"In the Lair of the Vampire!"
Nestled deep within the Carpathian Mountains, a large winged figure moved silently between the trees. Moving into the moonlight, the Bat pulled a pair of binoculars from her belt and scanned the narrow mountain pass below. "Father Green's information about the Monk's network was correct, but I have to be careful."
Resting for a minute, the Bat took a moment to look back at the strangeness of the past few days. Her would-be fiancé, Julius Madison, was resting back in Paris with Father Green. The priest had insisted on coming along but the Bat managed to veto the older man's plans. She knew from the priest that a high ranking member of the Monk's organization would be passing through the countryside to rendezvous with her master. Her thoughts were interrupted when a stage coach came roaring through the pass.
Climbing to the nearest branches, the Bat crouched and waited. As the coach neared, she leapt from her perch and spread her cape. The sight was enough to startle the driver, who threw away the reins and dived off the coach.
"Driver, what is the meaning of this?" A richly accented voice demanded from within the rocking vehicle. "Why are you going so fast?"
The Bat snagged the reins and pulled sharply. The horses, trained as they were, slowed to a halt. The Bat waited as the coach door was flung open and the irate passenger stormed out. "What is the meaning of this?"
"Dala, I presume?" The Bat glared at the woman. Despite the dust, Dala stood as a pale figure in the moonlight. Her face was pale as alabaster, with hair black as the night around them. The only colorful things about her were her lips. Twin slits of red in the moonlight.
"You're rather fancy for a highway bandit but I have little money."
Closing her cape around her, the Bat pulled out a pair of handcuffs. "It's not money I'm after. Hold out your hands." Dala offered her slender wrists without comment as the Bat slapped the cuffs on her. "Walk in front of me and don't try anything. " She poked a batarang into Dala's back for emphasis.
Hustling her to a rented car, the Bat drove like mad back to the hotel. Renting under an assumed name, the Bat and Alfred had set up a small headquarters in the top floor. Entering via the service elevator, the Bat ushered Dala into the room. The woman had been unearthly quiet for the trip. She said nothing, and despite the Bat's straining she heard nothing else; no humming, no breathing, and not even the material in her dress or the car seat moving.
As Dala entered the darkened room, the Bat struck a match and lit the nearby lantern, casting a harsh yellow glare about the room. Dala hissed and snapped her handcuffs when the Bat directed the lanterns' glare at a large mirror that hung over the bed.
Dala cast no reflection.
The Bat placed the lamp down as Alfred entered the room. For his mistress's safety, he wore a simple mask as well as a large crucifix around his neck. "What do you want of me?" Dala swore.
"The one you call master."
Dala spat at her words. "My master? I would gladly give him to you. I have no love for that monster." She crossed her arms and seemed much smaller. "He damned me ages ago. I'll help however I can." Dala raised her eyes to Alfred and spoke softer. "I want to help. What do you wish of me?"
The Bat put herself between the pair. "Lead me to him, tonight."
"And fight him in the dark? You have bravery human, but not much common sense."
The Bat grinned. "I have plenty of both but I'd rather face him now. Don't some vampires turn into regular corpses in the daytime? How could I tell the difference?"
"A good point and besides, the master has filled his castle with dozens of decoy bodies. It would take you weeks to find him but I know where he sleeps."
"Excellent. I'll ready the plane. We'll leave at once." The Bat left as Alfred stood silently in the corner. No sooner had she left the room then she heard the unmistakable sounds of a struggle.
Rushing back into the room, she saw Alfred lying in a heap, his crucifix broken. Dala stood over him, her lips redder than they were before. "You liar!" The Bat picked up two candlesticks and formed a makeshift cross. Dala recoiled in horror.
"Forgive me! The hunger overcame me!" Dala cowered from the Bat. "It won't happen again!" She pointed to Alfred. "Look, your servant awakens. I merely took enough to sate my thirst but not enough to turn him."
"Are you alright?" The Bat whispered to the butler. He nodded and applied a compress to his neck.
"I'll live ma'am. She barely scratched me is all."
"Come with me, now!" The Bat forced Dala up and prodded her up to the hotel roof. The Bat-gyro sat on the roof ready for take-off. "Sit next to me but don't try anything."
Dala nodded and took her seat as the Bat climbed in and started the engines. The rotors spun to life as the amazing machine cleared the roof and took off into the night.
Alfred, after cleaning the wound, picked up two knifes and a fork he had borrowed from the kitchen. "I hope these will be enough." He went into his rooms and looked at the equipment. He knew of Elizabeth Wayne's aversion to firearms but for such an enemy that they faced he wished to be ready for anything. Taking the flatware and placing it on a small workbench, Alfred readied himself for the task at hand. A small furnace rested underneath a bowel. A large mold sat next to all of it.
He placed goggles over his eyes as he turned on the small furnace. He dumped the flatware into the bowel and watched carefully as the metal turned into liquid. Once the bowel was filled with liquid silver, he carefully poured the molten metal into the bullet molds and waited. Popping them open, he gazed at the six newly formed silver bullets. "If those stories I've been reading are true, then these should be enough to stop that monster if nothing else will!"
The steady hum of the gyro's motor was the only thing the Bat heard. Dala sat unmoving in the seat next to her. She pointed when they needed to change direction. After flying deeper into the countryside, the Bat spied a ruined castle off in the distance. She gestured towards Dala, who nodded.
No sooner had they corrected the course and made a heading for it then a large mesh net suddenly appeared before them and entangled the gyro. The propellers made a valiant effort but the steel weave wrapped around the body. "Brace for impact!" the Bat shouted over the rushing wind.
Doing her best to level the gyro out, they dropped like a stone into the thick trees. The control stick was torn from her hands. Dala vanished as the Bat was violently jerked against the seat, held in place only by the safety harness.
The Bat came to with a slow start. Her entire body ached and her mouth felt like someone had stuffed it full of pennies. "What happened?"
Red clad feet shuffled into her view. "Ah, you're awake! Excellent!" The Monk snapped his fingers. The Bat felt herself being lifted none too gently and dragged. Her vision swam and she fought back the urge to vomit. "I regret the deception and the loss of your vehicle. It was truly a magnificent craft."
"Here detective," Dala appeared next to the Monk. She wrapped a pale arm around him. "I would offer my apologies, but I fear I'm not sorry in the least."
"Why?" she choked out the words before a sack was secured over her head.
"We have need of you my dear, but don't worry. All will be revealed soon." The Monk's voice rumbled.
The Bat wasn't sure how much time had passed. The sack was torn free. The room was shrouded in darkness, with only two small candles giving off a dim light. "Well, I must say you have impressed me mortal."
"People tell me so. What is your scheme here Monk? Why does a vampire want to steal money?"
The red hooded figure laughed. She thought it was a laugh, but the sounds that were coming from under the cloth were unlike anything she had ever heard before. "Why not? Money gives one access to some many things. In the olden days I would have prowled villages for tender young flesh. Now I can buy my own stock."
The Monk loomed over her. "You are the first living human being to ever set foot inside this castle. You are also the first to disrupt my plans. Madison would have delivered Elizabeth Wayne and the Wayne fortune to me, but I think you can be a much more attractive prize."
"What do you mean?" The Bat's curiosity overcame her fear.
"I will make you part of my organization. You obviously have some skills and money. Pooling it with me will increase my power and dominion."
"Yes, but there is a problem with that, namely I'd rather die than work with you." She tried to spit but found her throat dry.
"Excellent, but rest assured, your dying would only be a temporary state." The Monk stepped back into the shadows. "Of course, if you fail to serve me I do have options."
"Dala told me of a manservant back at your lodgings. Thanks to her attack, he is now in my thrall. I've ordered him to come here. I hope his presence will convince you. The other option is less challenging."
"And what's that?"
"I throw you to my werewolves. If you aren't devoured then you'll be turned into a member of the pack. Either way I still win." He vanished from sight.
Once she was sure she was alone, the Bat took stock of her room. She was bound with a heavy chain to a large chair. The lock was secured on her chest. She could feel that her belt was gone, as were her boots and gloves.
"They thought of everything, but they didn't search hard enough!" Flicking her tongue against her right canine, she sucked in a breath as she pried the false tooth loose. It had taken a sizable amount of money to alter a tooth into a lock pick but she was thankful that she had planned for this kind of event. Pushing the key out, she bent her head down and picked the lock.
The padlock gave way easily enough. Slipping the tooth back into its place, she stood up and looked around. "I could fashion a cross from those candles but that would only work for a brief period. How can I stop this monster for good?" She picked up the candles and slipped them into her waistband.
Alfred wheezed as he marched through the dense forest. Back at the hotel he had been overcome with the strangest compulsion. Images of a castle flooded his mind, demanding he travel there at once. He had already finished casting the silver bullets and loaded them into a small pistol when the urge came to him.
Slipping the gun into his pocket, he walked as fast as he could towards the source of the vision. The brambles snagged and tore his jacket. He ignored the pain in his feet as he slogged through the woods. "I have to be there soon." He mouthed words to no one as he pressed forward into the darkness.
The Bat crept carefully down the hallway. Following the paths in the dust, she crouched down as she spied light coming from down the hall. She was on the second level overlooking a large room. Crawling towards the light, she hid behind a mildewed tapestry as the Monk and Dala entered the lower room and talked. Their voices echoed in the chamber.
"Did you escort the manservant to the dungeon?"
"Yes, master. He is completely in my power. "Dala laughed. "Shall I drain him or simply feed him to the wolves?"
The Monk seemed to consider the matter for some seconds. "Kill him then finish turning the mortal woman."
"At once my lord!" Dala bowed and walked away, her heels clicking on the ancient stones.
The Bat paled under her mask. "I've got to hurry!" Racing back the way she came, she ran down a flight of stairs two at a time. Going by the dampness in the air, she was getting closer to the lower levels. She rounded a corner and ran headlong into Dala.
The vampire hissed and lunged for her. Tearing the candles free she held them up as a makeshift cross. Dala paled and threw up her hands. Alfred's voice echoed down the hall. "Who's there?"
The Bat inched slowly towards his door. Dala followed her every step, hate in her eyes. "You can't free him and ward me off at the same time mortal."
Before the Bat could formulate a plan, a gunshot rang out. The reverb in the stone corridor was almost deafening. Dala jerked once and fell. A large bloodstain began to spread across her dress. "Alfred?"
Alfred's hand leaned out of the small cell door at the end of the hall. "Inside mistress; did I finish that devil?"
The Bat looked Dala over. The vampire was unmoving. Her eyes stared up into nothingness. "Since she was dead to begin with, I'm not sure how to answer that." She lowered the candles and rushed towards her old friend.
The Bat easily opened the door after taking the keys from Dala and embraced Alfred. "They said you were in a trance?"
"Thanks to that blighter's bite, no doubt. My mind feels clearer though."
"Yes, but the Monk will be checking on his second any moment. Maybe you'll be safer outside?" a wolf howl seemed to answer her.
"Madam, I doubt I'll be safe anywhere as long as that fiend walks the Earth."
"Then let me be the one to end it." Without thinking, the Bat snatched the pistol from Alfred's hand.
"Wait!" Alfred reached into his jacket. "I always carry a spare, just for such emergencies." He pulled a bright yellow utility belt from under his coat. The Bat smiled and slipped it around her waist.
"Thanks, now find someplace safe."
The Bat was halfway up the nearest staircase when the insanity of the situation hit her. "Am I really going to kill someone?" Ever since her parents died she had an aversion to firearms. She knew how they worked, but the idea of using one herself filled her with loathing. Checking her ammo, she lightly ran her fingers over the silver bullets. "Five shots left."
Entering the main hall, she stopped as the Monk appeared on the balcony. "So, either you or the servant has slain Dala." He seemed merely annoyed at the idea. "She was a loyal ally. I wonder how you'll do as a replacement?"
"Wondering is all you'll have to settle for." She drew the pistol. The Monk laughed.
"Filled with silver, no doubt, but tell me mortal, how much ammunition did you bring?" A door in front of her opened. From the snarling sounds issuing forth, she could only guess one thing.
"Yes, my own private pack. Vicious and hungry as well, so I would be very judicious in firing. If I can't have you as an ally, I will settle for having you as a pet."
The Monk stepped back as four werewolves stepped into the dim light. They were all tall; the shortest was a good foot taller than her. They were humanoid wolves, as that was the best description the Bat could give. Their eyes were largely blank as near as she could tell.
They moved slowly towards her and tried to surround her. She was expecting anything. Going from what she knew of wolf packs, she expected the alpha to attack first. The biggest one moved silently, his teeth barred.
Acting quickly, she holstered the gun. Popping open a compartment, she removed several small gas vials. As the alpha lunged and snapped, she tossed several of the vials directly into the monster's mouth. The glass shattered against its teeth and a pungent thick smoke was released.
The wolf howled in agony as it clawed helplessly against the blinding fumes. Tossing a few more vials into the fire behind her released enough smoke to create a small cloud. Ducking under the outstretched arms of the beasts, she darted up the stairs.
One lone wolf, however, hung back and grabbed her cape, yanking her back down. The creature seemed to grin as it loomed over her. Slipping a batarang from her belt, she quickly slammed the sharpened edge into the monster's paw. It let out a very human scream and toppled backwards into the other members of the pack, who had turned on themselves in the confusion.
Tearing her cape free, the Bat slipped up the stairs as the injured wolf was torn apart by the other members of the pack. Drawing the gun, she darted down the hall where the Monk had vanished. The small torches provided the only light in the corridor.
"I see you survived the pack. I knew you had some skill." The Monk's voice echoed off the stone walls. "Perhaps I underestimated you. It has been so long since I have been challenged like this."
Fog began to fill the corridor. "I have to admit, I feel that it would be a waste to simply kill you."
"I think we're in agreement for once." The Bat slipped another batarang from her belt and held it up to the gun barrel, forming a makeshift cross. The fog recoiled in places. Dashing through an opening, the Bat darted down the hall and dove into an open room.
Slamming the door shut behind her, the Bat glanced around the room. Rows of coffins were placed before her, each one filled with dirt. "He must be sleeping in one, but which one?"
The fog reappeared under the door and reformed into the Monk. "I've enjoyed the game, but now is the time I end it."
The Bat aimed the gun at him. The Monk stopped. Under his red hood she could feel his eyes narrowing. "Put that toy away. You know you don't have the strength to use it."
"I have the strength to not use it." The Bat countered. She could feel her arms growing heavier. If she didn't shoot now, she wouldn't have another chance. She grappled with the decision as much as she fought to keep the pistol upright.
"He's a vampire. There is no other way to stop him!" She forced her eyes away as she noticed something creeping along the floor: sunlight. The Monk moved closer to her, unaware of the rising sun. Forcing her hands up, she made him pause as she held up the cross.
"Fool! With my power at best you can hope for a stalemate but you will tire eventually!" The Monk roared.
Instead of words, the Bat lowered the cross and dashed towards the boarded up window. Aiming the gun carefully, she fired two shots into the rotted wood. The Monk, realizing at last her plan, snarled and charged.
The boards were loosened by the bullets. Using the batarang, she popped one board free and ducked as the searing rays of the sun flooded the room. The Monk howled in agony as he staggered backwards. Using the distraction, the Bat pried the other boards free, completely bathing the room in daylight.
The Monk, flames and smoke pouring from his robes, tried to slip inside a coffin that was resting on a large table. The Bat fired one shot into the table's leg, tipping and causing it to spill the box's precious dirt. The Monk, flames now reducing his body to bone, pointed a ruined stump at her. "Mortal, I will not forgive this! I damn you, now and forever!" He shrieked as his robes were finally consumed by the fire.
Turned into a raging inferno, the Monk thrashed about the room, leaving smaller fires in his wakes. The Bat ran outside as the wooden coffins caught fire. Flames followed her as the moldy tapestries that hung on every wall erupted in flame. Sparks and embers floated on the air, igniting every surface they touched.
The Bat raced through the castle. Retracing her steps she ran towards the dungeon. Dala's body was still where she last saw it. The air was already growing hot as she rounded corner after corner until she came to Alfred's cell. Without a word she threw open the door and grabbed the older man's hand. Tearing her cape free, she ripped the garment into strips and fashioned two crude masks from them. They wrapped them around their faces as they went up the stairs.
The pair ran like banshees. Heading back into the main hall, they stepped into an inferno. Fire hungrily consumed the ancient woodwork. The Bat pointed towards the main door, torn free from its hinges.
Running side by side, they made it into the courtyard just as the roof collapsed behind them. Spying the portcullis in front of them, Alfred and the Bat rushed towards the large wheel and turned it. It screamed in protest, but they managed to raise the latticed grill as the drawbridge lowered.
Making their way across the bridge, they stopped as the castle was finally consumed in the fire. "I can't believe it!" Alfred marveled at the destruction.
"I can." The Bat freed her face and looked around. "There are strange things in the world Alfred, and it looks like we have to be the ones to protect the innocent." She took one last glance at the woods in the early morning light. "Although I wouldn't mind going back to dealing with regular criminals for a while." The pair began their trek back to their hotel and civilization.
Based on "Batman vs. the Vampire, part 2" which was first published Detective Comics I#32 (October 1939) with credits to Gardner F. Fox (script), Bob Kane (pencils, officially) and Sheldon Moldoff (pencils and letters)
Be here next time when the Bat takes on the Dirigibles of Doom!
And now fan mail
They Call Me Bruce
Nice work with the fanfic
Cambot's version of "The Bat vs. the Vampire, Part 1" turns out to be very similar to the 1939 original. It's a bit ironic that Elizabeth, AKA the Bat, seems puzzled at the idea that vampire truly exist but doesn't bat an eye at a similar mention of werewolves. Looking forward to part 2!
Thanks, and yeah it is bit odd that she can buy one thing and not the other. Although after what she has seen, she's not going to dismiss everything but she will take everything with a grain of salt. And thanks again for proofreading this.
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