Night had fallen by the time reinforcements arrived at the base. Three gunships glided in through the mountains and touched down at the entrance. The heavy figure of General Graham stepped out of the leading gunship. Six soldiers jumped out of each gunship, drew their weapons and ran down the ramp into the base.
General Graham marched down the ramp behind them. He had been playing the call he had received over and over again in his mind. Their most remote regional headquarters had been overrun with vampires. Twelve bloodsuckers had somehow got into the base and killed everyone in sight. The only survivor was Captain Stein, who had made the call to national headquarters.
At least, he was a survivor when he made the call. ‘Vampires have infiltrated the base. They killed everyone. Everybody’s dead. The doctor and the test subject are gone. I’m dying. Come quickly.’
That was three hours ago.
The soldiers scattered all over the base. Each soldier reported back on their radio whenever they found a body. The updates came through thick and fast.
A body was lying face down surrounded by a large pool of blood with a sprinkling of ash on top. General Graham had to do a double take as he approached it. The body would have been lying face down if it had a face, but this body’s head was missing. Turning the body over, General Graham saw the stripes on the uniform and instantly knew whose head was missing. Next to the body laid a pair of legs that had been cut off at the knee.
My God, this was a massacre, he thought. There hadn’t been an attack like this for a very long time. The vampires must be working towards something. Something bigger than this. But what?
General Graham picked up his radio and spoke into it. ‘Has anyone found the doctor or the test subject?’ All he got were negative responses, which meant they had either been captured or…
‘Two of the gunships are missing, sir,’ a soldier announced as he approached the general, ‘the inventory states they have three but only one is present outside.’
‘The doctor and the test subject must have escaped,’ said General Graham, ‘It is possible they are in some way responsible for this. The gunship has a tracking device on board. Find it.’
‘Yes sir!’ The soldier turned on his heels to march towards the communications office but noticed something on the floor. There was a lot of blood everywhere but the blood he saw in front of him was leading a trail into the office.
‘What is it, soldier?’ asked General Graham.
‘This trail of blood. I can’t believe I didn’t see it when we got here,’ said the soldier.
‘Lead the way,’ said General Graham, who followed the soldier into the office. The trail of blood went round the desks and stopped at a blood-soaked telephone lying on the ground.
‘This must be where the call was made from,’ said the soldier.
‘That’s right,’ said General Graham, ‘but if Captain Stein had been lying here since he made the call, you would expect there to be a big pool of blood. The floor’s dry apart from a few spots.’
They both scanned their eyes over the floor and around the room. Where was the body that had left this trail of blood? Then General Graham felt something lightly tap him on the shoulder. He turned around but no one was there. He wiped his shoulder with his hand and looked at it.
Very slowly, General Graham raised his eyes and looked to the ceiling. He took a step back and exclaimed ‘Oh my God!’ The soldier turned round and looked up.
There was Captain Stein, seemingly stuck to the ceiling, looking down at them with vacant eyes and a ghostly white face. He didn’t have any legs below the knees. Captain Stein opened his mouth to show his long pointed canine teeth and opened his arms out wide then dropped from the ceiling onto the soldier’s back, clawing at his neck with his long, sharp finger nails.
Before he could sink his teeth into the soldier’s neck, General Graham delivered a hard boot to the body of Captain Stein, who let go of the soldier and landed in the corner of the room. General Graham and the soldier both raised their guns and the vampire stopped moving.
‘Don’t move, Captain!’ the general shouted, ‘Are you okay, soldier?’
‘I’m fine. Should we shoot him?’
General Graham first instinct was to give the order, but he looked into the eyes of the vampire. Was there any sense in turning Captain Stein into just another pile of ash?
‘No,’ he said, ‘he was useless as a Captain but he may yet be of some use to us as a vampire.’
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