Pine Brook Falls - The Charlie Noble Chronicles Book 1

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter twenty-three

I stood still for what felt like an eternity. The scream. Trevor’s scream stopped abruptly. I clutched the gun tightly in my left hand and kept it outstretched in front of me. Scanning the ground, I found the beam of my flashlight ten feet to my left. I grabbed the flashlight from the ground. No sounds emanated in the still air.

I maneuvered through the trees to where I thought I heard his scream. Every few feet I paused and swept the light around me. I knew Hayden and the beast were nearby. As I pointed the light ahead of me, I saw a leg. My heart was racing. Each step felt like a marathon. Inching closer. Stopping. Looking around. Then moving once again.

I cautiously approached the tall oak tree, afraid of what I was going to find on the other side. Gun in one hand. Flashlight in the other. I moved around the tree. The beam of light found Trevor. My knees almost buckled when he moved his hand.

“Charlie. I…got…him.” His voice was weak and his breathing labored. Moving the light away from his face, I found the reason for his scream. He was holding his stomach. Blood trickled between his fingers. I knelt beside him.

“Move your hand. Let me see how bad it is.”

When he moved his hand, I saw three long gashes. The claw marks were about four inches long. I couldn’t discern how deep they were because of the blood that slowly seeped out. I put the gun on the ground and opened up the backpack that lay beside him. I retrieved the first aid kit.

I took the alcohol from the kit.

“This is going to sting a bit,” I told him as I applied it.

He clenched his teeth and took rapid breaths. I applied a two bandages on the wound and then wrapped some gauze around and cemented it with white tape. I wasn’t sure if it was going to hold but it was all I had. His face was slack and his eyes seemed out of focus. He was dying.

I looked around quickly but the darkness did its best to keep enough hidden. I didn’t know what to do. The nearest hospital was thirty miles away. I could call 911 but he would probably be dead before anyone arrived. He tried to talk through shallow breaths.

“Charlie. I got….him once.”

I saw the tranquilizer gun laying on the ground next to him. He had hit the thing. It probably wasn’t enough to put him down but I hoped it, at least, slowed him a little. I thought about my attack last night and how Trevor took me to the cave. Somehow, they were able to heal my wounds. I had to get Trevor to the cave. It was his only chance.

“Hey. Can you walk? I need you to show me how to get to the cave. I need to get you over there so they can help you like they helped me.”

He nodded. I grabbed the gun and tucked it into my waistband. I picked up the tranquilizer gun and helped Trevor to his feet. He wobbled. We had to get moving.

We made it to the trail. Trevor nearly fell over. He wasn’t going to make it on his own. I put the tranquilizer gun into the backpack. Trevor draped one arm around my neck and leaned against me.

The quietness of the night was displaced by a slight wind that rustled the trees around us. I looked around, expecting something to jump out at any moment. My heart pounded hard against my chest. The cold air nipped at my arms and face. We stopped at a fork in the path. Trevor took a breath. He pointed right. We continued. I thought about what Hayden said and wondered if there was any truth to it. So much had happened, I didn’t know what to believe anymore.

“Why is Becky over there? Is your world dying?”

Trevor coughed. Took a breath. Winced in pain. We continued forward.

“She wanted... to help. My world…is in trouble. But. Not…dying.”

“How can she help?”

“Ask her yourself…when we…get there.”

There was something that felt wrong. It was right in front of me and I couldn’t see it. The truth was there to be seen but I had blinders on.

We reached the top of the trail. Trevor lost his balance. I tried to keep him up but we both tumbled to the ground. I landed on top of him. He groaned. I looked around with my flashlight. Red eyes reflected in the beam of light from down the trail we had just walked. I peeled off the backpack and struggled with the fastener. The growl grew louder. It was approaching. The pack snapped open. I flipped it open and withdrew the tranquilizer gun. Bringing it up in front of me. The trail was empty. That was the second time the thing seemed to vanish in a matter of seconds.

I scrambled to my feet. Looking around in all directions. Trees and shrubs enclosed us. The wind picked up, whistling through the trees. Branches swayed and dirt danced in the air. I didn’t know which direction to look. I was helpless. Exposed. Everywhere direction I looked in felt wrong. It was watching me. I could feel it. Trevor got to his knees. I picked up the backpack and slung it over my shoulder again.

“We got to go, Trevor.”

“We’re not going... to make it. Ahh, this hurts.”

“It’s out there. I don’t know what it’s waiting for.”

Trevor was on his feet now. Blood was trailing down his legs. I had hoped the bandages would have bought us a little more time. He was losing a lot of blood very quickly. He took a breath.

“Mayor Hayden. How was he able to stand there with that thing?”

Then, as if I was hit over the head with an anvil, I finally understood. I realized what was right in front of me the whole time. The thing I had been missing. Trevor had said that Mayor Hayden wasn’t from this world. And then he disappeared right in front of me.

“Hayden is a vampire. Isn’t he?”

“Not a full-fledged one. But, he is close enough... to one that we should be afraid. I think I know why... we’re still alive. He doesn’t know ...where the cave is. Come on. Let’s go show him.”

We continued up the path. I had to shield my eyes from the swirling dirt. The wind was stronger than it had been moments earlier. It was odd. I wasn’t sure what the difference between a full-fledged vampire and a not so full-fledged one was, but it didn’t matter. As we labored up the hill, I could hear a faint resonating rumble from the trees on our right. Barely audible over the bustling trees, but there, nonetheless. We were living on borrowed time.

We made it to the top. I looked around and saw the flat face of the mountain. If this were the same mountain, there should have been a small crevice set in between the mountain wall. I remembered squeezing through it last night. Trevor stood and smiled.

“Where is it?” I asked.

“It’s there. But hidden. It won’t open ...when it senses danger.”

“The cave can sense danger?”

“No. But the people that control the passageway can.”

“How long has Hayden been on this side? Wouldn’t he know where the cave was?”

Trevor looked around. Anguished gasps escaped his lips. He took three quick breaths. His voice gained a little strength.

“He found another way. But it’s been closed up... for years. He has been here too long. He forgot what it’s like... on our side. That’s why he never became a full vampire. He never completed the process. He lost his way. True vampires are not a real threat to us. Well...not most of them, anyways. Hayden. He has just enough... of their strength and thirst to be powerful... and enough human sense, to be dangerous.”

Trevor reached into the backpack. He pulled out one poison dart. The wind had died down. A faint whistle through the trees. The clear skies allowed the moon to light our surroundings. At least, the moon was out now, I thought.

We stood in a clearing. The mountain wall was to our backs. The trees and shrubs to our front. If our visitors were to come, they could only get us from the front.

“So, do we need a stake to drive into his heart or something?”

“Nah. He can be killed just like you or me. He is not a full vampire. But he is quick like one. Give me the gun.”

I noticed that Trevor’s breathing was back to normal. He wasn’t wincing as much. Blood continued to run down his legs. He didn’t have much time. If the passageway didn’t open soon, we both were going to die. I pulled the gun from my waistband and handed it to him.

I stood there, staring into the wind. It felt like time was trickling by so slowly. At any moment, something unwelcoming was going to rear its ugly head, wanting a face to face with us. My fingers felt numb. I was gripping the flashlight too tight with my right hand and held the tranquilizer gun remained firmly in my left. As I looked down at my feet, because there was no better time to check to make sure I still had both of them, something moved through the thicket of brush on our right. I didn’t have to look up to know who had arrived. But I did anyways.

“Mr. Moore, how are you feeling? A little woozy? You’re swaying a little bit. You should have a seat.”

Trevor remained quiet. I followed his lead. Life had not prepared me for this moment. I spent most of my childhood watching crime dramas and not enough time watching Buffy. Those choices you make in life can really come back to bite you if you’re not careful.

“Mr. Noble. Perhaps you would like to confer with your friend. You are both going to die but the question remains, how? See, there are many ways to go about the grim task of extinguishing an existence. I don’t have any personal grievances with either of you, so as to the how it doesn’t much matter to me.”

“Why not just let us go then. You’ve proved your point. You’re no one to mess with. Just let us leave so I can get him to a hospital. No one has to die.”

My pathetic, unscripted plea for my life, was now out in the open. I would have preferred to take the Bruce Willis approach and tell him to kiss my ass, but I wasn’t Bruce Willis, and there was no script guaranteeing my survival.

“Yes, you do. Die. Both of you. Tonight. Soon. What I want to know first, is where the passageway is? I assume that is why you’ve come up here. In hopes that Trevor can cross over and magically be healed.”

Something was missing from this rendezvous. The beast. Mayor’s little helper wasn’t by his side. The hairs on my neck stood at attention. When I turned around my fears were reassured as the beast inched out of the shadows. It’s exposed sharp teeth were reassurance that my death was going to be anything but painless.

“The passage won’t open. As insurance that you don’t cross back over. So you can kill us if you want,” Trevor offered.

“Did you hear that, Mr. Noble? Trevor just offered up your death.”

In moments like these, where you feel like you have absolutely no control over the outcome of a situation, you wing it. I shot the beast directly in the eye with the tranquilizer dart. It squealed like a pig and stumbled back a few feet. Before I could turn around, Hayden was at Trevor’s throat. Trevor’s eyes shot up in his head. His mouth hung open as Hayden’s hand closed around his neck. Heavy breathing resonated behind me as I saw a flash of something coming my way. It caught me in the leg. Teeth digging in deep. Twisting and pulling me down.

I screamed as I crashed to the ground. The pain was insurmountable. I kicked at the beast with my other foot. The first strike glanced off its head. It dug deeper into my calf. Another strike hit it on the nose. Its grip loosened. I heard Trevor coughing and choking. Gasping. I couldn’t see him from where I lay. I pulled my leg back, preparing for another thrust when the beast let go. It stared at me with its intense eyes. Blood and saliva dripped out of its open mouth. I kept my foot between me and the beast, ready to strike if it advanced.

The staring match with the beast was unnerving. I couldn’t tell what he was going to do. I knew that Trevor was dying. I was unable to help him. I no longer felt the breeze or smelled the cold night’s fragrance. My beating heart achieved a higher octave which was permeating in my ears. The last night of my life. Death had come to my door and kicked it in with full force. Tears fell freely down my cheeks as I struggled to catch a breath. Then I heard the explosion. It echoed off the hillside.

I jerked my body around in time to see Hayden’s body hit the ground. Trevor looked down at the body for a moment before turning his attention to me. His eyes widened. He was less than twenty feet away and I could clearly see the panic on his face. A sharp, piercing pain in my shoulder blade knocked me flat. The thing was on my back. Biting. Scratching. Gnawing. I wiggled my body as best I could. The beast was feverishly trying to tear me apart. Trevor yelled. It was at that moment I knew, all hope was lost.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.