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An exploration of the manor house had revealed one single basement, locked from the inside. Mila quickly checked around the outside of the house.

“I can’t see a service hatch or anything,” she reported back. “Looks like it’s just the one entrance.”

Caelan nodded. “Good. That makes it easier for us.” He put down the mirror he was holding, adding it to the pile on the table next to him. “These were all I could find.”

“I’m sure that’s more than enough.”

Caelan grinned at her. “Time for some vandalism?”

She couldn’t help but return his smile. “I thought you’d never ask.”

It took them about fifteen minutes to rip down all the curtains and position the mirrors to get as much sunlight into the rooms close to the basement hatch as possible. Mila returned from the kitchen to find Caelan staring out at the sky. “We have a maximum of three hours until sunset,” he said quietly.

“We’d better get going then,” Mila replied. She held up the tape she had in her hand. “Ready?”

Caelan nodded, picking up the final, large mirror. “Let’s go.”

Mila had to stand on a chair to hold the mirror in place but before long they had it taped up, and a beam of sunlight was illuminating the basement’s hatch. She was pretty sure that the vampires below, if they were awake at least, must know that they were there, but she still hopped down from the chair as quietly as she could and mouthed to Caelan: “3, 2, 1…”

Caelan ripped open the hatch with a burst of inhuman strength, revealing a wooden ladder leading down into the darkness. Mila’s blades were already out, but no attack came from below. She peered down into the darkness. Caelan’s gun was in his hand, but for the moment at least he wasn’t firing either.

A cool voice drifted up. “Good afternoon, Caelan, Miss Mila.” Seth.

Caelan’s gun barked and from his minute frown Mila gathered she hadn’t hit anything.

Seth chuckled. “Come come, we’re family, aren’t we? Perhaps we can come to some arrangement.”

Caelan shook his head, smiling wryly. “Desperation doesn’t suit you Seth.”

Mila’s eyes had adjusted better to the darkness below and she could just make out the black shapes of the vampires below, along with various old crates and cardboard boxes stacked against the walls of the basement.

“Desperation?” Seth sounded amused. “Hardly. You might have the advantage for now, but all we have to do is wait…”

Caelan’s lips set into a grim line. He took a couple of steps back from the hatch, raising the gun and shooting twice in quick succession. A cry of pain signified this time he’d been successful, but he was still frowning as he turned to her.

“They’ve got cover - there’s not much I can do up here.”

Then we need to go down there.”

“No!” Caelan hissed. “That’s what they want.”

“What then?” Mila snapped. “We wait up here for the sun to set and our advantage to be gone?”

“No.” Caelan grinned slowly and once again Mila felt glad he was on her side. “We drive them out.”

He retrieved his lighter from his coat pocket and she understood.

In less than a minute she had the torn down curtains collected by the hatch and soaked with spirits from the kitchen. They took to the tiny flame from the lighter almost immediately, and with another grin Caelan kicked them down the hatch. Instantly the flames reared up, flickering up the ladder and catching on the dry wood of the crates littered around the basement floor. Mila backed away from the hatch, weapons held tense and at the ready. Already there were horrible keening sounds of pain from the vampires below, and she gritted her teeth against the unnatural noises.

One vampire appeared at the top of the ladder, the left side of his face a mess of burns, his eye swollen and blistered shut. Mila stepped forward, swinging her blade so that it sung on the air, and the vampire’s head went flying, his now lifeless body tumbling back down into the fiery pit below. But she didn’t have time to celebrate. A moment later she felt something grab her ankle, yanking her down towards the orange flames. She screamed and kicked out in a sudden panic, her knife finding enough purchase on the floor to keep her from falling all the way through the hatch.

There was a close gunshot and she felt the hand on her ankle release her. She scrambled to her feet just as what appeared like part of the fire below leapt from the hatch and sprang towards her. An awful smell of rotting meat assaulted her nose and she spun out of the way of the flaming vampire’s lunge just in time. The vamp turned with remarkable speed, considering his state, red eyes wide and burnt lips pulled away from his reaching fangs. One arm, covered with flames, swung towards Mila and she slashed at it with her sword, earning a scream as it connected and hot blood splattered over her face. Trying not to swallow, she brought the sword around for the killing blow, but the vampire ducked, ramming his flaming shoulder into her stomach and half throwing her across the hallway.

She collided with the wall, and for a moment she couldn’t breathe, but the vamp was coming towards her again and she struggled to her feet, gasping as the soot-filled air returned to her lungs. Her sword went right through its neck and she kicked the screeching body backwards, it nearly colliding with another fleeing vampire.

Seth.

His red hair gave him away. Otherwise, the burns all over his face made him almost unrecognisable. For a moment Mila felt his pale blue eyes slide over her, and then he was running from the flames and the fighting.

Caelan, she saw, was fighting two more flunkies - he hadn’t noticed Seth at all, or if he had there wasn’t much he could do.

Mila gave chase.

Not that he could go far, she reminded herself. If he stepped outside the sunlight would finish what the fire had started. Even in the house, with the mirrors and the open windows, he surely wouldn’t last long.

She saw his retreating figure dart to the right and she followed, almost running into him as she rounded the corner. Red hands reached for her neck but she ducked, and they clenched on empty air. An unnatural snarl rippled from ruined lips and suddenly Seth was on her. Desperation seemed to lend him strength as he clawed at her throat, fingers and fangs searching for the blood that would revive him. One nail caught on her old bite wound, ripping the skin on her neck, and she cried out in pain, shoving him away. The blow was only weak but it was enough to allow her to wriggle away from him and kick him in the face and send him sprawling back into a beam of direct sunlight.

Seth screamed, the blood visibly bubbling and bursting under his skin where the sun fell on him. Somehow he managed to roll back into the relative shade, but patches of skin were starting to drop from his ruined face. For a long moment vampiric red eyes met hers and Mila felt his anger, desperation and sorrow as keenly as if it were her own. But then the spell was broken. With his last remaining ounce of strength Seth lunged towards her. Her sword flashed down, cleanly cutting through what was left of his neck, and his lifeless body thumped to the wooden floorboards.

Mila took a deep breath, tasting the fire in the hot, ashy air, before crouching and deftly gouging out the vampire’s fangs with her knife. That would serve as proof enough for Leroy.

She looked up. The fire had spread from the basement now and was dancing along the walls of the hall, heading towards her at an alarming rate.

Get out! her instincts screamed, and she nearly ran for the door, but something even deeper stopped her.

Caelan.

The area around the basement hatch was empty save for one body and the towering flames. She ran towards it, but had to stop as the heat slammed into her.

“Caelan!” She yelled. “Caelan?”

The roaring of the fire drowned out any reply there might have been.

Get out!

But where was he? What if he’d been dragged down to the basement, like she nearly had been?

What if he was…

“Caelan!” Her eyes were watering against the heat.

A hand grabbed her shoulder and she nearly screamed.

“Mila!” His blue eyes were bright, his grin feral. She felt cool relief rush over her. “I couldn’t find you!” He was shouting over the inferno. “Seth?”

“Dead,” she yelled back. She showed him the bloody fangs clutched in her fist.

The ceiling above the hatch screamed and collapsed. Caelan’s hand on her shoulder grew tighter. “Let’s go!”

It was only as they made it out of the front doors and collapsed, half-choking, half-laughing on the driveway that it suddenly occurred to her.

“Where’s Damion?”

 

 




Submitted: September 09, 2018

© Copyright 2021 Amy R. Beckett. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Sylvermyst

Great chapter. Well one main baddie dead (Seth) now to worry about Damion. I'm glad that Mila and Caelan made it out of that burning house.

Thu, September 13th, 2018 2:52am

Author
Reply

Thanks for reading :-)

Wed, September 12th, 2018 11:15pm

A. K.Taylor

'Cough, Cough' I think I inhaled some smoke from reading this chapter. Ha, Ha! No worries, I got through it though. For some reason, I'm in the mood for barbeque right now. :D Um, vamp-b-que, maybe? I don't know I'm just going with the flow of it all right now. NIce action and some interesting imagery, Amy.

Thu, January 17th, 2019 3:18am

Author
Reply

Haha glad you enjoyed it!

Thu, January 17th, 2019 1:40am

TheresaVan18

Good action! The chapter flowed well.

Sat, February 9th, 2019 12:01am

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