The vampire’s scream started as a hiss, but grew into more as its hand burned, charring the flesh. It covered the burning hand with its arm, smothering the fire between its arm and chest.
That would have worked with real fire, and it seemed to work here, but white flame flashed outward from the hand. The creature made a grunt that ended in a squeal. Moving its arm, it pulled out the blackened hand and bits of ash drifted toward the ground.
Mateo stood still, waiting with his sword in his outstretched arm. The vampire looked at him and glanced down at its blackened hand. Then, making a decision, it ran at me instead of Mateo.
It could have run to the side of me and used the elevator or broke through its roof and climbed up the wall in the base’s center spoke. It ran at me with its claws outstretched, mouth open with visible sharp teeth, and I couldn’t be sure the suit would protect me.
I pulled one of the new weapons I’d designed off my belt, setting it on shotgun setting with my implant as I raised it up and fired.
It fired without the shotgun’s traditional booming noise. As names went, shotgun was wishful thinking. It was more a squirt gun with a wide spray option—which I used.
The water covered the vampire’s front in holy water from the head down. It should be news to no one that it didn’t like it.
Throwing up its arms to protect its face, it started screeching. Then it started blinking its eyes and furiously wiping its face on its short right sleeve.
That must not have helped because it threw its head into the air and wailed. At the same time, it started hitting its own arms as if trying to put out a fire, scraping and piercing them with its claws.
As the water hit the scrapes, small tongues of flame rose up from them and the creature’s wailing became louder.
Not sure what my next step should be, I backed away, still holding the gun.
Mateo didn’t hesitate. He started running forward, his feet hitting the ground with a whisper of the noise they should have made.
Despite the near silence, the creature did jerk its head in Mateo’s direction.
I took advantage of the moment to fire off another blast toward its face, spraying both its eyes with a fine mist of holy water.
It shrieked and whirled at me, its claws reaching for my face.
They didn’t make it to me.
Mateo’s sword pierced its side between the ribs, sliding upward into the vampire’s heart, the sword glowing with white light.
Then the entire vampire went up in flame, gouts of fire coming out of the hole the sword made as it came out of the vampire’s chest.
It screamed as it burned, reaching toward Mateo with its arms, but missing as he ducked and pushed the sword in further.
The roaring fire burned its body, blackening its skin, and turning it to ash both outside and in—or so I learned as its arm fell off and turned to black and gray dust that reminded me of fully used charcoal.
It was dead by then and the rest of the body followed, falling to the ground and falling apart the way a sand sculpture might, leaving body shaped lumps in piles of dust.
Thinking back to the people I’d paralyzed, I stepped back from it and pulled out a can from my belt, spraying their hands and legs with what was basically another version of my goobots except that it didn’t explode out of a flying bot.
It came out of the can as goo and hardened around what it hit.
Mateo looked over the Syndicate L goons, “Nice. What did you call that stuff?”
I shrugged, “Nothing, yet. I think that I might have called it ‘Liquid Cuffs’ once, but I’m pretty sure I stole that from a science fiction novel, and I’m not sure which one.”
He laughed, “Don’t use that then. You don’t need to get sued.”
“I know. I’m wondering if I should make a line of police equipment. The problem is that I’m not sure that I want to connect it to my regular alter ego.”
Leaning over to look more closely at the green goo around one man’s arms, “You already sell a lot of stuff under his name. What’s one more?”
“That’s mostly toys and licenses to use ideas we own. This would be real stuff made in our name with real world effects of misuse. That’s different.”
Nodding, Mateo said, “You’ll figure it out. This stuff looks more flexible than handcuffs. That’s not all bad.”
I looked down at the pile of ashes and chunks of grey that had been a vampire. “Thanks for getting that guy before he got me. Holy water hurts them, but it doesn’t seem to take them out by itself. Has your sword ever done that before?”
Mateo frowned, thinking for a moment before saying, “No. Not exactly like this.”