I know I said in my last post that I wouldn’t be posting an excerpt from the story for a while but I like this scene a lot so here’s a little pre-Thanksgiving treat for those of you have been keeping up!
All the previous excerpts:
. . .
Andie sped down the Long Island Expressway back towards the city, the only car on the road this far north on the Island. It was close to 2am and Max was snoring in the passenger seat next to her. The caffeine from the tea was still surging through her veins as she drummed her fingers against the steering wheel. The night’s conversation kept tumbling around in her mind.
It looked like The High Council was slowly trying to consolidate power over the past year so they could wield more control over Otherworlders. But then why wouldn’t they respond to the Mole People’s requests? Wouldn’t a couple of rogue Moledaemons be the perfect reason to regulate the movement of these creatures? Something wasn’t adding up. Wallace was right, though, if Andie was going to confront the Council members, she would need more evidence and a plan. She needed to talk this out loud to help her piece things together and reached over to wake Max up.
But before she could, two motorcycles zoomed past her followed by a black car with tinted windows. The vehicles in front had spread, one in each lane in front of her. She figured they were racing and slowed down to avoid a crash. Suddenly, about a mile and a half in front of her all three vehicles turned in their lanes, blocking her path. Andie slammed the brakes, screeching down the highway and stopping with a hard jolt. Her seatbelt pressed hard against her chest to keep her from flying forward. Max flung forward next to her, waking up with a strangled yell.
“What happened?” Max panicked. Andie didn’t reply; instead, she pointed ahead.
In front of them, the motorcycles began revving their engines. A hooded figure emerged from the moon roof of the black car directly in their lane. Without waiting to see what would happen next, Andie threw the car in reverse and made a u-turn, speeding back down the highway in the opposite direction.
“Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit.” Max muttered over and over while holding onto the car door and dashboard with each hand. Andie checked her rearview mirror to see the motorcycles were gaining, bobbing and weaving behind her but the black car was nowhere in sight. Just as the motorcycles reached the back of her car, she slammed on the brakes again. The hogs careened passed her before they could realize what happened. Andie wasted no time in swerving the car back around racing back the way they came.
“OH SHIT. OH SHIT. OH SHIT,” Max yelled as they barreled down the highway.
The black car hadn’t moved. It had not pursued them in the chase. Instead, the hooded figure was now kneeling on the roof, like a cat ready to pounce.
Andie didn’t take her eyes off the road in front of her, she could hear the motorcycles were close behind now and she wouldn’t be able to pull off the same trick again. She charged forward toward the black car, not letting up on the accelerator.
Max was now yelling incoherently, the engines of the motorcycles were roaring, but the closer she got to the car, the more time seemed to slow down. The figure on top of the car threw his hood off, revealing a pale pointed face and a bald head etched with crisscrossing scars. The cars were half a mile apart and neither seemed to have any intention of moving. Max had his hands on the steering wheel trying to futilely grab it out of Andie’s strong grip. With the cars only a few yards apart, the man on the hood threw himself into the air towards their car. Andie swerved the car to the right. Max stretched his neck to see the man fly over their car and then hit the trunk with a loud thud, rolling onto the pavement. The motorcycles were still following them with break neck speed, Max watched as one vampire stopped to help his friend up off the ground and onto his bike. The man seemed unfazed. The black car now in motion, Max could make out a pale hooded vampire in the driver seat. The car followed the motorcycles and Andie’s car from a safe distance.
The bike that hadn’t stopped was now right next to the passenger seat. Max moved away from the window as hooded rider turned to face him. The rider was also pale, unnaturally so, and she sneered at him through a veil of long stringy hair revealing a set of jet-black fangs.
“Andie, what the hell?” Max moaned.
“Max, shut up. Open the glove compartment,” Andie ordered rapidly. He unlocked the compartment and out came tumbling an assortment of weapons: silver daggers, pistols, wooden stakes, and bottles of what looked like —
“Holy water!” Max grabbed a bottle and unstoppered it. Excited by his discovery, he rolled down his window.
“Max, NO!” Andie yelled swerving to the left but not before the vampire reached into the car and grabbed Max’s collar. She didn’t let go of her hold on Max and let herself be dragged along the side of the car, the bike screeching under her.
“ARRGGGHHH!” Max yelled as he threw the holy water full force into the vampire’s face. She reeled back, howling. There was a loud grinding noise followed by several thumps under the car. Max craned his neck to see the lady vampire on the road with a metal shard stuck in her chest. Max turned to tell Andie when a flash of what looked like fire made him snap back. The body was no longer there; instead, a cloud of smoke billowed from where it lay.
The other motorcycle had somehow made it in front of them. Andie began slowing down.
“The other car is behind us,” Max pointed out.
“I know. You’re going to drive.” Andie was now almost at a full stop. The car behind them had also stopped. The motorcycle in front of them was now on its way back full speed. They stumbled over each other trying to switch places, Max accidentally placed his hand on Andie’s backside and began apologizing profusely.
“Just move!” Andie hissed. Max slid into the driver’s seat, thoroughly embarrassed. “Max, drive!” Andie yelled as the motorcycle came to a halt in front of them. The vampire that first attacked their car jumped off the bike and began racing towards them so fast he was a blur. Before Max could move, the vampire was already on the hood of the car, baring fangs that matched his black hoodie. He snarled and hissed at Max. Andie reached up to open the moon roof but Max hit her hand away. He revved the engine a few times in neutral and then shot forward so hard that the vampire rolled up and hit the windshield. The vampire didn’t fall of this time, holding on the hood as the car moved forward.
“Max, watch out,” Andie pointed to the bike in front of them but Max didn’t listen nor did he change course. Andie braced herself. He plowed right into the motorcycle with the vampire still on it. The bike dragged underneath them as they whirled around to stop from the force of the crash. The bald vampire was no longer on the hood but lay between their car and the black car. Andie could just make out a motionless hooded figure at the steering wheel.
“My car . . .” Andie lamented. The front end was crushed in and half the fender was missing.
“I’m sorry,” Max replied.
But Andie wasn’t paying attention. The bald vampire was now stirring.
“Good job. Stay in the car.” Andie said as she gathered a few choice weapons and stepped out into the warm night.
Andie stood in the middle of the highway, surveying the scene. The rider vampire’s lower half was crushed under the mangled bike not far from the bald one. The rider was struggling to get the motorcycle off of his legs. Andie walked over to the rider, dragged him from under the bike and threw him next to his bald friend. She made sure she was in plain view of the driver in the black car. The bald vampire was awake now and was half way off the ground but stopped when Andie unstoppered the bottle of holy water in her hand and held it over the crippled rider.
“What tribe do you belong to?” she snarled at the bald one as the rider whimpered. He gave no answer as he looked on defiantly. “Who sent you?” Andie yelled feeling the heat rise around her face as her pulse pounded in her ears. The bald one sneered this time, opening his mouth only to stick his black tongue out at Andie. Without hesitation, she poured the contents of the bottle over the rider.
His skin sizzled as his screams of agony rent the still air.
The bald vampire scrambled away from Andie as she turned to him. She grabbed the back of his hoodie and flung him back onto the ground. He held a small knife in his hand and slashed at her as she jumped back. He kicked himself off the ground brandishing the dagger and taunting her with a cackle. Andie was too quick for him and kicked the dagger out of his hand. He charged at her with his head down as Andie swung. Her fist collided with his scarred skull with a loud crunch. The vampire stumbled to his left but recovered quickly and swung out at Andie in retaliation. She grabbed his arm and using his weight, pulled him toward her, driving a stake through his heart. He gasped and looked up at her in shock. She hissed at him as she wrenched the stake out. The bald vampire fell to the ground, his body falling on to itself as if his bones were evaporating. Almost in the flash of an eye, he burst into flames and disappeared, leaving behind spirals of smoke arising from the ground.
The black car hadn’t moved and neither had the driver. As Andie got closer to the vehicle she noticed smoke rising from the vampire’s chest. She ran to the driver’s side door and pulled it off of its hinges. The vampire inside, a woman with long red hair, had poured holy water all down her front. She was heaving from the pain, gasping for air, as her skin bubbled and burned. Andie dragged her out on the cement by her hair.
“Tell me what your tribe is and I’ll put you out of your misery,” Andie said, her voice even and calm even though her mind was racing.
The vampire smiled as she whispered, “This pain is nothing compared to what you will face very soon.”
“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” Andie could no longer control her anger.
The redhead’s eyes were starting to roll back in her head. Andie could feel her body going limp.
Andie slapped the redhead awake, “No! Who sent you?”
The vampire smiled again, “The Inquilab has arisen.”
Andie’s grip slackened, “What did you just say?” but it was too late. The vampire’s whole body was smoking intensely now. Andie dropped her and stepped away just as she turned into a ball of flame. Andie’s heart was still racing but for a different reason now. She looked around to remind herself of her surroundings. Did she say Inquilab? But Andie hadn’t heard that word in years. In fact, she didn’t think she had ever heard it spoken aloud since she was six years old.
“Andie?” Max called bringing her back to the reality. He was standing outside of the car, watching Andie warily.
She turned around and saw that the rider vampire was still alive, albeit terribly burned. His face was completely melted but his body was still intact. Andie ran to his body and ripped off his hoodie exposing his chest. There were no scars or tribal signs. This was an unmarked vampire.
“These vampires don’t belong to a tribe,” she called out to Max.
“What?” He yelled back at her. Theories and explanations were bounding and bouncing off each other in her mind. She couldn’t hold on to a train of thought for longer than a second, as if her brain was trying to protect her from the truth. Normally, her instinct would be frustration in the face of Max’s ignorance. Instead, she breathed deeply, it was a nice distraction to explain something she knew. She drove a stake through the vampire’s heart before walking back to Max.
“All vampires belong to tribes. Each tribe has its own unique sign. It’s a brand they burn into new member’ skin. These vampires don’t have any markings.”
“So they don’t belong to any tribes? What about the tribes in New York?”
“There’s only one tribe left in all of New York state. The High Council protects them and they live in the city. The tribes were dying out because of centuries of infighting and because we were especially good at killing them. One of the last tribes left made a deal with The High Council to stop hunting human prey in exchange for shelter. They promised to provide us with information about any illegal Otherworld activity and we killed off their enemies.”
“These vampires are rogue?”
“I guess. But they’re only hunter vampires.”
“What do you mean only hunter vampires?”
“There’s also a very strict hierarchy within the tribe. You have your hunter vampires, like these guys, who go out at night and bring prey back to their dens. Then you have your soldier vampires who turn new members and are extremely able fighters. And at the top, you have your Chief Vampire. And you don’t want to mess with a Chief vampire. They don’t have to lift a finger to kill you. They do it all with their minds.”
“Do you think they have a Chief vampire?” Max asked in horror.
“A Chief vampire would have marked his men. These guys must be for hire.”
“I think I have an idea,” Andie said more to herself than Max. “Let’s take their car. I’ll call Wallace to have this mess cleaned up.”
. . .