I’d been following the lumbering white Mercedes for a few miles heading into the city. Late evening on a Tuesday night and the roads were quiet. I suppose mainly people like myself going to or coming from work. The only thing I had noticed different about it was its speed. It was slow, the driver seemed uncertain of the way. The other thing, it was from the French Department 2A.
I decided to overtake, it overtook me straight back. There was a young man driving. His car was left hand drive, mine right. We were just a few feet away from each other. He was in his early twenties wearing a tee-shirt and hoody pulled up over his head. It was hard to tell if there was anyone else in the car as the street lights were casting long dark shadows. Suddenly a car coming the other way illuminated the whole of the interior. There were hands reaching up, touching the glass. Withered bony hands and dark shapes covered in cloth on the back seat.
The car sped away, at the next set of traffic lights he had stopped short of the junction. Had he been drinking or taking drugs. I slowed down not wanting to pass him. There was no movement from the car. I stopped behind the Mercedes and the driver got out and rushed toward my car pulling open the door before I had a chance to lock it.
I expected to be attacked. Shot, stabbed or robbed. At least that’s the picture the newspapers paint of our society. They never tell the truth about what is happening in our world. Maybe they don’t know the truth. Of course, what I expected, didn’t happen.
“Monsieur I haven’t got long I’m tired and cannot run any longer. I have travelled far and not yet managed to shake them of. They will be here soon. Help me, please.”
All the time he had been manhandling me from my car and pulling me towards his. What I saw was terrifying. A pile of bodies covered in blankets, old withered, barely living bodies. Men and women slumped and piled one on the other. Crammed into the back of the car, maybe ten in total it was hard to tell. The front passenger seat was the same with another four crammed in. The stench from the car was overwhelming. Sweat and human waste mixed with another, the smell I can only describe as death. There was noise too, groaning and mumbling from under the blankets. The sounds of weary, dejected souls. The young man saw the look on my face.
“It’s alright these are my friends, we have had to flee France as our kind have been persecuted to the verge of extinction. I need to find a safe place to hide. A church is best, they won’t find us in a church.”
Why was I listening to this odd-looking Frenchman, he looked like a druggie? At least I think he did, skinny, with a pasty complexion and those baggy jeans they wear. There was still time for him to shoot, stab and rob me. He looked rough, yet there was something about him. I wanted to help. His friends it had to be said looked as if they should be in hospital.
“Why a church they look like they need medical help more than spiritual.”
“Spiritual is the only help they need do you know a church, can you take us to one now? We will be safe in a church, shielded from view. Shielded from prying minds.”
“Quick, follow me,” I’m not sure why but I rushed back to my car and sped off away from the bright lights of the link road.
The Mercedes followed behind inches from my bumper. I only took them a few streets. Into a semi derelict part of the city. Industrial, mixed with residential. The old church and school were a rambling set of buildings in their own grounds. They were made of the local red brick that the city was renowned for. The old church dominated the city skyline for miles around.
The church was protected because of its architecture. No longer needed for worship due to the nations declining belief in religion. Unused yet protected, this once important hub of the community stood empty. I had lived in the area as a child, so knew the area and church well. I still knew my way around the building even though I hadn’t been in for years.
We stopped in the dark street with imposing church on one side. Run down back to back houses on the other. The houses were either boarded up or had steel gates and shutters at the windows. No one was going to dare look outside as two cars pulled up in the road outside,
The young Frenchman opened the doors and the passengers got out. They helped each other and we helped the ones who could barely walk. The smell of death and decay was all around. Everything about them seemed to be old and just clinging to life. I guided the group through the old school playground towards the presbytery door where once priests had lived. I pushed and shoved as hard as I could at the door until it fell open. The fifteen friends bundled through into the old building and darkness.
In the back of my mind I had a feeling that something bad was going to happen. Something happened, it wasn’t bad though. The whole group in the silence and darkness of the old building began what I can only describe as a feeding frenzy. If I thought, they were ill or close to death I was wrong. It was over in minutes. They bit me frantically, drawing blood. As they fed on my blood everything became clear. I saw their fear and anguish as they had been tracked down by vampire hunters. They hated humans and given the chance would clear the planet of them. Not destroying them, just assimilating them into their world.
I stood in the old kitchen covered in bite marks and dripping with blood. The group froze and I could feel their panic. I looked from the window down the long garden that led down to an old iron railing fence marking the boundary of the church grounds. Beyond that was the new link road. A small convoy of French cars drove passed at speed heading straight into the city. Hunters determined to eradicate this unique species from our planet for good.
They never slowed down, they had lost the scent. Sure, that their prey had been close, they were now confused and pressed on into the city. I turned my group had gone ahead shuffling down a long corridor towards the church beyond. They knew the way instinctively and soon were standing by the altar of the beautiful Victorian church. Lit by the moonlit sky and large streetlights of the nearby road.
The group were clearly refreshed by their recent meal. Blood and the goodness of holy ground were all these monsters needed. They were vampires of course but as I was learning, vampires come in many guises. I think it was fair to describe these creatures as monsters.
Fifteen bat winged creatures the size of a large dog resembling a scorpion strutting around the church, wings flapping slowly. It was the most bizarre thing. One of the creatures walked slowly toward me morphing back into the young Frenchman who had been driving the car. The others had taken off and were flying effortlessly around the church before settling on beams high in the churches open vaulted roof.
“Thank you for saving our species. We now have one last chance to fulfil our destiny.”
With that he changed back and flew high into the roof space. I could feel them. Their thoughts, pain, hatred of human kind. I could feel the hunters also. Always out there looking to destroy them. Would I become one of them, I was not sure. I certainly felt different, for now still human as far as I could tell.
I returned to the street, moved their car to school’s garage and continued to work as usual. I knew they were safe for now. All I could do was visit each night and watch as the hanging creatures turned into chrysalis. Eggs appeared after a week or so. Thousands of tiny eggs inside the cocoon. Later they became larvae feeding on the now dead hosts.
I stared each night in awe as the tens of thousands of larvae developed. I wondered what I had done and what fate would befall my city. Truthfully though, I felt part of something amazing and quite proud of my achievement.