To say that Cassius was stupefied was something of an understatement. Humans, in his experience, were afraid of vampires. A certain number even came to the castle to stoke that fear. However, when faced with the subject of their anxiety, they utterly failed to react. To what end! How, Cassius wondered, did a little old man evoke more fright than a legitimate vampire such as himself?
He continued to boggle as he scaled the steps of the belfry, only to be shaken from his reverie by a pair of arms encapsulating him at waist level. Cassius blinked before realizing they belonged to Lindsay, and that she was in something of a state. She clung to him, and though it did not come naturally to him, the vampire thought it best to stroke her back.
“Is everything alright?” he asked. Continue reading “Fang Force #14 – “Bitter Return: A Fang Force Divided” (Part 2)”
The city of Crescent Valley is named for its position below an arcing mountain range shaped on a map like the waxing moon. Home to over half a million residents, their numbers swell with the countless visitors that enter its limits every year; for during the days of its founding Crescent Valley was home to a being of legend, simply known to locals as ‘The Great Vampire King’.
Many are skeptical that such creatures ever walked among humans, yet cannot explain the great stone castle that sits above the city. Strong and silent, the structure watches them through the ages, though marks no time of its own, as the grand clock fixed to the central tower sits frozen for over a century with hands set at one minute to midnight.
That it had already struck and that a pair of vampires set it back was, for the purposes of keeping the peace, a fact that could be overlooked. Continue reading “Fang Force #13 – “Bitter Return: A Fang Force Divided” (Part 1)”
It wasn’t until she’d rested that Lindsay felt the full sting of her experience. She whined as Spike wrapped tape around her ribs with a skill greater than a small creature should possess, while the other two cried for her from the other side of the modesty screen.
“It’s Lindsay,” she said. “Lindsay!”
Of course she could command them to use her name – the power of the Great Vampire King compelled them to her commands – but that didn’t seem right. Better they get in the habit themselves, she thought. Having leadership thrust on her was hard enough; being a ‘Master’ was next level. Continue reading “Fang Force #12 – “Dark Temptation: Lindsay Decides Her Fate” (Part 6)”
Vultera drew a card between her talons and considered the details on the wax-coated paperboard. It featured the likeness of a human male, little more than skin and bone, crawling on his knees like an animal. Below it was a transcription in the old tongue, from a time before humanity had words of their own. After some thought she placed it upon the table and slid it toward her brother.
“I play my emaciated type,” she hissed, “and use ‘feral bite’, adding plus two to my speed.”
Her monstrous sibling snarled and laid a card of his own on the table. It featured a wide eyed human female wearing naught but rags, mouth gaping in horror with limbs frozen. “I play my hysterical type in the defensive position and use ‘flee for safety’,” Feareus said. “I have evaded your attack!”
Their back and forth went on for some time, playing cards in the shadows above the throne room, where echoes could not reach. Though known to their father, the two regarded the passage a secret, insofar as it belonged to them. None had appeared to challenge their claim, until that moment.
“What are you doing?” Fantom pressed. Continue reading “Fang Force #09 – “Dark Temptation: Lindsay Decides Her Fate” (Part 3)”
Of all the joys to the twenty-first century, there are none greater than coffee and fresh cinnamon donuts. Though it wasn’t until she was halfway up the castle steps before Lindsay wondered if vampires liked either. Did they need to eat at all? Other than blood, that is. She discarded the thought as too gruesome before breakfast and pushed on with the power of caffeine.
Lindsay bounded into the clock tower – steaming paper bag in one hand, a tray of cups in the other – and was overcome. Two days was all it took for a pair of vampires and a little bat to perform a miracle.
The first time she entered the belfry it was musty, dark and strewn with cobwebs. All that seemed like a bad dream. Crates had been replaced by polished wood furniture and high backed leather chairs, which made a good home on the new planks they’d set. Even the inside of the clock face was wiped clean, along with the bell overhead that reflected the morning light.
She almost dropped their breakfast – almost.
“You guys did all of this?”
Cassius and Luther emerged from hiding. Both had their hair pulled back and were wearing aprons. Their lace cuffed shirts, however, were still in tatters, and only the worse after all their work. Continue reading “Fang Force #07 – “Dark Temptation: Lindsay Decides Her Fate” (Part 1)”
All was quiet on the outskirts of town. The park was deserted, and the elementary school as well. Inside their houses, occupants stole fleeting moments of peace, or burned the midnight oil on a work day that never ended. Children slept in preparation for another school day.
It had been this way forever, and would likely never change; or so thought the residents who trusted the safety of their neighborhood. There was no reason at all to expect an unliving horde descending from the mountains. Experience told them that monsters weren’t real, and if they only shut their eyes the nightmares would leave.
This time, however, they were wrong.
A sliver of fog caught the moonlight as it weaved to the middle of the road. It moved as swift as the wind before turning to the ground. Fixed in place, the wisps spiraled and drew together, until out of the vortex two figures dropped. One was Lindsay, wide eyed in shock; the other Spike, flapping and bouncing.
“If you ask me, it’s better than flying!” the little bat squeaked. Continue reading “Fang Force #05 – “Rebirth: Rise of the Red Fang” (Part 5)”
There were noises outside the castle. They were loud, they were violent, and they were the last thing Lindsay needed while sitting on top of a vampire bat. Was this another prank, or something much worse?
Lindsay shifted on the pail to keep her skirt from riding up. It was a good thing she was wearing flats, in case she needed to run. She could run like the wind if she had to; and jump, and climb. In fact she was remarkably good at sports, despite never having a passion for them.
Spike tapped at the walls of her aluminium prison. “Excuse me, miss? What did you say your name was again?”
The young woman relented. “Lindsay…”
“Miss Lindsay,” Spike chirped. “I understand that you fear for your person, but I have urgent business that I must attend to. Is there anything I can do to assure my good faith?” Continue reading “Fang Force #04 – “Rebirth: Rise of the Red Fang” (Part 4)”
Lindsay was resolute. This, she decided, was a practical joke; or an elaborate new attraction Mr. Nowak put together without her knowing. She was the guinea pig, and that was fine – but Lindsay being Lindsay had to get her own back.
The alternative was too horrifying to think about. Real vampires, and the return of the Great Vampire King? No thanks. It made for better fiction than history.
An aluminum pail from the supply closet seemed a good weapon of choice. She lingered around a corner, just out of sight from the staircase.
There were voices in the bell tower; two men and a woman if she heard right. Were they the figures from the coffins? The lady wasn’t in fact a lady at all, but some kind of bat creature who spoke like an English teacher. A puppet, maybe? Maybe, she thought, it was remote-controlled.
Two gentlemen emerged from the staircase as though stepping from a period drama; a badly funded stage period drama with an amatuer wardrobe department. Their clothes were falling apart. The lace cuffs barely held to their stitching! If Lindsay didn’t know better, she’d swear their clothes were worn with age.
Both men sprinted down the opposite end of the hallway, leaving only the winged creature to worry about. With the pail held above her head Lindsay approached the staircase, step by careful step. The element of surprise was hers, but only if she was careful. Continue reading “Fang Force #03 – “Rebirth: Rise of the Red Fang” (Part 3)”
Spending the better part of her lifetime lingering around the castle left no corner with which Lindsay was unfamiliar, except one; the belfry of the clock tower, which was deemed off limits long before Mr. Nowak was appointed curator. “It’s out of respect for the Great Vampire King that we don’t enter the clock tower,” he’d once told her. “Besides, the mystery is half the fun!”
This mystery, Lindsay decided, was not fun at all. The higher she scaled, the deeper the ill harmony that stirred with every strike of the bell. What she’d mixed on her computer for the tour groups paled in comparison to the hollow, gruesome knell. Yet she pressed on, determined to know the origin of the sound.
At the highest point of the tower was a wooden door, rotted and crumbling. What was once well protected with a solid beam was brittle with age, and barely held together under the brutal vibrations of the bell. The sound on the other side was deafening, but Lindsay resolved to see what started it all. One strong kick was all she needed to collapse the handle, sending the door swinging on its hinges.
Then the ringing stopped. All was silent, and the bell hanging overhead still. Had she dreamed it? Continue reading “Fang Force #02 – “Rebirth: Rise of the Red Fang” (Part 2)”