French Roast Apocalypse – Chapter 05
New York City, 1980
Darkness gave way to awareness and a tight, painful feeling in his chest. Slowly, Dylan cracked open his eyes. He was lying on his side, in tall grass, back up against a small hard surface. Three tall shadows stood around him, two nearby, their reflective silvery eyes focused on him. The third stood a few feet away; he drove a shovel into the earth, and scooped away heaps of dirt as he dug a shallow grave.
Struggling for breath, Dylan let his head roll. His blurred vision distorted, and the world around him seem to roll and tilt. The agony was constant, and difficult to ignore. He was cold and clammy with shock, gasping for breath like a fish out of water. Dylan knew that he was dying.
Still, he refused to let go, and forced his discomfort away into the back of his mind. Thin marble gravestones in an unkempt cemetery surrounded him. In the distance he saw an old brick church, with a single bell tower. It was dark, and very quiet. Dylan wasn’t sure where in New York he was, but he if he were still in upper Manhattan the nightlife would make it impossible to bury someone alive unnoticed.
“Welcome back.” The vampire in the Pink Floyd T-shirt, frock coat, and bowler hat leaned on his shovel and ginned down at him. “Gotta admit, you’re a tough son of a bitch, aren’t you?”
Keith had drained him close to death, and by the looks of it his pals were going to bury him alive. He knew what that meant; bitten by a vampire but not dead, then dying filled with rage, he’d become a revenant, enslaved to his hatred, a vampiric ghost cursed to seek out those who had wronged him. Frantic, he beat down his own rising horror. I’ll just have to take the bastards out and stake myself before I die. It was his only chance for redemption.
“Not tough enough.” His friend with the chains kicked Dylan’s shoulder with the tip of his boot.
The teen let the pain wash over him and attempted to crawl to his hands and knees. “Not dead yet.” He gritted his teeth and clenched his fists. He coughed, and crimson poured from his lips. His injuries were internal. The bastards really knew how to rough someone up. He was rapidly running out of time.
Pink Floyd hauled him to his feet. With a twist, he managed to pull from the vampire’s grasp, and slammed a fist into the other’s cheek.
The undead monster grinned with razor-sharp teeth and returned the strike with his own blows. One landed in Dylan’s gut, while the other his chin. Too weak to control how he fell, the force drove him back into the other vampire’s arms.
Gasping for breath, he struggled to regain his strength as the vampire in front of him removed his chain. “Drop him. Let’s see how much damage we do before we put him under.”
“C’mon, Vance, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel!”
Obediently, the other vampire let him go, and Dylan dropped like a stone. The chain flashed, and he felt it battering into his hip. Dylan stifled a scream and struggled to pull himself up again, but the chain slapped into to his shoulder and around his neck. The vampire holding it pulled and yanked Dylan backwards. Spots dotted out his vision and he felt the roar of blood struggling to reach his brain as air vanished. The muscles and bones in his neck strained.
Suddenly the pressure vanished, and the chain around his throat went limp. Dylan’s body fell face-first into the grass.
“Hey, boys, playtime is over.” It was a woman’s voice.
Dylan opened his eyes. The thug who owned the chain was massaging his hand, while his friend was doubled over, holding his gut. The vampire with the shovel gaped, stunned.
Standing on two gravestones was a petite young blond woman, with short spiked hair, in a David Bowie T-shirt, blue plaid mini-skirt, and black leggings. On her feet were a pair of iron-tipped boots (for tap dancing?). She slowly unhitched the spiked leather belt hanging from around her waist, and smiled sweetly at the other vampires. “Liam says you fuckheads were to leave the hunters alone, Bobby.”
“Liam can go suck dick. Red Fangs don’t give a shit about you sanctimonious SoHo aberrations!” Bobby hauled his shovel up and leaned it on his shoulder.
“You territory-jumped, dumbass,” the woman said. “Liam doesn’t like it when blood-fiends jump his territory. Keith knows better.”
“And what are we supposed to do? Let these scumbags get away?” said the vampire in the Pink Floyd T-shirt. He nudged Dylan with his foot. “They don’t like any of us, Anna Sherman; Liam is full of shit.”
“What a stroke of brilliance, Todd, let’s kill the vampire hunters so their friends will get really serious about causing us grief!” The girl stretched the belt out. “Zombie eat your brains, mate?”
“You don’t have to worry about more coming,” Bobby said with certainty. “He’s got no one. Got word from the Midwest, this is a cleanup job.” He took a step toward Dylan with a wicked grin. “So you can go and tell your boss the higher ups say it’s a clan purge.”
“Liam doesn’t give a shite about your higher-ups, Bobby. Liam only cares about what happens in his territory; your higher ups can take it with him. Now, because I’m sweet, and Keith is new in town, I’ll give you bimbos a chance to bugger off.”
Steadying his breathing, Dylan tried to pull himself up, but his body refused to respond. The three vampires exchanged doubtful glances, then launched themselves at her.
The women gracefully leapt from her perch, and spun effortlessly into a round-house kick. A metal-tipped boot connected with Todd’s back just as the spiked belt wrapped around his neck. She pulled hard as she landed catlike behind him. Pulled in two directions, the vampire’s head jerked back while his body fell forward. The impact snapped his neck in an instant. Todd crumpled to the ground.
Vance had his gun out now and fired on the blonde. Impossibly fast, the women ducked and weaved, evading the bullets as she charged. With a swift scissors kick, Anna sent the gun flying and spun just in time to intercept Bobby’s shovel before it took off her head. In a flash she dropped to the ground, wrenching the shovel from Bobby’s grasp, and spun it hard into Vance’s legs. The sharp edge of the shovel sliced into Vance’s thigh and a spray of blood announced the severing of his femoral artery. Vance fell back, grabbing at his thigh.
“You boyos have no bloody idea who you’re dealing with, do you?” Anna asked perkily. “Reggie made me, his blood runs in my veins. Now, I’ll give you one more chance to feck off!”
Fear flashed in Bobby’s gaze. But instead of fleeing, he bared his teeth and dove for the shovel. Faster than the eye could follow, Anna danced away from his lunge. She twirled the shovel over her head like a baton and plunged it into Bobby’s chest. The vampire collapsed back into the ground in an explosion of black blood. Anna turned on Vance, the injured vampire gaped at her, and stumbled back, pale. He lifted his hands and shook his head. “He’s all yours, bitch!”
“Now, that’s downright polite of you, lad,” Anna told him as she retrieved her belt from Todd’s body. She quickly wiped it off with a hanky and buckled it around her hips. “Now, be a bright boy and take your mate here and scram, before I change my mind!”
Never taking her attention from Vance, Anna crossed over to Dylan and knelt at his side. She gently turned his body over. Breathing unevenly, Dylan tried to pull away, but his body refused to respond. “You poor bastard. Not that I agree with what you do, but you must have a story behind it. All hunters do.” Carefully she lifted him up in her arms. She was surprisingly warm.
A glance told him Vance was helping Todd up. The injured vampire’s head lolled disturbingly on his broken neck. She was letting them go. Why was she letting them go? He tried to object to her mercy, and beg her to kill him, but he sputtered blood instead. A moment later, darkness fell.