Having located their rivals, the time has come to take the compound and rescue Tommy. The vampires of Andres’ coven have armed themselves well. Those with police and military experience lead the attack.
“No. Maybe Kirk’s heard something. I think we’re close. I can feel him, Drea. He’s safe at the moment, but terrified. What are they doing to him?”
“It’s better not to think about it,” Drea assured her.
“Is Phillida coming?” Margo asked.
“She’s here already, coordinating with Andres. I’m glad she’s here. If I’ve got to storm a castle, there’s few more experienced and fierce than she.”
“Not to mention she can mask our presence,” Margo added.
The car with Kirk and Scott pulled up. The men hopped out, attired as the women were.
“Are we waiting for something?”
“Andres said to wait for Heinrich and the twins. They should be here… Ah, there they are.” Drea pointed to another car that had just pulled up.
Phillida signaled for them to get in the cars and follow her. As the convoy got closer to the compound, some of the vehicles circled to the right and left. The cars with Drea, Kirk and Margo followed Phillida.
The mansion, or castle, sat in a lonely spot far from everything. They had a clear view of the countryside, yet no alarm seemed to have been raised. Kirk pointed out security features to Scott that the young policeman had never seen before.
“I told Andres not to market them,” Kirk muttered. “If they’ve got his equipment on line, they hardly need guards.”
“What do those do?” Scott pointed to an odd looking device mounted on a pole.
The cars had stopped just shy of the pole, idling.
“You really don’t want to know. It’s up to Heinrich to disable them. When the light turns green, we can cross.”
“Won’t they notice if their perimeter goes down?” Scott asked, watching the light.
“Not if he does it right,” Kirk said.
The light changed and the cars shot forward. Moments later, the light went back to red, catching the last car’s fender. An electronic zap filled the air and the smell of ozone became almost overpowering. Part of the car fell on the ground, leaving a trail of smoke in their wake.
“That can’t be good,” Scott said.
“That might have eliminated our surprise factor,” Kirk replied. “Going hot,” he told the men in the car, then broadcast the information in code to the others.
Something under the car clanked loudly. Slamming on the breaks, the driver ordered everyone out. Not waiting to ask questions, they jumped from the car as it shuddered to a halt.
“Down!” Kirk commanded, shielding Scott’s body with his own.
Suddenly, the world turned into a loud, explosive place. Pieces of the car flew past them, much of it airborne. The rest buried itself, burning and smoking, in the turf beside them.
“Report!” The driver bellowed.
They reported by numbers instead of names. Kirk answered for Scott. Unfamiliar with the system and stunned by the blast, he lay still.
“We all have a number. You’re number six.”
“Six,” Scott wheezed. “Got it.”
“You’re not hit?” The driver asked anxiously.
“No. I’m fine. What was that?”
“Magnetic mine. There goes the element of surprise,” Kirk said with a frown.
“Now what?” Scott asked.
“We walk,” the driver said. Tipping his head toward the house, he took off at a trot that put Scott to shame.
“On foot? Really?” One of the others said. “Crap. These are new shoes.”
His friend laughed at him. “You wore new shoes to a firefight? Are you crazy?”
“Do I call them by number?” Scott asked Kirk as they followed the others.
“I didn’t think to introduce you. Hold up,” he said into a wrist microphone.
Scott forgot he’d been equipped with that and an earpiece. The others slowed. Kirk made the introductions.
“The driver is Nero. He’s ersatz leader, number one.”
Scott nodded. Nero touched his brow with a smile.
“Number two and three,” Kirk pointed to the men from the front seat. “Dietrich and Clovis. Our backseat companion, Oded.”
Nero looked alert. Using hand signals, he guided them off the road and into the brush. There wasn’t much cover, but there was enough to keep a sniper from a clear shot if they stayed low.