As Stuart had described, there were four cells on either side of the basement – all of which had a single barred glass window that allowed a peek of what, or who, was inside. Beyond the cells were two doors; one made of thick wood, and the other of metal. I could hear muffled voices, but I couldn’t distinguish any words, even with my enhanced hearing.

Positioning myself at the right hand side, I signalled for Chico, Salem, Reuben, Damien, and Stuart to stand behind me. The other five stood behind Sam on the left hand side. Having exchanged a nod with Sam, both she and I began to edge our way toward the far doors while the squad followed closely.

As I past the first cell, I peered through the window and inwardly winced at what I saw. A female Keja with grotesquely overgrown nails appeared to have torn out most of her hair. More disturbingly, she was eating it. I had no idea what she was ranting, as the cell appeared to be sound-proof. I had to wonder if the window was one-way glass, because she didn’t notice any of us passing.

The vision within the next cell was no better. Another Keja was lying on the floor, clawing at an elongated face and then licking dribbles of blood from his fingers as the facial scratches healed. What was perhaps more troubling was that he had an extra arm. I didn’t look through the next window, not wanting to see more.

Jared, I’ve found her.

Signalling for the squad to all remain in position, I hurried over to Sam and glanced through the window. The Sventé was exactly as Sam had described, although her limbs were abnormally long. Her back kept bowing from the floor, putting her body at an unnatural angle that made Sam and I wince. She wasn’t fighting whatever was happening to her, as if she saw no hope. At least she wasn’t crazed. Yet.

We can try to get her out, but not until we’ve dealt with the bastards in those rooms. She’d be a distraction we don’t need. Plus, we have no idea if she would turn violent and attack anyone.

True, Sam allowed with a sigh. Most of the captives appear to be attacking themselves.

Startling us all, the wooden door opened and four vampires stepped out, laughing amongst themselves and totally oblivious to our presence. That obliviousness only lasted a second, though. The squad did what they had been trained to do; they attacked first.

Unfortunately, the vampire in front swiftly produced a protective wall of frosted glass – one so resilient that even my lightning bolt had no effect on it. That vampire definitely had to go – and fast. Sam must have been thinking the same thing, because suddenly fire was streaming out of her palms, weakening the glass. At the same time, Reuben placed his hands on it, drawing power from it. Their combined efforts weakened it just enough that my next release of electricity shattered it completely.

Before the vampire had the chance to produce another shield, one of Sam’s thermal energy beams was buried in his chest. Milliseconds later, he was ashes…but not before the tallest of the three remaining vampires duplicated himself until there were ten of him. All of the clones stepped in front, acting as shields. Shit. Of course each and every one of us attacked with our gifts, but each time some of the clones turned to ashes, more would take their place.

Harvey, we need to separate them.

Without hesitation, Harvey made a motion similar to that of someone abruptly yanking open a set of curtains. Thanks to his telekinesis, the clones parted like the red sea – some flew into the walls, and others fell to the floor, exposing the three vampires. Not giving the vampire a chance to duplicate himself again, I sent a charge of electricity out of my palm, reducing him to ashes. His clones died with him.

One of the last two vampires opened his mouth and exhaled a swarm of bees – not nice. Sam absorbed the energy around her, and suddenly a gust of wind sent the bees forcefully crashing into the wall, killing them instantly. That same gust of wind should have sent the two vampires crashing into that same wall, just as Harvey’s telekinesis should have knocked them over, but they hadn’t even stumbled against either force.

It was then that I realised something, and I sensed that Sam was realising it at the same time. The second vampire was gripping the waist of the one in front of him, holding him in position. I’d heard of a vampiric gift that allowed immovability, and it seemed that the second vampire had that very gift and was keeping them both stable.

Knowing what Sam had in mind, I teleported to her and lifted her so that she was above the first vampire’s level of height. She cracked her whip over his shoulder to wrap it around the throat of the second vampire, and tightened it enough to make him reflexively put his hands to his neck. Quick as lightning, yellowy-green ooze shot out of Denny’s thumbs and smallest fingers and engulfed the other vampire. Denny then bounced him to Salem, who delivered a fatal uppercut.

“And then there was one,” drawled Sam as she stared at the remaining vampire. He didn’t struggle against the grip of her whip as I would have expected. In fact, he didn’t do anything at all…other than stare at Sam in utter fascination, which supremely pissed me off even though I could understand it.

Don’t kill him yet. It might be worth questioning him a little first. I crossed my arms over my chest. “Just what did you do to the vampires in the cells?”

When he didn’t answer, Sam began to circle him, whip still in hand. “Have you ever pissed blood? You will if you don’t start answering our questions.”

His voice was shaky. “I don’t know anything.”

Sam sighed sadly. “No, they never do. But I can guarantee that within the next fifteen minutes after we’ve had some fun with you, your thought processes will be much improved.” When the whip caught his jaw, he jerked and whimpered.

I stepped closer to him. “Now, why did you hurt the vampires like that?”

“We didn’t hurt them,” he quickly objected. “We were trying to achieve something.”

“And what is that exactly?”

“Something that no one has even thought possible,” said an amused voice as the metal door slowly swung open. Four new vampires stood in the doorway in some sort of protective bubble. The two in front closely resembled each other with their inky black hair and squinty eyes.

I held up a hand, warning the squad not to attack in case whatever was thrown simply rebounded off the bubble and hit one of us. “Care to elaborate?” I snapped. “Care to explain how, and why, there are deformed vampires in those cells?”

The taller and sharper-looking of the two vampires only spared me a glance before his gaze locked on Sam. He seemed surprised and intrigued. “A Sventé with a Pagori power.”

Tags: Suzanne Wright Deep In Your Veins Vampires