Chronicles of the Vampire Hunters: Creation, страница 1
Chronicles of the Vampire Hunters:
Dustin J. Palmer
* * * * *
Copyright 2012 Dustin J. Palmer
For my babies: Morgan, Zion, and Olivia.
Always follow your dreams.
January 27, 1987
“The way you screamed when that bloodsucker jumped out of that closet!” John Bishop laughed. “Oh man, Charlie! I nearly pissed myself.”
“You nearly pissed yourself? I did piss myself!” Charlie Hammond laughed nervously. “That son of a bitch was literally an inch from my face!”
Terry Williams hefted his double bladed battleaxe over his shoulders and snorted a laugh, “Charlie, man, you were on the other side of the room.”
“Oh come on guys, cut the rookie some slack,” Ben Morris joked. “Like you guys didn’t crap yourselves the first time you saw a grunt.”
“I don’t know what you're talking about,” John said, keeping a straight face. “I was cool as a cucumber on my first hunt. You forget, Ben, I have that legendary Bishop blood running through my veins. I don't know the meaning of the word fear!”
“You forget, Bishop, I was there.” Terry laughed, jabbing him in the back with the handle of his axe.
John slapped it away then joined in the laughter. “Alright, alright, maybe I did have to change my pants afterwards.”
Wes Turner slapped Charlie hard on the back, knocking him forward several inches. “Pissed soaked pants or not, seven grunts is not a bad days work! Hell of a way to lose your cherry eh, Charlie?”
“Oh he hasn’t lost it yet," Terry smiled. "He’s still got the solo hunt with Talon and my old man coming up. That’s the real test!"
“Yeah, when is that, Charlie?” Ben asked, wiping a long streak of oily, black vampire blood from the razor sharp edge of his machete.
“I don’t know,” Charlie, answered, his face going pale. “Talon said he wanted to find just the right den before I go in alone.”
“Well don’t fret then,” John nodded. “Talon won’t lead you into anything you can’t handle. He’s a hard man but he’ll take care of you."
"And the last thing Billy will do is send you into the meat grinder before you're ready," Ben added, sheathing his machete on his hip. "He’s trained a lot of good hunters over the years, including everyone in this room.”
"Still . . ." Charlie swallowed. "It's one thing to go in with a team, but how do you do it when it's just . . . you know . . . just you?"
John placed a massive hand on Charlie's shoulder, giving it a hard squeeze. "Charlie, if you can't face the fear, if you can't fight against every gut wrenching feeling in your body telling you not to do it, and walk into a vampire's den completely alone, you aren't cut out to do this job."
"John's right, kid," Terry nodded. "We lost a lot of good hunters this past year, nine in all. That's more than the past three years combined and each and every one of them had just as much guts as any man in this room. So if you aren't cut out for this, you need to find out before it’s too late. Not just for your sake, but for your team's as well. You don't want to get one of your friends killed because you lost your nerve."
“Come on guys! Let the boy enjoy his moment of victory,” Wes said. “Stop worrying him about what’s happening tomorrow and let’s focus on today! Charlie, boy, I’m gonna get you drunk and laid tonight! I know of this little place outside of Wichita, the ladies know exactly how to treat some big bad vamp hunters like us. What do you say, John? Terry? You guys interested?”
“Nope,” John said, answering for the both of them. “We’re married men now, Wes. We don’t want any part of where you're going.”
“And so are you,” Terry added, “though you seem to forget more often than not.”
“What are you guys? The marriage police?” Wes crossed his arms over his chest. “What my woman don’t know won’t hurt her. Besides, there are certain things even a woman like her can't do for a man like me.”
Ben Morris rolled his eyes not even bothering to hide his disgust.
“I won’t even bother asking you, Morris,” Wes said, giving him an appraising once over. “You’re such a boy scout; I doubt you even know what do with a nice piece of ass like Cat. Tell me, Ben, when you stroke her just right, does she purr?”
“Shut your mouth, Turner," Ben said his eyes livid. "Before I shut it for it for you,”
“No need to get upset, all I’m saying is that a fine Mexican bitch with an ass like that needs a little . . . expertise when it comes to love.” he smiled a wicked grin.
Ben took a step forward, but Terry stepped in between them. “Wes, that’s enough. Back off.”
“Yes, Dad,” Wes said sarcastically. “I was only joking, is it my fault Morris can’t take a joke?”
Terry’s intimidating form loomed over him by several inches. “You crossed the line, Wes. Apologize.”
Wes snorted. "Yeah, like that's going to happen."
"It's okay, Terry," Ben handed his shotgun to John then stripped off his body armor, tossing it to the floor. "Let him by. He's been asking for a beating for years. It's time I finally gave it to him."
"Ben . . ." John started to say, knowing the much smaller man wasn't up to beating Wes Turner in a straight up fight.
"Stay out of this, John!" Ben yelled.
Your funeral, John thought but didn't dare say. Ben had always had self-esteem issues, and though John wanted to, he knew that protecting him from Wes wouldn't help matters. It would just make Ben moody the entire ride back to Texas. No, John knew it was just better to let the whole thing play out.
Charlie coughed nervously from the back of the pack. “Come on guys, we’ve all had a long day. Let’s just collect the fangs and torch this rotted, termite infested dump. I’m ready to get out of here.”
Wes smiled, “The Rook is right. Tell you what, Ben I've changed my mind. If it makes you feel better, you’re invited too.”
Ben grabbed his body armor off the floor, jerked his shotgun from John's hands then pushed past Terry before purposefully shoving Wes out of the way. “You're a real piece of shit, Turner."
"Yeah, well you're short," Wes replied with a hearty laugh.
Some things will never change, John thought, shaking his head. Wes had been picking on Ben since they were kids. The man just seemed incapable of growing up.
"Wes, come on man," John said, coming up next to him. "Why do you have to be such a prick? Can't you just try and get along with the guy?"
"It’s good for him." Wes said, shouldering his sawed off. "The little runt needs to grow some balls."
"Grow some balls?" Terry interjected. "The man killed three grunts today. I say he's got more balls than just about anyone I know. Including you, Turner."
Wes blew him off with a wave and headed down the hall toward the front door. "I'll buy him an ice cream cone if it will make you feel better! Seriously Terry, lighten up!" he yelled behind him.
"What a jerk," Terry said to no one in particular.
"Yeah, no shit," John sighed. "Come on amigo. Let’s go home."
"Charlie, grab the rest of our gear and let’s get the hell out of here," Terry motioned to the three bags of supplies lying on the floor.
Charlie nodded then picked up the heavy bags, slinging them over his shoulders. The mood a little more somber than it had been just minutes before, John and Terry, with Charlie lugging their supplies in the rear, headed for the open front door.
They were just in view of the stack of blackened, still smoking vampire skulls on the other side of the open front door, when John heard what he could have sworn was a little girl giggle. "Terry, did you hear . . .” he turned his head and felt something warm and wet splash across the back of his neck. He reached back with his left and brought back a gloved hand covered in blood. “What the hell?” he said, turning completely around.
Terry Williams stood swaying, a fountain of blood gushing from the large gaping hole that had once been his neck. Charlie, who had been walking directly behind him, was covered in blood. He dropped the three bags and began wiping frantically at his eyes with his gloved hands. “What is this?!" he screamed out in horror. "What . . . what just happened?!"
Wes and Ben, who had been waiting outside came charging back in, guns ready when they heard Charlie scream. They stopped short when they saw Terry’s still swaying, headless body.
Almost in slow motion, the body dropped to the floor in front of them. Though his head had been removed, his heart continued to pump, sending a spray of bright red blood from the gaping hole where his head had resided mere seconds before. The massive double bladed battleaxe he had been carrying dropped with a resounding thud, cracking one of the tiles on the floor. The fingers on his left hand flexed back and forth as if grasping for it. The fingers of his right were wrapped tightly around his most coveted weapon, one of a pair of Roman short swords still sheathed at his belt.
In a daze, John looked up into darkened hole that had suddenly appeared in the cracked ceiling above them. He heard Ben yell out something he couldn’t quite make out then point his shotgun at the ceiling. The gun boomed in his hands, sending buckshot flying into whatever monster lay in wait above. A half second later, the echo of Wes’s sawed off twelve gauge followed. In a blind panic, Charlie fired wildly with his .357 sending bullets wildly into the hallway behind them.
John stood in a trance, his eyes unable to leave the sight of Terry’s splintered spine sticking up from between his shoulders.
He had known the man his entire life; they had been best man at each other’s weddings. Now all that was left of him was a headless corpse lying on the dirty white tile of an abandoned house somewhere in the Kansas countryside. “John!” he heard Ben yell from a million miles away. “John! Snap out of it!”
A hard backhanded slap from Wes Turner broke him from his trance. “Come on, Big John! We need you buddy!” He cracked open his sawed off removing the empties and filled it with two slugs from the bandolier strung across his chest.
John nodded dumbly. Finally coming back to his senses he leveled the big ten gauge in his hands and put five rounds of buckshot into the ceiling.
The severely wounded form of a teenage male grunt, crashed through the crumbling ceiling, landing on top of Terry’s body. The holes in its head and body already beginning too slowly regenerate. Smoke poured off its skin as the sunlight from the open front door hit it. It roared out in pain and anger and tried to push itself off Terry but grew distracted by the sight and smell of so much blood. It began lapping at it like a dog, sucking up the bright liquid as quickly as it could.
Though his revolver was long since empty, Charlie continued to pull the trigger at the downed beast, the hammer clicking on empty chambers. Both Ben and Wes were reloading their weapons, their hands shaking uncontrollably.
Running on pure adrenaline, John jerked the Roman short sword from the scabbard on his dead friend’s belt and stabbed it through the monster’s chest, punching through its hardened skin and slicing through its heart. Then he yanked up Terry’s battleaxe and with one chop severed its head.
Wes tossed his shotgun aside and with one hand hefted the dead vampire off Terry’s body, throwing it like a ragdoll across the room where it crashed into the wall.
“My God . . . Terry . . .” Ben whispered, his voice expressing the pain they all felt.
That could have been me! John cried out in his mind, instantly shamed by how selfish that sounded. Julia . . . Jake . . . what am I doing here? That could have been me! Jake’s barely three years old and I could have orphaned him just now!
Ben had to shake Charlie to get him to stop pulling the trigger on his empty gun. Wes angrily punted the dead vampire’s head out the front door where it burst into flames as the sun hit it.
John dropped to his knees next to his friend’s lifeless body, tears stinging his eyes. “Oh Terry . . .”
"Where the hell is his head?" Wes Turner said, looking around the room.
“What do you mean?” Ben asked, his body shaking with shock. “You just kicked it out the door.”
“No, not his,” Wes answered solemnly. “Terry’s. It isn’t here.”
John placed his hand on his friend’s bloodied, broken body, tears streaming down his cheeks. In that moment all he could think of was his son’s tiny form bouncing on his knee. My God . . . That could have been me . . .
The "Griffin" home, Midland, TX.
July 30, 1994 5:27pm