"Whoo," howled Vlad. He lowered his nose to the ground following the scent from Brent Field's shirt. Rutherford Zucks panted as he held onto the leash and tried his best to keep up with the excited bloodhound hot on the trail of a scent. Once again, he wished he'd been transformed into vampire form while a young man in his prime rather than elderly, frail, and toothless. What ridicule he'd endured -- a vampire with dentures.
Vlad ran past the stream in the woods and stopped at a cave entrance. Rutherford held the dog's leash as they walked slowly into the darkness. As his eyes adjusted, he looked up into a dome-shaped chamber where clusters of bat families huddled in eerie silence. Something was wrong -- the bat cave should have been buzzing with squeaks and flying bats. Rutherford sensed deep in his soul that oppressive evil resided here. If only he could find Brent close by, alive and unhurt.
The bloodhound crept through the chamber and into a corridor. Rutherford saw a huddled form leaning against the wall. Vlad forgot stealth mode and ran full speed to lick Brent's face. The older man held his breath until he saw movement from his faithful friend.
Brent slowly raised his head and whispered, "Master, get out. Cody plans to kill you using me for bait."
Rutherford almost spat he was so angry. "What cruelty. He could have attacked me in my home at any time he wanted."
"He said he wanted to make you suffer first."
Rutherford said, "Try to stand. We've got to get out of here before that fiend returns."
Brent groaned as he stretched his legs to stand up. A low growl came from Vlad's throat. Rutherford touched the puppy's head to calm him. The older man drew in his breath as he sensed a presence behind him. He turned and spoke loudly, "Let Brent go, and we'll fight a duel to the death if you wish, Cody."
Cody's dark eyes and thin, unsmiling lips gave his face a stark appearance. "Huh? You and who else will defeat me? I'm not afraid of an old bat and a young pup." His malignant smile revealed razor-sharp fangs.
The whoosh of bat wings forced the three men to look up. A large bat with red eyes stared at Cody with deadly hatred. He hissed, "You dirty bat, you killed my brother."
Rutherford remembered the bloody bat head left behind as a message to Rutherford. Other bats glided in silence to join the leader bat. Whoosh! Whoosh! The rustle of bat wings fluttered in unison like a deadly heartbeat.
Vlad hid behind Rutherford as all three men looked upward as if mesmerized by the dark forms gradually forming themselves into a tornado spiral of bats. Whoosh! Whoosh! The bats' wings moved up and down methodically as if they were one unit of impending doom.
Rutherford thought in desperation that he must save Brent and Vlad, but how would he do it? Vlad ran out past his Master, growling and snarling, and bit Cody on the leg. Cody let out a wail of pain and swatted at the dog to make him go away.
Faint bat squeaks came from the leader's mouth.
Rutherford said, "Brent, we've got to run like the devil is after us. They're giving us a five minute head start." Cody looked pale at the news; he was not included in their escape. Brent summoned all his strength and ran with his Master and young puppy out of the dark cave into the safety of the moon-lit sky.
To purchase a copy of Beverly's book, Gothic Bedtime Stories, contact her at P. O. Box 803, Alderson, WV, 24910 or by email: hbpoe(at)excite.com. The cost of the book is $15.00 -- mention the Piker Press for free shipping.