Alucard exhaled softly, no clouds of steam emerging from his mouth though the air was frozen. The vampire was gazing at the open night sky, watching the luminous moon hang overhead. He was at the head of the ship, purposely choosing to be in front of the smoking stacks that might have hindered his view. The stars were bright and they twinkled tranquilly in the quiet night, though Alucard alone was able to hear the combined heart that throbbed within the ship, the collection of hundreds of human lives beating all at once. Crimson eyes had orbs of white lit within them as they gazed up at the moon and the light bathed his face, stroking the pale skin with age old fingers. Serenity built the moment and Alucard let out another sigh. Suddenly, alarm pulsed through his lifeless veins. His eyes tore away from the moon and the creature looked around hurriedly, confused when he could not recognize the threat. His head snapped to the side of the ship, his hair flowing in the soft breeze given by the speed of the vessel, and it streamed behind him as he flew to the edge and gripped the icy metal side. The undead being was thrown backwards, further towards the center of the deck when the ship struck and scraped against a hard obstruction where the vampire had been looking seconds ago.
The inhuman creature could hear the snapping and shuddering gasps of the heads of steal bolts as they were ripped from their bodies, causing the red eyes to spark and then dim as they grew with dread. Human voices were heard, commenting on the collision, but a sailor, or two, laughed away the concern in the mortal's voices, twisting the tones into something resembling humor. They joked and some played with the shards that had flown onto the deck. An ember of purpose had entered the nosferatu's eyes and he fled from the scene without a care for the ignorant humans, sliding through metal walls as if they were nothing of substance. He was bathed in electric light now as he strode from the end of a corridor to face and descend a grand set of red carpeted stairs. Absently, he noticed the tinkling of the massive chandelier as he passed under it, crystals splitting light and causing diamonds to dance smoothly over the pale flesh. Voices and smells smothered his senses for a few moments before he identified his master's scent, flowing through the mass of bodies in his way, passing unnoticed until he found clearance. Order came with this, and the being walked with a dignified gait down one of the many rows of tables, seeing a larger table at the end of the row, beside a vast window painted with the black sea and undistinguishable sky. The moon was not in sight as it was currently flying above and not beside the ship. The vampire drew up next to a chair.
The glass of the window showed the reflection of an aged blonde noble who was silent in the discussion his colleagues were participating in. The shape of the vampire did not exist in the reflection as the creature leaned over to his master's ear, causing the man to gasp at the chill the closeness carried with it.
"Master, we must go."
Hellsing's neck turned to direct blue eyes at the sincere red, and Abraham paused, stunned by the presence when he recalled how happy the beast had been when it had been granted the freedom of going off on its own to look at the moon. Abruptly, the human's features creased with the weight of a scowl. "What?" Abraham spat, irked as he noticed the other men were slowly taking interest in his slave. He pushed the vampire's face away with a gloved hand. "Leave." He hissed.
Alucard ignored the command and his face left the glove, maneuvering around it as he moved forward to pull the man from his seat. Abraham caught his breath, utterly shocked by the creature's temerity. His companions were dumbfounded, glued to their seats, or they stood angrily, demanding that the stranger unhand Hellsing. Alucard spoke before Abraham could take another breath. "The ship is sinking. I can't protect you, Master. All I can do is ensure that you are able to board a life boat and survive this way. There are not enough for the number of humans the ship contains. We must go, now." The quick pace of the words confused Abraham further, and he allowed himself to be dragged ungracefully for some time. When the weight of stares woke him from his stupor, Abraham slapped Alucard's hand away with an uncultured hiss, grabbing the creature's coat and leading him by the quickest path from the eyes of the dining hall. He forced Alucard into the shaded wall of an obscure corridor waiters used to slip into and out of the hall relatively unseen. His face flushed with anger. "What in God's name do you think you are doing? Slave?" he barked into the serious face, shaking Alucard with the grip he had on the vampire's black coat, catching the red ribbon with his fingers and undoing the bow unintentionally. Neither noticed, distracted when a pale hand encircled Abraham's wrists, holding them still as Alucard leaned into his master's face.
"Please, Master. You must secure a lifeboat for yourself, or let me do so for you. The ship is going to sink…" the creature was prevented from finishing when a sharp slap made him mute for the moments that followed.
"Do you think I'm a fool?" Abraham whispered through his teeth, fury making the muscles on his face tight and reluctant to give animation. He hit Alucard across the face with his fist as his eyes shook. "A fool?" he repeated and pushed closer, glaring down at his slave while his hands took up the coat once more. "This ship is on its maiden voyage! It's the peak of marine technology! Unsinkable!"
"The bolts were low grade, they snapped! The engine rooms are filling and men are drowning as we speak! If this is not the fate you wish to share, then…!"
Abraham struck the urgent vampire again with an added snarl. "Did you not hear me?" Hellsing demanded, finding disgust in the creature's ability to lie and form such an unnerving expression, wide red eyes and a twisted mouth that bespoke desperation and even fear. "This is the Titanic!" Abraham cried, though not loud enough to allow his voice to escape the corridor. "There is no possibility of this ship sinking!"
"But it is Master, please…" the vampire tugged at the human's sleeves but was slapped and shoved away. Then the man stalked back into the dining hall to rejoin his company. Alucard sat in the darkness where he had fallen, dismay building until he faded into shadow and startled the men by appearing next to the table."Master! We must go!"
Abraham growled, his face lined with anger as he refused to look at his disobedient slave. Instead, he looked at his placemat and ordered the vampire to return to the corridor he had just left. Alucard paced about the shadowed area without direction, glancing anxiously at the man who ignored him if he was capable of seeing the monster watching the back of his head. As time went on, several attendants alerted their guests of a practice evacuation and they escorted the 1st class passengers out of the hall.
"This is not a drill, Master. Please board one of the life boats."
Abraham ignored his slave and followed the accumulating crowd to the deck. Attendants were standing beside the boats that dangled off the side of the ship. Most hung back, loath to leave the comfortable cruise ship for a life boat on the frigid sea. Abruptly, Hellsing felt the shape of a hand on his back maneuver him through the throng of people, up to a boat. He started protesting but an attendant saw him as a volunteer who wanted to board one of the life boats, so the man smiled and caught hold of Abraham, bringing him onto the small boat. Ruffled, Abraham chose to attract less attention by settling in the back corner of the boat. He scowled, feeling stupid as only 15 people were on the 50 person life boat. With a glower, Hellsing ordered Alucard to remain on the ship.
"This is your punishment." He sneered quietly so only undead ears could hear him. If the vampire was so uneasy about remaining on the cruise ship, forcing him to stay was the best punishment Abraham could give at the moment. The beast had managed to make a fool of him. Alucard had probably heard about the drill when he was on his own earlier, and had rushed back into the dining hall to make it seem as if the ship was really sinking. Hellsing was glaring at his boots, but he lifted his head to see the vampire standing on the side of the deck, watching the life boat lower with empty features. Crimson eyes did not blink as they followed Abraham, and blue ones stubbornly glared into them until they could no longer distinguish the red orbs.
Shivering with a chill that nipped at his bones, Abraham van Hellsing observed as the oars brought them further from the Titanic. He paused his thoughts, his expression becoming blank with confusion at the progressing distance. We don't need to go that far…..and why a drill? Nothing made sense now, causing the man's suspicion to rise intermittently with his anger directed at his slave. In the darkness, Hellsing's eyes sparkled with the lights from the deck. There seemed to be quite a commotion now, and the life boats that were arriving were full instead of mostly empty. Their boats collected in a protective group, exchanging news that brought a gasp from the hunter.
The ship had struck an iceberg…and it was, in all reality, sinking. There weren't enough lifeboats, and less people than the capacity had boarded most of them. Men, women, and children were being handed simple life vests…and the 3rd class passengers were nowhere in sight.
In a stupor, Hellsing stared at the ship, watching as it finally appeared to be sinking as hours had passed, one end lowering into the water as the other lifted towards the sky. He had ordered Alucard to remain on the ship, but he still searched for his slave on the collected lifeboats, even calling is name once.
Vampires can't swim.
Hellsing shivered and twisted around, grabbing the edge of the boat with frozen hands, having forgotten about the cold entirely. If he gave an order…would the creature hear him? The others around Hellsing would think him mad…and there weren't any more life boats….not for grown men. Only women and children were being saved, by the looks of the passengers on the most recent life boats, or had been as the broken train of boats seemed to have come to an end. Using the cover of those speaking and searching for family or friends, calling or crying their names out into the heartless heavens, Abraham took a breath and adopted their volume.
"Alucard, by any means possible, come to my boat. Now. I order you to do so." He stopped, clearing his throat as he vacillated. "Do not drown."
Minutes went by and nothing happened. Abraham bit his lip, chewing on it as he watched the boat lift from the water, millimeter by millimeter in his view, until it stood almost perpendicular with the ocean. Then Hellsing heard screams and empty prayers while humans gasped as the ship stood straight up, piercing into the night sky. The ship was swallowed noisily by the sea and the voices of those who were about to be whisked away to the gates of Hades, rose in a final chorus. The ship sank, creating a moment of shocked, heavy silence. Then wails arose, screams and cries for help, from those bobbing in the lethal water. The sound had drowned out another so Hellsing jolted when something as cold as the metal boat rubbed up against his jaw and a slight weight perched on his shoulder. Abraham recoiled from the soft fur and a hand plucked the creature from his shoulder. Another gasp was unheard when Abraham saw what looked like a mouse, in his hand. Opening it to better see the animal, wide cobalt eyes gazed at the fragile wings of the miniature bat, noting the unique nose that gave away its species. It was a miniature vampire bat. A tiny pouch dropped onto Abraham's hand, and the man instantly knew it contained grave dirt.
Red flashed in the beady eyes and the bat struggled to situate himself on the cupped palm. The bat hopped off without a sound, but then rustled in his master's coat as he clung to the fabric with the clawed thumbs on his wings, climbing awkwardly towards the man's shoulder. Hellsing snatched the creature with a frown and stuffed it into his pocket along with the dirt, starting when the bat let out a squeak at the rough handling. A little boy on the boat saw movement in the pocket and heard the squeak. He titled his head curiously.
"The childish voice brought blue eyes to the boy's face, barely able to see it in the dark.
"What's in your pocket?"
Abraham coughed uneasily and glanced at the stilled lump.
"A pet?" The child continued, drawn to the prospect of a distraction.
The boy's mother looked at Abraham as if to inquire what was going on. Hellsing's heart stung as moonlight showed tears on the shaking little face, and he sighed. Acquiescing to the child, he put his hand in his pocket and drew out the bat. Alucard was curled up in Abraham's hand, not wanting to become the brat's toy, but his eyes creaked open when there was movement and the child's face hovered over him. Innocent eyes sparked with wonder while the mother cringed, eyeing Abraham with distaste.
"A mouse?" What a strange man, the woman thought. Of all the things he could have brought with him…
"No." the boy breathed, leaning closer to the animal, his hand twitched as it pulsed with the desire to touch it. "It's a bat." The mother jolted and a few others on the boat stared at Abraham until the boy giggled weakly as he shivered with cold. "Can I pet it? Please?"
Hellsing hesitantly nodded and small unsteady fingers ran between the creature's ears. Alucard didn't move, though his ears twitched each time the boy stroked his head. Enthralled, the child begged to hold the bat. Others on the boat recalled their position and prompted Hellsing to humor the poor child. The man's face warmed when the child scooped up the bat and cupped it in his hands with a growing smile. Another hand reached out and touched the bat. Abraham glanced at the mother, but she didn't notice and withdrew her hand on her own. "It's a little cute…but it's so cold…" And it's not shivering, she wanted to add, but didn't as her son cuddled the bat against his icy cheek.
"What's its name?" The boy smiled at Hellsing.
Abraham was distracted by the cuddling so he took a moment to digest the question. "Alucard."
The humans paused, but accepted the name. One of the men chuckled as he rubbed his arms, his teeth chattering . "Quite a name for a bat."
Another, rubbing his chest to help keep warm, told the others that they should do the same and, he paused to apologize if anyone found offense in the suggestion, he advised that they should come together as others were doing on surrounding boats, to share heat. The group hesitated, however, they followed the suggestion, trying not to listen to the pleas and wails coming from the water. It seemed as if they were floating upon the river of Death, not a body of water on Earth. It wasn't like they didn't want to save their dying brethren, but if they ventured out to the numerous desperate persons, in a grim scene of desperate chaos, they would most likely rush at the boat, grappling and drowning one another for the right to survive. It was as simple as Darwin's theory of the survival of the fittest. Only moral might have permitted a few of the strong to help the weaker, which would have come in the form of men helping women and children to safety. But, death whitened minds, twisting the good, contorting their wills so that they preformed monstrous acts without guilt (for the moment). So those on the life boats waited with bleeding hearts, imaging that their missing loved ones were among those in the water. They would attempt to save them when the ocean became calm and quiet…when those in the water were too weak to pose as a threat.
The same man looked at the bat with a frown as he spoke to Abraham. "Your pet's going to freeze to death…. I'm surprised it hasn't already."
The boy started and whimpered in dismay, looking down at the little bat. He gave it back to Abraham hurriedly and the man stuffed the creature in his pocket.
"It will be more likely to survive if you actually try to keep it warm." The man said coldly when Hellsing huddled against the side of the boat, slipping his arms into his sleeves. Abraham blinked and his lips parted to protest, but the stares overwhelmed him and he guiltily retrieved the bat and took it into his sleeves as well, bringing it to his chest. He cringed at how cold it was.
Alucard, meanwhile, had been content in the pocket, away from groping hands. His eyes widened at the advice and he squeaked unhappily when Abraham followed it. The vampire bat continued to squeak, moving around frantically to escape, but Hellsing growled, ordering him to stop. The bat didn't appreciate the vibrations that came with the growl, or the hand that attempted to crush him, so he settled calmly on the man's lap, jumping from the hand. He nestled into the fabric of the dress shirt, his back against his master's side. Then Alucard was still.
Abraham moved, rubbing himself to get his blood flowing. A red eye peered up, able to see in the complete darkness to watch the hands move above him. Time went on and the rhythm of movement slowed, finally stopping. Alucard shook as is master shivered violently, and the bat squeaked, receiving no response. His claws dug into the man's shirt as Alucard climbed up to Abraham's still arms with difficulty, flattening his ears on the back of his head as they got in the way. He squeaked irately when he almost fell, grabbing at an arm wildly with an outstretched wing, and he fell against Abraham's chest, slipping into the crook of his arm. The pulse was slow, Alucard noticed with a blink, and the shivering was more intense now.
Hellsing's eyes opened and he looked down at his coat though he couldn't hope to see through it to his chest. He shifted his arms sluggishly and the beast stopped licking his arm for a few seconds. Then the bat started again, encouraging movement. Hellsing blinked, but could not continue, only moving a little in order to hug himself tighter and to duck his head into the collar of his trench coat. When he was still, the sandpaper texture of the bat's tongue returned. With time, Alucard paused and looked up to where his master's face was hidden from him. He brought a furry cheek to the chest and nudged it. Gradually, he rubbed his face over the man's heart, trying to warm his master though he himself had no warmth to give.
The creature suddenly seemed to evaporate as he lost his shape, surprising Abraham. Hellsing felt something cool envelop his chest, filling any extra space in his shirt. He didn't dwell on the mystery as the 'something' acted as a blanket, taking in his body heat and returning it…like an insulator.
The boats slapped gently against the breathing ocean, amongst the sea of floating bodies. The child was hidden in his mother's protective arms to escape the soul jarring horror. When the vampire felt movement from Abraham, he reverted into the form of the bat. Hellsing got up to help row the boat as they searched for survivors, wanting to participate as well as warm himself, but when he stood, drawing out his arms from his sleeves, Alucard slipped, falling from the bottom of the trench coat. He landed in a shallow puddle of water on the bottom of the life boat. Hellsing didn't hear the meager splash and he was about to step on the creature when it squeaked and shuffled out of the way. Astonished, Abraham retrieved the bat that looked much smaller on the ground than it did in his hand, and his eyes narrowed at how cold and wet it was now as he slipped it discreetly into his pocket.
Two. They found and rescued two men, bringing them onto the life boat, but only found dead bodies and debris after that. Abraham returned to his seat, exhausted as the cold sapped his energy, and he huddled with the others to keep warm. When he sat down he felt a lump against his leg and remembered that Alucard was in his pocket. Ignoring the peculiarity of the fact that he had a homicidal, undead monster in his pocket, Hellsing's hand felt around inside it and came across a damp furry ball. He probed it with his finger and the ball uncurled and moved to duck under his fingers, nestling in his palm. The hunter paused, but closed his eyes and gently did the same with his hand, holding onto the creature. A thumb ran over the bat's back with difficulty. There was movement and little ears tickled Abraham's palm as, what felt like a head, poked between his thumb and first finger. The man petted the head with his thumb with more ease now, feeling as the bat relaxed, letting out a shuddering breath before burying its nose into the finger it rested on.
With a soft smile, Abraham stroked his vampire until his arm and hand went numb with cold. Then he brought the beast to his chest once more, crossing his arms to provide it with a perch as he waited for the ship that could be seen in the distance as a spot of light, to come rescue them.
I would have liked to do some research for this story, but when I wrote it I did not have a computer or a way to get to the library - or the time to walk to the library which is 4 miles away -
This story did not turn out as I had planned. I was going to add a lot more drama, desperation, ect... but, I wasn't going to attempt something like that without factual background, so all of my information came from the period of time (I was ten) when I read a lot of books about the Titanic...
oh well, have a nice day