Beau sprinted and scrambled up a wall with ease before dashing across the next roof. The vampire moved warily from cover to cover across the rooftops, easily keeping pace with the pair, but not wanting to risk himself unnecessarily. Beau realized quickly the vampire was herding them back in the direction of The Scarlet Lord and the other cultists. He and Grace came to the alley where they had crashed the Mercedes. Below, he saw Nellie and Wade examining the abandoned car.
“Grace,” Beau called as he pulled up sharply. With a quick look he indicated the pair below, and then he turned and fired at the vampire who had decided to rush them while they were looking downwards. Beau fired the shotgun rapidly and the vampire ducked behind a rooftop shed. Just then, a cultist rose up on a roof two blocks down and opened up with a submachine gun, forcing Beau to duck down below the lip of the roof. The vampire leaned out from the corner of the shed as if to rush Beau after he took cover from the cultist’s gunfire. Beau fired again at the vampire, then turned and fired towards the cultist.
“I’m out,” Beau said to Grace
“Jump,” Grace said.
Without hesitation Beau hurled himself off the roof to the alley 40 feet below. Grace caught him and spread her wings wide, slowing their descent. Nellie and Wade had moved to their car and pointed their weapons upwards past them. They opened fire as the vampire followed.
In mid-leap, the vampire was unable to evade the gunfire. The vampire threw up his arms in an attempt to shield himself. The first shot from Wade’s Browning Automatic Rifle struck the vampire’s hands, throat and chest. The shots could not injure the vampire since Wade’s rounds were lead and not silver. They did, however, cause the vampire pain, like the sting of bees. Nellie’s handgun, though, was loaded with silver rounds and her shot passed through the vampire’s left forearm and into the left side of his face.
The vampire twisted his body and struck Grace’s right wing with the sharp talons of his right hand before he landed catlike in the alley.
Beau heard a grunt from the succubus and Grace let go of him, dropping him the final 10 feet to the ground. As soon as he landed, Beau swung the shotgun like a baseball bat at the vampire’s head. The vampire moved faster however, punching Beau with a blow that felt like a sledgehammer hitting him in the chest and knocking him into the back of Wade’s car.
Wade and Nellie fired again at the vampire, but he moved too rapidly for them to hit. The vampire sprung to attack Beau when Grace moved to shield him; her sword’s thrust causing the vampire to leap backwards away from her.
“Nellie, Wade, in the car, now!” Beau shouted, sliding into the driver’s seat. “Move it!”
As they moved, a cultist with a rifle opened fire from the rooftop and his round struck the ground inches in front of Wade.
Wade stopped and fired a burst at the cultist, hitting the bricks just below the man, but forcing him back from the edge.
Grace rushed the vampire and her lightning-fast lunges drove him back down the alley and away from the car. Wade and Nellie both jumped into the backseat. Beau looked at Grace in the rearview mirror. He could tell by the way her right wing dangled that she would not be able to fly away to escape the vampire. He threw the car into reverse towards Grace, who had forced the vampire all the way to the alley’s entrance.
Wade leaned out the window on his side, trading shots with the cultist above him while Nellie reloaded her gun. “I’m out,” Wade said, sliding back in to put a fresh magazine into the weapon. “Reloading.”
Nellie leaned out her window, hanging onto the door frame with left hand and firing up at the cultists with her gun in her right. She tried not to think what would happen if Beau lost control in the narrow alley and slammed into a wall on her side of the car.
“Brace yourself,” Beau said a moment before he hit the brakes, stopping just behind Grace.
“Jump on!” Beau shouted to the succubus.
Grace took a last thrust at the vampire before she leaped onto the roof of the car. Beau sped forward. Nellie fired at the vampire as he raced towards them, striking him in the right leg and slowing his pursuit briefly. Wade was out of his window, firing up at the cultists on the roof.
Grace pulled her wings into her body and slid in through the passenger side window.
“I’m out,” Nellie said and slid in to reload just as Beau sped out of the alley and into the street. Beau turned the wheel quickly to avoid striking a large sedan racing down the street.
“Down!” Grace shouted as one of the passengers in the sedan opened fire through his window with a Thompson submachine gun. The succubus moved to shield Beau with her body.
Nellie threw herself to the floor as the bullets shattered the window glass above her. She heard a sharp grunt from Wade, and then heard the loud bark from his BAR. “Got him,” Wade said quietly, sliding into the seat.
Nellie focused on reloading her gun, then turned around and looked back in time to see the sedan slam into the back of their car. Beau fought to keep the car under control and sped up, dodging a group of pedestrians who had to jump out of the way as they crossed the street. Nellie fired at the sedan’s driver and saw him flinch, causing him to steer the car into a man on the sidewalk, the impact knocking the pedestrian up and over the car.
“Get us off this street!” Nellie shouted to Beau. “There are too many innocent people around for this.”
In the pursuing sedan, a man leaned out the passenger window and fired a revolver, the bullet grazed Nellie’s left shoulder and struck Grace, who continued to shield Beau by keeping between him and the gunmen.
Wade fired through the shattered back windshield, hitting the radiator of the pursuing car. The sedan sped up as Beau was forced again to weave through traffic. Nellie and Wade both had to hold their fire as a truck separated them from the sedan momentarily. Nellie took a quick glance at Wade. His face was drained of color. She looked down and saw a spreading, dark red stain on the right side of his shirt.
“You’ve been shot,” Nellie said.
“I noticed,” Wade said with a wan smile. “Not the first time. Don’t look so worried. It won’t be the last either.”
More shots hit the car, ricocheting off the door frame near his head. In the rearview mirror, Beau saw a second car filled with The Scarlet Lord’s followers had joined the chase.
“Hold on,” Beau shouted and his sharp turn threw Nellie onto Wade. She could feel the sticky blood of his shirt. Grace climbed over the seat, took Wade’s gun from him and she and Nellie stretched Wade onto the back seat. Nellie pulled up Wade’s shirt. The bullet had entered through the far right side of his torso and exited directly out the back. Grace tore off her shirt and ripped it in half, sliding one half under Wade’s back and putting the other half on the entry wound in the front. “Put pressure on this,” Grace told Nellie.
Beau’s turn had put them in an empty alley and he stepped on the gas, gravel and sand flying from the rear tires. He barely managed to avoid a crash with the oncoming traffic as they crossed a street. The pursuing driver kept pace and bumped into the rear of Beau’s car, nearly causing Beau to lose control and crash into a building in the narrow alley. The bigger car backed off and then slammed into their car again with a lurch and a metallic thud. At the same time, more gunshots struck the car just above the right rear wheel panel as a cultist attempted to shoot out a tire.
Grace climbed over Wade and the top of the backseat, pushed out the last of the glass from the rear window and pulled herself through. She stood on the truck and stepped over the bent metal onto the hood of the sedan. Her infernal sword formed in her right hand. The cultist driving the car looked up at her in shock before she thrust the sword into his chest. She pulled the weapon out and stabbed his passenger as he emptied his revolver at her through the front glass. As the sedan careened out of control, striking one building and then the wall on the other side of the alley, she thrust her sword down through the hood with a slash and leapt upwards, her wings forming from her naked back. The flames from the sword ignited the severed fuel line and raced back to the tank. The car exploded in a fiery ball as the second car crashed into it, engulfing the second car in flames as well. At the next intersection, Beau pulled his car into a bootlegger’s turn and slid to a halt as Grace landed beside him.
“Your wing was injured,” he said breathlessly as the second car’s gasoline tank also exploded, sending a ball of fire up into the air.
“I heal rapidly,” the succubus said as she opened the passenger door and slid in next to him.
“You have regenerative powers – like a vampire?” Beau said.
“Yes,” Grace said. “Your friend, Wade, unfortunately, does not. He needs medical attention as soon as possible or he may die.”