After The End

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 3 (v.1) - 3

Submitted: January 03, 2016

Reads: 166

Comments: 4

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Submitted: January 03, 2016

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Over the next week the terrain grew steadily rockier until, on the sixth day, the young woman, Mila, reached the foot of the mountains. It was colder now, and she knew it would only get colder the higher she climbed, but the trail had led her here. She wasn’t giving up.

Luckily the snowfall was minimal on the mountain path. Mila wrapped her cloak around her, but the cold was still biting, and the going was slow. At night, she made camp in the shelter of the rocks, constructing a small fire from the sparse trees.

By the second night, she had started the descent. As before she carefully made a fire and arranged her sleeping bag in a sheltered corner. 

She was almost asleep when a noise alerted her. Immediately wide awake, her hand was on her knife before she was even aware of what it was that had woken her. She stood up as silently as she could, switching her knife to her left hand and drawing her sword. A quiet, snickering laugh issued from somewhere on the rocks above her. The fire had been a necessary risk. Now she was paying the price. 

A dark shape swooped down towards her and she slashed with her sword, missing her target but also evading its attack. The vampire landed the other side of the fire, spinning to face her with a hiss. His crimson eyes and lengthened fangs glinted in the flickering firelight. 

Mila surveyed him for a few moments. Judging from his confidence and lack of stealth, he was relatively newly turned. In her experience, the newer ones were the most savage, running on instinct and raw strength - brawn over brain. They might be fast, but they were many times more likely to make a mistake. 

She lowered her sword with a shaking hand, widening her dark eyes. “I don’t mean any harm,” she said to the creature across the fire. “Please, just leave me alone.”

The vampire cackled. There really was no other word for it. He cackled, baring his pointed teeth at her. “Do you beg for your life?” He asked, his voice hissing and animalistic. 

Mila took a hopeless step towards him, sword loose in her hand. “Please…”

Another hideous laugh. “You fool,” he gloated. “But you are quite pretty…” He cocked his head on one side. “If you are nice, perhaps I will not kill you. I could change you and keep you for myself.”

In a flash of metal the knife had left Mila’s hand. The vampire flinched away but it landed in his chest a few inches to the left of his heart. He staggered back with a snarling cry but she had already leapt over the flames and with a quick slash the white snow was showered with blood that was a little too dark to be human. 

Her other knife now in her hand she raised it, ready to pierce the vampire’s heart, but a twinge from her shoulder, still not fully healed, slowed her and in a flash the vampire had reached out a hand, skin nearly papery in its paleness. His long fingernails dug into her skin, like claws, drawing blood. At the sight of the scarlet liquid his lips drew back from his awful pointed teeth and his crimson eyes glowed brighter. “Bitch!” He hissed. “You’ll die for that.”

“Unlikely.” She kicked him in the shin and he stumbled back, releasing her arm. She barely had time to think before he came at her again, leaping through the air like a pouncing cat. This time his claw like fingers slashed towards her face but she ducked and rolled away, coming up smoothly whilst the vampire sprawled in the dirt. He rolled over just in time to see her boot colliding with his nose.

A few seconds later and the vampire lay on his back with her knife in his heart. Mila stood beside him, one boot on his chest. 

“Now that you’re comfortable,” she said cooly, wiping her other knife off on her trouser leg, “I have a few questions for you.”

“Bitch,” the vampire muttered. “Mortal scum. You’ll die for this.”

Apparently the metal in his heart drained his strength but it didn’t do anything about his over-confidence. Mila rolled her eyes before pressing the toe of her boot into his open wound. He squawked in pain. “Be polite and this might not take so long,” she said. “Now. A party of vampires passed through here recently.”

“I didn’t see - ”

“Don’t deny it,” she snapped. “I’ve been tracking them for weeks. A group of vamps passed through here, probably four or five of them.”

She pressed her foot down a little harder. 

“Yes, yes, four of them, four of them, came past night before last - ”

“Their leader, he was a redhead, yes? Tall, muscular, silver burn on his hand?”

“Yes, he was there, he - ”

“Where were they headed?”

He groaned, shaking his head. “Told me not to say, told me not to say.”

“Where?” 

“The city,” he cried. “The city by the sea.”

“Marino?”

“Yes, the city, Marino.”

Her eyes narrowed. “How do I know you’re not lying to me?”

“Please, I swear…”

“Fine,” she said sharply, fed up with the snivelling. The threats were better than this. “One more thing. Are there any more of you lurking in the mountains, ready to ambush me in my sleep?”

The vampire thought for a second, then shook his head as best he could. “No. There are some but they are two day’s walk from here. There’s only me here.”

“Promise?”

“I promise.”

“Great.” The sword was in her hand as if by magic, and a moment later the vampire’s head had been cleanly separated from its body. Mila retrieved her knife and wiped it clean before doing the same for the sword. Only when that was done did she drag the body away from the camp and set it alight. It went up like a tinderbox and less than half an hour later the vampire was nothing more than ashes and blood stains in the snow. 

Mila slept peacefully that night


© Copyright 2018 Amy R. Beckett. All rights reserved.

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