This is the first draft of Zombies vs Vampires, each chapter posted within a few days of being written. As a first draft, there will be continuity errors, and sections that will need to be deleted, moved, re-written or expanded for the final version. Please bear this in mind as you read it. If you spot something you think needs changing in any way, don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments. I’ll give you a shout out in the published version.
Jumped in part way? Here’s a handy link to Part 1.
Four floors down from the penthouse, the décor wasn’t as decadent. It was purely functional, painted a laboratory grey, with the concrete of the floors barely covered with a plastic sealant that washed clean easily. The soles of the Mistress’s heels were thin enough that she could feel the cold through them.
Usually, she would not venture down here, to the area they called the cattle pens. This was a place for Leech, where he performed tasks too dull or repetitive for immortals. He would spend a couple of hours down here, and return with a flask of fresh blood, if she didn’t feel like going out.
She didn’t even know, from day to day, how many humans they were keeping down here. There had to be at least two for each of the vampires that lived on the top floors. Drained alternately, and kept pumped full of nutrients and sedatives, they could keep up with demand.
The blood floor was even more open plan than the penthouse. There were no partitions, but walls blocked off the windows- their outsides decorated in trompe l’oeil to fool any passing helicopter crew who looked in. Four beds, spaced far apart, were along each wall. Fourteen were occupied, the bodies in them hooked up to machines that regulated their drugs and drained blood on demand. Secure rooms at each corner stored the drugs and other consumables needed to keep the floor operational.
The Mistress didn’t know how to make the machines work. She would just have to try to figure it out. If she couldn’t, well, she could afford to lose a body or two.
She sat Terry on the nearest bed. He was awake enough to put his hands out and prop himself up. He shook his head, trying to force some sense into it. “I…. Did I pass out? I still don’t feel so good. Where are we?”
”We are down with the cattle. I think you are in need of blood. This is the quickest way to get you some.” The Mistress eyed the machine beside the bed. It was old, by human standards, anyway, dating back to nearly the middle of the previous century. The technology was proven, so there had never been a need to update it.
The sedative and nutrients was in tubes on the left and back of the machine, all feeding into a box which must contain pumps. Clear tubes reached across the narrow gap to the bed, then spread out to find veins in arms and legs. Going the other way, a single tube was filled with blood. This fed into the apparatus on the right side of the machine. On the other side of the bed, another set up collected the waste products from the body. Much simpler, it appeared to operate simply through gravity.
The Mistress knew that the blood was processed through a filtration device, similar to a dialysis machine, but designed to scrub residue of the drugs from the blood. After so many years of drinking the processed blood, she accepted the way it didn’t have the edge of a free range drink. It still invigorated her, but it would never properly replace the pleasures of taking straight from the vein.
She looked at the machine. There was no simple on switch, everything was controlled by analogue speed dials. To get it to work, she would have to set up the filtration system and get the pumps running at the correct pressure. No, she had been right before. It didn’t matter if she lost one of the cattle.
The man on the bed was pale and thin, with the weakest of auras. There was little muscle on his arms, the result of no exercise for a long time. His eyelids were cracked slightly open, but the eyes behind them were empty and unfocussed. He had been as good as dead for well over a year, and looked more corpse-like than some of the creatures trying to break in downstairs.
Terry studied the man. The Mistress couldn’t be sure, but she worried that she could see pity in his expression. He certainly didn’t seem hungry enough to bend down and sink fangs into the body’s neck. She put a hand behind the blood donor’s neck, and lifted him into a sitting position.
Now, Terry showed some interest. He focussed on the weak pulse in the man’s neck, and felt the warmth from his body. His left hand came up to grasp the hair on the back of the man’s head, holding it still, so the Mistress could let it go as he dipped forward for a bite.
Fangs tore through the man’s skin, opening the vein so that blood pumped down Terry’s throat. When he got a taste of it, he woke up some more, pressing his mouth tighter against the wound and starting to suck. Even bent over the body as he was, it was possible to determine the change in Terry’s body as the energy came back and his coordination returned.
When there was nothing left to drink from the man, Terry let him drop back to the bed. He wiped the blood from around his mouth with the last clean bit of shirt sleeve he had. “I feel so much better for that. I…. Hold on. There’s something in the blood. It’s making me.”
Terry slumped forwards, then slid off the bed to splay out on the floor. The Mistress cursed, and threw the table backwards, flipping it over and pulling all the tubing from the body. She was annoyed that she hadn’t realised this would happen, though not worried for Terry’s health. He would wake up, in time. But she had just given him a drink heavily laced with sedatives. It was no surprise he was asleep now.
The drugs that kept the cattle unconscious and easy to handle were filtered out of the blood when it was drained. It was done primarily for taste, there would b little danger to the blood suckers if it stayed in. Vampires processed alcohol and drugs in their food far faster than a human did. They could be drunk one minute, and perfectly sober again the next. But the more toxin there was in a victim’s bloodstream, the longer it took to clear out.
This man was meant to stay under for days- maybe longer- even if the drugs should stop flowing into him. And they had been bleeding him for over a year, during which time his tolerance for the drugs, and thus the doses required, had built up. There would be so much sedative in him that it would knock down even a vampire.
Terry was going to sleep for a while. Perhaps that was for the best. He had been through a lot, fighting his way back here, when he didn’t even know what his strengths were or how best to use them. This way, perhaps he could properly recuperate, and those horrible wounds from the zombie bites might start to heal more healthily.
One handed, the Mistress rolled the body on the bed over the far edge, so that it sprawled over the waste bags, impaled upon their stand. Then, she put hands under Terry’s arms, and lifted him onto the bed. She stretched him out so that his head was resting on the pillow, arms crossed over his chest, and he looked peaceful. She would deal with the humans, and the zombies, in whichever order was appropriate, then she would come back and tell him all about it when he had revived.
It would have been nice if she could have put Terry onto clean sheets, rather than these ones, mucky from the previous occupant. But changing linen, and knowing where it was stored, was another thing for the Leech’s of the world to deal with. This would do, for now. She was sure he would understand.
She stroked his cheek, the skin was lovely and smooth. Elsewhere, however, his body was marred by horrible wounds. The zombies had taken chunks out of him. But his knuckles were bloodied and bruised where he had punched his way through them. She was sure he had given far worse than he had received.
Tomorrow, and for as long after as possible, he would be back in her bed, and they would enjoy each other’s bodies. She loved this man so much. She had fallen for him as soon as she saw his face, and knew she wanted him with her.
Of course, in the past, her sire had felt that way about her, and she had reciprocated His passion. Then she turned Esmerelda because she was infatuated with the gold haired traveller. That passion had lasted for decades, until she had met Marvin. A fey and foppish American visiting Paris, his New World naivety had enchanted her. She had put up with him for a mere fifteen years because, in truth, he was incredibly dull and unadventurous. Esmerelda and Lucille seemed to enjoy him, surprisingly. The Mistress did not ask what they did together in the bedroom that was so much fun.
Lucille had been her last amour fou, a Russian factory girl with aspirations to sleep her way to influence. A few years earlier, and she would have coveted the role of courtesan, but her country had just expelled or shot its nobility. The Mistress had offered something better instead. There had been such passion between them, hot and dangerous. It had kept them together through the war, when they sneaked out to seduce and drink from soldiers of both sides, the sterile fifties, crazy sixties and chaotic seventies. Almost all the way to the Eighties, but they had slowly drifted apart.
She had turned others over the years, before, after and during the times she had spent with her three main lovers. Not all of them had ended up in her bed. Some, she had made immortal as a form of punishment, sealing one in a bunker to starve and go crazy, but never die. Esmerelda, Marvin and Lucille had each drifted away from her and come back several times over their relationship. They had sired their own dens and lived as lord or lady of them. But, when she had offered them places in the tower, all three had come back to her.
She had made herself a few lovers since the Eighties, she hadn’t been celibate for forty years, but none of them had excited like her three main loves. Until Terry had walked into her home. Maybe she should have thanked Glenn, and paid him off, rather than draining him. It was as if he had returned to punish her for being so ungrateful.
The sound of footsteps running down stairs broke the Mistress from her reverie. If they were coming down, that wasn’t such a bad sign, she decided. The largest problem, if only numerically, would come from below. She stood and composed herself, managing to appear aloof and in control by the time Esmerelda came through the door.
“There is a problem?” the Mistress asked, taking charge by cutting in as Esmerelda raised the phone in her hand, ready to speak.
Esmerelda’s nose wrinkled as she fought down the expression of annoyance. “They are in. The security warning came on Leech’s phone.”
“The zombies? Is that what we’re calling them? Zombies? I wish there was a better name.”
“The zombies. The warning says that they are on the stairs. It….” Esmerelda checked the screen. “Oh, look, it tells us which floor they are on. They’ve reached the third.”
“And the humans? Are they ready to help us defend, do you think?”
“I truly do not know. They are still defiant, and I doubt their guards will drop. And the little one, she keeps calling Lucille Lucy. I think she is ready to do something crazy and dangerous.”
“The little one?”
The Mistress sighed. “Well, we have to persuade them to help us. Or destroy them. Soon, whichever we choose. It is a shame, but I do not think we will have sufficient time to turn them and have them ready to fight alongside us against these zombies. It would be…. Interesting, if Terry could get to meet his sister properly.”
Esmerelda had drifted over to the foot of the bed, and now studied Terry. “What happened to him? Is he alright? Sleeping?”
“The cattle are full of drugs, very strong ones. Terry drank straight from one of them.”
“Well, that was dumb.”
The Mistress directed her scowl at the wall, rather than Esmerelda.
“When will he wake again? He has experience already of fighting these things. It could be useful.” Esmerelda asked.
“I do not know. We can’t just carry him around until he recovers, though. Let’s put him somewhere he’ll be safe from those things, then he can come and help when he wakes.”
The Mistress scanned the room, settling on the only obvious place after far too long. “In there.” She pointed at the nearest of the drugs stores. “Help me roll this over there.”
It took them several attempts to work out how to unlock the brakes on the bed’s wheels. The Mistress walked alongside the front, tugging and guiding the bed, whilst Esmerelda did most of the pushing. As they drew closer, it was obvious the bed wouldn’t fit through the door. If they could even work out how to open the door. There was no obvious keyhole for the large lock under the handle. The Mistress was beginning to wish she had paid more attention to what Leech did down here.
When they were within a bed’s length of the room, they heard the clunk of heavy bolts moving back in the door. They stopped, waiting to see what happened next.
“The phone.” Esmerelda said. “It’s got a new icon on it. I think it unlocked the door for us.”
That was clever. Had Leech installed it without telling her, or had she not been listening when he tried to explain? And how did they lock it again, once Terry was safely inside? The Mistress opened the door, studied it for a moment, then closed it again. “I think it unlocks when the telephone is close enough. Take a few steps backwards.”
Esmerelda walked backwards. After four paces, they heard the sound of the locks engaging. The Mistress tested the door, to be sure it was locked. “Well, he will be safely locked in as soon as we walk away. But can he get out again?”
“Why not go inside and check? I’ll walk away until it locks, and then you can try the handle.” Esmerelda had walked back to the Mistress, and the door was unlocked again.
The Mistress eyed Esmerelda, wondering whether she could be trusted. She weighed the years they had known each other, trying to assess how their relationship stood on this night. She held out a hand. Esmerelda didn’t show any emotion at this sign that she wasn’t trusted, handing over the phone and walking into the room.
“There are two handles, if you look closely. I believe the bottom one will lock the door from the inside.” Esmerelda said, her voice muffled as the door closed. “Try it now.” she said, after a click as she turned the second handle.
The door was locked, even though the Mistress stood right in front of it with the phone. Esmerelda unlocked and opened it.
“I shall walk away now.” the Mistress said, turning to pace toward the middle of the space. She took an extra two steps after hearing the lock click into place, and looked back.
Esmerelda was pushing at the door, proving it was locked. Then she tried the handle, and stepped through easily. “That proves it works. Let’s put him inside and get on with business.” She was about to lift Terry, but the Mistress shooed her away. She pulled the mattress and pillow from the bed instead, wedging it between the room’s close shelves to give him a soft nest.
The Mistress gently laid Terry on the folded mattress, placing a pillow under his head. She wanted to fuss more, but there was fighting to be done. He was so battered and damaged, but still beautiful to her. She closed the door, and took a last look at him through the small window of toughened glass set in it.
“I am sure he will understand how to get out, whenever he wakes.” Esmerelda said.
“Yes, of course he will. There will be so much to clean up after tonight. Come, we have a building to defend.”
As they approached the door to the stairs, there was, again, the sound of feet on the steps. They stood a safe distance away taking up defensive stances, and waited for the door to open. “I believe they are coming down the stairs.” Esmerelda said.
“It could still be the humans. Remember what weapons they have.”
The door swung open violently, and Marvin tumbled through. He only stayed upright by grabbing the handle and jerking himself to a halt. “Mistress! The humans!”
“They killed Lucille! They…. They…. The little one! She chopped off Lucille’s head!”