Professor Fang: The Living Spaceship: Part 2: The Chosen Few

 

The old man and Kirsteen were trapped in a sea of hideous rotting corpses all reaching out and trying claw at them.

The largest Zombie at the back however to the old man’s surprise started to attack the other creatures. It pulled a short female Zombie up off the ground by her hair and then placed its hand on her shoulder and pushed down hard, effectively tearing her head off.

Two of the other Zombies turned their attention to the giant, but they too were quickly torn to pieces by the larger creature. The other Zombies started to run alongside the Professor and Kirsteen.

The larger Zombie seemed to go to for the other members of its kind, allowing Kirsteen and the old man to escape back down another corridor.

At the end of that corridor was a dead end. “No it can’t be” The old man screamed in frustration.

Kirsteen saw that the larger Zombie was coming their, holding the severed head of one of its victims in one hand. It moved a lot faster than its large size would suggest. Kirsteen prepared to try and run past the monster, but the old man held her back.

“Trust me you wouldn’t make it, get behind me”, he said as he raised his cane in defence.

Just then a blue circle started to appear at the end of the corridor. “Quick get in” the old man shouted as he pulled Kirsteen into the circle.

The larger Zombie suddenly ran at its two intended victims with a look of panic on its face, but before he could reach them, the old man and Kirsteen vanished in a blue light.

Kirsteen suddenly found herself in a large, brightly lit room with a massive book case behind her, and a massive 20 inch screen tv and some recliner chairs in front of her. At the very centre of the room hung a massive gold chandelier.

On the left hand side of room were two huge wooden doors, whilst on the right hand side was a large dining area, fit with a huge 20 foot long table, and a small kitchen behind it.  There were several, scared looking people huddled together over the table. There were about 7 people in total. One of them, an old man was constantly downing several shots of whisky.  They all looked as though they had come from different eras. One, the youngest boy at the back looked like a little street urchin, whilst another appeared to be dressed in a confederate uniform from the wars of independence. At the back of the table was a young, attractive woman with long dark hair who appeared to be separate from the others. She looked less confused and disoriented and was holding a strange device. The woman rushed towards the old man as soon as he arrived.

“I’m so sorry Professor. I had to temporarily get rid of the portal when that creature discovered it. He would have used it to come here and.”

“That’s quite alright Lindsey I understand, the important thing is that we got the last survivor, now we can get out of here.”

“Excuse me” Kirsteen shouted. “Can someone please tell me what the fuck is going on here? Am I on drugs again? Are you lot hallucinations.”

Lindsey approached Kirsteen. “Relax don’t worry, we’re here to help you. You’ve been abducted by aliens. That ship my friend here, Professor Fang rescued you from, it collided with ours. We’re not sure who created it yet, but it appears to run on magic.”

“Magic!” Kirsteen shrieked in surprise. “Aliens is one thing, but magic?”

One of the people at the back suddenly piped up, a young woman in her 20s named Jenna. “Hang on a minute she looks like Kirsteen Williamson.”

“She could very well be”. Professor Fang said as he tinkered with some device by the wall.

“But that’s impossible, she died about 30 years ago!”

“So?” the Professor said. “I told you I haven’t had time to check what era we’re in, but we could very well be 30 years in your past, or 1000, or we could be in another universe altogether. Most of you are from different times. Still if you’ll give me a few minutes though we can find out where we are.” He said somewhat impatiently.

Kirsteen was deeply disturbed by this conversation and begged Lindsey to let her go. There was something about Lindsey that seemed non malicious. Even in this strange environment, Kirsteen didn’t feel threatened by her. Professor Fang however was a different story. Even though he had saved her life, there was something off putting about Fang. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it.

“Please we don’t really know what’s going on here either, but we’re doing the best we can. Just trust us, you’re safe in here.” Lindsey assured Kirsteen.

The others started to protest, but Fang quickly shut them down by slamming his stick on the table.

“I don’t like any of you being here either. This is my home, and I’m normally very picky about who I let stay here. Still we all have to stick together for the time being. Not all of you were lucky enough to get this far, or need I remind you.”

A deathly silence fell over the room.

“Exactly, now please give us some peace while we try and get us all out of this situation.”

After Fang and Lindsey left the room, Kirsteen went over to the table. The people almost didn’t pay attention to her they were so wrapped up in their own problems.

“So” Kirsteen said somewhat awkwardly. “Any chance any of you could tell me who, or rather what took us here.”

Only one of them answered Kirsteen, the old man that had been drinking the whisky, who was dressed in somewhat tattered clothes. ”

“None of us do. We’re all from different times it would seem. I’m from the year 3892. There I was, in the middle of the fight of my life with the Vampire scum, Felesca, and his pet Tyrannosaurus when suddenly I was in a tiny little room, with several rotting corpses pounding on my door.

“I’m sorry did you say Vampire?”

“Yes. I can only assume you come from a time before their filth covers our entire world? I’m convinced the man who brought us here is one of them.

“A Vampire?”

“Yes, I know one when I see it. I’ve spent years running away from them to know one when I see it. Still I don’t think he’s behind the ship. Him and that girl, they’ve got something else in mind for us. If they try anything though don’t worry. I’ve killed more than my fair share of those bloodsucking monsters.”

Meanwhile the Professor and Lindsey had made their way to the control room. It had been somewhat damaged in the crash, but fortunately not only could the Professor repair it in no time, but the ship had a sort of magical healing factor that would repair any damage automatically anyway.

“Honestly you’d think they’d be grateful we pulled them out of that nightmare” The Professor said to Lindsey as he adjusted the controls.

“To be fair Professor, we may have been the ones who got them into this awful mess.”

“Nonsense my dear. You heard them. They were prisoners on board that ship before I eh crashed into it. Its strange that we didn’t find any pilots when we were searching for the survivors.”

“Apart from those horrors. God do I hate Zombies. I’ve never met one I liked you know. Even Vampires and Demons can be pleasant, but Zombies? They’re always bad company.”

“I quite agree my dear, but still there is no way those brutes could build a craft like that. No this is something else. Once we’ve gotten those people back to their own time, then I intend to investigate.”

The Professor attempted to start the ship, but nothing happened. He heard a strange whirring sound for a few seconds afterwards, before trying the controls again. This time however there was a crashing sound and the whole ship began to shake violently for a few minutes.

“I don’t understand, it should have repaired itself by now” The Professor said as he opened up the controls.

“No everything is in place, I don’t know why it won’t take us out of here.”

Just then a strange noise, like someone groaning in pain began to echo through the ship.

“I don’t like the sound of this” Lindsey said as she began to check the communication device. “According to this there’s nothing coming through.”

“Of course not. This noise is poking its way into our very minds Lindsey.” The Professor said in a worried tone.

The voice began to speak.

“Please help me, you, you are the only ones who can. I was too weak to contact you again.”

“Who are you?” The Professor said defiantly.

“I am Gyster, I am the vessel you clumsily crashed into with that bat shaped excuse for a vehicle.”

“Gyster? Of course I should have known. I’d heard stories about you. A lot of people dismissed you as a legend, but I have a slightly more open minded than most.” The Professor said which made Lindsey roll her eyes somewhat.

“Who is Gyster” Lindsey asked trying to get the conversation back on track.

“Gyster is a time and space ship made from magic. It was constructed by the Frexeia civilisation. They built it to explore all of time and space. The magic used to build it however caused the ship to develop sentience as you can see for yourself.

The ship loved its crew however. They were its friends, they all enjoyed travelling through time and space together. When the crew died, according to the legends Gyster would begin abducting other beings from all of time and space to be his new crew. ” The Professor said.

Lindsey had sudden realisation. “Oh my god. Those Zombies, they were his previous crew members.”

“I didn’t kill them!” The voice protested.

“They died themselves of old age. Most of them were not happy at being taken at first, but in time most of them came to appreciate the lives I gave them. When they died I kept their corpses preserved in magic as a sign of respect.”

“There’s a huge but isn’t there”. Lindsey said.

“If my ship was ever breached by an outside menace, then I would bring them back as Zombies to protect my current crew.”

Both Lindsey and the Professor felt sick at the revelation.

“I was honouring them!” The voice protested. “I was giving them a chance to be heroes again after their passing. I was allowing them to save the next generation.”

“The ones I met didn’t seem to see it that way Gyster” The Professor said with disdain. “Why were they trying to kill your current crew?”

“That is on your head Vampire. When our vessels collided in the vortex, you ruptured my engine. The magic from my core seeped out and revived the Zombies. They’re crazed, feral, but they are the least of my problems. In a few hours the rupture will become so great that I will explode.”

Lindsey could see that the vessel’s words had affected Fang. “Well you could have looked where you were going too.” She snapped.

“Neither of you are leaving until you repair my core. Your vessel is caught in a trap of my creation. Its draining the energy from your core. It’ll put off my death by a couple of more hours. After that, I’ll die, but your vessel will be trapped here, powerless unable to move, and you’ll be caught in the blast.”

“I don’t intend to help you carry on taking people and defile their corpses. You’re a monster” Lindsey protested.

“Sadly we don’t have a choice I’m afraid. He holds all the cards for now. We need to fix that engine, for those people out there. We’ll talk about his poor lifestyle choices later” The Professor said in a grim tone.

“You will not take my new friends” The voice boomed! “This is the best collection I’ve ever assembled. Heroes, artists. They’re mine!”

“Like I said we’ll discuss that later. First let us teleport back to your ship.”

“I’m afraid not. If I let you have enough power to teleport then you would have enough power to break free. I docked my vessel beside yours.

“If you think that I’m going to make my way through those Zombies.” The Professor protested.

“Like you said. I hold all the cards.”

 

The Circus Master: The Book of the Vampires Part 2: The Circus Folk

 

John Ferguson couldn’t remember the last time he had eaten so much, and considering he wasn’t what you’d call a light eater that was really saying a lot.

Ferguson was a gluttonous man in virtually all aspects of his life. Food, wine, women and especially wealth. He was notorious for his meanness and firing his employees for the most trivial issues.

Ferguson was the owner of a local flour mill. He was somewhat richer than other mill owners in London however which he always boasted was because he ran such a successful business. In truth however it was because of his cheapness. He’d not only pay his employees virtually non existent wages, but he’d stiff them as much as he could and cut as many corners in terms of health and safety as possible. Accidents were more common at his Mill than possibly any other in London with 6 people having died in the last year alone.

Ferguson was hated by all his employees and the local community alike, but he didn’t care. All Ferguson cared about was maintaining his own selfish, hedonistic lifestyle. Sadly for John Ferguson however, a life time of selfishness was about to catch up to him.

Ferguson often walked home alone and tonight was no exception. He hated having to waste money on a carriage, and he felt assured that due to his influence, no one would dare try and attack him in the dark.

This night would be different. As he stumbled drunkenly through the fogs of the London night (after having just celebrated another successful financial year at his favourite resturant.) Ferguson spotted what looked like a shambling figure in the very distance, headed in his direction. “Probably a begger” he thought to himself and instinctively turned away. It soon became apparent to the miser however that the “begger” was following him.

“Oh great” he thought “I’ll have to actually push him away with my cane again. Why don’t these people learn?”

Ferguson approached the begger confidently. “Look sir, I don’t know who you are, and you clearly don’t know who I am or else you wouldn’t be bothering me. I’ve just had a big meal, I’d like to get home and”

The begger who still did his best to conceal his face behind a ragged hood interrupted Ferguson “Don’t worry I wouldn’t expect any show of humanity from you. Unfortunately for you” the figure raised his head, pulling his rags back, and revealing his hideous, monstrous face to a petrified Ferguson. “You can now expect the same from me.”

The figures skin was bright white and rock hard. Its features were long and pointed, whilst its mouth was filled with razor sharp teeth. Like all Vampires, its upper canines however were the longest. Its claws were tar black and long, whilst its hair was thinning and scraggly looking.

As John slowly backed away from the monster in terror, he thought that he could actually recognise the beast for a moment before his fear overcame him. Ferguson raised his cane to the stranger in a pitiful attempt to defend himself. The monster however quickly batted the cane from his hand.

“Listen, whatever you are. If you harm me there will be consequences I can assure you. I’m not some useless beggar, or jumped up harlet. I’m.”

The monster interrupted Ferguson’s egocentric pleas. It spoke in a hideous, screeching hissing voice.

“Oh they’ll notice you’re gone, but only out of relief you’re finally gone. Come now, look closely at this face. The last you will ever see. Don’t you recognise me? Or do all the people whose lives you destroy just blur together as one inconsequential mess.”

Ferguson looked more closely at the aberration. There was indeed a creeping sense of familiarity in the Demonic visage.

It finally hit John when the monster raised its right arm from out of the robes it was wearing. John could clearly see that it had a stump where its right hand should be. “Of course. You’re that Richards bastard aren’t you. Is this your latest pathetic little prank to try and get back at me for your failure of a life?” Even in the face of certain death, Ferguson’s arrogance knew no bounds.

Richards had once worked in Ferguson’s mill. Due to his constant cutting corners however, Richards had lost an arm in one of Ferguson’s filthy machines. After the accident he was deemed unfit for work, and unable to get another job. Tragically Richard’s daughter later died of rickets whilst his wife drank herself to death in grief.

Richards had always blamed Ferguson for what happened and eventually he even tried to attack him in the street. Even with one hand Richards had managed to overpower Ferguson, but the police had quickly apprehended him. Ferguson through his connections was able to make sure that Richards would be in prison for life, but now he had seemingly escaped. Ferguson started to think that he wasn’t really a monster, and that Richards was just trying to scare him and remained defiant.

“Its not my fault you were so incompetent you had an accident, or that you were unable to provide for your own family. Its tragic what became of them, but that is your concern. This pathetic little attempt to scare me with that clown make up is not going to work. Now either you let me pass, or I’ll make sure they bloody well hang you this time for attempted murder.”

Richards was still unscared however, and simply let out a devilish smile before slashing the man he hated more than any other across the face.

Ferguson wasn’t used to pain, and the sudden shock alone was enough to bring him to almost bring him to his knees.

As he stared down at the pavement and saw his own blood drip onto the street, Ferguson had a sudden realisation of the danger he was in and shouted out for help as he darted down the street as fast he could. There was no one around however, and even if there was no one could save him from the fury of an undead monster that wanted his blood.

Just when Ferguson thought he had escaped his undead tormentor, Richards suddenly jumped down in front of him. He hadn’t been chasing Ferguson at all. Richards had simply waited until the Mill owner was a good distance away, and then leaped in front of him. The Vampire must have jumped over 40 feet in the air, and could clearly see through the fog no problem.

Ferguson knew that didn’t have a chance of escape and so he now tried to bargain with the monster.

“Look Richards maybe we can come to some kind of arrangement. I can pull some strings, get you a lighter sentence.”

Richards wasn’t listening however. Instead he grabbed Ferguson’s right arm and bit hard into it, right through his skin, veins, muscle and even bone. With his teeth alone he ripped Ferguson’s hand clean off. Ferguson passed out from the pain and blood loss within seconds, but the Vampire wasn’t through torturing the miser yet.

Richards dug its claws into Ferguson’s back and lifted him up off the ground with one hand in a fantastic demonstration of superior Vampire strength.

Ferguson was a massive man. Richards in comparison looked tiny, yet here he was, balancing Ferguson above his head on one finger. If anyone else had been around it would have looked both a horrifying and comical sight.

Richards threw Ferguson about 6 feet threw the air to the other side of the road. Ferguson landed head first, and for a second Richards was scared that he had finished his enemy too soon. When the Vampire went to examine him however he saw that unfortunately for Ferguson, he was still breathing!

The monster ran one of its massive claws along the bottom of Ferguson’s stomach and started to disembowel him. Ferguson awoke from the pain only to see his former, Demonic employee holding his intestines in its clawed hands as it started to lick them. The last sight Ferguson saw was Richards bearing down on him, hissing his blood soaked fangs, and spitting Ferguson’s own blood over his face.

“Come on love, any longer and we’ll be late” Carlene shouted to Brian as she stood by the door with Ashlei, Tom and Daniel. She heard no response for a few minutes and started to worry before Brian came staggering out of the bathroom, looking like badly made up bed.

“Sorry Miss Vampire, I, I don’t know what came over me.”

“Love, call me Carlene remember. Oh dear you look a right state darling. Here let me help you get ready.”

Ashlei sighed. “I don’t see why we’re bothering going to this Circus. You said you saw the blue woman in the sewers? So tell the authorities and they’ll arrest her. Problem solved.”

Carlene frowned. “I told you the authorities often aren’t equipped to deal with this sort of thing love. Besides all she did in the sewers was help me. Your little brother might not even be ere if it wasn’t for that blue siren. I need answers and I’m going to find them myself. Besides I would have thought you’d have wanted to go to the Circus. Its a day out.”

“I hate it. Big bright, flashy colours to distract idiots from how horrible their lives are.” Ashlei said bitterly.

“Well if it makes you feel any better its not exactly my scene either, but I suspect there’s something odd with this Circus and I want to find out.” Carlene replied firmly.

Whilst the two were talking, Daniel sat absorbed in the morning paper. He had noticed that there was one more reported disappearance from last night, that of the local mill owner and tycoon, John Ferguson.

Ashlei smirked when she heard John had vanished. “Miserable old bastard” she said. “You wouldn’t have to be a Vampire to want to tear his neck out.”

“Ashlei” Carlene said sharply. “I don’t care who this man was, don’t ever talk that way about someone. Trust me when I say this. No deserves to die at the hands of a Vampire.”

Ashlei bowed her head somewhat. “I’m sorry, but he was the most mean spirited man I’ve ever come across. He kicked me one time when I tried to ask him for some food.”

“Ashlei’s right” Daniel interrupted. “There’s no shortage of ordinary people that would want to see John dead, but according to this” he handed the paper to Carlene. “William Richards, who had previously been arrested for an attempt on Ferguson’s life was broken out of prison the other day. The police don’t know how, but one witness, a drunken beggar claims to have seen a giant bat like creature rip the walls off of the prison wall.”

“It seems someone is using the book of to create new Vampire breeds after all. If only I knew where that bloody fool had kept it?” “I never fitted in with that lot. Van Helsing and his cronies. I mean to be fair I am kind of a monsters, but still. Working with them was a nightmare.” Carlene said as she went to check on Brian.

Brian came out of the bathroom dressed in a small penguin suit, looking a lot more energetic than before. Carlene had made sure they all had a good meal, a couple of hours rest and clean clothes to change into before going to the Circus. Naturally they had to look presentable to go to the Circus, but she couldn’t bare to see the children in those filthy rags for another second.

When the four arrived in the audience many heads turned towards Carlene. They often did, but this time the fact that she arrived with 4 children/teenagers shocked people all the more.

One gentleman in the audience felt so appalled that these children were with a Vampire of all creatures, that he had to interject.

“Please I don’t know what you want, but those are children.” He said in a scared, but still somewhat confident tone. Just then Brian surprisingly came to Carlene’s defence before any of the others could. “Get away you stupid sod. This woman here saved our lives whilst you were sitting on your arse, moaning about too many children playing across the road!”

The man backed down. Carlene patted Brian on the back, whilst Ashlei looked on in concern. She had never seen Brian react that way. He was normally such a calm, gentle, quiet little boy. It seemed the experience in the sewers had changed him somewhat.

The Circus of Tzas opened with the usual parade of animals doing tricks. The Circus Master was a huge colourful character on stage. He must have been roughly 6 foot 5 inches tall, with an enormous build, though he was still incredibly thin overall. He frock coat was bright red with gold decorations running down the lapels, whilst his hair was long, jet black and curly. Atop his head sat a tiny, but very long  bright blue top hat. He had thick, bright green gloves and yellow, stripped trousers. His face was very long thin and deathly pale. His eyes looked as though they were locked into a permanent scowl, whilst there was a constant, somewhat unsettling smile on his face. His voice was incredibly deep and booming, At times it didn’t even sound human. Many children in the audience appeared to find him quite scary at times, particularly those in the front row. Carlene took an instant disliking to the Circus Master. Why she couldn’t quite put her finger on. He didn’t seem evil, but she just didn’t like him.

Still everyone seemed entertained by the various antics. Even Ashlei, despite her dour, persona began to warm to some of the animal tricks. Right from the start Carlene however could see something was amiss about the whole thing. The Circus animals weren’t real. They were magical illusions. Carlene could only tell thanks to her heightened Vampire senses.

She could smell the magic off of them. The Circus Master himself didn’t seem human either. There was something about him that didn’t seem right. Carlene had been around enough Vampires, Demons and other unnatural creatures in her long life to know when one was trying to pass as a human.

She felt the same way about one of the later acts, a small child called The Strange Boy. The Strange Boy was Chinese and also deathly pale in appearance. He didn’t say a word, and his expressions also seemed completely blank.

Nevertheless the boy didn’t have to say anything. He amazed the crowd through displays of almost impossible strength. He crushed several large blocks of stone with his bare hands, and he lifted another performer, a 7 foot tall, bear of a man called Keptis (who dressed in strange armour) above his head no problem.

A young black woman (already a most unusual sight in Victorian England) named Denika also performed various tricks which were clearly the work of magic. She conjured up images of the most fantastic creatures and beasts that both terrified and amazed the crowd.

Finally the blue Siren who Carlene had seen the night before performed a closing song. The Circus Master introduced her as Florence Faith. Just as in the Underground Carlene was the only one not completely enchanted by the strange blue skinned, flame haired songstress. Even Ashlei was utterly mesmerised.

Carlene knew the Siren’s song was magic, and that it could entrance anyone (according to the legends) but she still couldn’t help but feel a little bit jealous. In all her years as a singer, she had never won over a crowd to that extent she thought.

When the Circus was finished, Carlene waited behind. She wanted to speak with the performers herself. The three children waited with her. They wanted to find out what these creatures were just as much. Ashlei meanwhile had calmed down a little after hearing the Sirens song and was a bit more laid back than before.

Carlene assured them that they would be safe. In spite of the fact that they weren’t human, Carlene did not think that the Circus folk whoever they were, were actually evil.

She waited just outside the main tent, having managed to sneak her way in there without making a sound.

Keeping hidden behind two barrels, Carlene saw the Circus Master standing outside the tent holding what looked like a strange sphere. All round him where the various animals and performers. One by one the performers walked past him into the tent. Denika, The Strange Boy, Keptis and finally the Siren, Florence Faith.

Just then the Circus Master utter a strange sounding chant and the Circus animals vanished into nothing but a puff of smoke, before the Circus Master joined the others.

“By god you were right” said Daniel in an exasperated tone. “These fellows aren’t human.”

“Neither am I” said Carlene as she moved closer to the tent to inspect it. Carefully Carlene lifted something out of her beehive. A long bottle of green liquid.

“What’s that” Ashlei asked.

“Its a little something I picked up from the future. A powerful magical recipe. First created in the year 1963. It can freeze an entire area like a building that’s made of magic and all of those in it for a short while. This entire tent is made from magic.”

“How can you tell”

“Trust me I can. A little dab of this and this tent and all in it will be trapped. Only for a few moments of course after which they’ll be perfectly fine, they won’t even know what’s happened. It will allow us to enter the tent and make sure that they’re on the level, find out if there’s anything they know or not. After all, can’t be too sure. I have an instinct that they’re not evil, but instincts aren’t enough”

As Carlene sprinkled the potion on the Tent however nothing happened at first.

“That’s odd” Carlene said somewhat worried. “Normally this works right away and we start to see a”

Before the Vampire could finish however she suddenly felt a faint feeling coming over her. She started to black out, and when she regained her senses the Vampire saw she was now in a totally different place from before.

The Vampire had materialised in a large room with stone walls, floor and ceiling. At the far end of the room looked like a living area. There were 3 recliner chairs, and a massive couch perched in front of what looked like a massive television set and a 21st century video game system above the television. Behind the living quarters were several bunk beds.

“How can they possibly have all this in the 19th century” Carlene thought.

As she looked around the room she saw on the far right side what looked like a work area where Denika was tinkering away with some strange device. In the centre of the room, just behind where Carlene had arrived was a massive fountain, with green water.

All of the walls were decorated with various paintings from what looked like different eras, whilst on the left side of the room was a massive book case over 20 feet tall.

“Who are you” barked the Circus Master who emerged from behind the fountain alongside the Strange Boy, Keptis and Florence.

Carlene turned around to defend herself but found she couldn’t move to fight or even run away. Clearly this was the inside of the tent. It looked about the same size from the outside. Whatever magics had constructed the tent had not only repelled her magics, but pulled her inside and were now keeping her firmly in place.

“Relax we’re not going to hurt you” The Circus Master said firmly. “I just want to know why and how you were trying to tamper with my ship.”

“Ship?” Carlene said in confusion?

“Its okay” Florence interrupted. “This is the woman I met in the sewers yesterday. She helped save those children. At least I think.”

Just then, Daniel, Tom, Brian and Ashlei came charging in through the tent doors, which still looked like cloth on the inside rather than stone.

“Get away from her you freaks” Ashlei who was ahead of the three boys and wielding a pipe shouted.

“Relax young lady. We’re not here to hurt any of you, I just need to know why you’re here.” The Circus Master said to the four urchins.

Carlene spoke up. “I’m here about the book of Khastran.”

All of the Circus Folk gave Carlene a look, except for the Strange Boy who continued to stare into space.

“Someone has found it from wherever Van Helsing left it and is using it to create new Vampire species around London. I had a run in with one as did your friend here in the underground, but it looks like there’s still at least one new breed out there.”

The Circus Master was quick to correct Carlene. ” We’ve only been here for a few days, but at my last count there’s about 15 new breeds. created in the last few months or so.

“Fifteen? But that’s not possible?” Carlene gasped. “I would have known.”

“Whoever is doing this has a clear plan. They want to create an army of Vampires. They’re keeping them hidden until the time is right, only turning the best people into Vampires. Or should I say the worst. Vampires represent all the darkest qualities of humanity let loose. People who were scum in life, or full of anger, regret, bitterness. They always make the most effective Vampires. This city, full of corruption, poverty, and greed is the perfect place for them to create an army” The Circus Master said with regret. “Then again just about any city throughout history is. Wherever there are people, there will always be enough resentment and anger to make more Vampires”

“How did you track them down” Carlene asked.

“Well we knew they were here from the start. We were told to track them down.”

“By who?”

“It would take too long to explain, and besides I have some questions I would like to ask of you young lady.” The Circus Master said. “How did you come into possession of magics that powerful?”

“It would take too long to explain” Carlene said sarcastically.

“From the looks of things it seems neither of us belong to this time.” Carlene continued as she glanced round at the television set in the corner.

Just then a strange look of surprise and delight came over the Circus Masters face and he went to consult his books.

“What do you mean” said Denika, who up until now had largely ignored Carlene and focused on her work.

“Well I’m just saying I know that technology at the back won’t be around for about 100 years at least, and that the magics I used to try and freeze this tent are far more powerful than just about anything a Wizard in Victorian London is likely to have.”

Before Denika could respond, Carlene suddenly felt herself able to move again.

“Sorry, I now know who you are. You’re Carlene aren’t you.” The Circus Master said as put a book he just skimmed through back on the shelf.

“Who?” Denika said in response?

“She’s a Vampire, but don’t worry she’s one of the few nice ones alongside our friend Florence. She was thrust through time by powerful magics and now fights evil on the streets of London. Am I right?”

“Pretty much. How do you know all that?”

“Well lets just say you’re right. We’re not of this time either. Unlike you however we’re not trapped. We can move freely through time and space, though everywhere we go, we have a mission to complete.”

“A mission from who.” Carlene said with interest.

“Time itself. You can’t change history. Not in the slightest. This ship sends us to places we were always supposed to go, events we were always supposed to make happen. That’s still no guarantee that we’ll win. If we fail then history takes a different course, and we are banished to the same place all of those who don’t belong in the universe go. The Abyss.

“What’s the Abyss”

“It exists outside our universe. You can travel through time, you can make your own history, but like I said you can’t change it in any way. Once you do, you become an anomaly. Suppose you went backwards in time to prevent a war, well then in the new timeline the war would never have happened, so you’d never have gone backwards in time to try and fix it. Then however, the war would happen, and so you would go back to fix it, but then it wouldn’t happen so you wouldn’t and so on, and so on.”

He continued. “A paradox like that upsets the natural order and is danger of poisoning everything around it. So to prevent it from happening, the Guardians of the Abyss would hunt you down and imprison you there. There is no time in the Abyss. You’ll live forever, trapped with other lost souls.”

“It sounds like hell” Ashlei said.

“In many ways it is. Like I said however its not just if you change history. Its if you fail to make your own. For instance imagine you come from the 21st century and you travel backwards in time and fail to save the earth from a contemporary threat in the 19th century. Even if you survive, then you will now be anomaly from an erased time line and the Abyss will claim you. There’s no way you can escape the Guardians. They can travel anywhere to any time.”

“You sound like you talk from experience.” Carlene said.

The Circus Master didn’t reply for a few moments before continuing as if Carlene hadn’t even spoke.

“You can see how time travelling comes at a price Vampire. In many ways we are all prisoners here until time has had enough of us. If we dare try to leave before then we could be changing time and the Guardians will come for us. They’re hideous creatures.”

“How do you know what you’re sent here to do though?” Carlene asked. “For all you know you could be changing history by killing these Vampires?”

The Circus Master pointed towards the fountain. “When we first arrive a vision will appear in the fountain. It will guide us on what we have to do. Its still often vague mind you. This time though it was reasonably clear. It showed us a vision of the new Vampire breeds, and the Book of Khastran.”

Carlene took a minute or so to take this all in. Even for the type of life she had led, a time travelling magic circus seemed a bit much. She wondered what it must have been like for the children!

“So what’s your stories then. I mean you seem to know everything about me, its only polite I know a bit more about you.” Carlene said somewhat nervously to the Circus Folk.

“I quite agree” the Circus Master responded in a somewhat chipper tone. “Well we are all going to be working together.”

“Working together” Denika interrupted?

“Yes” The Circus Master said as he looked round at the rest of the Circus Folk who were somewhat confused.

“Thanks darling. I was hoping that you lot would help us out. I knew you weren’t evil.” Carlene said.

The Circus Master had a somewhat smug look on his face. Like he knew something the others didn’t.

Denika would be the first to speak. All of the Circus Folk seemed eager to tell their stories. It wasn’t often that they got to share them with people outside their circle as they were so outrageous.

We are all from different times” Denika said. “I’m from the 21st century like you, at least originally. I grew up on another world, in another universe to this one.

“You’re not serious!” Tom said in shock, which earned him disapproving looks from almost everyone in the room. “Right of course sorry do go on” he said somewhat sheepishly.

“Me and my parents were abducted when I was just a baby.” Denika continued. “My parents practised magic. It had been in my family for generations. We were taken by members of an alien race called The Melirsek  to another universe in another realm. In this universe, space is an ocean teeming with life. You could swim from one planet to another. As long as you could hold your breath long enough.

The world I was taken to was under constant attack from a race of predators that dwelled within the oceans of that universe called the Grestalerik. The Melirsek had created magical barriers around their worlds to prevent the monsters from swimming into their planet.

The Melirsek’s magic was no longer effective in repelling the monsters however. So they travelled to different universes to try and find a way to harness the magic of other realities to use against these monsters. They’d capture magical creatures from all over the omniverse, and grind their bodies up to use the magic from their bones which they’d then power the shield around their planet with.

Both of my parents were ground up. I was only spared because one of the guards named Glissberg took pity on me, a helpless infant and got me out of there. He and his wife Rassberg would later raise me. Though they kept me sheltered from the rest of the world for the first 18 years or so of my life. The name they gave me was from my parents.

I was the only humanoid on that planet so I’d tend to stick out in a crowd. I hope. They’d only let me out for a walk night, when everyone was asleep. I can remember staring up at the green waters of the sky. You could see hundreds of those monsters staring down at us, slabbering at the thought of being able to break through the shield..”

“Why didn’t the Gresta-whatever go to another world”. Said Carlene.

“Once the Grestalerik set their sights on a planet they will not leave until they have consumed it. They would have waited until the universe burnt itself out just to get us.”

Denika continued “Considering my parents were giant amorphous blob like creatures I had a reasonably happy and stable up bringing. My mother would teach me the magic of her universe, whilst the magics of my own came naturally to me thanks to my bloodline. Magic would be my only release all those years spent cramped up alone. I even used to conjour up friends. They weren’t real of course. Just figments of my imagination, but they filled a void.

Sadly when I was 18 I got too stir crazy being locked up all the time and so I went out one night by myself. I was exploring the beautiful Mizian gardens when a couple of blobs saw me. There was widespread panic at a “monster” being loose in the city. My parents were forced to go into hiding with me. It was a rough couple of years, but it was nothing compared to what was to come.”

“I’m not sure I want to hear this” Carlene said.

“The Grestalerik eventually found a way to break through the barriers and decimated my, their world.” Denika said. All of my life I had been terrified of the blobs. Now I pitied them.

As the last of the blobs huddled together underground they tried to construct a giant vessel that could allow us to travel through the waters of my universe. I helped them. Its funny how people or blobs will forget their prejudices when faced with certain death.

Unfortunately just as we were about to take off, the Grestalerik found and attacked our base underground. It was a massacre. Only about 3 of us got out. My adopted parents were among those the creature butchered.

We travelled the oceans of the universe for many years searching for a new world, but we never found one. Eventually the vessel broke down and I was left stranded on Narsika, a planet that brings out your darkest and most feral urges to the fore. Some say it isn’t a world, but a Demon that lures people there to turn into monsters to set loose on the universe. According to legend the most feared and evil creatures of my universe all originated on Narsika including the Grestalerik themselves. I managed to fight the planet’s influence, but sadly my ship mates all succumbed to it and became Demons. I surely would have too, if The Circus Master hadn’t found me. He rescued me and brought back to my universe and I’ve never looked back.”

“You’ve been nothing but an asset to this team my dear” The Circus Master said proudly. “Your knowledge of magics is far greater than anyone I’ve ever come across. I can’t think of how many times we’d be dead without you.”

Carlene could see Denika was getting a bit awkward at the praise, so she tried to change the subject. “What about you, eh Florence, what’s your deal.”

“I come from this time”. The Siren spoke in a somewhat posh, refined very English voice. It was the antithesis to how Carlene spoke.

“There will be a young me running about playing with her friends not too far from here, with no comprehension of the horrors ahead of her. Then again the same is true for most children of this time. I was born to a high class family.”

“Yeah we can tell” said Ashlei.

“Anyway,” Florence continued somewhat annoyed. “I was born to a high class family who spoiled me terribly growing up. My biggest passion was always the ocean. When I was a little girl I fell off a boat. It was a cruise my parents had booked. Whilst they were off hobnobbing with their elitist friends, I went off exploring and had an accident. I couldn’t swim so when I fell I sunk right away. I was under the water for just a few minutes before someone found me. During that time however I saw a sight that would change my life forever. It was a woman with long flowing red hair, but her bottom half was, well a fish.”

“A Mermaid” Tom said in surprise, still shocked that anything could actually surprise him after today.

“Yes, a Mermaid. She was carrying what looked like some kind of weapon. I can still remember her face even after all these years. She did nothing to help me. She saw I was there, but she just swam by me. My dad who’d been alerted to what happened, dove in and saved me.”

I was shaken by it at first understandably.” Florence continued. “I thought the Mermaid must just have been an illusion. As time went on however I became obsessed with the ocean. The Mermaid showed me that there was an entire world under the waves, one we’d hardly scratched the surface of. I wanted to know as much as I could. I learned how to swim, I would always go to the beach whenever I could, I’d beg my parents to book me on more cruises. A lot of people found my obsession with the sea rather peculiar, but I had a good life. When I was in my 20s I married a wonderful man named James and we had a beautiful girl named Daisy. Sadly however my obsession with ocean would doom me and my family.” She said with regret. “I would force my husband, who also came from a wealthy family to book us all a place on what was then the largest cruise liner ever built. The Titanic.”

Carlene could see where the story was going, though naturally the name Titanic meant nothing to the three children.

“Yes the famous doomed ship. What a lot of people don’t know is that it was actually sunk by a group of ocean dwelling Vampires. Sirens.”

“Sirens? You mean like what you are” Said Ashlei, somewhat nervously.

“I always believed that the Sirens were nothing more than a myth.” Carlene said

“Sadly not” Florence continued. “Sirens are among the oldest breed of Vampire on the earth. They have hypnotic voices which they used to lure their victims towards them. Older Sirens can place someone under their hypnotic control for days at a time. It doesn’t work on other supernatural creatures, like other breeds of Vampire” she said whilst looking at Carlene.

“The Sirens were able to take control of the Captain of the Titanic and force him to hit that ice berg. When it sunk there were plenty of humans for the blood suckers to pick off. A bigger feast than they would have ever had before or since, but to the world at large it would just look like the ship had gone down in an accident.

During the commotion I became separated from James and Daisy and trapped on the lower deck. I thought I was done for until I saw a mysterious figure emerge from the freezing water that flooded the corridor. I sometimes wish that I had just let the water sweep me away.

It was the leader of the Siren pack. He had been a Viking in life whose ship had been sunk by the Sirens. He must have seen some potential in me to turn me. What I don’t know, but I don’t even remember being turned. I just remember him grabbing me, sinking his fangs into my neck, and then the next thing I knew I was under the water. At first I paniced, but it didn’t take me long to realise that I had changed. I didn’t need to breath anymore, I didn’t even feel the cold.

I swam to surface and there I saw bits and pieces of people floating in an ocean that ran red with blood. The worst thing about it was I found the sight beautiful! There were a few people left, floating on rafts. I can remember one poor young girl in particular, the Sirens spent ages circling her like Sharks to torment her. When the rescue boat, the Carpathia arrived she tried to call out to them by they couldn’t hear her. As it started to leave she tried to jump into the water after the Carpathia, but the monsters tore her to pieces.

I’d stay with the Sirens for over 50 years after. I’d help them sink boats, capture Mermaids and Cecilia’s to prey on. I’d finally got a chance to be a part of the world that had fascinated me for so long, but it was a monster terrorizing it.”

“What made you change?” Carlene asked.

“One day my pack captured a Mermaid family. There was nothing special about that of course. We’d kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of thousands of Mermaids over the decades. The mother of this family however was the first Mermaid I had seen as a child.

I owed her nothing. She had let me sink when I was just a child, but looking at her after all of these years reminded me just for a second of the person I used to be. A second was all it took. I spent so many years burying everything that I actually was, allowing the Demon inside me to take me over that when I got that glimpse of my old life it was enough to destroy me.

I was able to feel pity, remorse and compassion for the first time in decades. After I rescued her I could feel my humanity slipping again, so I travelled back to the place I had lost it. The wreck of the Titanic.

I spent ages swimming round the wreck of the once deemed unsinkable vessel. It all came flooding back to me, no pun intended. The life I once had, the family I’d left behind. I spent ages in the cabin me and my family had spent the journey in.”

“I can relate” Carlene said softly.

“I know what that feeling is like”. Carlene continued. Its like you’re between life and death. Everything that was you is gone. Replaced by nothing but hunger and rage, but there’s still a tiny, teeny little grain of you in there. Enough to be aware of the nightmare you’re trapped in.”

“Yes” Florence said with regret. “That was it exactly. I couldn’t go back to being one of them so I tried to go back to my old life. I finally made it to New York. 50 years too late. It took me a long while to find out what happened to my family.

James had been shamed as a coward for the rest of his life. He wasn’t a coward. He did everything he could to save me, but when I was lost he had to save Daisy. He jumped onto one of the vessels with her. If he hadn’t then Daisy would have lost both her parents.

Sadly he was forever branded as a coward. Stupid brainless sheep. None of them could imagine the desperation and the terror of being on that ship as it went down. Even before the Sirens came. The water was burning to the touch. I’ve never felt anything like it.

It wasn’t just James who suffered from the accusations. Daisy did too. She was constantly bullied as the daughter of a coward at school, people refused to be her friend, or even associate with her because of who her dad was. She was always so devastated to read those horrible things about her father, to see him portrayed as a cowardly, pathetic villain in those stupid cheap movies they made about the Titanic.

Sadly I never got reunite with James and tell him that it wasn’t his fault what happened to me, and that I was proud of him for saving our daughter and making sure she had a good quality of life. He died in the mid 50s. I would get a chance to reunite with Daisy however.

She knew the truth about what happened on the Titanic. She was only 4 years old, but she had seen the monsters drag the others into the water on that fateful night. She had since moved to London and come to work for Rentros, an organisation designed to track down supernatural threats. When I first reunited with her in the late 60s she tried to kill me. It took her a long while to see that I was different, but we did eventually make peace, and we worked together for many years afterwards. She finally passed away in the early 80s.

I was by her bed when she died. I honestly felt like giving up then. No parent should have to outlive their child, but she told me to keep on going, and that I had a duty to use my powers to help others. I’m glad I kept my promise. Just a few years later I met the Circus Master and joined him and the others on their travels. I can never make up for the lives I destroyed when I was with the Sirens, but I can at least honour my daughters memory and promise to help others across all of time and space.”

“That’s really the only way we can beat the evil force inside us” Carlene said. “We can’t destroy it, but we can control it and make it a force for good in the world.”

“Yes well no offence intended ladies, but generally speaking I’m going to say that Vampires are not nice to know.” Said Keptis from the back.

Carlene could see he was repulsed at the very sight of the two women. He tried to hide it to some extent, but it was obvious that this strange, towering green warrior could barely stand to be in the presence of two Vampires.

“So what’s your story then?” Carlene asked, almost not sure if she should. Unlike Florence, Keptis clearly hadn’t made peace with his past.

“I am a native of the red planet, Mars. I was born close to several thousand years before your time Vampire” the last word he said with disdain.

“Back then Mars was a beautiful, green world teeming with life. My people built a thriving and advanced civilisation.”

“Amazing” Ashlei said from the back. “To think Mars was once like earth.”

Keptis seemed offended at the notion, but kept his cool. “Mars was nothing like earth. Your planet has been infested with Demons, Vampires and unnatural monsters for millenia. Our world never knew the touch of evil. We were a peaceful, rational people. We never knew magic, or the paranormal even existed. That would prove to be our downfall.

Several thousand years ago I was part of an expedition to visit the earth, our giant blue sister planet that had always perplexed and fascinated us. When we landed humanity was at a primitive stage. They mistook us for monsters that had been terrorizing their village when we first arrived. Of course we assumed that it was just the usual superstitious primitives. If only we’d listened to them. The pack of Vampires that had been preying on the village attacked our ship at night. Our lasers had very little effect on them, but we were able to take off before the monsters tore us to pieces. Unfortunately one of our team, our captain, Blasara was bitten. We thought it was just an infection and so we rushed him back to our planet to try and help him.

Sadly he turned after we got him back to Mars. He went on to infect another, and another, and another. Soon our planet was overrun with monsters. They slaughtered most of us and kept others alive in cages. Bled them like animals, tortured them for their own amusement. We tried to master magics to use against the Vampires, but it was too late.

We were such amateurs our magic often did more harm than good for our world. That was how I ended up on your planet. It was a spell, designed to send the evil of the Vampires back to where it came from, but again, my people were so inexperienced it back fired on us. Instead we were sent screaming across the solar system to your planet. Well actually only 3 of us made the trip. The magics were so crude and dangerous that they tore most of us apart. The three of us who were left floating through space meanwhile, the magics affected us in different ways. I was kept in a state of stasis and drifted aimlessly for years. I was the lucky one. Not only was I unaware for the entire journey, but the effects of the magic gave me a much longer life. I’m over 700 years old. Sadly of my two comrades, one was in a state of constant agony throughout the entire journey and driven insane, whilst another was turned into a hideous monster. When we arrived on the earth, I’d be forced to spend many years fighting both of them.

As the centuries rolled on I would stare up in the sky and think back to the world I had left behind. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to return, not that it would have made a difference anyway. Travelling across planets is something that only the most skilled, and powerful sorcerers can manage.

I couldn’t bare not knowing what became of my people. I felt like a traitor for not helping them. Still I couldn’t help but be relieved at being giving a chance to escape from the nightmarish war that had consumed my planet.

Many centuries later I met the Circus Master where I learned what had become of Mars. The Vampires completely destroyed it. Its now a dead, barren lifeless world. All traces of our once great civilisation are gone. Please forgive me eh, Carlene is it? I’m sure you are a hero in your own right. I trust the Circus Masters judgement on most things, but I can never fully accept you or Florence for what you are. I’m sorry.”

“As long as you don’t try to stake me, I don’t give a shit love.” Carlene said somewhat coarsely. Florence however was clearly more upset by Keptis’ words. He had always been somewhat cold to her, but the two had still always fought side by side, and even risked their lives for one another as all the Circus Folk had. Florence understood his hatred of Vampires, but she had hoped that after all this time he had come to see her as his friend as much as the others.

The Circus Master broke the awkward silence. “Well I guess that just leaves me then. I am the oldest of any of you here. I was born several hundred years before this era, during a time when my kind ruled over Europe. The Vandals.”

“Ah” Carlene said. “Now I know why I didn’t like you. No offence.”

“None taken.”

“Excuse me, what’s a Vandal?” Ashlei said.

The Circus Master explained. “A Vandal is type of Demon that feeds on the souls of the living. We were created from the Kardons, the same Demon race that gave rise to the Vampires. Our father was a rival of Khastran’s. Just as Vampires use their fangs to drain blood, then we use our claws” he said as his finger nails grew into massive long talons. “To suck out the souls of natural creatures. We too were created from a book bound in the Kardon’s flesh. There also hundreds of different species of Vandals just like Vampires, all with our own unique powers.

Vampires and Vandals despise one another. There’s a lot of bad blood shall we say there, but the hatred is also instinctual. It can be overcome, but it takes a lot of effort.” He continued.

“The Vampires and the Vandals have warred with one another for centuries, but in the time I was born, the 14th century Vandals had won. They ruled over Europe and helped shape its history from about the 12th century to the late 17th. Even today their influence can still be found on our society. They are a dying empire however. By the early 20th century their entire empire will be gone.

Still when I was a man they wielded all the power over Europe. As a man I was nothing more than a petty criminal, but that’s why the Vandals turned me. Much like Vampires they desire to turn only the worst examples of humanity into their own kind. I was simply part of a cull of criminals to be turned into Vandals.

For years I was part of their army to hunt down and kill any remaining Vampires over Europe. We weren’t heroes. We just wanted humanity all to ourselves. I killed hundreds of innocent people.

Ironically however the Vampires would prove to be my salvation. A group of powerful Vampire Witches managed to capture my platoon of Vampire killers. They wanted to use magic to take control of our minds and use us as spies against the Vandals. However mind control magics have never worked on Vandals or indeed Vampires. We have a higher immunity to magic overall. Still they tried to tamper with our minds.

All of my comrades died in agony. Its strange in a way. They were monsters. We all were and they had tortured and killed innocent people. They absolutely deserved what the Vampires did to them, but we’d been together so long, even today I can’t help but feel regret at not being able to help them. I was the last they experimented on, and luckily for me it seemingly worked. I was under the Vampires control for a few months and helped to betray the Vandals. Eventually however the magics wore off, but they had an unintended effect on my mind. The Vampires clearly had no idea of the magics they were tampering with. The magics freed the Demon’s influence over my mind. Though to be honest I never really felt much remorse for my crimes for a while unlike Florence here. I wasn’t exactly a shining example of humanity remember. I became a mercenary, willing to work for anyone who would pay me. I even did some work for the Vampires.

Things would change for me however when I was assigned as part of a special mission to infiltrate and destroy the Vandals greatest weapon. This Circus!

The Vandals had access to magic from all over the continent they ruled. Over the centuries they hoped to build a vessel that could travel across time and space. They knew there were other worlds and they hoped to explore them and expand their power. Also with a time machine they believed they would become invincible. Any time they failed in an invasion, they would just go back and change it. If only they had known the truth about changing history they might not have bothered!

They disguised the time ship as a Circus in order to throw people off its real purpose, but my team were able to infiltrate the place they were building the time vessel. In the fight I managed to make it inside and in my panic I set it off.

It sent me far away across all of time and space to the Andromeda Galaxy. I’d spend years trying to get home, until I eventually met another time traveller. Professor Fang.

“Who?”

“He is a Vampire, just like you and Florence who managed to overcome his violent instincts. He was a great wizard and scientist in life. He built his own time machine in the shape of a giant bat. He was a truly remarkable man. It took the Vandals hundreds of years with access to magics all over Europe to build this, and after it was gone, they would never build another before their empire fell. Professor Fang built his on his own in less than a century! At first I didn’t like him. Not just because he was a Vampire. He was a genius, and he really loved to show it.

His companion, Lindsey I believe her name was, was lovely. Very sweet girl, but dear god was he a conceited show off. Still I do owe him a huge debt. He adjusted this machine so that it would only take us to places we needed to go, and would give us a vision of what we had to do. With all the reckless time travelling I was doing before, I’m amazed the Guardians never came after me. I didn’t bother to ever really get involved however before Fang fixed my ship. I guess that’s what saved me.

I only agreed to Professor Fang’s idea because I wanted some thrills. As time went on however I came to love what I was doing for different reasons. For hundreds of years I’d been a worthless Demon, and before that I’d been an even more worthless man. Now I could see that what I was doing was having a real positive difference. I never wanted to go back to being the person I was. I may not even be human anymore but I’m a much better man now than I ever was.”

“What about the boy” Carlene asked.

“The Strange Boy? None of us knew him in life. He is a member of the Jiang Shi breed of Vampire. They are among the strongest, most vicious and feral Vampires. They are as single minded as animals.” The Circus Master explained.

“Yes I know, I’ve encountered them before. Vicious buggers. Really tough to kill too.” Carlene said.

“When the Strange Boy was infected by a Vampire, his mother attempted to find a way to stop the infection from spreading. She used all of the magics she could, and it seemed to work at first, but the boy slowly as time went on became more Vampiric.

First he didn’t age. Even when his mother was old. Then he grew stronger than even the largest man in the villager. Then he started to lose his speech just like the Jiang Shi, and slowly his mind too. However underneath it all, he always retained some form of morality. Unlike the other Jiang Shi Vampires he never preyed on people, and fought other Demons and monsters. He became an ally of Master Kau, one of the greatest Jiang Shi killers of all time. When Kau passed on however he was forced to wander the fields of Beijing all alone until we found him.

I don’t know how much of the boy he once was is left there. He sometimes doesn’t respond to my commands. It seems he has the instinctual hatred of Vandals too. Lately he seems to be getting more violent, even with Florence who he always loved. I fear that the last ounce of humanity he had is slipping away and we may loose him.”

Florence became visibly upset at what the Circus Master was saying, but once again Carlene could see no response from the boy.

“Well now that we’ve all gotten to know each other a little better I suggest we do something about these new breeds of Vampires stalking London.” Carlene said in an awkward, chipper tone.

“I quite agree” replied the Circus Master. “Its time to pull our resources together, for if we don’t these Vampires could end up destroying London itself.”

To Be Continued

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Circus Master: The Book of the Vampires: Part 1 The Demons of the Underground

 

“Roll up, roll up, roll up. Come get tickets to see the Circus of Tzas” the young boy shouted whilst pestering as many adults as he could to buy some tickets. Only one responded to him however, and it was really out of pity more than anything else. She certainly wasn’t going to see a Circus of all things, but she didn’t want to leave the poor little urchin to go hungry.

The young urchin however was somewhat intimidated by the sight of this strange lady who he knew from reputation. She was quite unlike anyone else in all of London. She was dressed in completely dark, strange clothing. She wore a low cut black top, surrounded by a black fur coat, had pale skin, whiter than snow, a long thin nose, piercing green eyes, and a massive beehive hair cut. She was also smoking too which the young boy thought was most unlady like. When she smiled, the boy could see what appeared to be sharp teeth, though only for a few seconds.

Despite her somewhat elegant, if unusual appearance, when she spoke it was in an extremely guttaral, thick cockney accent.

“Awright Darling, here have one on me. ” she said in a friendly tone as she handed him some money. After a few seconds hesitation the boy accepted before running away. He may have been scared of this strange, generous lady, but this was more money than anyone else had ever given him. He shouted thank you at her as he ran away, almost too intimidated to even look at her.

The lady in question, Carlene, had built up quite a reputation in the area. Despite being here for over 6 decades, she seemingly hadn’t aged a day and still had the appearance of a woman in her 20s. Any time there was something weird happening she was always there. Still despite the fact that many suspected her of witchcraft and something unnatural, she had the full protection of the police force.

The truth was Carlene didn’t belong here, in this place, this city, or even in this time. She had been pulled from her own era by a supernatural force far greater than even she could comprehend and thrust into the early 19th century. She had never really adapted well to this era, but even in her own time Carlene had never really fitted in.

She was a Vampire, specifically of the breed known as the Heklox. Unlike almost all other members of her kind however, Carlene had learned to control her bloodlust many years ago (or rather many decades in the future.)

Carlene was born in the year 1943 in London. She had always aspired to be a famous singer and even sang in a Jazz band called The Dots in the early 60s. Tragically just as they were on the cusp of making it really big, she was turned into a Vampire by an obsessive fan at the age of just 23.

Initially Carlene tried to isolate herself from humanity, fearful that she would give into her demonic urges. Over time however she learned rather than to hide from her bloodlust, to use it to fight evil. She channelled all of the monstrous, hideous urges she now possessed as a Vampire into battling Demons and other supernatural creatures. Over the course of the next 5 decades Carlene would travel the world fighting evil.

She travelled everywhere from New York to China to Rome to Scotland to Vienna, she was part of a league of other benevolent supernatural creatures including a Werewolf, a Wizard and a Greek God. She faced off against Martian Vampire invaders, Evil Egyptian Gods and monsters from hell itself.

Yet despite all of this the supernatural was still able to surprise Carlene, even after all this time. She had never even considered time travel a possibility, but in the year 2017, Carlene was catapulted backwards in time by a powerful Demon. The Demon known as Orastica had been working on mastering time travel for thousands of years.

Orastica had originally served a higher level Demon known as Quaralex who had been slain in a great battle many thousands of years ago. Such was Orastica’s devotion, it never gave up trying to find a way to go back and save its Demonic master. Carlene sabotaged the Demon’s attempts to change history however and slew it, but unfortunately the powerful magics Orastica had attempted to use still created a tiny tear in space and time, which pulled Carlene backwards to the early 19th century London.

Carlene would spend the first few years living off of the streets of London until she rescued a wealthy, old woman named Alicia from the Demonic spirit of her own son, Jeffrey. Jeffrey had been sacrificed by a Demonic cult who transformed him into the spiritual manifestation of their former leader who went on to terrorise London.

Alicia and her son were already outcasts, with Jeffrey having been born out of wedlock which sadly carried a huge social stigma at the time. The Demons had selected him for this reason, believing that his anger and resentment towards the bullying and unfair treatment that had followed him for his entire life would make Jeffrey an effective Demon.

Many in the town incorrectly believed that Alicia was in on her son’s crimes and even giving him shelter. Things got so bad that a crowd descended on her house at one point and dragged the woman onto the streets. This was when she first met Carlene who managed to scatter crowd. Carlene’s own reputation on the streets was enough to send them all fleeing without too much of a fight. Carlene would later free Jeffrey’s soul from the curse and allow his spirit to rest.

Grateful for helping her, Alicia would take Carlene in and over the next 3 decades the Vampire would in many ways become like the daughter Alicia had never had. When Alicia passed away in the 1870s, she left all of her vast wealth to Carlene who would use it to help her battle the paranormal all over London.

The Vampire also used her wealth to donate to various charities as well, particularly those concerning children. Carlene loved children. Despite this however Carlene was mindful not to change history. If she saw a threat to the past she would stop it, but since this was completely new territory for her, she was mindful not to interfere too much.

At times Carlene wasn’t even sure if she should battle ordinary Demons on the street, as for all she knew if she saved someone, their descendants could go on to change history in ways she couldn’t imagine. At the same time she wondered if she was always meant to have been sent here and that if she didn’t save someone then it would change history.

Ultimately however Carlene’s strong moral sense always won out in the end, and if she saw a Demon threatening innocent people she would have to stop it.

Over the decades Carlene would face many dangerous adversaries and monsters including Jack the Ripper, who in reality was one of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys. Jack had once been Peters favourite, but he was always very unpredictable and cruel. Pan found him great fun at first, but he eventually became too wild and unpredictable, even for Pan himself. Pan eventually exiled Jack back to London, but without the magics of Neverland, he began to age rapidly (having lived in Neverland for 100s of years.) Jack would subsequently slaughter various women in order to use their blood for a ritual to regain his eternal youth. Fortunately Carlene would put a stop to his criminal activities and the former Lost Boy aged to dust as a result.

Carlene also battled with Elizabeth Bathory, one of the most twisted and evil Vampires of all time. Bathory had been walled up alive in her castle for many centuries. She was freed sometime in the 19th century however by Dracula and would later regain her former strength.

Taking on the identity of a friendly, playful nanny named Mary Poppins, Bathory would gain access to various children that she would prey on until Carlene finally slew the monster.

Carlene also saved the earth from being plunged into eternal darkness by the wicked Miss Havisham. Havisham, having had her heart broken became determined to drag the rest of the world into her misery. Using the broken hearts of men (that she had cut out) she created a spell that would have been able to condemn everyone on earth to live out their worst fears over and over again. Carlene however, with the aid of Pip (whose heart Havisham had attempted to use in her spell) and a Demonic convict, (that Pip had earlier shown clemency to) was able to destroy Havisham after a showdown at her house against her Gargoyle minions.

The police force would come to an understanding with Carlene. Whilst they did not ever trust or particularly like the Vampire, they realised that she had a greater knowledge of the paranormal than anyone else in the city. Carlene often had a similar relationship with the authorities wherever she stayed for any given period of time.

Many people in the local area would still throw things through Carlene’s window, or refuse to serve her in a local resturant. Many knew that she was a Vampire, but even those who didn’t still felt she was sinister and involved in the black arts. Anyone who threatened the Vampire however was still charged as the police still valued Carlene’s help too much with paranormal cases.

Carlene meanwhile didn’t care whenever ignorant people would shout at her that she was a monster. She was used to people not being able to accept that a Vampire could be anything other than evil, and to be fair 99.9 percent of the time that was true!

Carlene had also accepted that she was seemingly stuck in this era too. Despite the vast resources she had, she never bothered to research any magics that would allow her to time travel, as she believed that they were too unstable, dangerous and not meant to be tampered with.

There was also really nothing more for Carlene in her own time than there was in the 19th century.

Little did Carlene know that very soon she’d be able to escape both this time and world through the most unlikely of means.

Carlene had just been to the police station to help them crack a case involving the zombified corpse of the former criminal mastermind, and evil wizard Doctor Masterik. Carlene had been fighting Masterik for many years (and had even foiled an attempt by the Wizard to condemn all of England to a horrific curse.) She had personally killed him too, but unfortunately the criminals servants had found a way using his own black arts to revive him.

Carlene was sure she had seen the last of him this time. “Even that bugger couldn’t put himself together again after that” she thought as she walked home through the foggy streets of Victorian London.

It was almost day time, and whilst sunlight wasn’t fatal to Carlene’s breed of Vampire as it was to many others, she still often slept through the day.

Carlene just wanted to get home, have a cold glass of cow blood, and then have a long days sleep after the night she had. However when she got home she found two children sitting anxiously on the steps outside her home.

One of them, a girl was about 16 or 17 years old, whilst the other, a boy couldn’t have been older than 12.

“Awright is there something I can do to help you both?” Carlene said, wondering if she was going to have get her windows fixed again.

“Please you have to help us” the little boy mumbled through tears as his sister hugged him tight.

“Now, now darling don’t cry” Carlene said in a gentle tone as she comforted the boy.

The sister spoke more firmly with Carlene.

“Look I know who you are. You’re, you’re not human are you mam. Normally when we see you in the street we give you a wide berth like everybody else, but please, our little brother, he was. He was taken, by something. I don’t know what, but it wasn’t human. It snatched him and it went into the underground. I looked but I couldn’t”. She had to stop there to regain her composure. Carlene put her hand on the young girls shoulder and she continued.

“Please I know you don’t care about us, no one does, but I need your help. I’m begging you” the young girl broke down and got on her knees.

“I may not be human, but I still care. Of course I’ll help you both. You can stay at my house for as long as you need and I’ll search for your brother right away, but I’m going to need some more information about this creature that took your little brother. Okay darling.”

The girl was shocked by Carlene’s answer. She had heard rumours about her being a Demon, and had always thought she looked quite creepy. She had only gone to this strange lady in black because she felt the police wouldn’t know how to deal with the monsters. Still the girl thought she would have to bargain with Carlene or even blackmail her by revealing that she was a Demon to the police (as if they didn’t already know) but to her surprise Carlene was extremely gentle and sympathetic.

“What’s your name darling.”

“Ashlei, Ashlei McKay”.

“Awright Ashlei, lets get you and your little brother inside. Can I ask what your name is young man?”

The little boy was still too upset to properly speak and so Ashlei told Carlene her little brothers name. “He’s called Tom” Ashlei said softly.

“Well don’t worry Tom, sweetheart I promise I’ll find out what happened to your brother okay. Lets just get you somewhere warm first.”

Carlene took them inside and told them both to remain here until she got back. She told the two children that they would be safe in here as Carlene had placed various protection spells around the house for Demons, whilst none of the villagers would dare attack the house out of fear of retribution from the police.

Carlene question Ashlei some more about the creature that had attacked them. She didn’t push too hard as she could see how difficult it was for Ashlei to even acknowledge what had happened.

“We were sleeping in Paddington, where we always sleep, next to the tube station. Its a good place to beg. So many people come and go, you’re bound to hit on one who’s generous. We were all huddled together as usual when suddenly.”

She had to pause for moment. Carlene put her hand on Ashlei’s shoulder to comfort her.

“Its okay love, I understand but please I need more information on the creature. Was it a Vampire? A Demon?”

“I don’t know” Ashlei snapped through tears. “I’ve never seen anything like it. It ripped through the gates of the underground. It was strong. Strong and huge. Its skin was slimy, white, and the stench that came from it. I was almost sick. It looked bloated, but it moved so fast. It cornered us before I could even wake the boys. We’d have all been dead if it wasn’t for some poor old bugger that distracted it.

Ashlei continued “He was an old drunk who used to wander round the neighbourhood at night. Sometimes he’d shout at us to give us the money we’d been given by strangers. I’d generally just ignore him however. He was never violent or threatening towards us. To tell you the truth I pitied him. I sometimes did give him any spare change I had. He wouldn’t get it from anyone else that’s for sure. The boor blighter probably thought it was someone giving us money instead of him again and he ran towards that thing to plead. It, it tore him to pieces. There was nothing we could have done. We ran as far as we could down the street, but the monster chased us. Eventually me and Tom managed to lose him, but when I turned around I saw that my youngest brother, Brian was gone. I thought he was right behind us, but obviously that monster got him. I was too busy running to even look out for him. I left him. I was a coward and left the person I should have been looking out for the most.”

Ashlei collapsed into Carlene’s arms. “Don’t worry I promise I’ll find that creature”

Tom spoke up “Do you know what it was?”

“No, but from your sisters description it sounds like a Vampire.”

“You mean like you” Tom replied somewhat nervously.

“No, nothing like me. There are hundreds of different breeds of Vampire. They’re all monstrous. Except for me. I’m a one in a million Vampire. From the sounds of things though this could be a whole new breed. I should be able to track it. I can’t imagine its got that far and even in a place as big as the London underground a Vampires stench still stands out.”

Carlene fetched her various anti Vampire weapons and placed them inside her beehive. Carlene had always worn a beehive, even before she became a Vampire. It was in fashion when she was alive in the 60s, but she had kept wearing it in the decades after and before which often made her stand out from the crowd.

The reason for that however was not just a fashion choice. Carlene’s beehive was actually a secret weapons chest. Thanks to powerful magics, it was bigger on the inside than the outside. Carlene kept stakes, axes, bottles of holy water, even guns in her beehive (though she didn’t like to use guns in Victorian England.) At one point Carlene had even kept a small, carnivorous Goblin in her beehive, though sadly she had left her little pet in the 21st century. Her beehive was also magically fused to her head. She could take it off any time she wanted, but no one else could knock it off her head.

Carlene made the two children promise a final time not to leave the house under any circumstances before setting off through the foggy streets of London. It was still dark, though there was probably only half an hour or so of night left. Carlene hoped that this Vampire was vulnerable to sunlight. She was fairly confident that she would return. Even though it was a seemingly unknown breed of Vampire she had slain many thousands of Vampires in her time.

Carlene’s house was not far from the tube station where the three children had been attacked. She was able to get there in about 10 minutes. The beggars corpse lay by the stairs leading down to that gates that had been torn open.

The beggars body had been mutilated beyond all recognition and his guts had been torn out. One leg had been ripped clean off and scattered across the other side of the road. Carlene placed her dark fur coat over the mangled body as a sign of respect.

“Poor sod” Carlene said bitterly “I wonder if there’s anyone out there that’ll even know the right name to put on your grave stone.”

Carlene tread slowly down the stairs into the underground. She could pick up a very faint sent of something unnatural. Vampires of her breed had an incredibly enhanced sense of smell. Ironically Carlene had always been picked on for having a large nose growing up.

This creatures scent, whatever it was, was genuinely unlike anything she had ever encountered before. Carlene traced the scent down the railway. As the stench got stronger and stronger Carlene found tiny drops of yellow slime on parts of the rail. Many Vampire breeds, particularly the stronger types dripped slime. In the dark Carlene could see what looked like a large hole by the side of the railway track.

It looked big enough for two people to slip through. On the other end of the hole was a long tunnel, filled with water, ankle deep.

Carlene wadded through the water, constantly searching round for any sight of the monster or its possible victims. The tunnel seemed to be never ending, but as Carlene climbed further and further down the abyss she started to pick up the scent of human blood as well.

When she reached the end of the tunnel she saw that it led to a small waterfall on the other side which in turn led to a massive cavern. In the middle of the cavern was a massive pile of mangled body parts. All that was left of the previous victims. Just behind the mountain of human remains however Carlene could see two people chained to a wall. One of them was an a teenager aged about 18 years old, whilst the other was a small boy who couldn’t have been older than 9 years old. The older boy was struggling in his chains, whilst the younger boy was just crying.  10 feet or so to the right of them was another tunnel.

“Why had they both been spared” Carlene thought? She didn’t like the look of this at all. Using her Vampire agility and strength, Carlene jumped from the top of the waterfall to right in front of the boys. She must have leaped over 80 feet in one jump!

The two boys recoiled in horror at the sight of Carlene when she landed in front of them without making a single sound.

“I knew it” the elder boy said in terror. “I knew you was in on it. We’ve always thought you were creepy. I bet that thing’s your pet or your son or something”

Carlene rolled her eyes. She didn’t have time to bother to explain her full life story to them, and hoped the two boys would see she wasn’t there to hurt them by her actions.

As Carlene went to try and rip the chains off the wall she heard a thumping noise. It was coming from the tunnel to the right of the boys. Carlene quickly jumped onto the wall above the tunnel, which her Vampiric powers allowed her to stick to.

She waited patiently for the monster to emerge. The boys kept quiet as they weren’t sure what she was doing and didn’t think anyone could help them anyway. They were both frozen in a state of terror.

The monster slowly crept out of the tunnel. Ashlei wasn’t lying in her description. The monster must have stood about 8 feet tall. It had to crouch when walking down the tunnel. Its body was completely white, whilst there were horrible, yellow, wet patches all over its body. Its hands were also dripping with yellow slime too, whilst its claws ended in yellow, rotting, but very sharp talons. The monster’s eyes were bright green meanwhile with a red pupil. Its hair was white, thinning and scraggly.

The monsters mouth was filled with massive razor sharp fangs like any Vampire, whilst a putrid green slime dripped from its mouth and down its chest.

Its entire body was bloated, but its stomach in particular was massive, whilst tiny green and yellow warts and spots littered its entire body.

The creatures stench up close was so great that Carlene felt like vomiting all over the beast.

As the monster moved towards the two boys, smiling with sadistic delight at how petrified they both were. Carlene reached into her beehive for a weapon. She pulled out a long wooden stake. A stake through the heart was a common weakness of many Vampire breeds (including Carlene’s.) It would be a safe first option to test as a weakness on this new breed of Vampire.

Carlene jumped on the bloated Vampires back with a lightening speed. The beast completely taken by surprise tried to shake her off, but Carlene dug her claws deep into its flesh. The monster was every bit as disgusting to touch as it was to look at. Its skin was ice cold to the touch, so much it was almost burning! It was also wet and slimy. Carlene probably couldn’t have pulled her hand away, even if she wanted without some force as the slime was so thick.

Carlene rammed the stake straight into the monsters back, but it didn’t even react.

Carlene then reached into her beehive for a silver sharp, but the monster reacted by ramming backwards into a nearby wall. Such an act would have crushed an ordinary human into nothing but paste, but Carlene’s Vampiric constitution allowed her to survive unscathed. It was still a most unpleasant experience however as the monsters slimy, warty fat filled her mouth.

The monster would ram her again and again a few more times, but Carlene having become practically embedded in its back used all of her strength to pull herself off of the monster.

Carlene ran towards the waterfall and immersed herself in it. The slime that covered her body from the monsters back was painful. It stung all over her body.

If it had been the sewers, Carlene would have dumped herself in the sewage to get the slime off!

Carlene next pulled out a gun loaded with silver bullets and fired 3 shots into the monsters heart. Again it did little to deter it, with the monster simply twitching for a few seconds before laughing at Carlene’s latest attempts to hurt it. Carlene then pulled out an axe from her beehive. It was made from Bronsicate, a metal forged by the gods themselves, it was capable of piercing the skin of just about any creature on earth.

With one swing of her blade Carlene took the bloated beasts hand clean off. Within seconds however it completely regrew its hand. Carlene was more than a little shocked. She’d never seen a Vampire with that kind of healing capability before. It must be a very old, or perhaps even an Alpha Vampire.

The monster charged at Carlene. It was fast, faster than any human could possibly be, but fortunately Carlene was faster. Carlene went for the monsters stumpy leg next with her axe which took it clean off. Though the leg regrew again, the monster still stumbled to the ground. Carlene then struck the Vampire in the back of the neck.

Unfortunately however before Carlene could fully part the beasts head from its shoulders, the beast managed to grab the axe, whilst it was in its neck!

With one hand the monster threw Carlene about ten feet across the room, whilst it still clutched her axe.

The Vampires strength absolutely dwarfed Carlene’s. It would probably take about 30 of Carlene’s breed to arm wrestle this Vampire.

“Oh bollocks” Carlene said to herself when she saw the monster wielding her axe. She fished through her beehive again but before she could pull anything out the monster ran at Carlene swinging her own axe. She managed to dodge it in time. Her greater speed allowed her to continue ti dodge the monsters attacks but only just, and she wasn’t able to pull anything out of the portable weapons chest on her head in the meantime.

The larger Vampire was getting visibly frustrated. It wasn’t used to an enemy that could evade its attacks. Carlene tried to keep the monster away from the children. She lured it back towards the waterfall. Her chance came when the monster briefly stuck its axe in the wall. It was only for a moment, but that was all Carlene needed to flip back 20 feet in the air and stick to the wall next to the waterfall.

This Vampire didn’t look like a jumper so Carlene could safely test which of the weapons in her beehive would work on the monsters from up here. First Carlene threw a gold dagger straight into the monsters throat which did nothing. Then she shot it several times using a gun loaded with iron bullets. Then she dropped a magical bomb on the monster, only dangerous to whoever the used wants to be. The bomb created a massive blue explosion which enveloped the entire room. When the blast faded however, the bloated Vampire stood there perfectly fine.

“You pathetic coward. You stand there throwing trinkets at me, because you are afraid of a fair fight! Come down and face me!” It slabbered at Carlene.

“I hardly think a bloke who picks fights with old beggars and defenceless children can call anyone a coward”. Carlene sneered back.

The monster started throwing things at Carlene. It threw back her gold dagger, and started ripping out slabs of concrete from the ground itself and hurled them at Carlene who effortlessly dodged the monsters clumsy throws. Eventually however the beast made a mistake and threw Carlene’s axe at the beehived Vampire which she caught instantly.

Carlene then jumped towards the two boys again and using her axe broke their chains. “Get behind me boys”. They still didn’t trust Carlene, but they could see she was at least, the lesser of two evils compared to that monster.

The monster circled Carlene and the boys, waiting for the right moment to strike. As Carlene reached into her beehive for another weapon the monster paniced and tried to attack the beehive topped Vampire, but it proved to be a mistake. Once again Carlene sliced the monsters hands off, but whilst it was regrowing, Carlene pulled a bottle of holy water from her beehive and threw it in the monsters face.

This time there was a reaction. The colossal Vampire sank to its knees and clutched its face in pain as its flesh began to sizzle.

Carlene walked calmly towards the bloated Vampire knowing it wouldn’t put up much of a fight now, and raised her axe to part its head from its shoulders.

Just as she was about to strike, Carlene suddenly heard the two boys scream. She spun round and to her horror, stood another Vampire similar to the beast she had just fought, holding the two boys in the air by the back of their necks.

This Vampire was much smaller than the previous one, and it was a female.

“Drop the axe NOW, and take that stupid thing off your head.” The Vampire had clearly been watching from the tunnel, waiting for the right moment to strike.

“But it’s my actual hair”

“Really?” the monster said, somewhat surprised.

“Yeah look I’ll show you” Carlene said as she reached into her hair and threw two smoke bombs in the monsters direction. The gas startled the Vampire enough to make her drop the two boys allowing Carlene (who could see through the gas clearly) to grab the two boys. With the two monsters blocking the the way to the waterfall, Carlene was forced to run down the tunnel with the two boys.

At the end of the tunnel was a small room which led to three different tunnels. A figure began to emerge from down the left tunnel.

Carlene kept the boys behind her whilst she went to confront it. The figure looked like an ordinary man. He certainly wasn’t one of those hideous monsters, but he didn’t look well at all.

“Don’t afraid. Everyone might think I’m a bit creepy, but I’m here to help. Just let me”

The man interrupted Carlene shouting at her “Please get away. Those things they” he suddenly coughed up a hideous, steaming yellow liquid from his mouth as he clutched his sides, and sank to his knees in agony.

The same yellow liquid began to burst out of other parts of his body including the palms of his hands. His arms, legs, torso and face all began to swell too. He screamed, but there was nothing Carlene could do except try and put him out of his misery.

These creatures had infected him and there was no way to reverse the process of becoming a Vampire. It was better he died now. Carlene pulled a sword out of her beehive. Just then Carlene suddenly heard a singing voice coming from the other end of the tunnel. She turned round to see a strange blue skinned woman standing in the centre tunnel. She had flame red hair, and was dressed in a long flowing white dress. She was incredibly beautiful and her voice seemed to have an effect on both the two boys and the man changing into a Vampire, who seemed to forget the pain he was in as he wandered closer to this strange woman. Carlene had to hold the boys back meanwhile. “I don’t get what all the fuss is about” Carlene thought to herself. “Her voice is nice, but its kind of limited. I doubt she could sing anything by Sinatra or Billie.”

Carlene watched as the blue Siren lured the young man near to her. She didn’t know why but Carlene didn’t think that the creature was evil. Maybe she was falling under its hypnotic spell too. Carlene didn’t think so however. Whatever this creature was, she didn’t seem evil, and maybe she could help this poor soul.

When the man came close to the Siren however, she stabbed him through the heart with a strange knife. Carlene instantly reacted and ran towards the Siren, with its victim falling into Carlene’s arms.

The man began to change back into a human after being stabbed in the heart. At first Carlene felt like attacking the Siren but then she realised that she had only done what Carlene herself was about to do a few seconds earlier. Carlene pulled the knife out of the victims heart. The blade was made of copper, obviously a weakness of this breed of Vampire. The Siren snatched it back out of Carlene’s hand.

“That’s alright I’ve got my own” Carlene said as she ruffled through her beehive. She was sure she had a copper weapon of some kind in there. Copper was a common weakness among certain breeds.

The Siren suddenly pushed Carlene down as she ran towards the two boys. The two giant Vampires had made their way down the tunnel and were preparing to advance on the children. Carlene quickly jumped back up and joined the Siren, pulling a silver sword out instead as it was all she could reach in time.

The Siren slashed at the face of the female Vampire who reached out to grab the boys. Carlene meanwhile went for the larger male. She swung her sword at the monster but it managed to dodge her attacks before grabbing the blade, and then pulling the sword out of Carlene’s hand. Carlene jumped onto the creature’s chest and managed using her full body weight to knock it back into a wall, causing it to drop the sword. She delivered a flurry of punches to the monsters face before it batted her across the room.

The Siren meanwhile had been overcome by her Vampire. She wasn’t anywhere near as skilled a fighter as Carlene.  The monster had made the Siren drop her knife and had also managed to pin her to the ground. The two boys stood cowering in the back. There was nothing either could have done, and if they had tried to interfere they’d probably just have made things worse.

Carlene attacked the female Vampire. She grabbed the brute from behind and pulled it off of the Siren. The female Vampire quickly managed to shake Carlene off, but the beehived Vampire had managed to distract it long enough for the Siren to grab her copper knife and stab the female Vampire in the heart with it. The female Vampire crumbled into nothing but a pile of ash on the floor in a matter of seconds.

Carlene and the Siren stood in front of the two boys, both brandishing weapons. The male Vampire didn’t look scared however.

Several more of its kind soon came trundling down the three corridors. About ten in total. Carlene quickly headed for the two boys whilst the Siren jumped into the crowd of monsters. Carlene called at her to stop, but within a few seconds the monsters were on top of the Siren. Carlene tried to help the Siren. She lifted a bottle of holy water from her hair and splashed it over several of the Vampires, scattering some of them. Carlene could see fleetingly through the mess of Vampires that the Siren had managed to escape down the middle tunnel, with some of the Vampires pursuing her.

Carlene didn’t know if the Siren could escape that way, but sadly she didn’t have time to worry about her mysterious blue ally. She had to think of the boys who were completely defenceless against the monsters. Grabbing the two boys, one under each arm, Carlene darted back down the corridor to the room with the waterfall, with most of the Vampires in hot pursuit.

Fortunately Carlene could outrun the Vampires no problem and once she reached the waterfall she was able to jump to the top with her Vampiric strength. Carlene quickly reached the other end of the tunnel above, back onto the railway. With the monsters right on her tail, Carlene lifted a bottle of holy water out of her hair and poured it into the ankle deep water which filled the tunnel. (Once she was free, as holy water was lethal to Carlene’s breed of Vampire as well.)

The holy water affected all of the water in the tunnel, and it instantly began to glow yellow and burn the Vampires feet. Some of the Vampires fell face down in the water from the pain. Others tried to run, but the holy water burned their feet away into nothing and they fell into the water too. Only a few, including the original Vampire Carlene who had faced (who she was sure had to be the Alpha as he was the largest and strongest) were able to make their way to the tunnel.

Only the Alpha had the strength to jump from the top of the waterfall to the other end of the room. The other Vampires, too weak from the pain, and their feet having virtually been eaten away simply fell down the waterfall which burnt them away to nothing.

The Alpha meanwhile couldn’t stand once it reached the cavern below. Its feet were burnt to a crisp!

Carlene told the two boys to wait behind whilst she crawled along the roof of the tunnel, avoiding the holy water. She told the two boys that if any creatures come up the railway line they are to jump into the holy water where they would be safe. She didn’t like to leave them, but she had to make sure there was no one else in the Vampires clutches. All of the Vampires in the tunnel had been consumed by the holy water. All that was left of the Vampires were a few bits of burnt flesh floating in the water/

When Carlene made her way into the room with the waterfall, she could see the former Alpha lying on the floor, clutching what was left of its feet, screaming in absolute agony.

It would be an easy kill now, but Carlene almost felt pity for the beast. She would make it quick.

She jumped from the ceiling she had clung too, onto the monsters chest. The beast was too weak to fight back, but it spat at Carlene in a final act of defiance.

Carlene calmly took an axe from her beehive and parted the monsters head from its shoulders, after which it crumbled to ash instantly. Carlene searched through the entire underground area. She didn’t find any other survivors, and only one other Vampire, which she quickly decapitated with her axe.

In the three rooms at the end of the three tunnels were the chained and mangled corpses of various street urchins. “Poor sods” she thought. “They were easy meat for these monsters” Carlene didn’t find any traces of the Siren however. In the centre room, which the Siren had ran too, Carlene found a massive hole in the ceiling. When she investigated it she saw that it led to another part of the London underground.There was seemingly nothing around. It was possible the Siren had escaped this way, but Carlene didn’t have time to investigate. She couldn’t leave the boys any longer.

The two boys had huddled together in the dark. Too scared to even move. Neither were sure if they wanted Carlene to return or not. In spite of everything she had done they still didn’t trust her as she wasn’t human. Nevertheless the two boys couldn’t help but breath a sigh of relief when they saw Carlene crawling back down the roof of the tunnel.

“All right loves, lets get you both home” she said as she descended from the roof.

“I have no home” said the elder boy with regret.

“You do now. You can stay at my mansion for as long as you need.”

The two were still unsure of Carlene.

“You can trust me” she said with slight frustration. “I did just save you lives. Also do either of you have a sister and a brother.”

The youngest of the two boys suddenly spoke up. “Yes, yes,” he said excitedly. “Ashlei and Tom. I tried to keep up with them, but I”.

“Its okay” Carlene said. “She and your brother are fine. They sent me here to rescue you. They’re at my house waiting for me to come back. Lets not keep them anymore shall we?”

Carlene led the two boys back to her home. The elder boy, whose real name was Daniel had been part of a group of boys and girls who had survived on the streets for years. In fact he had risen up to become the leader of his gang. They had all been slaughtered by the Vampires however. The monsters in their cruelty had saved the leader for last. Daniel would carry the guilt at not being able to protect the other children, who in many ways looked up to him as a surrogate father figure, for the rest of his life.

By the time Carlene returned home with the two boys, it was light. Ashlei and Tom had sat anxiously by the door the entire time for what felt like hours for the two orphans.

They couldn’t believe Carlene had kept her word and after hugging their little brother so hard they almost crushed him, Ashlei would hug Carlene too. Both of her brothers were somewhat surprised at her reaction. Their sister had always seemed somewhat hard faced and angry on the streets. To see her cry and show outright affection to anyone or anything was almost as unusual a sight for them as the Vampires!

“I’m sorry I was wrong about you. You, you’re a hero” Ashlei said through tears.

“Thanks, but trust me if you saw me when I’m pissed out of my head you wouldn’t be saying that” Carlene joked.

Carlene was thrilled she had been able to keep her promise to the kids. Seeing them together had made having the Vampires slimy fat in her mouth worth it. Still Carlene knew that the presence of a new breed of Vampire was serious.

“This is not good, not good at all.” She said to herself as she searched through her beehive for something.

“What are you talking about” said a confused Daniel?

“Oh sorry darling, I just meant that if there is a new breed of Vampire out there then that means the book of Khastran must have fallen into the wrong hands.”

“The book of what?”

“Let me explain. You children clearly don’t know much about Vampires. You’re the lucky ones.”

“Yeah we’ve really led a charmed life” sneered Ashlei. “Oh right eh sorry about that.” She then replied sheepishly.

“Anyway” Carlene continued. “The first member of any Vampire breed has to be created from the book of Khastran. Khastran was the first Demon ever to exist. He was said to have been created by the Creator of all things himself. He was also the most evil and powerful Demon ever to exist. He and his race the Kardons, fed on the blood and the souls of their victims. He came to this world thousands of years ago before being banished in a great war with Gods and Angels. He left behind a book however, bound in his flesh, and inked in his blood. Each page of the book has the power to turn any human into the first of a new breed of Vampire. It is said that when Khastran’s children, the Vampires, outnumber humanity then he will rise once again. The book was here in London a few years ago. The last I heard Van Helsing had hidden it somewhere. He didn’t tell me where though. To be fair I don’t think he trusted many people with it, but still it looks like someone’s got it now and is creating new Vampires.”

“How many pages are there in the book”. Asked Ashlei, who was clearly petrified. She always tried to appear tough for the sake of her boys, but the thought of there being more creatures like the one that chased her and her brothers being out there, chilled her to the bone.

“Hundreds of thousands I’m afraid, and there will be a lot worse than that creature we fought today. Whilst there are hundreds of Vampires, they can all be divided into 3 categories. Soul Vampires, Savage Vampires and Pure Vampires.” Carlene said.

“What’s the difference” asked Tom.

“How they are born. Vampirism is spread in many different ways, through a bite, mixing of blood, scratches, but the evil Vampires infect their victims with always takes them over in three different ways.

In the case of a Pure Vampire the evil corrupts the human soul in the body and turns their human soul into a Demons soul. All positive aspects from a person’s personality, love, compassion, are purged in the process, and all negative aspects are heightened. They are the most common Vampires. They must account for about 85 percent of Vampire breeds.

With Savage Vampires meanwhile, the evil ejects the human soul from the body and grows into a Demon that reanimates the corpse. There is nothing human about a Savage Vampire. They are the most powerful and evil of all Vampire breeds, if not Demon species on earth. They are often as single minded as animals.

Finally my breed belong to Soul Vampires. In our case the evil grows into a Demon, that doesn’t expel the human soul from the body. Instead it influences it. All emotions like love, compassion, remorse are repressed, our darkest desires are heightened and we are turned into killer monsters. Unlike with other Vampire breeds however there is a possibility, no matter how remote for us to fight the Demons influence. Its the strongest form of mind control in the world. I am not the only person to ever fight the Demon however. There have been a few other isolated cases throughout history, but most Soul Vampires are evil bloodthirsty killers too.”

Carlene continued. “Still the fact that we do still have our human souls causes other Vampires to look on us as pathetic, low life mongrels. Some Pure Vampires will even hunt us down and kills us. We are the rarest type of Vampire.”

Just then Carlene pulled what she had been looking for out of her hair. It was the leaflet for the Circus.

“Yes” she said triumphantly.

“I wouldn’t have thought you went in for that rubbish” Ashlei said in surprise.

“I don’t love, but I knew I had seen that blue woman before.”

She turned the page round, showing that among the many colourful characters on the leaflet was the blue woman with flame red hair that had helped Carlene and the two boys in the sewers.

“Its her, the blue lady with the beautiful voice” Brian said in amazement.

“Yes clearly there’s more to this Circus than meets the eye. There was a blue woman in the sewers Ashlei. She helped us. I’m not sure, but I think she was a Siren. Whatever the case, she was already there before me. She must know more than us about who is creating these new Vampires. We are going to the Circus tonight children.”

To Be Continued