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Chapter 8.3 - THE BEST I CAN BE

Instantly, Nick and Craig swooped into battle. The Fallen were strong, lethal, and fast. Their wings buffeted, whipped and struck the oncoming bodies, sending several skidding across the floor or propelling them through the air. It was the craziest game of ten-pin bowling, ever.

Some fought back, their beastly natures heightened by the attacking angels. They clawed and snapped at the winged warriors; defensive, increasingly aggressive, causing superficial wounds, blood spatter. The crimson flecks excited the fanged marauders, and they moved in towards the two Fallen - like surf rushing a beach. The fighting intensified.

The fledgeling vampires continued to pour from the far side of the room, guttural, hungry, insane. At first, many appeared disorientated, confused and aimless, with no focus, no idea what they were doing; a chaotic stream of marbles released from a jar.

Luke’s ‘traitors’ turned and ran crashing into the mob vanishing within the mass of bodies and formed an offensive with the two Fallen. Grunts of surprise turned to rage as the crazies swarmed, hungry for blood. Their numbers were their advantage, but they lacked strength, guile and order. Body-parts erupted from within the tangled mass; limbs flew through the air, heads rolled, and twitching corpses started to litter the floor.

Some of the wild ones stopped to feed on their dismembered comrades, making themselves easier targets for the allies. Others turned on their own, driven by an insatiable hunger when flesh was ripped open, lacerations seeping, oozing and glistening. The angels and their new-found cohorts were fierce, unrelenting.

Cain left them to it and focused once more on Luke. The arrogant pup was watching the riot, grinning, smug.

A petite Asian female arrived by his side. She was lithe, her hair long, glossy. She walked up beside Luke, her fingers lightly brushing his arm as he leaned close and whispered something to her. Cain heard her name mentioned - Mia. She smiled, coquettishly, then sashayed towards the stage, her eyes lingering over Cain’s naked torso.

Cain glared, his loathing plain to see. A flicker of uncertainty crossed Mia’s alabaster features, the cherry lips pouting, petty. Cain didn’t trust her anymore than he trusted her leader. Her movements slowed, deliberate, and she loitered around the PA System - and Becky.

The woman he loved lay, panting softly; he could smell her fear, but she remained pretty much motionless, other than her breathing. Cain sensed she knew trying to move would be illogical, foolish. Behind her hovered Mia - to her front and left, Luke, and straight ahead a mob of starving vampires, all unstable, unpredictable.

“You should not have forced my hand,” Luke said, trying to draw Cain’s attention. “Things could have been so much nicer; like they were back in the Summer of Love.”

The father of vampire’s sneered, but his sights remained on Mia, gauging her every move, every flinch. “And you should not have pushed your luck,” Cain replied. “As for the sixties, another ten minutes and you would have bled out, erased like your family.”

Mia looked imploringly at her leader. Cain knew the female was waiting for a signal from Luke. She seemed desperate to carry out some instruction, of which Cain quickly deduced would cause further harm to Becky.

Without any deliberation or warning, Cain rammed into Mia. She stared up at him, her face filled with shock at the suddenness of his attack. He pinned her by the throat while his other hand gripped her jaw, hooking his talons into her mouth.

Then he pulled.

A shrill scream filled the air as Mia’s jaw was ripped from her face. Blood poured down her neck, over her chest, soaking into her shirt. Frenzied and enraged she dug her nails into Cain’s arm as he continued to grip her by the throat, his nails digging in, piercing her skin.

He threw the mandible across the stage; it skidded to a halt in front of Luke’s feet. The young leader stared at it, his eyes burning with rage.

Swift, Cain crushed Mia’s windpipe then tore her throat, practically decapitating her. He launched the body onto the PA deck, the impact changing the light show and kicking in some music.

Startled yelps came from the writhing mob as the heavy beat played; heads turning to the stage. Limbs continued to be lobbed off, sailing through the air, as the battle between evil and the ’not quite as evil’ continued.

Cain afforded a glance at Becky before he once more turned to Luke. “Just what did you hope to gain?”

Luke gathered all the poise he had left. “Power. The likes of which you possess.”

Cain moved towards him, feathers flitting, muscles taut. His eyes were blackest night, full of boundless loathing. “You tried to hurt her -” He pointed to Becky. ” - and trap me, all because you wanted wings?”

“I didn’t know your ‘evolution’ was quite as - literal. But, like you, I am immortal! And I want to be the best I can be.”

“You threw that opportunity away when you were still human! You are nothing more than an overblown, hedonistic little maggot, and no amount of strength, power or longevity will make you anything else. Tonight I finish what I started fifty years ago.”

Cain lunged at Luke, and the two crashed across a table sending the surrounding stools flying in different directions.

“Becky!” A weak voice sounded behind her.

She groaned but refused to move. “Stay still!” she said, hoping her voice carried back to where Riley lay, hard up against the wall.

Too late, he’d dragged himself over, and his fingers gently squeezed her arm. “Are you strong enough to move? We should get out of here.”

“Are you nuts?” she hissed. “We’re both injured; we’ll never reach the exit. And have you seen those crazy fuckers over there?” She stared at the mass of bodies fighting around the perimeter of the dancefloor. The Fallen were doing pretty well along with their new allies, but Luke’s deranged vampires seemed to be gathering momentum.

“Your friends will keep them busy. Not to mention Cole, who appears to have recruited Tony and Fergus.”

“Riley! Be realistic. The best hope we have is to pretend we’re out of the game.”

He bumped up against her, wincing as the cross-bolt pressed deeper into his shoulder. “You think this is a game?”

“Not my interpretation no, but I’m sure Luke sees it that way.”

“He said he wants to aid Cain in his quest for righteousness. He is seeking salvation as all vampires are - allegedly.”

Becky’s susurration was weighted in sarcasm. “I didn’t take you to be so gullible.”

“Really?” Riley’s response was equally mordant. “How the fuck do you think I got in this mess in the first place, then?”

Regardless of their dire situation, Becky laughed lightly. “Well then Mr Gullible, I’m Miss Stupid, pleased to make your acquaintance. But, we’re not moving - so stay still.”

“That’s just madness, Becky. The watcher wanted us to leave -” He propped himself up on his good arm and looked over at the battle. “Maybe he knew those others were here.” He grunted as another shot of pain sliced through his wounded shoulder.

Several bloodshot eyes looked their way.

“Fuck!” Riley gasped.

Unable to speak, Becky just stared, her fear rising as a group of the maniacal bloodsuckers ran, screeching, yowling, towards her and Riley.

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