The chill of the night air settled over a rocky hill, caked with blood and ashes. The wind tore through the trees with a vengeful purpose, as if it’s only goal was to tear down all obstacles in its path. In the distance, snarls of the dead rose to a crescendo, competing for the loudest, mightiest voice, while the wind continued to shout its wrath to the world. A lone figure could be seen, bolting through the trees, vaulting over fallen trees, and dodging the branches that would eviscerate her if they were given the chance. Dark hair whipped wildly about her face, all the while, her iridescent blue eyes glowed with a burning purpose. Her arms pumped faster as she propelled her self-harder through the wooded area, while the legends of nightmares chased her, determined to corner her and devour her for her sins. When she reached a break in the woods, she dove into the river between her and her salvation; a church on the opposite hill. She had learned a while ago that these abominations could not cross water. They would have to go around to reach her, and by the time they did, she would be ready.
She swam as fast as her tired, aching body would let her, and scurried up the bank toward her sanctuary. Dodging the many booby traps she had laced the ground with, she cautiously opened the front doors of the church, carefully looking, smelling, and listening for an intruder. Only after a vigilant search of the grounds did she finally sink into a chair to rest, if only for a moment. She had been trapped in the God-forsaken town for fifteen days. It had been fifteen days since her commanding officer of his majesties royal army had condemned her to this fate with his ridiculous sense of self-worth and pride.
They had received reports of a massacre of the town of Cheddar. For the second time in history, this once peaceful town was bathed in blood and brimstone. The town cried out for her people, once again lost to a homicidal priest and his unholy brood of companions. Her captain, Sir Dubliner, had taken one look at the report, glanced and the video feed, and had uttered the words that had sealed her fate, “Gear up! Shut up! Cut up!” She had argued bitterly with him on the matter. She had seen the video and the pictures. She recognized that the enemy was not one to be trifled with.
“These are vampires and ghouls,” She said, not masking the exasperation in her voice, “We need Hellsing!”
“Shut the fuck up soldier girl!” he snarled, whirling on her to get in her face. Spit flew at her when he vehemently said, “That old bitch and crazy vampire tart can suck my dick. I got this. We don’t need them...”
She cut him off with a snarl of her own, “Yes we do! The vampire “tart” and the return of Alucard will ensure that no more people die. CALL THEM YOU IDIOT!”
This had earned her punch in the face before she was ordered to “get her ass” out into the field. “I don’t care who your uncle is, bitch. Bloody knight of the round table indeed” she heard him say as she stomped out the door.
Her uncle was Sir Penwood, and while he wasn’t the most daring or coordinated of the knights, he did take after his grandfather, after all, he was still a smart and brave man. She should have called him anyway. He would have sent Hellsing and she would not be stuck in this hell of a church, surrounded by the dust of the dead, with dwindling supplies. It was too late now. Her phone was dead, and she had a duty to the military she had dedicated her life to finish what they started. She sighed at that thought as she counted out the silver bullets she had made from one of the crosses in the church. There were only nine left. Rubbing her eyes, she glanced behind her, assessing the large silver cross that stood behind the pulpit. She could melt that down, make more bullets, but she doubted that she had the strength to lift it tonight. After destroying two vampires’ nests, hunting down said vampires and battling to the death, she was done. Her energy was less than a vapor in the morn.
“I cannot do this anymore” she whispered into her tired, bloody hands. A clattering noise caused her head to snap up and her body to grow ridged. They were here. Nearby and plotting a way into the church. As she quickly loaded the bullets and strapped in the swords she had crafted of silver, she listened closely to the night. It was hard to hear over the howling of the wind, but she could just make out two voices speaking heatedly in the distance. She crouched low, crab walked over to the window, and lifted her mirror on a stick to look outside. She has created this on her first day here to make sure she could always see if someone was sneaking up on her and to ascertain their position. It had come in handy many times, like tonight. Once she had adjusted the mirror, she could see a figure clad in red, standing calmly in the field between the church and the river, towering regally over the head vampire priest and his legion of ghouls. That has to be Alucard! She thought, praying that she was right. Almost as though he heard her, the man in red turned his head in her direction.
No! She shouted in her head, do not look at me! She kept perfectly still, staring at his reflection in the looking glass. He seemed to smile, at least she thought he did, before he looked at his advisory once more. His lips moved as he removed a large caliber gun from his jacket and pointed it at the Priest. The Priest threw back his head and laughed, ordering his constitutes to attack Alucard. Two of the original nine vampires, the only minions of the priest left thanks to her, launched themselves at the elder vampire. Faster than the eye could see, he gunned them down, without moving from his spot, and pointed the gun again at the priest. All at once, the ghouls lifted their guns, cocked them, and fired rapidly at Alucard. His body shook hard as each bullet ripped through him. She held her breath as he collapsed on to the ground, seemingly defeated. She knew he wasn’t. Her uncle had told her all the stories from World War III, of the vampires return from the pits of hell itself. She knew that mere bullets would never take him down for long. But still, she held her breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
“Oh soldier girrrrrrrrrrrrrllllll,” the priest shouted, laughing all the while, “I know you are innnnnnnn there! Come out poppet. I just want to play. I promise it will feel good before it hurts.” He taunted.
She remained silent. If he wanted to get to her, he would have to get through the silver filled landmines in the church grounds. If he managed to make it past those, he would have to face her sword. As tired as she was, as ready as she was to call it quits, she knew that she would fight. Shayne Penwood was not a coward. Like her grandfather before her, she would take as many as she could with her. She waited, tense and ragged, as the silence stretched thin over her bones.
“How about this?” he called, the mocking tone never leaving his awful voice, “I’ll make you one of us…well one of me any way. You see, I seem to be lacking companions as of late, you’re doing of course. However, I do not hold this against you. You have shown that you are a very resourceful, strong, and brave human. Think of how you would fare as a vampire. Are you not tired? I can change that. Come to me human. Let me give you peace.”
Breathing in deeply, she remained silent, waiting for him to try to breach her temporary home. Seconds stretched to minutes and silence remained supreme. All too soon, the silence was broken by a vicious growl.
“Fine, have it your way!” He finally shouted, ordering his ghouls to enter the grounds. As soon as they did, the landmines went off, causing the Priest to curse loudly. The ghouls, being stupid creatures, marched forward anyway, setting off more landmines and falling in droves. They were making progress, however, and it would not be long before they reached the front door. She moved as swiftly as she could, positing herself in front of the door, with her gun cocked and her sword at the ready.
“My, my,” a voice whispered behind her, causing her to whirl around, gun raised, “You are really something. “ As he spoke, Alucard's form began to materialize from the mist. “Surviving fifteen days and hellish nights, fighting vampires and taking them down, barricading yourself in the church of the dead.” He looked at her over his newly formed glasses, a red glow emitting from his eyes, causing her to shiver. “They are closing in. What will you do now? I know you are tired. Will you fight? Or roll over like a dog?”
Shayne glared at him as the door behind her began to rattle as the dead attempted to tear through. “If you are not going to take over the situation as is your duty, then I’ll do so in your stead.” She hissed, turning her back to him and squaring her shoulders. They were almost through; she needed to be ready. Alucard's insane laugh reverberated in the air bounced off the walls and overshadowed the massive crack of the door flying open in splinters. He was still laughing when they entered, causing the Priest and minions to pause in confusion.
“I swore I killed you.” He hissed.
“You tried,” Alucard said, smirking, “But I am everywhere and nowhere. You cannot kill what never was and is no more.”
“What the hell…never mind. You are not my concern. The girl is. Leave her to me, and I’ll vacate the grounds as soon as I am done. You can then go back to your pathetic life of killing your own kind.”
“My own kind?” Alucard said, his voice dropping to a softer and much deadlier register. When Shayne looked behind her briefly, she saw a menacing look that shook her to the bones. And it wasn’t even directed at her. He continued, all humor gone. “YOU are not MY kind. You are filth and scum. You are not worthy of the lowest pits of hell you wannabe vampire punk! You barely know what you are!”
Shayne barely had time to move as the Priest, snarling, launched himself at Alucard. She leaped to the side and crashed into the pews, tumbling to the ground. Shots were fired, maniacal laughter filled the air, but she had no time to watch the fight. The ghouls had set their sights on her, and she was ready. With a wild yell of her own, she threw herself recklessly into the throng of the dead and slashed anything within her reach, her sword blazing in the light of the moon streaming from the dust filled windows. They had hunted her, and she them, now it was time to end this. She struck again, and again, and again, her tired body screaming in protest as she lashed out at her enemies. Still, she pressed on, sending them to the permeant grave to which they belonged. Behind her, she could hear the Priest screaming, and Alucard laughing with mirth. As the Priest gave his last dying scream, Shayne laid waste to the last of the ghouls. It was over. There was silence. Sweet, unadulterated silence. Shayne could breathe fully again and her spirits lifted. Finally, she could leave this hellish place and go home to rest.
“You did well soldier girl,” Alucard said from somewhere above her. She turned and looked up at him. His face was blank, but his eyes told a different story. He studied her openly, and she returned the gesture. Such a beautiful and scary creature he was. She may not have seen but a glimpse of what he could do, but he was still terrifying. If he wanted, he could kill her and leave her there, and no one would be the wiser. She shivered at that thought. He cocked his head to the side and smirked.
“Are you afraid of me?”
“I’d be stupid if I wasn’t,” she replied as calmly as she could.
“You have nothing to fear from me tonight.” He said before walking past her in long strides to the now broken door. Once he was outside he looked at her over his should and said in an almost teasing voice, “Are you coming?” Before turning and walking away.
They traveled by foot for almost an hour, his step never faltering and hers was weak and weary. He didn’t seem to want to talk, so she remained silent, lost in her own thoughts. Before long, they could see the lights of the many trucks and tents of the Hellsing and Knights organization before them. Shayne felt her spirits lift once more, and was better able to keep up with Alucard's long strides. As they grew closer, a shrill voice pierced the air and shouted, “Master!” A young blonde woman ran to greet Alucard, a huge smile on her face, shadows of red and black trailing behind her. Before she reached them, she stopped short, staring at Shayne like she was attempting to ascertain the mystery of the world’s darkest secrets.
“What?” Shayne asked bluntly. The girl, Saris, Shayne remembered vaguely, started at her comment.
“Oh, I’m sorry! I was just trying to figure out if you were still human.”
Shayne was slightly taken back by this comment, but it dawned on her why the girl may have thought this. Saris herself was turned in this town and must have been a bittersweet trip to this place of haunting memories.
“She held her own for much longer than you did, Police Girl,” Alucard said lightly.
“Hey now! I was…nineteen. Give me a break!”
“Not much younger than the Solider Girl then. She managed to survive spectacularly on her own. She did not need me to turn her.”
“Enough you two.”
The group looked at the figure approaching them. Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing approached them, her regal gray-blonde hair flowing behind her. Her age had not withered her beauty, and her steely blue eye was as lively as ever.
“The target vampires have been silenced,” Alucard said.
“Good. Shayne, it’s good to see you again. Are you well?” Integra asked, assessing the girl for wounds. Shayne knew she did not look well. Her hair was dirty, her clothing was ripped, and her face, arms chest, and legs were covered in scratches and knife wounds. Bruising was blossoming in multiple places, and she was nearly swaying on her feet.
“I am in need of a shower, food, and rest. I dare say I will sleep for days after this. It is a pleasure to see you again Sir Hellsing.”
Before Integra could respond, a figure shot past her and scooped Shayne up in a hug. Sir Penwood, her uncle and only family, started crying and blubbering in a manner that left Saris and Integra staring at her with pity. Alucard simply looked like Alucard. Assuring him that she had suffered worse, she gently pushed him off her.
“I am fine, uncle. Really I am.”
“You can stay with me tonight and recover. I can have someone get you some of your items from your house. Your dogs are already at my home.” He said, his eyes pleading for her to come with him. She smiled at him. He was always worried about her wellbeing and as annoying as he could be, Shayne knew he did everything out of his love for his deceased sisters’ child.
“I will not argue with that.” She said simply, causing him to smile wide.
Integra cleared her throat. “I will need you to report to me as soon as you can tomorrow. I would like to know how you survived for fifteen days with 10 vampires on your trail.”
Shayne’s blood ran cold. “Ten?” she asked. She looked at Alucard who was regarding her expression from over the rim of his glasses.
“I killed three,” he said quietly, “How many did you dispose of?”
“Amazing!” her uncle chimed brightly.
“Yes,” Alucard said, no hint of smugness in his voice, “but that means that my job is not done. There is still one here somewhere.”
What happened next was so fast that Shayne could not recount it if she tried. As soon as Alucard said this, he spun around with his gun at the ready. Saris had moved at the same time, flexing her shadows with an alert and dangerous look in her eyes. Integra had her sword at the ready. But none of them predicted what would happen next. The vampire female leaped from the trees of the nearby woods and threw a knife. It sliced through the air so fast, so precise, that even if he had been expecting it, Alucard could not have reached Shayne in time. The knife pierced her heart, and she toppled over in her uncle's arms. He screamed, Alucard fired his gun, and for Shayne, the world started to turn grey. When she could focus again, her uncle was sitting on one side of her, and Alucard was kneeling on the ground at her other side.
“Choose,” he said.
“Choose what? I wasn’t listening.” She said faintly.
“Your uncle has informed me that you are a self-proclaimed virgin. If this is true, I can save you. Decide now,” he said, an air of anticipation around him. She hesitated. To be a vampire, after all she had been through with them? Her life started to fade as her uncle begged her to take the offer. She was a little taken back by this. If her uncle was urging her to do choose eternal death, he must be lonelier than she thought. She realized that she must have said that last part out loud because her uncle threw her a dirty look and Alucard laughed.
“Choose. Last chance.” Alucard stated simply. Her uncle nodded vigorously, Saris was unsure, and Integra simply shrugged as if to say, “your choice”.
“Will it hurt?” she asked the vampire next to her.
“No.” His voice was almost kind.
As she started to fade away, she murmured her consent. She felt him lift her up, felt his breath on her neck, and felt his teeth sink into her neck. She fully expected pain, but instead, all she felt was her body relaxing as she finally, blessedly, was able to fade away on a wave of silence and peace.