The night was full of storms and seemed to last forever. Michael tossed and turned and slept only in short catnaps. Whenever he awoke from these, he heard footsteps in the corridor outside of his room. Once someone tried the knob. He wondered whether it was Vlad, but dismissed the idea. Vampires did not have to enter through a doorway. Or did they? He wondered how much of the vampire lore he had rattling around his head was myth, superstition, authors' inventions, or the truth. Could they really turn themselves into mist and float through the space under the door? Or was that all nonsense. How about the things that were supposed to ward them off -- crucifixes, garlic, hawthorn, mountain ash, scattering seeds, iron or silver? Did any of that stuff work? Who knew. Michael felt quite vulnerable. He knew he was unprepared. There was no reason to think that Vlad could not appear in this room and attack him, except for Vlad's statement that his group was under Morgaine's protection.
He thought about what Morgaine had asked him to do. Vlad had lived several hundred years. Michael felt that surely in all that time he must have learned how to protect himself during the day. And the other thing that worried him was why Morgaine could not do the deed herself. He did not necessarily buy her explanation that the tomb cover was too heavy for her to get to the vampire. There had to more to it than that. Morgaine had the powers of a demon. Surely she could use them to move a stone slab. Was she powerless because Melody's body was under Vlad's control? Perhaps.
This got him thinking about Melody. He was full of guilt, anger and sorrow. He silently cursed himself. Everything thing bad that ever happened to her since the day they met had been his fault. His love for her had been a curse on her. If he did not succeed in destroying Vlad, she was doomed to become one of the undead, a fate worse than death. And even if he did kill the vampire, he wondered whether Morgaine would live up to her part of the bargain and depart Melody's body.
Towards morning Michael became exhausted and finally fell into a troubled sleep. As the first rays of the morning sun came through the edges of the shutters, a knock came to his door. He stretched, grabbed the crucifix he had placed on the night stand and asked, "Who's there?"
"Is me. Sister Melania. I carry breakfast. Lady Melody say you wish wake early."
He put down the cross and donned a bathrobe. "Okay. I'm coming."
The old nun brought in a tray which contained a mug of coffee, a sweet roll, orange juice, a wooden stake and a small sledge hammer. She placed the tray on the night stand and pointed to the stake and hammer. "Lady Melody say you know what these for." She crossed herself. "God have mercy on your soul."
After Michael rinsed the sleep from his eyes, he dressed, ate his breakfast and took the implements from the tray. He roused his companions, and they followed the damp stone stairs that led to the cellar. Cautiously they approached Vlad's purported grave. The huge slab that they had seen the day before covered the empty hole.
Westcott said, "How in Hell did that stone get moved to cover the grave? It would take a crane to lift it."
Legion chuckled, "How in Hell in deed. This Vlad must have superhuman strength. Do you believe in vampires now, my friend?"
"If Vlad is really in there and appears dead, I'll believe. But we'll never settle this. That slab can't be moved."
"I believe that I can move it," said Isaac in his usual monotone, as though it was a simple task that someone asked him to accomplish.
"Can you?" asked Michael. "We'll all help."
The two men, Legion and Isaac got down on their knees and shove with all their might against the monstrously heavy block. It That they succeeded at all was due to Isaac's powerful grip. Once Melody was restrained, she calmed down. She said, "You won't be able to disturb my master's rest. Look behind you."
Michael gazed down the corridor. The tombs were opening up, and the corpses were exiting their resting places. They were vampires, hundreds of them. "But it's daytime," Michael cried. "How can this be?"
"But it's dark down here," said Melody. She giggled. "Vlad has called them up to protect his grave. Soon, my love, you will be one of us."
When Michael saw the vampires coming toward them with menace in their eyes, he quickly withdrew a large crucifix that he had placed in jacket pocket. Westcott also held one in front of him. The lead vampire, Sylvan, laughed. "When I was alive, I thought that a crucifix would stop a vampire. What nonsense. Many vampires are actually Christians. Garlic and other foodstuffs that were supposed to ward us off don't deter us at all. In fact, nothing you can do can stop us from killing you two humans. I don't know about the other two creatures though." He kept coming relentlessly.
"What about this?" shouted Westcott. He withdrew a seventeen round Glock semiautomatic from his belt and fired at the vampires. "I took the precaution of loading it with silver bullets, although at the time I didn't believe that real vampires existed."
Sylvan gazed at the round hole in his chest, sighed, and crumpled. As he went down, he said, "I always knew that you would kill me. It was fate."
The other vampires hesitated then. After a moment or two, the continued advancing.
"How many bullets does that gun's clip hold?" asked Michael.
He counted vampires. There were at least fifty. By this time, however, Victor and Isaac entered the fray, batting and throwing vampires to one side or at other vampires. This did not help much, because as soon as a vampire would thrown or batted to the ground, it would immediately rise and keep on coming. Westcott kept firing his pistol, killing several of them, but more and more came out of the crypts. Soon he was out of bullets. He reloaded with ordinary bullets, but they were ineffective.
The Morgaine Series of E-books can be obtained at Renaissance Page Turner Editions On Page Turner Editions, click on Futures/Past SF/F/H and then on Fantasy. At other booksellers search on Author - Vadalma. Also available on Page Turner Editions and other booksellers, Raven Lenore, Psychic Investigator, a series featuring the character Raven Lenore from the Morgaine series.