This story is by David A. Chase and was part of our 2017 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
30 Minutes to Midnight
Nikolas Hume dodged to the left, the bullets from the machine gun emplacement missing him by inches. When offered the chance to become a vampire, immortal and powerful, he had not expected to be used as a foot soldier against unicorns.
They were supposed to be fluffy white ponies which danced on rainbows and laid their heads in the laps of virgins, not well-organized herds of magical shapeshifters living in fortified strongholds, with computer-controlled machine gun, surface-to-air missiles, and flamethrowers.
Sarah, his partner, hit the gun emplacement he had been baiting and hammered down on the barrel, jamming it. She was beautiful in her fury and he loved her like the wife he never had, a remnant of their now discarded humanity.
Nodding to her, he went to find the next weapon. They were one of a dozen teams clearing the way for their human thralls, who would be better suited to deal with the unicorn’s defenses against supernatural creature.
A flamethrower caught him off guard and he screamed in fury. Throwing himself to the ground, he rolled around to put out the flames. Moments later an explosion rocked the ground and Sarah was engulfed, her flaming form lighting up the night.
She dropped, rolling until the flames were extinguished, then lay next to him, healing.
25 Minutes to Midnight
Nikolas looked at his watch. The Master had given them till 12 AM to secure this estate. Clearing the house of its defenders by the start of the new day would give them 6 hours to fortify. Once the sun came up and brought Apollo’s curse, there was little doubt that the unicorns would counter attack.
This manor was the base of a herd which had wiped out an influential coven close to a month ago; an act which could not be allowed to go unpunished.
He chuckled to himself, despite the pain. Unicorns considered vampires to be vermin, but tonight they would learn how dangerous the “cockroaches” could be.
Should they meet the deadline, the Master had promised them flesh and blood, a feast of innocents. Failure, on the other hand, was starvation and a week of beatings for every hour past the delay.
He looked at Sarah and smiled. She returned the smile, a feral look in her eyes. The healing process had made them hungry and those that resided within the house would sate it.
They stood up and continued their sweep, coming at last to the house itself, a tall stone structure with narrow windows, elaborate archways, and crenulated walls; a structure from another century.
One of the teams had torn down a tree to use as a battering ram on the solid front doors, while others surrounded the house, searching for open entrances or bolt holes.
The team swung the tree and the door reverberated from the impact, causing a hollow boom to sound through the now still night, the defenses silenced.
Again, and again they hit, causing fissures to run outward from the impact point as splinters flew.
Suddenly the door burst inward and the tree was dropped, its bearers swarming through the breach, Nikolas and Sarah on their heels.
15 Minutes to Midnight
Humans scattered from where they had been reinforcing the doors as the vampires swarmed into the keep and bore down onto the helpless souls in a feeding frenzy. Screams of agony filled the air and the those humans still on their feet fled through doorways away from the horror.
Nikolas spied a girl in her early teens running through a side door and was on her in a flash, his extended fangs entering her tender throat, the warm blood replenishing his strength. She thrashed and whimpered, calling for her mother, who was probably one of the women being feasted upon by the others. The girl was… delicious… and he lost himself in her heady flavor. Her youth and purity made her blood sweet and rich; like a fine chocolate, liquified and warmed. The kind that vampires of his rank rarely got to partake.
As the girl grew weak, he withdrew, fighting his desire to keep it all to himself, and offered the remainder to Sarah, who drank deeply, draining every last drop.
Sarah reared back, her body shuddering in almost orgasmic pleasure as she tossed the now empty husk to the side.
“Thank you.” She whispered, stroking Nikolas’ arm. “That was heavenly.” She smiled wickedly, “Human servants are nice, but I want to taste a unicorn.”
Licking her lips in anticipation, she led the way deeper into the house.
12 Minutes to Midnight
The wardens stood in the control room, the map of the estate covered in flashing red flags, marking the failed defenses. There was no escape.
Cameras showed the swarm of vampires in and around the house, backed by an army of human thralls.
Powerful though they were, there were only two of them this night, the herd called away to the annual council.
The man and women faced each other. What had started out as a simple act of revenge for the death of a foal had spiraled out of control into all out warfare. They had been lovers, battle partners and so much more over the centuries, as humans reckoned time.
“It’s over. We cannot win,” the man said, stating a simple fact.
“It’s been a good run though, hasn’t it? At least we are together,” the woman said, touching his arm.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way. Tonight, we shall run on the plains of Heaven with God at our side,” he replied.
They smiled, and an unspoken understanding passed between them.
“Let’s give ‘em hell!” The man turned back to the computer “System. Begin Final Countdown.”
As the first strains of music rose, filling the house, the three were engulfed in light. When it cleared, the unicorns stood in their natural form, ready for battle.
8 Minutes to Midnight
Nikolas and Sarah ran past the mangled, bloodless bodies of more servants as music began to play from hidden speakers. Nikolas recognized it as “The Final Countdown” by the 80’s band Europe and hummed along. Whoever had started the song had a wonderful sense of humor. He glanced at his watch, worried that they may have taken too long replenishing themselves.
They came upon a large chamber and found a crowd surrounding two figures, white horses with cloven hooves, long beards, and tails of lions. One of them had silver horns and hooves; the other, golden. The battle was well underway, and several vampires had fallen, but the unicorns were weakening, their bodies a mass of wounds. The human thralls stood well back, wielding spears while the vampires threw themselves onto the creatures, ripping and tearing.
The golden unicorn lashed out with its horn and speared one vampire in the heart, causing her to turn to dust, before whipping around and hitting a human thrall in the chest with its hooves. The two of them fought in concert, a whirlwind of spinning bodies, shining horns, and lashing hooves. Nikolas moved to flank the golden unicorn and the creature stumbled, giving him an opening. Leaping in, he latched onto the creature’s throat, his legs wrapping around the body like a large tick as he began to drink.
The creature struggled, far more powerful than anything that Nikolas had ever dealt with, before faltering and falling, as more vampires piled on.
If the girl had been a fine wine, then this was the food of the gods. The unicorn’s blood burned through him, overcoming all his senses and temporarily blinded him with its glory, his veins burning with liquid fire.
As his senses adjusted and recovered, he let go, rolling over and laying back against the great beast’s side. All around him vampires feasted on the three now fallen creatures.
Next to him, Sarah let go and locked eyes with him, blood running down her chin, looking like she had seen the Divine.
He lovingly wiped the blood from her face and listened. All around him the house fell quiet as its defenders became meals for the victorious forces.
It was done!
For a moment he panicked, unsure as to whether the Master ‘s deadline had been met. He looked at his watch, 3 minutes to spare.
Twisting his wrist so that Sarah could see, he watched a slow smile of pleasure spread across her face.
He reached for his cell phone as the music came to an end.
3 Minutes to Midnight
The battered and beaten House defenses responded to one last series of commands. Around the perimeter powerful magical shields rose up, forming a dome around the entire estate. Unlike the other defenses, these were not designed to keep things out, but in.
As the countdown reached its end, the entire estate was engulfed in a miniature sun as the nuclear device buried under the house detonated.
The remote site received its last entry:
FINAL STRIKE PROTOCOL … COMPLETE