"Would somebody please say something?" asked Bill. "Anything."
Timms looked upwards, then back at Bill, and shook his head. "What ever's happened to you, you can't be a vamp. Not out in the sun like this, but that doesn't mean you won't become one."
"I say that you're a liability," said Bear. "We can't trust you."
Dillman just shook his head in agreement, hiding behind Bear slightly and hanging onto the large man's arm.
"I guess that explains how you got us away from those things in the hole," said Diane.
"I came here to help save you guys," said Bill. "I don't know what I am, but I'm not one of them."
"Yet," added Timms. "You even said that Bartholomew is the one that let you stay human. What if he changes his mind? What if he pushes you over the edge one night?"
"I don't think it works that way," said Bill. "His greatest power lies in his ability to manipulate people's thoughts, to alter their perceptions."
"We've encountered vampires, Masters, Packlings, Holy Vamps, psychotic vamps, Bartholomew's creatures, and you've even met the Lord Vampire himself," said Roy. "I don't think it's too hard to accept a half vampire, half human hybrid."
"That doesn't mean we can trust him," added Bear. "I vote that we leave him behind."
"I don't remember us ever stating that this was up for vote," countered Roy.
"It's only fair, Roy," said Bill. "It's not just my life on the line, it's all yours too."
"I vote he stays," said Diane. "He's proven that he deserves the chance."
"Very well," said Roy. "I vote he stays."
"I say he goes," said Timms, glaring at Bill. His feelings not so much negative towards Bill as they were against Roy. He no longer trusted the Preacher's judgement, and if Roy wanted Bill to stay, then he didn't have much faith in that choice.
"And I thought I was winning you over," quipped Bill.
"Like Bear says, you can't be trusted," replied Timms, with less conviction than he felt.
All eyes turned to Dillman, the last member to have to cast his vote, and they waited for him to voice his decision. Diane and Bill thought that he would simply side with Bear, Roy hoped he would form his own opinion, and Timms prayed that he would side with Bill, negating some of the guilt that he felt.
"I think that… I think that he should…stay behind," Dillman finally managed to say.
"That figures," muttered Diane, barely loud enough to be heard by the others.
"Dillman," said Roy. "Is that what you really want? You're not just voting that way because of Bear, are you?"
"No," answered Dillman. "He scares me. I don't want him around."
"He's still human," said Timms.
"What's your problem?" asked Bear. "You voted against him, too."
"Maybe I voted wrong."
"Let me settle this," interrupted Bill. "I'll leave."
"No," said Roy, Diane, and Timms, in unison.
"The only one that can stand against Bartholomew is you," said Bill, facing Roy. "And the only way you're going to get there is if you all stick together. That's not going to happen while I'm around."
"Hey, we can leave," said Bear, referring to himself and Dillman.
"They need you to get them to Germany," countered Bill.
"We need you, too," said Diane.
"No, you don't," said Bill. "If I stay, I'll only cause problems between everyone."
"You don't know that," said Roy.
"Yes I do," replied Bill, looking over to Bear and Dillman. "And I don't blame them. I don't know if I even trust myself."
A half hour later, most of their equipment transferred over to the SWAT van, Roy and Diane were standing next to the vehicle, looking despondent. They had decided to leave Bill with the hum-vee, not a hard choice since there was no way they were going to leave him with nothing, and were ready to continue on to Denver, though grudgingly.
"Are you sure about this?" asked Roy.
"No, but that doesn't mean it's wrong."
"Please come with us," said Diane. "They'll change their minds once they get to know you."
"Like you have?"
"Yeah," she said, a sad smile on her face. "Like I have."
She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly, and he returned the affection. He knew that she was finally starting to let her walls come down, but he also knew that what he was doing was right. He couldn't stay with them, causing tension amongst everyone, putting them in jeopardy.
"I love you," he whispered to her.
"I know," she whispered back.
Okay, maybe her walls hadn't come down all that much.
"If we're successful, we'll meet up with you after it's over," said Roy. "Any place in particular?"
"How about where we met in the first place?" he asked. "What was that town called?"
"Mansfield," said Diane, remembering how they had come across Bill as he was about to kill himself rather than face the vampires.
"Yeah, that little burg."
"We will see you there," said Roy, shaking Bill's hand.
"Let's go, people," called Bear from the driver's side window. "It'd be nice if we got to Denver while it was still light out."
Bill watched sadly as his two friends climbed into the van and shut the door. Bear didn't even offer a glance back or a wave goodbye, he simply ducked his head back into the van and pressed down on the gas, driving the truck away from the institute.
As the sound of the van finally faded away, Bill stood in the silence that enveloped the area, his mind not really forming any solid thoughts. He had no idea what he would do now, and he really didn't feel like thinking about it. He just continued standing there, staring off into the distance, and ignoring any input from his senses. Even the slight tingling that he felt, conveying to him that vampires were near, was oblivious to him as he sank into a deep sense of despair.
He thought he should be glad that they had left him alive, but then again, they didn't know the entire story behind him. Even Bartholomew hadn't bothered exploring that part of his past, what had happened after he and Ben had escaped from the Saint Michael's. He would have thought that the vampire Lord would have chosen that moment instead of what had happened with Curtis, but then that just supported his theory that Bartholomew was more adept at twisting thoughts than being able to get at any he desired.
Bill had buried that memory even deeper than the others, refusing to think about it at all, and it was the proof he needed to show that Bartholomew did not control him. But it was also the driving wedge between him and the others, for if he told them the full story, the whole account of what had happened, then they would have rebuffed him for what had transpired later that night.
Certain that they would have left him behind if they knew the whole truth, it had made his decision to stay behind easier. It didn't hurt any less, but it had been easier to make.
Despair was becoming a constant companion.
It had been the most painful experience he had ever felt, his mind blown apart into tiny pieces, along with half his head, and he had been in agony every second of it. It had taken a few hours, his consciousness dead for all intent and purpose during that time, but his body had pulled it self together, just like the Eric had said that it would as long as he wasn't staked. He had reawakened to find all of his brethren dead, piles of ashes scattered through out the entire home, and he felt completely alone.
He wandered the halls, coming across the body of one of those from last night, and though it was undesirable, he thought of drinking her cold blood to strengthen himself. It would have ment agonizing cramps for a while, but in the end he would be stronger.
Kneeling down next to her still form, bracing himself for the pain that would accompany the drinking of dead blood, he suddenly halted as he saw her neck begin to heal, the ragged tear mending it self.
"Damn," he cursed, tipping back and setting down as her eyes fluttered open.
"Who are you?" she asked, setting up.
"Lamkin," he replied. "Henry Lamkin. What's your name?"
"So, I bet you're hungry."
Neva shook her head yes.
"Well, we're the only ones here," said Lamkin, standing up. "We got a while until sunset, but then we can go out hunting. Eric use to let us go out and hunt the animals at night."
"There aren't any people left around here. Sometimes some will come through here, but not many."
"Then it's time we hit the road," she said.
"Eric wouldn't like that."
"I thought you said that we were the only ones left."
"Then I don't think Eric'll mind."
Neva and Lamkin roamed around the building for a bit, finally arriving at the main entrance, and stood in the shadows as they spied Bill, still standing next to the hum-vee.
"That's the one that hurt Eric last night," said Lamkin.
"And if he's still here tonight, he's the one that we'll feed from," said Neva, running her tongue over her newly acquired fangs.
"How did you become a Master?" asked Jim, finally done with his sulking from Jeanette's treatment of him earlier.
"Bartholomew made me one," she replied. "Along with a thousand others. Don't I look familiar to you? I was all over the media for a while, before we took over the world."
"I didn't get much of a chance to watch TV before," said Jim. "Prisons might have them, the local jails don't give you that luxury."
"I was the first," she said.
"The first what?"
"The first one to be changed, you idiot," she spat. "The first one to receive Bartholomew's gift."
"So how do I become a Master?" he asked. "I want power like yours."
"You like my power, do you?" she teasingly asked him, sliding over to him.
"Yes," he hissed, wrapping his arms around her and kissing on her neck. "You are the most wicked thing I've ever seen."
"I want to be just like you," he murmured, nuzzling her ear.
"It takes time to become a Master," she said, relishing in the attention he was paying her. "Unless the Lord intervenes. And I don't think he'll do that just for you, you're not special enough."
"How much time?" he asked, unbuttoning her shirt and kissing his way down to her breasts.
"Three, four, five hundred years."
"What?" he asked, pulling away from her.
"Time makes a Master," she replied, pulling his head back to her breasts. "That, or taking a Master and drinking of them. If a lowly vampire can take a Master, then they deserve to take the…"
Jim buried his fangs into Jeanette's neck, tearing into her with anger at how she had treated him, and desire to become as powerful as she was. He fed from her greedily, drinking in her essence and power, and felt the dark energies swirling within him, building beyond anything he had experienced in his vampiric existence.
But Jeanette was not going to give up so easily.
Though partially drained, she was still more powerful than Jim, and she managed to knock the ambitious vampire from her, a large chunk of her neck hanging from his mouth. Staggering towards the door, trying to staunch the blood flowing from her torn open neck, Jeanette stumbled out into the sunlight and began casting about for a safe haven.
Weakened as she was, the sun was affecting her more quickly, her skin already beginning to emit wisps of smoke. Pain threatening to overwhelm her, she charged across the street and leapt through a window, relishing the soothing shadows that embraced her.
Jim stood just out of the reach of the sunlight, his vision locking on Jeanette withering in pain in the building across the street, and briefly thought of going after her and finishing her off. He was certain that he could do it, especially considering her current state, but he hesitated at the thought of broaching the sunlight. He could feel the power swelling within him, making him so much more than he had been, but he also knew that the process was not yet finished.
It would still be some time until he could stand in the sunlight for a short duration, as she previously had been able to do, but it would not be the centuries that were normally required.
He could wait until nightfall.
Then he would slaughter her. First her, then the Preacher, then the others with him.
"Come," instructed Brightton in response to the knock at his door.
A Private stepped in, one of the new arrivals, looking a bit nervous and carrying a small bundle of papers. The Private, Winger his name patch read, stood stiffly before the General's desk and saluted.
"At ease," directed Brightton, glad that things were finally returning to normal. "What is it?"
"One of the automated recording posts set up by the Denver monitoring team picked up a vehicle heading towards the city, Sir. They transmitted these pictures of the vehicle, and are awaiting further instructions."
Brightton took the pictures and began going through them, grunting at seeing it was a SWAT van, thinking that it had been stolen by scavengers. He suddenly sat up, gaping at a blurred picture that showed the front of the van, not believing what he was seeing.
Seated in the passenger seat, his features somewhat out of focus, but still clear enough to be made out, was Father Roy Cameron.
"This van is on its way to Denver right now?" asked Brightton.
"Yes, Sir," replied Winger. "It should be there within the hour."
"Excellent," hissed Brightton. "Tell the monitoring station to stay put, and to let the van continue on."
"But, Sir, what about tomorrow's test? They'll be right…"
"You have my orders, Private. Dismissed."
"Yes, Sir," saluted Winger, spinning on his heel and exiting.
"I guess I won't have to have you brought before a tribunal after all, Father Cameron," sneered Brightton, looking at the picture with hatred.
TO BE CONTINUED…
A/N: And here it is…the end of season 2 of Nightfall. I hope you have all enjoyed it so far, and eagerly wait for the next season…sometime in May.
Yes, I know, I'm an evil person for making you wait so long, but I really need a break from the series, to recharge and work on some of my other stuff.
Please feel free to leave a review, and let me know what you think overall of the series, especially you newer readers that haven't left any comments yet.
To all of you that have been leaving regular reviews, "Thank You for your kind words and inspiration".
Feel free to e-mail me anytime, with questions or comments, or just for the hell of it.