Authors: Paul Cave
SOMETHING OF THE NIGHT
2QT LIMITED (PUBLISHING)
Also by Paul Cave
Cold Light of Day
Dead Until Dawn
For Everything a Reason
Copyright © 2006 Paul Cave
The right of
identified as the author
of this work has been asserted by him in
accordance with the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
All rights reserved. This book is sold
subject to the condition that no part of this book is to be reproduced, in any
shape or form. Or by way of trade, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted
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cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition,
including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser, without
prior permission of the copyright holder.
Cover design Hilary Pitt
Images sourced by Shutterstock.com
For Ellie, my
ray of hope.
A draught of foul air ran dirty fingers through the
woman’s hair. She shivered
It wasn’t the icy chill that made her body
tremble either. She pulled the tattered jacket tighter around her shoulders in
an attempt to comfort herself. Once, the jacket had been a bright blue fleece,
but now the garment was little more than a black patchwork of rags and frayed
material. Just a few stitches and years of dirt held her clothing together.
She shivered again. Had she
heard the jingle-jangle of iron?
There it was again, iron
rubbing against iron. She felt her chest tighten. She climbed to her feet and
then shuffled over to the rear of the cell. As she made her way to the damp
bricks behind, she stepped over the pathetic forms of other women. Most were
too weak to move, huddled together on the cold floor, all hope lost.
She’d tried for a long time
to keep their resolve high, but eventually the cruelty they’d endured had taken
its toll. Most were too young to cope - little more than teenagers really.
was closer to forty now, but still her face was handsome and her hair fell
in a long fiery wave to the centre of her slim back. Even years of dirt and
grime could not hide the natural sheen of her auburn hair.
The scrape of metal sounded
again. In response, the hair at the nape of her neck bristled. She sucked in a
lungful of stale air and readied herself. This time she’d put up a fight. That
was, if they picked her out. More often than not they picked one of the younger
ones. Nevertheless, every so often she was led from the cramped cell and taken
to one of the other rooms. There, she’d be forced to … mate.
That’s what her captors
was closer to the truth. Yes, some of the male
prisoners clung to a thread of humanity, but most had descended into madness a
long time ago. The ones that had any measure of goodness remaining usually did
the deed as quickly as they could, whispering a string of apologies as they lay
on top. Others actually enjoyed the pain and suffering, and some even revelled
in the act.
Once, at the beginning, a
prisoner had refused to obey. He’d been a handsome young man, full of bluster
and pride. It had been only her second time and at first she’d felt relief -
spared. Then, her captives had realised the man offered no bounty. So without
pause they cut his throat and bathed in the river of blood.
Now, if any refused, she would
gently lead them to the soiled mattress, offering reassurance and explaining
that no harm would be done. In truth, she welcomed the closeness of a fellow
human being, one that was still good and decent, and had even grown to like one
or two. She didn’t see this as wrongful, for although she still considered
herself married, and in love, she saw her act as one of salvation. Man was
precious, and he needed to be protected.
One day soon the real battle
Her hands tightened into
fists. Her captors had gotten desperate. Their food stock was low. They had
started to mate with human women in an attempt to breed, thus creating food.
But so far all they’d succeeded in doing was multiplying their own ranks. Soon
they would be eating each other. This thought twisted her face into a bitter
leer. The sooner the better, as far as she was concerned. It was one thing
enduring an act of brutality with one of her own kind, but damned if she was
going to let one of those bastards touch her like that!
A dark shape appeared beyond
the door of the cell, and a thick arm threaded its way through the iron bars.
Iron keys shook violently, followed by a bout of cruel laughter.
“Rise and shine, campers,”
the newcomer said gleefully.
Most of the bodies on the
floor cringed at the sound of the jangling keys.
“Its breakfast time …” the
Terror spread like wildfire
from one prisoner to the next. The few who had enough strength remaining
crawled away from the door to join the woman at the rear of the cell. The woman
dropped to her knees, then wrapped her arms around the nearest shape. A pair of
wild eyes looked back at her.
“It’s okay,” she soothed.
The teenager’s eyes filled
with tears. As they fell, her red-raw eyes looked as if they cried drops of
blood. “Please, don’t let them take me,” she begged.
The woman held her tighter.
“Be quiet,” she ordered. Invisibility was their only defence. It was a foolish
thing to draw attention to oneself. “Quiet…” she hissed, as the girl continued
The jailer put down the keys
and picked up a red bucket. Six small rubber balls lay at the bottom, each with
a number stencilled on its surface. With a shake of a hand, the jailer caused
the little rubber balls inside to jump about, releasing squeaks of excitement.
In the beginning, the numbers had been printed in black ink. But the ink had
faded long ago, and now the numbers were formed by crude strokes of dried
“Who’s gonna be the lucky winner
today?” the jailer teased.
A ghastly female face pushed
through two iron bars. Framed by a tangle of wild hair, the face beamed with
insane glee. Thick lips parted in a cold-blooded smile, revealing a mouthful of
blackened gums. Four rotten canines filled the dark cavity. A fat, ulcerated
tongue poked from between the teeth, then began to wag in a sickening gesture.
The jailer laughed again, and the noise sounded like a death-rattle.
“Who’s gonna be the lucky
lady today?” she taunted.
Just get on with it, you
crazy bitch, the woman thought. She said nothing.
One of the jailer’s meaty
hands disappeared inside the bucket. With a chorus of squeaks and squeals, she
stirred the rubber balls. Then, as she pulled the round object out, her hideous
tongue flicked across her bottom lip. She grinned, revealing four miniature
The ball rose to her face.
The woman at the back of the
cell held her breath.
“Number …” – a long,
torturous pause – “… four.”
Her heart missed a beat, and
the girl’s grasp tightened against her arm. She looked into the teenager’s eyes
and saw fresh tears fall. Then, unexpectedly, the girl’s mouth shaped itself
into a crooked smile. “I’m number two,” she managed to say, before more tears
of relief fell from her sharp cheekbones.
She nodded, and her own face
relaxed as tension bled away from her drawn features, for she was number one -
The group looked upon the
remaining women. As one, a searchlight of pale faces turned until all rested on
the single shape huddled on its own. The sorry figure hid in one of the darkest
corners. The female prisoner lay silent, still.
“Hey, number four, let’s go!”
the jailer commanded.
She got no response. Not even
“If I have to come in there,
there’ll be hell to pay.”
if I come in there,” she warned.
She dropped the bucket to the
floor. Next, she pulled something long and dark from the leather belt tied
around her ample waistline. The dark stick wavered from side to side. The end
connected with one of the iron bars, and electricity exploded in a shower of
bright blue sparks.
“Animals wanna feel some
pain?” asked the jailer. She touched the cattle-prod against the iron bar and
her face lit up with a flicker of blue light.
The obese vampire huffed like
a child. “Okay, here I come.”
The woman from the rear
stepped forward. Drawing away from the teenager, she had to forcibly pull her
arm free from the girl’s grasp. She crossed the rank cell to kneel beside the
“Honey, are you okay?” she
“Honey?” She reached out and
felt the bones of a frail arm. She shook the arm gently. The shape’s head
turned forwards. The head continued to twist until it finished hanging at an
“Oh … honey,” she said.
“Number four, what are we
waiting for? It’s time for a bit of fun,” the vampire called from the bars.
The woman turned to the
jailer and spat, “She’s dead, you sick bitch!”
For a second the vampire
stood there stunned, as if the words had physical power behind them. Then, her
lips split and a peal of maniacal laughter erupted. “Never mind, we’ll just
have to pick again.” She returned the cattle-prod to her belt, and then
retrieved the red bucket. Her hand disappeared momentarily before reappearing
with the number four ball clutched between sausage-like fingers. The ball rose
to her lips. “No need for this anymore.” A swollen tongue flicked out to run
along the curved surface. With a series of ghastly licks, the vampire succeeded
in washing the crimson number away. Casually, she tossed the blank ball over
her shoulder. The ball arced away, landed on the wet floor, and after a couple
of splashes it bounced out of view.
“Bye-bye,” the jailer said
The woman moved away from the
body, stepping closer to the vampire.
“Oh … do we have a
volunteer?” asked the vampire.
Her mouth opened. Yeah, take
me, she thought, but her survival instincts stole her voice.
“Thought not,” the vampire
The woman clamped her tongue
between her teeth and bit down, barely managing to hold back her desire to
Thick fingers returned to the
bucket as the vampire began to jumble the balls around. Her eyes were fixed to
the woman’s. With exaggerated caution the vampire withdrew another small rubber
From her position, the woman
could just about make out part of the number. She saw an arch-shaped crescent,
which curved away from the jailer’s chubby finger and thumb. It was a three or
The vampire grinned. “We have
a winner.” She wrapped her hand around the ball, concealing the number from all
those who watched. “And the winner is …” – the group held their breath – “…
What? It couldn’t have been a
one. But then she understood. No matter what number had been pulled, the
vampire had already decided her fate. She’d broken her own rule and intervened;
and now she would pay the ultimate price.
To hell with it!
“Okay, let’s get this over
with,” she said. She lifted her chin and summoned her dignity. Drawing
alongside the bars, she was surprised to see that her slight act of bravery had
momentarily stunned the jailer. “Well, what are you waiting for?” she demanded.
The vampire finally found her
tongue. “Don’t worry, Missy, I’ll get you to your date soon enough.”
The vampire squinted through
the bars, and with mean eyes she scrutinised the other’s face. Although deep
lines cut across the prisoner’s brow and a few grey wisps of hair stood out
amongst the fiery red, she was still unquestionably beautiful. She had full
lips and bright blue eyes, threaded with strands of deepest green. Even years
of malnutrition had not taken away her natural attractiveness. It had just aged
her somewhat prematurely. At that instant, the vampire realised she hated the
prisoner because of her beauty. She reached up and ran her fingers over the
swelling of her own face. Clammy skin covered it in a mask of slick putty.
“Real pretty,” the prisoner
The hand fell from the
vampire’s ugly face. With a jangle of iron, the key was inserted into the lock.
The door opened and the vampire stood back. “I’m gonna enjoy watching you
suffer,” she sneered.
Summoning her dignity, the
woman stepped out of her cell. Then, she allowed herself to be delivered into
the hands of the undead.