Nightfall: Hunters


"Get them underground," yelled Bill, a blur as he shot past Miller.

The Captain stumbled to a halt, amazed at what he had just seen, and then began shouting out orders for the teams to retreat to the main bank of elevators at the rear of the central building.

Satisfied that those still alive had heard him, Miller began checking the closest casualties, relieved to find Mai still alive, if a bit groggy, and he helped her to her feet.

"Let me help," said Paul, running up to the struggling Miller and taking Mai from him, freeing the Captain up to cover their retreat back to the center.

"Do you believe that?" asked Miller, nodding towards two blurry forms that were swiftly moving back and forth across the compound, felling vampires left and right.

"I'm just glad that they're on our side," said Paul.

"And I hope that they stay that way," added Traci, emerging from the front of the ruined building to give Paul a hand.

As the trio reached the destroyed front of the building, Roy suddenly came to a halt, still a good distance from them, and shouted something, pointing upwards.

Miller turned, bringing his weapon up at the same time, and opened fire without even looking. Letting out a curse through gritted teeth, Miller adjusted his firing as he saw the form dropping from above, his slugs stitching a trail across its chest in the instant before it was nearly upon them.

Dust and bone fragments rained over the small group as the vamp blew apart, and they quickened their pace towards the elevators, Paul and Traci practically carrying Mai.

Half a dozen others trailed them, two of them carrying a supply crate as the other four covered them, and they quickly caught up with Miller and the others.

"Get those doors open," yelled Miller to one of the grunts, the soldier immediately turning and breaking out into a run for the elevators.

The indicator panel on the elevator still showed that the car was on its way as the rest of them joined the lone soldier, and Paul released his grip on Traci, turning back around.

"Where in the hell do you think you're going?" demanded Miller, grabbing Paul by the arm.

"We need those laptops," he said, pointing towards the console that he and Amber had been working at most of the day. "They're the only things that'll let us access the security network."

"To hell with them," countered Miller.

"No, Cap," exclaimed Amber, joining them. "He's right. We need them if we're going to get anywhere with their system."

"Shit," cursed Miller. "Make it damn quick."

Paul bolted towards the console, leaping over fallen debris, and grabbed up the two laptops, yanking their cables free of the panel. As he turned back towards the rear of the building, he saw the elevator doors slide open and he poured on the speed, moving slightly faster than a human should've been able to.

The elevator was quite large, designed with the moving of bulky equipment in mind, and the survivors quickly piled into it.

"What about Bill and Roy?" asked Paul.

"We ain't moving yet, are we?" snapped Miller, his hand keeping the doors from closing. "We're holding the position as long as we can."

"Are you sure we should be doing this, Cap?" asked Bronski. "Going down, I mean. If they planned all of this, that might just be where they want us to go."

"We don't have much of a choice," answered Miller, nodding towards the front of the building.

The others looked to see that Roy and Bill had been forced back to just inside of the demolished entranceway, still engaged in battle against a large number of vampires. The creatures were being replaced as fast as the two were killing them, and it looked like their numbers were growing.

The humans gasped and cursed, as there was an immediate and unexpected surge from the vampires, watching helplessly as Roy and Bill were literally swept over by the sheer number of vamps.

"Holy shit," exclaimed Miller, letting the doors finally close and slamming his palm against the descent button.

"We are so dead," said Bronski.

No one countered his statement as the elevator rapidly dropped.

At last, after so many days in the darkness, it was healed enough to escape from its tomb, its strength minutely returned to sufficiently allow it to move the large slabs of concrete and steel that had buried it.

It remembered thinking that the fire would kill it, that the flames would extinguish what little life had remained in it, but the chamber had collapsed to a point that oxygen had not been readily available, and the flames had only blossomed and then died.

The heat, the crushing slabs of concrete that had fallen upon it as the building had collapsed to ruin, the sensations continued to echo through its being, enticing a dark memory that maybe…just maybe…it had died.

But that could not be, for it was alive, and clawing its way free of the ruins that would be its tomb.

It thought of the insects and vermin that it had fed on, the most meager of sustenance to maintain its life, but enough to eventually give it the strength to free it self.

Clamoring through broken slabs of concrete, slithering over steel beams and crumbled equipment, it found the blackened shaft of an elevator, the doors and car ravaged as if torn apart.

Something heavy had fallen atop the elevator car, possibly what had cut off the oxygen to the fire, and it let its flesh melt around the object, barely able to lift it enough to allow it to pass.

Reaching the shaft, it reformed, gasping at the cool air that was trickling down the shaft. It could detect the scent of life within the air, and it licked its lips in anticipation of a meal larger than a rat. It may only be a pack of dogs but it would be a feast compared to what it had been feeding upon, and it would regain a tremendous amount of its strength.

Morphing its hands into taloned claws, it began stealthily making its way up the shaft, cautious not to scare off its prey.

Joyous thoughts running through its mind, it imagined what it would do once it had completely healed…once it had regained its full strength.

It would hunt down the one that had entombed it, that had left it for dead, thinking that it would be consumed by the fire.

Soon, thought the thing. So soon, Bill.

A blindingly yellow glow blossomed from the press of bodies, obliterating them in an instant, rippling outward with startling speed, destroying the vampires. Hundreds of the creatures collapsed into piles of ash, the glow receding to its point of origin; the cross that Roy held in his hand.

Coughing, dusting himself up as he rose from the pile of ash, Bill reached out and helped Roy to his feet.

"You should have pulled that out a few seconds sooner," said Bill, trying to spit out the ashy taste in his mouth. "We'll be tasting dead vampire for weeks."

"If I had realized that there were so many, I would of," said Roy, moving his tongue around in his own mouth, wondering if he actually tasted ash or if it was because Bill had said something.

"Do you smell barbecue?" asked Bill, smiling.

"I don't think this is a good time to joke," said Roy, sternly, looking around.

Here and there could be seen the body of a soldier, somewhat covered with ash, amongst the still burning remains of the helicopters.

"It helps me deal," growled Bill, spinning on his heel and heading into the building. "Guess we better catch up with the others."

Roy silently followed him.

The two halted as the center elevator chimed its arrival, and they readied themselves to face whatever was in the car.

The doors slid open to show that the elevator was empty, smears of blood on the floor, and they exchanged looks of trepidation.

"Better keep your cross at the ready," said Bill, as he stepped into the elevator.

"Good idea," agreed Roy, pulling the crucifix from his pocket as he joined him.

"Next stop, cloned vampire lords," said Bill, pushing the button.

To Be Continued…