Holly slowly made her way up the elevator shaft in the same manner as the previous one she was in. This time though, her fear had evaporated into anxiety. She was anxious to make it back to Aidan. She was anxious to tell him she knew. She knew everything now, and she wanted to help him.
The elevator gave way, and the circular shaft slid open for her exit. She was in the rear of the Cathedral. It was a rather large storage room with low lighting. At the north wall was another set of large double doors. These were not as beautiful as the ones in the front.
As she made her way toward them she felt off. Something seemed strange to her. It was quiet, a little to quiet. She reached for the handle when a loud distant boom startled her back. “what was that?!” she barked.
She felt the ground below her shake violently for a moment before growing silent again. A faint yell echoed out from a distance. She could tell it was far away. Was that an earthquake? Do they have those here?
Suddenly a siren ripped into the atmosphere so loud she plugged her ears. The double doors ripped open harshly, and light flooded the dimly lit room. Holly held her hands up, attempting to see who opened them.
“Holly! Thank god!” Maggie yelled.
She had a worried look on her face. She hunched over for a brief moment out of breath. Holly could tell something was wrong. She was sweating like she had just ran a marathon. Holly noticed blood on her hands.
“We don’t have any time to talk. We have to go! Come on! Now!” she yelled, and ran forward grabbing her arm.
She quickly pulled Holly from the cathedral before she could say a word. Another loud boom exploded in the sky, and much closer than the previous one.
“keep your head down! Whatever you do, don’t stop moving! We have to get to the shelter before….”
Suddenly a large ball of fire hit the soil thirty yards to their right, sending both Maggie and Holly to the ground. Holly hit her head, and rolled to her side in pain. She could feel the heat from the enormous blast. Dirt fragments had showerd around them.
“Ahh!” Holly yelled out in a panic.
She sat up, and tried to see around her. Holly’s head was spinning but she was OK. That blast was to close for comfort. Before she could even wonder where it came from Maggie was already pulling her to her feet.
She yelled something to Holly, but it was inaudible against the screaming of the sirens, and loud explosions in the sky. Holly made out one word… “War”
As they rounded the rear courtyard of the Cathedral what Holly saw was nightmarish. Her blood turned cold as she witnessed streets full of angry vampires bearing their teeth, and rushing in the same direction past them. She didn’t want to know where they were running.
Small childling vampires were screaming, and covering their heads as debris fell like hellfire from the air above. Holly looked up momentarily, only to see large flames painting the sky in short whip like bursts.
“it’s blind fire!” Maggie yelled, pulling Holly faster through streets, and around domiciles. Glass exploded from a window to their left, and out fell a mutilated vampire corpse. Soon after, it’s attacker bore it’s face, and let out a blood soaked war cry. It madly tore into it’s throat.
“Maggie run faster!” holly screamed. She couldn’t even hear herself yell, as loud screams, and explosions ripped around them. They were nearing the outer skirts of the city. Large packs of ferals were leaping from rooftops. Others were breaking inside windows, and doors, trying to get to the domicile residents inside.
Random fights to the death broke out all around them as they bobbed and weaved between both feral and non feral vampires alike. One lashed out at Holly, and she turned her shoulder inward as she ran to avoid its deathly sharp claws.
“over here!” Maggie screamed, pointing to an empty alleyway fifty yards North of all the madness. They whipped around the corner just in time to avoid a large pack of charred ferals sprinting, and screaming as flames melted away their flesh. Soon after, a fire conjuror vampire ran past still chasing the few remaining.
Maggie pulled Holly through a large crack in the side of one of the domiciles so they could catch their breath for a moment. Maggie rested her hands on her knees, and took in large breathes of air. Holly leaned against the wall, and tried to gain her balance. All the sprinting made her dizzy.
“we need to get to the shelter. Kanthos has a large shelter under ground with food, beds, and supplies for humans.” Maggie said, eyeing the madness in the streets.
“what’s going on?!” Holly said, trying to control the fear in her voice.
“ferals…. Hundreds of them. They just appeared out of nowhere. We didn’t even see them coming. They breached the west wall, and by the time the warriors were even alarmed they were already raiding the streets! This is bad!” Maggie said.
“where’s Aidan, and Esra?!”
“front line. Ira too. Last time I saw them they were pushing hoards back, trying to give the childlings time to evacuate to the shelter. Things got to bad. We got ambushed from the rear, and Esra made me run and find you.” Maggie said.
“we have to find them! We have to help them!” Holly yelled.
“No! We have to get to the shelter. Trust me… They can take care of themselves.”
After a few minutes the fight seemed to push further north into the heart of the city. All that remained, were destroyed domiciles, and corpses in the street. Some lay there still in flames. Others were mangled hanging from windows. Glass, blood, and debris lie on the road. Aside from distant screaming, the roads appeared calm.
“OK look… It’s not far from here. We head east, move along the edge of the city. There’s a white church, it’s just a front for the shelter below. The stairs are inside below the floor. We get there, and then we wait it out. Esra said they’d come to us once this mess is over.” Maggie said.
Maggie unsheathed her hunters knife, and shot Holly a look. She had the focus of a warrior. Holly could sense she’s seen things.
“let’s go. Just stay close, and keep your eyes peeled.”
They slowly crawled out from the broken home, and krept down the alley. Maggie was holding her knife in a way Holly could see she had training. She looked comfortable with it in her grip. The alley was uncomfortably silent as they made their way out.
A loud ear shattering howl echoed from behind them. They both immediately turned around, and saw a tall lanky white feral vampire with its head up into the air sniffing. It’s ears were sharp, and pointed. He was naked, and had scars all over his body. Holly could clearly see he was a male.
It squinted it’s beady red eyes, bore it’s fangs, and let out a growl. Drool hit the ground below in thick disgusting drops. His fangs were tinted red, and he looked like he had just eaten something, as patches of flesh were stuck in his teeth.
“Holly… Behind me… Now!” Maggie ordered. She stepped forward, and bent her knees. She slowly raised the knife with the blade pointing outward. The feral locked eyes with Maggie, and suddenly lunged at her. She immediately rolled to the right, and swiped a large gash across it’s left thigh.
The vampire screeched in pain as hot blood gushed from its leg, and onto the ground below. Maggie then leaped against the alley wall, using her leg to propel herself at him. She fell onto him, and brought the knife down hard into his right eye. They both fell to the ground, and Maggie ripped the knife out with a sickening gush.
The vampire howled in pain. Maggie quickly slid the razor sharp edge earlobe to earlobe. His neck spit open, and spurted blood onto the ground, and Maggie. She never flinched. It twitched, and gurgled for a few seconds before falling still. She then wiped the blood from the blade on her pants, and made her way back to Holly.
Holly stood there with her mouth open. Never has she seen such violence like that. She was stunned, the way Maggie moved reminded her of a soldier from a movie. It was as if it was second nature to her.
“come on.” Maggie said, wasting no time getting out of the alley.
They picked up the pace, using the brief calmness to their advantage as they stepped over fallen corpses. A large group of survivors were seen at the entrance of the church as the approached. Maggie then sheathed her knife, and raised her arms to the warriors guarding the entrance as they neared.
It looked as if they were about to close the doors. One if the guards looked up at them, and motioned the other to stop.
“wait!” Maggie yelled to him.
“I’m sorry miss. We’re full. We’ve been given orders to close it off.” The guard said
“I don’t give a s**t! We’re coming in.” Maggie yelled
“we can’t… We’re…”
“this is Holly Weston!” Maggie interrupted.
The guard shot a confused look to his partner, and then back at Maggie.
“Holly… She’s the human with Aidan.” she continued.
The two guards then nodded at eachother. “OK hurry. We have to close it off.” he said.
Maggie pulled Holly past the guards, and inside the church. They quickly closed, and locked the doors behind them. A large staircase decended below the marble floor, and ended at a large thick steel door. Groups of humans, and childling vampires were slowly making their way inside. One by one they entered past a guard in the doorway.
“Maggie!” a young woman called out
Maggie turned around, and small red headed female hugged her. She also had the marking on her neck. As far as Holly could tell, she was the only one who didn’t. She stood out like a sore thumb.
“Kristen! I’m glad you made it.” Maggie barked.
“yeah. We almost didn’t. Our domicile was destroyed. Do you have any word on what’s going on? Theron was called in to fight with the others. I haven’t heard any word. I’m worried.” she said.
“is he front line?” Maggie asked.
“then he’s fine. He’s with Aidan, Esra, and Ira. I was there when it broke out. They can handle themselves. You have nothing to worry about. Have faith.” Maggie said, grabbing her hand to soothe her.
“thank you. I know we’ll be OK. I just hope this ends quickly.” Kristen glanced over at Holly, and took notice she wasn’t marked.
“who’s the new girl?” she asked.
“this is Holly.” Maggie said.
Kristen’s eyes lit up. “oh! Wow! She is pretty. Word has spread about you Holly. They said Aidan brought home a human. Are you going to imprint?”
“I’m not sure. I just got here. I haven’t seen Aidan since I met with the scribe” Holly said, embarrassed.
“yeah I understand. This is a troubled time. Well good luck you guys. Please stay safe.”
“You to.” Maggie said.
A group of childlings passed. Holly was relieved to see young Myra in the group. She looked frightened, and sickly as she made her way past the doors.
After a few minutes both Holly, and Maggie made their way inside. The doors bolted shut, and was sealed. They were safe. At least for now. Holly felt a rumble under her feet as she made her way through the center room. Whatever was going on up there didn’t sound good. She was worried about Aidan.
The main room was a large square sleeping quarter that contained bunk beds evenly spaced out. Dimly lit lights illuminated the place in a soft white light. Two warriors were seen making rounds, and checking in on the humans as they all got settled in.
Holly sat on the bottom bunk, and Maggie plopped down beside her.
“hey… Don’t be upset. They planned for this. They all spent their entire lives preparing for things like this.” Maggie said.
“I know… I just… Aidan said he’d meet me behind the cathedral once I was done. There’s so much I want to say to him.”
“he’ll be back. He will. If there’s one thing I know about Aidan, it’s his will. He’s been in way worse situations, and made it back.”
“I know he will. But you… You were amazing back there. Where did you learn to fight like that? I mean… You were so brave.”
“I didn’t have a choice. I’ve been fighting all my life. Plus Esra trained me some as well. I couldn’t just stand by knowing we are at war and do nothing. I have to help.”
“well thank you… For everything. I don’t think I’d have survived without you.” Holly said.
“don’t mention it. Any friend of Aidan’s is a friend of mine. So… The scribe… How was it? You met him personally didn’t you?” Maggie asked.
“yeah… I did…”
“I knew it! I knew you would!” Maggie said, excited.
“he told me everything. It’s so hard to take in. I mean… All my life I never…”
“believed? Yeah me neither.” Maggie interrupted.
“yeah. But after I saw him, and the visions he showed me…. I just… Lost it. I cried. He was always there. The whole time.” Holly said.
“did he personally meet you to?” she continued
“what did he tell you?”
“he told me I had a darkness to me, but I already knew that. He said it was my biggest flaw. He’s wrong. That darkness… Has saved my life many times. He isn’t all knowing. I didn’t ask for the hands that were dealt. I had to deal with it. Where I come from, it’s either eat, or be eaten. I chose to fight, and I’m still standing. I’ll never apologize for that.” Maggie said.
She leaned down, and started relacing her combat boots. She let out a sigh, and looked up at Holly.
“he showed me their faces…. The ones I killed. Each and every one of them. I know it was wrong. I’m the one who has to live with what I’ve done. He said I have to make a choice, and fate has chosen to lead me on a heavy path. But that’s b******t.”
“I don’t understand.” Holly said, confused.
Maggie sat up with a serious look on her face. “there’s no fate… But what we make. That’s what I believe. I chose to do those things. They didn’t choose me. Now I live with it. Do you believe in fate Holly?” she asked.
“I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like things aren’t accidents. It’s hard to imagine we don’t have control of our own destinies. Yeah… I guess I don’t believe in fate either.” she said, with a half smile.
Maggie put her hand on Holly’s knee, and smiled. “we’re going to be alright.” she said.
“Damn it!” a loud yell ripped from the other room.
Two vampire’s were arguing among eachother. Maggie turned toward the sudden commotion. Her calming eyes now turned to worry.
“how do we not have any blood bags?! The older vampire yelled to the female standing beside him. Her face was dripping with regret.
“I don’t know. The shipment never came. We were caught up with everything else that we forgot to do inventory.” she softly said.
“well… You better hope this ends soon or else the childlings are going to go mad.” he said.
The angry vampire stormed into the living quarters to deliver the news. He was unaware the bulk of the crowd had overhead his outburst.
“that’s not good.” Maggie said, worried.
“did he say blood bags?” Holly asked.
“yeah. Kanthos keeps a large supply of human blood for childlings. They can’t drink the fake stuff. They have a strange reaction to it. Instead the humans donate some of their own for storage. Looks like they didn’t supply any down here.”
“well there’s plenty of humans down here. Can’t they just… I don’t know… Drink it the old fashioned way?” Holly asked.
Maggie sighed, “it’s not that easy.”
“non imprinted humans usually donate a bag or two before they imprint. They can’t donate after the imprinting process. Once you bond, your blood can’t be consumed by other vampires except yours.”
“what happens when they do?” Holly asked.
“they don’t die or anything. They just can’t feed. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t nourish, and it tastes awful I’m told.” Maggie said.
A loud commotion from a bunk across the room interrupted their conversation. A small crowd of humans were gathered around one of the childling vampires.
“We need blood over here!” someone yelled from the crowd.
“I’m sorry… We don’t have any down here.” The male vampire said with a concerned look on his face.
“What do you mean?! If she doesn’t feed soon…”
“I know!” he interrupted.
“Supply was never shipped. How is she holding out?” he asked, making his way to the bunk.
“Not good. Not good at all.” The human said.
The crowd split, making room for the vampire to squeeze in. Holly immediately saw young Myra laying in the bed. She looked ill. Two humans were on both sides of the bed with their hands on her arms. It looked as if they were beginning to restrain her.
“She’s slipping.” Maggie said.
“I’ve seen this before. It isn’t pretty. If she doesn’t get blood soon she’ll become feral.” Maggie continued.
“what?! Holly Asked, shooting a look of shock toward Maggie.
“Maggie… What happens if she becomes feral? Can they still save her?”
Maggie’s face sunk. Holly already knew what she was going to say before she answered.
“No… They’ll have no choice but to put her down.” she said sadly.
“Hold her!” The human holding her arm barked, as he firmly pressed down. He shot a look of concern to the male vampire, who already knew this was going to end badly.
“We have to put her down now, before she turns. We can’t risk her harming the humans.” he said.
“she’s only a child!” The human yelled.
“We have no choice!” he replied, making his way toward her.
Holly looked at Maggie. Her face was expressionless. It was as if she were preparing for the pain in the only way she knew how. Holly clinched her fists.
“W… Wait! Stop!” Holly yelled.
All heads turned to her. The room fell silent. All except young Myra, who lay grunting, and squirming under the humans grip.
“She can feed from me.” Holly said.
“What are you doing?!” Maggie asked, shocked.
“I have to help Maggie. I may not be good with a knife like you, but I can’t let her die knowing I could do something about this. It’s the least I can do.”
“You don’t understand Holly. Once a starving vampire gets a taste of blood, it’s instincts kick in, and she may not stop. Or worse, she could rip your throat out feeding. It isn’t worth the risk. There’s a reason blood is donated into blood bags. Feeding from the source is deadly.” Maggie said.
“I can’t just sit by, and do nothing. I can’t. Look… If she starts to do that, then put her down. At least then we can say we did everything we could. I trust you Maggie. I feel safe knowing you’re here. We can do this.” Holly said.
Maggie eyed her up and down. She took a deep breath, and then nodded at her. Holly smiled. “Thank you.”
“Holly hasn’t imprinted! She can feed her!” Maggie yelled to them.
“Then you best hurry. She doesn’t have much time.” The vampire said.
Holly, and Maggie made their way to her bunk. All eyes were casted at them. Holly noticed Kristen smiling at her in approval. She controlled her breathing as she closed the gap between them, and young Myra. She didn’t want to appear panicked. Inside she was chilled to the core.
She was about to let a vampire feed from her neck. This was insanity. She thought of all those stupid horror movies where vampires rip into their victims. Who knew her life would come to this, but she had to do this. She had to prove to them she could handle being Aidan’s human. Most of all, she had to prove it to herself.
As they approached young Myra at bedside, they could already see the changes starting to take form. Her eyes were squeezed tight. Her skin was changing from a pale white, to ash grey. She looked ready to turn any minute.
“How do we do this? Do I just… Lean down?” Holly asked.
“No.. She needs to smell it. I’m going to prick your finger, and let her get the scent. Instincts kick in from there.” The vampire said.
“Are you sure you want to do this? You don’t have to prove anything to us Holly.” Maggie said.
“No… It’s okay. I want to. For Myra.”
“now listen. Once she gets the scent she may lash out. I need you two to hold firmly. After she gets the scent, Holly, you slowly expose your neck. She’ll latch on and feed. I won’t lie. This will hurt, but if she can’t be controlled we are prepared to do what we have to do.”
“Myra.. Can you hear me? This is Holly. She’s here to help. She’s going to let you feed. Be easy Myra. Be easy.” he said softly to her. Myra didn’t respond. She only let out a weak whimper.
The vampire took Holly’s hand, and drew blood from her finger with his fang. A small bead of blood formed from the tip. He held her hand over Myra’s face, and gently squeezed until a drop fell on her upper lip. Myra immediately let out a deep gutteral growl, and lunged up toward her. The humans pulled her down hard, and held down.
Myra’s eyes darted open. Deep pools of black were all that remained. Her beautiful young eyes were gone. It was a frightening sight. Myra curled her upper lip, exposing her small white sharp fangs. She snapped at the air like a rabid dog, and then whined as Maggie brushed her hair back with her hand.
“Easy Myra. Easy.” Maggie whispered to her.
Myra looked up at Holly, growled softly, and then relaxed her body. Her chest was pumping in and out, as she took in air in short frantic breaths.
The vampire nodded at Holly. It’s now or never. The change was happening. She brushed her hair from her neck, and slowly leaned her head down. As she neared her face, she could feel the hot breath escaping her mouth. Holly could feel the hairs on her neck stiffen. Her body could sense the coming danger as pray submits to predator.
Immediately Myra latched on. Holly felt the sharp hot sting, as her fangs dug into the side of her neck. She bit her lip, and let out a small yelp. Chills shot down her body as Myra fed, sucking long, taking in mouth fulls of liquid life. Myra reached up, and grabbed onto Holly’s neck for added leverage.
Holly felt a rush of dizziness as she fed. Her primal instinct in full gear, feeding like a mad animal. She was drinking to fast. She needed to slow down.
“Myra slow down. Go easy. You’re hurting her.” Maggie said.
Holly could feel a release of pressure. It had to be working. She slowed down some. She eased back, but continued to drink. Suddenly Holly heard a ringing in her ears. It intensified until a loud pop exploded, and then her vision was gone. What was happening? Darkness surrounded her.
She saw something in the distance. It was walking towards her. It looked like a person, or maybe an angel. Flames erupted under it’s feet with each step it took. Hot blue, and orange fire trickled outward from every direction under it’s feet.
She felt an intense wave of heat blowing towards her as it grew closer. It was an angel. A male. He was even more beautiful than Barachiel. He had very defined features. His eyes were a beautiful forest green. His hair was long, and fine. His wings towered above him, as they were tucked neatly in place above his shoulder blades. She tried to speak, but nothing came out. She couldn’t move. She felt stuck.
Suddenly the beautiful angel became engulfed in flames. His skin melted off of him with each step, as thick burning chunks fell onto the ground below him. It was as if a shell was falling away, and exposing something far sinister underneath. His fine human like skin was shedding, and underneath was a thick black monstrous layer of terror.
His face dripped away, and his beautiful eyes became red hot ember. His teeth jagged, and monstrous. His wings turned into ashes right as he approached Holly, just inches away from her face. She wanted to run, but couldn’t move. The heat was unbearable.
He raised his long sharp claws up, and grabbed her by her mouth, curling his fingers around her cheeks. His hands were hot, and unnatural.
“Who… Are… You?!” a deep demonic growl ripped into the atmosphere all around them. His mouth hadn’t moved. It was as if he were speaking through a loud speaker.
He leaned in, and smelled her, taking her scent in deep. “Human!” it growled.
“Holly?! Holly?! Wake up!”
She opened her eyes, and saw a blurry face hovering over her. As her vision focused, she saw it was Maggie. A rush of relieve washed over her. What was that? Was that just a dream? It was the most frightening thing Holly had ever seen.
“Where… Where am I?” Holly groggily said.
“Thank god! She’s awake! You’re at the shelter. You passed out. I put you in your bunk. Are you okay?” Maggie said.
“yeah. I think so. My neck hurts.” Holly said. She reached up, and touched her neck. It was sore, and bandaged.
“Well yeah, you just fed a vampire more blood than you should have. Go slow.” Maggie said.
Holly sat up. She was dizzy. “Myra!” she yelled.
“She’s okay. You saved her life. It worked. That was a pretty amazing thing you did.” Maggie smiled.
“That sucked so bad.”
Maggie erupted in laughter. “Well being a hero has it’s consequences.” she chuckled.
“I’m no hero.” Holly said.
“Because of you, she’s alive. That’s a hero in my book.”
The terrible images of that monster popped in her head. Had she dreamed it? It felt so real. She could feel the heat, and that things ugly hand as it grabbed her. She needed to tell Maggie. Maybe it meant something.
“What’s wrong?” Maggie asked.
“I need to tell you something.”
“What? What is it?”
“When I passed out.. I… I saw…”
“Miss?” a small voice interrupted.
Holly looked over, and saw little Myra standing there nervously looking at her. She looked like her usual self again. Her eyes, and skin, had returned to normal. She looked healthy.
“Hey Myra! How are you feeling?” Holly asked.
Myra ran to the bed, and threw her arms around Holly. “Much better now. I don’t remember much, but I was told you fed me. Thank you miss.” she smiled her young innocent smile.
“you’re very welcome Myra. I’m glad you are better.”
“You’re like… my savior miss. You are as brave as Aidan.” Myra said.
Holly laughed, “I don’t know if I’d go that far.”
Myra crawled into bed, and sat on Holly’s lap. Maggie inched down to the foot of the bed to make more room.
“Aidan is like a father to me. Did you know he’s an orphan too? I don’t know my parents either.” she said. Myra nestled into Holly’s chest. Holly shot a surprised look to Maggie.
“looks like you have a fan. Vampires are very affectionate towards those they admire, and care about.” Maggie chuckled.
Holly brushed her hair from her eyes, Myra turned her face into Holly’s hand, as she traced the scar on her face.
“How did that happen?” she asked.
“I was in a place I shouldn’t have been. I was outside the wall. A feral grabbed me, and did this to my face. Then Aidan showed up from nowhere, and taught him a lesson. He saved me miss. Just like you saved me.” Myra said.
“he’s real good at saving people isn’t he?”
“He sure is miss. Can I ask you something?”
“sure.” Holly said.
“Are you going to Imprint with him? I hope so.”
Holly smiled, “Yeah… I think I will. I mean… If he wants to.”
“Good. You two are perfect for eachother. I can tell.”
“Why don’t you go rest up now Myra? Let Miss Holly get some rest too.” Maggie said.
“Okay. Bye miss.” Myra smiled. Her tiny fangs flashed for a brief moment.
“Bye Myra. Get some rest.”
Myra hopped from the bed, and made her way to her bunk across the room. It was hard to imagine, just moments ago she was dangerous. Holly was relieved to see her back to her usual optimistic self.
“To be young again.” Maggie said, shaking her head.
“Do you think Aidan, and Esra are OK?” Holly asked.
“I know they are. I’ve seen things like this happen before. Those two together are unstoppable. If I know Aidan, he’s probably rounding up everybody who’s trapped. Try not to worry so much. You lost a lot of blood. Don’t be fooled by their size. Childlings can drink.” Maggie laughed.
“Yeah, tell me about it.”
“Get some sleep. I bet when you wake up, they’ll be here to get us.” Maggie said, tucking her in the sheets.
As she got up to get on the top bunk, Holly stopped her. “Hey Maggie?”
“Yeah what’s up?” she replied.
Maggie simply smiled, and left Holly to her thoughts. In a matter of minutes, Holly had fallen asleep. After all, it was a hell of a day.