Authors: Andrew Domonkos
Without thinking Abby dove forward away from the rest of the club kids, who looked upwards and began shrieking wildly.
They were paralyzed at the sight of the plummeting truck.
The explosion was incredible, and the fire and metal shrapnel lashed across Abby’s back like a whip, sending searing pain throughout her body.
She rolled hard as she landed, away from the smoldering carnage.
A few animalistic screams came from the few soon-to-be-dead survivors.
Above the wreckage, up on the ridge walls the sound of metal colliding with metal could be heard.
The smoke from the smoldering truck added to that of the smoke curling down the walls, creating a thick fog.
Abby fought through the pain and got to her feet.
She couldn’t see an inch past the smokescreen in front of her. She swiped angrily, hoping to catch hold of Zara’s flesh but struck nothing.
She was incensed and the pain only fed her anger.
In the wild confusion Abby heard a dull thud behind her.
Without thinking, she dived towards it, teeth bared and stake in hand, stabbing wildly into the area and hitting dirt.
Eventually she hit something and felt the stake lodge into it with a pulpy sound.
She heard Zara now, calling out to her father and telling him to stay with her.
Abby shuddered and touched the chest of the body.
It was decidedly male.
She touched his face and felt a tremendous relief when she felt the facial hair under the man’s nose.
It was that stupid mustache that Twig had.
, she thought.
She stood and began swiping again into the fog of smoke.
Zara could hear the swooshing of Abby’s frenzied swipes and the panting of her hateful breaths.
She knew that even vampires get tired and have to answer for the power they spend, so she bade her time, moving as quietly away from Abby as she could, dragging her wheezing and unconscious father as she went.
She stopped for a minute and ran her hands over the wall of the canyon, ignoring Abby’s deranged shouts.
After a lot of groping, she found what she was looking for: a large square rock that leaned up against the base of the wall.
With great effort, she grasped the flat stone with either hand and moved it quietly to the side.
She reached her hand into the space that the rock covered and could feel a faint breeze.
She dragged her father down into dark space of the mineshaft, which
had revealed as the
way he and his posse had escaped the canyon so many years before.
She dragged him a good distance in before propping him up against a rock.
Zara could see better in the dark cavern than in the smoky chaos in the canyon, and could see her father was in bad shape, but he was still breathing.
She told him the shaft led out to the surface, and that if she didn’t return, he had to escape, to live and tell others about the
Mark nodded and wheezed, clearly not understanding the words.
His eyes fluttered in and out of consciousness, and Zara turned and stepped back up the mineshaft path.
Zara came out of the mineshaft boiling with hatred.
She could hear the challenges of Abby and rose to meet them, diving headlong toward the bitch with her machete.
The two collided violently. Zara grabbed a handful of Abby’s hair, and in one swift, athletic motion dug her heels into the soft dirt and pivoted her torso, sending Abby flying like a sling.
The momentum of the throw cleared a path through the smoke and Abby went careening into the canyon wall. With the newfound visibility she now saw the wounded Drake, who was staggering onto his feet and trying to pull out a sword that been pushed clear to the hilt into his shoulder.
His own sword was at his feet.
Abby was incapacitated by the blow and now Zara fixed her gaze on the helpless Drake. Looking at him, she felt the primal fury she had felt before grow once again, only it was angrier than before.
Zara pounced on Drake like a spider on a fly.
He screamed in pain when the sword pushed out of his shoulder from the fall.
He swung a fist at Zara but she grabbed it with one hand and twisted hard, turning it to an angle so swiftly she heard something snap under her tight grip.
He howled in pain and brought up his other fist.
She was no longer herself, something else was firmly in control, and she snapped the other wrist before releasing Drake who rolled in agony on the dirt floor.
By now, Abby had lumbered up to her feet and cast a defiant yet terrified look towards Zara, whose eyes had become blood red and whose face was now as twisted as an old elm tree.
Zara extended her two hands and fingers which had mutated into razor-sharp claws, and howled a single seething roar that made the smoke curl away from her from the pure force of the exhalation.
The sight was something to behold.
Abby watched with ebbing bravado as Zara began to hunch and convulse, her body became more and more inhuman with each jarring contortion.
Abby looked over at Drake, still lying wounded in the dirt, before looking back at Zara.
She spit contemptuously, her courage temporarily bolstered by the sight of her wounded love.
She picked up her stake from the dirt and jumped forward and stabbed at the creature’s chest, hoping it still had a heart to stake, but the creature was too quick.
“I’ll kill you!” Abby shouted.
The creature seemed to chortle and cackle for a moment, before it reached out and grabbed Abby by the throat and lift her up in the air.
Again Abby felt the sensation of being airborne.
She had little time to consider how deadly quick Zara had become as her head struck the metal of the truck, which was still ablaze.
Abby screamed as the fire swept over her skin.
She felt a million nerves all scream in unified pain at once.
She rolled and rolled until she had gotten away from the blaze, but the damage was done.
The hair was gone and her skin was charred.
Smoke poured off of her.
Zara now stood over Drake, holding his scimitar in her clawed hand, turning it from side to side and admiring it and laughing maniacally.
Strange words and voices raced through her head now, voices of the dead, the fallen-- hateful spirits that still demanded retribution and death.
They shouted to her, screamed to her for blood, and the cacophony left no space for her own thoughts.
As she hovered over Drake, chanting strange words and licking her purplish lips, something suddenly fell from the sky like a heavy blanket.
She hadn’t heard the planes, but now could see and hear them above, streaming overhead and dumping greenish dust on them, like manna from the heavens.
She returned her gaze to the ground but Drake had taken the momentary distraction to escape.
She scanned the canyon but he was nowhere to be seen.
With her foes crippled or retreating, her rage subsided.
Zara hunched over in pain as she transformed from her hideous demonic state back to her humanoid, albeit vampire form.
She wanted to weep and cry out as the planes continued to pass overhead, pouring down layer upon layer of this gritty and dry substance.
She finally got to her feet and, now seeing the dust covered bodies of the club kids all laying in pieces near the truck, she understood the cost of survival.
She could barely stand, but she walked over to the body that still had an arrow in it.
She reached down and swept the dust off his face.
Two strange eyes gazed up at her.
Eyes emptied of the torment she had seen in them once.
was, whatever terrible events led him to this canyon, he was no more.
She looked around the canyon.
There was no sign of Drake, and only a soft impression in the dirt where Abby had lay.
Twig was shouting from high above on the canyon ledge, his big duster jacket covered in the greenish dust.
“Go around to the path!” She shouted.
“There’s a shaft here that leads out of here!”
Twig stood befuddled for a minute, swiping at the dust on his face and cursing, before he nodded and staggered out of view.
Zara ducked down and crept into the mineshaft and saw her father slumped over down at the end of the long shaft.
She approached him slowly.
His chest was no longer heaving and he looked forward with two dead eyes.
She squatted down and looked at him, and heavy
welled up in her eyes.
She could hear Twig, shouting and noisily entering the shaft.
When he saw Zara he fell silent and became still.
Zara stood stiff as Twig hugged her.
She clung tightly to him.
He looked at her with his tired eyes.
His face was battered and she could tell he was half blind in the darkness.
“C’mon,” she said, wiping a tear from her eye.
“This shaft leads to a way out.”
They walked in total silence for a long time, climbing over earthen obstacles and ducking under the low ceiling.
Eventually they reached a ramp that took them up out of the mine and back topside where they could see the night sky.
Twig was relieved to be out of the claustrophobic space.
He sat down on the ground on a carpet of pine needles and sighed.
“They escaped again,” he muttered.
Zara remained standing and looked up at the sky thoughtfully.
“They got a few scratches though.
Abby isn’t going to win any beauty pageants anytime soon.”
She laughed and looked down at her nails, blackened from dirt and smoke and blood.
Twig looked up at her with an annoyed look on his face.
“You think it’s funny?
Both our father’s are dead.
All those kids are dead,” he lumbered to his feet and stormed up to Zara, who eyed him indifferently.
“Is this who you are now?” Twig shouted.
Zara stared coldly at Twig.
She brushed a bloody strand of hair from her face.
“Maybe I am whoever the hell I want to be.”
She gave him a light shove and he went flying back.
He landed on his back and immediately pulled a stake from his belt.
“I knew it,” she said. “Everyone defaults to their true nature eventually.”
Twig held the stake in front of him for a moment and then dropped it.
“Please Zara,” he said in a low tone.
He moved towards her.
“I won’t fight you.
You are all I have left,” he said in a whisper.
Zara turned away from him.
“I’m sorry too, but for your own safety you have to let me go.
I can’t be near you anymore.
I will find Damon and take what is mine.”
She was seething again, her voice strange and alien to Twig.
“Zara, would you listen to yourself?” Twig pleaded, keeping his distance.
“You sound like him!
I won’t let you become them!”
Zara laughed again and turned swiftly.
Twig felt his body almost freeze when he saw the look in her eyes.
He could see fire in them, swirling and consuming.
“So that’s it,” he said sadly.
Zara hissed and barred her fangs suddenly.
“You can never know unless I show you.
It’s the only way!” her voice was now booming and rumbled through the forest like thunder.
Twig took a deep breath.
“The sunlight in my blood…you know I can’t be turned.”
“Maybe not by them,” she said flatly. “But I’m only half a vampire, remember?”
Twig braced as she moved closer, swiftly.
He let the stake fall to the ground.
Shadows twisted all around him and all he could see was her eyes, both wild and hungry and swirling with the colors of fire.