Hi there, fellow readers!
I come to you bearing a Halloween gift.
To reiterate the statement from my last post, this story is being developed and written as I post it, so it hasn’t been edited or doctored up. I’m literally giving it to you how it comes to me.
Comments are welcomed!
Before reading CHAPTER 3, make sure to read CHAPTER 1 and CHAPTER 2. Links are below.
**WARNING: Not suitable for the faint of heart, prudes or those easily bothered by strong and vulgar language, graphic descriptions, urban dialect, blood-lusting hotties, kickass female warriors, sword-wielding bad asses, dark smutty sex and extreme violence.**
**dystopian sci-fi, paranormal, erotic and interracial romance**
Piles of dead bodies covered the open field.
Stunned speechless, I watched my fellow knights systematically drag vampires from the sewer passageways and stake them to the ground, forcing them to suffer daylight. The trees in the area had been trimmed away so there would be nothing obstructing the sun’s deadly rays. There had to be more than a hundred dying demons spread out over the field, and more deceased ones heaped in piles along the perimeter.
As the sun baked their flesh, the seared skin peeled off, fluttered into the air and disintegrated into dust, creating the miasma that poisoned the atmosphere.
Some creatures clawed and fought to stay underground. Those who put up a fight swiftly met their end, by means of a silver blade or UV bullets. Men, women and children alike, festered away in screaming pain.
Several knights approached the demons with large mallets and machetes. Heads were severed or smashed into bloody messes.
Lifting his mallet in the air, a bulky knight stood over a young pale-faced boy.
The boy screamed at the top of his lungs. “No! Please…!” He looked my way and reached out for me. “Please, help me!”
The pain in his eyes tore at my heart. I’d never seen a child vamp before.
His fangs were small, though I’m sure they were no less lethal. Beneath an expression stricken with fear, his face was a picture of pure innocence. Drawn into the dark life against his will, he would never grow up, or have his first kiss. Where he lay, staked to the earth, was his death bed.
I took a step forward, just as the knight brought the mallet down on his face, crushing his skull, cutting his piercing cry short. I gasped and sucked back tears.
Without the least bit of remorse on his face, the soldier moved onto the next vampire, who unfortunately was also a child. It wasn’t bad enough they were frying them in the daylight sun, they had to bash their heads in too.
“Get a fire going!” one of the knights from the other squads hollered out. “The bodies are piling up. Let’s burn these sonsabitches.”
The sickening sensation in my belly grew, almost to the point where I wanted to vomit. “Who are the monsters here? Them or us?”
The knights near me whipped their eyes in my direction. My question also garnered the attention of the commanding officer, Commander Cannon.
He wore a permanent scowl, one that tarnished his otherwise handsome features. His bright golden eyes narrowed. “Are you opposed to this mission, Officer Winsort?”
I didn’t answer. I just held his golden glare, doing my best not to let my razor tongue fly.
“Knights, your orders are clear,” he said in a demanding tone, directing his words to the whole squad. “There are hundreds of hostiles hiding out in those sewers. They have burrowed deep within. As you can see, the first squadrons called to the site are in the process of extracting the hostiles closer to the surface. Your job is to enter the underground maze, hunt them down and exterminate with extreme prejudice. Any target that makes it pass this squadron will meet the knights above and be taken care of. Those are your orders. They are to be carried out before nightfall.” With his directive lingering in the air, he pivoted on his heels in a robotic motion and marched over to where the other head officers convened.
I never liked that man. In his presence, I got the major hibbie jibbies. There’s something off about him, something not quite… human.
My fellow knights rushed off to fulfill their duty, but I couldn’t move. I was rooted to the patch of bloody dirt I stood on. Hunting vampires who attacked me was one thing, but going after them like this… women and children, people I know… “This isn’t right.”
At my side, Steve tugged on my hand. “Alex…?”
“I’m not doing this.”
“Alex, we have to follow orders.”
“This is a monstrous act, a massacre.” I snatched my hand away from him and shook my head. “I’m not doing this shit,” I voiced a little louder.
Sanjay was several feet from me, heading toward the sewers with the others, but when he heard me, he spun around. “What’d you say?” Before I knew it, he was in my face. “Tell me I did not just hear you refuse to carry out a direct order.”
“You heard right. I’m going back to the ship.” I turned to walk away.
Sanjay grabbed my arm in a biting grip. “Alexis…”
In a flash, I had my hand wrapped around my gat with the barrel pressed into his stomach.
A smirk curved his plush lips as his dark eyes glimmered in amusement. “You’re gonna shoot me, babe? Your superior officer?”
“If you don’t get your goddamn hand off of me, I just might.”
Seconds of fraught silence hovered between us before he said, “You know what? I don’t get you.”
“Really? What’s new?” I countered snidely.
“You kill vampires on a daily basis, skillfully, without batting an eyelash, but this is a problem for you.”
“This is not what I signed on for. I’m not about to start slaughtering children.”
“They’re not children, Alexis. They’re demons.”
“You’re the demon!” I shot back on a hiss. “And if I cross this line with you, I’ll be a demon too.”
The smirk drifted from his lips and gave way to a teeth clenching frown. “If you back out on this, you’ll have to answer to the commanding officer, and I won’t be able to protect you.”
I jerked my arm from his clutches. “You and the commanding officer can kiss my ass. I refuse to let you strip me of my humanity.”
For the first time, Sanjay glared down at me with hate-driven anger in his eyes. I’d only seen him offer vampires that look. “Then that’s going to pose a big fucking problem for you.”
“Uhhhmmm, let’s take a deep breath, guys, and try a different approach.” Facing Sanjay, Steve sidled in between us to push us apart. “I have a solution for this problem that you may want to hear. We can run a perimeter sweep.”
Eyes still locked on mine, Sanjay muttered, “What?”
“Some of the vamps are liable to pass this point. Like earlier. With me and Alex running the perimeter we can make sure none of them flee into nearby town to infect more people.” Steve shot a glance over his shoulder at me. “Good idea? Right, Alex?”
I clucked my tongue, whirled on my heels and stalked away from them. “Whateva.”
Still clutching my pistol, I trekked deeper into the forest, away from the carnage and the light. There were shadows all around me, cast by the large trees and their branches. The haze from the dead vamps loomed in the area and thickened around my feet, yet I continued to move forward.
Steve lumbered behind me, quietly.
I appreciated his silence, but it didn’t help calm the rage boiling within me. “Children, Steve… Children! What the hell have we become?”
“I know. It’s fucked up,” Steve said, keeping his distance. “Try to cool off, ma. You can’t have another run in like that with your superior officer, even if he’s your boyfriend.”
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t clear my mind of the horrific actions I’d witnessed. I saw the mallet slamming down onto the child’s head over and over again, like a motion picture on playback. His eyes bulged, his blood and brain matter splattered over the ground, his skull crushed…
My eyes stung, my chest tightened. It was a devastating vision, one I wouldn’t soon forget.
I stopped and lifted my head. Suddenly, I had that feeling again—the feeling like I was being watched, and it wasn’t by Steve. I heard soft breathing close to me, like someone was standing right beside me, but no one was there, aside from the looming darkness. The presence…
“Lexi,” whispered a haunting voice from the shadows.
An icy chill darted down my spine.
“Lexi, please don’t be sad.”
Something brushed across my cheek. Leveling my gat, I swung around.
Caught in my gun’s path, Steve jumped back and threw his hands in the air. “Hey-hey now! Take your anger out on the vamps and your man, but not me.”
“Did you hear that?”
“Hear what?” Brow quirked, Steve reached over his shoulder and grabbed his sword’s hilt. “I don’t sense anything.”
If the bloodhound didn’t pick up on a threat in the area, then I had to be spazzing out over nothing. Right? If so, why couldn’t I shake this feeling?
“Why am I the only one feeling this and hearing voices?” I grumbled frustratingly.
“Sure it’s not in your head?”
I cut a glare at him.
He shrugged. “Just sayin’, nothing gets past my senses. Nothing.”
Whipping my sights from the left to right, I eyed the roaming patches of darkness that seemed to gradually close in around me. “I could’ve sworn I heard someone call out to me, and… and touch my face.” I took a shuffling step backwards. “Earlier, there was this presence—” The ground suddenly fell out from under my feet.
Steve lunged forward and caught my hand before the earth could swallow me whole.
“What the hell…?” I regained my footing as I stared down at the fog covered crater in the ground. “What is this?” It was hard to make out.
“Looks like a hole. A big one. Let’s see how deep it is.” Steve plucked a radar sphere from his holster.
The device leapt from his palm, fell the short distance then hovered over the indention. It sprouted blue laser-like beams, making it look like a miniature disco ball. Once the rays were done whipping about, it let out three beeps.
He read the results registering across the screen on the forearm of his armor. “This hole is almost eight feet long and four feet deep with claw marks etched in the dirt. Looks we found ourselves a fresh grave.”
So not all the vampires sought refuge in the underground sewers. Smart move. “Not a surprise. This is the perfect spot, a lot of shading, very little light. Wonder how many more we’ll find out here.” I couldn’t stop myself from peering around cautiously. I wanted to believe I’d been hearing things earlier, but I had a gut feeling I wasn’t.
“Good thing I suggested a sweep, ay.” Steve slid his fingers across the screen on his forearm. “I’m deploying a few droids to assist us. I think we should move this sweep further out…”
“Lexi…” The ghostly whispers echoed across my mind like a sweet caress, blotting out Steve’s voice. “Leeexi.”
I shook my head and pulled my mask off. The tainted air immediately assaulted me, making me want to gag.
“Alex, you hear me?” Steve asked.
“Yeah—yeah, you said something about deploying droids,” I muttered absentmindedly. With my thoughts drifting a million miles away, I headed for the ship.
“Where are you going?”
“To get my tranq rifle. Any kid vamps come across this area, I’m putting them to sleep and then turning them over to the CRF.” At least the Cross Research Facility wouldn’t kill them, but study them instead. Rather that, than getting baked in the sun and getting their heads bashed in.
“Ahh hell, Alex,” he groaned. “You shouldn’t have told me that. Now I’m an accomplice to your treasonous plan.”
The phantom voice… He called me Lexi. Why Lexi? There was only one man who addressed me by that nickname, and he disappeared well over ten years ago.
“Please don’t let it be him,” I whispered as I moved deeper into the shadows.
Copyright © 2014 by Yvonne Nicolas
All rights reserved.
Stay tuned for the next chapter in Crimson Days!
What was I listening to while writing this chapter?
Korn ~ Falling Away From Me