Blood Wars

#SampleSunday – Chapter 39 Blood Wars

blood wars wattpad cover

 

I expected the gigantic doors to creak open with one of those Hammer Horror type screams, but strangely they seemed to emit nothing but a low hiss of air as they swung open; or maybe it was just that the noise of my hammering heartbeat was masking any other sound, so loud it was as it echoed through me. Michael still gripped my hand in his and I felt somewhat comforted by the touch of his cool palm, despite knowing I was about to step a very shaky foot into the lion’s den.

The council chamber was even more cavernous than the hallway. The ceiling must have stretched up about fifty metres above our heads and it was probably twice as wide, yet oddly sparse for such a large room. I wasn’t sure what I had expected. Maybe something akin to my father’s opulent room in the Exodus den; with its luxurious furnishings and plush carpets. Yet much of this room was bare, except for the flaming torches which hung on the walls; an atmospheric touch I thought strange considering the electricity that had run through the rest of the underground den. There was a carpet; a long red one that marked the path we were to take as we approached the lions awaiting us.

It was uncomfortably warm in here for such a large room so far below ground and I looked around for another heat source, doubtful that the torches could create warmth that immediately conjured up the sweat which now covered my back in a thin sheen. In fact, the closer to the centre of the room we got, the warmer it became.

In the middle of the room on the floor was a huge stone circle, made up of intricately carved stone slabs patterned with some strange design and wording that could have been Latin. On the far side of the circle stood a large semi-circular table that looked as if it were carved out of the darkest marble, with faint silver-grey veins threading across the surface. Behind the table stood nine high-backed chairs, the centre chair was slightly larger than the rest and each chair was spaced exactly the same distance apart. And each chair was occupied, not by lions but by something far more predatory.

The Cerberean gestured for us to stop just at the point where the carpet ended and the stone circle began and they moved to flank us, five on Nathaniel’s side and the other five next to Michael. Malloy and Juliette stood behind us and I saw with dismay that more of The Cerberean stood behind the great table, almost acting as personal bodyguards for those seated there.

We waited.

And all the time, the Nine regarded us with interest; their shrewd eyes covering every inch of our skin; skin that I knew should be burning right now, organs boiling from the inside out until Nathaniel and I lay curled up in spasms on the floor. And they knew it too. I could sense the surprise in them and I realised that the wait had been for that reason alone.

They had been waiting for the sensors to fall and we had not.

There were five men and four women seated at the council table and they were probably so far removed from what I had imagined, that I was slightly stunned at the sight of the Nine. I had pictured nine Monty’s sitting in front of me; nine older, greying vampires except without Monty’s gentle nature and devoid of the kindness that always warmed his eyes. I was right about the eye thing, for theirs were like cold, unyielding stone and as hard as the slabs beneath my feet, but that’s all I was right about. They weren’t old. Well, at least, they didn’t look it, although of course I’m sure they were as old, if not older, than Monty, yet here sat nine vampires, some of whom looked barely older than me.

But I didn’t need to see ageing skin and greying hair to tell me that these vampires were Elders. I did not need to be brought to my knees in torturous submission to feel the power that they clearly held. It emanated from the Nine, like some strange aura that encapsulated them, radiating out and eclipsing us as we stood in front of them, awaiting our fate.

“Come closer,” said the Elder seated in the largest chair. He appeared to be in his late-thirties, with long blonde hair swept back from his face and tied neatly into a ponytail. Despite the size of his chair, I could see that he was very tall, probably over six-foot, and he sat poker straight up against the high back of the seat, with his hands on the table in front of him, palms flat and face down. His clothes; a black wool frock coat and red brocade waistcoat over a stiff, cotton white shirt, had a Victorian feel about them. His cheekbones could have rivalled Damien’s chiselled features, but whilst Michael’s friend was clearly model-handsome, I could see none of the same in the Elder’s face. Maybe it was his alabaster skin, almost as white as his shirt, or the venom in his stare, but there was something about this one that repelled me so much that I wanted to look away, as if direct eye contact with him might shrivel me into nothing but dust.

We stepped forward tentatively and he raised an eyebrow and curled one long index finger, beckoning us to keep going. When he had decided we were quite close enough, despite still being about fifteen metres away from the table, he raised his palm to indicate we were to go no further.

A wave of nausea rippled through me, so sharp and so sudden that I automatically took a small intake of breath and Michael’s grip instinctively tightened and I forced myself to focus on suppressing the sickness. Unfortunately, Michael wasn’t the only one who had noticed my slight waver and to my alarm the tall, blonde vampire stood abruptly and with quick, languid strides he walked around the table and crossed the stone circle until he stood directly in front of me. I noticed how the rest of the Nine seemed to suddenly stretch up in their chairs, their interest awakened even further by one of their own making the move to approach us. I had no doubt this was something very new to them.

The Elder was a good foot taller and I felt myself shrink back as he loomed over me. Even the touch of his shadow felt icy cold on my skin and I dreaded the touch of those long, spindly fingers even more.

Please don’t touch me. Please.

Thankfully he didn’t and to be honest I think he was just as repulsed by me, as I was by him. His eyes poured with malice, but under the hatred that seemed to drip from every pore, there was an undisguised interest that reminded me of a scientist examining a lab rat. If I’d had a tail, I think he would have picked me up by it and dangled me in front of his face, watching intently as I struggled and twisted to free myself from his grasp.

He looked from me to Nathaniel, who fared no better under his gaze and then cocking his head to one side, he reached out a hand and then he did touch me, placing his palm flat against my chest, directly over my furiously beating heart.

I gasped and felt Michael flinch.

“Be still, true-born or she’ll be dead within seconds,” said the Elder, never taking his eyes off of me for a moment. He never raised his voice, nor did he growl his warning, in fact there was a surprisingly lyrical quality in the way he spoke, but the intent was clear and could not have been more menacing. And I was under no illusions that he probably could kill me within seconds, and more to the point, clearly wanted to.

If you would like to read the full story, please check out LittleCinnamon on Wattpad!

Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2013

Blood Wars · Dark Sanctuary · Wattpad

This is ….. The End

Afternoon bloggers, friends, weirdo’s and aliens.

So….the big news (well big to me anyway) is that yesterday I finally finished Blood Wars, Book Three in the Dark Sanctuary series and posted the final chapters to Wattpad.

There won’t be another book in the series, this is the final one. I should feel elated, right? I mean, I finished writing a novel after all. Months of work. Months of trying to catch some time to finish another chapter. To finish it is an achievement, surely? Yet, I feel…..well, slightly numb.

Is that normal? I never felt like this after the first two were finished but maybe that’s because I always knew there was going to be another book and I didn’t have to say goodbye to my characters just yet. I never intended to write a fourth in the series. Don’t get me wrong, whilst a big part of me could just keep writing Michael and Sarah’s story forever, I never wanted it to become strained and I was worried that is what it would become if I carried on.

But what will I do without Michael, Sarah and the rest of the gang in my life? Just over four years ago, I sat down and started writing the story of a young woman who had locked herself away in a little grey cottage out in the Bedfordshire countryside, hiding from a life-time of horrors that stalked her every move and I never expected to become so immersed in her world. But I guess that is what happens when you’re a writer. These characters might be fictional, but when you spend so much time thinking about how they look, the way they talk, the way in which they move, how they would react in each situation, they are not so much words on a page, but living, breathing people. And it’s incredibly difficult to say goodbye.

But goodbye it is and apart from thanking Sarah and Michael themselves for captivating me enough to want to keep writing their story, I have to say thank you to the real-life people who have helped and supported me along the way. I do feel that this is the part where Louis Walsh pops up and says ‘You’ve been on an incredible journey…blah..blah…blah’ but oh well….here goes anyway *cue Leona Lewis music* 😉

My husband and son – for putting up with my own self-imposed exile in order to write these books. I have a habit of shutting myself off to write, to the exclusion of those around me and I’m not sure I would want to live with a writer, so god knows how you put up with it. I love you.

My family – for not hysterically laughing at me when I finally revealed that I liked to write. And for reading something which maybe isn’t your usual cup of tea just because your daughter/sister happened to write it.

To the ones whose fault it is I continued to write Dark Sanctuary – Hayley Gillam, Karen Cross and Chrissie Thompson; the first ones to read any of my stuff. I blame you all equally 😉

My friends who have dutifully read the series, probably out of obligation, but hey, thanks anyway . You’re all amazing but a special shout out goes to Karen C, Donna, Kelly, Kazbah, Nadia, Dawn-Marie, Kathy, Jacqui and my trusted beta reader Alison (who is way more talented than I could ever hope to be).

Divas Daily Bookblog – thank you to Tina and Jules for being the first to write reviews of Dark Sanctuary and Lost Creatures. You guys are just awesome!

My Wattpad family – I couldn’t possibly name you all but I hope you know who you are. Many of you have been reading the series since I first started posting the first book and your support, comments and votes for an unpublished writer constantly amazes me. I never thought one person would read it, let alone all of you, so thank you – you rock!

Anyway….I think that’s enough sentimental crap for one day.

Time to start writing something new…….;-)

Linz xxx

PS. If you haven’t read Dark Sanctuary, please shimmy, shake or body-pop your way along to Wattpad.

http://www.wattpad.com/story/2108497-dark-sanctuary-book-one-in-the-dark-sanctuary

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Blood Wars · Dark Sanctuary · Music Monday

#MusicMonday – Phosphorescent ‘Song for Zula’

Happy Easter Monday my lovelies. It’s bank holiday here in the UK and we are busy cleaning up the remnants of chocolate  from all those Easter eggs we’ve been eating and trying not to think about having to go back to work tomorrow 😉

The good news is that it’s another short working week so can’t complain. The weekends are my main time for writing, so the closer I get to one, the happier I am.

As you know, Blood Wars (Book 3 in The Dark Sanctuary series) is still a work in progress. I’m up to chapter 35 now, unfortunately the end isn’t yet in sight, but it’s definitely progressing in the way I hoped it would and to top it off, the chapters uploaded so far on Wattpad are getting a positive reaction. Also following the reviews on Divas Daily Bookblog this weekend, I’ve had a couple of requests to publish on Amazon, so all in all I’m a happy bunny (of the non-Easter variety).

My friend Kelly, long-time reader of the series, sent me the link for this song by Phosphorescent and said she thought it was a perfect Michael and Sarah song, and I have to say I totally agree. On Wattpad there is a facility to upload multimedia files against each chapter and I’m thinking Song For Zula will be perfect for Chapter 34.

It’s a beautiful song and a new firm fave of mine. Thanks Kelly!

 

Blood Wars

#SampleSunday – Excerpt from Chapter 33 Blood Wars

“If the day were bright, you observed upon the house-tops, stretching far away, a long dark path; the shadow of the Monument; and turning round, the tall original was close beside you, with every hair erect upon his golden head, as if the doings of the city frightened him.”

– Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit

 

The Monument to The Great Fire of London stands on the junction of Fish Street Hill and Monument Street and a short walk away from the site where the Great Fire started; Thomas Farynor’s bakery on Pudding Lane; the place where I knew the last Blood War had begun. Now that I knew the real reason behind the fire that had wiped out much of London from the bakery up to Smithfield, the significance of the name Pudding Lane seemed to take on new meaning. I had images of the vampires feasting on the entrails of their victims, draining them dry then harvesting their organs to gorge upon afterwards as they sat, safely ensconced in their hideaway beneath the streets of London.

As the cars pulled up in Monument Street, encased on all sides by great monolithic buildings, I could see the monument with its white-grey stonework rising into the city skyline and the gilded sculpture on top, like some great stone king wearing his golden crown, keeping watch over his city.

Looking at the monument now, I couldn’t help but feel something ominous emanating from the column. Maybe it was because I knew what it signified; not just the location where the Great Fire began, but the start of the Blood War and now the unofficial memorial for all those that had perished because of it.

“Beautiful,” sighed Sebastian, as we got out of the car and stood together looking up at the great stone structure. “And to think people visit this place every day without any clue as to who lives beneath it.”

I gawped at him. “You mean to tell me that the Elders live under the monument?”

“Well, one of the entrances is here, but the council chambers run under much of this area, from here down to St Dunstan Church,” he said.

“They live under the church too?”

“I know,” grinned Sebastian. “Wickedly sacrilegious isn’t it?”

Blood Wars · Wattpad

#SampleSunday – Vampires in the Desert – excerpt from Blood Wars

Nathaniel looked at me sharply. “You’re not a failure, Sarah. Okay, so you struggle with what we are; with what you are. That’s only natural. You don’t think that everyone of us hasn’t gone through something similar? That we haven’t tried to fight this? Despite what you think, none of us wanted to become killers.”
“Even Cam?” I said, sarcastically.
“Cam is….well, Cam is a complex person. I know his methods are harsh; cruel even. But underneath it all, he’s just as tortured as the rest of us. He just chooses to let it out through aggression. It’s the only way he knows how. He watched his whole family get slaughtered by vampires, when he was just seventeen. His mum and dad, two younger sisters, all wiped out. They tracked him you see, they knew he was a sensor and they tracked him back to where he lived. He didn’t even know what he was. He’d never come across a single vampire until that night. Him and his friends had sneaked into a club, managed to bluff their way past the doorman who thought they were legal age. A gang of vampires in the club spotted him. He didn’t know why he felt so sick, why they made him feel the way he did. He left and they followed him. They did unspeakable things to his family and he saw it all. He had to watch as they tortured and abused his sisters, they were only nine and eleven. And he couldn’t do a thing to stop them. Well, eventually his survival instinct kicked in and he managed to overpower the one who was holding him.”
“What did he do then?” I asked, wide-eyed and picturing scenes of a young Cam transforming into some all-powerful vampire slayer and hacking them to death with an array of kitchen knives and garden forks.
“He ran,” said Nathaniel, grimly. “He ran and he didn’t look back.”
I couldn’t imagine Cam running away from anything. He was one of those guys who looked like he always ran head-first into the melee with a Bowie knife gripped between his teeth and camouflage stripes painted across his face.
“Not long after, he joined up to the army. Pretty much as soon as he could. Built a career fighting over in the Middle East, honing his skills, making sure he became the best fighter he could. SAS training served him well and he began to feel a sense of order in his life once more, but it wasn’t to last.”
“Why? What happened?”
“An incident just outside of Kandahar. Cam was based over in Camp Bastion and his unit regularly patrolled the area around the city. He got to know some of the locals, you know, some of the kids would hang around, see what they could get from the soldiers and the soldiers would sometimes give the kids a few treats, just sweets and stuff, and the kids would give them info. Sometimes it wasn’t anything, just hearsay, stories, just to get something, but sometimes, just sometimes, they would have valuable information to sell. Well, anyway, one day, one of the more trusted kids tells Cam about a great warlord who lives just outside the city. He calls him a Shaytan which is Arabic for devil or demon. First of all, Cam thinks he’s just struck gold on a senior Taliban guy, but then the kid tells him terrible stories about how the Shaytan is rumoured to drink the blood of his victims and when Cam tries to probe for more info, the kid clams up, refuses to tell him anything else no matter what Cam offers him.”
“The Shaytan was a vampire!” I stared wide-eyed at Nathaniel.
“Yes, as were his people. There Cam is, thousands of miles away from a past he thought he had escaped from, only to find a vampire den just outside of Kandahar. And a prolific den at that. Heavily fortified, heavily armed. Not your average vampire den that’s for sure.”
“So what did he do?”
“He wanted the kid to take him there, show him where this Shaytan lived but the kid was too scared. But, what he did do, was introduce Cam to someone who knew the place, someone who had been held there and had managed to escape. Turns out this guy was a sensor too, although he was very old when Cam met him, his body bore the scars of his time with the vampires. Apparently the Shaytan had never met a sensor before, and had been fascinated by this guy, convinced if he drank his blood, the it would make him all-powerful. Of course, it didn’t and the Shaytan soon got bored and gave the sensor to his people as a pet. One day, after a particularly gruesome feeding session, the vampires didn’t chain him back up, believing that he would be dead by the next sunset. Thankfully, he didn’t die and he somehow managed to escape during the day when all the vampires were asleep. He gave Cam a detailed layout of the den, which was a mass of underground tunnels guarded by human insurgents during the day. Once Cam had everything he needed to know, he went to the den during daylight, killed all the human guards and set explosives at every tunnel entrance. As night fell, he detonated every bomb and blew the place sky high. Fireballs wiped out every vampire in those tunnels and anyone who somehow managed to escape was cut down by Cam.”
“Oh my god,” I whispered, thinking back to when I had sat in the bushes outside my father’s den, watching as the place was devoured by flames and bodies danced on fire around the yard.
“Forty-seven vampires were killed that day. Cam was arrested by the armed forces, and he was to be put on trial for the mass slaughter of forty-seven Afghans.”
“But they were vampires! And even if the military couldn’t know what they were, the Shaytan was a known warlord. Surely Cam couldn’t be put on trial for killing Taliban insurgents?”
“It was an unauthorised mission. A one-man mission that Cam had undertaken with stolen military weapons and explosives. And as far as the military were concerned it was a massacre. They had to make an example of him.”
“What did they do?”
“In the end, nothing. It never went to trial. Cam was released.”
“Wait a minute, I thought you said the army were going to make an example of him? Why would they just let him go?”
Nathaniel smiled wryly. “I guess sometimes it’s not a case of what you know, but who you know. Or in Cam’s case, who knows you. To everyone else, Cam was a loose cannon, a psycho who had flipped one day and slaughtered forty-seven Afghan civilians. But someone; someone high up, knew the truth. Someone who knew what Cam was, because he too was the same.”
“You mean a senior figure in the military was a sensor too?”
“Yes. Cam’s release was arranged on the quiet. Of course, the official line was that he had committed suicide whilst in custody. But the reality was very different. He was secreted out of Afghanistan, given an all-new identity and transported back to England, where he was introduced to me and I persuaded him to put his valuable skills to much better use than stirring up the dust in the Middle East.”
I was quiet for a moment, feeling the sun burning my forehead through the windscreen and for once, not enjoying the sensation of the heat on my skin. I could feel the sticky dampness under my arms and felt a strange longing for the cool shelter of the night sky.
“Okay,” I breathed finally. “So Cam has a story. He’s suffered. I get that. But we’ve all suffered. It doesn’t mean we all need to become psycho’s who get off on torturing vampires. And you condone it,” I added, staring at him accusatory.
“Look, I’m not always saying I’m comfortable with his methods, but there’s no doubt it gets results,” he said firmly.
“At what expense? Your soul?”
Nathaniel looked away for a moment, brushing his fingers over the red-hot dashboard as if wiping away imaginary dust. “Oh I think you’ll find I gave up my soul many years ago.”
I frowned, seeing the shadows pass across his face as he spoke and he licked at his lips as if suddenly his mouth had gone very dry.
“I don’t believe that,” I whispered and flinched instinctively as he turned his dark eyes upon me.
“You know the one thing I find so interesting about you? You are so quick to see the evil in some people and yet so sure there is goodness in others,” he said softly, his face impassive and unmoving. “So quick to condemn some and yet willing to give others the benefit of the doubt. How do you make those judgements? How is that one person gets the thumbs down and the next gets the thumbs up, when you know the same about either, and that is usually practically nothing at all in both cases?”
“I wouldn’t say that is exactly true,” I sniffed. “It’s not like I make snap decisions about people, it’s just that sometimes you just know. You can tell the good from the bad.”
“And you think I’m one of the good guys, Sarah?”
The coldness in his eyes did nothing to cool my burning skin. I swallowed hard and shifted in my seat, hearing the squeak of leather under my thighs.
“Well I don’t think good guys generally have a habit of kidnapping women in broad daylight. Nor do I think they allow the starvation and torture of anyone, vampire or not. But I’ve met my fair share of bad guys, and bad women come to think of it, and something tells me you’re not one of them.”
“You need to have words with that inner bastard radar of yours. Something tells me it’s on the blink.”
“Is this your way of telling me you’re one of the bad guys? Because I’ve got to tell you, whilst I don’t approve of the way you do things, my radar definitely isn’t going crazy right now,” I said, raising an eyebrow.
“You see this is the very problem. You base your opinion on what you think you know when in fact you know very little at all. If you knew, I would be willing to bet that your bastard radar would be resounding halfway to Australia.”
“Know what exactly?” I laughed. “Is this the point where you tell me you were the one who tortured puppies when you were a kid? Is this the point where you tell me you were the school bully who hounded kids for their lunch money?”
“No,” he replied, looking at me so intently that I felt my heart beat harder in my chest. “This is the point where I tell you I murdered my wife.”

Blood Wars · Wattpad · Writing

WHAT NO FANGS?

Evening dear readers, bloggers, friends and weirdos!

Recently I have been uploading chapters taken from Blood Wars Book 3 in the Dark Sanctuary series to Wattpad and I’m finding the feedback very interesting indeed.

Firstly let me say that if you are one of the lovely people who has been reading, voting and commenting on the Dark Sanctuary series, then a very big thank you to you! I still don’t understand the ranking system as one day I can reach the hallowed top 50 reads to then be plunged back into the lowly 200’s the next day. But people’s voting never goes unnoticed and I enjoy reading everyone’s comments and responding. I always try to respond where possible as I think it’s important to have healthy dialogue with your reader and I want them to know how much I appreciate anyone giving up their time to read my work (something which still feels quite remarkable to me).

But the feedback on Blood Wars has been particularly interesting as we are now in vampire versus sensor territory. I’ll try not to give too much away to anyone who hasn’t quite reached book three, but the story centres around the age-old war between vampires and their nemesis, the sensors. Books One and Two often hinted about why the vampires hate Sarah so much and Book Three is all about revealing why.

Sarah meets a group of sensors and is immediately drawn into their complex world of revenge, torture and organised hunting of the vampires. Despite trying to fight against their ways as much as she can, Sarah can’t deny what she is and the story is all about Sarah’s struggle to decide which side she should be on. Vampires or sensors? Or perhaps more importantly, Michael versus Nathaniel?

I think what has surprised me most so far, is that the general consensus seems to be a real backlash against the sensors which I find a little strange. Okay, so I admit I have not sugar-coated these people at all. They fight the vampires with every method available to them, whether it be cruel, distasteful and blood-thirsty. They’re not above a bit of torture or imprisonment.

But the crucial thing to remember is that they don’t do anything that the vampires themselves don’t do. I have already told the reader exactly what the vampires are capable of. They imprison people in cells, they drug, starve and torture and they kill in the most horrific ways. And for what reason? For sport. For entertainment. And for food.

Why do the sensors kill? To stop the vampires doing all of the above.

So just why does the reader dislike them so much?

I’d love to know the reason why and I am going to open this discussion up with my Wattpad readers but my instinct tells me that this argument comes back to Michael in particular and maybe the modern-day romanticised view of vampires. These days we prefer our vampires to sparkle, get married and live happily ever after, with a healthy bit of sex thrown into the mix and I think it’s interesting that no matter what I tell the reader about just exactly what Michael is capable of, maybe they do have him on that hallowed pedestal also occupied by the likes of Mr Cullen himself. No one seems to care how Michael made his fortune (killing off rich women to get his hands on their money), nobody gives a damn that Michael could probably have saved Sarah’s mother, nan and her friend James and nobody cares that underneath the beautiful eyes and great smile, he is undoubtedly a killer – and a good one at that. In fact, in the vampire world, Michael is a renowned and respected sensor killer.

Step forward, Michael’s arch enemy (spolier alert!) and leader of the sensors, Nathaniel. Brooding, tousled-hair, undoubtedly sexy Nathaniel. If I was channelling a bit of Caleb Followilll in Michael, then Nathaniel definitely has a bit of Eddie Vedder about him. He has a poet’s soul, a dark past and the respect of his group. I think he’s sexy. Sarah is definitely tempted. But so far the reader’s response is lukewarm to say the least. On paper, they’re actually not so different. They’re both definitely bad boys in their own way, but whereas Nathaniel seems to be judged for everything he does and says, Michael can do no wrong.

A few minds might change slightly when they learn more about Nathaniel’s story, but I still think the majority vote is always going to swing Michael’s way, and towards the vampires in general.

Why is it we are more judgmental of the sensors? Sarah might tell you it’s because in their quest to destroy the vampires, they have become little better than their enemy. Maybe some of my readers will agree with this. Maybe we expect them to hold the moral high ground because they are human?

Or maybe these days we just always want the vampire to win?

After all, what’s a hero without a set of sharp pointy teeth?

Blood Wars

“This is a vampire.” – excerpt from Blood Wars

Stephen unlocked the door and stepped inside the room. He beckoned for me to follow him and I did so, wrinkling my nose as the sour smell of urine mixing with the sweet sickly smell of blood.
The vampire did not even look up as we entered but from here I could clearly see the bruises and cuts that marked his bare arms. His ankle was a furious red where he was manacled to the wall and his feet were blood-stained and encrusted with dirt, particularly around the toes.
“Dinner time, fuck-face,” smiled Stephen and then the vampire did look up, staring at us through his greasy knotted locks.
I couldn’t help but swallow when he laid his eyes on me. They were a startling blue and reminded me of another pair of blue eyes that I hadn’t seen in months. The vampire ran those blue eyes over my face and then down my body, only resting momentarily on the cat that continued to purr softly in my arms.
“Do I get the cat or the girl?” the vampire said with a soft Irish lilt.
“Think of it as a fast food dive, not Gordon bloody Ramsey. You only get the cat, I’m afraid,” Stephen laughed.
“Shame,” remarked the vampire, shrugging his shoulders and resting his head back against the wall, still not taking his eyes from me.
“Go on then,” said Stephen nodding is head at the cat and then over to the vampire.
“You do it,” I quickly said, thrusting the poor creature into his arms.
Rolling his eyes, Stephen took the cat and holding it by the scruff of the neck, walked over to the vampire who held up his thin, pale arms and took the animal, not once looking like he might attempt to grab his captor instead. He held the cat in his arms, much like Stephen had, stroking it gently and holding it up so he could look intently into its big, saucer-like eyes. The cat miaowed sweetly.
In one quick movement, the vampire buried his face into the cat’s neck and the animal shrieked as its throat was pierced and the sound was so like a baby’s cry that I wanted to put my hand over my ears and squeeze my eyes shut so I wouldn’t see it struggle in his grasp. The sucking noise was almost too much to bear but the whole time Stephen just stood, leaning against the wall with his legs crossed at the ankles and arms folded across his chest, never taking his eyes off of the feeding vampire.
When the cat stopped moving and the vampire was done, he tossed the poor thing’s body into the corner, wiping his mouth and chin with the back of his hand.
“Your new recruit is squeamish, Stephen,” said the vampire, smirking. “Where is Nathaniel finding these people? Or maybe his training isn’t quite what it used to be?”
“Oh she’ll learn, don’t you worry,” Stephen replied. “Anyway, she’s not as fragile as she looks. Feeling better, Fergus? I can see a little colour coming back into your cheeks already.”
If there was, I couldn’t see it. The vampire – now known as Fergus – looked just as pale and deathly as he had when we had walked in.
“I’d feel better if I had the girl, but I guess the cat will have to suffice for now,” replied Fergus.
“Good,” said Stephen and before I could register what was happening, he walked quickly over to the vampire and kicked him hard in the kidneys. The vampire fell to the floor, clutching at his side and breathing heavily as he fought to control the pain he so clearly felt.
“What the hell are you doing?” I cried, grabbing hold of Stephen’s arm and trying to pull him back. Instead, Stephen kicked him again, this time in the leg and the vampire rolled onto his back, knees drawn up, his eyes squeezed shut and teeth set in a skeletal grimace.
I stared at Stephen, horrified. “What is wrong with you? He wasn’t doing anything. He was just sitting there. You didn’t have to kick the shit out of him!”
Stephen shrugged as if it were nothing but then I heard croaky, wheezing laughter and looked down to see Fergus still on his back, hand melded to his side, but laughing as he looked up at us. He carried on laughing until finally he sat up very slowly, shaking his head and smiling.
He’d just been kicked twice and he thought it was funny?
“Oh dear,” he chuckled. “Oh dear, oh dear. I’m starting to think Nathaniel is losing his touch. If this is the calibre of sensor he is now training, I think we vampires have very little to worry about.”
Stephen said nothing now to defend me, not that I thought he would mind you, but I at least expected him to jump to the defence of his leader. Instead he just leaned back against the wall again and smiled.
“A sensor who hates to see a vampire in pain,” Fergus grinned. “Now this is a very interesting development indeed.”
“More than that, my twisted Irish beast,” Stephen laughed in return. “Get to know her a little better and she might give you more than cat blood. This one has a thing for you animals, believe it or not.”
I stared at Stephen dumbfounded. What the hell was he doing? And how dare he bring that up?
Fergus looked at me, his eyes widening as he took in Stephen’s words. When he ran those eyes over me this time, he didn’t look like it was my blood he was interested in.
“Oh, so you’re that sensor are you? I’d heard about you. Marcus’ daughter, right?”
God how I hated hearing his name spoken out loud.
“How on earth did you end up with this lot, eh? Last I heard you’d taken off with your fella. Sebastian has had people out over most of the south looking for you. Where’s your boy now, eh? Where’s Michael?”
Hearing that name felt even worse. I felt a stab of pain rip through my chest, one laced with the unmistakable touch of guilt. I tried to ignore it but heard Stephen snort with laughter.
“Nathaniel thinks he can get her to join the dark side, Fergus. Can you believe it? The great Michael’s girlfriend a fully-trained vampire killer?”
They both laughed now and I stood between them, feeling my cheeks flush angrily.
“I’m glad you both find me so amusing,” I hissed.
“Ah darling, don’t be so snappy,” said Fergus, holding out his hands in a placating gesture and groaning slightly as he shifted his body so he could lean against the wall again. “We’re only playing. I’m assuming your boy isn’t around anymore because I’m quite sure you wouldn’t be holed up with these bastards, would ya?”
I said nothing. I wasn’t about to discuss Michael’s whereabouts with anyone. Not that I knew his whereabouts anyway.
Fergus sniffed and wiped away a thin line of snot that had descended from one nostril. “Well, wherever he is, I don’t think he’ll be too happy when he finds out where you are. Rumour has it he’s quite the big man when it comes to killing sensors. Bet you don’t fancy being on his hit list, do ya? If I were you I’d run from this lot as fast as those shapely pins will carry ya.”
He looked at me now with eyes so solemn that I did want to run, I could feel pinpricks of fear ripple up my spine.
“I’m fine here, thanks,” I frowned.
“No,” mused the vampire. “No, you’re not. Any bastard with eyes can see that, girl. You don’t belong here with them. Something tells me you’re a slightly different breed of sensor. I actually feel sorry for you, darling.”
When he looked at me now, I saw none of his previous mocking stare. His face was serious and somewhat sad. Here he was, battered, tortured and stinking of his own urine and blood and he felt sorry for me!
I was aware of Stephen drinking in this exchange between Fergus and myself, looking from one of us to the other. He laughed softly before gesturing towards me.
“Oh I wouldn’t feel too sorry for this one, Fergus, she isn’t the innocent vampire lover she makes out to be. In fact, she’s far more dangerous than she looks. Didn’t you know she burnt down Marcus’ den? Burned them fuckers alive. Lit a match, poured a bit of petrol and then sat outside, watching as the vamps fried like barbecued pork.”
“It wasn’t like that….” I started to say.
“Oh Sarah, don’t be so modest. You became the poster girl for the sensor cause that day. And lets not forget your achievements since. After all, you killed the big man himself. The head honcho. Your own father. I mean, you’ve got to have some fucking gall to do that!”
Fergus raised an eyebrow, the sadness fading from his eyes as he seemed to appraise me in a new light.
“Wait a minute, that wasn’t me!” I gasped. “I would never….”
“Come on, Sarah. Marcus wanted to make you a vampire and when you said no, he tried to have you killed. Only you and Michael got to him first. We all know that. Nothing to be ashamed of. You killed a den leader. Now that’s a trophy to hang over the mantelpiece, eh Fergus?”
Now the vampire was glaring at me, his face darkening and mouth set in a small, hard line.
“Doesn’t end there either, Fergus. Our Sarah here kills regardless of gender or age. She’s not bothered. Killed a young girl the other week you know.”
I turned on him now. “Stop it! Just shut up!”
He smiled a tight cruel smile. “Hungry as hell this girl was. Picked on the wrong sensor though didn’t she? Got her a good one, eh Sarah? Should have seen it Fergus, a knife right in the neck.”
“A girl?” Fergus said, eyeing us warily. “How old?”
“Eighteen, nineteen maybe. You might have known her. Pretty little thing. Dark hair. What was her name now?” he smirked and scratched his head in mock-contemplation.
I didn’t like the way this was going. I didn’t like the way this was going at all. Whatever Stephen’s agenda was, I was sure it was nothing good.
“Hmm, began with an E. Not Emily but something like it. Give me a second and I’m sure it will come to me,” he said, tapping at his skull.
“Emilia,” whispered Fergus, looking directly at me, his eyes red and watery.
“That’s it!” laughed Stephen. “Well done, Fergus. Emilia! The girl that Sarah killed was Emilia. I think she was from Juliette’s den too. Did you know her, Fergus?”
I looked from Stephen to the vampire, whose chest was moving in and out in great heaves now and I could hear his breath hiss dangerously between gritted teeth.
“Yes, yes I knew her,” he said and his voice trembled. Another small rivulet of snot run down his nose and upper lip, but this time he did it wipe it away.
“What? Wait a minute…” I began but before I could finish, Fergus’ face twisted into a molten mask of hate and with a tortured wail he launched himself with a strength I didn’t think he could possibly still possess. I heard the jangle of the chain, attached to his manacled ankle, as it dragged quickly along the floor behind him and before I knew it I felt his hand grip my shirt and his face was just inches from mine, contorting in fury as he howled his rage at me.
I cried out in shock and grabbed his wrist with both hands, but as I pulled he wouldn’t loosen his grasp and I stumbled backwards hearing the rip of fabric, releasing me from his clutches as I fell to the floor. Desperately I scrambled backwards across the blood-stained floor as he flailed and strained on his chain to try and reach me. The veins in his temples bulged. His fingers clawed at nothing but air as he screamed, his mouth open wide revealing awful fangs and spraying saliva everywhere.
Now I sat with my back pressed to the wall, gasping for air as Fergus continued to fight and struggle to get to me, his face rippling with hatred as he screamed obscenities at me. I was sure that at any moment that chain would break, so powerful was his fury.
Stephen had moved out of Fergus’ reach but his eyes gleamed with that same zeal I saw in the sensors’ eyes the day we went to The Black Cat. He side-stepped towards me and crouched down next to where I sat. With his mouth close to my ear, he spoke, never taking his eyes off of the raging vampire.
This is a vampire, Sarah. Take a good long look. See them for what they are. Blood-thirsty. Relentless. Evil. Never forget this. Never let down your guard. And never, ever trust them.”
The vampire continued to scream.

Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2013

Blood Wars

“It was a slaughter” – Excerpt from Blood Wars

You know when you wash and wash and yet still don’t feel clean? You scrub at your skin until it turns pink and raw and to the naked eye it looks perfectly clean, yet you know it isn’t? You can see it. Every mark, every filthy blemish, every stain that reminds you of what you have done; of what you are.
Standing in the toilets back at the base, I feverishly worked the soap over my hands and face, desperate to rid myself of the blood, some mine, some belonging to the now-dead vampire.
Murderer, whispered my vampire mother in my ear and I gasped, looking up into the cracked mirror and seeing nothing but my pale, stricken face.
My mouth was swollen and red on one side and felt tender to touch. My eyes were tinged-pink with broken blood vessels from straining to vomit until there was nothing left inside me to vomit up apart from my internal organs and I think I had come pretty close to expelling them from my body too. I couldn’t look into my eyes in the mirror for too long. I didn’t like what I saw there.
Still, I could hide from my own reflection but I couldn’t hide from what still lingered in my head. Images of the Nathaniel’s knife in my hand, it’s blade buried in soft flesh. Remembering how I had done it without even thinking about it. Like it was nothing.
Hey, no biggie, I just killed a man.
Not a man, a vampire, I could hear Nathaniel’s words echoing around my head. Survival of the fittest.
Really? Is that how it was? I wanted to believe it. I wanted to believe it so much. Yes, it had been them or us. Either we survived or they did. Yet, we has gone there with the intention of killing them. It had been a hunting expedition.
It was a slaughter, hissed my mother.
“No,” I groaned, grabbing handfuls of hair in my clenched fists and rocking slightly on the balls of my feet.
I grabbed for the soap again and began to run it over my hands and arms, sure I must have missed some blood because I still felt drenched in it, despite copiously washing every inch of visible skin. Why didn’t this place have a shower? I needed to scrub myself everywhere. I needed to strip my hair of the stench of death. I needed to be rid of these clothes. When I looked down I could see the dark stains smeared on my jeans and t-shirt. Everywhere I looked I could still see the blood.
With a cry, I grabbed the door handle and fled the bathroom, running down the hall into the dorm room looking about desperately.
Martha appeared behind me. “Are you okay, Sarah?” she said softly, sensing my alarm.
“I don’t have any clothes. I need to get these clothes off,” I said, clenching my fists by my side.
Martha ran her eyes over me. “Um….okay, you’re a bit smaller than me but I’m sure we can sort something out…”
“I don’t care,” I snapped “I just want these clothes off me now!”
Something in my face must have triggered Martha into action and she quickly began pulling stuff out of her rucksack. “I don’t have much, I’m sorry,” she said handing me a khaki shirt and black jeans.
I grabbed them off her and began to desperately yank off the blood-smeared t-shirt and jeans just as Nathaniel appeared in the doorway. I didn’t care that he could see me half-naked. I wouldn’t have cared if the whole world could see me in my undies at that point, I just needed the clothes off of my skin. I couldn’t bear it. He didn’t look away, just stood leaning against the doorframe, his hair falling across his eyes as he watched me frantically trying to button up Martha’s shirt.
“Sarah…” he began to say.
“Shut up!” I hissed, whirling around to face him. “This is all your fault! You just couldn’t leave me be could you? I had a life you know. I was just starting to feel settled and normal and you had to rip me away from all of that. What right did you have? So here I am yet again being dragged into somebody else’s plans for me and I’m not even given a choice!”
“You had a choice, Sarah,” Nathaniel said, not even flinching at my unbridled anger. “I asked you to stay. You didn’t have to.”
“You threatened my friends! What did you expect me to do?” I spat.
“I expected you to make the right choice for your friends,” he said, shrugging. “That’s the thing about life. It doesn’t always revolve around you. You have to make choices that will effect others. Your friends earned a reprieve because of you, why was that the wrong choice?”
“Because it was no choice at all! None of this would be my choice.”
“You didn’t have to come with us today. I don’t recall anyone forcing you into the van. I don’t recall anyone forcing you to enter the sub-den and I certainly don’t recall anyone forcing you to pick up that knife.”
His tone was so matter-of-fact, so emotionless, that it was all I could do to not fly across the room and smack him in the face.
“You’re twisting everything! Was I meant to let him kill you?” I gasped.
“Well I would hope not,” he said, raising an eyebrow. “And thankfully you made the right choice.”
“That’s just it! There was no choice. Either I killed him or he killed you. What else was I meant to do?”
“You didn’t have to use the knife, Sarah. He was the only one left. You could have jumped on him and we could have over-powered him together without the use of any weapon. You could have called for help. But you didn’t. You did the first thing that came naturally to you and that was pick up the knife.”
“It is not natural to kill people!”
Nathaniel stepped into the room and I could see the first signs of anger creeping into his eyes.
“Not people. Vampires. Stop confusing the two. They are vampires. You know what they are and you know what they do. Are you happy to let them carry on torturing people? Torturing children? Because that’s what they do Sarah. You think age matters to them? They kill indiscriminately regardless of age, gender, race. They don’t care. We are all fair game to them.”
“But that doesn’t mean we should be the same!” I growled. “You are making us like them.”
“Don’t you ever compare us to them! They are the killers, Sarah. They are the murderers. Are we meant to let them do as they wish? Does it not matter how many they kill?” he snapped.
“Of course it matters….” I began.
Nathaniel butted in, moving closer to me. “They killed your mother, your grandmother, your friends and yet you still stand here and say they don’t deserve this? Those vampires we killed today were responsible for countless deaths, Sarah and they had been getting away with it for months. A endless stream of desperate people going in through those doors and never coming out. People like your friends. Some dying there in that cesspit of a house. Some being fed to the den, abused, tortured, treated like fucking animals. And you say we are like them?”
“Look I hear what you are saying…”
“No you don’t. You don’t hear and you want to know why? Because all you hear is him. Michael. Your hero. Years of suffering wiped away by one man. One vampire who would have you believe they are not the monsters you grew up knowing they were.” His face was just inches away from mine now, his eyes blazing and fixed onto mine and try as I might, I couldn’t look away. “Remember, Sarah. I’m begging you. Remember what they did. Remember what they did to you and to your loved ones. What they took from you. How they made you feel. The pain they caused. Look at your scars. Remember how each one was inflicted because I am telling you now, they will inflict a thousand more given half the chance. Don’t let him make you forget.”

Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2012

Blood Wars

“Do you remember the first time you ever killed a vampire?” – Excerpt from Blood Wars

In the back of the van it was dark and gloomy. Small chinks of light creeped in through the gaps at the sides of the doors but barely enough to see everyone’s faces. We lined the sides of the van, that is all except for Eric and Louis who sat up front and Louise and Stephen who had been left behind to guard the sensors’ base. Louise had looked a little disgruntled about being told to stay behind and I saw her shoot me a sly look as Jared offered me a helping hand into the van.
Now I sat amongst the others, feeling the bumps and potholes of the road as the van took us to wherever it was we were going. I could see hardly anything and hear next to nothing, apart from the noise of the engine and the subdued chatter of the others. I felt quite disorientated and more than a little tense, now that the air of excitement had muted into something much more somber and serious.
I had been surprised when Nathaniel had opted to sit in the back with us, as he climbed in and took a seat opposite me. He didn’t say much for the first part of the journey apart from a few hushed comments to Jem who sat on his right. These two always seemed in quiet consultation and I wondered if they had a thing going on.
As the journey went on, the chatter dwindled away to nothing and I started to feel the nerves tapping on the inside of my stomach as the tension grew.
“Sarah, do you remember the first time you ever killed a vampire?” Nathaniel suddenly said, his voice soft yet firm as it floated through the gloom. I felt all eyes upon me.
“Um…well yeah sure. It’s not as if its something you can forget,” I said, confused and uncomfortable as to why he was asking me this now.
“Tell us about it.”
“You want me to tell you about the first time I ever killed a vampire?”
“You don’t want to?” Nathaniel’s voice was a challenge. I could sense everyone was waiting to see how this played out. Some of them already considered me a vampire sympathiser. If I said I didn’t want to talk about it, I just knew their opinion of me would be even worse than it already was. But I didn’t want to talk about it. I had never spoke of it to anyone.
I swallowed hard and hesitated, not sure where to start.
“His name was Isaac. I met him and another in a club, I was nineteen. They were members of my…..of Marcus’ den and they persuaded my friends to go back with them. My friends thought it was going to be one big party but it turned out they were to be the entertainment. I couldn’t persuade them not to go. I didn’t know how to tell them, so I watched them leave and then I followed in a cab, but I didn’t have enough money for the fare so I had to get out and walk part of the way.”
I felt my guts churning as I remembered that awful night; images of Lisa’s body rolled up inside that rug, Alex’s face when I found him curled up in the barn, urine staining his jeans and feeling the resistance of Isaac’s flesh as I pushed and pushed the pitchfork deeper and deeper.
“What happened next?” Martha said; soft waves of sympathy and pain emanating from her.
“When I got there it was too late. They had killed my friend Lisa, chucked her body in the cellar like she was nothing, you know? I found my friend Alex locked in the barn. There was another dead girl there, she was just a kid. They’d tortured her and killed her. She had marks all over her body; bite marks, bruising, horrible bruising. My other friend James was nowhere to be found. I discovered later that they’d taken him, kept him like some kind of animal in their cells for two years.”
I stopped, hearing my voice crack in pain at the memory. James, with his oh-so beautiful smile, starved, beaten, bitten and used as nothing but fodder for their sick, twisted games. My heart ached just thinking about him.
“Anyway, Isaac found me with Alex. I had a pitchfork and somehow….I don’t even know how I did it……somehow I managed to stab him with it, got him right in the chest.”
“How did you feel when you did it? When you attacked him?” Nathaniel pressed.
“How did I feel? I don’t know. Like I said, I don’t even know how I did it. I’d never done anything like that before. One minute he was standing there, the next thing I knew, I charged at him with the pitchfork,” I replied, wishing Nathaniel would just let it drop.
“Come on, Sarah,” he urged. “You must know how you felt. You don’t just kill someone without feeling something. There he was; the vampire who had tricked your friends into coming back to the den, the vampire who had helped kill your friend Lisa, who had kidnapped your other friend James. He walks into the barn, with the intention of killing your other friend Alex, and he finds you there. What did he do? What did he say?”
I bit down hard on my lip and clenched my fists, feeling my nails cutting into my palms. As I conjured up the memories, I could hear Isaac’s laughter ringing in my ears.
“He laughed at me,” I said, almost in a whisper. “He didn’t think I would fight him. He said I was a disappointment. So he laughed at me.”
“And how did that make you feel? Humiliated? Angry? What, Sarah?”
“I don’t know!” I snapped. “Why are you asking me this?”
“You do know,” Nathaniel insisted. “You do know, so just say it. Say how it made you feel. Say how it made you feel to have that vampire laugh in your face!”
“I hated him!” I was shouting now. “I hated him so much all I could think of was how much I wanted to hurt him. I wanted to plunge that pitchfork into him again and again and again. I was so angry; furious even and disgusted. So disgusted by the sight of him. Everything about him made me feel sick! He was a monster and he deserved to be treated like one. I ran at him and I just stabbed him with the fork and then I just watched him die.”
Everyone was quiet. Or at least I couldn’t hear them. I couldn’t hear anything save for this insane buzzing raging through my head. I kept my hands locked tight in my lap as I didn’t trust myself not to lash out at someone or something.
“And when he died, did you feel any remorse for your actions?”
“I was horrified by what I had done. I’d never hurt anyone before, let alone killed anyone.”
“That’s not what I asked,” said Nathaniel, “I didn’t ask if you were horrified, of course you were, you wouldn’t be human if you weren’t. But were you remorseful? Did you feel sorry for killing the vampire?”
“No,” I said, through gritted teeth. “I didn’t feel sorry one little bit.”
“Amen, sister,” breathed Robbie.
Nathaniel said nothing, but in the muted light, we locked eyes and I could see the rage that I now felt, mirrored in his face.
The van sped on.

Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2012

Blood Wars

#SampleSunday – Excerpt from Blood Wars

Nathaniel sighed and leaned back in his chair, staring up at the ceiling. I was pleased to see he was getting exasperated by me already. Hopefully it would mean he’d give me my P45 in the morning and I could be on my way.
“You have such the wrong idea about us, Sarah. Maybe in a few days you will see we’re not the bad guys here.”
Damn. Not that exasperated then. Still, I could work harder at annoying him. It was something I excelled at according to Michael.
“I’m not saying you’re the bad guys. I just don’t see the need for what you do,” I shrugged.
He turned his eyes back to me and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. I had the urge to lean back under the scrutiny of his gaze.
“And what’s the alternative? Wait for them to come and find us? Because rest assured they will find us. There’s no point living a chocolate-box life, Sarah. There’s no point thinking we can live like any other person; get ourselves a cottage out in the countryside, with a white picket fence, mow the lawn every Sunday, walk the dog. Do normal things. Because we’re not normal. We’re sensors. And we’re sensors for a reason.”
“So you’re saying that it’s our God-given right to hunt and kill vampires?”
“Well, history tells us that the fight between vampires and sensors was originally a Holy war. Good versus evil. Pure versus unholy. So the idea that our gift is God-given isn’t far wrong. According to vampire lore, the original sensors were members of a secretive religious order who set about ridding the land of the rising numbers of vampires.”
“Vampire-slaying monks?” I smirked, toying with visions of a stake-wielding Friar Tuck.
“If you like,” replied Nathaniel, with a deadpan expression. “The Church was well aware of the existence of vampires as far back as the Middle Ages, with Crusaders returning home with reports of great fanged demons in The Holy Lands. They were horrified of course, but all talk of blood-drinking spirits were quashed quickly and effectively. They believed these vampire entities to be servants of the Devil and feared that the people would blame the Church for bringing evil back to England. They were wrong of course. The Crusaders never brought vampires to our shores; they were already here. But they were lone individuals and were barely seen. In fact, vampire sightings were so rare that folklore just swallowed them up as mythical evil spirits and no one gave any true credence to their existence. No one that is apart from the Church and they quickly sought to destroy any vampire that proved to be real.”
“By employing sensors to kill them?”
“The sensors they recruited into the order were already members of the Church; in fact some even say that it was an off-shoot of the Oxford Movement and that Cardinal Newman himself oversaw the order’s activities. There is a rumour that in his youth the Cardinal was a member of the order, but his eventual move to be ordained by the Catholic Church led to him taking a more distanced, supervisory role. I don’t know how true that is myself; but it would have taken someone of authority within the Church to keep the order so secretive that most clergy would not have known of its existence.”
“Wait, you’re saying that Cardinal John Henry Newman himself was a sensor?” I gasped.
“In his teens, Newman became passionately interested in evangelical Christianity. There’s a possibility that this zeal was fuelled by his abilities and later he was recorded to have said that that his conversion as an evangelical Calvinist saved his soul. Maybe it was his way of combating the feelings we all have growing up knowing that we are different to everyone else? Maybe it was his way to fight against the evil he knew existed? I don’t know for sure. All I know is that vampire legend talks about a sensor who became an incredibly important religious figure within the Catholic Church and who had, during the great Roman Blood Wars of the 1830’s, become injured in battle with one of Europe’s most infamous den leaders Cyrus Valerius . Now, it’s widely reported that Newman fell dangerously ill with typhoid fever during his travels to Rome and Sicily in 1832, but what if it was not typhoid fever that struck him down, but severe injuries caused by a vampire?”
“And you believe this?” I said. “You think this is true?”
“I could not say for sure,” Nathaniel said, hooking one of his loose curls behind his ear. “The sensor movement holds no historical records from that time and any that ever existed are rumoured to have been destroyed following Newman’s death in 1890. In fact, even Newman’s remains disappeared. When they opened up his grave, they discovered the coffin had disintegrated to nothing, leaving only the gilded handles lying in the ground. His bones were never found. Some say, members of the sensor order removed the bones and secreted them away, not wishing his remains to be desecrated by vampires. If there is any real evidence that Newman was a leading figure of the sensor movement, then it is the vampire Elders who possess this. Their records stretch back for centuries.”
“And you know that because….?” I trailed off, raising an eyebrow at him.
He smiled and shrugged. “We have our ways as you already know. But these days the sensor network is far more advanced and with factions located across the globe, our system of storing and sharing information is more important than ever. It had to become this way. The nineteenth century saw the first great and most notable increase in the vampire population and we could not have continued as just vampire-slaying monks, as you so eloquently put it.”
“Why did vampire numbers grow during the nineteenth century? What was so significant about that time?” I couldn’t help but be gripped by Nathaniel’s impromptu history lecture.
“Quite simply, it was the sensors growth in power that ignited the Elders into action. They watched in alarm as the sensors began to wipe out their kind with a kind of voracious zeal that they had never seen before. They knew that the only way their race could survive would be to increase their numbers and so gave the instruction that den leaders should start doubling their efforts to make new vampires. Only they didn’t count on the den leaders realising that this was their way to strengthen the power of their den. The greater their numbers, the more powerful and more important their den would be. The more important the den, the more influential the den leader would be, and so on. The nineteenth century saw literally thousands of vampires being created across the world and hence the Blood Wars between the sensors and vampires began.”
“And the Elders didn’t want that? Surely they would have wanted the extermination of all sensors and the Blood Wars could only have helped them achieve that?”
“The Elders never wanted all-out war with the sensors. Let’s not forget that vampires had existed throughout the ages and at no point had they ever sought to significantly increase their numbers. They could have done so at any time, but it was only the rise of the sensors that forced their hands. Rest assured before that time, they were quite content to lurk in the shadows and be the subject of myth. They never wanted to be uncovered. They wanted to be able to go about their business without the Church breathing down their necks. But their own need for survival caused the Elders to make a very drastic decision about their future. They didn’t want the den leaders to gain so much power, as it would only threaten their existence on the Council. Before all this, the Elders were nothing but a tired old hierarchy who had little to do with the everyday existence of your average vampire. With the den leaders motivated into action by their own greed for power, they grew more confident and it raised questions about what the Council were doing to protect the dens. The Council had no choice but to give the order for all sensors to be destroyed.”
“Augustus Bloomsbury!” I cried, remembering the conversation I had with Monty about his exile from the Council and the campaign that Augustus Bloomsbury had waged in order to convince the other Elders to order the killing of all sensors.
Nathaniel sat up straight immediately, his eyes wide with undisguised shock. “What do you know of Augustus?”
I squirmed under his dark stare. The dancing shadow marionette stilled on the wall behind him and I waited for it to reach out a ghostly hand and grip me around the neck, squeezing my throat and forcing me to reveal all about Montague. There was no way I could tell Nathaniel about Monty; I would not put him in such terrible danger. As an Elder I was sure he was capable of defending himself, but against eleven sensors I wasn’t so sure how he would fair. And if they knew the secret of how to shield their blood against the awesome power of an Elder, then I doubted Monty would last long in his basement hideaway.
“Um, I was told about him,” I muttered, trying to avoid his intense gaze which did not relent for one second.
“Sarah, barely anyone outside the network knows the names of the Elders, let alone that of Augustus himself. We fought for years to learn who sat on the Council. You have no idea of the efforts we have gone to try and establish the key figures within the Council; the blood that has been spilled, the people that have been lost, just to get those names. Most vampires don’t even know who sits on the Council. The only people privy to that kind if information are the den leaders themselves, and possibly one of two of their underlings. How on earth would a lone sensor like yourself know the name of the most important vampire alive?”
“I don’t understand?” I said, trying to dodge his question. “Why is he the most important vampire alive? What makes him so special?”
When he spoke, his voice was nothing more than a hiss and the candle light cast dark shadows across his face, twisting his features in a way that made me hold my breath.
“Because Sarah, Augustus Bloomsbury happens to be the man recently elected to sit at the head of the great vampire Council. If you wanted to find the most senior figure in the whole of the vampire race, you wouldn’t have to look any further than him. So I ask you again, how the hell do you know his name?”

Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2012