Angel Of Death: The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down, Chapter Twenty-Four: Coming Home

Savanna and Mobile are nothing but ruins. The bones tell me a lot, but not enough. Human and Changeling bones lay mingled. The last memories tell nothing of the events leading to the massacre. Just of the massacre.

So I am left with nothing to go on. No idea of what Axe looks like. No idea of what had actually happened to make him betray his own. I couldn’t find the bones of Axe’s alleged rape victims, so I have nothing to corroborate the explanation given by Khali. Still, at the same time, War Hammer was nowhere in the mass of dead either. He must have left shortly before the first wave of the massacres.

Seems as if it was the ripple effect. The results were catastrophic. Every living soul had been annihilated. Wiped off the map. The women, though, had been ravaged. Their terrified memories of the agony still rage within my mind. I sometimes hate this gift.

Every living thing had been destroyed. Not one plant had returned. Sad. I had heard that both cities were beautiful before the fall.

Oh, well. I must continue on. The swamps are just a little ways further. There, I will rebuild. Right under Kalkolides’ nose. And I will train Novoro and the rest of the vampires who accompany me. I want to loose an army of hunters-no, assassins-upon the Vampire Nation’s lords. And the irony? That army will be all vampires. I smile to myself.

I am finally coming home. It has been over twenty years since I last visited. But this time, I am going to rebuild the compound. I am going to train more assassins like myself. I am going to wreak havoc upon the V.N.

We leave Mobile and head for Bayou La Batre. From there, we will cross into Mississippi via Pascagoula, and then, Gulf Port and Biloxi. Beyond that, we will turn north and skirt New Orleans until we reach our destination. Sounds easy, but it isn’t. One can get lost easily in the swamps.

At least, it is a plan. My only concern is getting by the vampires in New Orleans. The lake is a large pool, taking up a lot of otherwise empty space. I have freed New Orleans once. But that was a long time ago. Over sixty years ago.

All reports have it back under V.N. control. At least, since they destroyed the compound. My home. My past.

I smile. I have surprises planned for the vampires of New Orleans. Nasty little surprises. I chuckle silently.

***

We pass through La Batre. The small burgh has been abandoned. I would presume that the vampires rounded up the humans and enslaved them. Poor bastards.

We make swift time getting to Gulf Port. I remember when this was a southerner’s gambling Mecca. Forget Las Vegas. Gulf Port/Biloxi was every southerner’s dream. Casinos were everywhere. I surmise that the majority were actually owned by the vampires, not humans. How better to pick blood slaves than to sap the dry of their money first and then make them sign their lives away literally? The thought sickens me.

The cities are now ghost towns. Empty. Nothing moves. Not even the breeze that used to blow through the streets. A few skeletons are scattered about on the streets. I touch a skull. A scream escapes my lips as the horrible visions of the dead person’s memories flood into my mind.

Women were raped. Children slaughtered. Men enslaved. Oh, God, no! This poor lady endured more than was right. Those monsters!

I drop her skull. I don’t want to see any more. But I glimpse something more, just before the skull falls from my hands. I see him. Finally. A face to the name. Axe has been revealed.

She had been his victim. He had raped her repeatedly. Just before he turned her and the city over to the vampires…who continued his mistreatment of her. A single tear forms in my eye. I am left mourning her. Poor wretch.

She had no chance. She had been shown no mercy. No love. The sadness is replaced by a burning anger. A rage.

The fire begins to burn slowly. Then builds, burning brighter than a thousand suns. I turn to Novoro. “We must make the Vampires in New Orleans pay for what happened here. There must be repayment for what happened here. There was no call for this kind of savagery.”

He nods, knowing that I have seen something that has angered me. He knows that no words can bring me back down. Nothing can dissuade me from seeking my vengeance. Nothing.

***

New Orleans looms on the distance. We’re almost home. Here, we will turn north. From here, it is just a little ways further. Mere miles. Not thousands of miles.

Darkness is falling. It will be easier to sneak past the vampires. It is so tempting to hit New Orleans after what I saw in that poor woman’s memories, but I must not. We must not. Not until I train them better.

My attention is drawn to a figure coming from the north. He carries something large. But it isn’t an axe. Not flat enough.

“Halloo!!!” His voice booms from the distance.

I stop the army behind me. And wait. I am not happy about his acknowledging our existence. That means that he has drawn attention to himself and us. Not good.

He reaches our position. “Where you headed?”

I see now that his weapon is a war-hammer. A rather large one. I can’t help but smile. “Let me guess. You are War Hammer.” He nods. “We’re headed north into the swamps. And you?”

He smiles. “I am searching for someone. He goes by the name of Battle Axe. Seen him? He’s wanted.”

I shake my head. “Nope. Won’t do you any good to take him to Mobile or Savanna. Both cities are mere ruins now. So is Biloxi and Gulf Port.

He nods. “I know. But I was sent to find him and take ‘im to Khali for judgment.”

I show that I understand. “If I were you, I would go north into the wastes. Most who don’t want to be found go there.”

He wrinkles his nose. “Only if you want to face the mutates. Not something I relish. I have seen them. Mindless. They eat anything that moves as long as it doesn’t kill them first.”

I look at him. “What is the story behind them?”

He shakes his head in sadness. “They are what has–evolved, if you will–from the humans that were in that area who were exposed to the chemicals and radiation of the repeated bombings. You, know, the ones that were supposed to rid that region of vampires and ghouls. They bonded with vampires and ghouls, creating a new creature. Monsters, really. Sad nonetheless.” He turns to head back north. “But since you suggest that I go north, I will.”

I stop him. “Why don’t you tag along with us to the swamps? You can train with us if you like. I might actually be able to teach you a few tricks.”

He smiles. “Sounds good.”

Next: Cris Finds herself being hunted in “Refugee”.

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Angel Of Death: The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down, Chapter Twenty-Three: Whoever Brings The Night

Even though they are no longer necessary to my quest, I still head for Savanna and Mobile. They are the most direct route into the swamps. Perhaps I won’t have to fight my way through either of them. Perhaps the lack of living captives has made both cities worthless as anything more than ruins. I will have to wait until I get there to fond out.

I stop just north of the Georgia state line and take out my mother’s rosary. I look at it for the longest time. Religion never gave my mother the absolution she sought. It never really kept her from harm.

In the end, all it did was make her a target. Her rosary ended up being the object that she was hung by while those monsters tortured her. And used her as food. I frown. No need to carry it anymore. Religion is a trap.

I throw the rosary into the river. Fuck man’s gods. None of them saved a single life. Money started too many wars. This one was no different.

Power and notoriety also started wars. Made enemies of best friends. Ignorance added fuel. So did self-importance. And the religion they had made out of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. All had been used as excuses to wage the wars leading up to the final Civil War that led man into these darkened times. All was one big false religion. Empty. Angry. Hate-filled.

I reject them all. Besides. Money, fame, and the rest failed man. they are of no consequence now.

Christ, if he ever existed, had never intended his philosophy to become a religion. So hard. So cold. So impossible to obey, and yet, all were expected to do so.

Those who thought outside the little mental box established by the self-righteous, greedy, hateful leadership of the religion called “Christianity” were persecuted. Hunted. Accused of persecuting the blind followers of the false prophets who claimed to be men of “God”. And now, none of them live. Well, almost none.

All religious leaders were executed early on by the political factions. Politics, alone, was their true god. Not God, Christ, or Allah. Not even Buddha or Chrishna. Or even the thousands of ancient gods who had been secretly worshiped by neo-pantheonites.

But they did worship war, money, hate, and materialism. They only bowed to one master, corporate CEOs. Sad. They destroyed a wonderful, honorable country. But, then, they had destroyed the rest of the world as well. Not to mention the Solar system. Had man spread beyond the Solar System, he would have taken his mental illness with him. AS he would have with the vampires.

Luckily, he had not. Not that he wasn’t close, but he hadn’t had time enough to. The Vampire Nation saw to that. The V.N. had seen to man’s fall. They had removed the threat.

Once Man had been taken from the level of master, vampires lost interest in space. Why travel away from earth when most of mankind was now enslaved? The colonies had been made desolate. Space was now uninhabitable. Or so they think.

I have to laugh. All it would take is one person who still had the knowledge of terraforming and oxygen production to reopen every dead colony to refugees. Then. man might have another chance. But is heaven for the resurrection of man’s control?

It is a good question. If there is a God, he has turned his back on mankind. Man has disappointed him too many times. Now, there is no hope of regaining his respect or attention. Perhaps he has picked some other planet inhabited by some other beings to be his chosen caretakers of the universe.

I no longer care either. God has his own reasons for allowing man to go through this hell. Perhaps it is to teach him how to be humble. Who knows? I don’t. Nor do I really care.

I have disposed of the antiquated symbol of oppression. The cross. the rosary. The memory.

My past is gone. I cannot afford to relive it. Nor can I keep memories that keep me in mourning. Mama will always be near me. I still carry the locket that holds her and papa’s pictures. that will suffice as memories. Memories of a happier time, when they smiled and laughed. Not a time when they suffered and died.

I cross the bridge. I find it surprising that the bridge is still intact. Most bridges were destroyed in the wars. If not then, then they were destroyed by the vampires to prevent the humans from escaping. Not that the ploy worked. Not at first.

I shake it off and head south. With Novoro in tow, I make my way to Savanna. I notice that we have picked up other Partisan vampire battalions. I smile. Once we reach the swamps, I will train them in combat. I will make them feared. I will make them a part of my group.

Novoro hurries to catch up. “Our followers number over a thousand. Apparently, they have given up on the Partisan. No biggie. The Partisan eyed us with suspicion anyway.”

I smile. “When we get to the swamps, I am going to train you. Once you all are trained, I will turn you loose upon the Vampire Nation. With more than one of us running around killing vampires without any group loyalty, they might just become easier to defeat.”

He smiles. “Sounds like a plan to me. After all, who would ever suspect vampires of killing V.N. lords and ladies? Definitely not the V.N. themselves. They aren’t that smart.”

I look at him. “But they are smart enough to attempt to place spies among those they consider enemies. I-we-need to be very careful. Not all are as they seem. I can smell an agent of the V.N. without any problem. And I smell one. I just can’t figure out who it is.”

He looks shocked. “It’s not me, that is all I know.”

I shake my head. “Not you. But someone who has just joined us. Someone who is trying to make us believe that they can be trusted.”

Angel Of Death: The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down, Chapter Twenty-Two: The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down

Richmond is deserted. All that is left is ruins. Sad. From what I was told, it had been a beautiful city. The bones of the dead lay bleaching in the sun.

Once stately estates are now crumbling into nothing. I smile sadly. There was once a saying that the south would rise again. Southern pride was at its highest just before I was born. I remember papa telling me about it.

The south rose as the schism between Republicans and Democrats grew ever-wider. Largely a Republican stronghold, the south grew in strength. The north, feeling threatened, drew a line in the proverbial sand by demanding compromise. Something the Republicans could never do. But then, neither could the majority of the Democrats. Both sides had become tools of the Vampire Nation. Neither side was as innocent as they wanted to portray themselves.

The only difference between the two was that the Democrats were more realistic in their vision for the country. They were torn between those they claimed to represent and those they had to represent.

The Republicans were never that realistic. They believed in the legalistic and the fascist ideals. Neither of which were even remotely good for the people or the country. Their economic theories made no sense. Their hollow allegiance to the “Christian” religion was a farce. Their hate, worship of guns and violence, their greed, and their incessant need to blame the stranger and alien in the land for their mistakes and misdeeds showed them to be nothing of the kind. They were just as Pagan and into worshiping the devil as they claimed their opponents were.

And both sides were worshipers of devils. They worshiped their vampire owners. They desired the “immortality” that their owners had. Never mind that Hollywood’s vision of vampires was so far from being realistic that many who decided to defend themselves against the vampire wolf packs tried vainly to use Holy water, oaken stakes, and garlic.

The truth was that garlic, silver, and Holy water have no effect. There is no allergy. No aversion. No reaction whatsoever.

A lot of people died horrible deaths at the hands of laughing vampires mocking them for their vain attempts to do harm. Not that a well-placed stake wouldn’t kill or injure a vampire. But no human was, or is for that fact, strong enough to force themselves upon a vampire long enough to drive the stake home. But silver and the other things were simply meaningless to a vampire. Still are.

Which is why I never carry them. At least not as anything more than symbols. I realized a long time ago that the silver of the bullets had been something to make me believe that I had power over the enemy. It actually never really had any power over them. A lead bullet will kill a vampire just as quick.

I only learned the truth when I had run out of silver bullets and had to find a stash of abandoned bullets. I barely had enough time to reload before a vampire had appeared. I pointed, pulled the trigger, and blew the top of his head. Nothing stops a vampire quicker than the loss of the top of their head.

I stop long enough to stoop and pick up a skull. Memories begin flooding my mind. Screaming. Darkness. Vampires everywhere.

But where was the Alliance? I had been told that they held Richmond. But I see nothing of any of those I had been told were in control. No werewolves. No shape shifters. No Grigori. No human allies to the Alliance. Just humans.

Something isn’t adding up. Had the Alliance been pulled out? Had they been out on raids? If so, why was there none left behind to defend the city?

The more I learn, the fewer answers I am getting. Nothing is making sense. It is all chaos. No logic.

I look at Novoro. “These people had no defense.”

He looks at me. “What do you mean?”

I shake my head. “I was told that the Alliance was in control of Richmond and several other cities. But the memories held by this skull tell no such tale. It is as if the Alliance was never here.”

He shrugs. “Sometimes, a person can go through their time in this life and never really know that they are being protected. Perhaps that is the case with that one.” He motions to the skull, suggesting that its original owner may not have known of the Alliance and their protection.

I shrug. “Perhaps not. Maybe I can find out more from the next soul.” I stoop, replacing the skull where I had gotten it.

I walk over to another skeleton and pick up the skull. The residual memories it holds flood into my mind. Again, no Alliance. There is, however an explanation. Another memory shows the alliance pulling out in obeisance to the wishes of the human citizens. The citizens had betrayed themselves. In an act of defiance and hate, they had pushed away their only hope for protection.

There was a hint of a possible takeover by the Human Alliance. But if the H.A. had arrived, they had led the Vampire Nation straight to a new killing field. I shake my head. Dumb humans.

They never learn. They would much rather hate, fear, and remain in ignorance than to become enlightened and grow in love. And they have the audacity to call it “Christianity”, “Islam”, or religion. But they are all the same. All have been so twisted by mankind that they are no longer the messages of peace they had been meant to be. They have become the reasons that this war still rages on.

I realize the the night they drove old Dixie down, man had been the reason behind his own fall. It was his fear and hate that had driven off his only promise of protection. His arrogance and ignorance had become his downfall. And a country suffered because of it. Along with its once great cities.

I now realize that going on to Mobile and Savanna will solve nothing except to figure out who I am looking for. At the same time, I know that the vile man behind those betrayals will appear sooner or later. All he has to do is feel it is safe to come out. And at that time, I will be able to deal with him. I only want to go home now. I want to see if the swamps are untouched.

Angel Of Death: The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down, Chapter Twenty-One: Dixieland

I hit Washington, DC five days after leaving Baltimore. Apparently, Molgo was the governor of DC. There seems that there are no vampires left here. Only the humans in the breeding pens. I break the locks holding the gates. I wish there was someone from the Alliance or Partisan who was nearby. Then, I could send word that DC was free to be retaken.

On second thought, I might want to make sure that Congressional Hall, the White House, and other government buildings have no vampire inhabitants. I know that it’ll take me a while, maybe hours, but it is necessary.

Going building by building, I search every room. I had no desire to stay here long, but I must make sure that my original assessment is correct. I must make sure that the vampires have completely abandoned DC.

Before I begin, I am approached by one of the humans I have freed. She tugs at my sleeve. “Why did you free us? Our masters will be coming back.”

I smile at her. “Was the leader named Molgo?” She nods. I place my hand on her shoulder.”They aren’t coming back. I killed them all. You are free.”

She seems puzzled. “One person taking on Malgo and his mighty army? Impossible. Who are you?”

I smile again. “I am the one the vampires call the Angel Of Death. I leave vampire bodies in my wake. Whole vampire communities are wiped out wherever I go. I am their worst nightmare.”

She gasps. “Then it is true! I heard Molgo talking to his lieutenants about you. He said he hoped to be the one to take you out. Something about a vampire named Kalkolides seeking your head. He was going to hunt for you after he took out his rival in Baltimore.”

I look at her. “I took both out. Baltimore is now in Partisan hands. I freed the blood-slaves there as well. Sent them north.”

She looks relieved. “And the Human Alliance? What of them?”

I look away. “Last I knew, they still controlled New York City and New Jersey. Possibly a few of the other north eastern states. AS well as California. The rest of the country is either controlled by vampires or the unified alliance of races. Or Partisan. All depends what region you are in.”

She fidgets. “What about us? Where do we go?”

I shake my head. “I suggest you head for Partisan controlled cities or to the Alliance. Whatever you do, stay away from the Human Alliance. They will only slaughter you as being unclean. They don’t make much sense, but then, what can you expect from those who are the remains of the very parties that allowed the infiltration by the Vampire Nation in the first place?”

She shrugs. I pat her shoulder. “Can we stay here until someone comes to take the city over?”

I nod. “Sure. Don’t see why not. I just hope, for your sake, that the Partisan gets here before any V.N. army. Otherwise, you’re no better off than when you were still under Molgo.” I begin to move in the direction of the houses. “first let me search the buildings to make sure they are safe for you to enter.”

She nods in agreement and I head into one of the houses. I go from house to house, making a sweep. None have vampires or ghouls in them. None have much of anything in them. I give her a sign that the houses are safe and she begins ushering her fellow ex-slaves into them.

I move from building to building, now. Store fronts. Service stations. Supermarkets.

I sweep through the government buildings and police stations as well. NO sign of any vampires. It seems that Molgo had just his troops. No retinue. No stragglers or socialite vampires.

I return to where the young woman is. “Are there any teachers left among you?” She nods. I smile. “Then get them together and tell them to start teaching those who have never known anything but bondage. You need to get the people to the point where they can think for themselves. You are no longer slaves. You are now free. I cannot stay and teach you. You must learn from those left among you who have the knowledge.”

She nods and I turn to go. She knows that I cannot be stopped. “May you be blessed on your journey, Angel Of Mercy.”

***

Darkness falls as I head for Savanna. Her last comment resonates in my head. Have I really represented that to those I have freed? Or just to her?

I can only hope that I have. But in the long run, it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I complete the mission I have been given. And I intend on doing as I was asked.

At the same time, I wonder exactly what I will find in Savanna. Or Mobile for that matter. I know that I have several more cities to go before I get there. But If I can erase the vampires from each city, maybe I can begin to turn things around.

I know that I have to go from town to town. No matter what the size. No matter the significance. I have to free everyone. Not just a handful.

Just when I think it’s safe to drop my guard, a small band of ghouls appear. Damn. I don’t like these monsters. To make things worse, I have just seen shadow kin. This night is getting worse by the second.

Novoro appears from out of the darkness. “Need a little help?”

I smile with relief. “Need you ask?”

He chuckles. “Not really.”

I look over at him. “Are you alone?”

He grins, showing his fangs. “You really believe I could go anywhere without help? I am not like my predecessor. I don’t take on lone wolf missions.”

I smirk. “Did you see any vampires nearby?”

He shakes his head. “No. And no other baddies either.”

I smile. “Then let’s make it happen.”

Angel Of Death: The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down, Chapter Twenty: Fire And Ice

He circles around, trying to find an opening. He feigns, I dodge. He lunges, I slip out of range. His brows furl thoughtfully.

He grimaces, thoughtfully. “Not bad. Not bad at all. Too bad you are the enemy. You would make a wonderful lover, not to mention a great warrior in my army.” His eyes flash with inspiration. “Perhaps I can…persuade you.”

I smile coldly. “I think not. On both counts.”

His grimace turns to an angry frown. I put his insinuation out of my head. This is war. It is a war I didn’t want, but am now fully a part of. And I have been for eighty years.

Has it really been that long? God! Feels like it was yesterday when I was bitten. Makes me miss mama and papa.

Enough reminiscing. Time to boost this battle into high gear. Although I do not worry about his troops returning to join the fray, I do want to leave here tonight. I have two other stops to make before heading home.

Home. Odd to call the bayou my home. Still, It was home for a while. During the time that I was being trained, anyway.

My distraction almost costs me. I snap out of my thoughts in time to dodge his blade. Outside, a horn sounds an advance. He smiles. “Sounds like your friends are getting their asses handed to them.”

I snort, amused. “I didn’t bring any friends. I came from the north. Your city is being attacked by some unknown force from the south. Besides. I only took out the troops from three sides of your city. North, east, and west. There was a horn signal from the south before I entered the city. It distracted the rest of your force enough to allow me to enter and dispatch those running your security and communications.”

His smile quickly fades, replaced by a deep frown. “Damn!”

I smile. “Were you expecting to be hit? Is that why all your force was outside the city?”

He nods. “Yes. But I didn’t know from which direction. Or from whom.”

I am surprised by his answer. “Whom?”

He nods. “Yes. Despite appearances, the lords within the Vampire Nation are not really united in their drive to exterminate humanity.”

I am still not sure what to make of his reaction. “What do you mean?”

He smirks. “Think Medieval Japan’s samurai system and even the Shogun. Each lord within Japan was loosely allied with the emperor, but fought among themselves. The Vampire Nation is no different. We may be loosely allied to Kalkolides, but we are not so with each other. If one senses a weakness in another, they will attack and try to usurp the position. It does not matter that Jason gives the position to whomever is deserving or whomever he feels would do best there. Vampires are not so loyal as friends that they will not take another’s command from them.”

I smile. “So one lord will kill another just to have their territory.”

He nods. “Yes. Sadly.”

I look away. “what if you’re wrong and humans have gotten hold of a vampire war-horn?”

He shakes his head. “I don’t want to take that chance. I want you to kill me. Take the joy away from whoever is coming for me.”

I hide a smirk. “Why?” I am just goading him now.

A look of desperation flashes upon his face. “Because. If you don’t, I will be forced to die a long and tortured death. There is even a possibility that I will go through humiliations by the millions at the hands of a rival. Please!

I smile sadly. I hate to see an enemy beg. “Then fight like you have never fought before. Give me a reason to put your head on a pike in honor. Be a warrior without equal.”

A tear comes to his eye. “So be it.”

He lunges. He strikes. He parries. He thrusts. I fight with defensive moves only.

I am amazed at how good he is at swordplay. Better than most, I’ll give him that. But I can see that he is deliberately throwing himself at my sword. Poor bastard. He is horrified at the thought of being taken by one of his own. I guess I would be too.

As the advance is sounded again, I take to the offensive. He strives to make himself look valiant and adept but he slips, making an opening. I know he has done so on purpose and take the advantage. And his head.

***

I affix his head to a pike as soon as I am out in the street. To this pike, I affix a placard stating that he was a worthy opponent. I throw his body onto the pile outside the Governor’s mansion. Lighting the pile, I take my sword in one hand and the pike with Tarkus’ head on it and head for the south end of the city. Whatever lies beyond the limits, I am ready. No one will take my prize from me. No one.

At the edge of the city, I am met by another vampire lord. I am unsure of who this new threat is, but he is not happy to see me. He is going to be even less happy when I am finished with his army.

I stand my ground. “This city is vampire-free.” I stick the pike holding Tarkus’ head into the ground and draw my machete. “Shall we dance?”

He remains unmoved. He waves his hand in command. His forces attack. I make easy work of them.

He watches as heads pile up to one side, and bodies on the other. He seems to lack any surprise as I slice through his forces without any problem. Strange. He should be going through the many stages of shock. But he isn’t. He just stands at a distance with a face of stone. Emotionless. Molgo Petra! Damn.

He steps forward after the last vampire soldier falls. “I am not impressed. I have seen better warriors than you. I have fought better. You’re not even worth my time. I do not fight children or women. I only kill them.”

I let his words slip away into the darkness. “Then you will have to dance with me in order to kill me.”

His contempt is recognizable. “Fine.”

He swings his sword wildly, attempting to throw me off. I easily block and remain in rhythm with my defense. When an opening presents itself, I take it, slicing him in two…at an angle.

I look down at his dying form. “I am no average woman child. I may look young, but I am not. Never underestimate a woman or a child. McCall taught me that. Both can deal you just as much death as a man. If not more.”

The light goes out of his eyes. I take his head and pike it. Just as I do to his soldiers. The bodies, I pile up and burn as a pyre. Let all see what happens to vampires who cross my path. I clean the blades of my sword and machete off and replace them in their scabbards. Picking up the piked heads, I begin on my trek south. Next stop, Savanna. Then on to Mobile.

Angel Of Death: The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down, Chapter Nineteen: I’ve Been Everywhere

Officers in the Vampire Nation make poor soldiers. Hell. The soldiers make poor soldiers. I suppose this is because they tend to rely on sheer numbers to overwhelm rather than to actually fight. Victory through numbers.

I am amused by their incompetency as I easily slice through every vampire I encounter. I make sure that no alarms can be raised by hitting their communications room and taking out the machinery. I smile. Cut off their ability to coordinate and they soon lose all direction.

I cannot falter now. It is too late to turn back. I have to finish what I started. No time to second guess myself. No time to make errors in judgment.

But then, I have never been one to back out after I started something. Nor have I ever second guessed myself. I have a;ways followed through. Even when it has been the wrong thing to do.

My mind is on one thing alone. Destroy Tarkus and his army. Beyond this, I have only two other battles left. Savanna and Mobile.

I clear my head by clearing the corpses from the city hall. The heads I collect in some buckets I find in back. Some who died were not vampires. Still, I behead them just the same. Need to leave warnings for any human who decides to help the Vampire Nation. They are not welcomed here.

Human heads go into one bucket, vampires in another. I leave the mark showing that each human was a familiar so it is understood that they worked for the vampires.I don’t need any misunderstandings. Not with the Partisan. Or anyone else, for that matter.

Once I am done, I search every government building. Court houses. Legislative buildings. Road department and city administrative buildings. Any familiars and vampires I find, I kill.

I reach the Governor’s mansion near dark. I find the security here heavier than anywhere else. Good. That means Tarkus is inside with his core command team.

I smile. Finally. I have a challenge. I must get into the mansion without causing too much of a commotion.

Not a problem. The darkness should help me in my endeavor. This is going to be fun. But not for the security.

I dance in and out of the deepening shadows, taking down the security one vampire and familiar at a time. It takes me very little time to rid the grounds of those security officers on the ground level. Garrotes work well with those standing near the pillars. They remove the heads cleanly.

Slipping the heads into other buckets and leaving them at the door, I enter the mansion. With no real source of electricity, they have reverted to using torches. Good. That leaves doors in shadows. This gives me cover.

It also means that any security camera is useless. They cannot see me coming. My first target is communications. I want to leave the army out there without a leader.

How they are communicating is beyond me. Unless they have a backup generator for communications alone. Then it would make great sense. But it would also make them seem a bit naive.

Still, vampires aren’t the brightest bulbs in the basket. Not much on thinking things through. Like their strategy. their every move leaves a lot to be desired.

I make my way to communications. There is only three com officers in the room. Is there a barracks attached? Or will I find the rest in the security offices? I don’t know. Right now, I should only be concerned with these three.

I make quick work of all three. Not one see me coming. After the last com officer falls, I start looking for a door to another area. Other than the one I came through.

It takes some doing, but I find the hidden door. Tapping it open, I go through and follow the corridor. It is dimly lit by torches, but easy to follow. It leads me to hidden quarters, somewhere beyond the mansion.

Here, I find the rest of the com officers. I easily dispatch them all. Odd. Not one of them had been armed. Not one was a real soldier. Such a shame.

I take the heads back with me into the com room and add them to the pile there. slipping back into the hall just beyond the main door, I begin sliding quietly down the hall in search of other offices to clear. Most of the rooms are deserted. Those that aren’t are easy to clear.

Finally, I find myself standing just beyond the “governor’s” office. My last room had been security. With the whole command already dead, there is only one left. Tarkus.

“I have been waiting for you, Angel Of Death.” A deep voice booms from within. “Although you aren’t exactly what I expected. You’re no more than a woman.

“I have ways of dealing with women.” He rises, drawing a sword, and moves from the desk. “Even seasoned warriors like yourself. I have lived centuries. Fought many wars alongside mankind. Been privy to many truths. And you are all of what? Forty?”

I smile. “My age is none of your concern. As for your ability to deal with women…you will find that I am no ordinary woman. I was trained by warriors who were old even before you were born. Or turned. Whatever your fate was.

“Your experience means nothing to me. I have fought warriors far older than you and killed them. You are just another vampire who is too full of himself. No one lives forever. Not even Kalkolides. I don’t care what he has told you.”

He smiles evilly. “Well, then. Let’s see who is the better fighter. Just remember, though, I don’t fight fair.”

I nod. “Of course not.”

He crosses the office to stand in front of me. He leaves just enough space to allow us to do battle. He isn’t very impressive either, where height is concerned. But height doesn’t necessarily make a warrior. Still, it is hard not to size him up. even this tells me that this battle is not going to be a quick one.

Angel Of Death: The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down, Chapter Eighteen: I’m Moving On

I dance with ease through the converging onslaught. Their blades fall harmlessly to the ground as I weave my lethal web. Their leader, the one who demanded my intent, is among the first to fall. I do not count how many fall. I simply turn them all to corpses.

When it is over, I look around at the carnage. I am surprised that the vampires aren’t better at waging war than they are. Still, I shouldn’t be. After all, they are used to having human familiars waging their wars. Or subverting governments through deception and illusions. They are master manipulators, not men-at-arms. They rely on pawns to do their dirty work.

Just beyond the carnage, a pile of pike sticks have appeared. I smile. Angel. He is always with me, no matter where I am. Always supplying me with weapons and needed objects.

I take the time to cut the heads from the bodies. The heads, I pile near the city limits. The bodies, I pile a little further off. These, I will set ablaze. The heads, on the other hand, will be put on the pikes as a warning to others from the VN.

As I light the last pyre, I know that those on the opposite side of the city can see the smoke that is now rising. I hope to draw them into the city with all that I do. I only hope that they do not skirt the city to find out what is going on. That would not be good.

But I am giving them more credit than they deserve. I have never known vampires to be intelligent enough to go around a city to find out where smoke is coming from. They have gone through, however. I know they have.

Except those who were on the east and west sides of the city. They flood from the shadows and meet death as they do. I love dealing death. I relish each and every one. When it comes to vampires, I really do form a kind of blood lust.

I throw the bodies on the pyres. The heads I put in gunny sacks and start out with them. Angel appears. “Not so fast.”

I turn toward him. “What do you mean, not so fast?”

He smiles. “Exactly what I said.” He takes hold of the bags. “I’ll take these and leave them where you need to put them. When you have finished in there,” he points toward the city, “you can add the heads you take there to the ones here.”

I nod. “Alright.”

I hand him the bags and he vanishes. I know he has left and I am alone again. I only hope that he doesn’t end up getting caught. Can’t afford to lose another ally. Even if he can’t fight.

***

The outskirts are seemingly deserted. Not a movement can be seen. Even the air here is still. Almost too still.

As I slip from shadow to shadow, I slip into each house and explore. Strange how they are all still in such great condition. But, then, DC fell from within, not from the outside. The Vampire Nation took this city through slowly removing the human leadership. The leadership that had remained human fled once they were outnumbered. The smart humans also fled. West.

But all that is a lifetime away. Just like the part of my past where mama and papa were still alive. And peace was still on earth. And life was worth actually living, not just existing.

I am surprised that the vampires who were to the south haven’t met me yet. Perhaps they were given strict orders not to move from their positions. I haven’t a clue. Whatever the reason, they aren’t in the city limits yet. Is there fighting beyond sight? Perhaps.

I keep watch behind me. Can’t afford to fall in a trap. Can’t afford to let them get behind me. Not that I can’t fight my way out of a trap. I just don’t have the time to waste on cutting my way through another army. Not going to happen.

An alarm is sounded from the south. An attack is taking place. Good. That means that I won’t have to deal with the main force.

I can only hope that whatever defense is left inside the city is now far less than the defense outside that is now ensnared by whoever is attacking. I move on from where I have been hiding in the shadows. From house to house I go. Deeper into the city. Closer to My target.

But first, I need to find the breeding pens. I need to free the blood-slaves. I need to remove their source of food. I need to empty the city.

I find the pens easily. Breaking the locks is a breeze. The pens, though, reek of death. I wave the humans out of each pen.

“Go north.” I point back the way I have come.

They nod and are gone. I only hope that they can be rehabilitated. Some looked too far gone. Not my concern now. I did my part. They are free.

I am surprised that the pens were so close to Tarkus’ command center. Though I know nothing of Tarkus, I do know that most vampire generals are gluttons. They hold blood feasts for their command chain. Horrid monsters.

I emerge from my thoughts as I step into the clearing that is just a few yards from city hall. Here, I know that I will find Tarkus’ lesser staff. Tarkus’ central command will be at the governor’s mansion. My idea is to take city hall without destroying it. Damaging it is another problem altogether. Still, I know I can take out part of the command chain without actually destroying a building. I only hope that the place is not rigged. It wouldn’t be the first time.

I swiftly clear the distance of the clearing. Apparently, I have not been spotted. Good. Means I can take them out before they see it coming.