Blood Legends: Undead – Episode Six
Cold. It crept through me and jarred my senses.
“Who or what the hell is out there” Avila stalked between two long benchtops. She stopped to whirl around and glare at Michal. “You’ve set us up.”
She had a point. It was clear we weren’t alone.
Michal’s bald skull gleamed dull beneath the emergency lights illuminating the laboratory. His finger’s shook as he thumbed his glasses. “Wha – why would you suggest that, pigeon?”
Her eyes narrowed. “Don’t you pigeon me, asshole.” Her fingers tightened around the stake she waved with menace. She stepped closer to Michal who fidgeted beside me. “Who is up there, Michal? Have you become a Shadow Guardian? Are you their puppet now?”
He stiffened. His breath was hot and putrid as he slid closer to me, glancing between us. He began shaking his head and mumbling. I grimaced and stepped back. My thoughts were erratic as I scanned the workstations, dormant machines and the dingy spaces cordoned off by glass panels. Empty space. My gut flipped. A faint whiff of human waste lingered in the stale air. I looked back at Michal.
“Where are the others?”
He shrieked and his arms flailed. His filthy white lab coat swung wildly as he paced the lab.
“Questions! Questions!” He stopped abruptly. Beady eyes dropped and followed the pattern his fingers sketched along a bench surface. When he looked back up, a layer of spit foamed his lips. “Did they send you here to interrogate me?”
Avila and I exchanged glances. Michal had always leaned on the eccentric side. It became obvious his mental health was strained. Horror. It teased out our weaknesses. My back ached. I didn’t have time for this bullshit.
“Where is the rest of the team, Michal?”
There should have been six other scientists here. They were the group that had stayed behind to keep researching for a cure. I knew all of them. They were the brave souls that had lost their loved ones to the virus. That had vowed to never give up.
Michal’s eyes darted around. His fingers tangled together as looked up at the ceiling. I followed his gaze. It was a stick-built grid system. Some of the ceiling tiles were misplaced. I swallowed hard and increased my grip on the machete. He shivered visibly before he rushed toward me, his boots squeaking.
“They deserted me. All of them.” His lips parted to reveal a set of stained teeth. He was about to say something else when was distracted by Avila who had begun stalking around the lab. She was headed toward the isolation spaces confined by glass panels. The experimental rooms were doused in darkness. Michal screeched as he set off after her.
“What are you doing?”
Avila ignored him. She stopped short of a glass wall to peer into one of the inky spaces. Her shoulders stiffened before she whirled around to catch my stare. I noticed her expression pale over trembling lips. Michal halted somewhere between us, facing Avila as he began pulling at his ears.
Dead silence. My blood iced as Avila’s gaze settled on Michal. Her boots dug into the floor as she planted them wide with her hand firmly holding the stake. She stared at him when she spoke.
“Dad, I think the team are still here.”
My nostrils flared. I lurched forward as Michal began stumbling backward. He spun around. He blinked rapidly at me before he tried to escape. But he was already within arm’s reach. My blood ran hot as my finger’s clamped into the back of his neck. He squealed as I yanked him toward me, and he struggled as I dragged him toward Avila.
She poised the stake at his chest. She looked at me and flicked her chin toward the glass panel. My knuckles tightened around Michal’s neck as I leaned forward to peer past my transparent reflection into the glass.
Cold. It crept through me and jarred my senses. I shivered violently as I took in the grim scene confronting me. Blood was everywhere. It splattered across the floors and stuck to the chrome trolleys and benches. Severed limbs and body parts splayed across a wheeled stretcher and appeared distorted through the darkness. My head throbbed. I tore my eyes from the dismembered bodies and clawed Michal’s flesh. He yelped as I growled.
“What have you done?”
His skin felt damp. His stench was putrid. He quivered and peered up at me, his words tripping over his tongue.
“Th – they were traitors.” He shook his head, wincing as Avila pressed the stake into his chest. “The rare blood – I couldn’t trust them – they all want it.” He gestured toward the ceiling. His voice lowered. “What they say is true, Jett. The blood is power.”
Avila twisted the stake into his coat. “Where is the damned blood, Michal? You told us it was here.”
He became still then, his lips twisting into a grisly smile. “I hid it from them. I tricked the kindred.” He laughed. “I had to kill them, Jett. If they had the blood and turned kindred, there would be no hope left to save what’s left of humanity.”
What the hell?
My thoughts reeled. I kept my grip firm. “The kindred are here?”
He nodded rapidly. “They’ve been here almost from the start. With some Guardians.” He swallowed hard. “They call the overlord Marius. He let us live for the sake of our research. He’s a cunning one … smart. He has a vision to build a functioning society for the clans. Humans will be hunted down, seized and kept alive as prisoners to bleed at their own discretion.”
“They need scientists …”
“Yes! Specifically, hematologists.”
Avila snorted. “That’s why you’re still breathing?” She dug the stake further into Michal’s chest. Her eyes shadowed as he whimpered. “You’ve set us up. You’ve baited my dad here for them.”
Michal shook his head furiously. “N – no, no. I might be many things, but I’m not a traitor!” He gave a rueful laugh. “I’m not suited for the world out there now.” His gaze dropped to his arm as he slowly peeled back a grotty sleeve to reveal puncture marks trailing bruised skin.
Avila gasped. “It’s already started.”
Michal looked at me and reached into his coat pocket to produce a vial of blood. His fingers trembled. My stomach felt like metal as he spoke.
“You are the way to get the blood out of the city.” He pushed the vial into my palm. “It’s the gold our world knows now. It cannot fall into the wrongs hands, Jett.”
I loosened my grip on him and took the vial. My head swirled and my body trembled as though with a fever. I glanced back at the dark room where the forsaken lay in torn pieces. Michal was utterly insane. Yet, an exceptional mind still lingered beneath the madness long enough to keep the rare blood from the enemy.
Avila lowered the stake. The sound of light footsteps drifted from the stairwell into the lab. Her eyes widened at me.
Michal jerked. His eyes bulged as he gestured wildly toward the killing room. “Take the back-up stairs to the lobby. It’s the door at the rear behind the benches and trolleys. Hurry!”
Back-up stairs? News to me.
There was no time to procrastinate. The sound of footsteps echoed down the stairwell shaft. I spun around with Avila as she flung open the heavy glass door and ran toward the back of the room where I spotted a discreet door beyond the stretcher and trolleys strewn with body parts.
I tried not to think about the blood or the blind eye sockets peering from mottled skin as I pushed Avila into the stairwell. As I stepped into the dark, narrow space and began to ease the door closed, the sound of the laboratory door cracked as it flung open.
I paused to peer through the slit in the door now inches apart to see a figure shadowing the threshold. His hair was glossy and dark above a milky complexion and startling-blue eyes. He wore black leather and chunky boots. A swathe of crimson hugged his torso. My heart froze as he raised a jeweled hand to drum talons against the door frame and flash his white fangs. But it was the sound of his silvery voice that sent my blood cold as I quietly closed the door.
“Michal, Michal. What are you cooking up down here, hmm?” He chuckled. “My daytime slumber has been disturbed with the news you have received some visitors. You know how protective I am of my sleep …”
Rare Blood 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 Seven – The Proposition Available in:
hours minutes seconds
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