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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