I leap through the window, the hideout burning behind me.
Above, Tony hisses, cursing as he watches me drop and roll.
I look at him, watching the flames burn all around him.
We used to call him Tony.
I used to call him friend.
But now he’s my enemy, and as I stick a knife through the chest of an attacking vampire, I know I’ll make him pay for his betrayal.
The monsters sleep.
Their lackeys stalk.
We caught one once–it almost made me feel something again. Poor brainwashed fools they were, intellect destroyed by the vampires. Too weak and feeble to become monsters, they became something worse.
Still had the strength to trash our hideouts, though.
I sit in the ruins of one now, looking at the walls. At the words written there.
We’ll never let them take us.
And we didn’t; my friends shot their brains out before becoming like them.
But then Tony…
We were hiding in a chemist’s. He stood, walked to the window, said, “They’re not coming tonight.”
Then the claws burst through the glass and took him.
He had a weapon–he could have killed himself, like we all vowed. But he didn’t, and when I looked out I swear I saw him smiling.
Now he leads the monsters, selling them all our secrets. Selling the lives of his friends until only I remain.
I know they’ll get me sooner or later–the vampires, or their mindless lackeys. But I won’t let Tony take me.
I’m going to take him down.
I walk through the streets, and though they watch from atop buildings, none of the vampires touch me.
I think they know I have plans.
I found an axe along the way, and now I twirl it around. Calling out his name.
Spinning the axe some more.
“Come and get me.”
And he does.
He crashes into me from above, knocking me to the ground, driving out my wind, and though he could have just finished me off, he wants to make a game, have some fun.
Say, “You betrayed us, Tony.”
“We promised not to let them take us. Now look at you.”
I do look at him, saying this. He’s covered in blood–but excrement and urine as well, too concerned with the hunt to bother washing.
Plus, he’s naked.
And then there’s his eyes.
Inviting, too… telling me that the pain will vanish if I just let him put his fangs in me…
And I’m almost there, almost floating in his veins. But then I remember the vow on the wall, remember all of our friends that he’s killed, and I scream “What about the promises?” and hack off an arm, and “What about the vow?” and take away half his face and “What about the promises?” and sweep away his legs and scream “What about the vow, you bastard?” as I finally cut off his head.
It plonks to the ground at my feet.
And now the rest of his breed appears.
Coming for me.
Expecting a fight.
But I’m done.
I drop the axe.
And let them take me.
But I wake.
Lackeys around me.
Pointing to the horizon.
Where the town ends.
There’s nobody left for the monsters–they need fresh blood.
That’s where I come in.
They want me to head out… bring them victims. And if I do…
The vampires will make me forget. Forget all that’s happened.
They’ve already taken some of it away.
I head out of town. Determined not to do what they want.
But the memories are returning. And they hurt.
So I walk.
Something almost came back to me there.
Something about a promise.
Something about a vow.
Credited to Shaun Avery]