"You go look, you're the outdoorsman."
"Going soft, Doyle?"
"No softer than your middle..." Doyle wrinkled his nose and squinted out into the rain. It wasn't rain exactly, more like the heavy mist that insidiously soaked through until you were chilled to the bone and drenched.
Bodie smiled indulgently and patted his partner's well covered chest. "Okay, petal, I'll do the recce for you. Don't tell Father, he might think you aren't fit." He chuckled and got out of the car before Doyle could belt him.
As his eyes adjusted to the gloom, Bodie noticed how the grounds near the house had been carefully cleared of shrubs. Someone there had a clue. He checked for observation posts, finding three, and then checked for cameras and traps, of which he found none. That surprised him. From the thoroughness of the rest of the arrangements he'd expected some sort of remote surveillance.
Then he heard the dogs. Bodie's blood ran cold. He hated dogs. He'd had some very bad experiences with them that he'd very much like not to repeat. He moved quickly through the shadows towards the back of the house. French doors leading to the garden were flung open. Music and laughter drifted towards him. Bodie pulled a face and chuckled, shifting until the interior was in his line of sight. His mood improved at the sight of frolicking nubile lovelies in various states of undress, draping themselves over several older Whitehall types.
He grinned and watched for a few more minutes before returning carefully to the car.
"So?" Doyle barked, even before he'd settled himself in the seat.
Bodie rubbed his hands together and blew on them. "It's a bleeding naughty party, innit? Looks to be some randy old Ministry goats and some extremely nubile young wenches going at it hammer and tongs... Should ask Father what he wants us to do."
Doyle scowled and grabbed an R/T. "4.5 to Control. It seems we've dropped in on a ... 'naughty party' ...as 3.7 puts it."
"Photograph everyone as they leave, then report back here. Control out."
"Christ, we'll be here for years..." Bodie moaned.
"3.7..." came Cowley's disembodied voice. Bodie groaned and hid his face in his hands. "You will be the one out photographing."
Doyle made a show of clicking off the R/T and cackled mercilessly. "Should make sure it's off before you start moaning, Bodie."
Doyle just continued to laugh while he rooted around in the back seat for the camera.
Bodie looked smug.
"You've put it underneath the seat again, haven't you... "Doyle said accusingly. He huffed and slid out of the seat, bending over it in an effort to get the camera out.
Bodie patted him. The view of Ray's jiggling bottom was quite warming.
Bodie scowled in confusion as they spread the developed pictures over the large table in front of them. Cowley carefully noted each partygoer's name and political importance, while Doyle stood at his shoulder, absorbing the faces.
"He's not here..." Bodie looked confused and kept shuffling between several particular shots.
"Know someone then?" Doyle poked.
"Who's not there?" Cowley barked.
"Tall fella, pale. He's not here. I know we got some snaps of him with Lattimer..."
They shuffled hurriedly through the pile and located the four shots of Dr. Richard Lattimer. Three were of him coming out the front door but the fourth was not. The fourth showed him standing in the doorway, his body tilted in the attitude of speech.
"He looks like he's speaking to someone."
"He was, Doyle. He was talking to that tall bloke ..."
Cowley hushed them both. "There isn't any tall bloke, as you put it, Bodie."
"No Sir, there was. Bodie said the fellow looked just like Dracula. I remember exactly who he means now. Very tall, patrician bearing. He was in dinner clothes and an opera cloak. I thought it odd at the time, Sir, but when I think on it, he's the only one there who we don't have a name for. Everyone else has been identified. There aren't any pictures of him in this lot, and I know we took some."
At the mention of Dracula, Cowley became agitated. "Doyle, do you know what you're saying?"
"Yes, Sir. Sorry, Sir. I know it's far fetched, but... well its true."
"I'm all too afraid it is," Cowley snarled cryptically.
"Am I the only one getting the creeps here?" Bodie moaned over his tea.
"It's your delicate and sensitive nature."
"Shut up." he sighed, "Normally I'd laugh this off, but..."
Doyle shrugged. "Was just a naughty party, Bodie. More like you're panicking over whether anyone we caught at it signs for our pay or not."
"Doyle, do moths fly out of your purse?"
"All's you think of is money."
Doyle leered, "That so?"
Bodie leered back. "Well... maybe not."
Cowley cleared his throat and closed his folders. He had the look of a man who was about to say something that was so fantastic as to be beyond belief.
"Gentlemen. We are facing the blackest evil to have come onto our soil in over a hundred years..."
"Kebab houses, Sir?" Bodie quipped.
Doyle kicked him.
"Now is not the time for levity, Bodie," Cowley glared.
"This is not something I can say lightly and I've called for Chief Inspector Murray to come in and explain it. He's had ... experience in this area that we will need to make use of."
Bodie and Doyle exchanged confused looks and shrugged. Moments later a slim, haggard man, who was probably much younger than he looked, came in and faced them. Cowley shook his hand and directed him to speak.
"Bodie, Doyle. Chief Inspector Murray."
They nodded at each other as the Chief Inspector prepared to speak.
"I want you to remember that everything I say is in the strictest confidence. Then I also want you to remember that this is not a film or a joke."
Bodie's heart leapt in his throat. He'd been joking about the vampires... He looked over at Doyle who was watching the Chief Inspector closely.
"In 1974, I was called in to investigate incidents similar to the one you are describing. High level officials were being caught in compromising positions for what we thought were the purposes of blackmail. Blackmail was only part of the underlying horror. What we found, gentlemen, was an evil so foul, so hideous, that is was nearly beyond our power to break it. Major Cowley has shown me the guest list from that party you observed. The only link between the guests is their dealings with Alucard Holdings. I investigated this company in 1974. It is indeed as I'd feared. Dracula is among us again."
Bodie's face completely drained of colour.
Doyle snorted and looked sceptical.
"Scorn if you want, Doyle," Murray spat the name out. "I did... at first." He ran fingers through thinning hair and sighed. "It's worse than the films. They stink of blood and despite that, you still go to them. The women have an allure that... that is unimaginable. Be careful of them, Doyle. He surrounds himself with them. They guard him like rabid dogs. You'll have to destroy them all before you can get close to him."
"How... how do we destroy them?" Bodie's voice cracked. He looked at Inspector Murray with large eyes. He hoped he didn't look as terrified as he felt. It wouldn't do to let Cowley see it.
"Hawthorne, silver bullets, a stake through the heart, consumption by fire, holy water burns them...."
At that point Cowley pulled out several clips from his briefcase. All eyes focused on him. "For your weapons, gentlemen. Silver rounds, with a small cross incised at the tip." He handed them over. "And they have been blessed..."
Bodie licked his lips and swallowed hard. He inched closer to the comforting warmth of Doyle's body. His heart was beating very fast; very uncool. He stared at Murray and tried to process what the man had said. Dracula was real, and they were going to have to go in and destroy him. It was among his worst nightmares come true.
"Bodie..." Doyle was nudging him with his clips. He absently thanked his partner and shoved them in his jacket pocket. They felt odd sitting there, the weight not right. He snapped awake when Murray leaned forward and held out what looked like a wide vacuum bottle.
"Once you have destroyed him, you must gather the dust from his remains. We've determined that he can still return as long as there is the smallest mote of dust left. "
"What, Hoover him up?" Bodie quipped in disbelief.
Doyle rolled his eyes and took the object.
"No Bodie. No Hoovering. When he's dust, open this bottle and shovel the dust into it."
"Exactly. Everything that's left. See to it everything goes in that jar. "Murray's eyes glittered. "I want to put him where he'll never escape."
Bodie doubted that a jar would make much difference, but maybe Murray was going to put it in a safe or in a building foundation or some such. Still, he was looking a bit on edge. "Everything. We'll see to it."
That got a wild-eyed grin from Murray. "Excellent. The Major says you two are the best. It'll take the best to finish this off."
Bodie smiled weakly at Doyle as Murray pulled out a detailed map.
"Right, Gentlemen... here's the general layout of the site."
Murray pointed out pertinent details as he began to go over the plan of Dracula's stronghold and the possible places he could be hidden.
"Ray?" Bodie sipped his whisky because his hands were shaking still. "Ray? How can this be true? Pinch me so I wake up."
Doyle reached across the couch and took a good chunk of Bodie's flesh between his fingers. He raised his eyebrow as Bodie yelped.
"Christ, that hurt..."
"Was meant to."
"You are a rotten bastard some days."
"Shut up Bodie, I'm trying to think."
"You can piss off too." Bodie huddled back into his own arms and tried to reconcile vampires and his own view of the world. He wasn't having a great deal of success. "Ray... What if we don't win?"
"We have to mate. No choice." Doyle's face was a picture of concentration. He was obviously trying to work out something but Bodie couldn't imagine what. Murray had laid out a very good plan with several contingencies. They were well enough prepared for that.
"If I get bitten... Just shoot me in the heart with one of those silver bullets," Doyle stared intently, bright green eyes boring straight into him.
"Yes, love... as long as you do the same for me," Bodie couldn't stop his voice from breaking again. The fear welled up and over. That was the real horror, losing Doyle to something that would steal his soul as well as his life. Bodie had prepared himself for losing Doyle to a bullet or knife or some other such hazard of their work, but this was beyond his experience, something he'd never thought was real.
"You okay?" Doyle moved from his end of the couch to straddle Bodie's lap. He held his partner's pale face between his hands and stared. "You aren't, are you?"
Bodie just shook his head. This was worse than that night before Parsali. More than just death was at stake this time. "This is something way out of my experience, Ray. I don't know what to expect. I don't feel prepared. I don't want to make a mistake that will..." his voice trailed off as his eyes moved to stare at the far wall.
Doyle chuckled a bit and gave him a soft smack to the head. "Now you know how I feel on some of your terrorist manoeuvres, you berk. We're both in the same boat here. Maybe we should watch some of the films for research..."
Bodie smiled weakly. "Should have asked Murray if that would have helped."
"Maybe this will help instead," Doyle's lips brushed lightly over Bodie's before taking firm possession.
Bodie moaned softly into his partner's mouth, the slick tip of his tongue teasing against Doyle's. He gripped Doyle's slim hips, thumbs rubbing up under his shirt to caress his skin. It was helping a great deal. Touching Doyle always grounded him.
They sat in the car, staring at the building. Bodie had refused to move before he saw the sun in the sky. "That's the mistake they always make in the films... They go in at night. Bastard's awake then."
"Stop yammering, Bodie. Is that one of the guards?"
"I think so. Shall we split here and meet in the middle?" Bodie checked the weapon in his pocket, then the one in his hand. Doyle grunted and did the same. They slipped quietly out of the car and made the circle of the grounds to eliminate the guards.
They met up behind the house, Bodie grinning and Doyle with a bloody nose.
"Spot of bother?" Bodie quipped.
Doyle snorted and wiped his nose, leaving a smear. "There was one more than there should have been."
"I wonder what else there's extra of then?"
They smiled at each other and took deep breaths.
In unison, they rose and dodged towards the rear entrance. The silence was deafening. Bodie never liked it when things were dead silent, it never boded well. They reached the door without problem. Doyle used the barrel of his weapon to test the door. It creaked open. They both rolled in, Bodie high; Doyle low. There were no lights. Dust motes hung in the air where the light came in. Bodie sneezed.
"Quiet," Doyle snapped.
Bodie pulled a face but quickly slid along the side wall.
Everything was devoid of colour. Even the light that came in through the open door seemed to go grey. Damp emptiness belied the merriment of a few days earlier. Bodie's bones chilled. He shivered and motioned left.
Doyle nodded and glided over.
The plan showed a drawing room behind this door. This time Bodie went low, weapon easing the door open. His nerves sparked just before splinters of wood shattered around him. He rolled along the floor as he sighted the shooters. He squeezed off two rounds, hitting with both, then quickly scanned around for more as the pounding of his heart slowed.
"Clear," Bodie called out eyes straining in the gloom for anything from Doyle.
A curly head leaned in the doorway.
Bodie sighed with relief, Doyle hadn't moved.
"Blocked up the whole doorway with your bulk," Doyle sniped, but grinned. "And don't use up those bullets."
Bodie held up his Browning. "Regular issue."
Doyle drifted over to the downed man and checked him. Human and dead. He relieved him of his weapon and shoved it in his jacket pocket. "Next..." he motioned to the double doors on the right. They moved soundlessly over, both men easing open the doors in unison. Silence. Together they peered around into the gloom. The cellar door stood open in the middle of the hall.
Bodie shivered again, gooseflesh forming. "Bloody freezing..."They both stared as a puff of white breath hovered near his mouth. He closed his eyes and composed himself before switching weapons. When he opened them, he caught Doyle's gaze and smiled. Love you, he mouthed silently and winked.
Doyle snorted but winked back. "Ready, sunshine?"
Bodie nodded and they broke for the cellar door.
Before they reached it two large Alsatians boiled out, snarling and barking. Without hesitation, Doyle shot each in the head.
Bodie leaned against the doorjamb, grinning. "What will the RSPCA say?"
Doyle stepped over the carcasses and started easing down the steps. Bodie giggled and gingerly stepped around the dogs easing down opposite him. The gloom was now all encompassing, limiting his vision severely. He could feel Doyle as heat in the damp cold.
"Help me, please..." a plaintive voice sounded to their left. "Please... they're going to kill me."
Fear lanced through Bodie. He caught the image of a small blonde girl in chains out of the corner of his eye, but in the films these were always the lures. He cocked his weapon and covered Doyle's back. As he suspected, his softhearted partner moved towards her.
"Are you all right, Miss?" Doyle's voice was soothing.
He could do that so well when he wanted to. Bodie couldn't help but grin, but as he watched Doyle help the girl up his weapon automatically rose and trained on her skull. She was smiling broadly, and flinging herself at him.
"Ray!" he barked. "Keep her away."
"What happened to your nose? " She wiped her finger over the smudge of blood, moving even closer, rubbing against him provocatively.
Bodie glowered. He hated it when birds did that. Especially as Doyle still reacted to them.
"Ray..." he barked.
"Keep your shirt on, sunshine."
"Leave her, we'll send someone."
"No... you won't leave me will you?" She rubbed her full breasts against Doyle's chest.
Bodie's temper started to show itself. He marched over and shoved her away. "Ray..." he spun Doyle to face him and was surprised to see him grinning.
"Jealous?" He winked and turned back to the girl. "How'd you get down here?"
"They brought me... during the party... Then I couldn't leave..." She stuck her lip out and her eyes welled up.
Bodie wanted to belt her one.
"Well, love. I don't think you'll be leavin' just yet." He moved away from her, without a second look. "Come on Bodie... we've wasted enough time."
"No!" She rattled her chains.
"Quiet!" Bodie snapped.
She blinked and stepped back. Bodie wanted to kill her. It was irrational, but he felt that unpleasant itch between his shoulder blades that he'd come to trust. They left her where she was and began to feel their way to the door. As they took their positions, they heard a high keening that rang through their bones. On instinct, he turned just as a piece of chain clipped him on the ear.
"Shit..." he yelped out.
She was immensely strong and managed to wrestle him to the ground. The length of chain she'd pulled out of the wall slowed her enough for Bodie to get his gun to her head. She snarled, all red eyes and teeth. Even with the preparation from Cowley and Murray, He didn't expect this. Fangs, red eyes, vampire... right out of a Hammer film. He shoved the panic away and forced the gun lower, arching away from her teeth. He rolled around with her, maneuvering the gun towards her heart. When they slammed into the wall, he shoved the gun against her chest and fired. As he scrambled back, she looked at him with thankful eyes and shriveled before his eyes. He quelled the bile rising in his throat and tried to breathe deeply.
Bodie looked up and finally registered that Doyle was shouting at him.
"Clear..." he said.
Doyle rushed over and checked for bite marks. "You'll have a nice mark there for a bit..." His fingers tenderly brushed over the cut from the chain.
Bodie smiled. "Still prettier than you."
Doyle snorted and gave him a punch on the arm. "Let's get going."
"Right." Bodie hauled himself up and away from the creature, quickly brushing the chains away from his leg.
He stood face to face with Doyle until their breathing became as one and they nodded in unison. Back in tune, they resumed their pattern of attack. Bodie eased the door open and rolled through first.
This room was brightly lit by Chinese lamps. The change in light made his eyes water. A beautiful Asian woman got up from the padded bench she had been lounging on and drifted towards him. She had the perfect figure, slim, rounded hips, small, pert breasts, lightly shrouded in gauzy pink robes. She held her arms out to him. He grinned as the effort was completely wasted on him.
"Welcome," she purred.
Bodie brought his weapon up and shouted her to halt. She paused, confused. She then gazed at him deeply, as if that was going to do anything.
"I said halt... or I will shoot."
"You don't want to shoot me... you're so beautiful. I would do anything for you..." as she tried to close the distance between them, he moved away from her. "I want you; you're so beautiful... please..."
Nothing irritated Bodie more than needy women. "You one of them?"
"I just want to love you, come here and kiss me." She slid the shoulder of her robe away and smiled at him greedily.
"Your teeth look awful sharp there, missus..." he laughed. Murray had warned about the women and their allure. But Murray hadn't understood how little that allure meant to him. The woman grew frustrated at Bodie's lack of response. Her movements changed from seductive to aggressive. Bodie dodged her lunges easily. He was a big lad, but agile. He caught himself enjoying the go round, but it was wasting time. "Come on love... enough of the funtime."
That broke her composure. Her eyes glowed red and the padded bench flew through the air towards his head.
"Bloody Christ..." he dodged as it shattered against the wall. He would have been hard pressed to have lifted it, and she threw it like a stick. He rolled away, scrambling for cover. He barely tracked Doyle slipping into the room before she was on him. He couldn't just bring himself to shoot her outright. He blamed Cowley for that and would speak to him about that one later on, so he punched her dead in the face. The shock of it made her snarl and hiss. Her fangs showed as she snarled and with that, all restraint was off. Bodie leveled his weapon at her and squeezed off one round. It hit her square in the heart. She wailed in shock as she collapsed in a heap. Bodie gingerly went over to poke a toe at her. The empty husk disintegrated. He made a strangled noise and jumped back.
"Worse than blood..." Doyle's voice trailed off. He looked as ill as Bodie felt.
"My skin's crawlin' Ray..."
"I know mate... but we'll be done soon."
"I'm having a word with Father. He's civilized me. I couldn't shoot her right off."
Doyle laughed nervously. "I can see what Murray meant though. I don't want to kill them. Its... they're hypnotic."
"Hypnotic? " Bodie looked incredulous.
"Tell me they're not."
Doyle looked at him strangely for a moment. "When this is all over remind me to ask you something."
"As a safety pin, Doyle. You of all people should know that. I just meant I couldn't kill her until I knew. What if she'd been human?"
"I think I vote for just shooting first and worrying about it later. According to our intelligence, there aren't any hostages. And at this point we'd be doin them a bloody favour by killing 'em."
"Sounds the thing..." Bodie grinned and lifted his weapon. "I've got four."
"Right, next one's mine."
Bodie nodded as they took up position. This time Doyle went in low and his low whistle was warning enough.
"Well, hello... "
Bodie peeked around the door to five women, trying to ring around Doyle. Bodie didn't hesitate. Two shots rang out and two of the creatures fell. The others let out a keening screech, one lunging through the door, right for him. Bodie backpedaled quickly. He heard another shot ring out, and smiled. He knew Doyle had dispatched one more. He tried for another clean shot, but the creature was on him too quickly. She tackled him around the chest, trying to get her fangs in. Bodie was happy for the limited attack. They seemed only concerned with biting, not with incapacitation. He got his thumb into her eye and ruined it. She screamed and loosened her grip enough for him to get away. He stumbled clear and tripped over the remains of the shattered bench. He felt for a large shard and she fell upon him again. His hand closed over a thick piece of wood and he brought it to bear on the side of her head with as much power as he could. The force of it dislodged her enough so that he managed to get his forearm across her throat, rolling to win the upper position. She clawed at his face, leaving a bloody trail on his cheek. Without thinking, he plunged the sharp end of the wood right into her chest. He heard her ribs break with the force of it. She screamed as he scrambled away. He backed against the wall as she thrashed to her second death. His eyes didn't leave her until she crumbled into dust.
"Ray..." he breathed, bolting into the other room.
Doyle had been using his martial arts to good effect. Both women were still at arm's length but he wasn't able to get his weapon up for a clean shot. Bodie raised his and quickly plugged the one to Doyle's left. She jerked but didn't go down.
It did, however distract her. She turned and snarled, leaping at him and away from Doyle. He steadied his hands and squeezed off his last shot. She dropped in her tracks and crumbled into dust. He pocketed his weapon and flung himself at the remaining woman. He rugby tackled her around the knees, dumping them both to the floor. One loud shot rang out and Bodie found himself clutching dust.
"I'm out sunshine..." he rolled over and looked up at Doyle. His face was white but determined. Bodie smiled at him. "We're winning, Ray."
Doyle's cheek twitched. "Don't eat these all at once." He tossed Bodie a full speed loader for his Smith & Wesson.
"How come you got these!" he pouted beautifully.
That got a laugh from Doyle. "Cowley said I should see you don't go mad with them. Silver's expensive."
Bodie pulled a face and emptied the chamber of his revolver with a flick of the wrist. He slid home the speed loader with a practiced ease and smiled. He felt better for being armed again and relaxed considerably.
"There's two bench legs in there that would make nice stakes..." He nodded towards the previous room.
"Not a bad thought."
Doyle held out his hand to help Bodie up. Bodie took it and heaved himself up. Just the warmth of Doyle's hand was enough to renew his confidence. He smiled and ruffled Doyle's hair as they went rummaging around in the other room for stakes. They came up with two good ones.
"Reckon it doesn't make a difference if it is day... it's so dark in here." Bodie mused.
"Probably, "Doyle squinted and fished about in his pocket. "Here. Murray said we should. I didn't believe him before. "
He handed Bodie a silver cross. Bodie grinned and fished out the one he'd been wearing. They both chuckled while donning the one Doyle had brought.
"Got them blessed and all." Doyle mumbled.
"Who's the clever boy then? Right. Its not like they don't know we're here."
"Oh, Ta..." Bodie smiled and shook his head.
They both walked over to the door. Bodie stared at it, awash with dread. This was the last one. He knew it in the pit of his stomach. He also knew they were waiting for them on the other side. Even though he didn't really believe, he silently asked God to take care of Doyle, then turned the knob.
Bodie threw open the door and plastered himself to the sidewall. Nothing shot out at them. He looked over and saw Doyle's scowling face on the far side of the door. He peeked around the jamb and had to squint against the brightness.
Black candles illuminated the room. Hundreds of them; on every surface, hanging in the air. A handsome, elegant man in an expensive suit sat behind an ornate desk, writing. A woman in a very chic, matching suit was perched next to him. They looked up, smiling.
"Can we help you?"
Bodie wasn't sure if they'd actually spoken or not. The man stood and smiled at him. His eyes were the same green as Doyle's. He knew what Murray meant now about allure.
"Reckon you could, " he smiled back and could not stop himself from taking the step forward. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the woman move off towards Doyle but couldn't manage to pry his eyes away from the burning green gaze in front of him.
"My, my, it's been some time since anyone sent someone such as you to come after me."
"Your lucky day isn't it?" he quipped, tightening his grip on his weapon. He'd gone lax all of a sudden from staring.
"Well Mr. Bodie. You are a breath of fresh air indeed." He chuckled, gliding around the table to look down at Bodie.
He was a full head taller with fine aquiline features and refined bearing. Bodie found himself preening a bit, wanting to be appreciated and noticed. "You're really him, aren't you?"
Dracula grinned at him, easing himself closer. "Am I so intriguing ?"
Bodie batted his eyes and flirted. "Very." As Dracula drew him closer, Bodie seized him in a tight hug, bringing his weapon up to bear. He placed it right against Dracula's chest and pulled the trigger. "I want to see you crumble..."
Dracula's face was a contorted snarl. He clawed at Bodie, roaring in shock. Bodie felt the sudden weight of the woman on him. He tried to get the bulk of Dracula's body between him and her, but her grip was too strong.
"Ray!" he shouted for help as they both bore down on him.
Bodie had heard a similar sound, some time ago in the jungle. A rotting hog carcass has fallen out of a tree and onto a stump. The jagged stump had cut through the flesh making exactly the same sound. He barely had time to blink as the woman slid off him and onto the floor.
"Move, Bodie!" Doyle snapped.
Bodie scrambled away. Doyle's voice always brought sense to him. He immediately brought his weapon to bear on Dracula.
"Bullets can not harm me..." he hissed, glamour faded and eyes now red. He wiped his hand over his chest and the flesh healed behind it.
"Murray was wrong then..." Bodie mumbled.
"Murray..." Dracula's lips peeled back in a frightening smile. "I'll find him after I destroy you.
He lunged forward with blinding speed. Bodie broke right, Doyle left. Bodie heard Doyle's curse as he rolled. He came up weapon on Dracula's chest. The vampire had caught Doyle by the hair.
"You won't shoot at me..." he growled triumphantly, dragging Doyle's head up to cover his chest.
Doyle grinned at Bodie, all confidence.
"Told you about that mop of yours!" Bodie barked, emptying his weapon into Dracula's head. "Might not kill you mate, but it'll slow you..."
Dracula screamed. Clawing at the blessed bullets in his face loosened his grip, allowing Doyle to twist away. Doyle then tackled him low, driving them both to the ground.
"Bodie! Stake!" Doyle slapped his cross on Dracula's face, coughing with the smoke of seared flesh.
Bodie scrambled forward and grabbed the last table leg. He held it high and drove it into Dracula's chest with all of his strength. He felt the ribs crunch and the flesh part as the scent of charred flesh filled his head. He leaned heavily on the wooden spike, driving it in farther. Every hair on him stood as Dracula let out a high keening screech. Suddenly, strong, warm fingers grabbed his shoulders. He let go of the stake and allowed them to pull him back, away from the smoking flesh. He collapsed into Doyle's grip, coughing.
"Bodie..." Ray whispered.
They watched in sick fascination as Dracula's body twisted and smoked. He crumbled into great, charred sections that then slowly began to break down into a dust like powder. First the extremities then into the core of his body until the skull and ribcage were left. They too began to desiccate and powder, the stake finally clattering to the floor with a hollow thunk. The chill suddenly left the air.
"Ray, you all right?" Bodie clutched at his partner's arm and blinked the ashes out of his eyes.
"You mean aside from several layers of scalp missing?"
Bodie cackled. "Let's see..." He just wanted to feel Doyle in his hands, alive and well. He gently bent Doyle's head down to assess the damage. He'd seen far worse. He wiped a smudge from Doyle's nose and smiled. "You'll live."
"Come on you; let's get this mess cleaned up so we can go home."
"I'm not touching that dust."
"Stop being a baby and get to work."
Bodie set a fresh beer at Doyle's elbow. "Mind you don't spill that." He peered over Doyle's shoulder and read the final report with him. "Doesn't say much."
"They never do."
"No, I mean less than usual. No mention of "Dracula" or "vampires" ..."
"Bodie, don't be daft. They aren't going to file a report that acknowledges the existence of the undead."
"Wonder where they put that jar." Bodie sat back and took a long draught of his beer.
"I dread to think."
"When can I check you over for fang marks?"
"Bodie..." Doyle cuffed him.
End September 2006