Fangs in your Heart

In a future where vampires have lost the war with humanity, Bloodhounds and Slayers fight to eradicate the remnants of the fangs, in their different ways. Their differences get them into trouble when Fang-Ripper and his team encounter two Bloodhound siblings outside a fang nest. Blood will be spilt, and blood will be sucked. Who will survive this game of fangs and stakes?

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2. The Fight

The vampires came at them from the darkness. They crawled along the floor, loping like demons crawling up from hell. Barely humanoid, they were creatures of the night, only able to stay alive on pigeon blood.

When Cinder’s powers had first shown themselves, she had been terrified. She had been born into the generation that didn’t know what life had been like before the war. Born into death. It had rained blood on the night her mother had given birth, as it did whenever a mystic was brought into this world. But her powers were nothing compared to the first time she came face to face with a real vampire.

It made it easier, somehow, that they didn’t look human anymore. Easier to kill. Easier to believe they were monsters.

This brood of fangs were thin, barely able to lift themselves off the floor. They loped on all fours, nails like claws scraping along the broken slabs. Cinder held her hands out, palms facing towards the stormy night sky. Jared set an arrow in his crossbow. Marcus held a dagger in each hand. Despite their objective to take the fangs alive, bloodhounds still needed protection. Sabre held a spear-like sword, all sharp, steel edges. Steel wounds vampires as no other metal does. And Atlas carried a host of throwing stars, also steel. Although these vampires were weak, they were still dangerous. A vampire bite, especially from one living like an animal in a Desertion, eating pigeons to survive, could be deadly to a human. Infection from a dying vamp was just as much of a risk as death from blood loss or being turned.

Nobody was taking any chances.

“Cinder?” Marcus asked quietly. His young companion turned slightly, and he could see her eyes, black as the night. He nodded. “Go on.”

She stared at the advancing fangs and her hands began to shake. The vampires were so close now that Jared could see the blood running down their chins, the fangs that gave them their name looking less terrifying and more…pathetic, really. Still, Marcus steadied his grip on his blades. Cinder gave one last shudder, turning her face upwards to face the moonless sky, then dropped to one knee, breathing heavily. The fangs paused in their motion, puzzlement clear in the hunch of their backs. One by one, they raised their dimly glowing red eyes to the fallen girl.

“They’ve probably never come across a fang-mystic before,” Jared whispered to Marcus, a grin on his face.

Marcus didn’t share his enthusiasm, grimly glancing at Cinder then back at the frozen vamps. “Now would be the time to obliterate them,” he murmured. “But I expect our bloodhound friends aren’t going to like that.”

“Uh-uh. We are going to collect our reward for these animals.” Atlas’ tone left no room for argument.

Cinder gave a little cry and her other leg gave out, leaving her kneeling in the dust. “That might be a problem. I can’t reach them. Something’s blocking my Sense.”

Jared looked, and sure enough, the vamps were continuing their advance. “Get up, Cinder. Looks like we have a fight on our hands after all.” He took one hand off the crossbow to help her to her feet, but kept his eyes firmly on the fangs.

“Here.” Marcus threw her a small gun with expert precision.

“We’re still getting a vamp, aren’t we, brother?” Sabre had her weapon at the ready, but looked reluctant to use it.

Atlas smiled and winked. “We may even catch ourselves a mystic while we’re at it.”

“Now!”

Jared fired the first shot, the arrow finding its mark in the side of the closest vampire. The noise it made was almost human. Then, the fangs were upon them. The noise from Cinder’s pistol was drowned out by the clash of metal and claws as Marcus slashed at the vamps. Atlas dodged a swipe from one of the beasts, leaving the way clear for Sabre to neatly impale her spear in its side.

“The heart! Idiot, you’re meant to aim for the heart!” Jared’s annoyed comment made Sabre laugh, her long brown hair whirling out like a fan as she twirled to face another foe.

“I know you said a lot, Cind, but I’ve never seen so many fangs in one place before. Something must be drawing them here. Maybe the same thing that’s blocking your powers.”

“It might be a good idea to ponder on that after we kill them all, Marcus. Duck!” Cinder shot the vamp that had snuck up on Marcus while he was distracted right through his – its – chest. It exploded into a pile of ash.

“My lady.” Jared gave a mocking bow before shooting the vamp Sabre had knocked down, reducing it, too, to dust. Sabre growled at him.

“Careful, sis.” Atlas grinned as he sent a star swiftly through the air to slice the neck of a fang who had got one clawed hand on Sabre’s black leggings. Its remains mixed with the dirt on the ground, shattered into oblivion by Atlas’ boot as he stepped forward.

The fangs kept coming out of the alleyway, scuttling like beetles fleeing from the light.

“I’m running out of arrows!” Jared cried, slaying another fang with a curse.

“Improvise!”

Jared glared at the back of Marcus’ head. “Improvise? We need to rethink our choice of leader, Cind.” But as he shot his last target, he knew Marcus was right. So instead of running away, he shuffled his grip on the crossbow, using it as a club to knock the nearest vamp down.

The fangs soon had the group encircled.

Cinder backed up, colliding with Marcus. She leant up, keeping her eyes on the vamps. “They’re working together. That’s new.”

Marcus nodded, his mouth set in a hard line. It certainly was new. And dangerous.

Atlas and Sabre were soon pushed back themselves, even with Sabre’s spear whistling paths of death through the fangs, and Atlas’ stars curving through once human bodies. An unspoken agreement had gone between them. They both realised that this had become more than them, more than the reward they wished to win. They realised they had to kill, or be killed.

The five warriors stood back to back, weapons at the ready. Not one would have been clean of blood, if vampires had any blood to spill. The only blood that would be spilt would come from the humans. And if it came to that, it could very well mean the death of all five of them.

“They’re regrouping, working together. It’s fascinating.” To Jared’s surprise, it wasn’t Marcus who spoke. Even Sabre was looking at her brother like he’s suddenly died and became a fang. No, that wasn’t funny.

Atlas shrugged. “I’m not a bloodhound only for the money. I enjoy studying the creatures. And we’d get an even bigger reward if we brought in fangs that helped each other.”

Cinder just rolled her eyes. The barrel of her gun was smoking. “If I can get past the blockade, I could gain access to one of their minds, see what’s going on.”

“Your little psychic is clever, Fang-Ripper. Be careful. She’d be worth a lot to the right people.” Atlas gave Cinder a wicked smirk. She ignored him.

“They’re not attacking. Why aren’t they attacking?”

“Be quiet, Jared, and stop stating the obvious. I –“

“Yes, do be quiet, Jared.” Marcus was cut off by a cruel voice, male, dark. He looked around wildly, but he didn’t have to search for long.

A tall man, a black cloak swirling around his shoulders, flashes of red visible as he moved, walked forward into the circle of light Cinder gave off. Her whole body was glowing, Atlas realised with a start. Maybe she was more powerful than he had originally thought.

“Who are you?” Marcus quizzed.

The tall man laughed. “Me? I’m the last person you will see alive.”

He surveyed the group, hemmed in by the vampires, cattle lined up for his viewing. He swept a hand over the scene. “My vampires have been ordered not to kill. Not yet, at least. You have managed to slay more of them than I would have liked, but that can’t be helped.”

Jared couldn’t resist. “Your vampires? Neat trick.” He tilted his head. “Haven’t got many friends, have you?” Marcus could have strangled him himself.

But the stranger merely smiled. “Slayers. You’re all the same. Death and destruction are your living.”

Atlas cleared his throat. The man turned to the siblings. “Ah yes, let’s not forget the bounty hunter bloodhounds. You’d take my creations back to be dissected in a lab, would you?”

“The question still remains,” Cinder said, her voice quiet, though unafraid, “about who you are.”

The smile that the man gave her could almost have been tender. “And the reason I’m here. Cinder, I have waited so long to see you.” He walked closer and the fangs parted to let him pass.

The vampires were no longer crawling; they limped like war torn soldiers, melting candles in a war with the sun. But the stranger commanded them as a general, he was the ice keeping them from melting completely.

Jared and Marcus shuffled closer to Cinder, moving as much as they dared with the fangs watching them. Cinder trained her gun at the man’s head.

“How do you know my name?”

He ignored the weapons pointed at him and kept moving until the gun rested on his skin. His chest more than his forehead as he was quite a bit taller than Cinder.

“She will shoot you, mate. And at that short range, even Cinder can’t miss.” Jared had a cocky grin on his face and a cheeriness to his voice. Marcus would have said something, but he knew Jared well enough to understand that this was his coping mechanism. Sarcasm and wit kept him from self-imploding in the face of unknown danger.

The man reached a gloved hand out to lightly cup Cinder’s chin. She didn’t flinch, but a fleeting look of fear crossed her usually calm face. “My name is…well, you can call me Blade.” He dropped his hand back to rest on the hilt of the sword in his belt. “You don’t recognise me? I’m not surprised. It’s been almost nineteen years since we last saw each other.”

Cinder narrowed her eyes at him. “I won’t ask again: Who are you?”

The stranger took a step backwards, opening his arms wide. They could see the scarlet lining of his cloak was marked with what looked like runes, glittering like jewels in the darkness.

“I am your father, Cinder.”

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