The body that used to be Glenn dragged itself across the pavement. Even if its spinal cord hadn’t been severed, its legs were shattered, bashed almost to a pulp.
Somewhere, deep inside, there was a faint understanding of the situation. The boost that eating vampire had given him had made him able to reason, a little, for a brief period, and given him a glimmer of consciousness. He understood that this was not a good place to be, and that he needed to find somewhere to rest and hide. But, more and more, he wanted to eat.
His hands, skin worn through and torn off, found a crack in the pavement and clutched to it. He dragged himself forwards. There would be food, or shelter, somewhere near here.
Black shoes, the shine taken off them by blood and battering, stepped into Glenn’s vision. Food, he thought. He should drag himself toward it, but instead, pushed his body up to look at the owner of the shoes.
The food was pointing something at him. He could only make out the end, square, with a round hole in it. If he weren’t so hungry, he might understand what that thing was. He lifted his right arm, reaching out to the food.
The hole in the object flared white.
The slide of the Glock locked back, the magazine empty. David Wilson stepped back from the zombie ha had just shot and looked around. None of the many bodies around him were moving. He found one of the many magazines he had stashed abut his body, ejected the empty one and slapped the new one in. The slide snapped back into place, and he was ready.
There was movement, over by the tower. Wilson raised the pistol, and just as quickly dropped it. The three figures picking their way through the bodies were definitely not undead, no matter how much blood covered them. Two women and a man, carrying swords with the assurance of experts, they were kicking over the bodies and examining them.
“Armed Police! What are you doing here?” Wilson’s voice was a croak. There had been moments during the night when he had howled obscenities, or just unintelligible noises, and this was the first time he had tried normal conversation in a long time.
All three of the people raised their empty hand, non-threatening, but still ready to fight. “We just got out of the tower.” the man said. “We’re…. Looking for someone.”
Turning over bodies, looking for someone they recognised. Wilson didn’t like to think of what they hoped to find. They were just the first of a lot of people who would be doing the same over the next few days. If they were allowed. Whatever had caused this might mean all the bodies would be quarantined and burnt.
“That one.” the shorter of the women said, pointing at the body Wilson had just shot. They walked toward him. As they drew closer, Wilson spotted the bandoleer of throwing stars across the taller woman’s shoulders. The familiarity of their shape made him study the body. The star embedded in the spine was the same as them.
“Did you do that?” Wilson asked, pointing at the star as the woman knelt beside the body.
“Not directly.” she replied. The man put a foot under the body’s shoulder, lifting and turning it enough to reveal the face. But for the hole in the forehead, it was still recognisable.
“That’s him.” the man said.
“You know him?” Wilson asked.
“Not personally. We saw him last night. And I knew him by reputation.”
The women were back-tracking along the trail of scuffs and stains the zombie had left behind as it crawled. “They landed there.” the shorter woman said. “Maybe that pile of bodies broke their fall. That one wasn’t so mashed up he couldn’t crawl a good few metres.”
“But Terry’s not in the pile.”
The shorter woman put a comforting hand on the taller one’s shoulder. “Maybe he got away. There’s not many places he could go. If he’s not in them, I think he got away.”
“Yeah, but….” The taller woman glanced back at Wilson. Why was she so worried about him?
“Do you live in the tower?” Wilson asked the man.
The man looked up at the tower, all the way up to a smashed window on the top floor, that Wilson had only just noticed. “Maybe.” he said. “We might be able to now.”
“Err, yeah. They all seemed to be going in there. Do you need some help clearing it out?”
The man held up his sword, looking at it as if it was talking to him. After a moment, he nodded. “No. We’ve got the place cleared out. Maybe we’ll need help clearing it out later, though.”
The women had come back from the pile of bodies. “I don’t think we’re going to find him.” the taller woman said, her sadness showing. “We should go back inside, and see if we can look for him from there.”
“Okay. And there’s something I think we should try as well.” the man said. “Thank you, officer. We can look after the tower for now.”
The three walked away, down the ramp into the underground garage of the tower. Wilson wasn’t sure what had just happened. But at the end of this night, he wasn’t sure about anything any more.
* * *
He had patience, and He had been waiting several hours for Mistress’s reply. He didn’t like calling her Mistress, but she hadn’t accepted being called Heidi for over a century. He was almost getting used to it.
The screens in front and beside Him clicked and hummed as they were activated. About time. He straightened, checking the fit of his suit. He must always look his best, no matter who he was talking to.
The screens became lighter, and the image on the video connection became clearer. He wasn’t so sure what He was looking at, though. Then, He realised what it was.
For the first time in centuries, He felt a coldness that might be fear.
The screens were large, and the face he was looking at was many times larger than life. It slipped in and out of focus as it gurned at him.
The skin had dried, pulling taut in some places and wrinkling up in others. Somehow, the dead, empty eyes were still full, their surface wet enough to reflect light.
Slowly, He looked to the left, keeping his eyes on Mistress until the last moment. She didn’t move. She was gone.
The face on the screen to the left was one of the vampires Mistress had sired. He couldn’t remember the boy’s name. There was a crossbow bolt through the boy’s head. He made a low sound, not quite a growl.
Two faces were crammed into the screen on the right. Another two that Mistress had sired. All the vampires in the tower dead, apart from the one Mistress had just sired. How had that happened?
“Your little girl is dead.” a woman’s voice said. “She deserved it. A lot of other people are dead because of whatever it was she did.”
“I will destroy you! I shall find you and destroy you!” He raged at the screen.
“We’re in the tower. It’s ours now.”
“So is most of your money.” another woman’s voice cut in. “Your security’s for shit. It’s all good having a walled off network, until someone gets at one of the computers inside it.”
He looked around, desperately searching for the other computer in the room. Could they do what they said they had?
“You get very rich when you’re immortal, don’t you?” the first woman said. “The money is going to the families of everyone your girl got killed tonight. This tower is going to house the homeless she used to pick on. The ones that are left. And then we are coming to get you.”
“We’ve seen the swag your Mistress had in her cupboards.” a male voice said. “So I’m sure you’ll have plenty of running away money. It’ll be a challenge. But.” The blade of a sword, bright, reflective silver where it wasn’t stained with blood, slammed down and embedded in the table in front of Mistress’s head. He jumped in shock, something that hadn’t happened for a very long time. “We’ve found that these weapons can sense the undead. It’s going to be a challenge, but we will find you.”
The screens went blank.
* * *
It had taken a very long time, and a great deal of pain. But Leech had made it.
He had dropped the bag ahead of himself, letting it fall several floors at a time. Then, very, very carefully, he had followed it down. He had grasped the rungs tight, holding his weight as he moved his good foot down a few. He tried to move two or three rungs at a time, to make it pass faster. But then he would miss a rung, or his foot would slip, and he would cling to the ladder, terrified, until he found his footing again.
Now, he was at the level of the fire escape. He didn’t know quite how, but he had to find his way off this floor and on to the roof. Then, maybe, he could find a paramedic who would splint up his leg and he could get out of the hospital, with the bag and bounty, before anybody started asking questions.
Leech pulled the bag to himself, and lifted himself up onto his good leg. Some of those expensive watches might not be worth more than scrap value by now. He didn’t want to know how many yet. He shifted the strap onto his shoulder, adjusting it until it sat comfortably, then opened the door.
As the door opened, a strong hand closed over Leech’s wrist. With a jerk that almost dislocated his elbow and shoulder, he was pulled from the alcove and thrown against the opposite wall.
Leech bounced off the wall and collapsed to the floor, his leg bent at an unnatural angle under him. It hurt so much he couldn’t even get any volume to his scream.
Terry stood over Leech, looking down at him, hungry and angry. He was far from the pretty boy Mistress had turned not so long ago. His clothes were torn, almost completely gone, and his body was marked all over by bite marks. He bent down and picked Leech up by the neck, slamming him against the wall.
“Look what they did to me! Look what you left me to!” Terry hissed.
“I had to get Mistress to safety!” Leech lied. He could tell Terry didn’t believe him. He tried a different tack. “This bag. This bag is full of money and jewellery. You’ll need it after tonight. You’ll have to run after all this.”
“That’s going to be very useful.” Terry twisted Leech’s head, exposing his neck, and took a big bite.
When Leech was drained, Terry let him drop to the floor. He unhitched the bag from the dead man’s shoulder. Then, with a disappointed sigh, he pulled off the dead man’s clothes and changed into them. The trousers were short, but it was better than carrying on in his rags.
There were signs for the fire exit. He could follow them, but dawn was breaking, and it would put him out into daylight. He had found his way up here from the sewers, so that was where he would head now.
Sooner or later, he would come back up again. But now, he needed to disappear, and lay low for a while. He was good at that.
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.