Something was wrong. Erik couldn’t lay his finger on what, but his instincts were telling him something was going on with his captors. Erik stood up from the bed. His sides still hurt, but his head hurt more. Worse, he felt the craving for whatever drug his captors had been pumping into him. The loss made him feel weak and shaky. With some effort, Erik pushed all of his physical problems to the back of his mind and focused. Something going wrong for his captors could be his chance to escape.
His captors had annoyingly stripped the room of anything that would have made a quick weapon. Erik yanked on the sheets of the bed. They were hard stuck on the bed, but the top sheet finally pulled free. Erik started twisting the sheet into a tight rope. Whoever came through that door next, he was going to blast and then strangle. If he was lucky, it would be Nao.
The door clicked open. Erik crouched near the bed, ready to pounce. As the man walked through the door, Erik’s eyes went wide. At the man’s waist was the inscribed scabbard of Far’ling. Instead of the push he’d been readying, Erik grabbed the hilt with his power and yanked. The room seemed to light up as the silvery elf blade flew into Erik’s waiting hands. The man was moving with that same blinding speed, but he slammed into Erik’s shield. With one swift motion, Erik lunged. The sword easily slid into the man’s chest. There was a look of surprise on the man’s face, then he burst into flame. A second later, a pile of ash was left on the floor. All except Far’ling‘s scabbard.
Damn, Erik thought, I was at least hoping to get his clothes. He picked up Far’ling‘s scabbard and shook off the ash. Erik slipped out the door into the dark hallway.
Anne tapped her foot impatiently as the man worked on the electronic lock. She knew he was working as fast as he could. Nagging him or riding his shoulder wasn’t going to make it happen any faster. Anne had no idea how Samantha was managing to stay so calm as they waited to gain entrance into the Riverside Colosseum. Originally built as part of the Riverside Revitalization Project, it was hoped the Colosseum would lure at least a minor league hockey team to the city. Like most of the revitalization project, that plan had gone down in flames. Now, it was a half-decent concert location.
“Got it,” Nigel said, and the door opened. Nigel and his partner John joined up with the team on Lady Maritza’s orders. In addition to her two spies, Lady Maritza had also sent along gear and weapons. The team was now armored and carrying the stubby Russian assault rifles the Avalonians seemed to favor. Well, all except for Veronica. She had some sort of blocky submachine gun strapped to her armor, but no one expected her to shoot much. Kurt and Nigel were the first through the doors with Jason and John right behind them. Veronica came next with Anne and Samantha covering the team’s rear.
The backstage corridors were dark. Exit and a few emergency lights provided little globes of light. Anne flipped down the nightvision monocle attached to her helmet. The hallway turned to an odd mix of light greens and blacks as her eyes melded the two images.
“We’ve got some blood here,” Nigel reported, crouching some ten feet into the corridor. “Looks relatively fresh and heading down that corridor.” He pointed to a hallway that branched off to the right.
“Could be the one I winged,” Jason said. “Let’s follow, but cautiously. If he’s waiting for us, he could be among us before we realized it.”
“I’ve got something for that,” Veronica said.
“Assuming he doesn’t take you out first,” Jason replied. “I would.” The group followed the blood trail. They were maybe fifteen feet down the hallway when Anne heard running footsteps from behind. Anne stopped and turned. Running footsteps? Vampires moved too fast for that. Anne hoped it wasn’t a security guard. Things could get ugly fast.
Check it out with Samantha, Jason said over the telepathic link. If it’s a guard, flash the badge, and make up a story. We’ll move up a bit and try to stay out of sight. Anne and Samantha crept back down to the corner.
Are you sure it’s a human? Samantha asked. I can’t hear any thoughts. Anne brought the wire stock of the assault rifle to her shoulder and slid out into the corridor. The next thing she knew, Anne was on her back and dazzled by a brilliant light that lit up the corridors. Anne rolled to get up. Whatever had just hit her packed a punch.
“YOU’RE WEARING HER FACE, NOW?” Erik’s voice screamed. Anne scrambled up and dashed over to Samantha. Erik had her pinned to the wall with one hand around her neck and that magic sword of his less than inch from Samantha’s eye. Samantha was frozen in fear. “It was bad enough when you wore Anya’s face now, but Samantha’s as well? I’m going to enjoy this.”
“ERIK STOP!” Anne yelled. Erik paused, but didn’t lessen his grip on Samantha or his sword. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Erik half-turned and glanced at Anne. A confused look spread across his face. The sword fell from his hand and clattered on the concrete floor. It was at that point that Anne realized Erik was naked. Very naked.
“I thought you were now,” Erik said, looking at Samantha in horror. The women traded confused glances. Erik sank to the floor and held his sides. At that point, the others stormed up to them. Veronica immediately rushed to Erik’s side. Her hands glowed blue for a moment.
“”We need to get him out of here now,” Veronica said, “He’s banged up bad and there’s something else running around inside of him.”
“What about the other vampires?” Nigel asked.
“All gone,” Erik said in a raspy, pained voice, “They all left with now.” Anne and Samantha traded worried looks.
“Let’s get him out of here and back to the apartments,” Anne said, “We’ll figure out where the vampires went from there.”