AUTHOR'S NOTE: (It's really long. Sorry. You gotta deal.)Yeah. I know. I'm leaving this in a very dark place. Sorry about that. But, you know what they say - things are always darkest before the dawn, right? Maybe. Or maybe, things just have to go where they have to go. I'm not ACTUALLY sorry about any of this, by they way. But, you know. I can pretend. My love to all of you who made it to this point in my story. It really, really means a lot to me. I look forward to starting my second part of this trilogy soon. As in, really soon. As in, within the next few days soon. I hope you've enjoyed this story. Like I said, I've loved writing it. Thank you to EVERYONE who took the time to write reviews - NarutoRox, MorganvilleVampireGirl, Reddit511, Sobia, crystalstar1999, and bekah-lauren'.D. Every kind word you guys wrote inspired me to write more. I hope you all will join me in part 2 of this story, and stick with me through part 3. For those of you not mentioned above, who have also read this story all the way through - Thank you, and please, when you finish, take a moment to Review my story. While I DO have an overall plan of where things are going, every instance is not set in stone, and if you give me a great idea, not only may I use it, if I do, I will give you credit. Your input could alter the entire story! Anyway, as always, I hope you read, I hope you enjoy, I hope you review and fav. Maybe even follow, although now, as of this chapter, this story is complete. Thank you again, and, I humbly submit to you for your reading pleasure, the conclusion of Darker Days Ahead. Much love, Billie.
It wasn't hard to get the sacrifices. Sure, there was a part of me that wondered why exactly we needed human sacrifices (it made more sense in my head to sacrifice vampires), but when I asked the angel Naomi about it, she allowed me to drink of her again, and then I achieved clarity. We needed them because it was their life force that would allow the angel and me to have the energy to eradicate the vampires once and for all.
I stood silently outside of the pen where we had the sacrifices chained and looked over those who had been chosen for the highest of honors. I was disappointed that we had to restrain the sacrifices at all - if I had been told that my life (as it was) was going to go to a better cause, I would have gladly handed it over. At least, I think I would have.
Inside of the pen were a group of individuals hand-picked by the angel herself for how brightly their souls burned. She said they were like beacons of light, drawing her near. She had told me all about how the sacrifice would work, but most of it was too difficult for my human brain to understand. As far as I could tell, we needed the souls of these people to power some sort of high-level vampire killing contraption. It all seemed really convoluted to me - it would be easier to just round up all the vamps and burn the suckers. But, then, I wasn't holy. Not yet.
My eyes traveled over each person chosen for a sacrifice, and I was interested in seeing how drastically different they were. There was the girl Daphne, my neighbors' daughter. She was in high school, and had an affinity for vampires. She hung around that Glass boy's music performances, and I thought I had seen her talking to some of the more "fringe" vampires once or twice. Apparently, her ability to see and accept vampires for what they were would allow me to keep myself from being tricked by vampiric wiles. I snatched her as she snuck out of her window one night earlier in the week. Her parents were worried sick, but the angel told me their fears would be allayed when it all played out - and that they would be pleased with the outcome.
Then there was the town librarian. His vast knowledge of well, just about everything, would allow me to better know and understand the workings of both vampires physically and their society, as well as more mundane things. I'd be able to use any and every weapon the librarian had ever heard of or read about, which according to the angel was a lot. I had never met the guy, but he wasn't very big, or very capable in a fight. I'd simply grabbed him out of the parking lot one night as he was leaving work. He never even heard me coming.
I glanced at each person, trying to remember what ability each of them would offer me, but there were about 20 people in the pen, and it was hard to remember who gave me what. But, as my eyes fell on another of the sacrifices, I paused. I knew exactly what he would give me - righteous anger. Shane Collins sat, slumped on his side, eyes glassy from the concussion he had gotten during his bout with the Glass boy. I had originally been shocked when Glass showed up, carrying a limp Collins in his arms, delivering him to me like the gift he was. But Naomi had told me that there were some vampires who believed in my cause - those that still remembered what life was like before their curse, those that wanted me to end the curse and their existence, and that Michael was only one of many. I was impressed by the guy's moxie. He knew he was an abomination, and was willing to give of himself that humanity may take its rightful place.
I stood in a silent vigil over the sacrifices as they wept, or threatened, but most of them had been in my hands for days, if not weeks, and there wasn't much fight left. I had spent the time I had with each of them explaining what an honor they had been given, but none of them seemed to understand it. Collins had spat in my face when I tried to explain it to him when he woke up the night before. It had been all I could do to walk away without knocking him out again. But I had tempered my anger, knowing that Shane was important to the cause.
I opened the gate and carefully walked through the crowd, gently touching each person's face before kneeling down to inject them with the needles Naomi had given me. Each had been pre-filled with some sort of knock-out drug, and it was easy enough to just poke it in their arms and push the plunger down. Many didn't fight me at all, others tried weakly to struggle away. Daphne just wept. It was sad that the kid had to go, she would be a real looker one day. But that didn't matter. She would serve a higher purpose.
Collins was the last I had to inject, and as I knelt down, he raised his eyes to me, trying his best to focus on my face. "You're an idiot, dude," he slurred as I rolled up his shirt sleeve to find a good spot for the needle. "You think you're so righteous, man. You've been played. You're about to get rid of everyone in town with the ability to stop the vampires from taking every single human out in a week."
I shook my head sadly. He just didn't understand. I depressed the plunger into the needle, and he struggled weakly for a few more seconds before succumbing to the medication. I had done my holy duty.
I closed the gate behind me, dumping the used needles into the plastic bag I had looped around one of the posts. It was thrilling as I watched the vampire supporters slowly join us in the park. As the sun set, they came in twos and threes until about thirty vamps stood silently in the slowly growing darkness. I looked them over. I hadn't seen most of them before, but some I knew by sight. And the ones I recognized surprised me.
Most of the vampires in the group that I knew were the ones who, according to talk, were against the idea of living in peace with humanity, if there even was such a thing. They had been vocal about the fact that vampires were better than humans, stronger, the next stage in an evolutionary process that would eventually see them as masters of the human race. And something in their stance didn't sit quite right. I thought back to what Collins had just told me. You've been played...
But I pushed that thought from my mind as Amelie, the town Founder, arrived, escorted by our other secret weapon, Oliver. He was, Naomi had told me, our sleeper agent. It was through him that the angel had learned who to turn. It was through him that she had become able to create this chance at a new, vampire-free world. I had always hated the guy, but now, suddenly, I could do nothing more than respect him.
That, above all else, didn't sit well with me. The Founder was dressed in her typical white, not a spot on her long, summer dress. I felt disgust rising in me just looking at her and what she stood for. I saw the flash of silver as Oliver pulled the stake from his jacket pocket, and for just a moment, I thought I saw resignation on Amelie's face. It was swiftly erased by shock, then pain, as Oliver plunged the stake into the Founder's heart.
As the Founder collapsed, blood soaking her chest instantly, Naomi stepped out of the shadows. "It's time, my followers."
I didn't know what was happening at first. I was too busy watching Oliver's face. The look of it was one of heartbreak, of pain, and of horror. As if he hadn't really expected to harm Amelie. Naomi stepped over the Founder's body and pressed her lips to the man. "Well done, my king. Ladies and gentlemen, the Founder's foolish belief that we can coexist with humanity has finally died. We shall now rule from a position of strength, not weakness. My loyal subjects, the queen is dead. Long live the queen." She gestured at the sacrifices - the human beings I had been fooled into trapping, into drugging into stupors so they couldn't fight back, and spoke with the greatest of joy. "My people. Let the feast begin."
And as I watched the creatures I had hated my entire life begin to stalk my way, I realized far too late what a terrible mistake I had made.