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.
Leech reached into his right trouser pocket. Then, he tried the other pocket, and, with increasing desperation, the pockets of his jacket.
“Fuck!” He cursed quietly. Any noise too loud echoed up and down the tall, thin space he was hidden in.
He had run from Terry, and been lucky enough to escape to a bolt hole the boy couldn’t possibly know about. The ducts for the air conditioning, cables for power and communication and pipes for the water were all directed through this shaft. And there were ladders he could use to climb between the gratings on each floor. He could use it in his escape.
Leech knew the layout of the building well. It had helped, when he was serving the Mistress, to be able to move from place to place discreetly. Now, that knowledge could help him sneak past the vampires that wanted to tear out his throat. Or the zombies, if they got in, that would want to eat him. He should avoid the humans as well, he couldn’t be sure they didn’t wish him harm as well.
But the smart phone would have made the exercise so much easier. It was connected to the networks running through the building, relaying message from the many sensors placed around it, and controlling locks and various systems. It would have told him which doors had been opened, where there was movement, and which rooms he could expect to be empty. Without it, he might stumble into hungry jaws at any time.
Leech squeezed himself into the corner, then sank down to sit on the cold, uncomfortable metal. Perhaps he could just hide here until morning, then try to escape. The criss-cross of metal digging into his buttocks wouldn’t let him get comfortable enough to sleep, he could stay awake until dawn.
Or he could find one of the floors that was still empty. The Mistress and her three little vampires occupied the top four floors of the building. The next one down from their apartments was where they kept the cattle, so the blood could be fresh when they needed it. The floors below, apart from the offices on the first few levels, were set aside for visitors.
Protocols and traditions required that any wandering vampire be given rooms in the home of any other blood sucker. It wasn’t a common occurrence- as yet, none of the guest suites in the tower had been used. Most vampires found a home and made it their castle for years on end. Travelling too far from the eyrie carried the risk of being caught outside as the sun rose. Longer journeys required planning, so that shelter was never too far away. It had become easier throughout the twentieth century, but the reticence of older sires had imprinted on newer vampires and held them back.
Leech had learnt the lay of all of these rooms as well as those of the top floors. It helped that they had a generic layout, unchanged as they hadn’t been used. He dared to think longer term, beyond the break of day. There were luxuries in those rooms, gold, diamonds, even wads of money for the visitor who wanted to slum it amongst the humans as part of their hunting. He could steal enough to fund an escape from the country, and a new life somewhere safe from fangs.
Brief panic pushed down again, Leech found he could stand without twitches of nervousness and fear running up and down his legs. He still had a terrible urge to urinate, though. If he held that in any longer, it would become uncomfortable to move and get distracting.
He wasn’t ready to pop out of the service tunnel and find a toilet. But he didn’t need to. Leech liked to think he was a notch above the sort of uncouth lout who would whip his todger out in public and piss against a wall, but these were special circumstances. And, given that he was breaking out of the unequal relationship he had maintained with his vampire mistress, why not sully her building as an act of defiance.
Leech stepped up to the edge of the platform, opened his trousers and pulled himself out. For a moment, his snobbery about this sort of thing reared up again and he couldn’t urinate for embarrassment. He urged himself to push, and get the liquid flowing.
One, two, three, push. One, two, three, push. One, two…. The urine flowed. It arced out into the gap, catching a beam of light from somewhere up above and glowing gold. He angled himself, so that it fell straight down the shaft, his own tiny waterfall. There was something surprisingly satisfying about doing this.
Feeling more refreshed than simply peeing should have made him, Leech began plotting his escape route. As much as he would like to take one of the many expensive vehicles from the garage, that wasn’t an option. They had left a van jammed in the gates. He doubted he could move that easily. And, if that boy could find his way in past it, then so could the zombies.
There were other entrances and exits, though. The ground level access to the elevators was right beside the ramp down to the garage. That was the area where they had dodged so many zombies, so he didn’t want to be going out there. The best bet, he decided was to go through the offices. They had a fire escape route that went across an adjacent flat roof, and might, hopefully, deposit him somewhere where there weren’t so many flesh eating ghouls.
That was the plan, then. But first, he would put together a stash to keep him going as he ran away. Leech checked his trousers were properly closed, and the belt done up. He straightened the cuffs of his shirt and jacket, and buttoned it up. The fastidiousness was ludicrous, even if he went carefully, he was going to get covered with grease and grime as he climbed down the shaft. But it made him feel better. Not in the same way that pissing on the tower had, but every little helped.
He had already come down two floors before stopping to assess his situation. He needed to go at least another two to get below the blood room and into the guest floors. To be sure, though, he was going four floors down.
The metal ladder was narrow, and some of the rungs slippery. Leech wasn’t used to getting about in this manner, so he slowly and clumsily moved each hand and foot one at a time, making sure they were firmly planted before letting go or lifting with the next one. It got his adrenaline going almost as much as seeing Terry, battered and bloody, on the stairs.
He gave up on the four floor plan, and stopped on the third platform down, breathing heavily and shaking after his right foot had slipped right off a rung on the last section of ladder. His hands were grimy, so he found a clean looking section of wall and tried to wipe them clean. The simple action helped him calm down again.
Doors into the service shaft were disguised, on the other side, to look like a section of the wall. A close look would make them obvious, but few people bothered. They weren’t full height, either, to help line up with a seam in the wall covering. Leech knelt down to release the simple latch on the door, and pushed it open.
It cracked against something on the other side, only opening a fraction. Leech recoiled from the door, fearful of what he had hit.
There was silence, but for Leech’s breathing, so he crawled up to the door again, and looked through the narrow gap. He could see the back of a table of some sort. Lightweight and thin, in finely carved, spindly legs, it was laden with glassware. Had he put it there? Probably. Every so often, in his efforts to learn the layout of the building, he had made the excuse that he was changing the décor on the guest floors. He hadn’t been expecting to use the service shaft as an escape route when he had blocked the door with the table, obviously.
The table wasn’t large, and didn’t look heavy. Leech was sure he could move it easily. First, though, he turned an ear to the gap, listening for movement on this floor. He held his breath, so it wouldn’t drown anything out, and strained to hear anything.
Silence. He breathed out, the sound full of relief, then turned his shoulder to the door. He pushed, and door and table moved. The small feet scraped across the floor. This felt promising.
Then, the table caught on something, and stopped moving. Leech put more pressure on the door. He built it up, until the table hopped over the obstruction, then toppled forward. As Leech sprawled out of the door, there was a cacophony of crashing and smashing glass for a soundtrack.
Leech scrambled to his feet, and planted his back against the wall. He looked at the door again, ready to slither back through it if he needed. But there was no other sound, once the expensive tinkle of shattered glass ended. He was still alone on the floor.
Something was bothering the palm of his right hand. With a queasy certainty of what he would find, he turned it over, and looked at it. A chunk of cut crystal was dug into it, blood seeping around the edges of the cut. He felt dizzy. All the time he had dealt with blood and bodies for the Mistress, he had never seen his own. He grasped the glass between fingers and thumb of his left hand, and tried to pull it out. All he managed to do was slice open a finger and thumb.
The glass would have to come out, and then the wound would need dressing. There was nothing specifically for that purpose in the apartments, but he could find some way to improvise. There were two apartments on this floor. He headed left along the corridor, to where he knew the nearest door would be.
The apartment was unlocked. There was no need, when it was so hard to get into the tower. Going through the door sparked a thought in Leech’s head. He stopped and checked his pockets again, clumsily, as he couldn’t use his left hand. He was happy with the result of the search, finding that he still had the master keys for the building. At least he hadn’t dropped them.
There were towels of various sizes in the large bathroom. Leech had taken to vacuum sealing them, so they retained their just-laundered freshness longer and he didn’t have to work his way through them every few days. He pulled a smaller bag, full of hand and face towels, from a cupboard, and tugged at the plastic fastener with his teeth. The seal broke, and the bag inflated with a hiss.
The towels were so soft and fluffy that Leech expected the glass to shred them instantly, sending him searching for some other device. But he folded them over the shard impaled in his right palm and tested them anyway. There was no slicing, and the lump of glass began to pull out.
Some more pressure, and the glass came free. Leech tossed it away, grabbing another towel to press into his palm and soak up the blood. He improvised a bandage from the expensive cotton, because he knew there were no first aid supplies in the apartment. What need did creatures that could heal any wound have for plasters?
The wound throbbed, a little blast of pain every time his heart beat. He really needed painkillers, but there wouldn’t be any of those here either. There was a better option, though.
The whisky and brandy was only the best. Leech cracked open a thousand pound scotch and poured himself a large glass full. He even considered desecrating it by putting some ice in there as well, but settled for gulping down half the glass full in one go. It burned on his throat, warming him as it flowed. It would take a while to have an effect, but he was sure he felt better already.
After finishing the whisky, Leech got his sense of urgency back. He had to pack some bounty and get down to the fire escape and away.
Everything was laid on for the travelling vampire in the apartment. The bedroom had a huge bed, a home entertainment system and a whole wall of built in cupboard. There were clothes inside, shirts, blouses, trousers, skirts and more, in sundry sizes. Leech didn’t want any of them. He opened more doors, until he came to the section filled with luggage.
The suitcases were too large for an escape, but there were also a number of backpacks and other bags. Leech chose a large courier bag with wide, comfortable shoulder strap. Opening the next door, he found the treasures he would be putting in the bag.
There were trays of jewellery, primarily ear studs and cufflinks, of gold with diamonds studding them. He poured them into the bag and tossed them aside. He picked a multi thousand pound mariner’s watch from the next row down, and put it on his wrist, before dropping equally expensive timepieces into his collection.
The last drawer contained currency. Pounds, Euros, Dollars and others, in big bundles wrapped with plain paper bands. Tens of thousand, at least, in each. Leech kept on stuffing them into the bag, until it could hold no more.
It was almost too heavy for him to carry. He hung the strap across his shoulders and adjusted its length, until the bag rested on his hip and didn’t hurt so much. Even with all its padding and soft material, it still dug into his neck and tried to bend his spine unnaturally sideways. That discomfort, he reminded himself, was all wealth, so he would put up with it.
Back at the door into the service shaft, Leech had to struggle with the bag, pushing it ahead of himself, then going through sideways. He shifted its weight again as he stepped onto the ladder, moving it more onto his back.
As he descended, he felt he was getting used to the load, as it didn’t nag at him so much. In reality, a seam had caught on the edge of the opening as he descended through it, holding the bag up and relieving the strain on his shoulders. He was several rungs down before the bag slipped off the edge.
The falling satchel tugged hard at Leech. His hands slipped from the ladder, and he toppled backwards, cracking his shoulders on the edge of the grating. This jarring blow led to his feet sliding from their rungs, and he fell forwards, to smack his forehead against the ladder.
He couldn’t be sure how much later he came round, or how many floors he had fallen. The bag had caught on something and, luckily, caught him under the arm rather than around the neck. He hung through the hole in the grating, dangling over a potential fall down dozens of floors. As he started panicking, one flailing foot found purchase on the grating, lifted him up and propelled him to safety.
Leech slipped out of the cradle of the bag’s strap and sprawled on the grating. The bag shifted, slipped from the grating above and landed heavily on his right foot where it stuck out over the opening.
The bone broke cleanly. Leech felt it snap, then tear at his muscle and skin before jutting out and poking through the fine wool of his trousers. He cried out in pain, but somehow had the presence to grab the bag before it tumbled away down the shaft. Clutching his treasures tight, he passed out again.