Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for violence.
PART III – THE MASSACRE
Becca was lost in thought as she pushed open her front door and was scared half to death when Maeve jumped out from the living room and crushed her with a hug.
“Oh my God, Maeve, I didn’t know you were back today,” croaked Becca, her lungs being squished by Maeve’s stronghold.
“Did you miss me?” Maeve held her at arm’s length, beaming.
The truth was, Becca had been thankful she had left for a week. Maeve was her best friend but could also be a bit of a burden. It was nice to have some breathing room. But after the last night with Gabriel, she was actually quite delighted to have her company again.
Maeve grabbed her hand and pulled her into the living room. “What have I missed? Tell me everything.”
“Can I at least take my coat off first?” Becca laughed. Maeve let her go, allowing Becca to shed her winter coat and chuck her work bag onto the kitchen table, before joining her on the sofa.
“I don’t know what to tell you, nothing’s really happened.” Becca shrugged, avoiding eye contact. “Grandad’s doing well. He’s starting to like Paul. Still hates Claudia,” she laughed. “And works fine, I guess.”
“What about you? I’m glad your grandad’s alright and everything but he’s not your whole life. You know that, right?”
“Of course,” Becca scoffed but found Maeve looking sceptical. “Well, nothing else has really happened.”
Maeve’s eyes widened and she almost lunged across the sofa to pull Becca’s hair back, exposing the square plaster on the crook of her neck. Becca tried to slap her away but it was too late.
“What happened?” she gasped. Their eyes met and the disappointment shimmering in her friend’s eyes made Becca feel like absolute garbage. “You saw him, didn’t you? You promised you wouldn’t!”
“It’s not as bad as it looks.” Becca smoothed her long hair back over the plaster.
Gabriel hadn’t spoken to her since he had run away. He had messaged her after he left saying ‘I’m so sorry. We should stop seeing each other. It’s what’s best for both of us.’ She had tried to call him but he ignored it. She was quite thankful he hadn’t answered because, at the time, all he would have heard would have been her blubbering down the phone.
“He bit you.” The words were coated with disgust. “Did you… let him?”
“No,” Becca blurted. “It was an accident. He apologised. It’s fine.”
Maeve shook her head like a disappointed parent, and looked down at the carpet.
“My mum told me some stuff. In her town there’s been some serious shit going down with all this vamp stuff. People attacking vamps. Vamps attacking people. Turns out a local DJ she went on a few dates with after my dad is one.” Maeve’s voice grew wet with brewing tears. “I’m scared, Becca. I’m really scared. I wouldn’t have left you if I wasn’t. But my mum’s all alone, I had to make sure she was okay. And, in truth, trying to keep you away from Gabriel was stressing me out. I couldn’t sleep.”
Becca closed her eyes, her gnawing guilt twisting up all her insides.
“You can’t see him. You just can’t. I don’t care how nice he is to you. I don’t care how nice he was to your grandad. He’s no longer his care nurse so he no longer needs to be in your life. In our lives.” Maeve looked back up at her, her eyes shining silver with unshed tears. “He’s not welcome in this house, okay?”
Becca’s jaw had seized shut, as if her own revulsion of herself had seeped into her bones and turned her own body against her. All she could do was nod, releasing tears of her own.
“I mean it.” Maeve held her gaze, looking so strong and intense it was frightening. This wasn’t the Maeve Becca knew. She wasn’t pretending everything was fine anymore. She wasn’t making up excuses for her skittish behaviour. She was no longer drinking the pain away.
She was facing her fear head on, and if Becca wasn’t in the firing line, she would have found it admirable.
“Becca, tell me he is out of our lives for good.”
Becca nodded and when Maeve’s eyes narrowed slightly, she cleared her throat and managed to say “I promise” in a croaky whisper.
“Aha! Thought you were going home did’ya? Well, bam!” Ezra flicked Gabriel’s little red counter from the Ludo board off the coffee table.
Gabriel sent him a dissatisfied look before stretching across the floor to retrieve it.
“I hate you,” he mumbled.
Ezra smiled. “So close, yet so far. Back to the start you go.”
Ezra already had two of his counters safe at his base while Gabriel was still yet to get any of his counters around the whole board.
They were both sat on the floor in the living room. Other board games were scattered all around them. They had found the collection in the basement when they had first moved in, and they had stayed there untouched until a week ago.
Gabriel had stuck to his word and hadn’t stepped foot outside of the house for the past week. After Ezra told him about Lillian’s trouble with the neighbours, he hadn’t even gone into the garden.
While hiding in the house together, Ezra and Gabriel had simultaneously grown together and apart. Ezra was no longer acting like a teenage on steroids and Gabriel’s lovesickness had just turned into actual sickness whenever he thought about Becca. He could no longer think about her without thinking about her blood. And whenever he thought about her blood, he went lightheaded and the world tilted dangerously.
But the board games had brought out both of their competitive sides. They were both gloating winners, and sore losers, which led to a lot of arguments followed by petty sulks. But it was all superficial. These were the types of arguments they were used to. The types of arguments that their friendship had been built on. They were finally starting to fit back into their old moulds.
Sometimes ignorance was bliss.
Ezra had even stopped going to see Silas. He had confided in Gabriel and told him that he no longer felt the need to keep up with the deterioration of society. He couldn’t do anything about it, and he had finally realised that. Sometimes all you could do was sit back and watch the world burn.
Ezra took a swig of his mug of blood, quickly followed by another before placing it back down next to the board. “I’ve still got two counters left. You’ve still got a chance.”
“Don’t patronize me.” Gabriel threw the dice.
Ezra smirked. His hand still gently clasping his mug. It had been his second of the night and it had only just passed midnight. He’d been drinking a lot more than usual. They both had. At this rate, they were going to run out before they got their new round of coupons.
Yelling from outside brought both of their attentions to the big bay window. It was still boarded up and the lack of glass combined with their vampire hearing made any little commotion outside hard to ignore.
They both shared a look before getting to their feet. Ezra pulled back the curtain at the side of the window that was still intact. There was someone on the front step of the house across the road. It looked like a tall man with dark hair, wearing jeans and a zip-up dark hoodie. He was banging on the front door incessantly. Upstairs, a couple were looking out the bedroom window, shouting at him to leave them alone. The man didn’t reply, only kept pounding his fists on the door like he couldn’t even hear them. He then crossed over to the downstairs window and started banging on that. The woman upstairs was clutching her husband, shaking him to go and do something.
Gabriel knew of the people at that house. The wife was a primary school teacher and the husband worked in finance. Neither of which were the type to cause any drama. Definitely not the type to have people angry beating down their door.
The stranger smashed through the window and the teacher screamed in terror.
Ezra quickly moved to the door and Gabriel followed. He stayed in the doorway as Ezra stepped out onto their path. Because they both hadn’t left the house in a week, they were both still dressed in their no one is seeing me tonight outfits. Gabriel’s was a simple black t-shirt and plaid pyjama trousers, Ezra’s was a baby Yoda graphic tee and gym shorts.
“Hey!” Ezra called over.
The man didn’t react, but the couple upstairs saw Ezra and started banging on their window.
Oh, now they want us around, Gabriel held back a sneer.
“Hey!” Ezra called louder, walking to the end of their path. “Hey! Leave them alone!”
The man’s head snapped round and Gabriel jerked back in surprise. The man’s eyes were completely black, like two inky orbs.
“He’s a…” Gabriel’s words faded when the vampire began stalking across the road, heading straight for them.
The vampire snarled; fangs fully extended. Ezra almost tripped over his own sliders as he scrambled into the house, pushing Gabriel back as he did. The two of them were in the hallway, Ezra keeping Gabriel at his back as the vampire reached their pathway.
“Hey, mate! Calm down!” Ezra threw his hands up, but the vampire continued his pursuit. The veins under his eyes were thick and purple and pulsating. It was how vampires looked when they were hungry. Extremely hungry.
The vampire entered their house. Ezra shoved Gabriel into the living room, keeping himself between him and the stranger. The stranger snarled again, saliva dripping from his fangs. He grabbed Ezra by his t-shirt and Gabriel heard Ezra’s fangs unsheathe. The vampire went for Ezra’s neck, ready to bite, but Ezra was quick and managed to twist out of his grip and land a punch square in his nose.
Gabriel tripped over the boxes of board games as Ezra continued to shove him further and further back, his eyes never leaving the stranger who now looked disorientated but even more angry.
Ezra grabbed one of Lillian’s jade turtle and slammed it into the stranger’s head. The intruder careened backwards, hit the wall, then bounced back and threw himself into Ezra. Ezra flew backwards, dragging Gabriel down with him, and they both crashed into the coffee table. Its legs broke under their weight and tipped them both sideways. Ezra quickly pushed himself back to his feet while Gabriel was still coming to his senses. He felt Ezra snatch one of the broken legs from under his hip and managed to focus his eyes just in time to see Ezra smack the stranger across the face with the wooden leg, sending blood splattering up their wallpaper. Then he used the leg like a baseball bat and hit him upside the jaw. Gabriel heard the wet crunch of his fangs sinking into his tongue. While the vampire still stumbled, Ezra drove the jagged end of the leg right through his chest and he erupted into a disgusting flare of bloody, vampire pulp. It splattered across the walls, the sofas, the cabinets, Gabriel.
Gabriel rolled to the side and heaved. Nothing came up, but he heard the soggy plop of chunks of vampire goop rolling off him as he moved. He wiped a slick hand down his wet face so he could see clearly. Ezra was in the centre of the room, covered in red from head to toe. The table leg was still grasped tightly in his hands. He was shaking; his eyes wide and distant.
Gabriel pushed himself up onto his elbows and in the sticky, gloopy silence of the room Gabriel could finally picture Ezra out there in the world doing Silas’ bidding. This whole side of him that Gabriel had never seen was now brought to the light.
Ezra was a killing machine. And he had just saved both of their lives.
“Ezra.” Gabriel’s voice sounded odd to his own ears. It was like he was reminded that he was even there in the room. Part of him had felt like an observer as Ezra had single-handedly taken care of their sudden ambush.
At the sound of his voice, Ezra jerked and dropped the table leg. It landed in a pile of goo with a wet squelch. Ezra spun and found Gabriel slowly rising to his feet. Ezra’s whole face was red, making his usually deep brown eyes look like glistening honey.
“Are you okay?” He grabbed Gabriel and helped him stable himself.
“Yeah.” Gabriel looked to their broken table. To the Ludo pieces mixed in with all the blood and guts. “What the hell was that about?”
“I have no idea. I thought there were no vampires here except us,” said Ezra, which sparked a memory. The strange figure in the park when he had been out with Becca. Gabriel thought he had felt the wind change like how it did when vampires moved but he hadn’t been certain.
“Why would he attack us?” Ezra continued. “He tried to bite me.”
Gabriel turned in a slow circle, his eyes scanning over the slaughter scene which had once been their quaint living room. He lost his footing, slipping on the stringy gore. Ezra caught his arm and stabled him effortlessly with his vampire-quick reflexes.
They both stared at each other. Gabriel could see his own confused and panicked expression in Ezra’s huge pupils.
Gabriel’s jaw tightened and his words rushed through his gritted teeth, “What the fuck is going on?”