Throughout Isaac’s life, he was taught that vampires were demons in disguise—and how to kill them. He learned every secret of the vampire world. In the end, these creatures had both disgusted and awed him.
As Isaac picked off vampire after vampire during their hunt of him, he was surprised at how easy it was for him to kill them.
It soon became apparent to these beings that the role of the hunter was reversed and they regrouped, huddling closer in packs instead of spreading out.
Isaac watched as they sniffed his mixed tracks and leapt from branch to branch, spreading his scent and laughing to himself.
Fucking idiots, Isaac thought as he lounged in a cozy nook of one oak tree. It was near one of the main roads that led from the forest to the town, which also led to the graveyard.
Two large cylinders of bright light appeared on the horizon of the road, catching Isaac’s attention. He watched them as they pulled down the road, revealing a car behind the light and through the glass appeared a peculiarly familiar face.
Isaac dropped down from his hideaway, and started toward the moving car with a vampire’s unnatural speed. His fangs peaked from their sheaths in the gums of his upper mouth, drool coating the canines, as his stomach twisted with bloodlust.
The car turned on the lane heading to the cemetery.
Isaac grinned. Perfect. He turned on his heels and followed the car in the shadows of the forest, dodging vampires. The image of Dante’s head ripped from his body tossed around in Isaac’s mind and he squirmed with excitement at the thought.
Dante was so close that Isaac could almost taste Dante’s blood on his tongue.
The car came into the clearing and headed through the rotting iron gates that framed the graveyard. One long lane circled in the middle of the graveyard, leading to the catacomb from which Isaac escaped just hours ago.
The car stopped just a few yards away from the crumbled entrance of the catacomb and two men stepped out.
Isaac hid in an array of flower bushes, silently in wait.
● ● ●
Dante’s vehicle pulled up to the top of the cemetery’s lane. Before them stood Isaac’s tomb, which gave evidence of Isaac’s prison break. The stone walls had fallen in, blocking off the vault. A soft, drizzling rain fell around them as Dante and Conner got out of the vehicle and approached caved-in entrance.
There was only one dead body in plain sight: a teenager girl with her throat ripped open. Most of the blood of the girl was dried, except for around the wound where it was the freshest.
“Oh, God.” Conner covered his nose as the scent of blood awoke some of his hunger. He pulled his lips over his unsheathed fangs and turned away from the sight.
Dante kneeled by the body, sniffing for traces of the vampire who did it. His lips curled as he caught the scent of Isaac.
“Grab the elixir,” Dante said to Conner, who then headed to the vehicle and opened the back seat. He combed through the supplies in the back until he pulled a leather case. In it were portioned sections which held vials. While at the car, he grabbed the blessed blades and other weapons.
Conner came to Dante’s side with the blades and one of the vials, which was filled with a deep purple liquid. Dante grabbed the potion, pulled the cap off the top, and poured the liquid over the body. There was not much of the liquid in the first place, so it only hit the girl’s open wound, but it was enough for the potion to act.
A mist floated from the body as the magic worked at eating the body.
Conner watched as the body disappeared, until a noise from the outskirts of the cemetery caught his attention. It lasted for a second before the area fell dead silent.
Both Conner and Dante looked towards the sound, then turned to each other.
“Master,” Conner said in a hushed voice. “That could be—”
“Isaac.” Dante nodded and grimaced. “I’ve caught his scent from the body. Call for the others.” He knew that there were more bodies in the tomb. They had to be destroyed before the humans came and discovered the interruption of the resting of the dead. “We need to get into the tomb.”
Dante gripped the edge of one of the large boulders covering the entrance and pulled. It budged only with his elder’s strength and gave way for many more rocks to be moved.
Conner moved by him. “Let me do this, Master. You watch and call for the others.” It sounded like a command, but it was more of a relief for Dante than anything else. Conner would rather do the physical duties than let his Master. He handed off the blessed blades to Dante, who held them by his sides.
Dante turned toward the graveyard and watched the area. Aside from them, it was silent. He grimaced as a rock thudded by his side, thrown by Conner to give room for his work.
He put a blade safely underneath his arm, pulled out his phone, dialed one of the leaders of a hunting squad, and commanded them to head back around to the graveyard. Dante knew that Conner feared that Isaac was around and if Dante’s intuition was right…then there would be a fight soon.
The wind shifted and Dante stiffened, catching the scent of the vampire before he appeared at the entrance of the graveyard. Clad in an early nineteenth century apparel that showed more blood than it did cloth, Isaac glided down the dirt pathway. The creature was livid and reeked of crazy. Isaac’s eyes held thick ring of vampirism around his bright green irises. There were dried sprinkles of blood painted onto his face and his hair seemed stick with the essence.
Dante felt his incisors break through the gums of his upper jaw, a mechanism readying Dante for the battle ahead.
“Stop there, Isaac Castro,” Conner said as he planted himself between the two vampires. Isaac raised his hands in false surrender and halted only yards ahead of Dante and Conner.
“Where’s your kindred, Dante?” Isaac questioned with a quirk of an eyebrow. “I don’t sense anyone else for miles.”
Isaac was taunting. Dante knew that some of his vampires were scouring the area for Isaac.
Conner moved closer to Isaac. “Isaac Castro, under the law of the Council of Virginia, you are condemned.”
“Condemned to what?” Isaac laughed. “To death? I hate to break it to you—but we’re already dead.”
Conner moved into action with Dante’s command. He rushed at Isaac, pouncing within feet of him. Isaac dropped to dodge the attack, but couldn’t escape Conner’s grasp as he swiped a clawed hand across Isaac’s back.
Isaac snarled, sounding more like a beast than a human, and grabbed Conner’s wrist before he could retract. They twisted on the ground, slamming into a large gravestone, with fangs gnashing.
Dante had no doubt that Conner would succeed against Isaac. Not only was Conner almost as old as Isaac was, but he was also substantially more powerful than Isaac. After all, Isaac was imprisoned for nearly a hundred years without blood to drink. With more potency of his blood than Isaac, Conner was able to overtake the crazed creature within a few moments of grappling.
Conner shoved him to the ground, forcing space between himself and Dante.
Isaac pulled himself to his feet. He wiped his mouth of blood from a split lip, which healed seconds later, and smiled. “Your henchman is a lot better off than the others.”
Dante and Conner watched as Isaac prowled toward them like a feline looking for an opening to strike. Conner matched his footsteps and took a glance at Dante for instruction.
“How have the years without me been, Dante?” Isaac questioned with a dark gleam in his eye. Pacing closer around the two vampires, he watched as Conner crouched down, ready to attack Isaac again at any given moment.
“Great,” Dante snapped.
“Seems that way since you have minions doing your job for you.” Isaac scoffed. “You can’t even bother to fight me with your own hands.”
Dante’s lips pulled down in a scowl, biting off a growl as he controlled his temper. A chunk of his armor was loosening the longer Isaac stood uncontained.
Conner continued to keep Isaac ahead of Dante, matching each of Isaac’s steps.
“Weren’t you supposed to contain him, Conner?” Dante said. He turned his dark gaze to Conner, who then jumped into action once again.
Conner tried a different approach of grabbing Isaac. Instead of grappling him into a submissive, contained position, he summoned the energy in his own blood to produce a spell to bind his body. It started circulating at his heart. Heat built up in his chest and his heartbeat skyrocketed as the blood magic flooded into his arms, then his hands, and then he could feel the heat of the magic in his fingers.
It took a moment for Isaac to catch on to Conner’s attack. He moved just in time for Conner to cast it; the dark cloud of energy shot forth like dark tentacles, only catching the tail-end of Isaac’s jacket.
The magic yanked him to the side, fuddling Isaac’s senses as the tentacles latched on and crept to his limbs. The power seeped into his skin, ridding him of his ability to move.
Isaac fought, screaming in outrage. He realized the trick and thought of his own blood magic. While it had been nearly a century since he used magic, he was a different supernatural being of power, and there was an untapped potential in him. All he had to do was reach out and grab it.
Conner had Isaac immobilized enough to cease his body. He caught Isaac’s hands behind his back and shoved him in front of Dante, who still stood apart from the two.
Isaac kneeled before Dante, caught in Conner’s hold, and still fought. He writhed against his captive, screaming curses at the two vampires.
“Come and fight me, Dante—you pathetic piece of shit,” Isaac said through clenched teeth. “You think your puppets will keep me down? I’ll kill you anyway.”
Conner towed Isaac to his feet, keep his hands tight against his back. “What’re we going to do with him?”
Their back-up was supposed to be here by now. Dante glanced around the area for his vampire scouts and frowned. He turned to Isaac, grabbing his bloodied chin in a vice grip.
“What’d you do to them?”
Isaac flashed him a wicked sneer. “I killed them, of course.”
Conner’s grip pulled Isaac’s arm at a painful angle. The pain didn’t stop Isaac from chuckling aloud. Conner fought the strongest urge to rip the crazy vampire’s head off.
Ever since Dante saved Conner and Turned him, Conner had dedicated his life to Dante’s vampire clan. To hear that his warriors’ efforts were lost sent a tremor down Conner’s back. His fangs slid out of their hiding places.
Dante turned on his heels and headed to rear of their vehicle. He pulled open the back door, revealing a heap of sparkling metal chains, which he had brought just for this occasion.
“We’ll chain him up until we get back to the estate,” Dante said once he was back standing before them.
Conner nodded. His lips tightened into thin white lines as Dante came close to Isaac.
Isaac watched him with hooded eyes and bared fangs.
Just as Dante drew the chain around him, Isaac caught them off guard and reach forward, latching his mouth around Dante’s forearm. His fangs punctured Dante’s skin. Conner rushed forward to help Dante, but halted when he watched Dante grab Isaac by the jaw and pull. Isaac hissed as Dante unhinged his fangs from his arm, then shoved Isaac’s body into the ground.
Dante shoved his boot heel into the back of Isaac’s neck, holding him down there, and ordered Conner to finish tying him up.
Isaac snarled into the dirt. Streams of muffled curses filled the air. Conner finished the job and pulled back, but not before slapping Isaac across the face.
Conner turned to Dante, who wiped the excess blood from his arm with the front side of his t-shirt.
“What are we going to do now?” Conner asked as he held onto Isaac. The vampire continued to writhe in his chains, hissing and sputtering various curses.
“Going back to the estate.”
The dead human bodies were the last of his worries, but it would be more trouble for some unsuspecting human to stumble upon them. “We’ll call the police department and have them take care of it.”
Conner and Dante hefted Isaac to his feet and tightened the chain, snapping the ends in place with a lock.
Isaac narrowed his eyes at yet another imprisonment. “Looks familiar.”
Dante ignored and shoved him toward the car, keeping his hands only on the back of the chains to steady his body. The current restraints on Isaac were enchanted. Now, he had the strength and speed of a mere human. He would be so easy to kill right then…but something held back Dante. Justice? Guilt? He had no clue, and wouldn’t dwell any longer on the thought.
Conner and him piled Isaac in the back with the rest of the gear, which consisted of more chains, some hiking boots, jumper cables, blankets and flashlights. Dante made sure to keep his unused weapons in the back seat instead of the trunk.
They climbed into the front and Conner started up the car. Dante settled into the passenger’s seat, slinking back into the deep corners of his mind as he thought about what just happened.
Isaac continued to cuss them out as he rolled around in the back, hitting against cold metal objects, bumping into the back of the seats. He was ignored by both of them, though Conner yelled at him only once to shut up before tuning him out.
“Why didn’t you kill him?” Conner muttered, hoping that through Isaac’s cursing, he wouldn’t pick up on their conversation. As soon as he spoke, the vampire in the back cut off his yammering, tuning in on the next words to be said.
“Let’s just worry about getting to the estate.” Dante rubbed the bridge of his nose. “We’ve got more than him on our hands.”
During the trip back, Dante thought of Valeria. He guessed then that the reason he didn’t hesitate to spare Isaac was because of her—it was about the only thing that made sense to him. She was just the same as she was a hundred years ago. Her memories, thoughts, and feelings were the same ones she felt moments before casting the spell. For her, it was as if there were only a few minutes in between the time she casted the spell and when she woke up.
Which meant Valeria still dealt with feelings for him. For Dante, she sacrificed her life to imprison Isaac and she was the only reason Dante didn’t kill Isaac in the first place. Even after a hundred years, Dante couldn’t go through with Isaac’s death because of her. Thoughts of her came up each time he thought about killing her brother.
Valeria was on his mind. All the damn time. It was a weakness, something he couldn’t let anyone find out.
Especially with Isaac was so close and so defenseless.
Well…if Isaac angered him enough, Dante thought, maybe he would do away with him. Killing half his coven should be a good reason.
Her face appeared in his mind and he shook his head. “We’ll talk about it later,” Dante muttered to Conner, who nodded in silence.
Isaac huffed, relaxing his head against a bag. Maybe it was his plan to get caught. Maybe he was planning to infiltrate from the inside and massacre Dante’s clan.
Maybe all he wanted was Dante dead. He was so close, if it hadn’t been for Conner—and if he hadn’t had so many vampires to kill before them. Why didn’t he do more? He gritted his teeth, catching the gums of his mouth with the razor edges of his incisors. He sucked the wound as he imagined disconnecting Dante’s head from his shoulders.
Yes. Isaac gave in to break loose in the estate. When he was again released, Isaac would leave everybody bloodless and headless.
Then who would be the crazy vampire?