Alex walked along the alley toward the coffee shop with his shoulders hunched and the hood of his jacket up.
Someone stepped out of the darkness in front of him, and Alex stopped dead.
“Hello freak,” said
Alex turned, but the other end of the alley was already filled with two guys as big as
“Is this him?”
“He doesn’t look so tough.”
“He nearly killed Martin.”
The woman laughed, but she did it without taking her eyes off of Alex.
“You are Martin’s type,” she said, looking him over. “Maybe a little on the old side though.” She smiled. Her teeth were not normal. She had fangs.
She moved, walking toward him, and Alex realized that she didn’t make any noise when she moved. She glided along the darkened alley way, but around Alex instead of toward him.
“Who are you?” she asked.
Alex didn’t say anything.
“My name is Sue. Do you belong to one of the other factions, Lex? The Ladies or the Wolves?”
He shook his head.
“You aren’t a Hunter,” said Sue. She smiled again, and Alex wanted to shiver. “You are very good at avoiding us though. Most people wouldn’t last a day with an entire clan of Vampires looking for them. How long has it been for you? Six days now? Amazing. You must be quite exceptional.”
Alex took the time while she was speaking to look around. The buildings were older, made from concrete. There were no doors, windows, or even ladders. There were a few dumpsters behind Sue and
When he didn’t respond, Sue continued. “Why don’t you come with me, Lex? We could always use someone like you.”
She was doing the same thing that Martin had done. Her voice was hypnotic, but as soon as he’d seen the fangs he’d expected something of the kind. She had been beautiful before but now she was stunning. She smiled and Alex wanted to smile back.
He had to distract her.
The lid of one of the dumpsters behind Sue lifted up, and then dropped back down, banging loudly. Lex didn’t wait to find out if she was distracted. He ran for the two people blocking off the other end of the alley. Hopefully they were just human.
They didn’t smile or show their teeth as he approached him, but they raised their arms. Lex ran straight into the nearest one, kneeing him in the gut. He fell over. The second guy approached, and Lex snapped his hand forward and up. They guy raised his arm instinctively to protect his eyes, and Lex kicked him in the nuts.
Easy enough. He started forward but Sue was standing there, quite calmly, watching him and blocking his exit.
“Beautiful,” she said. “You’ve met one vampire and you’re already nearly immune to our call. You would make a powerful subordinate.”
“A what?” he said before he could help himself.
“I don’t want that.”
“Perhaps then you would like to become immortal yourself then? A vampire?”
Lex shook his head.
“Too bad,” Sue said. Then she rushed him.
She was extraordinarily fast. Lex threw himself back and still barely managed to avoid her first punch. His body felt like it was trapped in glue, but that didn’t matter much. She jerked away from him like she’d been caught by a fishhook, and was thrown across the alley into the far wall.
Lex stepped forward.
The other two humans were getting up though, so with a flick of his hand Lex sent Sue flying into them, sending them all sprawling.
The two humans went back down as the thin vampire collided with them, but Sue rolled, and came up standing.
She was smiling. “Better,” she said.
And then something hit him from behind. Lex started to twist, but whatever it was hit him again, harder, knocking him down.
It was a paint can, floating in the air. It came for him again, but he caught it with his own powers. From the other side of him, Sue had drawn a knife from somewhere in her clothing. She flicked it up and then threw it.
He managed to catch that too, but as he did so he let go of the paint can, which immediately attacked him again, and the knife struggled in his mental grip, trying to get through to him.
“Telekinesis does not particularly impress me,” Sue said.
Lex raised an arm to ward off the paint can, which was battering him, and tried to concentrate on multiple things at once. The knife shivered, but Sue wouldn’t let go of it. However, one of the men at her feet suddenly jerked up, as though he'd been yanked by a set of puppet strings, and lunged at her.
Sue threw the minion to the side, and he impacted with a sickening crunch on the alley wall. The second one had risen, but before he could be hurled at her, Sue was past the figure, leaping for Lex.
Lex dropped the man, and tried to catch her, but she was forcing herself forward with her own telekineses, toward him. Her mouth opened wide, wider than should have been possible, and she hissed at him. Reflexively Lex brought up the knife with his left hand and slammed it into her. Whatever concentration she needed to maintain her powers vanished and she dropped down out of the air.Lex paused, breathing heavily. A human wouldn't have been able to survive that.
Sue rolled over and then slowly rose at an impossible angle like vampires in movies did until she was standing again. The knife had been driven to its hilt into her shoulder, just below her breastbone. She smiled at him, reached up, and then pulled it out. It wasn’t even bloody, and the wound healed as Lex watched. “The knife is silver,” she said. “Silver can’t hurt vampires.”
“I’ll remember that,” Lex promised, and then dropped the dumpster than he’d been silently maneuvering twenty feet above her. Sue barely had time to look up as the thing came down, and it crushed her into the pavement.
He barely reached the end of the block when more shapes materialized out of the darkness. He looked down the cross streets, but there were figures on all of them. Standing, looking at him. If they were all vampires, or even if one in five was a vampire, Alex was in trouble.
He was straining for breath, like he’d picked up the dumpster and carried it forty feet on his back, he wouldn’t be able to run very far. He needed to find some place to hide, but with so many of them out there . . .
Suddenly there was a gray car. It avoided the dark shapes in the streets and pulled up about twenty feet in front of him. The vampire minions had paused as it appeared, and were now waiting to see what was going to happen.
The man that stepped out of the back door of the car was familiar. He was large, but older, and he was wearing thick black robes. He looked around at the shapes, and said quite clearly, “I think the vampires are interested in you, boy. Perhaps you should come with me.”
Sue was there. Part of her face was torn off, and her left hand hung limply at her side, but it was definitely her. “He’s mine.”
The large man looked at her. “I claim him.”
“For what faction?”
The man rolled his head back and laughed. “I do not belong to one of your silly little factions.”
Sue’s bloody lips peeled back from her fangs, and she hissed again. “No faction, no protection. You will hand him over to me if you do not want to face the wrath of the vampires.”
The man laughed again, and then he held up his hand.
There was nothing in his hand, but he held it cupped as though there was something. There was a momentary pause and Alex felt a huge rush of something. It seemed to come from everywhere, as though a wave was crashing around him.
And then, in the man’s upraised hand, a tiny little light flickered to life.
Sue’s eyes widened, and she screamed “One of the Five!” Then she took a step back. She was standing in the street, but the shadows seemed to surge up around her, and when they settled back she had vanished completely.
The little brilliant pinprick of light glistened for a moment and then suddenly it flared into a roaring sphere of light, illuminating everything as though it was day for a moment. Several of the other shapes had turned to run when Sue had shouted, and others had just vanished completely, but all of the ones remaining in the light started to shriek in pain. For a few moments there were twelve figures standing in the roads crying out, and then they were dust, leaving Alex and the large man alone in the street.
“What did you do?” asked Alex.
“It’s a nifty trick. I’ll show you how to do it, if you want.”
“Who are you?”
“I am Soraperion.”
“They may be gone at the moment, but perhaps we should leave.”
“Smile,” Lex said seriously and after a pause added, “please.”
“So I can see your teeth.”
“There are better ways to tell vampires, but that will do for now.” Soraperion smiled, showing off his teeth. They were normal. “Will you come with me now?”
Lex nodded, and he followed Soraperion into the car.