Except to Christian, of course. The punk actually laughed. “You want to stay on her good side, my good man, and that’s not the way to do it.”
Corbin grimaced, smacking his hand to his forehead. “My bad. Didn’t think before I spoke.”
I waved a hand at him, brushing it off, since that was the only productive thing to do. “It’s old news. Druids think I’m the anti-christ, and they like to spread that opinion around. I don’t have to wonder what you’ve heard about me, and I don’t have the time or the patience to disprove any of it, so let’s just move right along. The plan. Please.”
His face got real serious. “The three of us will move in together, real quiet like. I’m assuming, from what I’ve seen from you both so far, that you guys can each handle a room full of newborns, once the master is dead.”
We both just nodded.
“You’ll scout the house with me, and I’ll put you where you need to be when the master goes down. You guys can use those fancy weapons of yours to behead the bloodsuckers, which will put them out of commission long enough for me to come and do my whole stake thing.”
I didn’t bother to mention that we’d dealt with vamps before, and that we knew the hunter staking routine. He wasn’t exactly long-winded. And his quick, to the point, explanations might be helpful to the crew waiting outside, if the shit really hit the fan, and the mess spilled out to them.
“What happens if the master wakes up?” I asked. I didn’t want to ask. It wasn’t my fault I only saw in worse-case scenario vision. I was born that way, honest.
Corbin gave me his grim smile. “We start swinging, and hope we win.”
I smiled back at him, my own grim, scary smile. His answer was only what I had expected.
Christian rubbed his hands together, giving me a toothy grin. “Let’s do this.”
I smacked him in the back of the head. I swear it was barely a tap.
He sent me a disgruntled look.
“Don’t wish for it all to go to hell. That makes you crazy. And crazy gets you smacked.”
He gave a half-shrug. “I am what I am,” he said with a smirk.
I rolled my eyes at him.
“Right this way, Barbie and Ken,” Corbin said, heading resolutely towards the house.
“Okay, Buffy,” I murmured to his back. He’d started the name calling, after all.
He stifled a laugh. “Guess I asked for that,” he said, his voice pitched-low.
“That round went to Barbie,” Christian added, helpful as always.
Barbie And Buffy
We fell silent, wise-cracks and all, as we got close to the eerily silent house. It had a bad feel to it, which was understandable, but I thought I would have felt a chill up my spine even without a vampire hunter there to tell me what was inside.
Corbin opened the front door without a sound, easing it open agonizingly slowly. He disappeared inside, and I followed next. Christian brought up the rear, closing the door as quietly as it’d been opened.
There were street lights on outside, but they were dimmed, and we had been fighting in negligible light for most of the night. That didn’t bother me. My eyes had adjusted just fine. It took just a second for my eyes to adjust to the even darker interior of the house, but when I did, I froze, my eyes going wide in dismay as I looked up.
The ceiling was covered in the creatures, this one room alone holding more vampires than I’d ever seen in one place before. Their bat-like wings were wrapped around them, hiding their hairless, slimy bodies from view. It was a mercy, that. Vampires were hideous looking creatures, when they weren’t using glamour, and only the strong master’s even had that ability. How the monsters had turned into modern day sex symbols, I would never understand. The depictions of hideous nosferatu were much closer to the real thing than brooding teenagers with over-styled hair.
Corbin moved forward silently, and I followed closely behind, Christian a steady presence at my back.
The house was bigger than I would have guessed, and we made slow progress, through room after room, most of them empty, thank the gods. Corbin finally stopped at the bottom of a set of narrow stairs. He addressed Christian. “Fall back to the first room. Jillian and I will head upstairs.”
Christian nodded, disappearing without a word. Corbin didn’t have to mention that the master had to be upstairs. We had combed every inch of the first floor, so it was a given.
I followed Corbin very carefully up the stairs, trying hard not to make the old steps creak. We had just reached the top when Corbin froze, his entire body going stiff. I moved around him to see his face, rather than making a noise. I wasn’t reassured by what I saw.
His eyes glowed red, his face suddenly all harsh bones and angles. His mouth hung open, sharp fangs now protruding, dripping saliva. He took off his glasses and sniffed the air. He looked vaguely like a human version of a bloodhound on a scent. This was bad. He hadn’t gone all scary on me just for the hell of it. This was a vampire hunter’s reaction to being near a vampire. A vampire that wasn’t sleeping.
A deep voice called out from somewhere down the long hallway. “Helsing. I feel you. You cannot hide from me.”
“Fuck,” Corbin said around all of those sharp teeth, and broke into a blindingly fast sprint, heading for that voice.
I followed, pulling my axe from it’s shoulder holster as I moved.
All hint of the harmless scholar was gone as Corbin rushed into a room down the hall, so fast I couldn’t keep up. That was what I hated most about vampires. They were so freaking fast. I was fast, but they moved in a blur, even to me, finding a place to sink their fangs before you knew what hit you. And if they were real hungry, the place they found was usually your throat, right before they ripped it out. I’d be real salty if I got my throat ripped out tonight.
Corbin was moving vampire fast as he charged at the master, who met him in a loud clash, halfway into the room. I had barely rounded the doorway when they collided, snarling, into a furious brawl.
“The room down the hall,” Corbin barked at me. “Hurry, we don’t want any newborns escaping.”
I tore out of there, searching each room I passed, his description of my destination leaving something to be desired. In his defense, he had been a little preoccupied at the time.
I had passed three empty rooms before I found a nest of new vamps rising from the ground, blinking away their deep sleep. The master had arisen, and his whole nasty flock had just joined him. I cursed. The last few stragglers dropped from the ceiling, climbing slowly to their feet, confused and disgruntled at being disturbed. There were fourteen of them in the spacious room, and they were obviously disoriented from sleep. I struck.