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.
‘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.
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