Of course, frying bacon smelled good. While I couldn’t smell through the suit, I did notice that Amy’s lips curling in what I assumed to be disgust. So maybe it didn’t smell like bacon frying unless it was the smell of rotting bacon.
I’d ask Amy later, or maybe never.
Either way, I didn’t feel much of an urge to open my facemask and find out for sure. Plus, I had another responsibility—making sure there was nowhere for the vamps to hide.
I pulled the xosk’s body as far away from the wall as I could, checking as I did to see if I was doing what I intended to, drawing the body away from the northeast and southeast corners of the room, letting sunlight in from multiple directions.
I did okay.
Better than I could have expected, in fact. Pulling it inward happened to flip the body downward, letting in a maximum of light.
That’s not to say that the vampires didn’t try to head for the shadows in the room created by being right next to the xosk. They did, but that meant running across the floor a good thirty feet or more, depending on whether it was in the middle or whether they’d been counting ball bearings near Amy, Mateo, and Vincent.
Running from the coffins in the middle was the best-case scenario, but even that meant watching the vampire bubble in the sunlight, expelling liquid fat out of its body, staining its clothing as its skin shrunk, and then it all caught on fire.
It made me wonder how many of those cases of “spontaneous combustion” you saw reported in the tabloids were vampires.
It would have been the stuff of nightmares if it weren’t such a relief to see. At least ten of them went that way.
The rest were by my team. Of those, the ones counting ball bearings were in the worst shape because they couldn’t stop. All they could do was count more quickly. Around six or seven started burning while shouting numbers as if they were in a distinctly Not Meant For Children episode of Sesame Street.
One of the vampires had collected a handful and was counting furiously, flinching as Vincent came near, expecting the hamster to knock them out of his hands.
Shaking his head, Vincent said, “Nah, go ahead man, but you did miss a few.”
Vincent pointed toward the ground. The vampire lit up like a candle as he dove for them.
The rest of them ran for the coffins, which was actually a good idea. Within limits, I mean. There are some obvious drawbacks. The ones that sprinted and pulled the top of the coffin closed did shut themselves away from the sunlight—for a few seconds.
Amy and Mateo followed them, flipping the coffins sideways, turning the vampires into vampire briquettes one at a time. In one case, Mateo even managed to run one of them through while he was getting into the coffin, the light of his blade burning into the vampire as the sunlight hit its outside.
In instants, the vampire was little more than cinders floating through the air.
The only nerve-racking moment came when Amy flipped a coffin over, starting the vampire inside on fire except that a coffin behind her and to her left had a vampire in it that we hadn’t seen—maybe one that had been in there before the fight started.
Worse, when it opened its coffin door, sunlight didn’t seem to affect it. It did shade its eyes with its left hand, but with the right, it pulled and sword out of the scabbard at its hip. Then it pulled the sword back to slash at Amy, who was at that moment watching the vampire inside the coffin she’d knocked over burn.
She heard something as the vampire moved toward her, but not soon enough to do more than shrink back and pull up her spear.
I fired a burst of stakes at him from the gun under my arm. One missed, the second got him in the chest, but too far to the right for the heart, and the third hit an inch to the left of the heart.
It did knock him off his stride. He looked down, as anybody might when they’ve been stabbed a couple of times. That gave me another chance to fire, which was less another chance than a continuation because I’d never stopped firing.
All three of the second group hit him in the chest, one of them sliding into the lower part of the heart. That turned out to be good enough. The sword bounced off Amy’s armor and he fell forward, bursting into flame.
So, his vulnerability to sunlight appeared only after being staked? That was interesting. If we were lucky, maybe that had been Barrington.
Amy stared down at the body, “I should have seen that one coming. That was the only closed casket.”
I left the xosk’s body and walked toward her. “Do you think that might have been Barrington? The clothing’s gothic. It kind of fits with the name.”
“I’m not holding my breath,” she said.
Vincent and Mateo walked up behind her. “There’s no way we’d be that lucky,” Vincent said.
Mateo turned in all directions, “I have a bad feeling about this.”
Glancing in his direction, I asked, “Are you trying to make a Star Wars joke? Or are you sensing something—“
Five figures materialized out of the air, all of them carrying swords and wearing armor—metal armor—chain mail or plate. That was annoying. Weirder (at least after all the vampires I’d seen so far) was that they were all, for lack of a better word, hot.
They all looked like they came from the covers of romance novels or maybe the cover of a boy band’s album.
Worse, in the words of Vincent, “Is there something wrong with my eyes? Why are these guys sparkling?”