Chapter FifteenMature

"Max... What if she doesn't get back in time for everyone to sign the contract? What if Adam shows up before she gets the chance? Then we don't stand a chance of working that theory."

            "Calm down, Mel... Just believe Clara can do it. It's the only chance we've got."

            I took a deep breath and sat down, trying to calm my racing thoughts and thumping heart. Adam was on his way; chances were I would see him again. I wasn't entirely sure I could handle that.

            "I have to try," I mumbled.

            "Okay, listen up everyone-" Clara said, masking my quiet oath of determination, "Every one of you needs to sign this contract. It states that anyone who is infected by the enemy will never again be welcome in our territory. It's a long shot that this plan will work, but it's all we've got to try and ensure our community's safety."

            Max and I were the first in line to sign the contract, quickly followed by everyone else in the room. It seemed like a long process, but it took no more than a couple minutes. I sighed, as if a pressure was being released off my chest, when the last person signed the contract. I knew it wasn't a sure thing that it would even work, but it was all we had and I had to believe Clara's idea would work.

            "Max, can we talk really quick?" I asked, looking up at him and biting my lower lip nervously.

            "Of course... What's-"

            "I was just notified. The invasion is eminent. Get ready to defend what's yours, everyone." Clara said, looking at every one of us with more trust than I felt any individual deserved.

            Max gave me a knowing look and squeezed my hand. We headed to the armory and with Clara's help, managed to hand out knives and wooden stakes, swords and the like to everyone in the vicinity. I looked down at my own weaponry and thought about how in most situations I would have felt much more comfortable wielding a gun of some sort, but in this case, the weight of the blade at my hip and the solid feel of the stake made me feel stronger. I glanced at Max and saw that he also had a blade at his hip and a stake in his hand. He looked very bad-ass to me. I couldn't help but smile.

            We arranged ourselves into positions hidden amongst the trees surrounding the village. I couldn’t see Max, but I took comfort in the knowledge that he was within shouting distance. I felt the knot in my stomach tighten as the seconds passed; it could be seconds or hours until they showed themselves. How many of us would die? How many would join their ranks? Would I lose Max? Questions whirled through my head at a dizzying speed.

            Suddenly, Max’s voice broke through my clouded worries, “They have crossed our territory, Pass along the message.”

            His message fleetingly reminded me of the children’s game “telephone”. I giggled nervously and passed along the message. The knot in my stomach had formed a rock and I was beginning to feel nauseous. Not much longer.

            Crack! A twig snapping nearby nearly made me scream, then I remembered vampires moved with silent steps. My heart was racing and my head was spinning. Where would they strike first? Would we be able to hold our own? Stop thinking! It’s not going to help anything! I told myself, forcefully pushing my thoughts from my mind and focusing only on the known facts. Vampires are real. They are coming. We have to fight them. I might see Adam. He is one of them. If I see him, I have to kill him…

            I caught a glimpse of movement and my breath caught in my throat. I grasped my wooden weapon in my hand, readying myself to strike. Breathe. Be steady. Don’t think. I lectured myself, keeping my eyes open for any more movement.

            Suddenly, I felt a harsh force slam into me from the left side. My body slammed into the ground, knocking all of the breath from my lungs. As I struggled to take in breath, I realized my attacker was crouching beside me, an evil glint in its eyes. It was waiting to strike again. I tightened my grip on my weapon and struggled to jump to my feet.

            The vampire that had knocked me down was thankfully not Adam. It was a female- she had platinum-blonde hair, and eyes black as Onyx. Her snarl was blood- thirsty and vicious. I narrowed my eyes at her in a glare, trying to push aside my fear. I raised my weapon in preparation to strike.

            She rushed at me, arms outstretched, and knocked me down a second time. I felt my stake go through her flesh, crunching into bone. I felt a rush of exhilaration- I had just staked my first vampire! Her snarls continued, as I pushed her off of me. No blood surrounded her stab wound, but I knew I had wounded her. Did wounds have any effect on them?

            I stood over my victim, ripping my weapon from her flesh. When I pushed the stake through her heart, there was resistance and I had to double up my strength to push through. I knew I had succeeded the second time, as her Onyx eyes rolled back into her skull, showing only the whites and her vicious snarling ceased. I had killed my first vampire!

            My glory was short- lived, as I had another assailant coming at me from my left. I took it out in quick order and leapt over it, joining the flailing masses of living and dead. I had no idea where Max or Clara were, and had no chance to search. I had to keep fighting. Vampires attacked from every direction with overwhelming speed and strength. Fear and anger pumped through my veins, giving me the extra boost I needed to keep from freezing up.

            Vampires, it turned out, did have bodily fluids. When stabbed, they seeped a black, chunky gore that smelled like rotten eggs and death. It made me gag every time I took in breath. I quickly learned to breathe shallowly through my mouth to avoid unnecessary distraction. There was enough gore and disgustingness on the battlefield without my vomit. 

The End

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