Lastor hit the ground, hugging the darkest part of the darkest shadows. The community was being lit with what looked like fireflies in lanterns hung from poles, casting a cool pulsating glow for about five feet. Avoiding everyone, he edged around a building. Just as the mansion came in to view, a voice behind him whispered “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Lastor jumped. The messenger was standing behind him, looking annoyed. “Look,” he said,” if you prefer to be alone, speak now and I will leave you to your own devices. Or, IF you prefer, I can assist you in making the community play into our hands.”
“Then hurry up,” Lastor snarled, his fangs showing. “I want this over with. Yesterday.”
“The mansion has a number of Pinions guarding it. I will distract the Pinions guarding the front door. You will enter, and should not encounter any resistance. Most of the residents are Above now, during the darkness on the surface. The competition is tomorrow, and they must acquire their subjects. You will be able to sense her once you are inside. Get to her quickly. My brother is a coward and will have several protecting him as he attempts to break down your wife’s resistance. You must kill them as well.”
“Gladly.” Lastor’s face split into the nightmare of a smile.
The messenger loped off toward the Pinions Lastor could now see blocking the door. There was silence. Then yelling and crashing and the Pinions sped off.
Lastor darted across the roadway and was through the door of the council hall in a trice. Just as the messenger said, there was no one there. He concentrated, locking on to Audrey’s aura, blocking all else. He could feel her, so tantalizingly near. He followed her through the council building and in to one of the hallways of the mansion. There was a door ajar, leading to a set of stairs going down further into the earth.
Lastor quietly stepped down several stairs. The stairway was narrow, enough for him to feel buried alive. Quietly he descended the last steps, blood pounding in his ears. He peered around the corner.
Audrey was chained to the rear bars of a cage set against the rear wall. The cage was small, with barely enough room to stand. A small vampire stood before the cage, chains, spikes, leather cuffs and rings adorning his wrists and fingers. His hair hung in his eyes, which he kept brushing back, only to fall into his eyes again. He was flanked by two bodyguards who looked as if they had come from Above. Exactly like bouncers outside nightclubs, so these stood, mountains of muscle and sinew. Only their dark eyes and unnaturally pale countenances belied their inhumanity.
The three had their backs turned, facing the cage. The brat was inside with the door open, taunting Audrey as she hung from the bars, slim wrists bitten by the harsh chain they were bound with. She looked back at the brat defiantly, no fear in her eyes. Suddenly, she raised her head and looked directly at Lastor.
It was as if someone punched Lastor in the stomach and applied a vice to his heart. The shock in her eyes was quickly replaced by fear as all three heads turned, following her eyes to face him. There was a pregnant pause where the four regarded each other. The bodyguards looked uncertainly at the brat, waiting for orders.
The brat stepped forward, peering at Lastor insolently. “Who the fuck are you?”
Lastor’s voice was like ice. “That’s my wife you have chained up there.”
The brat’s eyes widened in horror. He opened his mouth to shout and Lastor leapt forward, striking him hard in the chest, sending him flying into the wall and crashing to the floor, sobbing for breath as a little blood trickled from the corner of his mouth.
The bodyguard on the left lunged at Lastor, who hit him with a kick to the side of his face, breaking the guard’s jaw and rendering him senseless before the rebound carried his head into the wall. The other guard clenched a fist and swung, catching Lastor in the side of the head and sending him flying into the wall. The guard stomped over and lifted Lastor by the throat, leaving his feet dangling as he slammed Lastor into the wall again and again. He clawed desperately at the guard’s hands, feeling himself starting to black out. In the corner he could hear Audrey weeping softly.
Blindly, Lastor’s hands followed the guard’s beefy arms to his shoulders and up to reach his eyes. The guard screamed as his corneas were shredded, and the retinas ruptured, spilling out onto his face. The guard dropped him and fell to the ground, huddling in the fetal position with his hands over his bloody face, agonized screams echoing off the rock. His hands found his deflated eyes resting on his cheek and screamed louder.
Massaging his own neck, Lastor placed a foot on the guard’s neck and hopped, letting his full weight bear down. There was a wet crunching sound, and the guard’s screams stopped.
Wiping his hands disdainfully on the guard’s clothing, Lastor turned to Audrey. Tears streamed down her face as she looked at him pleadingly. Lastor could almost hear her crying for him inside his head. He walked toward her slowly, his eyes penetrating her, staring deeply inside her soul.
He reached her and stopped. She was trembling. Slowly he raised a hand to caress her face, his fingers drinking in the touch of her skin. She tilted her head a little, still pleadingly staring at him, her eyes speaking a thousand words. As if in answer to her unspoken request, he leaned in and kissed her.
TO BE CONTINUED