The Buccaneer Chronicles:
By Karen Dunn (Despite Interference by Keith Dunn, Andy Simpkins, Adam J Purcell and Tony Gallichan)
Chapter Thirteen - The Pack
“Something's different. Something has changed. The Time Lord has completed his task. Eleanor is dead - I can sense her loss and it aches more than is acceptable. But this world is mine and I will not allow her to prick my conscience. There is another loss - the boy - I felt his fear as they ended him. He will be avenged. But first there is work to be done - and top of the list is Macfadyan. Legends of the Time Lords must have been greatly exaggerated because the man is a fool - and his death will be sweet.”
Pushing himself out of his chair, Stackmore placed his wine glass on the table and let his gaze travel around the cavern, taking in its docile occupants.
They were looking at him with hazy contemplation, their teeth glinting white against their skin, the fire jumping and crackling as it reflected in their eyes.
They were his children and his children's children - sired by his own sweet bite. And now Eleanor was gone, her slayers would fall and their numbers would swell.
A growl rippled through them as he stepped forward, his eyes aflame, and he took in each and every one of them with his gaze.
“Feed” he whispered.
And like a breeze, they blew by him, whispering through the tunnel and into the night.
In search of blood.
Stackmore smiled and returned to his wine.
“Captain Curtis once told me that he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. He said it means that retreating to regroup was an acceptable option in battle. Blanche said it was simply a fancy way of making excuses when you chickened out of a punch-up. I have chosen to believe the Captain. When Macfadyan vaporised Eleanor, he and the others were arrested. None of the townspeople seemed willing to apprehend me so I opted to live to fight another day, left the town and hid in the trees. I am beginning to think it was the wise option. The creatures of the forest are behaving in a most unusual fashion and, as I am the only one here, it is up to me to find out why.”
Cre'at hovered in the branches of a tree and watched, intrigued, as the forest floor came to life with small creatures all in a hurry to be somewhere else.
They were reacting, he reasoned, as if there was a forest fire hot on their heels, but the night sky was clear of smoke and flame. So what had scared them?
Shaking the last owl feathers from his servos, the little Sot'm set his thrusters to maximum and zipped in and out of the branches, heading against the tide of creatures towards whatever horror had made them run.
There was nothing on his sensors larger than a wolf, certainly nothing that should have caused such panic.
It was most vexxing.
And on top of that, the trajectory was leading him straight to the home of the vampire...
* Oh dear... *
A human - and even a Time Lord - may have felt the need to see proof of a hunch before accepting the obvious, Cre'at was neither.
He knew what the creatures were running from and he knew that it spelled disaster for the people of the town and his own friends.
And he knew he had no time to waste trying to convince the slayer Rafe that danger was on its way.
There was only one option open to him.
With a whir of servos, he turned tail and zipped through the trees towards Eleanor's house.***