Vampires of War

Author’s note: I originally intended this as an entry to a short story competitions. However, as the deadline got nearer, I found I simply couldn’t write as much as the competition wanted. So, I’m going to post it here and see what you guys think. Let me know what you think and don’t be afraid to make suggestions on how I could improve it.

Vampires of War

After the blast, the first thing I remember thinking was, ‘I lived two hundred years for this?’

I had lived through too many regional wars and two world wars and it was all going to end in a roadside bomb. I hadn’t even got an interview on Coffin Hour or my profile published on yet.

Whose bright idea was it to make vampires legally recognised, anyway? It took all the fun out of un-life.

That was a rhetorical question. You know just as well as I do who it was. That bloody, bloody Council of Mortality Integration. I know it sounds strange for a vampire to say bloody but we all do it.

The explosion must have stopped five minutes ago, but it was still going off in my ears. My vision was a haze of grey dust with a hint of petrol smoke billowing on my left side. Speaking of my left side, where had it got to? I thought it was the black thing sticking out of the hedge or it could be a piece of shrapnel. Hard to tell from my angle.

A lot of us in that truck were newbies. They had barely got through a human lifetime. One hadn’t even seen the end of her first decade. Poor Patience. She goes through all that trouble from her family to get her fangs and her reward is to be sent to Afghanistan to ‘give something back to humanity’.

Could I use my right arm? It hurt but it was still there. If only the blood would get out of my eyes so I could see what state it was in. What kind of evolutionary purpose does bloody eyes have anyway? It’s amazing how long vampires have lived without knowing just what their bodies do and why. Since the Revelation Bill, human scientists have been working like ant colonies to find out what we work. As for us? We couldn’t care less. Just give us some blood and we won’t complain. At least, not until we get blown up.

Inch by inch, my right arm crept into view. Just the bare minimum of an arm, really. A few stubs, a collection of bones and a couple of sinews tying everything together. By Vlad’s  ventricle (yes, we do say that), I was going to need a lot to regenerate that much.

One of the Council of Mortality Integration would do nicely. The one who agreed to enshrine national service for vampires in law would be ideal.

It’s hard to drag yourself across two feet of road towards cover. You’d think that losing half of your body would make it easier but no. Nearly blinded by blood, I could only hope that there would be cover behind the bush and not a gang of crack militants with sharpened stakes and silver knives. Funny how the Council of Mortality Integration forgot to mention that neither can kill us. They did have some brains after all.

At last, I felt the rough scratching of dried branches and, after another couple of drags, I could roll downwards into the ditch behind it.

Now I had a dry burnable line of twigs between me and the blazing truck wreck, I could think a bit more clearly. Or, maybe I had just bashed the fear part of my brain during the roll.

That thing sticking out of the bush was my arm, after all. Shame. I liked that arm. I’d had that fifty years and it had helped me out of a few tight spots. Still, what’s lost is lost, as my maker said, time to focus on what I can gain.

What I needed to gain now was blood.

And, it looked as if some meals-on-wheels had arrived. Another truck was approaching and soldiers were emerging. I closed my eyes and fixed my mind on my left side. The pain intensified but I kept my thoughts focused on it. Bones and muscle are unwilling to grow back in a few minutes but, if they wanted their body to recover, they would have to cooperate.

Sounds around me started to fade. Nothing to worry about. Senses often dropped in and out when the body had a more important job to do. Feeling shot back into my left side. The feeling of something snapped onto me, like the limb of a doll. The dolls might put on a brave face but it hurts more than it looks.

Within a few minutes, I could use both hands and, through agony and starved muscles, I could push myself up. My sense of smell was up and running within a millisecond. There were enough soldiers to fill a truck. More than enough to fill my body. They were clustered around the burning wreck. Spaced out. One standing apart, talking. I propelled myself forward on the straggler.

We crashed to the ground and my fangs were upon his flesh before we hit it. Bloody hell, why do pain receptors have to stay functional? Did the others not see I was feeding? Did the others not know how dangerous it is to shoot a feeding vampire?

Long story short, they didn’t. And, now they’re dead.

It took a while for me to realise what I’d done. Drinking too much blood can knock you out almost as much as being drained but it makes regenerating a lot less painful, at least. When the red swimmers left my eyes, I saw the ripped corpses all around me. It was only when I started sniffing round for a few leftover drops that I saw their uniforms.

British troops.

Bloody hell.

The first man must have been reporting the truck wreck. The truck must have been our human escort just behind us. Funny what you forget when you’ve been blown up.

Then, I realised – I don’t care. I never cared about humans for two hundred years and never got bombed. Not even during the Blitz. I was hiding in a Swiss crypt with the rest of my clan at the time. The one time I decide to give human-loving a try, look what happened. I’m driven to commit a red-on-blue attack.

That’s what politicians don’t get about us. Putting beings that can almost indefinitely regenerate in the firing line may seem like a good idea on paper but they all seemed to forget just what that regeneration needed.

So, that’s why I ran. I hid in bombed out villages and drank from whichever unfortunate platoon happened to be trying to take it at the time. Some envoys from the Council of Mortality Integration tried to reach me, to assure me that they knew it was an accident, they could find it in their hearts to forgive me for what I did and that I could go back to Britain, apologise and be back in my platoon with no hard feelings. I could tell you what I did to them but I think the hearts in that box over there speak for themselves. I knew they were lying before I had a look in their hearts. Taking them out is just a more efficient way to get at the blood. Like squeezing an orange, you know.

Were you expecting me to say something revolutionary? Like I want all vampires to unite under me to fight the Revelation Bill? To attack our human comrades whenever they force us into the bombs and the bullets?

No. I just want my peace and quiet back. So, why do I stay in a war zone? The noise can get bloody loud but Islamic nations do make nice tombs. Very cool, very comfy. Very pretty too.

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