“Are you sure you don’t mind me and your Dad going without you?”
Lucy Bracken sat up in the bed and smiled, “It’s just a migraine. I just need a good night’s sleep, that’s all. Now, you and Dad go and enjoy the show.”
Standing up, Claire smiled back at her daughter. “We’ll be back in a couple of hours, okay?”
“Just go. I’ll be alright.”
Reaching the door to the hotel room, Claire stopped and glanced back. “Sure? We can skip the show.”
Claire hesitated for a couple more seconds before nodding and disappearing through the hotel room door.
Waiting for a few minutes, Lucy slithered out from under the covers and approached the door, pausing only to take the room key from a table close to the bed. Opening it, she stepped out into the passage and began heading towards the toilet door at the far end.
Stopping at the top of the stairs behind her, Ian Davidge watched her closing the toilet door. Heading along the passage, he halted when he reached the door.
Waiting for a few minutes until he heard her unbolting the door from the other side, he watched the door open and Lucy begin to emerge.
Grabbing her by the arm, he focused on her eyes before she could react.
The emotion draining from her face, she simply stared back at him, unmoving.
As he turned and began walking back towards the door of his room, she started following him, her gaze firmly fixed on his back.
Entering his room, she remained completely still as the door was closed behind her.
Caressing her shoulder, Ian reached down and removed the football shirt she was wearing. Dropping the shirt next to her bare feet, he circled her and glanced towards the bed.
Suddenly moving, Lucy approached the bed, her eyes still staring blankly ahead. Turning automatically, she sat on the edge of the bed, slowly turning her head to look at him. Lying back on the bed, she continued to focus on him as he approached.
Climbing on top of her naked body, he brushed her red hair away from her shoulder to expose her throat. Leaning forward, he ripped open her skin with his sharp teeth and tasted the blood as it began gushing down his throat.
Opening the front door of the hotel, Henry Bracken stepped aside to let Claire enter in front of him.
“I’m just going to nip round and get some money out.”
Heading to the stairs, she began heading up to Lucy’s room. Approaching the door, she knocked on it and turned the handle.
Stepping into the room, she stopped when she saw Lucy in the bed, both of them naked.
Tearing open the man’s throat further as she looked up, Lucy focused on her mother, blood dripping from her chin.
Feeling her daughter’s gaze seemingly burning into her soul, Claire was unable to turn away, the expression of horror from what she has just seen fading from her face.
Wiping the blood from her lips with her hand, Lucy turned towards the open doorway and smiled when she saw Ian standing in the passage, a pair of blood covered fangs visible between her lips.
He turned to the woman standing behind him, “Find the father.” He looked back into the room and focused on Claire standing motionless. “Turn him. I don’t see any reason why we should break up such a loving family.”
As the woman left to follow his instructions, he entered the room and closed the door behind him. Approaching Claire, he opened her coat and ripped open her blouse. Turning to face Lucy, he stretched out his hand towards her.
Taking his hand, Lucy continued smiling as she reached her mother. Licking her lips, she moved closer, her fangs getting nearer to her mother’s exposed throat.
Taking the money from the cash machine outside the bank, Henry slipped the notes into his wallet.
He turned to begin walking back to the hotel, the woman that Ian had ordered to find him stopping in front of him.
She smiled, her eyes fixing with his.
Becoming motionless as he was transfixed by her stare, the wallet slipped from his fingers and dropped onto the pavement.
Taking his hand, the woman began leading him into an alley behind the row of hotels. She pushed him against a brick wall, her lips parting to expose her fangs.
Henry blinked the moment the machete blade sliced through the woman’s throat, sending her severed head down into the gutter.
Grabbing the sleeve of Henry’s coat, Veronica Knight began pulling him back towards the street. “Come with me.”
Still dazed from the effects of the woman’s gaze, Henry stumbled and managed to force Veronica to release her grip on his sleeve. “What is all this?”
Stopping, Veronica glanced back. “That woman was Strigoi, she was going to drain your blood or more probably make you into one of them. We’ve suspected they’re using that hotel you’re staying at as a breeding ground for about a week now, turning the unfortunate guests into more of their kind.”
Henry turned to look up the street towards the hotel, “Claire, Lucy. They’re still in there.”
Grabbing his coat again, Veronica stopped him from running back to the hotel. “You can’t save them. They’ve probably been turned by now.”
Turning to face her, Henry glared at her. “You can’t know that.”
“I understand that you need to know they’re beyond saving.” Veronica pressed a crucifix into his palm, “That should give you a fighting chance to get out of there, if you have enough faith to make it’s protection effective.”
Grasping the crucifix firmly, Henry continued to look at Veronica for a moment before turning and beginning to run back to the hotel.
Reaching the front door, he entered the hotel and approached the stairs. Heading up without hesitating, he saw the door to Lucy’s room.
Turning the handle slowly, he pushed open the door and stepped into the room.
Claire and Lucy were stretched out on the bed, a woman in her twenties lying between them. Claire’s fangs were deeply implanted in the woman’s wrist, while Lucy was engrossed in feeding from the woman’s exposed breast.
Dropping the woman’s arm as soon as she saw Henry standing in the open doorway, Claire slid off the bed and smiled, blood trickling down the corners of her mouth. “Join us.” She glanced at the blood flowing from the wound on the woman’s arm, “There’s still plenty to share.”
Tearing the woman’s breast as she looked towards her father, Lucy glimpsed the crucifix in his hand and snarled, showing her bloodied fangs.
Raising the crucifix, Henry watched Claire take a few steps back, her expression clearly displaying her hatred of it.
Stepping out of the room, Henry heard footsteps on the stairs and turned.
One of the hotel staff slammed into him, the crucifix falling from her grasp.
Pushing the man away, Henry glimpsed Claire and Lucy advancing towards the door. Scrambling for the stairs, he took one glance back to see Claire and Lucy outside of the room.
Rushing down the stairs, he slammed open the front door and ran out into the street.
He saw Veronica still standing close to the entrance of the alley and hurried towards her.
She watched him approach, “I’m sorry. Believe me, I wish we could have saved them, but you’re going to have to accept what we’ve got to do.”
Parking a battered blue van in the alley near the hotel, Veronica glanced back at Henry and two other men sitting in the back.
“Mike, Stuart, Ready? Henry, what about you?”
All three of them nodded.
Concealing a shotgun under his coat, Mike followed Henry and Stuart out through the rear door of the van.
Slamming shut the driver’s door, Veronica pulled a large gym bag from the back of the van and led the way to the door to the hotel.
Ringing the bell, Veronica pushed her way inside when the door was opened. Leaving Mike to bring up the rear with his shotgun, she looked at the people staring at her. “Do as you’re told and no one gets hurt.”
Hurrying into the dining room, Stuart produced two automatic pistols and leaned against the wall near the door.
Leaving Mike by the front door of the hotel, Veronica pushed one of the staff ahead of her to a door marked private. “Unlock it.”
Hesitating, the woman only responded when Veronica prodded her with a small automatic pistol.
Pushing open the door, Veronica glanced back at Henry. “Are you sure you want to see this?”
Nodding, Henry followed her down into the cellar. As she turned on the light, he saw the coffins scattered around the floor. “I thought that was just in the movies.”
Veronica looked back, “It makes it easier for them to be moved during the day by the people that worship them.”
Henry watched her open one of the caskets and saw the woman that he caught Claire and Lucy feeding on. He closed his eyes as Veronica removed a stake from the gym bag and positioned it over the woman’s heart.
The sound of her screams went through him when Veronica hammered the stake into the woman’s flesh.
Moving to one of the other caskets with another stake, Veronica opened it.
Opening his eyes after the woman’s screams had subsided, he looked towards Veronica and saw Lucy in the casket, her chin covered in dry blood. “I have to do it.”
Hesitating in handing over the stake and hammer, Veronica glanced down at his sleeping daughter. “You don’t have to.”
“Yes, I do.” Henry took the stake and hammer from her. Placing the stake over Lucy’s breast, he briefly glanced at her face before bringing the hammer down.
Lucy screamed as the point of the stake ripped into her flesh, blood gushing from the wound. Thrashing around in the casket, she tried to grasp the stake and tear it out of her.
Henry saw her suddenly stop moving, her eyes staring lifelessly back at him.
Closing the casket lid so he would not have to continue looking at his daughter’s bloodied body, Veronica looked at him. “I’m sorry.”
Approaching one of the remaining caskets, Henry opened it and stared at Ian. “Give me another.”
Pulling the stake from the gym bag, he positioned and raised the hammer.
Rushing down the stairs, Stuart stopped when he reached the bottom. “One of them made a break for it.”
Veronica turned to face him, “Damn.” She looked back at Henry, “We have to go. That damn fool might come back with the police.”
Reluctantly dropping the stake into the casket next to the sleeping occupant, Henry raced back up the stairs behind Veronica and Stuart.
Mike was already holding the front door open as the three of them dashed outside. Pulling the door shut behind him, he hid the shotgun under his coat and ran towards the van.
Opening her eyes, Claire looked up at the silk lining the lid of the casket. Reaching up, she pushed it open to flood the coffin with the light from the bulb above her.
Climbing out, she stepped onto the cold concrete of the cellar floor. She turned towards the casket where Lucy was sleeping.
Lifting the casket lid, she screamed as soon as she saw the stake driven into the flesh and the blood congealing around it.
Ian descended the stairs, “The followers tell me that you’re husband was with those who did that.”
An expression of hatred filling her face, Claire’s voice was full of venom. “Help me, help me make the bastard pay.”
Approaching her, Ian smiled. “Patience. Killing him now is too simple for any meaningful punishment. We can wait, select the right moment when there is more for him to lose.”