Blood Legends: Undead – Episode Seven
Fail and we were dead.
The vampire’s image flashed through my mind. Soulless eyes. It wasn’t even a thought. I was too pumped to think. My nerves felt stringy. My chest throbbed. I bounded up the stairs and every muscle strained. Sweat stung my eyes and almost blinded me as I shone the flashlight ahead. The stairwell was cramped, grotty and red. Dull scarlet lamps barely illuminated the landings. Human waste and stale iron snapped against my senses.
My breath was all I heard. Or was it Avila’s? She took the stairs two at a time in front of me. My calves pounded. My ears buzzed. No time to think. Control was just beyond my grasp. We had to get out of here.
Three flights up, one to go. The door below creaked open, the faint sound grated into my heart. The jarred door blew in the sound of laughter. Lunacy. It was familiar. Michal. Avila stopped suddenly. She grasped the piped balustrade and swung around. Wide eyes peered at me through the dark as footsteps flew up the stairs behind us.
I pushed a palm into her back. “Go!”
For Christ’s sake — go!
The final landing loomed at the top of the stairs. Dark. Red. Hostile. My boots felt like a stampede. I pushed upwards. Avila was just about there. She yelped and tripped forward. I was so close behind her that she caught me in the offshoot. My chin slammed against her back and the machete slipped from my hand as I scrambled to get up.
I vaguely heard her behind me as she shifted to her feet and sprung onto the landing. The darkness was broken by a long hiss and golden eyes that glinted like firestones. Shallow breath. My fingers curled around the machete handle. I steadied my gaze to find him on the landing below me, golden hair like pink floss. Crimson lips appeared askew.
He leaned against the wall. His chin tilted and his lips twisted into a sinister grin. My senses zoned in on him as I crouched on the stairs.
“Going somewhere without saying hello?” His voice was a singsong. He tapped long talons together. “Tsk. Tsk. Would-be warrior humans, when will you ever learn?”
My eyes never left his. The clock was ticking.
His eyes narrowed to slits. His voice throaty.
“You cannot outsmart or outrun a vampire. Give me the vial.”
Shit. They know we’ve got the blood.
I took a sharp breath and grabbed the machete as he lunged up the stairs. He moved like speed. The machete blade slashed at his chest as his talons caught me.
He slipped to his knees, grinning. Blood spilled over the blade as I stood and swung again. He leapt to feet, catching the thrust of the blade with his hand and tearing it from my grasp. The metal clanked on the stairs and a roar tore from his throat as he lunged at me.
Time stalled as I dodged his yellow fangs and talons. Avila’s low shriek clung in my ear as she slipped from behind and jabbed her stake through his heart. His nails dug into my arm as he froze. His jaw dropped and his expression paled before he collapsed.
His body crumbled onto the stairs.
I spun around to see Avila panting. More footsteps came from below. No time to think. My arms burned. So did my lungs. I grabbed the machete. We bolted toward the lobby door, bursting across the threshold and sprinting through the vast dim space that separated us from the streets. There was sunlight in the street. Relative safety.
The distance appeared unfathomable. I kept my focus on the big lobby door. Avila ran silently beside me. Adrenaline burned through my system, dulling the pain. Fail and we were dead. Fail and the world would know even more evil.
My lungs silently screamed. Almost there. I reached for the chrome door handle and pulled. I heard a thump from behind. What the hell? Avila screamed beside me. My hand gripped the handle as I yanked on the door and turned to look for Avila. She was gone.
Sunlight flooded across the threshold and spilled into the lobby. I stood fast, jamming my boot against the heavy door as the warmth of the sun radiated over me. My chest heaved as my gaze darted around the lobby.
Her voice was followed by hideous laughter. That was when I saw her — trembling and ensnared between the claws of a vampire. My stomach dropped as I met her stare. They stood in the shadows along a wall painted gray that forked to give way to a series of long corridors. I hadn’t seen him coming, and now, she was at his mercy.
The vampire’s dark hair hung over his face and almost concealed eyes that glowed like neon lights as he held her firm. His fangs glistened only inches above her throat. She squirmed beneath his grasp and gritted her teeth.
“Let me go, asshole!”
He laughed, and his laughter was chorused by four other vampires as they emerged from the shadowy corridors to stand beside him. My heart felt like stone when I recognized Marius. It was defeat that gripped me.
I stood firm in the sunlight. I studied them as I struggled to gage the situation. The sun was neither friend nor foe in that moment. I wanted to burn to ashes as I beheld my daughter and took in her pallid expression and wild eyes. She swallowed visibly. Her eyes narrowed as she shook her head.
My little tough nugget.
I knew she meant for me not to yield to the bloodsuckers. Yet, I couldn’t accept what that would mean for her. Hopelessness rimmed as Marius moved toward Avila. He clasped her hand and pulled her to him. His pale features were a striking contrast against his thick black hair as he regarded her before turning toward me, grinning.
“Jett, isn’t it?” His brows raised as he looped an arm around Avila. He glanced down at her. “Such a beautiful daughter. Now, we both possess something that is precious to the other. What to do …”
I stiffened and lifted my chin.
“Let her go, Marius. I have what you want.”
“Step away from the sunlight and give it to me.” He went to stroke a strand of hair from Avila’s face but she turned her head away and looked at me.
“No, dad. Don’t give it to them.”
Marius laughed. His barnacle cronies joined in behind him. I wanted to kill them all.
“Hmm … such fire!” Marius glanced at the others before giving Avila an approving nod. His gaze darkened when he looked back at me. “Quite an admirable trait, but one that will not keep her alive.” He paused and took an exaggerated breath. “Tell you what; I have a proposition for you, Jett. I heard tell that you are an extraordinary hematologist — a skill I am in need of to help build the utopian world I have envisioned. Join us and no one needs to die today. In fact, no one need die ever. I’m offering you and your daughter the gift of eternal life. What do you say?”
I gaped at him as his words spiraled through my mind. It was despair that found victory over my emotions as I looked at Avila. She stood defiant and brave in the face of evil. Her eyes focused on me and my heart shattered as the weight of the situation shadowed me. If I handed the blood over to Marius, he would possess the power to transcend into a vampire with extraordinary abilities. He and his clan would become all powerful; monstrous creatures of the night that would ravage the earth and take every living being with them.
I could feel my veins bulging beneath my skin as Avila’s eyes dampened and she mouthed the word ‘no’. My heart lurched. I shuddered as I strained to provide an answer to a choice I’d never dreamed possible.
Dreams were yesterday’s wishes on charred wings. The survival of humanity now rested on my shoulders and my daughter’s life.
My beautiful little nugget.
The Proposition is an urban fantasy set in a post apocalyptic world, and is part of Kim Petersen’s Blood Legends. Episodes set to publish weekly for 12 Weeks. Catch up on previous episodes here.
Blood Legends: Undead Episode Eight – Cry to Me Available in:
hours minutes seconds
Cry to Me
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