Stake to the heart - who wouldn't that kill?

The windows explode in a New York City office block and in it stands a man in a trench-coat. For the FBI he's classed as non-existent. For everyday folk he's classed as a myth. For the VAPH though, he's classed as a dangerous foe, a public enemy of awful potential. And Luna, one of the VAPH's agents, will stop at nothing to catch him. Or better yet, to kill him.

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1. Stake to the heart - who wouldn't that kill?

   Stake to the heart - who wouldn’t that kill?

 

   The window exploded outwards with such force that the metal supports around it where ripped from the building too. The glass tinkled down lightly but the metallic beams plummeted downward, gravity pulling them relentlessly earthward and bringing them flying past fifty floors before striking the earth with such force that paving stones ruptured and blew up in a blizzard of shards. Meanwhile one of them sliced through the engine of a parked taxi which was promptly engulfed by a cloud of fire.

   Fifty floors up, staring down at the carnage and screaming people with a malicious grin stood an eccentric fellow. A black trench-coat flapped violently around his legs as the wind whipped through the broken window, whilst a blood red tie rested on his crisp white shirt, the collar of which was placed firmly up. His hair was an unruly mop on his head and his eyes were a deep blue. The fellow had a sallow, pale face which could almost have been classed as white.

   All of a sudden there came a shout from behind him and he turned to the room he had so recently laid waste to. The huge main desk was nowhere to be seen, but the absence of the right hand wall gave an implication as to where it might have gone. Where the wall had been ripped away cables sparked and plaster continued to flutter down in small curtains whilst the chairs were lying on their backs, broken and forlorn. The glass which separated the meeting room from the corridor was severely cracked and some fragments were missing, smashed on the floor instead. And in the middle of it all were three groaning people, gripping their necks in pain as the blood which flowed from their wounds bubbled through the fingers.

   The person who had shouted was not in the room however, and there was suddenly a blur of movement from in the corridor before the glass blew inwards as if struck by a bomb. The storm of shards was directed directly at the man in the window but he tensed his chest and the attacking glass diverted around him, flowing out into air and down the building as gravity took hold.

   Through the divider came a teenage girl, her brown hair streaked with dirt and plaster and the odd fragment of glass. She stood defiantly at the opposite end of the room, a similar trench-coat whipping round her legs and clashing terribly with her jeans and t-shirt. But she didn’t care.

   ‘Malachi.’ she said.

   ‘Luna.’ he grinned as if he was an old friend. ‘You know I’ve always thought your name would better suit a werewolf.’ His smile broadened as she tensed up.

   ‘What can I say,’ she said in mock carelessness, ‘I’m a rebel.’

   ‘Indeed you are.’ Malachi paused for a moment, then continued, ‘Well, I wouldn’t want to keep you from your business, so I will bid you good day.’ With that he fell backwards, dropping out of the window in a flurry of motion as his trench-coat flew up above him as the wind took hold. A moment later he reappeared again, coat flapping and grin still fixed seemingly perpetually on his face.

   Within an instant however he had flown off, vanishing from her view. Luna darted for the first of the fallen who was clutching their neck tightly. ‘Are you okay sir?’ she asked.

   The man removed his hand from his neck and she watched with a knowing grin as the skin slowly began to stitch itself back together, the deep punctures sealing themselves and the blood drying on his neck.

   ‘Get after him Luna.’ the man said, ‘You’re the only one with your coat on. I’ll see to the others.’

   She stood up and stood stiffly to attention. ‘Yessir.’ she said quickly then took a running jump out of the window and jerked to the right in the direction of her foe. She bulleted between the skyscrapers, following the same path as the roads below her. Far in the distance, some five blocks ahead she could see Malachi as a faint black spot.

   She focused her mind and sped up, gaining on him fast.

   As she flew she was glad of her bewitched coat which not only kept her warm but gave her the ability to fly without disintegrating entirely. After all, for the body to fly without aid needed a great deal of magic, and even then it was impossible to do without this bewitched coat which flapped viciously behind her. Had she not been wearing it, the magic within her body would have linked with that of the earth. And sure, when at a standstill or running that was fine, but when she was doing anything above sixty it became a problem, for her magic would link to that of earth but she would be moving too fast for it to then detach and join up further along. Anything above sixty and she would be literally cut to ribbons. And currently she was doing well over a hundred.

   The coat acted as a barrier, a small pod almost which kept her magic in her, and the earth’s magic out, therefore making sure neither connected. It meant she couldn’t use magic at these speeds. But she didn’t care, for she had sheer force on her side.

   Within a minute or so she was flying in Malachi’s slipstream. For a short while he didn’t notice her, but as she stretched her arm out to grab his foot he threw a glance over his shoulder and then barrel-rolled down the street to their immediate left. The unexpected move threw for a second. But only a second.

   With a skill born from years of practice she barrel-rolled left and up and over the nearest roof. This high up she then swerved over the road and saw Malachi a short distance below her, peering over his shoulder and spotting no adversary.

   Luna grinned; he hadn’t seen her.

   She sped up until she was directly slightly in front of him, though not so much that he could see her. Then, grinding to a halt she dropped vertically, cannoning downwards with her arms outstretched. She caught the man in the back and her momentum forced them both down forty storeys and smashing into the road. A signature yellow cab of New York City sat beside them and as they landed a slab of tarmac three feet by ten took off the roof before smashing into a small shop to their right. Meanwhile to their left a fire hydrant blew its top and spewed out water high into the air.

   Luna knelt on Malachi’s back for a moment, breathing hard as water rained down in curtains onto them both. Passers-by stared in shock as the pair just lay there, and Luna looked up for a moment, staring at them.

   Malachi caught her off her guard then, twisting in her grip and then forcing his hands into the girl’s chest. A wave of power burst from the man’s palms and Luna was catapulted across the street and three storeys up, smashing into the bricks of an apartment building. She dropped promptly, leaving a deep dent and a few bricks missing and then plummeted into an open-top parked car.

   As she raised her head she saw Malachi with his hands clasped together in a small sphere. Immediately she leapt onto the pavement and, gripping tightly the window screen of the car and the headrest of one of the seats, she flipped the car so the underside was facing the man and then knelt forward, tensing her body.

   The impact came swiftly, rippling through her body as the wall of power smashed into the vehicle as it had to her, leaving little besides a crumpled mess. She discarded it quickly, and before the man could form another spell she quickly checked the crowds; they were staying well back from the fight. With a grin she made a quick gesture with her hands and muttered an incantation before slicing her hand in front of her chest. A green spell erupted in arc from her fingertips, hissing towards the man who threw himself sideways, but not quick enough.

   The magic opened a deep cut in his side and he stared at Luna angrily for a moment before that malicious grin returned. He turned to look at his side and smiled slyly as the cut healed quickly, the blood drying on his trench-coat.

   ‘Close,’ he chuckled coldly, pulling what appeared to be a thick cigar from his pocket, ‘but no cigar.’

   Luna’s eyes widened and she leapt to the side not a moment too soon for the cigar smashed through the window of the shop behind her. Malachi’s aim was sure and true and as Luna hit the pavement painfully she heard as the store front blew outwards with such force that it vibrated the windows of the apartments opposite. Debris rained on her and as she leapt up she caught her reflection in a fragment of glass still left in the window; dirty, scratched in several places and with messy hair coated in dust and fragments of wood and glass.

   She turned to Malachi angrily but he leapt into the air, hovering there for a moment. ‘Chow.’ he said and thundered into the sky.

   Without a second thought, Luna took off after him; the Association would take care of the chaos she knew, but her one and only concern was the man darting through the sky.

   She watched as he arced over the skyscraper and headed for the Empire State Building. Perfect, she thought, one of the most famous buildings in the world and we’re about to fight on it.

   Nevertheless she bombed after him and quickly caught up. She grabbed his shoulders and rolled him over, punched him in the face then kneed his stomach hard. He looked up at her and laughed, missing a tooth from his mouth. ‘Next stop,’ he said, spitting out blood, ‘Empire State.’

   Luna looked up in shock and braced herself immediately as their combined speed sent them crashing through the walls of that self-same building. Creating a massive hole as they entered they smashed through room after room, only slowing as they hit the metal of a lift shaft which crumpled but did not break.

   Malachi threw the girl off him and drew a sabre from its sheath on his belt. He waved it airily about, taunting her, ‘Come on Luna, surely the Association taught you hand-to-hand?’

   Luna stared round for a second – no one was in the way, although behind the glass dividers a few humans stood, watching in terror. She would have to be careful of them. Still, they weren’t an imminent problem and she turned back to Malachi. ‘They sure did.’

   Almost before the words had left her mouth she drew her own scimitar and thrust forwards at lightning speed. Her foe blocked her attack, but only just and she quickly brought her blade up diagonally from right to left. Malachi jumped back, but the tip sliced a long cut in his chest from hip to shoulder.

   He sighed as Luna stood there for a moment then he quickly thrust his sabre through her shoulder. She screamed in pain, her eyes blurring as she dropped to the floor.

   Looking up she could see Malachi healing himself before he retrieved his sabre. ‘You’re not worth my time.’ he spat and headed for the open window.

   Luna’s anger welled suddenly and she clenched her fist tightly. Just then Malachi was thrown up at the roof, bursting through into the next floor. She tightened her hand and she heard him travel through another three floors. Standing up she looked at her shoulder and watched as the skin began to heal, though not as quickly as Malachi’s had. Ignoring her pain as much as possible she stood, grabbed her scimitar and headed for the hole in the roof.

   Jumping up she grabbed the sides of the torn roof then hauled herself up with such force that she travelled the three more levels and landed lightly in the room where Malachi lay groaning on his back. ‘That’ll hurt in the morning.’ he coughed, spitting blood onto the carpet.

   Luna started toward him then, scimitar drawn, but he stopped her in her tracks with his next question. ‘Why?’ he asked, ‘Why do you do it?’

   ‘Do what?’ she replied tentatively.

   ‘You know full well what – these worthless humans, why do you protect them?’

   ‘You know full well why. The Vampire Association of the Protection of Humanity has made it their duty to protect…’

   ‘Yes, yes!’ Malachi spat distastefully, ‘I know full well what the VAPH does. But why?! Why do you do it Luna? These humans are a stain on our wonderful earth, a blemish in history. You see how they destroy our planet; you see how they kill each other, fight over petty resources when if they only opened their eyes they would see that magic can offer them boundless amounts of those self-same things. There is a hole in the heart of the humans that can never be filled, not even by all the love in the world – how can you protect these worthless beings whom our ancestors watch descend from the trees?’

   ‘You know why!’ she exclaimed, ‘Without them, there would be no us! Not because we vampires have a liking for their blood, but if the humans were to become extinct by our doing, we would be eternally wiped from the earth by the gods. And if not, another species would arise, without such a hole in their hearts – they would eradicate us within a few hundred years.’

   ‘Not if we took the earth for ourselves dear Luna!’

   ‘That is forbidden, you know that. The gods will not allow it.’

   ‘The gods are merely a minority – we can deal them in time. But think about what it would be like; our glory days returned, our ancestors made proud as the planet becomes ours once again.’

   Luna grew angry, ‘Do you remember what happened the last time that happened? Eh, Malachi? Just like the humans our ancestors began to destroy the earth. But we didn’t damage its surface, but instead we chose to dry up its magical resources with machines that should never have been created!’

   Malachi dropped his head, before pulling it up again, his face utterly transformed. His ears had become pointed; his irises had expanded so that giant black pupils consumed his eyes. Looking at his hands Luna could see long five inch nail-like claws had sprouted, black and unforgiving. But his grin was the worst – his usual set of human teeth had been replaced by a double row of pointed fangs like some form of shark, but worse. His teeth were stained red in places and had sharp serrations and when he spoke he had a deeper voice than before, almost a rumble.

   ‘You have been misinformed young one. We did not destroy our earth, but we prepared to give it more life than ever before. The gods did not see our plan and so diminished us to little but monsters in the shadows, but we were about to bestow the greatest gift possible on our earth – a new life, a reformed earth were we vampires reigned over everything and watched as our creations flourished. It would have been magnificent.’

   Luna dropped her head as Malachi had done and then lifted it again, her features in the same vampiric state as his and her clawed fingers flexing. ‘You’re lying.’ she said in her own slightly lower voice.

   ‘I am sorry to inform you I am not, but no matter. For the machines have been discovered once again. And when they are positioned in their correct places we will destroy this earth, and start it afresh.’

   ‘What about you?’ she asked, ‘Even vampires can’t survive in space.’

   ‘Those who choose to embrace the new world will board a simple spacecraft constructed from the remains of that our ancestors were going to use. We will watch from the moon as our world crushes in on itself and then use magic to speed up the earth’s life cycle to the point where intelligent life arises. And then we shall rule.’

   ‘Sorry,’ Luna smiled with malice, ‘but your ride’s cancelled.’

   She leapt on him and used her claws to open four deep cuts in his chest. He bellowed in anger and pain before thrusting his hands above his head and sending a cone of power up through the roof. Looking up Luna could see daylight and realised Malachi had broken through the actual roof of the building.

   Right in front of her he shot upwards and out the hastily made exit with a creepy smile, his sharp teeth slotting together perfectly. She flew after him but by the time she had reached the hole and landed on the roof he was picking up speed.

   She turned quickly around, looking frantically for something she might use as a weapon. She grinned that vampire grin when her eyes came to rest on the lightning rod. Stake to the heart, that’s what was supposed to kill a vampire; she knew it wasn’t the only way, but old habits die hard.

   She kicked the base of the rod mightily and heard the screech of metal on metal. Another kick and she saw a tear in the base and the third time she planted her boot on the metal it sheared free, the metal screaming in protest. As it fell towards her she gripped it tightly and then totted it in her grasp.

   With a howl of effort she launched it through the air with all her might. The rod arced high before striking Malachi and sending him plummeting to earth with a metallic crash.

   She turned away, dusting her hands off. Stake to the heart, she thought, after all, who wouldn’t that kill?

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