#25 Hunted – Prologue

Today I thought I would share another piece of my writing. I wrote this originally somewhere around 2011/2012 (I think!) and it was going to be what I termed my ‘obligatory vampire novel’ in response to the massive upswing in vampire novels post-Twilight. Mine is dark and violent and probably as far from Twilight as I could make it be. I’m pretty proud of this prologue and will hopefully one day return to this story because I know how it’s going to end and I want to see how I get from where I currently am to where it will end. Anyways, please feel free to leave a comment (constructive criticism is always welcome!).

Hunted – Prologue

Something foul poisoned the air; a rusty metallic smell, mixed with something rotting. Each footstep squelched underfoot as they trekked across the bog. Swirls of mist rose through the air, clouding their visions as they crouched low. Bodies littered the ground, half submerged in the sludge. Reese stepped over one carefully, pulling her thick boots from the mud with a schlopping that echoed around them. She was at the head of the group; six of them in total. Her AK was slung over one shoulder; a Glock in her right hand and a Bowie knife in her left. She always came prepared. Her companions had various weapons, most of them salvaged from the army surplus they’d discovered not two days ago. The army, she scoffed as she thought about it. It had only been three years, yet it was as though the army had never existed; save for what they left behind.

The wind howled around them, whipping strands of dark hair in her face. She pulled them to one side and turned to look at those behind her. Patting the air, she pointed at two of them and motioned left, then another two and motioned right. The last one stayed with her. Survey and report, those were her orders. She never put much stock in orders—especially when there was no fighting involved—but she’d been given a group this time so she would obey. This once anyway. Stepping over another body, she checked that the young boy was still following her. His face was a whitewash of fear. She shook her head. Cowards; they’d recruit anybody it seemed.

“What do you suppose happened here?” The boy had crept closer to her, pulling on the tail of her jacket like some five-year-old trying to get the attention of his mummy.

“A battle,” she replied, jerking out of his reach. “A good one.”

“Is there such a thing?”

She ignored his comment and crouched over the nearest body. Motioning the boy forward, she rolled the corpse over to show the face. The dead man had been handsome once, she decided, before the maggots got to him.

“What’s your name, soldier?” she asked as the boy crouched beside her.

“Thomas.”

“Well Thomas, is this your first time out of camp?”

“Yes.”

She nodded, she had figured as much. “Have you even seen a vampire before?”

“No, but I’ve heard the stories.”

“Stories. Do you believe everything you hear from a story? Do you think that witches and wizards exist? That happily ever afters always happen? Prince Charmings riding in to save the day?”

“No, no of course not! I’m not a child.”

“You look it,” she said sharply. “Here.”

She reached over to the dead man’s face and pulled what was left of his mouth open. She caught Thomas recoiling but grabbed his shoulder and turned him back to the corpse.

“Was this man a vampire?”

“No… he doesn’t have fangs.”

“Fangs? You think that vampires just walk around with their fangs out all day?”

“I heard that when they die, the fangs are always visible.”

“You really do believe in everything you hear from stories. Look.”

She pushed hard against the gums. A set of sharp fangs slid out of the flesh, layering themselves over the man’s human teeth.

“Not everything is as it seems, Thomas. You’d best learn that.” She released the gums and watched the teeth sink back again.

“But there were more than two fangs there,” Thomas spluttered. “Is he a mutant vampire?”

“There’s no such thing. There’s only them.”

“Then why do they have so many fangs?”

“Because this is not a story. This is real life. Things in books are not reality, this is!”

She threw out her arms. If there was a good place to bring new recruits and show them the harsh realities ahead, she would pick this spot. Bodies were littered everywhere, and it wasn’t easy to tell which were vampire and which were human.

“I just don’t understand how so many of the stories could be wr—”

Reese covered his mouth with her hand. She could hear someone moving close to them. It wasn’t her team, she had sent them further afield. She slowly lowered her hand from Thomas’ mouth and clicked the safety off her gun. Holding a finger to her lips, she pointed at Thomas and then the ground. Stay here and don’t die, she thought. If you die kid, it’ll be my head.

She moved a few paces away from Thomas and listened again. Whoever—or whatever—was coming their way somewhere to the right. She turned to look, hoping to catch a glimpse of them but found nothing. The sky had darkened. Night was falling. She had kept the team out too late. Something ran close by on her left. She swivelled where she was, remaining low and trying to see what it was. Her head twisted as she heard a twang; someone had fired an arrow, she recognised the sound of the bow. The pain didn’t register at first. The impact of the arrow through her arm sent her to the ground, her backside sinking into the cold mud. She cried out as the agony set in.

“Are you hurt?” She heard Thomas shout to her. She turned to his position, saw him stand.

“Get down!”

She was too late. Three arrows pierced through Thomas like he was made of paper. She noted the stunned look on his face as he looked down at his torso. She could only imagine what he was thinking. It was his first time out of camp, he should never have set foot in the wild. She wrapped a hand around her own arrow and pulled it from her bicep. A fresh stream of blood flowed. Gritting her teeth, she tore off the bottom of her shirt and wrapped it around her arm, keeping her eyes open for any more movement. They had hit her, she didn’t know what they were waiting for.

“Come and get me!” she screamed, tying off her bandage. “I’m right here! Don’t hide behind your bows all night!”

She stood to her feet, her heart trying to push its way through her chest to freedom. Taking a deep breath, she calmed herself. This was just like any other night. She had faced the vampires before.

“We come only for our dead.”A smooth voice behind her made her jump. She cursed herself as she turned round to face them.

Vampires always seemed tall to her; like some ethereal beings. The one that stood before her was a good foot taller than she was; he had velvet locks that framed his face perfectly and blue eyes that mirrored the sky.

She narrowed her eyes. “So did we, look where that got us.”

“You were mistreating our dead.”

“I was showing a rookie how to spot you abominations.”

“And now that rookie is dead. Perhaps you should be teaching your children something else.”

She lifted her right arm, aimed the Glock and took the shot. She found her mark, he was standing just a few feet away. A tiny trickle fell down the man’s face from the red hole in the centre of his forehead. He blinked and curled the edge of his lips.

“A little thing like a bullet will not kill me.”

“No, but a distraction will.”

Before the vampire could reply, Reese nodded to her team as they snuck up behind him. One of the men ran up to the vampire and brought his machete to meet the vampire’s neck. A puff of red spray erupted into the air as the head landed in front of her feet. She kicked it over so that the vampire’s dead eyes met hers.

“They think they’re immortal,” she said, giving the head another kick so it splashed into the bog. “Until they die.

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