The timid people left in the tunnel with us looked terrified as the night cats emerged from their cars wearing scarves over the lower portion of their faces. I knew what they were thinking. They thought we were being attacked by terrorists or something and wondered why Korea had been targeted. It was only the deafening shrill shrieks of horror that echoed throughout the tunnels once they removed the scarves that gave me the conviction that I previously lacked.
Conviction of course that Jared never wavered on. Now granted, we are not above drinking people… to death at times. But, the mass murder of people just driving along to see their relatives, get to work, or drop off their kids was something different. Something entirely different than what being a man had meant to me these long years.
It was an attack like this that killed my sister. I felt rage towards my own kind that I had not felt in a long time. We were surrounded. The other vampires were eying their prey trying to select who would be devoured. I know Jared and I were not going to be able to save everyone, but a good 70% of the some 34 people here would survive. I would personally see to that.
I looked Jared in the eye and he knew we had both made the same decision. We were saying “Screw the plan.”
The first step forward we took was instantly halted. A bright light shone in the artificially lit tunnel and everyone stood still. Whether or not the stillness was voluntary I couldn’t tell because Jared and I were still perfectly able to move around. The light descended and revealed itself to be a small, controlled, swirling purple tornado. Who travels like that?
A tall Spaniard emerged wearing a white T-shirt and a pair of light blue jeans. “So, I have vampires with a conscience today. Good.” He said with an accented voice.
“Who are you?” Jared dared.
“Raphael. I know who you are and why you are here. I was sent to help you. The charter for this debacle was written with certain rules you know.” Raphael continued.
“Rules like…” I began. I had been around for a long time, and if that was the Raphael I think I was then why didn’t he stop countless slaughters throughout the years?
“Like, if two or three stand together God will be with you. And if good men do nothing evil prevails. But, there are two of you today and you had no intention of letting this go on, even if you knew that you would possibly die trying. Every vampire has a moment of conscience and quickly brushes it aside in this tunnel. Everyone but you. So, here I am and here I will stay until this tournament has been put to an end.” Raphael explained.
“You’re Jade Gates Raphael right?” Jared asked happy to finally see some progress on our venture.
“Indeed I am. Come.” He motioned.
We stood next to him and he raised one hand towards the sky. A long streak of sunlight shone out of nowhere in the darkness and I could see what the people were seeing. They stood confused, not seeing the cars, or the unholy terrors trying to eat them.
They saw an orchard with a train afar off and went towards it. Once they had cleared the tunnel they saw themselves standing on a road with a tunnel that had been sealed shut by a mountain of bricks. They must have thought the tunnel collapsed and they were the only brave souls to have survived it. Which explained why out of so many cars on the road with us, so few were actually outside unharmed.
If only they knew it was the human few that made it out. The rest of us stood there watching as they marveled at how they had survived. We stood frozen in place together watching the police survey the scene and declare it unsafe for travel. All the while they saw a collapsed tunnel when it was really open.
Mortals were mere yards away from the undead. Both night cats and vampires growled hungrily but were both unable to move or speak. Once all of the humans had gone home leaving only a thin line of caution tape flapping in the wind at the entrance of the tunnel did Raphael, Jared, and I finally stir. We walked further in leaving the predatory undead frozen in place and began our search.
“So what’s the plan?” I finally asked Raphael.
“Oh it will be interesting I suspect. Our first order of business is to enter the both of you into the tournament. I will be your manager. Only there will be unseen angels at your side. You will you indestructible until it is time for our presence to be revealed.” He answered.
I have to admit… I was not thrilled with the plan. Jared seemed even less enthusiastic.
“What will happen when we leave this place?” Jared asked him.
“You will see Amelia. She has a request of course as payment for releasing Majun.” Raphael continued.
“Like what?” Jared asked.
“You will see. In the meantime, I have dispatched a patrol. The demon monks holding your mother captive are hypnotizing her for information. It is here they will strike. When the vampire Reign of Blood begins at the start of the apocalypse they want to be in control of this region. They want more than a slaughter, they the very souls of the people. That is why you are to fight. Fight for every man, woman, and child to not be enslaved and eaten, or that will be the future of almost half of Asia. Gather your courage, today is a good day that the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it.” Raphael continued.
I somehow like him less and less. Now not only am I trying to keep myself alive, I have to do so for half of a continent now. And what of the medallion that I promised the Siren? What will happen when I’m late?
“Bryan, you worry too much. She’s a hungry Trifold. She’s here to devours some of the losers.” Raphael intercepted my thoughts.
“Trifold?” Jared asked.
“Yes, a class of demons who take human form. Some of them are particularly nasty. But, rare. They require a constant stream of human blood to maintain their appearance. But, the Siren is not the only one you have to be careful of. I hear the Expelled Ones are here as well.” He continued.
“Who?” I asked. I had never heard of ‘Expelled Ones.’
“Deities who were bound during the Christian crusades. Cast out of the earth by subduing them using the name of Christ. It really works. Though Romanov will not allow this to happen too soon and needs to bide his time until after the Twinkling.” He said.
“I have no idea what all of that meant.” Jared admitted, lost.
“Romanov is the Antichrist and he will wait until after the rapture to unleash the so-called gods from below to ensure there are not enough people who know what’s really going on left to expel them back to Hell again.” He looked as us amused.
“There’s a lot we don’t know about what’s really going on right now huh?” I asked feeling small in the world and my problems right along with it.
“You don’t have to stay unaware.” Raphael ultimately said as we entered the foyer for the dining hall.
The smell of blood and something burning filled the air and almost overwhelmed me. It smelled like the old blood cellars where the humans were bled and their ashes were used to fed the demons who were transported in to keep the gates open.
There’s no place like home. How I wish I wasn’t here.