirt and the smell of Harley's death, but as though he was also washing away his history and weaknesses. He needed those faults to be dissolved; he needed to be able to face his sister as a hunter – as a man.
He didn't know how darkness had arrived so quickly. He pulled out his weapons, choosing two long machetes for the night's work. But he wasn't going to use them clean. He also grabbed the jar from the back seat of the car and unscrewed the lid. Prepared for the smell this time he didn't recoil, pouring the congealing liquid along the blades, turning their silver sheen almost black.
He walked like a soldier, ramrod straight. He didn't bother to conceal himself, knowing they would be watching. He saw a flicker of movement in front of him and started towards it, but then, sensing something behind him, swung back around, chopping the approaching vampire's head clean off. It seemed to be the cue to attack. Suddenly five more vampires were closing in, fangs bared. Gordon swung his blades madly. His opponents were overconfident and weakened quickly as he opened their bodies to the blood on the machetes. Soon beheaded bodies and silence surrounded him.
He spotted a fire in the clearing, kicked a head out of the way and started towards it. His sister stood beside the flames, twisting a lock of hair around her finger, expression disdainful but unafraid.
'How did you get past the others?' She seemed almost amused, though she should have been wary, a lone hunter able to overpower a group of vampires on the attack.
'I've learned a thing or two since you've been gone.'
'So I see. You're still going to die though.' Selene smiled, allowing her fangs to slide down over her teeth.
'Don't be so sure of that,' retorted Gordon, his voice controlled, steady. 'But Selene, we should at least try to make this right. We've both lost someone we cared about…' He took a step towards her as he spoke.
'Someone we cared about!' She laughed mockingly. 'Well you might have found a brand new daddy, but I lost so much more. Latro… he was everything. And your little friend destroyed that.' Fury twisted her features, deepened her voice. 'He destroyed everything! You should have killed him yourself!'
Without warning she was up against him, shoving him so fast he felt like he flew the metres before his back slammed against a tree. Selene leaned close, her breath hot on his neck as she whispered in his ear.
'You didn't make him pay, and you didn't listen when I told you not to follow me,' she hissed. 'You really should have done what you were told, Gordy.'
She held him with ease and smiled wickedly as her fingers slowly tightened around his neck. Gordon's head felt like it was swelling with the pressure, his lungs were burning. His fingers grew cold and his mind distant as he realized that he was still holding one of the machetes. He just had to lift it.
The swipe was unfocused and weak, but it was enough to break skin, and Selene reeled back as the poison filtered through her veins. Gordon sliced at her again, but his body was still busy gaspingly replacing oxygen, and it wasn't a killing blow. The wound, enough to kill an ordinary human, still weakened Selene significantly though. She sank to the ground, struggling a little to breathe, her face upturned, eyes wide.
'Gordon, please…' Her voice was desperate. 'I'm sorry, I just, I can't help it. But you'll help me… won't you? You'll save me?'
Gordon, his breathing back under control, lowered the blade fractionally, hoping… but he saw immediately a brief spark of ruthlessness light up the vampire's eyes, and lifted the blade again. His sister stopped pleading when the metal struck her neck.
Gordon looked down, realized he was covered in Selene's blood. He'd have to shower. He straightened up and started to walk heavily across the grass, his mind straining against the night's events. When he reached the car, dropping the machete onto the backseat, he began to laugh uncontrollably, and his teeth flashed white against the dark sheen of his bloodied skin.