Lance DeMoi leaned against a bulkhead in the plane; he could feel the vibrations of the engines on his back. DPIR agents milled about the plane, carrying out different tasks. Lance’s handler, Agent Grey, walked over to where he was sitting.
“DeMoi, you know the mission, you know who to kill, and to retrieve the Blood Wand. You’ll be dropped in this forest,” Grey pulled out a map. “Here, a few miles south of London, the vampire colony is nested here, in some ruins of a faerie fort. We need you to execute this quickly DeMoi – we believe they are on some ceremonial schedule – get the Wand before sunrise.”
Lance nodded sleepily; it was 11:30 PM. He had drunk two cups of coffee, but he was still tired.
“Getting fatigued in my old age,” Lance mumbled.
“Oh please,” Grey sighed as he walked away.
The plane reached London, a great sea of lights in the early morning darkness. Lance pulled on his parachute and proceeded to the hatch. Grey ambled over.
“Parachute?” The handler asked.
“Array of stakes?”
Lance slapped his belt, jangling the stakes together.
“Revolver with silver bullets?”
“Shiny.” Lance pulled out his revolver and cocked it.
“All right, Jason open the hatch,” said Grey. The agent by the door opened it; a blast of cold, morning air smacked Lance in the face, and his ears were filled with the roaring of the engine and the wind. He braced himself against the doorway, his face turning slightly green; heights had always bothered him.
“Afraid of heights? Even after all these years?” Grey smirked as he started to walk away.
“Aren’t you going to wish me luck?”
“I’m so lucky to have you as my handler.” And with that, he jumped from the plane, into the night and the forest below.
Clearing the plane, he extended his parachute; the fabric blew out into the air, jerking him upwards. He gritted his teeth and kept his eyes on the trees below, focusing on them and not on the emptiness around him. After some minutes of drifting in the dark sea of the sky, Lance glided below the treetops, to the designated clearing beneath him, and landed with a small thud. He unstrapped the parachute, discarding it on a stump, adjusted his jumpsuit, armed himself with a stake and walked into the cover of the trees, just as Grey’s voice crackled out of Lance’s earpiece.
“Lance, proceed due east for about two clicks, you’ll come to a walled compound, enter it through the old side entry door. Remember, this forest is probably filled with guards, be careful and stealthy. Over and out.”
Lance could feel an immediate change when he entered the forbidding darkness of the trees – a chill, eerie feeling crept over him, sending a shiver down his spine. He sighed and continued walking. Nothing eventful happened, except when a sleepy squirrel threw a nut at his head. Reaching a hill with a foxhole at the top, Lance slipped behind a tree, readying his stake; he listened as he heard voices coming from the hole.
“Ugh, this is incredibly dull. No one worth eating is awake. Then we must endure the sunrise.” The husky voice was chill and cruel.
“Silence, Alan. We must watch and listen for DPIR or Scotland Yard investigators. Once the ceremony is complete, Klaus shall destroy London and rally the Nocturnals of Britain,” the second voice was raspy, like nails on a chalkboard, and full of malice.
Lance crept to the back of the hill and crawled his way to the top. Two vampires kept watch; both wearing leather armor. One had a sickle, the other wielded a three-foot long sword. The one with the the sickle sniffed the air.
“What is it, Brutus, what do you smell?” Alan asked.
“Blood, nearby.” The two vampires eagerly searched the misty trees. Alan turned around just in time to yelp as Lance plunged a stake through his chest. As his companion turned to ash, Brutus leaped from the foxhole, his sickle ready to parry an attack. Lance lunged, feinting toward the vampire’s stomach, but his attack was deflected; the vampire was smarter than he looked. Brutus muttered something in Romanian; suddenly, Lance moved in slow motion. Through sheer willpower, Lance fought to break the curse. Just as he broke free, Brutus swung his weapon, gashing Lance’s right arm. Lance hit the ground and gritted his teeth against the pain. The vampire advanced on the prone agent; Lance, clutching his stake, struggled to his feet, tossing the stake from his right hand to his left. The druid vampire prepared another incantation, but Lance was quicker – he rammed the vampire to the ground, knocked out his teeth with his boot, and stuck two stakes through Brutus’s elbows pinning him to the ground.
Lance crouched beside the pinned vampire, holding his own wounded arm.
“Tell me, Vampire, who’s Klaus, and what’s the whole ‘ceremonial schedule’?” Lance asked. The vampire opened his mouth; ash and bits of teeth fell out. Lance always found it disconcerting that vampires have no blood.
“You can’t torture me for information, human, we vampires feel little pain.” Brutus spat at Lance, who sighed.
“Oh, sure, feel no pain,” he pulled a bottle of holy water from his belt, yanked open his victim’s mouth and poured a single drop into the open mouth. Brutus shrieked in pain and convulsed violently. Lance watched as steam rose from the vampire’s mouth and tears flooded his eyes.
“Y-you think t-that will stop m-me? Ha, I have nothing to lose.”
Two drops this time. Brutus was sobbing by the time he recovered.
“OK! I’ll talk! I’ll talk! By Dracula!” He gulped, “Klaus is the chief of my colony… he wants to become a Duke in Dracula’s Court… to rise from chief to royalty, one has to,” Brutus choked, “prove oneself powerful enough to deserve the position. So Klaus, he’s stolen… he’s stolen -”
“He’s stolen what, man, spit it out!” Lance slapped the vampire. Brutus grabbed the holy water bottle from Lance’s hand and swallowed it whole.
“NO!” Lance tried to grab the bottle from the monster, but it was too late, Brutus yelled in pain, sheer agony etched on his chalk white face; his red, catlike eyes wide, he burned up, to a pile of ash. Lance straightened, picking up his stakes. He sighed.
“OK, this is serious, I’ve never seen a vampire commit suicide.”
“Catch all that, Grey?” Lance said into his headset.
“Grey’s taking a nap, this is Jason,” said the voice that crackled out of the speaker.
“All right, Jason, you got all that?”
“Yes, sir, we’re chronicling everything the vampires say.”
“Good man, this would seem like your usual vampire chief trying to get more power, but it’s much more serious. Why aren’t there any Scotland Yard investigators here, Jason?”
“They’re held up eradicating a witch cabal in Ireland,” Jason responded.
Lance sighed. “Always something. Well, over and out.” He headed into the gloom, making his way toward the fort.
To be continued...
To be continued...