Betrothed, p.14
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       Betrothed, p.14

         Part #6 of The Vampire Journals series by Morgan Rice
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  Kyle flew through the London night, feeling happier than he had in ages. He hadn't had that much fun in he didn't know when. It put such joy in his heart watching that bear tear apart those humans, watching them trample each other. He smiled wider and wider, as he kept flashing to the images of the people screaming, being torn to bits - and one particular image, of watching the bear tear a man's torso in half. He felt like a kid again. He was happily surprised to realize that this night, and his entire time in London, was turning out to be much better than he'd expected.

  He flashed back to his infecting all those rats under the wharf, and he imagined them, even now, racing through the streets, infecting other rats, carrying the plague to the far corners of London. He could see in his mind's eye all the fleas that the rats would host, and all the people the fleas would bite. The plague, in just a matter of hours, would begin to spread like wildfire. He laughed out loud.

  He couldn't help himself. He just hadn't expected to have this much fun, this quickly.

  And if all this weren't enough, he was now on his way to see his old friend, Thor, who he hadn't seen in centuries. Thor had been stupid enough to get himself caught by a nest of rival vampires, and trapped in a human prison inside the Tower of London. It was a very special cell, and unlike other prisons, this one was above ground, held in the highest levels of the tower. Kyle relished the idea of seeing his old friend again, and of the gratitude his friend would show him for his breaking him free.

  Not that Kyle necessarily wanted to do him any favors. Thor was evil and selfish and manipulative - which was precisely why they had become fast friends - and Kyle wasn't looking to do him any favors. But Kyle knew that if he dangled freedom before him, he would have to tell Kyle where the special vampire poison was. And with that in hand, Kyle could finally kill Caitlin, and her entire crew.

  Kyle sped through the air, looking back over his shoulder one last time to get a good view of the former bearbaiting ring, now up in flames, the glow becoming distant on the horizon. Even from this great distance, he could still feel the heat, could still hear the faint screams of humans being trampled to death, burned alive, and the thought filled him with a new sense of purpose.

  It would only be a matter of days until the entire city below him, right now, a mass of torchlight, was slowly extinguished, would become a huge burial ground. Maybe, if he killed enough of them, he could wipe out the human race for good, while killing Caitlin and her crew at the same time.

  Kyle dove low, increasing speed, flying right over the Thames River, circling over the London Bridge. He circled to his left, and saw it, sprawled out below him: the Tower of London. He circled again and again, getting a good view of it, as memories flooded back to him, from all the times he'd visited throughout the centuries.

  Kyle remembered when the tower had first been built, by William the Conqueror in 1066. Back then, it had just been a single tower. Over the centuries, they had added to it, building a complex of buildings, several towers, even a palace, and had encircled it with two huge walls of defenses, along with a moat. It had been an impressive work of architecture back then, and was still impressive now, towering over everything else in London. Over time, the humans used it for many things - a treasury, a royal palace, and most famously, a prison and execution ground. It was one of Kyle's favorite places in Europe.

  As he circled again, Kyle could see how heavily fortified it was. Unlike in the 21st century, when the tower was just another tourist spot, now, in the 16th century, it was an active, working fort and prison. Hundreds of soldiers surrounded it, in every direction, preventing anyone from coming near it, and preventing anyone inside from escaping. An army of British guards stood before the walls, on top of the walls, on the drawbridges, around the moat, and they patrolled the courtyards. It was a sprawling complex, and there were guards in every possible direction.

  Kyle dove down lower, zooming past the parapets, using his incredible vision to zoom in on every corner of the structure. It was exactly as he remembered, with four huge towers, spread out across the four corners, built in a nearly perfect square. He circled again and again, flying past the round towers, and used his senses, trying to sense and feel were Thor might be. In ancient times, they had kept the most dangerous vampire victims far below the earth. But Kyle's sources had told him that just a century ago, they had created a new cell, high up in the highest tower, a place where no vampire would expect to break out another. He had heard rumors of a specially built silver tower, its outer walls stone, but its inner walls completely lined with silver, a foot thick, and with silver bars on its windows.

  As Kyle circled again, he suddenly felt it. There it was. The tower of the Northeast wing. He could feel the silver even from this great distance, and as he got closer, he felt sure that that was it.

  He knew, without a doubt, that Thor was inside.

  Kyle dove and landed on the parapet, directly above the tower. There was a guard standing on its edge, looking out, and when Kyle landed behind him, the guard slowly turned. He looked at Kyle in shock, dropping out of the sky, and his bayonet dropped from his hand. His eyes open wide at the sight of the enormous, disfigured Kyle, landing just a few feet away.

  Kyle grinned, and before the human could react, he took two huge strides, picked him up, and hoisted him right over the edge.

  The human plummeted, flailing and screaming, and Kyle leaned over and watched him hit the ground with a splat.

  The guard had made too much noise: now guards from every direction turned and looked. It had been stupid of Kyle, he knew; he should've just crept up behind him and snapped his neck silently. But Kyle couldn't resist: he loved watching humans plummet to earth - it was one of his favorite hobbies - and he just couldn't resist watching this one go.

  But now he would pay the price. Dozens of guards blew whistles, and were already heading in his direction.

  Kyle had to act quickly. He reached back, took aim, and punched a hole into the stone beneath him.

  The thick, granite walls caved in, as stone went flying everywhere.

  But Kyle withdrew his hand in pain; he had struck a layer of solid silver.

  He was prepared for this. He reached into his sack, pulled out a special dust, and sprinkled it on the silver. A hissing noise, along with a cloud of steam, rose up, and Kyle leaned back, getting out of the way, as the silver corroded. Finally, it ate a hole large enough for Kyle to squeeze his body through, and jump down inside.

  Kyle fell ten feet below, and landed on the stone, on his feet. He wheeled, and there, before him, just feet away, was his old friend: Thor.

  Thor stood there, scowling back, a large scar running across the bridge of his nose. He was as ugly and nasty as Kyle had remembered.

  "What the hell took you so long?" Thor barked.

  Kyle grinned. That was his friend. Nasty, ungrateful. It brought back good memories.

  "You're lucky I saved your sorry ass at all," Kyle retorted.

  Thor just scowled.

  "What do you want?" he asked. "I know a selfish bastard like you wouldn't waste his time unless there was something on his mind. "

  Kyle grinned. At least Thor got right to the point.

  "The poison," Kyle said. "The one you used in the Dark Ages. The one that you killed our coven leader with. The vampire poison. I need it now. "

  Thor broke slowly into a smile, an evil, crooked smile.

  "And why should I help you? I might just sit here and rot, just for the sake of not giving you what you want. Besides," he added, "you already punched a hole in the wall - I can break out now without you. In fact, I think I will. "

  Thor stepped up and shoved Kyle, and Kyle felt himself go flying back through the air, smashing hard into the wall.

  Kyle was shocked. He hadn't remembered Thor being that strong. Maybe all the centuries of waiting had built a tremendous strength in him.

  Kyle shook it off, jus
t in time to see Thor reaching up and about to jump up through the hole in the ceiling.

  Kyle broke into action. He dove and grabbed Thor' legs at the last second, and yanked him back down. He hurled him in a circle, and smashed him hard into the opposite wall.

  Now it was Thor turn to look shocked. He wiped blood from his lips, breathing hard.

  "You wait any longer, they'll patch that hole," he said to Kyle. "We'll both be stuck in here. "

  "So be it," Kyle answered. "If I don't get what I want, then neither do you. " Thor looked back at him, sweating, in a sudden panic.

  "You're bluffing," Thor said. "You wouldn't risk being jailed in here. " Kyle grinned back.

  "You bastard," Thor said. "You would, wouldn't you? Just to spite me?" Thor' expression morphed into a scowl, and he charged Kyle with an unearthly growl.

  Kyle snarled back, and charged his friend, too.

  The two met in the middle, like two rams meeting, with a tremendous crash. Their grunts and snarls filled the room, as the two of them tested each other, wrestling, slamming each other wall to wall, to the ground, back up onto the wall. They destroyed rock and stone in every direction, but neither one got the best of the other.

  They fell and wrestled on the ground, and each held the other in a deathly grip, grunting and sweating, out of breath, neither gaining an inch.

  Suddenly, a dozen guards stood over the hole, looking down, shouting at each other.

  "They'll fill that hole any minute," Thor grunted.

  "It's your freedom to lose," Kyle grunted back, not giving in.

  They continued trying to choke each other for several more seconds; finally, losing the game of chicken, Thor released his grip.

  He leaned back and shook his head. "You haven't changed," he said. "Not one drop. You're still a stubborn bastard. "

  "So you'll give me the poison?" Kyle asked.

  "If I never see your ugly mug again. "

  Kyle grinned.

  He suddenly jumped up into the air, breaking through the hole in the ceiling, knocking back several guards just as they were preparing to put a huge plate of silver back over it.

  Thor followed, kicking several guards out of the way, and sending a few over the edge, screaming to their deaths.

  Kyle grabbed one soldier by the feet and swung him like a ragdoll, knocking all the others like bowling pins off the edge. Then, with one final spin, he hurled that soldier as far as he could. Kyle watched with glee as he went flying, head over heels, through the air, and crashing down to earth with a shriek.

  "Where is it?" Kyle asked Thor.

  "There. In the tower. "

  Kyle's eyes opened wide. He'd guessed that they'd have to travel far and wide to find it; he'd never imagined that Thor would be so crafty to store his most valuable treasure right under his captors' feet.

  Thor suddenly flew across the courtyard, and Kyle followed on his heels. He dove down, and landed on a far rampart of the tower.

  Thor went over to an unusually large stone, bent down, scraped out the mortar, and revealed a secret opening.

  Kyle leaned over, and was shocked to see a small vial of bright green liquid. He reached in to grab it.

  Thor reached out and grabbed his wrist, stopping him.

  "You touch that vial, and you die," Thor said. "It's porous. " Thor wrapped his sleeve around his hand, reached in, and grabbed the vial with his sleeve. He then held it up for Kyle to look at. It bubbled, glowing a bright green against the moonlight.

  Kyle was shocked that Thor had just saved his life. And he was furious at himself for being so stupid to almost grab it.

  "Why didn't you just let me grab it?" Kyle asked. "Why didn't you just let me die?" Thor looked at him and grinned. "Life is just a little bit more interesting with you in it. " Then his grin widened. "And after all, what else are friends for?"

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