Mike expected to find Crandall in the Mustang staring hard at the windshield and ready to pick a fight should Mike say a single word about what transpired within Blood Moon. He’d seen it plenty in the past. His nickname was Crank and it was well earned.
The ‘Stang was empty. Mike frowned and lifted his chin, scanning the dark parking lot. When he didn’t see Crandall, he took a slow deep breath and focused on filtering out the extraneous noises – cars rolling down the next block, a plane in the distance rumbling through the cloud cover, the squeal of air brakes somewhere just beyond the quiet industrial section of the city. After several deep breaths, he heard susurrations that could be voices.
Light on his feet to make as little noise as possible, Mike darted across the lot and clung to the wall of the building, cloaked in shadows. He eased sideways, the brick at his back, focusing on the whisper of sound as it morphed into unintelligible words, and then recognizable speech, Crandall’s voice.
“Walk away now, and I might let you live,” Crandall said.
Mike rolled his eyes and peeked around the corner. Crandall, his back to the wall, inched his fingers up his leg to his belt. The vampire he tried to intimidate had Crandall pinned with a forearm across his throat, pushing his head back, and a leg wedged between Crandall’s thighs his weight keeping his prey immobile. Mike knew, from experience, that even if Crandall could draw the stake from his belt, he’d be hard pressed to muster enough force behind it while trapped by the vampire. Of course, he’d have to have a ridiculous amount of luck to hit the heart without seeing his attacker’s chest too.
The vampire grinned and said, “You might, huh?” He wrinkled his lip, revealing fangs as his smile morphed to something wicked. “You and what army, hunter?”
Mike pulled a flask of holy water from his pocket and loosened the cap. He held it low and behind his thigh as he stepped around the corner. “Him and me,” Mike said. “Let him go. You’re in violation of our agreement.”
“Fuck you and your agreement.” The vampire was deceptively thin. He appeared to have once been a handsome man with dark caramel skin and the slightly almond eyes of mixed heritage, but now his flesh pale and grey clung to his bones until he looked more the wraith than a creature that could pass for human.
“Fuck the agreement.” Crandall dug the fingers of his free hand into the man’s wrist, attempting to pry his arm away. “I’m going to kill this asshat.”
“Go ahead and try,” the vampire growled, “So I can break your fucking neck.”
Mike rolled his eyes and glanced around for security cameras or friends of the scrawny vampire. Seeing nothing that could assist any of them, Mike stepped closer and said, “You’re shit out of luck, vampire. Last time two vampires started with us–” Mike jutted out his chin, gesturing at Crandall “– he killed one before security saved the other.”
The vampire snorted and rolled his eyes. “Nice try, bloodbag. Two on two means you are outnumbered.”
Mike shrugged and then waved his empty hand at the two of them as if to say, proceed if you’re so confident of the outcome.
The vampire watched his for several seconds, wary of a trick. When he turned his attention back to Crandall, who clung to the stake still stuck in his belt but had stopped struggling against the solid wall of supernatural strength, Mike inched closer. “If you called security, you wouldn’t be trying to talk me down. I’ve heard why hunters are here and I don’t like it. It’s stupid and risky and–”
Crandall yanked his stake free. The vampire, feeling the movement, grabbed at Crandall’s wrist. While the two distracted each other with their struggle, Mike flipped the cap off his flask and flung the water at the pair. For the sickly vampire, the pain was immediate. And Crandall, when the vampire recoiled from the holy water, he also yanked Crandall forward, sending him flying sideways to skid across the unforgiving pavement of the parking lot.
The vampire howled and wiped at his eyes. His cheeks melted, dripping not just with water, but also injured flesh. Mike leaped forward, hoping to knock the beast down before it could turn its fury on him, or back to Crandall. A large shadow flashed between them, falling from above to shove Mike aside and wrap up the burning vampire. To Mike, it seemed as if the shadows danced and sparred, but in a few brief seconds, the flurry of motion ceased, and he recognized the scrawny vampire cradled in the arms of another. The face of the other hidden against the neck of the one he held, only hinted at who their savior might be. Their attacker slowed, ceasing his struggles, and fell limp in the arms of the shadow as Mike stood and stared like a deer caught in headlights.
“We are so screwed,” he whispered.
Up Next: Oblivion