Previously, in "Nightfall" (series 1 to 4)
The world shuddered at the discovery that vampires did exist. The vampire, Bartholomew, caught by a special task force, struck a deal with authorities; he would live and allow science to study his regenerative abilities to help humankind.
It had been a ruse.
Bartholomew turned out to be the Lord of Vampires, and he used modern science to allow him to create a thousand Masters almost instantly. Vampirism engulfed the world in a matter of months, and humanity literally became the cattle that vampires had always thought of them as.
A group of survivors, aided by Holy Vampires (members of the cloth that had been killed by vampires and returned to life with the powers of a Master but not the hunger for blood), Lycanthropes and other pockets of resistance, tracked Bartholomew to his lair in Germany.
Previously, in "Nightfall: Oblivion"
In a fierce battle against Bartholomew's forces--and creations--many were killed, but Father Roy Cameron, using a Holy Artifact, was able to kill the Vampire Lord. With Bartholomew's death came the deaths of his Masters, and with their deaths came the deaths of all the vampires they had created.
The world once again belonged to humanity.
3 Weeks Ago…
The field hospital was not much to look at, but then not much was needed in the way of its services. Most of the survivors were, though battered and bruised, in good health. Erin had been the most serious in need of attention, the venom from the spider-thing having nearly killed her. She was stable, for now, but her system was still fighting the toxin, and no one knew for sure if their medicines were helping her or not.
Though the doctors were at a loss to explain it, Roy had suffered a broken shoulder blade, his arm had been broken in two places, and three of his ribs had been literally shattered. How he had continued to fight, to even be able to stand up against Bartholomew, they did not know. Roy knew, and many others also believed.
It had been the same power that had guided them and protected them. It had been the same power that had channeled through Roy, allowing him to stand against the vampires, and their Lord.
"How you feeling?" asked Bill, standing next to the bed that Roy was laying in, Christine by his side.
"I've been better. I could still use that beer, though."
"Miller promises a round for everyone," said Christine, "as soon as you're off the medicine."
"Can't have a reaction," joked Bill.
"How's Diane?" asked Roy.
"Not good," Bill finally answered, after a hesitant pause. "She's taking John's death pretty hard. Someone's with her, more to keep an eye on her than anything."
"She'll pull through," said Christine. "She's tough."
"Any word from Solution Center?" wondered Roy, straining to set up and waving off Bill's attempts to help him.
"Yeah, sort of," answered Bill, drawing a questioning look from Roy. "Actually, Solution Center's been destroyed, but there're survivors."
"Apparently it was the first target that Bartholomew had hit, during the night, before the whole darkening thing."
Roy seemed to sink in on himself a little at that bit of news.
"Thomas sends his regards," said Bill, hoping that it would pick the preacher up some.
Roy managed a smile, his eyes fluttering nearly close, and Bill realized that it was exhaustion, not the news of Solution, which was wearing Roy down. Perhaps he could give the preacher a source for some happy dreams for a change.
"Katt says hi, too," said Bill, leaning down and whispering it to the nearly unconscious Roy.
Diane sat crossed legged on the small cot, her back beginning to ache from leaning against the cold side of the van for the past few hours, but she ignored the pain. The physical discomfort that she was distantly aware of was not enough to distract her from the emotional pain that had finally caught up with her, drowning her as the adrenalin rush had worn off after the battle.
In her mind, she kept reliving her brief struggle with John, his eyes piercing into her with their redness, and she felt utterly desolate.
Not only was she reliving the horrible realization that she had experienced during that moment, but also she was continually lambasting herself for having done what she had sworn she would not--she had let her walls down. She had given in to the desires that she had felt, and she had allowed herself to feel again. She had let herself feel love, and again the vampires had taken it from her.
Even in the throes of their demise, the vampires had struck out at her, and her heart--her very soul--had been shattered.
Pain and despair seemed to be all that she knew. She should be outside, celebrating with the others, but she couldn't bring herself to join them, to share in their joy.
She could only think of the pain that seemed to be eternally tied to her being, and she could only see his blood-red eyes.
The same eyes her daughter had had.
The same eyes that had haunted her dreams since the time so long ago when she had been forced to kill her family.
She trembled with tearless sobs, oblivious to the woman that shared the van with her. The woman that sat silently, looking at her with pity, wishing that there were something that she could do or say to help.
Diane simply sat, shaking with despair, wishing that she had the courage--or the opportunity--to end the pain.
"How is she?" asked Bill, as he climbed up into the rear of the transport truck that Neva had been secured in.
"What do you care?" asked Timms, though his voice held little trace of anger. If anything, he sounded more exhausted than bitter.
Bill stepped up to the opposite side of the metal table that Neva was chained to, looking with sadness at the numerous plastic bags of chemicals that were hooked up to her. The army medics had enough tranquilizers running through her to knock out everyone that made up their impromptu group, and they were still wary of her awakening.
"Look, Zachary," started Bill, his tone cautious. "I know we've had our disagreements, and flat out arguments, but I understand what you're going through."
Timms snorted but still he did not look up to meet Bill's gaze.
"I'm trying to make a little peace here, man."
"I don't need your sympathy," said Timms, lowly. Angrily.
"You don't have to do this alone, Zachary. I went through this shit, this not knowing what you are, what you could become. It was hell for me, man, but I made it past it. And I think you have too. You overcame his hold on you. You made the difference."
Timms finally looked up, his eyes dark, yet sad, and something passed between the two men.
In the brief time that Bill had been linked with his mind, he had seen Timms' entire life, and he understood the man better than he had previously, and he had finally grasped some of what had driven the man to act as he had; the pain and loss that had become an all encompassing aspect of the man's life.
"You did make the difference, Zach. It's time you let go of the past. It's not your fault that your mother died, or that your dad killed himself. Things happen that are beyond our control, that can't be altered no matter what we do. What's important is how we react."
Timms shook his head and rested his gaze back on the unconscious Neva, gently stroking her hair, a soft whimpering almost escaping from his lips.
"I want her to be okay," said Timms, softly. "I want her back, like she was."
"Then let's go talk to Miller and see if we can't get someone to fly our asses back to Cleveland."
Timms blinked at Bill, unsure if he had heard correctly.
"You don't have to do this alone."
"Thank you," said Timms, wiping at his eyes.
Bill wiped the blood from his eyes, blinking through the smoky haze, trying to focus his senses on finding Christine. There, across the ruined chamber, he sensed her heartbeat, buried beneath a pile of rubble and glass.
Racing across the vast expanse, dodging around the numerous fires, leaping over puddles of unknown chemicals, he made his way to her location as fast as his wounded body would allow him.
With hands that were still bloodied and bruised, he flung the shattered pieces of concrete from her, hesitating with fear as he uncovered her and saw how badly she was hurt.
Her life force was weak, so faint as to be nearly undetectable, and his mind screamed in denial that she might truly die.
"Christine," he called, gently raising her. "Christine, can you hear me?"
She groaned, faintly, and a small froth of blood rose from her lips.
"Christine!" he yelled out, sensing her surrendering to the darkness. "God damn it, don't you leave me!"
Her eye lids rose to a mere slit, and she tried to smile at him, but only served to increase his panic, a thin trail of blood now spilling down the side of her face.
"Bill," she struggled to say.
"Shh, shh, shh," he countered, cringing as something exploded from further back in the chamber. "Save your strength."
"It…hurts," she managed to get out, before being seized by a coughing fit that brought her great pain and pushed more blood from her lips.
"You have to heal, you have to focus your energies," he pleaded. "You can conquer this."
"I love you," she tried to say, her lips moving silently.
His scream ripped through the entire building, reaching beyond the walls of the burning chamber, and tearing at the very foundation of The Clinic. Dust and loose bits rained down, threatening the collapse of the entire structure, and he held her tight, rocking back and forth.
To Be Continued…