The grounds of Hartley House were filled with the smoking remnants of the battle that had raged just two hours earlier. The repercussions were being felt on both sides and would continue to be felt for a very long time after the dust had settled on these once well-manicured lawns.
The wooden towers lay in splintered bundles, the remaining ultraviolet lamps still flickering over the blood-soaked bodies of the soldiers of The Brotherhood. The grass was glazed with a heavy sprinkling of ash and silver bullets. Swords, pistols and cloaks lay where the vampires had fallen.
In the remains of the carnage, a body was stirring. One soldier had survived. Keeping pressure on the gaping wound in his neck with one hand, he used his other arm to lift a reinforced wooden support off his legs and drag himself free onto an open patch of grass.
He thought back to the battle. He had killed at least five vampires before they climbed the tower and pounced on him and his squad mate. Fortune had smiled on him though. Just as a vampire had pinned him down and sunk its teeth into his neck, the vampires at the bottom of the tower had managed to loosen the tower from its foundations. The vampire let go and they all fell to the ground.
Then a thought occurred to the soldier. What happened to the vampire?
The soldier felt a powerful blast of air in his face. Dust particles pelted his eyeballs and shot up his nostrils when he drew breath. With his free hand he rubbed his eyes then looked through the criss-crossing remnants of his wooden tower to see a familiar gunship approaching.
It touched down on the drive and a small squad of soldiers jumped out. He knew what their job was: to recover the bodies and take them back to the regional headquarters for safe disposal. It was safe for The Brotherhood to assume that every dead soldier at Hartley House had been bitten and was about to turn into a vampire.
This soldier was still alive and he knew the doctor had been working on a cure. He breathed a sigh of relief.
Thank God his treatment is to cure vampires rather than kill them. If it worked on that cop, it must work on me.
He looked around him and saw one soldier leading the others, shooting silver bullets into the dead bodies and the others were zipping them into body bags.
Then he heard the clunk of wood on metal. The ruins of the tower were moving. An unholy scream tore through the air and in the shade of the ruins of the tower, the vampire that had attacked the soldiers at the top of the tower wobbled to its feet. It turned and looked at the soldier, who shouted for help.
The soldier that had been shooting the dead bodies ran over and pumped the vampire’s body full of bullets from his machine gun. The vampire didn’t fall to the ground and die though, and the soldiers looked at each other. The soldier lying on the ground knew something was amiss.
That vampire’s body is full of silver bullets but nothing happened. What’s going on?
‘Damn it,’ said the other soldier and drew his pistol. He pulled the trigger and the target reeled backwards. The vampire hit the ground and its body slowly dissolved. The soldier holstered his pistol and moved over to the surviving soldier.
‘You weren’t using silver bullets,’ the surviving soldier said, ‘all the soldiers here are going to turn, aren’t they? You’re one of them!’
‘That’s right, soldier,’ the soldier replied, then squeezed the trigger of his rifle and murdered the only human who suspected he was a vampire.
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