Bonus story from Dark Things Between the Shadow and the Soul
A long silence followed while static crackled on the line. Gritting his teeth, the soldier pressed the satellite phone into his ear as he waited impatiently for the kill order.
It was difficult, coming so close to ending his tour in this damned place, and then being told he had ‘just one more mission’ to complete before he could ship out. The sooner they got this done and over with, the sooner he and his men could go home for some well-deserved rest, but no, their supposedly all-important mission had to wait while their superiors apparently conferred amongst themselves.
‘Alpha, retreat immediately. Repeat, retreat immediately.’
He stared down incredulously at the phone in his hand.
Retreat? If they moved now, they could –
‘Alpha? This is an order! Retreat imm-’
Firming his jaw, the man clicked the switch off.
‘We didn’t receive that last order, First Lieutenant,’ he said brusquely, and after a brief hesitation, his second in command nodded.
The Captain turned and met the eyes of his men, who nodded, as well.
If they retreated now, there was no guarantee they’d get to ship out immediately; they’d have to stay on here to get their target another day. Right now, it seemed like if he didn’t get away from this place soon, he’d start to go a little crazy.
And to think, all the way on the chopper ride out here, his superiors had been busting his balls, telling him how important it was that they break up this terrorist cell, how it was a matter of national security, and now –
– and now, command wanted them to retreat.
Well, they could just f*ck off.
He’d never led an unsuccessful mission, and he wasn’t about to start now – just because some coward in a plush office somewhere had gotten his knickers in a twist. He and his team would ‘neutralise’ this damned woman, and show the pencil pushing analysts how threats should be dealt with.
And they’d make it home in time for drinks.
He motioned to his men, and on his command, they all silently pulled on their night vision goggles. The Captain quickly got to his feet, creeping around the side of the abandoned building before him. It looked like a dilapidated temple—or mosque?—that had long ago fallen into disrepair.
The Captain crept through one of the broken doors. There was no noise behind him, but he knew his men were following.
And that was when it all started to go wrong.
The Captain had just turned to his First Lieutenant when there was a sudden whooshing sound and he blinked –
He blinked again, because his brain refused to believe what his eyes were telling him. Through the blood running down his night vision goggles, the Captain could see that the First Lieutenant was missing his upper body. Even as he watched, the disembodied legs fell to the floor and twitched. The Captain ripped off his goggles and took a step back, as one of his men screamed and opened fire—
There was that whooshing sound again—and now he heard something else above the sound of machine gun fire, a long, drawn out scream—and laughter. The maniacal laughter of a woman who was enjoying herself, a woman laughing in delight.
A shudder skittered up his spine, and he opened fire blindly.
There was a wet, squelching sound, and the screams stopped. The sudden, horrifying silence was infinitely worse, though, because at least when his men had been screaming, he had known where to aim.
Shaking, his heart hammering in his dry throat as he fumbled another magazine into his gun, the Captain stared into the darkness. Pulling his torch out of his pocket, he switched it on—
Teeth glinted before him, and he fell back. It was the target—the leader of a terrorist cell, intel had said, but were they right? Surely this was no ordinary woman—standing over him with a splash of vermilion—blood?—on her forehead, hair long and flowing about her form.
She smiled, and he saw fangs.
He had never before believed in the supernatural, but he knew it was true, knew it down to his bones with the terrified certainty of prey being confronted with a predator.
Vampire—he could not think—what did vampires fear? Silver bullets? No, it was holy water and stakes and garlic—and—and—
‘Get back!’ he cried, fumbling for the cross around his neck, even as he moved backwards. ‘I know what you are! This is a cross, and you can’t—’
The last thing he saw was her smile widening.
– ~ –
It always amused her that they thought this little trinket symbolising their faith would save them, as if it were a holy relic they held.
False gods and fake prophets had no power over her.
The little man before her realised it—too late—when she ripped his throat out, cross and all.
A/N: Because I grew up reading Indian mythology, not vampire love stories. ;) Yes, she’s an atheist vampire. Or at least, not a Christian one. It’s a myth that all walking undead are vampires who shudder before the cross.
If this story interested you, do check out my book for more!
Rearranging age old tales from Indian mythology into something new, this collection of fractured fairy tales will delight lovers of the unusual.
Image credit: nuchylee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net, with thanks.
[music| So Gaya Yeh Jahan: Nitin Mukesh ‘Tezaab’ OST]