The worlds of vampire and Van Helsing meet.
|Blood Feud ~ Prologue
Small Transylvanian Village
Even though daylight was fading, Gabriel VanHelsing couldn’t shirk his duty. To falter for an instant could mean certain death … or rather undeath. The lifeless bastard he sought would run if he gave him a chance. It had to be done now. Tonight. Vampires simply could not be allowed free reign.
The door to the wretched inn was barred. The small stone building was normally open at all hours. Usually a center for the locals, it seemed too quiet. Where was the tavern keeper or perhaps the local whores that frequented here? He had cornered the son of a dog all right.
It wasn’t a place for high society he thought laughingly. Certainly Lord Lucian wouldn’t find the accommodations too comfortable. He used an axe to gain entrance through the plain, wood plank door. It splintered after two good swings. The sound was quite satisfying after Gabe’s lack of luck recently.
Only two nights before, Gabe had forced his way into Valenko Keep. His Damned Lordship’s historical home would welcome him no longer. Not with blessed holy water spoiling his resting place. He only wished he’d been able to find Lucian Velenko’s very own crypt.
His worn riding boots sounded sharply on the floor. He couldn’t take the time to pull them off and rolled more onto his toes. The bloodless bastard would know he was here anyway. There was no use in trying to disguise his entrance, though he did so out of habit. He prayed he had enough daylight left to finish the thankless task.
At 45, Gabe was still at the top of his game. Under his linen tunic and cotton breeches his well-muscled body responded to every request. He still captured quite a lot of attention from the women, even if his clothes were rough and his long hair needed tied back with a leather thong to keep it out of the way.
The last 10 years spent hunting these damned bloodsuckers gave him an odd perspective to the game. Humans could win. There wasn’t any choice. Armed with an axe, wooden stake, and the silver crucifix at his throat, he went in search of the cellar.
He found the steep stone stairs. It was darker down here and Gabe stopped to light a torch. The darkness would only serve to aid the son of a dog. He was certain Lucian would see well enough. VanHelsing only hoped that the vampire’s conceit worked against him. Overconfidence on Lucian’s part could keep Gabe alive.
The smell alone was enough to announce the undead. It was not unpleasant. It was dark, musty, and different. Part warm earth and burned ozone after a lightening strike. The essence surrounded him like a lover who had overstayed their welcome. This was certainly his lair.
“VanHelsing, I’ve asked you to leave.” The deep voice warned. The sound managed to swell and fill every crevice in the basement without being loud. The demon himself was awake and ready for a welcome. Daylight be damned, it seemed the sun was low enough for the vampire to be prepared.
“I don’t take orders from you.” Gabe answered. Still on the steps, he couldn’t yet see the foe. But it was certain Valenko could see him. In his years hunting the creatures they never ceased to amaze, as well as sicken him. These monsters were nearly unstoppable. Fear froze his blood.
As it always did, a lump formed in his throat. He fought the anxiety, making his body make use of the extra strength the adrenaline gave him. Some night one of these lifeless devils could take him. Gabe prayed this wasn’t that night.
Valenko arose then, from a small pit in the far corner. He floated to hang from the ceiling. He was larger than life and seemed to fill the entire space. Hellish and beautiful, he glared down at VanHelsing.
“You still should have listened. Leave me some peace. There is little enough of it.” He hissed.
“And why would that change what I need to do?”
“You refuse to listen.” Valenko snarled.
“You and your kind can not be allowed to continue.” VanHelsing announced, fighting to keep his control.
“I will merely move. Fool! After nearly 300 years, do you believe I haven’t learned?” The demon asked.
In a heartbeat, he’d disappeared. Smoke funneled past VanHelsing and up out of the cellar. He was gone. This demon spawn was like so much mist in the air. He was as out of reach as one’s own future.
The frustration was nearly unbearable. Anger built inside VanHelsing until he couldn’t stand it. He let out a bellow of pain and anger. The battle was over without him ever having a chance. The war, he felt, would rage on for perhaps eternity.