The Buccaneer Chronicles:
By Karen Dunn (Despite Interference by Keith Dunn, Andy Simpkins, Adam J Purcell and Tony Gallichan)
Chapter Eleven - The Subject
“I will admit to being a little worried. There are vampires wandering through the night and I have no idea where Colin and Blanche are.
If they have any sense at all they will have returned to the Ship to wait for me.
Who am I kidding? Colin has enough sense for the pair of them but Blanche is bound to wander off and the good Captain would never leave her.
So I’ll add that to the list of things to do… deal with Eleanor, deal with Stackmore, rescue wayward companions. A Time Lord’s life is not an easy one.
At least I can rely on Cre’at to be sensible.”
Colin was impressed. As a soldier he had developed an instinct for stealth but Rafe was on another level.
He was having a hard time keeping track of the man as they crept through the trees in search of a vampire.
He had long since lost his bearings and was fighting down an irrational fear that, if he lost track of his companion, he would be lost in these woods forever.
A hand grabbed him by the collar and hauled him to the ground and Rafe’s voice hissed in his ear, “Is that him?”
Colin peered into the darkness and tilted his head to one side. Then he heard it.
Some one was stomping through the woods, making no attempt to hide their presence, muttering to themselves as they went.
He saw him not long after he heard him.
Macfadyan trampled his way into view, impatiently shaking a string of brambles from his leg.
Colin tried to get up, but Rafe’s hand held him in place.
“It’s OK,” the captain whispered, “That’s Mac.”
Rafe clamped one hand over Colin’s mouth and glared at him, “Yeah,” he hissed, “And he’s got company.”
Pushing Rafe’s hand away, Colin peered passed the oblivious Macfadyan and further into the gloom.
There was some one following him. A boy, by the looks of it. He could just make out his messy blond hair as it caught the moonlight.
There was something strange about him…
“He’s a vamp,” said Rafe and pulled Colin lower as Macfadyan passed by.
“We should warn…”
Rafe shook his head, “He’s heading right for the town. He’ll be fine. We need to get the boy to Eleanor. You ready?”
Macfadyan had disappeared from sight by the time the boy drew level with them.
Colin and Rafe stepped silently from their hiding place and Rafe smirked as the boy took a step back.
“S’matter, vamp, we scare ya?”
The boy snarled at them, his teeth glinting.
Colin held his ground, ready to fight the creature, but then Rafe launched a vicious left hook and punched it full in the face.
The boy dropped like a stone and Rafe hauled him over his shoulder with a scowl, “Come on.”
Colin stared at his new friend, “What’s wrong?”
“I know him. He’s one of the lads who went missing from the farms recently. I’ve worked with his father. If Eleanor’s cure doesn’t work, I’m gonna have to kill him myself.”
And he headed off towards the town.
Colin followed silently.
They made it back to the town just as the boy woke and began to struggle fiercely; feral growls erupted from his throat as Rafe was forced to drop him.
The lights of the pub were a welcome sight and the commotion brought men running to help subdue their burden.
“Get him on the table,” cried Eleanor as the struggling vampire tested the strength of the four men holding him.
Colin found himself almost laying across the boy’s chest as he fought to free himself, growling and cursing in guttural words they couldn’t understand.
“Eleanor, hurry!” Rafe yelled, snatching his hand away as the boy tried to bite him.
And then it was over.
Eleanor appeared at the boy’s head, whispering soothing words and stroking his sweat-soaked hair, before jabbing a needle into his arm and squeezing the potion into his system.
The vampire fell silent almost immediately, shuddering and fighting for breath before slipping into unconsciousness.
They release their hold on him one by one, half expecting him to leap up and attack them all.
“Is he dead?” said Rafe.
Eleanor shook her head, “He’ll sleep for a while. We’ll know one way or another within the hour.”
She nodded to Conor, “Take him into the back room and keep watch over him.”
With a nod, Conor gathered the boy into his arms and disappeared behind the bar into the living quarters.
A thought occurred to Colin, “Have you spoken to Mac?”
Eleanor frowned, “Your friend is not here.”
“But we saw him in the woods. The boy was following him.”
Rafe chuckled and pushed a flagon of ale into his hand, “Relax. He was heading this way. Only a complete idiot would have missed the town.”
“I’m a complete idiot!”
Macfadyan curse as yet another bramble tangled round his feet as if determined to trip him.
He had passed what looked like the same dead log twice, but when it lay mocking him for a third time he realised he had been walking in circles.
A few steps to his left and his feet found the rough path that would lead him to the town, the vampire Eleanor and - he hope - Colin and Blanche.
Deciding to err on the side of caution, he edged away from the door of what looked like a pub and searched for a back way from where he could size up the situation.
Edging round the building he spotted a snowed-speckle grassy area dotted with benches - it seemed a pub garden was the same no matter what universe you were in.
And he heard crying.
Peering round the side of the building, he saw a sobbing Blanche being restrained by a young man whose life expectancy had just taken a dramatic nose-dive.
* Blanche is distressed. *
Macfadyan almost leaped out of his skin as Cre’at’s tinny voice piped up right next to his ear.
“Cre’at!” he hissed and spun round to face the Sot'm. “Why are you covered in feathers?”
* I am in disguise. *
“Of course you are… we need to help Blanche.”
* She would not appreciate it. *
“Do you have feathers in your servos? Come on.”
And he took off at a run towards the garden.
Cre’at bobbed gently up and down.
* Oh dear, * he said, before pootling after Macfadyan, shedding feathers as he went.
Marco was feeling extremely guilty.
Though he hated the fact that Blanche was upset, wanted to tear this ‘Mac’ character limb from limb for making her cry and was really starting to feel chilly, he never wanted the moment to end.
As he held Blanche close, smoothing down her tousled hair and whispering calming nothings into her ear as her tears soaked into his shirt, he realised he had never felt happier in his life.
The moment was cut short, when the loud crunching of footsteps on snow warned him that some one was approaching at speed and he looked up into the fist of a large, strangely clad, furious-looking man.
Then Marco was sitting on the ground, clutching his nose, while Blanche screamed at the stranger to “sod off and leave us alone”.
“He was hurting you!”
“No he bloody well wasn’t!”
“You were crying.”
“How big of you to notice! Cre’at, will you bugger off before some one sees you!”
* I am in disguise. They will not recognise me. *
“You’re a floating head with a few feathers sticking out of you. I think they’re gonna twig that you’re not of this world.”
Marco blinked at Blanche as she crouched down next to him and prised his hand away from his face, “Are you OK?”
“Yeah. That’s Mac, I presume.”
“How did you guess?”
She pulled him up as the sound of running feet heralded the arrival of Colin, Rafe and others.
Rafe looked between Marco and Macfadyan and back again, “What the hell’s going on?”
Marco shrugged and Blanche said, “Mac was protecting my honour.”
Colin glowered at the young slayer, “Why did it need protecting.”
Blanche sighed, “Easy, soldier boy. It was just Mac getting the wrong end of the stick as usual.”
“Excuse me,” Rafe interrupted them, “What’s that?”
He was staring at Cre’at, who was staring right back.
Macfadyan shook himself from the grasps of two of the pub men who had seen fit to restrain him, “would you believe, an owl?”
* Too-wit, too-woo, * said Cre’at, somewhat unconvincingly.
“No,” said Rafe, “I wouldn’t believe that.” He peered closely at the Sot'm, “You’d better take care, little friend, or Eleanor will want to dismantle you and find out how you work.”
“Eleanor?” said Macfadyan, “It’s here?”
Rafe stared at him, frowning, “She’s here, yes. She’s waiting for the vamp to wake up.”
“What’s wrong, Mac?” said Colin.
Straightening his jacket, his face set in a glare, Macfadyan turned towards the pub.
“Leave this to me,” he growled and opened the door.
“What was that about?” asked Blanche.
Colin shook his head, “No idea, but we should go with him.”
Eleanor looked down at the sleeping boy and sighed.
She had recognised him as soon as the men had dragged him into the building, and her heart went out to him.
He had been such a good lad - so smart, so gentle - and he didn’t deserve what Stackmore had done to him.
Gently brushing a stray lock of blond hair from his face, she pulled a rough blanket up to his chin to keep him warm.
“Come back to us soon, Tyrel.”
She smiled at the ever-watchful Conor, “Please call me if he moves.”
Conor nodded, “I will.”
Eleanor wandered back through to the bar and smiled a thank you to William as he passed her a mug of mead, “Will the boy be OK?”
“I hope so. I just…”
The outer door slammed open and Macfadyan stormed in, one hand reaching into his jacket pocket, “Eleanor?” he demanded.
Macfadyan pulled the stubby Dalek gun from his pocket and took aim, “It ends here, lady,” he said.