parts 13 and 14
Kendra paid more attention to their route into town this time. There could come a time when she would need to travel alone, and it would be better to know the way instead of depending on her ability to sense the demons and vampires to guide her. She was also well aware that demons and vampires weren’t the only danger in this world. There were the acts of nature; earthquakes, storms, venomous creatures of all sorts. Slayers could get sick. Listening to Charles and Erik discussing the school, she reminded herself that humans could be every bit as dangerous as demons, and she needed to be wary of them as well. Human didn’t mean good, after all, just less likely to eat you.
With a sigh, she tried to focus on tonight, on hunting the vampires of this world. Distraction, even if only on the differences, could be fatal. She needed to learn the area, to learn the way people spoke and dressed, so that she could see the differences between mortals and vampires who had not kept up with the changes in society. She had to keep aware of her surroundings so that she couldn’t be attacked by someone in a door where she thought there was only a wall.
“Are you sure that you have to do this, Kendra?” Charles asked, looking at the dark walls around them. “This area seems…”
“The word you’re looking for is dangerous,” Erik offered.
“Yes, dangerous is the right word,” Charles agreed, his eye flickering from side to side.
“You might want to see if any of your gifted individuals are in the area,” Kendra suggested. “If their gifts are as random as you say, why not find them here? And perhaps they would be more willing to leave this place for a dream that is not yet fully detailed.”
Charles nodded, and his eyelids lowered, leaving him the appearance of being half asleep, or perhaps having used certain drugs that weren’t available in stores.
“We’ll need to keep an eye on him and make sure nobody just walks off with his wallet,” Erik snickered. “Some day he has to figure out a way to do this without being oblivious to the rest of the world.”
“If he can’t hear the thoughts of vampires, that might be another thing to worry about while he’s oblivious,” Kendra fretted. “They are seldom picky about who they eat.”
“That’s very disturbing,” Erik shuddered.
“I’ve found someone,” Charles whispered. “Maybe several, I’m not sure. “An image, but I’m not sure if it’s the mother or her children, or one of the children.”
“There are vampires nearby,” Kendra listened, though not with her ears, trying to get a sense of what direction. “Two, perhaps three. They are hunting.”
“What?” Erik looked over, his eyes widening. “How can you tell what they’re doing?”
Kendra opened the car door, her other hand touching a stake. “They are not far away. If I hurry, I may be able to kill them before they can feed tonight.”
“Kendra..?” Charles couldn’t quite finish his question.
“Very few vampires feed without killing,” Kendra’s words were harsh, and she fought not to loose herself in the memories of the times when the vampires hadn’t killed immediately. “Usually only when they wish to keep their prey and torment them longer. I do not wish to permit such things if I can prevent them.”
Charles made a noise, his face paling. “Dear god, how can they… how could they? What you’ve seen…”
“They are not human. They are bodies possessed by demons,” Kendra headed towards the feeling of the vampires, forcing down the tiny thought that perhaps the vampires here weren’t like that, that perhaps the ones here wouldn’t be so bad. “Vampires kill, they torment, and they are a danger to humans. That is why I will slay them. To protect the ones that they would rape, torture, and kill.”
“And if the ones here are different?” Charles whispered, one hand rubbing at his temple. “What if there are those who don’t?”
“If it will make you feel better, should I ever find a harmless vampire, one who does not prey on de innocent, one who does not take pleasure in fear, pain and death, I will not kill that vampire.” Kendra hurried, the sense of vampire getting closer. “I do not t’ink that night will be soon.”
“Just how different are vampires from humans?” Erik asked, one hand clenching into a fist as small bits of metal rose into the air to follow in their wake. “A strong magnetic field can disorient humans, will it do the same to vampires?”
Kendra felt the back of her neck itch as he did that, unsure if the feeling was a direct result of however he was doing what he was doing or if she could sense his ability in a way similar to sensing demons and magic. It didn’t feel evil, but the power and potential of it were staggering. “De increases in strength and stamina are from the demonic energies, not physical changes. A magnetic field should affect them the same way as a human. If the results are only temporary, then it will have the added benefit of not harming or killing any humans they may be attacking or attempting to use as hostages.”
“A good plan,” Charles muttered. “I can feel fear just around the corner.”
“I am ready,” Kendra lifted the stake.
End part 13.
Kendra took in the scene at a quick glance. A young couple, no older than Charles, walking down the alley with a child of perhaps seven. Her guess would be that the couple had found the child, and were trying to help the little one home. Despite the tiny hand holding the woman’s hand, Kendra could see no traces of familial resemblance. A pair of vampires lurked on the fire escape, currently dropping towards the alley.
The woman screamed, pulling the child closer to her body. The vampires growled, fangs bared and red eyes gleaming in the darkness as they approached. “I love it when dinner delivers.”
Kendra didn’t bother trying to make witty quips, or to throw them off their game by insulting them. She went for a snap kick to the closer one’s head and grabbed at the other, hurling him into the wall to stun him for a few moments. As the one she had kicked staggered, she raised her stake, preparing to impale the vampire’s useless heart.
A pulse of something passed through the air, and her head spun, leaving her feeling dizzy. Kendra stabbed the vampire, and turned, her eyes passing over the now cowering couple and the small child, and then turning to the remaining vampire. Her hand felt sweaty, and she didn’t trust her balance as she moved towards him.
“You miserable cow! We were going to eat them,” the vampire snarled, one hand shaking at his temple. “How… how dare you.”
Kendra pressed her teeth together, fighting nausea. The effect had to be from Erik’s power, and it seemed very effective. She didn’t trust herself to speak, and glared back at the vampire, refusing to show fear.
He swung at her, red eyes glaring and one tooth crooked, “I’ll kill you, string your guts for… for garters…”
Kendra stabbed with her stake, feeling the wood splinter. He didn’t crumble, and she yanked it out, stabbing again an inch to the right. This time he burned away to ash.
“Enough of that, Erik. You’re making them quite uncomfortable,” Charles insisted, his own face looking a bit green.
Kendra wasn’t the only one to sigh with relief as the odd feeling that wasn’t quite pressure stopped. Her head cleared up, and the strange sensation that she could only describe as a vibration in her bones eased. Kendra turned towards the frightened trio, asking “Are you hurt?”
“What… what were those men?” the man asked, pointing at the two ash heaps that had been vampires moments before. “They had red eyes, fangs… and they just crumbled.”
“Those were vampires,” Kendra replied, frowning as she scanned the alley. There was another vampire nearby, though this one was either much weaker than the two she had slain or much better at concealing itself. “Decapitation, a stake through de heart, fire and sunlight will slay them.”
“But they couldn’t… vampires can’t…” the man protested, his eyes still on the ashes. “This can’t be happening.”
“Saying that something can’t happen has never stopped the unpleasantries of life,” Erik’s voice was harsh.
Kendra frowned, still absolutely certain there was another vampire close to them, an unable to find it. Perhaps that shape with flapping fabric, above them? Or in the shadows behind the dumpster? Maybe the vampire was below, moving amidst the sewer system?
“You will be safe enough, Mr. Taylor. Yourself, your fiancé, and…” Charles stopped his eyes going wide with horror. “Why can’t I hear anything from the child?”
Kendra turned towards the couple and the child, the stake in her hand. Her eyes narrowed and she focused her attention on the small figure, still held close to the frightened woman. The wide eyes glimmered and flickered between red and brown, and the small hands held tight against the woman’s hand and arm. The signs were unmistakable, the child was a vampire. Kendra couldn’t tell if she was more angry or horrified, but this was a definite outrage. “Who would do such a t’ing… The child is a vampire.”
“I don’t want to be staked,” the child shrieked, cringing against the woman. “Please don’t kill me.”
“He’s just a child,” the man whispered, one hand resting on the child vampire’s shoulder. “Surely it can’t be his fault.”
“No, it would not have been his fault,” Kendra agreed, not lowering the stake. She had the sinking feeling that none of them would permit her to stake the child, even if he was a vampire. “Very few people would ask for such a t’ing.”
“You can’t, Kendra. He’s just a child,” Charles insisted.
“Will the two of you be alright?” Erik asked the couple, his eyes not focused on the child.
“We should be fine,” the woman whispered, half curled around the fanged child. “The poor dear’s petrified.”
Kendra didn’t have much sympathy for the vampire child and his fear, though she admitted that he probably was afraid of being staked. He certainly wouldn’t want to die. After a few moments, she lowered the stake, hoping that she would be wrong. Hoping that the vampires of this world were not as completely evil as the ones from home. “For their sake, I hope you are right, Charles.”
She watched the trio scurry away, and tried to banish the dread in her stomach. “If you are wrong, they will pay for it. If the child is as vicious and evil as the vampires back home, they will die.”
“The others were attacking, Kendra. Of course you didn’t have a choice but to slay them. But the child seemed so afraid. Maybe he’s different, maybe he isn’t the same ruthless killer,” Charles stared after them, his words soft.
“You are thinking of your dream again,” Kendra sighed, and tucked the stake back in her belt. She just hoped that the little vampire wasn’t playing meek and helpless to lure the couple to their deaths.
As they left the alley seeking the mutant that Charles had sensed, Kendra hoped that she was wrong. She hoped for the sake of that couple that the vampires here were better, nicer. That she was wrong.
She just didn’t have much confidence in that hope.
End part 14.