Calmet gasped. It was Ellen, but not the way he remembered her. She looked younger, paler, her long blonde hair, which she usually pinned up, was flowing freely. She was smiling, but not in the way that used to bring him comfort. The ends of her mouth were curled into a dangerous smirk and the tips of her new fangs could be seen peeking out of her blood-red lips.
“Nothing will ever be normal again!” she said, excited. “Not for me, not for you, not for the whole world!” She raised her arms up as if she was trying to embrace the soul of every person at once.
The monster walked over and pulled Ellen’s hair back, revealing her white neck with two red puncture wounds. “My greatest progeny,” he said softly. He towered over the petite woman and kissed her hard on the mouth.
Calmet lunged at the man, blinded by hate. The monster merely raised his fist and punched Calmet square in the face, never letting Ellen out of his passionate embrace. Calmet stumbled backwards and braced himself against a wall. He felt the warmth of blood trickle down his nose.
Tolbert placed a hand on Calmet’s shoulder. “Don’t let them provoke you,” he said. “This how they want you to react. If you lose your concentration, they will be free to attack. You must remain calm.”
Calmet looked back at the monster and Ellen. How could he remain calm?
Tolbert turned to face the vampires. “Enough of this playtime,” he said. “Time to send you to hell!”
The monster pushed Ellen away and smiled at Tolbert. “You first, hunter.” The monster took a deep breath, leaned back and howled. He transformed from merely a large man into a true beast with long fangs, clawed hands, and leathery wings grew from his back.
Tolbert flung several stakes at the beast, but he easily knocked them away, one after another. The monster lunged at Tolbert. In the smallness of the cavern, the monster appeared to be at a disadvantage with his large size and Tolbert easily darted away. Tolbert waved his torch in the monster’s face. The monster shrunk back a bit in the face of the flame. Tolbert took a large step forward and plunged the torch into the beast’s stomach. The beast roared in pain. Tolbert reached for another stake, but he wasn’t quick enough. The beast grabbed Tolbert’s torched hand and twisted it with enough force to rip his arm from his body. Tolbert quickly twisted his body in sync with his arm to keep it from being dislocated. The beast was surprised at Tolbert’s dexterity and Tolbert was able to slip his small wrist from the beast’s grasp, but he had to let go of the torch. The torch fell to the ground and the beast kicked it into a puddle, dousing the flame. The crypt was even darker now, save for a bit of moonlight filtering through the sewer grates above.
Tolbert and the beast seemed to have forgotten about Calmet and Ellen during their fray. Calmet looked around, but in the dark, Ellen slipped away. He wanted to go after her, but he wasn’t sure where she went or if he could find her in the dark. He also worried that Tolbert might need him. He was supposed to be there as Tolbert’s “second,” but in the dark, and disoriented from his wound and concern for Ellen, he really had no idea how to help. He rummaged around and pulled a glass vile of Holy Water out of his pocket and threw it at the beast. The monster screamed as the water burned a hole through his wing.
The monster turned towards Calmet and pointed a long claw at him. “You’re next, boy!”
You can find out what happens in “The Vampire’s Gift,” available in the anthology Monster Hunter: Blood Trails. “The Vampire’s Gift” is a prelude to The Vampire’s Daughter, my first full-length novel, coming soon from Rogue Phoenix Press. Be sure to sign up for my mailing list to be the first to find out when it is available.