Ray battled a bruiser whose arms sported a multitude of colorful tattoos, as Linq squared off against the sandy-haired businessman, whose neck perforations had long since healed.
They circled each other, seeking an opening. Linq waved his claws. “Are you sure you want to test your luck again?”
The businessman scowled. “You and your friend might’ve taken down the lot of us, but it’s nothing compared to how many of you we put down.” He spit on the ground at Linq’s feet. “Or how many more we’ll put down.”
The væmpire’s words struck home. Images and feelings crowded at the edge of Linq’s perceptions, a tsunami of them—all of them related to the horrific events of the last twenty-four hours, all of them clamoring and vying for attention. He held them at bay, because distraction meant death, but their intrusion caused his body to relax and his claws to retract.
Sensing an opening, the væmpire attacked, coming straight at Linq in a full-frontal assault.
Standing his ground, Linq swept the væmpire’s claws to the side with his left hand. With his right, he clubbed the vaempire on the side of the head, a thunderous shot that drove the businessman back three steps.
Linq moved in to follow it up with a decisive blow, his senses already searching for new threats. Claws stained black from spilling so much blood extended on impulse and flashed toward the væmpire’s neck.
They slashed nothing but air as the sandy-haired man dropped into a forward roll.
Linq let him roll by, and turned with a sigh. It was almost too easy. The man had obviously received no instruction in hand-to-hand fighting, or else he’d know that you never turn your back on an opponent.
The væmpire came out of his roll and jumped to his feet. He realized his mistake—he had rolled past Linq, but was facing the wrong direction—in time to flinch as Linq’s claws separated his head from his neck.
Crimson blood spurted as the body and head fell in opposite directions. Hot væmpire blood that smelled like rancid meat hit the sidewalk in uneven splatters, reminding Linq of a drunken man urinating in a back alley.
Then two things happened at once: he sensed a væmpire—yet another new arrival—drop in, while Ray yelled, “Watch out!”
Before he could react, Linq was grabbed from behind. Strong arms encircled him—hot, sweaty væmpire arms that felt like steel pincers. Linq’s own arms were pinned to his sides as his adversary squeezed him like a vise.
The pressure was tremendous and Linq panicked, throwing his head back in an attempt to crush the væmpire’s nose. He knew it was a mistake as he did it, but his reaction was quicker than his thoughts.
The væmpire dodged the blow, and then did the unthinkable: his head flashed forward and he sunk his fangs into Linq’s exposed neck.
Every cell in Linq’s body erupted in unmitigated pain. Nothing in his training, nothing in his imagination—in his nightmares, perhaps, but not his imagination—nothing in his experience or education had prepared him for such pain.
His eyes rolled back in his head and his jaw snapped shut, his fangs slicing deep into his tongue. He didn’t even notice.
Then the væmpire drank.
About the Author
Thomas Winship lives in New York. He holds an MBA in Management from St. Thomas Aquinas College, where he serves as MBA Director and adjunct professor of courses in English Composition, Communications, and Business. He also spent fifteen years working for a global pharmaceutical company, specializing in organizational development, talent management, and training.
Tom writes in his spare time. His first novel, Temporary Insanity, was a 2008 finalist in a national contest but failed to garner industry attention. Væmpires: Revolution, his second novel (first in the Væmpires series) was published in October and Væmpires: White Christmas followed in December.
He is an avid collector of books, comic books, music, and movies. His interests are diverse: on any given day, Tom is likely to be found watching a horror movie, attending a hard rock concert, or enjoying a Broadway show.
He is currently working on the next installment of the Væmpires series, which is scheduled for a 2013 release.