Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Chapter 62: End Of Plan A

Roxy was suffering in unbelievable agony. Even though her legs were sure to grow back in a day or so, it didn’t make the wounds any less painful. She wanted to stop flying to examine the severity of her wounds but she was in a race to get back to the clan before the sun rose in the sky behind her.

She had been in similar situations many times before. Fifty years ago, when attacks on the scale of the battle at Hartley House were commonplace, she had found herself leading a squad on a mission to infiltrate a building supposedly vacated by The Brotherhood. They had realised too late that it was a trap and Roxy found herself pinned in a corner with a filing cabinet crushing her right arm. Without even thinking about it, Roxy sliced off her arm and made her escape.

On that day, most of the vampires had managed to make their getaway. Now, Roxy was airborne, making her way back to her clan.


Her squad had caused significant damage to The Brotherhood and they had displayed their new capabilities but the mission hadn’t been a success. After the fight with Captain Stein, Roxy knew she wouldn’t be much use as a leader without her legs so all she felt she could do was hide in a tree and watch the battle unfold.

The Brotherhood had managed to retain the doctor and now they were on their way to their regional headquarters. Long-term security of the future of the vampire race had been within their grasp and they had failed. Roxy already had a backup plan in place but she was worried about how Salazar would react to the outcome of the mission.

When the Deputy Lord Chancellor learned of the failure of their attack, he would feel the need to take action, no matter what the plan was from here on in. He would relish the opportunity to undermine Marcus’ ability to lead his clan and attempt to take over. He would report back to the Lord Chancellor in the least flattering way possible.

Roxy saw her destination: a deep, dark narrow valley ahead of her. The home of her clan rarely saw a speck of sunlight. The ideal place to hide away from the human world and plan their downfall. She flew over the edge of the valley just in time to avoid the day’s first rays of sunlight.

Huge thick wooden doors opened out onto a small ledge at the bottom of the valley. Two of her brothers were standing on the ledge, looking out for any late-comers before the sun rose completely in the sky and the doors were firmly locked until dusk.

Roxy hit the ledge in a heap, screaming in agony as the pain of landing on her bloody stumps shot through her hips and into her body. The two vampires standing guard ran over to her and picked her up. They carried her inside the clan’s lair and locked the doors behind them. Marcus and Salazar were standing in the main hall, eagerly awaiting the arrival of a victorious squad with Doctor Owen in tow.

They were understandably disappointed to discover Roxy wounded and alone.

‘What happened?’ asked Salazar, immediately trying to assert his authority on the situation. Roxy ignored Salazar’s question. Her eyes met with Marcus’s and she could tell from the look on his face that he was only concerned about her well-being.

‘What happened to you? Are you okay?’ he asked.

Roxy decided to answer her immediate boss. ‘We killed almost all of the soldiers. I got in a fight with the squad captain and was forced to do this to myself to stay alive.’

‘You did this to yourself?’ Salazar exclaimed. His face was filled with disgust and disbelief. Roxy and Marcus shared a look that told each other they both knew that he had never fought in a battle for his race or put his life on the line for one of his brothers.

‘I was cut with a silver sword,’ she said, ‘I had to remove my legs before the burning spread all over my body.’

Salazar didn’t take long to get to the point. He had obviously spent far too long pretending to care about Roxy. ‘What about the doctor?’

‘There were two helicopters. One was taken out by our brother on the inside but they managed to get the doctor out in the other one.’

‘I thought you said you killed all of the soldiers?’

‘She said almost all of them,’ said Marcus. Salazar immediately turned round and squared up to him.

‘What are you doing here, Marcus? I thought you were the leader of this clan?’

‘I am the leader of this clan,’ Marcus protested, ‘Don’t worry, we have this under control.’

Salazar pointed at the mutilated body of Roxy. ‘You call that under control? Look at the state of her, there’s only half of her body left and she’s the only one that survived.’

‘You don’t understand,’ said Roxy, doing little to disguise her frustration at Salazar’s methods, ‘We have a backup plan.’

‘I don’t care about your backup plan. This clan is not being managed effectively so I am assuming control, effective immediately. Get her bandaged up and meet me in the dining hall. I am going to report back to the Lord Chancellor.’

Marcus was fuming and started to pace backwards and forwards, struggling to contain his anger. ‘Luca, wait. There’s no need for this,’ he pleaded, ‘Trust me, we will have the doctor back by the end of the day.’

Salazar stared straight into Marcus’ eyes. ‘Damn right you will, Marcus. I’m going to make sure of that. Excuse me,’ he said and turned to leave, taking his mobile phone out of his jacket pocket.

Marcus leaned down to examine Roxy’s body. Blood was still dripping from the wounds, just like Marcus’s power over his clan was ebbing away.

‘You can’t let him do this,’ she said, ‘He’s going to ruin everything. I know what you’re thinking of doing. I can’t see any other course of action.’

‘How will we explain it?’ he asked.

‘We’ll think of something but we can’t let him get away with this,’ she said as she lifted her pistol and handed it to Marcus, ‘Do it. It’s loaded with silver bullets. You and I are finished anyway; just don’t let this bastard screw everything up that we’ve worked for.’

He got to his feet and followed Salazar into the dining hall, where his six protectors were standing to attention. Roxy heard a succession of loud bangs and bright flashes lighted up the darkness in the lair. Marcus quickly emerged from the dining hall.

‘He wasn’t expecting it, was he?’ she said.

‘Not at all,’ Marcus said, ‘As I suspected, he wasn’t even trying to read our thoughts and his squad was weak.’

‘We’re all better off without him,’ said Roxy, ‘you’ve just got to convince the Lord Chancellor of that.’

‘That’ll be easier if plan B is a success,’ he said as he lifted Roxy to carry her to the medical room.

Rebirth is available from the following online retailers:

Amazon UK - £7.99
Amazon US - $16.95
Barnes and Noble - $15.25

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Competition winners

The competition is now closed and congratulations go to Becky Clarkson and Jodi Carr, who will have characters named after them in the sequel to Rebirth. The good news for Becky and Jodi is that neither of their names sound evil enough to have vampires named after them so they're going to be good guys!

Rebirth is available from the following online retailers:

Amazon UK - £7.99
Amazon US - $16.95
Barnes and Noble - $15.25

Monday, 28 May 2007

Chapter 61: Getting Out

Agent Simpson and I followed the doctor as he ran down the long empty halls of Hartley House to the medical room. He picked up some holdalls and threw them at us.

‘Fill them up with as much as you can,’ he shouted, ‘the helicopter will be here in a matter of seconds.’

I threw my arm around a desk full of equipment and papers and scooped it all into my bag. I zipped it up and threw it over my back. Doctor Owen carefully and swiftly closed his cases of test tubes and syringes and placed them into a sturdy metal box.

From deep inside Hartley House, I could still hear the carnage outside. I hoped all the screams were coming from vampires but I knew it would take an army bigger than the one we had to deal with them. This small bunch of well-meaning soldiers could only hope to hold them off for a short time. We couldn’t have been in the medical room any more than two or three minutes before Captain Stein burst through the door. He was dripping with sweat and looked like he’d been through a war, but the war was still right behind him.

‘Follow me,’ he ordered, ‘we’re getting out of here.’

‘Where are the others?’ I asked.

‘They’re dead.’

‘What, all of them?’

‘Almost. We’ll be joining them if you don’t stop asking questions. Come on!’

Captain Stein picked a hand grenade from his belt, removed the pin and threw it into the medical room. We followed Stein out of the medical room and back down the corridor, the stone floors amplifying our footsteps. The walls of the house shook as the medical room exploded with a deafening roar behind us.

As we passed the front door, it flew from its hinges and vampires started to flood in. Stein stopped to shoot at them.

‘Keep going!’ he shouted, ‘I’ll hold them off. Get to the roof.’

Agent Simpson knew this house well and led the way. She led us up a set of stairs and I heard the rattle of machine gun fire behind us. There was the sound of screaming for a few seconds, then gunfire again. The vampires were approaching but Captain Stein was managing to hold them off.

How long can he keep them downstairs?

We were led up another set of stairs, a stone spiral staircase much narrower than before. The bag on my shoulder was beginning to slip so I reached my hand back to lift it back onto my shoulder and felt a stabbing pain in the palm of my hand. I winced and realised that I had snagged it on a sharp stone sticking out of the wall. I rolled my sleeve down and held the cuff tightly over the wound, hoping to stem the bleeding while we tried to make our escape.

We pressed on and bundled through a wooden door at the top of the stairs, finding ourselves on the roof, directly below the helicopter full of troops doing their best to take down all the vampires trying to fly towards us. The combined sound of helicopter blades, gunfire and screaming vampires was almost unbearable and the downdraft from the gunship above us was making me very uneasy on my feet.

The helicopter descended and hovered just above the roof. If a gunship that size tried to land on this old house, it would surely have fallen right through it. Under the cover of gunfire, Agent Simpson, the doctor and I made a run for it and jumped aboard. Just as we were taking off, Captain Stein appeared from the door at the top of the stairs and waved for the pilot to aim his guns at the door.

A mass of vampires flew through the doorway, right into a barrage of silver bullets from the gunship. The ash from their bodies flew into the air with thousands of tiny pieces of wood and plaster. There must have been at least fifty vampires running up the stairs but the gunfire didn’t stop until they were all dead.

The helicopter lifted off and the troops on board continued to defend us against the handful of vampires still buzzing around us. When there were only two left, they decided to call it quits and flew away behind Hartley House.

‘Don’t worry, they won’t last long. Look,’ Captain Stein said, and pointed towards the horizon. I gripped my bloody hand and looked up to see the sun peeking over the top of the mountains in the distance.

Rebirth is available from the following online retailers:

Amazon UK - £7.99
Amazon US - $16.95
Barnes and Noble - $15.25

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Chapter 60: One On One

Captain Stein took a deep breath and gripped his silver-plated sword with both hands. He completely focused his mind and body on the next few seconds. He blocked out his peripheral vision and stared directly at Roxy. No other vampires would dare attack him while he was fighting with their leader. She didn’t tolerate interference and wouldn’t hesitate to cut down her brothers and sisters if they got in the way of a fair fight.

With swords raised, Roxy and Captain Stein took a small step towards each other. They looked into each other’s eyes for a few seconds, then Roxy swung her sword at Stein’s body. He parried the blow but didn’t have time to swing at her before she came at him again.

It was like sparring practice with Private Brown again, only this time Captain Stein was on the back foot. He had fought vampires enough times to know he shouldn’t underestimate their strength. Female vampires were notoriously brutal but he was still surprised how much he was struggling. She was putting incredible power behind her blows. Stein was doing all he could just to get his sword between himself and Roxy’s.

Just when Stein thought he was done for, he got a chance. Roxy swung her sword and he blocked the blow with more force than he’d been able to muster until now. The sword flew out of her hands and clattered down the steps.

He had his opening. A flash of shock swept across Roxy’s face as Stein swung his sword at her with all his might. She just managed to dive out of the way and Stein’s blade narrowly missed her torso. She hit the ground and rolled away from the steps, then jumped to her feet and drew her silver sword in time to block Stein’s second attack.

Stein had failed to capitalise on the opening and Roxy was on top again, now fighting with more force and edging him backwards, towards the steps. One blow was too hard for him and he lost his footing. He landed on the steps on his side and painfully rolled down to the bottom, his head and joints banging into the edges of the steps.

He shook off the pain in his head and looked around him. Roxy’s steel sword was just within reach. Still with his silver sword in his right hand, he picked it up in his left and spun round in time to use it to block Roxy’s attack. As she moved forward again, he saw another opening and knew he had to take it. Her legs were exposed so he swung his silver sword with his right hand, slicing them open above the ankles.

Roxy fell backwards onto the steps and looked down at her legs. Ash was already pouring from the wounds. She turned over onto her front and quickly crawled up the steps towards the piles of ash and weapons where the vampires had attacked Captain Stein, looking for a steel sword. Even as her body was dissolving, she was cool and focused under pressure.

She found what she was looking for next to a decapitated soldier’s body and grabbed it with both hands. She turned over and raised just it in time to parry a blow from Captain Stein. Before Stein could swing at her again, she leapt into the air and quickly used the sword to chop what was left of her legs off above the spreading wounds.

Stein drew his gun and fired shots at Roxy, but failed to hit her as she flew into the darkness above him. He resigned himself to having missed his opportunity to take out a senior vampire but was happy to have made it through the fight alive. He quickly looked around to assess the immediate danger to him and his men.

He saw one of the wooden towers topple over. The soldiers in the remaining two were unloading their rifles on the vampires crawling up towards them. So much for the ultraviolet lamps: they didn’t appear to be doing anything to keep the vampires away from the soldiers in the towers. They had no chance of survival. All they could do was try to send as many of these devils back to hell as they could.

The soldiers in the field were all dead and a large crowd of vampires was advancing on Hartley House. The troops in the remaining helicopter were fending off a swarm of vampires as it made its way towards the house, but their ammunition would only last so long. The helicopter would reach the house in a matter of seconds.

‘Alpha Two, this is Captain Stein. Head for the roof,’ he shouted into his radio, ‘we’ll be there in sixty seconds.’

He looked around for the doctor and the detective.

Where the hell are they?

Rebirth is available from the following online retailers:

Amazon UK - £7.99
Amazon US - $16.95
Barnes and Noble - $15.25

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Competition ending soon...

There's only two chapters to go until the competition closes so if you want to have a character in the sequel to Rebirth named after you, make sure you do one or more of the following in the next few days:

1. Every verified email subscription to this blog will be entered - see the subscription box down the left-hand side of this page for details of how to sign up.
2. Tell a friend about the blog - just cc or bcc into the email you send to them and I'll enter you into the draw.
3. Everyone who buys a copy of the novel will be entered as well. Just forward your order confirmation on to and I'll add you into the draw.

Good luck!

Rebirth is available from the following online retailers:

Amazon UK - £7.99
Amazon US - $16.95
Barnes and Noble - $15.25

Chapter 59: Holding Them Off

Private Brown frantically reloaded his rifle for the third time, fumbling with the clip in a desperate rush to continue shooting the demons that were trying to kill him and the rest of his squad.

From his wooden tower, he had a good view of the action below and had already ended the undead lives of at least ten vampires so far, but they just kept coming. He was amazed by the ferocity of this attack and the size of the clan. He had never heard of an attack of this size.

The soldiers on the ground were being slaughtered and it wouldn’t be long until the attack turned to the towers. The vampires attacked in waves, swooping down in long groups, cutting the soldiers to pieces. The men on the ground were desperately shooting at their attackers. Some vampires were taken down but still the attacks came. There were just too many of them for a small squad like this to deal with.

The supplies of ammunition in the tower were beginning to dwindle. At this rate they would run out within a matter of minutes.

Brown’s squad mate Private Hays was taking pot shots at the band of vampires approaching their tower. Brown’s rifle made a click to tell him it was reloaded and ready for action and he joined in the attack.

Looking over the edge of the steel-reinforced side of the tower, he counted at least fifteen vampires approaching them. Brown hit one and its body dissolved into ash. The remaining vampires spread out to make targeting for the soldiers in the tower more difficult.

‘Shit!’ cursed Private Brown, ‘we haven’t got long now.’ He wiped the sweat from his forehead, only to wipe the sunscreen off his face, which made the heat from the ultraviolet lamps even more unbearable.

‘The chopper’s almost here,’ said Private Hays, ‘we’ve just got to keep them away from the house for a few more minutes.’

‘They’re flanking us,’ said Brown as the group spread out even further and began to surround the tower. He leaned over the side but before he could take a shot, the vampires all drew their guns and began shooting at the top of the tower. Brown and Hays hit the deck.

‘What are they doing?’ shouted Hays over the sound of gunshots, ‘I’ve never seen them using their guns before.’

I’ve never seen them before at all
, Brown thought to himself.

They both looked up as they heard the ultraviolet lamp smash above them. Fear gripped the soldiers as the gunshots ceased and glass rained down as silent darkness descended on the tower.

Hays and Brown both jumped to their feet and drew their swords just in time to take the heads off two vampires who had leapt to the top of the tower. The ash from their bodies blew away in the wind and another two vampires appeared to replace them. Then another two. And another two. They all drew their swords.

Resigned to their fate, Hays and Brown stood in the middle of the tower, back to back, swinging their swords at the approaching bloodsuckers. They stood their ground with honour but it was only a matter of time before Brown presented an opening and felt a cold sharp blade penetrate his side.

Brown looked down and saw the red blade emerge from his chest. He sank to his knees and with his last ounce of strength, swung his sword through the legs of two of his attackers.

As he fell flat on his face and succumbed to unconsciousness, the last sounds he heard were the agonised screams of Private Hays.

Rebirth is available from the following online retailers:

Amazon UK - £7.99
Amazon US - $16.95
Barnes and Noble - $15.25

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Rebirth now available at Amazon

I'm pleased to report that I've got an ISBN for Rebirth and it's now available to buy from Amazon and Barnes & Noble online. The links below will take you directly to the pages where Rebirth is on sale on the UK and US sites. The paperback is also available at other Amazon sites aroudn the world, just visit your local site and search for my name and the title.

The good news is that now you can get your hands on a copy of Rebirth without having to pay's high postage prices. If you're planning to pick up something else from Amazon, add a copy of Rebirth to your order and you'll get it delivered for free if you use the Super Saver delivery option.

Amazon UK - £7.99
Amazon US - $16.95
Barnes and Noble - $15.25

Monday, 21 May 2007

Chapter 58: Not A Chance

Captain Stein couldn’t believe his eyes. All the intelligence available to The Brotherhood had suggested that the vampire community was relatively small, maybe only one hundred of them in the city but now there was at least that number attacking their outpost, maybe more. That intelligence had taken a lot of time and money to gather together and it was useless.

How many other fallacies do we believe without question?

He had only twenty or so men to mount a defence and keep the doctor alive.

We haven’t got a chance.

At least there were no surprises in the vampires’ armoury. They all carried guns but rarely used them. Their weapon of choice was a sword. When a vampire attacks, it rarely wants to kill you. Their motivation is survival: to feed and increase their numbers. Captain Stein was struggling to believe they had increased their numbers to such an unprecedented level.

If the vampires were to use their guns, all they would achieve would be a pile of useless dead bodies. By slicing everyone up with swords, they could immobilise the targets, feed on the bodies and turn them into vampires. Their favourite tactic was to chop your arms and legs off then come back later to finish you off. Once your rebirth is complete, you grow the missing limbs back anyway.

The vampire army was moving in waves. They had split up into five groups, each flying in a line of ten pairs. The vampires in front led their line in a long, graceful arc high in the air then down on top of the unfortunate soldiers below, slicing and chopping their prey with their long swords. Captain Stein watched in a state of amazed terror. It was an awe-inspiring sight: beautiful yet terrifying.

Four soldiers were positioned on the steps in front of Hartley House, taking shots at the closest vampires. The attack on the helicopters had spread most of the other soldiers out across the grounds, and they were being picked off one by one with embarrassing ease.

The men in the wooden towers were having more luck. Protected by ultraviolet light, they were able to shoot down many of the vampires as they flew past in waves. Stein knew it was only a matter of time until the vampires pulled the towers down. By that time, both he and the doctor had to be on the remaining helicopter, on their way to safety.

When he was satisfied that the men were in the best positions to keep their attackers at bay until the remaining gunship arrived, he lifted his rifle and started to fire silver bullets at the waves of vampires sweeping down on the men in the field. He hit one and it turned to ash before the body hit the ground. Then he hit another, and another, but they just kept coming.

A team of vampires swooped down towards the front steps. Some of them were caught in the crossfire and their burning bodies rained ash down on the soldiers. Two vampires touched down among the soldiers and drew their swords. In a flash, they had disposed of everyone in their path.

Captain Stein turned his rifle on one of the vampires but when he pulled the trigger, the only sound he heard was a disappointingly familiar click.

Damn, out of ammo.

He threw the rifle to the ground and drew his sword just as the vampire drew its sword and swung it towards his head. Their swords met with a clang and Stein immediately knew this wasn’t one of the strongest vampires he’d met. After two more parries, he found an opening and jammed his silver-plated sword into his adversary’s forehead.

The body was still burning as he moved across the steps to take on another vampire, who was now feasting on one of his men. The vampire noticed him approaching and looked up with blood dripping from his chin. It had no time to attack before Stein sliced its head off, bringing down the sword down in the same move onto the soldier’s neck. He took a step back and watched both heads roll down the steps.

Stein wished he didn’t have to kill his own men but he had no choice. It was either death or spend the rest of eternity as one of them.

He heard the thud of boots hitting the ground behind him and turned around to see a tall, female vampire dressed in black. He knew exactly who this was. They had met once before but had never fought each other.

With a cold, determined look on her face, Roxy stared Stein in the eye and drew her steel sword.

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Saturday, 19 May 2007

Chapter 57: Alpha One Down

Helicopter Alpha One plunged out of the sky as if in slow motion, carrying a squad of doomed soldiers towards an inevitable fiery grave. As they fell, they were doing all they could to kill Private Lambert.

He had followed his orders with dedication and precision. Once Hartley House appeared in the distance, he had pulled the pin out of a hand grenade and thrown it into the cockpit. When it exploded, the fate of the squad was sealed. Private Lambert then clicked the safety catch off his rifle and began to unload it on his squad mates, who followed suit in a blind panic.

Silver bullets rattled around the helicopter, all of the soldiers desperately trying to stop Private Lambert escaping but receiving the gunshots themselves. Seconds before impact, Private Lambert made a leap for freedom and found himself outside the helicopter.

Then he felt a pain in his left foot. He looked at his leg to see his foot dissolve into dust and crumble away. His boot fell from his body towards the ground. One of the stray bullets had hit him. His body would completely disappear in a matter of seconds. There wasn’t much time to complete his mission.

He had already taken out one helicopter and had to try his best to slow down the second. If he kept it as far away as possible from Hartley House, the squad on the ground would spread out and be easier to pick off one by one by his brothers and sisters who weren’t far away. He could feel the mass of his body getting lighter as the ash blew away below him.

There’s not much time.

He looked down and saw a small swarm of soldiers spreading out across the grounds. They were firing their guns in his direction but the bullets were easy to dodge at this distance.

Private Lambert fired his rifle at helicopter Alpha Two, taunting all the soldiers that were trying in vain to kill him. When the forces on the ground started to scatter and fire their weapons in different directions, he knew his plan had worked. The forces at Hartley House were no longer working as a single cohesive unit.

Easy pickings.

A huge cloud of his brothers and sisters was descending on the small band of soldiers below. A hundred vampires, all with an uncontrollable bloodlust and a desire to demonstrate the true might of the species at the top of the food chain.

He almost felt sorry for the soldiers of The Brotherhood. From now on, things will only get worse for them and their kind. A bullet hit him square chest but didn’t feel any pain in his body or his mind. He knew he could leave his undead life the way he had always wanted: as a martyr to the cause.

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Thursday, 17 May 2007

Chapter 56: Live Each Day As If It Were Your Last

The doctor and I stepped outside Hartley House to see many soldiers running around, stacking equipment into piles on the drive. Captain Stein was coordinating the efforts, shouting at anyone and everyone.

His coercive approach appeared to work. He gave the nod to approve the completion of the soldiers’ tasks then sent them off to stand guard over the patch of grass where the helicopters were expected to land.

I spotted three wooden towers, each housing two soldiers armed with rifles and swords. The sunscreen painted on their faces was illuminated by the ultraviolet lamps hanging above them.

‘How safe is it up there?’ I asked the doctor, ‘If any vampires attacked, wouldn’t they just chop the towers down?’

‘The vampires attack in small numbers,’ he said, ‘they’re fairly easy to pick off from up there and the UV light provides enough protection.’

‘Why do they attack in small numbers?’

‘All evidence points towards a small population. We suspect their numbers are low. There hasn’t been a large scale attack on a human population for over fifty years.’

I was still worried about the soldiers in the tower and it must have shown on my face.

‘Don’t worry,’ said Doctor Owen, ‘we’ll be out of here in no time. Look, here they come.’

In the distance I could see two helicopters flying towards us, the same kind of gunships that had picked up Captain Stein from the shootout earlier that day.

I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard a friendly voice in my ear. ‘How are you feeling, Detective?’ I spun round and was faced with Agent Simpson. She was definitely a sight for sore eyes.

‘Not too bad, considering I might be one of the Lost Boys.’ Not the funniest line to emerge from my lips but it got a wry smile at least.

‘You’ve been through a lot today,’ she said, ‘once we get you back to regional headquarters, you’ll be able to get some rest. The compound is heavily guarded and very secure. You can feel safe there.’

‘You mean you don’t feel safe with those guys up there in the wooden sun beds?’ I asked.

‘They’ve fought off plenty of attacks before. Don’t worry, Detective,’ she said. I suspected she was lying about the level of experience these soldiers had, but she was only trying to ease my worries.

‘That’s what he said,’ I replied, thumbing in the direction of Doctor Owen, ‘And please, call me Tom. I’m not a detective any more, remember?’

‘So you’ve decided to stay?’ she asked, with a sparkle in her eye.

‘I don’t have much choice, do I Jane?’

‘You’ve always got a choice,’ she said, ‘they didn’t all decide to stay.’

‘Who’s they?’ I asked, knowing exactly who she was talking about.

‘The guinea pigs before you. There have been quite a few but not all of them decided to stay.’

‘What happened to them?’

‘We’re not sure but it’s safe to assume they either died or joined the vampire clan.’

‘And what about the ones that stayed? I take it they all made a remarkable recovery and are now living happy and fulfilling lives?’ I asked in a tone both hopeful and sarcastic.

Agent Simpson smiled. ‘As far as you know, Tom, yes they did.’

Her positive attitude made me think about the motivational speakers I’ve listened to down the years at police functions. Every story had the same moral: live each day as if it was your last. I had no option but to take that advice from now on.

If Doctor Owen was going to find a cure, we would need these soldiers and more to hold off all the vampires in the world for as long as his work would take. Having seen the vampires in action already, I hoped Captain Stein had enough new recruits waiting to sign up. If the vampires decided to attack, there would surely be a high turnover of recruits.

I watched the helicopters moving towards us, in anticipation of the secure environment we would soon find ourselves in. Then I noticed a bright flash from one of the helicopters.

Captain Stein ran out of Hartley House onto the front steps, shouting into a radio. ‘How many of them?’

‘Just one,’ was the frantic reply.

‘What’s the damage?’ he shouted.

‘He set off a grenade. They’re going down, Captain.’

‘What happened to him?’

The only reply was machine gun fire, which matched more bright flashes from the helicopter in the distance. Agent Simpson grabbed my arm and dragged me back inside Hartley House as one of the approaching helicopters slowly fell out of the sky.

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Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Chapter 55: Agent Simpson

Jane Simpson sat on a wooden bench in the grounds of Hartley House. It had been a hard day and she needed to take a few minutes to gather her thoughts together before they would be on the move again.

Poor Detective Ryder. Poor Tom.

He had no idea what lay ahead for him. Doctor Owen had sat him down in the medical room and was telling him how he was the future saviour of humanity but probably not going into the details of what would be expected of him when they all arrived at regional headquarters. Captain Stein was tough but she knew Commander North would be ten times worse.

He’s already expecting results. And he wants them sooner than is physically possible

It was a true shame. That morning, he’d just been another homicide detective, now he was kissing goodbye to his life in the name of science.

If only we’d met under other circumstances. Rough around the edges of course, but there’s something there.

She had enjoyed their short time working together. Their brief partnership had been very successful. He knew what he was doing and they got results. The Brotherhood now had the doctor but she couldn’t help thinking that if she’d been straight with Detective Ryder from the beginning, if she’d only told him that she was a member of The Brotherhood, he wouldn’t be looking at a life as Doctor Owen’s pin cushion.

Then there was Doctor Owen himself. Snatched from a motel as he made his half-assed escape.

How did the vampires know about his work and where he was staying? Who was he really running from?

The vampire community must have found out that he had reached a breakthrough stage in the secondary treatment at the same time The Brotherhood had found out, maybe even before. Sure, there were spies and double agents on both sides but only a select few knew the details of the scientific research.

Who really wants Doctor Owen to stop his work on the secondary treatment?

Jane Simpson shook her head, trying to rid the logical answer to that question from her mind. The very idea was preposterous and she refused to consider it.

Somehow the vampires had found out that a cure for their blood disorder was within reach and were taking the measures necessary to ensure their way of life could survive. If The Brotherhood could recover Doctor Forrest, they would have control of all the available intellectual capital and could move the research forward securely.

Then something else occurred to her and she kicked herself that she hadn’t thought of it before. Something that no one had mentioned since the attack on Mantek and she was certain that Brotherhood weren’t prepared for a large-scale attack.

If the vampires knew their way of life was in danger, they would surely do everything they could to protect themselves. If they’re willing to take drastic action to protect their numbers, how many of them are there?

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Sunday, 13 May 2007

Rebirth gets another good review: 8/10

In keeping with the trend of great reviews for Rebirth, it has received another positive review at POD People, getting a rating of 8/10.

"Rebirth is an energizing story that remains long after reading it."

To read the whole review, click the link below:

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Chapter 54: Easy Shift

Private Moore was sitting under a tree in the darkness, enjoying the easy shift. Every four weeks, the soldiers had to take the journey out to one of the dugouts hidden in the fields on the one-mile radius around Hartley House. Their job was to keep a watchful eye on the skies for approaching bloodsuckers but since there hadn’t been any vampire activity for a long time, everyone in the squad looked forward to the lookout shift as an opportunity to chill out and get some extra shut-eye.

The soldiers on the easy shift all kept in touch with each other on a different radio channel that wasn’t being monitored by their colleagues at Hartley House and took it in turns to sleep. Private Moore looked at his watch.

Time to catch some zees.

He picked up his radio and changed the channel. ‘Time’s up, dude. It’s my turn now,’ he said, expecting his squad mate Private Norris to answer him, but there was no reply.

‘Hey, are you there? Wake up you lazy son of a bitch.’

Again, all he heard was interference on the radio.

‘Is anyone else out there? Anyone seen Pete tonight?’

There was no answer again for a few seconds until he heard the friendly voice of Private Wilson. ‘Hey, it’s Mike here. I haven’t seen him or heard from him. Thinking about it, I haven’t heard from anyone for a while.’

‘Come on guys,’ Moore said into the radio, ‘no messing around tonight. Who’s out there?’

After another moment of radio static, Private Wilson answered again. ‘Looks like it’s just me and you. I wonder what’s going on. Oh shit, wait a minute.’

‘What’s going on, Mike?’

‘Look up. To the east.’

Private Moore grabbed his rifle and got to his feet. He looked to the east but couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Just a big black cloud.

Just a big black cloud that’s moving towards me.

‘What the hell’s going on, Mike?’ Private Moore shouted into the radio and got a one word answer that made his heart sink.


He heard the sound of gunfire in the distance and ran into the middle of his field to make a stand against the dark cloud coming his way. Realising he had left his radio under the tree, Moore checked his rifle was loaded and flicked the safety catch, hoping to keep his worst nightmare at bay long enough to get back to warn everyone at Hartley House.

Who am I kidding? I’m a dead man
, he thought.

He was right.

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Friday, 11 May 2007

Chapter 53: The Only Difference

The night air was still and cool, easing the heat within the soldiers’ uniforms as they carried out their tasks before the arrival of the extraction team. Captain Stein stood on the front steps, barking orders at everyone. Most of the soldiers were running around, gathering together as much of the outpost’s equipment as they could.

Far away on the horizon, two gunships were just visible, approaching from the mountains to collect the inhabitants of the outpost and take them to the regional headquarters where they would be better protected. Captain Stein and his contacts at the regional headquarters all suspected there would be an attack. The question was: could they get out of there in time?

Three tall wooden structures stood in grassy clearings. They were lookout towers, each holding a supply of ammunition and sun block, which every soldier hoped would be enough to deal with any attack.

The remaining soldiers were climbing ladders into the wooden towers with their rifles and silver-plated swords strapped to their backs. When each soldier reached the top, they pulled the cord above them to illuminate the protective ultraviolet lamps and adorned themselves with standard-issue wraparound sunglasses.

The fact of the matter was that with the exception of Captain Stein, no one else at Hartley House had participated in a major battle. A lot of them had never even seen a real vampire.

Private Brown stood at the top of his tower and checked that his rifle was loaded. Then he picked up a bottle of sunscreen, squirted a big dollop into his hands and rubbed it into every exposed area on his body. He then checked his rifle again.

Don’t worry
, he told himself, this is an exercise just like any other. I’ve watched over dozens of extractions and they’ve all gone perfectly smoothly. There’s no reason why this won’t go according to plan.

Private Brown cast his eyes around the grounds and saw the one thing that made this exercise different. Doctor Owen appeared on the front steps of Hartley House.

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Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Chapter 52: Plans

Doctor Owen and I were left alone in the medical room to talk about his plans for me.

His plans for me

Last time I had checked, I was a cop with a job that ran my life but I knew that any day I could just quit, go home and never set foot in a police station again.

Now I had to come to terms with the fact that I was going to be a guinea pig for different types of experimental medical treatment. I was going to be the right hand man to the scientist who would produce a vaccine that would rid the world of vampires forever. I can’t say I wasn’t a little excited about the whole thing. At this moment in time I was the most important human being in the world. The key to unlocking the secret of the vampires.

‘Don’t go getting delusions of grandeur,’ said Doctor Owen jovially with a knowing smile on his face, immediately bursting my balloon, ‘there have been people like you before. They all got a bit carried away with their place in the world and thought they were invincible. They took risks they shouldn’t have and we were back to square one.

‘The top priority in your life is to keep both of us alive. If you die then we’re back to square one again, and if I die, you die.’

Now who’s getting delusions of grandeur?

‘You may think of me as arrogant but they are the facts, Detective. It’s an unfortunate situation that you find yourself in but we must make the most of it. Okay?’

I nodded in agreement and that was it, my new life had begun. First thing in the morning I would call into work and quit. Just like that. One day a cop, the next day a scientific sample. My thoughts immediately turned to how I would pay the bills from now on.

‘You don’t need to worry about the bare necessities, The Brotherhood will take care of everything for you,’ he said, as if he was reading my mind. It seemed to me that he had answered all of these questions a thousand times before and knew exactly what I was going to ask before I opened my mouth.

It made me uneasy. How many guinea pigs have there been before and why aren’t they here any more?

The doctor continued. ‘They’ll give you a bed and three meals a day. If you rent your home, call your landlord and cancel the payments. If you own your home, put it up for sale.’

‘Okay Doc, what do you need from me?’

‘I need to take blood samples from you on the hour every hour until further notice. That means right through the night and all day tomorrow. During this time we have to gather as many samples as we can. It’s going to be hard work.’

‘Don’t worry, I’m used to sacrificing sleep for work.’ I tried my best to sound committed to the cause. If we were going to work together for the rest of my life, we’d better start off in the right way.

‘Good,’ he said and smiled sympathetically. The look on his face told me he was thinking he wouldn’t trade places with me for all the tea in China.

Time to ask the hard questions. ‘What’s going to happen to me? How will I know if I’m turning into a vampire?’

‘That’s a good question. We’ve never been able to identify all of the symptoms because the previous subjects have turned too quickly to allow them to tell us what’s happening to them. At the very least I hope the treatment can delay or slow down the virus so we can have time to see what it does to your body.’

‘That’s not very comforting, Doc.’

‘I’m not here to hold your hand and tell you everything’s going to be okay, Detective. I’m here to tell you the way it is. No bullshit.’ He was right, but it didn’t make the situation any better.

I looked at the television in the corner again, which was still showing clips of the damage inflicted on the tactical aid unit by my new hosts. I asked the doctor to turn up the volume so I could hear the reporter.

‘We’ve just had confirmation from the hospital,’ the female reporter began ominously, ‘that the only member of the tactical aid unit to survive this afternoon’s attack has just passed away. Other than varying eye witness accounts, the only law enforcer to see today’s events first-hand was Detective Tom Ryder, who is unavailable for comment.’

That’s an understatement
, I thought.

‘However, we managed to speak to Captain Nash of the police department early today.’

Among the scrolling headlines and weather report icons, Captain Nash appeared, standing on the front steps of police headquarters. ‘The attack this afternoon was a targeted attempt to remove the capabilities of the police, who were just about to arrest the perpetrators.’

A number of reporters all asked if Nash knew who the attackers were. His reply was only ‘I’m sorry, I can’t comment on that.’

The news broadcast then returned to the reporter. ‘If the police know anything, they are keeping their cards very close to their chest. It seems to me that an investigation is underway and the police have their suspicions of who committed this terrible attack. After the lives lost and the damage caused on the freeway today, you have to ask yourself a question. Do the police have the firepower to counter another attack like this?’

‘Nash knows a hell of a lot more than that,’ I said, ‘why didn’t they mention the missing doctors?’

‘You have a lot to learn,’ said Doctor Owen, ‘Even though you’ve only just found out the truth, there are already many out there that know everything and work for The Brotherhood.’

‘What? You’re saying that my boss knows about all this?’

‘It’s likely he knows something. You can never know for sure. Only a few select people have access to the records.’

‘The records?’

‘The Brotherhood maintain a list of allies and their positions within society. The police, government, everywhere. This is a tactic also employed by the vampires though, so when you meet someone, you can never really tell which side they’re on or if they’re just a regular Joe.’

‘But what about the press? Not every journalist can be on your side.’

‘That’s right. Sometimes reports get through in the early editions or if the editor hasn’t spoken to the reporter on TV before they go on air. Those mistakes are few and far between and the network always manages to change its tune before anyone notices.

There was no time to let this sink in before Captain Stein burst into the medical room. ‘Pack all that crap away;’ he bellowed, ‘we’re pulling out in five minutes.’ He left as quickly as he had arrived, slamming the door behind him.

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Monday, 7 May 2007

Chapter 51: Awake

A sharp pain in my arm awoke me from my nightmare.

I opened my eyes to find a man in a white coat and a mask sticking a needle into me. His brown eyes widened and he took a step back. I tried to sit up but couldn’t move: I was strapped to my bed very tightly.

‘Hello Detective Ryder, I’m Doctor Owen,’ the man in white said, and started to loosen my straps. I heard the click of a gun somewhere in the room. ‘What do you think you’re doing?’ someone asked.

‘He’s perfectly fine,’ Doctor Owen said as he unbuckled my straps. Very slowly, I sat up and hung my legs over the side of the bed.

I felt like I had the worst hangover of my life. I could feel all the tell-tale sensations running through my body, only more intense.

‘How do you feel?’ the doctor asked.

‘Light headed. Thirsty. Very hungry. It feels like I’ve got pins and needles all over my body. And the worst headache I’ve ever had,’ I said, cupping my forehead with both hands.

‘Interesting,’ he said as he leaned over me and shone a light in my eyes. A sharp bolt of pain hit me like a punch to the head.

‘Damn it! What did you do that for?’ I shouted.

‘Sorry,’ he said and handed me two paracetamol tablets. I grabbed the bottle out of his other hand and knocked back a mouthful. I shuddered as the sharp chalky taste went down my throat. They can make pills that can take away headaches but why can’t they make them taste better?

He then opened my mouth and examined my teeth. He turned to talk to someone behind him. ‘I think the treatment has worked. He is still human for now.’

That’s when I remembered what had happened. I had been bitten by a vampire on the bonnet of my car. A vampire that used to be one of my only friends in the world.

I looked at the odd surroundings. I seemed to be in some kind of fancy room that looked like it belonged in a stately home or a palace; however the appliances and the doctor’s clothing would have been more appropriate in an operating theatre. A muted television in the corner showed a reporter at the site of the gunship attack.

‘How long will he stay like this?’ I realised who that voice belonged to. It was Captain Stein. I must be in the presence of The Brotherhood.

‘At least twelve hours,’ said the doctor, ‘maybe twenty-four.’

‘Okay, get him up. We’re not taking any chances though,’ said Captain Stein. Two soldiers appeared and pointed their rifles in my face.

‘What’s going on? What are they doing?’ I asked.

‘We’ll have plenty of time to talk about this. Don’t worry. It’s important you tell me how you’re feeling,’ the doctor said.

‘Very thirsty, can I have some water?’ I asked.

The doctor gave me a litre bottle. I swallowed the whole lot quickly in big gulps and asked for more. I then registered that my body was very clammy and the bed sheets I had been lying on were soaked through.

‘What the hell happened to me?’ I asked.

‘Your temperature went sky high,’ said Doctor Owen, ‘your body has been working overtime to fight the virus.’ My hand immediately went to my neck and I felt a massive bandage covering the wound.

‘You also lost about two pints of blood.’ As I took more big gulps from another bottle of water, more questions occurred to me about my condition.

‘So what’s the deal, Doc? Am I a vampire?’

‘It’s too early to say,’ he said, ‘The treatment I’ve been working on seems to have kept the virus at bay for now but you and I are going to be spending a lot of time together. I need to take samples from you on the hour every hour so we can see how the virus develops. From that data, we can work towards a cure.’

Data? Is that what I’ve become?
‘Hey, I’m not your lab rat, Doc.’

‘No, Detective Ryder, you are so much more than that. The chemical reactions currently taking place in your body may hold the key to eradicating vampires from existence. We have to work together for the good of mankind.’

He certainly did his best to make lying in bed getting stuck with needles sound like a noble cause. Needless to say, that wasn’t how I’d pictured my future.

‘Wait a minute, I’m a cop. This is my case and I’ve already worked out that the vampires blew up your lab. It’s going to be difficult to write that up in my report but I’ll manage. Case closed.’ I got up and started to wobble towards the door.

‘Twenty-four hours,’ the doctor announced, rather cryptically.

I stopped and turned round to look at him. ‘What happens in twenty-four hours?’

‘That’s how long you have left until you turn,’ he said.

‘You mean the stuff you gave me runs out?’

‘I believe it will, and twenty-four hours is almost certainly an optimistic estimate. It may be twelve hours, which means you need to be treated at least once a day. You can’t go back to your job. You’re too important to us and you have no choice.’

I didn’t want to agree with him but he was right. I couldn’t just close the case and walk away. My discoveries today had changed my life. I couldn’t just leave this war with the vampires and I definitely didn’t want to become one of them.

If I choose to leave, will I end up with silver bullets in my back like Officer Myers as soon as I walk through the door?

‘We need you, Detective,’ he continued, ‘you’re the best chance we’ve ever had.’

Do I really have a choice?

‘Okay,’ I said reluctantly, ‘what do we need to do?’

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Saturday, 5 May 2007

Chapter 50: The Rising Begins

Deep within the subterranean lair of the vampires where no human had ever ventured, no human would dare to venture if they knew what would be down there waiting for them.

In a gigantic dark cavern, one hundred well-trained vampires were honing their skills. Scores of the creatures clung to the walls then flew in formation across the vast expanse, repeating their movements over and over again until they flew as one airborne killing machine.

The remaining vampires lined the cavern floor, sparring with their steel swords, moving in gravity-defying leaps that the poor kids who passed themselves off as soldiers of The Brotherhood would find both terrifying and amazing seconds before they were sliced to pieces.

Roxy carefully opened the door to the training hall and stepped inside unnoticed. She stood in the shadows, admiring the results of her work as a leader. Her brothers and sisters had gone through years of punishing training to reach these heights of physical and tactical perfection. They moved as one, their swords an extension of their arms and they shared one desire, just like all vampires.

To feed. At the expense of all other life.

Roxy stepped out of the darkness and made her way to the centre of the cavern. Those who noticed her tall imposing figure slink past stopped what they were doing and stood to attention.

Slowly but surely, the silent deference spread through the hall like a wave and all one hundred vampires made their way to the middle of the floor, either marching or swooping down from the walls, eager to hear what their leader had to say.

‘Tonight is a very important night,’ she began, knowing there was no chance of this speech being interrupted. ‘Tonight is the night you have been training for all of your life. Tonight is the night we will show the world the true power of our species. We will not stay in the darkness forever. We will rise up and take our rightful place as the dominant force in this world.

‘I’m not going to lie to you,’ she continued, ‘not all of you will make it back. But you can be sure that you are serving a higher purpose and very shortly a blow will be struck that will echo around the world. Alive or dead, each and every one of you will have your place in history. In years to come our people will look back on this day and know that it was the day when it all began. Now let’s get out there and show them what we can do. Hit them. Hit them hard.’

The premature roar of victory echoed throughout the hall.

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Thursday, 3 May 2007

Chapter 49: Fine Wine

The Deputy Lord Chancellor waved his empty glass in the air and a servant of the clan rushed over with a jug to fill it up. The thick, dark red liquid poured into his glass. Luca Salazar lifted the glass to his nose and took a deep breath. He swirled the wine around then took a sip.

‘How do you find the wine?’ Marcus asked. He was sitting at the opposite end of a long table in the stone walled dining hall. Flaming torches lit the hall and the crackling logs in the huge roaring fireplace kept both diners warm.

Luca Salazar licked his lips in appreciation. ‘Very good,’ he said. Marcus believed him as well. Salazar had complained about most of the meal but he knew he would like the dessert wine. All vampires did.

‘Where did you get it? I don’t recognise the taste.’

‘We make it ourselves,’ Marcus said.

‘Really? I didn’t realise you had a farm.’

‘Yes, I’ve been producing wine for many centuries. I learned from the best. The farm is a long way out of the city, hidden away from the humans. Only a few of us know where it is.’

‘I’m not surprised. If I could make wine of this quality, I’d keep my methods secret as well. I would increase the production if I were you. I will recommend it to the Lord Chancellor and he may want to place an order.’

Marcus rolled his eyes but Salazar didn’t notice this show of disdain from a subordinate. It was just like a senior vampire to sit up there on his high horse, looking down on those of us doing the real work. He has no idea what goes into making a wine of this quality.

Making a wine as good as the vintage that Salazar was sampling took hard work and patience. There was only one harvest per year. The specimens took twenty years to ripen, fed daily on the best foodstuffs and only the best were picked to make it into the premium wine.

The specimens are taken to the kitchen, slaughtered and their blood is drained into the bottling machine. The leftover human skins and muscles are then put to good use. The steaks they had both eaten had come from human bodies. While Marcus’ steak had come from the rump of a premium body, Salazar’s had come from a rejected body.

He always complains about the food so why waste a good meal on him?

‘The next specimens will be harvested soon,’ Marcus said, ‘I personally oversee the harvest myself every year and I will ensure a case of the finest wine is produced for the Lord Chancellor.’

Salazar nodded, ‘Very good idea. He will appreciate that.’

Servants opened the doors to the dining hall and Roxy entered. ‘Sir, may I have a word?’ she asked Marcus.

‘Of course. What is it, Roxy?’

‘I have just had confirmation of Doctor Owen’s location. The Brotherhood are evacuating their outpost and returning to their regional headquarters. We will strike when the extraction team arrives at the outpost.’

Salazar butted in. ‘Is that wise?’

‘Excuse me?’ asked Roxy. The look on her face showed she had as little respect for the Deputy Lord Chancellor as Marcus did.

‘If you are going to attack The Brotherhood, surely it would be a better idea to attack when their numbers are fewer.’

‘That may seem like the easy option but this is not the usual kind of mission. One of our brothers is a member of the extraction team. Our plan is to sabotage the infrastructure and reduce their capability. A large unit in a state of panic is a much easier target than a small well-prepared unit.’

Salazar didn’t answer. That shut him up, Roxy thought.

‘Also,’ she continued unopposed, ‘we are using this attack as an opportunity to demonstrate our military capability. There has not been an attack of this size in a very long time. We have previously only operated in groups of ten or fewer.’

‘How many of our brothers and sisters will be joining this attack?’ Salazar asked.

‘One hundred,’ she said.

Salazar’s eyes widened and apart from the noise of the burning fire, there were a few seconds of silence in the dining hall. He turned to address Marcus. ‘I would wish her good luck but I don’t think she’s going to need it. Her squad are sure to have a greater feast than we have enjoyed this evening.’

Marcus raised his glass and nodded in agreement.

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Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Chapter 48: Infiltration

The regional headquarters of The Brotherhood could be found sitting atop a plateau high in the mountains. It was an effective strategic position: high altitude, maximum hours of sunlight and could only be reached by helicopter unless a potential invader was an expert climber and was prepared to brave the high level of security around the base.

To date, there had not been a single case of vampire infiltration at this base, which housed fifty soldiers and additional medical and administrative staff. The base was well guarded but the outposts suffered occasional losses and from time to time, they had to be evacuated following an attack so there were enough facilities at the regional bases to house at least two hundred tired and hungry soldiers.

The Brotherhood had a very stringent screening process for all new recruits. Or so they thought. The screening process wasn’t strict enough.

Private Lambert ran into his private dormitory with five minutes to get ready before he had to join the rest of his squad. It was time for another evacuation: their mission was to extract the squad from the outpost at Hartley House.

In his private room, he took off his training gear and changed into his combat uniform. The soldiers at regional headquarters worked 12-hour shifts and Private Lambert was a member of the night shift, which suited him just fine. He was a vampire.

He wasn’t the only vampire at the regional headquarters either. Getting round the checks wasn’t as hard as they had thought it might be. Dozens of others had been sacrificed so his brothers and sisters could perfect the art of planting a vampire in The Brotherhood. By the time his turn came, he had a very complex set of instructions to carry out to make the recruitment board believe he was human. In fact, he had been human just a matter of weeks before he became a member of The Brotherhood.

That’s because Private Lambert was a consenting recruit. With nothing in his human life other than his drug addiction, he told himself that the only thing to do was to take drastic action. Nothing could be worse than the living hell his life had become so when he was confronted by a vampire looking to feed, he didn’t run, cry or try to fight like most members of the human race. No, Private Lambert conceded to his attacker and succumbed to a new life that had to be better than his own.

He had been a vampire for a year and felt his undead life was a significant improvement over his previous life. He was a major player in the ongoing rise of the vampire community. His brothers and sisters were succeeding in infiltrating every part of human life, even the war effort against them.

Most of the world governments had members from the vampire community; even some of the human world leaders supported their cause. The emergency services were a primary target for infiltration. This strategy allowed the vampire brothers and sisters to get away with just about anything. No matter what crime against humanity they were arrested and detained for, the vampires almost always managed to evade justice or get off on a technicality.

Private Lambert pulled the drawer all the way out of his desk and removed a mobile phone that was taped to the back. He dialled the number for his true regional headquarters and spoke to Roxy, his true leader.

Even though he had good news, he was still worried about talking to Roxy. Her reputation preceded her. Vampires that hadn’t even met Roxy knew the stories about her. She was merciless and wouldn’t think twice about dispatching her brothers and sisters if ordered to do so.

‘Yes, Private Lambert. What information do you have?’ she demanded. No pleasantries, no nonsense.

‘Our squad will be leaving in the next few minutes,’ he said, ‘and will arrive at Hartley House in approximately one hour. Our mission is to extract the squad and their visitors, including Doctor Owen.’

There was a silence on the line as Roxy formulated her plan. ‘We will launch the attack once you arrive. That will maximise the impact on their numbers. Soften them up for our arrival.’

Private Lambert suspected that would be her plan. She wanted to take out as many humans as possible, but what should they do with them: kill them or turn them into vampires? He put the question to her.

‘We will turn them,’ she said immediately, ‘but you must make sure their attacking potential is reduced as much as possible.’

‘Understood. You can count on me.’ Private Lambert hoped it didn’t sound like he was brown-nosing. He didn’t get any indication of Roxy’s opinion of him though; she hung up before he could say any more.

our arrival, he thought. Roxy was leading the attack, which meant this was a very important mission. He could hardly wait.

Humans are naïve and stupid: they believe the vampires’ numbers are small. How wrong they are.

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