This is the rest of the story. Click here for the beginning
Vincent snapped awake with a jerk. He found himself tied to a chair. He gritted his teeth and tugged, expecting to snap whatever bindings held his arms behind him, but they held fast. That told him they were made of far stronger stuff than mere rope or plastic. It also told him whoever had tied him up most likely knew he was far stronger than a normal human.
He pulled harder, with his arms and his legs, seeing if he could break the chair itself. It held firm. It felt metallic against his hands, but whatever it was made from it wasn’t going to succumb to his strength. Not easily, at least, and not without it being obvious what he was doing.
The lighting was harsh, forcing him to blink many times before he could see properly. Glancing down he saw his suit was ruined, burnt patches all over it. Normally that would be enough to make him seriously angry, but he had a suspicion that far more was at stake than his suit.
He struggled to see much of the room around him. The lights were simply too bright. Was that deliberate? Then there was movement. Movement and voices.
“It’s awake!” said a nasal voice. “Good. We wouldn’t want it to miss out on the moment.”
“No,” said another voice. “It should be aware. It should know the moment of its death, and that it will never again take an innocent life.”
“I take it the interview isn’t going well,” said Vincent.
“Hah! The legendary poise of a vampire. See how long that lasts once we drive a stake through your heart.”
“Let’s get this over with.”
This voice was different, it sounded much younger than the other two voices. But there was still endless malice within it.
“So I suppose one of you is Mr Akers?” asked Vincent, still wracking his mind for something to try, some way to escape.
“Oh, but we all are!” said the nasally voice. Then he laughed. “They seem to have missed a letter out of the name on the doors downstairs. There should be a T after the S.”
“Well, if we left all the letters in you might have realised what was going to happen to you.”
“Damn monsters!,” said the childlike voice. “Killing without regret. Never stopping to think your victims might be innocents. Never considering the lives of your victims, or whether they deserved to die. Spreading darkness wherever you go.”
“That’s vampires all right!” said the nasally voice.
“We really aren’t all…” Vincent started to say, then he grunted at a stabbing pain where his heart was. Glancing down he saw a wooden stake stuck there, with a small hand holding it. Another had rested on his shoulder to gain more leverage.
“Die foul creature!” said the young sounding voice. And then, whispered so close to his ear that no one else in the room could possibly hear it, the voice spoke again. “Play dead! Just for a moment!”
Vincent groaned and slumped forwards. A wooden stake through the heart would certainly kill a vampire. That was why underneath his immaculately tailored clothes he had an under-layer woven of kevlar and other similar technologies. The stake in his chest had pierced his clothes, but not the under-layer. It seemed this voice knew that.
Vincent found himself being dragged forward, the chair he was on tipping to the side. Apparently there was a way to release it from the floor. There was laughter all around.
Vincent lay where he’d fallen, still bound to the chair, unmoving. Being a vampire he had no need to breathe. There was no sign he was anything other than dead, and no one offered any objections as a sharp knife cut his bonds.
Then came the young voice again, loud enough for everyone to hear and with a harsh edge to it.
“You don’t see it, do you?”
“Don’t see what?” asked the nasally voice.
“You don’t see who the monsters are, do you? You’re either so blinded by hatred for vampires that you believe everything you’ve been told, or you know it’s not true but you still enjoy killing them. Which is it?”
There was silence for long seconds, followed by quiet muttering. Finally someone answered the question, a voice Vincent hadn’t heard till now.
“Vampires kill! It’s what they exist to do. Everyone knows that. I don’t understand why you’re questioning that.”
“Because it’s not true! If you made even the slightest effort to do some research you’d know that. It didn’t take me long to work that out. Not when I started looking. The world is very different from what you all claim.”
“Hardly! We know vampires kill. They’ve killed plenty of our associates when we’ve been dealing with them. That’s why we had such an elaborate trap for this one.”
“They kill plenty of those who are trying to kill them? When they’re fighting for their own lives? That doesn’t sound like a damning indictment.”
“That’s not the only lives they’ve taken! I’ve seen the result of a rampaging vampire. Dozens of innocents dead, just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. All of them would have been alive if we’d got to the vampire earlier.”
“You’re right. There are a few where that happens. And they do need to be killed. But not the others. Not the majority of vampires who live perfectly peaceful lives.”
“Bullshit! Either they’re hiding what they’re doing or at best they’ve tamped down their urges for a little while. Vampire blood always comes through in the end.”
Vincent lay on the floor listening to the exchange, and wondering just where this was leading. There was something else too. Something tickling at his memory. Normally his mind was very clear and he didn’t have trouble recalling things, but he was still recovering from the enormous jolt of electricity. His thoughts were fuzzy. Why did the young voice sound so familiar?
“No, that’s not true at all,” said the youngster. “There are vampires who’ve gone hundreds of years without harming anyone. This one here, there are no hints of him having harmed anyone who didn’t deserve it in over a century of… well, let’s call it life.
“But more than that… he risked his existence to save a young child when he could easily have left them to die without anyone being the wiser. Hell, he could have fed on the child and no one would have known.”
Vincent felt like slapping his head, but it would have spoilt his playing dead. The voice! It was the little girl from his ski trip, when the cable car had crashed and been buried by snow. Though she’d turned out not to be a little girl at all. She’d been a vampire hunter, determined to kill him.
To begin with. Vincent’s actions while he still believed she was a little girl had shown her not everything she’d been taught about vampires was true. And now she was here… Vincent had to fight hard not to let a smile show on his face. He thought he knew what was going on now.
“Well if you think so highly of this vampire, why have you just killed him?” asked one of the adult voices.
“So you didn’t get the satisfaction. I know each and every one of you in this room would quite happily have killed him. In fact, according to our records and my research, every single one of you has killed at least three vampires who were innocent of any crimes.”
“What has that got to do with anything?”
“I just wanted everyone in the room to know who they were dealing with.”
“Of course we all know! It’s what we do! Hey, leave that switch alone.”
“This switch? I’m just turning off the bright lights. They’re giving me a headache. And to answer your earlier question, how could I kill this vampire who I admired so much? The answer is simple. I didn’t kill him. He’s not dead. And now he knows exactly what type of people are in the room with him.”
There was pin drop silence for a second or two, followed by a click. The bright lights went out. Vincent could tell that even through his closed eyelids.
He opened his eyes which immediately adjusted to the now dim room. Dim For the humans. Not for him. He could see perfectly.
The young… being was in the corner, smiling. Vincent realised he still didn’t know quite what she was, other than that she wasn’t completely human. Spread around the room were eight other vampire hunters, all looking shocked by the sudden turn of events.
With a surge of energy Vincent shoved himself upwards, going straight from lying on the floor to standing. Then he flexed his hands. He wasn’t violent by nature. In fact he sought to avoid violence where possible.
Sometimes it wasn’t possible to avoid it. By their own admission, the vampire hunters in the room had killed innocent vampires for no reason other than that they were vampires. If Vincent allowed them to leave they’d do the same again in the future. There was only one course of action open to him. These vampire hunters needed to die.
They had no chance to get the drop on him now. No surprises. There were eight of them, but that still didn’t come close to making it an even fight. Not a single one of them would be leaving the room alive.
He allowed himself a small smile. Normally he didn’t enjoy violence, but in this case he’d make an exception. And besides… they’d ruined his suit. Someone had to pay for that. With a yell he charged the closest of the hunters, a shout of anger over the damage to his clothes acting as his battle cry. And the young being watched on with a smile.