This is Part 11 of a 12 part vampire serial story. You can read part 12 here: http://www.bloodywhisper.com/addicted-to-the-abyss-vampire-serial-part-12-mullo/
Jonah has tracked down Mallory and is about to face off with the vampire that turned him. Will he be able to save his lover and his humanity? Or is it already too late?
Big empty silo, echoes, tunnels stretching for miles, slowly meandering like those in an ant farm. Tunnels of death, human bodies transported to her. Her brood, her workers, her little drone ants, carrying carrion, corpses like bites of bread crumbs, human trash dropped at picnics. I could feel the tunnels, the vibration of hundreds of broodlings beneath my feet.
I must’ve run over 20 miles to get here. We really were in the middle of nowhere. Farmland and trees and nothing but snow drifts. Did it just take me one night? Did I lose more time on the way?
Don’t know, not sure. Don’t care. Had to act, had to move. Had to stop this, end his pain…and my own. But how? She was surrounded by her broodlings. The place was crawling with them. How did I draw out ants from their hill when I was a kid? Oh. Right. Sugar water.
Shit. I had nothing like that. I’d need fresh human bait, alive and screaming and thrashing. Couldn’t pretend to be one, they’d smell me, smell the black tar for blood in my veins.
“Stay down wind, fuckers can’t smell you that way.”
I looked around. No one there. I was alone. Could see across the snowbanks for miles and miles and miles. Empty, save for the bleak, sad sounding wind scuttling bits off ice across it.
Not my voice. Not my own thoughts. Whose then?
“Always stay down wind. Always keep your weapons ready. They’ll strike as soon as they smell your sweat, your musky balls. Your saliva. Soon after they’ll zone in on your heartbeat, by then, it’s too late and you’re good as dead. Understand?”
A memory. But, not mine. That merc. The one whose soul I devoured.
It was HIS memory. Not mine. His voice, talking to the new recruits at someplace he called “The Compound.”
They were training…children? He was talking to kids like that? What the hell?
Did Mal know about that?
How could I have someone else’s memory in my head now? I couldn’t even keep my own in there…
Oh my God.
What did I do?
“Jonah,” Mal said. He voice weak in my head, a hoarse whisper, startling me. I looked around again, out of reflex before I realized that I was hearing his thoughts. He must’ve woke up when I thought about him. Still trying to figure that part out. Didn’t make any sense, but there it was, happening all the same.
“Mal. I’m here.”
“Don’t come down here. It’s a trap. Let them kill me. Let me die.”
“No. Can’t do that. Won’t.”
“Quiet, they’ll hear us.”
Nothing followed. I closed my eyes, tried to visualize where he was. I could feel him, below. At the bottom of the silo, command control office, or something that looked like it.
I checked the building that I had hid in, waiting for nightfall. Couldn’t sleep. Too on edge, too wired. Too worried. Too scared.
Scared of what? Dying? No.
Scared of HER.
Could remember when IT happened. How she looked, wild matted hair, tattered dress blackened from dirt, old blood, grease, decay. Eyes like fire, pits of hell, bright, bright burning coals. Face contorted in rage. Anger?
SHE was angry? Why?
“I hate the living. I hate you. Soon, you will be like me. You will hate the living as well.”
Shivered, the recall of her voice chilled me to the very core, more than the winter cold ever did.
That was Mullo. And I was about to come face-to-face with her. I was shaking, not shivering, shaking. I wasn’t cold.
I was afraid.
SHE did this to me. SHE did this to US. Ruined our life together. Ruined everything.
This wasn’t living, this was a slow, inevitable death.
For once, I wished I couldn’t remember.
Panic, alternating with utter fear kept me completely still. Back and forth. Breath caught in my throat. Cold pit in my stomach. If I had a heartbeat, it’d be racing and pounding in my ears.
I couldn’t decide what to do. I wanted to run. To hide, to get as far away as I could, across the world if need be, anything to get away from HER.
And then Mal’s screams cut through the air. Snapped me out my panic.
They were torturing him.
Images of the feral vamps leaving bits of Mal in a trail of breadcrumbs to the inner nest flashed in my head. If they bit off his fingers, or tore off his extremities, torturing him, yet keeping him alive because he was bait that they were using to draw me into the nest…
That thought alone was too much.
Mal. I had to get to him. Had to get him out of here. That’s all that matters now.
I shook my head, tried to stay focused, and ran downwind, outside, avoiding the ground above the tunnels instinctively. Staying down, low, the knife burned against my thigh where the hilt stuck out of the sheath.
I ripped off part of the bottom of my shirt, wrapped it around my hand. Took out the blade.
It hummed, low, soft, barely audible, but I could hear it.
It wanted blood. It wanted to kill the abominations, those soulless monsters in waiting beneath the earth.
Kill the vamps, the bloodsuckers, the leeches; parasites of mankind.
Is that what I was? Don’t know. Not sure…
No time to freak out now. Keep moving.
I ran fast, silent, bare feet on frozen ground, broken concrete steps. Sidewalks, pavement, the wind rushing in my ears. I stopped when I came across a huge metal blast door. It covered the top of the silo where it opened up at ground level. A corner of the steel door was bent, rolled back like a crimped ribbon of an aluminum gutter.
Something strong did that.
Deep scratches, long nails, gouged the metal as it was rolled, bent, folded back to make a small crawl space through it.
The sound of that metal folding must’ve been ear-piercing, a screeching like when you scrape your fingers down a chalkboard. I grimaced at the thought. Hated that sound. Always have.
I held the knife hilt in my mouth and crawled through the hole in the silo door. I used the metal beams to climb down to the remaining ladder rungs. I hung on, curled up, trying to stay as small as possible while I took a look around.
Two catwalk stairs switch-backed down the sides of the silo. One rusted through and broke off; half of it had fallen to the depths below years before. The other was still intact, occasionally groaning as the metal shifted.
The moonlight filtered in from the crack in the silo roof, snowflakes lazily fell like dust motes down, down, down, into the deep, into the dark, where countless pairs or red eyes glowed and stared up at me.
They weren’t moving. They were just waiting, watching. Reminded me of a cat about to strike, except there was hundreds of them.
How many people did SHE kill and turn? Why even bother? What was the point?
I could smell rusted metal, and what remained of stale, standing water. This place must’ve flooded at some point. Couldn’t hear the water much though, so maybe the broodlings dug enough tunnels through here that they drained most of it. All that remained was dying algae and flakes of rusted iron and steel. The missile silo was a tomb, a monument to wasted tax dollars and the fears of the cold war.
It was a good place for a nest, really. No one lived close by, the huge missile silo and underground operations building could fit a good number of bodies easily, and since most humans were superstitious about the missile silo sites being radioactive, there wouldn’t be a lot of trespassers snooping around.
The silo shaft was very wide. I wouldn’t be able to leap across it easily. I had to plan my route down. Zigzagging around it to find the remaining stable crossbeams and catwalk sections.
Mal’s pained whimpers bounced off the metal walls, made me flinch. Almost lost my footing a few times. It distracted me. I was worried. I wanted to get to him as fast as I could. Instinct urged me on.
Was she doing that on purpose? Did she want me to fall and land a shattered mess on the silo floor, where her brood would rip me to shreds and end my miserable not-life?
Don’t know. Not sure.
I could hear long nails tapping on metal here and there, along with the occasional scuffle of feet as some of them inched closer to me.
So many. How was I going to kill them all?
I spotted a small maintenance tunnel, big enough for a grown man to crawl through. It was still grated over.
Maybe I didn’t have to kill all of them. Maybe I could bypass the main group and deal with the ones brave enough to face me.
It was as close to a plan as I was going to get.
I climbed over to the grating and gave it a close look. It was rusted, fused to the metal tubing of the tunnel.
The broodlings knew I was here, so not making noise wasn’t going to save my hide much, so I just went for it and, gripping my toes on the iron cross beam so that I wouldn’t fall, I slid my fingers between the grate holes and yanked it back, hard. I strained, banged on it a bit with my fists to knock loose some of the rust and then it ripped free. I fell backwards, my footing slipped, the grating dropped out of my hands and plummeted to the floor below with a deafening clang. I grabbed onto the metal beam, clung to it for a moment before I managed to scramble back up and into the maintenance shaft.
A thin puddle of water remained inside. It was so rusty in there. The rust covered my hands and coated my clothes as I crawled. It reminded me of the smell of blood. Wet copper. Liquid gold.
I wasn’t hungry, but the thought of it made me want more.
It’s all I thought about, aside from Mallory. Maybe, one day, it would be the only thing I could think about. That made me a little sad, but relieved at the same time. If I couldn’t think about Mallory, I wouldn’t remember him, and I wouldn’t come looking for him anymore. He could try to live a normal life, if he wanted.
Even so, the thought of just NOT existing anymore, of not being able to think in words, terrified me.
Would I be like the rest of those broodlings? Feral? A wild animal, limited to a handful of words? Or would I not have any words left at all?
I could hear them below me, almost a mile down. Crawling over each other, some dragging things–probably human bodies, fresh kills–others fighting for space.
I felt that if I closed my eyes and focused, I could see what they were doing.
I didn’t want to though, so I didn’t try it.
I hated them. I didn’t want to see them. I just wanted them to die.
The maintenance tunnel ended in a room. The red light from my eyes cast long shadows into it; an eerie glow bisected by black nothingness.
I looked around, not seeing anyone in there, I kicked the grated hatch loose and hopped down. It looked like a storage room for cleaning supplies. There wasn’t any of them left in there though. A broom or mop handle would’ve been useful right about now, but at least I still had the knife. I had a feeling I was going to need it.
The door to the room had been removed. The place had been stripped of just about anything that could’ve been reused. I paused at the entrance and listened, looked around.
Stray drops of water plopped onto crossbeams. The hallway, or what was left of it, was metal walls, ceiling, grated floor, half of which was missing, or about to fall off. I was going to have to stick to stepping on the support beams that remained.
I just hoped it didn’t slow me down too much.
Mal screamed again. Closer. In much more agony than before. Sounded like they were ripping something off him.
Worried, I rushed forward, shimmying over treacherous parts, walking sideways on others, using the overhead pipes and beams like monkey bars where I had to, just to get to the next area where they were keeping him.
I made it to the blast door. Thick, heavy, rusted partly open. It wouldn’t budge. I tried to slip through it, but it was barely wide enough for me to fit. I could get halfway and then could go no further.
I tried pulling it back, but that was a no go.
“Jonah!” Mal screamed. “For God’s sake! Run!”
“Where are you?”
“Get the hell out of here,” he shouted up to me from the depths below. He was in a lower level, beyond the blast door. I was close enough that I could hear his voice echoing through the dark, rusted tunnels. “Just go!”
“I’m not leaving without you! Just hold on!”
A large clawed hand, twice the size of a normal person, reached through the blast door opening. Before I could react, it grabbed my head and slammed me into the door.
I saw stars. The claws dug holes into my skull, the hand so strong it threatened to crush my head entirely. I could hear the bone starting to fracture under the pressure. I had dropped the knife when it stunned me. Felt around with a foot until I touched something that burned my skin, picked it up with my toes, and transferred it to a hand and stabbed, repeatedly, at the arm.
Something very large roared; deep, pained, like a pissed off lion. It dropped me.
I scurried away from the door.
The huge thing on the other side slammed into it, enraged. Nowhere for me to hide. The only option I had was to rush back and find another way to the next area.
I scurried to the open floor, gripped the platform, and lowered myself down. Felt around with my feet but there was nothing to step on. I looked around. The closest beam was a few yards away.
I bit my lower lip out of habit, and swung my legs back and forth to gain momentum, then launched myself towards the next beam. I flew across the open space, rusted water dripping in my eyes, stinging, blurring my vision for a few seconds. My fingers grazed the beam and I fell.
I was falling, falling, falling. I kept reaching out for something, anything, but it was no use.
Suddenly, I slammed into a huge metal support beam that crossed the expanse. My ribs broke, my hips broke. Bones stuck out of my legs and arms, shattered.
Above me, a huge shaped loomed, breath ragged, the rage it emitted was an almost palpable heat.
What was that?
I coughed up thick, black tar blood. Sat up, bones grinding against one another as they shifted back into place. The wounds knitted back together. It hurt like hell. Made my eyes water.
I rubbed them, cleared up my vision just as the giant beast landed on the wide support beam a few feet away from me and got up on all fours.
A tower of rippling muscle that used to be a man, but was no longer. It had gray-white skin, completely naked, black hair lined the outer edges of its arms, covered the groin enough to hide its sex. A pair of large serrated dagger teeth, like hog tusks, protruded out of its lower jaw. Huge hands and feet, twice the size they should be for the body and arms they were attached to. It glared at me with eyes black as midnight. No whites, just jet black with pinpoints of red light in the center. Its head was covered with a massive mane of hair, spiked mats of it jutted out everywhere.
It reeked. Smelled of death, of suffering and rage, of shit and piss and rotting flesh.
The face was all distorted, the lower jaw jutted out, pulling the cheek skin taught almost to the point of splitting. Nose was upturned, thin, reminded me of a bat.
There was a thick leather collar on its neck.
“I take it you’re her pet?” I asked.
It grunted, glowered at me.
I wasn’t sure if it could talk or not. I couldn’t hear its thoughts either. Not like the broodlings. Not like I could hear HER violent whispers.
It was blank. It thought nothing. All it could feel was rage.
Did that mean that there were others that changed like that? The broodlings didn’t grow larger when they were turned into vamps. Was that guy always that big? Or did something happen when he turned?
I wiped the black clotted blood off my face and stood up, back and ribs cracking as they healed over.
The voice in my head. HER voice.
The arm that I stabbed with the vampire hunter’s knife was still sizzling, the skin bubbling and popping around the wounds. Black blood splatted onto the support beam as it changed its grip.
Ah. That thing was a vampire. That meant that I could kill it with this magic knife or dagger or whatever the fuck it was actually called. I was never to keen on the differences of blades to be honest. If it cut, it was a knife.
I smirked and held up the blade, got ready for it to rush at me again.
It growled at me.
“Well? What are you waiting for? Kill me, mother fucker. Come on!”
It loped towards me, roaring, mouth distending impossibly wide, strings of spit dripping down its chin.
I ducked as it took a swipe at me with a clawed hand, and I slammed the knife into its armpit and yanked back. It yowled and stumbled forward, almost losing its footing and slipping off the beam.
I glanced down. The huge black expanse went down quite some ways. It would seriously hurt to land down there.
Black sludge oozed down its arm, slicking up its hand and puddled on the beam. It smelled awful. I fought the urge to throw up and backed away from it, slowly, keeping one eye on it as I looked around.
There was a spot where I could jump up and grab onto another crossbeam near the backside of the expanse. I just needed to get over there, and haul ass back up to the blast door.
It stared at the knife in my head, before glancing at my face.
“What’s wrong? Afraid?”
It glowered, growled, shook its head and charged at me.
I ran as fast as I could towards the back wall, and as I jumped up to grab onto the pipe that hung down, it grabbed my legs and yanked me down, slamming me face down into the support beam, repeatedly. Stars in my vision. I dropped the knife again. It slid away from me, dangerously close to falling off the edge.
I kicked back at its belly, knees, wherever my feet could connect, pushed my face away from the rusted metal surface and struggled to stop it from smacking my head into it again. I reached up and dug my clawed fingers into the sizzling stab wounds, ripping through arm flesh like tissue paper until I found a tendon and sliced it. It let go then, used its other hand, the one with all the blood oozing down the arm from where I sliced open its armpit and slicked up my head with it.
It smelled so bad. I felt the gorge rise up from my stomach, chunks of human flesh that I didn’t chew up as well as I should’ve. I forced myself to swallow it. I couldn’t lose that. I needed it for fuel. I needed it to stay strong. I briefly wondered how long it would take to digest all that before I pulled my head away, trying to get free. The vamp tightened its grip on me, long claws raked across my face, cut open a corner of my right eye and the side of my mouth, sliced through an ear and down the back of my neck and shoulders as I scrambled away and got back on my feet.
I wiped off the black blood as best I could. The sight in my right eye was fuzzy. The other eye burned from getting that crap in it, and was watering up.
Still facing it, I picked up the knife. The huge beast of a vampire was panting and looking its hand, the one with the cut tendon, trying to figure out why the fingers wouldn’t close anymore. Its feet and other hand slipped and slid in its own blood.
I had to act fast, before it healed.
I booked it over to the wall, jumped up, kicked up off it and grabbed onto a small cross beam. I shimmied across it with my hands a ways before I swung up and over it. I teetered a moment before catching my balance, and carefully tip-toed on the slender beam over to the next pipe and leaped up and grabbed it.
I just kept climbing. I didn’t look back, but I could feel the vibration of the vampire’s weight as it followed me, slipping, struggling to keep up.
I didn’t have to out-muscle it, I just had to be faster.
I was smaller, not hindered by wounds. I could make it to the top before that thing could.
I scrambled up to the blast door platform, almost losing my grip and falling for a moment–I flailed my legs, and clawed for my life to get back up there, gripping onto small surfaces that cut into my hands and hauling my ass up to the platform.
Once on the surface, I let go of the breath I was holding and sighed.
The tusked vamp, it leaped up and grabbed onto the platform with its good hand. The claws dug slits into the metal. They were impossibly sharp and strong.
It was reaching up with its bad hand, trying to grab me and toss me off.
I ducked under it, and in a downward arc, I sliced through several of the fingers that had cut hand-holds into the metal platform.
It screamed and fell.
Loud clangs and bangs followed.
I looked over the edge. Watched it bounce off surfaces and scrambled to grab things before it landed hard on the floor below, rebar and broken pipe ends skewering it. It struggled, but couldn’t get free. It roared and twisted, and the more it thrashed, the further down the rebar its body slid until it was good and stuck.
I hope it withered and died down there.
That vampire was strong, but man was it stupid.
Satisfied that the monstrous thing wasn’t going to climb up after me again, I walked through now fully opened blast door.
That very full feeling in my stomach was leaving me. I was using up a lot of blood. I had to be careful. I needed to stay strong until I got Mal out of here. But I wasn’t sure if I was going to be given a choice in the matter.
As soon as I got through the blast door, I was jumped by the broodlings that were waiting for me. They were staying quiet, I didn’t sense them. Hell, I didn’t even see their glowing red eyes. Either I was losing my grip, or they were still smart enough to ambush me.
So many. Claws and teeth dug into me everywhere. I dropped the knife, screamed in pain and rage. I was seeing red. I lashed out, ripping and tearing and biting and fighting with all my strength to break free. I almost got away from the group once, and they dragged me back down. I was slick with black, noxious smelling tar blood. It filled my eyes, my ears, my nose, my mouth. I gagged, threw up and kept biting. They screamed and howled and some backed off after I ripped off fingers or lips or whatever I could get a hold of.
One tried to pick up the knife and it burned it so badly, that the skin lit on fire. It screamed and ran in panic, the fire spreading to the rest of its body. It ran down a side hall and the screams stopped. I heard a thud and a juicy explosion as the broodling just popped like an over-ripe grape.
I couldn’t see the knife, but I could hear its hum. I kept reaching out in the direction of it until my fingers found it. It burned, but I didn’t care, I grabbed the blade and started hitting the one on top of me with the handle until it let go. I pushed away from them, panting, gripped the knife the right way and started swinging it wildly. I hit a few of them, some lit on fire, some just bubbled, others backed away, cautious.
Why it was igniting some and not others, I had no idea. But I wasn’t going to question it.
“The new ones, they’ll like up like a firecracker, and just blow up on you. So keep your distance if you see one catch on fire after you cut it. Because it will explode.”
Another memory, of that man, the merc I ate. He was teaching a teenage girl how to hold the knife right, where to hit on a dummy with fangs drawn on the mouth in black permanent marker.
Ah. Well then. That makes sense…I guess.
Was I always going to have that guy’s memories intruding my thoughts like that?
It was disconcerting. Jarring. Jolted me right out of what I was doing, because I not only heard his voice, I saw the memory, like it was just happening right then and there, and I was that man–it was from his perspective.
Would that happen if I ate others like that?
My God, I am such a monster.
I kept wandering down the hallway, limping, wiping black tar blood out of my eyes, spitting it out, digging it out of my ears and nose where it clotted up into a nasty mess of snot and black goo.
I smelled it.
My heart, I could feel it beat. Once, twice, It continued beating. The sensation confused me. I put a hand on my chest. I was breathing, my heart was beating.
What the hell is this all about?
I kept the broodlings at bay, occasionally taking a swipe at them with my knife as I limped forward. My wounds were sealing up, but not as fast as the bones when they broke. I was getting weaker. My strength was leaving me.
I was covered in black foul smelling gore. It almost drowned out the scent of Mal’s blood, but I think I would’ve noticed it no matter what odor was stinking up the place. I could’ve traced his position by scent alone.
The thought of drinking his blood again, it made my teeth grow longer on instinct. They grated against the top and bottom gums. So sharp. I swallowed the saliva that built up in my mouth. God did I want a taste of him. I craved his blood. Smelling it make me hungry. So hungry.
My jaw ached to bite down into his flesh and rip it off. I wanted nothing more than to devour him, body and soul.
But…if I did that…would he be in my head like the mercenary?
Would I be able to live with it?
Don’t know, not sure.
Couldn’t do it, even if I wanted to.
Mal was my life. My everything.
My clothes were shredded, bites and claw marks covered my skin, showed through the rips in the clothing. I was a mess. Smelled worse than I looked though. Half of that black blood wasn’t mine.
I got to a stairwell and could hear Mal’s ragged breath. It echoed and bounced off the metal walls. He was down there. It was dark, so dark down there. The only light was from my own eyes, glowing red.
I could feel a blackness down there as well. Empty save for rage. No joy, no desire, just pure hatred. And it was cold. So very, very cold. Not a hot rage like the tusked vamp. It was a cool, calculating, sadistic anger.
SHE was down there. With Mal. Hurting him. Making him scream.
I tightened my grip on my knife and limped down the stairs towards them, and quite possibly, my own death.