Chapter II: Night Stalker, page 11Mature

Rebecca had a bad case of the jitters as they approached the ominous entrance of the History Aisle of King's College, which was unlit, silent, and seemed to be completely devoid of any life. But somehow, the Cross was warm in her pocket and gave her courage. She looked at Sally. Her friend was holding her gun with shaking hands. Poor girl never asked to get into this mess, but whatever Rebecca could say, Sally would insist to help. Becca realised at that moment that she had the best friend in the world. The door was unlocked and they stepped in, the priest cautiously leading the way. They entered what seemed, from the echoes of their footsteps, to be a great hall, but it was so dark that even their torches and the light of the moon – which reflected on something glistening over their heads, a large chandelier – weren't enough to pierce the shadows. All was silent.

“Looks like there's no one here,” Sally said.

But right as she pronounced these words, a maniacal laughter broke the silence and echoed throughout the wall. Everyone startled and Rebecca, in panic, began shot frantically with her gun, spraying Holy water all around her, until the priest brought her back to her senses, reminding her that they couldn't afford to waste ammo.

“Look,” he whispered. “Over there.” The girls looked in the direction he was pointing and they could perceive a shadow moving among the shadows, just a flash on the eye, too fast to be really seen. Too fast to be human. “They're fast,” he continued, “and they can see in the dark. Stay cautious, they can attack from any direction...”

The high-pitched clatter of a hundred shards of crystal moving resounded over their heads as a warning. The priest roared out to run, and they barely had time to jump away from the threat that the massive chandelier crashed at the place they were a second before. Rebecca landed heavily on her stomach and the shock made her drop her gun. Deafened by the sound of the crash and confused, having lost both her weapon and light, she tried pull herself up when an arm of amazing strength coiled around her neck and lifted her off the ground, choking her. She groaned as she struggled to breathe, and every breath she managed to take was poisoned by the foul smell of the undead predator. Then suddenly, the miracle occurred again, as the Cross seemed to be taking over her body. She rammed her elbow hard into her attacker's chest, and the vampire gasped and loosened his grip. She hit again, and again, until the monster was on his knees, then she turned around to face him, fuelled with fury, to punch his fangs off, when the vampire returned to his senses, swiftly dodged, and delivered a vicious swipe of his claw-like nails on her arms. She yelled and fell to her knees, overwhelmed by the burning sensation, and brought her other hand on her wound. Warm, wet blood. She gritted her teeth, looked up: the vampire smiled with glee, his red eyes and white fangs sticking out of the darkness, then jumped on her, his arms spread forward, like a hawk falling down on a helpless mouse. Time seemed to move in slow motion for the girl when she instinctively put her hand in her pocket, took out the Cross, held it out in her attacker's direction. A hot sensation passed through her arm and the Cross produced a blinding white light, like a lightning on a stormy night, and the monster was pushed back by the light, howling with pain.

The Cross was now burning in her hand and she dropped it with a gasp. Sally's high-pitched scream, behind her, reminded her that she had no time to enjoy her victory, and she grabbed her light and gun and turned around to see her friend captive of another vampire, who was holding her by her hair with one hand and caressing her exposed throat with another, his evil eyes gleaming with anticipation. Rebecca aimed and shot, the string of water hitting the monster square in the eye. He produced the most blood-curdling shriek of pain as smoke seemed to pour out of his face and the air was soon filled with the smell of overcooked bacon. He released Sally who fell to the ground, and as Rebecca went to check on her, she heard the sound of another struggle, and pointed her light to see the priest fighting a third vampire. They were wrestling over the priest's tube weapon, Father de Sainte Croix refusing to let go, and the girls were amazed by his incredible resilience, standing his own against a vampire as he was. Eventually, the priest delivered a vicious kick in his opponent's groin, and as he regained control of his weapon, he aimed at the vampire's chest and shot. There was a thump of compressed air as a wooden stake shot through the vampire's heart and turned him to a pile of dust in the blink of an eye.

There was a moment of silence as the three of them looked at each others, panting and smiling over their victory. When suddenly the priest's face changed back to an air of full alertness as he put his weapon up again, but he was too late: the vampire Rebecca had hurt with the Holy water had sneaked behind the girls, and in a swift and brutal move, he tackled both of them down and maintained them on the ground, his knees on their backs and his hands on their heads.

“Watch out, priest!” The monster ordered. “One funny move, and both the girls die! Put down your gun!”

Fighting the torture of having her back crushed by the vampire's knee, Rebecca summoned up all her strengths to look up: the Cross was laying on the floor between her and the priest, out of both of their reach. She had to try... wincing, she held up her hand, trying to reach it, to call it. She could see it move. At first she thought of an illusion, but no, it really was moving, with tiny, erratic movement, but it was coming in her direction. Concentrate!

“Put down your gun!”

Father de Sainte Croix hesitated, then began to lower his weapon. No! Rebecca thought. No! No! No! I'm about to...

She never reached it: at that moment, the second vampire, the one who had been repelled by the Cross, emerged from the shadow like a bat and knocked the priest down with a brutal blow from behind. The girls yelled, but they were cut short by the feeling of fingers on their necks. A strange sensation, like... was he pushing a nerve, or something? How come they felt so sleepy all of a sudden? Everything... was going... dark...

The End

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