Authors: Jackie Ivie
Tags: #vampire short story, #vampire series, #vampire romance, #vampire assassin league
Hold Their Peace
by Jackie Ivie
A Vampire Assassin League Novella
“We Kill for Profit”
15th in series
Copyright 2013, Jackie Ivie
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portion thereof, in any form. This book may not be resold or uploaded for distribution to others.
This is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
“You promised me heat, Lizbeth. A vacation full of heat. Hot days. Hot sun. Hot sand. Hot guys. You know. Hot.” Darcy spit out another strand of wind-blown, rain-filled hair, making the last word sputter.
“You wouldn’t know what to do with a hot guy, kiddo.”
“Look at him. Duh.”
“Well, in that case, the guy at the gyro stand in town was hot.”
“He was also a midget.”
“Everyone is a midget to you.”
“Funny. Funny. Ha. Ha.” Darcy replied.
“I don’t know why you keep complaining.”
“Right. You’ve got me in some completely forgotten corner of this dig site, standing in the continuous drizzle in order to hold a light for you since it’s dead-thirty at night, and yet you wonder why I’m complaining? Really? I mean,
“You know this area is off limits during the day. And come in a little closer. I can’t quite make this out.”
Darcy moved a step and lowered the penlight a fraction. “Look. I agreed to be your ‘Plus-One’ on this trip because it sounded like a fantastic vacation for the price. I mean who could resist your sales pitch? The Mediterranean coast. Great food. Olives. Cheese. Amazing wines. And all at a villa amid sun, sand, and surf. And let’s not forget the promise of hot guys. Twenty-four seven. Wow. I’m amazed at my gullibility.”
“This is a villa, Darcy.”
“I think somebody forgot to mention that it was last occupied in Roman times, and that it’s roofless so we’d be relegated to sleeping in a tent. Oh. And let’s not forget that this place might not have a rainy season, but you couldn’t prove it by me. And while I’m at it, let’s just add in that the only guy in sighting distance out here is over seventy.”
“Somebody should’ve asked for specifics. And the professor is not that old.”
“In comparison to what? This column?” Darcy slapped at the marble beside her.
“That column is a classic example of an Ionic column. Beautifully rendered.”
“Right. It’s a column. They’re everywhere around here. Some standing. Some fallen. All of them identical. Just like that one you’re digging under. Who cares?”
“They’re not identical,” Lizbeth answered in the clinical, non-emotional tone she seemed to always use. “These are actually Ionic columns. A fact that helps date the site.”
“Right.” Darcy looked at the nicely fluted and worn structure and then leaned against it. It was a column. Same as every other one she’d seen. This particular one was also blocking a bit of the wind-driven rain on this side. She was all for that.
“You can tell columns by the top design, my friend. Flat is Doric. Rolled ends that look like scrolls are called Ionic, and the intricate, leaf-looking ones are Corinthian columns.”
“Oh. Well. Just let me file that away in useless facts, along with the knowledge of algebra.”
“Bring the light closer, would you? And lower your voice already. What we’re doing could get us arrested.”
“For what? Digging up rocks? Isn’t that why you came?”
“This is a piece of pottery, not a rock. And we’re not supposed to be here at night. This is a newly discovered area and it’s already been rifled. The professor is worried.”
“How can you tell?”
“Several items have gone missing. Already. And there’s a huge black market for artifacts.”
“I mean how can you tell he’s worried? The guy has a perpetual frown, and a lot of lines.”
“Cute. I can tell because I overheard him posting guards just this afternoon. Tilt the light just a hair, would you? I think this might be an inscription.”
“We have guards? When did that happen? And why didn’t you say something? They might be hot. This sounds promising.”
“You haven’t seen the inside of a Greek cell if you think that. I need the light closer, Darcy. Tonight. Okay?”
Darcy took two steps closer and squatted beside her friend, trying to keep her chino-covered knees dry. “How much time could we get, you think?”
“I’ll be done in a few minutes.”
Darcy lowered her voice to a theatrical level. “I mean...in a cell. Just think. Us. Alone. Amid all sorts of horrors.” Her tone brightened. “Then again. There will probably be guys.”
“Yeah. Fat, ugly guys who don’t bathe. Hold it steady. I think I can just make out what looks like an inscription. Right beneath the image of a man. Can you see it?”
“A man? That looks like a porn shot of two guys. And that one has a really nice sized—”
Lizbeth interrupted. Darcy grinned. And then she heard voices weirdly echoing through the area. Male voices. They were speaking in low tones. Out here? In this muck-filled archeological site? In the middle of the night?
“You hear that?”
Lizbeth whispered it. Darcy killed the flashlight but the area was still illuminated. Both women moved as one to peer over the column edge. The reason for the light was instantly obvious, even through the rain-filled night. One of the small High Intensity Discharge lights from the dig site was held aloft by a cloaked figure. It was shedding light on the professor and four other dark-cloaked figures. The professor and one guy were gesturing and arguing. Even to an untrained eye, it looked like they were making a deal or trying to. The professor held out a large wrapped bundle. Somebody snatched at it. That didn’t look to go over well, as the professor tried to grab it back and got material, while the light glinted off an urn-thing.
“Isn’t that the professor?” Darcy whispered, stating the obvious.
“And isn’t that one of your newly-discovered artifacts?”
“Will you hush?”
“Are you joking? Your precious professor is over there making a black market deal, and you’re shushing me?”
them to spot us?”
“We’re not that loud. I mean listen to that argument. Wait a second. I have my phone.”
“Why? It doesn’t work out here.”
“Habit. And the camera function doesn’t need a link.”
“Oh. Good call. You can film this. I can’t believe the professor! Selling artifacts? I mean...I’m seeing it, but I just can’t believe it.”
Lizbeth’s whisper sounded full of shock and disgust. Darcy slid her cell from her pocket, tapped the screen on, and then pressed the camera button. The next moment she was aiming it, and got a perfect shot as one of the cloaked fellows rammed what looked like a long knife right through the professor’s chest cavity.
It happened so fast! And so quietly. The phone dropped. Darcy’s mouth was right behind it, while her eyes went wide and shocked. It was her best friend, the completely level-headed scientist that turned into a moron. Lizbeth stood up and started screaming. The sound caused the cloaked figures to turn in their direction, while the HID light fell and rolled, sending arcs of illumination that sharpened every nose into a beak and every mouth into a fang-filled snarl. But that was impossible and she was over-imaginative, and right now her mind was working overtime. Lizbeth clamped a hand to her mouth, but that was beyond stupid. And way too late. Darcy yanked her back down behind the column, and then watched as the professor’s body sagged, in a slow-motion fashion, to its knees before going full-out onto its front.
“Oh my God!”
Lizbeth whispered it, but it didn’t matter now. The cloaked figures were moving toward them. Growing larger and blacker as they neared. Lizbeth had pegged one thing accurately earlier. These guys were probably the type that belonged in a cell. They were ugly enough, but none of them looked remotely overweight. And then, oddly enough, Darcy couldn’t hear anything over the loud thump of her rapid-fire pulse slamming through each ear. Why on earth did it feel like her body was rooted, and nothing worked, anyway?
The light stopped moving behind the figures, silhouetting them from the ground up. Making them appear larger and even more menacing.
They needed a miracle. She and Lizbeth were about to join the professor in death. Their bodies discarded. Or killed, then hacked up and then discarded. Or maybe they’d be fed to the sharks while still alive. Or better yet, they’d be sliced in various places and kept barely alive so their blood trail would bring the creatures quicker. Or...maybe they’d get tortured first. Raped. Then killed. Then dismembered. Buried with the other ancient stuff in this site. And all without one person knowing.
There was her cell phone. She’d filmed the professor’s murder. Maybe that would be enough...if someone managed to find it before the next millennia, since it was now part of this archeological site. And just why did she have to go through all these scenarios in the span of a few moments, while nothing worked at what she should be doing? Like escape. All she could do was hyperventilate and watch things happen? Where the hell was the adrenaline boost? The fight and flight syndrome she’d heard about for years?
The bad guys loomed over them, and then the loudest boom hit the area, reverberating through the rain-filled air, and making the column they crouched beside tremble. It was accompanied by an influx of light so bright, it was retina-searing. Darcy couldn’t see for several moments as her vision filled with a kaleidoscope of colors, all rotating and changing. And then it was highlighting what looked like a real, honest to goodness, avenging angel as he dropped out of the sky into the area behind the bad guys.
The bad guys saw him, too. They’d turned from their murderous intent on Darcy and Lizbeth, to surround the newcomer. Looked like everyone possessed not only a life-ending sword but they appeared pretty expert at using them. The angel had one, too. And his was really long and wicked-looking. Rain-flecked sparks shot off his blade with his first swing, lopping off a head. Flashes of light flickered off all the weaponry and then another bad guy’s head got separated from its body. Another fellow lost both arms before losing his head, while his compatriot was flung through the air to slam against one of the still-standing Ionic columns with a splat of sound that didn’t sound fortuitous to continued life. Darcy didn’t know what Lizbeth was doing. She’d just collapsed or something. Darcy didn’t move her eyes to check. She was glued to the action right in front of her. It was better than a front row seat at the movies. And this was so not happening.
Her mind was a never-ending well of creativity, an endless field of imaginary creatures, a potential tangle of possibilities, but even she couldn’t have conjured this fellow into being. The man who’d swooped into the midst of the bad guys wasn’t real. He couldn’t be. He was better looking than her imagination, and a lot more ripped. Grecian gods didn’t have this amazing physique, or the sculptors back then needed a lot more training. Darcy blinked several times, and then swished her hand across her eyes. The angel didn’t disappear. Nor did the last bad guy. He appeared to have a gun and despite putting several fairly soundless bullets into the angel, it didn’t stop him from being the last headless torso.
And then it was over. Just like that.
The gunman’s head smacked against the column they hid behind before landing in the muck right beside Darcy, where it splashed, and then rolled to a stop. She watched it with her peripheral vision. The angel had a really sharp blade, although she hadn’t much clue. But the severed head still wore the cloak hood. She didn’t imagine any of that. She could reach out and check for certain, but that was too gross to consider.
They’d gotten a miracle and an angel right out of the sky. And she hadn’t even prayed. This didn’t bear thinking on. Because it couldn’t be real. He couldn’t be real, either. Thank goodness it was night, and the rain dimmed the light too much to see color.
. Darcy watched the angel guy slide his fingers along his blade, cleaning off gore, and then he replaced it into the scabbard at his back. All without taking his eyes off her general vicinity. The move rippled all kinds of muscle on his chest. Abdomen. Wow. She’d been dead-on with her first impression of that physique. And not a shade off on his looks, either. He should probably wear more than a little leather-looking skirt thing, too.
Darcy had never seen a kilt in real life, but it looked pretty darn good. Especially with those legs and thigh muscles, and man! They moved very nicely as he approached them. And her knees actually worked at lifting her. Darcy stood, albeit shakily, and locked gazes, standing nearly eye-to-eye with him. Lizbeth would probably fit beneath his arm...if she were still conscious. Darcy should’ve checked, but first things first.