Charley backs up, his hand slipping into his coat. He grasps the rough metal surface of a grenade and draws it out. He hurls it into the thick of the Vampires and tears off through the door, legs pounding as fast as they can. He's never ran from a Vampire hunt before but in these circumstances he's willing to bend the rules. He's not prepared for this. This would take a team of Vampire hunters to exterminate.
Is this a set up? Coming here is pure suicide with this many Vampires. Good God, how can there be so many? He's never seen this many in all his life. What is going on here?
Blood pounds in his ears as he runs across the lobby. Vampires begin pouring from the dining hall like a flood of flesh. Suddenly the floor shudders and a massive boom rocks the entire building. The force throws Charley to the ground with a cry. The ceiling shakes and debris rain down. Tongues of fire engulf the room and spit out the door. The Vampires scream, their attention averted from him. Charley scrambles to his feet, snatching Sacra up and runs.
The place is ablaze now, fire crawling over the walls rapidly. He glances back.
Vampire bodies litter the floor, tossed out of the dining room by the explosion like balls of yarn in its wake. Those still alive are pulling themselves together, eyes refocusing on Charley. Even if he miraculously killed half of them in that explosion there would still be twice too many for him to handle.
"This is too much!" He shouts into the roar of the flames.
He's almost there, the front door beckoning him like the gates of heaven.
A blur whizzes by him. It springs against the door, slamming it shut with a thunderous bang. Charley slides to a stop as the Vampire leaps at him, mouth of fangs bared to take out his throat.
Sacra barks and leaps from his arms, launching herself at the attacker. The two collide mid-air and crash to the ground, clawing and scratching each other in their mad struggle.
The dog latches her teeth onto the Vampire's throat and bites down hard, That's all Charley has time to see before he has his hands full of Vampires.
Two female Vampires lunge, claws extended. They scream, nearly splitting his ear drums in half with the gut wrenching sound. He lashes out with his sword and limbs go flying. Blood splatters the walls as the Vampires cry out and fall to the ground, writhing in agony. But they are only the beginning. A dozen more Vampires are right behind them. Charley ducks and swings his sword wildly but to no avail. Without any regard they fling themselves forward. The sword hacks and cuts flesh, blood staining it before he even gets the chance to back out the door. One diseased monster latches onto his ankle with bony hands and bites down.
Charley cries out as he tumbles back into the door frame then out the door onto the hard stone steps. Three more Vampires pounce on him savagely. One wrenches his sword from his grip, screaming as the silver melts his hands. He heaves the weapon away.
Charley fights back with his fists, grabbing and beating at the Vampires. He throws them and breaks bones when he can't. But no matter how much he struggles or how many he maims and tosses aside more pile on top. Claws scratch his skin and tear at his clothes. Suddenly one Vampire plunges her hand into his shoulder, razor nails splicing metal from steel. He screams, releasing the electricity field running through his cyborg parts. One thousand volts of unhindered power race through the Vampires frail bodies. They seize up and freeze instantly then crumple on top of him.
He sweeps the Vampires off him and gets to his feet, already running. He clutches his arm, practically holding the limb to his body otherwise it would fall off. The pain isn't as bad as he feared but he puts that off to being numbed by adrenaline and just not enough time to focus on it.
Sacra barks, a scared and wounded sound. Charley would have to kill a part of his soul to leave her behind. And even though it might be suicidal he stops and pivots, dodging a hoard of confused Vampires as he races back to the building. He drops another grenade just as the Vampires turn around to follow him. The bomb goes off, the Vampires disappearing in a flash and a hail of dirt and grass.
Sacra is tearing through the high grass across the grounds, five Vampires right behind her. One of her back legs is mangled and oozes grease. Her injury barley keeps her ahead of the Vampires nimble bodies. The searing pain in Charley's shoulder completely fades into the back drop as more adrenaline floods his system.
"Hey!" He shouts as he sprints towards them.
The Vampires turn looking for a better meal than some steel mutt. Charley reaches for the diamond cutter's sheath at his waist and pulls the deadly blade out. They don't see the danger until its too late. He swings it violently at his opponents. In one stroke it takes out two of the Vampires, tearing holes in their bony chests. They collapse backwards into their comrades who scream in terror and fling the corpses away. They completely forget about Sacra and flee, not wishing to meet the same fate. Charley takes a deep breathe, and races to Sacra.
How the hell am I going to get out of this one? He wonders dizzily.
Rayflo flies as fast as he can, desperately searching for that feeling, that vague feeling that belongs to Charley. He whips above the town, little bat eyes roaming everywhere, looking and sensing.
For God's sake! He mutters in his heads. Everything around here looks the same!
As hopelessness starts to wash over him something strange catches his attention. A sharp sensation, like someone jabbing you in the ribs with a pointy pencil draws his eyes to a large dilapidated building tucked miles away in the woods. He changes direction just as a loud boom pierces the quiet night. Flames shoot out of the building's windows and through the roof in a barely contained explosion. They briefly light up the night time woods. Strange, almost inhuman cries echo out from there, followed by flashes of light and more booms and screams.
Cherry. Who else could make such a fuss?
He angles his hundreds of little bat wings up and speeds forward as fast as he can
Two Vampires lunge. Their claws sink into his shoulders, hitting bone.
Charley cries out and wheels around. He reaches back and tears one off him, throwing it to the ground with a loud crunch. The other shrieks and sinks its fangs into his neck. The bone crushing bite forces the breath from his lungs. He tries to shout out but the fangs have pierced his wind pipe. Blood runs down his throat with a sickly gurgle and spills out over his skin. His lungs burn as he tries to pry the Vampire off himself but he can't, his strength flagging under the iron grip.
As his lungs fill with blood he weakens, grasping feebly at the Vampire latched on his back. His vision fades in and out and he feels himself falling.
A black flash suddenly crosses his vision and the weight is lifted from his shoulders instantaneously. He collapses to the ground, choking and heaving up blood. Only once he's coughed up two lungful and he can breathe again does he looks up.
"Master…" He whispers hoarsely.
Rayflo's back is to him, strong and tall above him. His wavy hair blows beguilingly in the breeze. Words can not express how happy he is to see him.
A whip like cord materializes in Rayflo's hand and he snaps it at the oncoming Vampires with deadly, time-honed precision. It wraps around one Vampire's wrist like a jungle snake catching its prey. One flick of his own wrist and the entire limb is ripped from its socket and flung in the air, blood flowing like gory streamers. It all happens so quick it takes the Vampire a few seconds to process what has happened. He collapses in a pool of his own blood, squirming in silent agony.
The crush of Vampires stop, warily accessing their new rival. They can sense he isn't to be taken lightly.
Charley drags himself to his feet and stumbles back. He staunches the blood flowing over his shoulders with one hand as his neck slowly heals and the other keeps his arm attached.
Where's Sacra? He wonders.
He hears her bark desperately from the other side of the building. Mustering what little strength he can find he rushes towards the sound. He scoops up his discarded sword and disappears around the corner.
Rayflo is too busy dealing with the hoard of crazy Vampires to notice him leave. These one are even more deranged and sickly than the ones he saw before. The bar dwellers at least could pass for normal humans aside from their hideous eyes but these people could have walked off the set of the latest horror movie. Their grey skin and mangled teeth are almost too out of place for a modern Vampire. But despite their atrocious appearance they are wary, staying out of range of his whip. They aren't vapid and aloof like the bar dwellers were either, far from it. They are very much present, waiting for the slightest opening to attack. And there are a goddamn lot of them.
"Cherry, are you okay?"
When he gets no response fear strikes through him. He quickly glances back to see…nothing.
"Where the hell-?"
A snarl pulls him back to the immediate problem. He side steps, whip flashing. The wire snaps around the Vampire's neck and with one tight tug his head goes flying back to join his comrades. Most of them ignore it but some of them near where it lands bicker briefly over who gets to drain the blood.
These are not normal Vampires. This is not normal. He wouldn't put it past any Vampire to feed from a headless corpse (he's done it) but like this?
Rayflo growls threateningly and cracks his whip again. He's got to find Charley, not behead creepy Vampires all night.
Two Vampires, a male and female are harassing the injured dog, not even intent on trying to kill it. The bleeding and half torn apart animal tries to limp away but one of her tormenters leaps in front of her and pushes her back with serrated claws. Blood runs over her metal legs, gaping cuts criss-cross her back. One of her connecters has been severed and her ear dangles by its wires. She snarls and snaps at her attackers but can't escape their savage beatings.
Charley runs as fast as he can, pain thrumming through his limbs but he pushes on, focusing on his goal. He's more hobbling than truly running but its enough to catch the Vampires' attention.
The female Vampire turns and smiles a bloody grin, scraggly brown hair a curtain of gore. She swings around and drops to all clawed fours. She rips across the ground with startling speed.
Charley shouts and swings his sword. But his coordination is shot. She easily dodges his pathetic attack and tackles him full on. They crash and roll on the ground. She pegs his sword arm down with her foot and locks her hands around his throat. He chokes, something in his neck snapping brutally loud. The pain blinds him and in his panic he kicks the Vampire square in the chest, flinging her off him. He gasps for breath, struggling to draw precious air. Between that, his arm and his battered body the pain is almost too much for him…but he can't quit yet. The female Vampire recovers quickly and snarls. Without mercy she pounces again, knocking Charley face first into the ground. Sacra barks savagely as she sees the attack. She races across the lawn as fast as she can to her owner. The other Vampire takes off after her. He springs up and lands on top of her with a thud. She yips and whimpers before her instincts kick in and she twists around, sinking her teeth into his side. He screams and ties to pry the beast off but she only clamps down harder. Blood runs through her teeth and stains the metal of her face bronze. Her anger overrides her fear and pain. She forces the Vampire to the ground. He has no interest in this fight anymore or eating her, he only wants to get away. He kicks Sacra, beating her back. She lets go and the Vampire flees, not wanting her attention anymore.
She closes the gap to Charley.
The female sees her coming. Releasing Charley momentarily, she spins around and simply back hands the dog with a frail looking but ridiculously strong arm. Sacra crashes into a gnarly tree trunk and slumps to the ground, still and silent.
Charley uses the last of his strength to point his remaining arm in the Vampire's direction and hit the switch. His hand launches out of his wrist and runs the woman through just as she turns around. He retracts the mechanical appendage just as quickly, slumping to the ground. She drops like a sack of potatoes in a bloody heap on the ground.
As Charley lies there all the pain he forgot comes raging back like a ten ton truck landing on top of him. He gasps, trembling uncontrollably, chilled to the bone. Every single muscle, bone and tendon in his body burns and aches like he's never felt before. Each breath sears his lungs. Where blood runs over his skin it burns like freezing ice. Even the slightest turn of his head momentarily blinds him with pain. Through foggy eyes he sees Sacra lying on her side ten feet away. She's not moving.
His breath catches in his throat as he rolls over and crawls to his hands and knees with amazing difficulty. Once he gets there and the pain subsides he knows there's no way he's getting to his feet. He can barley stay on all fours without shaking.
One step at a time, hand over hand and a godawful lot of pain and choking on blood later does he finally manage to reach Sacra.
Charley practically falls on top of her, dragging her into his arms and shielding her with his body. He can feel his body shutting down, the assault too much for him.
He doesn't care anymore, doesn't want to hurt and struggle. All he wants to do is be with someone. He weakly clutches Sacra, praying for the Lord his soul to keep. He tried, he tried his best his whole life to follow God. He tried so hard but he never could quite make it. Never could make it. No matter what he did to his body or how he restrained his mind and disciplined himself he never could be fully pure.
He closes his eyes, expecting the next thing he'll see is the gates of hell.
And he's sorry, sorry for every mean thing he's ever said to Master, every mean thought and hurtful thing he's done. Words can't describe it. For all the times Rayflo has annoyed, irritated and nearly tormented him to his second death there has been just as many wonderful moments, one's where they didn't need words to understand each other.
He lived for those moments.
He's so sorry he'll never get to be there for one of those moments again.
But even in the end when he's feeling so much pain there's a spark of pure warmth in his heart.
He came for him.
With that thought lingering he closes his eyes and rests.
Rayflo pelts around the building, screeching to a halt at the scene before him. He takes everything in with fear laden eyes. Charley is collapsed on the ground, unmoving in a growing pool of red blood. Vampires are lurking around, debating if it's safe to approach. He's not moving, Rayflo can't even see the rise and fall of his chest when he should.
"No…no oh, no no…"
He runs, each step echoing like thunder in his ears as he approaches the crumpled body. He prays to God and whatever else is out there that it isn't a corpse. He wouldn't survive that. The first thing he notices as he kneels down is the blood. So much blood. The startling amount terrifies him. It's too much. He drops to his knees and wraps his arms around the limp body, pulling him into his lap. Sacra suddenly emerges from out of nowhere. She reaches up and licks his cheek, whining as she peers up at Rayflo. Her eyes are pleading with him.
Rayflo feels like he's going to cry.
He risked his life for the dumb dog.
He looks down into Charley's blood splattered and terribly pale face. He checks his breathing to find he's still alive but just barely. His heart is hardly beating.
"Chris. Chris, wake up." He murmurs, trying to keep a bridle on his quavering voice.
There's no response.
Against his will his heart starts to beat faster and panic threatens to overwhelm him.
"No, no I don't have time for that." He swipes defensively at his eyes.
A deafening crunch and an ungodly shriek snaps his head up. The roof on the former resort completely implodes, taking half of the walls with it in a fiery cascade. The crashing and splintering of wood echoes for miles. But that ungodly sound stays in his head like a song you can't get rid of. It's sounds like something he's heard before. But more importantly Rayflo notices the circle of Vampires forming quickly but quietly. The flickering flames highlight them like ghouls. He fights the prickle of tears forming in his eyes and puts himself into escape mode.
He scoops the man up and throws him as gently as possible over his shoulder given the circumstances and runs like all hell. Despite popular belief, Vampires are not above running when necessary. And when they run, they really do run. The mutated Vampires are fast, pounding across the lawn on all fours like a wave of grey death but they aren't quite fast enough. Sacra struggles to keep up with Rayflo but she manages it. The two bolt through the gates and disappear into the woods like phantoms.
The Vampires stop just short of leaving the grounds. Some climb up on top of the brick wall and peer into the darkness where their prey fled. One Vampire looks back at the collapsed wreck that was once their home. Fear strikes through her as she realizes exactly what it means.
"My my, you've managed to cause quite the mess now haven't you? Not very good guard dogs at all." A pleasant voice rides the wind.
Every single Vampire hears it and immediately duck their heads, looking for the source of it.
Perched non-chalantly in the crook of a tree branch growing just inside the grounds is a man.
But not truly a man.
Human's would mistake him for an angel, silver braid blowing gently in the wind and his petite face almost womanly. Though he seems so casual the Vampires know better. Hidden beneath his coy smile and pretty face is a raging anger that won't be quenched anytime soon if they have failed.
He drops gracefully to the ground and straightens up, pulling his cloak around him.
"Rather chilly here wouldn't you agree?" He turns and asks his companion pleasantly.
"Grow some balls would you? It's balmy."
A woman emerges from the woods, her mane of straight black hair bound with what appears to be a bone clasp. A piece of human spinal column to be exact. She's garbed in long black gear that blends her so well with the woods she appears to be just a floating head and set of hands. The snide look on her face indicates she is not enjoying this.
"You're a pleasure as always, Estelle." Barry mumbles and rolls his eyes.
"You'd think you'd enjoy the company of your own kind as much as you hang out with Vampires."
"You'd think." Barry muses, rolling his eyes again.
He can't stand Estelle, even for a Succubus she's intolerable.
"Hey! You two." Barry says, waving a hand at two hunched over men in the back of the pack.
"Would you please go check to see if the, um...child is safe?"
The men bow their heads quickly and race back to the flaming building. They pick their way through the rubble and disappear.
"If its dead I swear to Satan, Barry, I'll kill them." She growls.
"What would be the point? We'd have to kill all of them and that's really counter productive."
"Then we'll just have to find out who the hell caused this and put them through hell. Then kill them." Estelle says almost causally.
"I had the same idea." Barry murmurs, imagining just what he and Estelle would do if they ever caught the perpetrator.
The two Vampires he sent away slink back. The others part to let them through.
"Well?" Barry asks, his irritation starting to grow.
One of them looks up, his face devastated. His mouth gapes but no words come out.
"Where is it?" Estelle hisses.
She snags him by the collar and drags him up to her level, red eyes meeting his black in a clash of intensity.
His lips quiver and he starts shaking violently.
"Answer me you stupid animal!"
Estelle glares into the flames and debris then back at her captive Vampire.
"And no one thought to rescue it? What happened?" She rages.
The poor Vampire near faints under her piercing gaze.
"A-A Hunter came. He burned i-i-it down. C-couldn't think… didn't know w-what to do." He stutters.
"Satan's claws, Barry! Can't you make a decent slave?" She shouts at the demon as she throws the Vampire to the ground.
"If it was a Hunter they should have been able to deal with it." He growls back.
His anger flares up as he steps forward to exact some stringent punishment for the devastating failure when a familiar scent catches his attention. Barry chuckles, raising his face to the wind. It's faint but clear enough for his sharp senses.
"Well, well, we have company." He mutters.
He looks to Estelle with calm and placid eyes.
"It was a very troublesome Hunter who came here. I'm not surprised they were a bunch of bumbling idiots." Barry laughs. "And that means…dear Addie is not far behind him."
A nasty smile crosses the Incubus's face. He stifles a rather demonic laugh.
Estelle looks at him sharply but puts it off to him being completely insane.
"We'll have to start over again. You can't sense it can you?" Her voice is almost regretful.
"No." Barry says in mock mourn. "The poor thing is dead. We'll have to make another. Apparently Ragnor and Rowena aren't having much luck either."
Estelle rubs her temples with one long nailed hand.
"This is harder than I thought it would be."
"Well, we better get back to work."
He's actually not too keen on the thought now.
"Since it's your fault it died you should do the heavy lifting, Barry." Estelle growls vehemently and stalks back into the dark of the forest.
Barry sighs, suppressing his frustration. If it were his choice he would not be here with this woman engaging in such a futile endeavour. He would be stalking Addie and that insufferable Hunter. Women are such a hassle. But he doesn't really have a choice this time, now does he?
He chuckles to himself. Though once the job is done he'll have all the time in the world to catch Addie. And this time it will be permanent.
He turns to the cowering Vampires and waves his hand dismissively.
"You can go. Hide where you can. There are two or three houses that way. Infect them and stay there until I tell you to come out."
"Yes, my Lord!" They chorus like a band of peasants from medieval times. The modern world lacked such charm. Its one of the few things Barry misses.
Even though he had been prepared to put them through hell for their failure he wasn't in the mood once he felt that familiar presence. It's a good sign, he tells himself. But it could also prove a problem if not dealt with properly and delicately.
But he'll take care of it.
He smiles again, running his tongue over his lips.
He can almost taste his blood now…
To Be Continued…