The last speck of dust flew away into the night’s sky, leaving Detective Ryder alone on the bonnet of the car. Agent Simpson’s hands were shaking as she lowered her gun. She hadn’t been quick enough to save Detective Ryder from being bitten.
As she stepped out of the car, her thoughts turned to the vampire in the car they ran off the road. She saw Officer Benson on the other side of the road, checking over an empty car.
Damn it, we’ve let the other one escape.
With no immediate leads and a dying cop in front of her, she knew she had to do something she swore she would never do. Detective Ryder had passed out but the blood hadn’t stopped pouring from his neck. She took off her jacket and tied it round his neck, keeping as much pressure on the wound as possible without choking him.
Within seconds, her dark grey jacket had turned a deep shade of red. Agent Simpson dragged Detective Ryder’s limp body into the back seat of the car, just as Officer Benson ran across the road to her.
‘Oh my God,’ he said as he saw the body of Detective Ryder, ‘I’ll call for an ambulance.’
‘No,’ she said abruptly, ‘it’s okay, I’ll take him to the hospital. It’s not far from here.’
Without waiting to hear a reply, Officer Simpson hit the accelerator and screeched away in the opposite direction to the hospital.
She headed out of the city and into the countryside. What she was about to do went against her orders: never help a victim and never bring a victim to an outpost of The Brotherhood. It didn’t take long for her to reach her destination: Hartley House.
She drove the pale, blood-soaked body of Detective Ryder up the long drive to the front steps of Hartley House, where Captain Stein and a team of soldiers were waiting with their rifles pointed at the car. She knew the security team would have alerted Captain Stein to her arrival as soon as she was within a mile of the outpost.
‘What the hell are you doing, Agent Simpson?’ Captain Stein demanded, as Agent Simpson dragged Detective Ryder out of the car on to the gravel drive.
‘Get a stretcher. We have to get him inside.’
‘He’s been bitten, hasn’t he? You know the rules: shoot him in the head now.’
‘No! Screw the rules. You wouldn’t have the doctor if it wasn’t for this man. You owe it to him. We all owe it to him!’
‘This is the guy who tried to run us off the road. He was a problem when he was human, now he’s a vampire and you know we have to kill him.’ He flicked the safety catch on his rifle and moved towards Detective Ryder.
In a flash, Agent Simpson jumped up, drew her gun and held it against Captain Stein’s head. The soldiers on the steps immediately changed their aim and Agent Simpson found herself at the wrong end of ten rifles. Her heart was pumping like she’d just run a marathon and she was terrified on the inside but on the outside she was determined to stay as cool and collected as always.
I’m in control here, not them, she kept repeating over and over to herself.
‘Get the doctor and treat this man,’ she ordered, ‘or I’ll unload in your head.’
‘You know you won’t last much longer than me. As soon as you pull that trigger, you’re dead.’
‘I don’t care. This man can be saved and we have to help him. Get the doctor. That’s an order, soldier.’ She pushed the gun hard against Captain Stein’s head. After a few seconds’ thought, Captain Stein relented.
‘Okay, okay. You win.’ He waved an arm to the soldiers and they lowered their rifles. ‘Get a stretcher and send the doctor to the medical room.’ Two soldiers ran into Hartley House to carry out the orders.
‘You can lower your gun now, Agent Simpson,’ he said. She felt her hand shaking as she did so and cursed herself for showing weakness. ‘They’ll be on their way here right now. They always know where the new bloodsuckers are.’
‘We have to assume they know you’ve got the doctor. They’re already on their way here anyway.’
‘You’re right,’ said Captain Stein, ‘I’ll call regional HQ and tell them to get us out of here tonight.’