Chapter 5

Chapter 5

I take off running towards the screams, I’ve made it back to the barn in no time flat. I pause and listen for the direction of the screams. There’s an echo out here, but I focus my hearing with a little magic. I still can’t get an exact location, but I’m pretty sure they’re coming from the North. That’s the direction I run. Another scream confirms I chose to go in the right direction. They grow in frequency as I spot another clearing. A farm house in the middle of nowhere. The screams are coming inside.

I rush towards the house without hesitation. I didn’t bother to check my surroundings before rushing in. My robes are ripped away from my chest and I jump back. Standing face to face with me is a Strigoi vampire. Just as I had suspected earlier. The pale white body showed no signs of fatigue despite the fast attacked it launched on me. The crooked jaw hung open showing yellowish green teeth and a forked tongue on full display. The body incredibly skinny, making it seem elongated, if standing straight it might be a little shorter than I am. Slowly it begins to follow me back outside, sharp claws digging into the ground, adding dirt to the dry and cracking skin. As it moved, I was able to spot three more from my peripheral vision. If I could see four that meant there were probably forty nearby. They don’t make themselves known unless they know for sure they have the numbers advantage.

It begins to circle. I do my best to give it my back, and focus on the friends it brought along. As soon as it was behind me it leaped forward to attack, I was ready and stabbed my combat knife directly at it. I was rusty, I missed the heart, if it had been living, I would have pierced a lung. Only a few drops of black oily blood leaked from the wound. Still it backed off and circled plotting the next attack. At least I thought that was what it was doing. Instead it hissed and backed into the tree line, vanishing from my site. I knew what was next, they would come at me in waves. My only hope is there aren’t as many of them as I’m expecting.

This was way too organized for just a group of Strigoi, almost as if they had a designated leader this time and weren’t attacking blindly. None of this makes sense, they were the obvious culprit, they’re at the scene of the crime. Still, they’ve never been known to take hostages for any reason. They don’t have the mental capacity; they’re more like wild animals than humans. I need to focus on the task at hand. I slide on one of my brass knuckles, dipped in silver, covered in runes. They don’t kill most creatures in a single blow, but they level the playing field. I grip my combat knife harder and prepare to face them. I’d prefer my back to a wall, but in an open field, that just isn’t possible.

The first starts to hiss, a second and a third. They continue as the hissing grows louder as more join in, and they move closer. The first launches at me from the woods. A different one than who I stabbed earlier. I slam my fist right into it the cranium of the monster as it nears. It screeches in terror, shocked a punch would hurt it. Caught off guard I take the moment to stab my knife through the heart of the beast. No missing this time. It lets out another screech of terror as it falls to the ground dead. In the morning the body will turn to ash and it will be as if nothing ever happened. The hissing grows louder. No, another is approaching me. I turn just in time to avoid the sharp claws piercing my back. Instead it gets another piece of my robe tangled. I am sloppy, I should have expected an attack immediately after the first. I stab at the heart and it drops, this one made no sound as it died.

A third rushes in, this time a body shot, the flesh burns in reaction to the silver. It gives me enough time to cut through the heart of this one as well. Usually Strigoi attack all at once. This is strange, almost as if they’re trying to get a feel for my movements and searching for some kind of weakness. Still, it doesn’t take long before I’ve killed five or six of them. They go down easy especially when you’ve got some blessed weapons on your side. I’ve had time to catch my breath but I still expect them to rush at any moment. There’s too many to count, but I don’t hesitate when the screeching stops and they rush in.

I keep calm and focus on one at a time. My first move is firing a flare directly into the face of one. It doesn’t kill him, but gargled yelps let me know it’s feeling the pain. The plan was to use the light from the flare to make seeing harder for them, they aren’t used to bright lights. Using the momentary shock, I manage to take out three of them before they can regroup. Again, they attempt to retreat but I follow and manage to take out another before they reach the tree line. Still I back into position; if they get me into the forest it’s a wrap for me.

They rush again, this time it seems as if they’ve added more to their numbers. Someone is pulling the strings for sure. They aren’t this smart, there’s never been an example of them formulating and executing a plan. They’re not trying to kill me; they’re trying to wear me down. I make an effort to conserve energy this time around. More dodging less unnecessary movements. I only move with the intention to dodge or kill at this point. It becomes a cycle now.

I’m unable to catch my breath this time around and there’s nowhere for me to retreat to. There seems to be no end to their numbers. A claw barely misses my face as another claws at my protective vest. I feel a sting as one claws into my arm. I manage to free one of my guns from the holster and fire. It recoils in pain as the bullet burns through. Each gun and each bullet is engraved with various magic runes, additionally the bullets are blessed and carved as well. It may take a few, but they’ll kill just about anything. Vampire, werewolf or even demon. They get the job done and I go to extra lengths to make sure they do. In this case, the Strigoi will die as long as the bullet tears through the flesh. They can’t handle the power the runes and silver combine to create. I manage to fire off a few more shots and gain some breathing room from the pack.

I take the moment to move away from the forest. Gun in my right hand, knife in my left; I make a few kills before they start to close in around me. Out of bullets, I switch guns, no time to reload. The chaos seems to make them more energetic. They seemed lethargic at first but now they’re hungry for blood. They’ve been whipped into a frenzy. I’ve only got a few bullets left before I have to reload, so I conserve ammunition for the moment. It doesn’t last long as they make another big push to take me down. I feel my leg being bitten into. The padding means they won’t penetrate my pants but the pressure is enough to make my leg want to quit on me. I fire a shot downwards into the beast’s head before I’m forced to take a knee.

There doesn’t seem to be an end to them. They aren’t giving me enough time to grab for anything heavier and I haven’t gotten a chance to reload. I resort to pistol-whipping them to keep back. Still they move closer, sensing that I’m at the end of my road. I hate to admit Elser was right, maybe we should have waited for backup, no fuck him. Lives were at risk, I don’t regret it. I’d do it again if I had to.


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